The thing that wouldn’t leave

As a kid watching TV I used to love the sketch on Saturday Night Live “The thing that wouldn’t leave”, about an awful houseguest that overstayed his welcome. Later, regrettably, I must confess that I’ve come across this being in various shapes and sizes, though not too often or too severely. It’s the most comic of situations, Mr and Mrs are ready to head to bed but the visitor, doesn’t get or doesn’t want to get the signals. In any case he stays too long.
Then there is that other character, the darling uncle that everybody wants to stay forever, his welcome has no expiry date. He’s the one that you’ll gladly put up on the couch in the living room, or better yet, in the five-star guest bedroom. He doesn’t want to leave, you don’t want him to go, and thus, though goodbyes have been said, though he’s had the last sip of port many times over – he’s still there and everybody is happy about it.
Lately we’ve had an uncle like that, he’s called summer. After dinner, after port and cheeses and sweets we said goodbye to him, but he’s still here, and nothing could make me happier. For weeks now we’ve been predicting autumn, every al fresco meal has been thoughtfully appreciated as if it were the last one for a while. But then a new day comes, out go the plates of summer salads, the chilled wine, the refreshing desserts. The swimming pool thought she’d be off duty by now but she’s more in demand than ever.
As I am writing this they are writing summer’s obituary once again, apparently sweater season is soon upon us.
Autumn is welcome in this house but until then we’ll be happy to entertain that other uncle, the summer that wouldn’t leave – write him off at your own peril.






Bat in a glass

Apart from amazing weather these last few weeks have been dominated by another “thing”, a very large and mysterious old château that will soon be our home. The main work is focused around the heart of the house, the kitchen, and the adjoining rooms where I will open a restaurant next summer and where I will host cooking workshops very soon. Seeing it come to life is so rewarding and promising and we can’t resist going there almost every day. The previous owner left us lots of little treasures to discover, cases of wine in the cellar, oddities in cupboards and chests, an old French flag, a framed certificate of a “Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur”, old recipe diaries, coins and curiosities. A treasure hunt in our very own house, finding interesting objects but also clues that bring us closer to the past history and spirit of la maison. Last weekend we were excited to see how the work was progressing in the kitchen so after our outdoorsy lunch we headed to St Yzans to monitor the travaux. All the kids tagged along, their favorite thing is to peel away the wallpaper and argue who gets which room (although that has long since been decided).
We love to put on music in the old gramophone we found in one of the soon to be guest rooms and the nostalgic music, more precisely Tony Murena’s ‘café au lait‘, echoes throughout the house. On one of our first visits, we were surprised by a bat that seemed to have taken up lodgings on the top floor and though we haven’t seen it since, Hudson, our eight year old boy is very much on alert, once he even brought an umbrella for protection. Last Saturday, we found a beautiful, old glass dome and it reminded me of a trip to the taxidermy shop Deyrolles in Paris. It was just before Christmas and Oddur desperately wanted to buy a skeleton of a bat, gloriously stored in such a glass display. I wasn’t too keen, the item itself … and the price tag were rather off-putting to me. If I remember correctly I gave him an overcoat instead and stupidly a stuffed toy dog (talking about opening Pandora’s box).
On the whole I think I much prefer an empty glass dome and a live bat flying somewhere outside it – a much more hopeful display. And years from now, when people ask me “why do you leave that beautiful dome empty?” I will simply say “It’s a long story … but it’s got to do with a bat”.
Of course if I change my mind I can always use the dome for cheese.

ps: Once again, just a quick reminder for those of you who have or will order my cookbook “A Kitchen in France” that you have a nice print waiting for you and all you have to do is click here and fill in your details.







Lentil soup
(Serves 6 as a starter)

There are so many different layers in this soup, from the nutty lentils to the crispy breadcrumbs and pancetta. The garlic cream gives this soup and extra punch. The soup is very easy to make – just make sure to prepare the garnishing while the soup is cooking.

230 g/ 8 ounces dried green lentils
1 large carrot, peeled & sliced
1 onion, peeled & sliced
60 g/ 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
A few sprigs of thyme, leaves picked
A few sprigs of parsley, leaves picked and chopped finely
100 g/ 1 & 2/3 cup stale bread, ground coarsely
30 ml/1/8th cup olive oil
150 g/ 1/3 pound sliced pancetta
120 ml/ ½ cup heavy cream
2 garlic cloves, peeled
Sea-salt & freshly ground black pepper

Heat half of the butter in a large pot, cook the onions and carrots for 4 to 5 minutes on a medium heat.
Add the lentils and thyme. Pour about 1.5 1iters of water. Season with salt & pepper.
When the soup starts to boil, turn down the heat and leave to simmer for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.

