Tag Archives: autumn

The Vigneron at work

27 Oct
squeeze those babies

squeeze those babies

That’s it.  The grapes are all in and the Vigneron is content.  No more 24/7 reading of satellite images and predicted weather patterns on numerous websites, he can relax and is relieved that this region has been pretty bloody lucky with its weather.

The grapes on the vines looked great and ripened slowly resulting in fruit with a lower baume and high maturity.  So, enfin, 2013 looks like a good year!  The man is happy.

Autumn vines, La Liviniere

Autumn vines, La Liviniere

Autumn vines 2

I came down from the hill rather early a couple of mornings ago and had a peek at what was going on in the cellar.  I love the smell in there.  Takes me back to when we met.  OK squeaky violins time – yes, harvest time is special for me, it was during a harvest, all those years ago, that the V and I met.  I was in my hometown, Adelaide and he was ‘the Frenchie’, with little English (come on, admit it), clad in King Gee work gear, a divine Roman nose, working long vintage hours for a winemaker friend – that swept me off my feet.

Fast forward a decade or more, and I am still smitten when I smell the tanks of fermenting grapes in the cellar (oh to bottle this in a jar, a quick whiff and happy married couple all over again…).

‘Les Vendanges’ is a dynamic time and as I’ve said many times before, the village comes alive when the grapes are coming in.  A whole year’s work is reaping its rewards and the old tractors are out on every village road, chugging in full force with trailers laden with glistening grapes.  Even our baby was born on the first day of an Aussie harvest…

But let me get back to where I started.  I was in the village early one morning this week and called in on the V to see what was going on in his cellar.  The red grapes are all resting in their tanks and every couple of days they’re  ‘pumping-over‘.  After a month of this, they will put it all through the press.  One more step towards a delightful, drinkable juice.

Here’s some images for you from that morning, in and out of the cellar…

hq bn

ben at work

Benji in the cellar

Benji and Yves

grenache

grenache!

juicy Grenache

nose

gren a gren bthe Grenache resting in wooden 'tank'

the Grenache resting in wooden ‘tank’

And over the road…

the neighbours opposite

the neighbours opposite, Domaine Arnaud

yves 2

…another neighbour, another Yves – of Chateau Faiteau, the cousin of Domaine Arnaud…(in a village, it’s all family)

Eloise

Eloise, downtown La Liviniere

downtown La Liviniere

Eloise and Fanny

Eloise and Fanny

nap

heart door

hearts

laundry wall

aut col

…and the ride back up the hill to home

autumn col 1

orange

8 Nov
Autumn in La Liviniere

Autumn colour in La Liviniere

It’s here!?!!

I must admit I often feel flat at this time of year, well for the first few weeks anyway – no more bare legs and t-shirts, no more swimming outdoors, cold dashes out of the shower…  But finally I somehow get into the swing of it and embrace the warm fires inside, the hearty meals and walks in the brisk air.  And after so many years of braving the cold INDOORS when I rented in Australia, I am loving and embracing the central heating everywhere.

Autumn in the Minervois

orange plane trees

I must admit I took this shot a while back, but I still love it

Autumn plane trees

Plane trees along the Canal du Midi

Yes, Autumn has arrived but thankfully with all its magical colour.  It’s making me think ORANGE!

kids marvelling at the famous 'Baked Bean'  parked on a village street...the lady owner steps in, la proprietaire de la voiture,  ...Rrrowrrrr

kids marvelling at the famous ‘Baked Bean’ parked on a village street
…the lady owner steps in, la proprietaire de la voiture, …Rrrowrrrr!

I’m loving this colour right now and thought I’d put together a few of my favourite ‘orange’ pictures…  And f you’ve wandered around this blog already, you might have picked up on the fact that I do have a little thing for collages.  I’m pathetic, once I like something, I can’t stop! (my lovely girlfriends had diagnosed me at the age of 14 with O.C.D).

So hulahup, Barbatruc, here’s another one for you.

Orange collage

Or-ange Co-llage

still time left for Winter food!

22 Feb

braised baby cabbage

Here I am, sat at the computer, trusty old ugg boots on my cold feet (can’t knock the Aussie out of this girl – thanks Mum for retrieving them out of the bin in Oz) and a roaring fire in the potbelly to my left.  Nearly all the vines in the area have now been pruned,  the days still mostly crisp amd summer seems an eternity ago!   It’s hard to imagine the abundant green leaves and plump fruits of the summer vines now that they’re bald and trimmed… BUT the days are longer and the blossom’s bright petals around the landscape signal Spring approaching.  Before too long the leaves will be sprouting all over again!  So now is the time to make the most of what’s left of the cold and enjoy some winter meals!

uggies

classy

I have a trusty mother-in-law who provides me with ideas for new dishes (is she worried her only son won’t be eating well enough?!), and the first time I cooked this was last Autumn (ahh, the beautiful Minervois Autumn! – for a glimpse, see below).

spectacular Autumn in the Minervois

spectacular Autumn in the Minervois

This recipe is perfect for the Autumn/ Winter chill!  It’s a braised cabbage dish, that you leave simmering slowly on the stove for a few hours.  I bought the baby cabbages at our local Tuesday market from Valerie, an organic producer whose beautiful garden we visited a few months ago.  It’s a luxury having access to such amazing produce. Her stall is one of my regular stops on Tuesday market day as her produce is so fresh and delicious – and after seeing her garden I’m in awe of how much hard work goes into filling her baskets of food each week.   And no matter how frosty the market mornings get at this time of year, Valerie always has a huge smile and happy to share recipes.  Merci Valerie!  p.s.  her home-made jams are worth trying too – especially the Muscat Jelly which is an incredibly good partner to aged ‘fromage de brebis’ (ewe’s milk cheese)

Here’s how I make the VERY SIMPLE braised cabbage:

+ Cut cabbage up into quarters (or halves if small) and steam for about 15 mins.  Remove. ( this step is quite important if you suffer unwanted gaseous situations!)

+ In a heavy frypan or cast iron cooking pot, fry a couple of thinly sliced onions until golden in sunflower oil.

+ Add about 250g of chunky ‘lardons’ pieces (bacon) and fry together until browned.

+ Place cabbage pieces on top and cover with lid and cook on very low heat for about 2 hours.

Serve this on its own for a simple lunch dish, or with pan-fried crumbed veal.  If you want something lighter than cabbage, use ‘endives’ instead.  I think we call these ‘witlof’ in Australia?  No need to parboil!

Whether you’re eating this on its own or with an accompanying meat, this tastes delightful when paired with a crisp, dry white.  We often serve this with Benjamin’s Picpoul de Pinet 2009… which we actually enjoyed with friends last night!

whoops, it's all eaten!

oops it's gone

...knew I should have taken the photo earlier

 

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