Candes Saint-Martin, my favourite spot in La Touraine.

Friday, 3 January 2014

Time to get on ... with daily life!

After almost two full weeks at home (since Dec. 24th), it’s time to start preparing the return to normal daily life. Except for a day on teleworking on Dec. 30rd. I’ve done a lot of cooking and eating, and never got to do half of the things I had planned so carefully. Well, that’s life, I guess.

On Monday, I will be returning to the office to settle down in my new routine of three days of getting up early in order to avoid the traffic jams, one day of teleworking and a three-day weekend. Not too bad a prospect. This time of year, I usually start planning my Loire Valley trip. This year may be different though, as I don’t want to plan too much in advance, due to my mother’s increasing age and poor mobility. Yesterday was the first time since the end of April that she actually got out to walk over to her cousin’s who lives some 100 metres up the road. She used her walking aid, of course, and I stayed close by her side to make sure she didn’t trip over some loose or dodgy pavement.

We spent a pleasant afternoon with our family, enjoying a bottle of Cava. Personally I think Cava is one of the most overrated ‘bubbles’ in the world, but it is very popular in Belgium, thanks to some extensive and clever marketing and pricing by the Spanish wine trade organizations. French Loire Valley sparkling wines are hard to find here, which is a shame I think.

After this long introduction it’s only a small step from ‘sparkling’ to ‘still’. Because after indulging in this:

'Coquelets à l'estragon' before they went into the oven.
No photo of the finished dish, although I prepared these myself.

And this …

Our dessert on Jan. 1st 2014: several layers of caramelized white chocolate
and apricot and passion fruit jelly.

I think it is time for a nice ‘detox’ cure, including this …

Still spring water from the Fiji islands and Iceland.

This reminds me of a former colleague of mine, called Gerard, with whom I used to work between 1991 and 1996. Although he was a real ‘bon-vivant’, he didn’t touch a drop of alcohol (wine, beer, bubbles … you name it) during the whole month of January. A wise decision, not only healthy-wise, but also because there are a lot of alcohol checks on the roads these days. In Belgium, we still have a 0.5 pro-mille tolerance, but a lot of people are pushing the zero-tolerance policy like they have in Scandinavian countries. 

But back to the still water in the photo. I’ve discovered these two new brands in our local supermarket and couldn’t resist buying them. The bottles look good and the text on the label sounds promising. Check in later to see whether they lived to their promise.


Bob said...

i'm like you, i didn't get everything done over the holidays as i so carefully planned. i did a lot of eating and snacking (which really added the calories) and some exercise. i did add a couple pounds but starting yesterday, i have been watching the calorie intake. after seeing your cake, i might need a piece of chocolate to detox!!!!

chm said...

Wow! That dessert is something else. I wish i could be a little mouse and have a taste of it! Best wishes.

Jean said...

Although it sometimes seems strange to have a holiday in the middle of winter, it's nice to have a long rest.
I'm glad your mum managed to walk to her cousin's - a change of scenery is always good.

VirginiaC said...

I love the Fiji Artesian water...I hope you like it too.
As for the 2014 had me drooling at the caramelised white chocolate....yummy.

Nadege said...

The dessert looks absolutely sublime! Hopefully your mother will be able to gain some strength if she walks more and more. Not high in mineral contents, these waters taste pretty good to me.

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

Ageing parents always have to come first when planning holidays. We have Nigel's 92 year old dad in the UK and you never know what may happen next. Hope you manage to get to the Loire when Sue and Leon are there so we can all have a big party :-))

ladybird said...

Bob, I wouldn't call chocolate a form of detox, although it is said that black chocolate is very good for you.

Chm, Now I know who's responsible for the tiny teeth marks on the cake... :)

Jean, The short outing - if I may call it that - did my mother a lot of good, despite the bad weather. It certainly has lifted her spirits.

Virginia, Time to wash away the caramelized white chocolate with some Fiji water. I'm pretty sure I'm going to like it.

Nadege, My mother could really do with some exercise. Although she's still a busy bee and I'm sometimes surprised, not to say appalled, by the things she's still doing at her age, she needs to get out more ... even for a short walk.

Diane, I hope so too. If possible, I don't want to miss this opportunity to meet Leon and Sue, and it would certainly be nice to see you and Nigel again.