Sunday, 31 July 2016

What we are going to eat...

This week I don't have any work. In fact I have practically nothing in August, but that's okay, as I am going to the UK next Monday for a week, and then my mum is coming back here for 10 days or so. Mr FD is staying here as he is working for part of the time. We are going to take mum away for one night to Salers, to what looks like a very nice B&B, called Aux Berges du Lac

It looks rather lovely and peaceful. 

She will also have the pleasure of being here while I prepare for (and have!) a colonoscopy. Yay! I'm looking forward to that! Still, needs must.

Anyway, that's all in a weeks' time. Meanwhile, what's planned on the food front this week?

Yesterday our friends took us out for dinner. Mr FD had done lots of work for them on computers and other tech, so this was their way to say thank you. I benefitted because they felt they couldn't just take Mr FD and leave me at home. Huzzah!

We went to La Murette, a Belgian restaurant nearby. 
 I had a mixed tomato salad with anchovies and hard boiled egg - there were lots of different varieties and colour of tomatoes. It was light and refreshing. Then I chose spare ribs - which were delicious and packed with meat! In fact I couldn't finish mine, which was a real shame. This came with a baked potato and spiced cayenne butter, and ratatouille. I was so full that I'd used up my "pudding stomach" and just had a coffee! This morning I haven't wanted much breakfast at all! 

The rest of this week's plans look thusly:

TODAY: Roast beef, yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes, carrots, green beans. I'm probably going to church, which is at the inconvenient time of 5.30 during the summer. It means I get back at about 7.45, which is too late to start cooking. So I'll prep everything and Mr FD can put it in the oven. If I go.

MONDAY: Aubergine, mushroom & chickpea curry. I don't have recipe, but I do have curry paste, which I will use. I may throw in some spinach if it hasn't gone slimey.  I think we have some naan bread in the freezer.    


TUESDAY: Cold roast beef, chips and salad.

WEDNESDAY: Cheesy pasta and ratatouille. As I've said before with these links to Two Chubby Cubs, the blog post before the recipe can be a bit "racy" but the recipes look good! You can skip direct to the recipe if you prefer.

THURSDAY: TCC's Orange glazed salmon - but I can't get excited by a spicy butterbean salad so we're having it with rice and broccoli.

FRIDAY: Hunters' Chicken, potatoes and vegetables. Probably carrot. This uses a Slimming World barbecue sauce recipe, which may be yucky but may be quite nice. Who knows?! It certainly looks okay...except I won't be using sweetener. Just a pinch of sugar.

Hunters Chicken is basically chicken cooked in the barbecue sauce, with cheese and bacon on top. I'll probably use lardons, as bacon is difficult to get here.  Here's a "proper" recipe.

SATURDAY: Back to the Chubby Cubs, and their Rainbow Bulgur Wheat salad with feta and bacon.
We've had this before and it is delicious!

  • Low calorie cooking spray
  • 1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp mild chilli powder
  • 225g passata
  • 3 tbsp sweetener
  • 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tsp mustard powder
  • - See more at:

     Thank you, thank you, thank you for comments. I love reading what you write.

    I have my ears forward like in "Happy" mode when I get comments!

    KEZZIE - thank you for your several comments! It's interesting how different people react to the hightened alert. I try to be sanguine like you - if it's going to happen, I can't do much about it. I hope you hads a good time in Sarlat; I really enjoyed our stay in the area, though I agree with you about the lack of veggies - and what there are have probably been cooked in duck fat! We thouyght the peanut noodles were a bit "meh" in the end. Sadly.

    MICHELLE - thank you for your good wishes. As you may have read, we had a lovely trip, despite the rain.

    POMPOM - you're welcome to come and cuddle cats whenever you wish! What day are you coming this week?!

    TRISH - I have seen the Lolcats on your blog. Some excellently relevant ones!! Your kitchen is looking good too.

    MAGGIE - I'm glad your friends enjoyed the concert too. Aix is lovely, and it's worth visiting. And I'd like to have spent more time in Nimes too.

    • Low calorie cooking spray
    • 1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
    • 1 tsp mild chilli powder
    • 225g passata
    • 3 tbsp sweetener
    • 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
    • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
    • ½ tsp mustard powder


    1. Spray a pan with low calorie cooking spray and sauté the onion and chilli powder over a high heat for 5 minutes until softened.
    2. Stir in the remaining ingredients, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes, until thickened. Check the seasoning before serving hot or cold.
    - See more at:
    • Low calorie cooking spray
    • 1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
    • 1 tsp mild chilli powder
    • 225g passata
    • 3 tbsp sweetener
    • 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
    • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
    • ½ tsp mustard powder


    1. Spray a pan with low calorie cooking spray and sauté the onion and chilli powder over a high heat for 5 minutes until softened.
    2. Stir in the remaining ingredients, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes, until thickened. Check the seasoning before serving hot or cold.
    - See more at:

    Saturday, 30 July 2016

    What we had for dinner.

