Winter Greens, Snow and Blue Eggs

P7340830The weather gods have thrown everything at us this winter and this week we had the tiniest sprinkling of snow. On Tuesday morning the garden and the rooftops looked as if someone had dusted them with icing sugar, and just for an hour everywhere appeared to be picture-postcard perfect. Unlike much of France which is blanketed in snow our little flurry of charm didn’t last long and has become but a fleeting memory captured on camera. In the meantime the cold has continued, our lemon trees are wrapped in thermal blankets, and the fire is burning constantly.

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Despite an abundance of vibrant yellow from the mimosa in flower everywhere we go

IMG_6348 and roadside stands selling giant bunches which I can never resist for a couple of euros

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we mustn’t be fooled for it really is still winter. For so long I’ve called it Freezing February, for it’s that month when it seems as if winter will never end, and its’s often the harshest of them all. It’s a time when our bodies yearn for hearty comforting dishes, for when everyone is coughing and sneezing is the time we desperately need to stock up on our vegetables to keep us healthy. Greens are a great way to go, but they don’t have to be boring; I find preparing them in the evening with a glass of wine to hand always helps the artistic process.

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My favourite trio are spinach, kale and swiss chard, all packed with nutrients. But as I have often mentioned, there is no guarantee that what I want will be available at the market or in the greengrocers when I want it; this has come to be one of the great pleasures about living in France – buying only what is fresh, local and in season. I’ll throw in bok choy and watercress if I find it, whatever is on offer finds its way into my basket and then between Roddy and I we will make something that hopefully everyone will like!

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One of our daughter’s, Hetty, loves to start off her day with a perfectly poached egg sitting on top of her favourite toasted bread, and by adding a generous helping of wilted spinach on the side it becomes a breakfast fit for a princess. If (like me) you are not an egg person at dawn, have it for lunch instead. I love it best during the middle of the day, particularly when the children are at school and it is just Roddy and I having lunch.

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Whilst on the subject of eggs, I have to share our REALLY exciting news!

Our chickens mostly stopped laying during the latter half of December and January which is quite normal, but this month they have picked up and then on Tuesday, the same day as the snow, I went to the coop as usual in the evening to collect the eggs and secure the doors, making sure everyone was safe and warm for the night. I reached into the first nesting box and retrieved a couple of eggs. On the left hand side I spotted another couple and reached in to pick them up, and then I found myself squealing with delight, earning myself some startled looks from the now roosting ladies. One of the eggs was perfectly blue, and I had finally realised my dream. One of our Aracauna hens we bought back November had laid her first egg and it was just as we hoped, a perfect blue specimen. I can’t stop grinning. It’s hard to explain exactly why this is such a big deal for us, but just trust me it is. I have wanted blue eggs since I first became aware of their existence four years ago, but I have had to wait as hens which lay blue eggs are not common in this part of France. It’s taken me all this time to find the girls, purchase a pair and finally hold our prize possession!

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I have read that this breed of chicken does not like the cold very much so I am surprised she chose the chilliest day of the year to lay her first egg. She is obviously braver than the local folk for they were definitely staying warm indoors. I found the proof of that when I happened to be in Rochefort yesterday afternoon. With the ice skating rink dismantled and gone for another year, the Place Colbert has now been planted with the first of the season’s spring flowers, but despite these it looked more wintry than ever.

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Heavy dark skies, which I secretly hoped held more snow, sat menacingly overhead; the only souls to be seen didn’t dally, scurrying to their destination as quickly as they could.IMG_6353

 

The cafés were empty, although I did spot one lone person in a far corner. Normally there is outdoor life year round, but not yesterday.

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On my way home I thought more about green food. Kale is another of my favourites and I often combine it with spinach in a smoothie. I simply put a handful of each in a blender, add a chopped apple and a banana for a little sweetness, and then half a cup of water. I also always add half an inch of chopped fresh ginger and several cubes of ice (somehow it tastes better when it is chilled!). Whizz it all up and serve in a tall glass. When I make it just for myself I frequently include a teaspoon of hemp powder, the children don’t like the taste of it that much and as I am so thrilled that they actually like green smoothies I am more than happy to omit the hemp when they want to join me.

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Another way I found to encourage the children to enjoy kale is by making homemade kale chips. Simply tearing up leaves (not the spines) and placing them on a baking tray drizzled with olive oil. Grind a generous sprinkling of salt on top of the leaves and bake in a preheated oven at 350F/180C for about 15 minutes. These are also delicious served in salads.

But hang on a minute, perhaps it’s time for kale to move over and let Swiss Chard into the limelight, another leafy green vegetable packed with antioxidants and vitamins. I actually find it has a slightly milder flavour than kale, it is delicious simply sautéed and seasoned with salt and pepper but it can also be eaten raw. The leaves make fabulous wraps and hold their shape well. Both are wonderful last minute additions to winter soups, omelettes and frittatas.

