Pasta bowl recipe


Bowls are cool! It seems that nowadays more and more dishes are served in bowls: salad, soup, risotto, pasta, breakfast porridge and muesli and so on.

The following pasta bowl recipe makes a quick, tasty and carefree lunch. Don’t worry about the amount of olive oil in the recipe; as ricotta has only 11 % fat you can be a bit more liberal with heart healthy olive oil. The recipe is just as good with smoked salmon instead of Parma ham.

2 servings

2 handfuls of baby salad leaves; baby spinach, rocket, mache or mesclun
4 full tbsp. ricotta
100 g Parma ham or smoked salmon, cut into fine strips
4 tbsp. olive oil
4 tbsp. parmesan
2 tbsp. pine nuts
Freshly ground black pepper
Whole wheat pasta for 2 servings

Cook the pasta al dente.

Meanwhile grate the parmesan and cut the Parma ham or smoke salmon into strips.

In a large bowl carelessly mix the ricotta, Parma ham or smoked salmon strips, 2 tbsp. olive oil and some black pepper. Place the baby salad leaves in 2 individual bowls.

When the pasta is cooked, drain the water and add the pasta into the large bowl. Add the grated parmesan into the bowl and mix carelessly. Divide the mixture on top of the baby salad leaves in bowls. Sprinkle each bowl with 1 tbsp. pine nuts and 1 tbsp. olive oil.


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European Heritage Day in Antibes

Fort Carré seen from Port Vauban

European Heritage Days, Journées Européennes du Patrimoine, offer guided tours to historical buildings, visits to buildings that are not normally accessible to the public, and free entry to museums. The event began in France in 1984 sponsored by the ministry of culture and has become hugely popular.

This year we opted to visit Fort Carré and Musée Picasso in Antibes.

We parked at the Fort Carré parking by the D6098 road which is both convenient and free. There’s a free shuttle bus to the city centre but walking to the old town takes just about 20 min.

We first had a very pleasant guided tour of Fort Carré. It was a beautiful September morning, and we could really appreciate the great panorama from the roof of the fortress.
The French King Henri II ordered its construction in the 16th century. At that time, the border with the Duchy of Savoy was very near. Nice belonged to Savoy and Antibes to France. It was also important to protect Antibes and its harbour against pirates. At that time, some 50 soldiers were on guard at the fortress with their own kitchen and chapel. In the 1680s’ the fortress was strengthened by Vauban. After 1860, Fort Carré had no military purpose. Finally, in 1997 it was bought by the city of Antibes and opened to the public.

We then walked to the Vieille Antibes, the old town, passing Port Vauban now the largest marina in the Mediterranean Sea. The yachts in the harbour seem to get bigger every year.

We had lunch in the old town, in the pleasant patio of Le Jardin restaurant as Musée Picasso was closed during the lunch hour. Before it even reopened, a huge crowd had already gathered outside. So we decided to take a short walk in the old town, and popped in the English bookshop. After half an hour or so the queue to the museum had disappeared.

In 1946, Picasso lived with Françoise Gilot in an apartment in Juan-les-Pins and had very little space to work there. Musée Picasso was at that time known as Musée Grimaldi, and was owned by the city of Antibes. Picasso met the director of the museum who suggested that he could use the chateau as a studio. This resulted in several very prolific months before Picasso moved to Vallauris leaving all his Antibes output in the chateau. The bulk of the Picasso collection belongs to this period. Also other modern works of Nicolas de Staël, Germaine Richier and others are shown.
Sculpture of Germaine Richier at Musée Picasso Antibes

Place Mariejol in front of Musée Picasso Antibes

Antibes old town and harbor image
Image of Old Antibes courtesy of Google Maps


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Provencal Christmas soup

Provencal Christmas soup

In many parts of Provençe, fish or mussels with spinach used to be a traditional dish on Christmas Eve. In our days the end of the year festivities often lead to nutritional excesses.

The French Elle magazine suggested that the week before Christmas one should do a pretox to prepare the metabolism for the marathon of the end of the year. The plan is to avoid alcohol, caffeine (if you can!), sugar and industrial products, and to reduce dairy products. Vegetables, chicken, fish, brown rice and herbal teas are perfect ingredients for a pretox menu.

So the following old Provençal Christmas recipe of spinach soup with mussels, moules aux épinards, is in fact a super pretox recipe. The recipe is modified from the cookbook of Leslie Forbes: A table in Provençe.

