>Work and feasting

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We’ve had our family staying for the past week – the reason why I haven’t posted on this blog for a while – and yesterday the weather was so warm and sunny that we spent several hours in the garden and had our lunch there for the first time for weeks.

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Before pruning the larger of our two olive trees quite severely I took photos of the branches in the sun.

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We burnt some of the old year, and the sun was so warm there was even a butterfly on one of the cold frames.

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A simple lunch in the sun – olives from the tree I’d just pruned, bread, olive oil, butternut squash soup and cheese.

Flamingos

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On a trip to Marseillan at the weekend we saw two groups of flamingos sheltering on the land side of the lagoon to keep out of the strong north wind.  The lagoon, which is usually calm, was quite rough.

A midwinter feast

As we do every year, at midday on 25 December we had apéritifs in the garden – olives from our own trees and sweet wine made by friends in the village.  We spent the rest of the afternoon, until it was dark, cooking and eating the various courses of the one meal we have on that day.  Here are some of the dishes we ate:

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Apéritifs in the garden.
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Clams cooked in olive oil, garlic and parsley, with a glass of Cava we brought back from our trip to Catalunya in the autumn.
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Foie gras with black and red peppercorns.
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Gambas – large prawns – sautéed in olive oil and garlic, with eau de vie added at the end of the cooking.
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Pigeons with apricot stuffing.
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With the pigeons we drank a bottle of the best wine produced by our favourite vigneron at Roquessels.
There was grilled bream for our one non-meat eater, roast potatoes, and broad beans (from the garden and frozen last summer).  All this was followed by Roquefort cheese, then a bûche de Noël made by the boulanger in the village. IMGP4538 To finish, with our coffee, we had cherries from our neighbour’s tree which I preserved in Armagnac the summer before last.

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