A French Girls’ Lunch

P6090048Do you ever get those days when you have invited a couple of friends to lunch, but you’ve drawn a complete blank about what to eat? You don’t really have time to cook for hours in advance but you want to make an effort. I can assure you even if you don’t get days like this, I do! But when I’m struggling to find something inspirational to cook, I always consider what is in season and go from there. I’ll see what we have in the garden, and what is available at the local market, because using only what is grown locally makes everything so much easier and the produce is so much fresher.

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Right now it’s cherry season here in France, and what a bumper year it is too. Every road that I take I see trees burgeoning with fruit, their branches almost scraping the ground as the weight of the cherries pulls them downwards. Here in our garden, our enormous cherry tree is no exception.

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It is very tall and so we leave the top half to the birds and with the addition of a few bright and shiny decoys on the lower section, we have found a solution that works well. They respect our bottom half and we let them eat their fill on the upper branches. So long as no one breaks the rules and strays into the other’s territory, we are all happy.

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I decided to use cherries as the starting point for my meal. We also have plenty of eggs thanks to our hens and so I thought I would make a classic French dish, a Cherry Clafoutis. As this is quite a filling desert, almost like a flan, I thought a light main course would be appropriate.

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IMG_3966A wholesome salad seemed perfect because this is just a light lunch. It could be a girls’ lunch for two or three, or perhaps two couples, the logistics of who it is for really don’t matter – my point is, it should be delicious food, but simple, easy to prepare with just a little thought, nothing that is going to see you chained to the kitchen all morning slaving over a hot stove. This is all about the company and chatting. I’m already picturing some laughter, but also some serious talk too. One thing anyone who comes to France will notice, conversation is extremely varied but most people are up to date with current affairs, they watch the news and read the papers; politics I daresay will get a mention, along with the weather. The food will also be discussed in detail and where the best produce can be purchased.

Another reason to choose a salad is because I want whoever is cooking to enjoy this lunch as much as everyone else. This can be made in advance. I decided to make a sort of variation of a classic Salade Niçoise but without the tuna and using asparagus instead of green beans because asparagus is still in season.

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You can really add or take away what you want, but this is a delicious combination:

Asparagus lightly steamed for a few minutes and allowed to cool
Hard boiled eggs
Lardons or bacon gently sautéed in some olive oil and allowed to cool
Tomatoes
Half a peeled and chopped apple
A base of mixed salad leaves
Black olives
A little finely grated Emmental cheese

For the Vinaigrette
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
6 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh herbs (chives, parsley, basil)
salt and pepper

Chop and crush the garlic and then add the salt and pepper. Then add the mustard followed by the vinegar and the olive oil. Finally stir in the herbs.

Pour everything into a screw-top jar and shake vigorously so it’s thoroughly blended.

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Make sure you have a crusty French baguette to accompany this and serve with a chilled white wine.

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Follow with a simple cheese board, just one variety is fine and at the most two.

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The Clafoutis recipe I love and use all the time is one I have adapted from a recipe by Raymond Blanc and if it isn’t cherry season with you then other stoned fruits work just as well; try peaches, plums or apricots.

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For the cherries
450g/1lb ripe cherries, stones removed which is the messy part!
3 tbsp sugar
Gently mix the cherries and sugar and leave for an hour or so.

For the batter
20g/¾oz unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
2 free-range eggs
3 tbsp sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
½ tsp vanilla essence
1 heaped tbsp plain flour
7.5 tbsp whole milk
Pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Grease a baking dish with butter and sprinkle with sugar.
For the batter, heat the butter in a small pan until it turns a pale hazelnut colour, do not allow the butter to burn. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Whisk together the eggs, sugar and vanilla until thick and creamy.
Add the flour, whisk until smooth, then slowly add the milk and melted butter and a pinch of salt.
Mix the cherries and their juice into the batter and pour into the prepared baking dish.
Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes.
To finish, sprinkle with a little sugar and serve warm.

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Just to make life even easier, put the clafoutis in the oven just before your guests arrive so you can take it out before you sit down to eat. This will give it time to rest so that when you come to eat dessert it will be neither too hot nor too cold, it should be served just nicely warm!

