Tomato Salad with holiday spirit

A photo of the Lake Salagou from above.
This is a really easy tomato salad recipe, but it is fantastic. As you (should) know, we have a lot of tomatoes each year and I have come up with loads of ways of using them, but this is our favorite and quickest tomato salad. Being a very creative cook, I sometimes go overboard on spices and “ooh, I’ll just roll this and tuck that, brown it, flip it and stack it” so this is a surprising none-of-all-of-that dish. As always, the recipe is at the end, but first it’s time for more holiday stories!

Honey, I'm home!

A photo of a tomato salad at the beach in Sete.

I’m back home and rearing to get back to my blog. Hope you have had as great a 2 weeks as I have just had. We went to Lac de Salagou, from there to Sete at the Mediterranean (that’s where the photo is taken) and to Roses in Spain as well. Except for one awesome thunderstorm, we had fantastic weather and swam in the lake at Salagou and in the Mediterranean Sea. We ate oysters sitting on the beach and cycled along the Canal du Midi – how lucky can a girl get?!

Household accidents

A photo of a tamarisk in spring.

I have a kitchen slicer / mandolin that is sharper than a Japanese Samurai sword and ever since I bought the thing 10 years ago, I have been waiting to slice off a body part. It is an awesome piece of machinery and it’s not that I particularly want to lose a body part, it’s just that it is sooo sharp and I am sooo clumsy. So finally a year or two ago, it happened and I succeeded in almost slicing off my right hand at the shoulder.

Fish Chowder made the Narragansett way

Photo of Fish Chowder.

As I mentioned in my last post, we had my in-laws to stay for a few weeks and were able to celebrate my brother-in-law’s 42nd birthday with friends, 16 of us to be precise. For this special event, I made a Narragansett Fish Chowder for starters, stuffed smoked salmon parcels for an in-between course, and then smoked chicken and salads for the main course. I had Sally and Em bring the desserts – very clever on my part as they were both delicious. All recipes will follow in due course!

Fish Cakes, Napoleon's favourite

Today's recipe is: Napoleon's Fish Cakes

Fish Cakes

Okay, so maybe they weren’t exactly historically speaking his favorite, but if he were in exile today, they would be. For sure. I mean, how could they not be?? (Sigh) It seems I am once again getting ahead of myself so I will attempt to start at the beginning. You see, I made Napoleon fishcakes for supper last night and they got me remembering……….

Curried Minced / Ground Beef and Vetkoek

My beloved baby sister, Alison, (who makes THE BEST Curried Minced Beef and Vetkoek in the world)her husband, Marius, and 2 children are now living in New Zealand which is a real bummer for me as I haven’t seen her in over 3 years. My wonderful niece and nephew, Bianca and Martius (who clearly take after me!) are also sorely missed by their crazy aunt. My darling sister suffered a bad stroke last year at the (very young) age of 38 (and yet another this week), but is pulling through with humour and charm. Headline: Strokes and sex changes. Read more to find out what this means….

Corned beef is your national dish, damnit!!

Today's recipes are: Corned Beef 101; and American Corned Beef Dinner
A photo of a green beer.

We generally spend St. Patrick’s Day (the 17th of March) in the USA. For those of you who have had the (mis)fortune of receiving group mails from me over the years, you would know this. But I am relying on the fact that most of my friends won’t remember this (alcohol, age……and no, I haven’t quite finished reading “How to make friends and influence people”). We were in the mid-west for the celebrations two years ago and our barman wore a green wig, our waitress had drunk far too much of the green beer (yes, all beer is green on this particular day) and brought us warm beer, cold corned beef & cabbage, and the Irish soup (should have been stew) after the pudding….. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

Lunch in Spain or Restaurant for masochists

We love popping over the border to Spain for lunch. It sounds so exotic (and I suppose it actually is!). We live about an hour from The Pyrenees, the mountain range that forms the border between France and Spain, and an hour and a half from our favourite Spanish restaurant. Its everyday fare of excellent quality cooked over an open fire in the restaurant. The two women who run it are incredible characters – one makes Attila the Hun look like a nice guy, and the other has two beauty spots that I swear are on a different spot every time we go there. And don’t think that the service is going to get better when Senor Pascha gets there – he does NOT work, but will take your money, soon as he’s finished doing whatever it is that he’s (not) doing!

Asseing - you try and say it!

Today's recipes are: Moroccan Marinated Carrots; and Dried fruit Cake
I find some French words harder to pronounce than others and this is such a word. You don’t say the end of the word, but you make sort of a nasal thing so that (a French person) would immediately write ‘ng’ on the end in spite of the fact that you never actually pronounced them. With or without ‘ng’, Asseing is a beautiful village in the foothills of the Pyrenees – the mountain range that separates France from Spain. We had a lovely Moroccan lunch there with Ginette and her friends (now ours too!) Kristel and Nicolas. It was the end of March and the weather was still a little cold, but we Europeans go out rain or shine as we would otherwise never get out!

Breakfast at the market

Today's recipe is: Spicy Sausage on French Bread
Everybody loves French markets and we are no exception to this rule. In fact, I am no longer merely an enjoyer, I am a believer of this tradition. This belief may involve ruining my liver and lead to early alcoholism and an early death, but if this is the price to be paid to preserve the French traditional way of life, then I shall have to sacrifice myself.