Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Lockdown diaries day forty-one, Advent day nine, Camargue rice

French Village Lockdown Diaries day forty-one France Trivia Advent calendar day nine camargue rice
Advent day nine a Sauvignon Blanc and a Biere Blonde

Day forty-one, Wednesday 9th December 2020 


Advent day nine

French Village Lockdown Diaries day forty-one France Trivia Advent calendar day nine camargue rice mulled wine
Mulled wine

Christmas drinks

Today’s advent calendar offering for me is a white sauvignon blanc, probably one of my favourite tipples in the summer, but I really do think it’s a bit cold to enjoy it today, especially as I’ve been busy making the first batch of mulled wine. I’ve also bottled the sloe gin that has been working its fruity magic for the last few months and discovered a fab new recipe for sloe port. While some of the gin-soaked sloe berries have found their way into the mulled wine for a fruity flavour hit, the rest are back in their jar, with a bottle of red wine and some sugar, and have two months of daily shaking to look forward to, before I add a good glug of Cognac and we will hopefully have ourselves a sloe port to enjoy. 


Aside from the alcoholic festive drinks, I seem to have slipped into a new daily routine of a hot chocolate, usually served with a mincepie on the side. This really has added a bit of warmth and luxury into my winter diet and become something I look forward to either after yoga, or as my afternoon treat.


The sloe port might be a new recipe to me, but I’m not sure it should count towards my December recipe challenge, so tonight, I will be making Mary Berry’s Mushroom Stroganoff. There are so few ingredients, even I can’t mess around with it too much, I hope. My only reservations are that as there are so few ingredients, we will be down on our daily veg intake, so I’ll also be serving homemade hummus with carrot and cauliflower pieces to dip.


Covid-19, again

I mentioned yesterday about Covid-19 numbers in France not being ideal as we (hopefully) approach the end of confinement. It is a worrying situation, but what is more worrying is an article in the local press today, concerning the numbers from our immediate area. 


We live in a village of just under four hundred residents, situated seven kilometres from the local town and I’ve often been known to (lovingly) refer to it as the ‘arse-end of nowhere’. Our commune is part of a larger local authority (Mellois en Poitou) of sixty-two communes, which does cover quite a large geographical area, but the population numbers are fairly low, and therefore we should be a low risk area as far as Covid-19 is concerned. Suffice to say, this second wave has hit our area much harder than the first wave and a local pharmacist has warned that we have all got too lax. Masks are not being worn correctly (covering both nose and mouth at the same time), hands are not being washed well enough or often enough and social distancing is not being respected. 


The figures

The Deux-Sèvres (our department or county) has this week recorded 103 cases per 100,000 people, which is a 15% increase on last week.

Mellois en Poitou, our local area authority is at 180 cases per 100,000 people.

85 people have died in Deux-Sèvres in the second wave, bringing the total covid-19 deaths to 110.

70 people are currently in hospital in Deux-Sèvres, with six in intensive care. If a third wave hits anytime soon, our local hospitals will not have the capacity to cope.


Please stay vigilant, now is not the time to relax your standards, or meet with friends in your home. Wear your masks, wash your hands, keep your distance. It is these simple actions that will save lives.


French Village Lockdown Diaries day forty-one France Trivia Advent calendar day nine camargue rice
Riz Méditerrané de Camargue

France Trivia advent calendar, day nine, Camargue rice

As I will be serving my mushroom stroganoff with rice, I thought today’s trivia should be about the French rice from the Camargue. Rice might not be top of your list when thinking about homegrown produce from France, but the Camargue marshes around Aigues-Mortes in the Languedoc, have been growing rice since the nineteenth century. It was the putting in place of the embankments along the Rhone river, that prevent the salt levels rising in the subsoil, that made its cultivation possible. The most common rice from this area is a long grain, white rice and that is what we will be having with our mushroom stroganoff tonight. I might not be able to buy locally grown rice, but I can at least buy French rice. 

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