Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Post #1000

1000 posts

Who'd a thunk it?
1000 posts.
I never keep anything going this long ... and yet I've managed to get Chez le Laquet to carry on limping along since February 2005.
I remember the bizareness of my first comment ... about chilled consomme. Managed to write 100 bizarre and unrelated things about myself in a strange list - twice! Panicked about the wedding preparations. Found scarred beauty in the playground. I had a hen night and got married. Started my first meme - that I am actually still doing! And that was just 3 months in 2005!
There are times when I am sick to death of posting and can think of NOTHING to say but then there are also times when I have been able to use the blog to rant my arse off! I have made some really good friends and as of yet I haven't been Dooced ... I'm keeping my fingers crossed on that one! All in all I think I'm up for keeping this going for a while - hey maybe I'll even manage a few more posts than last year* ... shouldn't be too hard!
the year of the slacker
* aka the year of the SLACKER!

Making sweet music

Everyone's doing this - I've seen it in at least one/two/three different places and now so must I ... so here are the rules::

1. Go to Wikipedia's random article function, on the upper left sidebar: the title of your article is your band's name.
2. Go to
Wikiquote. Once again, there is a "random page" function. Take the last four or five words of the random page and create your album name.
3. Now for the album cover. Go to
Flickr Interesting photos from the last 7 days. The third photo is your cover, whether you like it or not.
4. Put it all together with something like Photoshop and become the newest rock star on the block!

Making Sweet Music

I imagine Stockholm Party a little like Scritti Politti - left wing, post punk and slightly fey BUT from Sweden and not Leeds/Cardiff. Off to load the album onto my iPod ;o)

Monday, March 30, 2009

A is for apples

**Health warning - convoluted paragraph approaching** First let me explain that this in an idea that I've been fiddling with for a while now ... I have been equally inspired by an American Blogger who has lived for years in the Aveyron (and a French blogger who now lives in the US that Mrs America in the Aveyron reads!) Of course this immediately struck a chord with me because my parents live in the Lot (read just next door to Mrs A in the A) and in fact when I fly to see them I fly into Rodez (Aveyron), which is in fact just up the road from a quaint, dodgy-Broadband suffering, French commune containing a small dwelling - with a new & fab soon to be visited patio - that they call Chez le Laquet!

Anyway, back to the whole point of this ... welcome to my A to Z of Food and today A is for Apples! I have to admit that I am ambivalent about apples - I can love and loathe them on the same day. None of the "apples are my favourite" days of my brother's childrhood - I'd have preferred a handful of grapes or cherries. None of the "Lidl didn't have Pink Ladys only Jonagolds, so I walked 3 miles in the snow to Waitrose to get some" zeal of my mother-in-law - who knew that there were crossed apples? That a Lady William crossed with a Golden Delicious gave you a Pink Lady - and for that matter, who cared?? And don't even get me started on the nasty sweet muck they call apple juice - bleugh!
All through childhood apple pie and apple strudel were turned down in favour of pretty much anything. Scrumping in neighbour's gardens - I was too scared of getting caught. Baked apples - not a chance. Until finally, someone thought to introduce me to the joy of Normandy Pork!
Saint Delia's Normandy Pork (with Jo's twist)
100g apple sauce
1 apple*, chopped
1 teaspoon oil
1 teaspoon butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 lb (450 g) shoulder of pork
8 fl oz (225 ml) dry cider
2 fl oz (55 ml) cider vinegar
salt and freshly milled black pepper
2 rounded tablespoons half-fat crème fraîche
Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 3 (170ºC).
First of all, cut the pork into 11/4 inch (3 cm) cubes. Then, heat the oil and butter in a 9½ inch (24 cm) shallow, ovenproof pan or casserole and cook the onion and in it over a medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring now and then. Then increase the heat and add the cubes of pork and stir over the heat for a couple of minutes. The pork doesn’t need to be browned, just lightly coloured.
Next, add the apple, then the cider, cider vinegar and a generous seasoning of salt and freshly milled black pepper. Bring everything up to simmering point and then transfer the pan or casserole to the oven and cook, without a lid, for an hour, by which time the liquid will have reduced considerably.
Then, stir the apple sauce and the crème fraîche and return to the oven, again without a lid, for a further 15 minutes.
That's tonight's dinner sorted then - photo to follow :o)
* You know by this point that I don't really mind what kind it is - my M.I.L. on the other hand would be most specific!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

What happenend to the mics?

What happenend to the mics?, originally uploaded by Laquet.

What is going on with word verification words? They're getting realler and realler! And how do Annie and Dave feel about this one?

Unconscious Mutterings #322

I say ... and you think ... ?