While the soup is cooking, prepare the following:

For the garlic breadcrumbs
Place bread and one clove of garlic in a food processor. Pulse until coarse crumbs form. Heat olive oil in a large pan and sauté the breadcrumbs on a medium heat until golden and crisp. Leave to cool and set aside. Season with salt.

For the pancetta
Heat a sauté pan on a medium heat and cook the pancetta on both sides until golden. Drain on paper towels and chop finely.

Garlic cream

Mince garlic with garlic crusher. In a small saucepan, heat the cream and crushed garlic on a medium to low heat, stir well until mixture is warm. Pass the sauce through a sieve. Set aside.

Mix the soup with a stick blender. Add the remaining butter and stir until melted.

Serve the soup with a spoonful of garlic breadcrumbs, chopped pancetta and parsley on top. Drizzle with a bit of garlic cream.


Roast leg of lamb with basil cream

(serves 6)

This classic dish is a family favorite, and I love this refreshing basil cream sauce – it flavors the meat in all the right way. Serve with roast potatoes so they can soak up all the goodness.

1 leg of lamb – gigot d’agneau (about 2.5 kg 5 to 6 pounds)
6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1 large carrot, sliced
1 large onion, sliced
1 large bunch of basil, leaves picked
120 ml/1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock
120 ml/1/2 cup heavy cream
Olive oil
Coarse sea-salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F

Heat olive oil in a large ovenproof /heatproof roasting pan on a medium heat, and brown lamb on all sides. Season with salt & pepper. Add the garlic cloves, sliced carrot & onion, transfer to the preheated oven and roast for 45 to 55 minutes for medium-rare, adjust timing depending on desired ‘cuisson’.
Remove lamb from pan and cover loosely with foil to keep warm.

Make the sauce
Heat the roasting pan and all its juices on a medium heat, scoop out the excess fat with a spoon, and bring to a boil. Add chicken or vegetable stock and reduce to half. Season with salt & pepper. Add the heavy cream and chopped basil. Stir the sauce for a couple more minutes until it thickens slightly and take off the heat. Pass the sauce though a sieve.
Serve the carved leg of lamb with a generous drizzle of basil cream sauce and roast potatoes.


Grape tart/ La tarte aux raisins
(Serves 6)

This seasonal tart is a recipe given by my friend Claire. It’s actually her mother’s recipe, using grapes from her local vineyard. She recommends using smaller purple grapes, so you don’t have to de-seed them. The almond-based cream is delicious, and I love the combination with the sweet and tangy grapes.The perfect wine-harvest season tart. Merci Claire!

You will need ¾ to 1 pound purple grape (preferably smaller ones), rinsed

For the pastry
240 g/ 2 cups plain flour
1 egg yolk
90 g/ 6 tablespoons butter, softened at room temperature
75 g/ ¾ cup confectioner’s sugar
60 g / ½ cup almond, ground
45 ml/ 3 tablespoons cold water
1 pinch of salt
In a large bowl, combine the butter with the egg yolk, sugar and salt. Add the ground almond,flour and enough water. Mix until you get a smooth dough. Make a ball and store in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

For the cream
60 g/ ½ cup almond, ground
65 g/ 1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
60 g/ 4 tablespoons plain butter
25 g/ 1 tbsp cornstarch
50 ml/ 3 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F

In a saucepan, melt the butter on a medium-low heat, add the ground almond, cornstarch and milk. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until light and fluffy. Take off the heat and add the egg yolks/sugar mixture and vanilla extract. Mix with a wooden spoon until the cream is smooth, return to the heat stirring constantly until the cream has thickened to a custard. Take off the heat, pour into a bowl, cover with a film and leave to cool.
Line your tart pan with the pastry, prick the bottom several times with a fork and fill the tart with the custard, smooth the top with a spatula and transfer to the oven for 15 minutes. (I put the tart on the upper part/level of the oven)
Place the grapes (if you prefer, you can halve and seed them – place cut side down) on the custard and return to the oven for another 15 to 20 minutes.
Leave to cool and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Just before serving, heat 2 tablespoons grape jelly (if you don’t have grape jelly, use cranberry) in a saucepan and brush over the tart.


