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Saturday, 30 August 2014

Leaving the Farm and arriving in the City

A card from my sister who knows I'm a little nervous about the next chapter! :)
As I type, I can no longer claim to be ‘pretending to farm’ as I’m just off out to shop for a nice coat to see me through the winter in Switzerland where I shall be shunning my wellies (photo below) in favour of my Louboutins (the ones I just received from my sister for my birthday - photo also below!) and instead of discovering the wines of Bergerac and Pecharmant I shall be discovering the wines of Switzerland.   I should note that we’ve already discovered some fabulous Pinot Noirs…..I think we’ll do well here!

Before packing up the farm, we invited 4 friends from the hamlet round for aperitifs.  We had a lovely evening and upon arrival, one couple presented us with a bottle of champagne to wish us well and another couple who make and can their own pates, presented us with 4 cans of home made pate – one each of wild boar, pork, duck and deer – we are very much looking forward to sharing them with new found friends in Switzerland!

We drove to our new home and I am so pleased we decided to do that because it meant we got to bring some of the bounty from the garden with us and on our first night we enjoyed a beautiful recipe for ‘Vegetable Tian’ that a friend shared with me recently and it so perfectly uses so much of what we have in the garden right now, tomatoes, aubergines, courgettes, onions & garlic – I’ve posted it below if interested in a really tasty vegetarian meal or if simply trying to deal with a glut of vegetables from your garden!

Vegetable Tian 
Olive oil
1 x Onion, chopped
2 x Garlic cloves, crushed/chopped
8 x Large Tomatoes
Chick Peas (I used a can, drained & rinsed)
1 x Aubergine, sliced
1 x Courgette, sliced
Parmesan, grated
Salt & pepper

Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil.
Add 6 of the tomatoes, chopped (preferably peeled but not essential – for easy peeling – pour boiling water over them for 60 seconds – remove and peel)
Preheat oven to 180/350 degrees
Reduce the tomato sauce and then stir in the chick peas and add salt and pepper
If not using an ovenproof dish, pour the mixture into an oven proof casserole dish and alternate slices of tomato, aubergine and courgette in a layer over the top, sprinkle a little more salt and pepper over the slices and cook covered in the oven for 30 minues – remove the cover and add the parmesan – turn up the heat a little and continue cooking for another 20 minutes until the cheese is golden and the vegetables are fully cooked

Serve with fresh bread – bon apetit!
I also added extra aubergine and courgette to the tomato sauce – this isn’t necessary but I have a lot of aubergines and courgettes to get through – it was still delicious!

For the ‘aperitifs’ with the neighbours, I prepared a rose wine cocktail which actually went down surprisingly well – I’m always nervous about introducing new things to our neighbours so although very surprised (and we did have pastis on standby just in case) I was pleased that 2 healthy sized jugs of this rose wine cocktail were consumed during the aperitif hour (which actually lasted for 3!) – the reason I wanted to make a rose wine cocktail is because I read my ‘vin de noix’ recipe wrongly and bought 5 litres of rose wine when I should have bought 5 litres of red wine so I rectified my mistake to make the ‘vin de noix’ which left me with 5 litres of rose wine to do something with – if any of you have a glut of cheap rose I can highly recommend this as a tasty pre dinner drink…

Rose Sangria
3 litres Rose wine
Strawberries, quartered
2 peaches, peeled and chopped
1 bottle sparkling wine

Prepare the base a day ahead or at least the morning of by pouring the rose wine into a large jug (or a couple of large jugs) and add the fruit and leave so that the fruit will flavor the wine.
Just before serving add the bottle of sparkling wine – mix lightly and serve
A votre Sante!

With that I shall say ‘a bientot’ and hope that in the not too distant future I can share some fabulous food and wine tips from ‘La Belle Geneve’!

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