Beetroot-Apple-Fennel-Pear salad with Anchois

For those who follow my blog it is not surprise that I have salad on my menu again. The true is that I serve a salad every day, in the winter together with a bowl of warm soup and in the summer just as is. I really do not put much time to it. All my salad are an improvisation based on what is available in my fridge. As always and also due to the fact that our house is located 30 min drive from a nearest shop I shop fruit and vegetables in quantities and therefore I always can make a soup and a salad out of it. You just need to add some protein like pieces of chicken, shrimps, scallops, tofu, eggs or as in my case just marinated anchois.....and some good oil to drop around and that's it.

Mango Lassi

I will serve the mango lassi as dessert tonight after the lamb. This is an indian dish and is light and healthy without any sugar. The only condition is that the mango needs to be perfectly ripe (frozen mango works as well). You also need a mixer and in my case I use the greek yoghurt which has a more creamy consistency but also includes more of fat. Mix together the yoghurt and the pieces of mango, pour ove r to serving bowls or glasses and allow to cool in the fridge. Serve cool.

Lamb Leg

Today we have the dinner for friends as I mentioned earlier. We went to the market this morning and collected also the ordered lamb leg. The butcher released but kept the bone in the the leg so I could remove it easily after the roasting and cut nice slices across the leg without any bone. It looks like a great idea so I hope it works. Now the leg is in the oven at 175°C in 2.5 hour. I have already roasted cherry tomatoes in the oven at 120°C in 1.5 hours and after I tossed them with black olives, parsley, lemon juice and olive oil. I will serve it together with th e lamb and potatoes pure.

Finger Food - Chicken wings

It is Friday afternoon and we have returned from our daily hike, had a light lunch and a non light slice of my Budapest cake. Now I am already planning for the dinner. Today I will serve chicken wings together with sourdough bread, ketchup and a glass of my favorite Belgium beer - Leffe. This finger food is a sociable dish, impossible to eat without a certain amount of mess. It is excellent comfort food for winter or summer evenings when you want to create an easy and cozy atmosphere. I have cut the wings into 3 pieces at joints and discarded the wing tips. Then I combined salt , pepper, crushed garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, red pepper powder and chopped rosemary and tossed it to coat the wings. This will marinate for min 3 hours in the fridge. Then I will preheat the oven to hot and roast the wings for 40min or until browned and cooked through, turning once during cooking. Bon Appetit ........

Budapest "stubbe" - Cake

This cake has been with my family for long time and from time to time I break my calorie intake and bake this delicious cake. You can find it in many Swedish bakeries but to me is their version too sweet and too heavy so I never buy it but instead bake it. Baking is a kind of therapy so from time to time I fall into it.
2dl egg whites (approx. 6 eggs)
2.5-3dl sugar
100g chopped hazelnuts (I roast them before in order to get better taste)
1dl flour
1 1/2tbs cacao powder
2dl cream (original version 3-4dl)
1 canned mandarines
  1. Whisk the sugar and egg whites until firm and add the sugar in a small stream while still whisking. The result should be a very firm meringue.
  2. Mix flour, chopped nuts and cacao powder in a bowl
  3. Carefully incorporate the meringue with the flour mixture.
  4. Spread out the mass in a roasting pan lined with well-greased baking parchment (30x40)
  5. Bake at 175°C 15min.
  6. Take out the cake from the roasting pan and remove carefully the paper. Allow to cool and use the roasting pan to cover the cake. This will keep the moisture in the cake.
  7. Whip the cream and spread out the cream on the cool cake. Spread over the drained mandarines and roll it together. Do not bother about the cracks.
  8. Pour over or decorate with melted chocolate with a little of butter in it. The butter will make it easier to cut through the chocolate when serving.

My Tableware

I have many passions and one of then is tableware. Whenever you open my kitchen drawers you would find many plates and bowls of different shape, quality and color and the most important all have a different origin. I use them frequently. To cook food is one part of the game and the another one is to plate it. I always spend a few minutes on the decoration to have the plate looked beautifully although the food might be very simple. Remember we eat also with eyes.....Below is our lunch today, a variant of salmon burger with green peas pure and boiled potatoes.....all done in 30minutes.

