Amanda on January 24th, 2011

Tapestry Of LoveThis delightful tale is a total submersion into a life that is altogether different, the French country way of life, slow, sweet and sometimes stingingly sad.
Catherine is a resilient and totally independent character, she speaks fluent French – so important – and is determined to make her new life in the wilds of the Cevennes work and work well.  I have lived this particular life for seven years now, and although the author herself lives in the UK, she clearly understands the way a French rural community ticks.  When a foreign body drops without warning into a tiny village they cannot expect instant acceptance.  Like the pebble on the pond the ripples spread and all sorts of unlooked for consequences can occur.  But as time passes tranquillity is restored, neighbours become friends, then more than just friends.  Rosy Thornton understands this as few others do and this insightful novel reflects her clinging attachment to the region.  Love, life, language tangles, the usual fight with the creaking bureaucratic machine all set amongst stunning scenery.  If this sounds like your glass of wine, curl up and enjoy it.

© Amanda Lawrence 2011

Book Review – The Tapestry Of Love by Rosy Thornton from French Life

Amanda on January 2nd, 2011
Chocolate Cranberry Tart

Chocolate Cranberry Tart

All Christmassed out?  Up to your ears in leftovers?  Turn them to stunningly good account.

Cold turkey is of course old hat nowadays – to mix my metaphors thoroughly – and recipes for big bird leftovers ooze from every TV chef’s repertoire like icing from a bag.  But what on earth do you do with all those cranberries?  Are you one of those who makes three times as much as required – just in case – and ends up with half a kilo of delicious cranberry and orange relish that you can’t even sell with a roast chicken?  Or maybe you buy yours readymade, two jars – just in case – and end up using half a jar?

And then on New Year’s Eve your daughter drops a bombshell of nuclear proportions.  She’s off for a sleepover, everybody is taking a dish and she – which means you, in code – has been detailed to provide a pudding.  You have two hours and the shops are closed.  Got a couple of eggs?  Then this, my dear gastronomes, is for you. Read More »

Chocolate Cranberry Tart from French Life

Amanda on January 2nd, 2011
Game Pie

Game Pie

Serves eight hungry hunters

Boxing Day, and despite your massive efforts in the kitchen during the previous twenty-four hours, more food is required to feed your healthy-walking, out-hunting, let’s-all-get-fit outdoor types.  Game pie is the answer.  It is filling, beautiful, utterly delicious and makes a jaw-dropping centrepiece for the cold table.  You can – indeed you should – make it two or three days in advance.  Fill in the spaces with salad, chutneys and some baked potatoes and you’re all set.

Of course all game pies are made with that mysteriously tricky-sounding pastry, a hot water crust.  Well I’ll let you into a secret, it’s a doddle.  Follow the rules and you can’t go wrong.  Just one pointer – there is no substitute for lard.  It’s not common here in southern France, so I have to trot along to the butcher and winkle some out of him.  What a sweetie, he spent a good five minutes digging some out, putting it in a tub, sealing it, wrapping it and then asked if I wanted anything else… I didn’t of course.  He charged me sixty cents and I felt an absolute heel! Read More »

Easy Peasy Pheasant Game Pie from French Life