156 thoughts on “AND SUMMER LINGERED ON

  1. OH………where do I begin!The children peeling the wallpaper is fabulous…..the treasures left behind are too.Seems like your moving full steam a head.Are you ready for the crowd that will be lined up every day!I was just there in your land and we spoke of YOU……..I am REALLY excited for YOU and the children and your MAN the PHOTOGRAPHER.LIFE COULDNOT BE BETTER.Now, I think I’ll make that lamb next week!XOXOX

    1. Ooooh Contessa – you were somewhere in Normandy right? Somewhere palatial? Cahâteau-esque? Wherever you were it looked amazing! We are full-on with the house travaux, nothing’s gonna stop us now. The kitchen should be ready by the end of the month – I am getting goosebumps… Bisous, Mimix

      1. OUI………..CHATEAU~ESQUE!!!Blog post going out tomorrow!
        I would be too and I am now getting GOOSEBUMPS for YOU and YOUR kitchen………….
        I hope YOU share the kitchen in the photos………..
        Waiting for the cookbook VERY patiently……………
        Love to YOU and the FAMILY.

  2. Oh Mimi, I’m so happy for all of you…with summer lingering, plans unfolding, good food and a beautiful new home. My husband and I also just bought a large mysterious old home this summer. Ours is 143 years old…I imagine your chateau is much older and has much grander stories to tell. We’ve been pulling off wallpaper as well. I’m not enjoying it as much as your children are though!

    I can’t wait to hear your plans for the restaurant and workshops. Please put me first on the list!

  3. Mimi,
    I know you have written about the new house however can you remind me of what it had been in prior times? I ask because a friend was just offered an old convent outside of Rome that is connected to the house her Italian family has lived in for generations, she is born and raised in America. I thought she might like to see what you’re doing with your new venture. She is a great cook too. Thanks, Lyn

    1. Bonjour Lyn – our home was previously a wine-making château (a part of it has been sold to a neighboring château). And until 1957, a part of the establishment was a hotel and restaurant. I hope your friend will be inspired. Mimi x

  4. Mimi, the Chateau looks amazing. I can imagine the renovations and feel excited for you. It is the greatest joy to take an old house and make if your own. I hope every project will be a success and will run smoothly. Enjoy!
    Thanks for your post. I always wait for them impatiently. I enjoy reading them and admiring Oddur’s photography. Such a talented couple. Can’t wait for the book to arrive as well as the poster. So exciting. 🙂

    1. Bonjour Karine, Thank you! I still can’t believe this house is ours – I am always filled with admiration when I am in that house… the number of times I tell Oddur ‘Can you believe this is ours’? I hope you will enjoy the book and poster. Wishing you a lovely week. Mimi x

  5. Sounds really beautiful and congratulations on your new home, am excited for you! I got your book on order and cannot wait for October 28th now and the lentil soup sounds absolutely divine. I must try it. xo

    1. Merci Mel – the lentil soup is perfect for this season. It’s very healthy yet gourmand thanks to all the crunchy goodies added to the soup. Can’t wait for you to receive the book! Thank you! Mimi x

  6. How exciting for you and your family to be moving to the Chateau. I can’t wait for your cookery school to start up. Please put me on the list for your first course. Wishing you lots of success with your move. xxx

    1. Thanks for all your support Jill – we are working hard to meet the deadlines – when there is a will, there is a way! The reality of the cooking ateliers is coming soon! Mimi x

  7. This is such a beautiful post. I am now convinced that peeling wallpaper is an activity every child must experience. Here in the Kansas prairie, it is definitely autumn. Leaves have started turning colors and the temperatures are definitely cooler. Your words about the uncles made me smile. I do believe we all have one such uncle. 🙂

    1. Bonjour! Thank you for your kind words. I guess last night was my farewell to summer – today it’s Monday and it certainly feels like fall… officially. Oh well, it’s time to warm the house with slow-cooking stews! Happy autumn! Mimi x

  8. How exciting to know that your new nest comes with a treasure hunt—and what treasures! Good thing your help likes to pull wallpaper. I love lentils and lamb and I’m always looking for different ways of making both–thanks for the fresh ideas. Enjoy the last days of summer.

