Multigrain bread

For this bread I fully followed the recipe here starting with the sourdough. It has been a long process but the result is worth it. It took 5 days to make the sourdough but now I only need to feed it once a week and it will remain for all my future bread baking....J'espere.
The sun came back today so we enjoyed our lunch outside on the terrace. Such a difference, yesterday we barely left our home due to the fog and coldness and today it is sunny and blue sky again. So typical for Provence. A piece of salmon together with green salad and avocado for lunch and then we will make our 15km hike.

Orange Cake

Oranges....again, this time a delicious orange cake. Oranges and chocolate are my favorite combination and the inspiration comes from the chocolate and cake shop" Sprüngli" in Zürich where I used to buy a similar cake. For 12 people you need:

  • 2 oranges Bio
  • 3 eggs
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 150g  almond meal
  • 150g  flour
  • 2tsp  baking powder
  • 50g   melted butter

Chocolate topping
  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 20g  butter

  1. Preheat oven to 170°C.

  2. Place the oranges in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil over medium heat. Cook for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain. Return to pan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and cook for 15 minutes (this will reduce the bitterness of the peel). Refresh under cold water. Drain. Coarsely chop oranges. Remove and discard any seeds.

  3. Place the orange in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth.

  4. Use an electric beater to whisk the eggs and sugar in a bowl until thick and pale. Add the oranges, melted butter, almond meal, flour and baking powder and gently fold until just combined. Pour into prepared silicon baking tin.

  5. Bake for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Set aside for 15 minutes to cool. Remove from the tin and allow to cool completely.

  6. Meanwhile, to make the chocolate topping, melt the chocolate with butter and pour over the cake.

Trout for dinner

Today I bought on the market two fresh trouts for our dinner. I just seasoned the entire fishes with salt and roasted it in the oven 200°C for 15-20min. After 10 min I added a small piece of butter and poured over some water. I served it with cooked carrots and broccoli, sprinkled with roasted pine nuts. Simple....

Confiture d'oranges amères

I am not a fan of marmalade due to the fact that it contains a large volume of sugar. However, the home-made orange marmalade is irresistible. It is done from the bitter oranges called Oranges Amères which are available on the market only for a limited period of time starting late January. This recipe I have obtained from my English friends and it is really delicious. I make it only once per 3 years as we use it only sporadically and in small amounts, like for sundays breakfast, for galettes (pancakes done on buckwheat) or for a sauce in combination with a few drops of Grand Marnier and a little piece of butter.The color, the sweet-bitter taste and the citrus smell is quite refreshing in the dark and cold months of winter.

Let's the Holiday Season begins......

To decorate for Christmas is a ritual repeated year after year and we have been following the Swedish tradition of 1st Advent. This means that the 4th weekend before Christmas Eve we decorate the house except for the Christmas tree, which comes a little bit later. Yesterday we went to the local flower shop to buy amaryllis, hyacinths and poinsettia, a MUST in our home.
In Provence the Christmas means a blend of ancient and new traditions. The shops are overloaded with all the new decorations while you can still see a lot of nativity scenes called crèches, where the local families usually set up elaborated villages around the stable with all of the town’s people outside. On Christmas day, parents tell their children stories about each of the statues in their family Nativity scene pointing out how each person brought their best gifts to the Christ-child in gratitude of the Good God. The stories end with an explanation of how the people were turned into statues. These statutes are called santons, a word from the Provencal “santoun” that means “small saint.

Tuna fish with sesame seeds

To cover the fish-pieces with sesame seeds before pan-frying is a wonderful idea. Firstly, you get a nice looking fish and secondly, you protect the fish from overcooking. Finally, when the sesame seeds get roasted in this way, they develop taste and contribute to the overall sensation. I have only tried it with tuna fish but next time I will use this method also with salmon. I cut the fish in cubes just for the nice deco on the plate. The tuna fish must be pan-fried only slightly leaving the middle of the fish-piece raw otherwise you loose all the taste benefits of it. Serve it with rice and soya sauce with wasabi. When working with such a delicate ingredient I always keep it simple......

