Pâté de campagne aux cèpes

The Dordogne lifestyle often involves friends popping in for an impromtu aperitif so it’s always a good idea to have something in reserve like Mercadier’s Pâté de campagne aux cèpes that you can quickly spread onto some baguette.

 

Support your local producers!

Mercadier have been making conserves in the Dordogne since 1958 and are well known for their Foie Gras and pâtés.

I’m a great supporter of local producers. Buy local!

The elusive cèpe is a Dordogne treasure and everyone wants to find one!

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A marvellous mushroom


Dordogne Life blogs from the past

This week Dordogne Life looks back at some blogs from the past.

I never intended my Dordogne Life blog to be linear as it would mean that so much past material would be missed. So, every now and gain, I will take a look back and pick out some blogs that you may be interested in.

The Nontron Knife

To own a Nontron knife is something to be proud of.

The Nontron knife

Dordogne Memories

Here is a blog I wrote about a very special experience when I first came to live in the Dordogne in 1993.

Memories of life in the Dordogne in 1993

Tarte aux tomates…one of my favourites.

Tarte aux tomates


Dordogne Faces

Neil and Andy, the DJ Duo of the Dordogne

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Eymet


The Past Tense

What exactly is the past tense?

  • The past tense is sometimes referred to as the Perfect tense in English or the Parfait or Passé composé in French. They mean the same thing.

 

  • The past tense is used when you want to say that you did something in the past, for example, I went to… (sorry, but there are other tenses that you use for the past too, but try and not think about that just yet!)

 

  • The Perfect tense is used to talk about that happened or what was true in the past. It refers to actions that were completed.

 

  • The Perfect tense in French is made up of three parts so it can be a bit tricky:

 

  • Subject = Je, Tu, Il/Elle/On, Nous, Vous, Ils/Elles

 

  • Present tense of either the verb avoir or être

 

  • A part of the main verb called the past participle, for example, I went uses aller = to go. The past participle is allé(e).

 

  • IMPORTANT: any main verb you are using works either with AVOIR or ETRE (the middle bit) in the present tense. It’s up to you to learn which one to use. There is a rule to follow (see below).

To construct the past tense, here’s a reminder of the present tense

 

AVOIR                                                                        ETRE

Je                                        ai                                        Je                                       suis

Tu                                       as                                       Tu                                       es

Il/elle/on                           a                                         Il/elle/on                           est

Nous                                  avons                                 Nous                                  sommes

Vous                                   avez                                   Vous                                  êtes

Ils/elles                             ont                                     Ils/elles                             sont

List of verbs that always work with ETRE in the past tense

 

A lot of them are to do with movement. Any other verb works with AVOIR.

 

  • ALLER to go
  • ARRIVER to arrive
  • DESCENDRE to go down
  • DEVENIR to become
  • ENTRER to enter
  • MONTER to go up
  • MOURIR to die
  • NAÎTRE to be born
  • PARTIR to leave
  • RENTRER to return home
  • RESTER to stay
  • RETOURNER to return
  • SORTIR to go out
  • TOMBER to fall
  • VENIR to come

Some useful French past participles for the past tense

 

VERB (F)                    VEBB (UK)                PAST PARTICIPLE

Aller                                  to go                                  allé

Voir                                    to see                                vu

Regarder                          to watch                           regardé

Venir                                  to come                            venu

Let’s put the past tense together

 

Example 1:

 

  • I went
  • Subject is I = Je
  • main verb = to go = aller
  • aller is on the list of 15 verbs that work with être in the present tense, therefore, we use je suis
  • past participle of aller = allé
  • = je suis allé(e) = I went *

 

* When the main verb works with être in the past tense, the past participle must agree in gender and number with the subject. When the verb works with avoir, you don’t need to worry about it. So here in the example, if the subject is masculine then this is fine. But, if the subject is feminine, you would have to add an extra e.

 

Example 2:

 

  • they watched
  • subject is they (plural) – ils/elles
  • main verb = to watch = regarder
  • regarder is not on the 15 verbs that work with être in the present tense so we are using avoir, therefore we use ils/elles ont
  • past participle of regarder = regardé
  • = ils/elles ont regardé*

 

* There is no need for an agreement on the past participle as the verb regarder works with avoir

 

Try these: we arrived, I stayed, I ran, they liked, you ate (vous), you drank (tu)

 

For a glossary of grammar terminology, please click here.

 

For French for Beginners, please click here.


