Braised duck legs with orange and turnips

Braised duck legs with orange and turnips

Here is another great recipe to make when Mediterranean blood oranges are in season. I have chosen fresh duck legs, cuisses de canard, which have less fat than the traditional confit de canard, duck legs preserved in their own fat and salt.
Braising which means first lightly frying and then slowly stewing under lid makes the duck legs fondant, tender and melting.

2 servings

2 fresh duck legs
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp. flour
100 ml red wine
100 ml chicken stock
1 organic blood orange, zest and juice
6 baby turnips
1 bouquet garni, a bay leaf and some thyme sprigs tied together
Freshly ground black pepper

Place a heavy casserole such as Le Creuset over medium- low heat and gently fry the duck legs on both sides until golden brown.

Add the onion and garlic and continue sautéing for about 5- 10 minutes.

Add the flour and mix. Then add the wine, stock, and orange zest. Peel the turnips, cut the larger ones in halves and add to the casserole. Add the bouquet garni and some black pepper and simmer covered for 1 hour.

Juice the blood orange. Turn the duck legs over, pour the juice over them and continue simmering partly covered for 40- 50 minutes.

Bonnard Museum in le Cannet

Musée Bonnard le Cannet

Le Cannet is located about 3 km north of Cannes. It is a chic; surprisingly quiet town and many small streets still have the atmosphere of a small South of France village.

The post-impressionist painter Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947) left Paris and stayed over 20 years in Le Cannet. The Bonnard Museum in a Belle Epoque house is situated on the Boulevard Sadi Carnot next to the town hall.

In early autumn, when we visited the museum, the air was cooler and the crowds had left the Riviera. We found a free parking on Bd Sadi Carnot. There’s a small parking house behind the museum. From Cannes, there is also a bus connection.
The Bonnard Museum is beautifully built, but it is small compared with the huge Paris museums. The museum opened in 2011, and it co-operates with Le Musée d’Orsay in Paris.

This summer’s exhibition, Inspirentes Inspiratrices, was dedicated to the ladies who had inspired Bonnard, Matisse, Vuillard, Picasso and many other renown painters and sculptors. Despite its size, the exhibition had a very high quality.

After the museum, we walked up along a narrow lane to Rue Saint-Sauveur. We had lunch on a large terrace with several restaurants while admiring the view down to Cannes and the Mediterranean Sea.

Poulet au citron

Poulet au citron

Poulet au citron, lemon chicken, is a classic French winter dish when lemons are in season. It is usually made with citron confit, preserved lemons. I have found a recipe to quickly make preserved lemons in microwave, and with less salt than in the traditional recipes. Make sure that you use organic lemons because the secret of the taste in preserved lemons is that they are not peeled.

Citron confit express,2 servings

1 organic lemon
50 ml water
A pinch of salt

Wash the lemon and cut into small pieces. Place all the ingredients in a small microwave bowl. Cover and microwave for 2 minutes, then mix. Repeat the process five times, then place the bowl in the fridge for 24 hours before using. In a pinch, citron confit express can be used at once but the consistence is better after 24 hours in the fridge.

2 servings Poulet au citron

4 organic chicken thighs, with skin
1 shallot
1 clove garlic
2 servings citron confit express
1 organic lemon
2 thyme sprigs
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp. olive oil
100 ml water
Fresh thyme leaves to decorate

In a heavy casserole, cocotte, warm the olive oil over medium heat and fry the chicken thighs on both sides until golden brown. Chop the shallot and mince the garlic and add to the casserole. Continue cooking for a few minutes.

Wash the lemon, cut into six segments and add to the casserole. Add the citron confit express, thyme? Water, and black pepper.

Cover and reduce the heat. Simmer for 45 minutes. Decorate with fresh thyme leaves and serve with new potatoes or green lentils.

NB! If you wish to have a deeper colour on the chicken thighs and lemon segments roast the dish without lid in 210° C for the last 20 minutes.

Duck breast with clementines

Duck breast with clementines

Magret et clémentines, duck breast with clementines, is a perfect winter recipe when Corsican clementines are in season. Almost 80% of the French clementine production comes from Corsica and these days organic clementines are available.

2 servings

1 magret de canard, duck breast
4- 6 organic Corsican clementines
1 organic orange, zest and juice
100 ml water
1 tbsp. runny honey, pref. lavender honey
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
Chopped parsley to decorate

In a small saucepan, warm the honey, water, and orange zest over low heat. Let simmer for about 15 minutes.

