Monday, January 7, 2013

Blue skies, resolutions and good food

Someone told us that winter this year would be severe but short. I'm certainly prepared for that, though the cold part hasn't happened yet. In fact, I notice that our weather here is often warmer than it is back home in San Francisco. It has been a spectacular fall and early winter. The first day of 2013 found us standing outside next to the church, faces tilted upwards as we soaked up warm rays of sunshine that played hide and seek behind huge clouds.

When we lived in California winter was either to be dreaded or tolerated, although it didn't usually arrive until after Christmas and spring could be counted on by the end of February. I've learned here to really appreciate all the seasons, not least the winter. It has so many charms for me. Here is my top ten list of what I appreciate about wintertime:

  1. Tangerines, or as we call them here, clemintines. I seem to remember that we could get them all year in they follow a season. When they come in it's winter and when they go out it's spring.
  2. Log fires. The season begins with our little storeroom filled from floor to ceiling with logs. As spring approaches, the room is emptied. The day starts with a fire in the studio and ends with one in the chimney upstairs. If we have guests, or if the day is very cold, we make a fire in the large fireplace in the entry.
  3. The quiet. Especially when it snows, of course, it is so calm and silent.
  4. Time. When the business in in slowmo, we're free to travel, to visit with friends, to socialize and best of all to spend hours alone in the studio drawing, printing, puttering, dreaming.
  5.  Hot water bottle. We warm up the foot of our bed every night.
  6. Sunrises. In summer they happen far too early to enjoy. This time of year we can sleep in and still be able to watch the spectacular display of the sun coming up over the distant hills.
  7. Stars. In summer, the stars come out far too late to enjoy, but in wintertime, on a clear night, we can stargaze for hours before bedtime.
  8. Early to bed, late to rise. The natural rhythm at this time of year makes for long sleepy nights. And without clients to make dinners or breakfasts for, why not?
  9. Tree bones. I love to look at and draw naked trees.
  10. Warm meals. We love to cook and eat in winter, making stews and soups, warming up our tummies.

Speaking of which, we had a wonderful new year's eve celebration with a group of particularly delightful clients. The menu was:

kir served with rillettes (pork paté) on bread, garnished with a slice of pickle
carrot-ginger soup
roasted lamb and potatoes with ratatouille
home-baked rolls
a selection of cheeses
apple spice cake and homemade raisin rum ice cream

Other recent excellent meals have included fish and chips. Cabillaud (cod) is best for this. James made a gluten-free batter. It was absolutely delicious.

Rick has become a french fry expert.

Our wonderful friend Arnault sent us a bonito shaver and a big hunk of dried fish which is hard as a rock. One grates this up to make dashi, the stock that forms the basis of most Japanese soups.

We made miso soup

and a crisp fresh salad.


2013 has begun with the usual exercise more, study French and draw every day. In this last effort, I have created a new blog where I post a new drawing every day. You can find it here:

1 comment:

  1. Nancy ! Wonderful resolution is your new "everyday a draw"
    May be it will encourage me to maintain my "everyday some lines" which has been a failure until know !
    Also your drawings and paints will inspire me to try to improve my very poor technics !
    I think I could say not I like winter as you but I only bare it for most of reasons you evocated : fire place, long sleeping and others