To bring my little Italian detour sadly to an end. I hesitate before revealing the name of this veritable little ‘Brigadoon’ of a village…..the added bonus being the journey to get there took us through some of the most stunning countryside in Tuscany


My daughter, Kate, bought us a book about the loveliest ‘secret’ villages in Tuscany for Christmas last year and it is in this book that I stumbled across ‘Quirca d’Orca’ I must add that I am not too worried that I am going to introduce it mass tourism, as it took us three attempts to actually find it and that was with the GPS. It obviously evaded others also, as we spent about four hours in this lovely little hamlet, and only saw two other non residents’  (an American couple)


The almost hidden entrance to the village


Sleepy little back streets, a plethora of medieval buildings (many 12th and 13th century) an Italian garden and ancient ruins. Add to this some gorgeous little restaurants and very friendly locals and you have the recipe for a perfect Tuscan Sunday afternoon.





We ate in one of these little restaurants that boasted pasta made from its own organic flour from its own mill, and our very simple pasta dish took a full 25 minutes to prepare, and we, being French (well one of us French and the other indoctrinated!)  used to eating lunch MUCH earlier than the Italians, were the first to arrive.


Our table for two!


I tried to emulate the dish back at the apartment (by using ‘fresh’ pasta from the local supermarket (I know this is a contradiction of terms…..)

The results were very good, but not in the same league………But here goes………

Serves 2

6 (3 if serving as a starter) ‘Fresh’ lasagne divided into four (place each sheet long size across the top and cut in half and half again)

A handful of fresh green beans

1 medium (small) waxy potato

1 tablespoon of fresh pesto (see below)

1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

Freshly grated parmesan cheese and freshly ground black pepper

Fresh basil leaves and a little freshly squeezed lemon juice to garnish


Cook the potato whole in boiling salted water for around 20 minutes until just cooked, remove from pan and leave to cool a little while cooking the pasta and green beans.

Cook the pasta and green beans together in boiling salted water for around 7 minutes until ‘al dente’, drain and separate the pasta from the beans and toss the pasta in the fresh pesto (you can of course use shop bought, but it is so simple to make your own, trust me!) mixed with half of the olive oil to ‘loosen’ the mixture a little.

Slice the cooled potato and gently toss this along with the green beans into the pasta.

Drizzle with the remainder of the olive oil and a little freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese and freshly ground black pepper

Italy on a plate!



For the pesto

50 gm of pine nuts

50 gm of freshly grated parmesan cheese

A large bunch of fresh basil

1 large clove of garlic

3 tablespoons of olive oil + extra for storage

Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper to taste

IMGP1498 (2)


Lightly toast the pine nuts and leave to cool

Put the cooled pine nuts, parmesan and basil in a food processor and blend for 20 seconds son the slowest speed

Add the olive oil a tablespoon at a time, checking the consistency

Add a little salt and pepper to taste

What you do not use, can be stored in the fridge in a sealed jar, covered in a little extra oil and kept up to two weeks. To make a lighter sauce for pasta, the pesto can be mixed with crème fraiche, to give a milder flavour and a more fluid consistency.





A quick note to any new followers who may be confused by my little sojourn into Italy. This is an annual event that adds a little extra twist to my regular ‘Franglais’ posts, but please come on the little detour with me, especially if you love Tuscany as much as I do…

Orvieto was the surprise little gem that we ‘discovered’ when we ventured south over the border into Umbria. I was struck by how dramatically the countryside differed from the sparse, yellow ochre rolling hills, and ice-cream cone poplars of Tuscany, to a greener, lusher landscape of vineyards, sunflowers and olive groves, and less angular trees.


Gorgeous medieval Orvieto!


IMGP3371 (2)

Tourists were thin on the ground and we only saw one very small group of Americans (about 6-8) with a private Italian guide and another very small group of Japanese (less than 20) in and around the cathedral.

IMGP3376 (2)

We almost had the place to ourselves!

