The Tour de France cycle race has given some friends of ours the incentive to pop over the Channel, although I don’t really think they needed an excuse. This is because they are enthusiasts and this year the British cyclist, Bradley Wiggins with the team Sky is favourite to win.
The race starts on Saturday 30th June and it will run through until the 22nd July. This year it begins in Liège in Belgium and will of course finish in the Champs-Elysées in Paris.
It’s a great thrill if you are a cycling enthusiast and would be much more exciting if you are actually there instead of watching it from your television. So if you need an excuse for a break – this is one of the times you will surely enjoy.
July can of course be quite busy in many parts of France due to the school holidays or as they are known, L'ete holidays, which begin in July and end in September. That said, if you know beforehand you can prepare and choose somewhere quieter. The French themselves often take their holidays at this time of year so places like the South of France become very busy.
There are many beautiful places to stay in France with French Connections so you will have much to choose from. Self catering is one of our favourite ways of staying in France simply because we like to relax and eat in small French restaurants in the local area. Other than that you will find me at the French market place as I adore them. The weather is usually better than back home and the vegetables are in abundance.
It is difficult sometimes to give you a recipe which is easy and quick to make if you are on holiday. Some of the traditional recipes you find in France may take several hours to cook, in fact sometimes they may take all day to simmer away before presenting you with the most amazing and delicious dish you have ever tasted.
I have found a way around this recently by using what is called a Wonderbag. Once you have prepared your dish preferably using a cast iron casserole dish, bring it to the boil then pop it in the Wonderbag and it will cook all on its own while you go out for the day. Now that’s a great way to cook, especially as you don’t have to worry about leaving the gas or electricity on. It doesn’t need any!
So your self catering holiday can be even more relaxed if you take one of these with you – they are great. If you would like to see one, take a look at what I did with mine.
You can try out many more of the recipes on my website using this great innovative little bag, or if you want to save on your fuel bills at home, this is one method everyone should try.
There is so much fresh fruit available in France at this time of year especially strawberries and raspberries, blackberries and cherries to mention just a few but one of the most versatile fruits that I buy plenty of when both at home and on holiday is the humble lemon. I use it frequently whether it is used in a sauce or dressing, a pudding or a mousse; it is always at hand in my kitchen.
So for this month’s recipe I shall give you a really delicious citrus tart made with really fresh and tangy lemons and fresh free range eggs. It is also very popular in France and can be found in many bistros and patisseries.
You don’t have to make the pastry for this if you have little time to make it but buy a good pastry shell or a good frozen pastry if you do. You will find the pastry recipe on my website along with instructions of how to make the pastry shell.
Tarte au Citron (Serves 6 - 8)
- One 9inch partly cooked pastry shell.
- Grated rind of 3 lemons
- 2/3 cup (166mls) freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 4 eggs plus 3 egg yolks (free range eggs if possible)
- 4 tablespoons of heavy cream or crème fraiche
- 1/2 cup (4oz/112.5gms) of superfine/castor sugar
- Icing sugar/confectioner's sugar for dusting
• Preheat the oven to 375F/190C/Gas 5
• Place the lemon juice, the rind and superfine sugar into a bowl and whisk until combined.
• Add the cream or crème fraiche gradually and whisk until blended.
• Take one egg at a time and beat in thoroughly, then the egg yolks.
• Pour the mixture into the partly cooked pastry case.
• Bake for about 20 minutes until the filling is just set.
• If the pastry starts to brown too much, place some foil around the edges.
• When cold sprinkle with the confectioner's sugar.
Until next month, thank you for joining me and have a good time - amusez-vous bien!