It’s the light that is so magical at this time of year. The skies are sometimes heavy and grey, but even on the dullest of days every now and then there is a chink in the clouds and suddenly it is as if someone has shone the most powerful light on the buildings, a pure brilliance that lasts for less than a minute but makes one stop, catch ones breath and grab whatever is to hand that can take a photo.
That for me is what these Autumn days are all about. I used to dread the end of summer, the dark evenings and then winter, but with age comes wisdom so they say and I’ve learnt to really appreciate the seasons. Each one has its own merits, each one is vital and each one serves a purpose. The nights are creeping in here but still dusk doesn’t fall until around 6pm. Our kitchen is once again the hub of the house, the woodburning stove gently burns all day long. The dogs know exactly where the best spots are, and Pixel, the puppy we kept, who is now 14 weeks old has learnt very quickly where to snooze.
Now is the season for soups, the tomatoes we froze all summer long are making a reappearance. Their flavour has not diminished in the slightest and coupled with some warm crusty bread it’s a delicious meal in itself.
I often make foccacia when the children are eating lunch with us at the weekend and I promised so many of you the recipe so here it is, well worth the effort and a firm favourite here.
- 500g/1lb 2oz white flour
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 sachets yeast
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 400ml/14fl oz cold water
- Sea salt, olive oil and fresh rosemary to finishing
Place the flour, salt, yeast, olive oil and 300ml/10½fl oz of the water into a large bowl. Gently stir with your hand or a wooden spoon to form a dough then knead the dough in the bowl for five minutes, gradually adding the remaining water.
Stretch the dough by hand in the bowl, turning it from side to side for about five minutes.
Tip the dough onto an oiled work surface and continue kneading for five more minutes. Return the dough to the bowl, cover and leave to rise until doubled in size.
Line two large baking sheets with baking paper. Tip the dough out of the bowl and divide into two portions. Flatten each portion onto a baking sheet, pushing to the corners, then leave to rise for another hour.
Preheat the oven to 220C/425F. Drizzle the loaves with olive oil, sprinkle with fine sea salt and cover with sprigs of fresh rosemary. Then bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Serve hot or warm.
Along with an abundance of rosemary we have a few more edible offerings from the garden. Plenty of carrots and we’re about to harvest the sweet potatoes. The lemon and lime trees are weighted down with fruits that are ready to be picked before the limes come inside for the winter. We are about to harvest our sweet potatoes and the persimmons are still rock solid, it’s too soon to eat them, another couple of weeks and they should be delicious.
It is without doubt the season of comfort, logs and wood fires, falling leaves and that unmistakable smell of autumn. The wisteria which covers the front of our house is always the last to surrender to the bareness of winter. It will be at least another month before it sheds its clothes.
It is a time to think of Christmas markets and warming drinks, all adding to the feeling of the fast approaching festive season and conviviality.
A Marché de Noël is a wonderful place to spend an hour or two on a Sunday morning. Plenty of local arts and crafts.
Local honey and of course cheese and saucisson, would any market, at any time of year, ever be complete in France without cheese and saucisson, I rather think not!
But once again I am drawn back to the incredible light and the snatched moments when everything is picture perfect. Proof if ever it was needed that we don’t need blue skies and sunshine for interesting photos.
And just in case you were in any doubt as to the amount of rain we have had, here is our road across the Marais. Normally these are narrow canals to the left and right but now it is one big lake, the wettest November here on record. The sun has been far too shy of late, however on the odd occasion when it has made an appearance the sunsets have been spectacular.
Evenings around the fire make one think of Christmas and the fast approaching festive season. We’ve played around in the gite, making a few plans for Christmas and I’ve started purchasing and wrapping a few gifts.
It made me want to give something back to you all. So if you want to do some Christmas shopping for French vintage I am offering an exclusive 20% off everything in the entire Etsy shop for the next two weeks only to Our French Oasis readers. Simple enter the code OURFRENCHOASISBF20 at the checkout. It’s Black Friday here on the blog! On top of this every single order will receive a special French Christmas ornament for free and also every order of 250 euros or more will receive a free French Market Bag and every order of 500 euros or more will receive a free white ironstone soupier or tureen. Tis the season for giving after all. Everything will be shipped by priority signed for mail around the world.
p.s. do keep checking back, I have quite a few more items to add to the shop this week, I just have to find the time to photograph them and get them listed, sounds simple, but time is never on my side!!
10 thoughts on “THOUGHTS OF THE FESTIVE SEASON ARE CREEPING IN”
Hello, I am looking into making plans for our Thanksgiving next year (the last week of November, 2020). Is this a good time to visit Normandy, and are the Christmas markets going on at this time? Thanks! I plan to visit your guest house sometime in the near future.
Spectacular sunset! Though in truth all your photos are rather fabulous.
Lovely pics. I agree the best way to enjoy the short days is to think about about all the lovely seasonal things like warm drinks brisk walks. Xmas preparations. Lols.luke you’re almost there😊
We miss the Gitte! I love the Pixel stories! We are in New England the last 2 wks. for g-baby #2’s birth. His name is Sven & he is a doll. It was a difficult birth but all is in recovery mode. To God be the glory!
Your photos are ALWAYS welcome! I first thought the recipe was for the soup & quickly realized the wine had gone to my head! 🙂
I continue to perfect my “pate’ recipes & now it tastes better than any bought recipe!
We are thinking of a trip after our time in Feb. in another part of the world—-March/April but Dwt. wants to be at the French Open so we need to rethink. We hope to see you again, dear ones.
I love this season too, and soup with foccacia for lunch sounds yummy! Even though Thanksgiving here in the US is as late as it can be, I am resolutely refusing to think about Christmas until it is done. Your photos are always lovely, thank you for sharing your beautiful part of the world.
As always your accompanying images are spectacular. It’s hard to believe the holidays are just slightly over a month away. Where did 2019 go?
I love your blog and the beautiful pictures that accompany it. Thank you for I get great joy reading about you and your family and your adventures. Merry Christmas to you and your family. I know it is a bit early.
Thoughts of Christmas are creeping in here, too, but I try to wait until after Thanksgiving (which is coming quickly) before I actually get out decorations, buy a tree, etc. We’re going very minimalistic this year, a suggestion from one daughter and s-i-l who found Christmas flights to be rather expensive. 🙂 That’s OK. We usually get way too much stuff anyway and since we’ll be moving to Arizona next year, we’re trying not to get more stuff but get rid of stuff. Besides, we can still focus on the real Reason for the season. 🙂
Lovely photos as always and I look forward to trying the recipe.
I love the time before xmas and it is also the time where we should think about to be grateful in which abundance we live..e.g. all yr veg and fruits you can harvest now for the long winter. Enjoy this time with your family.
It is early evening, the sun has not totally set yet, and i am enjoying your delightful pictures.
This is such a precious time of the year. Thanksgiving next week and thoughts of Christmas filling our heads.
Sweater weather at last, it feels so cozy. Thank you for the warm pictures and heart warming thoughts.
I wish we had Christmas markets where I live. I would love a cup of vin chaud. I just want someone else to make it.