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(Note: My Snap Giveaway is today! Don’t miss this special offer. Details at the bottom of this blog!)

Meet Chef Astrid!

This fall, my new French friends, Astrid and her husband, Jean-Yves, very graciously invited me to stay at their home in Metz (pronounced Mess).

The charming city in the Lorraine region of France is about an hour and a half by train northeast of Paris.


Metz is located on the confluence of the Moselle and Seille rivers.

My Weekend in Metz, France

The couple had organized a jammed-packed weekend for me to best experience the prominent sights of their hometown along with the food and the culture.

In fact, shortly after I arrived, I was treated to an evening of Mozart by their symphony orchestra in the magnificent Arsenal concert hall.

As the name suggests, the renovated hall was originally a store for weapons and ammunition as far back as Napoleon III (!859) until the end of the Second World War.


The Metz concert hall called l’Arsenal is considered one of the most beautiful in the world.


The next morning, after a breakfast of pastries and strong coffee, Astrid asked me to help her make “Tomates Farcies” (Stuffed Tomatoes)  for lunch.

(I love how the French are always thinking about the next meal.)

Tomates Farcies (Stuffed Tomatoes)

Ripe vine tomatoes from the fall harvest were, naturally, the star of this recipe.



First. Astrid deftly chopped and sautéed onions and garlic in a pan.



I was put to the task of carefully cutting off the tops of the tomatoes and hollowing out the middles.


What I scooped out of the tomatoes became the base for the filling


The aroma in the kitchen drew Jean-Yves into snap a quick photo of the two cooks.


Astrid et moi!


We created a savoury roux then added the meat which consisted of a combination of ground pork, beef and veal.


The stuffing for our tomatoes


Hot over the stove, we chopped parsley and added it to the roux. (Actually we had to rush out to the market because we forget the parsley.)



Best part — stuffing the tomatoes.  Then we placed their tops back on and spritzed them with olive oil.




Into the oven for an hour.




Stuffed tomatoes look a lot prettier before they are cooked, but oh my, even withered and wrinkly – they are delicious!

Once lunch was over,  it was time for a bike ride around Metz.

I was already wondering what we would be making for dinner!

(You will be hearing more about my new French friends and how we met in a later blog.)

Astrid’s Tomates Farcies (Stuffed Tomatoes) Ingredients

Vine-Ripe Tomatoes

Onions – Chopped Coarsely

Olive Oil

1 clove garlic, minced (optional — in fact, we forgot to put it in)

1/4 (or more) cup finely chopped fresh parsley leaves


Freshly ground black pepper

Ground Beef, Pork, and Veal

(This is a great meal on its own and best enjoyed with a crusty French bread to mop up the juices!)

Have you tried this dish? Any variations?  Would love to hear in the Comment Section below.


But Before You Do That!

This is It!


A Free French Lesson with Christine Camm



If you read last week’s blog, you will know about my Snap Giveaway to win a Free French Lesson with  Christine Camm of

Here’s What You Need To Do Now!

Leave a Comment below about this Blog, and also add WHY you think you should be the Winner of this Private Lesson?

It may be simply because you want to practice or improve your French? Did you have interesting experience speaking French to the locals in France that is encouraging you to learn more? Do you have (or want to find) a French lover (pronounced lova… à la Sex In the City)? Are you going to Paris soon and want to learn some key phrases to feel more Parisian?

Whatever the reason, tell us about it. Christine is offering this gift to one of you! She is a great teacher as many of my subscribers will tell you and she can help anyone at any level. Note: There are no strings attached or obligations with this lesson.

And Christine works online with students anywhere in the world!


Christine working online from her home in southwestern France.


I will review the comments and make a SNAP decision based on the most interesting comment by next week.

So don’t delay and good luck ladies!


Disclosure Policy: I do not derive any commissions in promoting Christine Camm and her services. Any products or services that I giveaway are personally purchased by me unless otherwise specified. As in this case, Christine has offered this lesson at no charge to me.  I also write all content on my site unless otherwise specified. And I respect the privacy of my subscribers and do not share their information with any other party or organization.


  1. Peg McPhedran on November 24, 2019 at 7:24 am

    The Tomates Farcies recipe sounds delicious — I can’t wait to try it! And I will not forget the garlic!

    • Diana Bishop on November 24, 2019 at 8:43 am

      Peg — we have to make it sometime! Thanks so much for leaving the comment! Diana

  2. Twink on November 24, 2019 at 8:57 am

    I love stuffed tomatoes and would like a brush up on my language skills before heading over to France.

