Panier of Plenty

December 2013

Welcome to the visual diary for December…

From The Forest

Ice, Col d'Ouillat

Ice, Col d’Ouillat

Ice still melting

Still melting

Thursday 28th November. Snap frozen…

Long wisps of mist hover above white fields. Chimneys smoke
and the gauge in the Citroen has given an ice warning – it is
-4ºC and far from the postcard view of the South in November.
Thousands of leaves tumble in an instant, snap frozen and ‘shocked’
off the trees.

The bracken is crisp and golden and the holly bushes smothered
in berries in time for Christmas. Our tree this year is variety
of fir from the forest, continuing to grow in a pot while laden
with decorations…

In The Garden

Olivier, walled potager

Olivier, walled potager

Tuesday 3rd December

After a heavy frost, a light snowfall and days of glacial winds,
today can only be described as magical: sunny, calm and bright,
as I sit on the terrace in summer attire piercing the tiny
black olives I have just harvested. They are shrivelled after
the frost but will spend 15 days in water (changed each day
to remove their bitterness) before being stored in a saumure
(salt solution) with herbs.

Garden companion

Garden companion

Panier, 3rd December

Panier, 3rd December

Mina assisting

Mina assisting

The second batch

The second batch

Exploring The Region

requesens panorama

Sunday 2nd December. Post: Château de Requesens

Latour de Carol

Latour de Carol, Cerdagne

Enchanted by falling snowflakes (the image I have always held of Christmas, as much as I love BBQ’s and swimming in the Antipodes),,
it is impossible to stay inside when everything is being transformed
into a wonderland before my eyes…

Latour de Carol, a white Christmas

Latour de Carol, a white Christmas

The 'Carol' river

The ‘Carol’ river

26th December, snowed all day

26th December, snowed all day

Frozen lake, Puigcerda

Frozen lake, Puigcerda

The guardian of the local farmer’s cows, in the middle of our
mountain road…

Clementine

Clementine

On The Menu

Pomegranates, 3rd December

Pomegranates, 3rd December

Olive harvest, 5th December

Olive harvest, 5th December

One of the joys of living in France is the spirit of ‘partage’
when it comes to food – the sharing of produce and home-made
or regional specialities – we have just picked pomegranates from
a neighbours tree and harvested a panier of their olives to
compliment our own. Spending the weekend in Cerdagne, we have
been enjoying saucisson made by a friend of Frédéric’s family,
as well as jam made from the wild blueberries that grow in the
mountains (Cerdagne is part of our département, the Pyrénées-
Orientales, and borders the principality of Andorra).

Saucisson from Cerdagne

Saucisson from Cerdagne

Another advantage of this département is the close proximity
to Spain. The Sunday market in Puigcerda offers a wide range
of fresh produce from the sun-drenched South – prices are much
lower than local French markets.

In season

In season

The Christmas ham (jam on, Spain)

The Christmas ham (jam on, Spain)

Cassoulet, New Year's Eve

Cassoulet, New Year’s Eve

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