P7340885A gratin makes a wonderfully easy side-dish or a midweek lunch, and it’s something else we do often. You can use, kale, spinach or swiss chard and improvise all you want. My simple recipe includes:

 

1 onion finely chopped
a clove of garlic finely chopped
a handful of chopped bacon
a cup of grated cheese
a cup of breadcrumbs
Half a cup of cream
Parsley, butter, olive oil and seasoning

Simply fry the bacon in a little olive oil until it is crispy, then add the onion and garlic and sauté until the onion is soft.
Add half a cup of cream, some chopped parsley and season well.
Place the green leaves in an ovenproof dish, (a cast iron one is ideal, but glass works just as well) and pour over the cream sauce.
Sprinkle over the grated cheese and breadcrumbs and top with a few dots of butter.
Bake in a medium oven 180C/350F for about 20 minutes and enjoy!

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Whilst we are on the subject of green, don’t forget the world’s most commonly eaten herb, parsley. It is an excellent source of Vitamins K and C and is also packed with antioxidants; rather than just using it as a garnish I often pick a handful and eat it straight from the garden, I love the peppery taste.

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So if you are feeling tired and a little in need of a pick me up, try reaching for the greens, I am a firm believer in eating as many as possible, they really do help us perhaps more than we realise.

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But let’s not ruin all the fun; if this has been just a bit too green for you and if you or your children or grandchildren really want a sweet snack then try one of my favourite go-to treats for the kids – homemade salted caramel sauce and plenty of chopped up apples to dip into it. It is quick, super easy and utterly delicious. Salted caramel, caramel salé, is enormously popular here in the Charente Maritime, and there are local artisans producing their own ice-creams and caramels all along the coast. It is the salty and sweet combination that makes it so hard to resist.

It is pure indulgence, it contains nothing but cream, butter and sugar, but oh it is so worth it!

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So all you have to do is put all of the following into a heavy based saucepan

175g soft brown sugar
300ml cream, the thicker the better
50g butter
1/2teaspoon salt

Stir continuously over a gentle heat until the sugar dissolves. Then turn up the heat and boil for 3 – 4 minutes.

Then take off the heat and let it cool slightly before pouring into a jug or a small jar. Once completely cold you can keep it in the fridge for two or three days, although ours never lasts that long!

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Finally, we thought as it is Freezing February, you might all be in need of a little pick me up. We are having a special ART SALE in the Etsy shop this coming Sunday. It will mostly be original pieces, there will be one or two unusual finds and also some vintage French fashion magazines from the 1950’s and 1960’s – the covers of these look fantastic when they’re framed. The one thing that everyone asks about is the shipping and so to make this a “sale” we will be offering free shipping worldwide during the sale on Sunday which will run for 24 hours from 2.30pm (14h30) French time. Our Freezing February gift to you. I will remind you all at the weekend, but this is just a quick heads up!

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116 thoughts on “Winter Greens, Snow and Blue Eggs

  • I want to be the first to jump right in and get ha k you for so much inspiration, we all know we should eat more greens but sometimes it’s easier said than done, but I am going to make an effort, starting with the gratin and then a smoothie every day, i feel healthier already just thinking about it😀

    • I know sometimes it is a struggle, we know what we should do, but green can be unappetising when it is just steamed and that’s all, fine once in a while but every day, I am not so sure. That is why I like to mix it all up with some smoothies and frittatas and gratins, hopefully you can find something you love. xx

  • I’m shocked that you’ve had snow too, Susie. Also been absolutely freezing here in England, but at least fairly sunny. Wrap up warm. Regards to Roddy and and family and see you in 8 months xx

    • It was the tiniest amount Neil and all gone by 11am! Although then we had another quite heavy snowfall early afternoon but it only lasted for five minutes, not long enough to do anything except for Evie to jump about wondering what on earth was falling from the sky, the first time she had ever seen snow! Stay warm too, I gather it is going to get warmer by the weekend for you. Everyone sends big hugs and lots of love, roll on the summer xxx

    • Nor here in Spain but the government says we don’t need winter fuel allowance because it is warm here and since they are always so right in a strong and stable way, we must be warm – I just wish they would tell the weather. To be fair, most of the snow has now gone but there is still a little in the shadier parts.

  • Being a vegetarian I completely concur with all of this, whilst all around me get sick I manage to keep those winter sniffles at bay with a healthy diet. Good post as always filled with much common sense.

    • The more I read about diet the more I am convinced that it is the key to so much, I have always known this but now I am discovering new foods and new ways of eating. It is fascinating. xx

    • Thanks so much, and yes there was another one this evening, number two, you have no idea how exciting this is! I am sure I will bore everyone rigid by the end of the summer with our blue eggs! xx

  • Thanks for a great post reminding me to eat my greens. The recipes look good. We were so excited to get snow overin Aulnay and headed out to take snaps (I’ll email you some). It’s all gone again now, as if it was just a dream…

    • Loved the photos, I will email you back tomorrow, I was just a tad jealous! Just 20 minutes inland certainly got a fair bit more snow than we did, but whilst we sat here moaning, I also reminded everyone that most of the time we love being so close to the coast because we are mild and we don’t get as much rain either and we can’t have it all!! xx

  • I didn’t know you ever got snow there, must have been really cold, no wonder there is no one around. Stay warm, it will be spring soon!

