Saturday, 22 February 2014

The French Breakfast Table

When I travel overseas, I don't generally pre book accommodation. I like the excitement (one could call it stress) of arriving in a town or city I don't know, dabbling in a language I barely know, and finding somewhere to stay. There are exceptions of course, depending on the arrival time and how long I plan to stay in one place.

My yearning to visit Monet's Garden in Giverny, France a couple of years ago, in peak season, meant that I should be very sensible and pre book some accommodation. But booking over the internet can be disastrous, promising the earth and delivering little. To date I must admit to have been pretty lucky.

So I searched for B & B's close to Giverny  and booked for 2 nights accommodation. The town, a short drive away from the garden, was little more than a one antique shop and school, village. I had fingers and toes crossed.

Claude Monet's famous water lily pond and house in the background

Boats on Monet's water lily Pond

Our accommodation was part of a typical renovated French farmhouse, with chickens, two dogs and a garden to die for. Patrick and Francoise who run La Clos Tanpere at Pressagny L'Orgueilleux , greeted us like friends.

Lounge and the breakfast nook at La Clos Tanpere

 Their house was adorned with antiques and  interesting pieces of art, which we were to learn later were all fashion illustrations done by Francoise. The interior was quirky, and deliciously homely and we were delighted by the experience.

But breakfast was a whole story in itself. There was a table laid for us in a nook in the lounge. This lovely antique table sported a pretty embroidered white table cloth and spotted china in the shape of hearts. Small sugar cubes in a silver bowl, embroidered napkins and red roses petals strewn over the table. I don't remember what we had to eat but the table setting has remained firmly implanted in my head and my heart. It was beautiful.
Arriving back in Australia, I decided to recreate what we now call the 'French Breakfast Table'.
On Sundays, my husband and I lay the table and we take it in turns to make breakfast, a leisurely affair with new recipes and surprises. The only rules are you can't make the same recipes two weeks in a row and there are no rose petals. I don't normally share this with others, but we had such a lovely breakfast on Sunday, that I thought you may enjoy it and it could also bring a little joy into your lives.

Blueberry Pancakes with Vanilla

I have made many a pancake in my life, but these just have to be the best ever! They make small fluffy, American style pancakes.

This made 8 pancakes

11/2 cups milk
1 punnet of blueberries, washed
3 tsps vanilla extract
2 cups of self raising flour
Butter melted
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 egg
1/4 cup caster sugar
Plain yoghurt for serving

  • Into a large bowl sift bicarbonate of soda and flour 
  • In a small bowl beat egg and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, stir in sugar.
  • Fold the egg and vanilla into the flour, adding the milk a little at a time until you have a lovely batter with no lumps.
  • Fold in the blueberries and the last teaspoon of vanilla extract.
  • Melt some butter in a small saucepan and use this to coat a non stick fry pan.
  • Using a large spoon, spoon some batter into the frypan and cook reasonably quickly turning once one side is brown.
  • The blueberries should be just starting to melt.
  • Serve with a dollop of plain yoghurt and a sprinkle of icing sugar


  1. Definitely on my long list of things to try one day!! The blueberry pancakes that is. Would also love to try La Clos Tanpere as well one day....

    1. It was a very special place to stay! But then most of France is too! Looking forward to France in 2015!