Monday, 4 November 2013

Cocktails and Cathedrals

After a good solid month of doing nothing particularly exciting, I've just had one of those spectacularly busy weeks, which left me a bit torn about what to write about. There was France, London, wine tasting, not to mention my favourite holiday of them all (ok, maybe apart from Christmas); HALLOWEEN!

I planned to do some Halloween themed tutorials - I LOVE playing with make-up and fancy dress, this year I was a gruesome flapper - and I made a worm-infested Bailey's jelly brain. But it just seems a bit too late now. There's always next year I suppose, or perhaps an unseasonal Valentines post for the single and bitter. In the meantime, I swung for the rest of my holiday in France...

The first week was spent largely lying by the pool and doing the odd spot of painting as the house was finished around me. But who could blame me? As England was being torn apart by storms (or so the news would have us believe) I was cycling to the bread shop in the morning and sunning myself with a good book (Along Came a Spider - brilliant read) in the afternoon. I even braved a swim, although the pool wasn't heated and so was pretty darn cold.

This is not to say, however, that I didn't earn my keep. My cocktail making prowess was called upon almost daily for sundowners, and I was even called upon to host a cocktail party for the local ex-pat friends and neighbours (it was intended to be pre-dinner drinks, but no one left before midnight - I call that a victory for my bartending).


Here, Lynda and I are enjoying an ice-cold Fallet Royale - created especially for the occasion and named after the house. It's incredibly simple, similar to a Kir Royale (Cassis and Champagne) but made with Floc, a local liqueur that's a bit like sherry, a bit like port, and quite delicious. Simply pop roughly a single measure into a champagne flute and top with bubbly. Add a blackcurrant or black grape for garnish and enjoy in front of a French sunset. Or an English one. Or Made in Chelsea...

I did also manage to squeeze in a bit of culture during my trip, before you judge me too harshly. On Monday I went on a trip to Auch, a small town west of Toulouse.


We stopped here for a bit of lunch. By which I mean three courses of butter-soaked deliciousness, obviously. I had an incredible pumpkin soup with hazelnut foam and roasted hazelnuts that I'm desperate to figure out the recipe for. I'm fairly sure it's largely butter and cream, maybe some duck fat. It is the fois gras region after all. 

The main event however was the Cathedral.

The Cathedral is a little replica of Notre Dame and, despite the scaffolding, is quite beautiful. It's even more so inside...

It may be a bit smaller than its Parisian sister, but it no less impressive. I loved Auch, it's full of beautiful architecture and small winding streets. Big thanks to the Sturtivant family for letting me tag along with them, you wonderful brilliant people.

Sigh. I miss France, and really hope I get to go back soon. At least I made it back for Halloween though.

I couldn't not give you a picture...

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