    • The last time there was any significant snow here was in 2012. Since then we have once had a tiny smattering but nothing more and it is very unusual. Spring really is just around the corner. xx

  • You have inspired me to try & eat more healthy foods, I’m terrible during the winter as i do tend to eat comfort food, chocolate biscuits with a cup of tea etc. I found out last year that my cholesterol is sky high, so really do need to take myself in hand!
    I love mimosa, so bright & cheerful, I always think of it as the French equivalent of the British daffodil, signalling that Spring is on it’s way.
    How exciting that you finally got a blue egg, almost too beautiful to eat! xxx

    • Comfort food really is just that isn’t it, a biscuit with a cup of tea is just so nice in the winter! and why not, what’s not to enjoy! The mimosa here is incredible, everywhere we go there are trees covered in bright yellow, I have lots in the house right now, it’s like bringing spring indoors. Our daffodils are also flowering, although they have not liked the cold this week but are putting on a brave face! Tonight we had a second blue egg, the excitement continues. I am sure we will make a very big deal out of it when we first cook them! xx

  • I am back off to London for a few weeks to act as nurse for Mum. In England I struggle to keep well with food from the supermarkets, but have resolved this time round to seek out a market and go greener. I am semi vegetarian anyway – but I love the idea of the smoothie and upping the kale and other leafy greens. Its going to be quite stressful too, so the more antioxidants the better.

    • I really hope everything will be ok and that it won’t be too stressful, I am sure your mother will be so grateful to have your there. Yes, you need to keep yourself strong and healthy, I swear blind by the green smoothie, it is a great boost to our systems. Have a safe trip xx

      • Hi just catching up on comments. Things here ok but bleak outcome. But we are both tough cookies. I really want to try the veg smoothies as I eat little meat and really want to up my minerals and vitamins. What’s your favourite recipe?

        • Hi Judi, I am sure it is tough, but I do hope all will be well, you have my utmost sympathy, it is never easy. With smoothies by far my favourite is a green smoothie with a handful of kale and or spinach, whatever I have to hand really. A little water, a few cubes of ice, an apple, a banana, an inch of ginger and a teaspoon of hemp protein powder. Our eldest daughter makes a wonderful one with mixed red berries and banana and yoghurt when she is staying, sometimes she will add in a little almond milk too and then sprinkle with a few oats, makes a wonderful breakfast smoothie. Xx

    • Sillygirl; I’m with you – only don’t make the same mistake as I did when coming over to UK from Switzerland – for my first ‘apéro’ I (thought I had) bought huge bunches of flat parsley for Greek STyle Flaky Parcels with Feta & said parsley…. except that it was fresh coriander (which has a totally different taste to the coriander powder and which I didn’t know). I thought ‘tastes funny, must eat another one’ and so on…. since that day I CANNOT eat anything with fresh coriander which is such a shame! But the lesson was learned, at least 😉
      Coriander = ciltrano

  • I have been thinking of making a SMOOTHIE LATELY for LUNCH but didnot know what EXACTLY TO PUT IN IT!
    TRA LA!THANK YOU ever SO MUCH!
    I ADORE Swiss chard much MORE THAN KALE!
    GREAT EASY RECIPE for you to do for the KIDS!
    A PASTA SAUCE.
    A TUB of RICOTTA CHEESE
    1 BLUE EGG!
    Swiss chard
    salt/pepper
    Little tomatoes if in season.
    Dump Ricotta into a bowl add one egg. Mix up
    Dash of Pepper and SALT
    Cook Swiss chard until wilted …..drain..ADD to BOWL
    Cook PASTA PENNE would be the RIGHT CHOICE…drain ADD to BOWL
    MIX it all together add a few Tomatoes cut in half!
    TRA LA!
    DELICIOUS!
    Let me KNOW if the kids LOVE……..
    Ps.Save a 1/2 CUP of the boiling salted water from cooking the PASTA just in case its TOO DRY.ADD some water to ricotta mixture to make it More CREAMY!!!!
    BON APPETITO!
    XX

    • Oh wow, this sounds delicious. Tomorrow I am off to buy some ricotta and we shall make it over the weekend. Thank you soooo much, I will keep you posted. Tonight we got our second blue egg, the excitement mounts! xxx

  • Somehow I manages to delete my subscription, and last night I throught “hang on, I havent heard Susan for a while”. Imagine how happy I am to have 4, not 1 post to read, all on the same day. Lovely post, i’m a bit hit and miss on many green leafy things, though pea and mint soup is a major winter favorite for me, but I have now got a Nutribullet, so no more excuses really!

    • Let me know how the nutribullet works please, I have heard good things about them and our blender is on it’s last legs. Smoothies are the only thing we use it for so maybe a nutribullet would be the way to go, apparently they are know bluetooth and can be linked to the phone to tell you just how many nutrients you are getting! Glad you are up and running with me again!!! Stay warm, I am guessing you had quite a bit of snow, but perhaps I don’t want to know, because I will be very envious!!! xxx

      • Just about to blog the snow, Susan, sorry. We use the nutribullet a lot. It was my sisters originally, and she used it daily in her desire to eat as much healthy and fresh fruit and veg as possible. She also did a mix of fruit and veg and swore by it. We also put chocolate or fruit, ice and and ice cream in it to make shakes for the kids. So highly recommended by us.

