French Markets, Autumn and Old Fashioned Cookery

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Oh Sun it is so nice to see you once more, and also to welcome your twin, warmth; I am so happy to make your acquaintance again. For I can no longer kid myself that we are in the last few days of summer. There is no hiding behind whichever theory one chooses to believe, for whether we follow the meteorological calendar or the astrological one, either way it is now autumn and the signs of the new season are all around, in the garden, on the streets and at the market.

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The cold winds and grey skies, the rain and low temperatures that have dominated our days since the beginning of September have been forgotten. Is it too soon to call this an Indian Summer? Would it be presumptuous, just because we have had a week of fabulous weather? An Indian summer is described in Wikipedia as “a period of unseasonably warm, dry weather” and may occur any time from late September through to November. In truth there is nothing unseasonable about these days at the moment, this is more than normal for early autumn in the Charente Maritime – what we had experienced last week and the one before that was what was definitely out of kilter.

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However, rather than dwell on what has been, we’ve been making the most of the heat once more. The Japanese anemone are flowering in abundance; they thrive in our garden always against north facing walls!

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Tiny cyclamen have pushed their way up through the earth appearing in unusual places, they are so small it’s easy to miss them altogether.P6780683

The leaves are still firmly clinging to the trees and the only ones to have changed colour are those of the Virginia Creeper which climb the walls of our house, turning a vivid burgundy red in places. The roses and geraniums are as stubborn as always, refusing to lie down and be forgotten; they will keep flowering despite rather tatty looking leaves and spindly stems until they are forced to surrender by the first frost of the year.P6780667

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Yesterday afternoon, being a Wednesday, the children were off school as normal and so we set off on our bikes. Millie was leading us on an adventure, and taking us to new places she had discovered quite by chance earlier in the week.

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We found a long row of apple trees planted haphazardly beside a track completely abandoned now. They were a rather a motley looking bunch; the fruit was mostly insect-bitten and small, but some of it was tasty none the less!

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So much of our life here is governed by seasons, now is the time to stock up on wood for the winter

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and start to gather the first of our walnuts. The fun part is knocking them off the tree

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before the sightly more laborious task of removing the outer shells, they stain the skin and it’s a messy job, but always made entirely more enjoyable by the company of our four legged friends who are never far way and always up for a game in the sun!

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French food is completely defined by the season; we eat what is grown locally and that means whatever thrives at each time of year. This is how I grew up and I like that France has kept this tradition.

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We had friends for dinner at the weekend and they offered to bring an entrée, a delicious home made butternut squash soup, spiced with the perfect amount of fresh ginger to give it that added zing; we all devoured it with much gusto, and of course the conversation turned to ingredients and discussing the food we were eating and where it had come from. Quite naturally I asked for the recipe (oh, and to add another confirmation that we are heading into the colder months, soup is back on the menu for mid week lunches) and I’ve already made it once since the weekend – I can see it is going to become a regular feature.

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It is quick and simple, nutritious and wholesome and tastes divine.

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
675 g butternut squash, seeds removed and cubed 
1 to 2 inches of fresh ginger
600 ml vegetable stock (or chicken stock)
100 ml orange juice
salt and black pepper

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions and garlic to the pan and fry until softened.

2. Add the butternut squash and add the ginger. Cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring from time to time.

3. Add the stock and orange juice and simmer for about 30 minutes until the squash is tender.

4. Leave the soup to cool slightly, before puréeing with a hand blender until smooth. Season to taste, reheat if necessary and serve. One can add a little cream if needed.

We have had this made with both vegetable stock and chicken stock and both were equally delicious. (This is adapted from a UK Good Food recipe).

I can imagine this in a flask, perfect for a picnic mid cycle or walk, served in big mugs with a crusty baguette or some home made wholewheat bread. In fact I am giving myself ideas as I write as Saturday is meant to be really warm, and I can sense a long country walk with all the family. With the aforementioned flask.

Whilst I copied this recipe I wondered if it would work just as well with pumpkins, I asked Roddy what he thought and he mentioned the word “gourd” in his reply. Is this a word that is even used nowadays? I must admit I was quite ignorant and it set me on a trail of discovery. Firstly to the meaning of the word (a gourd is a plant of the family Cucurbitaceae) and I found a gourd is a large round fruit with a hard skin. Then it was on to Mrs Beeton, that doyenne of English cooking, who wrote in her book that “the term squash is loosely used, especially in the United States, for 2 or 3 kinds of gourd, including the pumpkin”.

So I am assuming that this recipe would work just as well with pumpkins!

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But I have to confess I got thoroughly sidetracked and stayed up until the small hours of the morning, utterly engrossed in her very ancient book. Amongst our huge array of cookbooks we have always had Mrs. Beeton’s Household Management sitting on the shelf. It is a First Edition from 1923, the red leather spine is torn and battered and the well thumbed pages are quite yellow with age, but the content is incredible.

