I’m not what you’d call a domestic goddess by any stretch of the imagination but there’s something about living in rural France that makes me want to be one – sometimes at least.
When I arrived in France I’d never really cooked but I’m learning (slowly and painfully) from neighbours and friends. Luckily for me my friend Julia of Julia’s Pantry is a very good cook and a good teacher. My neighbours M-T and Mrs J also try to help me though to be honest (and if anyone reads this who knows them please keep it to yourself) I really don’t understand everything they tell me. They’re old school cooks who don’t weigh anything – just tip stuff in a bowl, mix it, put it in the oven, wave a magic wand – at least that’s what I think happens – and out comes a perfect cake/stew/loaf of bread. I nod enthusiastically and say “oui” a lot but really I don’t know what many of the ingredients are let alone how much to put in a bowl. I like being in their kitchens though and I know how to fold, beat, mix etc so it’s not a complete waste of time. The bread man who brings my baguettes every day is also really helpful. When I don’t understand something in a recipe he always helps, like when I can’t get double cream in France, he’ll tell me which cream is best for the recipe – things like that.
Something else I’ve never done before is sew. My efforts to learn this skill have been a bit more successful – it’s a case of Hobson ’s choice really. This house needs curtains and cushions and such like. My purse is not as full as I’d quite like so … I’ve taught myself to make curtains and actually I’ve found it’s a lot easier than cooking!
My latest home making attempt is to make a Christmas wreath. I’ve got some really old craft books and they have some lovely photos of home made Christmas wreaths so I thought “why not”?
One of the things that they recommend is to use dried fruit slices in your wreath – apples and lemons particularly. They have a nice scent and add colour to the Eucalyptus leaves, holly and ivy that are also to be used and which are abundant in my garden – result!
So today, I have been cutting slices of lemons and apples and threading them on a bit of bamboo as instructed. They then have to be dried for a couple of days somewhere warm.
I’ve put them over the fire in the hall – seems pretty warm to me and the cats can’t get to it. I have to say it doesn’t look quite like the picture in my book but I think it will be nice when it’s done.
The OH (other half) just came in to the house and saw it. I told him I heard him snigger. “That wasn’t a snigger” he said “I laughed… out loud”.
Hmmm – someone is not quite getting into the Christmas spirit yet.A bientôt Janine