Sunday, 18 September 2011

Ladies that Lunch

I've just been on holiday to stay with my parents in France. I love it where my parents live in South West France... the food, the wine, the views, the laid back way of life, oh, and did I mention the food and wine?!

My Mum belongs to a Ladies that Lunch Club and I was invited along as a guest. They meet once a month and each lady takes a turn to host. Everyone brings a contribution to the meal - it was my Mum's turn to bring a pudding and I was asked to bring pre-dinner nibbles.

I don't think I've ever met a group of such relaxed and fun ladies! Something to do with living in a beautiful area? We ate a typical Aveyron salad to start (lettuce, lardons, walnuts and roquefort). This was followed by meatballs in a tomato sauce served with pasta, salad and garlic bread. We then had the cheesecake and a fruit salad of strawberries and peaches for pudding before the cheese course. I rolled out...

Well, I couldn't just nip into Super-U or Intermarché and buy some nuts or crisps. I planned carefully and thought about what foods you couldn't get easily in France: Cheddar cheese! This led me to cheese straws, deliciously cheesy and addictive.

Cheese Straws: (makes approx 36)
200g/8oz self raising flour
150g/6oz cheddar cheese
100g/4oz butter or margarine
1 large beaten egg (or 2 smaller eggs)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp mustard powder

Preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
Mix the dry ingredients together then rub in the butter or margarine.
Add the cheese then stir in the beaten egg until the mixture has come into a dough. (Note: it's similar to scone dough)
Roll out and cut into strips.
Bake for 15 mins until lightly golden.
(I dusted some of mine with paprika and pepper before baking)

Mum asked me for my husband's cheesecake recipe before we departed for France. Here it is:

Chocolate Cheesecake (serves 12 ladies or 8 generously)
300g/12oz plain chocolate digestive biscuits
50g/2oz butter, melted
1 tub mascarpone
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 sachet Angel Delight
150ml milk
150ml double cream

Grease and line a springform tin.
Crush the biscuits until a crumble texture then stir in the butter. Press the mixture into the bottom of the tin and chill.
Add the sugar to the mascarpone and stir. (Note: this should be to taste so use more or less dependant on how sweet your tooth is!)
Spread the mascarpone mixture on top.
Make up the Angel Delight with the milk and cream, then spread on top of the mascarpone.
Leave in the fridge to set before decorating with chocolate sprinkle, edible glitter and gold stars (or whatever other decorations take your fancy).

Thank you ladies, for making me feel so welcome and ensuring I need to go on a post-holiday diet!
Watch for some super healthy recipes coming up here soon....

If you've been tempted to see where I went, my parents live in Masmajou.


  1. Ros Peters MacDougall18 September 2011 at 10:09

    Well done Helen, you obviously have a flair for this...most easy to read.I look forward to more.

  2. I love your style of writing Helen, very relaxed just like yourself. Enjoy life and what it brings.

  3. Well done Helen, really enjoyed seeing you, have fun xxx

  4. Stephanie Durbridge19 September 2011 at 12:40

    It was nice to meet you Helen and you have a flair for sharing info. Well Done!

  5. I may have to start a "Men that Lunch Club" I'm so envious ... all that lovely food. :-)

  6. Nice to meet you too Helen, glad you enjoyed yourself. x

  7. I echo the comments - very well done, Helen. Your contributions to the food were just delicious. Your website is brilliant too! :-)