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kerouac Dec 23rd, 2019 08:40 AM

The stuffed capon ("chapon") sold at Picard is considered an exceptional item and is extremely popular during the holidays. I went to Picard today and saw them being snapped up. And of course there is always the attraction of gourmet food that you do not actually have to cook yourself. (I just bought some snails to pop in the oven and also the salmon tartare that I love for an unspecified date. Also some frozen blueberries to put in a cheesecake.)

cheska15 Dec 23rd, 2019 09:10 AM


Originally Posted by TDudette (Post 17034046)
Does anyone remember reading that Julia Child went on a liver cleanse every so often?!

I think I have tried every diet known to man. The one that suits me best is the Dr Michael Mosely one where you fast 2 days per week.Except when you are in France of course. I will do this after Christmas

StCirq Dec 24th, 2019 06:40 AM

Chapons, and turkeys, seem to be the main choices around here for Christmas dinners. They were going like hotcakes at the Intermarché yesterday, along with various kinds of seafood. The camera police weren't in evidence yesterday, so I snapped a few shots. We bought a slice each of scallop p té and langoustine p té, which we will have this evening with a glass of Prosecco. No way I'm going to have no-alcohol days at this time of year. I'll do that after the holiday season.

I concur with others about skinny husbands. I'm pretty tiny and don't have to think much about what I eat, but I have absolutely no sweet tooth at all, so am rarely tempted by desserts or pastries. I probably get more calories from wine than sweets;) I do eat a whole lot of bread and cheese, and won't turn down a big mug of hot chocolate. But my DH eats circles around me and never gains an ounce.
https://cimg0.ibsrv.net/gimg/www.fod...3fc035efc.jpeg
Norwegian salmon
https://cimg3.ibsrv.net/gimg/www.fod...efc7a46c3.jpeg
Various seafood treats
https://cimg1.ibsrv.net/gimg/www.fod...566b48d87.jpeg
Scallops
https://cimg0.ibsrv.net/gimg/www.fod...584f0f575.jpeg
Mussels, langoustines
https://cimg9.ibsrv.net/gimg/www.fod...523742a271.jpg
Seafood p tés and a whole salmon
https://cimg4.ibsrv.net/gimg/www.fod...31f9ddd47.jpeg
For the expats, I suppose

cheska15 Dec 24th, 2019 07:26 AM

kerouac I love all the pre made food you can buy here in France, and to be honest sometimes it had been better than some of the restaurants we have eaten at.

StCirq. Thanks for the fabulous photos. I am not a fan of kangaroo. It is slowly gaining popularity in Australia, however most people feed it to their pets.

We are currently enjoying a very nice glass of Prosecco. We have opened one present each from our daughter and son in-law, as it is Christmas Day in Australia now.

I hope everyone enjoys whatever celebrations they have at this time of year, and hope that your day is filled with love, health and happiness.

kerouac Dec 24th, 2019 07:57 AM

StCirq, it's interesting to see clams in your pictures because on the news today they were interviewing a seafood seller (I don't remember where) who was complaining that he had not received his order of clams and has disappointed dozens of customers. I'm sure there are major regional variations, but I have never known clams to be any sort of Christmas food in France, unlike most of the other stuff. (My own opinion of them: "big shells, nothing inside!")

TDudette Dec 24th, 2019 08:30 AM

Gorgeous shots, StCirq!

After 2 weeks on the South Beach diet, eating spinach until our pees were green, DH lost 15 pounds; I lost none, zero, nil. Rien.

StCirq Dec 24th, 2019 08:37 AM

kerouac, I don't associate clams with holiday fare in France, either, but we've had tons and tons of them in the markets in the last couple of months. I happen to love them, especially the tiny ones, because we really enjoy a good spaghetti or tagliatelle alle vongole. Big ones? Never buy them.

Oh, and I mislabeled one of the photos - those aren't langoustines, they are cooked crabs.

cheska15 Dec 24th, 2019 09:28 AM

After all the shopping at the market today we arrived home to find the refrigerator not working, and water over the floor. My darling husband then walked 4ks to get some ice. The thought of not having cold alcohol to drink was too much. We have contacted the landlord, however we don’t expect the issue resolved within the next few days. We have everything for tomorrow’s lunch on ice.

