DSC_0801 (2)“Huh?” I hear you saying. You’ve never seen a raw sausage sitting on top of a dinky vintage toy cleaning set? Well perhaps you might want to settle in so I can explain a little. More than a decade ago, arriving in France completely green, clutching a sheaf of less than a dozen words of french, I discovered straight away the existance of a host of linguistic minefields. There were words I would make a detour far, far around to avoid accidentally saying something that will make me sound an utter fool. But because I like you, and I am a tad more toughened up by embarrassing language slip ups under my belt, I can share with you at least an absolute doozy of a confusion that beseiged me at the very beginning of my french life. Continue reading “Ménage!”

Valrhona: The ‘black gold’ of the Drome

DSC_0482Situated slightly north of the southern french city of Valence, in the department of the Drome is the commune of Tain l’Hermitage. This small township is home to one of this country’s most revered food products  –  the factory for Valrhona chocolate. DSC_0547 (3) Continue reading “Valrhona: The ‘black gold’ of the Drome”

Puceron a volonté – The all-you-can-eat aphid bar

DSC_0866From time to time we find someone who goes against the flow and it stands out pretty sharply. But when that little black sheep, or in this case, red coat, black spotted ladybird is the stand out, well it isn’t quite so obvious. When I linger in the pool, I have a lot of time to do nothing, to stare at the mountain ranges both east and west, to look at the grass that needs cutting, to skim the water or like yesterday, to spy a ladybird actually sitting on a rose for once (see A cultural misunderstanding). Continue reading “Puceron a volonté – The all-you-can-eat aphid bar”

Beauté éphémère dans mon jardin -fleeting beauty in my garden


DSC_0260I have found myself in the garden roseraie many times this week. Just looking and thinking.  I began growing roses only two years ago but I really went at the task a fond, to the maximum, by ordering 60 roses to start, with no idea what I was doing.  Since, I have taken cuttings and then cuttings from those cuttings and now have absolutely no space for any others in the garden, well maybe just one or two. The same principle I use for my vintage kitchenalia collection really, as somehow there always seems to be space that can be made for the irresistibles.  All the photos within today’s post are from my own rose garden, I hope you enjoy them. Continue reading “Beauté éphémère dans mon jardin -fleeting beauty in my garden”

Clafoutis pas comme ma belle-mere


DSC_0573 (2)When my husband was very small and their family still lived in an apartment, his mother extended an invitation to an elderly gentleman neighbour to get to know him over a cherry clafoutis. A rich egg, crepe-like batter poured over fresh cherries and baked in the oven until golden; the man was dead the next day. Continue reading “Clafoutis pas comme ma belle-mere”

Gateau de Savoie, a cake and a journey cut in two halves: Part Two

DSC_0141Retracing our route away from Yenne that late winter afternoon the car hugged close again to the river Rhone. Only one day earlier, having admired this spectacular river amidst the man-made beauty of Geneva, Switzerland, that Saturday we saw instead a breathtaking natural tableau. Continue reading “Gateau de Savoie, a cake and a journey cut in two halves: Part Two”

Le Gateau de Savoie, a cake and a journey cut in two halves: Part One

DSC_0083I have always encouraged my husband to drive for miles, for hours if necessary, on quests for a certain speciality or the place of origin of a recipe. My 15 year old son says I am obsessed but I prefer to think of myself as passionate. He sits beside me laughing now, ‘oh mum’s trying to put a spin on our crazy trips’.  I hope one day when he is finally spat out at the other end of adolescence that he will understand – either that or as an adult he will run in horror from the glimpse of any similar outing. I prefer to take the risk of scarring the kids for life against sorties gourmande*  if there is even a slight possibility that they will one day have a precious declique themselves.  I can concede that my excursions can be fairly  batty sorts of affairs and that plenty of people may not understand. But they have come to represent the richest experiences in my french life. Continue reading “Le Gateau de Savoie, a cake and a journey cut in two halves: Part One”