Breakfast with Friends

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Breakfast is perhaps my favourite meal of the day. During the holidays it’s invariably rather late and it’s one of those meals that just sort of happens, somewhat miraculously it all comes together without any planning. The youngest children will usually have been awake for hours, and they will have had an early morning snack, a yoghurt from the fridge or a banana; they know the routine and wait until everyone else stirs before they attempt anything else.

With five children our numbers become quite large when we have friends staying, which in the summer months is a fairly regular occurrence.

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This week we’ve been joined by Roddy’s god-daughter, Jess and her partner, Dan. They have been cycling down through France and have pitched a tiny tent on the lawn behind the summer kitchen.

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Their journey started when they came over from Alderney, one of the smallest Channel Islands north of Guernsey and Jersey, catching a lift on a friend’s yacht to Dielette in Normandy. From there they have come down the Cherbourg Peninsula, down through Normandy and the Loire and on into the Vendée and finally the Charente Maritime. It is about 300 miles. They have been staying a few days with us, they are such fun and so great to have around I wish they could have stayed all summer. It is the first time they have ever done a cycling tour or holiday like this, but they are firmly converted, they would do it again in a heartbeat, they’re amazed at how much they have loved it.

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They’ve had a fabulous journey, staying at campsites along the way, and in the panniers on their bikes they have all they require – a tent, two sleeping bags, clothing, toothbrushes and lots of suncream. If we didn’t have the children we would love to do this sort of holiday; we always wanted to cycle the western coast of the USA from Oregon down to Northern California, and the classic British route from John O’Groats in Scotland down to Penzance in Cornwall appeals a lot too. We cycle a lot around the local countryside and when our children have all flown the nest we hope we can fulfil this dream; maybe we shall do St Malo in Brittany down to the Pyrenees, who knows – the cycle paths along the west coast of France make almost any route possible.

Despite so many people an empty table slowly evolves into a morning feast with the absolute minimum of fuss. Perhaps the secret is because it is so relaxed. Taking advantage of a full house Gigi will often rope an unsuspecting victim into an early morning game of tennis on the village court, “for a quick game” before they return, a rueful look on one face and appetites raring to go. Someone else might emerge from the pool and an early morning swim, and another will volunteer to wander down through the village to the bakery and collect croissants, pain au chocolat,  a couple of baguettes and a wholemeal loaf.

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Unsurprisingly, the teenagers are always the last to emerge; they normally appear at the table just as we are about to eat, stretching and yawning having hurriedly scrambled into a pair of shorts and a t shirt as their senses have been awakened by the smell of food – but that’s the beauty of breakfast; no one stands on ceremony, no one has to be there in advance, it’s all very down to earth and uncomplicated, but that doesn’t mean it is any less delicious or nutritious, or any less special. The setting could hardly be more conducive to a great start to the day; in the shade of the lime trees on the terrace, with the morning sun already fiercely burning; we don’t need to go away on holiday, I am just as happy to stay put and let friends come to us!

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Glasses and orange juice appear, along with whatever fresh fruit there is in the garden. At the start of the summer this will be cherries, followed by plums, and then by apricots. By now, at the end of August, we are eating the first of our grapes and our own melons. In a couple of weeks the figs will be ripe and they will be taking centre stage but they’re late this year and we’ve only managed to find a couple ripe enough to eat so far.

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Yoghurts go hand in hand with the fruit. Plain and unsweetened, I like to buy them in little glass jars which have so many uses afterwards!

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Roddy will scramble, fry, poach or bake eggs. There are tomatoes fresh from the garden and anything else in the fridge that anyone wants will normally make an appearance, especially cheese and that oh so British tradition, Marmite! Our hens are laying prolifically despite the heat and there is never any shortage of our own organic free range eggs.

Baked eggs have become something of a favourite this summer; they are quick and easy and made to order! They would make an equally perfect light lunch or supper with some salad leaves or lightly steamed vegetables, crunchy raw carrots or asparagus when it is in season.