You see even the timing is all about making life as simple as possible. Bon Appétit !

157 thoughts on “A French Girls’ Lunch

  • I’ll be over at noon! 😋
    This looks like a delightful combo of flavors. Cherries are not here yet, however my asparagus is growing faster than we can eat it. I’m going to have to pickle some.
    Thanks for the dessert recipe!

    • Sounds like a plan! I am very envious of your asparagus, we have never had much success with growing it here, I think our soil is all wrong in our garden, although it grows very well locally, just not precisely here!! xx

      • Huh… That stinks about not being able to grow it. I knew France was a great place for it to grow. My great aunt was in the Calvary, serving in France. She told me she knew it was asperagus season by how bad the stables smelled. 😷

      • I am not sure why we can’t grow it, perhaps our soil is not sandy enough, or probably, more to the point, perhaps we don’t put in enough hard work the first couple of years to get it going! Love the story of the stables, I can just imagine!!! Xx

      • Yes. We needed to amend our soils 18″ inches deep, as it doesn’t grow here that well. We have no sand in our soils. Yes, lots of work in the beginning, but it’s now 12 years and we’re still reaping the benefits!

      • Wow, that is fantastic and so good that you are reaping the rewards of so much hard work. I am quite sure now this is why we failed! But having said that it is so plentiful here and for such a good price that we don’t miss out at all! The French particularly love their white asparagus which I am not fond of, I find it lacks the flavour of the green! xx

  • I haven’t eaten breakfast yet, so this sounds even more delightful than usual, Susan. 🙂 How wonderful to have your own cherry tree! Here I’m still waiting for the weekly farmer’s markets to open. The first two will be while I’m in France, but I’ll try to survive. (I leave a week from tomorrow, so I’m getting a bit excited.) I hope your Sunday’s been wonderful and your week will be as well.

    janet

    • You will be here right in cherry season! Whatever variety we have, and I am not quite sure what it is, it is one of the earliest to fruit. The much bigger darker cherries are not ripe yet here and have another couple of weeks at least, so you should be in heaven! I would be getting very excited if I was you, what fun, keep me updated, I hope you have a fabulous time. The weather has been stunning here this weekend, we are enjoying a beautiful sunny 23C day today with a nice gentle breeze. Hope you too are having a lovely weekend and remember you might miss your first farmers market but you will have all of the markets here instead! Not a bad price to pay!! xx

    • Thanks, the truce really does seem to work rather well, we couldn’t reach the top ones even if we tried, so it’s no loss to us and they are happy and we are happy so long as they don’t come down, because then its war!!! xx

    • I am lucky because Roddy has that gene as well, I like to keep things simple, then I am quite happy, whereas Roddy can produce a masterpiece from nothing with no stress whatsoever, I always leave the complicated things to him!! xx

  • Perfect!
    I made a very similar salad for our lunch today.
    I am always searching for the perfect clafoutis recipe as it is one of my go to desserts. Will try yours on Wednesday as I have guests for dinner.
    We have several wild cherry trees on the edge of our forest but they are minuscule and often rot before becoming ripe so I buy at the market. Bought a cherry pitter last year, well worth it.

    • I tried the cherry pitter, but couldn’t get to grips with it at all! I just made an awful lot more mess than normal! I will give it another go! I so wish you were closer you could come and take as many as you wanted, we have so many cherries, they are literally rotting. I have been picking and picking and freezing as many as I have time to do but still we are overrun with them! xx

      • I have a cherry pitting machine. You load the top and then turn a handle and the cherries fall into one container and the pits in another. Works beautifully with mirabelles too.