IMGP3365 (2)


The cathedral is an impressive building with distinctive grey and white striped brick sides and back and an intricate front façade of mosaics, bass reliefs, spires and sculptures, bronze doors and a stained glass window, but it is the interior that blows you away. Notably the ‘Cappella Nova’. A huge 15th century ceiling fresco, which, in my opinion, rivals the Sistine Chapel, depicting scenes from the Book of Revelation (the coming of and reign of the Antichrist, and the Judgement) My photos just do not do it justice.

IMGP3354IMGP3341 (2)

Having less tourists there was a very relaxed, unhurried, friendly and welcoming atmosphere of a small village, while some lovely buildings to rival larger towns.

Two unimpressed locals!

When I asked Monsieur le Frog which had been his favourite day, rather than give his usual Gallic shrug and say ‘Je ne sais pas’ he instantly said ‘maybe’ Oriveto……….he is French after all………

I chose Tians de Legumes to team with Orvieto as, even though it is a French Provincal dish, I did make it with the tomatoes, courgettes and aubergine from the garden at Cetona, and I think that the rustic red appearance of the dish compliments the town (I am the woman who matched ‘chick pea curry’ with the ‘Paris Catacombs’ as I thought the chick peas resembled the skulls!)

A Tian is traditionally made with ‘rondelles’ of tomato, courgette and aubergine stacked against each other (upright), but as I was only making a very small one for 2 people and did not have my usual earthenware dish, I stacked my vegetables flat side up as in a hotpot. As it is ‘country food’ I usually use whatever I have to hand, and on this occasion I also used a potato. I have also seen recipes using red peppers.

Ingredients Serves 2 with some left over for lunch the next day! 1 medium aubergine1/4” thickness

1 large courgette (If you can get yellow courgettes rather than green ones, these are much nicer in my opinion) slied ¼” thickness

1 medium waxy potato sliced ¼” thickness

2 large beef tomatoes sliced ¼” thickness

1 small shallot

3 cloves of garlic

Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper, teaspoon of dried thyme

Olive oil

Parmesan cheese or mozzarella (optional)


Prepare the dish by rubbing it with butter and garlic and sprinkle with the finely chopped shallot

Traditionally arrange the vegetables standing upright in rows if using a lasagne dish or circles if using a round dish (as explained mine is a break from tradition as I was cooking it in my little Italian kitchen, so this is the Lindy’s ‘Franco / Italian’ version!)

Interspace the vegetables with some fine slices of garlic (between the potato and aubergine is a good place)

Sprinkle with some freshly grated parmesan (or equivalent) cheese, cover with foil and bake in a moderate oven for around one and a half hours until all the vegetables are soft


Remove the foil for 10-15 minutes and turn up the heat a little to slightly brown the top (mine was browned a little too much – but I was not used to using a gas oven)

Allow to stand for 3-5 minutes before serving to allow the juices to settle. Alternatively this is also delicious cold as a relish or salad.

Serve as an accompaniment to meat (goes really well with chicken) or serve as a veggie starter.


This dish is even better the next day and will keep for two days in the refrigerator.






Siena and Wild Boar sausage pasta



Last year I fell in love with Siena, and described it on my post ‘Lindy’s lasagne, Florence and Siena’ As ‘The little Black Dress’ of Italy, so this year, I donned my own little black dress and went to see if she could enchant me a second time……


The real challenge was to try and photograph her from a different angle, as last time I posted lots of ‘paparazzi’ people shots, this time I focused more on the architecture (and the scooters, as those of you who have read my last post ‘Cetona and Tomato and Chorizo salad’ will know that scooters, street lamps and arches and of cause other people’s washing!, are my main photographic themes this year)



Underneath the arches

IMGP3532IMGP3515 (2)

Wandering the back streets, the little black dress was still evident, but a little frayed around the edges, which in my opinion, only added to the charm…………


This pasta dish is made with colourful dried pasta swirls that I bought in a lovely little shop on the Piazza del Campo, and some wild boar sausage, that I bought in a quirky little deli with a boar’s head wearing spectacles outside (I must apologise, I did not see the sign asking not to take photos, until I looked at my photos when I got home….mi dispiace!) with which I made this lovely, rich, meaty sauce and result was pretty good, even if I do say it myself…….


