Monday, May 11, 2015

Un jardin provençal

Yesterday a friend invited my friend and I for tea.  She lives in a beautiful  provençal house which was rebuilt on a ruin using old stones.  Her husband was in construction and loved the outdoors as evidenced by the garden.





We walked the grounds after tea and  marvelled at the numerous wild thyme plants that released their aroma as we tread on them. We also saw wild orchids, rosemary and linen (little purple flowers above). 
The dogs romped and played in the three acres in front of the house.  We did not explore the further seven acres behind it... Our friend lives in a protected area where no new houses can be built.  All of the land is terraced with old stones.  There is an abundance of olive trees and the sixty odd  cedars stand tall as soldiers guarding the land.

We left at 8pm when the sun was dipping and all was calm.  The five kilometers home were on an ancient one lane road winding back to Cotignac. Vlad doesn't like driving this road but Elisabeth and I loved it.  Senses heightened by our nature walk, we noticed all of the flowers on our way home and sang happily along with Joan Baez: Take the ribbon from my hair..."

Bisous,

Stella

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Birth of a Recipe

I've hardly taken any pictures since I've been in Cotignac.  Here is one of lunch for one that I made for myself this week.  It's a kind of a salade composée with cubes of beet, grated celeriac salad, tomatoes and chèvre. This lunch for one inspired the creation of a new aperitif tidbit pictured below.

I call it Salad on a Stick. To make it , take a cube of beet (sold cooked and peeled in a vacuum sealed bag here in France) top it  with a leaf of arugula and then a cube of chèvre cheese. Spear a toothpick through all three then drizzle with home-made balsamic vinegar  dressing.  In France, they sell "velours de balsamique" which is a thicker, slightly sweet balsamic vinegar, great for salad dressings.
I served it for the first time Thursday night when I had a couple of friends over for dinner and they loved it, as I knew they would,  for they are French women who are always watching their waistline.  This little appetizer is as delicious as it is low in calories and nutritious.

Love from Cotignac,

Stella

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Reply to Brenda


This is a time for completing projects and crossing things off my to do list.  I leave in 8 days. Lunches with friends, meetings, exam administering and marking and handing in my marks are left on the list.

I've started (bravely, patiently) knitting the Kusha Kusha scarf purchased several years ago.  I'm 30% through this endless knitting with thread - one is silk stainless steel and the other merino.  It's good though because it gives me time to unwind and think about my good fortune.

My friend Brenda asked: Why are you going away without Vlad?

Vlad and I have taken a few holidays alone since we set up house many years ago.  He to Europe and the States for conferences and visits with his family, me mostly in Canada on conferences and visiting all corners of the country,  many times with my Mom.

Two years ago, I sent Vlad to Cotignac for a month.  He came back full of discoveries and memories to share and his smile was an all-over-the-face smile, you know, the one that reaches the eyes?

Time away from the home and partner can be very nourishing for self. Time away allows time alone with self to recalibrate (like Margret our GPS voice choice tells us she is doing) and roughly chart a life course that aligns values and actions.

Time away from home and partner allows for testing one's autonomy, something that we sometimes don't often do enough in a partnership. It allows for a meeting of the self without all the distractions of home and the over-familiar entourage.

Time away from home and partner allows for a renewal of your relationship, it gives fresh perspective and new things to share and mostly a renovated appreciation for what is.

That, Brenda, is why I am going away without Vlad.

Bisous,

Stella