It's been a strange summer here in the Vendée. We, apparently, had a late frost. I say 'apparently' because it was nothing we noticed: no frost on the car; no white grass; nothing.
It's strange because we rarely have frost anytime, let alone in late spring.
I first noticed there was a problem when my wisteria stopped, mid-bloom, and all the potential flowers turned brown and died.
I now can see the full result of that one-off night: We have no fruit.
Not just us, but no one in the area has any fruit.
Normally, this time of year, I'm up to my elbows in plums: eating; making jams, preserves, clafoutis.
No peaches or pears either.
We had no cherries and we will have no walnuts or hazelnuts.
We have a few table grapes and about 1 out 3 of our wine vines have berries.
We'll have about 5 apples... out of 6 trees.
It's as if the land is just kicking us off, telling us to leave.
We're no longer wanted; we will no longer be fed.
Time to move on....
On the other hand.... We have Bat Babies!
Mon mari was telling me that there were babies living above a beam in his workshop. He could hear them rustling around during the evening, when batmom and batdad were out for their constitutional.
Naturally, I had to see for myself.
I thought I was going to be seeing little, tiny baby bats all cutely tucked up under the beam.
Instead I saw about 8 bat babies madly flying around the shop.
They must have been practicing for their first foray into the countryside.
I was tempted to open the door and let them out... But, who am I to interfere with BatParent Instructions?
If 'les parents' had wanted them to leave, I assume they would have showed them how.
We left the Bat Babies merrily swooping and diving around the table saw and drill press.
They ARE fast!
We've had a lot of animal sightings recently. In the las few weeks I've spotted lots and lots of baby bunnies (as has Sedi, the Bunny Slayer, but I've managed to keep her under control), as well as a mother fox and her kits.
And mon mari saw a red squirrel! The only squirrel either of us has seen anywhere in Europe, ever!
So, we have animals... Good thing they don't eat fruit
And I'm not sharing my pasta!
One has to draw the line someplace, after all!
I recently discovered that couscous does not have to have the taste and texture of sawdust.
Combine that with the fact that it takes just minutes to prepare and it's the perfect summer food.
Presto Pasta Nights is back with the founder, Ruth, of Once Upon A Feast this week. But next week, it's going to be right here...Chez Moi, (with the bat babies).
Couscous, Spinach and Green Bean Salad for two
1/2 cup couscous
3/4 cup chicken broth
4oz (120gr) green beans
1 stalk (rib) celery
2 tbs snipped chives
2oz (60gr) shredded fresh spinach
2 tbs white Balsamic vinegar
3 tbs olive oil - good stuff
1 1/2 tsp Dijon-style mustard
Top and tail beans and cut into bite-size pieces. Put a medium saucepan 2/3rd's full of water on high heat. When boiling add beans and blanch for 3 minutes. Drain and immediately rinse with cold water. Heat chicken broth to a boil. Put couscous in a medium bowl. When broth is boiling pour over couscous, cover and let stand for 10 minutes...Do not stir it. Meanwhile, slice celery, snip chives, roughly chop tomato and shred spinach: put the spinach leaves together in one hand and snip with a scissors. Add vegetables and herbs to couscous and fluff with a fork. Put the vinegar, mustard and oil in a small bowl. Whisk well and stir into couscous. Serve.
Visit Once Upon A Feast on Friday for this week's round-up and next week sent your entries to me: thyme2.kate at gmail dot com