Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Here’s an idea for a splendid day out in Provence right now – the tourists have in the main gone home and there are still sunny days to enjoy.

Boating on the lower gorges du Verdon isn’t as well known as Lac St Croix but all the better for that in terms of easy parking and access to boats.  And it’s very beautiful.


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Bowling along on a bike by the Med sounds like heaven to me, especially when there’s no traffic!

That’s the offer tomorrow, 10h -18h, when 4 kilomètres of the Corniche, from Malmousque to David, plus l’Estaque Plage, will be open to walkers, skaters, and cyclists.  Lots of free sporting activities – things to try – and of course, food.

Food-trucks and ‘terrasses éphémères’

The trucks will be dishing up icecream, Breton and Mexican specialities, now there’s a choice, as well as burgers and bagels.

The pop-up terraces have been provided by ‘la Ville de Marseille’ as a free service to local restaurateurs and cafetiers.  What a good idea, especially right now.

Renting a bike

Click here for details; 1000 nouveaux vélos électriques en libre-service

Sorry for late notification but only just stumbled across this nice event.




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Provencal markets are renowned for their fresh, seasonable produce as well as their instagrammable beauty.


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‘1001 Herbes‘ is a new branch of the chain of stores specialising in products based on CBD (cannabinoide), the non-hallucinegenic part of the cannabis plant.  They offer a full range of different oils targeting various stress or anxiety-related issues as well as holistic healthcare…plus you can book in for a massage from one of their specialists.  At 31 rue des Cordeliers. https://www.1001herbes.com. (more…)

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Here’s a one-pot supper, full of eastern spices, guaranteed to warm 4 people up on a chilly evening.

Serve with brown rice.


500g squash/pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and cut into bitesize pieces*
3 tbsp oil
2 onions, diced
1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into bitesize pieces
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3-4cm piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
½ red chilli, finely chopped
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp ground turmeric
1 tbsp medium curry powder
½ tsp smoked paprika
1½ tsp salt
½ tsp coarsely ground black pepper
400g can black beans * drained and rinsed
400ml can coconut milk
50g baby spinach

Toasted flaked almonds, to serve
2 tbsp coconut yogurt (or Greek)

Two comments:I used a bag of frozen butternut squash and simply tipped it in at stage 4 below.  Hadn’t got black beans in the cupboard so used kidney beans, not a good decision as they rather disintegrated.  In future I will use chick peas as they are more substantial.  Otherwise all went well…


1. If using squash or pumpkin, preheat the oven to 200°C, gas mark 6. Put the pumpkin into a baking tray and toss with 1 tbsp of oil and a pinch of salt. Roast for 20 minutes until cooked through and soft.

2. Meanwhile heat a large non-stick frying pan until hot. Add the remaining oil, then the onions, pepper, garlic, ginger, chilli and cumin seeds. Fry, stirring regularly for about 4 minutes or until the onions start to brown.

3. Add the turmeric, curry powder, smoked paprika, salt and black pepper, and cook for a further 1 minute. Next add the black beans to the pan along with the coconut milk.

4. Add the squash/ pumpkin to the pan. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and add the baby spinach. Cook for about 20 minutes. Taste and season with more salt, black pepper, if needed, and some chilli flakes if liked. Serve sprinkled with flaked almonds and with dollops of yoghurt.





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Aix: New Vegetarian Restaurant

What a time to be opening a new restaurant, but a young chef called Lise is doing just that.  ‘Sanctuary Coffee and Kitchen’ will be opening shortly in rue des Bernadines and I thank Caroline for the heads-up.
She told Aixcentric: “Lise let me try a few of her homemade delights (carrot cake, mantecao shortbread cookies, a vegan-orangy-choco scrumptious cake).  They are having a Free Tasting on Saturday 12th December, in the afternoon, offering tastes of their sweet samples – brownies, gingerbreads served with (maybe)  traditional massala Chaï.  It is due to fully and ‘officially’ OPEN DECEMBER 15, after 4 months of endless patience and 10 months of complete refurbishing work.”
The press release describes it as ‘une adresse green et feel-good’, just what we all need right now!
11 rue des Bernadines, Aix
Tues-Sat, 11-18.

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  • Le Tour du Pain
    A day in the life of the Chef Boulanger at Au Pavé du Roy
    Susan Gish writes: Sam and I went on a magical tour of Au Pavé du Roy: Artisan Patissier Chocolatier Boulanger Glacier Traiteur.
    Our rendez-vous was with Mme Laurence Campanella, who is the 3rd generation owner of the shop. She invited us to come on a morning in
    October, and we were very happy to accept her kind invitation.
    Entering the atelier, my first impression was how clean the bakery was.

    Everyone was wearing masks and working very cleanly.

