Many years ago, when we realised that we would not have any children we had saved up for, we decided to buy a French house. This was also because my husband had suffered massive heart failure and could not use air travel. We decided this was the best plan. Just take 'middle Earth' holidays. That's, not too high, not too low, not too hot, not too cold, and very close to home. Somewhere with a very good health service. So we bought a house very near to Jersey in France.
This has been a very good decision. It has meant we can take many little trips a year, and some long ones. We can bring our dog, and she is made a fuss of at the vets, who I am sure have built at least one extension to their practice from the fees we have to pay to have her passport done! Still she is seeing a vet every four to six weeks,so if they want a steady income they had better keep her in tip top shape for a senior dog!
Its April, I have great tulips in my front garden, my Lilly of The valley is almost too early. The lilac is a cloud of scented pillows, the roses are in bud, and I spent the latter part of the afternoon cooking the weeds on my patio with my steam mop... pictures and description on the 'mad gardening blog '.
Just as an aside while I write this, my husband is watching 'under siege' on TVs and I just caught the bit where Stephen Segal is told if he can't be controlled then he may as well be supported... well I guess that is American foreign policy regarding their militia and proxy army activities all over the world... let's know who produced that Sarin, who deployed it, whose hands it passed through and why it was in Syria.
Back to my lovely day. We walked the dog. Always a joy. Bought two loaves of wonderful bread in our village, and bought our favourite buttermilk. It's called Lait Ribault here. We bought French sausages for lunch, and went to our French friends hen house to get eggs. The most wonderful eggs.
We can speak French. We found him chatting to a mate who was getting some chicken feed for his own three hens.
It is the start of Jersey Royal season at home. The very best potatoes in the world. They are just being lifted by hand, so we bought eight bags and (smuggled) them into France for our friends. At £2 per pound weight they are not cheap!
Well the joy of handing over a pound of Jersey Royals to a French Chicken Farmer who knows what he is getting is priceless. The chap buying the chicken feed was all over them like a rash. We had the long conversation of the merits of Noirmoutier potatoes verses Jersey Royals, sand, or soil, seaweed fertiliser, hand digging, cotills where the sun brings the early crop on sooner... and all this for us locals. Sweet.
This was followed by the merits of the French egg. A far superior egg to the British egg. I explained
it was impossible to poach an English egg, that it simply disperses through the saucepan, even though it is supposed to be fresh, and believe me I have tried every trick in the book to get a good poached English egg.
Well I learned so much about poaching eggs today. As well as what kind of chicken feed produces good eggs for poaching! Also that the small fresh eggs are better for poaching because the albumen in the whites holds together better! I hope you are impressed with my French!
I can tell you Eggs in France are being surpressed in value, and that the farmers are not being paid enough for their eggs by the supermarkets. Still our friend is not prepared to feed his chickens poor feed. That's the difference in the UK, the chicken factory farms will feed poor quality feed, and end up with a poor quality egg. And I buy my eggs from Waitrose and compared to a supermarket budget egg in France they are crap. I pay a lot for Waitrose eggs as they are the best of a bad choice available in Jersey. Something needs to be done about good eggs. Chickens need caring for, and good feed, they need a lot of respect for giving us lovely eggs and we should be prepared to pay for quality.
I decided to start a food food blog about basic cooking, I called it cooking with steam on the header bar so see pictures of some beautiful little poached French eggs there.
Well we happened to to bump into our friend later, and another mate. They had shared the potatoes for lunch. They beat Noirmoutier potatoes! Yes, Jersey Royals have a better flavour, are firmer and more interesting than the famous French sandy potatoes. I said it's because we have more expensive dirt!
This is why I love France. We can have lots of fun comparing what we do best!
I love my French home, it's old and quirky. I have to spend ages sorting out foncier tax and the bin tax. I can only go to the dump so many times a year without getting charged for it, I have to get my fosse inspected, my chimney swept, my boiler maintained, and any number of incidentals that drive us nuts. The best thing is... the French!