Recipes · Sweet Saturday

Sweet Saturday; Millionaires Shortbread


I’m trying to lose weight before the big move; suffice to say making these was a mistake. If you’re not on a regime though baking these would win you all sorts of favours from your family. Just don’t think of the calories.

Ingredients and Method

For the shortbread;

250g plain flour

75g caster sugar

175g softened butter

For the caramel;

100g butter

100g light muscavado sugar

2 x 397g cans condensed milk

For the topping;

200g milk and 100g plain chocolate

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4. Lightly grease a 33x23cm baking tin.
  2. In a mixing bowl put the flour, sugar and butter and mix together by rubbing between your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs. Knead this into a dough and press it into the base of the tin. Prick the mixture with a fork lightly all over. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Cool in the tin.
  3. When cooled put the butter, sugar and condensed milk into a saucepan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil making sure you stir all the time as it will burn easily. As soon as it boils reduce to a simmer and continue stirring for about five minutes until it’s thickened. Pour over the shortbread and leave to cool.
  4. Once this is cooled start the topping. Break all the chocolate into a bowl and heat inside a saucepan partially filled with water. Once melted poor over the caramel, smooth and leave to cool. Once partially cooled you may want to move to the fridge to set. When cooled completely cut into squares.

These are so good – they’d make wonderful gifts!

Meals For A French Kitchen · Recipes

Meals For A French Kitchen; Duck With A Raspberry Sauce



I haven’t been posting as much because here in the Normandy countryside the Internet connection is bad. I mean really, really bad. It’s something we have to look in to for our move and I’ll post anything I found out about it here (if anyone has any advice in the meantime I’d be grateful to hear it).

I just wanted to share this delicious recipe for duck with a raspberry sauce. I used duck legs as you can buy two legs for the same price as each breast (roughly €5 per breast), and as I was cooking for nine this was a necessary saving. To compliment it I saved it with roasted potatoes and carrots with crumbled feta over the carrots. In all honesty I wish I’d cubed and cooked the feta too, hence it not being in the picture. But the tanginess of the cheese compliments beautifully the sauce. It was delicious and I was really pleased as this was the first time I’d cooked duck.

The ingredients are listed for four persons, so obviously vary according to your needs.

Ingredients and Method

4 duck breasts image
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 teaspoons demerara sugar
250 ml red wine
150 ml crème de cassis
1 tablespoon cornflour
250 g frozen or fresh raspberries, depending on the season

500g potatoes suitable for roasting

8 carrots with their tops if possible

6tbsps of olive oil and 25g butter

1. Preheat the oven to 170C/150C Fan. Peel the potatoes and cut them into small cubes. Part boil them in a pan of water. Put three tablespoons of olive oil in the base of a roasting tin that will contain all the potatoes. Drain the water and put the part boiled potatoes in the pan, ensuring they’re smothered in the oil, adding more oil if you think necessary.

2. Take off the leafy part of the carrot stem, but leave some of the stem. Put the other  half of the olive oil in the base of a roasting dish big enough to comfortably hold all the carrots and move the carrots about in the oil until they’re covered in it. Put the carrots and potatoes in the oven to slowly roast.

3. Pour the wine into a measuring jug. Score the duck through the skin and fat, but not all the way through to the meat. Heat a frying pan and add some butter. When melted fry the duck legs, skin side down, until the skin browns. Lift the duck legs out of the pan and take two tablespoons of fat and add it to the wine before tipping away most of the fat left in the frying pan.

2. Mix together the sea salt, cinnamon and demerara sugar. Sprinkle it over the skin of the duck legs, pressing in with your fingers. Season with a little black pepper. Reheat the frying pan and cook the duck breasts, skin side up, for 10-15 minutes until you can see the meat is cooked. Keep the legs in the frying pan to help them stay warm. If need be light a very low flame underneath them in order that they do stay warm, but not so they cook further.