      • Oh my goodness I have never even heard of that, sounds a great deal easier than sitting at the kitchen table laboriously going through hundreds of cherries with everything all around getting covered in red juice and very stained hands!xx

      • Susan, I also only ever knew the useless ‘1 cherry at the time’ pitter but curtesy of me I looked up the www and what you might want to look into is a
        DÉNOYAUTEUR DE CERISES
        Found for the unprincely sum of €34.-……. might be a wise investment?! My cherries – yes, I checked them for not telling a lie – are still little green nobs of no interest at all…. but they were grown from throw-away cherry pits so they probably will never be up to any good for eating…. I once jumped from one of the stone benches to grab a few from our garden and I fell flat on my back & nearly broke it – so I am a slight little bit anxious to overdo it. It doesn’t help to know that our two trees (still young-ish) are on a slope and next to a stone wall with a 80% ‘fall’ to a little road. I couldn’t even get my secateurs back which last summer jumped from my hand when I tried to chop off some of the much growing all-compassing-all-swallowing weeds which grow so well outside (and inside) our garden!

      • Wow, you need to be careful, that fall to the road does not sound like much fun! If only you were closer you could come and take your fill, we have so so many, and they are all now fully ripe and going over but we just can’t pick them or eat them fast enough. freezing them too, but still there are too many for me to deal with! Such a tough life!! xx

  • Simplicity is my key to a successful lunch for friends. I love a salad Niçoise and Waldorf also. I’ve yet to make a clafoutis though…cherries are so expensive in the UK, will have to try plums. All of your dishes look scrumptious Susan.

    • Thanks so much Fiona, I know cherries are expensive here too. However, we are so lucky as we are quite inundated, sadly I think they will be over by the time you are next in France or else you could have come down and taken as many as you wanted! Plum clafoutis is delicious too! xx

  • Yes please…..looks delicious. I’ve not had breakfast yet, just drinking coffee. It’s a pity you are so far away and many time zones. It would be wonderful to come to lunch. I’m really looking forward to cherry season, cherries are one of my favourites. Your right any type of stone fruit is good in clafoutis.

    Ali xxx

    • Hope your day has got off to a good start. I adore cherries, before we had our own tree they were always such a treat as they are always so expensive. It is such a luxury to be able to wander down the garden and feast away on completely organic cherries. Wish you were just down the road as we are truly overrun with them! xx

    • We are so lucky, cherries were always such a luxury, but now to have our own tree that is literally overrun with fruit is fantastic. There is nothing better than wandering down the garden and just feasting on fresh organic cherries. Hope you are having a lovely weekend xx

  • I love cherry clafouti. I am hosting Book Club in June and since we are a month behind you seasonally, this menu will be perfect! Thanks for sharing. Your blog is my absolute favorite. I appreciate your positivity.

    • Thanks so much Rebecca, the timing should be absolutely perfect and it is such an easy lunch that you can prepare in advance and then wow everyone with your clafoutis! Hope you are having a lovely weekend xx

  • Heaven! As an au pair on Île d’Oleron in 19__, the mother of the family made us a delicious cherry clafoutis that I have never been able to reproduce. Your recipe could be the one! She did not pit the cherries, and claimed the flavor was the better for it, but we had to warn the guests!

    • As you probably know the Île d’Oléron is very close to us, we go over there quite regularly, you would see quite a few changes now! Do try this recipe and let me know how it shapes up compared to the one you loved so much. I have seen several with the stones left in the cherries, but personally I prefer to take them out! xx

  • I have heard of clafoutis so many times. It never made it as I always thought it was very complicated, the name sounds complicated but this looks so easy, thank you so much I shall certainly give it a go!

    • Before I lived here I too thought that it was a very complicated French dessert, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Do give it a try, it is delicious and terribly simple. xx

    • and the best part is you can make it in advance, totally stress free and have a wonderful girly lunch with lots of time for conversation. Hope you have a lovely time when you do it. xx

  • Lucky you to have so many cherries, my favourite fruit but they are always so expensive to buy that I limit myself and only am able to eat them as a real treat.

