Apple tart gone wrong

In January there are apples galore in the Dordogne and you can’t beat a traditional apple tart. However, mine is an apple tart gone wrong!

After all the apples had been arranged beautifully on a bed of apple purée in the pastry case and sprinkled with brown sugar and cinnamon, I realised that I had forgotten to put greaseproof paper in the bottom of the dish first in order to stop the pastry from sticking. So, I removed all the apple mixture, carefully moved the edges of the pastry into the middle and lifted it out. Having placed the paper in the dish, I put the pastry back in and did as best I could to roll it back out but by that time it had gone soft so was a bit of a mess. Giving up on the careful arrangement of apples, I mixed it all up and put it back in, then scrunched the pastry rim haphazardly. The result was a rustic-looking apple tart that looked rather like a tarte tatin and which I actually preferred the look of.


1 roll of ready-made short-crust pastry

About 10 apples, peeled and cored (each one cut into 8 pieces)

200 g of apple purée (from a jar)

2 tablespoons of Cassonade (brown sugar)


  • Heat the oven to 180O
  • Line a 20cm diameter shallow dish with greaseproof paper
  • Arrange the pastry in the dish
  • Spread the apple purée in the bottom of the dish
  • Arrange the apples, as preferred
  • Sprinkle with the brown sugar and cinnamon
  • Cook for approximately 45 mins, depending on your oven

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Courgette and aubergine tartlets

Dordogne Life is in the newspaper!

Dordogne-Life is in the paper!

I was pleased to see this article on the front page of the Dordogne section in the Sud Ouest Dimanche newspaper this morning.

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Memories of life in the Dordogne in 1993

Truffle temptation

Having been in the Dordogne for 30 years, I have never actually bought a truffle. There is so much talk about them and how you would need a mortgage to buy one that unfortunately I have always had to resist truffle temptation.

However, last week at the Saturday morning market at Bergerac, I spotted a tiny piece of truffle on a stand held by the Groupement des Trufficulteurs de la Vallée de la Couze et du Bergeracois*.

The price of truffles is determined by the category. Mine was second category which sell for a whopping 800 € a kilo. First category was 900 € a kilo. I paid 8 € for 10 grams.

Serious business

I remember years ago while at the market in Sarlat the truffle stand was guarded by a few gendarmes. You were not allowed to touch them. It was serious business. So, walking away from Bergerac market I was taking it just as seriously. With my 8 € little black diamond in my bag, I held it close to me while constantly looking over my shoulder for any truffle bandits and reminding my partner to be my body guard.

Truffles are elusive, surrounded in mystery and feature a lot in Périgoudine cuisine. When I got my truffle home, I couldn’t stop examining it and wondering what all the fuss is about.

Later that day, I made an omelette with small pieces of truffle then served it with shaved truffle on the top. The verdict? Truffles have an unusual woody and earthy smell and taste which I think I could grow to like. I’m glad I gave in to truffle temptation this time but before making a final judgement, I would like to taste a dish cooked with truffles by a proper chef in a good restaurant.

Nifty Nini

I certainly enjoy the mystery surrounding truffles. If you would like to read more, go to my very first blog and have a laugh about Nifty Nini, the truffle pig.

* The Groupement des Trufficulteurs de la Vallée de la Couze et du Bergeracois is part of the Fédération Départementale des Trufficulteurs du Périgord.

Quai 24

Last Saturday I was in Bergerac for the morning market and tried out a tiny restaurant in the rue des Fontaines in the old part of the town, Quai 24.

The menu on the board outside of Quai 24 has French on one side and English on the other which makes it easier to decide whether to stay or move on. We were tempted immediately.

Inside, the restaurant is modern and minimalist. We got there at midday and already one table had been taken. Within 15 mins, the place was full. We calculated only 16 covers. Drinks were swiftly ordered and brought to the table along with the menu.