3. Meanwhile, pour about 100 ml of the red wine into a small bowl and mix in the cornflour until it’s smooth. Then heat the red wine in a small saucepan and add the cornflour mixture along with the crème de cassis. Simmer for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly, until the sauce has thickened. Add the raspberries and simmer to warm the fruit through.

4. Check the vegetables, as they should be nearly roasted by now. Once their almost done put the duck legs in the frying pan in the bottom of the oven for about five minutes.

5. Place a duck leg on each plate and add two carrots, crumbling some feta over the top of them. Then add the roasted potatoes cubes. Pour some sauce over the duck leg and put the reminder in the jug to place on the table.

We had ours with friends in the May sunshine. We started out meal with a salmon pate which, in desperation of limited cruet dishes, I served in teacups! I thought they were quite pretty.

If you try it, tell me what you think. I’d love to hear from you.



Lou Messugo
Recipes · Sweet Saturday

Strawberry Mascarpone Tart


As strawberry season is coming I thought I’d shared this delicious recipe. It’s wonderful on a warm terrace with a glass of cold rosé.

Ingredients and Method


170g plain flour, 85g salted butter, 3 egg yolks, 85g caster sugar, 2 drops of vanilla essence.


225g mascarpone cheese, 90ml greek yoghurt, 2 drops of vanilla essence, 2 punnetts of strawberries, 170g red currant jelly.

  1. Preheat the oven to 190C/170C Fan/Gas 5.
  2. Cream the butter, egg yolks, sugar and vanilla essence in a food processor. Then mix in the flour. Shape the dough into a flat round and wrap in cling film before putting in the fridge for fifteen minutes.
  3. Grease a 20cm (8inch) pastry tin and roll out the dough between stow sheets of greaseproof paper. Line the tin with the dough and put some baking paper covering the base of the pastry. Line with baking beans building them up at the sides to maintain the shape of the pie.
  4. Blind bake the pie for fifteen minutes, then remove the beans and baking paper. Continue to blind bake until the pastry is golden – you may need to cover the edges with tin foil. Allow to cool.
  5. Wash, hull and half the strawberries before arranging them over the pie base.
  6. Melt the jelly in a pan briefly before sieving and brushing over the strawberries to make a glaze.

If you try it yourself tell me what you think!

Recipes · Sweet Saturday

Sweet Saturday; Best Ever Chocolate Brownie Recipe!

These are the most delicious chocolate brownie recipe and they popped into my head  whilst reading Mireille Giuliano’s ‘French Women Don’t Get Fat!‘. In it she blames a trip to America and her discovery of Brownies on a weight gain unprecedented in her life and, apparently, all of France!

Though I doubt Mirielle’s bold claim in terms of France’s having no rotund women (I go to France a lot – believe me there are chubby women there. Maybe not disability scooter fat, but….). However, I can sympathise with her laying the blame at the door of these goodies for weight gain!

So love me or hate me for it I’ve decided to post my recipe for these here.

Ingredients and Method

175g each of milk and dark cooking chocolate image image

225g lightly salted butter

1tsp of instant coffee dissolved in a little hot water

3 large eggs

225g caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

75g self-raising flour

175g copped walnuts

100g each of milk and white chocolate chunks

Preheat the oven to 190C/170C Fan/Gas Mark 5. Grease and line a deep sided roasting tin measuring 12 in x 9 in or 30cm/23cm.
Break the chocolate into chunks and cube the butter and put them in a bowl over a pan of simmering water to melt. Once completely melted put aside to cool.
Put the coffee, eggs, sugar and vanilla into a bowl and blend well. Add in the cooled chocolate mixture and stir in. Then fold in the flour, nuts and chocolate chunks.
Put the mixture into the tin and level out. Place in the oven and cook for 40-45minutes. The brownies are ready when it has a crusty top and you can remove a clean skewer from it’s inside. If you find the your top is growing crusty but the cake mixture still isn’t done cover in tin foil stop the crust burning and cook a little longer.
Once cooked remove from the oven and cool in the pan prior to transferring into a wire cake rack to cool completely. Then cut into the desired square size.
We serve ours slightly warn with some delicious berry ice cream after a dinner party and nearly everyone asked for the recipe – it’s that good!

