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Archive for January, 2011

A lunch to remember

As I sit typing and looking out the window at the murky, wet day it is hard to believe that yesterday was bright, sunny and even dare I say warm.

Yesterday was Sunday and the day of our school lunch.  This has become a bit of a tradition as even though we had very few French/English lessons this last year, the friendship between all our near neighbours who are part of the group meant that we just had to have our annual get together.

Mrs. Powerful and myself were tasked with providing one of the starters and one of the puddings.  I had recently decided that we were tending to have the same meals over and over again.  Not that they are not wonderful, I do a mean Thai fish and my 6 hour lamb is to die for to mention but two.

So I had been nosing my way through the huge amount of recipe books we had collected over the years and came across a prawn cocktail  by Gary Rhodes.  So we got up early Sunday morning and I started de-shelling a kilo of fresh prawns.  Next I made the sauce for the dressing.  The sauce for a classic prawn cocktail is usually bought ready to use in a jar but I was determined to make my own.

So here we have the recipe.  You will need an iceberg lettuce, a cucumber, a kilo of cooked prawns, I was catering for 12 so allow for that.  A lemon, jar good mayonnaise, tomato ketchup, brandy/cognac.

So put 8 tablespoons of the mayo in a bowl and whisk in 3 tablespoons of tomato ketchup.  Add a tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon and 2 teaspoons of brandy.  Add the prawns and mix so they are all covered with the mixture.  Get a nice large platter and place the cucumber round the edge with the shredded lettuce  in the middle and the prawns on the lettuce.  Serve with lemon wedges.

Prawn cocktail

Meanwhile Mrs.Powerful was making a blackberry and apple crumble.  We always make it from a recipe in our good old Be-Ro book and it is brilliant.  This time we thought we would be different and used a recipe from the barefoot contessa using flaked almonds and oats.  It was nice but we still preferred our tried and trusted.  Elsewhere in the archives you will find a blog all about crumbles and how at a lunch I was berated and called Walter Mitty!!!

So just before one we set off to our neighbours house and for school lunch.  We were sat and started with nibbles and pommeau,  home-made using red wine, calvados and cider.

Then we served the prawn cocktail and Sue had brought huge platters of charcuterie which I ended up not photographing, sorry Sue.  There was ham and salami, salade and grated carrots it was awesome.

The main course was a chicken tajine, our hosts own chickens naturally served with couscous and carrots and courgettes.

Chicken tajine

At each course we had a different wine starting with an Alcace and then reds including a St. Emillion.

The cheese course was followed by the crumble and a Christmas pudding  both with custard.  The last wine was a sweet dessert wine.

Here are a few more photos,certainly a great time was had by all and amazingly despite all that wine, nearly 5 hours later no hangover, just goes to show.

There were mince pies too

Mince pies being eyed up

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Happy 2011

Our village has several events during the year, the fishing day and lamb roast I have covered quite comprehensively in previous scribblings here on my blog but there is also the lotto evening, the steak evening and the most recent one I attended which was the Mayors new year evening.

One of the reasons for mentioning this is because two of our English neighbours  were at the  function and berated me for not having written for a long time and also for not having a link in place for the new website now hosting  powerfulpierre.

I have to say I was  quite taken aback  and touched by their interest and so Sally and Ed see what you have done, Powerfulpierre is back in the saddle.  Thank you.

With regard to the link to the new website, currently there is a problem with the site and until the server gets back on line I will not include the link as all you will get is an error message.

Back to the Mayors new year do which is always well attended and is a way for the Mayor to give out any relevant information regarding all things civic and there is always a presentation or suchlike which this year was given by our neighbours daughter who had spent some time in Rumania

The final part of the evening is a slice or two of the gallette de roi, a puff pastry cake which in years gone by had a bean inside it and if you found it in your piece made you king or queen and a crown was worn by the lucky person finding the bean.  The bean has now been replaced by a small figurine made of some kind of porcelain and is more likely to be a ninja turtle or a cartoon cat.  Rumour has it that it was changed because if you did not want the embarrassment of being royalty you could swallow the bean and nobody would know.

Of course the crown still exists made of card and it is expected to be worn if you are the winner.  As always with French get togethers the wine flowed and at the end a choice of infusions or coffee was offered and the mayor poured his home made calvados into our eager cups and glasses.  I have to say it was the best I have tasted for a very long time.  It had a smell of fresh green apples but an oakiness in the flavour and was not fierce like some calvados are.  Apparently it was old but I did not get a date.

So a new year begins and next up is a party on Sunday for which I will try very hard to remember the camera and then the lotto or bingo night this Saturday.

I remember the first time we went, Mrs Powerful decided it would be a good way to learn my French numbers so I was going despite my protestations.  I am not a bingo fan, but  it was our first year and Mrs Powerful went on about meeting our new neighbours and how we should support events etc.  So we went and Mrs.Powerful started winning everything, nothing big or expensive but all the little things like a box of groceries or a set of bowls.  Everytime a number was called for the little sub games, everyone with that number had to stand up and everytime she got up she would get the next number and so on until she was the last one standing, time and again.  The room was getting quieter and I was sure there was whisperings about new people winning everything.  I honestly though there might be a lynching party at one point!

Of course as soon as the decent prizes appeared, the video camera or the big screen telly, she got nothing for which I was extremely grateful.

I do not think we have won anything since in the last 7 years, I will not feel too bad if our luck changes next Saturday.

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