The perfect Hollandaise

Today I made a hollandaise sauce for the first time and I’m delighted to say it was absolutely delicious! It does have a huge amount of butter in it but as an occasional treat, it was worth it!

A Sunday lunch of delicately poached salmon, baby new potatoes and juicy steamed asparagus wrapped in a velvety smooth Hollandaise. A lovely summery meal accompanied with a buttery rich Pouilly Fumé, followed by cheese and finally fresh strawberries and a strawberry tart and coffee. Very civilised!

We sat under an olive tree with tiny olive flowers spiralling down on us as the sky darkened ominously and fat raindrops started plopping into the pool. We gathered up plates and dashed under the large umbrella over the outdoor lounge whilst the summer thunder rolled through and Agnes delighted in her rain dance, growling and pirouetting whilst snapping her teeth to catch the drops.

France is all about local food, excellent wine and good cooking. The flavours are amazing and people really take the time to enjoy their food, so different to M&S ready meals!

It made me contemplate learning classic French cookery… when in France

Remember when strawberries tasted like strawberries?

Well, they still do if you buy them from our local greengrocer, Clifton Greens in Little Venice.

I don’t eat much fruit, in fact I never eat fruit, mainly because it either tastes of nothing or the texture is woody but today I cycled over in glorious sunshine and came back laden with summer delights.

Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries all leapt off the shelves into my basket. My biggest indulgence was a mango, a fruit which reminds me of Mexico and with a squeeze of fresh lime or made into a mango salsa, what a pleasure.

£5 for a mango seemed like an exorbitant price but it was massive and perfectly ripe so off I went, back on my bike carefully clutching the golden prize.

And it was so worth it. The best mango I’ve eaten in years, soft, juicy, a hint of aniseed.

Every single berry was perfectly ripe and not a hint of dry, woody, blandness.

If it was always berry season, I would become a fruitarian!

Summer in the garden

Finally, after months of stress and scaffolding, there’s a reason to live here.

It’s summer and the garden is in bloom, it’s an idyllic place to sit, listen to the birds and have breakfast. I’ve finally uncovered the sofas but the main garden is certainly the better place to sit.

The back scaffolding is down which means it’s probably time to tackle our next room but today, I think I might paint the window frame in the third room.

Enjoying a sunny Sunday!

Three days later

This week I’ve been in New York for three days. I arrived on Tuesday afternoon and went straight to a meeting and here I am, three days later heading back to the airport. Surreal.

I didn’t go anywhere, didn’t do anything other than work and didn’t take any photos. It did rain though and the weather was quite horrible.

The three days were important as I was onboarding (a dreadful corporate term) a new team member who will be taking my late phone calls and giving me back my evenings.

What will I do with all that extra time? Or should I say, what will I paint?!

Respite in France

From Thursday evening to Tuesday morning (5am) I was in France.

The weather was mixed but it didn’t stop us from compiling the “Complaints List,” all the things a guest could possibly complain about and then we got on with fixing stuff.

From a broken dishwasher (still to be replaced,) damaged gates (now patched up so less shit than they were,) a rotten shutter and a cracked mirror. These are the details we felt the most discerning guests would complain about ie me.

Gardening, cleaning and general maintenance weren’t included although we did manage to invest in a new power jet and proceeded to jet wash almost everything. The result, everything is now covered in mud.

My pet succulents are doing well and the garden is looking quite spectacular. Once we tick off the Complaints we should be all ready for AirBnb.

The To Do List

As I’m gradually chipping away at things, my list currently looks like this:

    Fill, sand, undercoat and paint window frame in Little bedroom.
    Install curtain rod in Little Bedroom.
    Sand and paint exterior of hall cupboard
    Remove remaining wallpaper from hall for plastering.
    Sand and paint door frames.
    Fill, sand and paint front door
    Knock down kitchen wall.

(The last one is wishful thinking). I need to email the builder.

As I’m away most weekends and have a full time job, things are progressing very slowly.

Almost made it

With the third room almost complete, three coats of paint on the walls, two coats on the skirting boards and doorframe and several ailments along the way (who knew it was such hard work climbing up and down a stepladder?) I had to admit, I’d run out of time.

I hadn’t managed to finish the window frame and so the third room remains patiently waiting for the next ten days as I’m off to France and then New York. I’ll continue where I left off.

This is a very slow refurbishment!

It’s looking good though and when the scaffolding comes down, it will be a lovely room.

Along with the window frame, it’s time to find an old cast iron fireplace to plug up the hole in the wall.