Life in the Loire on lock-down. Sunday 22nd March. Day eight.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Personally, I’m always in Mother’s Day limbo. A complete nightmare for my children. Do we celebrate it on English Mother’s Day (which is not Mother’s Day in France) or do we celebrate it on French Mother’s Day (which is in late June)?

For once I managed to find my Mum an appropriate card and get it in the post before all these shenanegans started. The lady at the checkout desk was surprised I was buying the card as she had only just put them out on the rack and told me she thought she’d put them out way too early. Aha! That’s where she was wrong. She wasn’t banking upon an English person buying a card for English Mother’s Day 2 months earlier!

I’m sure you’ve been waiting to hear with baited breath about the level of damage to my neighbour’s wall after the tractor kerfuffle yesterday morning.

I went out on a postal mission and on my way past tried to assess the damage discreetly. Without appearing too obvious I walked very slowly past their wall, stopping to ‘admire’ the irises pushing from their border.

I couldn’t see any damage at all! I have to admit to being a little disappointed. What was all the fuss about? So much huffing and puffing and tutting. La vie continues it would seem.

I baked a second sourdough loaf this morning. Better in some ways and not as good in others. I got the level of salt bang on this time which made a huge difference to the flavour, but, the rise wasn’t as good so it was a bit dense. Toasted with some nice salted butter and a couple of poached eggs, it made a tasty brunch.

Another cancellation today for a group of 12 right at the end of May. I feel terrible not giving back deposits. We’re holding them against a change of date within a year and just hope that cancelled tours can be rescheduled when this is all over.

Weather reports are coming in this afternoon predicting temperatures are likely to dip below zero for several nights this coming week. Growers will be on tenterhooks as vines are really advanced again this year. As if they don’t have enough problems to deal with at the moment. We’re looking at minus 3 this Wednesday morning in the early hours which could be catastrophic.

Nigel was in the kitchen this evening and it was really delicious. he wasn’t happy with the presentation of the dish. Minor detail, it really was good.

Oven baked cod with pea purée, pan fried mushrooms and asparagus

He sweated half an onion until soft, added some frozen peas and fish stock and gently simmered for a while. He then blitzed this to a purée. We had a few large flat mushrooms in the fridge so he pan fried them until golden. He steamed some green asparagus, put a piece of cod per person in the oven with a little white wine and he popped the asparagus in for the last few minutes of cooking to warm through.

Lovely flavours. The sweetness of the pea purée balanced by the earthy fried mushrooms. The flaky cod and delicate asparagus. It was delicious.

We served Jean François Merieau’s Boa Moa alongside. This wine is made from the Sauvignon Rose grape, a colour mutation of Sauvignon Blanc. It’s more tropical in character than your classic Sauvignon. It matched well with the asparagus but on reflection maybe a Chenin with just a teensy bit of residual would have been a better match. Where’s Peter Hahn when you need him?