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French Cookery Holiday: Reflections On A Beautiful, Delicious Week

Just back from a lovely sunny (got up to 32degrees) cookery holiday in south of France at Chateau Ventenac. The sun shone every day and we ate all our meals outside, such bliss sitting out in the evening replete with a glass or two of the local rose under a crescent moon, swifts still circling in the sky.

We did work hard! And perfected our bread skills, made fougasse and stuffed some with a chunky roasted ratatouille, also we all completed the mayonnaise challenge with hand whisks and OD on hollandaise to dip the freshest asparagus spears in along with purple artichokes.

One hit with everyone were little tarts (of course we had to make the lightest of pate brisee) filled with an almond and green olive tapenade, topped with roasted cherry tomatoes and leeks and goats cheese for those who liked it.

On the last night after our ‘ready steady cook’ market visit to Narbonne, which has a wonderful indoor food market, we all made a Spanish feast of paella, tortilla & tapas.

For desserts, a cherry clafoutis, white peaches in Muscat, a traditional pinenut tart and on the last night, we all made chocolate soufflés at 10pm, they were supremely chocolaty, rose extravagantly and a great way to finish the week.

Here's a slideshow of the week in all its glory. Stay tuned for recipe highlights...

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