Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Lockdown diaries day thirty-four, Advent day two, rivers and departments

French Village Lockdown Diaries day thirty-four December recipe challenge
December recipe challenge

Day thirty-four, Wednesday 2nd December 2020


Advent day two

The JP Chenet sparkling rosé, from my advent calendar yesterday, while probably not one to win any awards, was better than I was expecting as I really don’t drink rosé wine these days. It wasn’t too sweet, had a hint of flavour and the bubbles certainly brightened an otherwise ordinary Tuesday evening. Adrian’s beer blonde, however, was full of aromas and flavours, and very drinkable. Tonight, I have a Merlot and Adrian a triple beer.


December recipe challenge

It has been a week since my disastrous French onion tart attempt and although everyone was happy with me trying again tonight, I wasn’t quite ready to give it another go just yet. I set myself the challenge to follow a new recipe every week in December, as I want to add new flavours and meals to our routine dinners. This morning, I spent rather a long time browsing my cookbooks, but sadly there was very little that I found inspiring. The problem being I am much more comfortable with big one-pot meals, packed full of veggies and flavours and served in a bowl, than a meal with lots of individual parts, each with their own pan to wash up. 


Once again, I found myself turning to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, but this time, his River Cottage Veg Everyday book. In there was a bean chilli recipe that ticked the one-pot box, the comfort-food box (it’s still rather chilly here today) and I’m pretty sure it will be a good accompaniment to my advent calendar Merlot too. The chilli is ready to reheat, and I am planning on serving it with oven baked jacket potatoes, crème fraiche and some grated cheese. It has been ages since I made a chilli dish and I rarely serve it with jacket potatoes, so it’s certainly breaking from routine, and as far as I can remember, I’ve never followed any recipe for a chilli before. I will try and be a little bit more adventurous next week, but I’m hoping tonight’s chilli will boast my confidence, unlike the soggy French onion tart. 

France Trivia advent calendar, day two, rivers and departments

This advent I have decided to share a little bit of French trivia every day and today it’s all about rivers and departments. In the French language there are two words for river; la rivière which is used for a tributary river that flows into another river, and la fleuve for a river that flows into the sea. The five most important rivers in France are the Garonne, the Loire, the Rhine, the Rhone and the Seine. 


French Village Lockdown Diaries day thirty-four Advent day two rivers and departments
At the source of the Sèvre Niortaise river

France is split into Regions (thirteen on mainland France and five in the overseas territories) and then smaller administrative Departments (ninety-five in mainland France, two in Corsica and five overseas). A large number of the departments are named after the river that flows through them, like the Charente, the Dordogne and the Vienne. Nine departments are named after two of their rivers, like Lot-et-Garonne, Indre-et-Loire and Loir-et-Cher, but the Deux-Sèvres, where we live, is the only department to be named after two rivers who share the same name; the Sèvre Nantaise, a rivière that flows into the Loire and the Sèvre Niortaise, a fleuve that flows into the Atlantic. I’m rather proud that we live somewhere with such a unique name.


Sharing the love

For us as a family, love has certainly been more prominent than money this year, so it seems rather apt that Ed’s latest YouTube is his cover of Can’t Buy Me Love. I know I am biased, but it is rather good, so if you would like to have a listen, click on the link below and see if you recognise any of the band.

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