P6780771P6780772Along with thousands of recipes there are also sections on Household Work, Etiquette, Entertaining, The Nursery, Laundry Work, The Home Lawyer, The Home Doctor, How To Keep Well “Nothing is more important to physical well being, and consequently to the attainment of long life, than the two evidences of a healthy stomach – good digestion and appetite”. and so it goes on. Everything anyone could ever have wanted to know about life a century ago.

Of soups she wrote, “soup forms the first course of the meal of those who dine in the true sense of the term, but its importance as a part of the every day diet is not sufficiently appreciated by the multitude. Yet no form of food is more digestible and wholesome”.

There is a huge section on food and recipes from around the world and even one on Vegetarian Cookery, although she sights the need for a different diet for medical and religious reasons when I read her advice on a meat-free diet I certainly detected an undercurrent of disapproval!

In the Australian and the American & Canadian sections she describes the food as English in character although in both parts she notes that French cuisine is highly sought after.

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The French Cookery section is much the same as I would imagine it to be if published today, with a whole section on typical French dishes.

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In her ‘General Observations on French Cookery’ she notes that France is now the nurse of all modern cooks – remember this is 1923, though! She goes on to say that Nature supplies the whole of France very generously with everything that can further good cooking. So there you go – some things never change!

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However one of the most fascinating sections for me was that titled, “Marketing”. I was confused at first, wondering what she was trying to sell before I started to read and realised she was discussing buying food.

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In this respect very little has changed here at all, the produce is still carefully examined before purchase and there is never any rush

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and the vendor will happily cut a large ‘gourd’ to size.

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Whilst we must embrace modern technology, I also hope this way of life will never change. I think a mixture of the best the 21st century has to offer with some good old fashioned fun thrown in makes perhaps the perfect lifestyle.

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*** Just a little note, quite a few people have emailed me saying they no longer get email notifications when I publish a post. I have noticed that if you have experienced any glitches or problems with your emails in general that quite often you will automatically be unsubscribed from various sites you follow. So if you are having problems please do check that you are still subscribed to Our French Oasis. Just so you don’t miss out on anything!!!

125 thoughts on “French Markets, Autumn and Old Fashioned Cookery

  • Although my sisters and I were brought up in Australia, my mother, born in England, always had a pot of soup on the go. It transitioned from meal to meal with the vegetable water of the next night’s dinner (and was probably very weak but I didn’t know that at the time). Even on the hottest days, I still enjoy soup for dinner.
    Just as an aside, Mrs Beeton wouldn’t get away these days with referring constantly to the cook as ‘she’!

    • We always had a big pot of soup on the go too, on the back of the aga, but only in the colder months. I enjoy all type of soup and this summer started, for the first time, to really love cold soups. Mrs Beeton’s book come in for a lot of criticism nowadays, there are plenty of references to the women in the home and how important it is that she cooks well for her husband, keeps the house running perfectly for him etc., But if one reads it remembering that it was a century ago and that she was in fact alive during the 1800’s then it is fascinating. How times have changed! I was, as I say, quite engrossed. xx

      • Ha, this is the 1st comment I read and already I’m grinning…. It’s so NOT going back to Mrs Beeton, my mum (95) is telling me every time I’m phoning with her: ….. And now you’re surely going to cook something nice and healthy (decent) for your darling husband so that he stays healthy and in good health (or something similarily silly – she simply ADORES Hero Husband!)

        • Ha ha, you see that was how it was, that is everything that the book is about, the lady of the house must keep her husband happy by providing excellent meals and making sure the house ran like clockwork and was always perfect, heaven forbid the man had to deal with anything on a domestic level! But I love reading this, because it just shows us what life was like and that alone fascinates me. Perfect weather here this weekend, neither too hot nor too cold, around 26C both days, perfect. Hope you have had a lovely weekend too. xx

  • Goodness this is fascinating, you have come up trumps yet again, i am not sure how you do it, your posts are always fresh and interesting, I am quite addicted to your blog!

    • Thanks so much Pamela, I just write about what happens around here, with a large family, it is never dull and there is always something I find that might amuse or interest! I try, to look on the bright side at all times, a little light relief perhaps from everything going on in the world, because I think we can all do with that from time to time. xx

    • I completely agree! Susan, your posts are the highlights of my week. I always take the time to sit and enjoy your narrative and pictures of your life and family!
      Xoxo, Nancy

  • I must take issue with you …. the Autumnal Equinox is tomorrow which means that we are still in summer. Pedantic I may be but I really do refuse to kiss goodbye to Summer and say hello to Autumn until I really have to! The soup looks fabulous …. oddly my husband mentioned Gourds the other day – the conversation was similarly around what squash is best for what and up popped a word that I associate mostly with my Granny and Monty Python (Life of Brian if you are wondering what I’m on about). In truth I adore Autumn and will be happy to welcome her tomorrow and I may just make a pot of this divine elixir to greet her xx

