The Salade Not-so-Nicoise

World over, there are many versions of the Salade Niçoise and much debate over what constitutes the correct serving of this classic dish. Purists insist that no cooked component should be added, apart from the tuna itself, and even then the tuna is either optional or tinned (not in MY kitchen). As you can see from the title of…

An EASY Mediterranean Weekend Lunch

When I was growing up I thought that twenty-four hours was the perfect length for a day. With age, this has changed: I’d now like thirty-six at least so that, among other things, I’d have more time to cook delicious things which take ages to prepare. As it is, I am your typical time-poor, full-time,…

Les Fleurs du Thym restaurant, Les Sables d’Olonne

It’s hot, the heat has fried any sort of decision-making mechanism that Monsieur and I might once have possessed, and we’re hungry. The afternoon has been spent squeezed onto a beach with hundreds and thousands of French holidaymakers at Les Sables d’Olonne in the Bay of Biscay and we’d prefer not to spend the evening looking out at…

Les Sables d’Olonne

Monsieur and I recently found ourselves in the searing hot Vendée region of France. On arrival it was forty degrees in the shade and the land was baking. The beach beckoned, so off we set for the coast for a swim. As it was still holiday season, we knew it would be busy, but the scene that…

Bar Gelateria Del Molo, Porto Rotondo, Sardinia

Porto Rotondo is a place of fantasy: an artificial port and marina filled with luxe and super-boats. The one below is charming instead of the usual gin palace that’s the size of a house on water. The sad thing is that these super-vessels only get used for a few weeks each summer. The rest of the…

Newtons, Abbeville Road

Monsieur and I have been househunting in earnest of late. That means Very Busy Saturdays. We set off straight after breakfast and spend most of the day with real estate agents, checking out kitchen appliances, the direction of  the sun versus garden aspect, whether windows are sash or double-glazed, finding out if there’s a chain to…

Maguro, London W9

When we first moved to Maida Vale some years ago, Monsieur and I missed having a sushi bar within easy reach of chez nous. To eat Japanese at the weekend, we’d have to travel. Not as far as Tokyo, of course, but across a postcode or two. Sometimes, that’s not what you need at the end of…

Recipe: Neptune’s Bubbles

Recently, I was chatting with @champagnediet on Twitter and mentioned my recent experimentation with a bottle of bubbly in the kitchen. I’d made a truly scrummy dish of scallops and king prawns in a champagne and cream sauce – plenty for two people as a light evening meal, or a decadent starter if you’re hungry. Anyway, I…

Hotel Pullman, Marseille Palm Beach

Marseille: an ancient city renowned for many things, among which number its huge commercial port, a small crime problem, the legendary Château d’If and fine bouillabaisse. The city lent its name to the French national anthem, la Marseillaise, pastis was born here and Marcel Pagnol took childhood walks in the lush Parc Borély. I suggest that we add to this hall of fame the Hotel Pullman Marseille Palm…

Restaurant La Villa, L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue

It was nearing the end of our ‘vacances’ in the South of France last summer and we spent our last morning visiting the town famed for brocante: L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. Walking through the picturesque centre-ville, that day brimming with parading brass bands in competition, their supporters and weekend visitors like ourselves, we’d worked up quite an appetite….

Kitchen Cheats: Eggs Benedict with Smoked Salmon

One of our favourite weekend brunches consists of eggs Benedict. Monsieur positively demolishes them and insists on eating eggs Benedict when we’re out of town, just to compare and contrast with what he gets at home. Most of the time my eggs win the draw, however I cheat 100% when I make them; it’s more of a combination of heat…