Learning French · Meals For A French Kitchen · Recipes

Meals For A French Kitchen; Suprêmes de Volaille Veronique


This dish, as other dishes with grapes, are called Veronique or à la vigneronne after the wife of the grape grower. When I have run out of wine I’ve used a dry cider before and it was just as tasty.

Ingredients and Method

4 boneless chicken breasts

30g butter

2 shallots

125ml dry white wine

250ml chicken stock

125ml whipping cream

30 seedless grapes

  1. Season the chicken breaststs. Melt half the butter in a pan and cook until lightly golden. Transfer them to a plate and keep them warm.
  2. Add the remaining butter and sauté the shallots until softened. Add the wine, bring it to the boil and reduce it by half. Then add the chicken stock and boil again until it’s reduced by half.
  3. Add the cream, bring it back to the boil adding any juices from the chicken. Lower the heat and add the grapes, cooking gently for five minutes.
  4. Slice the chicken breast then serve with the sauce spooned over the top.

I served mine with roasted vegetables. It was delicious – a lovely Spring supper.

As of my last post about French cooking terms I’m going to add the main ones here below. Hope this helps any of you struggling with learning your French but, as usual, mines far from perfect. If there’s any corrections you think are needed please let me know.

D’abord, faites dorer les poitrines de poulet.

Faites revenir les eschalots.

Ajoutez le vin et faites bouillir jusqu’à sa réduisent de moitié.

Ajoutez le stock de poulet, faites bouillir encore jusqu’à réduire de moitié.

Ajoutez la crème et faites bouillir encore, ajouter le jus du poulet.  Baissez le feu, ajouter les raisins et faites cuire pour cinq minutes. Coupez les poitrines de poulet. Servez avec une cueillir de sauce sur le dessus. 


Recipes · Sweet Saturday

Sweet Saturday; Giant Jammy Dodger


I made these with my eldest daughter. When Le Marie and I were just dreaming of children mine always included the imaging of us baking together – I know, hardly original! I tried to bake with her at first when she was less than two to, ahem, questionable success. This is the first recipe I did with her that was a success and it was because I decided which parts I would involve her in. So I did the measuring, mixing etc on my own and we did the rolling, cutting out, jam spreading and putting together between us. This allowed me to focus on the skills she was developing at the time rather than overwhelming her with lots of new things to do.

Now we regularly bake together and she does all the parts of baking, unless it’s near a stove like melting chocolate, as she’s built up the skills she has. She drags her little stool over to where I am and measures, mixes and sprinkles with her squeals of delight punctuating the air. She has so much pride in what she’s produced it’s adorable!

Ingredients and Method

250g plain flour, 200g cubed butter, 100g icing sugar, 2 egg yolks, 4 tablespoons of jam of your preferred flavour.

  1. Preheat oven to 170C/150C Fan/ Gas 6.
  2. In a mixing bowl rub together the flour, butter and icing sugar between your fingertips until it looks like breadcrumbs.
  3. Mix in the egg yolks until a dough ball is formed.
  4. On a piece of greaseproof paper take half the dough mixture and roll it out until it’s about 1/4 inch thick. Then cut out heart shapes and peel the appear away from them prior to transferring them to the baking tray – this help to keep their shape. I used large hearts because when the centres are cut out it’s easier to keep them intact and less fiddly. I also just line baking sheets with baking paper rather then greasing as it’s easier to work with with lots of biscuits.
  5. Repeat the process with the other half of the dough but this time cut a heart out of it’s centre too. The hole must not be so big that you then tear the biscuit transferring it because the sides are now too thin. If you don’t have a cutter suitable you can always make a heart with a knife by cutting out then smoothing the sides with the flat or a teaspoon.
  6. Bake until a light golden brown for 10-15 minutes.
  7. Once baked transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Then take an intact biscuit and smooth jam into it’s centre and place a corresponding biscuit over the top. Once all the biscuits are completed return them to the oven for about five minutes to melt the jam a little – be sure to keep an eye on them. Remove and cool on the wire rack again before storing in an air-tight container – if you can resist them!
Holidays · Recipes · Sweet Saturday · valentines day