2 servings

About 150 g fresh baby spinach
About 30 cleaned mussels (more if you use the small Mont Saint Michel mussels)
1 shallot, minced
300 ml vegetable stock
4 tbsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
50 ml white wine
Freshly ground black pepper

In a large casserole, warm 1 tbsp. olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the minced shallot about 5- 10 minutes until soft. Then add the baby spinach and continue sautéing a few minutes until the spinach has wilted. Add a little vegetable stock and mix with handheld mixer, it does not have to be completely smooth. Add the rest of the stock, stir and cover. Keep warm.

In a heavy casserole, warm 1 tbsp. olive oil over medium heat and sauté the minced garlic for a few minutes. Add the white wine and black pepper and bring to the boil. Add the mussels and cover. Continue cooking about 4 minutes after the mussels have started to steam in the casserole. Shake the casserole and check that all the mussels have opened. Shell the mussels.

Divide the spinach soup in bowls and place the mussels on top. Sprinkle with olive oil and serve with good whole wheat bread.


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Fish fillet on vegetable bed

Fish fillet on vegetable bed

The following recipe is a carefree way to prepare tasty fish fillets on a vegetable bed. The recipe is also a brilliant example of Mediterranean diet: fish combined with vegetable protein from white beans. Fennel with is mild licorice taste has always been a favourite in the south of France.

Everything is cooked in the same heavy casserole, such as Le Creuset. The recipe is with cod, but any firm, white fish will do; halibut, sea bass, John Dory fish. There is no need to add salt in this recipe because the capers are already quite salty and tinned beans are salted as well. Fresh lemon will also reduce the need for salt.

2 servings

About 300g cod fillet
1 fennel
1 carrot
1 shallot
1 clove garlic
A handful of baby spinach
2 tbsp. olive oil
A tin (400g) white beans
2 tsp capers
50 ml white wine
2 tbsp. crème fraîche, 15% fat
Freshly ground black pepper
Fresh dill
Lemon wedges

Wash and slice the fennel. Microwave until al dente, almost soft. Set aside.

Wash and slice the carrot. Microwave until al dente and set aside.

Warm the olive oil over medium heat in a heavy casserole. Peel and chop the shallot, peel and mince the garlic clove. Sauté them in the casserole for about 5 minutes stirring now and again.

Add the white wine, fennel and carrot to the casserole and stir. Add the crème fraîche, black pepper and some of the dill. Stir and cover.

Meanwhile rinse and thoroughly dry the tinned white beans. Add to the casserole and stir. Cover and let cook for about 3 minutes so that the beans are heated.

Add the capers and spinach and stir. Nestle the fish fillets among the vegetables and cover. Let cook for 10 minutes until the fish is opaque and flakes easily with a fork. NB! You may need to reduce the heat somewhat so that the fish is gently simmering among the vegetables.

Divide the vegetables on the plates and place the cod on top. Decorate with fresh dill and serve with lemon wedges.
Cod and vegetables in casserole


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Vegetable crumble recipe

Vegetable crumble recipe

The following vegetable side dish goes very well with meat or chicken. It is a twist of the famous French ratatouille. Make it when the tomatoes are at their best.

For the crumble you will need grated Parmesan and almond powder, poudre d’amande, which is easily found in all French supermarkets. If you don’t have it in your shops just grind the almonds in a food processor until you get a fine, grainy consistence.

This recipe is gluten free.

2- 3 servings

1 aubergine
1 courgette / zucchini
2 large and ripe tomatoes
1 shallot
1 clove garlic
1 tsp Provençal herbs
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp. pine nuts
2 tbsp. black olives
1 tbsp. rapeseed oil
2 tbsp. olive oil
About 1 tbsp. butter for the oven dish
For the crumble:
4 tbsp. grated parmesan
4 tbsp. almond powder, poudre d’amande
Fresh basil leaves to decorate

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Wash and slice the aubergine and courgette into about 0,5 cm rather thin slices. Place the slices on a large oven tray lined with baking paper and bake for 20- 30 minutes until softened.

Meanwhile warm 1 tbsp. rapeseed oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Peel and chop the shallot, add to the pan. Mince the garlic and add to the pan. Chop the tomatoes and add to the pan. Add the Provençal herbs and black pepper and cook for about 10- 15 minutes. Add the pine nuts and olives and stir.

Generously butter a medium- size ovenproof dish.

Make the crumble by mixing the Parmesan and almond powder.

Place the aubergine and courgette slices in the bottom of the ovenproof dish. Divide the vegetable mixture from the frying pan over the aubergine and courgette. Top with the crumble and drizzle with 2 tbsp. olive oil. Bake in the oven for 20- 25 minutes.

Divide the vegetable crumble on the plates and decorate with fresh basil.


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