Road trip :: Here to France
Pool hall :: Dark and smoky
Extraordinary :: different
Jackson :: Five
Heartfelt :: important
Wet :: pathetic
Strangle :: cord
.com :: dub dub dub dot facebook dot
Touched :: not quite right
Insipid :: flavourless
Do some muttering of your own here.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Playing catch-up

Simon and I have decided to go to France for Easter - he just needs to get on with it and book holidays now. He has to ask for the time off that I have told him to ask for first before accepting what he thinks he will be given - I know, cryptic BUT I know what I mean!! We do need to go, to inspect the new patio if for no other reason!

The new patio
I have taken photos for yesterday 81/365 on the other blog BUT am very bad at posting them on/in time ... how do I get around this?? No, I have no idea either!
Posting will be worse when I get to France BUT **major drum roll** the sleepy French village now has Broadband that WORKS! Hurrah! And how long long did that take?*
Brush teeth before moisturing hands - you can't get any traction on a toothbrush with E45 cream on your hands!!
Child Protection Training today at The Friars! Training and monks and the relics of St Thérèse of Lisieux all in one day! Sister Philomena would be so proud! I'm not enthralled by the thought of lunch - I bet friars are parsimonious and think dry bread and water are sufficient if God is with you. You know and I know that I'm sooooooooooo not a dry bread and water kind of girl! I couldn't even be a dry bread and water kind of girl if it was artisan organic sourdough and San Pellegrino ;o)
*Interjection of small **NOTE TO SELF** Your mother may now be reading your blog again - be aware, very aware!!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Unconscious Mutterings #321

I say ... and you think ... ?

Studio :: 54
Meetup :: date
Ostrich :: feather
Jokes :: "Knock knock!"
Estranged :: separated
Random :: The four largest islands of Japan are Honshū, Hokkaidō, Kyūshū and Shikoku. Random enough for you?
Slap :: rouge
Hotel room :: bed and balcony
Inscribe :: write
Polar :: bear
Do some muttering of your very own here.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

More in the neverending list of notes to self

Fact - the low energy bulb in the bathroom is crap. Fact - if you put make-up on in the morning in the bathroom with that bulb you will look like Coco the Clown. Simon only put the bulb in because it was free! **Note to self** Change lightbulb whilst HE is not looking.

Parents arrive this evening on way back to France. **Note to self** Put dishwasher on before you leave for school or you'll get the "what did I raise" look from your mother again!
I don't know why I suddenly feel like I've been kicked whilst I'm down, run over by a 4 wheel drive and left for dead on a deserted road BUT oh boy it's only Wednesday and I am knackered! Where's my get up and go gone too? I could do with a nap (at 7am) or a holiday ... please stop the world I want to get off!! **Note to self** Enough Joanne - sleep!

Monday, March 16, 2009

My weekend 101 words

Finished work 5.45 … I ask you?? Sausage pasta for dinner. Watched Comic Relief, cried! Saturday woke early, Simon to Tesco. Hoovered, cleaned bathroom … domestic goddess I am – not. Chicken Kiev for dinner, unfinished – Simon hoovered up that. Bed 10.30. Woke at 8, toasted bagel with Philadelphia & grapes. Farmer’s market in Rochester. Tasted everything offered. Persuaded Simon to join in!! Rare breed sausages, duck rillettes, Jerusalem artichokes, lime & chilli jelly. Tasted Thai chilli sausages – blew head off! Home sausage baguettes for lunch. Simone visited. Chilli pork noodles for dinner. Asleep sofa missed #1 Ladies Detective Agency – thankyou iPlayer.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Unconscious Mutterings #320

I say ... and you think ... ?

Sunburn :: moisturiser
Aquarium :: fish
Otter :: fish
Awesome :: fab.U.lous
LOL :: snigger
Accordion :: France
Hot Pocket :: hot hand
Grandstand :: Dickie Davies
Shaved :: razor
Upgrade ::
Do some muttering of your own here.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

My boring life!

Nothing going on really ... had a haircut, parents came bearing goodies, governing body meeting, school ... at least I've been "tweeting!" Off to stir up some trouble **wink**

@PreciousParcels - Loving your gifts website - fabulousness abounds!
from TweetDeck

@msmac Snap - I don't think spellcheckers help
from TweetDeck in reply to msmac

@msmac Never eat cake eat salmon sandwiches and remain young - works for me every time! Mind you my spelling is crap!
from TweetDeck

@msmac How about occasion ... only choice cuts and steak in our nook?
from TweetDeck

@msmac You need a mnemonic like the one for necessary
from TweetDeck in reply to msmac

Simon's got a bucket ... panic not Joanne!
from TweetDeck

Shit - porch roof leaking!
from TweetDeck

Loving the French goodies that have arrived - warm lentil and lardons salad for lunch today, mix in the leaves when I'm ready to eat!
from TweetDeck

coffee, coffee, coffee
from web

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Unconscious Mutterings #319

I say ... and you think ... ?

