Monday, February 27, 2012


And the good news is: the website for my cooking classes Cuisinedeprovence is back online.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Celebrating Lemons

Remember my rant about unreliable recipes?   Well, here is a new one! Returning from the Côte d'Azur my neighbor brought me this:

Lovely, ripe and juicy lemons from Menton where the annual Lemon Festival is in full swing right now. Imagine, they use 140 tonnes of oranges and lemons there every year to decorate the huge floats! To do my bit of celebrating I decided to try out a new recipe for Tarte au Citron - Lemon Tart I had just found  in one of my cookbooks. All went well until the last step that asked for decorating the already baked tart with lemon slices, powdering it with confectioner's sugar and passing the tart under the grill "for 3 to 5 minutes". Now hold your breath - this is the before picture.

Trusting soul that I am I put the tart under the grill and went just around the corner to empty the washing machine. Came back after no more than two minutes and had this: 


Today I tried again. Only this time I stood right by the oven and guess what? It did take exactly one minute to caramelize the sugar! And tasted just like a Tarte au Citron should: tart and lemony and with just a hint of sweetness! And that cookbook? Went into the trash can, just like that first Tarte. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Somewhat Fishy Good Luck Charms

Whenever I go to Marseille I never miss going to see the fishmongers at the Vieux Port. Not only because you get to see real interesting species there but also because the Vieux Port is one of the most picturesque and beautiful places in this much (and undeservedly) maligned town.
When I recently went again I found a tiny stall selling this:
Claiming they were porte bonheurs (good luck charms) and telling me to always carry one in my money bag, the old lady selling them then showed me a little sign telling the story behind these "Eyes of St. Lucie".

In the fourth century Lucie sees her mother overcome a serious illness thanks to her prayers to the Virgin Mary. In order to give thanks she rips out her eyes and throws them into the sea. Moved by her devotion the Virgin Mary returns the eyesight to Lucie and makes her eyes even more beautiful and luminous than before. Ever since, these brightly orange tinted mussel gill covers are being associated with good luck and prosperity. This being most certainly true for the vendor who sells these somewhat fishy charms at one Euro a piece.....

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Big Freeze

All but deserted - Cours Taulignan

Vaison la Romaine's Tuesday market is one of the biggest and best known Provençal markets but this morning I hardly trusted my eyes. In Cours Taulignan, usually the busiest street of the market there was hardly a stallholder to be found. My trusted egg lady was one of the very very few who braved the cold, as was a butcher and an olive vendor but that was about it. And then I saw this interesting scene:

What is going on here?

What looked like a clandestine black market operation was but common sense of one of the fruit and vegetable sellers. Since all their produce would have been spoiled at this mornings icy -9°C/15.8°F they didn't even bother to unload but sold everything off the truck.