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Dordogne

And back to France we go – the next instalment of our summer holiday to the Dordogne (you can catch up on part one and two if you like).

We had one proper day trip out, having done some research before we went away on places that looked nice to visit, we decided to head towards Sarlat. I’d heard there was a seriously good market here, and there were a couple of little places along the river that looked nice, so we filled our bellies with sourdough spelt bread spread with honey and strawberries and off we went.

Sarlat

The market at Sarlat did not disappoint.  It was incredible!  I always worry “are we going to find the market?” when we head somewhere new, but you couldn’t miss Sarlat market, even if you weren’t looking for it, you would stumble across it on a wander around the town.  It goes on and on down the narrow winding streets, tumbling out into squares.

Sarlat market

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Last weekend Mr Rigg and I headed to Cornwall for a long weekend.  In order to break up the 5 hour journey we set off after work on Thursday and made a stop-off in Somerset, staying at a beautiful B&B called Farndon Thatch.

Arriving at about 7pm we decided to stop at a local pub for dinner before checking in.  We came across The Crown Inn at Fivehead, where we were met with a warm welcome and a menu prided on being homecooked by the owners Steve and Jacqui.  Mr Rigg couldn’t resist a curry and I went for a slice of homemade venison pie.

And what a slice it was – huge, stuffed full of flavoursome meat, and possibly the best pastry I’ve ever had.  It wasn’t cheffy or fancy food, but just really nice homecooked meals, just what we needed.  We were also entertained by a stunning fish tank with living rocks and a host of unusual creatures.

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Last week we had incredible fish and chips from a place in Didsbury called Frankie’s Fish Bar, but it left me feeling guilty that all I’d eaten for dinner was deep-fried fish and potatoes. 

So I was determined the following night to fill us full of vegetables, and this is what I came up with…

All the vegetables were English, although not grown by me.  There were new potatoes, boiled and tossed in lots of salty butter and black better.  Pink and white radishes sliced in half, asparagus spears and baby carrots blanched and sliced.

Broad beans and fresh peas shelled and briefly cooked in simmering water.  Lots of seasonal salad leaves, crispy bacon shards, and those gorgeous nasturtium flowers (bought from Waitrose, so delighted they’re selling edible flowers).

Not a lot of complicated stuff, just a lot of shelling broad beans and slicing.  But really delicious – I want to eat more of this sort of food over the summer.

Tonight we had to make something quick as Mr Rigg was heading out for a bike ride with Buddy.  So I made our favourite scrambled eggs on delicious Campanou bread (a French country style loaf) from Barbakan.

I boiled some asparagus, fried mushrooms in butter and added some pretty pink thyme flowers, before lightly frying the asparagus in the mushroom pan to give it a bit of glisten!  All on top of the scrambled eggs and soft bread it was lovely.

Mr Rigg is away in Edinburgh this weekend on a stag do…last I heard was “still up” via text sent at 3am this morning…

Buddy and I are having a much quieter weekend at home.  So far we have trimmed bushes in our tiny front garden, massacred the raspberry canes at the end of the garden, picked a small bowl of loganberries, followed a rumour that a farm nearby sells homegrown flowers at the gate (they do, just none today), and planted winter hardy leeks at the allotment.

Sadly I forgot my camera today when we went to the allotment, but thankfully I have some photos from my last visit looking very much the same.

Everything growing on the allotment seems to have doubled in size since I was last there.  The courgette and squash plants are trailing and spreading everywhere…

The sunflowers are starting to flower and have lots more buds just waiting to pop open…

There is masses of camomile and my pink Cosmos are thick with flowers…

The onions have been dug up and left out to dry – which has been difficult considering the rain we’ve had…

Lots of ladybirds everywhere – I love them so much…

And this cheeky rabbit who clearly thought he hadn’t been spotted…

I came home with a basket laden with onions, one giant green courgette, a single burnt orange sunflower, and handfuls of Cosmos and camomile to brighten up the living room…

There is something so lovely and comforting about being able to wander to the bottom of your own garden and pick something for dinner.  Last night I decided to pick some of the yellow sunburst squash that I have growing in my vegetable patch. 

These UFO shaped squash are so pretty – although mine are looking a bit sorry for themselves.  They’ve started to rot a bit where the flower blossomed with all this rain we’ve had recently.  Also, the ones I usually see in my local grocery are much more yellow – mine are a bit pallid!

None-the-less they taste lovely.  So I picked a few and brought them inside to be eaten within half an hour of picking – now that’s pretty special.  Beat that supermarket giants!

For tea we had scrambled eggs on toasted bagel with garlic fried squash, oregano flowers and Gruyère.  Fresh flavours and very tasty – and I love the yellow from the eggs and squash flecked with the purple from the oregano flowers.

Scrambled eggs on toasted bagel with garlic fried squash, oregano flowers and Gruyère

Feeds 2

A couple of small yellow sunburst squash
2-3 cloves of garlic
Olive oil
5 medium eggs
Handful of oregano flowers and leaves
Gruyère cheese
2 bagels
Butter

Heat a frying pan with some olive oil.  Finely chop the garlic and add to the pan – softening it gently.

Thinly slice the squash and add to the garlic.  Fry until soft and starting to turn a little golden and season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, make your scrambled eggs – here’s how I make mine.

Put your bagels on to toast and butter them once they’re ready.

Add the oregano leaves to the scrambled eggs, mix together, then spoon over the bagels.

Take your fried squash and place on top of the eggs and grate over some Gruyère cheese.

