Tuesday, May 31, 2016


It's been a very busy couple of weeks.  We installed 'Décors et Costumes d'Opéra' at the tower - a very big undertaking which has been in preparation for the  last several months.  Getting everything into and up the stairs in the tower required a huge group effort and I can tell you that on Friday I made 25 journeys from the ground to the third floor whilst carrying something! (There are pictures of the installation on the tower blog). We had the vernissage on Saturday evening with the threat of dire storm warnings but thankfully the rain held off until later that night.

I had a big birthday and there was cake!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

john's bowl

Everyone is away this week apart from me and the dog. I've noticed that when I'm on my own I often eat out of a bowl!  Tonight I made myself an off the cuff delicious supper  of marinated tofu and brown rice and chard eaten from a bowl made by my brother John whilst I watched the sun go down.

When we moved here from England the movers followed us with  most of our stuff but I packed a box to travel with us in the car which contained a few essential things to help us feel at home straight away. Among those things were my adored Sabatier knife (still got it but it's paper thin now), the brass candlesticks that we've used every supper time for the last 26 years, some Jane Muir little men, a framed photo of my Mum, our coffee mugs made by Nigel Lambert and a teapot made by John.   The rituals around food and drink are so important and so strong.  Tonight my meal was all the more delicious because of that bowl and the fact that it was my brother who made it with his own hands.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

tomato tart

This is a really easy and delicious tomato tart recipe that I make a lot. Made it last night in fact and had the leftovers for lunch. I think it may be even better the next day.

Tomato Tart

Shortcrust pastry made with 4 oz wholemeal flour, 4 oz s.r. white flour and 4 oz of butter or margerine. (Butter = Better!)

Rub fat into flour and add just enough water to form a ball of dough. Leave to rest for about 20 mins.

Mix a 250g tub of mascarpone with 2 or 3 tablespoons of parmesan. Taste it and see if it's parmesanny enough. Add a bit of salt and lots of pepper and any herbs you fancy - I used marjoram last night. 

Roll your pastry into a circle and pop on a baking tray. Spread with the cheese mixture  (not quite to the edge). Cover with slices of tomato. (This year, amazingly, we have had good tomatoes all winter from Morocco.) I snuck some Greek olives on there too.

Bake in a preheated oven at 180º for 25 to 30 minutes. Take it out and leave to cool for about 10 minutes to let the cheese set a bit.  Green salad and you're all set!

Monday, May 9, 2016


Despite the fact that France is a secular country we still have Bank Holidays for the feasts of the Ascension and Pentecost. Add those to May Day and  V.E. day and we have quite a few days off in May!  On Ascension Thursday we explored Varen and picnicked by the banks of the Aveyron. Here are some photos taken in and around Varen.

A star carved in a keystone over a door.

It was warm but not so warm you'd want to fall in!

The 11th century church

The Roman fountain which allegedly has never, ever dried up. 

A capital in the Church.

I love stenciled letters and numbers. These were on a bench in the church.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

sunday brocante

Such a wonderful morning at the Brocante! That 19th century tobacco jar - stapled together - be still my heart! Lotto counters, string, jam jars and a little Mary. It just doesn't get any better than that for me!  All this will be in the shop this week.