    • They are expensive here too, even when they are in season, so it is a complete luxury to be able to walk down the garden and just feast away. Hope you are having a lovely weekend xx

  • A perfect lunch menu full of delicious colours and flavours. Clafoutis is a tradition around here during cherry season, since I discovered it a few years ago. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • I love clafoutis, sadly our children aren’t so keen so I tend to only make it when we have friends over! But they just adore cherries and we all just stand and eat them under the tree! Hope you are having a lovely weekend xx

    • Oh I wish you were coming to lunch too, it would actually be the perfect menu as it would give us so much time to talk and I am sure we would have endless conversations for hours! Would so love to meet you. Hope you are having a lovely Sunday xx

  • Delightful!
    I recently planted a newly available dwarf sour-cherry tree with the sole purpose of being able to make clafoutis. I think of that as long term menu planning; late spring luncheon 2021?
    I will add that when I was taught to make clafoutis – lo these many years ago – it was de rigueur to use whole, unpitted sour cherries. The rationale being that the stone or pit within the fruit of all members of the prunus family contain a small kernel which is strongly flavoured of bitter almond. Including the pit allows the kernel – or noyaux – to lightly perfume the clafoutis’ rich, eggy custard with its complimentary bitter almond scent.
    We can discuss dental bills and cyanide poisoning later. I still use whole fruit. But then I am lazy, I mean it tastes better and is just plain ‘right’.
    Pink wine for me, please.
    Best to all of you!

    • How I laughed, I would imagine you would only ever use whole cherries because I know you cook to perfection. I worry about the dental fees because I have to pay all of them with everyone!!! But I am sure you are right, there is much logic that the flavour is better if the stones are left. However, it is interesting that Raymond Blanc’s original recipe, he of Michelin star fame, does only use pitted cherries, so I felt I was not alone!! I was a little alarmed that you are planning for 2021, I hope not!! Stunning weather here, you would be loving it. xx

      • Sorry, my comment was meant for Jeff….. will never know how to work all of this! Am eating Swiss chocolate with my 3rd espresso over this, instead of doing all kinds of work – best pushed off a bit longer!

  • I would say you did a great job preparing a lunch no one could resist. And oh those cherries! Just once I’ve had the experience of picking them right from the tree in a vineyard in Provence. We ate as fast as we picked.

    • We eat as fast as we pick here, but then there comes a time when we have eaten our fill and we carry on picking! It is the first time we have ever had a cherry tree in the garden with enough fruit that the birds don’t bother us. It is utter luxury to be able to wander down the garden and eat our fill, fresh ripe cherries, completely organic, straight from the tree, utter perfection! xx

    • The darker variety are still a couple of weeks away here, but this variety, whatever it is, always seems to ripen first. It’s been hot again all weekend, in the mid 20’s and everything is growing and ripening at an alarming rate! xx

  • Ahhhh….. All looks so delicious! Thank you for the two recipes. Will definitely be trying both. Yum!
    Love the truce with the birds. All get what they need and none go wanting–the ideal. xo

    • Do try both Anne, the cherry clafoutis is such a classic that is also so simple, but it never fails to impress! So long as the birds stick to the rules, everyone is happy! Roddy made the decoys this year and it seems they have done the job perfectly, fingers crossed! xx

  • It would only take me about two hours to get ready ,get to Pearson airport inToronto and fly to France ..can you wait and just have that fantastic lunch ready for me. Would that be alright with you .
    A dream is a wish your heart makes. Love Betty

    • Hi Betty, I can wait, no problem and it has been the most gorgeous weekend with a fabulous week forecast, plenty of warm sun and blue skies! Still I always think day dreaming does us all the power of good. Hope you have had a lovely weekend and have a great week ahead, and if you are ever in France, let me know. xx

  • What a delicious looking lunch and such beautiful photos as always, you never fail to deliver just what we all want xoxo

  • Sadly cherry season is still a while off in southern England, but I shall bookmark this, our young trees are looking promising, we planted them a few years ago but so far have only had very small crops, this year does look better, if we can keep the birds away, what have you used it looks good?

    • Hi Lisa, hopefully your cherries will be good this year. We did a little research about what to use to try and keep birds away. Someone suggested mirrors and someone else said fake owls do the trick, apparently it’s the eyes. So we sort of combined the two and used old cd’s and stuck on huge eyes! These and also some long colourful streamers that shimmer in the breeze. Good luck and do put something in place before they ripen, the birds are quick! xx

  • I would love to come and have a girls lunch with you with this exact menu, just my type of food, delicious. Could we have a glass of champagne to start, just to get us in the mood!