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Above is our ratatouille version en route to the furnace.

It is such a simple recipe and you can take it in so many different directions. Our favourite versions are :

Spinach and Ham – a handful of baby spinach and half a cup of good quality cooked ham.

Tomato and Basil – a handful of ripe cherry tomatoes or chopped regular tomatoes and a sprig of basil.

Smoked Salmon and Chives – a couple of slices of smoked salmon chopped and a few fresh chives.

Ratatouille with Cheese, Ham and Rosemary – half a cup of ratatouille (left over from the previous night’s supper), half a cup of cooked ham chopped and half a cup of cheddar or similar cheese and a sprig of rosemary.

Preheat the oven to maximum and grease a small ovenproof dish for each portion. Place your chosen filling into the dishes and crack a couple of eggs on top and season with salt and pepper, (for the ratatouille version we sprinkle the cheese on top of the eggs and then season). Bake in the hot oven for 8 to 10 minutes until the whites are set but the yolks are still runny, then serve straight away. Below is the finished ratatouille version.

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There’s also normally a couple of steaming bowls of hot chocolate; the French dip their croissants into these which is perfectly acceptable here and the kids have taken this little practice to heart; who wouldn’t?

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I’m a coffee person, and I love a really good café au lait to sip and savour once we have all sat down. Breakfast is casual, it’s as long or as short as anyone wants it to be, and whilst some may leave with things to do, with plans for the day, others will linger. We’ll plan where we want to go, what we want to do, and what has to be done. It’s the beauty of being on holiday.

IMG_6431The dogs take up residence patiently under the table, they remain for the duration, ever hopeful of a crumb or two.

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This morning Jess and Dan’s bags are packed, their bikes are loaded and we are about to wave them goodbye after another hearty breakfast. Bon voyage, bonne route and happy cycling!P4870884

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138 thoughts on “Breakfast with Friends

  • Agree. A leisurely breakfast is a lovely way to start the day. My mother always used to say that it was the smell of my burnt toast that woke her in the morning on the weekends and during the holidays. Of course, back then (!) there was no pop-up toaster, you had to hang around and judge when to flip open the sides of the tiny two-slice toaster that we owned. And, as for croissants – I don’t remember them ever being on the menu growing up!

    • That unmistakable smell of burnt toast! Even with modern toasters it still occasionally happens and then you have to retrieve the burnt bits stuck to the side with a fork! Now that you mention it, I don’t think we’ve used the toaster all summer, it’s obviously a winter thing in our household! Xx

    • Ha, good question! usually a late lunch too and then a very light simple supper. But not everyone eats everything, it’s more of a buffet! I stick to two types of fruit and then a yoghurt topped with chia seeds and a piece of whole meal bread, it never varies or alters, boring that I am! So by lunchtime I am starving! Roddy an Hetty love their eggs, each to their own I guess and friends visiting of course love pain au chocolat and croissants because it is so French and somehow they taste so much better here! Xx

      • I am like you there, a yoghurt and prunes or fresh raspberries. Once a week, I give in and make Stuart a big egg, bacon, mushroom, peppers, sausage or boudin and toast breakfast. But every Tuesday, on market day, I must have my croissant at the local bar😃

      • If Roddy reads this he will be over in a flash, his favourite type of breakfast but it’s once a month not once a week, if he’s lucky!!! Your Tuesday morning market breakfast sounds very civilised and very sensible, I couldn’t agree more with it, it’s the little things in life that make all the difference! Xx

  • What a lovely breakfast – my favorite meal of the day…and oh those dogs…I laughed out loud to see them patiently waiting under the table for a scrap. 🙂

    • I know I love breakfast as I said, always has been my favourite, the lack of fuss helps immensely! The dogs are always hopeful. Dear Bentley (the one in the foreground) is permanently on a diet but never gets any smaller, I wonder why!!! Xx

  • What a feast, but I imagine you don’t all eat everything, more of a pick and mix depending on your tastebuds, looks perfect to me, can I come for breakfast and enjoy some of that sunshine – pleeeeese!

    • Hi Lisa, no we don’t eat everything, each person has their own favourite and of course friends just love croissants and pain au chocolat when they are visiting France, it’s a treat. I don’t like eggs or hot things for breakfast, I prefer plain yoghurts and fruit. Anytime you are in France, come and join us, another person won’t make much difference! Susan xx

  • Breakfast is also my favorite meal. Juice, coffee, hot cereal, and homemade bread along with homemade jams and jellies, bacon or sausage and eggs, your choice of course. There will be no need for a full lunch with this breakfast. And who can sleep with the smell of bacon coming from the kitchen?

    • Hi Alice, I totally agree, it’s such a perfect meal, minimum fuss and I am always starving when I wake up! Everyone has their own preferences which is why so many things appear on the table. I like plain yoghurts and lots of fresh fruit. My husband adores eggs and so does one of our daughters. Bacon is a treat on the odd occasion! The baked eggs have become very popular this summer. A small lunch (it’s too hot to eat much by then anyway) and a light supper – works every time for us! Xx

    • Hi Jane, the dogs are always there, ever present, they never miss a mealtime! Jess and Dan have had the most fabulous time, it has made me want to take a cycling holiday more than ever, of course the weather has helped immensely but it’s been energetic and relaxing at the same time – not one to sit on a sun lounger all day long this is just my type of holiday. Susan xx

      • I would imagine it would have been much less enjoyable in the rain! I’ve put up many a tent in wet weather, it’s not fun at all I can tell you!

      • I don’t think I even want to imagine it in the rain! Not much fun at all, the tent and the cycling. I would love to do it but I am slightly more of a hotel/chambres d’hotes type person for the nights!!! Xx

    • Thanks Jane. Sad to leave the beautiful setting of this wonderful family home and the great company but are enjoying a beautiful evening on Il de Re now.

      • It sounds as if you had a wonderful time, lucky you, I take it you have not had any rain at all, even luckier! Enjoy the Il de Re.

      • Jess, it was fantastic having you here, thank you so much. Have a fabulous time on the Île de Ré, Millie said you had a great afternoon! Hopefully see you Saturday. xxx

  • Your breakfast sounds lovely and healthy. Baked eggs are a favourite here but breakfast for us is very simple, weetabix or petals or yoghurt with juice and coffee, very English!. Once we get in from an hour out with the doggies we just have to refuel!

    • My breakfast is always simple and never changes! A couple of fruits, plain yoghurt and wholemeal bread and a really good cup of coffee! Once in a while in the winter I might have a bowl of porridge instead of the yoghurt. Roddy and Hetty are the egg lovers and friends visiting always love croissants and pain au chocolat, when in France why not! It’s a big buffet style breakfast and everyone finds something they want to eat! School mornings are different! Cereal for some, eggs for others and not quite so relaxed even though the weather is still fantastic! Xx

  • How exquisitely alluring that breakfast looks. It is my favourite meal of the day too when it is not grabbed on the hoof but taken leisurely and you have certainly perfected the art! I have a friend who has just cycled LEJOG (Lands End to you know where) for charity. He described it as life-changing and his blog was really inspiring. I look forward to your adventures when the time comes xx

    • So intrigued by your friend who has just cycled LEJOG, if you get a moment please do let me know of his blog, would love to read about it, the youngest has another 8 years to go so it will be while yet! I love breakfast, I am always starving and when everyone is staying it’s a great excuse to relax and enjoy it! Xx

    • There is something quite magical about eating outside, I quite agree. Breakfast, lunch and dinner here at this time of the year, I can’t even remember when we last had a meal indoors, fortunately even though it is very hot we don’t have any humidity so with shade it is pleasant all summer long. Xx

