Raclette for dinner!

It was my birthday earlier in the month and J and the boys got me a raclette machine – we’ve wanted one for ages and I was thrilled with it as it is an 8 person one (most are only 6), it also has a stone top for doing meat / veg etc and 2 teflon tops for crepes etc. Through a combination of forgetting to get the ingredients and us all being unwell on and off we only tried it out last night – yum!



Chicken and courgetti with lardons, garlic, shallots and lime.

So after months (years?) of reading about spiralizing veggies and a year or more of carefully cutting my zucchinis into tiny slices I finally bought myself a spiralizer! I was totally inspired to by the gorgeous zucchinis I’m growing in my garden.

I’m so pleased I did, I’ve used it so many times already – the taste and texture of just picked courgetti is just amazing! I’m starting to experiment with what I can do with it to make healthy, quick, yummy meals.This is what I came up with for the first two picked from my garden:

Pan fried chicken and courgetti with lardons, garlic, shallots and lime.


  • 100-150 grams of chicken breast per person
  • 1-2 courgettes / zucchinis (depending where you come from and how big they are!) per person
  • 50 grams of lardons (chopped streaky bacon) per person
  • Garlic and shallots (eshallots) finely cut – I used 2 cloves of garlic and 2 shallots for 2 people but just adjust to your taste. You can also use onion if you don’t have shallots
  • Parmesan and freshly ground black pepper to finish


  1. Fry your lardons, garlic and shallots in a non stick pan until cooked and just starting to brown
  2. Remove from the pan and set aside (or push to the side of your pan)
  3. Add the chicken breasts and cook then remove from pan
  4. Mix in the courgetti with the lardons, garlic and shallots and squeeze the juice of 1/2 a lime over it all
  5. Place a lid over the pan allowing the courgetti to cook until just al dente
  6. Serve into bowls and top with the chicken – I also added an extra squeeze of lime onto the chicken
  7. Sprinkle some freshly grated parmesan and black pepper to serve
  8. Enjoy your delicious low carb dinner!

I’m so glad I used the lime – it really freshened the whole meal making it a fantastic summer dish!

Amazing Autumn!

I love autumn, the colours of the trees, the feeling of the long, hot summer coming to an end, the darkening of the evenings, getting ready for winter, the smell of woodsmoke in the air in the evenings. The seasons were one of the things I missed most when living back in Australia – especially when we were in Queensland!

Having our wood delivered by our lovely neighbour and lighting the fire for the first time was a joy as it has been so long!

The boys were fabulous and as it was Wednesday afternoon, which they have off, they stacked all of it!

With our garden full of hazelnut and walnut trees there has been lots of nut harvesting over the last month or so. We were waiting impatiently for the hazelnuts to be ready, checking them every few days (the trees had so many of them on there!), then from one check to the next they had all disappeared! We think the squirrels must have been onto it quicker than us! We got a bowl full and that is it!

The walnut trees are a different story, they have been coming down for weeks now and we collect them up every couple of days and lay them flat in the sun for a few days to dry out, there are kilos and kilos of them! This was our first bag, which were thought was a lot – what did we know, this was barely a tip of an iceberg!

This was another days harvest, the 3 different containers have the nuts from the three trees. I’ve gone and bought a proper collecting basket now to help deal with them all!

I ended up finishing collecting with a little helper who just wanted his mummy who had been out collecting nuts for far to long for his liking!


The lanes around are full of chestnut trees and my MIL (mother in law) has been collecting them when she takes the baby for a walk. We haven’t done anything with them yet but we are looking at recipes on line and working out what to do!

We also have had bounty from the neighbours garden, amazing apples and excitingly some quinces. I’ve never seen or used a quince before but love the quince paste that is so popular in Australia to eat with cheese. It is also known as Membrillo in Spain where it is very famous. We decided to try our hand at making it – we had a change of direction as we were going to do jam and had already added a few of the apples so we have ended up with quince and apple paste but it is still delicious (although a little sweeter than the original). I’m going to pack it up in little squares and use it and gift in in the coming months (apparently it keeps at least 3 months with some people saying it is fine for up to 12 months).