The menu du jour was 21 € for two courses and 26 € for three. We chose scallops with coconut cream and beef Carpaccio with parmesan shavings. For the main course, I went for the pork tenderloin with mushrooms and thyme and my partner chose rib steak with pepper sauce. The portion sizes were just enough and we kept to our promise of only having desserts occasionally, so skipped it this time although the choices did look good (panna cotta with a mango coulis or a type of brioche or apple tart).

The service was good (considering it was just the chef and a waitress) and the food…well! What can I say? Quai 24 is one of the many small restaurants in the Dordogne that only use fresh produce. The flavours of the food served at Quai 24 were absolutely delicious and the meal was really good value for money.

I have to say that I am definitely hooked on this type of dining out and will be looking for more restaurants like this. I would definitely recommend Quai 24!

Confit de canard

Confit de canard is duck that is preserved in its own fat and is one of my favourite dishes from the Périgord. In the past I have always bought it in tins but this year I saw it in the fridge in a local supermarket so decided to have a change. I chose two duck legs from the brand Maison Delpeyrat which is a co-operative that has been around since 1890 and uses ducks from south-west France.

Confit de canard can be reheated in a hot oven for about 10 mins or slowly in a pan for about 15 mins.

Pommes de terre Sarladaises is another favourite of mine and is a traditional accompaniment to confit de canard. The name originates from town of Sarlat in the Périgord Noir. Pommes de terre sarladaises are thin slices of potato (peeled) sautéed in a pan of duck fat until golden. I prefer them a little more cooked than golden but that’s just personal taste. Towards the end of cooking, add some chopped garlic and cook for about 5 mins. Sprinkle with chopped parsley just before serving.

Merry Christmas!

It’s been a busy six months since launching my blog at the end of May.

With 85 posts, almost 400 followers on Instagram, a healthy presence on Facebook, a growing number of subscribers to my weekly newsletter and positive results from Google Search…it’s all going in the right direction! But now it’s time for a short Christmas break.

Merry Christmas to all those who follow and a very happy and peaceful new year.

See you in January!


The communal bread oven at Urval

The communal bread oven at Urval in the Périgord Noir is a reminder of the old days when villagers had to bake all their bread together. The oven would have been owned by the local lord and the inhabitants had to pay to use it.

The oven is classified a monument historique and dates back to the fourteenth century.

On the right of the photo is a wooden pigeonnier, on the left are the shelves where the loaves are placed to cool down. You can see the long wooden spatulas used for putting the bread far into the oven an bringing them out again and the little door where the baker would have stayed in the building too.

The village of Urval, near Siorac-en-Périgord is surrounded by woodland and features a handful of pretty stone cottages and a small church. Today, the oven is fired up during the annual village fête. Not far away is Belvès, classified as one of the most beautiful villages in France and also worth a visit.

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Belvès in the Périgord Noir

Le Petit Maine

Le Petit Maine right next to the church in rue St. Catherine in Bergerac is a small, family-style restaurant serving good quality food at reasonable prices.

I came across Le Petit Maine by chance while browsing the market last Saturday morning. Didier the owner, was putting out the menu board in front of the restaurant and we got chatting. He was a happy, chappy and explained that he cooked everything from fresh. The lure of a cassoulet was enough for my partner to book a table for lunch and off we went to finish off our Christmas shopping in the meantime.

When we came back to the restaurant, there was a sign in the window to say it was full. A good sign, we hoped, and we were not disappointed.

With the three-course set menu for 19€50 I had grilled Cabecou on toast with salad for a starter followed by oven baked Seabass with smashed potatoes and then an apple tart with a Monbazillac jelly. My partner had a homemade rabbit pâté with hazelnuts followed by the Cassoulet (that he paid a little extra for as his main course) finished off with a plate of four different cheeses. Alternatively, he could have chosen a pork knuckle with lentils, the fish or half a magret de canard with a honey sauce from the set menu. The food was good and tasty with absolutely no frills.

There is an extensive wine list featuring a lot of the local vineyards.

