Category Archives: FOOD STORIES

Histoires de cuisine, de partage, de réunions, d’ici et d’ailleurs, chez soi ou dans la nature
Stories about food, gatherings, and slow living, at home or in the nature

A picnic in the garden : carrot salad with bulgur, cranberries and cilantro

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Enjoying the summer going by, already at its height, already fading, but just ignore that and gorge yourself on sunny days until the dreaded Autumn arrives. In order to change things up, go eat lunch outside, in the nature : in a cute corner of my garden, on the empty beach after a good walk, at the quiet lake, or in the deserted park. Anywhere will do the trick as long as you can create your own haven to daydream in the shade.
Just remember to bring a nice throw or a cotton rug to take a nap after lunch. If you stay at home, take this opportunity to take your bucolic tableware. If you don’t, don’t bother, what matters is in the plate.
Speaking of which, I recommend this fresh and easily transportable carrot and bulgur salad. Don’t hesitate to double or triple the recipe for the following days :)

Profiter de l’été qui avance, déjà à son pic, déjà déclinant, mais on préfère ne pas y songer et se gorger de soleil avant la rentrée tant redoutée. Pour bousculer un peu les habitudes, on part déjeuner dehors, dans la nature : un joli coin de son jardin, la plage vide après une bonne marche, le lac paisible, ou le parc municipal déserté. Se créer son petit havre personnel, pour buller à l’ombre des arbres.
Penser à emporter une jolie fouta ou un tapis en coton (comme ici) pour pouvoir faire la sieste après déjeuner. Si l’on reste chez soi, sortir de la vaisselle champêtre, sinon, ne pas s’en préoccuper, l’essentiel est dans l’assiette.
Justement, dans l’assiette, je vous propose une salade très fraiche et facilement transportable. Ne pas hésiter à en faire de grandes quantités, pour les jours suivants :)

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Carrot Salad with bulgur, cranberries and cilantro
Serves 2

Ingredients

2 carrots
120g (4.2 oz) of bulgur (uncooked)
1 red onion, minced
2 tbsp of olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp of cumin
A 3 cm (1 inch) piece of ginger, grated
1 handful of dried cranberries
1/2 bunch of cilantro

Instructions
1. With vegetable peeler, cut the carrots in ribbons. Cook the bulgur in a large pot filled with boiling water.
2. Prepare the dressing : mix the lime juice, oil, cumin, ginger, cumin and onion. Add salt and pepper to taste.
3. Add the carrot ribbons, bulgur, cranberries, and cilantro. Mix well and serve.

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Sagres and the Vicentina Coast : Ceviche with avocado, cilantro and ginger

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First part of our trip to Portugal with the Algarve region. This region in the southern part of Portugal is renowned for its beautiful beaches but is also a destination of choice for tourists during the summer months. When we were researching where to stay during this trip, we got a lukewarm reception from our friends and family. They said that Algarve had the reputation to being very crowded and filled with seaside towns with high-rises and multilingual menus in restaurants. So that was very far from the small village atmosphere we were looking for. We kept looking and quickly crossed of our list some towns but in the middle of it we found Sagres at the western point of Algarve. The guidebooks were describing it as a surfer’s town with an end-of-the-world feel. We were sold !

When we got there, it totally lived up to our expectations. The town in itself is very charming, quite small with a port, a market to get fresh produce and fish, some traditional cafes where the local grandpas are meeting. But there are also some cool surfer bars and restaurant that serve grilled meat and fish on the beach. We even found some places with good design without being show-off.

It was the perfect base camp to explore the region which offers magnificent landscapes within 20 km. In the south, we found beaches surrounded by ocher cliffs, covered with perennial plants, calm and clear water and frequented by families.

In the west, never-ending beaches with black cliffs or sand dunes (like in the Landes region where I’m from) with unrelenting waves perfect for surfing (which we did ! you may not know but I surfed a lot when I was a teenager and I got back to it 2 years ago). On all the beaches, there are small cafes and snack where you can have lunch or just a drink, the atmosphere is very laid back as this coast is mostly frequented by surfers and families going camping in the nature.

Also, a day when the coast was windy with misty rain, we went farther inland to find small villages with white houses built around an old church, a greener nature, and meandering roads. We explored Monchique, a mountain town that is a starting point of hikes in the Serra do Monchique. We chose to hike in Mt Picota, through a forest of eucalyptus, cork oaks, strawberry trees. Up there, the view on the region is breathtaking.

Well, it is quite obvious how much I liked this region, its wild nature and the variety of its landscapes. We took it day by day, doing what we were in the mood for, exploring different beaches according to the direction of the wind of the swell, going swimming in sheltered beaches like you do in the Mediterranean, reading in the shades, having lunch with a view on the sea.

I loved wandering the streets of Sagres, going to the market with the locals stocking up on vegetables and fresh fish for the barbecue, taking l’apéritif in our deck at sunset, getting wild in the bars in town after dinner. This town definitely feels like the windswept end-of-world, slightly old-fashioned with a California vibe.

One of the dinners we made was this ceviche with avocado, cilantro and ginger. It’s really fresh and bright, perfect to end a sunny day spent at the beach. You can make it after the beach, with your pareo wrapped around your waist, you feed covered in sand and you hair still salty. I serve it with basmati rice but you can also eat it as an appetizer.

