Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Wishes

Wishing you all 
a very happy, healthy and peaceful
 New Year 2014!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Magic of Christmas in Provence

Went for some last minute vegetable shopping this morning and not only got a wonderful recipe for a true "Farmer's Salad" (post to follow) but this lovely lady, which you might remember from a post about the Tour de France had a very special Christmas wish to share:

May the Magic of Christmas transform your home into a peaceful haven where Joy and Happiness reign! I wish you a wonderful Christmas, filled with Love and Friendship.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Countdown to Christmas in Provence

It is Countdown to Christmas time! We started ours by visiting Marseille's Old Town just as the Christmas Market opened and beautiful festive illuminations brightened the Old Harbor. Now back home our annual Ghoulash Party needs to be prepared and between cookie baking, shopping for ingredients, and tree decorating I tried out two recipes: David Lebovitz' "Candied Almonds" which turned out absolutely fabulos although halfway through I thought it to be the perfect recipe to ruin my very best skillet. Which it didn't - but it was hard to keep faith....
Recipe No. 2 was very graciously shared by my friend Nana who had just returned from Marrakech where she had charmed it from her hotel's patisserie chef. If you want a chocolatey, not very sweet but oh so good festive treat that takes about 10 minutes to prepare (plus cooling time) let me know and I will post the recipe.
Christmas Market at the Vieux Port Marseille
 Festive Illumination at Marseille's Old Harbor

 My first batch of  Christmas Cookies

 Remember the Berlin "Ampelmännchen"?
They also come as cookie cutters 

Little Party giveaways

David Lebovitz' Candied Almonds -
 start innocently enough: cooking almonds in sugar and water...

 then, when you think "What a mess, this isn't working"....
 ...the sugar turns into a golden caramel to which flaky sea salt is added
for an almost decadently sinful taste

 Festive sweets: Moroccan Sesame, Almond and Chocolate Crunch

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Chocolate and Broccoli

Found in Berlin: "Chocolate is God's Answer to Broccoli"
Manufactured by Sin Chocolateria

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Oil is in the Can

We had the first frost - quite a few nights below 0°C actually - and in Provence that means go and harvest your olives. Three days and 40 kilograms of handpicked olives later we do nurse aching limbs and smother lots cream on our hands (it is totally impossible to pick olives with gloves on) but are mighty proud: our very own olive oil is now waiting in the wine cellar.

This is the old oil mill in Puymeras were we had our olives pressed the traditional way, the only difference being that nowadays a motor turns the squashing stones whereas in former times it used to be a donkey making the rounds all days long.

 The olives are squashed into a paste between huge and fast turning stones

 the paste is then evenly distributed onto straw mats

  that are then piled on top of each other
 and squeezed to extract the oil
 What beautiful color!

Our jerry can being filled!