If Terence Conran could sell French country style to the English in the 20th century, why shouldn't I sell English patisserie to the French in the 21st century?
If only it were that easy. I hadn't reckoned on French bureaucracy, weather and good old xenophobia. But hey, life on the traditional French markets is full of surprises so I thought I should share them with the wider world.
After 20 years living in the centre of uber style-conscious London, I shipped out to live in the rural bliss of west central France, leaving all semblance of chic and style behind me together with my manicured nails to live in muddy boots and ripped jeans to work on the 'renovation of our French country ruin'. Eventually finding a need for contact with humanity in whatever form, I came upon the idea of selling fairy cakes to the French. Only problem was; I didn't have a kitchen!
This blog will be a document to the success, or otherwise of my enterprise along with the tales, trials and emotional rollercoasters of life on the market in France. I hope you will enjoy.......

quintessentially English

quintessentially English
........but in France!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Rainy days

Well the rain arrived here in our corner of France and this week has been a wash-out on the market! My early morning coffee and croissant with the girls stretched a little further into the morning as we looked out on the dismal weather and wondered if it was really worth going out there at all!
Still stuffed up with the cold I caught last week, I barely managed to make myself understood to the natives; the words 'meringue' and 'gateaux' don't come out too well with an English accent and congested sinuses!
Despite the rain, summer is well on it's way here, the air is warm, the green shoots are coming up in the garden and romance and procreation seem to be in the air. One of my colleagues who sells giftware on the market announced to me earlier this year that her partner had decided that they should try for a baby, she was over the moon, he seemed to think it would happen 'just like that', and the pair of them embarked in typical French hypochondriac fashion, on a series of medical appointments and check-ups. Both having been given the 'all clear', the project has been under way for a few months, with no results. This week my friend took me to one side after a strained phone call from her partner, in which I understood that something precious had been broken, but not knowing what. It turned out that she had that morning decided to do a home pregnancy test before leaving for work, only being a couple of days past her usual monthly cycle, I wondered if she wasn't a bit over keen, but she said that the test was negative, and not wanting to leave her sleeping partner in ignorance, she left the test on the kitchen table for him to see when he awoke. The resulting phone call was from a distraught boyfriend who was still in ignorance having woken up to find that their newly adopted dog had chewed the test up, and he couldn't read it!
On the subject of 'sap rising' I should tell you that my friendly veg man was back on the market today, of course no-one mentioned his disappearance of last week, but he was clean shaven and on top selling form today again! I bought some of his freshly picked red onions. I have previously used them caremelised in breadsticks, but this evening made a caremelised red onion and goat's cheese tart, which was really succulent and colourful with fresh thyme, salad and radishes from our garden.

My best selling cake this week was the invention of my little boy who requested a chocolate cake with mint for his birthday, he has a wonderful habit of 'grazing' on my mint bush when he passes, and I find it difficult to discourage such a healthy habit - so much better than sweets!
In fact my chocolate sponges were such a success that I had none left to photograph for you, but suffice it to say, that layers of chocolate sponge, peppermint cream icing and chocolate ganache went down a treat in today's miserable weather! I'll do them again and show you!

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