Velouté de brocoli et fleur de sel à la vanille.

We are leaving for Hawaii tomorrow for ten days. I’m looking forward to this break – I am really a bit tired and fatigued! Maybe summer was just too much fun!

I didn’t want to buy extra food for dinner tonight. The point is after all to clean the fridge when leaving. I had broccoli in the fridge. And it is cold and raining. And I still have to pack and clean up. So dinner was to be a broccoli soup. Or rather…a velouté. I always have a problem with broccoli soup. I can never get it to be tasty. It always tastes like over cooked broccoli. Awful.

…velouté de brocoli et fleur de sel à la vanille…

broccoli vanilla soup 2

I sautéed two shalots in olive oil. Then added a big broccoli head with enough vegetable stock to cover the broccoli completely. I let it simmer until the broccoli stems were tender. Removed from the heat and with a hand blender, blended until smooth. I added some milk and a swirl of cream for thickness and mixed through, placed back on the heat and slowly brought back to boil and removed from the heat. I Seasoned with some vanilla salt(fleur de sel with scraped seeds from a vanilla seedpod) and a turn of the pepper mill. Still tasted bland. So I added a handful of chopped fresh tarragon, the grated skin of a lime, some lime juice to taste, and a drizzle of white balsamic vinegar. After mixing the soup again with the  handmixer, I strained it through a fine sieve to get a velouté. Tasted again. Not too bad, but still not what I’m looking for in a broccoli velouté. I served it warm in bowls with a dollop of mayonnaise and a last sprinkling of the vanilla fleur de sel. The maynnaise adds a nice touch to the soup I thought.

I’d love to try a nice broccoli soup recipe, because I DO love broccoli! So, If you’re reading here and you have a nice broccoli soup recipe, please leave a link to your recipe in the comment section, so we can all delight in what’s good! If you don’t have a link, you can shortly describe your recipe in the comments.

I’m off packing now and will be back beginning of October. Until then: Try, Test and Taste…always!

…trying to get to Hawaii…

trying to get to Hawai

Green vegetable quinoa with saffron sauce.(Quinoa aux légumes vertes et sauce au safran)

I have many weaknesses and they all depend on time of year or time of week or kind of mood. I’m not talking character weaknesses, of which I have so many, I could create a whole new population! I’m talking about those weaknesses that make you jittery in the knees. Like a handsome guy passing you on the  street( ladies..!), or a stunning woman smiling at you(for the men..!!), or that pair of shoes in the window whispering: “buy mee, buy mee…” all the while next to you, you see the man in your life droolingly staring at that iphone in the window next door.

…classic and romantic

white and grey vintage feminin

Weaknesses. As I said,I have many. But not in the line of clothes or make-up, or even kitchen gadgets. Maybe perfume? But my knees do go jello when I see old linen.  Silver. Glasses. Old etchings. OLd books! Old postcards. Old tableware. Old kitchen towls. Tablecloths.  I’d better stop. At the moment I am the  napkin phase. I love eating with a fabric napkin. Old, new, classic, contemporary, embroidered, monogrammed, linen, cotton, colourful, white..

…old and wintery…

with stories moving into winter

summer romance In summer we are loud and modern bright,  fun and frivolous with our summer tables. In winter I turn to old and classic, warm, heavier storytelling table ware. And the napkins of course, have to play along…whites and soft greys, dark aubergines and burgundies. Here at the dawn to autumn, I have grown a bit bored with all the summer napkins we used, so I got seduced this morning into indulging in a few new autumn-spirited napkins, which I couldn’t wait to use with dinner!

And no, I don’t spend a lot of money on a napkin. I have a rule as to what I’ll pay for a napkin and I never cross that african bush line. To buy expensive everyday napkins , would be obscene. And thus far I could find pretty, elegant, stylish, fun, wintery…every kind of napkin I desire, within my set budget boundaries.  Of course there are beautiful ones far above my rule script, but I would have to leave the price tag on so people would see it and then be too intimidated to wipe their mouths and so the napkins would remain forever unused.  If you have the time and a sewing machine, it becomes even cheaper and your choice of fabric is endless. But another rule when making your own(of course to be broken if you so wish, that is why there are rules..?) is to keep the napkin simple, easy washable and of a natural fabric like cotton. Leave the trimmings like buttons and boughs for your cushions. Napkins should be simple. Unadorned.


No, I don’t do any napkin folding. No swans, or donkeys, or rabbits or candles swooning next to my plate. No flowery creations suiciding over wine glass rims. Just simply folded(with the monogram or the embroidery on top, if any), or rolled and stuck into a napkin ring.

And NO STAINS!! Therefore you have the trusted old soap- and- soak trick, letting it dry in the sun. Treat your stains as soon as possible and DON’T EVER iron on a stain.

So. You’re thinking: “Fabric napkins! Urgghh! Work!!” Maybe. Or not? Isn’t it the washing machine who washes it? Or even the washing services? OK,  yeah yeah yeah, it still needs to be ironed, but isn’t all the trouble a small sacrifice compared to the delight of having a lovely napkin beside your plate? western american

So. How about an inspiring napkin drawer? Napkins neatly folded. Some maybe rolled and tied into a bundle with an oh, so pretty ribbon. And on the side in the drawer, interesting napking rings in a small basket, bowl,  old tin, or pretty covered little box(that your creative self decorated at almost no cost!)Any fragrant herbs for repellant as well as perfuming? You wouldn’t want a guest, or yourself, bringing a musty, dusty smelling napkin to his/her mouth, that area right under the nose?

After spending time and energy and thought into preparing a meal, you owe it to yourself and to the food to present it at the best table you can create. It is called respect. For yourself, and your hard work, your guests  and for the food you prepared.

…an inspiring napkin drawer makes for inspiring tablesetting. It doesn’t have to be expensive. It only has to be inventive and creative….

lining the drawer with cotton towl inspiration in the drawer

…now let’s eat!…

Vegetable quinoa with saffron sauce(quinoa aux legumes et sauce au saffran.)

Green vegetable quinoa with saffron sauce


  • This is eaten like a risotto…only with quinoa, but use arborio rice and you can have a green vegetable risotto.
  • Subsitute half of the boiling water with dry white wine.
  • Any green vegetables can be used, or other for that matter.
  • If on a diet, don’t mix the réme frâiche with the vetables, but serve it on the side, as I did in the photo, but still do toss the vegetables with some olive oil, a squirt of lemon juice and seasoning.
  • Top off with some tasted almonds or some sunflowerseeds for crunch.
  • Play around, and don’t skimp on the vegetables!

…shelled beans & peas…

shelled beans, peas & parmiggiano