Proper salade niçoise

I had so many things to say about the terrorist attack on Nice. I decided to share none of it here. Except maybe for this: THEY WILL NOT GET OUR JOIE DE VIVRE!
So vive la France, vive Nice and vive food and wine and sex and laughter and friendships…
I made salade niçoise for lunch today, following the original recipe from Escofier himself. It couldn’t be more simple and certainly shouldn’t be more complicated (or sophisticated). Provence is all about simple ingredients and authenticity!

One of the easiest, healthiest and most delicious family recipes I’ve ever shared…

After months of waiting, the bouchot mussels are back! Bouchot mussels are the best money can buy in France. They are not very big (about an inch) but they are VERY tasty. The name comes from the wooden posts (bouchots in French) they grow on. These posts are made of oak or chestnut and can be found all along the Atlantic coast. The largest production areas are the Mont Saint Michel Bay and l’Ile-de-ré. We all wait for this time of year to eat them. They are not available before the en or June. You may find some, but they’d be small and not very “full” inside.

My definition of cool

I feel I have finally found a good definition for what a cool person is. There are, in my opinion, three prerequisites

My clafoutis aux cerises, courtesy of great grandma Manée

People make clafoutis with all sorts of fruits these days. The original is made with cherries! Clafoutis (also called millard) is a specialty of the Auvergne and Limousin regions of France. The name comes from an old Occitan word meaning “filling”.
The recipe is quite simple and is basically the “flan” recipe with cherries added. You are going to think I am obsessed with my grandmothers after so many posts that include their recipes, but this on comes from my great grandmother Manée (in the picture) who was even more of a foodie than me. She is quite a legend in our family.

We all need chocolate today!

They will never take away our humanity. If anything, they will make us stronger and teach us to be more kind to one another. That’s the way to victory! That’s my thinking anyway…
So God (or whoever is watching from above) bless America and God bless our brothers and sisters of the LGBTQ community. We love you all very much!
Let’s find a way to make others feel a tiny bit better today. One way to achieve that is to make a lovely cake for everyone to enjoy this evening when they come back from work or school. Here is my recipe for a quick and easy (and delicious) chocolate cake:

My French Heaven TV???

Should I start a Youtube channel???? I’ve been thinking about it for years, but I’ve always been petrified at the idea of showing my fat face on screen. Although it’s getting fatter by the day so today might be the thinnest I’ll ever be… And what if people don’t understand a word I say through my French accent? And what if the videos are too long? What if they aren’t long enough? What if…

The fat Hipster takes a leisurely stroll along the river

I don’t know about you, but I have this terrible habit of always wanting to rush through things; and for a perfectionist, it is the definition of hell itself, because I want to get many things done all at once while expecting them to be done well. So basically, I am the French guy preaching the importance of joie de vivre and the importance of slowing down while rushing through my life like the mad hatter from Alice in Wonderland.

Why did the hats have to go?!

Last week, as we celebrated Pentecost (not me, you guys know that although I respect everyone’s beliefs, I don’t care much for organized religion), it reminded me of how special that day used to be in my hometown of Libourne. You see, although Libourne is quite a small town with its 30 000 souls, we used to pride ourselves with a small but very active race track. Of all the races, the one everyone used to attend was the one that took place every year on Pentecost day.

Imperfect = perfect

Whether it’s in my photography or in the way I welcome people here for our culinary adventures, I always try to create the best possible sensory experience, but I also make it a point to keep things as casual (OK, casual chic) and authentic as possible.

Back a different man…

Film photography has slowed me down in my creative process and has forced me to get out of my own way. I will continue to shoot digital of course, if only for the simplicity of it all, but I have now officially become a diehard film photographer!

My virtual mentors are my angels: great inspiration for creative minds

Now, as I am in the process of building a new website dedicated to my photography and since I am a Youtube nut, I wanted to share some really inspiring people and videos to you. Coming across this material and “meeting” these people has truly helped me with my creative process.

Thoughtful and inexpensive Christmas presents

I decided that I wouldn’t spend too much money on Christmas presents this year. Except on my mom and dad who always get the same thing from me every year. He gets a big basket of candy, chocolates, marmalades and patés. She gets a bottle of Chanel :0)

The thanks I want to keep giving

You know I’m a big fan of friends and family reunions. Sadly Easter and Christmas are the last ones we really celebrate in France anymore. No one really cares about Bastille Day and we never even had Thanksgiving. Obviously. Oh how I wish we had Thanksgiving!!! I’d be planning and cooking for days…

From evil to the light: My plans for Christmas

I have already started to build my annual Christmas inspired board. I erase it every year in January so I don’t get stuck with too many of the same ideas from one year to the next. Go check it out here. You’ll find plenty of incredible links with DIY stuff from deco to lights to cookies and trees etc.

The power of love, laughter and… persillade

I simply sear my scallops to a golden brown (about one minute on each side on medium to high heat) and then dump my persillade on top. I also like to add a bit of lemon juice to give it an extra kick. To die for!! Note that scallops are like calamari: they have to be cooked quickly so they don’t feel like rubber in your mouth. Some people slice them in half before cooking them. I don’t because they end up being thoroughly cooked before they have enough time to brown on the outside.

Where are the grandmas when you need one?

I often turn to complete strangers at the farmers’ market or supermarket for cooking advice and inspiration :0) I try to target a lady with a bag full of what I think are interesting ingredients. She would be my nana for the day. That would make for a great business idea: rentanana.com… Don’t you think?

The Best of Provence – Part 2: The French Riviera

The sea front in Nice is called “La Croisette”. The name comes from the French verb for passing someone on the street: se croiser. In Cannes, it is called “La Promenade des Anglais” (the English promenade). This comes from the olden days when the British gentry would come to the French riviera while on their European tours or just to escape the cold of Winter. If you watched the latest episode of Downton Abbey (spoiler alert), you know that the Dowager Countess is heading for Cannes as we speak :0) These “promenades” were ideal locations for street photography. From the two girlfriends eating ice-cream on a bench to the German biker covered in tattoos: portrait photography heaven!!

The best of Provence – The South East corner of my French heaven

But let’s talk about what’s really important: THE FOOD. Our two favorite meals in the area were at “La fourchette” in Avignon and “Le bistrot du Paradou” in the village of Paradou. La fourchette had the most exquisite traditional dishes, all cooked to perfection. Escargots, pieds paquets, grenouilles… While this gave us the traditional French dinning experience, the other place was even more fun