  • Lovely as always…The coloring of the photographs are wonderful…
    I do think next time you even think about a girls lunch you must give us a little warning to at least try and get there. lol Seriously, Susan you gave me so many great ideas; the Vinaigrette dressing (trying it tonight); the cheery dessert; and the wonderful salad. I would not have thought to do bacon instead of tuna…asparagus instead of beans. I think it is a great idea. I will try all three and can’t wait until I do.
    How delightful that you are able to live harmoniously with the birds!
    BTW you look Fabulous! Darling pictures of everyone.
    Enjoy the week ahead…The weather in Minnie has been to say the least Very unattractive; beginning on May Day. Rain Rain Rain. I even had to cover the flowers two nights ago in fear of freezing temperatures. Spring has sprung so they say but I am not quite feeling it. But, we did have a wonderful First Birthday Party for Granddaughter Emerson yesterday despite not going outside to “play.”
    Have a “glorious” week! Can’t wait for your next blog (no pressure of course).

    • Thanks so much! I love the salad I have to admit, it is wholesome and yet light and simple all rolled into one and the asparagus actually is much nicer than green beans, cold asparagus seems to have so much more flavour. Hope your weather improves. We had three days of rain, two days when it literally poured and one slightly better before it finally cleared up on Saturday. But the plants were happy and actually so were we, I actually got to do some housework! Now we are set for another week or more of fabulous hot weather. What fun that birthday party must have been, I remember so many when ours were younger, there is nothing quite like it. I love every stage of the children’s lives but there is just something so delicious about babies and toddlers! Next post Thursday of course! Sundays, when I can fit them in are just a bonus!!! Enjoy your Sunday evening. xxx

      • Very true. I was just exploring your blog and I love it. The pictures and little stories in every post, France from your camera… It all so beautiful. I really love your garden and this oasis of a life you have there with your lovely kids.

      • Thanks so much. Of course there are all the usual errands and necessities of life, like work that don’t change much wherever one is, but I do believe int really trying to focus on all the positive things. We are very lucky to be able to live here and it is a wonderful place to raise a family, the children absolutely love it here and it is such fun to share this lifestyle with everyone. So happy you are following along. Xx

      • It is very apparent from your blog that you beleive in focusing on the positives. Very inspiring. 🙂

      • Thanks so much, I do think in a troubled world we have to focus on the positive, because there are still so many positive and good things. Have a fabulous week xx

  • Oh,Susan, this is absolute heaven!
    Everything SO delicious in such a glorious setting!
    What happier way to spend an (almost) Summer Sunday?
    You are as lovely as your as the words you write,and your family just precious!
    It makes me so fondly recall my own (younger)days of lunch in the garden with dear friends and family;such wonderful memories that we still talk about all these years later.
    All of your posts are incredible,but these on Sunday just fill us with tranquility, with hopes the week ahead will be the same.
    THANK YOU!!

    • Thanks so much Natalia, as you know I don’t always post on a Sunday, only when I can fit it in! But I do just love lunches with friends, because what is life without friendship? And I think we should keep the menu simple, life is far too short to get stressed about creating the perfect meal in my opinion, I would far rather have fresh simple ingredients and enjoy good simple food and company! Hope you too have a lovely week ahead. Xx

  • What a delightful post as usual! Your pictures transport me to a warm, sunny place! I shall attempt to make a clafoutis using raspberries. Not sure if it can be done but I will try!!! How are your baby chicks doing?

    Wonderful photos as well. Have a great Monday!!! Xxx

    • Thanks so much Josephine, I have a friend who makes a wonderful raspberry clafoutis! She always laughs when she makes it because typically this classic French dessert is always made with fruits with stones, peaches, plums, cherries, and she loves to be different, she is French and it is her way of not following trends! It is utterly delicious by the way, I have eaten it many times! The baby chicks are growing very quickly, utterly adorable still and doing very well! Have a great week too xx

  • Oh, yum! I have a lot of greens in the garden right now and I’ll be adding this salad to my repertoire for surfeit-of- greens-season! I remember picking cherries as a child and eating as I picked.

