La Chatte Gitane (or The Gypsy Cat) was the name we chose for our cottage in France at the time. We chose it while on the road, moving house the first time round, from Ireland to France with 2 dogs and 7 cats in the car.
This blog began its insignificant life as a recipe book for friends and family who would ask me repeatedly for a recipe of this, that and the other.
Since then it has taken many different directions, like we did and like gypsies tend to do. Sometimes making a U-turn and revisiting familiar roads and taking a break when necessary.
You'll find recipes here, but also musings about the places we've called home, the gardens that we've established, not always successfully, the homes we've improved and the environments we've lived in. Currently, after yet another stint in Ireland, we're back in France @ Le Mas d'Ayen

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Something to look at.

There was a break in the weather yesterday morning in between Frank and Frank Jr. The winter sure seems to last forever and ever when you get storm after storm. So it was a welcome sight to see clear blue skies, even if it didn't last long. I'll keep the photos here so I can stare at them when the wind and rain gets to me.

Oh ! And I would like to wish everyone a great 2016 !

Patricia xxx...x

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Party People.

Such serious faces ! You've got to wonder about the standard of the food. 

 Serious faces ? Maybe I spoke too soon.

The perfect hostess ! Showered, hair pulled back, no lipstick, no mascara, pinny wearing and exhausted. Very photogenic ! 
But always up for a giggle and a good old belly laugh ! 

We have some wine making enthusiasts among our friends. I don't drink alcohol (anymore), but I take great pleasure from  Richard's  wine labels.

It's all I can do to show my appreciation for their unconditional friendship, stuff them with homemade fayre.
Patricia xxx...x

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Party Food

Salmon paté with dill pickle. In the background : Tiger prawns with garlic.

 Pork Rillettes (potted pork from our own pigs) not made by me but by the French charcutier who is on the Wednesday market in Kenmare.

Pork paté with a very boozy gelatine.

Porchetta. Rolled pork belly with herbs. Serious crackling.


 Green bean, feta and pomegranate salad with a lemon, ginger and mustard dressing.

 Nigel Slater's pears and shallots to go with the ham. Big, big hit !

The best ham ever ! Thank you piggies.

One of the many loaves of bread.

 Talk about a retro kitchy cake.  The last time I made this was probably when I was 16.

I bought the tacky embellishments especially for this cake.

There was more, much more and there still is. So time to portion off some food and vacuum seal it ready for the freezer.
I will be putting up recipes further along the road of some of these dishes.

I've got achy bones and muscles.
Is it worth it ? All that work for a binge fest that lasts all of 5 hours?
Definitely ! Love my friends !

Patricia xxx...x

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Season's Greetings !

Best wishes to you, my lovely readers.
Whatever you'll be celebrating, have a peaceful time,
a roof over your head, a belly full of food, a glowing hearth and your and dearest near.
Patricia xxx...x

Wednesday, December 23, 2015


Is it almost 2 weeks ago that we received 2 hens for rehoming ?

 The owner had passed away, sadly, and we agreed to take them in. I quickly constructed a pen in the garage for them to stay in until darkness fell. In the evening they joined the rest of the flock.

 The next morning we had to 'help' them outside because they had no idea where they were.

They quickly started scratching and pecking around 

 They got adopted by the flock.

The two here at the back are young cockerels. Very interested they were in the newcomers.
The white bugger has been trying to mount everything that moves. He got to our new white (leghorn) hen and drew blood in her neck.

She has now been inside for the last few days, so that the wound can heal. I have been spoiling her something rotten with pumpkin seeds, sunflower, sesame and flax seeds and a few grapes during the day, plus her normal feed.

The young cockerels, they have gone to a friend of ours who is going to turn them into something for the soup.

Patricia xxx...x

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Scrub, Scrub, Scrub,

Scrub the path around the house. That's what I did yesterday, before someone does any real damage, like breaking a leg or an ankle.

After. Yes, I know it doesn't look like new, but when you see the next photo...'ll definitely notice the difference. Lack of sunshine, plenty of damp (wet) weather is the optimum condition for growing a slippery layer of green mess, or moss. Or is it algae.

I also gathered up all the pots by the front door and placed them around the corner out of the wind.

The front door, after.Tidy. My mum will be proud.

The back door, which isn't at the back at all. It's the servants' entrance. For me, so.

Glad that's out of the way. It has been niggling me for a while.

Patricia xxx...x

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Beautiful Evening Sky and Stuck in the Bog

 It's been a while since we've seen anything but gray and wet.

Yup !  My fat stub. 
One of the two cockerels, that are meant for the cull tomorrow, escaped from the chicken run. Trying to go around him at a little distance to guide him back in, I managed to plonk myself right into the boggy soil. Not just with the one booted foot, but with both !
I quickly felt the pressure of the swampy mess, clinging around my feet and legs. Luckily, Bert was near and he tried to guide me out. 
I just wanted to pull my feet out of my wellies and leave the latter behind, to be found by some aliens centuries from now. "No, you can't !" says he. Both of us pulling at my boot. At last my right foot was freed. 
Meanwhile my left one got sucked in some more. After a lot of tugging my foot got freed from its welly and after an extra bit of effort the bog released that one too.
Is there something like pre-karma ? And was I being punished beforehand ?

The bastard cockerel went back in all by himself. 

Oh joy !
Patricia xxx...x

Friday, December 18, 2015

More Christmas Stuff

By the time everyone is taking down the decorations, I will be just finished putting mine up, the way I'm going.
Normally, I am more organised and slightly earlier than this time round.  The boxes with decorations exploded two weeks ago into the hallway and are still there. Every now and then I will pick something out and 'enhance' a corner here and there.

 Today, I managed to throw a bit of greenery on top of the mantle.

The painting above is from my friend Jo-Anne . We've got a few of her's around the house.

 The tree in the kitchen went up a few days ago.

Bubblegum pink.

Now it's just the banister in the halway that I need to finish. The greenery has gone up, now it needs more beautifying. 
There is always tomorrow.

Patricia xxx...x
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