Tuesday, December 29, 2015

DECEMBRE 2015 - December

December 2015
 and a Happy New Year

Fog, this is a good day

The month of December is coming to an end, as is the year 2015. As I think over this past year, there have been good times and sad times.

Now it is time to move on to 2016, but not before I finish this months blog.

This month we actually had a couple of sunny days, but mostly wet days. We have had very little rain, but everything is wet like we have had heavy rainfalls. The temperatures have been extremely mild. It is then end of December, and we still have had many days in the 50's (well not today).  The "weather gurus" say it is El Nino and next year all will be normal. I guess if that is true, we should profit from the present.
This is 29th of December!
One almost sunny day we went out for a walk (that is MT, me and the dogs).
We had a nice walk in the woods, and I was working at a photo of water (for the "book").
Flipper stop to see if we were following
The dogs love the water, especially the lab
I have been on a few walks too, mostly around Gevrey. I am now playing with trying to do some photos in black and white. Here are a few of my efforts.
Curious horses or looking for an apple

foggy day on the pond behind Gevrey

another foggy pond photo

Swans on the foggy pond

At the Gare (train station) Gevrey

One day MT and I went to look at an old tomb stone, Gallo-Roman period. A member of our association had written an article for our Gazette (this Gazette is published twice a year-and this was Dec 2015). He wrote about some of the archaeology of the area. This included reference to this tomb stone (stelle). The stelle happened to be in a private garden in one of the villages of the area. Imagine an artifact of that age adorning your backyard garden. Here is my photo.
Gallo-Roman stelle -see the two heads
at the top..rest has been worn away by age
Other things in my life, as always, besides photos there is pottery. Last summer I made a plaque for a friend (Tom, or Thomas Kevill-Davies) for his Bed and Breakfast, which is just south of Beaune in Auxey-Duress.  It now adorns the wall of his place.
Then for us, I made three panels in raku for our wall. The color is not correct (too yellow), the white is actually grey white, but the concept is there!

Tom's Bed and Breakfast
Our new wall hanging

We made our annual trip to the Alsace for a Christmas fix and wine. The Alsace region went between Germany and France a few times. Since WWII, it has been part of France. Even though in France, some of the best German food is found in the Alsace, in our opinion.
Also, Christmas has more of the German influence. They have Christmas trees (which France did not have much in the past, but has become more popular in recent years), they decorate with lights and have huge Christmas markets ( marché de Noël).
So we did our annual visit to Colmar (forgot my camera in the car), then up to Eguisheim. Always an enjoyable visit, some wine tasting and some good food. We always stay the one night, then drive home the next day.
I did not have have tripod for the night photos, but I powered through it! Not perfect photos, but temp pis (too bad).

Marché de Noël in Eguisheim

The "Plce de Eglise (church plaza)...
Pope Leo IX was born here

A market stand

Mushroom Store

Day photo of a small street

Christmas market of Eguisheim by day

The bakery

Some houses and wine shop

A house and wine maker (vigneron)
This is a cigogne (stork). The Alsace is known
for having them, and now they stay all winter.
This is on top of the church

We had a wonderful Christmas day with MT and family. MT made a wonderful paté en croute (wrapped in pastry), her great grandmother's recipe. She said it takes 3 days to make. It was sooo good. Then is was followed by some succulent venison with wine sauce..mmmm. As always with wine.
Musigny Grand Cru- 1988
Keith with a big smile-must be good food 
I had made some gourgeres for the day. Puff pastry with cheese, a Burgundy tradition.
Gougeres fresh from the oven
Are we spoiled or what!!!

Now I have to tell you the cat story. I have mentioned the part-time cat in the past. We found out this last summer that he is homeless, or sort of, since he has adopted about 3 or 4 homes in the area. I think because we are home, he has spent more time here lately. We have also taken him to the vet when he has been injured ( so why does he like us?).
The others seem to want the cat, but not be totally responsible for him!!
Now he has been coming here most nights to sleep. So we do not think we have a cat, but he seems to think we do. He is also bossy. He meows to be brushed all the time, going over to the brush and rubbing his cheek on it. 
He moved to not a great photo, but Til begging for a
brushing..meow meow
Not only for a brushing, but for the fire to be lit ! He goes to the wood stove and meows. Of course we are suckers and give into him! No wonder he likes it here, we are his servants and do whatever he asks.
Got what I wanted
Enough cat talk! One last photo from Christmas day, through the double pane window.

I feel we are truly blessed and are living the good life. We still enjoy the countryside and everything it has to offer.
So onto 2016. May it bring you health and happiness. 

Bonne année Bonne santé

And your resolutions this year?

Recipe of the Month

This is an Alsacian dish, hardy for the winter. Along with a green salad, dinner is ready. Nice bottle of Alsacian wine completes the meal.
The recipe has lardons. If you do not have lardons in the store, buy the thick bacon and cut into ¼ inch pieces. It is the same thing. You could use part lardons and part ham too.

  • 2 lbs (1 kg ) potatoes
  • 7 oz. (200 g) of lardons [note above on lardons]
  • 7 oz. (200 g)  chopped onions
  • 1/2 cup creme fraiche
  • 1 16 oz. (450 grams) Reblochon
  • Garlic
  • Salt
  • Pepper

  1.     Peel the potatoes, cut into cubes, rinse well, and dry in a clean cloth.
  2.      Heat oil in a pan, and sauté the onions 
  3.      Then add the potatoes
  4.      Brown all sides of potato cubes, add the bacon (lardons) and finish cooking.
  5.      Meanwhile, scrape the crust from the Reblochon and cut it in two , then    into slices.
  6.      Prepare a baking dish by rubbing the bottom and sides with garlic.
  7.      Preheat oven to 350 ° F (thermostat 6-7).
  8.      In the baking dish, put a layer of potatoes with bacon(lardons), and half of the Reblochon -layering like a lasagna.
  9.      Add the rest of the potatoes, and finish with the rest of the Reblochon (for the top crust) and bake for about 20 min ( monitor to prevent the cheese turning to grease). 
Since everything is warm, it just needs some time in the oven to melt the cheese.

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