Recent posts

A taste of the sweet life

Passion

Instagram

Having a passion will bring you many things...an adventure, a taste, a feeling, even a lifestyle.  As we live out our passions they become realities and make us feel that we can go the next level, achieve the next step, give us confidence to conquer that mountain.  One of my passions, as I am passionate about most things that come into life, is cooking.

I believe in smelling the perfume of spices, touching the food, squeezing it with my own hands...hand in tomatoes...using fresh juices, hand squeezing limeseasonal vegetables, ripe fruits - adding a touch of the exotic to what seems like simple fare...like tearing up crisp greens and herbs for the dish at the very last minute to release that flavor and pique the nose...hand tearing basil...and adding bold color for the eyes, introducing you to my style, my passion an eclectic mix of soul food from the Mediterranean and beyond...that will take you away and bring you back home all at once!

Chicken Pot Pies

Instagram

On a rainy between-winter-spring day, what a better home-made, comfort meal than a Chicken Pot Pie!

Using some leftovers and a few staples, you can come up with a piping hot, yummy dinner.  We had leftover potatoes, from the previous night's raclette, so they got peeled, diced and placed in individual dishes (for easier serving and saving, they freeze well).

chicken-pot-pieThe sauce is the next item of business : it is a basic white sauce, however, I had chicken broth all ready to go, so I used a half milk & half broth, fills it up full of flavor.  Start by frying up very finely diced carrots and onions in a little unsalted butter & olive oil, add the flour & stir until a paste forms.  Add the milk & broth, a little at a time to avoid lumps, once it is a smooth, thick sauce add the rest of the liquids to your taste.  Add salt/pepper and any other cooked vegetables you desire - we added Umami dried mushrooms, fresh herbs and a minced garlic. Let cool about 15 minutes.  Get your dishes ready and prepare your crust, or use a prepared crust if you are in a pinch!

 

helping-mama

filling-upArrange your dishes together, so as not to make too much a mess, spoon filling into each dish until full - then lay over the crust, pinch it to the dish and poke a few holes into it with a knife to let the steam out while cooking.

 

 

piping-hotBake in the oven at medium temperature until the crust is golden and the pie is piping hot and oozing with goodness - Enjoy and Bon Apetit!

oozing-goodness

Gruissan Sea Salt

Instagram

Starting out on a friend's sailboat in the port of Gruissan, we strolled along the quai to watch the seagulls and listen to the eery ghost-like sounds made by the boats' masts rolling in the wind.gruissan-portIt was a beautiful, sunny day and being Sunday in the winter, we were almost all alone, save for the hard-core sailors who live on their boats all year round!

So, we chose to go on an outing a bit further from the port across the water to the salt flats.  A short drive across the bridge and out onto the jetty we found a mountain of Gruissan Sea Salt.salt-mountain

It is well known around here for its pure qualities, and of course what chef wouldn't want to use local sea salt for cooking the best of dishes!tasting-salt
Here at the factory, you can taste and purchase the salt almost from out of the sea itself - and let's not forget the offer of fresh oysters as well, right out of the salt flats nearby!

You can take a tour and have an in-depth explanation of how the salt is made, farmed and prepared for your table and for your tongue...!

A 40-minute drive from Azille & La Dolce Vita, Gruissan is worth a visit and a walk on the beach, with all the houses on stilts reminds you of the old fisherman's village previously in its place, along with the Vieux village and its history too!

Cookies & Cupcakes

Instagram

Cookies & Cupcakes, an Annual tradition at La Dolce Vita, prepared, baked, packaged, and finally, distributed amongst our friends and supporters in Azille.

This year, end of 2012 going into 2013 was no different, except that Laiyla was much more involved in the whole process.  We sifted flour together, even on the floor!  We stirred, dropped spoonfuls of batter on baking sheets, filled cupcakes tins, rolled dough and baked for 2 full days.  Finally we finished and ended up with a variety of baked goods to share with everyone on our list.

goodie-basket

Molasses & fresh ginger cupcakes was the first item on the agenda to make & bake: Molasses organic and ginger grated by hand.  Prepared the dough for the Lemon Snowballs next, as it needs to refrigerate before forming into little balls to cook: fresh lemon juice, lemon zest & a special ingredient provided by our local "Boulangerie", lemon oil - highly potent to add just the right level of lemon flavour!

cookie-gift-baskets

Chocolate chip cookies a must, along side a healthy Cranberry, Oatmeal & Chocolate cookies made with raw brown sugar and wholewheat flour to make sure you can enjoy one, or two, without any worries!  Pumpkin muffins made from oven-roasted pumpkin (remember our halloween jack-o-lanterns?), Cherry & Cinnamon cupcakes, thanks to the cherries picked last season and frozen, and finally a few peppermint, mini meringues!


Isn't it great to live in Azille?  Anyone can enjoy the goodies, just book a room in January and yummy is sure to follow...

 

 

Pumpkins galore

Instagram

Now that halloween is over, what do we do with the leftover jack-o-lanterns? pumpkin-5 At La Dolce Vita, we make pumpkin ice cream, beautifully smooth soup and below, a luscious tart! 

Basically it goes pumpkin-feta-tartlike this : Flaky Pie Crust, cooked pumpkin, cooked spinach, feta cheese, heavy & light cream, eggs and seasonings to taste.  Blind bake the pie crust, spread spinach on bottom of crust, then layer pumpkin in slices, sprinkle with feta (or your favorite cheese), salt & pepper, then top with creams blended with the eggs - bake until done and lightly golden, serve hot with a bowl of creamy pumpkin soup if you'd like!