27 Jun 2012

Bonfire at Puylaroque

Les Chimères, Puylaroque, SW France
Photo by Geoff Lewis
Photo by Patrick Auzanne
Summer's here....and the village followed the ancient tradition of dancing round the bonfire to celebrate the feast of St Jean ...after queuing up to be served with dinner (like a streetparty) and then dancing till the wee hours.
From now till mid August there's a 'fête' every weekend as well as virtually nonstop carboot sales.

Photo by Patrick Auzanne

Photo by Patrick Auzanne

10 Jun 2012

Les Chimères, Puylaroque, SW France
View towards church
Just finished new web site for the village ...check it out?
Les Chimères, Puylaroque, SW France
A table!
Busy weekend as it's the annual accordion competition in Puylaroque when hundreds of youngsters come to compete for eligibility in the European championships...so, fullhouse with guests at table 2 nights running. Fine EXCEPT as the photo shows, have right index finger in splint thanks to Diamant the labrador tripping me up on the 700 year old stone staircase (former watchtower) ....this slows things down in the chopping and preparing department no end! No souschef aux Chimères, sadly....
BUT despite all odds, 7 of us sat down to the following menu last night:
Asparagus & Hollandaise sauce, homemade of course
Twice-baked goat's cheese souffles with rocket
Greek yogurt marinaded chicken fillets with ginger & fresh coriander (just a touch of chilli, cos the French aren't mad about hot dishes!) accompanied by 2 sorts of recherché spuds (ratte and grenaille)
Summer fruit pavlova & strawberry coulis...um, yes, fait maison
All washed down with red wine from Domaine du Merchien.
On the menu tonight... am taking time out from cooking as a breather to write this...
Roasted Thai scallops with samphire
Piedmont roasted red peppers
Pork & fennel roasted with preserved lemon & coriander, honey sauce
Pannacotta des îles (means it's got rum in it!) with lime sauce
Big THANK YOU Delicious magazine, Good Housekeeping and of course, Delia!
Back to the stove........

6 Jun 2012

Les Chimères, Puylaroque, SW France: Four in a bed....
Just been contacted by 'Bienvenue chez nous', the French equivalent of 4 in a bed ...do I want to take part in their new series? Hum.... good question: the mail included interviews with previous contestants who said they'd had an increase of 30% in bookings since the programme was aired in April 2012.........wonderful for them. BUT the French version (which OF COURSE I watched!) seemed far bitchier and much more commercial (winner gets 3000 € prize and TV public competes for 1000 € prize by texting "what colour was the house facade" etc.........) which is somewhat offputting. Although I had some backstabbing comments from other contestants, overall have no regrets for having taken part in the UK version cos it put Puylaroque on the map, DESPITE the fact that I've had only one booking so far as a result..............Hey guys, I know you're out there, thanks to website hits, but 'come on down' to Puylaroque!
Oh, by the way...I really don't speak French all the time to British guests....tongue in cheek directing, n'est-ce pas?
Think resting on one's laurels is the best course of action, non? Any comments?
Lisanne (aka Frances de la Tour)