Of Spring walks, crayfish and lonely days


That is probably the weirdest title ever, but I had the blues today.


You see, beyond caring for my guests, I also get very attached to them. With Mimi gone (she wrote a nice post today about her time here with me) and my dear friends Patti and Michael leaving tomorrow morning, I will be left all alone for the rest of the week. As you all know, and I’m sure you feel the same, cooking and eating is fun, but sharing the experience with friends or family makes the experience so much more enjoyable and meaningful… I have Carl’s and Christian’s visits to look forward to of course, but I wasΒ still feeling the blues this afternoon…


So I went on a long walk in the vineyard down by the river. This is where my grand mother and I used to walk together when I was a child. This is aΒ place where I always feel safe and inspired. There are springs, meadows, dears (and baby dears) and butterflies and… Anyway. As I was walking, I noticed what was left of a crayfish on the side of the road. That made me remember my days living in New Orleans and crave a good crayfish boil… (leave it to me to find roadkill and be inspired to cook it). I ran to the fish market, found some live specimens, went home and got busy. My blues was gone!


French (European) crayfish tastes exactly the same as Louisiana crayfish. The only difference is that the American ones are easier to peal (their shell is much softer) and they are red once they are cooked when ours are kind of a dark orange.

My dad likes them boiled then chilled and dipped inΒ mayo. I like them hot and spicaaaaaaaaaaaaay!

Crayfish boilCrayfish boil

The French boil is very simple: just put salt and pepper, fresh bay leaves, lots of thyme, fennel, aniseed and garlic in your water. Let it boil and infuse for about 20 minutes. Add the crayfish, wait for the water to boil again (on high heat) and count 90 seconds. Then place the crayfish in a dish, cover them with a wet cloth and put them in the fridge. Eat later chilled with home made mayo.

The American boil is basically the same, but you’ll add crab boil, red potatoes, corn, lemons, oranges and even sausage. Yummmmmmmm!

crayfish boil


48 Comments Add yours

  1. Isabelle says:

    For be me in Ausralia, crayfish is “langouste” in French. Here we call them yabbies….

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I love to learn new food related vocabulary! We call them crevices in France. Langoustes are the big lobsters without claws πŸ™‚

  2. I would love to take this walk when I’m there. I’m thinking with all I want to do we should have spent the whole two weeks with you! πŸ™‚ But alas I have never been to Paris and must visit there also!

  3. Stacy says:

    Oh – crawfish (the way we spell it in Louisiane) is one of my favorite dishes. I understand the post-guest blues – I get them, too! But nature does wonders, doesn’t she?! xo

    1. My French Heaven says:

      She really does Stacy! πŸ˜‰

  4. Conor Bofin says:

    Fantastic. Despite their invading nearly river in Ireland, they are difficult to get here. I love the meat.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I do too! They are really expensive here. 20 euros a kilo…

  5. Amanda says:

    Beautiful post. Your photos are stunning. There is something about crayfish that’s moving. Maybe the community that goes into catching them. I used to go with my brother and catch them in the river. I know the feeling of longing when company leaves. At least you had them there. I’m off to read Mimi’s post! Enjoy the week!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks AManda!!

  6. Linda Duffin says:

    Glad you’re happier after the crayfish – what a great way to banish the blues! Works for me every time. πŸ™‚

    1. My French Heaven says:

      You make me think of England and realize I haven’t had good lamb with mint sauce in for ever…

      1. Linda Duffin says:

        We have the best lamb farmer for miles just up the road – call in and I’ll cook you some!

        1. My French Heaven says:

          Don’t tempt me dear Linda!!!! I might just take you for your word πŸ™‚

  7. Crayfish for the blues, so what’s your cure for feeling stressed out, given that we don’t all live amongst the scenery, wine and delicacies of your area? I’m cooking venison this evening. Perhaps that will raise my spirits.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      My cure for stress is the exact same! Great food in moderation and a nice long walk in the countryside. Food and nature always inspire me…

  8. Oh my… Now that’s a fabulous way of curing the blues! They look magnificent Stephane… and so perfect alongside that bottle of white wine! πŸ™‚

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Yes, white wine always helps a lot πŸ˜‰

  9. Michelle says:

    Glad you rallied. Beautiful photos, as always.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks Michelle!

  10. ladyredspecs says:

    Chase away the blues with food, it works for me every time! Superb photos, though I expect no less…

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thanks dear Sandra!