    There are three Chefs: One for the Viennoisserie, one for the Patisserie
    and one for the Boulangerie. There are also bakers and apprentices.
    Le Tour du Pain in 3 stages:
    Stage 1: Viennoisserie
    Stage 2: Patisserie
    Stage 3: Boulangerie
    Stage 1: Viennoisserie: Our timing was perfect! There was a peloton
    of bakers in a row making pain au chocolat. One was cutting the puff
    pastry, another was filling with Valrhona chocolate strips, and another
    was folding the pastry.
    Three bakers all working together, riding the flat and then the hills
    together as a team, one pulling off to get to the oven.
    Theyd just finished forming the croissants and putting them into the
    oven as well. A tray of warm croissants came out and were drafting
    by us to deliver to the bakery and oh the smell was amazing!
    All are made with pure butter, pur beurre.
    Madame Campanella explained that Au Pavé du Roy is one of only two places in
    Aix-en-Provence that makes their own croissants.
    The Viennoisserie is also where the pain au raisin (escargot) and other
    breakfast pastries, are made. My favorite is their croissant made with
    pistachio creme and topped with slivered almonds. Or maybe the
    Nutella croissant! American style chocolate chip cookies, some with
    pecans, some with almonds!
    Stage 2: Patisserie: The next station was the patisserie. Here is
    where the magnificent cakes are made, the mille-feuille (pronounce
    that, beginner french students!), eclairs, fruit tartsAu Pavé du Roy
    makes their own ice cream and sorbet, and has decadent ice cream
    cakes! Cant wait to try one. In the freezer case was an ice cream
    cake with hazelnuts and a chocolate Hérissonne / Hérisson on top,
    guess what that is! (Answer: Hedgehog). They are an amazing
    chocolatier also. Chocolate cats, chocolate people, chocolate
    sculpture for every holidayOh, my gosh, navettes Marseillaises!
    We got one to try that day, yum!
    One of the bakers was making a pastry cream créme patisserie.
    But this area is busier later in the day. The morning is meant for
    breakfast pastries, breads and lunches.
    Stage 3: Boulangerie: The bread ovens and bread stations are in
    the far back of the Atelier. Which leads us to:
    A day in the life of the Chef Boulanger at Au Pavé du Roy.
    Chef Jean-Marc Cicala.
    3:00 am:
    Chef Cicala wakes up to go to work.
    3:30-4:00 am:
    He arrives at the atelier and lights the oven first.
    4:00-5:00 am:
    His team arrives. There is one baker and two apprentices.
    The baker and adult apprentice arrive at 4 am.
    The underage apprentice comes at 5 am.
    6:00 am:
    Everyone in the bakery has a coffee and one of their own
    croissants or pain au chocolat. (except lately with the lock down,
    it isnt possible to get the coffee from the Café next door)
    4:00 am – Noon:
    Following is the order and explanation of what the bakers do.
    Different breads require different amounts of kneading and rising.
    Pétrissage: Kneading the dough
    Pointage: Waiting for the dough to rise
    Façonnage: Shaping of the dough
    Stockage en chambre de pousse pour le lendemain:
    Cold Storage of the dough to retard the rise
    Cuisson: Cooking the bread
    Petrissage The first part of the process. The kneading machine
    is started. This is not your typical dough hook in a KitchenAid
    or a bread machine. Its quite a large machine and duplicates the
    motion of kneading by hand.
    Premiere PetrieThe kneading of the wheat flour baguette.
    PointageThe dough is put into the Chambre de Pousse
    (proofing oven) overnight for 10/12 hours. There it ferments;
    rises slowly, and after they are ready for the:
    Faconnage-The shaping or forming of the bread.
    There is a Deuxième Petrie
    A second kneading for their specialty sourdough baguette called,
    La Parisse. Its made from very high-quality flour whose recipe
    was developed by Gaëtan, Paris Meilleur Ouvrier de France 1997.
    Other Petries/kneading are for:
    Whole wheat bread
    Ciabatta (olive oil and wheat)
    Organic bread
    Einkorn petit épeautre – anciennes grains
    Seigle Rye
    Cereal breads multi-grain
    Sandwich bread
    Buns & Bagels
    Rustic breads
    While the kneading is taking place, the bakers cook the breads
    and alternate the work.
    They go back and forth between the above processes, depending
    on the type of bread that they are making.
    The apprentices bring the breads into the shop bakery all
    throughout the day, as they are made.
    On a typical day they make:
    150200 baguettes
    100120 banettes
    80-100 la parisse
    40-60 different specialty breads
    The same breads are made each day.
    Ingredients: Bread is only flour, water, salt & yeast.
    Nuts, honey, olive oil, dry fruits or vegetables, seeds are
    sometimes added.
    They use 1015 different local flours.
    (The bakery as a whole, uses as many local ingredients as
    possible. The flour, eggs, and fruit (when seasonal) are local.
    JeanMarcs work day ends. He goes home to eat his lunch with
    his family.
    I asked Chef Cicala a few questions about himself:
    Where have you worked?
    I have been at Pavé du Roy for 14 years, since 2006.
    I also worked in two different bakeries in Aix that are closed now,
    and 3 years in French Polynesia.
    When do you see your family?
    I see them in the afternoon, evening and every other weekend.
    Was anyone in your family a baker or a cook?
    If you have children, do they have interest in baking/cooking?
    No-one in my family was a baker or cook. I have one boy who is
    not really interested in baking.
    Do you enjoy being a Chef?
    I chose my job; I love making good bread!
    Finally, are you a sports fan?
    Im not fan of foot, my hobby is Judo; Im Judoka, a black belt.
    Thank you for reading, Le Tour de Pain. I hope it was pain-less.
    It was the yeast I could do to tell this story.
    Perhaps we can break bread together sometime soon!
    Au Pavé du Roy
    Artisan Patissier Chocolatier Boulanger Glacier Traiteur.
    04 42 26 22 81 9 Cours dOrbitelle just next to Hotel Roi René
    Open Tues-Sun 7:00am-8:00pm – aupaveduroy on Instagram.
    Photos by Sam Gish.


