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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New Happenings in Daglan.

A few years ago you could not buy any vegetarian products in France. Well slightly not true, you could buy the freshest vegetables you have ever tasted, picked that morning to sell at the market. However, tofu or soya etc was not to be found. Even restaurants gave me a sympathetic ‘poor thing’ response when I said that I was vegetarian. With one response saying that they would “take the meat out of the soup”!

In more recent times things have changed for the better. Now you can order vegetarian meals in most restaurants and you can buy vegetarian products right here at the 8 à Huit in Daglan. Tofu and BIO foods, absolutely brilliant.
 

Here you can see more of the range of products on offer. Do come and try out a few.
 

Chris and Virginie are always there to help.
 

They also sell a good range of wines too and are open from eight in the morning to eight at night during the summer season.
 

Daglan is in full bloom and more and more planting is taking place.
 

Gorgeous, well done.
 

Last but not least a wonderful new jewellery stall has appeared in the Daglan Sunday market.

Superb jewellery made from Capim Dourado ( Brazilian for golden grass). The plant which is transformed into such gorgeous jewellery is indigenous to the central region of Cerrado in Brazil and is only harvested from the end of September to the end of November.

Capim Dourado, with its sustainable and environmentally friendly growing and harvesting is the main source of income for the Xerente ethnic group of people that live in the area.

In order to import these golden jewels a partnership was developed directly with the local artisans. So that the entire collection’s origin is certified, all of the jewellery is handmade in Jalapao to the strict regulations of the area.

The only material used in the collection is the ‘golden grass’, with gold-plated mounts in order to keep the jeweller’s quality. Which is amazing and so light. I particularly like the ear rings and the bracelets.
 
 

Events:-

Free Rock Concert on the 21st June at La Roque-Gageac from 7pm in the village.

Fête de la Music begins 21st June in Sarlat.

Sports Day from 9am, hiking, football, archery, paintball and a bouncy castle on the 24th June at Vitrac.
 
 

Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel.

We are feeling in the mood for Christmas after our visit to the Noel Fête at Vitrac last Saturday afternoon, which was organised by children and staff at the local school. The workmanship of the arts and crafts on display was outstanding. Plus you could buy home made cakes, puddings and biscuits. Enjoy a cup of coffee or warming soup. Or buy a bottle of beer or whiskey to take home. All accompanied by guitar playing by one of the teachers, a brilliant way to spend an hour and to support the local school.

All hand made.
 

I think that Paul and I need to drink more wine! Wine corks were used in the making of the log houses and a few of the candle displays, superb. I was spoilt for choose on what to buy for Christmas.
 

Brilliant guitar playing, thank you for letting us take the pictures.
The hearts on display opened up for chocolates or other gifts. I was thinking of a bracelet but I can dream.
 

What we did buy was a garland made out of straw and decorated with dried flowers etc. to place on our front door. Plus almond and apple cakes, which were so delicious that I wish that we had bought a very delicious looking chocolate pudding. In truth I do not think that I could have burnt off the calories before Christmas, but it looked so good.
 
 

Event:- Sarlat : English Themed Noel Market from Wednesday 6th December to the 31st December. Forty Chalets selling arts and crafts, toys, paintings, warm woolen mittens, scarves, hats, ornaments etc. Plus a skating rink and Father Christmas.
The English Theme will also be a feature in the many shops of Sarlat along the main road and the Medieval Quarter.
 
 

Vitrac & Vitrac Port.

Vitrac consists of a port and a small village near the hamlet of Monfort. Vitrac Port is located on the D46 between Sarlat and Cénac et Saint Julien, Vitrac village is about a kilometre away along the D55.

Although we drive through Vitrac Port a couple of times each week on our way to and from Sarlat we have never stopped to look at the twin villages before, so on a very cold but sunny day we ventured out to take a look.
 

dscn2016A magnificent Château is to be found at the entrance to Vitrac village
 

dscn2017Vistas over the Château grounds to the swirling mist on the hills and the dordogne river in the distance.

The village itself is quite small, in the main square is the church of Saint Martin, opposite is a narrow lane that leads off to the artists studio.
 

dscn2022This photograph taken at Vitrac Port reminded me so much of a scene from the film ‘A Good Year’, staring Russel Crow. If you have seen the film it is the scene when he is taking photograhs of the grounds in order to sell the estate. However, each photogragh he takes reminds him of his deseased Uncle and the wonderful memories of his childhood. The photogragh just needed a smoked cigar in an ashtray on the table to complete the scene.
 

dscn2023The rushing water of the Dordogne completes this magnifisent property.
 

dscn2019Just over the bridge there is an excellent park area where each table and benches are enclosed in a horse shoe shaped hedge.

Of course in Spring and Summer you can rent a canoe or two from Vitrac Port and slowly meander your way down the river. Or you could go further along the road and visit Monfort, Domme, Daglan or Sarlat.
 

Close by is the Château de Montfort.
dscn2232aThe Château has had a turbulent history starting with Bernard de Casnac who was not a very pleasent person to meet if you were Catholic for he swore “to cut to pieces” any Catholic that he enounted. Which was at odds with the peaceful Cathars at that time! Then came the infamous Simon de Montfort and a list of others throughout history who pilaged, burned, rebuilt and destroyed again. In fact it is quite a feat for the Château to be here at all, but I am glad it is.

Sadly it is in private hands so not open to the public but it is still worth a visit just to see its magnifisant turrets.