Our daughter gave us permission to open one of the four presents that her and her husband sent a few weeks ago. It could only be after 2.00 pm France time. Technically this is Christmas Day in Australia taking the 10 hour time difference into consideration. The chocolate and lollies were great. Sending stuff overseas now has become more difficult, so I imagine that she sent what would go through customs easily.
The remaining presents will be opened tomorrow when we have a face time chat or whatever it is called. Staying in contact with your loved ones is so much easier now. My mum used to love getting phone calls from her children if we were overseas, and would be in awe if she could see us as well. Sadly Mum isn’t here to see the technology that is rapidly changing.

I am sitting outside waiting to catch a glimpse of Santa leaving the Northern Hemisphere on his way to Australia. I may have missed him.

kerouac Dec 24th, 2019 11:32 AM

:unamused: What a terrible Christmas surprise for your refrigerator! If only it were on guarantee from Darty -- they come to fix things every day of the year.

cheska15 Dec 24th, 2019 12:24 PM

kerouac wow that is amazing.

Adelaidean Dec 24th, 2019 02:34 PM

Cheska, Happy Christmas to you, too.

We were concerned about power load shedding here during our heatwave, didn’t need to lose our fridge in 46C heat.

Roast turkey, red cabbage and dumplings for our German Christmas Eve dinner last night, today will be turkey, roast potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, broccolini, roast pork, cauliflower cheese, cold ham.
MIL would never allow any change to format (we suggested seafood and she almost choked) :lol:

I make a lighter fruit cake (more apricot, apple and date than sultanas) than in laws usually like, but it works better in this climate anyway. Everyone seems to love it.

cheska15 Dec 26th, 2019 05:17 AM

Adelaidean I hope you had a great Christmas and your fruit cake sounds fabulous. It is very difficult to change traditions. Our son in law must have some sort of roast meat, pavlova, and Christmas pudding, no matter what the temperature is. As he is the one who cooks, we don’t mind what we eat.

Our Christmas lunch was a great success. The rack of lamb was very tender although much bigger and more fat than we normally have. The Gratin Dauphinois was the best I have ever made. We found a beautiful bottle of Champagne from Reims named Tsarine. It was really lovely and one of the best champagnes I have had.

Due to not having a fridge I couldn’t make the trifle as planned, so we had creme brûlée tarts, and they were very good. The biggest mistake we made was forgetting the Boulangerie was closed on Christmas Day. A bread free Christmas!!!

It was very very quiet in the street with no noise at all. We could have been in the middle of nowhere. I missed the noise of children playing with their presents, and the street cricket game that we have at home. At around 5.00 pm on Christmas Day the people in our street gather for the cricket game, and it is always lots of fun. The eldest person is usually the umpire, and being in her late 80’s there are always quite a few laughs. The rest of us aren’t convinced that her grand children and great grandchildren don’t get preferential treatment.

The weather was beautiful although too cool to sit outside, however I did only have four layers on.

We are starting to look at what happens next in our itinerary. The upcoming trips in January are to Barcelona and Zaragoza, and Nice and Menton in February. We will be staying in Spain for 10 days and Menton and Nice for 10 days in total.

We leave here on March 25, and hopefully will get to see a bit more of the Ardege in early March. We then head to the Loire Valley and then Brittany and Normandie, ending up 17 ks from Strasbourg by the 23rd May.

I did so much research into these places, and yet while I had sort of decided where to stay, I have had changed my mind. That’s the beauty of not being licked into anything. Sometimes I think you can over research places and then you become confused.

I hope you are all enjoying this time of year wherever you are, and that 2020 is whatever you want it to be. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

cheska15 Dec 28th, 2019 05:55 AM

Normal life has been resumed as the owner of our mazet dropped off a fridge yesterday. He was here helping stack the firewood we had delivered on Thursday. There certainly is a lot of wood and our contribution was €92. He will give us a refund if we don’t use all the wood. In France insurance companies require chimneys to be swept every year. I’m not sure of the cost.

While wood fires are lovely, the smoke hangs around in the mornings, and there is a lot. Combine this with people burning off and it can be very smokey. Probably not as bad as parts of Australia at the moment. We did ask him about the burning off that people do in their gardens. His view was while it is forbidden, people do it anyway. He also stated that in France people see some laws as optional. That made us laugh.

I finally purchased a chicken to roast so we will have that tonight ( cost 6€), and I also purchased a black radish. Apparently they are good. We are trying all sorts of veggies here that we have never seen. I’m not usually a big veggie eater. However as the vegetables taste far better than any we get in Canberra we are being adventurous. Haven’t had anything I don’t like yet. Also saw some fat green asparagus the other day and wanted to get some. Couldn’t find it today though.