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It will be Thanksgiving with a difference this year for Americans in Aix, but help is at hand courtesy of Rick Harrison, owner of Biocoop – La Coumpagnié – there are 3 stores in Aix-en-Provence : La Pioline, Célony/Puyricard and La Torse (centre ville adjacent).
He explains: ‘Each year, we offer Thanksgiving dinner in our restaurant which is attended by approximately 100 people. Of course, this year our restaurant is closed but last week I had several inquiries about Thanksgiving meals “to go”. So, we decided yesterday to offer a full Thanksgiving meal for 25 € per person (Thursday, Friday and Saturday) – turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, candied sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, of course gravy, cranberry sauce as well as pumpkin and pecan pie and cheesecake.
In addition, each of the 3 service delis will have each item on Thursday, Friday and Saturday for people who wish to buy last minute and à la carte. The à la carte items can also be pre-ordered.
‘Pre-orders need to be made 24 hours in advance. All of the recipes are my family recipes – so it’s very authentic, and our chef’s cream of mushroom used in the green bean casserole is the best I’ve ever tasted’.
Here’s Rick’s e-mail for people who wish to contact him : rick@biocoop-lacoumpagnie.fr, and locations are on their website www.biocoop-lacoumpagnie.fr.  As it’s so last minute, the items cannot be ordered on line.

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pumpkinsLots of golden leaves on the ground and autumnal chills make warming dishes very welcome: this recipe makes the most of the colourful pumpkins that are brightening market stalls in Aix.  When I posted this 4 years ago, I used a shiny red potiron but any sort of squash would work. I  just rediscovered the post and remembered how much we liked this first time round.

Serve in deep bowls with crème fraiche and lots of mango chutney.  Serves 4

  1.  Fry a chopped onion in a splash of sunflower oil for 5 mins.
  2. Add 500g peeled and chopped pumpkin, 800g peeled and cubed potatoes, and 1 chopped cooking apple.
  3. Stir in 2 tsp of curry paste, 1 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp ginger + 2 bay leaves.
  4. Add 500ml boiling water with a crumbled stock cube, a handful of raisins and seasoning.
  5. Cover and simmer until the vegetables are tender.  About 20 minutes.  Keep tasting the adjust seasoning and curry strength.

Serve with rice or chunks of bread, crème fraiche and mango chutney.

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Mighty Mushroom Traybake

I love the heaps of different types of mushrooms on the Aix markets; here’s a very easy recipe to make the most of them.  Traybakes are a super-easy way to cook a family meal or casual lunch for friends (when we can do that again….)  I like the fact that it can all be prepared in advance and popped into the oven where the various ingredients mingle together into a delicious tasty dish.

This is a Jamie Oliver recipe which is for 4.  More like 6 I would have thought esp at lunchtime. I didn’t have any cannellini beans in the kitchen so used mixed beans in tomato sauce which turned out well.  The great thing about traybakes is that you can incorporate varied ingredients………..warms the kitchen too.


  • 800g potatoes

  • 4 garlic cloves

  • 2 red onions

  • ½ a bunch of fresh rosemary (15g)

  • 1 fresh red chilli (optional)

  • olive oil

  • 500g mixed mushrooms

  • 2 x 400g tins cannellini beans

  • red wine vinegar

  • 4 heaped tbsp soured cream

  1. Preheat the oven to gas 6, 200 ̊C, fan 180¡C. Scrub the potatoes, peel the garlic and onions, then slice everything 0.5cm thick, chucking it in a large, shallow roasting tray (30 x 40cm) as you go. Strip in most of the rosemary leaves, then finely slice and add most of the chilli, if using. Add a pinch of sea salt and black pepper and 1 tbsp oil, toss well, arrange in a fairly even layer and roast for 40 mins. Halfway through cooking, roughly tear and toss in the mushrooms, leaving any smaller ones whole.

  2. Pull the tray out of the oven, drain the beans and stir them in, along with 1 tbsp vinegar. Sprinkle over the remaining rosemary leaves and chilli, then return to the oven for a further 20 mins, or until everything is golden and delicious.

  3. Divide the traybake between plates, with a dollop of soured cream on top. Lovely served with some steamed greens or dressed baby spinach.

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