Sweet Saturday; Valentine’s Cupcakes


Charles, duc d’Orléans was one of the greatest of the courtly poets of France, who during exile in England in the 15th century earned a reputation for his poems.  His is now considered The earliest surviving recorded Valentine is a medieval French poem entitled ‘Farewell to Love’, written by Charles, Duke of Orléans in 1415, to his wife Bonne of Armagnac. Charles wrote the poem while he was held in the Tower of London after being captured at the Battle of Agincourt, during the Hundred Years War. He was at the time 21 years old.

Farewell to Love, Duke of Orléans, 1415

Je suis desja d’amour tanné, image
Ma tres doulce Valentinée,
Car pour moi fustes trop tart née,
Et moy pour vous fus trop tost né.
Dieu lui pardoint qui estrené
M’a de vous, pour toute l’année.
Je suis desja d’amour tanné,
Ma tres doulce Valentinée
Bien m’estoye suspeconné,
Qu’auroye telle destinée,
Ains que passast ceste journée,
Combien qu’Amours l’eust ordonné.
Je suis desja d’amour tanné,
Ma tres doulce Valentinée.

I am already sick of love,
imageMy very gentle Valentine,
Since for me you were born too soon,
And I for you was born too late.
God forgives him who has estranged
Me from you for the whole year.
I am already sick of love,
My very gentle Valentine.

Well might I have suspected
That such a destiny,
Thus would have happened this day,
How much that Love would have commanded.
I am already sick of love,
My very gentle Valentine.

Valentines Cupcakes

These cupcakes are very rich and a little bitter, quite a manly valentines so I made them recently for my husband. If you fancy doing the same here’s what you need to do.


Cupcakes  image
1 1/3 cups all plain flour
1/4 cup cocoa
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup salted butter at room temperature
1 egg white
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup natural yoghurt mixed with 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice
1/2 cup milk

6 oz semi-sweet chocolate
300ml tub of heavy whipping cream
3 tbsp salted butter


red fondant icing

gold stars

1. Preheat oven to 350 F/ 180 C degrees. Put cupcake liners into the moulds of a tray – this recipe will make between 12-14 cupcakes.
2. Put the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda and baking powder in a large mixing bowl. Add butter, egg white, egg, vanilla, sour cream and milk and mix on medium speed just until just smooth.
4. Fill cupcake liners a little more than half way and then bake for 18-20 minutes.
6. Allow to cool for 1-2 minutes, then remove to cooling rack to finish cooling.


Ganache topping
1. Break the chocolate into a microwave safe bowl.
2. Add heavy whipping cream and butter to the bowl with chocolate.
3. Microwave mixture for about 1-2 minutes at a time, stir then microwave again repeating this process until fully melted.
4. Set aside to cool in the fridge until the chocolate begins to thicken.

5. Whilst the ganache is thickening rollout the red icing no cut out red hearts. Put these on some greaseproof paper and leave to harden – if you can do this over night.
5. When ready Togo ahead check the consistency of the ganache; it needs to be thick but spreadable. If need be remove from the fridge and leave it to soften a little. Then cut out a hole in the center of the cupcakes and fill with a little ganache, the hole only needs to be about …1/2-1 cm deep. Put the heart’s point in the hole and then use the ganache to cement it into the cupcake, building the ganache up so that it covers the top of the cupcake. Sprinkle gold stars over the top.