About this blog

In this blog, you will find mostly traditional home cooking from the South-West of France where I grew up: Bordeaux and the Bay of Arcachon on the Atlantic coast, as well as traditional recipes from the East coast of Bali in the Indonesian Archipelago where I live most of the year with my husband Komang.

Cabanes Tchanquées, Ile aux Oiseaux on the Bay of Arcachon

Pasir Putih, the beach near our house

La Dune du Pyla, near Arcachon

Blue Lagoon, Padang Bai, Karangasem

La Pinède behind the Atlantic ocean 

Coconut trees in Karangasem 

If these recipes often have many steps, they are in no way complicated and above the reach of anyone who enjoys cooking, they just require time and attention. And sadly, too often nowadays, we think we do not have time.
They are not "fancy food" either, they have been prepared and eaten at home by generations of people in both places. If I stray sometimes and change something, I always make a note of it.
Please, do try some of these recipes, the time involved is often mostly in the cooking and it is nice to do all the preparations chatting with family members or friends and, of course, if you are not cooking alone, many hands, big and small, will make the work go quicker and more enjoyable.

preparing octopus saté

Many recipes are best prepared in large quantities and can be reheated later or frozen for one month or so.
These recipes are not "Slow Food" either, some of them are long because that the way they are and the way they should be prepared, without shortcuts. Some require just a few ingredients and not much time to prepare.

Some recipes might seem strange using unfamiliar ingredients, this is in part because be it in Bali, France or anywhere in the world, at some point in time, all parts of an animal were used and both cultures forage quite a bit for their food as well, if this was born out of necessity, it certainly denotes of an adventurous spirit and true curiosity, qualities I value very much. 
I have decided to include them because they are part of everyday life in both Bali and France and we eat them on a regular basis.

With the threat of Monsanto depleting our seeds heritage and all kind of factories producing most of our "food" and dictating what we eat, I think it is important to, at least, record and transmit these recipes.
When I grew up in France, we often ate Sanquette (fried chicken blood with garlic and fresh parsley), Cervelles "beurre noisette" (fried brains with brown butter and lemon) and of course Escargots with garlic butter (that we gathered after the rain), we foraged for all kinds of mushrooms in Autumn, wild greens in the Spring and berries in the Summer and waited impatiently every year for Macau artichokes and Marmande tomatoes to be in season.

This is why,when my husband lovingly and carefully cooks foraged mushrooms and gayas (grubs) curry in the Spring or pork innards in a spicy broth, it makes me happy because I feel a deep connection with the nature around us and gratefulness for the lives of the animals we kill. I believe if a life has to be taken to sustain ours, the least we can do is to eat most of it and not waste it. 

And, as I did when I was a child in France, I wait eagerly in Bali for ferns fronds, mackerel, mangosteen, durian, starfruits and mangoes to be in season. Because nothing tastes better than what you have been missing and waiting for, I think!

I am not a food snob, I will eat anything prepared by someone who cares enough to feed me, I am grateful for nourishment, period!

I love fresh, seasonal and local ingredients and use them as much as I can. Now, that's easy for me to say, living in a tropical climate and having coconuts, bananas, mangoes, papayas and all kind of citrus growing in the backyard, fresh vegetables from the garden, eggs from chickens and ducks roaming free and fish fresh from the sea every time we want it.

 I understand it is not always possible but I believe it is important to shop and cook with awareness because everything we do represents a choice and makes a difference.
And since I am French, I have to contradict myself and say that you will find as well untraditional recipes in this blog. I have marked them as (NT) in the Recipes Index. They are sometimes twists on old recipes, or when discovering new foods during my travels, I have an "epiphany moment". They show, as well, the influence different cultures have had on French food (the legacy of colonization and its sometimes delicious culinary consequences...).
And new traditions are always in the making.

I hope you enjoy this blog and the recipes and welcome your feedback (even negative because it's nice to learn how, why and what other individuals think). Thank you for coming!

life is full of sweet discoveries!