I’ve spotted some rouge rhubarb growing in what will be the veggie patch so I’m waiting for that to be ready.

Am completely loving autumn and all the amazing produce that comes with it!

Amazing food in the Dordogne from our March 2015 trip!

As I mentioned in the post about our house hunting trip in March we have been wowed by the quality of the food in the Perigord and I though some of our finds during that trip deserved their own post!

Joël and I manage a lunch out on our own one day while house hunting. We found a great little restaurant in Issigeac called Casa Del Seyrat, they did a fantastic lunch menu and even though we arrived at the very last moment to be served the owner and staff were lovely and had a great chat with us as we were leaving when they heard we were here to find a home!:

For entrée I had a lovely selection of crudités (salad bits) and J had a soup. For main we both had the steak with an incredible red wine and shallot sauce, carrots in a cream sauce and of course frites!

For dessert I nabbed the last piece of the tart made with the local (ish) ‘prunes de Agen’ (J had to manage with a gorgeous chocolate mousse which I was too busy to take a picture of!). It was amazing!

At the end of another long house viewing day trip across in the area around Sarlat we were driving back along the river and decided to stop for dinner.  There is an amazing village in the rock overhanging the Dordogne river called Beynac-et-Cazenac (look it up it is really amazing!).

We wandered up the hill and found a restaurant called ‘La Petite Tonnelle’, they had a set menu for 2 courses for just over 20 euros so we decided to try it as it looked lovely. I’m so glad we did, it was the nicest meal I’d had in a long long time. We all decided to go for the main and dessert, except for my mother in law who chose the fish soup starter (which I forgot to take a picture of!). The boys had the confit de canard (confied duck) with a pesto, white beans and puree (artichoke maybe, I can’t remember), I was jealous when it came out and hoped I’d made the right choice with mine:

Hubby and my mother in law had the veal which looked divine as well:

I chose the lamb and I was wowed over when mine came out:

The little pyramid was filled with spiced butternut and a red capsicum / pepper sauce it was really really delicious and the lamb just melt in your mouth.

Our little man wasn’t eating yet but enjoyed being out with us!

The wall of the restaurant was the wall of the cliff with water seeping out right next to us – very cool!

The meal finished with divine chocolate fondants – a picture says 1000 words!

It is a shame we didn’t get any photos of the village in the light but this was our walk back down the hill from the restaurant back to the car:

We also enjoyed all the local produce and cooked up a storm! One night was one of my all time favourite meals, magret de canard (duck breast) with green beans and potato gratin – delicious!

And my MIL made a lovely homemade tarte tatin which we had with crème fraiche:

And finally with the arrival of spring it was a real pleasure to stop one Sunday and not go house hunting and have our first meal of the year outside:

I did manage to put a few kilos on between staying with my MIL in the UK and the month in France but thankfully have got them all back off over the summer!

Home made pesto!

Finally some bounty from my garden in the form of lovely fresh basil which is doing really well! The boys love pesto so we decided to make some with the basil.This is after I harvested what I needed to make the pesto:

I used Jamie Oliver’s recipe as I’ve yet to not like any of his recipes I’ve tried. I didn’t have any pinenuts so used cashews instead. When our walnut trees unload the tonnes of nuts on them I’ll be trying another recipe I spotted using walnuts so it will be even more home grown!

The parmesan was pre-grated (although fresh not dried) but next time I’ll make sure to have a block as I think it will be even nicer:

I’ve never made pesto before and the smell was amazing!

So of course for lunch it had to be spaghetti!

The flavour was just incredible, I’m so pleased I made it and will be doing so whenever I have enough basil. Louis and I planted about 10 more this evening I’m hoping it isn’t too late in the year to get good crops from them too. I’ll let you know how I go with the walnut recipe when I get a chance to try that.