Saturday, 31 December 2016

Cash is king.... supposedly

Cash is king in France they say.... on all about France websites.

Well I have 35 euros for 19 days left of travel.

My flea market & fresh food market samplings are halted.... well just until I can access my cash!! Action & more action.

Coffee & Croissant.
1 euro.
Super U.
Supermarket shopping with credit card is easy as, of course.
And I can get a ristretto and croissant for 1 euro.

But that's not the point.

So I had an indoors day working out how to work it out.

And working out how to earn an income when I live here.

Another great day.

Every day's a great day, if you make it so.

Vosgiennes cows. Mwuh.

Leffe Blond stubby holder.

The temperature. It called for the
supersize Korean 'feather doona coat'
on my morning walk.
Keeping the weight down in
the day pack. Emergency
supply only. Toilets are few
and VERY far between.
Quite ridiculous.
I've let the mairies know.

Very cute, but I prefer the multi-level homes.
Now this is a home.
Leroy real estate agent.

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Beetroot omelette

I am so loving food shopping and cooking in my studio in Gérardmer.

I have never had a problem cooking for one.

I have a problem about cooking for others!

All that effort and not even leftovers to freeze for 7 days like when I cook for myself.

Cook once, eat twice doesn't even do it for me.

Having said that, the omelette pictured was only one meal.

So pretty.
Leftover beetroot chips done in the oven in butter and salt;
Some kind of mushroom available in Super U, Gérardmer, France.
In Australia, we might call them Swiss Brown;
Mâche is the green stuff;
Two eggs beaten with a fork and a bit of water;
All sprinkled with salt and dotted with red Tabasco.

Cook once, eat 7 times.... 
generally speaking.

Monday, 26 December 2016

Pixies by Whippy Cake

This is a screen shot from yet another
before and after pixie cut of Whippy Cakes.
She is brilliant styling pixie short hair looks using heaps of product.

Love it.


Follow the link to see her take a woman who happens to have lost a lot of weight and now wants a new hair look, from great to extraordinary, by cutting the pixie haircut, too.

I've cut mine again since being in France. I brought my hair scissors with me for some reason!!!!

Will I keep it natural greying dark blonde tones or go the thick platinum look?

Love or hate the hair you've got.
It doesn't matter.
There'll be a product to get it exactly how you do want it.

Friday, 23 December 2016

Chestnut mousse pudding

This is not a trusted recipe. Just sayin'.

If in doubt, head to the local 
and pick up this starter.
This is another thing you would do with some creative home cooking.

I really wanted a French favourite, creme de marron de l'Ardeche, but I had not been able to spot it in the supermarché.

Now that I've googled the name I should not have a problem finding it provided my accent doesn't get in the way. But failing on three attempts permitted me some creativity, I guess.

Anyway, now that I've bought plain pureed chestnuts I'm going to try for a sweet dish....

1/2 tin creamed chestnuts, about 200g.
1 equal weight of fromage frais, or créme fraîche, or white cheesey stuff that you prefer.
2 eggs
Sweeten as you prefer. I'm using my chestnut honey obtained in Gérardmer, France, at the local market.

You could do the old beat the whites till like snow. Beat the yolks with the sugar till light in colour.... and all that.

I don't. I drop the whole eggs into the dish and add the honey, starting with about 2T, and beat it till I'm satisfied,

I then add the pureed chestnuts, because I'm in France and only have a fork to do the mixing. The kitchen in the studio is great, but not too well equipped for creating. If you have mixers of any kind, the order doesn't really matter.

I then add a 1:1 mix of fromage frais and créme fraîche because I can. I'm in France.

Beat/fork it till you have achieved the consistency you want.

Refrigerate for 3 hours.

If it is too runny, turn it into a power smoothy by adding some collagen.

If you want something warm, bake it in the oven in a trough of water.

Eat after a long walk around the lake.

Cook and Standup Paddle Board? 
It was hitched to the back fence 
atop the canal.
I'm guessing it goes directly 
to the lake in Gérardmer.
Cook and walk and eat.

Lucky the baguette was a mini. Now I get
why my mum puts butter on like cheese.
She grew up in rural England

 where the butter
tastes like this French stuff. 


What? Not Smurfs?
Les Schtroumpfs.

