Tag Archives: food

Cattle Country

Considering we are surrounded by them, I’m surprised I haven’t written more about these mainstays of local agriculture. Perhaps it’s because I have a love-hate relationship with them, especially when marauding herds have trampled down our garden. What am I … Continue reading

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French Flavours #1: A is for Aligot

  The temperature was approaching -10C when I went downstairs this morning – outside, I hasten to add. This is the coldest spell we’ve had for five years. In this weather you want rib-sticking food; nouvelle cuisine doesn’t hit the … Continue reading

Posted in Aveyron, Food/drink/recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 40 Comments

Appetising Return to Belcastel

Last time, I wrote about a ghostly story linked to the château de Belcastel. This week, we had the opportunity to make a return visit to this plus beau village in Aveyron. Not only does it occupy a delightful setting … Continue reading

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Opération Escargot

France’s cuisine was awarded UNESCO World Heritage Status in 2010, when it was included in the list of humanity’s intangible cultural heritage. Why “intangible”? Good food might be a consolation for the soul, but it’s also a feast for most … Continue reading

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Le Temps des Cerises

The title (‘Cherry Time’) is that of a very famous French song written in 1866 and interpreted much later by Yves Montand. With the addition of some verses, it became one of the anthems of the revolutionary Paris Commune in … Continue reading

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Seasonal Treats: Asparagus and Strawberries

  When we first moved here, it was frustrating not to find strawberries or asparagus in the French shops in the winter. I completely changed my mind a long time ago. There is a lot to be said for enjoying produce … Continue reading

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French Restaurant Capers

French restaurants are currently on the menu in the news. A hapless blogger posted a bad review and was fined by a judge. And as from last Tuesday, restaurants have to indicate if any or all of their meals are … Continue reading

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A Brief History of Cheese

At the Tuesday market in Caylus, which stall has the longest queue? No contest: the cheese stall. It’s especially long in summer when the holidaymakers and second homers swell the population. But even in winter you can count on a … Continue reading

Posted in Auvergne, Food/drink/recipes, History | Tagged , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Frog and Toad

  In culinary matters, the French and the British often compete about who first discovered a particular dish. A notable example is burn’t cream – crème brulée in French. Both countries claim to have invented it . Now, there is … Continue reading

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Goose Fat and Garlic

A few weeks ago – only just found time to write about it – I attended the launch of a new edition of Goose Fat and Garlic, a book about the cooking and recipes of SW France. Jeanne Strang, who … Continue reading

Posted in Aveyron, Books/writing, Food/drink/recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

French Provincial Cooking

When pondering what to serve dinner guests this coming Saturday I reached for my disintegrating copy of Elizabeth David’s French Provincial Cooking. Not because I expected to copy a user-friendly recipe but because it is chock-full of ideas. First published … Continue reading

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Chestnuts and Chestnut Recipes

This autumn’s chestnuts It’s that time of year again when the sweet chestnuts are falling. Very few chestnut trees grow near us but not far away, around Najac and Laguépie, they clothe the slopes. If you walk along the River … Continue reading

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Figs and Fig Recipes

  This is the time of year for figs, those strangely luscious and fleshy fruits. We have plucked these figs from our own tree – alas, we have only one. They are unusual in that they are not the small … Continue reading

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Tomatoes and Tomato Recipes

How about these for tomatoes? Each one is about 14 centimetres in diameter and weighs around a kilo. None of your shop-bought imitations – perfectly symmetrical, dosed to the pips with noxious substances and tasting like cotton wool. And just … Continue reading

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What Do the French Talk About at Dinner Parties?

Last night, we were invited to dinner with French friends with whom we socialise regularly. The SF and I have christened our group ‘the Gang’. There were nine of us yesterday. Some of them were born in the region and … Continue reading

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You must be in France when there’s…an Egg Mayonnaise Protection Society

Apologies to any subscribers who were unable to access this post from their notification email. I did something stupid but have rectified it so the link should work now. I almost overlooked another important news item in last Saturday’s Le … Continue reading

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French winter market

Our village market in winter occupies a different world from its summer version. There are many more stalls in summer, when jewellery sellers rub shoulders with purveyors of over-priced charcuterie. As I walked down into the market square this Tuesday, … Continue reading

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Pumpkins and Pumpkin Recipes

Where we live in southwest France, size is of the essence: in fact, the bigger, the better. One of our local villages, Parisot, held a competition on Sunday for the biggest, heaviest and oddest shaped. I am of course talking … Continue reading

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Roquefort

  Roquefort cheese takes its name from the place where it is manufactured, Roquefort-sur-Soulzon. Until last Thursday, what I knew about the manufacture of Roquefort would have gone on the back of one postage stamp. After our Thursday outing, I … Continue reading

Posted in Aveyron, Food/drink/recipes, French life, History, Places | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Walnuts and walnut recipes

  I’ve written about walnuts before, but that was in May when they were unripe. June is the time to pick the unripe green ones for walnut wine (see my post about it, here). October is when the nuts start … Continue reading

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Mushroom picking fever

After this week’s rain, the event we’ve been waiting for has arrived – the mushroom season. People carrying baskets or plastic bags are seen disappearing furtively into the woods. They look round suspiciously, as if in a spy movie, in … Continue reading

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French markets

  We all love going to French markets. The array of misshapen and sometimes eccentric items (and that’s just the customers); the banter between stallholders and customers; the sight of French people in pursuit of that most serious of pastimes, eating; … Continue reading

Posted in Aveyron, Food/drink/recipes, French life, Places | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Goats, grain and gremlins

  The gremlins were the weather goblins, who made last weekend a complete washout. Sunday 20th June was a journée du patrimoine, when monuments and places of historic interest open their doors to the public. Despite the weather, or maybe because of … Continue reading

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Eat well in France – 10 top tips

Although noted for its cuisine, you don’t always eat well in France. A writer’s lot in France provides 10 top tips for enjoying a restaurant meal. Continue reading

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French seasonal treats: répountsous (asparagus alternative)

Strangely bent figures can be seen at this time of year patrolling the grass verges, heads bowed in concentration, oblivious to the juggernauts thundering past. What are they doing?

Posted in Aveyron, Food/drink/recipes, French life, Nature | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Walnut wine – vin de noix

Try making walnut wine, a regional drink from southwest France, where walnut trees abound, suggests A writer’s lot in France. Continue reading

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French social customs 4: table manners part 2

People in France eat out a lot (although somewhat less during the present crise).  On Sundays, you will often see whole families from grandparents down to babies tucking into a five-course meal.  This is the reason why French children are … Continue reading

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