    Hello dear Peeps. I know it's been a couple of weeks since I last posted here (but you can read about my cat herding adventures over at TheTeapot). We had a lovely time in Nimes, at the David Gilmour concert, and Aix en Provence.

    THURSDAY - we travelled to Nimes, not using the motorway very much, but pootling through the countryside. We stopped for lunch at one of our favourite spots (Aix & Terra) where I had Terrine Black-and-white (goats' cheese and marscapône with a fig chutney) followed by an enormous salade Niçoise, full of olivey, anchovy-y goodness. In fact it was so big I couldn't finish it! But, of course, I have a "pudding stomach" and managed to fit a tasty little Café Gourmande in - a coffee with a few tasting size desserts. There was a pannacotta, some tiny madeleines and a palmier biscuit smothered in Speculoos/chocolate spread. Miam-miam.

    We reached Isabelle's where we were staying overnight, and hazd a dip in her swimming pool. Then we went into Nimes for our concert. We weren't sure where to park, and of course there was a lot of traffic, so we decided to park about 2 km from the centre (free parking!) and walk in. it only took about 20 minutes so it seemed like a good idea. We bought a sandwich for our tea and then went into the Arena. It was amazing!

    Here is the arena as it was filling up with people

    And here it is during the finale of "Comfortably Numb"

    After the recent events in Nice I felt a little insecure, but really it isn't possible to think like that. There were plenty of police and security in attendance, so I had to trust to that, and remember that, in fact, Europe is a safer place to be now, in regard to terrorist action, than in the 80s.  It was a superb evening, and quite honestly I was so involved in the music that I forgot my misgivings.

    I think our car parking idea paid dividends now, as the Arena seats upward of 16,000 people. Now I know that about a third was taken up with stage, but that still leaves about 10,000  people all leaving (and probably trying to leave the car park) at the same time. We scooted out of the arena as soon as David Gilmour had finished his encore, so we were already ahead of the crowds, (I'm glad about that as I'm not too stable on badly lit, uneven stone steps!) and I think that by parking out of the centre we probably got away before many of those who had parked closer - even after our walk back to the car!

    FRIDAY: The plan was to go for a walk and then have another dip in the pool before leaving, but it poured with rain. Instead we sat and chatted with Danièle (Isabelle's mum, who is a good friend of ours) and then went and bought some wine.

    As you can see, it's not quite swimming weather!

    Danièle prepared a lovely meal, of tomato and mozzarella salad, daube with red rice from the Camargue, and then peach sorbet. Very enjoyable.

    We drove down to just outside Aix to the B&B that we had booked. I'd been a bit dubious,as the website wasn't very informative, but in fact it was very comfortable (except for the fact the toilet was in a tiny room that neither of us could stand upright in, and it didn't have a door. There was only a curtain separating it from the bedroom. Not very comfortable.)

    We only wanted a snack for dinner, but actually ended up with something a bit bigger...
    Very yummy though!

    It was at a little shack-like snackbar called Le Boomerang.

     But it was very clean (the toilets were immaculate!) and served good beer

    Here's me!
    (looking like I've had one too many beers!!)

    We went for a walk in the forest around the B&B - it wasn't a great walk, being a bit same-y, but it was good to get a bit of exercise...

     Mr FD looks very severe in this photo!

    The highest village in Bouches-du-Rhone: Mimet

    Get a move on, woman!

    After the walk we drove to Aix, and bought a sandwich for lunch. The plan had been to walk round the town, admiring fountains (there are over 100 in the town) but it started to rain again...

    I liked the wine cooler carefully placed to get the benefit of the cold water!)

    Finally it got so wet we decided to go to the cinema!! We saw "Florence Foster Jenkins" which was very good.

     After the film we went for a stroll, trying to be upbeat about the weather, but we gave in finally, stopped for a coffee, and then decided to go back to Mimet to book into the restaurant there for dinner. Though we did pause to take a photo of this street sign

    I'd quite like to live on Rue Rifle-Rafle!

    However, continuing our luck, the restaurant was fully booked for a wedding party, and we couldn't find anywhere else in the vicinity (bizarrely!) However, we finally stumbled on a reasonably pleasant looking restaurant, where I had...

