French needlepoint skirt with hunting scene

dsc_0214You can find some lovely needlepoints in French car boot sales and second hand shops all over France. It’s harder to find large ones to make clothes so I was really glad to find these ones. I used different needlepoints on the back and lined the skirt with red silk, then used a ribbon for the waistband. I used this youtube link to make the pattern:

New Year’s day lunch at Jollity farm…

Pears with black pudding

Pears with black pudding

It was minus 5 degrees here in the shade of the stable this morning and we had to break the ice in the water troughs for the horses. We gave all the animals extra hay to eat as the fields were frozen.

For lunch we’re having black pudding and pears. The French often pair black pudding with apple, but here’s something a bit different. When our friends (and what great cooks they are) Stuart and Sonya were staying here recently, Stuart cooked spiced pears with the black pudding. He fried the pear quarters in butter and chilli and served them with the fried black pudding. He removed the skin of the black pudding before frying so it’s extra crispy. I shall always cook my black pudding that way now – delicious!

H A P P Y    N E W     Y E A R!

What I bought at the market today….

Ingredients for leek vinaigrette with poached egg and bacon

Ingredients for Leeks in vinaigrette with poached egg and Jambon de Bayonne – use whole grain mustard in the vinaigrette

We went to the big local market on Saturday at Sante Foy Le Grande on the banks of the River Dordogne in the Gironde Department. It’s a really good local market, we were told it was the best in the area. It was a bit chilly that day, luckily there were a number of second hand clothing stalls so we were both able to buy a few jumpers for a couple of euros each!  At a second hand book stall I found Rachel Khoo’s ‘Little Paris Kitchen’ – so I was set up for the day and knew what to cook.

I found ‘Poireaux vinaigrette avec oeuf poché et jambon de Bayonne‘ and was able to get all the ingredients at the market. Jambon de Bayonne is named after the city in SW France. It goes through a number of processes of salting and spice rubbing and air drying to bring out the sweetness. You could use Parma ham or Serrano ham too. Unfortunately I asked for ham ‘épais’ (thick) cut and not ‘mince’ (thin) cut. Never mind, it turned out fine in the end, apart from the poached egg being overcooked that is! But hey, I’m not on Masterchef!

Washed down with some lovely local white wine Cotes de Duras.

Eating out in the French countryside

A plate of black gascon noir charcuterie

A plate of black gascon noir charcuterie

Or inside if it's a bit cold, lovely big log fire

Or inside if it’s a bit cold, lovely big log fire

It was a hot balmy evening for early September and we decided to try out our local ‘ferme auberge’  in a little hamlet called Mas de Monille. Here they grow, prepare and cook all their own produce. This particular farm specialises in the black gascon pigs, ‘Gascon Noirs’ which is rare breed in SW France.

Black gascon pigs

Black gascon pigs grazing in local fields

We had the most delicious meal starting with an aperitif and a plate of charcuterie and french crusty bread, followed by a plate of ham, gerkins, pate and hot black pudding (see above), followed by slow cooked pork, two different types of homemade sausage (one made with the rind – really tasty) and a plate of aligot (cheesy potatoes), followed by local cheeses and a homemade pudding, all washed down with local wine and eau de vie. Really great value for 29 euros http://www.masdemonille.com

The cook and owner

The cook and owner with the homemade charcuterie

It is a lovely place to visit, buy good quality meat from happy outdoor reared animals and eat wonderful, simple food beautifully prepared. Also good for walking around the area and seeing the pigs grazing. Lovely walk along footpaths to St Projet.

The restored farmhouse at Mas de Monille

The restored farmhouse at Mas de Monille

You can eat out in the garden on hot afternoons

You can eat out in the garden on hot afternoons

 

 

 

The best easter egg

Asparagus with a soft boiled egg

Asparagus with a soft boiled egg

There is nothing quite so fresh and green tasting as asparagus pulled straight from the earth and eaten immediately. Our French neighbour whose Potager we are sharing suggested a few ways to cook the asparagus, with vinagrette, with a cheese sauce or simply with a soft boiled egg – it was absolutely delicious! What a lovely breakfast.

Fresh asparagus, butter and a soft boiled egg for breakfast

Fresh asparagus, butter and a soft boiled egg for breakfast

Covering a chair with French linen sheets

Chair covered in French linen sheets

Chair covered in French linen sheets

Bonjour mes amies! So sorry for the very long delay in posting anything……..here we go, a new project that I’ve been working on. I bought this comfortable old armchair at a car boot sale here (a vide greener) and covered it with a lovely old linen sheet, I’m quite pleased with my effort. Don’t look too closely though or you’ll see all the mistakes!