    1. Bonjour! Oh yes, I am always on a treasure hunt! The slightest note, envelope, coin, book… gives me afresh vision of the past. It’s more than fun. And most of all inspirational. Enjoy the lentil soup – I am making it tonight, because I think today it is officially fall here! Happy week, Mimi x

  9. I simply cannot wait for you to begin welcoming guests!
    Look forward to meeting you, the children, and the dogs…oh my, those puppies!

  10. Bonjour Mimi! This post makes me so excited about visiting for one of your workshops and the restaurant. Happy end of Summer days. I welcome the Autumn months…even if they are taking longer than usual! 🙂 xo, dana

  11. Mimi, thanks for the glimpse into the new home. You have NO idea how lucky you are that the wallpaper peels so easily. I’ve had other experiences. Flamethrowers come to mind.

    I’ve a feeling you’ll never find all of the things that the house and grounds have hidden. Little attic corners “it’s too hot, we’ll look there some other time”. Things buried on the grounds (hopefully, all pleasant).


    1. Thanks Joachim! I am loving this discovery phase, and yes, the easy wallpaper tearing makes it more fun! Hopefully I won’t find anything strange in the ground (!), will let you know if I do! Mimi x

  12. Such lovely words about summer! Your writing is so captivating. And of course, thank you for such a gorgeous snippet of your life in photos and recipes. Wishing you all the best in these new exciting endeavors!

  13. Mimi,
    Your summer-like autumn looks so enticing as we layered the winter clothes on this weekend with snowflakes falling around us! The Lentil soup is perfect for our weather in Minnesota…

  14. Oh Mimi, lovely as always! I admire you for being in harmony with yourself and with the world around you (which responds to your inner being). Those old houses – they always have a mystery and are full of surprises. I am so very happy for your dream unfolding in such a wonderful and magical way :))

    1. Merci Katherine, This house came at a perfect time in our lives – I feel I am on a mission here! Perhaps I have a culinary mystery to solve?:) The previous owner’s great-grandmother was a cook here, so I am getting very inspired. Happy week, Mimi x

  15. I put on that song, and read the blog post, willing myself into La Maison en Medoc. Your writing and the pictures are enchanting, and delightful, I can’t help but imagine myself there, even if only for a moment in spirit. Going to try the tart with the grapes given to us by the neighbor. We are enjoying our Indian Summer here in Portland, OR too. 🙂

    1. Thanks Angela! I found lots of old music, and my favorite was this ‘Café au Lait’ by Tony Murena! You inspired me to go online and listen to it again! Everytime I go to the house, I switch on the gramophone and listen to a scratchy grizzly version…Happy week, Mimi x

  16. The chateau looks wonderful! How exciting for your entire family. Finding treasures sounds like much fun.

    Remember, bats are like homing pigeons. They keep coming back. I had one that kept settling in on the rafters of my carriage house. At the time, I knew nothing about bats. I’d walk in ready to bolt out the door if it had shown up again.

    A friend told me to wear a hat and I’d feel safer. I laughed. But I’ll be darn if it didn’t work.

    Your son may want to wear a hat (like a baseball cap) rather than lug around an umbrella. 🙂

  17. Wonderful Mimi, I see the children taking down the old wallpaper… rather seems like it is coming off nicely….merci beaucoup for the wonderful lentil soup, this is a must for me to make! my challenge is the measurements in the US….oh, what a treat to visit & so exciting to watch the changes happening….yes indeed! Colorful Autumn is upon us here too in Florida, feels nice ~ xo :-))

  18. Fabulous storyline Mimi! wow, what’s happening? Early October here in Jervis Bay, Australia, and still spring. The past 3 days have been above 30C. Today was a public holiday which added to the pure summer feeling. People walking with ‘swimmer’s hair’ and in general just spreading the word that summer is upon us. As for this episode’s recipes only the grape tart will have to wait. I can almost taste summer. Regards and thanks Mimi, Oddur and family.

  19. Hello Mimi,
    Your new house is beautiful – it’s great to see your children helping with around the house. As usual the pictures are perfect and your writing outstanding. I’m going to try the lentil soup.