    • Diana Bishop on November 24, 2019 at 9:15 am

      Hi Twink,
      Thanks for the comment — and you are entered do to win the Free French Lesson with Christine Camm! Glad to hear that you are also paling a trip to France! Who can resist! Diana

  3. Lea Greenwood on November 24, 2019 at 9:26 am

    Me, me, me! I would love this opportunity. In 1981 I was a “file au pair” in Paris for less than one year with the purpose of learning French. After almost 40 years i am still in contact with my French Family, though not frequently.. Regrettably, I rely on Google translator, which has its flaws, to check my written French. Hearing, not Canadian, French spoken is music to my ears. I would once again like to have my confidence back while communicating in French. Since I haven’t been using it regularly i have been loosing it. My hope is to visit my French Family again. My charge now has a son graduating high school. It would be nice to be there to celebrate without any language barriers.

    • Diana Bishop on November 24, 2019 at 9:35 am

      A super reason to brush up on your French! Lea, you are now entered to win the Free French Lesson!
      Thanks so much for the comment. Best, Diana

    • Kathy on November 24, 2019 at 3:04 pm

      I have been to France many times and simply cannot yet communicate more than bonjour and merci. Would like to be a little better the next time.

      • Diana Bishop on November 24, 2019 at 6:19 pm

        Kathy — thanks so much for the comment and you are definitely entered to WIN the Free French Lesson! Diana

  4. Luci on November 24, 2019 at 9:35 am

    Oh. I vote for Lea! She has a wonderful reason to be the lucky one.
    I am getting ready to go on our Paris holiday for Sept 2020. We celebrate our 20 th wedding anniversary.
    I will be planning it myself. My hubby will be taking, one trip planning off. I plan on reviewing all your content here in your blog Diana and curating some interesting items into our trip.

    • Diana Bishop on November 24, 2019 at 9:39 am

      Hi Luci,
      That is wonderful to hear! I hope I have given you some great ideas for your trip! If you need any help, let me know.

  5. Monica Campbell on November 24, 2019 at 9:39 am

    I will be joining my small family of four for a Paris Christmas in December.
    …they have been transferred to Paris through my son in laws employer, a financial institution. I absolutely love cooking and hope to try some French recipes for Christmas…we all enjoy tomato recipes so much so this particular one may be first on the list.
    When I was a teenager in Belfast N Ireland, schooling at a convent high school, French was one of my best subjects and despite the fact that this goes back to 1965 , I have always maintained my interest in this most beautiful language…my promise to myself was that when I retired I would take French lessons…who would have known that my future held a move to Canada where French is as important as English and also that my only child would end up living in Paris. This has to be good karma…now is the time…my one and only grandchild is learning French at the age of 19 months…Nana has to keep up with him…what more can I say?

    • Diana Bishop on November 24, 2019 at 9:49 am

      Monica–you have a great reason to brush on your French too! Ladies I am loving these comments.
      Thank you for taking part in this Free Give-away offer. I am adding you to the list. Diana

  6. Trudy Van Buskirk on November 24, 2019 at 5:09 pm

    This recipe made my mouth water – I love to eat!!! I’m 69 and can’t travel any more because of a debilitating stroke I had in 2005 – so I LOVE reading your posts and seeing your pictures. My paternal grandmere was named Corinne Tetreault. She was born in St. Jean Quebec. I guess I have always been enamoured of French – i n fact my BA from Western University is in French!!! Since I can’t travel, I just want to brush up my French so ….

    • Diana Bishop on November 24, 2019 at 6:21 pm

      I too did my BA in French from the University Of Guelph which was an unlikely place for anyone to study French but like
      you I have been enamoured with French my whole life. I am so thrilled that you would like to WIN this Free Lesson.
      I will be announcing the winner next week. Thank you for your interest. And as always I am so happy you are enjoying my blog.

  7. Ann on November 24, 2019 at 8:39 pm

    Diana…WOW!!! The “treat” is all ours to receive the “tales” of your travels. Thank you for sharing the trip the Metz and visit with Chef Astrid and her husband, Jean-Yves. Know if was a delight as it comes through…merci!!

    • Diana Bishop on November 25, 2019 at 5:48 pm

      Thank you Anne, I am so happy you are enjoying my blog. I am having such fun. Look forward to hearing more from you. Diana

  8. anne teichroew on November 24, 2019 at 10:01 pm

    Love this blog, Diana, and your evocative photos! I have saved the recipe to my French recipe folder.

