Yesterday when we were at the shops, there were some beautiful Limande (Lemon Sole) so we pick a decent sized one and pottered home to prepare it. I thought about it for a bit, but the truth is I love flat fish baked whole, we had some leeks that needed to be used and so decided to combine the Eliza Acton/Rick Stein method with the ingredients we had.
As you may know, I am a great fan of Rick Stein’s dishes. I recently saw a re-run of a recipe he did with Dover Sole which was actually and old English Eliza Acton recipe. The original recipe is a great read and Rick had adapted it for modern times. Such is life, we have put our own spin on it too… Continue reading Sole Sister
I woke up suspecting that it had rained and would continue to do so, I rolled over and put the quilt over my head. The clouds had been gathering the night before and although the weather forecasts (literally none of them) have been accurate lately, this had been forecast.
I also felt a need for some seafood, we eat more meat and veg when here as we look for what is good and local in our land locked region, but we do get great seafood as the Pyrenees is flanked by the Mediterranean on one side and the Atlantic on the other. Continue reading Rainy Day Seafood Stew for 2, or more….
Rocket’s death cell supper was consolidated on our trip to Thailand last year. He had been hankering after this oyster omelette of which he had heard tell, and he had spoken about it to us all at length.
When, one evening whilst in Bangkok, the opportunity to go and eat in China town presented it self he soon had us all rounded up. Continue reading French Produce, Thai Style…
Gascony, is a very ducky area. Typical dishes such as Cassoulet, and Confit Canard are synonymous with the area. Friends and neighbours here make their confit, which has been used as a way of preserving food for hundreds of years.
Continue reading The Gascon Paradox
A Cep Platter maybe, but this was the wholesome, honest and good kind…….no connection to the other bloke…!
Walking around the market this week we came across the mushroom man and being the correct time of year he was purveying an array of ceps. We had already sorted dinner that night but found ourselves diverted by the fragrant ceps along with some gorgeous golden Girolle purchased from a little old lady who collects them herself and then sells them on in the market place. Continue reading Cep Platter
From my position on a sun-bed from which I didn’t much move for a couple of days (having worked my backside off for the days prior and in anticipation of the days coming ahead where a list of jobs is mounting) I was dreaming of sardines. Funnily enough not the fresh variety at that moment but the really high quality tinned ones from St Jean de Luz on the Atlantic coast, which are canned in wafer thin lemon slices and dressed in light olive oil. They are delicious and make a great snack. Continue reading Sardines, Sardines everywhere…
Crushed velvet seats
Riding in the back, oozing down the street
Waving to the girls
Peeling out of sight
Spending all my money on a Saturday night
Honey, I just wonder what you do there in back of your pink Cadillac
I had a really strange day…. culminating in dinner at the establishment featured here. It is the Pizzeria Miniport near Lannemezan, France. We did eat there once before many years ago before their theme was changed to Tex Mex. We discovered however that it was Tex Mex with a great big dollop of Gascony in it… Continue reading I love you for your pink Cadillac
We had a slightly more cosmopolitan breakfast than usual yesterday morning. It was another sunny day and we were up and hopeful of a relaxing one with a bit of lounging and swimming. Some bananas languished in the fruit bowl, just about to go past their useful best so Rocket decided to make some smoothies. Continue reading Easy like Sunday Morning
There is a lot of talk around shellfish in months that do not have an R. Then there is the puzzle of seeing restaurants all over Europe doing Mussels all year round. One of the factors in this is that rope grown mussels or ‘farmed’ mussels are ok to eat in the summer months. The shells are thinner but the mussel meat is good. The spring time is the spawning period so I would not even eat rope grown mussels at that time of year.
We picked up some farmed mussels at the market and decided on the classic moules a la crème. Continue reading No R in August
This week sees the annual Wine festival for the Madiran wine producers, here in the southwest of France. Madiran is known for full bodied reds, although white wines, and a great range of pudding wines are also produced across the Madiran area.
We all jumped in the car and took a drive over to see the festival, which is free to enter on payment of your tasting glass at 3 euro’s. It’s a shame for the elected driver on these occasions… Continue reading Le Vin, Le Pain, Le Madiran
When we arrived at the shack in France on Sunday, we were aghast at the way the place had become overgrown with weeds. An exceedingly wet spring and early summer have meant that things had got completely out of control.
I’d be the first to say there are pros and cons to having a home overseas, and when all is well there is a huge sense of satisfaction and well being that comes from emersion in another culture and all that brings along with it – but a gardener I am NOT. This coupled with the usual arrival issues, like creepy crawlies everywhere and a distinct lack of hot water, can detract from the experience if you let them.
We have been working now in baking heat since we arrived on Sunday to get the place habitable, and we have just about got to a manageable level, we have storms and rain predicted for tomorrow but that won’t dampen our mood. So this is the moment when I look around and the home is cosy, the outdoor areas are useable, and this is when it’s all worth it. We sat out on the terrace tonight and had the most delightful supper of pan fried whiting (Merlan in French) with some green beans and garlic roast potatoes. Whiting is a great sustainable fish – it has a beautifully clean flavour and makes an excellent alternative to sole or plaice.
Awkward and City arrive with us tomorrow and we will chew the cud over a few beers and enjoy our time together.
I write this blog as an escape, so I write truthfully and from the heart, but that means that I don’t focus on the less great things in life – on purpose. For that reason, it probably sounds at times as if I’m constantly out and about and don’t have a care in the world! I just wanted to say that I love my friends and family very much, and value them beyond measure – all of them, never more so than when they are having difficult times.
Having the place in France has meant we have had an opportunity to spend quality time with those we care about, laugh, drink and laugh some more, a bit of cooking thrown in. So, for all the weeding and bugs to contend with, right here, right now, it has been worth the journey.
There is a very uninspiring looking tree at the front of the shack in France, it’s clearly quite old and when we first got the place we thought it might even be dead. However, every August it produces a bounty of the sweetest and most delicious greengage plums.
In the early years, being townies and not knowledgeable about this kind of thing we believed the tree fruited on alternate years because…. Continue reading Tempted by the Fruit of Another
Safely ensconced at the shack, having rushed through vacuuming up bugs, etc and held our heads in shame at the weeds that have sprung up everywhere, we have a frisson of anticipation in regards to this evening’s supper. Continue reading Tarragon from London, Limousin Beef and the Pyrenees
Rocket and I made the 3.30am departure this morning to commence our French adventure.
We rocked up in the Limousin Region, famous for all kinds of culinary delights such as Ceps, Truffles, outstanding steaks and many many more. Continue reading On The Road Again!