Duck legs with Ras Al-Hanout

Ras Al-Hanout is a complex blend of Moroccan spices mainly used for lamb or tagines but I love to rub it on chicken or duck before grilling or roasting. The smell is really a wonderful experience and transfers you to the One Thousand and One Nigh ts directly. The second important ingredient is the duck, mostly known for the duck breast but this time I bought the duck legs which are really cheap in France (8 legs below 10 euro :). There is also a third important ingredient and this is oranges, which I often use in my winter cooking. It brings the sun into the kitchen and add a wonderful taste to the meat. I just seasoned the legs with salt and the Ras Al-Hanout, added the quartered oranges, some garlic, rosemary and thyme and pour over a little of white wine. I roasted it in oven for 1 hour at temperature of 130°C. During this time we went to the little post office in our village so I even didn't look at it. After 1 hour I added pieces of carrots and parsnips and raised the temperature to 200°C and roasted it for another hour.
Again with only little attention we enjoyed a well cooked and nourishing food. You can do it with chicken and without Ras Al-Hanout, but add olive oil as the chicken meat doesn't have much of own fat. To every meal and every day I serve a small portion of green salad as this is part of my lifestyle to nourish me and my family with healthy food.

Healthy hazelnut cake

This cake reminds of a banana cake but instead of bananas I used the sweet potatoes. The amount of wheat flour and sugar is moderate and therefore I call it healthy. I found the recipe on my favorite blog and incorporated it with small modifications as the amount of sugar ( I always use less than the recipe prescribes) and the baking time, which is more than 1 hour. The cake is quite moist and satisfying so you don't need many slices....

Almost Christmas feeling

Today the mistral arrived and the temperature dropped to +4°C. The good thing is that the mistral clears the sky and brings the sunny weather to Provence. However to escape the chilly weather we have cocooned us inside and bring in warmth and cozyness to our home. This is also why we have a false start with Christmas candlesticks in our windows. I love their golden glow lighting up our kitchen. I am also in baking mood and after having roasted hazelnuts in the oven the house smells lovely and it reminds me about Christmas already. The oven is busy today and after roasting sweet potatoes and hazelnuts, which I will use for the hazelnut cake tomorrow, it is time for the bread. Today I bought ready mixed flour and levain in our bio shop and I am going to bake the "pain traditionel", a very classic bread in voila...

Scenes from our November garden

After having been out for 1 week in the North I am paying more attention to the small lives in our garden. The beauty serves as a balm for the frozen soul.

The olives are ripe now and are in need to be picked. Our neighbor, who has many olive trees, has not started the picking yet so we probably wait until he does it and then we add our small harvest into his large one. Last year I tried to preserve the olives but it failed as we couldn't get rid of the bitter taste. This year we will try to join the neighbor and in best case we get a bottle of our own olive oil.
There is still so many rose buds in spite of the late season and the cold weather. The tiny blue flowers of rosemary bushes are another beautiful and fragile evidence of life....

Regards from Sweden

There is a gray and frosty Sweden we met. Sidewalks are so slippery that it is difficult to get around on foot. Out with the hat, gloves and shawl .... and ice scraper. Around town, the shops have already started with Christmas decorations and I understand why. They do what they can to make it brighter and cozier in these gray November days.

Scallops for Sunday lunch

I started my morning today with yoga/pilates as I felt so stiff after all hiking last week. This 20 minutes exercise makes me feel soft and relaxed again. We are traveling tomorrow and there is so much to do in the garden and
also to hibernate all the summer furniture from our terraces.The food was therefore simple and healthy rather than comfort. I have defrosted some scallops and baked them in the oven 190°C for 20 minutes. Before they went into the oven I covered each scallop with a mixture of breadcrumbs, crushed garlic, chopped persil and chopped bacon. I poured over a little olive oil and white wine. We enjoyed them with a green salad and avocadoThis was a light lunch so we could compensate it with a slice of the pear and chocolate cake which we bought in our local boulangerie yesterday.

