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The Riff-Raff Element

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Everything posted by The Riff-Raff Element

  1. [quote user="Pierre ZFP"]Botulism is rare but it does happen.  Chillis and tomatos being other things that can suffer the same. [/quote] Wise to be careful: the bacteria that produces the toxin is killed at temperatures above 121°C and cannot thrive in acid conditions, which does provide ways of minimising risk. I confit the aubergines by dicing them up and cooking them very slowly in lots of olive oil with finely sliced onions, ground pepper, a little salt and some lemon juice for the taste & for the acid. I cook them for up to an hour like this and for the last few minutes monitor the temperature with a sugar thermometer to ensure that they are heated up to 130°C before bottling them. So far this hasn't killed me, though I'm not offering any guarantees, and the results taste good.
  2. [quote user="NormanH"] Unfortunately it is very often here (my town anyway)  passed off as 'Cuisine Traditionelle' which is one of the reasons I haven't picked up that particular suggestion for translating artisanale.. [/quote] Fair point. I've heard it said that fewer than 10% of pub restaurants in the UK are serving food that is genuinely homemade. Apparently the term has little legal meaning. Where the likes of Brake Bros are really making inroads in France are in what could be called tourist restaurants - high volume places that see distinct seasons. It's not that what BB sell is particularly cheap (I understand that often it's more expansive than the cost of the ingredients would be), but it can be prepared and served by staff with only the bearest minimum of training, which really cuts down the labour costs. That's why quite a lot of places run by families or be couples with perhaps a single waiter still manage to hang on and are still able to present food that is prepared from scratch and cooked on the premises. Of course the higher-range places manage it because they can charge more, but you've certainly explained why they are so keen to make a point that they actually cook what they are serving [8-)]
  3. [quote user="NormanH"]So far the working version of this bit  ( of a much longer whole) looks like this: Original French: "Si vous aimez la cuisine artisanale, créative et colorée « xxx sont faites pour vous"my adaptation "If you enjoy home-made dishes, imaginatively prepared from fresh ingredients, and artistically presented by a craftsman cook then  xxxx" is just what you are looking for." I'm not that convinced by the 'craftsman cook' I have to admit, but I feel that 'a skillful chef' or  'with exemplary cooking skills 'lack a bit of the punch that comes with the alliteration. Artistically could be colourfully to be closer to the original. [/quote] That's pretty good! If you're not keen on "craftsman cook" how about something along the lines of "tradition-minded chef"? Artisanale always brings up "tradition" in my mind.
  4. [quote user="Chrisb"] Going by the posts on here, we appear to be in the minority, but, in my opinion, it IS possible to move over here with older children, and still make it work.[/quote] It is possible. It can work. It is a risk. I hear what you're saying, and I've come across similar cases, but I still don't think I'd recommend to anyone they try it with a child already in school unless they absolutely had to. Finger in the air, I'd reckon - based only on my experience, mind - that about 60% of children coming to France having started school in the UK fail to settle. Either they end up going back having had a thoroughly disruptive educational experience or they just stay here and wallow. I notice in these cases the parents are rather more quick to blame "the system" than to examine their own level of fault. Anyway, your boys did OK, which is good, and they are happy, which is better. Are we likely to see them on X-Factor? I only ask because the 2011 series of X-Factor in France was won by a French-speaking Brit. [:D]
  5. [quote user="idun"]So what is said at the college council meetings about the kids who are not doing so well? what help are they given, how are they encouraged? I am very very interested in how 'problem' children are dealt with. So easy for the 'normal' ones, let's face it teachers used to train at the 'ecole normale'. [/quote] This is drifting a bit off topic you realise. We may be told off. However... it all rather depends on the nature of the problem, but the emphasis is on dealing with the problem locally rather than trying to export it. This might be something to do with it being a collège privé - quite a few of the staff were once also pupils there, so there is a sort of family air about the place. There is a greater willingness now than there was a few years ago (I am told by those who have been there longer) to call for the services of the pyschologue or orthophonist, to actually identify the nature of the problem. Yes we have SEGPA and ULIS classes: some of the courses for these are taught by the mainstream teachers, others by specialists. It depends on the child.
