Restoration of the kitchen (part 1)

First we needed to take down a few of the overhead cupboards, then to chip off and remove all of the (highly fashionable in the 1960s) white wall tiles, this took a few days hard work.

Very nice, in the 1960's

Very nice, in the 1960’s

As you can see from the photo the cooker hob is a little strange, two of the rings are gas and the other two are electric. There is no oven/grill (yet, it’s on the way) so we must make do with a combination microwave, grill and oven.

the secret window

the secret window

When we took down the cupboards we found an old secret window, it has been blocked by plastering over from the other side but it was a window into what was a pantry that we now use to store a bike and any wine that we buy from the local vineyards. We plan to make this a feature window to nowhere.

You learn something new every day

You learn something new every day

After removing all of the white tiles we went on the hunt for something nice to replace them and found a really good and extremely helpful céramique import just outside Saint-Cybranet (the next village north on the D57 from Daglan). The owner discussed with us, he speaking French with a touch of English and Paul and I speaking English with our little French, how to dry the tiles, cement them onto the wall and grout them. We eventually decided on a gorgeous travertine marble that Paul was able to fit with no problem. I just had to have a go at grouting, this is something I have never tried before. At first I used the trowel but found it more satisfying to get my hands in and use my fingers to force the grout between the tiles. Not the professional way to do it but the result is very nice.

Hard at work

Hard at work

This is me being very serious it was great fun to do but a lot of hard work. I suddenly realised that the kitchen was bigger than I thought it was. “Will you stop taking pictures and come over here and help Paul, please”.

Only the worktop to finish

Only the worktop to finish

It will look even better once the blue worktop is replaced with marble to match the splash back and concealed lighting. More work on the kitchen on our next visit.

Fabrice Le Chef.

A new shop in Daglan.

Fabrice le chef

A new shop to Daglan, Fabrice le chef boutique

Across from the post office and near to the Mairie in the centre of Daglan can be found Fabrice Le Chief Boutique, owned and run by Fabrice Lemonnier and his wife Samantha. Here you can buy local cheeses, cooked and fresh meats, pâté, prepared foods that he has made himself which range from traditional local dishes to more international foods e.g. Thai curry (which we tried and it was delicious). All reasonably priced and well packaged. He also sells excellent locally produced foie gras, beers, wines and honey.

Fabrice is fluently bilingual and is renowned for his personal chief services, which include cooking demonstrations, cooking classes and special functions.

Visit his website for contact details and the latest menus
http://www.fabricelechef.fr/En/welcome.html

Take a look at his shop below and visit the next time you are in Daglan.

Welcome to Fabrice le Chef

Welcome to Fabrice le Chef, The new food boutique in Daglan

Foods that he has prepared himself

Local fresh produce

beers, wines

Excellent locally produced wines and beers

Le Petit Paris

This former tobacco shop has been completely renovated to become a high class restaurant which has attained two forks in the Michelin Guide. It is our favourite restaurant for several reasons: firstly the food is always fresh and seasonal from the local area, it is cooked to perfection. Secondly the service is also to a high standard. Thirdly, it is only about two minutes from our home.We have dined here several times and it is always very popular, so we had to book in advance of our visit. Here is a selection of our meal.

Amuse-Bouche

Amuse-Bouche


First we started with an aperitif, which was Vin de noix (walnut wine). Then came the Amuse- Bouche (mouth amuser, picture above). I could not eat being a vegetarian but Paul loved the pate.

We did have an L’entrée of duck spring rolls with a green tea broth for Paul and prawns for myself but I am sorry we forgot to take a photo

Sea Bass

Sea Bass


So on to the Le Plat Principal (above), which was Loup de mer, (sea Bass) gorgeous with a lemon sauce.

Paleron de Boeuf Limousin

Paleron de Boeuf Limousin


Paul had Paleron de Boeuf Limousin, which he said was equally delicious.

Chocolate mouse

Chocolate mouse


The dessert-Chocolate de Saint-Dominique 70% chocolate mouse is to die for, I cannot express how delicious this is, you really need to go to the restaurant and taste it for yourself and then you will know what I mean.

Strawberry pannacotta

Strawberry pannacotta


This is Paul’s- les fraises fraiches, which was strawberry pannacotta, with crunchy caramel bits on top in a caramel sauce. Paul said this also was fantastic.