        • I will go and read and try not to go green with envy. Having just read that Paris and the north of France is poised for a lot more snow. We just have had freezing rain all morning, but now the sun is making an appearance, so I guess we can’t complain too much really and our summer’s make up for the lack of snow in the winter! I am going to look at the Nutribullet, thanks for the advice, I am always much happier to buy something that has good personal reviews. Enjoy the snow!! Two week Winter break starts for us today, it’s been a long term it seems since Christmas so we are very much looking forward to it and heading to the Pyrenees next week where no doubt we will get our fill of snow!!! Xx

          • I know it’s a long way, the Pyrenees are about 4h15 from door to ski resort so easily doable, plus we get to ski the last day and then leave in the evening and be home by 10pm which works rather well. Last year we were in the zone which had the last holidays and we arrived at the ski resort at the very end of February and it was 21C outside! We walked around in t shirts. This year might be a very different story and I am preparing the children for really cold weather! Whatever it will be fun. Are you going to the Alps or staying put? And has it started snowing again yet??

          • My middle son( that you met) has been invited to the pyrenees with friends and is going by night train. We’re considering going to the Italian border, but only because there are some antique kitchen tiles for sale and we’re thinking of going to collect them at the same time. I’m sure it would be cheaper to get them couriered though. There are about 9m2 of them. Not sure if we’d fit them in with all the ski stuff. And then, oof, long journey!

          • I know just how you feel, long journey, but the tiles sound fabulous. Roof box might be necessary, fitting them in and ski stuff might be tricky, it takes up so much more room than summer gear, I know we have to pack the car with military precision. Five ski helmets alone take up the space of a small child! I have seen so many cars with skis on their roofs today, kids leaving school at lunchtime here so that they can get a good head start for the Alps, it’s a long drive from here. Our neighbours leave for the Pyrenees at 6am in the morning, the excitement seems to be building all around. So yes I think you should go, it’s always such fun once you get there! Plus you can always justify it with the tiles and the snow is meant to be amazing this year xx

      • I use a nutribullet every day to make smoothies for my husband. It is very good and has been in constant use for the past 2/3 years. It is the only way i can get him to ‘eat ‘ greens, a particularly fussy eater if they were on a plate he would simply refuse but smoothies he will drink. No snow here yet in Haute Marne 52 but some forecast for later.

        • Thanks so much Sue, I really appreciate the feedback, it is so much better to buy something when it has been personally recommended and I am definitely going to look into it. I read that Paris and the north of France is poised for more snow today, stay safe and stay warm. Whilst I love the snow and am a little envious I am also excited at the prospect of Spring, it seems to have been rather a long winter. But we are heading off to the Pyrenees in a week’s time so we will have our fill of snow then! Have a lovely weekend xx

  • I now want a blue egg too!!!!!! I always did …… zut alors 🙂

    Can I please, pleaaaaase have kale chips? I always buy bags of Tyrell’s veggie chips, they are SO good (but expensive)…. Just looking at the picture of the old-fashioned farmer with his huge carrot held up makes me grin in anticipation! What I do all the time is producing a dip with (when in France) fromage blanc, squashed garlic, a few drops of tabasco, a ton of greens (ruccola = rocket leaves, parsley, the green of spring onions, herbs from the garden), the thicker the better, some fleur de sel and hop, served with every veggie under the sun, cut in slices, sticks (colourful peppers, cucumber, carrots, tiny toms, fennel, chicory leaves (endives) and radishes at an astonishing 95c the bunch – all this done this week except the toms . Serve it with chips, flûtes, toast, just bread…. A glass of red and Bingo!

    Swiss Chard has my name on it – more so than Kale but that might be because of my passport 🙂 – My dear friend Barbara from Exeter made me (she, the English Quilting Queen!) once a quilt with one side ‘just swiss chards’ and the other with many insets and choices of flowers, incl. one with radishes and one with a turnip. I have NO IDEA where she finds all her fabrics but I know she buys them wherever she is. She bought them in Paris when visiting, in Alsace, New Zealand, USA, and in Switzerland too, of course…… wherever she goes, some special fabrics come back with her. I’ll send you the pics of this wonderful gift of hers separately.