    Baked camembert with honey and walnuts.

    pumet de cochon - not sure what cut of pork this is, but it was certainly good!

    then Carpaccio of pineapple with a mango ice cream.

    SUNDAY: We had an enjoyable breakfast, sitting in the sunshine, and chatting with the owner. Then we said Goodbye to the blind dog

    (who didn't seem too bothered!)

    And we drove home. We bought some picnic food on the way back;, which we ate in a motorway service area, but we were home by about 4.00. It had been a lovely break.

    Saturday, 16 July 2016

    Light and Dark

    Hello dear Peeps. I am happy to have your company - thank you for dropping by.

    Like much of the world, we are in a subdued mood here in Dormouse Towers: with the turmoil and instability in the world at the moment I find it difficult to be optimistic. The events in Nice, the  effects of Brexit, the failed coup in Turkey...these are just the big events that are going on. Around the world there are other less "news worthy" events happening. When searching for information to add into my post over at The Teapot I came across a site listing all the terrorist attacks that have occurred this year. It is truly shocking. Many of them we never hear about on the global news, but every day in several countries there are attacks, and deaths. For example, on just one day, 12th July, there were 6 different attacks, in Iraq, Saudi Arabia,  and Nigeria resulting in the deaths of 59 people. This is our world.

    We feel hopeless and useless - at least, I know I do, - but I suppose all we can do is resolutely continue to live our lives normally, and try to bring light and love into this world of darkness.

    So in the face of fear, and pain and evil I can only pray that I will be one who can bring light, love and compassion to the world. Hold your loved ones a little closer and appreciate them today, for there are many who can no longer do that.

    So now, a couple of cute LOLcats to bring some fluffy loveliness to your heart

    And on with the mundanity of life here in a small village in France...

    The planned hog roast was a bit of a disaster - Mr FD thought it was an all-afternoon event, so we turned up at 6.00 to find it had closed down! So we had Friday's planned sausage, aligot and green beans on Thursday, while watching "What We Did on our Holiday" - a really amusing film. Great fun, and well recommended

    It has David Tennant in too, which is a bonus!

    On Friday we had the meal I'd planned for Wednesday, as on Wednesday we'd had the impulse buy of spare ribs.

    TODAY: Friend Cathy and I are going to see a Sting tribute this evening, so we thought we'd make an evening and have a pizza out. Mr FD is going to cook himself liver and bacon. Yeeuch.

    SUNDAY: Cottage pie - not made from a recipe. Just mince-y mixture with mashed potato on top.

    I'm not quite following this recipe, as the one I have uses peanut butter - which has made Mr FD happy. VERY happy...He has a penchant for crispbread with peanut butter and cheddar. A friend at church gave me a huge block of cheddar from their trip to the UK, so Mr FD is having slabs of the stuff on peanut butter. I am trying to be more restrained, as cheese-eating needs to be reduced on my cholesterol-busting regime. TBH, it's hardly "busting" any cholesterol, but I am making an effort to restrict myself to one helping of "baked goods" a day, and my lunchtime sandwich fillings have changed to less processed meat and cheese.

    TUESDAY: The rest of the cottage pie.

    WEDNESDAY: Mexican bean burgers, salad, potato wedges

    THURSDAY, FRIDAY, SATURDAY - no idea! We're going away on a little break! We have tickets to see David Gilmour in the arena at Nimes, so we are staying with a friend on Thursday night, and then in a B&B near Aix en Provence on Friday and Saturday nights.

    We want to have lunch here

    on Thursday. We've eaten here before and it is very good. It will give us the opportunity to buy a little something for Isabelle to say "Thank You" for putting us up too. They sell lots of delicious things to eat and drink.

    We may also slip a little something into the basket for ourselves. We love their balsamic vinegar and fig salad dressing!

    Other than that we don't know where or what we'll be eating, but I'm sure we'll find nice places! 

    Thank you once again for your comments.

    CAROLE R - definitely Lyon for food! And there are lots of places serving fish. In fact quenelles de brochet (pike quenelles) are a speciality of Lyon. My MiL doersn't eat meat and she has always eaten well in Lyon. One of our favourite places to go with her is Le Sud which is right near the centre of the city. Let me know if you decide to go - I can give you other recommendations too.

    SWEET THINGS CREATE: Thank you too for your comment! I always wonder what to do with things I create - I try to give them away mostly - but it's comforting to know others have the same problem!!

    I hope you all have a good week, full of light and love and peace. Take care, and I'll try to post sometime soon after our break away. 