    • You are so so right, how could I have made that gravest of errors, me of all people, the one who hates the end of summer and clings to it as if my life depended on it!! So now I am extra happy, the blog post might be incorrect, but I am in shorts, we had lunch outside, the sun is shining, it is in the 20’s and it is officially still summer, thank you!!! Yes gourds is an old fashioned word I am quite sure, perhaps Roddy was just showing his age and I hope he doesn’t read this, or perhaps he was just showing how well versed he is!!! xx

      • Stick with the latter as though your life depended on it is my advice … mine is several years older than me and I do get the odd ‘oy’ from him if I reference it too acutely! My birthday is the Autumnal Equinox so I have always been very sure of it’s date (though with my own number rising to alarming levels that may change sooner than later 😉) xx

        • Ha ha, good advice!! I am going to be the first to say a very Happy Birthday to you, although I suspect someone in the southern hemisphere might have beaten me to it! It think one gets to a stage where it is best to start counting backwards instead of forwards!!! xx

          • I decided I would multiply one number by the other which brings me to a figure I am quite happy with xx. Thank you for the birthday wishes – I never tire of that bit however great the number grows …. just one other so far (not including HB2 who was here last week and gave me a lovely unbirthday on Saturday including a new camera which I have refused to try out til tomorrow so I have something lovely to occupy me) xx

          • Sounds like a plan! Love the birthday present, Roddy gave me a camera for my birthday the year before this and I love it but I have to admit I am still rather pathetic at using it, I stick to the functions I understand and never quite find the time to go through the book and experiment more! What type of camera is it, perhaps we can compare notes! xx

          • It’s a Pentax K-70 … he also have me a second lens with tons of zoom. This in itself is an issue – which lens, when???? Up til now I have used a fully automatic Fujitsu so this having the choice of auto or manual focus will be interesting if not alarming! xx

          • Welcome to my world! I was quite happy with my fully automatic, all I can say is thank goodness my new camera has an automatic setting, which I do use rather a lot! I too was the lucky recipient of a second lens and this year a polarising accessory, now I need to take a photographic course or at least do some serious studying to use it all, but I simply have not managed to find the time yet, so I stick to the auto button, but shhhhh!!! Oh and HAPPY BIRTHDAY XXXXXX

    • There is nothing quite like them, especially on a warm morning such as today, a perfect way to shop for lunch and linger a while and have a chat with the stall holders. Very much a part of life here. xx

    • In total agreement with you there, it is the perfect weather, warm enough to sit and eat outdoors and have the windows open and yet not that stifling heat when it is too hot to do anything at all. Just love it. xx

  • I’m a bit further south than you so cold soups are still on the menu but I’m looking forward to plenty of hot soup once the mercury drops a bit more. Love spiced butter nut squash/pumpkin soups.

    • Thanks, I think one of the most important things we can teach our children is the need to slow down a little and to take the time to enjoy each others company and good conversation and good food. xx

  • Farmers’ Markets are becoming more popular here again, although I grew up with them. My daughter was trying to impress us with her cooking skills and made Butternut Squash soup, but didn’t fit the blender tight. I cleaned up squash for months!

    • OMG that sounds like an absolute nightmare. I remember when we were renovating this house and we were renting a property nearby as we couldn’t live here. Roddy was working on the house and I was running around trying to feed four hungry children who wanted food, who were trying to tell me about their day at a new school french school and who were tired. I had made pasta, a quick meal and homemade tomato sauce so there was plenty of goodness. I put everything into the blender and the lid flew off, the mess was incredible and it wasn’t even our own home. I know just how your felt!! xx

    • When I eventually manage to get you here I will show it to you and you can curl up on a sofa and lose yourself in it, I was engrossed for a couple of hours and it would have been far more if I hadn’t had to get up and get children to school today!! xx

  • Reading other comments and your replies I would love to see more of that book, I am quite fascinated by history and how the role of women in particular has evolved. Will you share more with us at some stage?

    • I would love to share more Trish, it fascinated me too, the more I read the more I wanted to read. I could have delved much further but I knew I had to get up to get the children to school today! It is quite fascinating, times have changed so much and the role of women and the home completely and yet some parts of it are also so true, in some aspects very little has changed. xx

  • Susan, I can taste the soup. It happens to be one of my favourites. We had a few unseasonably cool days as well. The only good part was the first fire of the season in the wood stove. We are not back to shorts weather, but the sun is shinning and coats are not necessary. I know we need rain, but…..