    So here I am standing at the patisserie counter…I feel confident, I feel chic, I feel French as I place my order in my rehearsed French. A French linguistic miracle occurs and the shop assistant actually understands me then replies in rapid fire French. Merde! Au secours! I have no clue what she’s saying. I pray that the earth opens and swallows me up but no, I just stand there and mumble feebly that I don’t understand…no longer confident, no longer chic and definitely not French!

    And so go my typical French encounters. Although I am a British Canadian, in my heart and soul I am French. And one day, with as much help as I can get, I know I will be able to respond somewhat intelligently to the kind French people who silently cringe when I mutilate their beautiful language!

    • Diana Bishop on November 25, 2019 at 5:52 pm

      I can sooo relate. When I started learning French I had so many experiences. Once I thought I was being so chic ordering ‘les foies du poulet” for dinner in a restaurant — thinking that it was of course chicken. What they brought me looked like a dog’s breakfast and was “chicken livers.” I nearly gagged and couldn’t eat even a fork fill. Embarrassing when the waiter took my plate away for sure! Learning a language is a process and some embarrassing moments are all part of it. So good on you for trying!!!

  9. Ann Rose on November 25, 2019 at 12:17 am

    Bonjiour Annie,

    So admire the spunk…stepped right up you did!!! Am working up to taking French and will get there. Do keep up the language journey!!! Proud of you you!!!

    • Diana Bishop on November 25, 2019 at 5:53 pm


  10. Astrid on November 25, 2019 at 3:31 pm

    It was such a pleasure to host Diana at home.
    We showed her the French lifestyle, and at once we fall in a good mood also! Diana is a fantastic guest.
    We cooked with ease, this seasonal recipe .
    Les tomates farcies étaient délicieuses, savoureuses, parfumées, exquises,…(à vous de définir votre propre avis et de l’exprimer en Français fièrement!).
    If Diana offers you to learn a new recipe, ,grap the opportunity: she learn very quickly, si si!!
    We enjoyed the concert at the famous place Arsenal.
    La symphonie n° 41 , la dernière écrite par Mozart, a été baptisée “Jupiter”. Une symphonie au caractère glorieux, rythmique, pleine d’énergie.

    My family and me, we really had amazing time with Diana, and would love to share again our skills, hobbies and culture. See you soon!
    Amicalement, Astrid

    • Diana Bishop on November 25, 2019 at 5:54 pm

      How exciting everyone to hear from Astrid! Astrid, thank you for your comment.
      Believe me the pleasure was all mine. I had such a fantastic time with you and your family. I hope we can do it again soon. Lot of love, Diana

  11. Carole on November 26, 2019 at 2:09 pm

    Hello Diana et Astrid
    Très heureuse d’avoir pu partager une partie de ton weekend à Metz Diana.
    Je garde un très beau souvenir de notre balade à vélo et de la soirée chez Astrid et Jean-Yves, qui excellent dans le domaine des belles rencontres.
    Je vous embrasse tous les trois de Paris

    • Diana Bishop on November 27, 2019 at 10:15 am

      Carole — Si heureux d’avoir de vos nouvelles et que vous lisiez mon blog! Merci!
      L’avez-vous trouvé traduisé en français?

      J’ai passé le meilleur moment de ce week-end à Metz. et j’ai de si beaux souvenirs.
      Vous m’avez fait sentir la bienvenue et j’ai beaucoup apprécié cela!
      Merci infiniment pour votre commentaire!

    • Astrid on November 27, 2019 at 2:45 pm

      Merci infiniment Carole pour ton message chaleureux.
      Bon séjour à Paris ( tu pourras expérienter peut-être quelques bonnes adresses données sur ce blog par Diana).
      A très bientôt à Metz, amicalement Astrid et J Yves

      • Diana Bishop on November 27, 2019 at 6:34 pm

        Astrid et Carole,
        Je suis ravie que nous trois soyons connectés via mon blog! amicalement, Diana

  12. Vivien Tho as on November 27, 2019 at 1:12 am

    They look delicious, I have never tried them but when we go to Bordeaux next September I will give it a go and practice my French at the market. Astrid also makes wonderful pancakes with fruit.

    • Diana Bishop on November 27, 2019 at 10:03 am

      Vivien, so wonderful to hear from you! Yes, such an easy recipe but so delicious. Pancakes and fruit eh? I will have to make that with Astrid the next time.
      How do you know Astrid? Diana

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