Pecan Apple Croissant Wreath

Pecan Apple Croissant Tart

I don’t really do desserts. It’s not that I don’t like them, in fact I really do. The problem I have, is that being small in stature, I only have to sniff anything naughty and I gain a few more pounds. So I know, I know, it’s really really bad that I’m posting this. And yes, I am also guilty of eating it!

Pecan Apple

It wasn’t my fault. I had to make something when we had guests for dinner last week and buying something was not an option as they made a French delicacy of plum and Rum tart, which is local to the area, when we went to them. Now this is really easy, and, importantly decadently sinful. You’ve got to give it a go!

I have to hold my hands up and admit that the croissant wreath is an idea from Pampered Chef: http://pamperedchef.comI often make up my own savoury fillings but, as croissant dough is quite sweet, I thought it would go well with a sweet filling too.

Serves 6-8


  • 2 tins of croissant dough
  • 6 apples, peeled, segmented and cut into three
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • lemon juice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg (freshly grated is better!)
  • 50g packet pecans or walnuts, chopped
  • beaten egg to glaze


  • Lay 1 packet of croissant triangles around a pizza stone with pointy ends out.
  • Lay the other packet opposite with pointy ends in. You might want to visit the site! (I’m not trying to sell anything but it’s not my idea!)
  • Put the butter, sugar, apples (squirt lemon on the apples while you are preparing to stop them going brown), and spice in a microwavable bowl and cook on full power for 4 minutes.

Pecan Apple (3)


  • Spoon the mixture evenly around the dough ring. It doesn’t matter if it looks messy at this stage. It’s supposed to ooze out!

Pecan (3)

  • Take an outside piece of dough and wrap it over at an angle and tuck in on the inside. Next take an inside piece. Repeat.

Pecan (4)

  • Glaze with beaten egg and stick in the oven at 190 C or Gas 5 for about 25 minutes or until crisp and golden.
  • You could add a few chopped nuts to the top for extra crunch but be careful it doesn’t burn.

Pecan Apple (2)

You can serve this hot or cold but I like it warm,  served with vanilla ice-cream and the whole dirty lot drizzled with salted caramel sauce! Yes I know I could make it but it’s one thing that is easy to buy here so it would be rude to make my own!

Pecan (2)

I hope you like this and give it a go. It’s a great change from apple pie or crumble. Best of all, it always gets an ‘ahhh’ when it comes to the table. I guarantee that this is a plate clearer!

Please let me know what you are doing with apples this year as I have a tree full of them.

Thanks for reading,




Simple Saucey Steaks

My family love steak. We don’t have it often as it is expensive in France, as it is in the UK, so we reserve it for special occasions. When my son went back to the UK last week part of his last meal here was steak. We managed to get some tender entrecôte steaks from Lidl which were good value and some samphire, or salicorne  in French, just because I love it. Now Will, like many teenagers doesn’t really do mushrooms, so we decided on a pepper sauce, which to be honest I hadn’t made before. I looked up a few recipes online and it was far too complicated when I was making the mussel starter. All the recipes seem to involve reducing stock and far too much faff, and as I said before, I prefer to cheat so here is my version of a steak au poivre.

Here’s what you need for 4 people:

  •  4 rib-eye steaks or your choice of cut
  • 2 finely chopped shallots
  • 1 clove of garlic crushed
  • 1 tsp Bovril or I beef stock cube dissolved in 250ml boiling water (if you don’t want to measure this is the equivalent of just under a mug)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 capful of brandy
  • butter and oil for frying
  • 2 heaped tbsp low fat creme fraiche

Here’s what I did:

  • Cook the steaks to your liking and leave to rest while you make the sauce.
  • Melt about a tbsp of butter in a frying pan and soften the shallots for a few minutes.Keep stirring so they don’t brown.
  • Add the garlic for 1 minute then tip in the brandy.
  • Add the stock and creme fraiche.

steak (2)

  • Stick in as much pepper as you like.

Steak au poivre

I served this with chips cooked in the oven and the samphire simply fried in butter for a couple of minutes. No salt required.

steak au poivre (2)This week we were able to have a few meals on our own, which might have been romantic if  our two Weimaraners weren’t salivating at the table! Whilst shopping a few backs we found some tournedos, which are the smaller part of the fillet. Often meat is sold covered in a protective layer of fat which I just take off after cooking. They were half price so we paid 3.50 in Euros for both, an absolute bargain. They were begging for a blue cheese sauce.


Here’s what you need for 4 people:

  •  4 steaks
  • 2 tbsp low fat creme fraiche
  • 1 small packet (150 g) of Roquefort cheese roughly cut

Here’s what I did:

  • Cook your steak and leave to rest. I fried these in butter for a couple of minutes each side and then put them in the oven for a few minutes for medium rare.
  • Using the same pan, add the cheese, creme fraiche and pepper to taste. There is enough salt in the cheese.

Steak with RoquefortThis is almost a non recipe, it’s so simple. This time we had large sliced mushrooms with loads of tarragon and garlic which worked well too. Of course, even though I’ve used low-fat creme fraiche, both these dishes are decadent due to the amount of fat used.

Oh well, back on the diet then!

Tuscan Roast Pork

We are still in the grip of some seriously hot weather here. Yesterday it was 36 degrees! Now, I love the sun but it’s not ‘doing’ weather is it? My poor doggies only get up when they need a drink or to find a different cold spot on the tiles, so I really can’t be bothered with cooking much. The thing is, despite moving to France, I still think of Sunday lunch as a  a special occasion, and more importantly, my family expect it! So this dish is a bit of a compromise, especially if you’ve already peaked on barbecue food too. I first did this dish many years ago and did it spit-roast on the barbecue but this is the lazy version for all you cheaters out there.

This is a Decadent dish. What I mean is that this dish has a fair bit of fat in it. More importantly it’s easy, so if you need to sneak outside with a glass of wine there’s no guilt because dinner is doing itself.

Here’s what you need for 4 people:    

  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano or 1 tbsp chopped fresh
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 heaped tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp fennel seeds
  • Piece of pork shoulder about 1kg with the skin removed
  • Potatoes for 4 cut roughly in 1 inch chunks
  • 2 Onions/Shallots cut in wedges
  • 2 apples, cored and wedged

Tuscan Roast Pork

Here’s what I did:

  • Mix all the oil and spices together and slather onto the pork.
  • Cover loosely with foil and stick it in the oven at Gas 3/4  or 170 degrees for a good 3 hours.
  • Add the potatoes and onions and leave for an hour.
  • Finally add the apples, making sure to turn everything in the juices.
  • Keep the foil off for the last 20 minutes and wack the heat up to Gas 6 or 200.
  • Let it rest for 15 minutes before attempting to carve.

Tuscan Roast Pork (2)

Et voilà!  The meat will be falling apart so just slice thickly and pile on the veg in the delicious juices.  Serve this with a mixed salad and enjoy a day off! Great for a posh barbecue or when you fancy a change. I would love to know what you think about this recipe, especially as it is definitely a cheap dinner!

Top tips:

  • Don’t ditch the skin, score it, pour loads of table salt on it, wait 30 minutes and wash off. Dry with kitchen towel, and add vegetable oil to coat. Sprinkle with salt and place on a tray. Stick in the oven until crisp (probably the last 2 hours).
  • You can use leg or loin cuts but reduce the cooking time and only remove foil at the end.
  • Do this on the barbecue spit roast for about 1 and 1/2 hours.
  • Add wedged fennel to the pan with the apples.