    Ali xxx

    • I will make you the soup whilst you are here, it has become my favourite!! We certainly have not had to light a fire yet, hopefully that is a good couple of weeks or more away. Shorts all day again today and high 70’s and just perfect. Mornings and evenings are chilly, but that is normal at this time of year with clear skies, but the weather is just perfect and set to last certainly for the next ten days. Not long now! xxx

  • Lovely post. Like you I’m clinging on to summer and today it is warm and sunny outside and markedly chilly in the house! I love old cookery books (and those on gardening too). I have some French ones that I truffled out in vide greniers. Some of the recipes have the most formidable lists of ingredients and instructions. Gourds, yes Monty Python but now you can buy seeds for ornamental gourds of various (and occasionally dubious) shapes and sizes. I visited a garden last weekend where gourds were grown in a long pergola-type archway. They clambered up the sides and hung, rather suggestively, off the curved roof. All shapes, sizes and colours. Quite spectacular.

    • Wow those gourds sound incredible! I did read that very often they are hanging fruits off climbers, I now have a picture in my mind of suggestive gourds hanging from a vine and am laughing to myself!!! This weather is just beautiful, I have been opening windows and doors everywhere to get some warmth back into the house. I am quite obsessed at the moment with Mrs Beeton’s book, it is utterly fascinating, not so much the recipes but her ideas and suggestions on how to run a perfect home! xx

    • Thanks so much, we are lucky to live here and it is a great place to raise the family. Going to our local markets is very much a part of life here and a very important part of life, I hope it never changes. xx

  • What a lovely post for ‘almost autumn’. The weather is changing here, too, and I’ve put on socks for the first time in a long while. We try to eat seasonally here, too, in tune with the rhythms of nature. I have a couple of small squashes from the garden that I intend to make into soup this weekend; I could eat soup every day without tiring of it. Soup and bread and cheese equal a perfectly satisfying meal.
    Mrs. Beeton’s cookbook sounds like an intriguing read. I’d be interested to read about American and Canadian cooking; it’s curious that she lumps it all into one. There is such a melange of heritages here in Canada and each has its own way of preparing food, so there is a lovely variety available. We’re of European heritage – German and English, but I favour French cooking, so we’re perhaps an example of “Canadian” cooking when we use our Pacific salmon, maple syrup, local wild mushrooms, and more to prepare our meals.
    Enjoy this last day of summer. It’s sunny here today, too.

    • Almost autumn indeed, how could I have made such a crucial mistake!!! Soup and bread and cheese make a fantastic meal, I quite agree, simple and nutritious. I wondered who would pick up on the fact that she lumps American and Canadian together, that’s mostly why I showed the photo to prove that she had!! Although I have to admit your Pacific salmon and local wild mushrooms does sound like a perfect dish, I am a great fish lover, I could happily eat it every day. Perfect weather here today for the last day of summer. xx

  • The soup looks delicious, anything that colour just has to be good, doesn’t it? Lovely to see the sun in your market shots, although I notice that everyone’s wearing a jacket. I’ll be there tomorrow, so hoping to be at a market myself soon.

    • You remember I am sure the advertising in the UK, the stronger the colour, the better it is for us! I still think of this so often! They were wearing jackets but it was early in the morning. The mornings and evenings are chilly, quite typical when we have such clear days, but the days are gorgeous, today was around 23C and perfect. It looks set to last and Saturday should be really warm, enjoy. How long are you here for? Let me know if you ever make it further south into the CM xx

  • How wonderful to be able to eat so many fresh seasonal products. I remember goring up like that. Now a days you have access to everything from every season anytime of the year, or should I say most things.

    I cannot wait to try this soup recipe. I love soups in the winter.

    Your garden looks beautiful, I love the vines on the house. And your animals are adorable.

    • I rather like that we don’t have access to everything here, when we see that first strawberry for sale at the end of May or the first melon, or apricot it is so exciting, after winter I know I certainly long for some variety and some more exotic fruits and vegetables, I never thought I would call a melon, for example, exotic, but it becomes just that when it is not available year round. Do try the soup, it is quite delicious and the ginger really gives it quite a zing. Hope you have the lovely quiet weekend you long for xxx

  • Just enjoy the beautiful weather which I call sumaut ( between summer and autumn) in the Medoc region…..landscape, food, wine …so wonderful. Pumpkin soup is always on my list when the cooler season starts.
    Yummy with a spoon of sour cream on top . Hope we all can enjoy the best autumn weather.

