We now have a hearth in our living room.
In front of our fireplace. The one who’s chimney doesn’t go all the way to the top.
He still needs to clean the inside. It’s a different world working with stone construction rather than wood. The back of the fireplace has the same huge limestone blocks as the house, the sides were built out at a later date and need to be ‘finished’.
The floor is coming along slowly.
He has to stain and varnish each plank before it goes down, so it’s a bit time consuming. The good news is, he’s doing all the work in that room, and with that lovely insulation on the floor he now has a warm place to work.
On the cooking side I’ve been getting phone calls every other day keeping me posted on my cook top – in other words, telling me it’s not fixed yet.
It will probably be ready Friday.
We can’t pick it up Friday.
EDF, the electric company, is coming to read the meter on Friday afternoon. They sent me a letter 2 weeks ago for the appointment.
Yes, our electric company makes an appointment to read our meter.
They only read it twice a year and in these old houses the meters are inside. In the Vendée the meter was on the wall in the living room. Lovely fixture, with all the wires for the house coming out of it… on the wall, naturally. Wires are not inside walls here – ’cause the walls are stone, remember?
Here it’s in the barn but they still have to come inside to read it.
Thus the appointment. Requested formally, by letter.
I digress… Back to the cook top. Apparently someone took pity on my frustrated self because they gave me a ‘loaner’ cook top to use while mine is being repaired. In celebration, and because it was cold, I made soup. Twice.
And neither one ended up looking like it should.
In my mind Borscht should be purple or red-purple. Mine was red.
It tasted like it should; was, in fact, quite delicious.
But it was red.
Maybe next time I’ll add some red cabbage. That might help the color. I didn’t put any cabbage in because…. Well, because I didn’t want that much soup. It’s hard to make a first course soup for two….
Borscht Beetroot Soup
3 large beets, cooked, peeled
1 medium potato
1 medium carrot
1 medium onion
2 cups chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp thyme
1 tbs Balsamic vinegar
3 tbs tomato paste
3 tbs Greek yogurt
Cut beets, potato and carrot into small pieces. Chop onion. Put vegetables, chicken broth, herbs and spices into a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaves. Purée in blender or use an immersion blender. Stir in tomato paste and vinegar, gently bring just to a boil. Ladle into soup plates and serve, garnished with Greek Yogurt.
Note: I buy whole, cooked, peeled beetroot – it’s the only we get it here. If the beets are raw you must first cook them before using them for anything, including soup. To cook, gently scrube the dirt off and trim the stem and root end to about an inch. Cover with water and boil until tender, 45 – 90 minutes, depending on size.
You could also roast them: rub with a bit of oil, wrap in foil and roast for about the same length of time.
Allow to cool slightly, then slip the skins off and trim the root and stem. Now they are ready to eat or use.
And your entire kitchen and person will be a lovely shade of red….
This could be a fun first course for a Valentine’s Day Dinner.