  20. The “sweet uncle” of summer brought tears to my eyes. Autumn approaches here in the Pacific Northwest, the days remain warm, the roses are still in bloom the gold of autumn around the bend. We are already missing our melons and fresh peas. The asparagus are a memory. The colors shift to oranges and reds in squash and peppers. Tomatoes will be done soon… thanks…

  21. Every time I read your writing I am transported Mimi. Your words and O’s images spin up cinema to me …and what an incredible film your story would make! That almond cream in the fruit tart sounds especially amazing…indeed all of the recipes are exquisite.
    Best, Imen x

    1. Thank you Imen! Oddur and I are in ‘inspiration’ heaven with this house – hopefully you’ll come for a visit one day! Enjoy the recipes! Mimi x ps: I often joke that George Clooney should play Oddur! 🙂

  22. Hi Mimi,
    Finally, your new post is here:) i always looking forward to your new post as it gives me a wonderful feeling of reading it. It makes my day more beautiful.
    You have such a magical life !

  23. Chère Mimi,
    Bientôt nous pourrons vous revoir sur Cuisine + …. une vraie joie pour moi !
    Le globe de mariés que vous avez trouvé est précieux ! J’aime beaucoup détourner cet objet pour en faire un mini cabinet de curiosité ! Il me tarde de voir l’évolution de votre sublime maison ! à bientôt !

    1. Merci Nancy – oui, la nouvelle émission s’appelle ‘Les desserts de Mimi’ – elles commencent le 8 Octobre sur Cuisine+! J’étais enceinte de 5/6 mois… donc encore plus gourmande! A bientôt, Mimi x

  24. Dear Mimi, thank you for this new post, recipes and the story of your life. We’we enjoyed this beautiful september too and as I told you, we do everything for the first time in our country house this year, this is soo exiting. The pool, the lunches al fresco… and I even found wild cyclamens in the garden and the woods. This is so invigorating!
    Your new house seems like a real treasure, I am really excited and happy for you for all the works and all your fantastic projects! Tell us when it will be ready!
    I will be in Arcachon during the holidays and would love to say hello and visit Anne’s Antique shop. I won’t be in Paris for the 28th :(.
    Encore bravo et merci, soupe aux lentilles au menu ce soir! Amicalement Cécile

    1. Bonjour Cécile, so happy for your new house! I spoke so much about our glorious Indian summer that it’s gone today – I feel we have ‘officially’ entered fall! Oh well, it’s going to be slow-cooking, aroma/infusing time in my kitchen. Give me a sign when you’re around! Mimi x

  25. Chère Mimi,

    Looks like summer prend finalement congé aujourd’hui ! I’m quite happy to go through Autumn again, I love its colours, its smell, its food !

    Perfect day to try your lentil soup ! 🙂

    Have an exciting week !


    1. Bonjour Alice! Yes, I was just saying that it’s gone for good. Bonjour l’automne! Have you been to Vertessec farm in Avensac (not too far from Bordeaux)? I was there this week-end – it’s time for a good poule-au-pot! Bonne semaine, Mimi x

  26. And I forgot the beautiful aster bouquet, the glass dome and all the treasures you found in this beautiful house. (Deyrolle is also one of our favorite shops, mostly for butterflies…) We had some extraordinary surprises in our new house too, in the barns and attics and all the books left by the previous owners; even a blue table… 🙂
    xx Cécile

  27. Querida Mimi, como siempre me ha encantado tu nuevo relato, siemple llenos de magia. La sopa y la tarta pronto seran cocinadas en mi pequeña cocina. Estoy deseando poder ir el proximo año a tu restaurante, nada me haria mas feliz que poder celebrar mi aniversario de bodas (25 años) realizando un pequeño viaje por la zona y alojandonos en su pequeño hotel. Por favor no dejes nunca de publicar . Feliz semana. Rosa

  28. Bonjour Mimi,
    Je suis contente de savoir que les travaux avancent bien. Je serais ravie de recevoir de cours de cuisine dans ton atelier. J’espère qu’aurait la place pour tout le monde ! En tout cas, j’ai réserve de maintenant une petite place. J’ai en tellement des choses à apprendre 😉
    J’ai bien aimé la manière que tu parles de l’été, ton style est toujours drôle et poétique. Nous aussi on était contents d’avoir l’oncle jusqu’à maintenant. On a bien profité du bassin. Mais je suis ravie de commencer l’automne aussi. J’adore les saisons !
    Ton gigot d’agneau il pareil tellement bon ! J’ai l’eau à la bouche !
    Je te souhaite un très bel automne !