Finally, sprinkle over some oregano flowers and eat!

So on the way back from the Cotswolds to Cheshire, the little sister and I stopped at The Organic Farm Shop – a great place on the outskirts of Cirencester near to where my family live.

I love visiting the farm shop and cafe, and I never need an excuse to pop in to pick up a few goodies.  And they have lots of goodies!  Loads of what they sell is grown or produced by the farm – from eggs and meat, to butter and cheese, and vegetables and flowers.

After driving down their tree-lined lane, past the fields of produce, the first sight we were greeted with outside the shop were buckets of gorgeous seasonal flowers and tubs of seasonal berries.  Share with me, for a moment, their beauty…

Mr Rigg rustled up some homemade pizzas last night to enjoy in the garden for dinner.  This incredible heatwave we’re experiencing in England this weekend has rendered us useless – the heat is just too heavy to do much of anything.

We used our tried and tested Jamie Oliver pizza dough recipe which can be found here.   I made a simple tomato sauce: some sliced garlic cooked gently in olive oil, a sprinkle of dried wild oregano, add a tin of blitzed up cherry tomatoes, and season with salt, pepper and Agave syrup or honey if a little extra sweetness wanted/needed.

After the pizzas were cooked in a hot oven topped with the homemade tomato sauce and grated mozzarella we wandered down to the bottom of the garden in search of some extras.

We garnished our pizzas with some baby salad leaves, a sprinkle of chive flowers and some shreds of proscuitto.  Sliced into wedges on a wooden board to share – no cutlery needed. 

I wish the weekend would never end.

Lemon pound cake

For my granny’s 80th birthday I made her a lemon pound cake of gigantic proportions.  Decorated with pretty miniature daffodils and a scattering of purple-ish blue hyacinth flowers, it was both delicious and beautiful.

Here’s how I made it with the recipe for one cake below…

First I weighed out my ingredients, including three, yes three packs of butter – don’t worry, the recipe for one cake only requires one.  Golden yellow organic butter…

Butter

And I zested some lemons…beautiful Italian ones from Unicorn with an incredible fragrance that filled the air as I zested them…

Lemon zest

Next I creamed together the softened butter and sugar – I used fair trade golden caster sugar that hasn’t been so refined as the pure white stuff.

Pop it in your mixer…

Blitz it up – to begin with it starts to look like lumpy wet sand…

Keep going and it will start to change and look more like a crumbly dough mixture…

It’s not ready yet, so let it continue to mix and even when it looks like it does below, it’s still not quite there…

Persist until it looks like this – pale and creamy…

Next you add to your creamy butter sugar mixture the lemon zest and vanilla extract and briefly mix…

Now you add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each egg until it’s just combined.  These beautiful golden yolkers came from Abbey Leys Farm.

Finally, tip it out into a mixing bowl and add in the flour.  I also added in some lemon juice to give it an extra lemony flavour…

Fold in the flour until it’s all mixed through and you have a lovely cake dough ready for baking…

 

Finally, spread the mixture into your cake tin – I used a large ring shaped tin and pop it into the oven to bake…

While the cake is baking, stand back to admire how many dirty bowls and spoons a gigantic cake creates…and wonder who’s going to wash them all up…

Hopefully when you take your cake out of the oven, allow it to cool then carefully turn it out onto a wire rack to cool it should look something like this…

The little sister and I then decorated the cake with a drizzling of lemon icing (lemon juice and icing sugar mixed together) and some pretty spring flowers.  Granny was very pleased…

Below is the recipe – I tripled the ingredients to make the cake above.

Lemon Pound Cake

The Cake
250g caster sugar
250g butter, softened
250g self raising flour, sifted
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
Zest of 1 lemon
3 tsp lemon juice

Lemon drizzle icing
Lemon juice
Icing sugar

Preheat your oven to 180°C.

Lightly butter your cake tin and line with baking paper if you’re worried about it sticking – you shouldn’t need to line it if it’s a non-stick tin.

Beat the butter and sugar until pale and creamy.

Add the lemon zest and vanilla extract and mix in.

Next, add the eggs, one at a time – mixing until just combined before adding the next.

Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and sieve in half the flour.  Carefully fold in.

Add the lemon juice and the remaining flour, and gently fold in until well combined.

Spread the cake mixture into your prepared cake tin and pop in the oven to bake for about 40-50 minutes.  To test if your cake is cooked all the way through, insert a skewer into the centre of the cake and remove – if it is clean it is cooked, if there is cake mixture on it pop it back into the oven for a little longer.  Bake for longer if you are doubling the recipe – just keep checking on it.

Once the cake has cooled a little, carefully turn it out onto a wire rack and let it cool fully.

To make the lemon drizzle icing, simple sieve a cup of icing sugar into a bowl, and add lemon juice little by little mixing it in until you have the consistency you want.  Don’t make it too runny or it will just run straight off the cake!

Once the cake is cool, drizzle over the icing and decorate if you wish.

gardenflowers

I picked this pretty bunch of flowers and herbs from my allotment and back garden.  It’s a mixture of pink and white cosmos, orange marigolds, yellow daisies, purple chive flowers, green mint, and delicate white parsley flowers.

I fear this may be one of the last sights of summer as the leaves are already beginning to change colour and fall.

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Eat the Earth

I love food, especially locally grown and seasonal food. This is my place to share my food finds and the food I like to eat.

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All pictures are my own unless stated. I would kindly ask that you don't use them elsewhere unless you ask permission first. Many thanks x

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