A curious mushroom liqueur

cepe essence culinary speciality bottle
Photo from http://www.distillerie-perigord.com

We found this intriguing liqueur in the supermarket in France last weekend; it seems to be an alcoholic essence of ceps. Here’s the blurb from the bottle:

Sublimez simplement vos plats avec la Spécialité Culinaire au parfum de Cèpe. Notre spécialité culinaire est élaborée au cœur du Périgord à partir de cèpes soigneusement sélectionnés.
Idéale pour déglacer, mariner, flamber vos volailles et autres viandes ainsi que vos poissons. Peut également être utilisée pour parfumer vos risottos, veloutés et purées. Versez 1 cuillère à soupe par personne en fin de cuisson, remuez, servez. (Aucun assaisonnement supplémentaire nécessaire).

Rough translation: “Easily enhance your cooking with this cep essence ‘culinary speciality’. Our culinary speciality has been created in the heart of the Périgord [province] from carefully selected ceps.”

“It is perfect for deglazing, marinating, or flambéing poultry, meat and fish dishes. It can also be used to flavour risottos, soups and purées. Add one soup spoon per person at the end of cooking, stir and serve. (No extra seasoning is required).”

Never having seen it before, I’m fascinated to see what can be made with this unusual product. The only recipe provided on the distilling company’s website is for a very rich-sounding scrambled eggs with ‘virtual’ ceps, which doesn’t appeal much!

I’m thinking of adding some to garlic mushrooms or a sauce for chicken or steak. It is very strongly flavoured so it’s probably not intended for drinking, although having Googled, there do seem to be mushroom flavoured cocktails around.

Have you ever used essence of ceps?

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Someday photo projects

Project Life in progress 2014
Project Life in progress 2014

One of the big reasons for going digital with Project Life in 2016 is that I have a massive list of other projects I want to spend my time and energy on.

I’m posting this list here as a reminder to myself, in case I start getting tempted back into traditional, non-digital Project Life!!

  1. Finish our 2011/2012 Project Life album – it’s almost complete, just Christmas left to do. I’ve already put together most of the missing pages in the app and they’re back from the printer.
  2. Finish our 2015 Project Life album. I have something of a dilemma here – I only got as far as July last year and there are gaps. I can’t decide whether to finish it as a 6×8 or, now we have more space, I could try and convert it to a 12×12 so all my albums match…
  3. Get started on our wedding album. Although what’s the hurry? It’s only been four years!
  4. Our honeymoon photo book! We took thousands of pictures on our honeymoon (a Californian road trip) and although some are documented on our old blog, most are still just sitting on our hard drive.
  5. Start ‘life books’ for T. and me. This is an idea I came up with ages ago to make Project Life-style albums for each of us in which each year of life is represented by a double-page spread highlighting the major events. I think it would be pretty cool to have.
  6. Make some photo books. I’ve got loads of ideas I want to try out including pictures of doors (I’ve got loads of pictures of picturesque, distressed old doors taken on holidays) and a major trip to Thailand I took with some friends a few years ago. I also want to make souvenir photo books for some friends as we all turn 40 in 2018!
  7. Do something with T’s Granny’s photo archive – we inherited many of T’s Granny’s photo albums and framed pictures. So far we have only taken them out of the self-adhesive albums (so bad for photos) and stored them in archival boxes. I’d love to make a start on scanning them for a photo book that we could print multiple copies of. There are also several Victorian albums that are falling apart.
  8. I’d like to have a go at making mini-books for gifts and maybe an art journal about quotes. I’ve also been given a load of card making stuff (I actually made my first few cards last year). So there’s that too.

Phew!

Christmas Countdown | 21 | The Waterloo Battlefield

While we were in Brussels, we took a day trip to the Waterloo Battlefield. T. is a big Napoleonic history buff, so this was a favourite for him.

As you may know, 2015 was the 200th anniversary of the Battle. There has been huge investment in a new museum and various commemorations, culminating in a series of large scale reenactments in the summer, with thousands of participants and spectators. However, we visited in December on a week day and we had the whole place practically to ourselves.

A note on getting there: Waterloo is not particularly easy to get to on public transport. The site is very much set up for visitors to come by car and by coach. There’s either the W bus from Brussels Gare du Midi (takes an hour or more through Uccle) or the train to Braine l’Alleud and then the W bus going in the other direction. Either way, you end up at a seemingly random traffic intersection where you’ll have to pick your way to the start of the shiny, new, 200th anniversary footpath and entry road.

On the plus side, the Lion Mound is clearly visible above the trees and the bus drivers are helpful, so you’ll know you’re in the right place!

On the bus to Waterloo jennybegoode.wordpress.com
Trying to look continental on the W bus.

The Panorama and the Lion Mound are the oldest parts of the memorials at Waterloo. The Panorama dates to 1912 and has a famous immersive oil painting/mural with 3D elements and sound effects.

Inside the Panorama.
Inside the Panorama.

The Lion Mound was completed in 1826 and famously commemorates the Prince of Orange, William II of the Netherlands, who was wounded in the Battle. The views from the top are perfect for taking in the shape of the battlefield and the key sites.