    I’m so glad to read you – was a bit worried. Yesterday, we had 20cm of beautiful but heavy snow; spent 3/4hr out in our heaviest winter gear (moon boots in my case…. Yeah!) gently shaking the heavy loads off our blooming camellias – tapping gently against the bent-down branches of our trees and shrubs, the magnolia buds of 3-5cm length already were largely covered in ice, two of my best loved specimens might not make it. The daffs stuck their head out by 2-5cm above the snow-barrier… Then we fed the birds with about 12€ worth of food, they were literally hovering at 1m and waiting for their treats. The large outdoor table made from heavy wood and the English bench looked like a winter wedding accessory, the table like a giant wedding cake, 20+cm high layer of foamy white…

    Today great day of sunshine, very, very icy but I think it will only be really bad again when night falls. Our rapid road (N…) is closed since yesterday – still not all cars could be recovered from a disastrous day. Many abandoned their vehicles and I don’t know how they got off and where they are. Our own road, still closed…. was entered countless times by taking the barricades off and then being stuck with spinning wheels…. silly people! I think we are probably the only cautious people with winter equipment… but that’s the Swiss for you. Shall need to get out later and shall be glad to be well equipped.

    Thank you for this glorious winter warmer post. Thought of you when I made a thick, creamy and very tasty carrot soup with some potatoes in it, many herbs, garlic, onion and at the end refined with a bit fresh cream and parmesan flakes, some cashew nuts, red wine, crusty bread – and 2hrs later espresso and a plum (prune) tart…. should hold us in form until we’re back after our 2hrs singing.

    • I heard all about the snow on the radio and saw several friends instagram posts from the Paris region, so much snow. It’s beautiful to look at and fun until one is stuck in a car, stranded miles from home, or if one has to actually go somewhere, then it all gets so much more tedious. Today we had a beautiful sunny day and the thermometer actually got to 5C, almost seemed warm and the sun certainly has a little power in it again now. I will bake you kale chips and attempt something similar to your dip but I know it won’t be as good as yours! However, I will give you a blue egg, we now have a second one tonight, oh the excitement, I am sure there will be even more when we cook them for the first time! The small things really do please us don’t they! xx

  • Just finished sneezing – you absolutely would kill me with mimosa. We had, when we bought the house, one in the veranda…. it had to come out and we nearly broke the veranda too (wintergarden for some, conservatory for the Brits) – then the 2nd was just outside the glass house and sort of leaned on it – it was a major headache to get them out and a major headache just thinking of their perfume…. The one’s nightingale is the other’s nightmare (or so!).

    • I promise not to put mimosa anywhere in the house!!But we are truly surrounded by it, however by March it will have been replaced with blossom, another wonderful start to spring. I love the scent of mimosa, Hetty doesn’t like it and we have never understood why! Now you will have to tell me which flowers I can use!! xxx

  • I love that yellow of the mimosa,it doesn’t grow with us and I thought it was only a Provence thing so I was surprised to see your photos. Guess you really are in a microclimate!

    • I had never really given it much thought! When we moved here, the first spring we noticed mimosa trees flowering everywhere, on the Île d’Oléron, just twenty minutes away they have a mimosa festival every February. Now I am learning that it is indeed normally thought of as more of a mediterranean tree, so I am assuming it just does well here on this mild coastal strip, anyway I am certainly not complaining. xx

  • Oh, your blue egg! I don’t know why, but I think I’m just as excited as you all are! There is no surprise better than one from nature. Felicitations!

    • Thanks so much Ellen, tonight we got another blue egg, the excitement mounts! I can imagine it will be a great gathering of all of us when we cook them for the first time, not that they will be any different, but you know, it will still be a special moment! xx

  • I am so envious of your beautiful blue egg!! I can fully appreciate your excitement! They are so lovely, all the colours mixed together and a wonder of nature. I hope they taste as delicious too! How fabulous it would be if the yolks were blue too!!! :))). Imagine – blue omelette, baby blue scrambled eggs, blue poached surprise!!! I think all children would eat eggs then! I’m loving your recipes and ideas for eating greens. I will try them. You are absolutely right about the effect diet has and we must eat a little of everything to be healthy. But also, I’ve been learning more about our gut health, the flora that live inside us and do good work – it’s fascinating. I think a lot of people (myself included) have an imbalance with this and it can result in unhappy digestive processes and lots of the problems people suffer from today. After a couple of operations a year ago, strong antibiotics etc, I know that my digestion has suffered and I’m now convinced it’s to do with the good bacteria in my gut becoming unbalanced. So I’m going to do something about it….. But alongside eating more of those tasty greens of course! have a lovely warm week.

    • I think you are so right, there is an awful lot written about healthy guts and I too am reading more about it. The more I learn about nutrition the more it fascinates me. I have also really enjoyed learning about essential oils, I was very skeptical at first, but now I do think they certainly play their part as well. And guess what, we had another blue egg this evening, our second, oh the excitement, I know they will be just the same as the others inside, but I can tell you it will still be a very big deal when we break them open and cook with them! Now of course I want to get more Aracaunas !! xx

      • Susan, are the Araucanas ok for keeping in a run do you think? Do they have feathered feet? What sort of character do they have? Those blue eggs are so lovely, I’m tempted. But it’s got to be right for the hens.