The remainder of the sausage. We served as we would French ‘saucisson’ for an aperitif…..

I made the pasta sauce by:-

Sautéing the finely sliced sausage over a moderate heat for a few minutes to release its own fat and flavour. Next I added a finely chopped shallot and 1 grated clove of garlic and continued to sauté over a low heat for a few minutes, taking care not to brown them. I then added some fresh very finely chopped herbs from the garden (thyme and sage), a generous grating of fresh nutmeg and a little black pepper. I added a good glug of ‘Montepulciano d’Abruzzo’ a heaped tablespoon of home-made passata and enough water to make a thick sauce. I then added a square of chilli chocolate and a knob of butter and simmered the sauce for around 10-15minutes while I cooked the pasta and until all the flavours were well incorporated. To adjust the seasoning and add a little more salt, I three in a handful of capers and topped with some freshly grated parmesan cheese.


Looking forward to the next challenge Siena sets for me – buon appetito!




Cetona and tomato and chorizo salad


This time last year we were in Tuscany and this year we were back again enjoying all the fresh home grow produce from the wonderful garden including home produced olive oil, red and white wine, home made bread, fresh laid eggs, and home grown tomatoes, peppers, courgettes, chillis, shallots, garlic, peaches, plums, pears, melons.

This veritable garden of Eden is just outside the sleepy little hilltop village of Cetona, and it felt just like going home to us, sitting taking a morning coffee (me) or early apero (Monsieur le Frog) with the locals in the café in the square and wandering the pretty streets searching for a different angle to photograph from last year.


This year a bit of a theme has emerged and I have photographed some rather swish scooters in various locations around Tuscany / Umbria also.


I have been taken by the architecture – mainly ‘arches’ that I noticed are an integral part to Tuscan life, and the beautiful ornate street lights which you can see adorning many walls – as last year, other people’s washing has continued to interest me, so you will be treated to a glimpse of Tuscany life over the next few posts, with a few simple recipes thrown in………



IMGP2306 (2)

When we arrived after an 8 hour drive from the French Alps, all this was waiting for us, along with some chorizo, so I quickly knocked together a tomato and chorizo salad (I ‘dry fried’ the chorizo until it was crisp and drizzled the tomatoes with a dressing made of the home produced olive oil and red wine), I seasoned it with freshly ground sea slat and black pepper and sprinkled dt with fresh basil from the garden and we mopped it up with Fabio’s home made bread – food of the Gods……


No meal would be complete without a glass of wine made from the home grown grape….

WP_20160817_025 (1)

Two more cheerful little scooters parked in Cetona




IMGP2755 (2)

I could not leave my little Italian detour without mentioning my most and least favourite places on this trip.

About 12 years ago I visited Florence and fell in love with it; the love affair has not endured. I was shocked and disappointed by the blatant commercialism everywhere, with beautiful historic sites and buildings hidden from view by tacky stalls selling cheap souvenirs. The pavements are almost impassable due to large walking tours of mainly Chinese tourists and they are shoulder to shoulder with the guys selling ‘selfie sticks’!

