Thursday, 5 January 2012

CATCHING UP !

Well, Christmas and New Year is now behind us, and thanks to the lack of internet connection, I am running well behind schedule! See the last post for the reasons! We now have yet another new modem, which, touch wood, has worked for two days running!

I was going to do a post after Christmas day, but due to technology, I have not had the necessary facilities.  We had a very quiet day on the 25th, with just the two of us, and Nigel was not feeling well, with a sore throat.   He did manage to get through Christmas lunch and after that he steadily went downhill. We started the day with almost a white Christmas, as we had quite a heavy frost.


Our Christmas lunch menu changed right at the last minute, as we found a supermarket duck on special offer! All menu plans that had been partially in my mind changed  decisively after this lucky acquisition.   We also managed to find some reasonably priced smoked salmon, so that was starters organised. 
You can barely see the small slices of circular bread under the salmon, but this bread is specially made for the purpose, and has a lovely lemon flavour to it.  We only discovered this bread in the supermarket recently when I was looking for snacks for friends coming for a drink.  It was a great find.

I forgot to take a photo before I started slicing, so you are now viewing part two!!  The duck was not quite as pink as I would have liked, but it did taste delicious.  I served it with roast potatoes, the latter from our summer garden, and beans that I had bottled - also from the garden. There was an amazing amount of meat on quite a small duck; we had two cooked meals each and then two final portions cold for lunch.  The carcass went in the pot with some vegetables and we thoroughly enjoyed the resulting soup.

We followed this with cheese, which the camera did not capture, and then Christmas pudding with rum sauce. 
This was accompanied by Roche Mazet Syrah.  A favourite of ours, it is a good value Rosé  wine from South West France

The Christmas cake I made remained unsampled for several days, as Nigel was quite simply not very hungry. He's making up for it now!

On Boxing Day morning we had been invited to drinks, and Nigel decided that if he stoked himself up with medicine, he just may make it.  It was a gorgeous day, blue sky and the sun shining down.  The car was reading temperatures of 10ºC (approx 48F).  I could not believe this was Christmas; it was a very abnormal weather pattern. Hopefully this was not to be the lull before the storm!!

A few photos I took while driving through the wooded lanes to our friends.
I have never noticed this painting on the barn wall before and it is a road that I use quite often. I suspect it may be quite new.
On guard !
and what the dog is guarding.
Just a view of the road and countryside with a blue sky.
A few stone houses seen en route.
I do not think I have ever seen a horse's mane quite this long. These horses also appeared to be enjoying the weather.
and last but not least, a wintry sunset on Boxing day at home.

72 comments:

  1. Love the horses!!! It sounds like you had the world's greatest duck... amazing getting all that out of the little bird! I just love duck. Thanks for the lovely pics of a wintery France... what a gorgeous place!

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  2. I do hope Nigel is feeling better. Your Christmas lunch sounds delicious and the photos of the drive are wonderful. I hope the new year brings only good things your way. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

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  3. Great to see you back on line. Hope hubby is better now, so many seem to have been poorly over Christmas and New Year. That duck looks delicious.

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  4. Good to have you back Diane - happy New Year!

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  5. lostpastremembered, I have never had such a meaty duck, it just seemed to go on and on!! Thanks for the good wishes, I hope you have a wonderful 2012. Diane

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  6. Mary, good wishes to you also for 2012. Glad that you enjoyed the photos. Diane

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  7. Thanks Karen. Nigel is improving slowly...... Two of us coughing around the house now!! It was a really great duck. My Mum used to milk feed ducklings for the table and it was pretty much on a par with hers. Diane

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  8. Cuisine de Provence, thanks so much. I wish you all the very best for 2012. It is good to be back on line again! Diane

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  9. Good to hear from you Diane, sorry to hear that caughing is still going around. 2012 will be much better for all of us. Take care

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  10. Welcome bach to cyberspace Diane ... :)

    Omygosh ... I'm sitting here with an empty stomach which has suddenly started grumbling at the sight of your Christmas feast ... I'd walk a hundred miles for that smoked salmon ... my favourite started.