        • I would think they probably are Marian, you would have to do some research, I do know that they are known to be very docile friendly chickens, very calm and they are not big, in fact quite the opposite, they are almost as small as our bantams, just a different shape, less round! They are not the prettiest of chickens in my opinion but their eggs make up for that! Xx

  • You may have named your blog “Our French Oasis,” but to me it’s “A Sweet Escape to Heaven.” Those mimosa flowers look as if they’ve stored up the sunlight, like tiny little batteries, don’t they? And I don’t have to try too hard to imagine your glee at finding that treasure of a blue egg. Between those little stories and your glorious photos, I feel I’ve been transported to another time and place. Thank you for sharing so generously of your time and life.

    • Thanks so much Heide, what a beautiful thing to say, I am so touched. Yes they do look like tiny batteries, the mimosa is gorgeous, we don’t have a tree in our garden, which is somewhat surprising, but when I buy it from a road side stall I buy great big bundles, armfuls for 2 euros and then I fill up several vases around the house, it is like bringing spring indoors early. Now the blue egg was wonderful and tonight we got a second one and more excitement all round! Hope you have a wonderful weekend xx

    • I am sorry Sandi, that is because I tend to cook very much from sight, I just pop in what I think works well. I would say a good handful of leaves works perfectly with the amounts for everything else given. Hope you have a lovely weekend. Xx

  • As a nutritionist still learning 25 years after I began (should have been as enthusiastic in my Medical School days!) your oh so enjoyable post gave me extra smiles today! Peculiar I may be but love all things green, and yellow, orange, red and even black which grow in the soil . . . . and have absolutely no desire for anything with sugar in it (bar a little dark chocolate, and, yes I do like the salted caramel version 🙂 !). Like spinach and kale and Swiss chard, but have not much mixed them. Perhaps I should ? Do have a NutriBullet and find it awfully useful, tho’ must admit that however enticing your smoothies look I do not make many – somehow there is a feeling the very necessary fibre may decrease when things chopped up! There was a discussion about gut flora further up – now I do wish I could say that we get all we need from a good diet – we don’t . . . no one’s menu is ‘that’ perfect, the food we eat may not grow or be raised in perfect soil or land and our digestion, especially as years pile on, simply is not so operational. So, yes, I DO use various supplements and a good daily probiotic certainly has its place: I could not live without that or my CoQ10 and I watch everything I put in my mouth 🙂 ! Your pale blue eggs look like works of art . . . I love your mimosa which we call wattle . . .can’t believe you have such beautiful fresh radishes on the market . . . . and 2,30pm Sunday should be 12.30am Monday here: since I shall be watching the Winter Olympics anyways, must put the alarm on to come visit the shop . . . what: no postage !!!!! Novella finished . . . 🙂 !!

    • How fascinating, I had no idea you were a nutritionist, I feel I could pick your brains about lots of things, another reason for you to visit France. Sugar, I totally agree with, I don’t eat any that is not naturally occurring and have not done for years. Several people here have been saying how brilliant the Nutribullet is so I shall certainly look into it. Do you really think some of the goodness does go when things are blended to this level, I have read this before but the evidence was not conclusive and the jury was out. I would be interested to hear what vitamins you take, again I read so many mixed reports, do we need supplements or don’t we, so many conflicting reports. So excited to watch the Olympics, the children start their two week winter holiday today, so no doubt they will want to watch a fair amount too, good timing for them! See you at the sale, virtually, I hope. Have a lovely weekend xx

      • *big smile* Shall reply after all the excitement: follow both the Aussies and Estonians and love winter sports so much I can dream away for hours . . . . Susan, I got my MB.BS as a young woman, but actually did not practice: quite a story – was in family businesses for decades. I do not work as a nutritionist – study partly for myself and out of interest and since I work on a number of committees, correct info is often important . . . won’t forget 🙂 !

        • We were up far too late last night binge watching all the highlights of the opening ceremony and the first day of events, like you, I absolutely love the winter olympics. I promise I won’t pick your brains here, but when you do come to visit and I know you will, then we will have much to talk about. I am not qualified nor any sort of professional but it does interest me immensely on a personal level. Enjoy the games this weekend xx

  • Do you know, I don’t think I have ever heard of hens that lay blue eggs! Quite exciting! Another lovely post Susan – thanks.

    • Neither had I Alison, I truly did not know they existed, until I saw a photo on Instagram several years ago and I instantly thought, I want those! Of course, nothing is easy, it took us three years to find the hens in this part of France. We had some lined up last year in Normandy, we were going to make a weekend of it just to get two hens, but then the breeder gave up due to family circumstances and we were back to square one. Now we have two hens and now we have two blue eggs, another yesterday! I am certainly going to look into buying a couple more, I am quite hooked!! Xx

  • So very late to comment today. Left the house very early and returned late….also forgot my iPad. I’m so happy about your blue eggs, and your recipes sound very tasty. It seems strange that our temperature was warmer than yours. What a bizarre winter everywhere.
    How is your furniture painting coming along? I’m still painting some furniture between cleaning up the garden for spring.
    I’m long overdue to send an email!