  29. Mimi, the new homes looks like it holds endless stories already. And you and your loved ones will add even more magic to it. I am in love. Annton

  30. Mimi, the glass dome looks like the ones used for a Dome de Mariage. Perhaps you can also create a Dome de Souvenirs for your family and the new home. I look forward to seeing your progress with your chateau and also visiting your restaurant. Bon courage

  31. Hello Mimmi
    Beautiful as always 🙂
    I love remodeling homes. I’m interior architect, and remodeling a château would be a dream for me.
    I’m sure the whole family will enjoy every second and your castle will be magic.
    The glass dome … imagine it with a beautiful cake made for you in a next post.
    Wish you everything goes well and much success.
    If some day I can, I’ll visit your restaurant. It will be such a pleasure …

  32. Thanks you for another great blog. I downloaded ‘cafe au lair’ and transported myself to your wonderful chateau. Unfortunately here in the north of Scotland it is now autumn and very windy.

    In your recipe for the lamb do you mash up the carrot, garlic and onion in the gravy or do you remove it before you make the gravy?

    Love your blogs and the pics and hope one day to come to your restaurant and maybe one of your cookery courses.


    1. Bonjour Susan! I am imagining you are in your kitchen, listening to Tony Murena… I am doing the exact same thing! For the lamb recipe, I do mash up (coarsely) the carrot, onion and garlic, to extract as much juice as possible when I am heating up the pan. Then I add the cream and basil… then everything through a sieve. Hope to meet you someday! Mimi x

  33. Hi Mimi. Our Indian summer seems well and truly over now, but I’ve loved these glorious days, especially the times spent walking in the woods with our dog. Oddur’s photos of the table set for a late summer meal just make me want to saunter into the scene, draw up a seat, and sip a glass of wine in the dappled sunlight! Good luck with your big renovation, I can’t wait to see the château once you’ve worked your magic – it will be exquisite!

    1. Hi Zelda! Last night was my final ode to the glorious Indian summer we’ve been having! Today feels like the official first day of fall… Thank you for your kind wishes – we’ve having a ball discovering little gems of times past. Bonne semaine! Mimi x

  34. Indian summer here in Switzerland too! I can’t wait to try the lentil soup. There are few things I love more than legumes. It’s so strange! Imagine that when I was pregnant, beans were the only craving I had (well, aside a slice of fresh cake every day)…Please post more about your teaching plans. I’m Italian and so is my cooking, through and through. I feel like I may benefit from adding a French twist to my repertoire.

    1. I hope you will enjoy the lentil soup – the little delicious tidbits make it extra gourmand. For my last pregnancy, I craved almond, coconut, shrimps and avocado! Will definitely update you on my workshop dates – we are working on it! Mimi x

  35. Bonjour
    Thanks so much for the lovely post. I can feel the excitement of going into a new “old” house. I am looking forward to your posting some of the recipes found in the old diary.
    Blessings on your new venture.

    1. Bonjour June! I am getting so much inspiration from this house and its past owners – I don’t know if it is fate/destiny… but this is turning out to be an amazing experience! Mimi x

  36. Bonjour Mimi! I was so happy to see this morning that you had once again posted something lovely for me to read with my morning coffee. I can most certainly understand wanting summer to linger on. I adore autumn but it is so short and once it is over we are hit with dreaded winter and all that an Atlantic Canadian winter brings. This morning I awoke with a terrible feeling that winter had already come and I was snowed in! It was of course not the case but the thought of that cold made me a little sad and anxious! Still, today we have beautiful sunshine, golden leaves and a crisp lovely breeze to cheer me up.

    As I type this comment I too am listening to Tony Murena, I think you’ve started something! I looked Tony up on iTunes just now and, well, I adore old music, so he has been added to my playlist.

    I must admit I’m a little jealous of your ability to renovate your new home without having to live in it whilst the work is done. My husband and I purchased a 100+ year old house a number of years ago and have been renovating ever since. Imagine trying to make meals for 4 from scratch with no countertops, working sink or even a table, for two years straight! One night in winter, during a heavy downpour, I actually had to make dinner with one exterior wall missing in the kitchen! Cooking in full winter gear is never fun and the occasional blast of rain blown in by the wind was terribly distracting but I’ll admit, I look back at it as an adventure! Thankfully I now have a kitchen with walls and all, and I thoroughly appreciate it!

    Anyway, I’ve prattled on long enough. Thank you once again for brightening my day and I look forward to trying these new recipes, my family always loves them!