IMGP2009 (2)

Magnificant Duomo with the crowds cropped out

I myself live in a very popular European city, that sees its fair share of tourists, but nothing on this scale and I perish the thought of the French ever allowing Asian traders to set up their stalls right outside Notre Dame – one guy outside the Duomo actually tried to sell me a print of the Sacre Coeur!!! I, admittedly was a tourist myself, but individuals or couples or even families do not overtake the place as a 50 strong hoard following a plastic sunflower does………

IMGP2042 (2)

Hoards of Tourists invading the Uffizi

This is a real shame, and I feel that if the city Florence does not do something to address this, then it will suffer. Most European and American people visit for the culture and the architecture, it is now nigh on impossible to appreciate either, as the tour parties form enormous queues around places of interest. I for one, will not return, a sentiment that I heard echoed by many fellow travellers, so sadly this great and noble city will be left to the type of tourist who likes cheap tacky stalls, and has no interest in going into a museum or eating in a nice restaurant……

IMGP2066 (2)

Two locals who are just bored wth it all……

Rather than stand in 37 degrees heat amongst the great wall of China, we did opt for a nice restaurant, and had one of the best Lasagnes that I have ever tasted, I asked the waiter what gave the sauce its distinctive taste, and he told me that his grandmother always puta good pinch of cinnamon in her Bolognaise – so I am going to try to emulate it this evening, and if all else fails, we have a bottle of ‘Vino Nobile di Montepulciano’……….

IMGP2060 (2)

Florence – still worth a visit

I have tried to conjure up the essence of the city in a few photos – YES the Duomo is still magnificent, and if you have never been before, and have nothing to compare with, then still go, if for nothing else than to see this impressive structure. Away from the crowds on the banks of the Arno, you can still appreciate the loveliness of the city, and the views from the Piazza Michelangelo are second to none. But the hands down winner of our Tuscan adventure was without a doubt Sienna.

IMGP2344 (3)

Bella Sienna – Piazza del Campo

‘Ah Sienna’…….how would I describe you, cool, classy, understated, sensual, seductive, secretive, evocative, dramatic, and mysterious – I am totally under your spell…..

IMGP2332 (2)

Who could not fall in love with Sienna!

Tourism here was much more low-key and I only bumped into two small organised tour parties, Sienna is a place for couples. The sound of gentle guitars and sultry saxophones drift through the air and everything is unhurried and unintended as you meander through the shady streets that wind their way around the ‘PIazzo Del Campo’ giving tantalising glimpses of this vast, distinctive, half-moon arena that fans out from the ‘Palazzo Publico’.

IMGP2335 (2)

Chilled street musicians in Sienna

I was tempted into dark little shops selling exotic hand printed writing paper and quill pens, and led by my nose into others selling artisan soaps that the shop owner/soap maker carved an inscription on before wrapping it in gorgeous paper, and others selling ‘Dolce Sienna’ a ‘Specialita Artigianali’ a sort of nougaty cake brimming with nuts and smothered in the most wonderful spicy cinnamon, which tasted more like nutmeg, or a cross between the two – it was this that gave the lasagne the distinctive flavour – needless to say I bought some to use in my recipe below.

IMGP2363 (2)

Unexpected flag throwing in Il Campo

The Piazza itself is so vast that there is room and space for everyone, even at the chilled café/restaurants surrounding it. We stopped for an Aperol spritz and were treated to a procession of men and boys in medieval dress waving flags and beating time with drums as they made their way around the periphery.


Aperol Spritz and people watching – perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon

If Florence is the sequined Ball Gown, then Sienna is ‘The Little Black Dress’

Here’s what I did

Serves 2 very generously (with left-overs)

For the Bolognaise sauce

IMGP2749 (2)

8 oz/200g mince beef (steak Hache) if you have a mincer, then it is best to buy rump steak and mince it yourself.

1 medium shallot (echalot) finely chopped

1 large clove garlic (gousse d’ail) crushed

1 tin of good quality chopped tomatoes (chair de tomates)

1 tablespoon (2 cuillers a soupe) of tomato puree (double concentre de tomates)

1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar

1 level teaspoon of cinnamon

1 good teaspoon of dried oregano

Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper to taste

For the Béchamel sauce

IMGP2753 (2)

30g butter

1 tablespoon (2 cuillers a soupe) of cornflour Farine a mais)

½ pint/250ml milk

A ‘pinch’ of salt and white pepper (black pepper will discolour the sauce)

Enough sheets of fresh lasagne to form two layers in your lasagne dish

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese


I ‘dry fry’ the mince very slowly releasing its own fat and cook it until enough fat has been released to add the shallot and cook for 3-4 minutes until clear, then the garlic, oregano, tomato puree and red wine vinegar and cook gently for a further 1-2 minutes.