  6. [quote user="idun"]RRE, college? lycee? [/quote] Two children at college, one in primaire. I'm on the class council for college and I teach English at the primaire. My wife is treasurer of the OGEC for the primaire. We like to stick our oars in. We don't get that many British students through the schools - this is not a particualrly fashionable area - but I've seen enough to have a pretty clear idea of the sort of problems they can have. Incoming children can also have impacts on more established anglophone children who end up translating for them in class. For some of the translators this can be a benefit (consolidates learning); for others it can be really damaging to their own education. Also, children more used to the relaxed attiudes of teachers in the British system can find the levels of deference expected in the French system difficult to adapt to. Lots of reasons, in my view, not to move older children (ie older than six!) unless absolutely necessary.
  7. @ Idun - what can I say? Schools vary. Ours is so utterly different to what you describe that it might be in a completely different country. I'm a parent correspondent too and I've never yet encountered the attitudes of teachers you describe. Having sat through several classes in different subjects (I asked - I wanted to see how it worked 'cos I hadn't been through the system) I've yet to quite understand what this business of everything being taught by rote is about, because I don't see it. I see things that look pretty much like the methods used on me - so perhaps a little outmoded - but endless rote? Nope.
  8. [quote user="Clarkkent"]When opened, and kept in the fridge, pasteurised milk stays usable for rather longer than UHT. [/quote] I've noticed this too. I think it might be because pasturised milk is not actually a sterile environment and invading bacteria have to compete with those already in situ, whereas UHT is a nice, clean, growing medium for any bacteria that happen along. We've got a badged supplier of lait cru near us, so we tend to buy that. It's cheaper than the "fresh" stuff in the supermarket and we all prefer the taste, though the filtered stuff is a fair second choice.
  9. I think anyone bringing a child here over about the age of six is taking a risk that they will never, truly, settle into the system. I don't believe in all honesty that French education is any better or worse than the UK , but it is different and messing around whipping kids out of one culture, popping them into another, and then (not infrequently) doing the reverse is hardly going to be beneficial to their long-term prospects. I don't suppose that it is co-incidence that many of the most vocal British critics of French education are those who turned up here with older children.
  10. I think it may have a lot to do with the fact that, in the nation which pioneered refrigeration, the domestic fridge was until relatvely recently a fairly rare piece of kit. UHT milk therefore fitted rather better with day-to-day life. I notice that filtered milk is becoming available more widely here.
  11. Very good. More power to your fingers.
  12. [quote user="NormanH"] "The French don't apologise. Like the ancient Romans, they think owning up to a mistake is a fatal admission of weakness." [/quote] It is a bit like saying (not you, Norman, the DT) that the British don't like their children and prefer the company of animals to that of the opposite sex. Just another ludicrous generalisation. What the French don't seem to do, not yet, anyway, is to indulge in the rather nauseating public displays of mea culpa that are a regular feature of British public life these days. Didn't the Inland Revenue just recently take out big ads in the Dailies to apologise for some shoddy service or other? And there was a period when a day hardly passed without some minister or other apologising for slavery, the Black Death, the relief of Mafeking and leaves on the rails. Where did it all come from? An idea that confession may be good for the collective soul or something?
  13. Brilliant!  We need more of this sort of thing. I'm very fond of chick peas. There's a place about 10km from us that has a melon fête, complete with a "Miss Melons" competition. But this involves young ladies in bowler hats rather than, well... Next week we've got one of our school events, a rando followed by a lengthy lunch of local melons, local mussels, cheese from the bloke in the village and tartes we all contribute. It will go on far too late and I will almost certainly get horribly drunk and do karaoke covers of Claude François songs. I love it here.
  14. My favourite shape is pipe rigate. I've thought for a while that Italian food is overated (I know I'm not alone in this: the late, great Keith Floyd could be very vocal on the subject), so I have no compunction whatsoever in putting things like chorizo sausage into sauces. As a student I used to eat spaghetti with baked beans and chedder cheese on it and a friend serves pasta with sauerkraut and Alsace sauasage. It's pretty good.
  15. Our village events are brilliant! There's about eight each year organised by various associations (plus, of course, their own dinner / dance affairs, a couple of which - our school's and the hunt - are also worth going to), most of which manage to offer decent food and wine plus entertainment. We are aided by the fact that we have a recently-formed committee des fêtes that is very energetic and well-organised. When I compare the hideous school, church and village fetes of my youth with their tea-tents and inedible, leather-like, buns with these events... actually, I can't. Chalk and cheese. And the French have got all the cheese.