    • Sumaut, the perfect word, and we do have the most perfect Sumaut weather at the moment. I so hope it lasts it is forecast to certainly for the next ten days, we could do with a lovely warm autumn, I feel we may have a very cold winter. Do try this soup, it is perfect for these slightly cooler days especially with plenty of ginger! xx

  • We have been lucky to spend September in France and are currently in Brittany. Our market was this morning in Dinan and was wonderful. Renting apartments or homes has allowed us to take advantage of the many offerings and prepare a few meals. Although it has been nice to see the pumpkins and “gourds”, there are still the many colored tomatoes of summer available. I look forward to trying your soup recipe. I use a similar one from Martha Stewart where the squash, onions and garlic are roasted with apples, then added to broth and blended. You’ve got my taste buds watering! I would love to read Mrs. Beeton. Here in the States my mother used The Settlement Cookbook “A way to a man’s heart” that was written over 100 years ago. Sounds similar.
    Love your blog and the stories of your family. Thank you for sharing with us!
    Nina in Michigan

    • We still have plenty of tomatoes on offer too and a garden full of them, plus grapes and figs, oh the figs, I never want that season to end! Do try this soup recipe, it is so easy and very healthy and quite delicious! Your book sounds very similar, all about women in the home pleasing their men!! What fun you must be having in Brittany, enjoying the markets and all that it has to offer, I love the Brittany coastline and the rugged rocks and cliffs. Hope you enjoy the rest of your visit and have a safe return to Michigan. xx

      • Oh yes, the figs! They are so delicious here. I even saw some sliced on pizza at the market! We get ours from California, and by the time they reach us the sweetness is gone.
        Nina

        • I have never tried figs on a pizza but imagine they would be delicious, we love ours baked with some blue cheese and some Bayonne ham, perfection! There is nothing like eating them straight from the tree, still warm from the sun and as fresh as fresh can be. Have a lovely weekend xx

  • I watched a science programme some years ago that showed that if you weigh up exactly the same quantity and ingredients for firstly a plate of food, and the puréed into soup, the soup keeps you going much longer and is better digested. I found it fascinating. I adore soup, it’s once of my favorite parts of autumn and winter. When I was young I always had soup in a thermos for my packed lunch. I’m glad you are having lovely weather, it’s been very miserable here until yesterday, but today was glorious. Let’s hope we have many more days of it. Miranda xx

    • How interesting, I wonder why, something to do with the way the body digests soup obviously which makes me think that some solids must pass through the body without us fully digesting them and absorbing all the vitamins. It seems Mrs Beeton knew what she was talking about!! Soup is definitely a part of my autumn and winter, so many times with the children at school we will just have a big bowl of hearty soup for lunch and I never, ever, get bored of it. It was a bit soggy here but has been stunning since the weekend and is so nice to feel really warm again. Let’s hope it lasts through the autumn or is that being a little bit too optimistic. I fear we may have a cold winter. xx

  • I just live your blog! Always excited to read your post and enjoy your pictures. Can’t wait to try your butternut squash soup recipe. Sounds delicious! Take care, and continue to blog.

  • Nice to see some familiar faces and photos, and so glad you enjoyed the soup.
    Very sad to be leaving soon, particularly as the temperatures are about to hit 26 degrees, but thanks again for your wonderful hospitality and see you all next year X

    • I am not thinking about you leaving, it is too sad, it signals another final step to the end of another great summer. Today was so lovely and warm and tomorrow will be even better, at least the weather behaved for the second week! xxx

  • Ohh…I’ve saved your soup recipe…sounds divine. It will be my first time but it sounds easy enough. I live with a houseful of soup lovers and I’ll tell them the recipe is from France. A Win Win. 🙂

    • You know, I used to be scared of making soups, but once I started I realised how easy they are and this really is super easy. Follow the recipe and enjoy it. Don’t be shy with the ginger because the added zing is what makes it so special. I am sure you are going to love it, let me know xxx

  • Oh those markets and your fall garden and and the girls on their bikes, so much love radiates from every post you write. What a beautiful family and what lucky kids.

    • Thanks so much Peggy, yes are are a great big happy family, most of the time!! It’s a good life, and I love that the children are always up for an adventure and happy to leave their electronics behind and get outside. I can’t really ask for any more than that! xx

  • Ah, Mrs. Beeton. A true domestic goddess. One of our more dubious family “treasures” is a game book kept by several generations. Albeit a grisly record of a truly astonishing number of hapless creatures dispatched before their time, there is an accompanying housekeepers book with many really old recipes along the eat what you kill lines, some featuring fairly exotic ingredients. There is also advice on the best home butchery methods of preparation be it fur feather or scale. Clearly the cooks of old were made of sterner stuff than yours truly. On a more modern note, my late mother’s recipe for the decadent but delicious sticky toffee pudding mandates the use of Camp Coffee. I remember the bottle which if memory serves featured an exotic military man. Always hated the taste of the coffee though. Continuing the nostalgia theme, Tate and Lyle’s Golden Syrup, indisputably a national treasure once found on every pantry shelf.

