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Beynac

I am desperate to finish telling you about our lovely June trip to the Dordogne, it’s just finding the time amongst everything else in life.  As you may have seen, I also like to share details rather than just lots of pictures – just in case you are here viewing this post because you too are planning a trip to the Dordogne and want some tips from someone who’s been and explored.

Beynac, Dordogne

Last time I left off we had just been to the Sarlat market and passed through La Roque Gageac.  After this we headed along the river to Beynac, which we much preferred and found a lovely little restaurant for a very relaxed lunch. This place is just so pretty, the sand coloured stone buildings, the flowers and vines that sprout from tiny patches of soil – it is storybook lovely.

Beynac restaurant

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The Dordogne

There is something that always pulls me back to France, something inside that about once a month I get an aching inside to be back there – usually this has been the Loire (where we’ve visited twice, you can read about it here and here) but this time we wanted to see a different part.

So after many hours searching for somewhere to stay, we booked ourselves a week to Le Pigeonnier a small hamlet on an organic goat farm at La Geyrie in the Dorgone.

Limoges map

Perigord National Park

We flew to Limoges before driving down through the Limousin-Périgord National Park to the small hamlet of La Geyrie.  As we pulled up we were welcomed by a small rabble of dogs – two belonging to Louise and Peter our hosts and another from the house down the road, a sweet little dog who would come to welcome us home most days by running in front of the car (!) and then bouncing at the window whilst making an excited whining.

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I came across this incredible story today about two donkeys who delivery groceries in a village in Gloucestershire.  It’s apparently been going on since before WWII and has been recently revived.  The is project is run by volunteers and supported by donations from the local community. 

Anyway, I just think it sounds fab and want to start something similar myself, despite living in a very flat town.

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.

I am so happy to be back in my little blog home – it has been far too long and I have missed sharing my food adventures.

Since getting engaged back in September 2009, we have been steadily planning and preparing for our wedding.  As the date drew nearer – 21st May 2011 – I have just had little time to do much else (whilst juggling it along with my job and my website).

Here’s a picture of some of the cakes our family and friends made for our wedding – the big white one in the middle so beautiful decorated was made by my Granny!

To save me rambling on for too long, I’m going to do some bullets of what’s been going on in our lives for the past few months I’ve been missing from here, and then aim to follow with a nice post and recipe for a fab barbecue we had over the weekend:

  • Most importantly – we got married!  On 21st May 2011, I married Mr Rigg in my home village in Gloucestershire – we had a beautiful, rustic country wedding, with a party in my parent’s garden, lots of local cider and perry, AMAZING food (lots of it local) and just an all round fab day.  If you’re at all interested, photos and details will follow on my website.
  • We honeymooned in an incredible Canopy & Star’s hideaway for a week and took Buddy with us (more details and hopefully a couple of foodie posts on this to follow).
  • Sadly, Mr Rigg’s lovely Granny who was always so interested in what we were doing passed away.
  • After spending an exorbitant amount of time and effort getting our allotment covered in manure and getting rid of all the weeds over the winter…we have neglected it and it is now overrun with weeds – we are totally and utterly the worst looking allotment – gutted.
  • Although we haven’t got a lot growing (and the radishes all matured as we headed south for our wedding), we have got a couple of healthy pea plants, some small beetroot seedlings, potatoes growing (only just!) and quite a few courgette, squash and pumpkin plants.

I am just so happy to ‘be back’ and can’t wait to get growing and cooking some decent food – and to share it all!  I’ll leave you with a picture of my overgrown garden…

I so desperately want to have the time to write here again – I have a camera full of photos and lots I would love to share, I just don’t have the time.  I think I might pop!

We have, however, managed to plant some seeds last weekend – carrots, salad leaves, beetroot, radish, parsley, and peas…and today we spotted the first green pea shoots poking through!  So exciting!

Isn’t this miniature food ring so cute?!  I love this one with its tiny cup of tea and mini chocolate chip scone – so sweet.  You can find them here at the SouZouCreations shop on Etsy.