  11. Chaya says:

    i know what you mean about when guests leave. it does feel so empty and sad! you can usually find me in the kitchen after that, baking something to take my mind off of it πŸ™‚

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I wish I was better at baking. I am sure it is very good for the soul. It’s just that we have such wonderful pastry shops around here. I don’t see the point πŸ™‚

  12. backpackbee says:

    I think it’s only natural to feel that way… I find myself feeling the same when our guest leave. Have you ever thought of opening up your home to air b&b? It might be fun because you will meet all sorts of great people and they’d come and go as frequently or infrequently as you’d like.

  13. I know that feeling of being bereft when people leave. Talking a walk in a special place is a great choice for beating the blues and then a great meal makes that even better.


    1. My French Heaven says:

      I’ll pick a great meal over exercise every time though πŸ˜‰

  14. Patty and Michael says:

    Michael and I were talking about what a wonderful host and friend you are. You have given us such a fabulous welcome and just shown us what an open heart you have. We can’t thank you enough for your love and kindness during our visit. You gave us confidence to go out on our own to help prepare us for Paris. You should come with us. We do have room in our apartment.
    We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for making our trip so special. Our door is always opens for yo.
    Love, Patty and Michael

  15. Carl Johnson says:

    Looks great, I can’t wait to get there. We are suffering through soft shell crab and local asparagus season.
    I will make it if I don’t drown in butter!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Butter is good my friend! I miss soft shell crab. We don’t have them in France. Not in the culture I guess. Any time I am in London or New York, I go to Japanese restaurants and order spider rolls so I can enjoy the delicate taste of soft shell crab…

  16. Olivia May says:

    You are surrounded by beauties ~~

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I think you’re right Olivia πŸ˜‰ It’s funny how taking photos makes you focus your attention towards what’s good and beautiful… Great therapy. I sometimes refer to it as French Living Therapy πŸ˜‰

  17. juliabarrett says:

    Ack! But they’re alive! Actually we used to catch them in the Iowa farm ponds and take them to my grandmother so she could make up a boil. I never did manage to eat them. Two of my three children love crayfish. Great photos, as always. I will get there, I promise!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I’m sure you’d love them. If you like seafood, you’ll like crawfish. πŸ˜‰

  18. I hope you continue to feel less blues-y, Stephane. As always, lovely lovely photos! I’ve haven’t tried crayfish–have never been inclined to do so–but you make it look tempting πŸ™‚

    1. My French Heaven says:

      You should try them, especially if you get a chance to travel down to New Orleans… πŸ˜‰

  19. A beautiful way to put a end to the blues. I always have to click in to your blog to read your posts (rather than read it from the wordpress reader). Your layout is so spectacular and reading it from the reader does not allow the full experience. Looks like you are experiencing the same wonderful blossoms in your area. Lovely post.

    1. My French Heaven says:

      You are so kind! I wanted the new layout to be simpler and more elegant. I am so so glad you like it! With all these nice comments, my blues has completely disappeared. I feel so lucky to have so many great fellow bloggers around me… πŸ™‚

  20. Bonjour! I’ve neve made crayfish because I thought it must require some rocket science to do, however your “boils” are convincing me that I should make some. Besides your photos are superb. The American boil as you say, reminds me of the escargots (very different animal here, I know, sorry to interrupt) I eat here in Bcn, most probably different from the French way, with chorizo or even morcilla (black pudding!).

    1. My French Heaven says:

      I love chorizo, especially with seafood. I always put some in my mussels… πŸ˜‰ πŸ™‚

      1. Really? cool, I’ll try some in mine too πŸ™‚

  21. I agree! Cooking isn’t nearly as fun when you don’t have guests to feed…or in my case over-feed!

    Your photos are amazing, especially of the crayfish. They say that food doesn’t photograph well but you seem to have bucked that stereotype too! If it weren’t breakfast time here I’d be salivating! Haven’t had crayfish since Madrid!

    Again, lovely post & pics, not just of the food but the walk as well.

    Have an excellent week!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      What a lovely comment! Thank you so much!!!

  22. chef mimi says:

    beautiful! Je connais ca table!!!

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Same old, same old πŸ˜‰

  23. Those crayfish look wonderful! I always think of first eating them at a lovely table d’hΓ΄te near Bergerac many years ago. No menu. Fixed price. We went back a few times over years. It’s always a double-edged sword having a full house – so great to have family or friends to talk to and cook for and then the emptiness when they go (I live alone). But I get more and more used to it, the tides of life bringing people and then them going away. I’m glad you found some gorgeous seafood to cheer your blues away πŸ™‚

    1. My French Heaven says:

      The Bergerac area is not far from here as you know. I love that town… πŸ˜‰

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thank you!

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