Criss- cross the fatty side of the duck breast with a small sharp knife. In a heavy iron-cast frying pan over medium-high heat, fry the magret 8 minutes on the fatty side, then 6 minutes on the meat side. If you prefer your duck breast more well done, cook for 10 minutes on the fatty side. Place the duck breast on a cutting board and cover with aluminium foil.

Pour the fat out of the pan and set the pan over medium heat. Deglaze the pan with the orange juice and add the red wine vinegar. Peel the clementines and add the clementine segments to the pan. Reduce the heat and let the clementines cook for a few minutes. Add the honey- orange zest confit from the saucepan.

Slice the duck breast and divide on the plates. Divide the clementines on the plates and drizzle over the sauce. Decorate with chopped parsley and serve with green lentils or beans.

Hike to Mouton d'Anou from Le Broc

Le Broc Village

In spite of its modest elevation, Mouton d’Anou (1079 m), is a dominating summit on a large plain behind the Baous of St-Jeannet and La Gaude.

We have previously tried to hike to Mouton d’Anou from Saint-Jeannet some years ago, but had to turn around at Jas Jausserand because a sheep flock guarded by several large dogs was staying in the middle of the trail, and making a detour was not possible.

Start of trail from Le Broc to Mouton d'Anou
Trail above Le Broc
Trail to Mouton d'Anou from Le Broc
Hiking between Le Broc and Mouton d'Anou
Wintry hike to Mouton d'Anou
Summit of Mouton d'Anou 1079m
Signposts on trail to Mouton d'Anou

This time we decided to start our ascent from the perched village of Le Broc (450 m) along a straight-forward trail. As the hunting season was still in full swing, we chose a non-hunting day.

From Le Broc Village, we started from signpost #1 (37 in old maps!) along a steep narrow street. In fact, this and the next signpost (#3) did not have our summit written, only Bouyon, Bézaudun and others. The trail proper soon forked right from the paved alley. The first part was a steep path, but it levelled off soon. We came to a piste, forest road, walked along it a bit till signpost #5 where our trail forked left with Mouton d’Anou clearly shown.

We continued along the trail that climbed gently in a sparse oak forest. We came to another dirt track and signposts #137 and 138. Our mountain was visible. From #138 we took the first apparent trail to the mountain top. The summit was marked with a cross. The view was superb, 360°, from the snow-capped southern Alps to the Mediterranean Sea. We took a parallel path back to the dirt track below the mountain, this trail was less rocky.

We then descended along the same trail back to Le Broc.

Elevation gain : 637 m

Duration : 4 h

Distance : 12,2 km

Map: 3642 ET Vallée de l’Esteron Vallée du Loup

Chicken thighs in tomato sauce

In this recipe, chicken thighs are slowly cooked in tomato sauce with bell peppers. A heavy casserole, cocotte, is perfect for making this carefree but tasty dish.

2 servings

4 free-range chicken thighs with skin
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
1 shallot
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp. olive oil
75 ml white wine
75 ml chicken stock
3 tbsp. tomato purée
½ tsp. Piment d’Espelette or other mild chilli powder
2 tbsp. black olives
Fresh basil to decorate

Warm the olive oil over medium heat in a heavy casserole such as Le Creuset. Fry the chicken thighs on both sides until golden.

Wash the bell peppers and cut into strips discarding the seeds. Add to the casserole. Peel the shallot, chop and add to the casserole. Peel and mince the garlic clove and add to the casserole.

Add the white wine, tomato purée, chicken stock, and Piment d’Espelette. Reduce the heat to simmering, partly cover the casserole and simmer for 30 minutes.

Add the black olives and continue simmering without cover for 10 minutes. Meanwhile microwave some new potatoes. Divide the potatoes and stew on the plates and decorate with basil.

Loop trail around Mont Razet

Mont Razet seen from Baisse de Scuvion

We have previously hiked  up to Mont Razet (1285 m) from Col de Castillon (730 m) between Menton and Sospel. This time we decided to explore the trail that circles Mont Razet. The GPS track shows the itinerary. Our planned turning point was the picturesque Col du Razet (1032 m) with views down to Menton and the coast.

Many of the coastal mountains in this region close to the Italian border reach well over 1000 m, notably Grammondo (1379 m). During the hunting season no hunting days, Tuesday or Friday, should be preferred.

 We noted that many of the signposts had been renewed. Most of the trail was easy with some short steep and rocky parts. A well-known hiking area for locals, it remains a bit off the beaten track for visitors.