Tulips in season

I remember when tulips were a sign of spring and you could only find them in the shops from the end of February and beginning of March. Later on I saw them by friends already at New Year Eve. And now....I buy them in the local market in Apt as from November. I expect that they soon will become available all year round. I love tulips, particularly in large amounts and being placed in Alvar Aalto's vase.....  

November morning

This is the view we met when we woke up today...and below 1 hour later...

Montagne de Lure

One of our favorite hiking spots. The area is almost deserted, you only see small settlements, lavender and vineyards fields, the hills and the sky. We started 11 am and arrived home at 5 pm and I am thinking how fortunate I am who can spent the entire day by walking in such a beautiful surrounding.

Papaya for breakfast

After our long dinner with friends yesterday our breakfast today is light....papaya fruit. We have already packed sandwiches  and a Thermos with coffee and tea and are on our way to Banon for a hike.

Parmesan biscuits with sun-dried tomato pesto

These are small biscuit which you can serve to the drink instead of chips or nuts. Today I served them with a pesto done of sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts and olive oil. For 36 biscuits you need following:
100g freshly grated parmesan cheese
120g wheat
100g butter (room temperature)
2 tbs water
salt, cayenne pepper
  1. Combine all ingredients together and make a dough.
  2. Take the dough on the table and form 2 rolls.
  3. Roll them in dried herbs (thyme or rosemary) or in chopped pine nuts and allow to cool in fridge for 30 min
  4. Heat the oven to 180°C
  5. Cut the rolls in thin slices and bake them on a tray for 7min or until lightly brown.

Coconut pannacotta with orange granita

This is our dessert tonight. I have copied this recipe from a London restaurang but adopted it a little bit. I like to serve it with raspberries, mango pure or with orange granita in Summer. The granita is just frozen orange juice with chopped leaves of mint and a few drops of Grand Marnier. Freeze it in a plastic container until semi-frozen. Scrape the granita with a metal spoon to loosen texture, then return to the freezer until ready to serve. Make sure that the oranges are sweet enough.
Regarding the pannacotta you probabbly need to adapt the amount of gelatine as the size of the gelatine leafs varies from country to country. For 4 persons you need:
2        sheets of leaf gelatine
100 g  white chocolate
500 ml coconut milk
  1. Soak the gelatine in cold water for 5 min.
  2. Gently melt the white chocolate
  3. Warm the coconut milk until almost simmering, then remove from the heat.
  4. Squeeze the gelatine leafs and add to the hot milk stirring until melted.
  5. Pour the milk on to the chocolate, whisking until smooth.
  6. Pour the pannacotta into serving glasses and allow to cool. Then chill in the fridge for 8 hours
  7. To serve, scrape shavings from the granita and place on top of the pannacotta.

Slow Cooking

A perfect way how to cook a dinner without spending a lot of time on it. I am using the leg of turkey but you can also use legs of chicken or duck. I am not a fan of red meat and my repertoire of recipes in this area is shrinking but you could use lamb leg as well. The important ingredient is fresh rosemary. I am lucky as I am surrounded by rosemary bushes in our garden but fresh rosemary is now available in all supermarkets year round. The advantage of rosemary besides that it is a very healthy herb with anti-inflamantory properties, is the smell. By having the steak in the oven on low temperature for 3 hours the kitchen smells heavenly. I usually cook this way in the winter and when I am busy with other things as this dish needs very little of your attention.
  1. Heat the oven into 140°C
  2. Mix together olive oil, paprika powder, chopped rosemary, crushed garlic.
  3. Season the meat with salt and pepper.
  4. Rub the meat with the mixture of oil, paprika, rosemary and garlic
  5. Place the meat into an ovenproof dish together with lemon(optional), garlic and additional rosemary and little water alternatively white whine.
  6. Place in the oven and leave for 3 hours (Lamb leg 4-5hours, chicken legs 2hours). After half time  you can add peeled small potatoes rubbed with oil and little salt.
  7. Check occasionally if there is enough liquid and pour over a little water or white wine when dry.
  8. In the end increase the heat to 220°C, add little water and roast for additional 15 min or until the skin becomes crispy.
I will serve it today with few potatoes and a large bowl of salad. It is also delicious with cooked red cabbage..if you have time.

