Posted by: kathandroger | May 13, 2010

L’epine

We have discovered that the French make aperitifs from virtually anything. Stick a few leaves and twigs in with wine and eau de vie and hey presto – in a year or two you have a bottle of something to make your english friends legless (at least that’s what happened to Roger after only a couple of weeks here!). Trying to adapt to the local customs, we thought it time to give it a go. So, here is our basket of leaves and twigs…

In fact these are no ordinary leaves and twigs, these are young shoots from the sloe bushes around our garden (those that the sheep haven’t eaten yet). And this apero is epine (french for sloe), and very popular in this region. Our friend Claude gave us her recipe:

650 g young sloe shoots – 4 litres red wine – 1 litre eau de vie – 1 kg sugar. Heat the wine, eau de vie and sugar until almost boiling. Wash and thoroughly dry the sloe shoots. Add them to the liquid and leave to mascerate for a few days. Take out the shoots and sieve the liquid to remove any foreign bodies. Bottle and be patient for at least a year… We only started ours yesterday and already it has a wonderful aroma – it smells almost like marzipan. Looking forward to next year already! The next apero we shall be having a go at is acacia, made from the flower of acacia trees (of which we have many!). Then comes cherry, then peach……

The weather is still distinctly chilly. In theory today is the last of the ice saints, so we should be over the worst. Evelyne on the tele reckons by next thursday all will be back on an even keel! Needless to say the cold weather is taking its toll on the turnout for the cycling club. Only 5 of us hardy souls yesterday. It doesn’t help that the rides have moved from the afternoon to 8.30 in the morning ‘because it is too hot to cycle in the afternoon’. Not here it’s not!!


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