Thursday, 22 February 2018

More from the French Alps – Days 116 to 127

Afternoon sun on the Col du Corbier
One week, and judging by the car park, most of the UK half term has been and gone. The car park is still full though but now of French number plates. The weather has been variable, clear blue, rain, cloud and now cold, and getting colder! 

We did go out on the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of half term, before the rain, and it wasn't too bad, though we did make the effort and drive round to some of the other outlying areas which seemed worthwhile. We did Brian's nemesis freeride run a second time, so that's it now, I expect no more bleating. 

Brian tossing a pancake on Shrove Tuesday (Mardi Gras)
Eating last week was traditional English, pancakes for Shrove Tuesday, with either lemon and sugar, or homemade butterscotch sauce and banana (what to do with half a jar of butterscotch sauce?) Then steak and dauphinois (a nod to the French) potatoes for Valentine's Day. Cooking does become an enjoyable part of life here, with the challenge of trying to cook a varied set of meals, on a reasonable budget from only one supermarket, so no competition, catering to the French palette, except for the 'British ' shelf which you have to walk past with your eyes shut. Mmm Cadbury creme egg, a pound? I don't think so! The supermarket is not the best, it has to be said, no tinned tomatoes, or basic ordinary rice, for three weeks? There also seems to be a shortage of 'duck in a tin' or confit of duck, we haven't seen a tin yet, so don't get too excited Denise! 

Its been cold this week and forecast to be even colder next. Here's an attempt at art with an icicle outside our apartment
A band playing at Chapelle d'Abondance
I do, wherever we are, try and cook 'local' though this can mean we are ruined, the avocados, mole (as in seasoning pastes, not small furry animals) and tortillas in Mexico are never to be repeated. So when the bourguignon beef was on offer, that was the first thing on the menu, though I couldn't bourguignon 2kg of beef so I did make a rendang with some of it, using coconut from the tin of Quality Street. Tartiflette is another firm favourite, a traditional potato dish with lardons and onion, baked with Reblochon cheese to go all gooey and yummy. Traditional since the '80's when it was invented by the Reblochon marketing board anyway! 

I do have to branch out occasionally though, two weeks ago we had a fabulous chicken biryani, with a spice mix brought from the Indian supermarket in Hall Green, and a vegetable curry, that was almost too hot, even for himself! This weeks adventure was homemade falafel with hummus from scratch and salads in a wrap. I always worry that there will be something 'missing' in a veggie meal, but we both thoroughly enjoyed it. Just as well as it did two meals, and there is still half a pack of dried chick peas to go! Next week will probably be another fish extravaganza, although there is a wet fish counter in the supermarket it is all very expensive and always looks, and smells slightly sorry for itself so frozen fish it is. The problem with that is we have an icebox, with a note on it saying "do not keep frozen food in this compartment "! (So what do you keep in it?) But that means a packet of fish has to be eaten on three consecutive nights, last time it was breaded fish and chips, fish chowder and fish and chorizo with butter beans. Three different meals, worked well I thought. 

Our local resort of St Jean d'Aulps and the peak of Roc d'Enfer behind
We don't have many puddings, though pineapple and butterscotch crumble, with custard was last weeks offering, but we do have cake every day. When we came on the first ski season B said he'd need cake 'obviously' as you get when in a chalet for a week, so I told him he'd better learn to bake! So he did, though he's almost got to the stage of the baking being more enjoyable than the eating. 

A rescue dog and trainer practising in the snow
So which came first? The eating or the exercise? This week the exercise has been a little more varied, we went snowshoeing with Cassie and Judith (Si's mum) on Monday which was interesting though the children in the group did slow us down a bit which was a shame. Tuesday we headed off in the van with Cassie, Si and Judith and Gabby and Haig to Chapelle Abondance, a first for all of them, but a little quieter and less frenetic for the novice skier Judith. 

Jackie, Cassie and Judith with snow shoes
Setting off in the Col du Corbier
Yesterday we had a relatively big day out, but it was cold. We started off ok but very soon found that the forecast cloud was correct, but it was low, so more accurately was fog! An interesting black run was fortunately well pisted as we couldn't see from one marker pole to the next, so that's less than 100m. It gets to the stage when it is so disorienting you don't know if you are stationary or moving, which way is down and balance really becomes an issue. We've just been to an activity open day at the Col du Corbier (where we went snowshoeing) as they are trying to present themselves as somewhere to go, since people bought apartments at what at the time was a small ski resort, only for all the lifts to be taken out, leaving them with a half hour journey in either direction to go skiing! (Depressing or what?) We hit it at lunchtime, so we had a snack of cheese and cold meat but saw no sign of the activities, except for some very small ponies, also having lunch. Hopefully there will be some more snow before next week when they repeat the activities and we'll be able to give ski jouring (being towed on skis behind a horse?) or electric fat tyre bikes (?) a go. 
Cassie, Judith and Jackie snow shoeing in the afternoon sun
Home made tea and biscuit stop on our guided walk. Our guide is on the right at the back

Si, Cassie and Jackie at Chapelle d'Abondance ski resort

Scenes in the hills around Col du Corbier

Jackie stroking one of the ponies providing childrens pony rides at the Col du Corbier


1 comment:

  1. Some of the food sounds very yummy. Please will you make falafel and houmous when you come to ours next? Do the steak and posh spuds for Ian . Xxxx
    We think you should come home now. Monty is missing you!
    Two months to go till we see you! Xxxxx