Fresh cherry Clafoutis

There is an abundance of cherries in the markets in the Dordogne at the moment which are ideal for making a fresh cherry clafoutis. I prefer to keep the Clafoutis in the fridge for a while before eating, dusted with a little icing sugar. This version of Clafoutis is packed with fresh cherries. You don’t need to use so many, if you prefer, and alternatively, you could use stoned cherries from a jar.

 

Ingredients

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

75 g plain flour

50 g castor sugar

4 eggs

300 ml semi-skimmed milk

800 g fresh cherries

Icing sugar for dusting

All my recipes use ingredients grown locally in the Dordogne

Method

  1. De-stone the cherries (this takes a while)
  2. Set your oven to 220oC or gas mark 7
  3. Stir the flour and castor sugar together
  4. One by one, whisk in the eggs then add the milk
  5. Stir in the cherries
  6. Heat the oil in a shallow flan dish in the oven
  7. When the oil is up to temperature, pour in the mixture and quickly place back in the oven
  8. Cook for approximately 25 mins
  9. Leave to cool

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Trout tartare


Visit Monpazier and Le Bugue

Oh how I have been enjoying my French lifestyle in the Dordogne this week! Nothing major, just wandering, meandering, browsing, relaxing, taking photos and simply soaking up the charm of this beautiful part of France. Two days out to visit Monpazier and Le Bugue. Therefore, this week’s post is mostly visual and I hope you enjoy.

Picturesque alleyway in Monpazier

Monpazier

Monpazier is a medieval bastide town in the Dordogne. It is classed as one of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France and is absolutely charming.

Last Sunday morning my partner and I were pleasantly surprised to find an antique fair on in the central square at Monpazier. It was definately worth a wander as I found a shabby chic chair in exactly the colour I had been looking for, for my little garden in the middle of my town house.

While we sat in the square watching the world go, we decided to prolong the moment and stayed for a brunch of rustic style Croque Monsieur made with fresh seeded bread and delicious ham, served with a salad. I’m not normally a fan of Croque Monsieur but this one was different and very good.

Trotting

After lunch we made our way to the hippodrome nearby to watch the horse racing, or rather, trotting. These countryside events only take place a few times during the summer and you are sure to be the only English people there.

Trotting is populare in the south of the Dordogne

Le Bugue

I also visited the town of Le Bugue which is on the river Vézère in the Dordogne. I have been to Le Bugue once before, a long time ago, but because I focused on the river and the market (Tuesday), I completely missed the old part of the town. This time, I took the time to wander and enjoy the town’s hidden.

Monpazier and Le Bugue are two towns in the Dordogne worth visiting. Monpazier feels like it is in the middle of nowhere but you can also explore nearby Château de Biron. It’s a great castle and host to classical music concerts in the summer. And there are loads of things to do close to Le Bugue such as Le Gouffre de Proumeyssac, Le Parc du Bournat and the Aquarium.

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Monpazier


Marinated Broad Beans with Lemon Confit

This time of the year in the Dordogne, there is an abundance of broad beans growing locally. I bought mine fresh from the local market. In my opinion, it’s not an easy ingredient to be imaginative with but I am happy with this idea of marinated broad beans with lemon confit that I came up with. Some people will take ages removing the outer husks but I prefer with. They are light and refreshing and great served with an apero on a summer’s evening in Dordogne.

Ingredients

2 x large handfuls of fresh broad beans

1 chicken stock cube

Half a lemon

1 x finely chopped spring onion

1 large clove of garlic, finely chopped

Olive oil

2 x tablespoons Verjus (optional)

1 x tablespoon of chopped, fresh Basil

Salt & Pepper

All my recipes use ingredients grown locally in the Dordogne

Method

  • Remove the beans from their pods and cook in some water with the chicken stock. Once the water has boiled, turn down to simmering point and cook for approximately 10 mins.
  • While the beans are cooking, slice the lemon into thin slices and cook in an air fryer for approximately 10 mins. The idea here is to produce something like a lemon confit.
  • Drain the beans and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
  • Cool the lemons.
  • Mix the rest of the ingredients in a bowl then add the beans and lemons.
  • Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 24 hours.

Don’t forget your little cocktail sticks!

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Verjus is back!


Learn French - Grammar Glossary

Whether you are living in the Dordogne or not, you may want to learn French. If you are lucky enough to live or visit the Dordogne, knowing some French can really improve your experience. To help you brush up on your grammar, take a look at this Grammar Glossary.

