Tuesday, 18 July 2017


On one of the mildly cooler days we headed further along the coast to a pretty little harbor town called Collioure. About 10 miles from the Spanish border it has a real Spanish vibe with lots of tapas restaurants and stalls selling freshly caught and preserved anchovies. It's also a town known for its artistic links, with many of the Impressionists visiting during the summer months to capture the crystal clear light and views out to the Med. 

Behind the town are the Pyrenees, looming down and looking particularly impressive in the morning clouds. 

We arrived at lunchtime and made the mistake of not going for lunch straight away. I had forgotten the French tend to close shop after 2pm and so by the time we were hungry for fish nowhere was open so a spontaneous picnic of bread, meat and peaches on the shore was done. Still delicious and at least the little tavern was open for a post-picnic drink. 

After exploring the coast line and paddling our feet into the cool sea we decided to explore the back streets where artists stayed during their painting trips. The town still holds onto these artistic ties and many studios can still be stumbled upon. I loved the brightly coloured houses and cobbled streets, not to mention the bubbling bougainvillea spilling down onto the paths. It would have been rude not to take advantage of the setting!

Again, this area is relatively un-touristy which is an absolute treat nowadays so we relished in the peaceful atmosphere, all except for the school art trip with a gaggle of excitable children! We noticed there is a coastal train route which goes from Lyon all the way down to Barcelona which we thought would be a wonderful adventure to try one day. The landscape changes from lush green hills to dusty mountains within miles and of course the azure blue sea will dazzle you the whole way.

Just one more adventure to share with you!


Monday, 10 July 2017

pezenac saturday market

A few weeks ago we found ourselves escaping to the South of France. Last year my aunt bought part of a chateau in the Languedoc region and has spent much of her time doing it up and filling it with beautiful provencal-style furniture and decor. Under the guise of cat-sitting we found ourselves in this French idyll for a week and it was one of the most relaxing weeks ever. In between reading, eating and jumping into the pool we found some time to pop to the local town for a spot of shopping. 

We'd been told the market on Saturday was legendary in the town of Pezenac so we woke up early and made the short trip to town, basket in tow.

We weren't disappointed, in fact we were spoilt for choice! From fresh fruit and vegetables, to cheese, meat, fish, tapenades, baskets and clothes, Pezenac market really is a treasure trove for the locals and the small amount of tourists who have discovered the region.

We filled our boots with delicious flat peaches, nectarines, a melon and some huge salmon fillets to grill on the BBQ back at the chateau.

With the temperature soaring (it was an incredibly hot week and I will forever be thankful for the pool), we escaped the town and headed back to our retreat for some PPR (pale, pale rose) and more bread and cheese before spending the rest of the day by the pool.

More adventures to follow!


Saturday, 8 July 2017

raspberry & lemon frangipane tart

We’ve all been in that situation before where you’re going to a friend’s for dinner and you promise to bring a pud but the evening comes around and you completely forget. Fear not, I have the perfect recipe for you which has saved me on many an occasion. It’s become a bit of a party piece with many asking for the recipe after, so I thought I’d share it with you all so you’re prepared next time you promise sweet goods.

The recipe is so simple and you’re likely going to have the ingredients in your pantry already. The only other addition is some fresh raspberries. You could make the tart base from hand or use pre-made pastry however I like to keep my life as simple as possible so use a pre-made case; still delicious and shaves off an extra 30 minutes of time!


1 short crust pastry base
100g butter
100g caster sugar
2 eggs
100g ground almonds
10g plain flour
1tsp vanilla paste/extract
Fresh raspberries
Handful of flaked almonds

Start by smearing your jam of choice on the base. I used raspberry this time around but have also used lemon curd which is delicious and adds another dimension to the tart.

Next you need to combine the sugar and butter, adding in your teaspoon of vanilla pasta and eggs. Finally fold in your ground almonds and flour until thick all mixed together. Pour into the pastry case.

Poke in your fresh raspberries.

And finally top with flakes almonds.

Bake for 20-25 minutes at 180 degrees until golden brown. If the tart still wobbles in the middle give it another 5 minutes until a little firmer. I think the tart is best served cold and with a side of crème fraiche though if you can’t wait, served warm and with an espresso is just as nice!  

A perfect summer pudding which is guaranteed to impress.

Bon appetit!