    Sunday, 10 July 2016


    It's the evening of the Euro Football Competition final - Portugal vs France. We are in for a not-so-quiet night, I fear. When Portugal won their semi-final there were some Portuguese fans who drove their car through the village several times hooting their horn. At 11 o'clock at night we weren't amused; even less so at 11.30. So there are obviously some Portuguese fans around.

    There is already quite a lot of noise (whistles, horns, singing) emanating from the bar across the square, as they gear up to watch the match. If France wins, I don't think there is much doubt that there will be some noisy celebrations going on deep into the night. Windows closed (in 30° heat!) and earplugs in!!

    Today we had our Fete du Coeur du Village - there weren't too many people there that we knew - we'd hoped our friends Monique & Michel would be there, but they weren't -  but it was good to be involved. I forgot to take my camera so no photos. Apèros started at 12.30 and at 2.30 were still going on! I was preaching in Clermont at the evening service, so couldn't drink much: one glass of rosé-grignotte and that was it. My drink was water bright. There were lots of nibbles - cheese squares, savoury cake with ham and olives (here's a recipe in French), grattons (pork scratchings), crisps, saucisson etc etc.

    We were a bit shy, but spoke to Mi-Jo who is the mum of one of our friends, and to Dominique who organised the event. Then the baker, André, started to talk to us too, which was nice. We discussed the referendum (of course!) and learning languages, and travel. When we sat down to eat we ended up at the "young people's" end, so there was a lot of drunken shoutiness going on, which meant we really didn't understand very much of what was being said! Still, it was nice to be included.

    Lunch was quiche, cold meat, salad - with yet more wine flowing! - then cheese, and then pate de pommes (a sort of apple pie) and my Banoffi pie. I was worried about whether people would like it, but it was quite popular - one guy had three helpings! André (the baker/ patissier) thought it was good, but a bit too sweet - I agree. I don't actually like it as it's too rich and sweet for my taste. Perhaps making the toffee with unsweetened condensed milk would be better. I use chocolate digestives in the base, so maybe plain ones would cut down on the sweetness too. Anyway, we left before anyone else, at 3.30, to get a shower before I drove down to Clermont...I got back at 8.00 and there were still quite a lot of the people still drinking, and chatting (and possibly eating too!)

    Everything has gone quiet. I assume the match has started.

    Food is only half planned for this week...
    TOMORROW (MONDAY) - pasta with aubergine sauce

    TUESDAY: Salmon with salsa verde, rice and green salad

    WEDNESDAY: Not sure as we had Wednesday's dinner on Saturday. Maybe Saturday's dinner (Mushroom curry) but maybe something else. Mushroom risotto is a possibility. If the mushrooms have lasted. If they're looking dodgy we may have this on Monday.

    THURSDAY: It's bank holiday in France, and our friends who run a restaurant are having a hog roast

    Here's a picture taken at another of their méchoui

    We are thinking we might go to support them. It's a bit pricey, (15€)  but we haven't been out for quite a while, and that covers the main course, cheese and dessert. So it's not TOO bad.

    FRIDAY: No idea. I'll decide before I go shopping on Wednesday.

    Some singing and whistling, but no loud cheer. I'm guessing there is still no score.

    I've spent quite a lot of the weekend zentangling - completing a dolphin and another fairy, and working on a celtic knot pattern too, although that is turning out a bit messy. Work tomorrow - two lessons - and Tuesday - 4 lessons- so it keeps ticking over. Mr FD is enjoying his work, after a shakey start, although the getting up early is taking it out of him a bit! He is doing stuff that he's asked for and seemingly impressing people. It's sad that there is unlikely to be a permanent position at the end of it, as he has been hired to complete a specific project.

    Thank you, as always for your lovely comments...


    CAROLE - we enjoyed watching "The Disappearance" too, particularly as it was set in Lyon, which isn't far. Lyon is a lovely city, and I think the series showed quite a lot of good views. I think it would be a great place for a mini-break. We went there with my mum, my brother and sister a couple of years ago. You can read about it here at The Teapot

    POMPOM Did your Crazy Cat Lady Starter kit arrive? I thought you might like this:

    KEZZIE: I'm glad you like the Zentangle. I hope your mum does too.

    MICHELLE: Thank you for your kind comment. I'm not sure about taklented, but certainly getting better!!

    NATASHA: If you make the felafel burgers do let me know if you enjoyed them. Happy to help over the Grebes.

    Here's a great photo of two waving weed at each other.

    Well...It's half time and there's no score yet, but there's still another 45 minutes to go. Who knows what will happen!  Lord, if it goes into extra time the cheers will start even later!! Hey ho.