Let it shine when dusk falls......

....and create mood and ambiance. Let the space lights up with a warm soft glow.

The school-cat

Today the school-cat was waiting for us outside the building and followed with us to the classroom. All the personel in the school has always warned us that the cat is nasty to people and could bite but with us  he is only friendly. He stays only with us during the whole lesson and never goes to other students. You can understand why my French doesn't improve.....

The Indian Summer is gone...

Monday has been a busy day....baking sourdough bread, defrosting fridge and freezer and also dedicated some time to learning French. The weather has changed rapidly from indian summer to cold, rainy and windy condition. I have not been outside during the whole day. Tomorrow morning we will have our French lesson and I will take camera with me to take some pictures of the school-cat.

Vegetable soup

In the winter time soups are my favorite dish. This vegetable soup I cook once a week, particularly when I need to "clean" the fridge. All the vegetables as carrots, celery, fennel, leek loose, after some days in the fridge, their freshness but they will still develop a delicious taste in the chicken stock. You can vary the soup with vegetables in season, potatoes, lentils, herbs, spices and for obtaining more taste with onion and garlic sauteed in oil or butter. You can eat it as is or mix it together with a spoon of creme fraiche in order to obtain a creamy consistency. As we had yesterday night a substantial dinner I cooked the soup for the lunch today. I also found in the fridge some leftover mushrooms which I first fried in butter before combining them with the soup. Finally I decorated the soup with a slice of fried bacon and chopped persil and served with homemade bread. You can cook a large portion of the soup and store it in the fridge for those days you come home hungry and without inspiration. You just need to heat it up. It is again very healthy and.... cheap dish.

Dinning with friends

Yesterday night we were invited to dinner by our friends who live and work in Brussels and who visit their Provence home occasionally. As usual here in Provence, around the table, you meet people of different nationalities, various background and some of them also known from the TV screen. Around the table and when sharing a good meal all the differenses somehow disappear and you just feel like you were in a company of very old friends. Both my husband and I have an engineering background and here in Provence among former polititions, lawyers, media people but also artists and locals we are pretty exotic.....and this is only one of the reasons why we love to live here.

Saturday market in Apt

Every Saturday the locals, expats and tourists gather here. The whole city of Apt is transformed into a large market place with colors and smells according to the season. This is where we shop fish, bread, vegetables and fruits but where we also enjoy coffee with our friends. This is where we make plans for the coming week and also where we get the latest local news

Autumn Footprints

Friday: Salmon

The beautiful November weather makes it tempting to stay outdoor as much as possible. Therefore I was hiking this afternoon again, the third day in row and third time 15 km....and now in need to heal my muscles. Therefore the dinner must be simple, a pan fried salmon with sugar peas and mango salad and a few chips from sweet potato. The mango was ripe and served instead of a sauce. The preparation is very simple although it looks that you spent some time on it......
  1. Cut the sweet potatoes in chips and cook with oil on medium heat for 10 min or make them in owen at 200°C  until golden. Season with salt.
  2. Season the salmon with salt and pepper and pan fry it in little oil.
  3. Shred the mango
  4. Shred the sugar peas and cook them in boiling water for 3-4min.
Sweet potatoes are healthier than classic potatoes and therefore given favorites in my kitchen.