    • What a fabulous book, clearly cooks of days gone by were made of sterner stuff, I remember often we would have a brace of pheasants hanging in the cellar at home and my father later plucking them, never my mother though, she just cooked them once they were prepared! Now Tate and Lyle’s Golden Syrup is still going strong and one of the very few English things we can buy here in our local supermarket, no marmite, but PG Tips and syrup!!! xx

  • It is 11am here on a Friday morning and I should be working, Madame! Well, when can I ever work on a Friday morning these days because I lock the door, take the phones off the hook and travel to France and enjoy! Today even more than usual – so many riches handed out! Love the markets, translate the prices [boo-hoo for us!!] and take down the recipes . . . and I’ll eat hot soup even in 40C+ temperatures!! Like the orange juice in this one . . . Oh spring and autumnal dates : we Aussies make it simple: first of the month naturally, so we are in the 22nd day of spring and the weekend temps are meant to be in the mid-thirties with wind: the horror word of ‘bushfires’ has already surfaced many a time. Mrs Beeton: actually ‘had her’ but don’t know where she has been ‘losted’ – BUT, I do have the Estonian equivalent published in the mid-1930-s . . . . thought it awfully ‘boring’ in my younger ‘smarty-pants’ days, but it is making increasing sense now . . . .

    • If you will happily eat soup in spring and summer then you must make this if you can still get squash at this time of year with you. When it comes to the seasons I am a bit of a cheat and set the times for my own benefit, thus summer always begins on the 1st June but autumn does not begin until the equinox, i.e. today, that way I get nearly four months that I can call summer, it works for me!! I hope the bushfire season is under control this year, such a horrid worry for everyone. An Estonian equivalent of Mrs Beeton must be amazing, I am fascinated by everything that she talks about. There was once a programme on television called an Edwardian kitchen and I was riveted, everything was such hard work! Have a lovely weekend. xx

  • I enjoyed your post. Where I live in Canada, we have had a warm, no, hot September. The hurricanes in the Caribbean have pushed all the hot air up here. We have had to air condition the house today and yesterday. I am not complaining, though. Winter will come soon enough. The soup recipe looks good and I think pumpkin would also work in it.

    • I always think a warm autumn is rather welcome, it makes winter, hopefully short and sweet. I believe we may get a cold winter this year but who knows. Hope you enjoy the soup, if you do try it with pumpkin please do let me know. xx

  • Susan,
    I dropped my husband off early at the airport this morning excited to get back and have some alone time, a latte, and read your post. Well, like many things a few issues arose for the day and I am finally getting back to one of my favorite things: Reading your Blog.
    I absolutely ADORE your part about Mrs. Beeton’s book. What a lovely treasure you have there…! What a “wise” woman she was. I immediately thought of Julia Childs. How fun would have it been for the two of them to meet and “swap” secrets about cooking?
    I love Fall Soups 🍁🍂🌻and can’t wait to try the Butternut Squash Soup. Yum!
    Again, your photograph’s are “splendid.” Thank you for sharing your Adventures. There is so much “Love” that radiates from each and every post of yours that I ALWAYS have a Smile on my face when I finish them.
    Thank you and have a Fabulous Weekend doing what you do so wonderfully…loving your family! ❤️

    • I have become quite engrossed in Mrs Beeton! It is so fascinating to read how a household was run, or was meant to be run a hundred years ago. Do try the squash soup, it is delicious, and don’t be shy with the ginger, it is what really makes it, that added zing. I am so happy to put a smile on your face. There is so much devastation in the world today and so much bad news and fear and I want to just offer a little light relief for an hour or so each week, just a little escapism and reaffirmation that there is plenty of good in the world too. Have a fabulous weekend yourself, the weather is meant to be fantastic here so it will be outdoors all the time! xxx

  • Susan, what a delightful blog – thank you !
    Here in Australia we are gladly are farewelling a chilly winter and excitedly welcoming the sunshine back into our lives, and whilst I am not a lover of our hottest days, I am ready to move on to Glorious Spring! The blossom is magnificent everywhere and the pale green new shoots on all the deciduous trees and bushes are shining in the sunshine. I think the most perfect blossom is on the quince tree – pale pink perfection!
    As an almost Equinox baby – 23rd – I always consider Spring to be welcomed on my birthday just for me!!!, as here we say it begins on September 1st!!!
    Thank you for sharing your wonderful Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management – I too have a copy of this fabulous tome, and I enjoyed reading your page describing “Marketing” – I had forgotten how beautiful her command of the English language is, and smiled at the use of long forgotten words and phrases, such as “the wise housewife will distribute her custom”, “whence the best value is obtainable”, and “by dint of judicious selection”. Such wonderful words!! I must get my copy out of my tragically enormous cookbook bookcase and lose myself in her pages again.
    Enjoy your delicious bowls of soup – sadly I think such warming foods are coming to an end here and the soup pot will be relegated to the back of the cupboard for some months. Hello salads and lighter fare!
    Thankyou for sharing your French life with us. Bisous xx