    Thanks for the pics and here's wishing you happy hassle-less blogging in 2012

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  11. What a lovely Christmas meal you had! I am sorry to hear your husband wasn't feeling well.

    The horses mane is so long!!!

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  12. I missed the family tradition of duck for Christmas. Haven't been able to find any in the stores. Looks so yummy and especially with the smoked salmon appetizer. Hope Nigel is feeling better.

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  13. My deerest friend Diane
    I wish you, a Happy New Year full of good health, joy, happiness and realization of your dreams!
    You're very good cook and you make nice pictures!!!!
    I wish you, your husband to become good and better YOU from cough.
    Many greetings and kisses

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  14. Hope Nigel is now fighting fit. It is good to see you back online! All good things for 2012.

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  15. The meal looks delicious Diane!

    Hope you are both feeling better.

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  16. Welcome back! Your Christmas dinner was wonderful, and quite festive! Looking forward to recipes.

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  17. Marco Pasha with us both coughing at the moment it is quite noisy here!! Nigel is improving I stay much the same!!! Take care Diane

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  18. Graham if you really want to make your stomach rumble take a look at http://www.hebrideansmokehouse.com/ they do the best smoked salmon in the world (or I think so!). The problem is the price!! Diane

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  19. Pam that mane us unbelievable!! Nigel is definitely improving but it has been quite slow! Diane

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  20. Gaelyn, we really enjoyed having duck this year. In S.Africa, and also in the UK, we switched to a whole salmon, but that was also unavailable here and for two......
    Nigel is improving thankfully. Diane

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  21. Magda it is great to be back on line, it could not have happened at a worse time with Christmas and New Year. Nigel is quite a bit better I am much the same!! Have a great 2012. Take care Diane xx

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  22. Niall and Antoinette, it is good to be back on line finally. Nigel is on the up again at last. Keep well, don't get washed away with all this rain :) Diane

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  23. Thanks Gaynor. Nigel is improving, I stay much the same. This cough is getting boring now!! Thanks for the email card. Take care Diane

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  24. Thanks Rosaria, it is good to be back. I wonder how I survived without a computer!!! Diane

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  25. Hi Diane, nice to see you back. Hope you are keeping better now.
    Looks like you had a lovely Christmas dinner. And the scenery is lovely. Hope your husband is fully recovered now.

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  26. Happy New Year - Did you and Nigel stay awake for midnight? I'm afraid we didn't.
    Good to see you back online for many more interesting posts for 2012.

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  27. Diane, I'm happy to see you back and I hope Nigel is doing well. I know exactly what you mean with the weather. It's in the low 50's here which is far from the norm so I too am wondering what the rest of winter will bring.

    I love the your photos, esp. the 5th one. Love scenes like that where you wonder what is beyond. And your food looks delicious! I've never had Christmas pudding, wonder what it tastes like and would love to try it.

    Here's wishing you and Nigel the best of 2012---good health, happiness and a prosperous year, my friend!

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  28. Hi Diane, Happy new year to you and wishing you all the best in 2012.
    Thanks for sharing the beautiful pictures and all the food looks so appetizing.
    Have a nice day.
    regards
    Amelia from Malaysia

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  29. Your photos, as usual, are stunning. I've never cooked duck and am quite impressed that you cooked a whole one and then made soup with the remains. Happy New Year to both you and Nigel!

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  30. Love the photos, we had home reared pork, goose and some lamb from up the road for Christmas day - we weren't just hungry we had eleven for dinner. Must be mad. Hope Nigel is on the mend xx

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  31. Ellie Nigel is a lot better but not 100% yet. I am so glad to be back on line!! Take care Diane

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  32. Leon and Sue, no we did not stay up for New Year. Nigel was not well and went to bed early. There was a programme on TV that I wanted to watch, so I was a bit later. I had thought about watching new year on English TV, but then I realised That French and English would not be the same so I gave up that idea and went to bed as well :)) Diane

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  33. Thanks Pam and we wish you both all the very best for 2012 as well.

