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.
 
 

Eyrignac Manor Garden

Not far from Sarlat are the gardens of Eyrignac Manor, where the French writer Gauthier de Costes de la Calprenede lived in the 17th Century. It is one of France’s most beautiful gardens and contains over 300 topiary sculptures and 50,000 yew, hornbeam, box and ivy plants and is well worth a visit.

Paul with our friends Hayley and Paul sitting in the shade of the Chinese Pagoda.

 

Manor d’Artaban.

 
It was Antoine de Costes de la Calprenede (1605-1689) councillor at the Presidential Court of Sarlat and appointed first Consul and defender of the town during the battles against royal power, who built the residence on the ruins of a former castle.
 

The Chapel and Dovecote.

 

Formally a smoke house for walnuts and grain.

 

The Washing Place.

 
Fed by one of the seven springs that flow through Eyrignac. It was built to accommodate six washing women. Who completed the laundry with the help from the neighbours twice a year!
 

The Florists Garden.

 
Flowers are cultivated for decoration in the Manor house.
 

Kitchen Garden with an unusual hedge of apple trees.

 

Our favourite the White Garden with its gorgeous frog fountains.

 

Superb private garden for the Manor House.

 
 

Event;- 29th July : not to be missed this Sunday, Daglan Gourmand.
 
 

Lavender and Blackberry Ice Cream.

This is a gorgeous creamy ice cream full of the lavender aroma and taste. With the crunch of the blackberries. We were told that lavender ice cream is delicious from Hayley and Paul who came to visit us a few weeks ago. So I gave it a try and yes I totally agree with them. Thank you this ice cream is a winner and I shall make it more than once over the Summer period.

No-churn creamy, lavender and fresh blackberry ice cream.

Ingredients

1 cup whole milk
1 tbsp dried lavender buds
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
400g sweetened condensed milk
half a cup of mashed fresh blackberries

Instructions

1 Begin by creating the lavender infusion. Warm the milk over a moderate-low heat in a small saucepan until the milk is just beginning to simmer. Lower the heat to low, add the dried lavender buds and let the buds rest in the milk for about five minutes. Pour this mixture into a small bowel and cover with cling film and refrigerate for about an hour.

2 In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the heavy whipping cream on high speed until soft peaks form. Add the vanilla extract, then continue to whisk until stiffer peaks form. Only a second or two.

3 Gently fold the condensed milk into the cream using a plastic spatula.

4 Strain the lavender using a sieve, tossing away the lavender buds, leaving the infused milk to be used. Add this to the whipped cream/condensed milk. Then add the mashed blackberries. Gently combine.

5 Pour the mixture into a plastic container and/or small ramekins, cover with a lid or cling film and freezer for about four hours.

Should last for about three months.

 
 

Le Château De Monbazillac.

Part One

This Château and vineyard is one of our favourite places to visit. So it was a real pleasure to show our friend around while she was here on holiday a few weeks ago.

Listed as an historical monument it dates back to the 16th Century where it was built in the Renaissance style. Set in a woodland with magnificent vistas across the valley. 3500 hectares of vines produce in my view pure nectar, sweet and dessert white wines. Which of course can be sampled in the wine shop before… and perhaps after… your visit to Le Château De Monbazillac.

Michelle and I all ready for the visit.
 

The architecture is a mix of traditional and defence style, towers, parapet walk, battlements, moat, cannon and the start of Renaissance art in the form of wide windows, mullion windows, fixed bridge, grand interior staircase and of course the layout of the rooms.
 

The Château and its vines have been the property of Monbazillac Cooperative Winery since 1960. Before that the château was handed down from mother to child (or nephew) and has been sold six times since the 16th Century.
 

Coat of Arms Tower is represented by the successive owners of the Château. From the family that initially bequeathed the land for the construction of the Château to the last lords of the viscountcy.
 

The Grand Salon. The Renaissance fireplace was decorated in 1929 with heraldic sculptures.
 

A Harry Potter moment! In other words the bottle room. 7,000 bottles of Monbazillac from the 2002 and 2004 vintages are presented on the walls giving the walls a gorgeous golden glow. The display case shows the changes of bottle shape over the years.
 

The Dutch brand display case contains vintages of Monbazillac wine. The map by Belleyme (who surveyed the region from 1761 to 1774).
The spelling of the name was how my ancestors spelled their surname, an ancestral relative perhaps?. The Belleyme’s originated from Northern France, and owned the area now known as Belléme. A future blog I think.
 

Part Two blog will cover a fascinating person called Jean-Sully Mounet.