Life in the Loire after lock-down. 25th May. Day 15 of déconfinement.

Another week begins and I start the day by making a batch of raison scones. Just four ingredients – flour, cream, lemonade and raisins. How easy is that?

And is it actually possible to make a decent scone like that? Well, they look pretty good. Not quite the rise you’d get using the traditional method but not bad.

It was boredom baking if I’m honest and the two of us are never going to get through the 16 scones I made. I dropped eight of them round to Louisa.

I had one for breakfast with a layer of salty butter and a cup of coffee.

Not much to report today. Louisa is waiting for the labels for the rosé wine to arrive before we launch the Mondomaine Guided Tasting Case. Tomorrow we’re getting together to take some photos of us together and maybe do a short video up in the vineyards above the house.

Pesto’s friend Bigi from across the road has had kittens! She’s barely a year old herself. Way too young to be a Mum. Nigel remarked only about a week ago that we hadn’t seen her around very much and then when we did see her she looked very round. Her owners (our neighbours opposite) said they were going to have her sterilised. Too late. I’m wondering what will happen to the little ones.

At the supermarket this morning the lady on the check-out handed me a little gift as I paid. A tiny bottle of branded hand sanitizer. Yipee! I was delighted. If you had asked me this time last year if that would have been a welcome ‘gift’ I would have laughed. How things have changed eh? I also bought a small bottle at the pharmacy this afternoon.

We’re conscious that when things start to move again and tourism slowly revs up again (she says desperately), we’ll need to have strict hygiene measures in place ourselves. Working with very small numbers is a bonus (I hope) and much of what we do is outside in the fresh air.

For dinner this evening I prepared a really fresh, low calorie, tasty salad using chicken and chickpeas with lemon and mint. I griddled two chicken breasts but you could use the leftovers from a roast quite easily.

I put the finely grated rind and juice of a lemon into a bowl, added one tablespoon of olive oil, a little salt and 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh mint. Into that I put a tin of drained chickpeas which I left to marinate for a while.

I removed about 3 tablespoons of the chickpeas along with a little of the marinade and blizted them using the handheld blender adding a little more olive oil and a tablespoon of water. Just enough to loosen them and create a creamy houmous style dressing that I then added back into the remaining chickpeas.

To plate up. A generous amount of mesclun (mixed baby salad leaves but you could use rocket or any other salad you have to hand), a few tablespoons of the chickpeas and their creamy dressing, a griddled chicken breast cooked, left to rest and served at room temperature. A sprig of fresh mint to garnish.

And to serve alongside, a bowl of Greek yoghurt with cubes of cucumber, a little crushed garlic and sea salt.

No wine tonight.