La Vie est Simple ( August 2020)

La vie est simple, especially when in the French Alps. We escaped to France only after Boris ( our prime minister) said we could. Unfortunately this was to be rescinded fairly quickly, but never mind. Here we were isolated living in our extended family bubble. Daughter, Son in Law and three grandchildren aged 5- 12 ( almost 13 as he reminded us constantly).

Popi was on Breakfast duty , nothing too much trouble, but usually pancakes maybe scrambled eggs or fried eggs on toast. Me, for the most part on dinner duty , feeding 7 on a daily basis long forgotten.

Son in Law worked from home, commandeered one bedroom for his office and worked 12 hour days. Willowy blond also worked from home but made the most of her credentials to do some press trips whilst here. Mountain biking, ( many bruises) trip to Les Arcs with the kids, foraging, hiking, bivouacking with the big kids deep in the forest and Paragliding. What an adventure filled summer for them. Not forgetting the lacs, for swimming, boating, paddle boarding and the socially distanced WiBit, a giant bouncy castle thing in the middle of a lake. Dave’s gym ( private) came in very useful for the parents as did long distance swimming in the beautiful Lac de Montriond or running to the top of Mont Chery

Our occupation other than grandkids was some golf, usually on the top of our mountain in which the challenge is to see how many balls one doesn’t lose !

But seriously La Vie est Simple here. A hamlet of 10 houses up 7 hairpins. Somewhere, where in times past was the norm, doors are not locked and windows left open.

Normally whilst here in the summer I would make jam of some sort. However jam stocks are fairly high and inspiration was when #1 daughter gave me the goods found on her foraging trip. Rowan Berries. Rowan trees are everywhere and at this time of year adorned in orange berries. Beautiful in the winter as well, as the berries have turned red and look stunning when the trees are snow covered.

Unbeknownst to me, these berries make a wonderful jelly which is best served with game such as venison. Consequently I had to make some with the donated berries. As with all jam making it is not difficult and a jam thermometer makes life much easier.

I used equal quantities of berries, apples and sugar , about the same amount of water and the juice of two lemons.

Pick over the berries, cut the apples but do not peel, as the peel contains pectin essential for setting. Put the fruit, juice and water into a pan and simmer gently until the fruit is really soft. Pour into a Jelly bag and let it drain. No Jelly bag, no problem and pair of clean old tights will do the job just as well. Leave the fruit draining and dripping until it drips no more. Pour the juice into a saucepans add the sugar and heat to approximately 100 C. Watch out that it doesn’t boil over, easily done!!!

Skim the jelly, and pot in sterilised jars as quickly as possible.

Then eat with either some game, or with cheese! Sounds good to me, next summer I’ll go foraging myself!

2 thoughts on “La Vie est Simple ( August 2020)

  1. Hi Sue,

    Your life in the mountain sounds really great. But you are returning tomorrow? And I suppose you have to self isolate for 2 weeks? Oh, what a pain.

    It really feels that the summer is nearly over.

    Hope to see you soon.


    Yuki xx



  2. Our family, 4 of them, are in our flat now. Not a bite to give them to bring to me, not even to Pat still waiting to be sprung from hospital???? So sad. My mouth is watering. Sounds delicious! I got back from visiting Pat just before 6, sent you all thought waves and then the heavens opened. Not there I hope. If you see anyone tomorrow who could be family, ask and say Hi. Miss you all,  xoxoxSent from Samsung tablet.


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