When it comes to pasta bakes, I’m usually pretty unadventurous – favouring a simple tomato sauce and lumps of fresh mozzarella or the grated version.  Cooked until the cheese top is golden and crisp.

Last night I decided we needed a bit of a shake up.  Still featuring lots of cheese, of course, I made a cheesy broccoli pasta bake.  So simple, and yet it tasted nicer than I thought it would.

Heat your oven up to about 180 – 200°C.  Cut the broccoli up into bite-sized pieces.  Pop a pan of water onto boil and add your pasta. 

You want to just undercook the pasta (it carries on cooking in the oven), and add the broccoli for the last few minutes to cook a little.  Drain the pasta and the broccoli. 

While the pasta is cooking, make a cheese sauce.  I use equal amounts of butter and flour to make a roux, then add hot milk a bit at a time, and stir like mad with a whisk to keep it smooth.  Bring to the boil and keep whisking – this was my job when I was growing up. 

Add lots of grated mature Cheddar to the sauce and stir in until melted.  Pour the cheese sauce over the drained pasta and broccoli and mix together. 

Put the whole lot into an ovenproof dish, sprinkle over an extra bit of grated cheese and bake for 20-30 minutes until golden and bubbling.

I would pop this firmly in the category of ‘Comfort Food’.  Good for cold wintery nights or when you’re feeling low.  This is food that hugs you.

Perhaps an unconventional Christmas meal, but with only two of us to feed a turkey or goose would be too much, and with some exquisite stewing venison in the freezer from Dunham Massey it seemed only natural to have venison stew.

We bought our venison from Little Heath Farm a few weeks ago when they received a delivery from the National Trust property just down the road.  It is nice to know that the main ingredient in our Christmas meal came from within 5 miles and most likely had a lovely life roaming the parkland at Dunham Massey.

With a large part of my University days spent studying Native Americans both in the UK and Canada, it seemed only apt to follow the recipe for venison stew from Jamie’s America book.  Based on a Navajo stew, this recipe is incredibly delicious and is the second time we’ve made it.

My only addition was to make some parsley and suet dumpling, which I popped into the stew towards the end of cooking.  There is something very moreish about dumplings – I think I could eat a plateful drenched in a couple of spoonfuls of stew liqueur.

Mash potato was made with our allotment grown potatoes, which must be said have been a bit disastrous.  Whether it’s the variety, how we’ve grown them, or how we cook them, but the potatoes just disintegrate into soupy glue if not watched carefully. 

I have learnt that the trick with them is to watch them carefully in the water, looking for the moment when the outside starts to break down, but leaving them long enough to make sure they are almost cooked through. 

This time I put it through my wonderful French mouli that I picked up at the carboot – it was fantastic!  With the help of a little cream (maybe a lot…) and butter, and some seasoning, the mash turned out all right.

What did you eat for Christmas dinner?

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year!

Mr Rigg, Buddy and I spent this morning down on the allotment attempting to work off the copious amounts of rich food we have eaten over Christmas.

Though the jobs involved shifting poo and digging out a small oak tree, and at one point the rain came driving down, we had a good morning.

The large mound of manure has now gone and the allotment looks very neat…if very brown and slightly smelly.  We relocated four rhubarb crowns from the middle of the allotment to the bottom, to sit happily with the other rhubarb plants.

I cleared quite a number of ratty looking raspberry canes from the end behind the ‘shed’ (should be called a shack really), and together we dug out a small oak tree (one more to go).  I know it sounds terrible to be digging out an oak tree, but the allotment officer advised we should before they get too big.

Before we left we lit up the Kelly Kettle – its first use, despite being Mr Rigg’s birthday present back in May. 

With the bottom part filled with newspaper and tiny fir cones, it soon got the water boiling and we enjoyed a cup of herbal tea in our new enamel ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ mugs.  Perfect for allotment picnics!

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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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