Category Archives: Marvellous Cuisine

Pour titiller vos papilles.

miniature yumminess
Soufflé à la courgette

Now you know what to do when you’ve made mayonnaise, have an egg-white in need of a good home and don’t fancy making langues de chats. (By far far the best option to my mind, except I’d run out of icing sugar, which scuppered that idea.)

"I'll have a little fishy in a little dishy, please."


A  jewel in the crown of tasty moments over the past few month on the culinary side of life.

The apples in the crumble are courtesy of the laden apple trees at Dad’s.

I did want to take a picture of the cooked  crumble but the camera was in use and we gannets couldn’t bear the wait.

The following marvel was found not far from the apple trees…

Liquid gold

Et voilà!

Surviving hot weather

After torrential rain and the impression the monsoon had found France a nice place to emigrate to, we’ve had heat for a week, growing heat, cooking heat, both gorgeous and horrible at the same time.

My body’s just about used to it by now and in the afternoon if I don’t move too much I don’t get soggy 😛 but I’m certainly not going out this lunch time and the shutters are lowered to keep the flat cool. The season has begun when being right above the basement is a blessing. What causes my toes to shrink back in horror if I forget to put them into my slippers throughout the winter is a beautiful lovely cooling surface underfoot now the heat pervades almost everything.

25C already and rising. Hip hip hooray for the nice cool floor.

Thank you all for the lovely messages. I did intend to write again sooner but last week was beyond hectic and I chose to fry bigger fish. I have so many ideas and things I want to write which I don’t get round to putting down. One thing makes me forget the next and it all gets vague or forgotten. Anyhow, I enjoy finding my ring where it is and feeling the empty place where it was. I’ll probably write the story of how it came about another day. It’s worth the telling. Never mind the other things about which I would have liked to write.

Fabrice made marvellous cherry and mint jam for the second time last week. The pity being we didn’t have time to prepare all the cherries so some wasted. Our mates have a tree and though some places got spoilt by rain this year, their tree has been more prolific than ever and with 5 adults at work there seems no end to the fruit on there.

This talk about jam reminds me that I never did say how the banofee pie turned out… It was a hit and by far the tastiest and most satisfying recipe I’ve ever tasted. I kid you not. The praline in the base has a fair part to play in it being so yummy.

Fabrice’s cousin (whom I’ve never known cook or prepare anything) asked for the recipe, he liked it so much.

Right, time to get on with my nephew’s bed. It’s not going to make itself!

We’ve gained 2 degrees while I was writing.

Look what I can do!

See what I’ve learnt to do today:

  1. cats
  2. fish
  3. dogs
  4. mice
  5. foxes
  6. lists of … animals!!!


I’d never bothered figuring it out even though I’d have like to, but Mr Doormouse seemed like the ideal person to ask how to do a little HTML. Also, and more importantly, I now have a domain name and my soon to be website is taking shape. Thank you again, Mrs Doormouse, for reminding me to be in touch.

Becoming an entrepreneur is growing increasingly real as I tick off tiny elements of the long to-do list I’ve been working through and adding to since the beginning of May. I’m  currently procrastinating over a contact letter to the companies I’ve been in touch with previously and thinking about the next job: contacting local translating companies and freelancers and widening my offer of translating and interpreting services. The whole task makes me want to have done a comms degree so I might hide behind official ways of doing things rather than having to improvise.

On my web-travels looking for translators around Lyon I found a young lady who graduated from Swansea Uni and thought of how useful a degree in Welsh would be to translate French into English. If only I’d known!

Oh, to make everyone jealous, breakfast this morning was toasted & buttered French baguette with home made “gelée de pommes”! Fabrice has once more done wonders and I am a very happy jam-taster.

strawberries and melons

I’m eating the first melon this year. One of those dark green rugby ball shaped melons a bit like honeydew. Sadly probably an imported one, it’s nonetheless fine and quite sweet.

Wednesday saw the first strawberry jam. It’s light jam, low in sugar and not cooked for very long, which means it still has a strawberry colour rather than the yummy brown I always seem to end up with. I often shiver at the idea of whatever chemical or method makes shop-bought strawberry jam so red.

Oh, the bad thing about the jam, or more precisely the making thereof, was the fact that my fabulous man was so very disappointed by the fact I set about doing it while he felt too tired to. He’s not the first or the last to say he’s not creative or good with his hands and however grand the counter-proof it’s so often not enough to reassure him and others that, actually they do great. Anyhow, I stole his job and was very sorry that I made him so sad in an instant. I’m not worried though because he’s so much more precise in how he makes our preserves of all kind that his jam is guaranteed to be nicer than mine.