    I am surprised that you have not tasted Christmas pudding, what do you have for pudding at Christmas?

    We had a lovely day but it was sad that Nigel was not feeling well.
    Wishing you all the best Diane

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  34. Thanks Amelia, wishing you a happy 2012 as well. Keep well Diane

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  35. Judy we love duck, but generally they are out of our price range so this was a nice surprise for us. I make soup out of everything during winter :) It is perfect for lunch on a chilly day and if I make enough it saves me cooking for a few days for lunch. Diane

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  36. Roz are you bringing up geese again next year? I will buy one for you to keep with yours and give you some food :)) Goose is just the best. Glad you had a good day but it is hard work unless you had some help. Take care Diane

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  37. Bonne année à vous Diane, votre épaoux Nigel et votre famille. Je suis contente que tout sois réparé avec vore nouveau modem.

    Profitez bien de cet hiver encore très doux, avec le ciel bleu, les promenades sont très agréables!

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  38. Happy New Year!
    I just love the first photo!!

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  39. Merci Lucie. Bonne année à vous et votre famille aussi. J'aime beaucoup les beaux jours et j'en profite. Bon week-end. Diane

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  40. Thanks Crazy Tourists, All the best for 2012. Keep well Diane

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  41. Very delicious looking Christmas dinner. I hope Nigel is feeling better. Happy New Year!!

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  42. Welcome back, Diane! It looks like you had a wonderful Christmas dinner, and a lovely drive around the countryside. That is indeed some mane which that horse is sporting. Happy New Year.

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  43. I hope Nigel is feeling better. Your Christmas dinner sounds delicious. Beautiful drive to your friends house.

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  44. Welcome back Diane.

    Let's hope that 2012 is a healthy year for both of you,

    SP

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  45. i hope with your modem, your computer doesnt give you anymore problems.a fabulous meal you have there, hope nigel is all well by now. just wondering is it very cold over there now?

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  46. Words Of Deliciousness. Thanks for the comment and the good wishes. Happy New year to you as well. Diane

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  47. Margie, the meal was good but the health was a bit down hill!! Yes that mane is incredible. Diane

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  48. Christine's Pantry, thanks for the comment, Nigel is improving but he is still not 100% !! Diane

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  49. Thanks SP it is good to be back. I also hope that 2012 is a healthy year. Nigel can get onto the French Health system but I can't!! They will only give me a form when Nigel gets his state pension in November and I should then get a percentage of his pension. I never worked in the UK so this is the problem. All very complicated :( Diane

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  50. Lena the modem is wonderful but my laptop still does not connect. It is a problem with something missing from the laptop, despite downloading the missing problem it still does not work. Thanksgoodness for my old laptop despite it being very slow!

    The weather here is still very mild though we are getting a lot of rain. Take care Diane

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  51. I hope Nigel is feeling better. I'm not that well myself these days, we went out for Christmas to friends whom we hadn't seen for over 15 years, and then spent New Year's Eve at other's friends house, these also we had not seen in many years. But I don't like to out a lot, especially at night, I get too tired, I didn't even do it when I was young. Now in fact I am paying the consequences, I have a cough that won't go away. I had a tummy ache and fever. We're going to have Siberian wind here in Italy from tomorrow so another excuse to stay home, who wants to go out in that cold? Those pictures of food made me hungry, the salmon looks so tempting. Happy New Year Diance!

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  52. I have pored over your photos (the one on your header is so atmospheric and beautiful); you know how much I love your photos/posts on France. Fascinating. And the painting on the barn, I would want to jump out of the car and have a closer look.