Mourning :: sadness
Approval :: given
Lotion :: body
Pespire :: hot
Language :: French & Anglais
Defection :: spy
Play :: game
Graphic :: explicit
Spicy :: chilli
In love :: I want to be in love with life!
Do some muttering of your own here.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

To do list

Strip and remake spare bed.
Get washing done.
Clean bathroom.
Hoover - bleugh!
Get into town to buy some lamb.
Weekly shop at Tesco.

And all because my parents are coming - hurrah! *
See there's a silver lining to every cloud :o)
* That makes me sound like such a dirty mare - I would do all of these jobs regardless whether they were coming or not!

Friday, March 06, 2009

lets mingle march 2009

It's the March Monthly Mingle over at That's My Answer ~ pop over and mingle for all you're worth why don't you!

Way back when ...

I found this floating around Facebook - feel free to steal it if you're (like me) struggling to think of anything interesting to say ...
Do you remember where you were 15 years ago? **1994**
1) How old were you? 24
2) Who were you dating? A Scottish bus driver called Andy
3) Where did you work? The Cothi Bridge Hotel
4) Where did you live? Carmarthen
5) Where did you hang out? The Golden Lion public house and the Union Bar
6) Did you wear contacts and/or glasses? Yep
7) Who were your best friends? Kev, John and Hannah
8) How many tattoos did you have? 0

9) How many piercings did you have? 2
10) What kind of car did you drive? A blue Ford Fiesta
11) Had you been to a real party? Yep, one or two
12) Had you had your heart broken? Yes
13) Were you Single/taken/Married/Divorced? Taken
14) Any Kids? No
10 years ago? **1999**
1) How old were you? 29
2) Who were you dating? No one
3) Where did you work? Hoo
4) Where did you live? Gillingham
5) Where did you hang out? At Ruth's dining room table
6) Did you wear contacts and/or glasses? Glasses
7) Who were your best friends? Kev, Ruth and Su
8) How many tattoos did you have? 1
9) How many piercings did you have? 2
10) What kind of car did you drive? A yellow Fiesta called Percy
11) Had your heart broken? Yes
12) Were you Single/Taken/Married/Divorced? Single
13)Any Kids? No
Today? **2009**
1) Age? 39
2) Where do you work? Northfleet
3) Where do you live? Gillingham
5) Who are your closest friends? Kev, Ruth and Su
6) Where do you hang out? Home - what a boring old mare I am
7) How many piercings do you have? 2
8) How many tattoos? 1
9) What kind of car do you have? A Renault Clio
10) Had your heart been broken? Yes, but not recently.
11) How many kids? 0
12) Are you Single/Taken/Married/Divorce? Married
13) Do you were glasses or contacts? Yes, both.
What about you ... do you remember where you were?

Tuesday, March 03, 2009


I read (and love) the blog of Laura a transplanted Canadian in California ... and it seems that she loves me too ~aww~ and deems us both "fabulous darling!" Here's my award to prove it -

Laura wanted me to explain what fabulous meant to me.
God I wish I looked as fab as the picture - as Audrey Hepburn as her. There's were I am starting with fabulousness, the divine Audrey Hepburn. I've never seen a film of hers - and I've seen lots of them - where she doesn't look fabulous. Those cheekbones, the clothes, the grace. If only ...
Then there's foie gras. Now there are many people out there who would see me shot for eating a food that they consider as cruel as this. Why?? Well, during a process called gavage, duck or geese are force fed corn to un-naturally fatten their livers. There are celebrity chefs who won't cook it because they think it's cruel ... BUT give me a slice of pan-seared (poëllé) foie gras on brioche toast with some onion jam or Sauternes jelly and I am yours. Fab.u.lous darling!!
Other small bits of fabulousness chez Jo include ...
My wedding diamonds.
Sunday morning lie-ins.
My best friends.
Poker with the girls - I never manage to go the night without laughing until I cry.
Walking along the promenade in San Sebastian and then going for pinxtos.
So, there are a few things you need to do after accepting this award:
1.) Post the logo on your blog.
2.) Pass it on to your blogger friends.
3.) Please link the awardees in your post.
4.) Let your awardees know you have passed this on to them by going to their blog and leaving a comment.
Right in the spirit of t'Internet I am passing this on to other fabulous blogs/bloggers, so, **drum roll** in purely alphabetical order, the award goes to ...
Fi over at Fizzy's Place, she doesn't post as much as she used to but when she does she makes me laugh/choke/both.
Fi at Kiwifruit, great pictures and great writing ... I only wish I had her talent and something more like her digital camera.
Betty C at La France Profonde, pictures, France, food at the Cuisine Quotidienne (which is a little quiet these days but a girl's got to do what a girl's got to do) and finally And So Forth ... currently enjoying a bit of Ray Davies.
Tina enjoying Life in the slow lane at Squirrel Head Manor, Tina and I share a love of food - pretty much any food and an appetite. One day we're going eat together - she'll arrive on a Harley!
La Bella Stella at Ms Mac, just fabulous!
Honourable mentions also go to Around Britain with a Paunch - whose food makes me dribble -, Make Lard History - who makes me cry laughing - and finally Rashbre - whose commute makes my eyes water - who all probably think this award is to girlie - but I think they're fab!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Unconscious Mutterings #318

I say ... and you think ... ?