Planning a dinner for friends with Donna Hay

Donna Hay is my very favorite chef. She is Australian and makes a wonderful food with a twist. I am a happy owner of all her books and subscriber to her Magazine. So when I am going to plan a dinner for friends, Donna is always the source of inspiration
This time I have invited our closest friends for a kind of farewell dinner. My husband and I will be traveling again, but this is an another story. For the dinner I have bought a half of Scottish salmon which will be transformed to gravlax as a starter. The gravlax is very appreciated as no many people make it at home despite how easy it is. For the main course I have decided on Lamb leg which I already ordered by the butcher. This will cook slowly (7hours on 120°C)and I will serve it together with a white beans pure and roasted tomatoes. For dessert I will make a Lemon meringue pie. The planning and the execution should be a part of the fun so it is important to plan it carefully and prepare the ingredients in advance. There will be also my fresh baked sourdough bread and a fireplace because there is nothing more inviting as coming in the dark winter to a house with a wood burning fireplace and a smell of gorgeous food.....

Summer memories

Today I came across some pictures from Summer 2008. This was the first time we could fully enjoy our garden. The plants started to give a shadow, the fruit trees produced peaches and apricots and the lavender bushes created the blue decoration. It took some heavy years to build our home in Provence but the result is more than were our expectations.....I hope that these pictures warm up your hearts as well.

Salad...always salad

We often eat salad to lunch. The reason is that we rather prefer to hike outside over the day and cook the meal first after we returned home. This is why a salad is a quick and healthy solution in between. I usually utilize what I have in my fridge and as always there is a green salad and the rest varies. Today I composed it of half avocado, cooked red beets with horseradish, thinly sliced fennel and a few slices of smoked trout. I seasoned it with a squeeze of lemon juice and a little of avocado oil, no salt. As desert we enjoyed a smoothie from blueberries, raspberries, banana, mango and soya yoghurt....:)))


Sourdough bread with nuts and dried fruits

Inspiration to this bread I brought with me from Stockholm and the bakery Gateau. It is the same sourdough bread as the multigrain bread but instead of grains I used hazelnuts, walnuts and soaked dried apricots and sultanas. I also added 1 grated apple and little of yoghurt. The dough fermented overnight in the fridge and I baked it in the morning, ready for our Sunday breakfast. As it has so much flavor I prefer to eat it only with a piece of swiss gruyere cheese. Simple but so delicate with the sweetness in the bread and the distinctive but not overpowering taste of the cheese.
I love bread and can hardly imagine a life without it. But I also know that bread is a source of many carbohydrates and if you do not burn them it becomes part of you body fat, particularly after 50. So I am very careful with the balance and after an substantial breakfast I am ready for our 16km hike which is my solution to healthier life.....and the sun is already waiting:

Warming up with a comfort dish: Fish soup

Today I cooked a fish soup for our dinner. It is very cold i Provence and in the morning when we arrived in Apt for our weekly shopping at the market, the temperature dropped to -7°C. I really admired the local fishmonger dealing with the cold fish in his outdoor stand. During the day the temperature rose to +5°C, clear sky and sun. We decided to go for a walk and enjoy the exercise in the fresh air.
For the soup I used a ready made fish stock which I bought by the fish monger. Normally I cook it from scratch based on the fish head and fish bones and vegetables but today I had not time.
  • Chop vegetables like carrots, fennel, courgette and tomatoes and wok it until tender
  • Cook potatoes ( or lentils which I prefer more)
  • Cook the fish stock with a little white vine and in the end mix in little of creme fraiche
  • Pan fry fish (scallops, shrimps and fish file as salmon or any other)
Place the vegetables and potatoes in the middle of a deep plate and pour over the soup. Put the fish, scallops and shrimps on top. Decorate with dill and serve with a loaf of good country bread.

Back home

Stockholm is a wonderful city and it will always be my second option for home....of course after Provence. The open waters make that you feel space and never feel too crowded as in other large cities. One day I took a walk around the Skeppsholm island together with my brother and we were both astonished how beautiful it was there. I also managed to see some movies and make some shopping. I already plan to be back in the end of February and will take my camera with me. I also plan to take the boat in order to explore the archipelago. To be able to spend a few moments with my daughter is the the best  bonus of whole trip...