Then add the chopped tomatoes and the cinnamon (you can rinse out the can with a little water and add this also) and simmer gently for around 20-30 minutes.

Add freshly ground sea salt and black pepper to taste, remove from heat and leave to cool a little while making the sauce……..

Melt the butter on a very gently heat in saucepan and stir in the corn flour.

Remove from heat and the milk a little at a time, stirring first with a wooden spoon, then as the sauce becomes more liquid return to the heat and continue with a hand whisk, keeping the sauce moving all the time to prevent lumps forming (if this happens – don’t panic, just remove from the heat, add a little more liquid and whisk like crazy)

Once all the milk is incorporated into the sauce, let it simmer while stirring gently with the wooden spoon again for 1-2 minutes to remove the floury taste.

Season with a little salt and white pepper.

Put a layer of the Bolognaise sauce in a lasagne dish and top with a little of the Béchamel sauce.

Cover with a layer of lasagne (for me this took one and a third sheets)

Add the remaining Bolognaise sauce and again a little Béchamel sauce

Cover with another layer of lasagne and cover completely with the remaining Béchamel sauce

Sprinkle with a generous coating of freshly grated Parmesan cheese, cover with a loose sheet of baking foil and bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees/gas mark 4 for 30-40 minutes.

Remove the baking foil and increase the heat to 200 degrees and let the top bubble and brown (about 5-10 minutes)

Serve with a slice of garlic bread and a nice fresh green salad.

Buon appetite!

IMGP2395 (2)

Sophisticated little restaurant tucked away in a shady street in seductive Siena


 IMGP2736 (2)


To continue with my slightly ‘off piste’ foray into the flavours of Italy following my recent trip to Tuscany. I am going to try to justify this by saying that since living in France ‘The Continent’ has become more accessible. It is no longer necessary to take a plane or boat or a 35 minute very expensive car journey under the ‘Chunnel’ to reach destinations in Europe.

We have travelled to Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg and Italy twice by car, stopping ‘en route’ to explore regions of the French countryside that we would not normally visit.

During our stay in Tuscany, we visited the small hilltop town of Cortona. Cortona is the town which features in the ‘Frances Mayes’ book and Film of the same name ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’ and sadly has fallen victim to the success of the this and subsequent books.

IMGP2446 (2)

Church where the young couple are married in the film ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’

Almost every other shop (slight exaggeration, but you know what I mean) had giant posters from the film in their window, cashing in on the plentiful interest of American tourists who had come to pay homage and see the locations from the film and try to capture a little of the magic conjured up in the book.

IMGP2423 (2)


As a result of this I counted three ‘Burger Bars’ in the relatively small village, presumably to cater for the American tastes………….Admittedly they were not typical Burger Bars, rather cafes/restaurants serving gourmet burgers with salad and chips that looked very tempting. But I asked myself, would the Americans not have been just as happy (or even more so!) to eat Italian food as they did everywhere else (after saying that, these establishments were full!)

IMGP2424 (2)

Not a burger in sight!

We, however, went to a small pizzeria tucked away in a little alley just off the main thoroughfare, with tiny tables with two chairs balancing on the steps that led down to the outskirts of the village.

IMGP2429 (2)

Anti pasta and a nice glass of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano

Having seen the size of the portions, we ordered an artichoke and caper pizza and a delicious green salad with shavings of tangy fresh Parmesan cheese and shared them both (antipasta and lovely little chocolate and almond cookies were offered free, as was a basket of delicious bread, we found this a lot in Italy, you almost didn’t need to order food as the ’nibbles’ that they served up with the ‘apero’ were plentiful and varied).