    • Our greens are just starting to come on apace now. We totally redid the vegetable garden so everything is rather behind, but I am hoping it will all be worthwhile. Picking cherries straight from the tree is, I am quite sure, one of life’s little luxuries! Xx

  • So much to look at including the largest cherry tree I have ever seen, a perfect luncheon of which it would be a delight to partake and visions of a busy mother who should add walking the Paris catwalks to her lifestyle. But my eyes have gone back and back again to that bowl of eggs: not only does each of your layers take pride in being able to create ‘her’ colour tone but, oh, are the shapes ever different . . . . some even manage to produce them round 🙂 ! So elegantly Gallic!!!

    • Thanks so much! Isn’t the cherry tree huge, we seem to always find houses with enormous fruit trees. In New Zealand we had the two largest olives trees I have ever seen to this day! But as to the eggs, I am so glad you picked up on this, we marvel at them every day and never get bored of the variety. There are various shades of brown from the deep rich colour to a very pale beige and then there are the white ones, and yes all different shapes and sizes. There is one hen who always lays a rugby ball shape egg and another who lays perfect footballs! What we want to add are a couple of hens who lay blue or green eggs, purely for the aesthetics of course! It would make such a colourful egg basket! However, finding the breed of hen that lays these around here is all but impossible, I would have to drive 8 hours it seems to buy the correct breed, and even for me, someone who is up for most things, that seems just a little excessive!! Aside from which I don’t have the time! Xx

  • Asparagus season was short, temps high so stalks went to seed quickly. Store bought too woody. Will hope to find a handful at our farmers’ mkt. Clafoutis is so easy to make and always a hit in our house.

    • Asparagus season is painfully short, but still going strong here and prices have come right down to just 2,50 euros a bunch from 7,50 last month! Clafoutis is delicious but sadly our children don’t like it much, so I tend to only cook it when we have friends eating with us! Xx

  • A perfect lunch, I would say! I love your solution for sharing the bounty of the cherry tree with the birdies …. very democratic and equitable! I have grown asparagus. Much of it is a matter of pedantic preparation but you will be rewarded with years of produce because it is a perennial plant. That said, it is so easy to get fabulous asparagus in season here (as you know) that it might seem an effort too far with so much else to do in your garden and your house and with children and with animals and with gite and with husband and with friends (I’m actually quite out of breath with a spinning head) …. really – the market is the better option!

    • Sharing is a good thing, so long as they don’t stray, then it’s war! I am sure we have failed with asparagus because our preparation has been shoddy to say the least, not enough time and effort at the beginning, but yes, you are quite right, the season is short and it is in plentiful supply here, prices have dropped dramatically from 7,50 a bunch last month to 2,50 this month, so I think for the time being I’ll stick to buying it!! And Yes, I’m permanently out of breath!! Xx

      • I think like Shirley Conran’s declaration that ‘life is to short to stuff a mushroom’ la vie est trop courte for growing things that are plentiful and fresh and delicious in the market. Asparagus leads that charge for me xx

      • So totally agree! It’s a bit like melons, we have grown them for fun, we get a few but they take up so much space and we can buy Charentais melons for peanuts during the summer so I’d rather use the space for something else, even more tomatoes, one can never have enough tomatoes!! Xx

  • Brilliant! Our summer has not yet departed and this lunch looks perfect for the weather we are still having. But it’s confusing….with ‘summer’ still on the go, one would think that there ought to be cherries and asparagus in abundance… but their season is long past 😦 ❤

    • But you have other delights of late summer I would imagine, do you get figs and olives? That’s probably one of the best things about seasonal produce I think, how we move from one thing to the next, so we can literally gorge ourselves on what is in plentiful supply any given month and once we might be getting just a little tired of it, the next thing comes along! Xx

      • Definitely! Figs are going over now, but there was abundance….and olives are cropping well at the moment. I learned to make green olive tapenade which is every bit as delicious as the black ❤

      • You will have to give me your tapenade recipe. Our young olive trees are literally overflowing with the tiny beginnings of fruit this year, if they continue and mature we will be in for a bumper crop on our very small trees. Not enough for oil but plenty enough to make tapenade, and also enough to preserve in jars for eating, all very exciting xx