Cassoulet is served every Saturday morning at Le Petit Maine.

The décor in Le Petit Maine is basic and a little out-dated but for me, but that was actually part of its charm. The service was efficient and friendly and it was obvious to see that Didier, the chef, took great pride in his work and enjoyed doing the rounds of the tables to have a chat with his customers. Everyone had their turn! When it came to ours and it was mentioned that I am English, the conversation rapidly turned to rugby and I glazed over while Didier and my partner enjoyed a quick chat about the world cup.

My verdict on Le Petit Maine is that it was a pleasure to find a charming, authentic little restaurant serving freshly cooked food with pride.

Tel: 0553234419

Menus are posted regularly on their Facebook Page.

Bunny the Blogger

I’ve always said that as I get older, I’m going to start a family of rescue cats. Well, here is number one, “Bunny”. Bunny was tiny and had a dislocated hip when she was rescued by the Pawprint Association in the Dordogne. Following surgery, she is now living with me full-time and ruling the house. Blogging is proving to be a bit tricky though as she loves the screen and likes to walk across the keyboard. Not a lot of help to me but she is having a great time. So I have now renamed her “Bunny the blogger”.

The Pawprint Association in the Dordogne is one of many associations across France that resuce cats and dogs and rehome them. Such great work!

Le Périgord vu du ciel de Jocelyn de Lagasnerie

Jocelyn de Lagasnerie is a photographer who works with drones to take the most fantastic photos of Le Périgord. A collection of his photos has been published in his latest book Le Périgord vu du ciel which is definitely on my Christmas list. Here he talks about his work and his passion for our beautiful department.

How did you get into photography and working with drones?

Passionate about aviation, living with the technologies of my time, and having taken a lot of aerial photos in a helicopter, I took my drone pilot’s license which I see as a real extension of my work. This fantastic tool allows me to reveal our wonderful heritage, the way it blends into the landscape, to highlight town planning, and of course nature… but apart from its technical performances, the drone allows me above all to make a dream come true childhood, that of contemplating the earth seen from the sky. And combined with my passion for photography, this is what motivates my way of capturing the “decisive moment” dear to Henri Cartier-Bresson, I like to capture the light, find the angle and the frame that will arouse the emotion and will take you on a journey. It is therefore an invitation to escape that Déclic & Décolle wishes to trigger, my goal is to offer exclusive images.

Château de Beynac

Can you briefly explain how working with a drone works?

When working in urban areas, I have to inform the préfecture. Air legislation requires many rules to be respected. Then it is necessary to carefully assess the risks, height of trees, electrical wires, public and roads open to traffic over which flying is absolutely prohibited. The shots are often taken at different heights, the trickiest part being finding the most illustrative angles.

Cathédrale Saint-Front, Périgueux

Why Périgord as the subject of a book?

Périgord because it is where I was born and so where I decided to launch my activity as a photographer. When the publisher contacted me, I already had hundreds of images to offer him.

How long does it take to get the perfect photo/video?

It all depends on the complexity and size of the site to be featured. Certain angles are sometimes impossible due to constructions or very close vegetation, this limits the angle possibilities. You can sometimes spend more than an hour in flight to capture the most unique view.

Jardins de Marqueyssac

Can you explain a little about the texts and the author?

The editor asked Anne-Marie Cocula, a famous historian, to write the historical texts in order to have a common thread in the presentation and order of the photos. I also wanted simple and accessible texts all the while presenting key information such 11% of French castles are in the Dordogne or that the village of Vergt is a bastide.

Le Périgord vu du ciel

Do you have a favourite photo of Périgord?

I really like a photo taken from a bird’s eye view of Biron (village and castle) with the church in the foreground. This is typically the kind of view which, while being unique, offers proximity and a complete view of the site.

Photos shown are credited to Déclic & Décolle Photo and are part of a large collection featured in Jocelyn’s  book.

Château de Biron

Jocelyn de Lagasnerie