Autumn with chestnuts, walnuts and prunes.

Autumn is the most melancholic time of year for me. It is also the most beautiful. Every time, when I drive off the road in my efforts to admire the colours, I think this year is the most beautiful I have seen. Then comes the next autumn and the same thoughts go through my mind. As well as driving off the road.

chestnuts, walnuts and prunes for autumn.

All over the villages in France, les fêtes d’automne are celebrating with enthusiasm ..well…autumn. With stalls of food and bric and bracs, dancing in the streets and musicians sounding with loud self confidence their sometimes false chords into the air. But who cares! Everybody is having fun.

Fete de la chataigne3One such a fete was la fête de chataigne at Beynat, close to home. An atmosphere of vivacity reigned..for me in any case.  Everything was there; Trophies for the best chestnut harvest. Traditional artisans who made their sabots and combed their wool, embroidered their linens and wove their baskets the old fashioned way. By hand, of course.You could buy roasted chestnuts, apples by the crate, walnuts, nutcrackers(of which I bought one, simply because I am too lame to say no!) the meal of the day was home made boudin(blood sausage) with…frites. The French love their frites at markets. The usual crepe a la nutella was ever popular.

Fete de la chataigne1 Fete de la chataigne

I have to admit that I love to go to all these markets, and fairs and fêtes and foires and brocantes. I love browsing and tasting, having coffee(but of course!) I love the atmosphere of exuberance and fun, touching stuff, turning it upside down. I love the smells of food finding its way to my nose. I love the excitement of finding a tiny something for a tiny price; a pot of home made confiture, a piece of sauccisson with walnuts(my favorite), or an old coffee cup or two…simply just for remembering a great morning.

chestnuts, walnuts and prunes for autumn.-005

So, did I buy a tiny something for a tiny price. Oh yes I did! Chestnuts.  For this delicious accompaniment. I ‘m not a big fan of chestnuts, but this dish is divine. I can eat it by the spoonful. It only consists of chestnuts, walnuts and prunes. Some butter(salted) and some chicken stock, or if you prefer, vegetable stock, in which case, it is completely vegetarian. The most fascinating aspect of this dish is that it is autumn at its best. It smells and looks and tastes like forest. OK, you might  need a little imagination and heaps of enthusiasm, but autumn is short. Enjoy it.

La recette:

  1. A handful of cleaned, cooked chestnuts. (It is much easier to buy the vacuum packed cleaned and cooked ones, just ready for use. It is quite an ordeal to clean and cook them. I will show how in a next post for this one is already starting to resemble a marathon.)
  2. A handful of prunes, seeds removed.
  3. A handful of walnuts, removed from the shells with the help of your fancy nutcracker.
  4. A big knob of butter
  5. A drizzle of  olive oil.
  6. A TBSP honey.
  7. Fresh thyme, milled black pepper and mixed spices.
  8. About 1 full cup of chicken stock(or vegetable stock for vegetarians)

Heat the olive oil and salted butter in a frying pan. Add the chestnuts, prunes, mixed spices, milled pepper and fresh thyme (stripped from the stems). Sauté for about 5 minutes. Add the walnuts, honey and the chicken stock to the mixture. Leave to gently simmer on low heat just until the juices turned to a thick sauce. Remove from the heat. Serve with roasted chicken, rabbit or venison.

Serves 4 people as accompaniment.

cooking 2014

à bientot


Cottage(Quark) cheese with honey roasted tomatoes.

I love tomatoes baked to a confit in the oven.  I also love dessert. So serving tomatoes as a dessert is nothing strange  A creamy faisselle (quark/cottage cheese) locally made, some cherry tomatoes drizzled liberally with honey, sprinkled with chopped fresh mint and roasted in the oven to caramelize, is a perfect cheese/dessert to round off a meal. I added  in season cherries to add some seasonal spirit. It is a recipe with so many variations. I hope you’ll play around with it and come up with combinations that you love.

cottage cheese with roasted honey tomatoes-009


ffaiselle & honey tomatoes recip

cottage cheese with roasted honey tomatoes

cottage cheese with roasted honey tomatoes-001Pincée de fleur de sel:

  • Use enough cherry tomatoes, because it shrinks away a lot during the roasting process.
  • Use maple syrup instead of honey.
  • Add other red berries of your choice instead of cherries.
  • Serve the roasted tomatoes with a thick creamy yoghurt instead of the faisselle(quark/cottage cheese).
  • Serve the tomatoes in a little bowl on a cheese platter with an assortment of cheese for a buffet.

cottage cheese with roasted honey tomatoes-010     cottage cheese with roasted honey tomatoes-002

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Carrot and and poppyseed cupcakes.

I am participating in an art project for the month – Everyday in May. And today’s theme is cupcakes. I decided to post it here on Myfenchkitchen as well, seeing that cupcakes are food as well(of course!). I can eat anything carrot…raw, cooked, soup, juice, salad… and cake. Combine it with poppyseeds, lemon juice, and yoghurt and it turns out quite satisfactory, very satisfactory in fact.   carrot and poppyseed cupcake-001carrot cupcake recipe

  • EDITED: I forgot to add the carrots to the recipe!  Add 1 large, or 2 medium carrots, peeled and grated to the mixture and mix lightly. Don’t overmix.

carrot and poppyseed cupcake eaten Pincée de fleur de sel:

  • Add chopped olives to the mixture and top with goats cheese.
  • Use a vanilla yoghurt instead of natural yoghurt for a slightly sweet taste.
  • Top with whipped cream cheese with chives or top with a creamy goat’s cheese.

carrot and poppyseed cupcake ingredients

..bon appétit..