  • very impressive, Alderney cyclists! Would love to do that sort of holiday, though I might cheat and get the Condor from Guernsey to St Malo, which will give me a little bit of a head start! Am surprised you aren’t getting many figs yet, we have had a small but steady crop for about the last 3 weeks from out 2 outdoor trees.
    As always gorgeous photos x

    • Hi Caro, they are cheating on the way home and going back to St Malo and taking the ferry! But I agree, I would love to do this, they have had so much fun. We have literally thousands and thousands of figs on the tree, it is huge despite the fact we heavily pruned it in the winter! Last year we started getting figs at this time, but everywhere seems to have been later this year, it was a cold spring and June so I guess it set fruit later than normal. Xx

  • It sounds utterly perfect! I love the French habit of drinking out of bowls for breakfast. You’ve inspired me to give a couple to my children tomorrow morning – they’ll love the fun of it and both are already keen Francophiles. Breakfasts on holiday are my favourite meals, particularly nice, long lazy ones. #AllAboutFrance

    • Hi Clare, I totally agree, long lazy breakfasts on holiday are just the best, and even if we are at home we were on holiday, a staycation with friends visiting! Our children love drinking their hot chocolates out of bowls, it adds a certain novelty factor and they love dunking croissants. They were never allowed to before but as it’s totally acceptable here we’ve gone with the flow, when in France and all that, so that’s another thing they love!!! Xx

    • Thank you so very much! So glad you have enjoyed every bit. We grow both the Charentais melons, orange flesh and sweet, and also watermelons courtesy of Millie, these are her favourites and the thing she loves to grow! The weather and growing conditions are perfect for melons here, hence they are named Charentais melons and they can be found everywhere here all over the region. Xx

  • Don’t you just love lazy breakfasts when everyone is on vacation and in France with all those pastries too – I am green with envy but loving every second of your blog

  • I once cycled through Normandy, the hills were a killer and it rained but it was still a life changing experience I will never forget!

    • Sounds like a lot of fun Amanda, I can imagine a cycle through Normandy would be quite wonderful, great scenery, I think I could cope with the rain cycling, I’ve done it before, it’s the tent and pitching it in the rain that would be really difficult for me! Xx

  • We’ve had a nonstop stream of houseguests, too. Funny how friends and family from the north migrate south for at least a while every summer. Good bread with artisanal confitures would be hard on the figure if not for all the laps in the pool later.

    • Friends migrate down here all summer because as a general rule the weather in the UK is not that great of late, the traditional English summer; you simply cannot depend on the weather which is probably why, we English, talk about it so much! I do agree, plenty of exercise is needed if good local bread is a part of the diet! Xx

  • We are all blessed to be able to enjoy your obvious passion for writing, thank you for telling and sharing your story for us all to savour, your blog enriches my life.

    • Thank you so much Erin, it is great fun to be able to share so much of our lifestyle here. We feel very fortunate to be able to live in such a place and therefore it is wonderful to write about it and encourage others to live their dreams if they can.xx

    • Hi Sarah, Bembridge would certainly be one of my perfect places too. I heard on the news not so long ago that the IOW had the driest July ever on record. Hope the rest of the summer has been a good one. Xx

      • Jess and Dan, the cyclists, said it had been a very windy summer on Alderney too. Funnily enough I think it has been less windy here than last summer, I remember locals saying. How unusual the wind was last year, this summer has just been exceptionally hot and dry, can’t complain though! Xx

    • Yes please do Eliza, and let me know if you enjoy them, they are so simple and so delicious, one of my favourite ways to eat eggs now as they become a meal on their own. I don’t like eggs for breakfast so for me this is a perfect little lunch.xx

  • Breakfast is also my favourite meal by far. I do love a poached egg from our own hens on an oat crumpet with a bit of ham and spinach if I’m not too lazy… always on Emma Bridgewater plates – it’s our tradition – and mocha-pot coffee in the baby mugs. Because I enjoy it so much I suffer two disappointments every day: when my plate is empty and when I have finished my coffee! ❤

  • I love the look of those baked eggs! Will have to try something like that on a weekend. I am like you most days: yogurt and fruit, strong coffee au lait. Your patio appears perfectly idyllic for meals al fresco!