    1. Bonjour Kimberly! We all need to tune in slowly to that autumn feeling… so we can be ready for the winter days. Autumn is my favorite season of the year, so generous with its crops, warm with the golden leaves hues.It’s also slow-cooking season, perfect for delicious ‘cocottes’ with all sorts of seasonal vegetables and a good piece of braising meat. We will soon move to our new home, and there will be works/travaux done while we’re there. I can just imagine you cooking in your ‘open’ kitchen’ – you must look back in fondness! Have you seen ‘Under the Tuscan sun’ with Diane Lane? Lately we’ve been watching it a lot – very inspiring! Mimi x

  37. As mentioned in a previous comment, Eastern Canada is also enjoying a most beautiful Indian Summer!

    Just finished reading your post. Like many, I live vicariously through you:)

    The lentil soup and garnishing look delicious! Then, we do not eat lamb but the accompanying basil cream looks great! And last but not least, la tarte aux raisins. C’est la toute première fois que je vois une tarte faite avec des raisins frais. Définitivement à essayer!

    Merci et…beaucoup de bonheur à organiser le château!

  38. I’m visiting Bordeaux in late October and hope the summer weather continues until then. The photos and stories on your blog are so lovely – I’ve already ordered your new cookbook!

  39. What a lovely post. I enjoy them so much. As soon as our California weather turns cooler, I’m going to make your lentil soup.

  40. Beautiful post! The photos are stunning! Thank you for sharing. Your new home looks magical and the food delicious! I can’t wait to try the lentil soup.

  41. At last refound your blog after a period of losing it to the internet ether. Such a pleasure to read your recipes, and gaze with envy on the photographs again. I had forgotten how strikingly elegant those (Fox?) Terriers are, must find some in the UK to paint!

  42. What a poetic description of this summer, which is in no hurry to bid us farewell. Your blog is exquisite and this new house looks like a living dream. That corridor with all the doors and the wonderfully old-fashioned wallpapers says France, France, France. I made lentil soup for dinner. Unfortunately not your recipe. It was more like something from Oliver Twist. Must try harder. x

  43. Mimi,

    I am so wanting to join one of your workshops. Your blog inspires me that my dream of a country cafe with local fare is possible. Please keep me posted on when you will start hosting these workshops.

    Keep creating!

  44. I have your lentil soup cooling on my counter right now. It was fabulous. The garlicky bread crumbs and bacon( sorry no pancetta) added just the right touch. Genius! Looking forward to visiting you when you have your classes established. We have friends in the Loire Valley so will be in France again in the next year. Looking forward to meeting you Mimi.

  45. Beautiful photos so exciting to have an old home, We purchased one 10 years ago in Pennsylvania and although it has been a real challenge, I have many stories about Bats including my husband getting rabies vaccination due to “Close contact”, so your comments made me giggle, Good luck,Melissa

    1. Thank you Melissa! Sorry to hear about your husband’s close contact! On a similar note, I got stung by a bee 2 days ago (on my chin) … not a good look 🙂 Enjoy the recipes, Mimix

  46. Over in my neck of the woods (Pacific Northwest–Seattle) we are also having an endless summer!
    Two weeks ago my family (I’ve got 5 kids too) went on a ‘goodbye summer’ bike ride thinking the chill would set in! Not so, still just as beautiful today!
    Looking forward to making the lentil soup…(that is of course when fall does arrive! )I have been on the hunt for a good recipe!
    I love big families and transforming old houses! There is a lovely book for children called “The Hidden House” by Martin Wadell about bringing a mysterious house back to life…
    thanks, as always!

    1. Thank you so much for the recommendation Valerie! I will order it. I am so happy to share this experience with my family… the kids favorite part about the house are all the hidden clues from the past! Merci, Mimi x

  47. “One can always be so much nicer to those who can’t stay long.” CS Lewis. Lovely post…as usual.

  48. Summer is still in Southern CA too, 100 this week!
    Enjoyed your writing and pics and recipes. You have such cute helpers!!!

  49. How nice to have a bat “tenant” (me also give me a little scared but I would love to know that my house was also above yours). You have a beautiful home and is very nice to see everyone taking part in make it yours.
    The menu is superb and has drawn much basil sauce lamb, I love your taste and be rich in this recipe.
    I am very happy that Amazon has warned me that this week will receive your book. (Mimi, is still standing offer get an autograph for my mother will make me very happy and if for anything is not possible, do not worry I understand you have many things to make and do not want to overload).
    A big hug for you all.

