I had an appointment in a village about 20 miles from Laval, in the middle of the mayennais countryside. It was a perfect day for it - it's chilly, the sun's in and out of the clouds, the leaves are colorful. And I saw a heron standing in a field. He winked at me.
In other news, Ségolène Royal has won the Socialist Party Primary. Which is very interesting. She's got some very atypical things to say about typical PS topics. For someone on the left, she's pretty rightesque about things like the (catastrophic) 35-hour work week, for example. Right and left are different here, much less about 'moral' issues (like abortion) and much more about economic and social ones. Thankfully, they leave religion and other muddy waters out of the already very muddy arena of politics.
And finally, last night I made a loaf of ciambella with raisins and lemon zest. I had a big slice this morning with coffee for breakfast. Best breakfast I've had in a long time.
Lorraine has requested the ciambella recipe. This is loosely taken from one of Marcella Hazan's cookbooks.
8 tablespoons butter melted
4 cups spelt flour (or you can use regular but honestly the spelt gives it a little extra something)
1/2 cup brown sugar (although white sugar is ok if you don't have any brown)
2 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
a big pinch of salt
Zest of at least one lemon
1/4 cup rice milk (you can use any kind of milk you want)
lots of raisins
Preheat oven to 375°. Butter and flour a baking sheet (unless it's non-stick)
Put flour in a large bowl. Add sugar, butter, cream of tartar, soda, salt, lemon zest, raisins and milk. Mix. Add 1 whole egg and the white of the second. Reserve some of the yolk of the second egg for an egg wash and add the rest to the dough. Mix well.
Put onto work surface and knead for a few minutes.
Shape dough into a large sausage roll about 2 inches thick, and make it into a ring. Pinch the ends together to close. Brush with the reserved yolk mixed with a little water and score a few times with a knife.
Bake for 35 minutes. Once cooled, wrap in foil or store in a tin cookie box, but do not refrigerate. It tastes even better the next day.