A real simple sole recipe

Sole Meunière is the classic French sole recipe: The whole sole or sole fillet is coated in flour and pan fried in butter. Dover sole is traditionally preferred for this dish but lemon sole, sole limande, is more widely available and less pricey.
This recipe is a carefree way to prepare sole with a Mediterranean twist and using the heart healthy olive oil.
2 servings

2 whole lemon soles, sole limande, skinned by your fishmonger
2- 3 tbsp olive oil
10 cherry tomatoes
6- 8 new potatoes
About 150 g green beans
100 ml fish stock made from 100 ml water and 1 heaped tsp Ducros fumet de poisson
2 tbsp low-fat crème fraîche, 15 % fat
2 tsp capers
Freshly ground black pepper
Lemon wedges

Preheat the oven to 180⁰ C.

Start with the sauce. Heat 100 ml water in a small casserole and whisk in 1 heaped tsp Ducros fumet de poisson to make the fish stock. Fumet de poisson simply means fish stock and is easy to make from the Ducros powder. Keep simmering for a while. Then whisk in the crème fraîche. Add the capers. Set aside but keep warm.

Line a large baking tray with baking paper and place the soles and cherry tomatoes in it. Sprinkle 1 tbsp olive oil on each sole and a little olive oil over the cherry tomatoes. Bake in oven for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, microwave the potatoes; this will only take about 7 minutes. Microwave the green beans for about 3- 4 minutes.

When the soles are ready, divide the sauce on the plates and place the potatoes on it. Grind a little black pepper on the soles and place them on the plates. Divide the cherry tomatoes and green beans on the plates. Decorate with parsley and serve with lemon wedges.


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From Jam Factory to Gourdon

Christmas seems like a good time of the year to visit a jam factory. And why not combine it with a hike?

Confiserie Florian in Pont du Loup is renowned in the region for its quality products. At the factory, there’s a shop and a possibility for guided tours.

Read more about Florian  here

From Pont-du-Loup ( about 200 m), it is possible to start several hikes. Chemin du Paradis, the scenic trail that ascends to the mountaintop village of Gourdon, is very popular among locals.

You can start from the village Bar-sur-Loup  (320 m) and do the Circuit du Paradis as described in Les Guides Randoxygène, or as in our video clip from Pont-du-Loup which makes the tour a little shorter even though the vertical climb is over 500 m in both variants.
Gourdon (760 m) is one of the most visited perched villages in Alpes-Maritimes.  In Hitchcock’s 1955 film To Catch A Thief the director used a wide, long distance shot of Gourdon to simulate Robie’s luxurious villa although the actual villa was (and still is) in St Jeannet.

Read Trip advisor reviews about Gourdon  here

More about the village here

IGN Map: “Cannes-Grasse” TOP 25 No 3643 ET



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Lentil stew with herbs

Green Puy lentils AOP are cultivated in Le Puy region, most notably in the commune of Velay, in France.
They are much appreciated for their taste.

Like all lentils they are a good source of vegetable protein, fiber and minerals. It is a good idea to compliment lentils with grains, which results in a complete protein dish.
Lentils contain also carbohydrates, which are particularly slowly digested and help to keep longer an even blood sugar. Several studies suggest that lentils are super good for the heart. So are fresh herbs because of their antioxidants.

Green Puy lentils can be cooked in about 30 minutes in boiling water. They do not need soaking before cooking.

2 servings

2 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
About 200 g potiron, pumpkin, chopped (or 2 carrots, chopped)
1 tomato, chopped
200 ml Puy lentils
1 l water
100 ml tomato sauce, coulis de tomates
2 bay leaves
1 cube chicken stock, bouillon cube volaille, pref. organic, they have more taste
2 tbsp low-fat crème fraîche (15 %)
Freshly ground black pepper
Lots of chopped fresh herbs, different types

In a large casserole, heat the oil over medium heat. Fry gently  the pumpkin, onion and garlic for about 10 minutes. Add the tomato, bay leaves and pepper. Add the crumbled chicken stock cube, tomato sauce and water and bring to the boil.

Wash the lentils under running water and add to the casserole. Cover partly and reduce the heat slightly so that the lentils are gently boiling. Cook for about 30- 40 minutes until the lentils and vegetables are soft. Stir occasionally and check for water.

Divide into bowls, dot with low-fat crème fraîche and decorate with fresh herbs.
Serve with a green salad and whole wheat bread


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From Sospel to the Italian border

In mid November, the hunting season was in full swing, and the hunters’ dogs were doing their best. We were careful to stay on the trail and to wear colourful clothing.

