Tuesday, November 11

The Typing Fury

12th November
I needed help with letter writing a couple of days ago, so I paid a visit to my smart neighbours who live nearby. Mme B. is extremely bossy and when channelled into a project she’s a wonder to behold. If I've got past the phoning stage with French utilities companies, she whips out her typing fingers and fires off tart letters for me.

I have talked about the Bontettes here before (see labels) but since we have become good friends I’m in a mood to recap. Mr. B is ex-military and slightly obsessive about his workouts. Mme B, not wanting to risk being caught sans maquillage has had her eyebrows and lips tattooed on, the eyebrows are a little too high, so she looks permanently surprised. Her nails are frankly terrifying. She also has a major shoe fetish - there is a room in their house full of shiny high heels.

Last month I invited the Bontettes to come and help themselves to the walnuts that were falling off our trees, warning them that the land around the trees was very rough and brambley. Mme B arrived with a lovely big basket, I looked at her bare hands and offered my gardening gloves but she waved them away, she would not be actually attempting to handle the walnuts herself, she explained, merely directing her husband where to find them.

Then I noticed her footwear; not possessing any flat shoes Mme B was wearing slippers, the same lumpen plaid style that the old men wear. A very popular item, worn by many French adults. I’ve eyed up these devil slippers on the market stalls afraid to actually touch them in case I fall under their evil spell.

Last Monday at their place, once my letter was written I was invited to stay for lunch – we ate a tart so divine that I ran straight home and recreated it. Despite my resolution that this would not become a foodie site I will tell you how to do it, just in case you’re moved to have a go.

Chicory and Goats Cheese Tart Tatin:
The whole thing is constructed upside down and turned over to serve.
Coat the base of a quiche dish with caramel, cut some blanched chicory heads in half and place flat side down in a vaguely star-like arrangement on the caramel. Slice up a log of goats cheese into discs and place them evenly over the chicory. Drape a rolled-out circle of pastry over all this, tucking any overhang into the dish (brush a little egg wash around the pastry edges if you want to). Bake until the pastry is cooked. Leave to cool a little and then invert the tart onto a big plate. Add walnuts, herbs or nothing to garnish


  1. Oh my giddy Aunt. That sounds delicious.
    I really don't mind if this starts to be a foodie blog. I'd love it just the same.

  2. It's very difficult not to stray that way JJJ. Especially now we're off the filming - I have so much more eating time.

  3. Ooo sounds great! Too bad I'm a lousy cook.

  4. Another brilliant collage and sparkly post. I can _see_ Mme. B.
    ooo la la. How do you do it?

    I went looking in the collage for those slippers and I guess that must be them, or somehing like, down in the lower right hand corner? I think actual devil slippers would be shaped slightly differently to accommodate a cloven hoof.

    I love the sound of that recipe. I have to admit I am not really sure what a "chicory head" is though. I thought chicory was some grain like thing added to coffee in Louisiana to stretch it out. I am going to go Google it.

  5. Hi Pru - Judging from your last post you're too busy getting a tan off the telly to cook anyway

    Hi KSV, Mme B is a gift in so many ways.
    Those slippers are sirens - luring unwary shoppers to touch, buy and then wear them at social occasions

    I realised that there would be so much room for misintepretation in a recipe. Chicory (also known as endive) in my mind is a compact relation of the lettuce. When I say blanched I mean that they need dunking in boiling water for a minute to part cook them.

  6. oh that tart sounds sensational Lulu


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