Broccoli and Mozzarella pasta recipe

Broccoli and Mozarella pasta recipe


The combination broccoli florets, mozzarella balls, pine nuts and whole wheat pasta works surprisingly well. Broccoli is a popular winter vegetable in Italy. It is a nutritional powerhouse, full of vitamins C, K and folate, minerals, fiber and antioxidants.

Any pasta shape works in this lactovegetarian recipe. It makes a simple, quick and healthy dinner.

2 servings

½ broccoli head
1 shallot
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp. pine nuts
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 package (150g) mozzarella balls
About 4 tbsp. grated parmesan
Freshly ground black pepper
Whole wheat pasta for two servings
Parsley to decorate

Wash half of the broccoli head. If the broccoli head is little, use the whole head. Cut it into florets and microwave 5 minutes until soft. Set aside.

Warm the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium- low heat. Peel and chop the shallot, add to the pan. Pell and mince the garlic clove, add to the pan. Sauté for about 10 minutes until soft.

Meanwhile cook the pasta until al dente, this normally takes about 9- 10 minutes.

Increase the heat over medium in the frying pan. Drain the pasta and add to the pan. Add the broccoli, drained mozzarella balls, black pepper and half of the parmesan. Mix and let cook for a couple of minutes until everything is warm.

Divide the pasta in bowls and sprinkle with the rest of the parmesan and chopped parsley. Top with pine nuts.

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Chicken soup

Chicken soup




For many chicken soup is comfort food for cold winter days, especially if one is suffering from a flu. This antioxidant- rich soup may even help to prevent winter infections.

4 servings

2 tbsp. olive oil
2 chicken breasts, cut into about 3x3 cm chunks
2 carrots, sliced
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 litre vegetable stock
100 ml brown rice, instant cooking
2 handfuls of chopped Savoy cabbage
3 cm piece of fresh root ginger
1 tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp Piment d’Espelette or medium hot chilli flakes
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
Chopped parsley

Warm the olive oil over medium heat in a heavy casserole, cocotte. Cut the chicken into chunks and fry in the casserole until golden brown on all sides. Add the onion and garlic to the casserole and continue sautéing for a few minutes. Add the vegetable stock, bring to the boil, then reduce to simmering.

Slice the carrots, microwave for a few minutes until al dente, and add to the casserole. Peel and finely chop the ginger, then add to the casserole. Add the turmeric, Piment d’Espelette, brown rice, and the chopped Savoy cabbage. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Divide the soup into bowls and decorate with spring onions and parsley. Leftovers can be frozen.

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From La Turbie to Tête de Chien

Cap Martin and Bordighera seen from trail to Tete de Chien



We have previously hiked from Cap d’Ail (80 m) to Tête de Chien (550 m). This classic loop trail called Tour de la Tête de Chien takes about 3h 15.

This time we made a much shorter walk from La Turbie (470 m) to Tête de Chien, which nevertheless offers just as dramatic views over Monaco, the Italian coast in the east and Cap Ferrat in the west.





It was a chilly and clear winter morning on Côte d’Azur. We parked near the entrance of Trophée d’Auguste museum, and walked through the old village of La Turbie. At the western end of the village we walked through a park, where there were signposts showing the way to Monaco, Cap d’Ail and Fort du CNET. CNET, a telecom research centre, is located in a fortress on the summit of Tête de Chien.

We followed the wide trail that descended along the eastern flank of the mountain, and soon came to the first crossroads where the trail forking left would have taken us down to Monaco. We, however, continued straight about 200-300 m and reached the next crossroads where a new signpost showed the trail up to our goal today. This part of the trail we knew well as we had descended along it during the previous hike. Elevation gain from this point to the fortress(CNET) was about 120 m. We came to a paved road next to the CNET facilities, walked along it 150 m before forking left along a trail that took us to the road to Tête de Chien.

After admiring the views down to Monaco and the coast, we used the same trail back to La Turbie. It was a great and effortless itinerary with a very moderate elevation gain.

