A quick trip back to the UK and on our return we’re topped up with the gastronomic spoils of international travel. All the important stuff like Yorkshire tea, assorted bulk spices cloves, cinnamon, cardamon, turmeric so necessary for curries and erm, brewing! The comedic weight restrictions which are sometimes imposed by Ryanair (and often time completely ignored) meant that our pockets were stuffed with goodies when we flew back home and I can attest that a gilet can quite comfortably hold two 700g blocks of extra mature cheddar and a selection of crumbly tart Wensleydale and Cheshire for good measure! Interestingly the first flight I’ve ever been on where GSM mobile phones where allowed to be used officially. Strangely the aircraft didn’t plunge from the skies. Fancy that.
Good to spend time with our family and deliver a load of presents and pick up a few goodies (pork scratchings!) to bring back too.
My xmas porter has been bottle conditioning for ten days now and for good measure I set off a tenaciously spiced cider to ferment on the old lees. It’s bubbling away in the corner as I write. One more beer related post is in the wings for boxing day when I’ll report back on the beer of the year.
Tootling off around the shops today and they’re stocked up with Christmas goodies. Geese are in the shops at last and it’s the one time of year when you can buy them… if you’ve got deep pockets. Our pair would have cost > €100 to buy at todays prices in the shops so the economics of raising them is very rewarding. The shops are also full of Chapons. Castrated male birds are something I don’t think I’ve ever seen on sale in the UK but are a firm favourite here at xmas time. They’re expensive at €12/Kg but look magnificent in the stores.. something I may consider having a go at next year if I can pluck up the courage – the castration is not without some small risk to the bird but after his cacahuettes are gone he no longer has to worry about fighting, chasing ladies or having sex… just eating! We’ve two more cockerels to bid adieu to between Christmas and New Year so that will round out the poultry raising year nicely. In just a few short weeks we’ll be planning hatching some more!
Speaking of le shopping, things which all year round are normally very reasonably priced seem to have shot up with huitres and crevettes doubling in price since last week. Normal service will resume in a fortnight no doubt.
I’d set myself a little personal challenge of trying to take a photo-a-day for December and it’s been fun so far, managed to turn in some of the best images of the year as a result. I’ll revisit photos early next year but for now, here’s a slideshow of my Advent 2009 set from flickr.
That’s it for now. I’ve got a slice of cake to polish off – much better to eat these things than take photos of them! Chestnuts are roasting on the fire… we’ve a never ending supply of eggs of course so I’ll be making a batch of egg nog later on and then we’re bunkering down for a good week or so for our very own French xmas. Compliments of the season to you all.