Preserved Tomatoes.

A couple of weeks ago we were given tomatoes by two of our friends who grow their own fruit and vegetables. Tomatoes straight from the vine smell and taste so good. So for a Winter treat I thought that I would try preserve tomatoes. Having never preserved tomatoes before I was a little apprehensive, but I can honestly say that it was quick, easy, no problem at all. So if you grow you own tomatoes or get then fresh from a farmers market buy 2kg and try it out. The taste is fabulous, much better than tinned tomatoes.

Makes 6 Jars

Time: 45 minutes, plus sterilising and cooling.

You will need:- 6 clean glass jars with lids and about 2kg of ripe tomatoes. Plus a little drizzle of olive oil.

1. Wash the tomatoes, then remove the stalks. Depending on the size of the jars, either halve or quarter the tomatoes.

2. Then start to fill the jars, intermittently adding a leaf of fresh basil. Pressing the tomatoes down with the back of a wooden spoon so that they are tightly packed.

The bulk of the preserved tomatoes were made using the above method but I also made a few the jars with slices of fresh chilli for Paul.

3. Now, make extra sure that the jars are full and packed tightly so that there are no air gaps, add a drizzle of olive oil on top. Then seal each jar tightly.

4. Submerge each jar in a large pan of gently boiling water. Then boil for about thirty minutes. To slightly cook the tomatoes and sterilise the jars.

5. Turn the heat off and leave to cool overnight in the pan of water.

These should keep for about three or four months in a cool, dark place. Once opened, keep them in the fridge and use within a week.

Trust me once you have tasted the tomatoes, they will not last for very long.

The taste of Summer for the Winter months, if you can store them that long.

They can be used in sauces, stew, casserole, chilli, pasta dishes etc.
 
 

Events:-

Organ Concert in Sarlat on the 1st September at 11am.

Flea Market in Vitrac 16th September.

15th and 16th September at Castlenaud, Tournament of Medieval Fencing.
 
 

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What? No men in high heels!

Le Fête de la Saint-Louis is a Fantastic Carnival weekend held at the end of August each year in Daglan. It transforms the the usually quiet village of Daglan into a four day Festival. The highlight of which is always the parade on a Sunday afternoon. The costumes and floats are amazing.

I must tell you a little story of what happened a few years ago when the theme of the parade was Carnival. The Familia decided to make the most fantastic float with men and ladies costumes for which they needed high heel shoes but found they were rather expensive in France. So one of the family members was sent over to England to buy the shoes. Once inside the store the person had to try on the shoes! Which was funny to the bemused crowd of onlookers and a little embarrassing for the person and for the store assistant who insisted “they suit you sir”. Having posted the shoes to Daglan he was informed that more shoes were needed. This time he went to the store just before closing time to avoid onlookers. All well and good until his return flight when he had to explain to a customs officer about the contents of his luggage.

No high heels needed this year, the theme was Video Games.

Los Amigos lead the parade through the streets of Daglan.
 

Look I am so strong I can stop the parade with one littler finger.
 

The best floats of the parade were Street Fighterand The Ninja Turtles of the Daglan Mairie.
 

Looking awesome.
 

Super Mario.
 

Impromptu concert in the street.
 

Magnificent guys but you do need to sort out your bra.
 

Cheers Richard and Rosemary enjoying a drink at la Cantine after the parade yesterday.
 

 

Event:- this evening at nine o’clock the village is holding a Bal Musette with music by Los Amigos, entrance is free.
 
 

I Need a White Knight Upon a Mighty Steed!

The beautiful hilltop village of Belves turned back the calender yesterday and presented their Fête Médiévale and it was amazing. Shop owners wore Medieval costumes, musical entertainment in the streets, craft exhibitions, demonstrations of medieval combat, and the incredible mystical woodland sprites. All contributed in making Sunday an incredibly enjoyable day for us and the hundreds of other people that flocked to Belves.

I found my white knight all I need now is a mighty steed!
 

Stunning costume by the Desmodium players.

While the males were mischievous, the female had a pocket full of happiness that she would sprinkle onto the crowds.

