Silver Travel Cook Club

June 2022 – Provence: Recipes from the French Mediterranean

This month’s Silver Travel Cook Club features a recipe for Bouillabaisse inspired by sponsor A-ROSA River Cruises‘ classic Rhone Cruise.

And you could win a copy of Provence: Recipes from the French Mediterranean by Caroline Craig.

Provence is at the crossroads of many civilisations. It is an area that has seen successive waves of migration and its cuisine – which features ravioli, couscous and orange blossom reflects this rich history.

Caroline Craig comes from generations of fruit farmers in Provence where her great grandfather, Aime Rimbert, co-founded the wine cooperative in her family’s native village Mormoiron. This book is for those who want to eat simply but well, recreating the flavours of the Mediterranean at home.


Rhone Route Classique

Enjoy a week on the sun-kissed River Rhone this summer aboard the A-ROSA STELLA sailing from Lyon ‘La Ville de Gueule’ or ‘the city of the palate’ where simple, high quality regional produce is the star of the show. From here, wend your way through Burgundy visiting Macon and Chalon-sur-Saone and southbound to lavender-perfumed Provence exploring Avignon, Arles with the option to enjoy the Camargue where wildlife-spotting opportunities abound.

A-ROSA STELLA offers a relaxed style with Premium All-Inclusive as standard. Enjoy casual regionally-inspired dining in our main restaurant, plus live cooking demonstrations like fresh mussel pots or Bouillabaise al fresco. All drinks (tea, coffee, soft drinks, wine, beer, spirits and cocktails) are included all day and evening.

Cabins are spacious and well-appointed, with upper deck cabins offering French balconies.

There’s a real emphasis on relaxation, whether kicking back with a complimentary cocktail on a sun lounger or enjoying SPA-ROSA with its relaxation room and Finnish sauna. The wonderful pool on the sun deck is perfect for a dip after a day exploring.

The Rhone Route Classique cruise operates weekly from April to October 2022 and 2023. Prices including flights and transfers from £1,499 per person (twin share).

Find out more about the cruise.


Recipe: Bouillabaisse

Preparation time: 1 hour
Total time:
2 hours
Serves:
4

It has been claimed that this soup was originally cooked by fishermen in Marseille from small fish and fish scraps, using seawater. However, cultural historians can prove from sources that the bouillabaisse known today in upscale cuisine and restaurants deviates from the simple basic recipe. The oldest known recipe for this fish soup dates from 1790 by Jourdain Le Cointe in his book La cuisine de Santé and describes a soup traditionally prepared by fishermen that already contained many of the ingredients of today’s bouillabaisse. However, it was called matelote de poisson. The first recipe for a bouillabaisse à Marsellaise appeared in 1830 in Le Cuisinier Durand and contained European sea bass and langoustines, i.e., high-quality and expensive ingredients. In the past, the term ‘bouillabaisse’ was not limited to a specific fish dish, as there are recipes in old cookbooks that do not contain fish.

Ingredients:

  • 2 onions
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 1 small leek
  • ½ fennel bulb
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Peeled zest strips from half an orange
  • 400 ml fish stock (from a jar)
  • 250 ml dry white wine
  • 2-3 sprigs thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp saffron threads, soaked in 2 tsp hot water
  • approx. 2 teaspoons of tomato paste (to taste)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 8 king prawns, shelled and gutted
  • 16 mussels, cleaned and washed
  • 800 g mixed fish (e.g., scorpion fish, monkfish, red snapper, sea bass or John Dory), preferably filleted.
  • 8 small potatoes, peeled and boiled until soft

Method:

  1. Cut onion and garlic into thin strips.
  2. Score the tomatoes crosswise, put them in boiling water for about 20 seconds, then peel. Cut the peeled tomatoes into quarters and remove the cores. Coarsely dice into quarters.
  3. Slice the leek, cut the fennel into strips.
  4. Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil for about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, leek, fennel and orange zest and sauté briefly.
  5. Add fish stock, wine, tomato paste, spices and herbs, bring to the boil, then simmer gently for about 10 minutes.
  6. Add the fish pieces with the prawns, mussels and potatoes to the stock and simmer covered for about ten minutes at medium-low heat.
  7. Season the soup again to taste, discard closed mussels.
  8. Divide the fish pieces, seafood, potatoes and vegetables into deep plates. Ladle soup over and sprinkle with fennel greens

How to win a copy of Provence: Recipes from the French Mediterranean by Caroline Craig

Provence is where the sun beats hard and dry but aromatic herbs, vines and fruit trees prosper. Comment below to tell us about your favourite part of France and a meal you have enjoyed there.

