About 18 months ago I was introduced to a new-to-me vegan restaurant just up the road from here. I've always been interested in vegetarianism/veganism so was delighted to find that their food was actually very, very good! Then of course the pandemic intervened and this restaurant chose to no longer do in-house dining because they refused to ask for people's vaccine passports - so it was take-out only! Anyway, everything opened back up for us a couple of months ago and I saw on their website that they were offering cookery courses, so I signed up and went to my first one yesterday and it was wonderful! I'd been to a vegan class in Geneva a couple of years ago and it was a real disappointment, but this one was everything I'd hoped it would be and more! The lady lives and breathes veganism/organic food/holistic medicine and is such an interesting woman. For the first 30 minutes we talked about why we were interested in it. She said that right from a very young age she felt such empathy with animals that she couldn't force herself to eat meat so vegetarianism came naturally, followed by veganism as she got older! It's a lovely place where they give yoga classes, and reiki and massage therapy, in addition to the restaurant side of things. There were four other ladies, all very interesting too. One lady "talks to animals, plants, trees, etc." and was very into all that stuff, and while she's obviously free to believe what she wants I just wished she'd talked a little less! That being said we were all different but all very accepting of those differences too. In fact, the lady I liked the most has a small farm in the mountains where she and her husband raise animals for meat and the "tree hugger lady" didn't bat an eyelid at it!
On the menu were chilled courgette and cucumber soup, carrot and olive cake and the most delicious uncooked lemon tart (made using avocado as the "mousse")! Everything was really good and our teacher told us how and why she used the different flours and vegetable milks/creams, etc.
|Chilled courgette and cucumber soup!|
|Olive and carrot cake!|
|No cook lemon tart!|
(The photos aren't very good because
I'd already put it all in containers
to take home when I thought to take photos)!
Thankfully there are a few very good health food stores round here but when I asked her where she preferred to shop she mentioned a new Ecoquartier which had been built up the road in Bonneville, on the site of the old hospital. Now I'd never heard of this place so this morning I took a trip out there to check it out. The store was, indeed, lovely and afterwards I stopped in the little coffee shop next door for a drink (and yeah, a meringue cake too), but it did strike me that for an ecoquartier there was an awful lot of concrete! As I was only 10 minutes away from Jordan and Jen's I bought a couple of pastries and stopped over there as I wanted to discuss something with Jen. Since Charlie is only in daycare Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, Jen's mom and I take care of him the other two days, with me doing Friday as I want to continue my Monday morning yoga classes. When we were sorting out our schedules though, Jen's mom had a whole list of Mondays where she couldn't take Charlie (she has a boyfriend who lives 90 minutes away and goes to his place, and then they are going on holiday soon for two weeks). Fair enough, I worked my schedule to suit her and cancelled a few yoga classes - except this morning she sent me a message to say she was coming home early from the boyfriend's and could now take Charlie tomorrow instead. While I don't mind accommodating her, I don't want to be forever on the receiving end of moving plans around after they've been agreed, so I wanted to ask Jen what suited her best. I'd planned to miss yoga and have Charlie at my house tomorrow and have set up his little swimming pool, but now that's been changed and we're back to our normal schedule. I don't know, maybe I'm being unreasonable but I don't like making plans and then having them switched at the last minute, especially if I've made my own plans!
Anyway, it got sorted, and then Jen asked me if I wanted to go to visit a snail farm with her and Charlie as they had an open day and it was only 10 minutes away? A snail farm, ehhhh, no thank you, I'm not shoving those things in my mouth! Well in the end we all went and it was a fun way to spend a few hours (not that Charlie cared that much but he was very interested in everyone around him). Oh, and there was no snail eating either. It was just the owner showing how he "cultivated" 200,000 snails a year for the local market. He was good fun and put on a 50 minute show for the kids all about snails. "How do you wake up a snail"? "You shout at him"! Nope, they're deaf, they're also pretty much blind (unless you get to within a couple mm of them), and so the best way to wake them up is to water them (and of course the kids got a good watering too). Then he asked what snails eat and cracked up when one little boy shouted "ketchup"! The really interesting part was when he showed the kids how strong snails are, capable of moving 100 times their own weight - which he proved by attaching a toy car to a snail's shell and they watched it pull the car up the slope. As I say, it was a good show, and afterwards we had a wander round the other stands set up in his field (selling honey, wine, jewellery, etc.), had a quick beer and then headed back home!
|See the toy car "tow truck"!|
On the way home I stopped to fill my car up. While I was there a young lad on a scooter asked if I could change a €20 note for two tens as he wanted to put €10 in his scooter. I knew I hadn't got any change so told him I'd fill his scooter up for him. Crikey, you'd think I'd given him the world, he was so grateful!
When I got home I went round the salad plants I've got potted up on my garden wall, picking off slugs and snails before they could do too much damage. Oddly enough it seems that the best deterrent has been the smashed up egg shells I've got scattered round a couple of pots, so I'll be keeping any and all egg shells in future - or at least until this growing season ends. I had to laugh when I went to throw some stuff in my compost bin though, because some time ago I'd dumped a whole bunch of potato peelings in there - and now it looks like I've got a compost bin full of spuds! I'll have to wait till I dig them up but from what I'm seeing right now I needn't have wasted my time planting potato seedlings in my raised beds if all it was going to take was to drop the peel in the compost bin!