Bulgur is a very easy made, healthy and tasty side dish. I learned to appreciate this cereal food here in Southern France as this is a very common ingredient in mediterranean kitchen. Its high nutritional value makes it a good substitute for rice or couscous. Our lunch today consisted of some leftover slices of turkey which I complemented with bulgur. I cooked it in chicken stock and then flavored it with zest from orange, lime and lemon, freshly crushed garlic, chopped spring onion, grated ginger and few leafs of mint. You can serve it with poultry, lamb or seafood.


My dear friend in the kitchen and so invasive in the garden. This is why I love it and my husband dislikes it. Mint has such a fresh green color and delicious taste. I use it as infusion in the tea and water, for decoration but also as an ingredient in the dishes. To mix a few leafs of mint into a creamy sauce just before serving, gives the sauce a beautiful color and aroma and it gets well together with veal or chicken. I was surprised and my husband terrified about finding such an amount of fresh mint in our garden now, in November. It reminds me already about spring.

....And after the hike....

.....we enjoyed a relaxing lunch in the sun.

Thursday morning

This view I enjoy when open my eyes in the morning. It is a marvelous sunny day and I am waiting for my friend. She and I will go for a long hike today and then enjoy lunch on the terrace. It is already warm and during the day the temperature will rise to 19°C. Is'n it wonderful and that is the month of November!


I love smoothies, not only for their taste but also for being easy to make and for giving good nutrition to the body. After having read the research about antioxidants and their effect on our health, I am sold. I serve them every day. The basis for my smoothie is Yoghurt (protein + friendly bacteria), Blueberries (immunity) and Mango (skin). The rest is optional and varies according to season. I also use the protein powder in order to increase the protein content.

Gorgonzola, walnuts, rocket pasta

Pasta is one of those quick and easy meals. Unfortunately it has a tendency to influence my weight and therefore I only eat it occasionally. My husband loves it and as it doesn't have any negative effect on his body index I prepare it often for him. It is also a very good dish when using left-overs, in my case gorgonzola from our dinner with friends some days ago.
I cooked and drained the pasta and then added pieces of gorgonzola, half of the roasted walnuts and rocket and tossed it thoroughly. I also saved some liquid from the pasta cooking and poured it over the pasta and tossed again. When serving I decorated it with the remaining walnuts and rocket leafs and dropped over a little of olive oil and adjusted the seasoning.

Luberon villages in November

We woke up early today as our French class starts at 9 o'clock and we need to drive quite a bit. Our class is run by a retired teacher who does this teaching without payment and she does it so well. We all enjoy the class, also the school-cat who was sleeping on my lap the entire lesson. When going home we changed our plans and stopped in the nearby village for lunch. It was still cloudy and chilly and we needed to warm up. But when we left  the restaurang the clouds had dissapered and the sun was shining. This was a perfect afternoon for visiting the villages nearby and for watching the final autumn colouring of the nature.

Toussaint en broillard

Toussaint, also known as the day of the dead, is a national holiday in France and many families come together during this weekend to celebrate this traditional holiday. They go to cemeteries to offer flowers to dead relatives but they also enjoy long lunches with their families. I have heard our local friends talking and planning the dishes long time ahead. The flower are sold everywhere in the villages and I have never seen such a concentration of chrysanthemum flowers as at this time in Provence. In sunny weather the cemeteries greatly glow by all the vibrant colours of chrysanthemum and offer a magnificent view. We will take a walk later in the afternoon to our local village in order to visit its tiny cemetery and also to send our thoughts to all friends and relatives which are not with us any more....

Staying healthy...

I am very interested in nutrion and one of those who firmly believe that right nutrition together with excercise and meditation can get you pretty long what regards well being. This is one of my elixirs which I serve in glasses along with the meal....broccoli and avocado soup. The broccoli I cook in chicken stock for 5 min and then mix it with fresh avocado. Broccoli is good for the immunity and avocado , girls......for the skin.

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