Sunday, 15 October 2017

Mosaic Monday # 57 - discovering Quimper pottery with friends

Fall is the season of the year that collectors of French faience who are members of the Quimper Club International enjoy the most because that's when they hold their annual meeting.
Although I'm no longer an active member of the Club myself I am still close to many of the friends that I made whilst attending meetings.
During the years that I was a member I travelled to Nice, France; Philadelphia, PA; Chicago, IL;  and Washington, DC to name a few.
We visited museums; cathedrals; pottery factories and art galleries, one year we even toured a Plantation in Georgia!
Wherever we went there were amazing collections of Quimper pottery to see when fellow collectors graciously opened their homes to us.

You can see some of the posts about those trips by clicking here for Savannah, 2010 and Dallas, 2009 here

In 2017 the venue for the annual meeting was a little out of the ordinary when members were invited to join an 11 day cruise, sailing from Montreal/Quebec City to Boston/New York, with post cruise visits to view collections in Connecticut and New York.

The meeting ended just yesterday and what an incredible trip that must have been, I'm so looking forward to hearing all about it from my friends.

If you'd like to know more about Quimper pottery you can visit the blog lovequimper which I managed for several years but which has sadly now closed or visit the QCI web page.

Last week we toured the Maison du Biscuit together and I teased you with a giveaway for this lovely torchon recette de macarons.

Just 10 names went into the draw and the winner is Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti
please let me have your address, Pat,
so that I can get this little sweetie off to you as soon as possible.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Mosaic Monday # 56 - La Maison du Biscuit

On Tuesday, as the weather was fine the Senior Partner and I decided to ditch the idea of working in the garden and go visit La Maison du Biscuit  which is situated about an hours drive north from us on the Contentin Peninsula in the small hamlet of Sortosville-en-Beaumont.
Our friend, Sean the Gardener, had raved about this unique one of a kind café and food emporium when he was over here working last month.
He said he knew it was the kind of place that I would love.
A House of Biscuits, really, what's not to love?

As you approach the building the eye is drawn to the beautifully crafted façade which resembles a street of small independent shops as they might have appeared at the turn of the 20th century.

However, the construction is not as old as it first appears.
Although generations of the Burnouf Family have been in business in Normandy as bakers and patissiers since 1903 La Maison du Biscuit was established in 1990 by descendants of the original baker, Paul Burnouf.

Click here to read the family's full history.

Once inside the visitor is free to wander through the various downstairs rooms which are filled to bursting with delicacies of every sort.
It isn't possible to tour the production kitchens due to health and safety regulations but everywhere you turn you can see the results of their endeavours.

Caramel cookies using caramel d'Isigny the birthplace of Walt Disney's ancestors!

The décor is amazing, it's as if the eclectic furniture and ephemera of several turn of the century homes has been gathered together to furnish the spaces, creating lovely vignettes and displaying the goods for sale "the old fashioned way".

I really enjoyed showing you around the Maison du Biscuit today, hope all the photographs didn't exhaust you?

Tell you what let's head to the tearoom for some tea and biscuits whilst I tell you about a little giveaway attached to this post.......................................

One of my collages today is of three recipes, handwritten in chalk on black slate.
If you mention in your comment what those three recipes are I'll put your name into the draw for this pretty "torchon recette de macaron" (tea towel printed with a recipe for macaroons) which came home with me after our visit.

The winner's name will be announced in next weeks MM post.
Bon chance!

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Mosaic Monday # 55 - S is for..............................

Trying to be organised and not swamped by the enormous number of photographs sitting on my phone I recently sifted through them looking for blog inspiration and discovered that in September the subjects that most caught my eye began with the letter S!
Just a coincidence, I wonder?
S is for September and also for sky; sunrise; sea; sand; ships (well boats really); shellfish and shadows.
Here are just a few............................

on a house wall, a field of maize and a simple stone calvaire

at this time of year we experience stunning sunrises

sea fishing 2 ways
shellfish 2 ways

After being mainly wet and cold September finally treated us to some lovely fine days which we made the most of.
Walks on the beach and al fresco dining are two of our favourite pastimes, in picturesque Port en Bessin we often indulge in both.

17th September saw the start of the hunting season here in Dept. 14, Calvados.
As I've often mentioned before M'selle Fleur is not a fan of loud noises so we are trying our very best to avoid country walks which we know from past experience will make life less stressful.
I captured this big blue sky on a visit to a quieter, more peaceful, location earlier in the month.

A favourite lane to wander down in summer but definitely one to be avoided when the shooters are out, no matter how inviting the shadows may be.

and that's a wrap for September.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Mosaic Monday # 54 = that was the week that was

So, that was the week that……….  it never seemed to stop raining with the odd thunderstorm thrown in for good measure.
Maybe that's why the kitchen has been the heart of the home a little bit more than usual, well when it's wet outside and you can't play in the garden there is only one thing to do. 

Keep Calm & Bake!
Let me tell you about my new toy the Panasonic bread maker, why I left it so long to get one of these beauties astounds me.
All I have to do is put flour, salt, sugar, butter and water into the bread pan, tip yeast into the dispenser, put any extra ingredients such as poppy, sesame, pumpkin and linseeds into another dispenser, choose the menu setting and loaf size, set the timer and head off to bed.
Next morning the aroma of freshly baked bread wafts up the stairs, a great start to our day. (Please excuse me if in my excitement I’m preaching to those of you who regularly perform this magic in your own kitchens on a daily basis but I am quite besotted).
The SP took me rather seriously when I said I needed to order organic flour over the internet.
The supply chest.
Sweet Sarah @ Hyacinths For the Soul recently shared the Wimberley Valley  Gourmet pecan and banana bread recipe. I’m afraid that pecan oil hasn’t yet made it to a supermarket near me (I daren’t mention it to the SP or else there’ll be another big box arriving from Amazon) so I used walnuts and walnut oil instead,  

A delicious sweet treat we’ll be enjoying often, perfect either with morning coffee or afternoon tea.
Backtracking slightly, in August our neighbour very kindly brought me a large bag of plums from his garden which I turned into jam.
A few days ago he brought apples, such a nice young man!
It took just 6 of them to make an apple cake and four jars of spicy apple, raisin & tomato chutney to enjoy on curry nights.
For the chutney I used a recipe from Mary @ One Perfect Bite, a food blogger whom I’ve followed for many years. You can get the recipe here (or from my Pinterest board) if you’d like to give it a go, so easy and very tasty.
And finally from the kitchen… on Thursday I bought a brioche loaf from some children who were out  in the village raising funds for the Cartigny L'Epinay/Verlar Twinned Town committee. On Friday 4 apples and a handful raisins turned the brioche loaf into a delicious pain perdu (bread and butter pudding).
A large dollop of crème fraiche and dessert was ready to serve..
One last thing…………just wanted mention a book that kept me company during the rainy afternoons this week “The Chemist” by Stephenie Meyer (author of the Twilight series).
I highly recommend it, the SP enjoyed it too.

It was a good week for satisfying appetites……………………………..