Guerlesquin in Brittany

Hello Dear Reader,

Guerlesquin is an ancient market town some fifteen miles from Huelgoat. It was weirdly deserted, maybe it was its half day closing as not only was nothing open but it was almost deserted. We didn’t mind and spent about an hour just discovering the place for ourselves.

If this was the UK it would have been English Heritaged and National Trusted up the the eyeballs but other than a few signs giving historical information, there was nothing.. it’s just a small market town and people live there and do stuff without a hint of commercialism.

The old town hall was once a gaol and the big house nearby with red windows was the executioner’s house. You don’t get one of those every where!

This is inside what was the town hall. No entrance fee. No one on the door. Just go in.

Isn’t great.

The open spaces, like most French towns are immaculate and a lovely place to just sit.

Above is the old Market hall, it was a corn exchange in its day. Now, it’s a usable public space. It wasn’t open so this photo was taken through the window.

Flowers lined the streets.

Fountain or public well which was once one of the locals sources of clean water.

The outside of the building that was once the town hall.

Homes and houses.

If you’re ever in Brittany and passing through or near by then it’s well worth a stop off. 

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx


Walk around Huelgoat lake

Hello Dear Reader,

I’m writing this whilst sitting in my garden after a day of doing nothing. Our first week was about decompressing, the three middle weeks were about house renovations and the last week is all for us to just enjoy our surroundings.

Yesterday, we hosted afternoon tea, nibbles, home made food and a few drinks for guests and had a lovely time. This afternoon, we visited more friends and sat in the very warm garden and chatted and had a catch up. We had a leisurely home cooked supper and then took ourselves out for a walk around the lake.

We do this walk most warm evenings. It’s a bit long for our old dogs so we walk them before supper and walk ourselves afterwards.

It looks bigger than it is. It’s an hour’s walk and with the exception of our house being at the top of a hill; it’s mainly flat.

Back towards the village.

Tonight people were fishing on the lake although I’ve never seen any fish.

On the south side of the lake, up a side street is the abandoned isolation hospital which closed a long time ago. It’s beautifully creepy.

Back out into the golden light as the sun was setting.

The hotel is in front of our house. Look straight above the two right hand chimneys and there’s our house on the hill.

The lakeside.

Golden reflections on a golden evening.

We aim to get out and about and visit places. Of course, I’ll share it with you.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxx

Homemade versus shop bought…………….it’s not just about the cost.

Hello again Dear Reader,

I’ve got my cooking mojo back, I forget sometimes that I write a food blog! I’m no saint in the kitchen and will buy shop bought pastry if I don’t feel like making any, ready made coleslaw and bags of salad. However, that’s the exception rather than the norm and usually everything we eat is homemade. Occasionally, and usually because it’s been yellow stickered down to 15p, I’ll buy a steak and kidney pie. Due to our 8pm shopping, we’ve tried them all including the supermarkets luxury range of pie. The filling is padded out with air……………..I don’t have an air gap at the top of my pie. The are also full of more gravy than meat and you might get one or two lumps of meat per portion. I used a quarter of the braising steak I bought this morning (£1.50 = 65p for five lamb’s livers) to make steak and kidney pie. As you can see, I keep the steak in lumps big enough to find and then cut when you eat them.

 I made my pastry today. I use half the weight of fat to flour. I used half a kilo of plain value flour and a quarter of a kilo of fat (half butter/half lard) and a pinch of salt. I make it in the food processor. I handle it less that way and it’s light and crispy. I bake my pies in old fashioned enameled dishes so the pastry cooks through.

To make the pie filling.
Saute one finely chopped onion,
Fry off 375g of braising steak
Finally, cut the kidneys into cubes – I cut round the sinewy core and bin the middle.
Add two stock cubes and top up with water.
Simmer for 2-3 hours. You want the meat in chunks but soft.
Finally, I use gravy granules to thicken the gravy.
Leave to cool for a bit and then fill the pies.

 I topped the pies and baked them. They will be frozen and when we want them, we will de-frost them and place them in a medium oven for 30 – 45 minutes to warm all the way through. My food has simple ingredients and although you would only need a small portion of this, it’s pretty wholesome.

Another real favourite for a packed lunch, or a picnic are homemade pasties. I made pastry in the same way (I only make shortcrust) and diced a potato, onion, swede and some beef steak (skirt). I then crimp them, glaze them with beaten egg and bake them for 45- 60 minutes in a medium oven. A ‘giant’ pasty can cost £3.50 – £5.00 from a proper bakers or butchers in Cornwall…….giant if you are small one?! Mine, which are huge man sized pasties that would be all you need to eat all day, cost me £1 to make. We’re cliff walking tomorrow and DB will love his lunch!

