.....travelling again

It is evening and I have packed my travel bag. Tomorrow I will fly to Sweden to meet my daughter and celebrate the Swedish Midsummer in the Stockholm's archipelago. The weather forecast here in Provence is 30+°C and in Sweden it is rain and 17°C ,so not really good time to exchange the location. For tonight dinner we enjoyed the left-overs from our yesterday lunch. It is such a great things with all dinner and lunch parties because afterwards you do not need to cook.... the fish soup for our lunch and the cheese and apricot tart for dinner.....

Fontaine de jardin....

When we built our house we wanted the garden and the terraces to have as much as possible of the Provence ambiance. We built stone terraces for planting local plants like olive trees, lavender,thyme, rosemary, oleander and other bushes. We also knew that the sound of the purling water in the hot summer will be very magic and therefore we built a fontain into our terrace. It is a stone basin which circulates the water with help of a pump....no natural water spring. Over the years the fontain has gained some patina and together with the shadow from the vine covered pergola on our terrace it is an absolute bonheur during our lazy sommer days.....

Sunday lunch in Provence

..and we made it again....4.5 hours lunch.

Quick way to update our home.....

We will have a few friends for lunch tomorrow and I am already now preparing all "mise en place". This will make the cooking tomorrow less stressful. I also bought extra flowers on the market today in order to cheer up the decoration of our home. Unfortunately, the weather will not permit us to sit outside, which is a little bit disappointing. The Mistral has arrived and all our outside life is moving inside again....so the flowers are needed not only for the decoration update but also for the boost of our mood.

Garlic bread and shrimps

Usually the most simple dishes make the greatest pleasure. This simple one is my family classic which has survived our living in Sweden, Switzerland and France. The key is to get the truly nordic shrimps. This is why IKEA is so appreciated and it doesn't matter that they come in frozen form. The taste compared to the French shrimps is really different. Improvement in France became with sourdough baguette which we treat in a similar way: Mix butter and crushed garlic and spread the mass on the cut sides of bread. Bake in oven for 5 min at 225°C.

Summer lunch

The first "girolles" appeared on the market and I couldn't resist to buy them. I served them with fresh cooked beans and asparagus together with parmesan cheese and bacon dices. You could even skip the bacon, the mushrooms made the dish. I also had some Plum Tarte Tatin from yesterday and a piece of it ended beautifully our lunch today.

The Scent of Lavender

I wish I could share with you the scent of lavender that is spreading around our house. We have about 400 plants and they begin to reach their flowering. It's so magical to see the blue color and all those busy bees who work. To me it's summer, Provence, lazy days, swimming in the pool, barbecue and summer food .... I love summer.

Apricot tart

Few days ago I tried to bake an apricot tarte which is my favorite cake because of the taste of apricot. I do not know any other stone fruit which creates such an aroma and taste. However, something went wrong with the recipe and I had to use my judgement and adopt it during the process. The result was pretty good but I did not noticed the changes to the recipe I made. So I have to try again and make proper notes. It is essentially a tart shell lined with sugared apricot quarters and baked. There was no custard, only little of almond meal in order to soak the juices from the apricots.

Morning stretch

Today it is a holiday in Provence so I am not the only one who enjoys the lazy morning. Just to wake up naturally without any alarm, any obligation is the outmost luxury for me. While my husband prepared our breakfast I moved my yoga mat outside and made my stretching/pilates/yoga. To awake the body slowly with a gentle stretch is another of my daily luxuries......and I have many of them:))

Our 23rd Anniversary

Today, it is exactly 23years I met my husband, when we both were on a business trip in Kuwait. I was married at that time and it was a hard decision. However, the choice I made was probably one of the most important in my life. I met a person who is not only my husband but also my best friend. So to celebrate our happy life I cooked a dinner for us two, no wine, just healthy dinner. I always think about the colors, the proportion of cooked vs raw vegetables and little of a healthy protein when I compose the dish. I found that combining cooked lentils with home cooked tomato sauce creates a great dish itself. Today I added also steamed asparagus to the dish and "decorated" it with a grilled gambas.
This is a variation of starter I presented earlier, I just added red melon and dipped the goat cheese in chopped pine nuts mixed with crushed rose pepper.

Galerie 22

I have a Swedish girlfriend who owns and runs a galerie in a nearby village. I love almost everything there both sculptures and pictures. It is high-quality art and the prices go unfortunately with it. However, from time to time we have acquired some of those pieces and decorated our home. Earlier, I haven't eye for those things but with age I developed a taste for it. I believe that a home should be decorated with some kind of art, not necessarily expensive but not with posters or pictures from IKEA. Since some months she have accommodated two Cuban artists who live now in her adjacent studio. So today when I visited her and I saw their art I couldn't resist and bought 2 pieces from them.
This is Gamma, my friend's puppy....he is sooooo sweet.

....back to our basics

.....and to our market today with all its pleasures, friends, coffee, fresh fruits and vegetables etc. It is nice to be in our normal life again. Yesterday night we met our friends in the village of Lagnes and had a cozy dinner at the local auberge. Today we are invited for dinner to a Swedish friend. She is a former chef and I am looking forward the food, the company and also her beautiful home. On Monday we are going for dinner to our French neighbours. It is a little bit too much but the whole May we have not been available for any social activities due to extensive traveling and having guests.

