A day at the Brocante, P√©zenas, France

What is a trip to France without doing the rounds of the Brocante? These visits can be enormously frustrating for the traveller, but then if you couple your tour with their fantasy friend, ‘ the little house in the countryside’, they take on far more meaning. The fantasy starts with the ‘for sale’ sign,¬†√† vendre, hanging from the window of a sweet shuttered country house. This is followed by a slow perusal¬†of prices in the windows of the immobilier.¬†In Monsieur Tranquillo’s case, this means every real estate agent’s window in every village, and includes collecting the free glossy brochure, all in the interests of research! Oh mon dieu! And so it’s only logical that a visit to the¬†Brocantes must follow. That’s my department. I’m yet to find some vide greniers ( garage sales ) and¬†march√®¬†aux puces (¬†flea markets) in my travels, though there are¬† locality guides for these too.

Pézenas in Languedoc- Roussillon has around 20 or so Brocante, which are located on the outskirts of the town, mostly along Avenue de Verdun. On a sunny day, we managed to visit 8 or so stores. I usually head straight to the antique linen collection, knowing that I can always squeeze in a monogrammed torchon, serviette or sheet in lovely thick white linen.

A visit to the Brocante and antiquities stores makes for a well-rounded trip. This post is for Rod, hunter, collector, decorator.

White walls, scary priest, black frame, candlesticks?

In My Kitchen, December 2014

The last few weeks have been rather hectic in my kitchen. I’m taking it easy in December, especially now that I know my niece will host Christmas Day Lunch. Hooray, I’m off the hook. Now I can safely sneak away to my favourite beach and pretend that the festive season is not happening.

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I am picking around 500 grams of berries every day. Raspberries, boysenberries, youngberries and strawberries are having a wonderful season. It’s time to think about using some in an alcoholic concoction.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe have consumed many berries with small meringue nests which I store away in tins for a week or so. These meringues had the addition of finely zested lemon peel. Limoncello cream filled the cavities, then raspberries. We also had cinnamon meringue with cherry.

Dolmades rolled and laid snugly in a pot.
Dolmades rolled and laid snugly in a pot.

One of the big sultana vines lost a branch when Mt Tranquillo was pruning. ¬†I wasn’t going to waste these lovely fresh vine leaves. ¬†A big batch of dolmades lasted only one week in my kitchen.

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My daughter- in- law has done some ironing for me. It is so nice when all the tablecloths are ready for the season ahead. This is the blue and white stash. Yes, slightly anal, I know.

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I found this old gelataio in an Op shop (thrift shop) in 2009. It was only $15.00 and had just been serviced. It’s little churning wings broke the other day as I was making some berry ice cream. It has served me very well so I might ask Santa for a new one, unless a spare part turns up soon.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe beautiful blue plates, a set of 12, seem to be unused and cost $3.00 in total. They were made by Johnson in Australia in the 1950s. Another lucky find in the second hand world of Melbourne. Perfect for a morning tea of mini muffins with white chocolate, amond meal and fresh raspberry.

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Why does everyone always crowd around in the kitchen? Here are a couple of party animals, a reminder to always have fun in the kitchen. Put your finger in the cream, steal a morsel off that platter, help roll out the pizza dough or dance like a crazy spider.

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Thankyou Celia, at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, for a wonderful year of IMK.

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Season’s Greetings to Celia and to you all.¬†