The male sprite on the right is teasing people looking out of their window.

 
All of the performance was completed on stilts, up hill and down, they danced around the streets of Belves.

I could have watched them all day, magnificent.
 

The Medieval combat display with sword, knife, axe, spear and club.
Everyone from children to adults were shouting for their favourite to win.

Wow, brilliant combat in extreme heat nearly 40C. It gave you a taste of how brutal Medieval life was.
 

Soukha, music and dance with jugglers and aerial acrobat.
 

Love the detail of the Medieval peasant costume.
 
 

Event:- Daglan Fête this coming weekend.
Not too be missed is the parade on Sunday afternoon and the fireworks in the evening.

 
 

Bonnie and Clyde.

A conglomeration of activities at St Cybranet last Sunday from vintage cars, motorcycles and bikes, tractors and agricultural machinery, antiques and brocante to local photographs and the history of bread! Plus not forgetting food and wine.

First this gorgeous photograph of a man and his dog, it is so full of character and love for each other.
 

Bonnie
 

and Clyde.

My goodness don’t they look like the couple. “Reach for the sky”, sweet Bonnie would shout as Clyde put money into their bag.
 

The history of bread making,

Why not a bread festival? a brilliant idea in an area of France where they bake the most gorgeous of breads.

Just a few of the many pictures of bread making through the centuries.
 

Love this picture, bread making enacted from a mosaic at Pompeii in Italy, All that work from grinding, to making to eating, those poor slaves.
 

People of the Medieval Period would have no oven of their own so bread was made at home and then taken to a large oven owned by the King or Lord to bake.

My great grandmother had a bread oven and all of the bread was made by her for the family and the neighbours. My mother made our bread each week and the aroma would permeate the home for days, gorgeous. It is probably why I love making bread myself today even though we live next to a Boulangerie!
 

In contrast to the history of bread there was also a display of veteran and vintage cars.
 

Bonnie and Clyde once more. I love this car.
 

Vintage bicycles too. I particularly like the small bike on the right towards the middle of the picture it has a straw seat.
 
 

Event – Belves Fête Medieval this Sunday 12th August. When all of the town turns back the clock to Medieval times.
 
 

Zig-Zag Gardens of Gourdon.

The Medieval houses and the gardens of the old quarter in Gourdon date from the time of Charlemagne. In 812 a Legal Act was formed for the protection of trees, vegetables and plants that were to be cultivated. The list of plants that were to be used changed the organisation of the Medieval gardens. It also was the start of the creation of separate gardens. Some herbal, vegetables, trees and a few ornamental. The division of the gardens and the plants were all used in this period.

Porte du Majou, one of the four medieval gates were built in the 14C for protection of the city and leads onto the weavers quarter next to the Chapel of Notre Dame which was built in the 15th century.
 

Dwellings that date back to the Medieval Period.
 

Superb architecture. A little warn now but still stunning.
 

Zig-Zag Gardens literally zig-zag around the Medieval quarter. We did not have time to view them all which are eight in total so that six, seven and eight will have to wait until our next visit.

Apple trees or rather the training of apple trees above, was very popular in the Middle Ages for decorating a wall but its origins date back to ancient Egypt.
 

The Labyrinth. Five pathways of the labyrinth show the path of the pilgrims at Chartres which date back to the 13C. At the centre, the rose symbolises God. The paths represent Christians, Life: long and demanding, filled with trials on the journey towards eternal life. The oldest representation of a Labyrinth was found in Siberia and were known to many ancient civilisations, Ancient Egypt and Greece. At the end of the Middle Ages however, the labyrinth became the symbol of evil and by the 14C the clergy erased mazes drawn on the ground. Those which could not be destroyed were modified into games or hidden under carpets. In 1538 a law was passed banning these designs.
 

The Rosarium. Is a lovely tranquil garden which symbolises Venus, Bacchus and the Graces. It is the symbol of vegetation in Paradise.
 

Herb Garden which was started as a separate garden in the Middle Ages, and was very popular for medicine which were cultivated by the Monasteries.
 
 

Event of the year,
Féte de Saint-Louis, August 17th to 20th, Daglan.