The day started healthy.....

I eat salad almost every day, the year around but I have to confess that during summer the salads taste best. It is of course the ripe and tasty vegetables and fruits which makes the difference. Yesterday we were occupied with a cleaning of the house and terraces and therefore I needed a easy-made lunch. I put together what I had in my fridge since my last purchase at Saturday's market and voila....I used green leaves, tomatoes, red onion, horseradish, avocado oil, melon and topped it with smoked salmon (Ikea have a delicious cold-smoked salmon).
.....and the day ended with this.

Our lovely garden

You need a piece of land and a good gardener. I am lucky that my husband loves gardening and he sees it also as a necessary exercise. I do not share his enthusiasm in this matter but he doesn't asked for it either. He is happy that I am dealing with cooking and with the house so we complement each other very well. However, I enjoy the garden with all my senses, it relaxes my mind, soothes my soul and give me daily inspiration ......

Cherries in Season

My favorite fruit. We eat them in kilos. Each day we drive a few kilometers to a fruit stand along the route to Gordes in order to buy them. These are called BROKS and are the most delicious cherries I have ever eaten, crunchy, sweet and juicy.


We just arrived from a two days trip to Camargue. My brother should fly home from Nimes and therefore we decided to take this trip and come closer to the airport so we did not need get up so very early. The Camargue is a large national park with a lot of lagoons and therefore many birds. We traveled through this marshland, following the river Rhone which ends its journey in the Mediterranean sea. It is a special place and the beauty and purity of the nature  touched my heart. After having left my brother on the airport we continued to our favorite place Pont du Gard. This 2000 years old beauty is a viaduc constructed by the Romans for the purpose of getting water from Uzes to Nimes. 20 years ago we could climb up on the top but today it is a protected monument and classified as a world heritage so we respected its age (and ours) and just walked on the pedestrian road. On the way home we also stopped in Chateauneuf du pape for lunch a for some wine to our cave. Here are some moments from the trip.

Melon de Cavaillon

In summer, Provence is known for its melons, especially for those coming from our neighbourhood town Cavaillon. They are sweet and juicy and they are on today's menus at all restaurants. Next week we will have some guests who are vegetarians, and therefore I tried today a melon dish with goat cheese which I can serve then as a starter. The salt in the cheese binds nicely with the sweet in the melon and results in a successful combination. Tonight, this will be on the table "Chez Nous" ....
The melon is chopped in small cubes and mixed with chopped basil leaves and served with goat cheese. I decorated it with a few leaves of rocket and then finished with a few drops of olive oil infused with lemon. I may also spread over little of fresh rose pepper...there are many variations.

Little Sunday Excursion

It is not green in our garden only but in the whole Vaucluse. Today, after the rain we decided to make a little excursion to see the river Sorgue at its source in Fontaine de Vaucluse. We also stopped in Isle sur la Sorgue, the city where Sorgue plays pretty dominant role. On Sunday there is also a big market so we enjoyed the day strolling around. After we have purchased grilled chicken and baguette we enjoyed the picnic on the river bank.

Our Garden

After so much rain our Provence got a tropical look. Our garden is so green, the roses have been damaged from the heavy rain but the lavender bushes are just coming with theirs blue color. Imagine also the song of the birds who are happy after having survived the dry season and you are almost in paradise....

Cozy Friday and roasted lamb

Unbelievable.....today it is fifth day of consecutive rain in Provence and the forecast is still about rain. This is not the weather you would expect in June in Provence. Many tourists have arrived for the Ascension Day and they must be disappointed about the rain. However, in our house we have lightened the wood fire, the lamb is in the oven and the smell of rosemary and thyme spreads in the house. It reminds rather about Autumn season but who cares....you need to find pleasure in any situation. Soon I will serve the roasted lamb with roasted potatoes and carrots and steamed asparagus. As dessert we will enjoy fresh cherries. My brother is still with us and I tried to serve such quality food which is not common in his home like lamb and asparagus. Later on we will watch a Swedish thriller on DVD.....pretty cozy in spite of the drizzle and fog outside.

La Fête d'Ascension

Every year on Ascension day our little village organizes a feast. It begins with a procession, followed by a Mass in the church and then a picnic in the park. People get dressed to old folk costumes and the whole village participates. Unfortunately the weather was missing ..... We walked to the village before breakfast despite drizzle and fog. All the better, the breakfast tasted when we come back.

Tomato sauce

The rain finally arrived and with it also a cold wind which dropped the temperature to 13°C. Now, it is afternoon and the sun is partially coming back. My brother has taken a nap at the poolside imbedded in a blanket, my husband is on his way home from Marseille airport and I am preparing sauce for the pizza.
This sauce is lovely to use also with pasta or instead of ketchup. Tomatoes unlike many other vegetables benefit from being cooked as it helps to release certain nutrients notable lycopene. Lycopene is an antioxidant which protects against cancer but also protect skin and eyes agains sun.
You need:
  • Onion chopped
  • Garlic chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Rosemary and thyme ( make a bouguet and let it cook in the sauce, then discard)
  • 2 tomatoes chopped
  • 1tbs tomato paste
  • Canned tomatoes
Cook slowly in olive oil and let the liquid evaporate....that's it.

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