A simple salad and special corners.

I’ve been here at Coin Perdu for the last few weeks, only made a quick stop back at our Loire home in Montlouis. When working here, there is no time for making interesting meals. We are too tired in the evening. But it is just great when we can call it a day at around 18:00,  light the fire and sit back with a glass of red wine, a small bowl of sliced sauccisson and as I said so many times already, watch the sun set. The cats play around us in the long grass, the chicks fiddle around and under my chair and life is just perfect at that hour. Then we’ll put something on the BBQ and make a salad like the one you see here. Because I serve my vinaigrette on the side,  the salad is still fresh enough the next day for lunch with some crusty bread, freshly baked and bought from our local boulangerie. So,  although I don’t have anything exciting to offer in terms of an inventive recipe, I do hope you get inspired to sit back with a glass of good red wine at a your secret corner where the sunset brings you inspiration and sighs of satisfaction.

This salad is simply a mixture of fresh salad leaves, a handful of dried goji berries, a grated carrot, a handful of sprouted red cabbage sprouts(from my own kitchen and which I’ll write about soon, as previously promised) and some dry roasted almonds. A drizzling of lemon juice with lemon slices added to the salad, some olive oil and and a sprinkling of salt and milled pepper rounds off this salad. the next day I add some smoked salmon, or some smoked ham or pancetta or even tuna or smoked mackerel to give it more substance. Enjoy it with tomatoes on the vine(served separately, I don’t like tomatoes in a green salad, but of course you can add it to your salad) . I enjoy picking the tomatoes off the vine and popping them in my mouth. Much like you would strawberries for dessert!

My chicks, Petronella and Stephanie have already worked their way firmly into a corner of my heart! They are nothing exotic, only ordinary petites roussettes, but they are absolutely adorable! Along with Tokala and Ayiani, they travel to and fro with us in their chateau(a bigger one by now!)

…in their “chateau, enjoying freedom and giving us the full monty…

…sketching them takes quick looking and fiddleless lines…

We all have our special little corners. Those in our heads; the ones that can be our refuge and prison at the same time. But we also have those corners around us, which we run to for some quiet time. Alone time. A place where we can think and dream and imagine. A place where we can be sad or happy. A place which we decide to share or keep to ourselves. A little bench with a view, or in the park, a rock by the shore, a tree stump in the forest.  A chair by the window. On the rim of a fountain.

I have mine too. Several. Corners I run to where I can come to a standstill, find the calmness inside me, search for directions or answers. I have  such a corner at Coin Perdu, our mountain home in Correze. A bench with a view. I share it with Hartman.  Sometimes I sit and dream silently. I start my early morning there and I end my day there. In the morning it wakens my spirit and in the evening it soothes my soul.

In Montlouis I have a few places I call my secret corners. In my garden. A nook where the first morning rays hit the old stable wall. I have the cats for company. A cup of coffee. We talk and plan the day. I scratch their bellies and they give me loving purs. This secret garden corner I share happily with Tokala and Ayiani. We greet our welcome to the day.

Then there is the Loire. Beautiful corners to share. Or be alone. Different choices on different days.  All special. All familiar. My favorite is just a short walk from the house. Short enough so my cup of coffee doesn’t get cold from a far walk. I see people strolling, wagging tailed dogs, children throwing pebbles in the river, I see my gate, logs floating by in the river, geese taking a rest in the shade of overhanging trees, I see Hartman approaching in search of me. It is a place where I feel the harmony between nature and man.

My silent corner is in the eglise of Montlouis. Up on the hill. Where the doors are always open, free for anyone to enter. I tread softly when I enter, not disturb the silence. The silence of the peaceful interior and the silence of my own mood. This is a place I stop frequently when I walk uphill to the market, or to the boulangerie or just because I need to go to my secret corner. This is where I want to be alone. Quiet. I find calm in the light that plays through the stained glass windows. The statues and pillars that observe unobtrusively.  The cold of the old stone that makes me sensitive to emotions and feelings. I feel sad and happy. . I light a candle for all my gratitude  and memories.

Special corners. To share or to keep secret.

Mini carrot loaves and Easter spirit.

Here we are. Easter.

It is actually not about  Easter bunnies and eggs and chickens. But to lighten the heaviness of  “La Passion” a bit, we bring some pastel blues and pinks and yellows into our house, letting our children search for eggs behind trees and prop a chocolate egg ourselves into our cheeks.

So I also spent some playful time around the house and in the kitchen, using my good friend Karin’s microwave carrot cake to bake individual carrot loaves. It is SO moist and quick…I don’t know why I don’t bake it more often. Maybe because I’ll eat more often..?

I baked it in mini loaf pans(brown carton and silicone) and it took only about 8-10 minutes to bake. I also didn’t have cream cheese, so I used a soft goats cheese, which was as delicious, of not more delicious than cream cheese!


  • Use the recipe and bake mini individual loaves or cakes.
  • Add some dried currants for variation.
  • Add  a tsp of mixed spice along with the cinnamon.
  • Use soft goats cheese instead of cream cheese.
  • Bake in a glass pyrex bowl or in a microwave ring pan.

…bunnies in chocolate, young Prunus trees in blossom just before they go off to Coin Perdu next week to be planted in the garden. They are simply decorated in their black plant containers with old lace and some chocolate eggs and tiny glass vases with an Easter chicken feather…

.. a white wooden basket filled with anything and everything – an ostrich egg, some fresh moss from the garden, tulips, cute bunnies crawling all over, old lace, fresh eggs from the farm, a big heart and time that runs out quick…

…”will this work never end”…?

…peeping in the kitchen, or perhaps smelling the tulips?…

…”I knew I was good, but I never thought I was THIS good?”…

…a full tummy…

…le livre des mères parfaites by Alison Maloney…

(Fun extracts from what mothers tell their children…)

Mother: “If you swallow your chewing-gum, it will stay in your stomach for seven years!”

Fact: Chewing-gum, like any other food, will be in the digestive system for  round about 20 hours.