    • Hi Susie, first and foremost a very happy Birthday for tomorrow, although by the time you read this it may very well be your birthday in Australia, hope you have a fabulous day. I have become quite engrossed in Mrs Beeton’s cookbook, yes her English is wonderful, there is much about the wise housewife and much about how to keep men happy which basically translates as making sure the food is perfect and the household is run to perfection. Such a contrast to today’s world. Our weather is very spring like today, blue skies and a really warm sun, long may it continue. Now you have all the blossom and warm days to look forward to and a feast of fresh local foods. Enjoy, do you detect a note of envy in my writing!!! Have a great birthday once again, any plans for another European visit? xxx

      • Thankyou so much Susan for your lovely birthday wishes … it is the evening of the 22nd here now, so “one more sleep” as the children love to say!! Tomorrow I have yoga, lunch at a beautiful winery and distillery in the Adelaide hills and dinner in the city at an Italian restaurant … how spoilt am I?! As I say to my husband, I’m like a fine wine … getting better with age!!!!! Early 60’s now and am quite happy to stay at this delicious age!
        Our markets are now filling with seasonal spring produce and zucchini flowers, mangoes and asparagus are now available .. can’t wait for the summer fruits and delicious tomatoes!
        We are so looking forward to coming your way next March… France and Italy are my special loves and I only wish we were closer, however are fortunate to be able to pop over each year. Fantastically excited and lovely to look forward to exploring the SW of France so might even see you cycling along a country lane!! Xox

        • Yes “one more sleep” our children learnt to countdown the days in this way in New Zealand and the other day told me exactly how many sleeps it was until Christmas! It sounds as if you have the most perfect birthday lined up, hope you had/are having the most truly wonderful day. Where are you going to be next March, let’s definitely meet, a cycle ride, dinner, whatever it would be lovely. xx

          • Thank you Susan, I had a delightful birthday and am now looking forward to the new exciting year ahead!
            Our trip to France in March will come quickly so I should start to make some plans … I would so love to meet you and will be in touch when dates and places are decided upon … how lovely that would be!
            Until next time . Bisous!
            Susie xox

          • A new and exciting year sounds like a perfect way to start a new year, on a very positive note, I like that. Do let me know as soon as you make plans and do let me know if I can help at all, have a fairly good network of friends through quite a few areas of France! We shall definitely meet up xx

  • Lovely recipe Susan. We made loads of pumpkin soup with coconut last year but I’ve not tried gourds yet, although they are all over the place! I have a post coming up with roasted tomato and garlic as we all still have loads of tomatoes! xx

    • I love cooking with coconut oil as I find it gives a really nice subtle flavour and can imagine coconut would go very well with pumpkins. Do try this soup, it is delicious and add plenty of ginger, it is what makes it in my opinion. We have lots of tomatoes too and if this warm weather continues then all the green ones which did nothing in early September might finally ripen. I shall look forward to your recipe. I keep meaning to email you to hear more about your possible move, do email me and let me know if you get the chance. xx

  • We’re having more than Indian Summer. It was over 90F yesterday is supposed to get that high for the next several days before dropping a degree or two. Much too hot for me. The soup will sound great once it cools off. 🙂

    janet

    • Wow you are really having an Indian Summer, I thought we were lovely and warm nudging 80 today!! No doubt you will be plunged into very cold weather soon and then you can really enjoy the soup! Have a lovely weekend xx

      • I think we’re having the summer of an entire tribe of Indians!! Since the AC is out and no one can come to fix it (maybe until Monday), I’m trying to pretend I’m in France where no one has air anyway. It’s supposed to be hot into next week, so I’ll have lots of time to work on my pretending skills. 🙂

        • Ahh, but the difference here we have 2 foot thick old stone walls and shutters that keep the house coolish during the daytime as you know! I will keep my fingers crossed they come and fix it for you tomorrow! Stunning here this weekend also, low 80’s which is perfect for this time of year, but not as hot as you! xx

  • I was mentally thinking of using pumpkin whilst reading your recipe. Then you mentioned it. I often dip into my my ancient Mrs Beaton. Love it. Love your blog. I live on an island off the coast of Queensland Australia and our seasons are opposite. We are coming into spring and it is already very warm.

    • Thanks so much Sandra, you live in a beautiful part of the world, having grown up on an island I am a big fan of island living! Isn’t it fun to while away a few minutes or hours reading Mrs Beeton, it really does take us to a different world, how things have changed! Hope you are having a lovely warm spring weekend xx

  • Lovely recipe. I can’t believe fall is here!!! Our leaves here in Virginia are turning on some trees. We may be in for an early fall, although, it’s quite warm yet. Still the nights are cooler. I was about to say the same thing Patricia did regarding the gourd/squash. I was brought up that gourds were not edible, but had uses such as bird houses, dippers, bowls and now, of course, fall decorations, whereas squash (there are summer and winter squash) are edible! Mrs. Beeton’s reminds me of a book I have called How to do Things. It is a trove of information (how to dig a root cellar or store vegetable over winter; how to build a chicken coop; all manner of recipes). I’d have been up late reading it as well! Enjoy your fall.

