Bouillabaisse Back to Basics — a modern version of a recipe by Jean-Baptiste Reboul

Jean-Baptiste Reboul wrote “la cuisinière provençale” in 1897 and it is still a standard-bearer. I recently bought fish at Port la Nouvelle with the aim of making a Bouillabaisse.

This fish soup with chunks of fish has become a famous Marseille dish of broth, lots of fish and sea food, served with a garlicky and peppery rouille and even some grated cheese.

A simple aïoli

Aïoli

For many people aïoli is a garlic sauce that goes over fries, kebab or shawarma. But in the Provence, aïoli is more than that and can be an entire festive meal with fish, snail, squid, artichokes and other vegetables with a dollop of the creamy garlic sauce.

Pancakes!

pancakes

In France, people eat a lot of pancakes. They are flat and called “crèpes” and can be sweet of savoury. In Breton pancake eateries they have savoury “sarazin” crèpes that could rival with pizzas. The “crèpes Suzette” is an alcohol soaked sweet desert. In the Netherlands where I grew up, the pancakes are thicker and … Read more

Beef pear with trumpet of the death mushrooms

Poire with trompettes

My butcher usually keeps two special cuts aside when he gets a new carcass — the poire and the merlan — and I have the right of first refusal. I hardy ever refuse.

These are very fine cuts, one is oblong and looks like a fish (merlan being a whiting) and the poire looks like a big pear. They come from near the topside, in English butchery terms. For French butchers, they are near the tranche. It is lean and delicate meat and not so well known because there is just about a pound of it on an entire cow.

Pasta with clams, Saint Jacob scallops and squid

Pasta with clams, scallops and squid

This weekend was the “Foire aux harengs et à la coquille de St Jacques” in the coastal town of Dieppe but we could not go to the Normandy port.

To mark this weekend of herring and scallops and encourage the hard-working small-boat fishermen there, I made a dish with scallops from my local fishmonger.