Pretty stained-glass reflections in the cathedral
During our vacation, Andrew and I went to Tours, a large city in the Loire Valley about 1 hour south of Orléans. Typical of any French city, there was a beautiful cathedral that had some lovely glass-stained windows.
There was also an "Old Town" that had some great half-timbered houses and a row of delicious looking crèperies, which unfortunately all close at 2pm, which was, naturally, the time we showed up expecting to be fed. Instead of eating at one of the atmospheric restos in the Old Quarter, we had to settle for the fast food version of crèpes, which weren't bad at all, and had the added benefit of being much cheaper than the restaurant equivalent. I feasted on a ham, mushroom, and gruyère cheese crèpe, while Andrew had a simple ham and cheese crèpe.
For dessert, we splurged and had a pear, almond, and chocolate crèpe covered in whipped cream. Our time spent in Tours was not as fun as we had anticipated, since we had expected to meet a group of friends there, who instead decided to travel to Amboise instead of Tours that day. Even still, being married and all, we're pretty happy with each other's company and weren't bored out of our minds or anything.
Weird floating-lady on the river
Also during the vacation, we took the bus out east to Châteauneuf, where two of my English teachers from St. Exupery live. We had a yummy lunch with Emilie and her boyfriend, Tibault (pronounced Tee-bo). They served us wine and cheese, bien sûr, and potatoes, green beans, and a cheddar-covered ham. I brought along some Bailey's brownies which didn't turn out quite as I expected (still working out the French ingredients) but were still tasty. After lunch we went on a walk around the Loire River and the small downtown area. It was very drizzly and a little cold, but it was fun.
We've also been having some fun in the kitchen. We used our raclette grill for the first time last week. Unfortunately it only has one heat setting, so everything cooks pretty fast, but we had a fun time. Next time we'll invite people over, as it's meant to be used!
For our "A" party last week Andrew made andouillette sandwiches. Andouillettes are a very typical French sausage made from the grossest parts of the pig. They smell "offal" when you cook them, but they don't taste half bad with lots of mustard. I made a lovely apple pie, which earned rave reviews, even though I had a problem with the bottom crust (as in, we couldn't find it under all the gooey apples and caramel sauce).
Tonight's party is sponsored by the letter "C," which I hope will elicit some good responses from our guests. Every week someone brings cheese and bread, even though there's never been a good justification for it. Tonight at least, there's a reason to. I'm making crostinis with date, mint, and prosciutto (kind of stretching it, I know, but I've been craving them) and Andrew is making California rolls, without seaweed, and succeeding, by the looks of it.
Last night we had dinner with a french English teacher and her husband. She has the cutest, fluffiest, softest cat, and an adorable son who goes potty on a little chair in the living room. We had an amazing 5 course meal, each with its own wine, that lasted 5 hours. I made truffles for the first time and they turned out pretty well. A French meal is really something else. The apértif alone included crème de sardine on toast, black olive tapenade, and anchovies marinated in garlic, washed down with a cassis/champagne bellini.
Oh yeah, we got paid!!! The landlady is no longer knocking on our door, asking for the rent, forcing us to sneak upstairs separately so that she doesn't know it's us.
As usual, more photos at picasaweb.google.com/nicoledcwallace.
Otherwise, cou cou