 

Learn French – Grammar Glossary

 

ADJECTIVE. An adjective is a describing word. It gives more information about the noun being used.

Example: The pink house (the house (noun) that is pink (adjective)) (la maison rose)

Note: adjectives often come after the noun in French, but not always!

 

ADVERB. An adverb is a word used with a verb that gives more information about when, where, how or in what circumstances something happens.

Example: They are happily married (ils sont heureux mariés)

Example: He works quickly (il travail vite)

 

AGREEMENT. This means changing word endings according to whether you are referring to masculine, feminine, singular or plurals things or people.

Example: A beautiful girl (une belle fille)

Example: Two beautiful girls (deux belles filles)

 

ARTICLE. An article is a word like a/an and the that is used in front of a noun.

Example: a cat, the cat (un chat/le chat)

 

BASE FORM. The form of the verb without any endings added to it.

Example: walk, sing, dance

 

CONJUGATE. To conjugate is to give a verb different endings, depending on who you are referring to. For example: I or she, and according to the tense.

 

CONSONATE. A letter of the alphabet which is not a vowel. 

 

CONJUNCTION. A conjunction is a linking word such as and and or that links two words together or two parts of a sentence.

Example: me and you (toi et moi)

 

DEFINITE ARTICLE. The definite article is the word the.

 

ENDING. A form added to a verb and adjectives and nouns depending on whether they refer to masculine, feminine, singular or plural things.

 

FEMININE. A form of a noun, pronoun or adjective that is used to refer to a living being, thing or idea that is not classed as masculine.

 

GENDER. Whether a noun, pronoun or adjective is feminine or masculine.

 

INDEFINTE ARTICLE. The indefinite article is the word a or an. It isn’t as specific as the definite article.

 

INFINITIVE. The form of a verb with ‘to’ in front of it and without any endings added.

Example: to walk

 

IRREGULAR VERB. A verb whose forms do not follow the normal rules.

 

MASCULINE. A form of a noun, pronoun or adjective that is used to refer to a living being, thing or idea that is not classed as feminine.

 

NEGATIVE. A negative is a question or statement that includes words such as not, never or nothing.

Example: I don’t like ice cream (je n’aime pas la glace), I never eat meat (je ne mange jamais de viande)

 

NOUN. A noun is a naming word for a living being, thing or idea.

Example: a woman (une femme), a dog (un chien), a table (une table), Janice, happiness (le bonheur)

 

OBJECT. A noun or pronoun which refers to a person or thing that is affected by the action described by the verb.

 

PAST PARTICIPLE. To form the past participle of regular verbs, you use the infinitive and replace as follows:

Verbs ending in -er         – replace -er with

Example: aimer (to like) – take off the -er and replace with = aimé

Verbs ending in -ir           – replace with -i

Example: finir (to finish) = take off the -ir and replace with -i = fini

Verbs ending in -re         – replace with -u

Example: descendre (to go down) – take off the -re and replace with -u = descendu

 

PLURAL. The form of a word that is used to refer to more than one person or thing.

 

PREPOSITION. A preposition is a word such as at, for, with, into and from. They are important little words but can be tricky.

Example: at school (à l’école), for you (pour toi), with us (avec nous), from England (d’Angleterre)

 

PRESENT. A verb form used to talk about what is happening now, what happens regularly and what is true at the moment.

 

PRONOUN.  A pronoun is a word that you use instead of a noun such as you, her.

Example: Virginie (noun) is busy but she (pronoun) must leave soon (Virginie est occupée mais elle doit partir bientôt)

 

QUESTION WORD. A word such as why, where which is used to ask a question.

 

REGULAR VERB. A verb whose form follows the normal rules.

 

SENTENCE. A group of words which usually have a subject followed by a verb.

 

SINGULAR. A form of a word which is used to refer to one person or thing.

 

STEM. The main part of a verb to which endings are added.

 

SUBJECT. The subject is the noun in a sentence or phrase that refers to the person who is doing the action described by the verb or is in the state described by the verb. For example: Virginie, she (elle).

Example: Virginie is busy (Virginie est occupée)

 

SUBJECT PRONOUNS. A pronoun such as I, he, she or they which is used instead of the noun as the subject of a sentence. Pronouns stand in for nouns when it is clear who is being talked about.

 

SYLLABLE. A syllable is a unit that makes up a sound of a word. Made up of consonants and vowels.

 

TENSE. A form of a verb which shows whether you are referring to the present, past of future.

