Why do we do raclette every year? Well, besides it being a very good winter dish, there is also no actual cooking involved. (besides cooking the potatos, which I can actually manage).
So this year we invited most of our friends here in Provence one couple couldn't come because the woman was about 39 weeks pregnant (and has since had her baby), another couple was out of town. I was pretty tired as I had spent the entire week working hard with a visiting US engineer but Alain and I managed to get the apartment cleaned and the groceries bought in record time. It was also a good occasion to use various wedding gifts that don't get used as much as they should.
The raclette should be eaten with a salad and white wine is supposed to be served. For dessert we had ice cream and a coconut pie that Veronica, a lovely Argentinian, brought. Her husband, Sebastian (Argentinian as well), works with me.
It was a very nice night.
The night wen
Before reading any further, you MUST click on this link, and watch the small video towards the bottom.
Okay, done watching? Honestly, who gets paid to make up this stuff, because I want that job!
Okay boss, here's my idea- there are two teams of three people each. You stand them on a platform above water, and you move them rapidly towards a wall, which has cutout shapes of humans. They have to match their body to the shape in the wall as they pass through. If they break the wall or fall off into the water, they lose the round. Then, to make it more complicated, you have them do it in two, threes, backwards, jumping, etc.
Sure to be a hit!
While my parents were here, one of the main things that we focused on was fixing up our kitchen. The first order of the day was removing the big ugly metal and glass hood over the stove area. No idea why it was there, but it seems that older kitchens from apartments built in the 50's have these. It doesn't actually serve any purpose, as there is no vent or opening at the top. Well, it does get greasy I suppose. Anyway, Alain and dad spent a good day or two removing this thing. First they had to remove the glass, which they had to break to get out (shards of glass flying everywhere). Then, the metal frame was not screwed to the wall but actually coming out of the wall, so they had to cut it out of the wall. Then the wall had to be patched up.
We then spent the afternoon painting the walls and ceiling white. The next day, mom and I assembled the cabinets and the guys put them up. We got the left side finished on Sunday, but still had to do the area over the sink, which mom and dad finished up on Monday. We still need to redo the electricity (add more plugs and lights), and place the new sink, dishwasher, and countertop (which needs to be cut to the correct dimensions) in place.
(there was a sign for Men, Women, and Dogs)
After that, we visited a museum about life in the Camargue (there is a lot of ranching in that area), then stopped for lunch at a small place on the side of the road. The highlight of lunch was definitely the woman who decided to change her baby's diaper on the table (which was definitely full) in the middle of the room. Ugh. I am surprised nobody said anything to her. Thanks for ruining my meal lady! I have seen this happen in France before though.
After lunch, we drove back through the Camargue, which by the way is a large marshy area that has been turned into a national park. We stopped in a town that produces salt (from the evaporation of sea water) and took a picture of the huge salt mountain.Finally, on the way back, we stopped at Carry-le-Rouet, a ritz town on the coast with a view of Marseille and some nice walks along the sea. We walked a bit, then had refreshments, and drove back to Marseille. Quite an adventurous day.
Apparently, we were unable to confirm our seats for the flights by phone and they wanted to get to the airport as soon as possible. So we gathered up our things, checked out, and took a taxi to the airport. (About 80 euros)
Once we arrived at the airport, the check-in desk was still closed. We walked down to the airline office, which was open, and confirmed our seats. We were speaking in French to each other when the Korean says in French "Oh, you are French?" and starts talking with us in French. Apparently he had studied in Paris for a few years. Just goes to show you, you never know when someone might understand what you are saying.
Once we finally went through security, we had about four hours of wait, due to mechanical troubles with the airplane. The Incheon Airport is full of designer shops, which rather just depress me after awhile. What is the point of looking if I can't even begin to think about buying something?
Anyway, I found some nice green pottery souveneirs so I bought them. Some were containers for their strong alcohol. The vendors warned me that I wouldn't be able to bring them through security, but since we were taking a connecting flight from Amsterdam, I figured it would be okay. The hours passed slowly, and we got ready to board the airplane at 3:30 when they made the announcement that in fact, it would be another three hours because of mechanical problems. This meant that we were going to miss our connecting flight and be stuck in Amsterdam. Sigh. I called Alain to tell him that I would not be coming home today. Finally we boarded the plane after a ggod 8 hours in the airport, and it took off around 7 pm. Besides one annoying (approximately) 10 year old seated in front of me, the flight was pretty uneventful. We arrived in Amsterdam around 10 pm. They would not give us our luggage, so I was unable to pack my liquor bottles in my checked baggage. The lady from KLM said that it should be okay to go back through security with them if they were still in the sealed Duty-Free bags. We took the shuttle over to the hotel (decidedly less-nice than all the others we had stayed at) and went to bed around 11:30.
On Sunday we went to visit with Alain's family, to celebrate Pepe's birthday last week. Today, All Saint's Day, I have off from work, and I took tomorrow off as well. We are going to go visit different places in this area, such as perhaps the Camargue, Aigues Mortes, etc.
A year ago yesterday, we bought our apartment. It is finally starting to resemble something livable. But if I had known what I was in for (such as months of sponge baths in winter) I might have thought twice about it.
Happy All Saint's Day!
