Friday, 15 August 2014

Happy Quinze-Août (15th August)

The 15th of August (Quinze-Août) is a national holiday here in France, also known as the Assomption de Marie (The Assumption of Mary).  We spent a lovely, lazy day exploring our local area and a few hours off from the housework.  We started off at the Grande fête in Royere de Vassiviere - our local town.  The streets were filled with a great selection of vide grenier and brocante items with everything you could want/need. I love a good second hand stall however had to stop myself from buying yet more vintage crockery!
Photo: Grande fête du 15 août à Royère de Vassivière : 
Toute la journée : vide grenier, brocante, animations musicales
À partir de 15h30 : défilé de voitures anciennes, fanfare de Bourganeuf
À partir de 20h : retraite aux flambeaux, boeuf à la broche feu d'artifice
Grande fête de Royere de Vassiviere
Next we followed our noses and stopped to marvel at what was on offer. Being familiar with a hog roast from many a village hall event or wedding back in the UK, this was something else, the local Limousine cows had sacrificed one of their own for the good of the town.  An awesome whole cow rotisserie "Boeuf a la Broche" - definitely not one for the vegetarians out there, but it smelt amazing.  It was too much for Eric le chien who thought all his Christmases had come at once so we exited swiftly before we ruined everyones dinner and a small (albeit sturdy) terrier was seen waddling slowly into the distance with a rather large cow in his vice-like jaws.  
Boeuf a la Broche
Next up was a little drive up to Domaine de Banizette and a pleasant walk around the grounds (and swim for Eric).  We plan on returning soon with some guests for a guided tour of the beautiful buildings and farm that date back to the 15th century.  
Eric le chien enjoying a swim at Domaine de Banizette
Domaine de Banizette
The final stop before home was at a local blueberry (myrtille) producer to buy some of the famous petit fruits grown in the Millevaches Regional Natural Park.  I had to stop Peter eating them before we returned home as wanted to save them to cook with.  Next time we are definitely going to 'pick our own' and I am sure return with several kilograms.  They were delicious and we both said they were the best blueberries we had ever tasted.  My mind was ticking away with all the different things I could make with them.  Watch this blog for upcoming myrtilles recipes...
Limousin myrtilles (blueberries) - how do you eat yours?

A nice break from all the work around the house and chance to discover more places of interest in the Limousin. Thanks for reading and I look forward to chatting more with you soon. Do please say hello and leave a comment below. A bientot!  

We hope to welcome you to the beautiful Limousin region soon.

De Tout Coeur Limousin 

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Duck rillettes (potted duck) with rosemary & star anise

Duck rillettes with rosemary & star anise - cooking at De Tout Coeur Limousin 
Duck rillettes with rosemary & star anise - cooking at De Tout Coeur Limousin 
We are spoilt for choice with regular farmers markets here in the Creuse - and are enjoying what the local producers have on offer.  From fabulous fresh cheeses to a huge selection of charcuterie.  This is my version of duck rillettes - inspired by the local markets and flavoured with star anise and rosemary.  I love using star anise with dark meat as it brings out a deep savoury flavour.  Serve on crusty French bread with a few cornichons & a green salad on the side...(not sure who I am kidding with the green salad but some people seem to like it!).  

I have a feeling this may become a house speciality here at De Tout Coeur Limousin.  I hope you give this recipe a try and let me know how it goes.  I would love to hear about your own charcuterie recipes too.  

Recipe by:  De Tout Coeur Limousin 

preparation time:  20-30 minutes
cooking time:  4-5 hours 
serves: 4-6 as a starter or light lunch


1 kg duck legs
3-4 star anise
2-3 cloves 
1 tbs fennel seeds
3 bay leaves
2-3 sprigs rosemary
1 large glass red wine
about 250ml of stock/water
3-4 whole cloves of garlic
1 roughly chopped onion 
2 roughly chopped carrots
salt and pepper to taste (in the words of Elizabeth David in Provincial French Cooking 'rillettes are insipid if not properly seasoned'.  I wholly agree with this statement and do like a bit of salt and pepper in my cooking - but this is of course a personal choice.  

  1. Fry the duck legs for about 15 minutes in a large pan to gently brown & render off some of the fat.  Pour the fat carefully away into a heatproof container a few times during frying.  (Don't throw this away as it's great for roasting potatoes or even frying an egg!)
  2. Transfer the duck legs into a large casserole dish/slow cooker with all the other ingredients.
  3. cook on a low heat for 4-5 hours in a slow cooker/casserole or until the meat is tender and falling off the bone.  
  4. remove the duck legs from the cooking liquid and set aside for a few moments until cool enough to handle.
  5. strain the remaining cooking liquid/fat through a sieve.
  6. shred the duck meat finely with a couple of forks then place in small ramekins or a larger kilner type jar.
  7. pour some of the cooking liquid/fat over the top of your rillettes and either serve immediately or cover and refrigerate.  Remove from the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before serving to allow the rillettes to soften slightly.   

Bon appetit!  

This recipe is featured on this months: 

Simple and in Season - enter your post on
Hosted by Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary

Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary
recipes highlighting local produce hosted by Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary

duck rillettes with rosemary & start anise on Punk Domestics

Check out my recipe for duck rillettes with star anise & rosemary on Love French Food too.