    I hope everyone has a good week, whatever you are doing. I look forward to catching up on your blogs and finding out what you've been up to.

    Sunday, 3 July 2016

    Food is essential to Life...Therefore make it good.

    Hello Dear Peeps! I hope you are all well. I am feeling slightly less glum than I did in my last post. I invited Friend Cathy over that evening, and we sat on the balcony, drinking wine and making plans...

    So this coming week we are going out for lunch and a walk - maybe a picnic would be fun! The week after we are going over to Lyon to visit the Apple store (for Cathy), the other Cat Café (for me), and to have lunch. Maybe do a bit of shopping, now Mr FD is earning  - though not too much shopping as my tax bill in August will be quite high, and I need to put the money aside now. I usually do it regularly, but last month saw a bit of a cashflow problem so I had to empty my Livret A account to bail us out. I therefore need to refill it to meet the tax requirements next month. 

    We also have our Fete du Coin "Coeur de la Village" next weekend. In France there is something called La Fete des Voisins, - Festival of Neighbours, the idea being that you get together with your neighbours for an apero, for a street party, for a meal...whatever. Here is a link to the Wikipedia article (in French).

    The official date was in May, but someone on the Council has arranged for the Fete for our neighbourhood ("Heart of the Village") to be next Sunday. We have signed up for it, and I'm taking a Banoffi Pie. Let's hope I don't have the same experience as I had last time I made one (I'll just say "caramel on the kitchen ceiling". You can imagine the scenario!) 

     I have also been zentangling more - yesterday saw me glued to my zentangle pens. I completed a couple which I will show you when my camera battery is charged! One is a fairy, one is a Mandala. See here at The Teapot. I'm thinking I may have a stall at the St Just Christmas market, so I'll need to build up stock of subjects that might sell. I have also recently finished a commission...I hope the purchaser likes it

    It's harder doing something as a commission for someone, rather than just doing something because you want to do it! 

    I made a yummy cake a couple of weeks back - Nigel Slater's Marmalade Cake.
    Instead of the frosting, I melted more marmalade with some orange juice, made holes all over the top of the cake & poured the glaze over. Lush and sticky! 

    So, food this week...

    YESTERDAY: A version of Sticky Apricot Skewers I didn't make skewers, I added more veggies (onion, leek, mushrooms, peppers) and we had it with rice and (home grown) salad leaves.

    TODAY: Slow cooker pulled pork, with sweet potatoe wedges and coleslaw, and salad. I use Frugal Queen's recipe as a base but then changed it. I used some pulled pork spices (not good used by themselves, but good in a mixture), honey, barbecue sauce, sweet chilli sauce, worcester sauce, and balsamic vinegar. So nothing like FQ's recipe in the end!!

    MONDAY: It was going to be Rainbow Bulghar Wheat salad BUT the pack of peppers that I bought had gone wet and mouldy, meaning I only had enough for yesterday's dinner. I think I'll have time tomorrow to pop out to get some more peppers. If not I will be improvising with bacon, feta and mushrooms - probably with pasta.

    TUESDAY: Coconut-chilli salmon with noodles & leeks. Miam-miam!

    WEDNESDAY: Falafel burgers  (the recipe is good; you may find the blog post that goes with it a bit near the knuckle) with pita bread/ flat bread & salad.

    THURSDAY: Pulled pork (from the freezer from Sunday) with rolls and salad

    FRIDAY: Vegetarian stuffed peppers - no recipe, but using rice, courgette, mushroom paté left over from Christmas that needs eating, and feta as the filling.

    SATURDAY: Mushroom curry 

    (I've ordered one for PomPom...It should arrive next Tuesday!)

    and Thank You for your comments, which are always appreciated!

    POMPOM - glad you liked the Kitten picture. And you're right, the red tape is frustrating! And I haven't told you about my worst experience of "sympathetic (not!) customer service". But I met the Driving License guy who was really laid back and helpful, and my application is in the system.

    KEZZIE - the DVLA documents didn't get here in time - but the guy was happy to accept a fax copy, & no official translation (Grr! That's 50€ down the drain) which meant  all was okay.

    CATHY DANIEL - thank you for popping in! Don't worry about taking a while...Life does have a habit of Getting In The Way...

    MAGGIE - Lucky you having a bi-lingual electrician! I sometimes wish I could employ someone to just follow me round and help me deal with all the French I don't understand! Mind you, I think I am improving... I watched this video about a local artist and I actually understood it. ALL of it!

    by Nicolas Decoussy

     So there's a round up of this week's news. I hope to see you back again sometime soon! Have a lovely week, dear friends