    Ali xx

    • A second blue egg yesterday Ali, so exciting, I can’t tell you! I think I might just have to get another pair of Aracauna hens to make sure we can keep our our blue supply!!! Strange weather here, the north is poised for more snow and we have freezing rain, most unfriendly weather! I have been having lots of fun with furniture, it is quite addictive. Now I need to do some cleaning!!! Have a great weekend xx

  • That mimosa looks like Acacia dealbata! Someone else had told me that they were a weed there like they are here. They are SO colorful now. Some dislike the pollen and aroma that, some say, smells like an oil refinery. I like them because they are so familiar.
    The araucana hens at the old house in town were procured because they were the quietest hens for suburban areas. I thought they were rather funny looking and their eggs were . . . weird, but they worked out nicely.

    • You are absolutely right, I am lead to believe, if the Internet is correct that what we call Mimosa is known as Acacia dealbata and wattle in Australia. One of our daughter’s absolutely hates the smell whereas the rest of us love it! It grows like a weed here too, everywhere along the coast, but I welcome the bright yellow flowers at this time of year. The Araucana’s are indeed not the prettiest of chickens, but I am in love with their eggs!!! Xx

  • You are not the only one who did not know there were blue eggs! If you had not told me I would think this was painted in waiting for Easter, it’s almost too perfect to be real, how exciting for you all.

  • Here’s a dumb question: apart from the color, are blue eggs any different than regular eggs i.e. do they taste the same? I’m impressed that the cafes have put out flower boxes and set up the terrace with tables and chairs in February. That really is optimistic thinking!

    • I believe that they are exactly the same, in fact I am 100% sure of it. However, we have not cooked with one yet. Yesterday one of the girls laid another blue egg, so now we have two, no doubt their will be equal excitement when we do cook with them! The cafes leave their chairs and tables out year round, when the sun shines there really is quite a lot of warmth in it and it is wonderful to sit outside in the winter on a sunny day, albeit with a coat on, but still one is able to enjoy outdoor eating year round. However, this week has just been too cold and unusually grey and wet. Xx

  • Very happy with your posting of recipes. I prefer swiss chard to kale and will purchase tomorrow at our Farmer’s Mkt. One of farmers offers young kale and I can add that to our Monday night salads. Yum to salted caramel. It is a bit early for blue eggs for us, but love it when those ladies produce them.
    I have to admit, I just can’t get into green smoothies, I need a crunch not a sip.
    Need to set up a reminder of your sale and free shipping, woo hoo. Merci bc.

    • I often substitute Swiss Chard or Spinach, one cannot be fussy here, it is a question of which is available and then making do! Kale tends to be a tricky one, last year I grew it in the garden and it kept us going all winter, this year I overlooked it because we were busy doing other things and now I regret it as it is not easy to find here. We had our second blue egg yesterday, so so exciting, I think I might have to buy another pair of Araucana hens to guarantee our supply!! Free shipping indeed, a little gift for February! Have a lovely weekend, see you (virtually) on Sunday I hope. Xx

  • Interesting to see your mimosa – especially winter blooming. Ours bloom in summer and produce a feathery pink blossom that smells (to me) like the face powder my grandmother used to use. Ours are generally considered “ditch” or trash trees – they spring up everywhere and their form is not very impressive but when the woods are abloom in pale pink and the scent is heavy in the air it is quite lovely. Thanks for this beautiful post.

    • Our Mimosa grows like a weed too, not an attractive tree as you say, it is unruly and tends to go everywhere, but the bright yellow flowers are so welcome at this time of year. It loves our mild coastal climate and although it is a tree known better in the Med it thrives here in the Charente Maritime. Xx

    • You are very observant Erin, yes we now have three blue eggs, the girls are getting the hang of this and we are just loving it, I highly recommend blue eggs to anyone, they have fascinated friends and neighbours, I fear we might be the talk of the village, apparently they are rather unusual here! xx

          • We always wanted to be in a village just so that we would make new friends within the community and not be isolated. I think everyone has their own needs and way of doing things and I think it is certainly easier with young children as we made friends through the school initially which of course helps a lot. Have a lovely weekend xx

  • We made the gratin for lunch today, scrumptious with a glass of red wine and a hunk of baguette, when in France and all that!

    • Sounds delicious, we would do the same, but there is always somewhere to drive to in the afternoon and children who need collecting, so that glass of wine is out of the question, probably a good thing! Hope you have a lovely weekend xx

  • Such a lovely post! This is my second reading. I bought some brilliant yellow tulips at the grocery store last week. Can’t tell you how gorgeous they have been on grey rainy days here in NC – much like your yellow mimosa, I’m thinking.

    I make a water based green smoothie very similar to yours, with a handful of parsley and cilantro added. A squeeze of lemon juice takes it over the top. I so hope the macerating steel blades of the blender don’t lessen the nutritional benefits of the ingredients.

    Congratulations on your beautiful blue eggs!

    • Flowers really do brighten our days don’t they. I think February is the month when winter starts to feel long but there is an end in sight, all of our trees are in bud and despite the temperature I feel very optimistic that spring is just around the corner! Although I am always telling myself to enjoy every single day, rain or shine and not wish them away as they seem to go by far too quickly anyway. I shall add some parsley to my next smoothie and a squeeze of juice, sounds even better. I too hope that the nutritional value is not diminished, but if we enjoy the smoothies then they have to be better than nothing surely. Our blue eggs have caused much excitement, I still can’t stop looking at them!! Have a lovely weekend xx

  • I love reading your post! They are always such a joy especially on these cold dreary day where we can only dream of spring and summer!