    Your Christmas dinner sounds like it was fab, and so much your own produce. I like that :) X
    ps so glad you are back online, you were missed.

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  53. Dolly thanks so much for your kind comments. That header photo is I think one of the top five I have ever taken. A case of the right place at the right time :) I am sure that barn painting is new. I am certain I would not have missed it previously, or maybe there was an old faded one there before that was not obvious.
    I am also glad to be back on line but there is now so much catching up to do :(
    Keep well and take care. Hope the move went/goes well. Diane

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  54. Love the new header picture !
    and the horses
    bon dimanche

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  55. Rush-rush-rush!
    Sorry I'm late!
    Lovely slice of life you offer here in this beginning of winter!
    What a great meal you had!
    It was very sober here...
    Never mind, I chase the birds around since they don't come easily to the feeders, the weather being so mild! LOL!
    Love Diane!

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  56. Francesca I hope that you are feeling better. Nigel is still not 100% and I am still coughing. No I also can not take late nights. As I had a job in racing stables that started at 04h30 when I was much younger, I also could not handle late nights even then. Take care and get better soon Diane

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  57. Thanks anni. Hope that all is well with you. Diane

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  58. Noushka, I am late with everything at the moment! Nearly two weeks with no internet connection has left me with so much to catch up with :(( I will get there, but I know the feeling. Diane x

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  59. It is so great having you back Diane, I think you can see from the comments how much you've been missed. Glad to pick up from the comments you made that Nigel is feeling better. A lovely post. x

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  60. Thanks Froggy, it is good to be back. I feel very lost without my internet connection. As I also use it as my phone it made it even worse!! I have the mobile but it is so expensive :((
    Hope all is well with you. Diane x

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  61. I love your header photograph; really beautiful. Your Christmas dinner looked very tasty, especially the duck which I love. I loved also seeing your pictures of your community as you traveled about on Boxing Day. I hope you have a Happy New Year.

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  62. Happy belated holidays to you! technology can be a love it and hate it relationship. Glad to know that your internet is up and running.

    The duck, salmon...all of it looks wonderful. really like the idea of the lemon flavored bread rounds...very cool.

    Cheers.
    Velva

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  63. chcmichel thanks for your kind comments, I have to say the duck was quite delicious. Wishing you all the best. Diane

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  64. Velva you are right, technology is great when it works!!! Those lemon flavoured bread rounds work fantastically with fish. I was impressed. Take care Diane

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  65. glad to see you back dear..
    happy new year to you & yours..
    excellent cliks..;)
    Tasty Appetite

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  66. Sorry to hear that Nigel was poorly for Christmas - but I hope you are better yourself now.
    Your Christmas meal looks lovely. We had a large chicken because my father is not keen on turkey - and we took the leftovers to France to enjoy as the week went by...!!
    Happy New Year (sorry it's a bit late.....been catching up too.) Jean xx

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  67. Jay I am glad to be back, I just what I did in the days before computers!!! I use mine for contact in every way including the telephone. Hope that 2012 is a good one for you. Diane

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  68. Jean thanks for the good wishes, I hope that we all have a good 2012.
    Nigel is feeling better but not right yet. My cough seems to be coming back over the last couple of days!! Take care Diane

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  69. Hope everyone is feeling much better..Nice way to start the New Year..Wonderful meal you had..we had Ham..the girls came every other day, till New Years Eve..the oldest daughter/fam. spent it with us..was fun..We never make 12..but they are use to us. Wishing you all the best for 2012..xoCarolyn

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  70. Hi Diane .. Christmas sounds delicious - especially that lemon bread .. good idea - especially with smoked salmon.

    Have a very happy year ahead .. cheers Hilary

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  71. Hilary I was really impressed with he lemon bread, it goes so well with the smoked salmon. Hope you have a good year also. Diane

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  72. Thanks Carolyn we are looking forward to 2012 and retirement. Just have to get the few health problems sorted out! Diane

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