Saturday, February 1, 2014

January 2014

Amazing sunset one night, the color had faded by the time
I grabbed my camera and took this photo. It was the talk of
the town the next couple of days
Happy Year

Traditional greetings for the new year here in France continue just to the first part of Feb.
I know that this is the January Blog and it is now Feb 1st! Somehow in this brain of mine, I thought that Saturday was the 31st of January. Surprised somewhat when I saw the date on the paper this it goes!
Nothing exciting this month, it is winter and everything is slow. After the holiday break, pottery and photo club have started again.

We have not had a typical cold January. Roses, magnolias, and other plants are showing buds. Weather has been in the 40's and sometimes 50's during the month. Newspaper said the other day that it was March in January. Many plants (grape vines included) need a few days below freezing. So will we have winter during this month of Feb?

Imagine the crowd! 
We did not partake of the annual celebration of St. Vincent this year. It was in the village (small village with about 250 residents) of Saint Aubin. It was estimated that there were 50,000 visitors over the weekend that went to Saint Aubin to celebrate and taste wine. I think I am glad I did not go.

This Monday the wallpaper people come to hang the new wallpaper in the living/dining room. Yeah! But before that can happen we have to clear everything out of the way! Ah yes, I guess spring cleaning starts now.

Went for a couple of walks, as always. Marie T took me to the Creux Tombain. Interesting color. It is like a spring, but it is actually an opening to the water table below.
Creux Tombain - incredible water color

Flipper checking the trail

Oh yes, we had to cross over...this is JANUARY!
Always an adventure
One nice day I wandered through Gevrey. You have seen similar photos before, but here are photos on a sunny day in January!
Château in Gevrey-Chambertin

Flowers in January!!! (not garden flowers)

Clos de St Jacques (vineyards west side of Gevrey)

Time of year to cut the vines back and burn the cuttings! oh the smoke

More cutting and burning...Gevrey smog

And you can see the fires from way up too.

Just last week, we took another walk.
Walk in the vineyards near Marey..this is part of the Hautes-Côtes
Vines often are taller than those in Gevrey

More tall vines-Hautes-côtes

Never know who you will meet when out for a walk
Or what you will find in a village when you walk through it
I have to quit here, not even going to give you a recipe this month (however, look below-I have added a chocolate fruit cake that is wonderful- really). I have to pack up things in the living room, do some ironing, and work at balancing the account for the Association!! Oh my, I had better get busy!

Recipe of the Month
Bit tight on the schedule, so I am posting a recipe by Nigella Lawson. It is a chocolate/coffee fruit cake- for the holiday season. It is rich and scrumptious! Really a must try! Not the fruit cake of old.

Chocolate Fruit cake


·       12 1/4 ounces (350 grams) dried soft prunes, chopped
·       8 3/4 ounces (250 grams) raisins
·       4 1/2 ounces(125 grams) currants
·       6 1/4 ounces (175 grams) unsalted butter, softened
·       6 1/4 (175 grams) dark muscovado sugar
·       6 1/4 fluid ounces (175 ml) honey
·       4 1/2 fluid ounces (125 ml) coffee liqueur
·       2 oranges, zested and juiced
·       1 teaspoon mixed spice
·       2 tablespoons good quality cocoa
·       3 free-range eggs, beaten
·       5 1/4 ounces (150 grams) plain flour
·       2 1/2 ounces (75 grams) ground almonds
·       1/2 teaspoon baking powder
·       1/2 teaspoon baking soda
For decoration: ( I went silver this year...)
·       1-ounce (25 grams) dark chocolate-covered coffee beans
·       Edible glitter
·       Gold mini balls
·       About 10 edible gold stars
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).
Line the sides and bottom of an 8 by 3 1/2-inch deep, round loose-bottomed cake tin with a layer of reusable silicon baking parchment. When lining the tin with the parchment, cut the material into strips that are twice as high as the tin itself (it is easier to use two shorter strips of parchment, than one long strip); the height of the strips protects the cake from catching on the outside of the cake tin.
Place the fruit, butter, sugar, honey, coffee liqueur, orange zest and juice, mixed spice and cocoa into a large wide saucepan. Heat the mixture until it reaches a gentle boil, stirring the mixture as the butter melts. Let the mixture simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and leave to stand for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, the mixture will have cooled a little. Add the eggs, flour, ground almonds, baking powder and baking soda, and mix well with a wooden spoon or spatula until the ingredients have combined.
Carefully pour the fruitcake mixture into the lined cake tin. Transfer the cake tin to the oven and bake for 1 3/4 to 2 hours, or until the top of the cake is firm but will has a shiny and sticky look. At this point, if you insert a sharp knife into the middle of the cake, the cake should still be a little uncooked in the middle.
Place the cake on a cooling rack. Once the cake has cooled, remove it from the tin.
To decorate, place the chocolate-covered coffee beans in the centre of the cake and arrange the gold stars around the perimeter of the top of the cake. Then sprinkle some gold mini-balls over the whole cake and sprinkle the top with edible glitter.