A winner will be chosen in early July 2022.
The competition closes on 30 June 2022.

Read more about all of our Silver Travel Cook Club recipes.

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17 Responses

  1. I love the Loire Valley and during a cruise on the Le Cher, and near the small town of Athée-sur-Cher, we stumbled across La Boulaye. The restaurant looked unremarkable from the front, but we were soon ensconced on a large rear terrace overlooking the garden. Over complimentary champagne, Stefan the owner, explained dinner options with the set menu entitled “A walk in the countryside of Touraine” (€36 for three courses). Some dishes were interestingly described: The carp – with small fry to pick with fingers. Every morsel was exquisitely presented and tasted fabulous, culminating in local cheeses selected from an old-fashioned wooden trolley. Wines were local to the Loire Valley and a perfect accompaniment. On our way out, we were invited into the kitchen to meet Stefan’s wife, the chef. The inside design and decor were fabulous and included a piano with some keys removed to hold cutlery.

  2. Some year ago, we spent three weeks exploring Brittany and evening meals was fresh bread from the local bakers (time it right and it would still be warm), cheese (so many different varieies to try), salad (for healthy eating) and washed down with the local cider. Cider apple trees were everywhere and all the shops sold their local variety.

  3. Bayeux District especially a visit to the beaches where so many gave their all,for our tomorrow’s,though I wasn’t born I still get hairs on my neck,visiting,lest we forget.

  4. 4 days in Lyon was a gastronomic delight, especially those restaurants in the ‘old’ town where, I had the most delicious beef bourguignon one evening.

  5. Angers in western France on the edge of the Loire Valley. Not usually a lover of cities but this one was great with its history culture and food.
    Restaurant Le Dix Septieme, an historic 17th century former house located in the centre of the old town was really great. Chef, Richard Cerini, certainly knows how to entice and delight people with his exciting and sophisticated cuisine. Never thought I would eat ‘snails’ but really enjoyed these in a starter!

  6. The most delicious lamb chops with frites at Le Terminus in Paris followed by a Nutella crepe and coffee. It was our last evening in Paris after a week of lovely meals but this one stands out for the food and the service. Sadly the restaurant isn’t there anymore though there is another one in its place.

  7. I would really like to do some authentic French cooking. I like to surprise my husband, and family with out of the ordinary meals. I haven’t always been successful. But they do say that , “Practice makes perfect.”

  8. I loved my second and third visits to Paris after a disappointing first visit – probably because it was for one day and I had travelled overnight by coach & ferry! French Onion Soup is my favourite French dish!

  9. Many years visiting so many wonderful places in France but our favourite area is still Provence/Côte d’Azur. However, one of the most outstanding and memorable meals was in a small restaurant in Calais – turbot with hollandaise sauce. Perfectly cooked and completely delicious!

  10. I really enjoyed a short break to Avignon to celebrate my husband’s 50th birthday; we travelled by Eurostar (easy when we could start in Ashford), changed at Lille onto the highspeed train direct to Avignon. We had some amazing meals in well reviewed restaurants we’d researched online but as it was 2005 I can’t remember what we ate – only that it was all good. However, the most memorable location was on a day cruise on the Rhone from Avignon to Arles that included a 3 course set lunch with wine. Again, I can’t remember what we ate but it was surprisingly good for an obviously touristy day trip and also seemed to be enjoyed by the French coach party (complete with accordionist) we shared the experience with. Arles was really interesting too but next time I want to go further south to the Camargue.

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