Chicken breast with two lemons

Chicken breast with two lemons

The sunny colours of this dish are like a promise that summer is not that far away. The taste is great, too. This recipe is a good example how versatile ingredients simple chicken breasts really are.

2 servings

2 chicken breasts cut into large chunks
1 organic lemon
½ lime
4 carrots
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp soya sauce
1 tbsp runny honey
3 tbsp olive oil
½ tbsp butter
1 tsp Provencal herbs
Freshly ground black pepper
Parsley to decorate

First prepare the marinade. Peel and mince the garlic clove. Press half of the lime. In a bowl mix the garlic, lime juice, soya sauce, honey, olive oil, Provencal herbs and some black pepper.

Cut the chicken breasts into large chunks and place them in a large deep plate. Pour the marinade over the chicken and cover with film. Place the plate in the fridge and marinate for about an hour, turning the chicken chunks once.

Wash the carrots and cut them lengthwise into four parts. Cook or microwave the carrots until al dente, almost cooked.

Preheat the oven to 210⁰ C.

Butter a shallow oven-proof dish. Arrange the chicken chunks in the centre of the dish, and the carrots around the chicken. Pour over the marinade. Wash well the organic lemon and cut into thin slices. Place the lemon slices over the chicken and carrots.

Bake in the oven for 25 minutes. Decorate with parsley and serve with brown rice.


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Oven-baked sea bass fillets with basil sauce

Sea bass fillet with basil sauce

When fresh basil again is available after winter pistou, basil sauce, is a classic accompaniment to simply prepared fish in the South of France. I once again admired how well homemade basil sauce, pistou fait maison, complimented oven-baked fish fillets, Provençal tomatoes, and steamed potatoes during our recent lunch in Monaco. The recipe works with other white fish fillets, in Monaco we had John Dory fish.

Pistou is a cold sauce made from fresh basil leaves, olive oil, garlic, and salt. The traditional Provençal pistou didn’t have any cheese, and it was mixed by hand with a mortar and pestle. Pistou does not contain any pine nuts, as does the Italian pesto, but some modern versions are made with Gruyère or Parmesan cheese.

Pistou is best when used immediately, but it can be kept in the fridge for 1- 2 days. It is very versatile; it can be used in soups, spread on baked fish or grilled meat, or sprinkled on cooked vegetables.

2 servings

2 sea bass fillets, about 150- 200 g each
For the pistou:
1 small bunch (about 40 leaves) basil
About 4 tbsp olive oil, the best and fruitiest
1/3 clove crushed garlic
Freshly ground black pepper
A pinch of salt
For the Provençal tomatoes:
2 ripe tomatoes
½ clove garlic, crushed
4 tsp pistou
Freshly ground black pepper
4 tsp dried breadcrumbs

Serve with new potatoes, some lemon wedges, and steamed white asparagus to celebrate spring

First prepare the pistou. Place the washed and dried basil leaves, olive oil, crushed garlic, black pepper and salt in a blender and mix until smooth. Add more olive oil, if you want a thinner sauce.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Prepare the Provençal tomatoes. Halve the tomatoes and sprinkle with some black pepper and crushed garlic. Place 1 tsp pistou on each tomato half and cover with 1 tsp breadcrumbs. Place the tomato halves on an oven-proof plate.

Wash the new potatoes and asparagus. Peel the asparagus and cut away the tough end parts. The potatoes and asparagus can be simply microwaved while the fish is baked in the oven.

Place the sea bass fillets on the oven tray. They can be wrapped in baking paper to make small parcels and baked en papillote.

Bake first the Provençal tomatoes for 5 minutes in the oven. Then place the sea bass fillets in the oven and continue baking for 10 minutes.

Divide the fish fillets, Provençal tomatoes, new potatoes and asparagus on the plates. Spread 1 tbsp pistou on the fish fillets and sprinkle a few drops of the remaining pistou on the potatoes and asparagus.


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From Coaraze to Mont Férion


The hilltop village of Coaraze (620 m) overlooks the valley of a tributary to the main Paillon river. The village is neat and chic, and many artists and designers have residences here. Cocteau has signed some of the sundials which decorate the village. Coaraze is also called the Sun Village, perhaps because of the sundials or just the many sunny days it gets.

We had originally planned a hike to Rocca Sparviera (1110 m) north of the village, but this very day the trail was closed. There was no information about this on the Randoxygene Web site where this hike is described. Maybe there had been a landslide after last autumn’s heavy rains, or maybe there was just some maintenance work on the trail?

Luckily the trail to Mont Férion (1412 m) was open. We had previously hiked to Mont Férion from Levens and were interested to see what this trail was like. Clearly the change of itinerary meant more climbing than planned.

The continuous and rather steep ascent started from signpost 205.  We crossed a dirt road zigzagging up to Mt Férion a few times. Eventually we reached Baisse de la Minière (signpost 206) at 1180 m. The rocky trail now headed southwest ascending steeply in the woods to signpost #273 then to the nearby mountaintop. The woods continue as far as to the summit. The best views down to Coaraze and the valley are therefore from the trail before the summit. The over 4 km long Crete du Férion continues south from the highest point.

We returned along the same route back to Coaraze.

Elevation gain: About 790 m
Duration: 4h 30

Map: IGN 3741 ET “Vallées de La Bévéra et des Paillons”
Image of trail to Mont Férion
Image of trail courtesy of Google maps


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