I have an alarm clock that is at least 15 years old. It is a Spanish Speaking alarm clock- you push a button on the top and it tells the time in Spanish. We got it as a gift when we were living in Ecuador. I am suprised it has lasted this long, considering the number of times it has been banged around in luggage, falled off the nightstand, etc. I wish I could find a French speaking one. I may have forgotten all of my spanish (besides Hola, que tal? Commo estas?) but if anyone should ever ask me what time it is in Spanish, I will happily chirp "Beep. Las cinco et cinquenta uno de la tarde".
In France there is an expression "parler Français comme une vache Espagnole" (to speak French like a spanish cow). No idea why they decided to use Spanish and cow, but that's how it goes. Sometimes they use it in a self-deprecating way, sometimes they turn it around and say "I speak Spanish like a french cow". Someone said this to me a few months ago- You speak French like a Spanish cow. I was too hurt and insulted at the time to think of a good comeback, but next time it happens I have one already ready "Well, you speak English like a French pig". So there.
Now two more days of work, then I am taking Wednesday off to run various errands before my parents arrive Wednesday evening. Have a great week!
I went to his office a few weeks ago after work. He gave me a week's treatment of eye drops against some sort of infection and told me to come back in two weeks.
Yesterday I returned, though to his other office this time. No idea why he has two separate offices. My appointment was at 5:45. I left work on the dot of 5, then cursed traffic the whole way back to Marseille, whereupon I took the metro and then sprinted to his office. Sure glad I bothered since I didn't see him until 7. This time, they dilated my eyes so that no blue was showing, then proceeded with this horrid glass that is put DIRECTLY on the eyeball. What is worse, you have to press your eyeball against this glass. Yes, I do love pressure on my eyeball, thank you. Finally it was done and I was weeping yellow tears (from some solution they put in my eyes). They gave me some contacts and told me to return in two weeks. Sigh. Seriously starting to consider laser surgery now. I will talk to him next appointment about that. Oh yeah, it is now 2 pm the following day, and my pupils have not yet returned to normal.
Read my previous entry about the optho's here.
The suggested way of eating this cheese (from the wrapper):
A Delicious Main Course
Step 1: Remove the plastic film and wooden plate it is placed on. (Have to make sure everyone understands that).
Step 2: Make a 3 cm hole in the center of the cheese. (Notice how they are precise about the size, but don't specify how deep this hole should be).
Step 3: Fill with white wine. (What, no suggest year and vineyard? This is France after all, and two of the things they take the most seriously: wine and cheese.)
Step 4: Place in a small poêlon.
Step 5: Cook 20 min in a warm oven 180 degrees C.
Step 6: Serve with hot potatos, vegetables, and sausages.
Sounds yummy to me.
We had lunch, then headed back down to where we had had an appertif and the men played boules while the women walked to a nearby "vide grenier" (literally attic empty, like a yard sale). We rejoined the men around 4, and headed back to Pelissane. I was starting to feel quite sore, so I rode in the car, only to discover that that was worse. Had to hold on for dear life, and the wind was incredible. Unable to talk and had to cover up the face and head so that it doesn't get blown off. I was glad when the day was over.
He managed to use up all the tile (sure glad I bought 2 meters squared instead of 1 m2 like I had measured), except there is one small square that is missing at the top left (not in the picture), so I have to go get one more square tomorrow. He had a piece of leftover tile that would work, but it would be cut on both sides, instead of cut on just one side. Unperfectionist me would have just put it and not cared, but he wants it done perfectly. He also managed to put all the white caulk as well.
Hopefully tomorrow the toilet will be functional. McDo two days in a row is enough. Not sure when we are going to get around to painting.
I think it must be an excellent selling strategy. A client puts a downpayment for half of the work. You go out and buy all of the materials, thereby ensuring that they will then commit to having you do all of the work. Then you just fix a date, without waiting for them to dillydally around and change their mind.
So Alain and I had to decide and quick. We picked the lightest of the blues, and so I went and bought a box of tiles (about 2 meters squared) for 20 euros, then went over to the paint section. When I had looked on Wednesday, I had seen that there were some 2.5 liter pots approximately the same color, for about 45 euros each. Since we had calculated that we would need 8 pots, it was going to be expensive. I asked the guy in charge of the paint section, just to get his advice. Turns out, it was cheaper to have them mix the exact color and type of paint I wanted (double layers, able to be sprayed by paint spray gun, matte) than it would be to buy the pre-mixed. I thought the custom color would be much more expensive, but no. I was able to get two pots of 10 L for about 50€ each. What a deal! Came home and Alain lugged it into apartment. Ready for Day 2.
Also, if anyone has added me to your blog links, but I haven't added you to mine, please let me know and I will add you to the link of blogs on the right. I enjoy discovering new bloggers, whatever your nationality and wherever you are.
Thanks. Never fear, back to toilet humor tomorrow.
It is safe for those who are lactose intolerant."
(for the cheese itself: rating of 2 cheeses)
Preparation: 15 minutes (which in my experience of French recipes, should most likely be doubled by at least two)
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Let sit: 5 minutes
4 crottins de chèvre type Chavignol
3 Granny apples
1 Preheat the oven at 200°C. Peel the apples, remove the core and seeds (whew! sure glad they spelled that one out for me!). Cut them into fine slices.
2 Cover the bottom and sides of four small bowls with the apple slices.
3 Place one grated? basil leaf on the bottom of each bowl.
4 Place one entire dung in each bowl. Cover with the rest of the apple slices and cook for 15 minutes.
5 Wait several minutes before removing them from the molds. Place 3 small basil leaves on top of each.
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