Sunday, December 26, 2010

White Christmas & Happy New Year

Believe it or not but since long there has not been a White Christmas in the Lot. It started snowing the night of the 23rd and the snow is still there.

For the rest it is very calm on the Prayssac front.

We wish you all the very best for the year 2011. May your wishes come true and may you stay in good health.

Auld Lang Syne - Beethoven
Auld Lang Syne - Reader

See you. Have a nice end of year celebration.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


It was a rather wintery week - with every night frost and on Thursday snow for one day - the strange thing about it was that only the roads and the houses were covered with snow but not the fields.

So, please,
don't forget
to feed
our feathered friends.

Yesterday a nice event took place at château Fages (Luzech): there was an open house day with bread, pastry and tart baking à l'ancienne, a lovely walk through the hills around Luzech and of course a marvellous wine degustation.
A nice wintery atmosphere with Glühwein to warm body and mind and Reblochon tart and sausage bread to feed the hungry.

From a sunny Prayssac a very Merry Christmas to everybody - with Bach on harpsichord (just click on the picture).

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Ghent and walnut wine

According to Lonely Planet Ghent - our last home city - is one of the top 10 cities in the world to visit next year in 2011. Not bad for a small medieval city in Belgium.
This is not in the least so of course because of the famous Van Eyck painting, The Ghent Altarpiece or Adoration of the Mystic Lamb (nl, de, fr, it), a masterpiece of the early 15th century and one of the most famous examples of oil panel painting.

Just in time for the end of year celebrations our first wine production is ready to drink : walnut wine in three varieties (à la Solange, Yvette and Laurence) and orange wine (à la Martine).

As you probably don't know infusing unripe green walnuts or / and walnut leaves in alcohol is popular in Italy and France.
In Italy, it's called nocino and usually has grated orange peel and cloves added to it; in France, it's called vin de noix and is a simple blend of eau de vie, red wine, and sugar.
The green walnuts are harvested around Saint John's Day, the 24th of June. Then they are still soft enough to be cut.

The resulting liqueur is thick and sweet, with a very rich and spicy flavor. It's best enjoyed during cold weather, as it's quite warming.

The first degustation was rather hopeful - but some improvements suggest themselves (e.g. less sugar).
I invented a recipe to make it a nice and refreshing cocktail à la façon Picon.
Come and taste.


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Tiling (end)

This week the tiling of the laundry and wash room was finished. Although to some perhaps it might seem strange and a waste to tile the garage and the wash room it will give us in summer a extra nice room to work and wash.

Compared to the rest of Europe and the north and middle of France weather was alright  : cold but no snow and every day some sunshine. So, what else could one do than preserve fruits by making jam.
In total we have 155 pots of jam waiting for you: apple-raisin, pastèque, quince and rose tomatoes.
Yammy yam.

Another plan for the near future is to improve and update the mas houvande website. Planned are - amongst other things - a photo album and a news wall.
To be followed.
The little photos on the home page have already been changed and replaced by brighter ones.
All ideas are welcome.

Oh yes, I almost forgot:
don't forget to put your slippers beside the fireplace tonight.
You never know if Saint Nicholas will bring you gifts.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

First Snow

Unexpectedly Friday night we had the first snow of this winter - not very much and it lasted only for just more than an hour, but nevertheless : could it be that they told us lies when we bought the house?

This weekend the tiling of the laundry and wash room was started - despite it being very cold in this part of the house the biggest part is already done.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

An Intermezzo

For all our international guests and friends :

Everything you always wanted to know about Belgium but were afraid to ask (free after Woody Allen).
No, seriously, it isn't "une blague belge".

Honi soit qui mal y pense.

See you next week.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Tiling II

As foreseen and with a little extra effort this week-end the first part of the tiling could be finished : the garage is completely tiled and jointed now.

It was a rather rainy week - but nothing comparable to the Belgian situation - with only the last two days beautiful sunshine.
After the falling of the leaves come the dew and the cobwebs.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Works again

The fact that now the tourist season is rather low is an ideal opportunity to do some works again.
Yesterday, Saturday, the 6th, the tiling of the laundry & wash room and the garage was started.
After all this time of "inactivity" it took a lot of effort to begin again - especially as everything in the garage had to be moved (for the 6th time already) and the whole place had to be cleaned which took some three days.

The first rows are already done.

These works are the last but two to finish. Still remaining : the finishing of the window frames outside and the decoration of the private bureau. Come and see next year.

My new bicycle arrived, a so-called asphalt commuter - hopefully still in time to get in good shape again after a long thursty and lavish summer. Perhaps some destressing is also needed.

The vineyards and trees are getting wine-red - beautiful autumn colours.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Modern Times in Prayssac

For once we are among the first to enter modern age.
This week in the Bélaye meander of the Lot where we live, the electric posts were removed - resulting in a "freed" landscape.

Before and after.

These days we see more and more birds of prey like kites.

Probably the last products of our "ecological" garden : some rose tomatoes, apples and walnuts - which this year have a better taste than last year. Don't ask me why.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Prayssacer Allerlei II

Nice week : cold at night but lovely during the day with yesterday a beautiful full moon.

This week again some Prayssacer Allerlei.

Because of some very cold nights the watermelons or pasteques were harvested - jam is to follow next week.

In temporary lack of the real sensation the computer brought relief: cat amusement vom Feinsten.

On special request: The best loved fish dish of the summer season :
black olive tapenaded fish held together with rosemary sticks on a bed of spinach mingled with tomatoes.

And to end with :
The most famous guy of Prayssac - no it's not Prayssac George.
Who is he and what has he done?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Prayssacer Allerlei

Now that the outdoor season is going to an end and evenings are getting colder the salon was reorganised and a coffee table bought to be prepared for more cosy evenings inside.

To get into the mood for a nice autumn and winter a lovely picture of Puy-L'Evêque by night.

This week episode 3 of jam making: this time quince jam was made.

And to end with: the hit starter dish of the summer season :
rocket salad quiche (rucola) with mixed salad with a balsamic vinegar and good olive oil dressing

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Wine harvest II

The wine harvest in the Cahors region is finished: this week the weather was more than marvellous for debut october: we had sunny days of 25° - 28° - mostly accompanied however by the vent d'autan, a wind coming from the south, from Toulouse. It is often called the wind of the fools because apparently it makes foolish and nervous.
I hope it will never influence me. Or haven't I noticed it yet?

Some nice pictures of one of the technically best equipped châteaus of the region : château le Théron in Prayssac.

As it appears the harvest this year is rather small compared to last year.
Some winemakers tell us about 40% less crop - mainly due to the bad weather during the blooming of the vines in May and the high temperatures end of August.

At this time of the year the vineyards look very nice with their lovely autumn colours.

This week unfortunately a very sad event happened : Trottinette, our cat, died of old age. She was 18 yrs and 7 months.
Follows a picture of Trotti in her more glory days adhering to the cat "philosophy" of carpe diem : when there is sun, you should lay in the sun, don't wait, it can be over soon.
That's perhaps the reason why most humans like cats: the liberty to do whatever you want whenever you like.