Coq au vin recipe

The story goes that this very old dish was invented by Julius Caesar during his campaigns against the Gauls. The French word coq literally means “rooster”, but most of the coq au vin recipes are made of chicken. In standard recipes chicken, red wine, cubed bacon/lardons, button mushrooms/champignons de Paris, herbs and onions are used. The wine is typically Burgundy (Pinot noir), but many regions of France have variants of coq au vin using the local wine.

I prefer to use a light young red wine of Côtes du Rhône or Luberon, and these go nicely with the dish as well. My lighter more modern version does not include bacon cubes, and I have omitted the usual browning of the chicken thanks to a brilliant suggestion of Jamie Oliver in his stew recipe.

4 servings

8 chicken thighs, pref. free range, poulet fermier
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
About 150 g small shallots, peeled but left whole
About 200 g button mushrooms, champignons de Paris

300 ml chicken stock
300 ml red wine
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs of thyme
1 tbsp flour
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
Parsley to decorate

Preheat the oven to 180⁰ C.

In a heavy casserole warm the rapeseed oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and mushrooms and cook for 10 minutes. Add the garlic, chicken, herbs, and flour and stir. Add the stock and red wine and a few grinds of pepper. Bring to the boil and then transfer to oven.
Coq au vin recipe

Cook coq au vin in 180⁰ C for 1 ½ hours without lid. Towards the end of the cooking time keep an eye on the stew and add a little water if it starts to look a bit dry.

Before serving remove the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Serve with steamed new potatoes and decorate with chopped parsley.


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Winter hike above Èze-village

Èze-village in midwinter

Èze-Village (356 m) is extremely popular among visitors to the French Riviera. You can easily combine the visit with a moderate (less than 3 hours) hike up to Fort de la Revère (696 m). The fortress itself which was built in the late 19th century to protect Nice is not open to the public. There is a super picnic area in the area.  In WWII, the fortress was also used as POW camp, notably for RAF pilots.
Start of the trail Fuont Roussa

The parking at the entrance of Èze-Village costs about 8 € per 5 hours. Follow the Moyenne Corniche (RM 6007) about 150 m to a small bridge. Turn left and find the path named Fuont Roussa at the end of a small parking. The trail is marked with yellow and signposted all the way to the fortress. Start ascending in a small wood up to Grande Corniche (RM 2564), cross it and continue climbing first between some villas and then in open terrain.
Maison de la Nature

You will first spot Maison de la Nature (free admission). There is information in French about the flora, fauna and geology of the region. From here, it takes just about 5 minutes to walk to the scenic fortress area where benches and tables can be found. To the east, the mountain top of la Simboula (675 m) with
Fort de la Revère
its excellent viewing point is 5-10 min away.

The descent is along the same trail as far as the first intersection & signpost.  At this point, turn right following the direction “Moyenne Corniche, Serre de Fourque, Eze-Village”. The trail soon crosses the Grande Corniche. From here, it first follows Chemin Serre de Fourque, a paved steep road then a wide path in a pine wood.  The starting point
A nice picnic  spot near Fort de la Revère
in Èze-Village is then reached rapidly.

A classic all-year-round Riviera hike!

Descending back to Èze-village

Total hiking time: 2.5 – 3 hours
Ascent 350 m

Description in French (the randoxygène guide)
The path of Serre de Fourque to Èze-village

Map: IGN Nice Menton 3742 OT


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Fish and Chips Recipe

Fish and Chips Recipe

Fish and chips  is an iconic, beloved British dish. It is a popular take-out food in the UK, and used to be served wrapped in newspaper. Chips are what Americans would call french fries.

This fish and chips recipe has a modern Niçois twist. The cuisine in Nice, South of France, is colourful, tasty and heart healthy. Olive oil is the starting point for almost all dishes. Fish is regularly featured on menus, and such a variety of fish and seafood is hard to find anywhere else. Tasty tomatoes, capers, black olives of Nice, lemons and basil are basic ingredients in the local cuisine and super sources of those important antioxidants.

In the UK, fish and chips are usually made of haddock, aiglefin, or cod, cabillaud. Haddock is not often available in our local supermarket in Nice, but they have regularly very good and fresh French cod.

In this recipe chips are coated with olive oil and oven-fried together with cod. This is a healthy way to cook chips and reduces the amount of fat and calories. Anyone can make this tasty and easy dish.

Fish and chips recipe

2 servings

2 large potatoes
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp flour
¼ tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg
2 fillets of cod, cabillaud, about 150 g each
2 ripe and tasty tomatoes
1 clove garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
1 tsp dried Provencal herbs
2 tbsp black olives of Nice
2 tsp capers
½ lemon
Fresh basil

Heat the oven to 200⁰ C, roast.

Peel the potatoes and cut into about 1,5 cm thick slices, then cut each slice into about 1,5 cm thick chips. Pour 2 tbsp olive oil into a largish plastic bag, add the chips and shake well. Line a large oven tray with baking paper and pour the chips in a single layer onto it. Leave a small space for the cod fillets. Bake for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile in a frying pan warm 1 tbsp olive oil over medium-low heat and sauté the garlic and shallots for about 5 minutes. Cut the tomatoes into wedges and add to the pan. Season the tomatoes with pepper and Provencal herbs. Continue cooking gently, stirring now and again. Add the black olives in the last minute.

Place the flour on a plate and season with salt and pepper. Whisk the egg, ½ tbsp olive oil and a pinch of salt on another deep plate. Coat the cod fillets in flour, shake off the extra flour. Then coat them in egg, again shaking off the extra. This kind of coating is in France called à la parisienne. Take the baking tray out of oven and turn the chips. Place the cod fillets on the baking tray. Bake the chips and cod for about 10- 12 minutes, depending on the thickness of cod fillets.

Wash and dry a few fresh basil leaves, and cut into strips. Cut ½ lemon into wedges.

Divide the cod fillets, chips and tomatoes on the plates and sprinkle the capers over the cod. Decorate with basil and serve with lemon wedges.


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Gialorgues valley above St-Dalmas-le-Selvage

On our previous hikes (Tête de la Boulière; On the roof of Alpes Maritimes ) we have admired the beautiful valley of Gialorgues from high above. So today we decided to explore it starting from the village of St-Dalmas-le-Selvage (1500m). This small village a few km north of St. Etienne de Tinée in the upper Tinée valley is better known as a small cross-country ski center.

We decided to start our hike from the village of St-Dalmas-le-Selvage from signpost 67. It is possible to drive up to a small parking called Valloar (1950m), but the unpaved road is better suited for a 4x4 than our car. So we walked. It is about 1h 30 from the village to the end of the dirt road and signpost 73.

Gialorgues Valley

At signpost 73 turn right and start ascending along a path among larches. This is where the trail enters the Mercantour National Park. When the wood ends, the trail continues on a vast plateau up to the unmanned refuge and signpost 73a (2280 m). It is about 1 h 30 up to this point from signpost 73. From the refuge the mountain pass of Gialorgues (2519 m) can be reached in about an hour. If you intend to hike to this mountain pass or even further driving up the dirt road might be a good idea.

Vast plateau before the refuge. Summit of Roche Grande in background

When we approached the refuge, there was a large sheep flock with a dog and a shepherd. We turned back because we did not want to disturb them.

Ascent from St-Dalmas-le-Selvage to the refuge and signpost 73a: About 700m and about 3h.

Total hiking time: About 5h- 5h 30. Map; IGN 3639 OT Haute Tinée 1


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