Monday, 18 July 2011

Chutneys, Marmalade and Lemon Curd

Selling Chutney
Last Thursday, 14th July, I had a stall at the 'braderie' in Domfront. It is a large event with both commercial and private individuals selling their wares. Most people are selling 'car boot' type items but I was there with my chutneys and marmalade. We also have a selection of English language paperbacks, books which we have read and then sell on to other local English speaking people.

I had booked a place in advance, and when I queried the 7am start I was told it was imperative that I arrived then and no later as the roads in the town would all be closed off later. Of course with hind sight I realise I should have tried to find out where I was being placed, so when we arrived just after 7 on Thursday morning, I found that my spot was along the main road running through the town and we could have arrived at any time as it is the main road from Alençon to the coast and would remain open all day. For the first couple of hours it was very quiet and very chilly. Then about 9 am people started to arrive and within a short while I had sold all the Lemon Curd. Throughout the morning I had a steady stream of customers, some new and some I had met before. One older gentleman explained that he had left his wife at home while he was looking around the stalls. He asked where we lived and then explained he knew our house and our neighbours and that he lives in the village next to the Marie, small world!

Eventually about 1pm the sun came out and it warmed up - and the afternoon was pleasantly warm. In the morning the people milling around were mainly older couples and many expats, but plenty of them  were out to buy. In the afternoon the crowds changed to families with children who were there  to enjoy the sun, but not much business was being done.   Eventually around 5 pm we packed up and went home. I was very satisfied with my sales. Next week we will be at the Vide Greniers in Bagnoles de l'Orne. I have already made another batch of Lemon Curd as many people asked for it last week.

This last week has been particuarily wet in fact last Tuesday we had 30ml of rain and over the last week we have had about 50 ml. The garden is really wet. The potatoes seem to be happy with this rain, as are the asparagus plants, they continue to send up small spears. The plants are now two years old so we still have a few years to wait before we can eat it. 

George sleeping under the hedge.
George, our cat, often sleeps outside, even in the rain, so long has he has a relatively dry spot to sleep, in England he sleeps under the garden table, here he sleeps under the hedge.

Smoking some mackerel.
For many years now we have been smoking our own fish. We have struggled to make a contraption that will produce cold smoke rather than hot smoke. Finally we have almost got there. See the contraption left. Still the smoke is a bit too warm, so we need to find some more piping. But we are pleased with the design so far. From left to right, our old barbeque, two pieces of piping linked at both ends with curved pipes all found in the metal container at the déchtèterie (recycling centre). The piping is still not long enough to cool the smoke sufficiently so we need to find a couple more pieces. As it was raining when we were preparing supper we set it up under the chimney in the barn.  The mackerel was really delicious a good smoky flavour and just very gently cooked in the warm smoke.

Rob has continued with his re-pointing of the walls of the outbuilding, while I have continued with the redecoration of one of the bedrooms. 

This morning while painting the ceiling I listened to Women's Hour on Radio 4 and there was a very interesting piece on the WI focusing on the Shoreditch Sisterhood WI in East London. They are a new WI and are keen on crafts but are also very interested in the campaigns of the WI and are linking these interests in a 'Vulva Quilt' which they will use to raise awareness of Female Genital Mutilation.  

See these websites for more information. or where there is a link to BBC iplayer.  Great to hear that they have a campaigns officer on their committee, just wish a few more WIs were so interested in Public Affairs.

No comments:

Post a Comment