11 September 2012

Summer winding down

My seventh anniversary of writing this blog is approaching.  And our our tenth summer in Saint-Aignan is wrapping up, with "our" tenth hunting season starting soon. Not only that, but today is supposed to be our first rainy day in weeks and weeks.

Crystal clear skies...

We'll see if it really rains. We've been having what I call Northern California-type weather since late July — deep blue skies, some very hot afternoons but mostly just pleasant conditions with very little wind, and almost chilly mornings. Some clouds and dampness would be welcome today.

...and sunsets like this

I've been taking hundreds of pictures of grapes and grape leaves in the vineyard on recent walks. I don't know what to do with them all. Just posting a string of pictures isn't very interesting, I guess, but don't be surprised if I soon do so. The grapes this year are much nicer-looking than we ever expected them to be back in the damp days of June and July.

Late summer in the Renaudière vineyard... Gamay?

We've been cooking and eating so many tomatoes, and the vines are still covered in them. This morning will probably be a good time to pick some more, so that the predicted rain can't damage the ripest ones. The success of the tomato crop this year just goes to show you that at no point can you ever predict how a garden will do over the course of the whole growing season.

Is there such a thing as too many stuffed tomatoes?

I cooked another batch of stuffed tomatoes the other day. This time, I made a stuffing of 600 grams of ground chicken thigh meat and 200 grams of ground fresh pork. And I diced up 150 grams of Cantal cheese (Cheddar or Jack would also be good) very finely and added it to the stuffing too, along with chopped onion and fennel seeds. I like the way Cantal melts, all smooth and runny. It was enough for eight or ten big tomatoes


  1. I've made that stuffed tomato recipe you posted a week or so ago twice now. I really like the touch of fennel. Simon just grunts about the aniseed flavour.

  2. My guess for the grape variety would be pinot noir.

  3. Poor Simon.

    I don't know about the grape, I thought it was a parcel of Gamay. It's right next to our house. I guess the Domaine de la Renaudie could grow some Pinot Noir, but if they do it all goes into sparkling wines.

  4. I'm so pleased for you to have ended up with a really successful tomato crop :)) All of the photos are beauties, too, by the way.


  5. I've enjoyed all your photos today. I don't know if I've ever seen a plane attached to it's jet stream like this before and the sky is so very blue!
    I never tire of grape photos- that leaf is like a painting. There's a special quality to the light this time of year and these last days of summer will soon be gone.

  6. I don't really know about the grape - just guessing for practice. It's a black art, IDing them from the leaves.


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