Pork chops with mustard and ginger

Pork chops with mustard and ginger



This topping from olive oil, Dijon mustard, soya sauce, black pepper, and fresh ginger will jazz up humble pork chops. In the photo, the chops are served with sweet potato purée and fried mushrooms which go very well with pork.

2 servings

2 nice pork chops
2 tbsp. olive oil
Chopped parsley to decorate
For the topping:
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. soya sauce, pref. salt-reduced
A piece of fresh ginger, about 2 x 1 cm
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 180° C.

Warm 2 tbsp. olive oil in a heavy frying pan over medium high heat. Fry the pork chops until nicely browned on both sides. Place the chops in an oven-proof dish.

Peel the ginger, mince it and place in a small bowl. Mix with olive oil, mustard, soya sauce, and black pepper. Divide this topping on the pork chops and bake the chops in the oven for 20 minutes.

Serve the chops with sweet potato purée and fried mushrooms or rice and some other autumn / winter vegetables such as broccoli or green beans. Decorate with chopped parsley or chives.

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Hike above Vence: Baou des Blancs from Plan des Noves

On the trail to Baou des Blancs




There is a good path from Plan des Noves parking (780 m) just before Col de Vence (963 m) to Baou des Blancs (673 m). The trail is marked with red and white GR signs to the first crossroads, then with yellow signs.

The mountains immediately above Vence have good hiking trails for all year-round use. From many spots you have spectacular views down to the coast as well as to the Mercantour summits. On short December days, you appreciate short travel times, i.e. the proximity of the coast.






On this hike, we used trails that actually were familiar from our previous walks (Plan des Noves Hike; There are 2 more Baous on the French Riviera).

From the parking, we first took the GR trail descending a bit, then followed a piste to Mangia Pan.

We continued heading south, and ascended to Cime des Blaquières (809 m), the highest point on this hike. The big oak on the summit can be seen from the coast. From here, we continued towards Baou des Blancs, passing les Blaquières (basically the southern flank of Cime des B.). All signposts by the trail were rather new. To reach Baou des Blancs, our turning point, a short ascent was needed to the viewing point from where Vence was seen right below us.

We took the same trail back. This trail variant had several ascents and descents both ways. Hence, in spite of modest elevation differences, we logged over 400 m vertical climb.

Climb: 448 m

Distance: 11,8 km

Duration: 4 h
Plan des Noves to Baou des Blancs trail




Map: Cannes Grasse Côte d’Azur 3643 ET

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One-pot red mullet

One-pot red mullet




The following recipe is a carefree way to cook small red mullet fillets. This tasty and very healthy recipe works with any firm small fish fillets. The sauce is first cooked in a heavy casserole, such as Le Creuset, the fish is added and the dish is then baked in the oven.

This method of cooking fish is quite common in the Mediterranean countries. I once had a super monk fish tail in Spain which was cooked this way according to the waiter. The bigger fish pieces just need more time in the oven.

2 servings

250- 300 g small red mullet fillets
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tomatoes, chopped
50 ml white wine
50 ml good tomato sauce
3 tsp. capers
Freshly ground black pepper
Chopped basil leaves

Preheat the oven to 200° C.

Warm 2 tbsp. olive oil in a heavy casserole over medium heat and sauté the shallot and garlic for about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and white wine and continue cooking for 5 minutes more. Stir in the tomato sauce, capers, and black pepper and let simmer for a few minutes.

Roll the small fish fillets and place in the casserole so that they are nicely surrounded by the tomato sauce. Sprinkle with 1 tbsp. olive oil and bake in the oven for 10 minutes until the fish is cooked.

Decorate with chopped basil and serve with some vegetables and new potatoes or rice.

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Easy walk from Le Rouret

Camp Romain above Le Rouret



Le Rouret (310 m) is a quiet, well-maintained village on the D2085 road east of Grasse, about 22 km from Nice.

We have often made this agreeable walk when we needed to build up our hiking form after a pause. The hike is signposted as “Le Camp Romain” as there’s an ancient Roman camp ground dating from 800 B.C. on the hilltop.

The walk can be made all-year-round, even in summer, as most of the trail is shaded by trees.

The archaeological site has been cleared of dense vegetation since our last visit, but to be honest there was not much to see -at least for a layman! But the views from the hill were great on this cloudless winter day.







We parked near the mairie of Le Rouret and headed north along Chemin des Pierres de Moulin, crossed Chemin du Castelet (signpost #295 in terrain #131 on the map!). Don’t let the numbers confuse you, the itinerary is clearly marked with yellow signs! We descended a bit along a trail called Chemin du Pont Romain then crossed a stream just before Chemin de Beaume Robert, and forked right. Leaving several houses on our right-hand side, we continued along a trail in the woods. Just before Gorge des Trucs the trail forked sharply left (very well marked), and soon joined the wide dirt track that continued up to the hilltop (479 m). The archaeological site was right behind the telecom mast.

We returned along the dirt track, passing Bois de Rouret and continued along Chemin du Castelet, then forked right at our first crossroads back to the village.

Climb: 240 m

Duration: 2h 10 active

Distance: 7 km 

Map: “Cannes-Grasse” Côte d’Azur 3643 ET


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Mussels on vegetable bed

Mussels on vegetable bed




Moules marinières is a classic French mussel dish.  This time I wanted to serve the mussels on a vegetable bed. Prepare first the vegetable bed and keep warm in a large sauté pan under lid while you cook the mussels marinière style.

2 servings

For the vegetable bed:
1 shallot, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 carrots, sliced
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and chopped
½ fennel, sliced
A handful of spinach leaves
75 ml white wine
½ tsp. dried Provençal herbs
Freshly ground black pepper

Warm the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat and start sautéing the shallot and garlic.

Slice the carrots and microwave with a little water for about 4 minutes until soft. Add to the sauté pan. Peel and chop the sweet potato. Microwave with a little water for about 4 minutes until soft and add to the pan. Slice the fennel and microwave with a little water for about 4 minutes, the add to the pan. Add the white wine, Provençal herbs, black pepper, and the spinach. Reduce the heat and cover. The spinach will be wilted while you cook the mussels. When the spinach is wilted reduce the heat to very low just to keep the vegetable warm under lid.

For the mussels:
About 1- 1,4 kg mussels (they often come in 1,4 kg packages prewashed)
1 shallot, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp. olive oil
75 ml white wine
Freshly ground black pepper
Chopped parsley

In a large heavy casserole, warm the olive oil over medium heat and sauté the shallot and garlic for about 5 minutes.

Pour the mussels in a large bowl with water and check that they are all closed and that the shells are not damaged. Add the white wine and black pepper to the casserole and turn the heat higher. Add the mussels and cover. The mussels take about 4 minutes to be cooked after steam has started to form in the casserole. Stir the mussels a couple of times. Cook until all the shells have opened, the add the parsley.

Divide the vegetable sauté on large, deep plates. Add about half of the mussels on top. Keep the rest of the mussels in the casserole under lid and divide for the second helping.

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