A simple salad and special corners.

I’ve been here at Coin Perdu for the last few weeks, only made a quick stop back at our Loire home in Montlouis. When working here, there is no time for making interesting meals. We are too tired in the evening. But it is just great when we can call it a day at around 18:00,  light the fire and sit back with a glass of red wine, a small bowl of sliced sauccisson and as I said so many times already, watch the sun set. The cats play around us in the long grass, the chicks fiddle around and under my chair and life is just perfect at that hour. Then we’ll put something on the BBQ and make a salad like the one you see here. Because I serve my vinaigrette on the side,  the salad is still fresh enough the next day for lunch with some crusty bread, freshly baked and bought from our local boulangerie. So,  although I don’t have anything exciting to offer in terms of an inventive recipe, I do hope you get inspired to sit back with a glass of good red wine at a your secret corner where the sunset brings you inspiration and sighs of satisfaction.

This salad is simply a mixture of fresh salad leaves, a handful of dried goji berries, a grated carrot, a handful of sprouted red cabbage sprouts(from my own kitchen and which I’ll write about soon, as previously promised) and some dry roasted almonds. A drizzling of lemon juice with lemon slices added to the salad, some olive oil and and a sprinkling of salt and milled pepper rounds off this salad. the next day I add some smoked salmon, or some smoked ham or pancetta or even tuna or smoked mackerel to give it more substance. Enjoy it with tomatoes on the vine(served separately, I don’t like tomatoes in a green salad, but of course you can add it to your salad) . I enjoy picking the tomatoes off the vine and popping them in my mouth. Much like you would strawberries for dessert!

My chicks, Petronella and Stephanie have already worked their way firmly into a corner of my heart! They are nothing exotic, only ordinary petites roussettes, but they are absolutely adorable! Along with Tokala and Ayiani, they travel to and fro with us in their chateau(a bigger one by now!)

…in their “chateau, enjoying freedom and giving us the full monty…

…sketching them takes quick looking and fiddleless lines…

We all have our special little corners. Those in our heads; the ones that can be our refuge and prison at the same time. But we also have those corners around us, which we run to for some quiet time. Alone time. A place where we can think and dream and imagine. A place where we can be sad or happy. A place which we decide to share or keep to ourselves. A little bench with a view, or in the park, a rock by the shore, a tree stump in the forest.  A chair by the window. On the rim of a fountain.

I have mine too. Several. Corners I run to where I can come to a standstill, find the calmness inside me, search for directions or answers. I have  such a corner at Coin Perdu, our mountain home in Correze. A bench with a view. I share it with Hartman.  Sometimes I sit and dream silently. I start my early morning there and I end my day there. In the morning it wakens my spirit and in the evening it soothes my soul.

In Montlouis I have a few places I call my secret corners. In my garden. A nook where the first morning rays hit the old stable wall. I have the cats for company. A cup of coffee. We talk and plan the day. I scratch their bellies and they give me loving purs. This secret garden corner I share happily with Tokala and Ayiani. We greet our welcome to the day.


Then there is the Loire. Beautiful corners to share. Or be alone. Different choices on different days.  All special. All familiar. My favorite is just a short walk from the house. Short enough so my cup of coffee doesn’t get cold from a far walk. I see people strolling, wagging tailed dogs, children throwing pebbles in the river, I see my gate, logs floating by in the river, geese taking a rest in the shade of overhanging trees, I see Hartman approaching in search of me. It is a place where I feel the harmony between nature and man.

My silent corner is in the eglise of Montlouis. Up on the hill. Where the doors are always open, free for anyone to enter. I tread softly when I enter, not disturb the silence. The silence of the peaceful interior and the silence of my own mood. This is a place I stop frequently when I walk uphill to the market, or to the boulangerie or just because I need to go to my secret corner. This is where I want to be alone. Quiet. I find calm in the light that plays through the stained glass windows. The statues and pillars that observe unobtrusively.  The cold of the old stone that makes me sensitive to emotions and feelings. I feel sad and happy. . I light a candle for all my gratitude  and memories.

Special corners. To share or to keep secret.

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20 responses

  1. Dear Ronell
    Thank you so much for sharing your lovely salad and special corners with us. I wouldn’t mind spending some time in each and every special corner of yours! They are all so special with their own beauty. I love the photograph of your Montlouis garden……I can just imagine myself sitting there and have a quiet time with a cup of coffee and two kitty cats! Oh my….Petronella and Stephanie are adorable! I thoroughly enjoyed this post!
    Ixx

    30/04/2010 at 18:22

  2. Thanks for sharing your little world in the country…. The chicks are so cute!

    30/04/2010 at 22:45

  3. annie

    A beautiful collection of secret corners, Ronell. Thank you for taking us on a walk to share them. We really do need them in our lives. And I agree with Ingrid, that Montlouis garden corner is so inviting.
    annie

    30/04/2010 at 23:01

  4. I love your simple salad. Simple is beautiful. What a gorgeous place you live in. You’re so lucky to be living in such a nice part of France. Enjoy your coin perdu!

    Love,

    Nisrine

    01/05/2010 at 01:03

  5. Oh my dear, this fed my soul and spirit. I savored every word and every photo. PARADISE on earth. I am in a high rise hotel in Chicago right now. This restored me.

    Thank you so much,

    Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island

    01/05/2010 at 01:50

  6. Judith B.

    What beautiful words and pictures – I felt my shoulders unraveling as I read…my special corner is in my own back yard – filled with flowers and treasures I love – the red tip trees form a natural canopy away from their base – I call it my secret garden – and this is where I have “me” time. I’m in the process of renovating it into a scene like your garden (the one with pea gravel) – something about my spot restores me. Thanks for sharing your art, words, and photos – you are blessed. Judy – Houston, Tx

    01/05/2010 at 02:39

  7. Love those chicks! I think salads are my favorite things to eat!
    Thank you for showing us around.

    01/05/2010 at 05:12

  8. Thanks for stopping by with your sweet comments. This looks like a lovely place to rest :)

    01/05/2010 at 09:58

  9. Colette

    baie dankie vir heerlike inspirerende skrywe en deel…ek het nou behoefte om vir my ook sulke “stil” en “eie” hoekies te merk…myne te maak…ek moet net gaan sit en dink waar hul presies is, want ek is seker ek het ‘n paar sonder dat ek besef hul is ‘n belangrike deel van my lewe. terwyl dit koud raak hier by ons in die suide, sien ek hoe julle die laatmiddagson geniet met jul mooi uitsig.hoe bevoorreg is ons almal nie! groete daar en klink ‘n glasie saam elkeen wat verlang na sulke stilwordtye..al is die liggaam moeg, is dit ‘n bevredigende moeg! XXX Col

    01/05/2010 at 12:09

  10. Once again, your images, writing and drawing makes me cry….it is so beautiful!!!

    01/05/2010 at 13:55

  11. those chicks are amazing and your photographs are, too! i can’t get enough of them, it beats meditating any day ;-)

    03/05/2010 at 01:30

  12. Thanks for sharing the beautiful corners of your world with us. I love each and every one. I could sit in each of them for hours.

    Don’t you love salads this time of the year? That seems to be all I really want in the spring.

    Adore your little chicks and sketches too.

    Have a great week, Ronell.

    xo ~Dana

    03/05/2010 at 04:29

  13. What beautiful, beautiful places you have to enjoy! I am inspired to sit back with a glass of wine. And, you salad looks fantastic.

    06/05/2010 at 15:15

  14. Kristina

    You live in such a beautiful place! I think we all need to find special corners to recharge our souls and inspire us to become creative or better people! And the salad looks amazing — I love the freedom and creativity we can use when making salads. Anything goes. Lovely.

    Kristina

    06/05/2010 at 16:51

  15. Hello Ronelle, ma belle!

    Brussels calling!! Your salad sing to me & so do your paintings!

    Lovely!! thanks for sharing this with us!

    07/05/2010 at 12:55

  16. What a beautiful salad!

    10/05/2010 at 17:44

  17. Anh

    You are so right about these special corners! Love the post, the salad… everything

    11/05/2010 at 12:13

  18. Ronelle,

    Discovering your serene corners touched my weary soul. How fortunate you are to reside in such peaceful surroundings. Thank you for sharing this lovely, uplifting post.

    13/05/2010 at 05:48

  19. Hi Ronell, every time I see your site I feel like packing my bags, and going to France. It’s so romantic and poetic, I love your pictures. The salad looks refreshing.

    16/05/2010 at 04:28

  20. Pingback: Sorrel and rocket cappuccino..and the chicken chronicles II. « Myfrenchkitchen

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