The next batch of strawberries are all yours my love!

The pavers on the little square just down our road have finally upped their hours from half a day a week (I estimate the rate they progressed for the previous 6-8 weeks between 2 and 4 hours per week.) It’s nice because It’s sad to have fencing around the square just because the pathway round the edge is ‘in progress. If they worked this morning too, they may actually have finished.

Ah, and finally, a little non-PC-ness to round off my ramblings.

Walking into town the other day I witnesses one of my ‘only in …” such or such a place could this happen kinds of situations.

Only in France

Never in the UK without a fenced off perimeter and a little tent thing over his head.

If ever in the USA someone would manage to fall in and sue the poor man they squashed, his company and their local council too.

Shall I explain at last? Oh yes! It made me giggle… As I began, I was walking into town and looking to my right, between 2 large flower-beds, I noticed an open manhole. There was a traffic cone (Possibly 😛 stolen from Swansea of Cardiff council?) about a meter away and a toolbox about a foot to the side I walked. All I could see of the worker was the top of his head just below ground level as he stood up before bending back down to carry on whatever work he was doing. Like I said I giggled. I carried on walking and laughed to myself thinking how relaxed the French and many other continentals can be over a bloke down a manhole and then I played of in my head what would have happened elsewhere.

I’ve listed above my two main stereotypes and I’d add there’re probably one or two places where there’d be a couple of guys standing around watching, handing him a tool once in a while and generally providing conversation and encouragement as their day’s work.

I love situations like that, surprising moments of realising how a town or region or country (sometimes even a street is enough) are so different from the next.

Right, now back to dealing with everyday stuff and getting a bit more done towards this freelance project.

work and play

It’s been ages since I last sat down long enough in front of this dear mac to do more than check a few mails and occasionally reply.

Throughout April I worked over 150 hours, mostly for the agency, which amounts to a full time job. In March already I’d done about 100h. This month should be over 130h. I’m getting into the swing of daytime hours with a month-long contract working roughly a 9-5.

Time really does fly. I’ve seen my sister and her little ones a few times, including them all visiting to drop Maman off before she returned south from spending a good holiday with them. Fabrice and I saw Maman twice while she was here. Both occasions were lovely calm times at my sister’s but while they’d gone away for the weekend.

In between, various friends have invited us for a meal or two and a birthday party and we’ve visited Fabrice’s parents pretty regularly. I have to say we do ok for food over here both with nice fresh stuff to buy and loads of good restaurants all over the place which are quite affordable. My cooking skills are improving no end as Fabrice finds me new recipies to try out too 🙂

I’ve got visitors coming soon from Wales and this summer from Wales and the UK. I’m very eager to see everyone 🙂

RIght, it’s just about time to eat so I’ll shut up and post this.


Noël! and other cold moments

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and all those nice wishes I didn’t get round to sending.

Well, it’s been freezing here and I’m finally thawing a bit 🙂

December got nice and hectic and then I caught a flu kind of bug/cough/cold and whatnot all that while we went visiting family over Christmas. Fabrice’s cold became bronchitus which was poo and he missed 4 days last week cos of that.

I got a bit of work last week with a temping agency and I’ve got another few hours this week. It’s only little but will help to get me back into the swing of things.  I’ve applied for one job but they want a qualification i don’t have, not even in British-unrecognised form. But we’ll see if experience can play its part… So far, most of the jobs I’d have wanted to go for so far have been for people on a special scheme for getting long term unemployed back to work after months or years. I shouldn’t be picky but I don’t quite fancy pre-school or nursery jobs which are frequent and I may go for something in adult services since that’s next most frequent.
The agency hours have been with adults, so I’m gaining clues as we speak 🙂

Fabrice and I seem to be getting on better and better and finding our ways of doing things, our rhythms and preferences, our habits. We’ve got work to get on with in the flat imminently and it’s teaching us communication and job sharing according to what we do best. It’s also teaching me to watch out for him because I’ve got so many ideas and find 3D and use of space quite easy things whereas they’re simply not naturally Fabrice-friendly concepts. It does get to draw sketches and plans, write lists of materials and do things like drill holes in the wall, which is all good fun.
I’ve done lots of baking and cooking which Fabrice enjoys so I’m a proud chef if ever you knew one. Though I messed up yesterday’s cookies (hmmmm!) even though for once I followed the recipe (I thought). Maybe the butter was too hot. It said ‘soft’ and mine was melted. I forgot it a bit 😛

Oh and I went to a football match with a cousin and survived a few hours in silly temperatures after dark… I’m not sure I’d like to regularly go and shout in such cold.