After stacking the wood yesterday we walked into town for lunch. I had lasagne, and my husband had veal Milano. With tiramisu for dessert ( I only had a couple of spoonfuls) and 25c of wine the bill was €30. The meal was good and we didn’t have dinner last night.

Coquelicot Dec 28th, 2019 06:16 AM

cheska, I like hearing about the normal day to day things you're experiencing, though of course your more touristic visits are also really interesting.

Veal milano, sigh.

Your mention of buying a black radish reminds me that last spring on our first day, we stopped for waffles and a stroll in a pretty village. We looked in at a walled garden and the guy invited us in and showed us what he had growing, row by row. One of the things he told us about was black radish and how to cook it, which our friend remembered and next day she bought one at the market. When we were invited to dinner a few days later, she cooked the black radish with potatoes and took it along. The radish gave a little zip to the potatoes and the potatoes mellowed the radish. Our hosts had never eaten black radish before and maybe now they think of it as an American thing, which it isn't. Let us know how you like it.

kerouac Dec 28th, 2019 06:53 AM

Black radish makes an excellent garnish when it is grated.

cheska15 Dec 28th, 2019 07:33 AM

kerouac when you say grated as a garnish what would you serve it with.
Coquelicot that’s interesting as we are having it with roast potatoes. My son in law thinks I’m turning into a bit of a cook since being here in France. That won’t happen as cooking is something I do out of necessity, as it not something I enjoy.

StCirq Dec 28th, 2019 08:52 AM

We pay 50 euros apiece to have each of our 4 fireplaces cleaned every year (we have two chimneys, but 4 fireplaces - they are stacked). It takes the ramoneur about 10-15 minutes each, so I think it must be fairly profitable for him. Yes, you need a certificate for each, or one certificate that lists each fireplace, to prove that you've complied with the law. There are products you can buy to burn in your fireplaces that supposedly clean them out, and they come with a peel-off label that you can use as a certificate, but you probably need to keep your receipts, too, so you can prove you just didn't use someone else's label. Those products don't work very well, IME, especially on big fireplaces. Our biggest always produces boxes and boxes of soot and gook when it gets cleaned in the fall.

If you have smoke in your house, something's not working right. Even when we have 3 out of 4 fireplaces going, we never have smoke in the house, just a nice, woodsy smell.

As for outdoor burning, it is not forbidden at all, but here there is a proscribed period each year when it's permissible to burn outdoors, and I suspect that is the case all over France. We are in that period now, and there are lots of people, ourselves included, who have big outdoor fires to burn off all the garden debris. We try to forage for petit bois so we can use it in the fireplaces and it doesn't go to waste, so mostly what we are burning is leaves and tree droppings and dried lawn cuttings and diseased wood/plants. Like most folks here, we use the ash in our gardens, mainly on grass/lawns. I actually love the smell of those outdoor fires. It's true that not everyone obeys the laws about when you can and cannot burn, and true that no one ever seems to get in trouble for not doing so.

We pay about 60 euros a stère for oak, which is cut to two lengths that we need - 50 cm for the big fireplace and 40 for the smaller ones. For that price it gets cut and delivered to our house and stacked in our veranda. We go through 4-6 stères in a winter if we're here the whole season. It's possible to get other woods like chestnut or acacia cheaper, but they don't burn as well or as long. Oak is the gold standard.

I have seen black radish in the markets and am curious. I've never had it in a French dish, only in Asian ones. I'd love, too, to see how it turns out for you. Let us know!

TDudette Dec 28th, 2019 09:58 AM

Good info about the black radishes. Can they be sliced thin and put into salads as the red ones?

kerouac Dec 28th, 2019 10:03 AM

Grated black radish can be used the same as grated carrots, without the sweetness. You often see it in Japanese restaurants.
And yes, it can also be sliced and put in salads.

cheska15 Dec 28th, 2019 10:34 AM

Our dinner tonight was fabulous. The black radish roasted was fantastic with the chicken. Gave the chicken a seasoned taste without the seasoning. I know we are not planning to live in France forever, but I could move here for the chicken. Tonight’s dinner cost about €9. We have a lot of chicken left that will do for lunches, and the leftover veggies will keep for a meat free day on Monday.

Forgot to mention that I purchased two small citron desserts for €2 pp. They are in a plastic cup with a biscuit base, some sort of lemon custard thingy but not heavy, and meringue on top. Fantastic


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