Monday, February 28, 2011

Fevrier 2011

Flower in the Woods

Here it is the end of February and I do not have my act together.
Why, I think I have been at this computer too much this month. Two projects have been ongoing.

First, I have been try to move the banking account for the Association from an old version to a new version. Of course the new is not compatible with the old, so all the banking entries for 2009,2010 and 2011 had to be entered one at a time ( this is kind of like a Quicken checkbook program, but includes a place for members of the association, members annual fees, equipment of the Association...etc). After working on this project and finally so excited to be done, I needed to make one little change. Went to open and the OPEN is next to the DELETE. Slipped and a months worth of work disappeared!! No second chance!! OK it should be in my back-up files, right. I had this program under the first level with my name" SUE" and not under My Documents, and the back-up ignored it totally!!! Live and learn. Of course I have the old version, so the club data is still there, it is just the frustration of it all. I now have entered the 75 entries for January 2011. Will go back and do 2009 and 2010 some other day! All the members are loaded back in and  have updated the payment of fees area too. And I did a back up of it all.

Then my other project is more or less the same. I am updating Marie Therese's website "Cellier des Chaumes" to a new version. Since the base program is english, I can not do a automatic update. So I have been combing the 1,000 some pages of coding to change the english to french. Wish I had kept better documentation the first time, however some things have moved, so it may not have helped. Slowly it is coming around.

Along on that note, we have done some great wine tasting. One place we tasted, I believe because the proprietor knows Marie Therese's father, he opened a bottle of 1980 Charmes Chambertin. A 31 year old bottle of wine on a rainy Tuesday late afternoon, one of the Grand Crus of Gevrey Chambertin. It was very good indeed ( Lucky Sue ) and not a drop left in the bottle when we parted!
Then this last week, we tried a vigneron here in Gevrey, Domaine Boillot. Marie Therese has been searching for a good Volany ( red wine), and Keith and I had tasted his wine last summer in Volnay. He is very passionate about his wine. The wine he makes is made in the traditional manner. His wine is excellent.
We were tasting 2009 right out of the barrels. It is a young wine, but wow, it is a good year (2009) for the Cote D'Or.
As we were talking he mentioned his distributor in the USA. MT asked who it was and he replied Kermit Lynch. Keith and I have read his book, in fact it was our first introduction into learning about french wine. If you want to learn a little about wine, read Kermit Lynch's book (Adventures on the Wine Route).

So this month there have definitely been some perks.

Speaking of wine, I just have to quickly mention this little item. Burgundy is trying to get the Côte (vineyards) registered as a UNESCO site. Stay tuned for more.

Descending into Ruelle Vergy
As always I complain about the weather. Grey and foggy, or a light mist like today. But on the other hand, no blizzards, no snow, and the temperature for the most part has been above freezing. On a few nice days I have been working on the garden ( ground is not frozen).

I have taken a few walks this month. I do enjoy going for a walk. This last week took a new route in the Combe ( gorge) in Gevrey, but I did not have my camera!! In the Combe of Gevrey, there is a lot of box, you know those little boxed hegdes that outline gardens. Left on its own, it grows up to tree size. Some were about 20 feet tall. And all of the moss, all over everything, and so green and lush ( of course it has had some moisture this winter).
I do not have a lot of photos for this month, but I have sprinkled a few here and there throughout this Blog. And some have blue sky. 

Last week I went to lunch with an American friend. Her husband was away, so we went for a nice long lunch. It was a little restaurant on the other side of the hills, in the Valley d'Ouche.
Curtil Vergy
Started the old spring cleaning this last month. Taking it slow, a project here and there. I am not sure why, it is  the vineyard out back or what; but we get a lot of dust. And I do not raise dust bunnies, but full grown dust rabbits. I do use my little swiffer, however within a few weeks, everything is covered again. Oh well, such is life. Also tried to go through a few things and toss. We will see how successful this is!! At least the spice rack has been cleaned! Always something.

Keith went up to Paris to see one of his old students. This student is now a professor at the University in Christchurch, New Zealand ( and yes he and family are OK after the earthquake). He was working here in France and speaking/participating in a workshop at the Polytech University in Paris. Keith had a day of math and science and time with a friend.
Path in the Shade...look at at sun ..GORGEOUS day- a little haze

Keith also has been on the internet looking for parts for his bike restoration project, primarily on the web. His biggest challange is spokes for this bike. The size is not used much anymore and he is having trouble finding some new spokes (maybe have them in Sweden, but he does not know any Swedish). He keeps searching, they must be somewhere out there. He has found them a few times, but then only to be told that they are out of stock. The search continues.

At Bligny, where the tourist train is located, it has been a winter of repairs. Tourist season will start the first weekend in May; weekends only May, June and Sept; July and August daily tourist train.
They took apart the steam engine so the boiler could be inspected and certified ( required every so many years). Unfortunately it failed the inspection. Now they have to see if it can be repaired at a reasonable price. Each boiler ( as I am told ) on these old steam engines is unique, so they can not just find another. To have one made would cost a fortune; which they do not have. They could be down to one steam engine for the season!! They have a couple of diesels that run and they use the diesels for the week days in the summer. Keith enjoys his Saturdays during the winter months with the "guys".
Gevrey- Burning wine branches (sarments)- a little SMOG
settles over Gervey-Chambertin.

He is also getting ready for another tourist season. Looks like a tour or 2 in Champagne this year, one down by Macon and of course a Burgundy trip or 2 or 3...
Beautiful Tricycle at a flea market

We are beginning to think that we do not have a hedgehog, but maybe a rat ( this would be in the compost). I have a live trap now, and we will see what happens. I have not added anything to the compost, I do not want to feed a rat!! Although in the movie, Ratatouille was adorable, I really do not want him in my compost!!

I think I will sign off here with my recipe.

Recipe of the Month
This month I am going to not post a french recipe. My friend
from England sent me this recipe for Eggplant Curry. It is
a recipe from a big grocer chain in England, Waitrose.
I can take no credit for it. I made it last night for dinner and 
it is easy and good if you like curries. Of course I had a french 
red curry paste and it had very little punch. You can also use 
coconut milk that has reduced fat.

Preparation time : 15 minutes
Cooking time : 20 minutes
Total time : 35 minutes
Serves: 4


2 medium aubergines
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cm piece of root ginger, peeled and chopped
1 tbsp Cooks’ Ingredients Thai Red Curry Paste
Juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp dark muscovado sugar
1 tbsp soy sauce
½ x 400g can half fat coconut milk

  1. Trim the aubergine and cut into small cubes. 
  2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and add the onion, garlic and ginger.
  3. Cook for 2–3 minutes until starting to brown then add the aubergine cubes and fry until browned on all sides.
    Stir in the red curry paste to coat the aubergine and cook for a minute.
  4.   Add the lime juice, sugar, soy sauce and season. 
  5. Add 400ml cold water and bring to the boil.
  6.   Lower the heat and simmer for 15–20 minutes until tender and the sauce is reduced.
    Stir in the coconut milk and heat gently but do not boil. 
Check seasoning and serve, scattered with shredded basil leaves and steamed Thai jasmine rice.

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