      • For green olive tapenade you need 2 cups pitted green olives, 1/3 cup raw almonds, as much garlic as you like, 1 T capers rinsed and squeezed dry, 1 ½ T fresh lemon juice, ½ cup fresh basil leaves, ½ cup olive oil and sea salt. Whizz the whole lot in a blender. Black olive tapenade needs 1 ½ cups pitted black olives, as much garlic as you like, 1 T capers rinsed and squeezed dry, 1 t fresh thyme /or ½ t dry, 2 anchovy fillets, 1 T fresh lemon juice, 1 t Dijon mustard, 1/3 cup olive oil, sea salt. It helps to roughly chop the basil / garlic/ thyme before whizzing with other ingredients in the blender. Go gently with the salt. (T= tablespoon; t = teaspoon). Unfortunately, the tapenade is so delicious it doesn’t last long! 🙂 And David Lebovitz must get the credit – it’s his recipe ❤

      • Thank you so so much, I have copied this and filed it away until the end of the year when I hope the olives will all be ripe, many months to have fun before then! xx

  • Asparagus and cherries – two seasonal delicacies that always cost the earth here in London. Amy and I are very envious, Susan. VERY.

    Though you can make it up by producing a clafoutis for us when we come past later this summer – though probably nearer fig season than cherry – I wonder whether you could use some figs instead? That’s an interesting sort of thought to play with…..

    Love the photos as always, and the egg photo, as Eha says – mmmmm. Recipes dance before the eyes when you see a layout like that. Would make a fabulous cover for an egg recipe book. Thanks for the story as always.

    • Well I know you can make raspberry clafoutis so it might be rather fun to try with fig, but goodness knows what it will taste like! If you are here during fig season we’ll give it a try!! I love the variation in colour and size of all of our eggs, we know which hen lays which, for instance, we have one hen who always lays rugby ball eggs and another who prefers perfectly round footballs!! Xx

  • Dear Susan;
    A delightful weekend/Sunday report, even read on a MOnday …. 🙂
    Now that I think about it, I think I only ever had clafoutis WITH stones?! Strange, I seem to remember that I really worried about my precious teeth (they must have paid for the larger part of my dentist’s home in a beautiful neighbour village!) and sort of gingerly pressing softly with my teeth on the delicous dessert….
    A beautiful post, even if I am far too often repeating myself 😉
    Wishing you much joy for this freshly begun week. Kiki

    • I worry about clafoutis with stones, I worry someone will choke or, as you say, crack a tooth, so I stick to the pitted version and if it’s good enough for Raymond Blanc then it is good enough for me!! Fabulous weather, gorgeous temperature, all is good, have a fabulous week xx

  • May I share your plates of summer food?….but without talking about politics….just seat under your lemon tree and talking about the good things in life. In one word “relaxing. For many years I collected a lot of salad recipes but have
    about 5 of my favorites. It’s always the best solution for a quick summer lunch (soups for the winter) with Baquette and
    wine. This writting made me so hungry thus I am going to prepare a warm beet salad. Aproveche, how we say in Spain

    • Yes of course, I would be honoured. I do agree about focusing and talking about all the good things and relaxing. We’ve had dinner with friends several times in the past couple of weeks and always politics seem to crop up in the conversation, fortunately so far it has always been in a positive manner and a good conversation! I totally agree with you, a quick summer lunch is always salad and winter soup, they are my “go to” solutions very frequently, another reason I love living with the seasons. The warm beet salad sounds delicious, hope you enjoyed it. xx

  • What a luxury to have that beautiful tree in your back yard! Love the shots of you and your family harvesting the fruit. Your clafoutis looks luscious, I haven’t made one in years, and my daughter just bought a bag of NW cherries… si peut-être cette semaine! I’m tempted to test the pit/pitted theory, maybe 1/2 each way and see if there is a difference in taste?

