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


Welcome ! Put your feet up and have a cuppa. Join me in my endeavours to live a simple, quiet, yet fulfilling life.

Yes, what exactly is this blog about ?
I guess in a sense it is a blog about 'homemaking'.  Making a home, wherever you lay your hat. In our case many different places, in three different countries. Presently back in the southwest of Ireland.

I want my home to be comfortable and a haven. Who doesn't ? It has to be a place where I want to be in. Sometimes for days on end. I want it to be perfect....
And therein lies the problem... It will never be and it is not for the want of trying.
If you ever come across a post under the header Home or Home Improvements with photos of beautifully finished rooms or a picture perfect still life, you can bet that a part of our home looks like a right tip. Large dogs sprawled out on the sofa, cats that have just coughed up a hairball. You get the picture. And it is not a nice one.

What I am trying to convey here is that even when things aren't always the way you envisaged, you can still make do and not be afraid of trying.
Maybe I can encourage you with this blog to be creative in many aspects of making a home that feels good and loved.

I love a pretty cottage garden. And a vegetable garden. And chickens and pigs...
Yes, we are establishing all that. No we are not self-sufficient, nor are we trying to be. But it is very gratifying to eat vegetables that are home grown, eat fresh eggs and free range pork.  It is amazing to hear and see the bees buzz from flower to flower in the look-alike-y cottage garden that once was a parking.  You might want to get some ideas of what is possible in that department if you only put your mind to it.

You will find recipes that I have penned down for you to try out.  I urge you to use them  as inspiration and not be too stressed out if you haven't got a minor ingredient in your store cupboard. Don't be afraid to try out a suitable replacement for it. I am a confident and intuitive cook, ahem, even if I do say so myself. I don't weigh or measure ingredients as a norm. Only when I make a blog post about it will I be more precise and out come the scales. It takes me a long time and a lot of effort before the post gets published, so you'd better be appreciative, thank you very much !
Just don't be afraid of misinterpreting a recipe, you might just come up with something better than the original. I dare you !

Who is the I ?

That would be me, Patricia.  a 50-something Belgian (Flemish) woman, living in Ireland with my very patient husband Bert, 3 cats, 2 greyhound-type of dogs, a few chickens and a couple of pigs. We live on a 3.5 ha piece of land, sometimes. Other times it is less. When it is high tide.  We live on the banks of the estuary near a small village.
I am a food lover and cooking is one of my favourite past-times. I like my ingredients to be pure and processed as little as possible. On and off we have been growing vegetables and fruits organically for over 15 years. 
I also have been interested in interior design for as long as I can remember. I'm afraid I do not do minimalist and like our house to be our home, ie cosy. Having an Art Teacher's degree and not teaching, means I have to let my creativity loose on other things, like cooking, home and garden....and blogging. 
After about 12 years abroad, 7 in Ireland and 5 in France respectively, we moved back to our home country, Belgium in 2008. Only to leave for Ireland again April 2013.  We are now hopefully here to stay.

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  1. what a lovely introduction and I loved the way it gave us a picture of you. husband and pets and everywhere you have lived. I loved being in Belgium visiting my brother when he lived there and worked for the Commission... now my niece and nephew remain whilst my brother retired to the south of france.. [ I get to visit him there too**] so, I shall now take the time to peruse your delightful blog and be back again soon.. j

    1. Thank you, Jeannine, for your lovely comments.
      It's great, isn't it, having friends and family spread out over a few countries ? Makes for great holidays.
      Please, do come back. Looking forward. xxx...x


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