    • It has certainly been a very strange summer here and I have no idea what weather autumn will bring. I hope it is a warm one for I have a feeling we are going to get a cold winter, but I would sooner have cold and dry than warm and wet! I think maybe the word gourd has changed or maybe different countries have different meanings for the word which is quite possible. In the UK it still seems to mean both edible and inedible. Autumn and winter evenings are the times for reading, snuggled up, whereas summer is for eating outside and chatting with friends under the stars! Have a lovely weekend xx

  • Soup season is one of my favourite times of year. Butternut squash is something we do not often dip into but making a soup of it with chicken stock sounds very appealing – we shall have to try it, I think. It sounds wonderful. Mrs C has just reminded me I have a copy of a recipe book called the Covent Garden Soup Book – a gift from many Christmases ago, so I shall go and dig that out and see if I can find something different to share. Thank you for the market photos; they’re a lovely reminder of why we used to go shopping over the other side when we could. I’m going to see if I can’t persuade Mrs C to do a quick dash across to Dieppe for a Christmas market – we used to do that every year and I think it should be done once more at least while it’s still a painless adventure. Have a lovely week, Susan, Mrs C sends regards…

    • Thanks so much Phil, we have neglected squash in the last few years and it was only our friends who have brought it back to our attention. Since then Roddy has roasted a squash and then made it into a roasted hummus which was utterly delicious last night. There seems to be no end of things one can do with them and they are so healthy, keep for ages and are very inexpensive. I think a trip across the Channel is definitely in order, you will love it I am sure once more. Best wishes to you both for a lovely weekend, hope the sun makes an appearance. xx

  • I so love your posts that delve into daily life in France, markets and recipes. I’m debating now whether to bring any cookbooks along when we move to France. I have one that is written by French monks and breaks recipes up into different seasons. How can I leave that behind? But, of course, I’m going to be limited in what I can bring with me. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks Paulita, there is just something so good about the way of life here that despite having lived here for years I never get bored of it and I still feel so privileged to live here! Yes you must bring at least one cookbook, I always travel with a favourite of mine! The internet is perfect for most recipes nowadays, but much loved, well thumbed cookbook can never be a bad idea! xx

  • Beautiful photos, and I love pumpkin soup, I have never thought of using orange juice, will try it next time.. I love Mrs Beaton’s Cookbook,, I downloaded a copy from the Project Gutenberg website (fascinating site, lots of old books there.) Have a beautiful week .

    • I had never thought of adding orange juice to a soup either, but the recipe calls for it and it certainly does give it a wonderful flavour. I shall look up the Gutenberg website thank you. These old books are absolute treasures! xx

  • I’m French and my mom has always made soup for dinner in autumn/winter ever since when i was a kid. I now do the same at home, and i just hate when someones says “i don’t like soup” like all the soups are just the same! And i’m the living proof that the saying to kids “mange ta soupe, ça fait grandir !” is false, because i’ve always been small 🙂 It makes an easy meal, you have some leftovers for the days after, just add a bit of cheese and bread, and it’ll be healthy and balanced.

    I was planning a butternut squash soup for tonight, so i’ll try your recipe. I have a bottle of orange/carrot juice in the fridge, so that will do!

    I also like to do chestnut and potimarron (with mushrooms too sometimes), and pumpkin soup “indian style” (with curcuma, ginger, coriander and cumin seeds, and coconut milk).

    • Your pumpkin soup Indian style sounds quite delicious too, I shall see if I can find a recipe like this. I love soup for supper and as you so rightly say then I have leftover soup for lunch whilst the children are at school for a couple of days with some cheese afterwards, the perfect light, easy meal! Hope you enjoy this butternut squash soup, we had it last night again, it is a firm favourite here. xx

      • The soup was good! We added some pieces of “lardons allumettes” and grated comté. I love grated cheese or parmigiano in my soup 😋 And we have some leftover! For the Indian style soup I sauté some onions, garlic and coriander + cumin seeds, then add the vegetables (I always add potatoes in my soups) and then add ginger and curcuma along with them. When it’s cooked I mix it and add coconut milk

        • Thank you so much for this, I shall buy some pumpkins in the market tomorrow morning, always the best place for them! Seeing as I am a great soup lover I cannot think of anything nicer. My husband is a huge fan of adding lardons to lots of different things and cheese! I prefer my cheese separately afterwards with a small piece of baguette! Each to his own!! xx

          • ah ah i do eat a bit of cheese too afterwards… not always, but often i’d say… Hope you’ll tell us about this new recipe soon and that you’ll enjoy it!

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