Waterloo Lions Mound jennybegoode.wordpress.com
The Lion Mound – you’ll need to be fit, it’s 226 steps.
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Diagram of battle lines.
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The Panorama from the outside.

The new underground museum was incredibly good and overwhelmingly detailed. I’m sure even the most dedicated military history buff would learn something new. For me, the political, philosophical and economic contexts were more interesting, as well as plenty of human history about the soldiers etc. We liked the interpretation information, which seemed to be working hard to take a neutral/historical standpoint.

Waterloo Council of War jennybegoode.wordpress.com

Apart from traditional exhibits, like artefacts and mannequins, there were loads of hi-tech and interactive elements. For example, the audio devices (which we didn’t really use) have various historical figures acting as virtual tour guides to choose between and the highlight of the museum is a 3D movie experience on a 180° screen, which was thrilling – make sure to save time for it at the end.

Waterloo new museum jennybegoode.wordpress.com
Hi-tech elements. E.g. the guillotine had a slideshow of those who met their fate!

Waterloo Uniforms jennybegoode.wordpress.com

Eventually we moved on to Hougoumont Farm. A shuttle is provided for the short hop, but we opted to walk as we were running out of time before closing.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHougoumont Farm jennybegoode.wordpress.comOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We found the video installation, into which we were hustled at Hougoumont, a bit disappointing. It was very loud and bombastic, taking place in a darkened barn and involving a lot of moving parts (which we could see breaking down before long). It seemed very long and unfortunately, by the time it was over, it was almost too dark to see the memorial to the British soldiers who fought and died in the Battle.

In hindsight, I think we should have gone to Hougoumont first and the museum later on, but of course in the summer, it wouldn’t have mattered so much.

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Hopefully these notes could be of use to anyone planning a trip to Waterloo this year. There’s also a good Telegraph article about all the various sites you can visit in the area here: LINK. and here’s the website for the Memorial complex itself: LINK. Incidentally, we got a combined ticket – which included entry to the vintage Panorama, the Lion’s Mound, the new Memorial 1815 and Hougoumont Farm – for 16 Euro. There’s a 19 Euro ticket which includes a couple of other museums in the area – I think you’d need a car to see them all in a day!

On the road to Hougoumont jennybegoode.wordpress.com


This month, I’m again attempting to blog every day to turn this corner of the internet into a sort of advent calendar. Posts will be tagged ChristmasCountdown2015 or you can look at the calendar in the sidebar ⇒

Christmas Countdown | 20 | Plans for Project Life in 2016

I’m still loving Project Life, but I’m very behind with 2015’s album!

It’s more or less complete up to July but in the summer, when we put the house on the market, I had to pack away all my stuff for the viewings and I didn’t get it back out.

So for 2016 I am definitely going digital! I hope it’ll be much easier to keep it up.

The Project Life App
The Project Life app

I’m going to use the Project Life app plus, for variety, I’ll probably do some bits and pieces in Photoshop. I really enjoyed making this digital layout (below) about the Harbour Festival last year:

Bristol Harbour Festival 2015 https://jennybegoode.wordpress.com/

I haven’t 100% decided how to print the layouts, but I think I’m going to get an 8×8 album and add in prints as we go along. It would mean I could include a few souvenirs and the album would also be the ‘right’ height (i.e. the same height as my 2015 6×8 albums). I’m thinking I could always order a photo book later on if I change my mind 😉

So that’s the plan for now. I’m going to order an 8×8 test print to see whether the photos look big enough and what font size I need to use.

Test page https://jennybegoode.wordpress.com/

Watch this space 🙂


This month, I’m again attempting to blog every day to turn this corner of the internet into a sort of advent calendar. Posts will be tagged ChristmasCountdown2015 or you can look at the calendar in the sidebar ⇒

 

Christmas Countdown | 19 | Gluten Free Afternoon Tea

Gluten free afternoon tea at Brown's Hotel, London jennybegoode.wordpress.com
My Aunt, Mum and Sister enjoying afternoon tea at Brown’s Hotel in London.

Earlier this month, I said I would report back on the gluten free afternoon tea at Brown’s Hotel in London. My Mum, Sister and Aunt like to meet up in London now and then for a day out and a catch up.

I’ve never suggested afternoon tea before, although I’ve been with friends several times, as my Mum is gluten free and I’ve always assumed that it wouldn’t be worth it for her. After all, the main part of afternoon tea is sandwiches, cake and scones!

I was convinced to give it a go after chatting to the maître d’ at the English Tea Room and I’m so glad I did. The bread used for the gluten free tea was indistinguishable from the normal bread. I have no idea how that’s even possible!

The gluten free scones were excellent too. And as far as I could see, the only difference between the gluten free cakes and the normal cakes was the lack of choux, which is totally understandable.

On top of all of that, you get charming service and a live pianist. We’ll definitely be back.


This month, I’m again attempting to blog every day to turn this corner of the internet into a sort of advent calendar. Posts will be tagged ChristmasCountdown2015 or you can look at the calendar in the sidebar ⇒