    • Thanks so much Debbie, I always think once we get to February that we are all a bit fed up with winter, unless you happen to live in the mountains and live for the snow! But as much as I long for spring and believe me, I do, I also have to remind myself that I don’t want to wish the days away, they seem to be going past at an alarming rate as it is. Still you know, we just have another month and then we will be welcoming spring. Enjoy your weekend, rain or shine, let’s all just keep smiling! xx

  • Another wonderful post! Your blue eggs are truly beautiful, you’ll have to work on getting a full color spectrum of eggs! I hear that some chickens lay green eggs too, might that be something for the future?! Xxx

    • Ha ha, I had better not let anyone else in the family read this or else they will be off on a hunt to find green eggs and then only this afternoon Roddy mentioned purple eggs, what have I started!! But the blue eggs are fabulous, they make us so excited every day and today we had number four! I can’t stop looking at them! xx

  • So interesting. FYO I use my Nutribullet every day and like everyone else here can highly recommend it. Even if they do lose nutrients I really enjoy my smoothies so I am not going to stop. Enjoy your weekend and snow, I hear it is very cold in France.

    • I think that is just the right attitude, even if the nutrients are lowered by all the chopping, if we enjoy the smoothies they have to be a whole lot better than any other drink, so I say let’s just enjoy them. I have been looking at Nutribullet’s today and we are definitely going to get one, so many great recommendations here, thank you so much. xx

  • What lovely colours, Susan – I wish we could keep chickens where we are here but it’s a definite no-no, so i shall have to colour my eggy palette vicariously through your post. Amy is uttering something about rose-coloured eggs, does that ring a bell?

    Wonderful post, as always – love the photos – especially the first one!!

    • Hi Simon, and when you come this way you can have some fresh eggs for lunch or breakfast! I have never heard of rose coloured eggs, remember I hadn’t even heard of blue ones until four years ago. I gather there are green too, but I think we will stick with blue, brown and white, I feel as if we are totally spoilt having these as we are! xx

  • I am intrigued, have you cooked that blue egg yet? Was there any difference at all? I know there won’t be but I just want to hear it to be sure!!

    • No we haven’t! In fact, we now have four blue eggs, only one of the new pair is laying so far but she has really go the hang of it! I daresay there will be much fanfare in the kitchen amongst the whole family when we cook our first one, I have a feeling it will be tomorrow morning! I will let you know. xx

    • Ha ha, sounds as if you thoroughly enjoyed it, which is just as it should be! Yes yours would have been darker, when I made that batch just before I wanted to publish the blog post, typically I ran out of sugar and I borrowed some from our neighbour, but all they had was white sugar so it was half brown and half white! It is the first time I have ever made it not with just soft brown sugar and I was surprised how light it turned out, but there wasn’t much I could do about it! xx

  • I agree with Kiki! There is a big trouble with the last post ‘ True or false / vrai ou faux ” Every time I want to connect
    I receive the message ” Oops ! this page can’t be found “.I feel so sad as I adore reading my weekly fix post from Susan! Mayday! Mayday!/ Pouvez’vous m’ aidez! Pouvez-vous m’ aidez!

    • Please don’t be sad, I was the one who was sad it was the first time in 3 years that I have missed a week! I was away for a few days at a tennis tournament with G and I wrote the post before I left and then activated it from my phone. Simple, or so I thought, it went out, all was good, and then the next thing I knew it had completely disappeared. I contacted wordpress and asked them what had happened but they didn’t seem to really know anything at all.

      So I was going round in circles trying to sort it all out on my phone whilst away from home. I didn’t get back until last night and now we are off skiing first thing in the morning so I just decided to let it go. Sincere apologies and all will, fingers crossed, be back to normal on Thursday, albeit from the snow covered mountains and not the sunny Charente Maritime, which is actually far from sunny at the moment!! xx

      • Merci Susan de nous rassurer ! Bien sûr vous n’ avez pas d’ obligations envers vos followers même si vous ne postez pas toutes les semaines. Profitez de vos vacances à la neige dans les montagnes Pyrénéennes avec votre famille. Kiki et moi étions inquiet de savoir si le lien avec votre blog reviendrait. Nous voilà rassurer et nous attendrons votre prochain post les semaines prochaines après vos vacances.// Thanks Susan to reassure us ! Of course you have no duties to your followers in posting every week. Enjoy your snow vacation in Pyrénées Mountains with all your family.Kiki and me were worried to know if the web link with ourfrenchoasis blog would come back. So we are reassure and we’ll wait your posts next weeks after your well deserved vacation. ( I made a play of word with MAYDAY which is the English expression translated from ” pouvez-vous M’ AIDEZ ” when people are in big trouble. Just a little story for your evening discussion near a log fire! ).

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