Biathlon discovery at last

Sylvie Triboulot introduced me to this sport at Les Bas-Rupts, Gérardmer, France.

Fun and rough and therapeutic somehow. 
This is a screen shot of Sylvie's 
Sens-a-Son-Nature website.

After the biathlon session, I actually voluntarily entered a forest on my own, with verbal directions only. Outrageous (for me).

I made it to nearby the destination, but that was plenty good enough.

I left home (Annie & Jean-Claude's Airbnb) at 08:40 and did not return until 14:30. All on foot, with the two hour biathlon stint in the middle. 

According to the FitBit data, that's 24,000 steps, 2000 calories, 16 kilometres and 131 floors.

You only live once as far as I know so make sure you come home completely empty just from being in the day.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016


In Colmar, France, down a side street
near the train station.
Above & Below pics.

In Munster, France. I also love 
hinges & brackets.

In Munster, France.

In Munster, France. A new apartment block 
with business offices around the side.

In Munster, France. A veterinary surgery.
A beautiful, restful colour scheme
and building.

Boeuf Bourguignon

I didn't taste one drop, but the meal
sure tasted delicious.
Boeuf Bourguignon is its formal name, but just like Spaghetti Bolognese has special family recipes, this will have as well.

I made the batch pictured while in Gérardmer, France and felt right at home.

This meal instantly takes me back to playing in the pile of sawdust in the shed while my father fixed mowers for other people.

Gigantic, orange flowered wall paper, even in the kitchen. 
Look at all that gelatin and animal fat. 
So delicious warmed 
and served with green beans and quinoa.

Playing down the river, walking past 'Haggy's' house to get there (as in 'The old hag' - she was probably only 33, but to us kids..... you get the idea).

And then sitting at the mosaic tiled kitchen bench with my brother and sisters and a steaming bowl of this in front of you.


Monday, 19 December 2016

The Bambi Ritual

Walk done & new ritual begins.

Gérardmer, France. My new home.

Leffe Blond comes in a 250 mL size here. This Belgian wheat beer has 6.6% alcohol content, so one cup is enough for moi.

Just to prove that the weather
is cold enough
to start freezing 
the water bodies.

Sit outside and wait for Bambi is the new ritual. 

I was told on my first day here that at dusk and dawn deer come and eat the grass in the back yard. This is pretty novel for an Australian. So I was intrigued.

The wee Leffe Blond. I was in the image 
of course, but  solo travellers 
generally go unseen.

Of course I kept looking out for them to no avail. My hosts, however, assured me that the deer had come. OK. Maybe it required more than a peek through the curtains every now and again.

So the new Sunday ritual began. Sit outside with the lights off, drink the Leffe Blonde, and wait.

Go for an hour long walk anyway. Just for the heck of it.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Gérardmer, France

Simply pretty looking down.

The bit of white furthermost above Annie's
head is actually the reflection off Lac Gérardmer.

The first ristretto & croissant - Gare de l'est 
The view across town to the Tétras piste from
Chemin des Epinettes logement.

The view at night.

Outside looking in at the Airbnb lodgings.

Fresh as can be. 
Standard potatoes, bacon, onion, egg....
and yet so so gooooood.

All at home. Scotch & Soda scarf a great buy.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Dead dogs & divorce

The canula is in her vein.

Droplets of the green fluid are glistening in the syringe.

She is calm now. She is relaxed.

I am upset. I am crying. I am sad. I am suffering.

We've traded places almost.

Whitey is no longer stressed because the mass in her neck has suddenly got so large that it is restricting her breathing. But I am anguished.

And then I am not anguished and suffering.

I am still sad. I still look forward to coming home after work and catching up on the latest foreign detective/spy series on the mattress on the wee back deck with the big girl, Whitey the greyhound, before I remember that she is dead.

But I can get back into life, into action. And then I got that there is a clear distinction between sad and suffering.

I suffered for a long time after previous pets had died. Even though Whitey was the best dog I've had, as much as they've all been characters, I suffered the least.

Thank you, self, for taking on training & development.

And then I realised, I was sad after my husband left to live with another woman, but I suffered and unwittingly, all around me suffered. And I incapacitated myself with my suffering.

Wish I new then what I know now.

O well. I didn't. Forward march.

I have reconnected with my ex-husband and his wife for an empowering future with our granddaughter, and future grandchildren, and our amazing sons.