Just as I was starting to think about dinner there was a knock at my door and my neighbour walked in with about 10 bottles. Here's me thinking we were in for a good time tonight, so I was disappointed when she asked if she could fill them up with water as their water heater had blown and they were having to empty the tank to fix it! It ended up with her very embarrassed daughter coming over to my place for a shower, although when I offered to give them my spare key they said they'd be ok as they were hoping to fix it by tomorrow. While I wish I'd already gotten my bloody bathrooms done, I was so glad I'd made the effort to clean all the upstairs rooms thoroughly this week. I guess it's just like your mom used to say - always wear clean underpants because you just never know!
And finally, I don't know if I'd mentioned before but I decided to start using my lovely sunny balcony as a place to put my other home grown veg hopefuls since I never use it. So far I've got 11 rather nice looking plants out there (tomatoes, courgettes, hot peppers) and you know what, there's not a single slug/snail on them. So it would seem, that planting them on a first floor balcony is an even better slug deterrent than scattering crushed egg shells round your plants. Beat that ya buggers!
I bake olive oil cakes and their delicious, I've never had one with olives. Snails and slugs are not a problem here. Every now and then I'll see a trail, but that's about it.ReplyDelete
I actually don't care for olive cake that much as someone always brings a dreadful one to the picnic, but this one was delicious. As for the snails, I suppose they're preferable to grizzly bears, although the snail guy did tell us he had one season's entire crop destroyed by wild boar so I guess I shouldn't complain!Delete
I am of the same mind as you with the last minute changed plans. It is a real pet peeves to me. My husband's mom often has treated us that way- changing things last minute but often to accommodate her more important children's lives. The class sounds like such a good time. My mom friends did a make a meal class once and had a good time. I'd like to find more.ReplyDelete
I was annoyed at the schedule change because none of the changes made to the original schedule had been to accommodate me. We used to get a lot of that when we lived in the States too (ex-husband's family), until I eventually learned to say "I'm going to do XXX on day YYYY. Would you like to come"? No more messing around trying to accommodate a very large family. As for the class, I've always taken classes - Chinese, Indian, vegetarian, game - because it interests me. I'm sure if you look around you'll find some excellent ones, although you might be a bit pushed given your schedule!Delete
What a great way to spend some time- cooking delicious vegan food. I have a feeling that the woman who spoke to animals and plants might have annoyed me but that's the way I am.ReplyDelete
Yes, it is frustrating when you have to make your plans around everyone else's. There is always the underlying message that YOUR plans are not as important as someone else's.
A snail farm? Well, I suppose escargot must come from somewhere.
The woman who talks to plants was only annoying really because she never shut up, otherwise I was fine with it. And yes the snail farm was a first for me too but the guy made it fun and the little kids had a blast!Delete
My grandson's other grandma does that as well. Oh yes, I'll help you and then swans off on another holiday. I've lost count of the number of holidays she's had in the past six months.ReplyDelete
To be honest she's not even helping me - it's her own daughter and grandson. We agreed on her having him on Mondays and me doing Fridays and obviously I'm fine with accommodating a switch - just not the night before when I'd made plans with the babe and for the simple reason that she couldn't sleep at the boyfriends so decided to come back early. Hardly an emergency, don't you think. I think that might be why I do so much alone - I just can't be arsed to depend on someone else!Delete
I will eat anything once well prepared - so sign me up for the vegan food (and the snails, sorry guys)! I also hate plans changing last minute on a whim, and I am very accommodating myself but people need to learn to respect everyone's time.ReplyDelete
I'm not fond of seafood and anything slimey so forget snails, although I understand they're good (I think it's the garlic butter that does it though). And of course it's cultural, isn't it - what you grow up with! As for switching days with Charlie, I guess she meant well in that it would allow me to go to yoga, but even so I prefer to stick with whatever plans I've made rather than change last minute! Maybe I'm just getting old and cranky!Delete
Touch wood, slugs and snails haven’t yet attacked my plants (I’ve put gravel around the most vulnerable ones) but instead two field mice are having a party in a flower trough, eating lobelia, nibbling pansies and digging up tulip bulbs. I spent this morning applying peppermint oil - I hope it repels them, the scent on my hands certainly repulsed me.ReplyDelete
The eggshells worked so-so, but then yesterday I crumpled up some chicken wire and put that around my lettuces. Those damn slugs/snails must be commandos because this morning there they were again! Still, as I said above, the guy at the snail farm lost his whole crop recently to wild boar so I guess we shouldn't complain, right?Delete
To get rid of slugs: place a bowl into the ground so the rim is level with the soil. Fill the bowl with beer. The snails will come from yards away to literally drown themselves in the beer.Delete
Sue, I know a few people like that!Delete
Sounds like your balcony was the better place to plant your veggies. Have you ever tried topsy turvy planters? I guess they could save space and keep the buggers away. I am a carnivore but always feel that vegetarian or vegan meals are better for the summer heat. Light enough and can be mostly served cold. As for last minute changes, I am with you.ReplyDelete
So far my balcony is working out great and I feel good knowing that it's being used. At the moment I've got the plants downstairs sitting on my garden table but they'll have to be moved this weekend so we'll see what happens then. And I've tried vegetarianism a few times and always felt so well when I did it. Trouble is I then get lazy and give up. Still, I'll keep trying and maybe one day I'll get there - a partial vegetarian, if not 100%!Delete
I love both your snail deterrent ideas! I always blend up my eggshells before putting them in my compost, but I will try crushing them and putting them round my winter veg to see how it goes. Unfortunately I lack an upstairs balcony, but i can imagine not many snails will bother to climb so far..ReplyDelete
There are still a few snails getting through (they're bloody intrepid) but the egg shells worked the best so far. Nasty things though eh!Delete
While I don't know if I could go full-on vegan, I love a great many of the recipes and make several for us.ReplyDelete
I doubt I could ever go vegan either, but as you say, some of the recipes are fabulous aren't they!Delete