Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Mushrooms and Walnuts

Autumn is traditionally the time when the mushroom pickers are out in force, and every year there are the inevitable 'accidents'. In fact our neighbours were caught out recently. They were taking a little 'promenade' through the village, when they spied some lovely specimens and duly took them home and had them for dinner. Unfortunately, they were not the sort you should eat, and they were both taken to hospital where they spent 3 uncomfortable days. So, the Salon de Champignons et Noix could not have come at a more opportune time!
I was asked if I would make some cakes to sell, so I scoured my recipe books and the internet and found a few recipes, and set to. I made some coffee & walnut slices which always seem to go down well whenever I make them, some walnut fairy cakes (or papillon cakes as the French called them), some biscuits and a cherry and walnut cake.

One room was given over to mushrooms and it seemed every mushroom in the vicinity had been picked, identified and displayed for everyone to see by the local mushroom pickers organisation (yes, there is a club for enthusiasts!). There were cards explaining what each variety was, and whether or not it was 'Edible'; 'Leave in the ground' ; 'Toxic'; or 'Mortal' The one eaten by our neighbours was labelled 'toxic'!

Just a few mushrooms on display

Guy ate one of these!

They organised a mushroom picking randonee on Sunday morning, and lots of people came back clutching baskets full of nature's bounty.
The event was well attended, and most of my cakes sold, but I'm not sure they knew what to make of Cuisine Anglais!
As for the mushrooms - well, I think I'll stick to Champignons de Paris from the local shop!

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Autumn jobs

You may remember a photo on our blog a couple of weeks ago which showed John and Dominic (our neighbour) being supervised by Poppy as they prepared the drive between our houses. Well, the calcaire (limestone) was delivered last Friday, so John & I set to - with Poppy supervising, naturally - and started spreading it, as the weather was fine and rain was forecast for the Saturday. I discovered muscles I didn't know I had, or thought I had lost! 

The lorry left us 10 cubic metres, but when it was dropped, it didn't look much!

However, once we started moving and raking it we realised there would be enough. 
On Saturday morning, John and Dom finished off and then tamped it down with another neighbour's machine. Doesn't it look good?

We've also seen a great improvement in the grass on the field. It's still a bit patchy, but by next spring it should be fine. Daniel, the neighbour who helped to prepare it, even suggested it might need a cut before we leave. However, it's been a bit wet lately, so I think we'll leave it.

Finally, the leaves are starting to fall in abundance from the 2 plane trees in the garden, and I seem to spend a lot of time raking them up. Guess who likes to go diving in to the pile? Not John or I, but Poppy chases her ball in there. I've got a video of her, but for some reason it wouldn't upload. I'll try later...