Comme à la maison

My last post about the trip to France is dedicated to the house we rented as a thank you to its owner Fiona who obviously loves France when she’s there.

I found the Town House on the Chez Nous website but it also has its own site.

I’d never been to Picardie before but it’s a beautiful and friendly part of France. You could spend your time in and around Saint-Quentin but if you have your car there’s loads to see. Bruges with its lace and chocolate is a couple of hours away. Reims, which is apparently pronounced Raaz with a throaty French ‘R’ is near enough to stock up on champagne, although you may want to catch the train for a day trip so you can do some tasting. Disney is two hours’ drive, Paris slightly less. Lille is just up the motorway and the Great War battle fields of the Somme are about an hour away, although Arras is closer.

The house itself is deceptive. From the outside it looks quite small but once you’re through the front door it opens up like a tardis.

The ground floor extension makes the ground floor massive with an open plan lounge, dining area, bright and airy kitchen and a breakfast area.

Up on the first floor is a twin room, our double room and the bathroom and up the stairs again is the master bedroom which was converted from half the roof space.

The rest of the roof space is for storage and drying clothes – I’m not sure if Fiona intends an en suite up there but my parents felt the trip down two flights of stairs in the middle of the night to the toilet on the ground floor was a bit daunting 😉

Had the weather been warmer we could have enjoyed a lovely glass of wine in the sitooterie but it was a bit nippy 😦

I’ll definitely be back in Picardie and I’d love to stay in this house. It’s obviously a much loved family holiday home and I can see why the Roberts fell in love with this part of France.

Both the Minis were begging to stay at the end of the week and MiniMe still reckons she’ll move to France one day so maybe HimIndoors and I will have our own French crash pad to break us into the idea of a French retirement.

I’m counting the days . . .

From all that I have learned:

  • French living has a certain je ne sais quoi
  • asking myself what a French woman would do is slowly changing my outlook on life
  • nothing beats fresh baguette or croissants with a cafetiere of strong coffee
  • never mix up fils with fille when ordering a Happy Meal in France – you’ll end up with the wrong kind of toy and a tantrum

Today’s track

The perfect pop song

Today’s recipe

Creamy pasta with squid ink spaghetti

wpid-20130416_191059_LLS.jpg

My bestie Jill brought the pasta back from Rome so when I was thinking what would go with it I thought a cream sauce would look best against the black, as well as being damn tasty.

Serves 2

Ingredients

olive oil for frying

1 onion, chopped,

1 garlic clove, chopped finely

a mixture of veg – I used baby corn, mushrooms, baby asparagus and orange pepper

a dash of white wine

a good slug of double cream

a handful of finely grated Parmesan

a tablespoon of flat leaf parsley, chopped

seasoning

your choice of pasta to serve

Method: Heat the oil in a frying pan and cook the onion and garlic. Throw in the rest of the veg and cook through for 5 minutes or so. Add the wine and let it bubble for a minute. Add the cream and the cheese and stir through. Add the parsley and the seasoning. Heat through and serve.

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