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.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Hilarious !

Well, I think it is funny. But then, I'm easily amused...

Remember we had just the one chick ?

The chick has grown considerably and they have joined the rest of the flock in the 'big house' a while ago.

When the sun sets the chooks go in for the night and perch high up, on the rafters of the hen house, waiting for one of us to come and close up for the night.
And this is what we witness every night.

Mammy's boy or Mammy's girl is not yet clear, but every night the 'little one' nestles itself underneath mother. Sometimes facing the same way, other times like in the picture above.
How long this is going to last for, I don't know.


Patricia xxx...x

Friday, August 26, 2016

10 Year Blogiversary - Giveaway !!!

That's right ! My first ever blog post was on August 26th, 2006. I didn't quite know what I was doing at the time or where it would lead me. I took quite a few breaks from blogging and sometimes I've thought of giving up writing in here altogether.  But I picked it back up and thanks to my followers I've found my niche in the blogosphere.

There is one fellow blogger who, unbeknownst to her, has helped my blog traffic tremendously and for this I would like to thank her very, very much.

The blogger I'm talking about is Sue from Our New Life in the Country.  One day she decided to add a link to my blog onto hers. I've connected with many lovely fellow bloggers because of this. Thank you to all these wonderful people who find the time to read my posts and leave comments. 
You have no idea how much this is appreciated.

The Giveaway !

a voucher from Amazon worth 30 pound Sterling for one person (a name will be drawn on Sunday, 4th September 2016) 
All you have to do is answer the following question to have a chance at winning.

How many countries have we lived in since starting this blog ?
It's a really easy peasy question.

You can give the answer in the comments section of this post. The comments will NOT be public for this, because you'll have to provide your email address. Or you can email me directly by clicking the About Me in the sidebar on the right. 

Just to make clear : I will eventually need an email address for Amazon to send you the voucher.
Closing time for this competition is Friday, 2nd September 10pm.
Winner will be announced on Monday, 5th September 2016.

Good Luck !
Patricia xxx...x

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Beetroot Salad, Smoked Salmon and Courgette Fritters

Just a little something I threw together the other night for dinner with vegetables that are growing sparsely in our garden. Even the courgettes are letting me down this year.

For the courgette fritters I can recommend the link to my recipe here.
I added spring onions/scallions instead of a 'normal' onion, a few sweet and sour chopped up gherkins and a tablespoon of capers.

I grabbed a few beets and boiled them till tender. Peeled and sliced them. I put them aside in a dressing made with honey, stem ginger syrup, olive oil and white wine vinegar. Season with salt and black pepper. Oh and fresh dill !

A tub of sour cream (200 grs) and a heaped tablespoon of horseradish sauce was a nice accompaniment for the whole dish.

Serve with the smoked salmon and lettuce leaves it made for a lovely and refreshing dinner.

Patricia xxx...x

Monday, August 22, 2016

Catching Up

There is a lot of that at the moment. We've been catching up with some sleep and just rest in general - only for a few days , mind.
Catching up with laundry. Oh dear.
A few odd jobs.
 Like hanging up wall cabinets in the pantry.
We've only had them since April.

I was going to start organising the whole house, beginning with the bedroom - clothing, bed linen, towels, duvets and pillows.... A place for everything and everything in its place kind-a-thing. It was the perfect moment since ALL of the laundry had been done, folded, ironed.

It will be delayed by another day because Blackie has been digging up his bed cushion again, resulting in a carpet of stuffing all over the floor in their 'bedroom'.  The sewing machine has made an appearance again. 

We have a leak somewhere under the bathroom washbasin every time we switch on the hot water in the garage. Only cold showers for us till the plumber arrives. 

Somewhere last week I dreamed that we got ourselves micro pigs instead of  'normal' ones. They don't seem to be growing at the rate our previous piggies did. They have managed to escape a few times over the summer, so it was decided that they could do with an extra layer of fencing. The sheep mesh type. This has now also been put into place. Fingers crossed.

The old chooks and the 4 new ones I got for my birthday are doing well back in the more secure coop.

We've had an enjoyable summer with family/relatives visiting. 

I hope they enjoyed it as much as we did, even if the weather wasn't always on our side.

Yes, I need catching up with reading other blogs and writing posts in this one here. In four days time this blog has its 10 th anniversary. 
A lot has happened in that time, that's for sure.

I trust that you've all enjoyed the summer. If not, make the most of every ray of sunshine and soak up those vitamins D.

Patricia xxx...x

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

In with a New Post....

....before the next lot arrives.

That will be Bert's older brother and his wife and they are expected in an hour or so.
Salad made, chicken in the oven and potatoes ready to roast.

But first a few photos of the last lot.
 A novel way to wash the hands.

 Washing up chores, since the dishwasher packed it in (on my birthday !)