From Col de Castillon we started ascending straight north towards Baisse de Scuvion (1168 m), first passing a crossroads at signpost #137. At Baisse de Scuvion, we were just under Mont Razet. We continued, now descending a bit, heading east to Col de Roulabre (1094 m; signpost #91) then to Col du Razet (signpost #17), where we turned back, followed the same trail to Col de Roulabre (15 min), then further to Pierre Pointue (1176 m; signpost #93 and the crossroads to Mont Razet summit), with remnants of military bunkers by the trail.

After Pierre Pointue the trail descended sharply. Some parts of the trail ran in the forest, some in a rocky incline. Eventually we reached signpost #137 again, and walked back to our starting point.

All in all, it was a great variant of our previous hike where we followed the local randoxygène guide “Circuit du Razet”. In fact, this time we really circled the mountain!

Distance: 9,6 km

Duration: 3h 40

Elevation gain: 616 m

Map: IGN Nice-Menton Côte d’Azur 3742 OT

French-style peas

This vegetable recipe is again loosely based on the French morning TV show Télématin. The presenter first told that the Sun King Louis XIV loved peas so much that he used to eat them as a snack like some other people eat chocolate.

She then presented the following simple but tasty recipe in which peas are cooked together with spring onions, olive oil, and salad leaves. She called this the French way of preparing peas. This green side goes well with simple chicken breast, turkey escalope or, as in our dish, rôti de veau, roasted veal.

2 servings

100 ml frozen peas
2 spring onions, white parts only
2 tbsp. olive oil
A small head of salad leaves, such as a head of little gem

Wash and slice the white parts of the spring onions. In a casserole, sauté the spring onions and peas in olive oil. Wash the salad, chop it and add to the casserole. Cover and let cook for a few minutes.

Stir the vegetables and lift on the plates.

Carros Village to Canal de la Gravière


The walk along Canal de la Gravière (about 700 m elev.) above Carros Village (370m) offers great views to Mercantour Summits and the Var River Valley. Local hiking guides call it also Balcon de Carros. We have previously posted hikes in this area: New loop trail above Carros Village and Sommet du Broc.

From Carros Village (370m) we started ascending along the path to Sommet du Broc. The path ends in a forest road; the trail to Sommet du Broc forks left, ascending to Canal de la Gravière where the aqueduct running along the mountain flank became visible. The descending dirt road descends to Le Broc.

This time we wanted to explore the northern part of Canal de la Gravière. A partly ingrown piste followed the aqueduct a few hundred meters after which the water duct dove into rocky and steep terrain, marking our turning point and picnic break.

On the way back, we walked the same way as far as to the crossroads by the forest road. From here we continued along it towards Le Broc. Before Le Broc Village, we reached a wider road and a crossroads showing the direction back to Carros Village, passing the Chapel of St-Sébastien. From the Chapel, the itinerary passed tranquil residential areas, following a paved road.

There were new signposts along the trail. Carros Village is a great starting point for day hikes. By taking advantage of the network of marked itineraries, you can easily tailor make your hike. The image below shows the GPS trail.

Duration: 2h15

Climb: 410 m

Canal de la Gravière trail above Carros

Map: 3642 ET Vallée de l’Estéron Vallée du Loup

View from path to Mercantour summits

Old-style vegetable soup

Old-style vegetable soup

This vegetable soup recipe is inspired by the French morning TV, Télématin. The presenter first talked about the Sun King Louis XIV, who was very fond of his vegetable garden in Versailles. He was regularly served as a starter vegetable soup made from old-style root vegetables from his garden.

My soup recipe is loosely based on the TV show. The good thing with vegetable soups is that you can easily change the ingredients according to your preferences and seasonal availability.

Serving this soup as a starter is a great way to increase your vegetable intake towards the recommended 3- 5 portions a day. Any leftover soup can be frozen.


2 carrots
2 turnips
2 parsnips
2 Jerusalem artichokes
1 large onion
½ head of cauliflower
3 tbsp. olive oil
 800 ml water
1tsp. curry or Piment d’Espelette
Fresh herbs

Warm the olive oil in a large casserole over medium heat. Peel and chop the vegetables, add to the casserole placing the cauliflower on top. Add the curry and water and bring to the boil.

Cover and reduce to medium heat. Cook for 30 minutes.

With a handheld mixer purée the vegetables. Serve in bowls decorated with chopped fresh herbs.