Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Friday, September 20, 2013

Holding on to Summer - Roasted Peppers with a Twist

The Mistral, our dreaded Provençal wind from the North is howling today and the kitchen garden is being cleaned up by the Monsieur the Head Gardener but still we are not quite ready yet to let the summer go. Also the weather report promises sunshine and rising temperatures for the weekend. Never mind that they hardly ever get their forecasts right - this time they have to!

Reason enough to have one more summery dish on the table. These are not just roasted, then peeled peppers, these come with a little twist that make them even more delicious. I always used to dress them with a clove or two of minced garlic, some olive oil, sea salt, pepper and that little bit of intensely flavored juice that is produced when you let them cool down before taking the skin off.
But recently I saw this version in a French magazine (I think it was Côté Sud), tried it and was instantly hooked. All you add are a few leaves of basil and quite a handful of cilantro leaves (coriander to all non Americans) which you chop very very finely, mix in and then let the dish marinate preferably overnight. To be served at room temperature with baguette or other crusty bread and a nice glass of wine bien sûr!

Monday, September 9, 2013

What a Happy Day in Marseille

Marseille being Europe's Capital of Culture this year there are ever more interesting activities, exhibitons and shows to see. So when I read about a big maritime parade being announced off we went. Marseille is battling a rather mixed reputation - there are gang related killings that keep the city in the news and there is petty crime like in most big cities, but if you keep normal precautions you will be fine and find a pulsating and mostly very beautiful maritime city to explore.
 MUCEM - the new museum of the Civilisations of Europe and the Mediterranean

 Palais Longchamp - exhibiting until Ocotber 13 an impressive show of 
Classic Modern Paintings

 La Bourse - its renovation work cleverly disguised by a trompe d'oeil 

 The Maritime Parade took off from Marseille's Old Harbor -

then sailed past the MUCEM 

We cannot visit Marseille without going to see the fishermen with their catch of the day in the Old Harbor and then cross over to the central boulevard La Cannebière and take the second street to the right and go over into the bustling Arab Quarter. We love its markets, the fishmongers, butchers, fruit and vegetable vendors and Saladin, the fantastic spice market. Ever since they ruined our best loved seafood restaurant just around the corner by renovating it and turning it into some kind of burger chain food place that happens to sell fish and seafood we are kind of culinarily homeless in Marseille  but made up for it by buying loads of exotic fare that is otherwise hard to find in the South of France. And visiting "La Maison Empereur" the probably best kitchen shop outside of Paris. A must to see if you are in Marseille!
 Saladin - the fabulos spice market in the Arab Quarter

 Nothing you won't find here - the probably best kitchen shop outside of Paris

And then we saw the beginning of a - to France - totally new phenomenon: Food Trucks! Having heard so much about Food Trucks in the US and seen some of them in New York we were intrigued to see what was on offer here. Fish and Chips interpreted à la Marseilleise, Fruit Juices and Smoothies, African Delicacies and Pizza of course - it is a start and we can't wait to see more of it!

 Food trucks a relatively new to France

 Fish & Chips
Another Food Truck
 African Delicacies
And this Monsieur sold Pizza