Pain :: relief
Lego :: love it
Trooper :: Starship
Flicker ::
Character :: Gibbs
Determined ::
Wing :: tip
Control :: freak
Automatic :: no gears
Yeah :: Hell yeah!
Do some muttering of your own here.

Dydd Dewi Sant Hapus iawn

What other way is there to celebrate St David's Day than tucking in to a big bowl of cawl cennin. Internet meet Jo's cawl cennin, cawl cennin meet the Internet!
I would go so far as to say that there isn't a Welshman or woman out there who doesn't like cawl* you'd be mad not to love it's lamby/leeky/brothy sweetness especially when served with a chunk of really good steam baked Swansea batch and a chunk of cheddar** Writing this post is making me salivate/dribble simply at the thought of it.
I use my Auntie Marg's recipe. First I think I need to explain about Auntie Marg is not really my auntie; in fact, she is no relation at all to either my mother or father who are both in fact only children BUT she is instead that strange phenomena that was all over Wales in the mid 70s, when children were brought up jointly (particularly during long school holidays) by their own parents and the parents of every other child on the street and indeed by neighbours who didn't even have children at home anymore.
If Andrew and I were out and about playing with Anna-Maria (see above) or Richard or Lynwen/Gareth/Bethan or any of other children around and their parents were feeding them, then they fed us too. Or just as likely if Anna-Maria was in our garden when Andrew and I had lunch - well, she stayed (see above). And because of this - maybe it is a Welsh thing after all - these people became honorary, much loved, aunties and uncles. We knew them too well to call them Mr or Mrs. It would have been forward of us as little children to call them by their christian names so Uncle Gino***, Auntie Pat, Uncle Dil and Auntie Marg it was!
Anyways, back to the recipe, except that there isn't really a true recipe, Auntie Marg just kind of made it up as she went along BUT it goes a lot like this.
1) In your biggest saucepan place a shoulder of mutton**** and cover with water. Add a bouquet garni - yes she really did but it was a rustic looking one, not one of those nice little tea-bags from the supermarket. This was more like an onion with a bay leaf, carrot and some celery, tied together in a bit of muslin with string/strong cotton. Turn on the gas/electric and bring to the boil and then turn it down and let it simmer, removing any scum until the meat is falling off the bone. Then (and this really is an important step) turn off the gas, put a lid on the pot, walkaway from the stove and leave the whole thing alone over night. NO PEEKING!

2) Come morning there will be a disc of yellow fat on top of the soup - take this off and discard it. Little bits will be left behind - that's fine, just discard the majority of the fat. If you leave it in, it tastes too strong and coats your mouth with too much fat. Discard the bouquet garni - it's done it's job too. Take the lamb out of the stock and shred it off the bone. Return to the broth. At this point I discard the bones - I don't think there's anything else I can do with them is there?

3) At this point Auntie Marg always threw in a handful of red lentils. The only "thickener" in the broth/soup. Turn the gas back on and bring to the boil once more, now turn it down to a rolling simmer. Leave for 20 minutes.

4) Now is the time to add your vegetables - leeks obviously ... it is cawl cennin after all; after a thorough wash the green and white parts of the leeks are sliced but not finely, your making a stew not a soup ~ there needs to be texture to them. Onion - sliced, similar to the leeks. Carrots - again sliced not to fine. Parsnips - cut into bite sized pieces. Make sure there's enough water to cover the vegetables stir well and leave.

5) After about 40 minutes when the vegetables are soft to the touch, check the seasoning and add a big handful of chopped parsley.

6) Serve piping hot with a bread to dip and a good wedge of cheddar cheese. The cheddar gets croken into chunks and dropped into the soup to melt.
* Except for the vegetarians and vegans obviously and I'm not going to say anything about them right now because I don't want to offend anyone honestly and vegetarian food can be delicious. But vegans??? How can anyone go through life without chocolate - it's not right. In fact I'd go so far as to say it's ALL WRONG!
** Can't be doing with Caerphilly which is what my mother prefers - too crumbly!
*** Yep, I even have an Italian uncle.
**** If you haven't got a saucepan big enough now is the time to get out the hacksaw. If you can't get mutton, lamb will do BUT mutton is better.