Chicken breast with endives and mushrooms

Chicken breast with endives and mushrooms

Here in the South of France, endives are true winter vegetables. The following recipe, endives and mushrooms with chicken breast, is my twist of a recipe in Nice-Matin many years ago. Endives and mushrooms go just as well with pork or veal chops as with chicken breast.

2 servings

2 organic chicken breasts
2 tsp. pistou (purée of basil leaves, salt and olive oil)
2 nice endives
About 10 mushrooms, champignons de Paris, sliced
1 shallot, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tbsp. olive oil
4 tbsp. crème fraîche
150 ml white wine
Black pepper
Parsley to decorate

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Remove the outer layers from the endives and tail them. Microwave for 2- 3 minutes and dry with kitchen paper. Warm 1 tbsp. olive oil in a small frying pan over medium heat and fry the endives on both sides until golden. Transfer to a small buttered oven proof dish and cover with crème fraîche. Bake for 30 minutes in the oven; the crème fraîche reaches the texture of sauce béchamel. NB! Low fat crème fraîche does not work this way in the oven.

Meanwhile cook the mushrooms, chicken breasts and some brown rice.

In a frying pan warm 2 tbsp. olive oil over medium heat and start sautéing the sliced mushrooms. Sauté the chicken breasts over medium heat in the same pan that you used for the endives. First make a small pocket in the chicken breasts and fill with pistou. Then sauté on both sides until nicely coloured. Pour 50 ml white wine in the pan, cover and let simmer.

Add the chopped shallot and minced garlic to the pan with mushrooms. Continue sautéing for 10 minutes stirring occasionally. Then add the black pepper and remaining 100 ml white wine, cover and simmer at a very low heat.

Remove the endives from the oven to a warm plate. Pour the remaining crème fraîche from the oven proof dish into the pan with mushrooms and stir, you should have a creamy sauce in the pan.

Open the endives with a small knife and divide on the plates. Divide the chicken breasts and brown rice on the plates. Pour the mushroom- crème fraîche sauce over the endives and chicken breasts and decorate with parsley.


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Walk in the isthmus of Saint-Jean


We started our walk from the harbour of Villefranche-sur-Mer, which is easily reached following the Basse Corniche (RM 6098). In the harbour there’s a spacious toll parking.

It is always a pleasure to walk along the Plage des Marinières, admiring the beauty of the location. On a sunny day, you never get tired of the views!

At the end of the beach, we took the stairs to elegant Av. Louise Bordes. After the crossroads we continued towards Beaulieu-sur-Mer and soon reached Plage des Fourmis. After briefly admiring Villa Kerylos on the other side of the bay, we took the Promenade Rouvier. This excellent and mostly paved path links Beaulieu-sur-Mer with Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat.

At the harbour of Saint-Jean, we took stairs to the terrace above. We saw that a lot of renovation work had recently been done there, with some new restaurants and cafes.

Our itinerary continued along Avenue Denis Séméria that ascended from the harbour, eventually passing the tourist office. At this point, it is best to stay on the left side where the pavement is continuous. After about 150 m, we crossed the rather busy main street and walked past the entrance of Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild.After 200-300 m, we forked left taking the stairs up to the top of the isthmus. The panoramic alley on the isthmus was called Chemin des Moulins. We followed it straight north and came to the main road and intersection (pont St-Jean) soon enough. From here, we walked back to our starting point.

Cruise ships frequently call at Villefranche-sur-Mer. This walk would be ideal for travellers who have not booked a shore excursion and wish to explore the area by themselves: A morning walk followed by lunch in the harbour or on board the ship!

Duration: 2 h 
Image of trail around the isthmus of St-Jean

Distance: 8,1 km

Elevation gain: 85 m


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Cod with vegetables and red berry compote

Cod with vegetables and red berry compote

It was a programme on the French morning TV, Télématin, which gave inspiration to this recipe. First the journalist told about the health benefits of red berries, such as raspberries, redcurrants, strawberries, blackberries and cranberries. These are packed with antioxidants which can protect from heart disease and other chronic diseases. It is good to know that frozen red berries retain most of their antioxidants.

Télématin then showed a French chef cooking cod with vegetables, sauce, and red berry compote. The following recipe is my twist of the cookery show. The dish is easy to cook, and the red berry compote gives an exotic twist to cod. The recipe is gluten free.

2 servings

2 nice pieces of cod fillet, about 150 – 200 g each
1 tbsp. olive oil

For the vegetables:
5 new potatoes
½ leek, finely sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 handfuls of baby spinach
2 tbsp. olive oil

For the sauce:
150 ml vegetable stock
2 tbsp. crème fraiche, 15% fat
2 tsp. Maizena
A few drops of lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper

For the red berry compote:
1 tbsp. olive oil
A handful of different red berries (I used redcurrants and blackberries)

Preheat the oven to 200° C.

Place the cod fillets in an oven-proof dish and sprinkle with olive oil.

Warm the vegetable stock in a casserole until very hot. Dilute 2 tsp. Maizena in a small amount of cold water. Add enough of Maizena- water mixture into the vegetable stock whisking all the time until the sauce thickens somewhat. Let simmer on a very low heat about 15 minutes. Then add the crème fraiche and let simmer for about 5 minutes. When you are ready to serve the sauce, add the lemon juice and black pepper whisking briskly so that the sauce becomes a little foamy.

At the same time cook the vegetables. Warm 2 tbsp. olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Start sautéing the sliced leek and minced garlic. Microwave the new potatoes 4 minutes until almost cooked, but still a bit al dente. Slice the potatoes and add to the pan. When you are almost ready to serve, add the baby spinach which only takes a couple of minutes to wilt.

Cook the cod fillets in the oven for 10- 12 minutes depending on the thickness. The fish needs to be opaque, but still flaky and not overcooked.

Meanwhile make the berry compote. Warm 1 tbsp. olive oil in a casserole over medium heat, add the berries, and mix now and again. The berries will “compote” by themselves and this doesn’t take long.

When you are ready to serve, divide the vegetables in the bottom of two bowls. Pour the sauce over the vegetables and place the cod fillet on top. Divide the berry compote around the fish and serve at once.


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Chicken with tarragon

Chicken with tarragon

This recipe is inspired by a lady talking about her recipe, Poulet a ’l’ Estragon, on the local radio Bleu Azur while we were driving home from our supermarket in Nice. It sounded so good that I had to try it. The dish was a great success and I want to share it with you.

2 servings

4 chicken thighs with skin, pref. from poulet fermier, free range chickens
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
2 shallots, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 carrots, sliced
100 ml white wine
100 ml chicken stock
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp. crème fraîche, 15 % fat
Fresh tarragon

Preheat the oven to 180° C.

In a heavy casserole such as Le Creuset warm the olive oil and butter over medium heat. Fry the chicken pieces on both sides until golden. Remove from the casserole and set aside.

Microwave the sliced carrots for 5 minutes. Peel and chop the shallots, peel and mince the garlic. Sauté the vegetables in the casserole for a few minutes. Place the chicken pieces back in the casserole. Add the white wine, the stock, black pepper, and a few sprigs of tarragon, and bring to the boil. Save some tarragon leaves for decoration.

Transfer the casserole in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Meanwhile cook some brown rice.

Remove the casserole from the oven and remove the tarragon sprigs. Mix in 2 tbsp. crème fraîche. Divide the chicken, carrots and the sauce on the plates. Serve with brown rice and decorate with fresh tarragon leaves.


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