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Sagrès
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Ceviche with avocado, cilantro and ginger

Serves 4

Ingredients
600g (21oz) of whte fish filet like seabass, sea bream or cod
2 avocados, sliced
1/2 cucumber, seeded and diced
1 small onion (white or red), minced
1 bunch of cilantro
2 tbsp of olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Juice and zest of 1 lime
4 cm (1.5 inch) piece of ginger, grated
2 pinches of Espelette pepper (or some mild pepper powder)
Salt

Instructions
1. Prepare the marinade : mix the oil, juice of the lemon and lime, lime zest, grated ginger, pepper and onion.
2. Dice the fish filets and add it to the marinade. Mix well. Put the marinade in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
3. A few minutes before serving, add the cilantro, cucumber, avocado slices. Salt to taste.
4. Serve with rice for a full meal

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Breakfast after the rain : Greek Yoghurt with berries and toasted seeds

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You surely know this already if you’ve been reading this blog, but the weather this pas few weeks has been incertain to say the least. The weekends have been punctuated with bright rays of sunshine followed by floodlike rain. We have spent a lot of time in Biscarrosse, making the most of it. One of my favorite things to do during the warmer months is to take my breakfast outside, in the garden. It’s really soothing and allows me to start the day on a peaceful note.

Those pictures were taken after a shower, when the sun was just starting to come out and casted its beautiful light on the greens, heavy with rain.
The sky was still dark and grey, but a few rays of light were creating this incredible lighting. I was really smitten by it and took advantage of it to shoot my breakfast. Nothing fancy really, but I thought it could give you some ideas for your morning rituals.

Something that has been increasingly important for me is the aesthetics of the food I eat : I’m more enthusiastic if what I eat is pretty. I like starting my day on a beautiful note, a nice bowl, that forces me to take my time and enjoy.
There are many lovely recipes on the internet, and it is somewhat “trendy” to make pretty breakfasts : miam-aux-fruits, smoothie bowls, açai bowls, overnight oats, fruit parfaits, … and the list goes on.
My version is simpler but also delicious : fresh fruits, greek yogurt, toasted seeds (here sunflower), flax seed oil and some oats (if I want a more substantial meal).

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Greek Yoghurt with berries and toasted seeds

For 1 bowl

125g (4.4 oz) of greek yoghurt
Fresh fruits : raspberries, strawberries, blueberries (in winter : apples, kiwis, grappes, persimmons, pears)
Toastes seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, sesame) ou nuts (hazelnuts, pecans)
1 tsp of flax seed oil

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Aperitivo Al fresco

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In France, spring has played hide and seek with us and we didn’t enjoyed it much. Here comes June with its promise of summer, its long evenings when time stretches and the sun never sets. It’s a month that is so full of freedom, it always reminds me of those final school days when we closed our books and finally embraced those relentless vacation days, before everyone else (oddly, it don’t really recall all those years when I was stuck studying until early July, my memory has only kept the best). It’s also the perfect time for those long apéritifs, in the city, at your local spot, or in your own garden. We often go to my parent’s beachhouse during the weekend, I particularly love those moments, in the deck, before dinner. With friends or family, everyone likes to take their time and we always end up eating at the Spanish hour.

I like to prepare some things to nibble at before dinner. I avoid heavy foods, so no saucisson or piles of canapés, and favor raw vegetables, crackers and grains.
Here are some of my favorite “recipes” (they are not recipes per se, just some food combinations I love) for your aperitifs al fresco. I love making some kind of spread, a tzatziki like here or a lemony houmous. We also buy some good quality fish preserves (octopus, anchovy, tuna) or marinated vegetables (sundried tomatoes, artichokes) that I use as is or that I mix to make a fresh salad like I did here. I like to add some local cheese (here sheep’s cheese from the French Pyrénées) with some jam or marinated vegetables. Also, I always throw together a quick trail mix with some organic grains and nuts.

During the summer months, we often drink dry white wine rather than rosé (still hugely popular, but not really our thing). Right now, we are quite found of this pinot grigio from the Alto Adigio (a northern Italy region, near Austria and Switzerland) with citrus and peach notes, perfect for this early summer apéro.

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The dishware and boards are from Planète Plage in Biscarrosse.

Herbed tzatziki with Hazelnuts

125g (4.4 oz) of greek yogurt
1/2 cucumber, seeded and diced
1 handful of hazelnuts, chopped
Cilantro and mint leaves, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
Olive Oil

1. Mix the yogurt, cucumber, lemon juice, mint and cilantro. Add Salt and pepper to taste.
2. Serve with the chopped hazelnut and a glug of olive oil.

Octopus Salad with Radishes

1 can of octopus, drained
A dozen of pink radishes, sliced
Cilantro leaves
Juice of 1 lemon

1. Mix the octopus, lemon juice, radishes, some cilantro leaves, salt and pepper.

Sheep’s Cheese Tartines with Sundried Tomatoes

Some good baguette slices
Sheep’s cheese, basque country style or some local hard cheese that you like
Sundried tomatoes

1. On each baguette slice, place a slice of cheese and a 1/2 sundried tomato

Salted Trail Mix

100 g of raisins
100 g of mix seeds : sunflower and pumpkin
50 g of walnuts
1/2 cc of fine sea salt

1. Mix everything and serve !

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