The coffee

The coffee


Coffee was served with two sweet little chocolate cakes and mouth watering nougat.

We both really enjoyed our meal there, however, has I stated above I am a vegetarian who will eat fish now and again. My question is if anyone knows of a good vegetarian restaurant in the Perigord Noir (Dordogne Black), please let me know.

Excitement, Montgolfiers over the village

This was a typical Sunday morning market full of tantalising smells to excite the senses. Fresh vegetables, fruit, flowers, cheeses, wine, and of course roast chicken, all grown or reared locally. It was mother’s day in France so the flower stall was particularly vibrant

typical Sunday morning market

typical Sunday morning market

When my husband and I went outside we noticed that the local people were all looking up to the sky, we thought that it was because they had not seen the sun for a long time, but no.

Low flying Montgolfiers

Low flying Montgolfiers

The Montgolfiers (named after the Montgolfier brothers who in 1783 took to the air for the first ever hot air ballon flight) were flying very low over the village. This blue one just missed the spire on top of the Marie.

That was close

That was close

You can see all of the birds trying to get away.

Dropping in for a chat

Dropping in for a chat

At first this Montgolfier was high in the sky, then it also started to descend.

Smiley face Montgolfier

Smiley face Montgolfier

You can see the people in the basket, so close you could talk to them.

Close to the trees

Close to the trees

You can see how near they came to the trees on the side of the valley

Voices from  the sky

Voices from the sky

They came so low that you could talk to the people in the basket.

They were shouting to us below and several people shouting back, I heard “tournez à gauche à la fin de la route” – turn left at the end of the road – followed by laughter

Then with a whoosh of burning gas and hot air they started to rise once more.

Montgolfier descending.

Montgolfier descending.

My husband and I rushed to the car park because we could see the blue Montgolfier descending.

a one man Montgolfier

a one man Montgolfier

This was a one man Montgolfier, the pilot sitting in a cradle, not a basket

Close encounter

Close encounter

You can see how close he came to the trees.

The Landing

He landed in the car park

I rushed over to see if he needed help, he nearly fell out of his cradle when he heard an English person talking to him. He was fine and in total control of his Montgolfier, he had ended his morning flight and radioed his position to a car to collect him.

Brocante Season.

We planned most of our “working” holiday around two brocantes: we rarely go looking for something specific, we generally hunt around for antiques that are interesting, functional and are just the right character or style for the property. You have got to enjoy the process of rummaging around in the dust and not feel disillusioned if you walk out empty handed. From the local brocante in Daglan we picked up a beautiful pair of bronze wall lights that look wonderful on each side of the fireplace.

Bronze wall lights

Antique bronze wall lights. Do not look at the colour of the wall we have not decorated the lounge area yet.

Vintage Hangers

These gorgeous heart shape hangers are from a brocante shop in Monpazier

Vintage French Linen

We came away empty handed from the brocante in Sarlat, but I do love French monogrammed linen, which I am sure I shall be back to at a future date.

A pair of antique chairs

Gorgeous but expensive so we did not buy.

A typical stall at a local brocante

A typical stall at a local brocante

Sorry for not blogging in the month of May.

We have been to France for our first “working” holiday of the year. On the down side it was very cold and wet, in fact it rained every day until the last two days of our stay. We also had five water leaks, the central heating did not work for six days and I was ill. However, apart from that we did go to two brocantes, four markets, started to renovate the kitchen and caught up with our friends in the village, and our two friends Lesley and Darrel who live about twenty minutes away. They have a gorgeous home in the countryside and we had a very nice afternoon outside in the sunshine talking about our cats and wildlife in the area. They have wild deer roaming around their property, lizards, snakes and we saw buzzards flying in the sky while we were there.

Our son Adam looked after our home and our cats while we were away, it was great to come home to a clean house and very happy and contented cats.

Missed the birds again

Those pesky birds are never there when you want them

Ready to go

I was trying to unpack our suitcase and bags on our return from France. Angel packed herself into the suitcase and the bag. With the look of I am going with you next time on her face.

100% cute

This is our very cute Phoebe

At the watering hole

Both of the cats like to drink from the wash hand basin in the bathroom in the mornings. Even though they have fresh water in the kitchen.