Rum soaked

My trainer, at my request, has ramped up the exercise regime. As a consequence, after our session yesterday, I have a few aches in areas best left unmentioned.

The weather the last two days has been glorious, just what I ordered. As I rode out of the Domaine this morning, my neighbours were picking the olives. Yes, we have our own olive oil from the 100 or so trees on the estate. The driver of the car in front of me stopped abruptly to encourage those picking, sadly without glancing in her mirror, so I nearly, but fortunately not quite, shot into the back of her car.

I decided that some interval training was in order and headed to the hill which goes up from Garoupe to boulevard Kennedy, in Antibes. The idea is to ride as hard as possible out of the saddle up the first incline, rest as it tails off and then pick it up again for the last bit. I did this six times much to the amusement of the builders working on the construction of what, I’m sure, is going to be an amazing (and totally wildly expensive) new property, “Villa Robert”. A couple of times round the Cap [d’Antibes] and then it was back home for lunch.

I spent the afternoon working on a translation before heading over to the cycling club. The offer of an English and/or IT course on Thursday afternoon seems to have been well received by my fellow, largely retired, members. I’d better get working on my first lesson plan. Loads of kisses, a couple of licence renewals and a new member later, I was back home in time to bake some cookies.

From time to time, my beloved speaks to the dental students at Nice University about aspects of dentistry in English, thereby satisfying some of their obligatory study of that language.The feedback from his first session suggested that he should have bought them something to eat. Remember, we’re talking about students. It was probably said tongue in cheek, more in hope than anticipation. So for his next visit, I sent him armed with cake: brownies, coconut macaroons and carrot cake. His ratings improved dramatically!

This time, I’ve decided on a selection of American style cookies.  I’ve made up large batches some of which can go into the freezer ready  for my first recreational afternoon at the club. We’ll need something to go with the tea and coffee.

I’ve also started on my Xmas cake. I like to soak the 2 kilos of dried fruit that I put into the cake for a couple of days in a mixture of rum, orange and lemon juice. Generally, I’m not a big fan of traditional UK Xmas food: disliking Xmas cake, Xmas pudding, turkey, sprouts, bread sauce, mince pies, brandy sauce and butter. You get the picture.

Our first Xmas in France, I decided to have one of my “once every eight years or so” family (mine) Xmas’s whereupon I needed to come up with a more acceptable (to me) Xmas cake. I decided to deconstruct the traditional recipe, eliminating the ingredients I don’t like and replacing them with ones I do. I came up with a recipe which makes a medium sized, square cake, choc full of lovely alcohol laden, dried fruit: prunes, dates, raisins, cranberries, cherries, pineapple, apricots and figs. After it’s baked, I soak it weekly in rum for a further 6 weeks and then I cover it in home-made marzipan and soft royal icing. Now I’m not an aficionado of fruit cakes, but my sister Lynn is and she reckons it’s the world’s best Xmas cake. I’m prepared to accept her opinion and concede that it’s probably one of the world’s most expensive.

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