 

VERB. A verb is a doing word that describes what someone or something is doing, what someone or something is or what happens to them. For example: to be (être), to sing (chanter).

Example: I am happy (je suis heureuse)

Example: He is singing his favourite song (il chante sa chanson préférée)

 

VOWEL. One of the letters a, e, i, o, u.

Check in from time to time on this French Grammar Glossary as it will be updated regularly.

French for Beginners

To help you learn French you might also be interested in the post mentioned below. Need a reminder of what a noun is, in English? Don’t forget the Learn French – Grammar Glossary.

French for Beginners – Lesson 1 – French nouns

Learn French - Grammar Glossary and more!

Learn French!

As well as this Learn French – Grammar Glossary, you can also find 14 French for Beginners posts on this blog.

Intermediate French is coming soon!

There are also posts on useful vocabulary connected with life in the Dordogne.

I offer 1-1 French lessons in Eymet, in the Dordogne, or by Zoom. Click on the advert on this site to enquire for further information.


Dordogne-life is one year old!

This week Dordogne-life is one year old so Happy Birthday to me!

 

It has been an amazing year at Dordogne-life. Since its launch, I have visited some beautiful sites, had some memorable experiences, met some fantastic people and done lots of writing.

Dordogne-life web site

Some people don’t realise that my blog is actually a website. Professional websites like mine take a lot of work. They need to be regularly populated with interesting content and their presence on the internet needs to maintained and updated constantly. With 133 posts so far, it’s been hard work but I have learnt so much about blogging and had a lot of fun.

Beavering away at Dordogne-life

mylittledordognekitchen

With a philosophy of “Buy local. Buy what’s in season. Buy fresh.”, the mylittledordognekitchen food page of Dordogne-life has been well received. There appears to be a lot of you out there that feel the same way as I do. If you are lucky enough to live in the Dordogne, you will appreciate how refreshing and rewarding it is to go to a market or a local farm to see what you can buy that day and use your culinary magic to turn it into something delicious.

Poulet au Verjus is a Dordogne favourite

Since launching Dordogne-life, I have added a directory of restaurants and associations plus a natural environment page. I have also started a Dordogne Faces page which I absolutely love. But then, who doesn’t like a smiling face?

In terms of local support, Dordogne-life has collaborated with three important players in Dordogne tourism sector: Semitour.com, Sarlat-tourisme.com and Pays-Bergerac-tourisme.com.

In the last 28 days, the website had 371 new visitors, which is amazing.

Dordogne-life has a constantly growing number of subscribers to the weekly newsletter. Please don’t hesitate to subscribe. It’s not long, just points you to the latest week’s blogs.

371 new visitors to Dordogne-life in the last 28 days

Dordogne-life on social media

Social media has proven invaluable in helping drive traffic to Dordogne-life. The most liked photo on my Instagram page “Dordogneblog” has been, without doubt, the interview I gave with the Sud Ouest newspaper. This is closely followed by photos of Sarlat and Belvès. I already have 842 followers on Instagram.

On Facebook, Dordogne-life has a dedicated page with the same name and is where I post regularly. I also post on group pages that I follow. I was chuffed to bits that my photo of Sarlat received 818 likes on the South, West & Rest of France group page!

The post on LinkedIn about Bergerac airport was shared by the airport itself and had 1078 impressions followed closely by my post on Sarlat which received 784.

Beautiful Sarlat

The year ahead for Dordogne-life

This year, Dordogne-life has gone from strength to strength. So, looking to the year ahead, I am planning to carry on as I am, albeit constantly aiming at improving my work. I’ll be developing the Learn French page further with French for Intermediates and I’ll be expanding on the mylittledordordognekitchen section. The Dordogne is such a great place to live and there is so much to write about. I will never ever have to time to write about everything I would like to.

I am hoping that people will be starting to appreciate that Dordogne-life is a great asset to life in the Dordogne and that, because of this, they will have the confidence to start advertising on the blog. Please see the advertising page on the blog. You can advertise for as little as 60 € a year, that’s just 5 € a month for Dordogne-focused advertising.

I have included a few links to some of the most popular blogs on Dordogne-life.

A growing number of subscribers to Dordogne-life's weekly newsletter

Click here to read about Sarlat.

Or maybe you are interested about Bergerac airport.

Read about Eymet.

And lastly, click here to read about the article in the Sud Ouest newspaper.


Dordogne Faces

The beautiful Suzanne Bowen Pasquon, boutique owner (home furnishing) in Dordogne

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Eymet