La Chatte Gitane (or The Gypsy Cat) was the name we chose for our cottage in France. We chose it while on the road, moving home, from Ireland to France with 2 dogs and 7 cats in the car.
This blog began its insignificant life as a recipe book for friends and family who would ask me repeatedly for a recipe of this, that and the other.
Since then it has taken many different directions, like gypsies tend to do. Sometimes making a U-turn and revisiting familiar roads and taking a break when necessary.
You'll find recipes here, but also musings about the places we've called home, the gardens that we've established, not always successfully, the homes we've improved and the environments we've lived in. Currently, that is back in Ireland.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Shaheen's Beetroot Croquettes

I fell in love with these as soon as I saw them on the Allotment2Kitchen blog. 
Of course I needed to wait till my beets in the garden were ready to harvest.
I did make them, last year in July, lots of them. They freeze well (unfried) and that is what I did with a good few.
Yesterday, I took some out for dinner and served with shaved fennel slaw and salmon.
Beetroot works well with fish, in my opinion, and these are no different.

Last year's, served with a rocket salad and a selection of smoked fish and of course my favourite....capers.Haha.

Next time I will either use a finer grater and/or parboil the beets first.

I suggest you browse .  You don't have to be a vegetarian to appreciate most of the recipes on there.  Look at me !  I love meat, but I also love Shaheen's recipes. Truly inspirational.

Thanks for visiting.
Patricia xxx...x

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Nitty Gritty

I have been asked why I haven't posted in a while, if everything is all right with me.... I thank these people for their concern and it touches me to know that they miss my ramblings on this blog.
So, I owe it to them (and myself also) to put my thoughts in writing (for the world to see).

I feel as if I'm living in Limbo at the moment and I lack motivation and energy to crawl out of this confinement.

So what is going on ? 
We have been 'planning' to move back to Ireland for a year and a half now.  Why ? Well, after living for about 13 years or so in sparsely populated areas in Ireland and France respectively, Belgium is just not our cup of tea anymore. 
Even though our house is situated in a relatively lovely area, there is still too much noise pollution, light pollution, air pollution, etc,  for us. 
Most of our bestest friends live in Ireland.  It's not that we don't have friends over here, it is just on another level.
The Irish (co.Kerry - Sneem area) landscape is so beautiful, clean air, as of yet there are no nuclear power stations in Ireland (let's hope it stays that way). The pace of life is so different to the hustle and bustle of  normal, productivity  and consumerism driven capitalism in which we (I) never seem to fit.

Okay, my brother, his little family and my mother are sad about our plans and that has been niggling  me, as it would.  BUT, I should be honest here and tell the ugly truth (from my perspective) and I apologise beforehand to everyone involved. 
My mother and I have always had an explosive relationship and in January 2010 we had another falling out.  Consequently we didn't have any contact for almost 2 years.  To top that I didn't see my brother and his family in that time, either.  I am not casting blame as we were all guilty to some extent. I can honestly say that I never felt more lonely in my entire life. 
Just to clarify, we are back on speaking terms and having a whale of a time.  I missed them tremendously and I love them very much and I'm  pretty sure they feel the same about me.

edited to add  Somehow, I got lost here and forgot to say that whatever happens in the future, we (Bert and I) will have to decide what we want from our lives and moving back to Ireland it is.  It is not at  the  other end of the world (it really isn't) and family and friends will always be welcome to stay with us for holidays.

Bert, my husband, informed me, before the 'planning' started, that he would prefer to move back to Ireland instead of France (where we still have a plot of land), because of it's tranquility, but more importantly, the support network that we built and maintained ever since living there the first time round. It is where, as he put it, he wants to live out his life.
Being more mature (or so we'd like to think), we would do it differently to the first time. It will be our forever home (again).  We know most of the pitfalls, we also know what area we would prefer to live, in short, we have a list of requirements as long as Kenmare River and not the budget to match. Simple !
We keep an eye out for the perfect property, we've already been to view some, even put an offer in on one (rejected).  I don't let that get to me, when the time is absolutely right, we'll get what we want and need. 

First things first
To be able to go house hunting with a clear head and at an advantage point towards a seller, we need to sell our house here in Belgium.
That is when we started the 'renovations' in earnest.  We did the kitchen and sitting room, the entrance hall.  Before our plans we had already tackled the bathroom and our bedroom, Bert's home office and my craft room (sort of).
On the highest level of the house, under the eaves, I had decorated the 2 rooms when we first moved in. There is also a smaller room that had no natural light and we wanted to make it into another bathroom (it is a 5-bed house afterall).  A skylight installed, the works started reasonably well and then all of a sudden everything lost momentum.  Our friend/handyman only came one day a week, then didn't show up for 3 weeks..... You get the picture.   Or maybe not...

The attic landing

More of the same and also needs decorating still.

Overspill into the 2 attic rooms.

And then there is the bathroom to be.  Never was I going to install a corner bath tub, ever !
I am happy to report that our friend/handyman turned up yesterday and today and made a lot of progress.  Almost ready for me to start the decorating.

The landing near our bedroom also in the 'process' of  being renovated/decorated.... with the obligatory overspill into our bedroom (below)

So you see, I have the greatest problem of keeping our house tidy, or at least part of it.
Only a couple of days ago I gave the utility room a thorough cleaning.  I even used some (not much) bleach, eek !

While we couldn't finish off indoors, we were lucky that the weather was glorious enough to spring clean the garden, and more .....

Thank you mum, Rijkaard and Mathias for all your help.

The wildlife pond, not yet finished, but looking beautiful already.

Sow grass on to do list for tomorrow.

People ask, why we do all this work on a house we want to sell.  It is quite simple really.  We want to show the house in the best possible condition we can muster.  It will give us a better chance for a quick sale for the price that it's worth in the current market. That is what we hope will happen, but we're always prepared for a worst case senario.... even then, it is the best place in Belgium for us to live if a sale wasn't accomplished.

We will see, whatever happens, happens.

Patricia xxx...x
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