Wonderful Artichoke and Caper Pizza

IMGP2430 (2)

Fabulous green salad with Parmesan

This inspired me to make my own pizza dough and tomato sauce and create my own pizza, with true ‘Taste of Two Cities’ style, just using what I had at hand…….the results were pretty good and Monsieur le Frog commented on how crisp and light the base was (normally he would frown on pizza as ‘food for the teenagers’)

For the record, anyone visiting the area and planning to visit a hilltop village, then Montepulciano is, in my opinion, by far prettier than Cortona, with lots of little ‘artisan’ workshops with people working leather and copper and making mosaics from Moreno glass. (not all of them with an eye to the tourists, but actual small business, as the forge halfway up the hill) This charming small town also features in the ‘Flag throwing’ scene in the film………


The square in Montepulciano where the ‘Flag Throwing’ scene takes place

IMGP2116 (2)

Lovely Montepulciano

IMGP2142 (2)

View of the Tuscan countryside fromMontepulcino

IMGP2090 (2)


And now – how I created my masterpiece………..

Pizza dough (pate a pizza)

8oz/200g strong white (bread) flour, or a mix of 4oz/100g of plain flour and 4oz/100g of wholemeal flour if you prefer a more rustic base (100% wholemeal is too heavy) – see table at end of post explaining different flour grades for UK, US, France and Italy.

1 dessertspoon (1 cuiller a soupe) of olive oil

1 teaspoon (1 cuiller a café) of dried yeast (levure chimique)

1 teaspoon of castor sugar (1 cuiller a café de sucre en poudre)

1 teaspoon (1 cuiller a café) of salt

About 1/3 of a pint (un peu pres 200ml) of warm water (d’eau tiede)


Dissolve the sugar in the water then sprinkle on the yeast and leave in a warm place for 10 minutes

Add the salt to the flour then add the yeast mixture and the olive oil until a soft dough forms

‘Knead’(petrir) the dough for about 5 minutes than place in a floured bowl and cover with cling film and leave in a warm place for 30 minutes until doubled in size

Knead once more until smooth and elastic and stretch out onto an oiled pizza stone (or baking tray lined with oiled baking parchment)

Cover with tomato sauce and your topping of choice, sprinkle with olive oil and bake in a moderately hot oven for around 20 minutes

IMGP2723 (2)

N.B. This makes a delicious flatbread (pizza bianco) if simply topped with a generous drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle with roughly chopped garlic, oregano and coarsely ground sea salt


Lindy’s Tomato sauce (totally me own creation, unless anyone else has had the same ideas!)

2-3 large ripe tomatoes (I prefer plum tomatoes (olivettes) as they are more fleshy (charnu))

1 clove garlic (1 gousse d’ail)

1 tablespoon (2 cuillers a soupe) of olive oil

1 tablespoon (2 cuiller a soupe) of tomato puree

1 tablespoon (2 cuillers a soupe) of red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon (1 cuiller a café) of salt

1 teaspoon (1 cuiller a café) of fennel seeds (grains de fenouil)

½ a teaspoon (.5 cuiller a café) sugar

½ a teaspoon (.5 cuiller a café) oregano

½ a teaspoon (.5 cuiller a café basil)

Freshly ground black pepper to season


Heat the oil in a saucepan

Crush (ecraser) the garlic and roughly chop the tomatoes and sauté in the oil until soft

Add the tomato puree, then red wine vinegar

Add the sugar, salt, fennel seeds, oregano and basil and black pepper to taste

Cover and gently simmer for around 20 minutes

Leave to cool slightly before spreading over the pizza base

IMGP2730 (2)

Finish off with toppings of your choice – I personally never buy ingredients to make pizza, pasta, risotto, gazpacho or soup – I just use what I have left over from other meals, so each time it is different! This time I used some left over red pepper, orange pepper, courgette, red onion, pancetta and a handful of red jalapenos and black olives plus some grated parmesan cheese (I use mozzarella if I have it, but on this occasion it had all been eaten in a tomato salad!)

