How to cook good food in France

This is a misleading title for a post in some ways. You may be expecting me to rave and rant about how superb the foie gras (in every form) is, and the confit de canard that I had simmering away for hours in oil with a truffle infusion or how about the complex terrine of  poulet de Bresse with Cognac jelly. In fact, I did nothing of the sort in terms of cooking good food in France.

What I did do this year, is stick to a fairly predictable but still utterly delicious set of ingredients that were cooked and enjoyed in the farmhouse “Larmalie” every night, apart from one evening of pizza at the beach restaurant. After all, I am on holiday. And for me, cooking away from home always means making the most of what’s on offer locally and eating it simply.

So here is what we had most nights in list form. Can you believe I did not take any photos? Do you know what, it felt good! I was ready for a compete break from all things blogging. I just wanted to clear my head and feel refreshed on my return, coming back with lots of ideas. It has done me the world of good having two weeks of total relaxation.

Now back to that list………

An evening meal at Larmalie consisted of :-

  • Good local chicken legs scored and marinated with garlic, dried herbs, oil & wine/lemon

  • Merguez sausages

  • French potatoes cooked in a terracotta dish with lots of olive oil, rosemary & garlic

  • Beef tomato & shallot salad

  • A range of  amazing salad leaves (available at the market)

  • Chocolate/Chocolate mousse (bought)

  • Cheeses

  • Copious bottles of wine and some Pineau des Charentes  or Cognac

The food was never fancy but it was always delicious. I find it far more relaxing to eat  at home, not to mention more cost effective. One other excellent evening of cooking was our fire-pit night. I have written about this before HERE.  Again, simple. A bought leg of lamb was butterflied and cooked over the fire with lots of rosemary and garlic. It is a very special thing to do, especially when the sun sets and the fire is still blazing away. Our pudding that evening was marshmallows under the stars!

We had a perfectly timed pit-stop on our way down to the Dordogne, stopping off for a bite to eat at Karen’s (Lavender & Lovage) beautiful house. It was lovely to see her and admire her splendid surroundings and  the chickens too!

One thing I did do was to take tips form Jude (A Trifle Rushed) on what to buy when in France. Her advice is spot on and I have brought back many of her suggestions. You can find them HERE.

I will leave you with a few photos, featuring some of the superb ingredients on offer in the food markets we visited. I was so impressed by both the Perigueux and Riberac markets. The producers and the quality of their products are something to be admired.

As for the patisseries………………irresistible, delectable, inspirational, dangerous!

P.S.   I will be posting a delicious mini lunchbox loaf cake soon as well as September’s “One Ingredient”.







  1. says

    I love your pictures! It sounds like you had a great holiday. It’s nice sometimes to stop and not taking pictures of everything you eat. I am a fan of beef tomatoes, I can almost smell them. Brava and welcome back.

  2. Jude says

    It sounds wonderful!  Like you I just love cooking local and fresh (my daughter’s new favourite veg is artichoke!) and completely agree about eating at home, in 6 weeks we’ve only eaten out 4 times!
    I’m so glad my shopping hints were useful, I have loads of bits to bring back, just two problems, where will they go in the car?  And where will I store them at home? I can see some serious garage organising next week!
    Hope to catch up soon, your holiday sounds delightful.
    Jude x

    • says

      I am glad you prefer to eat at home too, think the children prefer it too somehow. I imagine you will be struggling with your boot this year. We did after going mad at the wine shop on the last day!

  3. says

    Glad you had a good relaxing time Laura – not thinking about blogging for a while must have helped. I’m really looking forward to having a week off. And indeed, who wants to spend their time cooking when on holiday? There is nothing better than good quality food cooked simply. Great photos.

  4. says

    Sounds like you felt the same way about your French holiday as I did about mine in terms of the break. I think it is so important. Great that you came back refreshed too. Looking forward to lots of exciting blog posts from you this autumn. P.S. love your pictures x

  5. says

    Nice post Laura – it was fun to be transported to France for a while! Think you have summed up the pleasures of French food really well. Great produce from the market – I’ll be the smell was so fragrant. If only we could get markets like that in the UK :-)

  6. Fishfingers for tea says

    Lovely pictures Laura and I’m more than a little jealous of your fire cooked lamb! I’m glad you had a good holiday and a break from blogging does us all good sometimes I think. 

  7. says

    LOVELY photos and a GREAT post! I never think about shopping in France much, I suppose because we are there more than the UK, but now I think about it, and meals that you can get, it’s spot on!  It was LOVELY to meet you again and your LOVELY family and I am so pleased that you enjoyed your brief stay with us! Karen

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