Eating in provence

Matisse, Dubuffet and scrumping plums!

Good Sunday morning to you all, the air is fresh, the breeze is cool and there isn’t a hint of a fire in the immediate vicinity. I believe that there are still fires burning in the Var, mostly contained, but the fires have been huge and nearly half of them were caused by people throwing their ciggarette buts out of their car windows. Staggering! Some have been caused by acts of arson and they are still investigating the rest. The french pompiers and Canadair and helicopter pilots are being so brave. The Nice Matin has started a collection for them, they have reached nearly €23,000. If you have been affected by the fires and or wish to donate the link above will take you to the donation page.

So here I am in St Paul (Vence) thinking of Matisse and Dubuffet and scrumping Mrs. Walsh’s plums. Why?

Whilst I was  living in St Agnes after many years of wishing I was painting and dreaming of painting but cooking instead, I heard and add on Riviera Radio. Mme. Duteutre required a chef to cater for a vernissage at the Centre D’Art Vaas in Vence. I arranged an interview and must have only talked about art. I didn’t get the catering job, but she took me around the gallery and then into the amazing studio north east facing with a direct view of the Matisse Chapel. A young man Brett Rhodes-Neal was her artist in residence and he was giving art lessons in yes of what used to be Dubuffets old studio. The light was perfect for painting and the time was right. I started to paint and couldn’t stop years of trampled creativity buzzed. I have always admired Dubuffet, though not my favourite artist I do love his work. You can find one of his amazing sculptures at La Commanderie de Peyrassol. If you are any where  near Le Luc you should vist, the owner of the vineyard collects some of the most extra ordinary modern sculpture I have seen in an immense garden that anyone who has the desire to can just walk around. The wine is also very good.

From Saint Agnes I moved to a lovely apartment in old town Vence, 10 rue de la Coste, all the window ledges bedecked with flowers. And most importantly of all the living room which was my studio had very high ceilings! I painted almost daily, still being taken from it in order to earn money to paint, it is still like that today. Someday, crossing my fingers all I will do is paint! I loved going to the Matisse Chapel, I haven’t been there for at least 20 years. So very happily I am going with friend on Tuesday morning. I will take photos if they let me!

Plums, plums, plums. This morning I was making a fruit salad for the people I am working for. I tasted the pêche plat delicious, the nectarine delicious, the apricot delicious and the plum was a bit dull. Which bought back a memory of Sally, Lyn, Tess, Candy and Sue sneaking around the back wall of the cottages of the village we lived in. Rousham, the village I loved with a passion! We were scrumping plums from Mrs. Walsh’s garden, Sue’s mother, she terrified us. All the better for scrumping plums from, it meant bravery and determination. And of course if you did manage to get a plum or two with out Mrs. Walsh running after us with a stick, the plum simply tasted like the best fruit on earth.

Not having any photo’s for you today I am putting on some ramdom food photo’s!

Soufflee in Provence
Courgette Sformato with a red pepper and sundried tomato coulis and parmesan crisp
Eating in Provence
Seabass oven steamed with dill and rose pepper corns on lightly cooked spinnach and a bed of mashed leek and celeriac.
Eating in provence
Chocolate Mousse, Creme Fraiche and merangue.



  1. Trevor ZUTSHI

    Hi Tess, love your blogs. Love even more those photos of your food. I’m sure it tastes as good as it looks! Just had our Chef daughter to stay, she is such a character and fun to be with, she cannot stay out of the kitchen. I always learn a trick or two from her. Love Annexx

    Sent from my iPad



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