 I often get asked about baking for children and I like muffins as you can control the portion size. I make 12 deep muffins with 8oz SR flour, 8oz of butter, 2oz caster sugar, 4 eggs and a splash of vanilla extract all creamed together and then I add a punnet of defrosted blueberries. The fruit is expensive and  grated chocolate or raisins could be used instead but I’m trying to make a healthy snack. Even with a £1.99 punnet of fruit, 12 blueberry muffins still cost £3.00 and 25p each! 

Here’s one of my finished Steak and Kidney pies. I’ll pop the tin into a plastic bag and freeze them both……the S&K will remind me of the filling!

I’ve also made Scotch eggs. Some of you will not know what these are. They are sausage meat, wrapped around a hard boiled egg, covered in bread crumbs and baked. Usually, these are deep fried but they are calorific enough without frying them! I hard boiled five eggs and left them to cool.

I rolled them in beaten egg. I then rolled them in homemade bread crumbs. I took three slices of granary bread and blitzed them in the food processor and then rolled the sausage and egg into the bread crumbs and placed them on a baking tray. I always use greaseproof paper as it makes the pans easier to clean and the baked goods don’t stick.

I also made some spicy koftkas.
I placed 350g of minced beef into a bowl and added:
1 tablespoon of minced ginger,
1 teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of garlic granules,
1 teaspoon of chilli flakes,
1 teaspoon of dried corriander leaf,
and I worked it all together with my hands and formed them into balls.

These are great in wraps with salad and garlic mayo or mint and yoghurt dressing. These are also for our day out tomorrow.

Below are the finished pasties. 

Here are the Scotch Eggs with one of the koftkas next to them so you can see the size.

Scotch eggs on the inside. If you’ve never made your own then now is the time! There we go, I think that 1-0 victory to homemade on quality and price. It’s not just about the cost, it’s about knowing what we are feeding to our children and knowing we’re eating good quality food with the shortest food chain possible!

Over to you, what do you make for picnics or days out? Do you take your own or succumb to cafes and take aways? We sometimes buy a coffee for the sake of a sit down somewhere dry and warm but usually take our own food (no we don’t eat it in the cafe!!!!!!!!!!!!) which we’ll eat somewhere sat outside.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

National Trust Free Weekend

Hello Dear Reader,

Just a quick hello before I head off and get weighed at fat fighters. This weekend is the National Trust’s free weekend. It differs from weekends before as you have to go to their website and down load a voucher which you have to redeem when you get there. 

You can download your voucher HERE and it admits up to four people. 

The terms and conditions are HERE.

The list of properties taking part or not are listed HERE.

Over to you, who else loves the National Trust but rarely goes as it’s so expensive. Who’s a member or a volunteer? Where will you head to? Us? We’ll probably go for a stroll around Lanhydrock house and gardens.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Golitha Falls – Free Days Out in Cornwall

 Hello Dear Reader

You’ll not be surprised to know that these are my favourite shoes. I hate being motionless or trapped indoors and feel that part of my day should always be spent being physical and even better so if that’s outside. A good pair of walking shoes or boots are an essential part of my ‘wardrobe’ and if you are looking for some cheap but good walking shoes then Lidl have THESE on sale this Thursday with shoes from size 4 upwards.

As I like to encourage people to get out and get active, my recommendation for another free day out in Cornwall is the nature reserve at Golitha Falls near Dobwalls in Cornwall. Some of the paths are flat, some hilly and some are a hands and knees scrabble. My inner child loves to climb mossy banks and scramble down almost impassable paths or even skid and slide to the bottom and just remain up right when I get there. It’s a short walk along the River Fowey as it descends towards Two Waters Foot. It’s deep enough for swimming in the summer but always remains icy cold.

The woodland has suffered over a very wet winter and many trees were down and being cleared. Tree roots are exposed to the point that it looks as if the trees are about to pull themselves out of the ground and walk away.

You’ll need proper walking shoes if you’re tramping about in woodlands. 

Typical of me, I always have to lead from the front and expect everyone to keep up with me!

The ‘falls’ are further on but I decided to sit and feel the spray of the water.

It’s a magical place.

Me, needing to run around a bit!

Me, needing to climb a bit!

And yes, that is the path out of the valley to the top of the woodland. It isn’t as steep as it looks.

When you visit Cornwall, get off the tourist trail. Get to the nature reserves, moors, cliff paths and find the real mossy, dark and mysterious Cornwall. It isn’t to be found in a tea room or gift shop.

Over to you. Who else got out and about on Bank Holiday Monday? Who else put some miles on their books? I’m a great believer that any problem can be rectified with a good walk? Anyone in the South West up for a bloggy meet up and ramble of a few miles?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxxxxxxxxx