Sunday, June 29, 2014


Look what I've been given! Champagne too.
Appreciative guests!  Thank you Perce and Ben x

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

streusel tart

We've had friends staying this week and it has been hot. Apart from a couple of stormy nights it has been hot enough for alfresco suppers every night.  This streusel tart is my go to, easy, quick and gorgeous desert recipe. You can use whatever fruit you like but I think it works best with blackcurrants  (which I always have a stock of in the freezer).

Streusel Tart

150g ground almonds
150g butter
150g sugar
150g self raising flour

1 egg

Rub the dry ingredients together with your fingers and add the lightly beaten egg. Form a ball of pastry.
Divide in half. Pop one half in a plastic bag and put in the freezer. Use the other half to cover the base of a greaseproof paper lined baking tin. I use a square one about 10 x 10 inches. This is the only awkward bit - the pastry is sticky and uncooperative so I make 9 balls and dot them about the tin so there's a minimum of  spreading out to do. Leave until the other half of the pastry is frozen. I usually do all this in the early afternoon or even the night before.

When you're ready to bake the tart, sprinkle the pastry fairly liberally with the fruit of your choice. Retrieve the frozen pastry from the freezer and grate it directly over the fruit. This gives the topping a lovely, light, crispy texture.  Bake at 160º (fan) for about 25 minutes until golden brown. Cool a little and eat with crème fraiche.

french vintage plates available here


Thursday, June 19, 2014

market day #4

I wouldn't want you to think that everything was tasteful and lovely round here! 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

market day #3

One of the nice things about Villefranche market is that along with the commercial traders there is still room for little stalls where people (mostly old so I don't suppose it will continue this way for long) sell a few bits and pieces from their gardens. Flowers, eggs, some veg.

Mum has been complaining about not finding fresh enough fish so we bought her a trout which frankly couldn't have been any fresher. I've known this boy since he was 4! He was at school with my son so it was quite something to see him in charge of the trout man's stall and doing very well!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Monday, June 9, 2014

studio visit

Some photos taken at a friend's studio this morning. I love visiting people's workplaces, seeing what they surround themselves with, the tools they use, works in process, older work. Fertile, inspiring places.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

good stuff

We found some good things at the brocante this week including several issues of Marie-Claire magazine from 1938 and 1939. Too fascinating! In amazing condition too. 

Along with knitting patterns, garden tips and beauty advice there are items for the strong of stomach such as how to transform that fox that your hunter husband just killed into an elegant stole! I kid you not!

An ad for 'Beauty Rubbers" to be worn for 30 minutes a day to smooth your wrinkles and lift your saggy bits!

All the above will be in my shop shortly.

Thursday, June 5, 2014


We found this grass snake on the road the other day.  I thought he was basking and was worried he'd get squished so we moved him but he must have already been hit. Can you see the tiny bit of blood on his nose? He was already on the way out.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

maya angelou and caramel cake

Woman's Hour replayed Jenni Murray's interview with Maya Angelou. What a woman! What a voice! She recounts a wonderful story about her grandmother's caramel cake (you can download the podcast by clicking here.)