The hike called Circuit du Cuore is one of the tours recommended by the guidebook “Rando  Moyen Pays”. It is graded as “sportive” because of the duration (5h30) and the vertical ascent (770 m). In addition, the initial descent down from Le Cuore (1095 m) was steep and rocky and not very well marked. All in all, it was a great one day hike.

Sospel, the starting point of this hike, is 19 km north of Menton.

Find more about Sospel here:

Description of the hike in French

Map in the video courtesy of: Conseil General des Alpes-Maritimes

IGN map: “Vallée de la Bévéra » TOP 25 no 3741 ET

Music. Actual title:"Acid Trumpet" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) 
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0


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Chicken legs with Moroccan twist

Free-range chickens have firmer and tastier meat than conventional caged chickens. In France, they are called poulets fermiers élevés en liberte, and the amount of free time and exercise outdoors is regulated. So it is good to know that the chicken has had a happy and free life.

The following recipe is inspired by the spices, fruits and vegetables traditionally used in Moroccan tajines which are simply stews slowly cooked in oven for many hours. Typical spices are cumin, coriander, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, saffron and pepper. The various vegetables are combined with dried fruits, nuts and honey. This is perfect comfort food for cold winter evenings!

2 servings
2 free-range chicken legs
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
2 shallots chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
1 yellow paprika chopped
4 dried apricots halved (pref. organic)
1 tbsp raisins
1 tbsp runny honey (pref. lavender)
50 ml chicken stock
50 ml white wine
1 tsp quatre épices (a mixture of ground cinnamon, ginger, clove and nutmeg)
1 tsp saffron
1 tsp piment d’Espelette
Sliced almonds to decorate

Preheat the oven to 180 ⁰ C.

Warm the rapeseed oil over medium heat in a heavy casserole and fry the chicken legs on both sides until golden brown. Add the vegetables, fruits and spices and continue cooking for a few minutes stirring now and again. Add the chicken stock, white wine and honey.

Transfer to oven for 1 hour.

Decorate with sliced almonds and serve with whole wheat couscous or quinoa.


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Following Matisse's footsteps in Vence

Henri Matisse came to Vence in June 1943 to avoid the possible bombing of Nice. He was charmed by Vence and stayed there until 1949.

In spite of many health problems, Matisse was very productive during these years. His main work in this period was the creation of la Chapelle du Rosaire at 466 Avenue Henri Matisse just outside the town centre. The chapel can be visited, closed each year from mid November to mid December. Check opening hours at:
http://vence.fr/la-chapelle-du-rosaire-chef-d?lang=fr (in French)

Matisse stayed in Villa Le Rêve near the chapel where he received his friends, such as Picasso, Bonnard and Aragon.

Vence has always been a city of significance, and we recommend a stroll around the beautiful old town.


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Turkey slices, escalopes de dinde, filled with carrots and cauliflowers

Thin turkey slices, escalopes de dinde, are virtually fat free so that you don’t have to worry about using more liberally heart-healthy olive oil in this recipe. 

 Smoking point for olive oil is between 199 - 207⁰ C depending on its fatty acid content. High quality, low acidity olive oils have the highest smoking points, about 207⁰ C. In this dish, which is cooked in 200⁰ C in oven, you can very well use your best quality extra-virgin olive oil.

The vegetables in this recipe reflect autumn and winter.

2 servings

2 thin turkey slices, about 100- 120 g each
1 large carrot, grated
About 100 g cauliflower, grated (about the same amount than grated carrot)
1 shallot, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
4 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp finely grated parmesan
2 tbsp red wine
Freshly ground black pepper
Fresh thyme leaves
150 ml chicken stock
1 tsp Herbes de Provence

Over low to medium heat, warm 1 tbsp olive oil in a large frying pan. Grate the carrot and gently start cooking it in the pan. Add the shallot and garlic and continue cooking for a few minutes. Add the chicken stock and Herbes de Provence, and continue cooking until the vegetables are soft but moist.

Meanwhile grate the cauliflower. Add to the pan and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 200⁰ C.

Line a large ovenproof dish with baking paper. Brush with 1 tbsp olive oil. Halve the escalopes de dinde so that you have 4 thin slices about 50- 60 g each. Place 2 slices into the ovenproof dish. Top with vegetable mixture and then the remaining 2 turkey slices.

Don’t worry if you have more vegetable mixture than fits between the turkey slices. Just shape two heaps of the vegetable mixture in the baking dish and sprinkle with a little dry bread crumbs. These will make nice little vegetable gratins. 

Sprinkle 2 tbsp red wine on the turkey slices. Then divide the parmesan on turkey slices and vegetable heaps, and sprinkle with the remaining olive oil.

Bake in 200⁰ C for 35 minutes. Serve with steamed new potatoes and decorate with thyme leaves.


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