Broccoli and Chocolate Orange Sticks

Broccoli is a staple vegetable on our weekly menu. I cook it twice or even more times per week as this vegetable is rich source of glucosinolates, which has powerful action in the detoxification processes in the liver. Further more some of these substances as sulforaphane, sinigrin and indole-3-carbinol have been found to be anti-cancer substances. I usually cook it in form of a soup or as a side dish. Important is to cook it only for 2-3min, not more.
Today we went for our 16km walk. It is 15°C, sun and no wind so we walked almost in a T-shirt. But these 16km are up and down and pretty advance walk and in the middle I somehow lost my energy and became so tired and so hungry. I knew that at home I had some left-over from a roasted chicken so this kept me on the feet for the rest of the walk.
I also found my favorite sweets "Chocolate Orange Sticks" which completed our lunch together with an espresso. Now I need to finalize the packing for my trip to Stockholm ....... shopping, cinema, spa and also teaching my daughter how to cook HEALTHY......see you soon.

Sourdough bread and salad

I am between two journeys and therefore pretty busy. I also discovered that I hadn't any bread in my freezer and I have to bake. My favorite bread is the multigrain bread which contains a lot of grains and seeds and is baked on 80% rye and 20 wheat flour. I baked it in the morning before I went to my hairdresser and when coming back I could serve it with a simple rocket, cherry tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella salad. Simple, fast and healthy..... Just now it is 15°C and sun in Provence and I do not feel inspired to pack our suitcases for Sweden.....

Endive Salad

I have never used endives before because I didn't know what to do with them. This is a very common and popular vegetable in Provence and it is available all year around as it grows in cellars in darkness. In Morocco the chef at Villa des Orangers served it with apples, dried fruits, walnuts and a few drops of Argan oil. If you do not have argan oil use olive oil. The endive are slightly bitter but together with the sweetness from the dried fruit it is a great combination.
  1. Souk the dried fruits (sultanas, apricots and cranberries or what you have) for 1 hour in water.
  2. Wash the endives and save a few leafs for decoration. Chop the rest together with a green apple.
  3. Arrange the leaf on the plate together with the chopped endive and apple. Sprinkle over the sultanas, cranberries, chopped apricots and the walnuts. Drop over the argan/olive oil.
I am so satisfied with this recipe because it doesn't require any salt, any dressing, just the natural flavor, then it is as its best. I serve it as a starter.

Riads in Marrakech

Riad is a traditional Moroccan house or palace with an interior garden or courtyard. In Marrakech have many of those houses been transferred to small hotels and they are very beautiful. We stayed our first night at La Sultana and our two last nights at the Villa des Orangers. The contrast between the outside busy and dirty streets and the peaceful atmosphere of the riads is difficult to describe. Villa des Orangers has a rich history as the Royal palace is situated across the street and it says that the king when visited Marrakech used to go to the Villa for lunch. Now the proprietor changed and the riad is run by French. However the kitchen is excellent and the food was one of the best I ever tasted. I have made some notes and will share it later on. Below are some of my favorite pictures from the atmosphere of the two riads:

Healthy lifestyle......

Healthy living doesn't mean to me a slogan only which promotes physical activity and good nutrition, it is a way of living my life. There is so much delicious food which not only tastes but also makes you feel gorgeous. So why to avoid it? Our lunch today was a green salad with sliced duck breast (left-over from New Year), pomegranate, ripe mango, avocado  and a vegetable soup. As usual I used vegetables which were available in my fridge, so no extra shopping, together with a large amount of fresh herbs. In the winter I like to accompany the salad with something warm like the soup. Look for the colors, texture and variety ......

Toast Skagen

This is a very simple starter and so delicious. I guess that there are many variety of this famous dish and I have my own as well:
2/3 of peeled shrimps
1/3 of smoked salmon
Dill, red onion, apple, spring onion or the white part of leek
Creme fraiche, lemon juice, horseradish
Chopped everything and mix together with creme fraiche and season it with pepper, grated horseradish and lemon juice. Keep it cold.

Christmas is over....

Today we ended the Christmas with a lunch together with our closest friends..... two of them are French, one is Danish and one is German. A nice blend together with my husband and myself. I only prepared the appetizer and dessert, the rest was brought by my friends as left-overs from the New Year's Eve dinner which we didn't attend this year. It was so relaxing, first a long walk and then champagne on the terrace, followed by Navarin d'agneau (lamb Stew) and Gratin Dauphinois, cheese and finally a mousse au chocolat.

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