My Best Plum Recipe

Autumn has brought a distinct change in the selection of fruits in our supermarket. Apples, pears and plums have replaced the strawberries, cherries, apricots, peaches and melons that we enjoyed in spring and summer.

The following spicy plum dessert perfectly complements autumnal dinners.

2 servings
4 large red plums
1 orange
10 dark raisins
50 ml red wine
2 cloves
2 star anises
1 vanilla pod (Fresh and moist!)

Wash the plums, cut into quarters and remove the stones.

Wash thoroughly the orange. With a zester, remove some of the zest. Then juice the orange. Pour the juice into a small casserole. Add the zest.

Split the vanilla pod lengthwise with a small sharp knife. Scrape with the knife some seeds into the casserole; add the whole pod as well. Add the red wine, raisins, cloves, star anises and plums into the casserole. Bring to the boil. Then reduce the heat and simmer for about 15- 20 minutes until the plums are soft.

Serve at room temperature. Don’t remove the spices, leave them as a decoration.

I don’t need to use any extra sweetener in this recipe because the natural sweetness of the fruits combined with spices and wine makes it wonderfully tasty. If you prefer sweeter desserts, you can add a little sugar or honey.


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Quails in Casserole, en cocotte

Quails are mid-sized birds which are much appreciated for their taste. Not all quails in Nice supermarkets are game, they are also farm-raised.  In any case, autumn seems like an appropriate season to cook quails in casserole.

My Le Creuset cocotte, casserole is again super for making this dish.

2 servings:

2 quails (cailles)
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp tapenade
2 oranges
About 16 small black olives
100 ml white wine
Freshly ground black pepper

Grind a little black pepper and stuff a few sprigs of parsley and 1 tsp tapenade inside each quail.

Heat 1 tbsp rapeseed oil in a heavy casserole and brown the quails on both sides until golden brown. Add the chopped onion and minced garlic in the casserole and continue cooking. Add a few grindings black pepper, more parsley sprigs and white wine in the casserole. Reduce the heat, cover the casserole and simmer for 30 minutes, turning the quails once.

Peel the oranges, divide into sections and discard all the white parts and tough membranes. Warm 1 tbsp rapeseed oil in a small saucepan and heat gently the orange sections.

Add the olives in the quail casserole and continue cooking for about 10 minutes.

Serve the quails with orange sections and new potatoes and decorate with chopped parsley.


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Filets de Sebaste, Redfish, sauce Livornese

This dish was inspired by a plat du jour in Cours Saleya in Nice. Plat du jour is the dish of the day on a restaurant`s menu, usually lunch, and it is always good value for money. It was a gorgeous vegetable, fruit and flower market day in Cours Saleya, and at lunch time we sat outside on the terrace shaded from the September sunshine. Plat du jour was filet de saint-pierre, John Dory fish, sauce Livornese. It was so delicious that I decided to try and emulate it at home.
That day I couldn`t find saint-pierre in our local supermarket, so I replaced it with sebaste, redfish. Sauce Livornese is said to go well with any firm-fleshed white fish. There is no need to add any salt in the sauce because there is already a fair amount of salt in capers and olives. Sauce Livornese compliments cooked potatoes and steamed small courgettes, squash in slices.

2 servings

For the sauce Livornese:
1 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tomato, finely chopped
1 tbsp capers
About 10 black olives, pitted
100 ml white wine
Juice of ½ a lemon
Freshly ground black pepper
Fresh parsley

For the fish:
2 filets of sebaste, redfish (NB! I prefer filets of saint-pierre, John Dory fish)
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 clove garlic, sliced

Pour 2 tbsp rapeseed oil in a small bowl, add the garlic slices and set aside to infuse.
Start preparing the sauce Livornese. Heat 1 tbsp rapeseed oil in a saucepan on a medium heat and gently fry the shallot and garlic. Add the tomato and continue cooking for a few minutes. Add some chopped parsley, save a little for decoration. Grind a few rounds of black pepper in the saucepan, then add the white wine and lemon juice and let reduce a little. Add the capers and olives, and let simmer.
Cook or microwave the potatoes and courgette slices. Keep warm.
Heat the garlic-infused rapeseed oil in a large frying pan on a high heat. Fry the fish filets, about 1 ½ minutes on both sides, depending on thickness. Set the pan aside, covered.
Divide the potatoes, courgette slices and sauce Livornese on the plates. Place the fish filets on top of the sauce, and decorate with chopped parsley.


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The second favourite dish of the French

Moules frites - The second favourite dish of the French

Moules frites, mussels and fries, was voted the second favorite dish in France a couple of years ago. It lost narrowly to duck breast. Actually, moules frites is thought to originate from Belgium. About one litre mussels is fine per serving. I prefer the small tasty French mussels. An 1,4 kg package of moules de bouchot du Mont Saint Michel AOP is enough for us two, although it is a bit less than 2 litres. The quality is superior.

Instead of frites, I prefer to serve my moules with good whole wheat bread to mop up the good sauce.

2 servings

  • About 2 l mussels, moules de bouchot
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 bouquet garni (a bundle of dried herbs tied together with string)
  • 100 ml white wine
  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Chopped parsley

Warm the oil in a large heavy casserole and soften the shallot and garlic.
Wash the mussels and discard any that are damaged or do not close if you knock them.
Add bouquet garni, black pepper and the white wine in the casserole and bring to the boil. Add the mussels and cover the casserole. The small Brittany mussels need about 4 minutes cooking time after the wine has started boiling again. Give the casserole a shake now and again and check that the mussels are well open. You should discard any that have not opened.

Divide the mussels in deep bowls and decorate with parsley.


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