    • Hi Nancy, the patio is perfect for dining, during the summer, breakfast, lunch and dinner, I cannot remember when we last ate a meal indoors, maybe two months ago! Do try the baked eggs, terribly easy and utterly delicious and you can play around with your fillings and be inventive! Let me know how you get on. Xx

  • Sounds so similar to breakfast at Lou Messugo, in the summer or on weekends throughout the year – we plonk everything out on the table and everyone helps themselves to what they fancy. Sometimes we have bacon or pancakes, sometimes a panetone or eggs, but always croissants, pain au chocolat, baguette, yogurt and fruit…and tons of coffee. Thanks for sharing this with #AllAboutFrance

    • Thanks Phoebe, we have exactly the same ideas when it comes to breakfast, everyone helps themselves, it is just some easy and everyone finds something they like, it makes it easy, relaxed and great fun and the coffee is vital! Xx

    • Thank you Joan, it is a fabulous lifestyle and I feel very fortunate, but there is plenty of hard work too, most of all we do this for the children, because it is such a great upbringing for them.xx

  • Oh, how I’d love to be at your breakfast table, Susan. So much choice of delicious food; some more healthy than others. The egg recipes are great. I’ll take the smoked salmon and chives. 🙂 What a lovely cycling trip, but I bet your guests were quite sad to leave the hospitality of your wonderful home.

    • Hi Syliva, of course you can be either super healthy or a little decadent with croissants and pain au chocolat, but if on holiday they make a nice treat! I love the smoked salmon and chives best too! Jess and Dan were sad to leave, but also looking forward to their next stop, a couple of days on the Ile de Ré. We were really sad to see them go, it was such fun having them here, we had such fun, we played tennis, went to the beach and just generally had a lovely time. Xx

  • Breakfast. The worst meal ever! From loving it as a kid, two rashers of bacon plus tomato or mushrooms, I find it really difficult now.

    Had to stop the fruit as too sweet, and switched from coffee to tea years ago. I can manage plain yoghurt at the moment, or yeast extract on toast in winter.

    It was probably easier when I wasn’t vegetarian!

    • Our eldest daughter is vegetarian and I love it so much when she is home from Univeristy and cooks, she invents the most wonderful breakfasts, vegan pancakes and special porridge, she is always coming up with great new ideas and it is just my style of eating. Yeast extract, marmite, on toast is a firm family favourite in the winter for our entire family. Xx

    • I know what you mean, but this is not usually the case! The truth is we were packed solid and not a bed to spare with people staying and more people staying! They spent two nights in our guest bedroom before more people arrived and then they decamped to their tent! Every time I haul another load of wet sheets onto the washing line, which I do several times each week, I think how good it is for the arms!!! Xx

  • Love the idea of baked eggs – have got some ratatouille on the stove so will try it with some! Breakfast is also my favorite meal but I tend to have it anti-socially early and on my own…How lovely for your guests that you get everyone around the table. But presumably if you do a spread like that at breakfast (however casual), lunch is skipped or just snacked?

    • Hi Mel, do try the eggs with the ratatouille, it’s a great way to use up some leftovers. The thing is no one eats that much, it might look like a lot but with so many mouths to feed everyone just picks what they personally like. I stick to fresh fruit and yoghurt and a slice of wholemeal bread and a coffee. So by lunch I am always starving! We also tend to be quite sporty and build up quite an appetite. But lunches are never large and supper is always light and simple. Breakfast is often the biggest meal of the day, I was always led to believe that this is the way it should be, each meal should get smaller and smaller as the day progresses! Xx

      • Je suis complètement d’ accord avec vous Susan. Un proverbe français dit qu’ il faut ” Manger comme un roi le matin, comme un Prince à midi, comme un pauvre le soir “. Votre éducation alimentaire est donc idéale pour vos enfants !// I am totally agree with you Susan. A french proverb says that you must ” eat as a King in the morning, as a Prince at noon, as a poor in the evening “.Thus, your food education is perfect for your children! Great post, well writen as always, with nice pictures that make the reading so appealing.

