About me

ABOUT ME
My desire to try out new recipes is like my hunger – never-ending.
My cookbook collection is like my bottom – large.
Stick with me an you'll be laughing alot!!

Who am I?
Hi there! My name is Crystal Degenhardt. I am a South African of British parents, married to a German and live in France, so a typically muddled-up member of this planet.

I decided to write this blog to incorporate two of the things I love most: food and writing. I am 40 years old and continue to enjoy every faze of my life. My husband, Joerg, and I have traveled extensively (and will hopefully continue to do so), tasting our way around the world. Our first priority is mainly to eat the local food, drink the local grog, get at least one cookbook from wherever we are, and only then to enjoy the sights.

We bought our house/small farm in the south west of France years ago, but have just this year decided to “settle down” here. Well, at least for now. And we WILL keep trying the local food, here and elsewhere.

Go to Anna's for the perfect Roast Beef Dinner

Today’s recipe: Maltese carrots

A photo of a Roast beef dinner plate.

We were recently invited to Anna’s for a meal and were treated to a really super supper. Gaynor and Chris, and Eli and Pierre were there too. Anna has led (and is still leading) a very exciting life, a life that includes safaris to Africa. She has lived in Paris, Malta, Morocco, to name but a few, and always has interesting stories to tell. She went on a safari in Botswana recently with “his gorgeousness” (the “slightly younger” tour guide) and tells of going to the open air bathroom in the rain – you try and finish the paperwork with wet toilet paper!!

Asparagus time

Today's recipe: Asparagus Goulash

asparagus in vase in garden

I don’t know about you, but we love asparagus. We used to have a very prolific asparagus bed, but it had past it’s sell by date and was delivering less and less each year. And then it got overgrown and I forgot where it was and mowed over the bed a couple of days ago. Oops. You could smell the asparagus, but you couldn’t see it. So I decided to put some in a vase and take it into the garden. If you can’t make the garden come to the asparagus, then you have to take the asparagus to the garden…or something like that.

Jill's 50th and other birthdays

Today’s recipe: Sausage Pie
A photo of Sausage pie on a mixed plate.

I am absolutely terrible at remembering birthdays. A couple of years ago we were invited to one of my absolute best friend’s birthday parties and I completely forgot that it was her birthday on that day. We arrived at their home, chatted a bit and one of the other guests (who had flown from England to France for the event) mentioned that she had brought a special birthday cake with her. From another country, through 2 airports, 2 hour security checkpoint lines, with the icing still intact and no slices missing.

The 5 year old connoisseur

Today's recipes are: Artichoke 101; and Vinaigrette with capers
A photo of a Lemon Caper Vinaigrette.

“Lamb is very good in a brown sauce with figs”, Lily bluebell informed me. I was quite taken aback. She is after all, only just 5 years old – I mean literally as I was at her birthday party last month. Clearly this blog has hit rock bottom if I am getting recipes from 5 year olds. Lily and Charlotte (her 3 year old sister who as yet has given me no recipes) were very excited about visiting our new baby rabbits and I said that we also have baby lambs that they could come and see. I deliberately said see and not eat, but it seems that French children know a good meal when they hear it. I also think that she has as yet not made the correlation between the cute and cuddly lambs and the delicious meal she was describing!

Girls day out vs. Ladies luncheon

Today’s recipe is: Sweet corn chilli flan
A photo of a Sweet corn chili flan.

A friend recently told me that she went to a Ladies Luncheon (as opposed to a Girls Day Out). I have never actually been invited to a Ladies Luncheon. There could be several reasons for this, but I think it’s possibly because I’m not a lady. And it’s not that I haven’t tried. I put on high heels, nice dresses buttoned most of the way to the top and sip demurely on a cold glass of white wine. That’s the first 10 minutes. Then I’m knocking back whatever drinks are passing my way, my dress is unbuttoned most of the way to the bottom and I’m telling rude jokes. This will not do at a Ladies Luncheon, but a Girls Day Out is something different. Yes, we too have lunch in a feeding frenzy type of a way, but there are many differences so I will give a short list of the major ones.

Got chocolate?

A photo of Louis with a chocolate face.

Today's recipe is: Molten Chocolate pudding
It was recently brought to my attention that I have as yet to post a dessert recipe. Quel faux pas! What a mistake! Last year, I was given a chocolate cook book and am becoming a legend with my chocolate desserts. Death by Mississippi Mud pie should actually be the title of one of my posts. One slice and your mind is in chocolate heaven and your tummy is in serious danger of explosion. A sheer joy is what it is. Today you are meeting Louis, my biggest chocolate fan. Don’t those two teeth and that gorgeous big smile say it all? His beautiful big sister, Emma, and he are both big chocoholics, but Louis does take the (chocolate) cake in this department, if you’ll pardon the pun.

Leek and Potato Soup

A photo of Leek and Potato Soup.

Joerg is one of the world’s greatest gardeners. If he leaves a tool out with a wooden handle, voila, we have a spade tree. In February, we cut back the vines at the front of the house and he stuck some of the off cuts into the ground….now we have more vines to cut back. Same with the red currant bushes. He also always plants as though we are going to be asked by WHO to supply food to all of Africa on a daily basis. My current surplus is leeks, which was preceded by winter lettuce and Swiss chard. We let one chard plant go to seed last year, let it self-seed and we get new plants coming up daily. Anyone out there have chard recipes for a desperate woman?? Anyone want any chard plants??

Lunch in Spain or Restaurant for masochists

We love popping over the border to Spain for lunch. It sounds so exotic (and I suppose it actually is!). We live about an hour from The Pyrenees, the mountain range that forms the border between France and Spain, and an hour and a half from our favourite Spanish restaurant. Its everyday fare of excellent quality cooked over an open fire in the restaurant. The two women who run it are incredible characters – one makes Attila the Hun look like a nice guy, and the other has two beauty spots that I swear are on a different spot every time we go there. And don’t think that the service is going to get better when Senor Pascha gets there – he does NOT work, but will take your money, soon as he’s finished doing whatever it is that he’s (not) doing!

Pizza Dough 101 and a Smoked Salmon Pizza

SUBTITLE: BRAS, PIZZA AND CO.
A photo of a smoked salmon pizza slice.

What does buying a bra have to do with pizza, you may ask. After the following ordeal, I needed some sustenance, i.e., food. I always need food when I am stressed, happy, sad, up, down…..so basically always. And so it was the pizza place in St. Gaudens that was to fulfill my ravenous appetite. If you happen to go there for lunch, try to sit on the left side upon entering – the lady that serves the right hand side hasn’t as yet heard that smiling does not cause an immediate and painful death…..