I have been at our home in Normandy in the north of France since Easter. It has been a pleasant change arriving earlier and enjoying milder temperatures, instead of the searing temperatures which Europe has experienced over the past few July and August months. Normandy hasn’t been exempt from the heatwaves.
I have enjoyed visiting gardens in our region and thought that it would be a nice idea to share some of these places with you in photographs.
Meanwhile, our garden is starting to take shape here, but that is a story for another time.
Photo 1: Chateau Vendeuvre in Normandy, which houses an exquisite miniature furniture collection. www.vendeuvre.com Note that there is an English version on the website. Photo: M.Long
Photo 2: The two arched doorways to the left at the Priory St Michel are the entrances to the accommodation that a friend and I enjoyed for two nights. www.prieure-saint-michel.com Photo: M Long
Photo 3: A very attractive display of sedums at the Jardin de Francois. www.ferme-et-jardin-francois.com Photo: M Long
Photo 4: A bulb theatre at the Jardin de Francois. Photo: M. Long
Photo 5: One of the many irises in flower at Monet’s garden at Giverny. Photo: M. Long
Photo 6: Eremerus (foxtail lilies), irises and alliums were in abundance at Monet’s garden at the beginning of this month.
Beetroot and Noodle Salad: Marilyn McRae
This is a delicious and colourful autumn/winter salad to serve on its own with crusty bread for a lunch or as a side with barbecued meats.
The dressing is good on any Asian-style salad; feel free to adjust the amount of garlic (I only use one good-sized clove for example) and/or chilli paste to your suit your own tastes.For the salad:
- 1 packet rice noodles
- 2 large carrots
- 2 large beetroot (raw)
- 1 cucumber, seeds removed
- 1 c mung bean sprouts
- 1 c (125g) salted peanuts, chopped roughly
- 1 bunch coriander leaves
- 4 cloves garlic
- 3x1cm thick slices fresh ginger
- 1 tsp red Thai chilli paste
- 1/2 c Chinese rice wine or sherry (or I’ve used ginger wine)
- 2 tbsps fish sauce
- juice 1 lemon or lime
- 2 tbsps sugar or honey
- 2 tbsps Hoisin sauce
- 2 tbsps sesame oil
To make the dressing:
Blend all the ingredients until smooth. Strain through a sieve if necessary and place in a jar. Refrigerate until needed. Check seasonings before using.
Cook or soak the rice noodles according to the packet instructions and drain well.
Clean and pat dry the vegetables then grate them using a food processor or grater.
Use a large mixing bowl and add the grated vegetables around the sides of the bowl leaving a space in the centre.
Add the noodles to the centre of the bowl and gently mix through the vegetables.
Add the dressing, as much as desired, and mix to coat the salad.
Add the peanuts and lightly stir through.
If you have a spring onion to hand, chop the green parts finely on the diagonal and stir through with the peanuts if you’d like a bit of extra ‘punch’ and some contrasting colour.
Our relaxed country garden started twenty nine years ago. In the early days I had very little gardening experience and no vision for the site, but an interest in plants was quickly developing. Over the years, with much trial and error, a garden has emerged which we and our visitors do enjoy.
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