And a little outing in the dinghy.

 There was no one as happy as Roisin on Monday, when she had the house free of rowdy kids and adults alike.

We've had a fun few weeks but everything has gone reasonably quiet here now.

The veggie garden hasn't been the success I had hoped for. Lack of sunshine, too much rain and not enough time spent tending to it are all causes of a less than favorable harvest thus far.
A few pumpkins and the odd squash. The tomatoes are a bit meh.....

The few zinnias that haven't been eaten by slugs and whatnots are a joy to see in the herb bed.

Next year better on veggie front !

I hope everyone is having a relaxing and sunny summer with better results in the veggie plot.

Patricia xxx....x

Friday, August 05, 2016

A Broiler Cull

Last Tuesday these chickens (below) were more than ready to be culled. Broilers they call them. To be honest, I don't think we will get them next time. They are over bred and I feel for them. It doesn't seem natural to me (and it probably isn't) that they grow so fast and can hardly take two steps before they have to sit down again.

They were from end of May and in normal circumstances they get slaughtered for meat between the 5 and 7 week mark. Ours were about 10 weeks old.

Anyway, we had a friend, Ruud, to assist us to do the deed. No fussing with an axe, no stress for the chickens or for any of us. A quick snap with three fingers and done.
My brother got stuck in and he urged his kids to come along. They need to know where their meat (that they love eating so much) comes from. My sis-in-law wasn't too sure about all that, but they saw, got bored and played in the straw and hay that's stored in the shed, before coming back to the house and played Lego.

My hat off to my sis-in-law, as she hadn't ever done or witnessed anything like this before, but also got stuck in, plucking the chickens.

They then got brought into the kitchen where my mum showed me how to remove the guts without damaging the gallbladder.
The bile can spoil all the meat. Great care was taken to remove gallbladder from the livers too.
Livers are for our own consumption. The heart and stomach for the doggies.

The chickens got washed thoroughly, inside and out.

Some by my mum,

and some by my SIL, Joelle.

I then proceeded with taking the legs, wings and breast meat off. The volume was just too much to place them in the freezer whole.
Joelle vacuum packed and Bert placed everything in the freezer.

A huge stock pot was filled with carcasses and water and boiled till the left on meat fell off the bones.
My mum then picked all the bones into a pile for the dogs and a pile for us.
The stock has been further reduced and can be used for a myriad of dishes.

It was a whole day's work, but I love the fact that we did this as a family, together.

Patricia xxx...x

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Babysitting Duties

I really am not so good at babysitting kids, so lucky that Bert and my mother are that much better at it.
They come to me for an ice cream and whatever time of day it is, I say yes. They finish one and they ask for another. Go ahead. Biscuit. Cheese. Salami. Sandwich with chocolate spread. Apple. Another ice cream. Of course.
(*)I need to puke. Sure.

The parents went on a day trip by themselves and left the kids in our very capable hands.
They go and feed the piggies with Bert. Let the chickens out in the morning and lock them up for the night. Play with Lego. Watch King Kong....
To be fair, the weather was atrocious and both Mathias and Sarah have been very good. They have been relaxed.
When there was (almost) no rain Bert and Sarah checked out the swollen stream and cascade.

They are so funny together.

Nothing can beat a good homemade Spaghetti Bolognese and Sarah loves spaghetti. Her most favorite meal in the world !

No way will she have her pasta cut into small pieces. No. Way.

A bit of TV time.

Then it was time for the Oink Oinks and chickens to go to bed and lastly the kids.

Patricia xxx...x

PS  (*) didn't happen. ;-)

Monday, August 01, 2016

July, 31st

That day is well and truly behind us.
It started with the unveiling of  "The Dress" 
My birthday twin, 5y/o niece Sarah was in awe.

With birthday presents out of the way her brother Mathias came to me with a card.
It said a few things about how he enjoys coming on holidays to Ireland and "would I please be his new godmother ?"  He hasn't seen his original godmother in years and he felt sad that his peers had godmothers and he didn't. Of course I accepted.  I had been informed about his intentions and came prepared.

I am obviously not an official godmother as I don't do the 'god' thing, but I'll take my new title very serious. I buy extravagant presents.
Mathias loves his Lego and he's now also into Star Wars.

It did take him all day to put his star ship together, but he's so proud and pleased.
He even helped his sister with her Cinderella Lego.

Erm ... she doesn't want to wear anything else than her ball gown.

In the early evening we had a small party for our birthday.

Swept off her feet by Prince Sigi.
Language really is no barrier between kids.

 Feeling a bit lethargic after the meal.
More Belles of the ball.

 Many thanks to my friend Jo-Anne for the birthday cake.

And Pammy for the biscuits.

Oh ! One of my birthday presents were 3 young chooks and a cockerel.

Patricia xxx...x
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