Climb: 300 m

Distance: 6,7 km

Duration: 2 h

Map: IGN 3742 OT Nice Menton Côte d'Azur

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Provencal Lamb Stew

Provencal lamb stew


This stew is a brilliant, carefree party dish, because it can be made the day before and just reheated slowly while the guests are having apéro, nibbles with drinks.

A whole lamb shoulder normally weighs about 1100 g, sometimes even more, but after the bone and most of the fat layer covering the shoulder are removed, the remaining amount of meat is for four generous servings. Any stew leftovers can be frozen and incorporated later into a pasta sauce.

4 servings

About 600- 800 g lamb shoulder, cut into about 3x3 cm cubes
3 tbsp. olive oil
About 15 small new potatoes (20 if they are tiny)
3 plum tomatoes, quartered
2 onions, coarsely chopped
2- 3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small aubergine, cut into 3x3 cm cubes
100 ml tomato sauce
2 tbsp. flour
1 fresh bay leaf
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
1 orange peel
Black pepper
300 ml red wine
400 ml chicken or beef stock
4 tbsp. black olives
Fresh parsley and 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary for decoration

Preheat the oven to 180° C.

Spread olive oil in the bottom of a heavy casserole, such as Le Creuset. Add the lamb and aubergine cubes, onions, garlic and the flour and mix. Add all the other ingredients, except the olives, then pour in the wine and stock until the ingredients are almost covered. Place in the oven and bake for 2 hours.

The surface will get nicely browned. Stir occasionally so that the surface does not get too browned and dry. When the stew is baked, remove the herbs and orange peel and add the olives.

Divide on the plates and decorate with parsley and a rosemary sprig.

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Hike above River Estéron

Above Bouyon


The village of Bouyon (640 m) on the sinuous RD1 road from Carros is only 30 km from Nice. The village is the starting point of this loop hike which also passes the village of Les Ferres at col des Ferres (596 m). Bouyon is a tidy village with one restaurant, an auberge, and a pizzeria. In 1887 it was destroyed by an earthquake and rebuilt two years later.

On the way back to Bouyon the trail offers super views of the Valley of Estéron. We have previously made this hike some years ago in July when the heat was intense. It was much more agreeable in September weather.




The hike starts from signpost #5 right after the centre of the village. We first took the stairs passing several houses above the village and crossed signpost #6, showing the trail to Les Ferres. We continued along the southern slope of Crête de l’Estellier passing signpost #100 and soon the highest point at 1000 m. We now descended sharply along a narrower trail towards Les Ferres and had the feeling that this particular part had been less used. We only met two free roaming goats up here, nothing else! We descended down to the RD1 road just below Les Ferres. From here, we took a small road that descended below the RD1 road, and continued about 3 km as far as to signpost #102. Here we forked right along a good path that led to oratoire Notre-Dame-du-Brec, a three-meter-high oratory with views straight down to the Gorges of Estéron.

The trail after the oratory gave the best views of the gorges. We still descended quite a lot, to about 300 m before starting to ascend back to Bouyon. At signpost #103 in the woods, we took the trail showing the way directly to Bouyon. Not surprisingly, is was a continuous ascent back to our starting point.

Another example of a great and perhaps a less frequented trail in the Nice hinterland, l'arrière-pays Nicois. The itinerary comprises two 300-340 m ascents, and a long descent between them. The French Randozygène guide (Gorges de l’Estéron) has a description of this hike, although they are a bit optimistic regarding the walking time (theirs: 4h15, ours 4H45). When going there in autumn, keep in mind the hunting days in Alpes-Maritimes.

Ascent: 640 m
Free-roaming goat on the trail Bouyon Les Ferres





Map: IGN 3642ET Vallée de l’Estéron


Les Ferres
Trail image courtesy of Google Maps






Oratoire de Notre Dame du Brec
Bouyon hike trail image













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