      • Bonjour Philippe, we grew up with this saying and it is true, a hearty healthy breakfast, a medium lunch and a light supper, it’s certainly how I like to eat, unless of course we have friends for dinner and then it all sort of goes the wrong way round! What a fantastic summer, let’s hope it lasts a couple more months! Xx

    • Thanks, it is the very best way to start the day when on holiday, even if we are just on holiday at home with friends, it’s lovely to all chat under the tree outside and just make plans and watch the day start to unfold. Xx

      • I totally agree, sitting around the table with friends, good conversation and good food – it doesn’t have to be fancy or elaborate, a simple salad from the garden and eggs from the chickens is more than enough, but it does have to be fresh. I don’t ask for much more than that! Xx

  • We have been to so many places in France, but yet, not your “neck of the woods”. I think a correction needs to be planned for next year. Luckily, we are back in Paris in 10 days. Looking forward to dunking my croissant.

    • I think a correction definitely needs to be made for next year, would thoroughly enjoy the opportunity to show you around a little! How long are you in Paris for? Just Paris or other parts too? Hopefully this fantastic weather will hold for you.xx

  • I’ve always wondered how families on TV shows somehow manage to sit and have breakfast together every morning, we definitely aim to do it much more in the holidays, although maybe not with a spread as beautiful as yours!

    • Hi Lily, we eat breakfast together during the holidays and when friends are staying, but during term time it is difficult, then the children eat together and I tend to eat later, once I have taken them to school, then I come home and clear up and then eat! It was only a big spread because there are simply so many mouths to feed! Everyone takes their pick of what they want. Xx

  • I have been enjoying your recent focus on the foods if France, especially the pine needle roasted shellfish and dipping croissants into hot chocolate. Please continue!

    • Thanks Mark, the mussels were such a huge surprise, and they were delicious, it was the first time I had ever come across this and it is very local, just in this specific area. As for dipping croissants, the children think it is fantastic, we would never have allowed them to do it before but it is quite the norm here, for both adults and children and so when in France…! X

  • The mussels were a wonderful treat, Susan, worked out easily and tastily. A definite thumbs up from us and all who were salivating downwind for several miles. Your baked eggs look a treat too so shall try those next. I love the unorthodox food stuff you come up with. Is there a recipe book in the offing, or perhaps just a book with some recipes in it? If so, can we have a signed copy please?

    • Ha ha Simon, I will leave the recipe book to the experts, that is way out of my league! But thank you all the same. So glad you tried and enjoyed the mussels, they are certainly delicious and as for the eggs, they are so terribly easy, you can be as inventive as you like and add the filling or combination of fillings you like. Roddy likes to add a piece of bread to the base first and then add the filling on top, or even sprinkle some bread crumbs over the top. Enjoy and let me know how you get on please! xx

    • Hi Kim, baked eggs are fabulous and so easy, if you like eggs do try them, you can invent your own favourite filling! As for dipping croissants, we never allowed the children to do it before, but here it is quite acceptable, everyone does it, kids and adults and so when in France… of course the children love this! xx

  • Bonjour Dusan! We have been back to Australia for only a week and this gorgeous picture of breakfast in France makes me homesick! This pretty much described our rhythm in the morning… And we were not averse to extended lunches! Café au lait and croissants would have to be my favourite indulgence.
    On the boat at anchor we sometimes make crêpes and add fruit or Bonne Maman jam and cream! Pretty yummy too!