  16. [quote user="Will"]Neither. She is well versed in knowing exactly what kind of contentious, seemingly off-the-cuff, remarks are likely to get readers, both of forums like this and of pseudo-highbrow periodicals, huffing and puffing into their cheap French plonk. [:P] [/quote] Enough of the cheap, already! I'm paying €1,80 per litre at the moment.
  17. I did something very similar about 20 years ago. I took my car to the Netherlands for two years while I worked there. It was "permanently exported" and re-registered as a Dutch vehicle. It came back with me as a permant export from the Netherlands and I just went down to the nearest DVLC office (when these existed), filled in a form, handed it over, plus a fresh MOT certificate and the Dutch paperwork and was issued with a new log book and number.  In the eyes of the DVLA it is not the same car coming back but a foreign registered car being imported.
  18. A chum was kind enough to draw my attention to the vacuous Helena Frith-Powell pontificating in a low-brow moron-baiting article in some bum-fodder named “Grazia” on the subject of someone called Kirstie Allsopp who got herself into hot water by saying women should always put their menfolk first: “After living in France for 10 years, I'm totally in agreement. French women always put their men first. I remember one French friend refusing to breastfeed her first-born because, she said, her breasts belonged to her husband.” As generalisations go, this seems pretty sweeping. In fact, I can't really square the notion with any of the French women I know. Perhaps it's a generational thing: practically all the women I know are under 45. Or – and I think this more likely – it might be because la Frith-Powell knows only women who regard getting out of bed in time to see the kiddies off to school with the nanny before spending time with their personal trainer, having a manicure and then a very small but very expensive lunch as being a fair day's graft. All the women I know (with a sole exception) work for a living. Anyway, while I wouldn't presume to ask the ladies on the forum who their breasts belong to, I would be quite curious to know their views (and anyone elses) on H F-P's observation: completely barking mad or the voice of common sense?  [8-)]
  19. [quote user="NickP"]Val describes it as having the reputation of being the drug capital of France ! I have never been there; so I couldn't comment. Also as I said after Val's comment, I'm unlikely to visit Morlaix [/quote] We're not exactly talking Toxteth, Harlesden or Moss Side here. It's quite pretty in parts. Half timbered buildings and so on. According to the EMCDDA 2011 bulletin, French cannabis use is about the same as that in the UK, but the use of cocaine, LSD, speed and ecstasy is much, much lower in France. The UK has about the highest consumption of those drugs in Europe, I believe. I blame the weather. I would blame the state of English cricket, but I hear that has improved.
  20. [quote user="Russethouse"] What about Tresco ? [/quote] I corresponded with Tresco for a time, but she faded into the ether a while ago and I've no idea what became of her. Shame: she was a high quality human being. I'm still here because everything I have (family, property, useless dog, empty-ish bank account (plus ça change...)) is here. Besides, I like it here. I couldn't imagine moving back to the UK. I last went there with some friends to watch France play Scotland in the Six Nations in 2010. It was fun. None of them had visited the UK before. They concluded that it was nice for a visit, but they wouldn't want to live there. I'm rather of the same opinion.
  21. [quote user="idun"]This whole integration thing that is mentioned; well, until you start hearing the whispers about the down right disgusting and despicable in a french village, then no one is 'integrated' in my opinion. . [/quote] That's a laugh! In my experience you only have to be here five minutes before every meddlesome old biddy and interfering codger is regaling you with the "sale histoire de x, y or z." Of course, all the others are hypocritical gossips but you can depend on their discretion and veracity. [:-))] We even used to get the odd anonymous letter (from more than one person, judging by the handwriting) denouncing the activities of various of our neighbours. It reminded me strongly of the village in which I grew up in Norfolk. In fact, it's probably the same in every village on God's Green Earth. After a few years you start to find out what is actually going on and it turns out - for the most part - to be very dull indeed. The fiction is much more fun.
  22. [quote user="frankgarton28"]we dont want to come and do nothing and be lazy. We want to work hard for 9 months of the year doing hospitality with a B&B, camping and cycling tours of France and live in a different country. [/quote] I think you've got the ratio about right, though that nine months might mean a 7/7 working week. A great deal depends on how your business does and that in turn depends upon the quality of your planning & execution. Personally, we found that the grass was and is greener here [:)]
  23. [quote user="minnie"]Is there a product I can buy to deal with particularly stubborn limescale on bathroom sinks, toilets and shower trays; also surrounding tiles? I'm sure that there must be some effective product out there![/quote] Mix the pH minus power that is used in swimming pools with wallpaper paste to make a nice thick gel and and paint it on.
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