Mushrooms filled with St. Moret cheese. (Champignons au St.Moret)..and doors with a view.

This is my daughters’ recipe which they were so kind to give me. I adapted it a little to serve it as a side rather than an  amuse bouche, which is how they serve it. In the suggestions, I will give their recipe. I love this, it is a vegetable and can serve as a meal on its own for vegetarians.

Mushrooms filled with St. Moret cheese.-002La recette:

  1. Clean a handful of button mustooms by peeling off the top layuer of the mushrooms
  2. Pull out the stems/feet.
  3. Sauté one shallot along the the chopped up feet/stems of the mushrooms. Add a handful of chopped tarragon.
  4. fill the mushroom cups with the shallot mix.
  5. top with a tsp of mixed creme fraiche, mayonnaise and St. Môret cheese(or Philadelphia).
  6. Add a piece of semi oven dried tomato slice to the top and place in ovenproof dish, drizzled with olive oil.
  7. Bake in a hot oven(200 °C) for about 10 minutes.
  8. Serve as a side dish or main dish for a vegetarian meal.

Pincée de fleur de sel:

  • To serve as an amuse bouche, leave out the creme fraîche and mayonnaise and top only with some Philadelphia St. Môret cheese. It makes for a drier mushroom to take by hand.

Mushrooms filled with St. Moret cheese. Mushrooms filled with St. Moret cheese.-001 Mushrooms filled with cream cheese.NEF

The doors of my house..

As most of my readers will know, we are still living in the barn next to our house which is in the process of restoration. It is taking much longer than anticipated, but that is no news to anybody who has undertaken a similar project before. But we’ll get there. In the meantime we are very comfortable in our barn, so much so that I am almost afraid to leave it!

As I walked around the garden this morning in the lovely winter sun, with the chickens and the geese and the cats following me, I noticed the glorious reflections of the sun and surroundings on my newly fitted glass doors. They have just been installed in the last few weeks by mon cheri, all of them made to measure by him and still far from finished, but already it gives me such a kick to see!

Let’s start with the front door:

I wanted a Provencal doors which is exactly what mon chéri gave me. He salvaged all the oak planks and found the bolts I wanted, burnt them in the fire to rust them and built my front door. If ever there was a solid door, this is it.Cn I be more chuffed with my front door?

..From the outside..

doors of my house.NEF-006

doors of my house.NEF-007

..Front door from the inside..

doors of my house.NEF-002

Front door inside on the book gallery walking towards a glass door facing east(gallery door), which receives the most beautiful morning light.. (ignore the staircase, only for work purposes) doors of my house.NEF-003

..Gallery door from outside..

doors of my house.NEF-008

A view on our private bathroom door from the outside, which was the ONLY door in the original house, into its little kitchen. Not the prettiest of doors, but I want to keep it as it is, as it is part of the history of the house and I can dream up all these stories it has lived through. It still has to be adapted to the lifted floor of the whole house.

doors of my house.NEF-005

..the little bathroom door on the inside looking out.. doors of my house.NEF-004

Once inside the house, I will have this view facing south. I wanted the whole south facing view in glass to let in sun and light and excitement, excitement!! A dark house turns me equally dark. My lifeline is sunlight. To the left is the balcony off our bedroom with doors opening up completely on hinges. I already “live” there with my coffee and just “my being”.

doors of my house.NEF

..view on the balcony from the outside – only a low wrougth iron railing will vbe added on the balcony? I want nothing to disturb my view. We have already sletp there on the balcony under the stars and I fell asleep with this “openness” around me…

doors of my house.NEF-011

..view on the southern face with all its glass windows and doors..

doors of my house.NEF-012

..the door opening onto our outside terrasse – when standing in the front door, one can see straight through the top window above this terrasse door, looking onto the distant hills. The view is magnificent.

doors of my house.NEF-013

The kitchen door opens onto the terrasse as well. It wat was originally the basement below the orignal farmhouse where animals were kept. We changed that whole basement into a large kitchen livingroom/atelier. the original little door in photo below, will be kept as shutters and adapted and mon chéri is busy building my stable door for the kitchen.

..My quaint little kitchen door onto the terrasse..

doors of my house.NEF-010

Last but not least…the doors of our barn which we call home for the moment..mon chéri also installed all the glass doors so I can open up the huge barn doors to get some light as the barn is of course quite dark with only one little window facing south.

..Looking out from inside my grange

doors of my house.NEF-015

..and looking in…

doors of my house.NEF-014

I hope to show you all the doors again this year, all finished, trimmings and all. You can see how Coin Perdu looked in the beginning, some changes it went through on my blog Coin Perdu. I am not keeping it up any more though. From now on all my Coin Perdu postings will continue here on Myfrenchkitchen. I hope you ‘ll join me.

à plus