    • Sounds just like my type of breakfast, I often make crepes or pancakes for the children, especially if they have friends for a sleepover, I make them small and more American like and their French friends love them with some maple syrup! When you are feeling homesick, just remember, you are about to have summer and we will soon be moaning about the cold and the rain and winter!!! Xx

      • You are right Susan, and the sailing season will start soon which is what we are hanging out for! 😊

        On the strength of your reference to ratatouille, I have made some for dinner tonight and a friend is joining us for a feast!

      • Exactly and then we will be totally jealous as all the boats here will be coming out onto the hard and everywhere will be quiet again! Hope you have a lovely dinner, ratatouille is my absolutely favourite summer dish, we are awash with tomatoes and courgettes and aubergines at the moment so making lots and lots, plenty for the freezer for the winter! Xx

  • I’m in the other hemisphere and this truly lovely post set me dreaming. I’m looking out at a bare garden and drizzle but I can see buds on that tree overhanging my hypothetically laid breakfast table. Note to self: buy more ramekins. Thank you from Australia on this cold second day of Spring.

    • The power of imagination! But just think it won’t be long and we will be looking at bare trees, grey skies and rain and be huddled up by the fire and you will be enjoying eating outside and summer! Hopefully Spring will warm up very quickly for you, have a lovely weekend xx

  • I love the picture with the dogs waiting for treats. The near one with his little leg straight out. And of course, it’s indicative that they are sitting in front of the children…

    • How observant, I hadn’t actually noticed it in this picture, but of course they are sitting facing the children, they know exactly where the most crumbs come from! It’s funny, Bentley, has been on a diet for what seems like forever and he never ever gets any smaller, I wonder why!!! Xx

  • I always enjoy a good breakfast – especially if I ever have the chance to eat outdoors! What a beautiful dining spot with some delicious looking breakfast treats and recipes! Looks like everyone had a wonderful time and that photo of the dogs is priceless! Thanks for linking up to Take Me Away. Enjoy your weekend!
    Shelley

    • Thanks Shelley, breakfast is just the best meal for me, maybe because I am always starving when I wake up! The dogs never miss a chance to find a crumb here and there! Hope you have a lovely weekend too xx

  • You have inspired me to make a little ramekin of a bake breakfast YUMMY……. Summer has almost slipped away but even in the fall with the beautiful follage on a warm day eating outside is very enjoyable… I love simple but elegant the french style and you have it.

    • Thank you so much Sallie, I really hope you enjoy/enjoyed your baked eggs, let me know how you liked them. Summer is indeed starting to slip away, little signs here and there, the weather here is still fantastic and hot, but the evenings have that slight chill to them and now that the children are back in school I know Autumn will be fully upon us before we know it. Enjoy your weekend xx

  • Well, your home holiday setting does seem like the perfect place for breakfast, lunch or dinner! However, I would say that the setting is not the best part of the meals at your french oasis. Rather, it is your family’s great hospitality and friendship that makes any holiday feast, casual or otherwise, very special. Lovely write up. And recipes, too!

    • Thank you so much Mary, the setting is lovely, but it is friends that make everything so perfect, great company and great food, and by great food I mean simple and fresh, rarely do we do anything fancy or elaborate, I far prefer anything straight from the garden. Hope you have a lovely weekend. Xx

    • Thanks so very much for the mention on your blog, hope you enjoyed the eggs, I think they make a perfect light dinner, do let me know how you get on and which recipe you chose! Have a lovely weekend xx

  • The cycle ride from Brittany to the Pyrenees sounds great. I shall be joining you! Have you read French Revolutions by Tim Moore – he cycles all the Tour de France routes a month or so before the actual race. A hilarious accunt of his cycling struggles (especially on the hilly bits).
    We were eating in a restaurant for our wedding anniversary the other day and my husband had a delicious oeufs cocotte. The white was in the bottom of the small jar and lightly cooked by the heat of a “jus” from mushrooms and lardons and stock and croutons, whilst the bearly cooked yolks floated on the surface. I was absolutely delicious and my husband declared it a chic “french-style english cooked breakfast” –
    Lovely post!