    1. Thank you Yasmina! And yes, I am on standby to sign your book for your mother! I will be out and about to promote th ebook, so hopefully we can meet soon! Will update you on my plans. Mimi x

  50. It must be a daunting task to renovate this château but the picture of your kids peeling off the old wallpaper made me smile! You seem to find the best way to live in harmony with your surroundings and situation! I envy your happy disposition and your view in life! I enjoyed looking at your pictures very much and reading your elegant prose! Good luck with the work ahead!

    1. Merci Jane! Our friends often say ‘you guys are so brave!’, and yes we are. My husband and I have always dreamt of this, our enthusiasm is our fuelling our energy. 🙂 I hope you’ll come to Médoc someday! Mimix

  51. Hi Mimi,
    Wow beautiful finds from your new house. I am sure very adventurous finding, (I call them ) treasures in the rooms. I noticed lots of pretty wallpapers in the room, I love it, good luck and wishing you s blessed and very successful move.
    I love your Gigot recipe and the grape tart recipe, on my list.
    Best wishes and much love
    Rowaida xoxo

  52. I cannot wait to see the inside (and outside) of your new chateau. I recently made a concord grape pie, I never realized how they can transform when baked. Another beautiful post:)

  53. Mimi, you and your gorgeous family and beautiful food and ethereal country living are picturesque inspiration and what family life should be. Thank you for sharing the beauty. I do have a question: are any of your children picky eaters? I’m drooling over this lentil soup, and then remembering that my 3 year old would never eat it. However yours obviously do! Were they ever picky or always are what was fed to them. Any tips for picky eaters? I would love for her to eat like yours do!

    1. Bonjour Mira! Thanks for all your kind words! To answer your question: our kids eat everything, even though there are certain things they don’t particularly like, we always have a philosophy of ‘eat what’s on your plate, just a smaller protion’. For instance, this lentil soup wouldn’t be so popular with my kids if I didn’t add the garlic breadcrumbs and crispy pancetta (or bacon). Broccoli is exciting when you mash it up with cream and garlic for a broccoli pasta (recipe on blog)… Good luck! Mimix

  54. Bonjour Dear Mimi,
    Alone with your blog at last!!!!
    Since you posted the photo of your Lentil Soup on Instagram, I’ve been waiting for you to write about it here……..what a gorgeous rich recipe.
    Spring is starting slowly to emerge here, with the weather fluctuating madly. Our Bed and Breakfast is up and running for the season and bookings are starting to file in….can’t believe it’s all happening but I’m so waiting for your place to be finished. I can’t believe that this time next year we could be dining in your restaurant!!! Bisous Mimi… travaillez pas trop dur!!! xx Anita . p.s.. Mimi, will you have your book for sale at your Bistrot?? Would love a signed copy so may wait till then….let me know xx

    1. Bonjour chère Anita! So happy to hear your b & b is up and running – will have to get some tips on how to run things. We have a good team working at the house, sometimes I feel like Diane Lane in ‘Under the Tuscan sun’! And to answer your question, yes, I will have books for sale at the bistrot, so it’s up to you if you want to wait for a year? 🙂 I can’t wait to meet you! Mimi x

  55. Hi Mimi et al, wow all looks so beautiful…I am also delighted with the lentil soup recipe you shared, i will make this afternoon for me and my littlies! I am also patiently waiting on your book, so looking forward to it! And I cannot wait to visit a workshop, that i am waiting impatiently on…X

    1. Thank you so much Tanya! We are working hard to meet the deadlines – can’t wait for the workshops to start! As soon as I have dates, I will let you know. Best, Mimi x

  56. Mimi~ When folks overstay, we have a saying that always does the trick: “Dear, we have to go to bed and let these good people go home!”
    Love your site!

  57. A wonderful castle. So many rooms. So many luck for you and your family, for your dreams. I already love the atmosphere. How about the new design. Do you design it traditional, modern…?

  58. Yet another wonderful and delicious post! I cannot wait for my book to arrive or to visit your wonderful new kitchen. When can I sign up for classes? And how is your sweet wee one doing?


  59. Hummmm la tarte aux raisins a ete un immense succes a notre table dimanche! so surprising when biting into it and found the grape juice mix with the almond cream… just perfect fall dessert. Merci Mimi xx

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  61. I just bought my book and have gone through it. Now, I can’t wait to really read it and cook from it. I am so excited! Thank you!

  62. Just came across this post again, the beautiful pictures makes me long for summer and warm lazy days with family and friends and lots of good food and wine. Can’t wait to see your summer posts this year Mimi!

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