Monthly Archives: January 2010

Family Tapenade


Feeling lazy on saturday night so here is a quick recipe to have a fun, tasty meal in minutes! And I’ll have more time for that Articulate game I’ve been promising to the children for two days… Now give me : a round fruit with stone that you can get in several different colours… Ah! and they grow in Nina’s garden!

Black olives (stoned) 500g

1 small glass of olive oil

2 garlic cloves

Tuna in brine- 1 small tin

4 to 5 anchovies in oil

Capers 2 tbsp

Thyme and origan

Put all the ingredients in a blender and whizz to a rough paste. If the mix is too dry, simply add a drop of olive oil. Serve on small slices of toasted baguette.

I also love serving this on a heap of wholemeal spaghetti for a healthy and tasty quick-meal. You can add some bite to the pasta by chopping half a seeded chilli on top.

Bourride de baudroie


Bouillabaisse comes from Marseille but this fish soup is rooted somewhere between Arles and Sète, the beautiful fishing port where Paul Valéry asked to be buried in the most heavenly cemetery on earth : “the marine cemetery”.

A sun-baked location on the sloppy hills that overlooks the sea below, it is inhabited by slender cypresses and seagulls.

Here I break my resolution to only post recipes that take under half an hour to produce! But this soup is so rich in flavours and images, so laden with the finest from the sea and the freshest from the fields, that it would be a great shame to leave it out when I’ve just made it. It is in fact very unfussy and almost impossible too mess up… All you need is a great fishmonger and you’re off!

Ingredients list:
Baking potatoes 2
Leek 1
Carrott 1
1 garlic clove
zest of one orange
Fennel bulb 1
Bay leaves 3
Fresh thyme 1 small bunch
Parsley 1 small bunch
Fish stock 1 1/2 litres
White wine 500ml
Monk fish tail (1 large one)
Small white fish such as brim or whiting 2 whole
A few fresh prawns (if you can)
For the aïoli:
6 fresh garlic cloves
Egg yolks 2
olive oil 25cl
Salt and pepper
First fry your small fish (whole but gutted) in a cast-iron pan with the herbs and seasoning. When it is nice and brown, add some water. You need to cover the fish and let it simmer a bit. If the broth is too bland, add a Maggi cube to strengthen it up.
Leave to rest while you prepare your main pot: Slice the fennel, chop the leek, the carrot and potatoes. Add to it the garlic, finely grated, bay leaves, and wine. Put on a medium heat and add the monkfish when it is bubbling.
Strain your pan with the small fish into a sieve, then with a fork take out all the flesh and the prawns if you use them. Put the juice and the flesh into a blender and blitz away. Add seasoning to taste: it must be full of flavours and rich enough to stand up to the Aïoli- that’s next!
Pour into the pot and cover. Leave the soup to simmer but not reduce to much.
For the Aïoli, I use the upside-down attachment that came with my blender and is supposedly dedicated to coffee or spices: that way, I find I seem to always get it to “gel” – though I always do cross my fingers! This is almost a mayonnaise but full of the smoothness of garlic so – unlike mayonnaise- I find it pretty easy to get right!
Put a little mustard in the blender to start it up, then the garlic and salt. Pour the olive oil very slowly and steadily. The mix needs to start becoming creamy and smooth straight away, then you build it up slowly with the oil, until you get the right quantity. It is pungent and raw!
Keep aside in a bowl and serve with the soup and thick slices of toasted bread to spread on…

Hot red pepper and sweet potato soup


This warming soup has a lovely hot colour and is packed full with vitamins. Sweet potatoes are a great low GI food so you won’t have hunger pangs for a long time after this! This is a very tangy and spicy “grown -up” soup so you can even serve it at a dinner party but to me this is just the ideal quick and healthy family fare that you want on a cold evening.

Ingredients list:
1 seeded red pepper
Half a red chilli
2 medium sweet potatoes
2 shallots
1 carrot
1 litre of vegetable stock (2 cubes of Maggi)
1 Tbsp of ground cumin and some cinnamon
Pinch of sea salt

Put everything in a deep pan and bring to the boil. Cook until soft, adding water if necessary. Blitz until smooth. It will be thick and creamy but not too dense.
Serve with a twist of pepper mill and a pinch of cinnamon in each plate.

Perfectly timed Celery and Stilton soup


Celery and Stilton soup

1 large celery
1 large onion
1spoonful of olive oil
Fresh thyme
Coriander and parsley
1 litre of stock (Maggi cubes are fine!)
A chunk of stilton left over from Christmas
(the older and smellier the better)
A little cream or Crème fraîche

I adore Stilton and puts it on par with Roquefort, which for a French food lover is some affirmation! But there always seems to be a little bit too much of it left after Christmas so this is a great recipe to use the leftovers.

Slice the onion and celery, using the leaves as well as the stems. Fry the onion in a skillet with a spoonful of olive oil until soft and golden. Add the celery and stock.
Let it simmer on low heat for a good half-hour then throw in the Stilton in small chunks, add a little cream and serve when melted.

Keeping healthy in the chill? Try this


Health smoothie
This is my very best winter pick-me-up recipe because sometimes I want full on nutrition with taste and this is packed with folic acid, potassium, magnesium and fibre:
1 large banana
3 squeezed oranges
300 ml or 1 big glass of buttermilk (use Kefir or even yogurt if you like)
1 spoon full of wheat-germ
Put it all in a blender with a few ice-cubes and serve chilled.