    • Hi Miranda, you’re on! And I am heading over to Amazon to find the book, thank you, sounds like a hilarious read and one I will thoroughly enjoy. But I haven’t cycled much all summer, it’s been too hot, I just went out this morning and realised that playing tennis all summer does not prepare one for cycling, even gentle hills!!! The œufs cocottes sound absolutely amazing,I had quite forgotten this is a French dish too! We have so many eggs this is going to become a very very regular supper I think! Cannot believe it is Autumn, feeling rather sad. Let me know if you have a free day, maybe we could meet half way for a long lunch or something? Xx

  • Oh, those cycling routes! You ticked several bucket-list items right there.
    Good to know that the dogs are ever vigilant — it wouldn’t do to have any morsel of errant food get away. 🙂

    • Thinking about the cycling routes I went for a bike ride this morning. I haven’t cycled all summer, it has been way too hot and tennis has taken preference, but this morning I realised that even an hour of tennis a day uses totally different muscles to the cycling ones which have been on holiday all summer! There is never so much as a crumb left on the floor after any meal here! Xx

  • I’m at those crossroads of life and your blog is my little fantasy escape. Can we just cross lives, not forever but just for a year or two!!! Keep up the great writing. I love how you always include lots of lovely photos, love love love it. Ok for me it’s back to reality! Have a blessed day.

    • Hi Joanna, sometimes I think crossroads are a good place to be. It’s a time to reflect, rather than getting stressed and panicking, it’s a time to look at every direction and take time to decide which is the right avenue to take, it might take a while but it will be worth it. In the meantime, so happy you are enjoying the blog and our life here in France. Hope you have a good end to the week and keep smiling! Susan xx

  • Breakfast is my favorite meal. I can eat it any time of the day. How long did it take them to complete the 300 mile trip? All of the food looks delicious. Do you have your own vineyard? Man, Im jealous right now. Sorry for all of the questions. You have a lovely family.

    • Hi, breakfast, as I said, is my favourite meal too! It took them about a week to travel the 300 miles down to us, they didn’t rush, they would normally get up early and be on the small back roads by 7am. But they would often stop at midday, it was really hot all week and enjoy their surroundings and find a campsite. It was such a fantastic trip. I really wish we did have our own vineyard, but no, we just have a row of ancient vines which produce a lot of grapes, probably about 15 vines in total. We also have a very old vine against the old stone wall in our courtyard garden that produces green grapes which are very sweet and quite delicious. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment, always very much appreciated. Susan xx

      • Thank you for answering my questions.

        I wouldn’t have the patience to bike 300 miles; that’s incredible. Green grapes are my favorite.

        Do French people eat cereal, like Americans? Excuse my ignorance.

      • It’s always a pleasure to chat with everyone on the blog. The French do eat cereal, but certainly not as much as Americans, In the supermarket it takes up one small section not an entire aisle! For children the French also promote breakfast cookies, muesli type bars to be eaten with a yoghurt, a piece of fruit and perhaps a bowl of hot chocolate. X

      • It is true there are quite a few ingredients which are allowed in the USA and which are banned in Europe. Of course how one eats is really down to the individual no matter which country you live in it is possible to eat well or badly, it is a matter of informed choice. However, I do believe that children are educated to eat healthier here, school lunches are truly excellent and children get used to sitting down and always eating with the family. X

  • I am with you on loving breakfast. In term time we have no time to really enjoy it, nor on a Saturday if we have gite change-over which makes Sunday breakfast together all the more special. Crêpes are favourite here, sometimes sweet and sometimes with some much favoured imported bacon! #AllABoutFrance

    • No we don’t have time during term time either, and like you Saturday’s are hectic, changeover day in the gite and also various sports for the children, but Sundays we make a big effort. We often cook pancakes too, especially if the children have friends for a sleepover, French friends always seem to love American style pancakes with maple syrup! x

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