IMGP2731 (2)

Some international flour grades Flour comes in literally hundreds of varieties and it can be very confusing when reading recipes written in other countries, so hopefully this little table will help

UK – Wholemeal.     US – Wholewheat.     Fr – 150           Italy – Integrale
UK – Brown               US – 1st Clear           Fr – 110            Italy – 2
UK – Light Brown     US – High Gluten       Fr – 80             Italy – 1
UK – Strong White*  US – All purpose        Fr – 55             Italy – 0
UK – Plain White      US – Pastry Flour      Fr – 45             Italy – 00 (Pasta)
UK – Corn flour        US – Corn starch       Fr – Mais*        Italy – ??
UK – Self Raising     US – ??                       Fr – Gateaux    Italy – ??
* Strong White is Bread flour, Mais = ‘farine de Mais

If anyone from the US begs to differ, please excuse me and your comments will be most welcome – likewise if anyone can fill in the?? then I will be very grateful

Get tossing those pizzas – happy baking


IMGP2736 (2)


IMGP2668 (2)

What do you do with some uneaten Yogurt cake (see my post for ‘Gateau au Yaourt’) that has gone a bit dry? Make a Limoncino Tirimisu of course!

As many of you know, we have just returned from two glorious weeks in the Alps (where I learnt to make the said gateau!) And Tuscany, where we bought a couple of bottles of ‘Liquore di Limone di Sorrento’ Both for culinary purposes and to serve as an apero.

IMGP1963 (2)

Lovely unspoilt Cetona

The garden in the charming apartment where we were staying just outside the centre of the very picturesque and very authentic village of Cetona was brimming with all manner of lovely organic produce, of which guests were invited to take full advantage.

IMGP2289 (2)

The gorgeous Tuscan countryside viewed from the town

Amongst other delights we sampled the home-made red, white and rose wine, the home pressed extra virgin olive oil (made from the olives from one of the 400 or so olive trees) which to be honest, I could have drunk in equal measure to the wine it was SO good. There were also eggs still warm from the hen, peppers, chillis, tomatoes in abundance (to make the home-made passata), cucumber, melons, pears, plums and peaches.


Olive tree to welcome you

The ‘Franglais’ twist to this recipe is that I mixed together ‘crème Anglais’ which is too rich for my French family, and crème fraiche, which is perhaps not rich enough for English tastes, who are used to custard and full cream.

IMGP1918 (2)

The Woodstock for chilly Tuscan evenings

Sadly this dessert is not made with peaches from the garden, but from our local Sunday market.

Being in the Tuscan countryside made me realise just what an artificial existence we have, albeit that here in France, I follow the seasons and cook much more with natural ingredients than I did in the UK (see my post on ‘Roasted Red Peppers and Paris Markets) And I would dearly love on day to have my own garden where I can live more ‘off the land’

IMGP1913 (2)

Home grown peppers waiting to be picked

For now I will just have to feast my eyes on the photographs that I took in the garden and dream…….

IMGP1915 (2)

Grapes from the garden to eat or make wine


Serves two generously

Some over dry yogurt cake (or trifle sponges if you have not – but I like the ‘waste not want not’ approach)

Two peaches peeled and finely sliced

1 tablespoon of Limoncino liquore (2 cuillers a café

2 tablespoons of crème Anglais

2 tablespoons of crème fraiche

A good handful of flaked almonds (une poignee d’amands effilés)


Soak the cake in the limoncino for a couple of hours

Add the sliced peaches

Mix the crème Anglais and crème fraiche together (you can add a teaspoon of Limoncino to this mixture also……….)

Spread the cream over the peaches, cover with cling film and refrigerate for at least half an hour

Sprinkle with the flaked almonds and serve immediately


IMGP2275 (2)

Cetona Kitty Cat