    I hope you had a lovely lunch! ~ebh

    • What a great idea to test the theory, I might have to steal this from you and do just do the same, if you don’t mind, perhaps we can compare notes at the end of the week, I shall post another comment here and let you know what we thought! I can tell you it is utter luxury being able to walk down the garden and just feast away on fresh organic cherries, whoever said that the greatest pleasures come from the simple things in life was certainly not wrong! We had a lovely lunch, thanks so much xx

  • Oh how I envy you your home-grown cherries. English ones, also wonderful, are nowhere near ready yet. It used to be so much fun picking our own in our French garden, and sustaining ourselves on country walks with wild ones. Ah, memories…..

    • Happy memories I am quite sure, there really is nothing as luxurious it seems as eating fresh cherries straight from the tree and feasting away, knowing they are fresh and organic. We have so many I can’t give them away quick enough! Hopefully you will enjoy plenty of English ones in a month or so, do you have a tree? They are always so expensive, even here in France. xx

    • I know, I have never seen such an enormous cherry tree. It was quite obviously never pruned by the previous owners and now it really is too late, I fear if we did anything we would cause the tree way too much stress, plus it has its benefits, there are enough for the birds and us!! Xx

  • I’ve never heard of clafoutis, but I’m adding this to my repertoire. It just so happens I have a bag full of cherries and after having made a cherry pie this afternoon, I still have too many! This sounds wonderful 🙂
    … and asparagus in anything is a winner in my books!

    • Joanne, do try the clafoutis, it is so classically French and so easy! There is much debate as to whether the stones should be left in or not. In traditional recipes the stones are left because this is said to add to the flavour, but I always worry someone will choke or even worse, crack a tooth! and if a recipe without stones is good enough for Raymond Blanc it is good enough for me! But do try either way. I agree about the asparagus, always a winner, the season is so short, we have to make the most of it. Xx

  • This looks lovely and delicious! How I’d love to be one of your guests!

    It won’t be cherry season here in Michigan until July. One of my favorite times of the year!

    • The flavours are always so much better I agree, it has become the only way for us to cook here and it means we look forward to each and every season and the new foods so much. Every month is a surprise! Xx

    • What a great idea, the only problem is it might be a very expensive lunch for someone who had to pay to travel from the other side of the world, otherwise I would happily do it! xx

      • It is such a shame as it is a brilliant idea and I can’t think of anything nicer. I would so love to meet everyone who follows and even more everyone who comments so frequently, or indeed other bloggers, a little isolated here in the blogging world, I’m all alone!!! Xx

      • Same!! It would be such a treat to discuss writing and reading over coffee or mimosas in a new part of the world every week!! Hehehe dreaming too big now. xx

      • ©Susan:
        quote “It is such a shame as it is a brilliant idea and I can’t think of anything nicer. I would so love to meet everyone who follows and even more everyone who comments so frequently, or indeed other bloggers, a little isolated here in the blogging world, I’m all alone!!! Xx” unquote

        …. It seems to me that you managed beautifully to gather all the nicest people around your blog and I for one can’t wait to make your personal acquaintance – I LOVE this sort of gatherings…. And you’re nothing like ‘all alone’ sweetheart – look at the probably thousands following you, commenting, dreaming the ‘sweet life of France’ (well not that sweet here!).
        Gosh, I’m packing my suitcase right now – so I’m ready whenever…. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • oh yum! I’m keeping all your recipes Susan, they are so easy and delicious and I am so in tune with your thinking! I’ve never made a Clafoutis so will try that one on family first!! It looks delicious and my husband loves Cherries. Thank you for sharing it all and I hope you enjoyed your girls’ lunch! I get together with some old friends every 6 weeks or so. We call it a ‘Biddy’!! A very English term I think! We sit over a cup of tea and say we’re like a group of old biddies chatting away! It began years ago but we are now definitely a lot older and a lot more biddy-like! But there’s nothing like getting together with girlfriends whom you’ve known for ages and in whose company you feel easy. We cover all topics, dispense encouragement and advice where needed, laugh at life and ourselves and generally have a wonderful few hours. Have a good week.

    • I am definitely one for easy recipes, plus I always think they taste so much nicer! Your Biddy lunch sounds like great fun, indeed I use the phrase ‘old biddies’, but the children just look at me like I am quite mad!! Certainly lunches like that with old friends you have known for years are the best, sounds like perfection. Hope you too have a lovely week. Xx

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