Omega-3: Fool’s Gold

From today’s Guardian newspaper: Fool’s gold: what fish oil is doing to our health and the planet “The omega-3 industry [$30 billion estimated annual turnover] is in a twist. Again. Last week, an organization that compiles and evaluates medical research for the general public, released a meta-analysis – a study of studies – to determine whether…


Persillade (Persil = parsley in French) is a recurrent theme in the French kitchen. No wonder, the irresistible aroma of garlic and parsley makes any dish glorious. It can be added during the preparation of the dish for a more subtle flavor, at the very end to provide a more garlicky taste or even used raw as a garnish.

Tapenade (Caper and Olive Spread)

Here is the recipe for the traditional black Tapenade, the most common one used in the Provence. Use it as a spread for hors-d’oeuvres or to season meats and fish. Tapenade can be kept in the fridge for a couple of weeks.

Mussels Cleaning and Purging

Mussels are normally quite clean inside, but occasionally you might bite on a mussel with some sand in it. It’s prudent to clean and purge the mussels before preparing any mussel dish.

Fish Stock (Fish Fumet)

A good, tasty fish broth aka fish stock is the basis for a good fish soup or fish stew. I use fish bones and heads from lean, white fish like cod, halibut or flounder. Don’t use oily, fatty fish like mackerel, salmon or trout. Your fish monger on the market or in better supermarkets is a good source.

Julienne of Zucchini and Peppers

To “julienne” or to “cut into matchsticks ” is a basic technique in cooking, especially in French cooking. It’s used primarily for vegetables. Its a type of cut that makes a long thin strip, resulting in a relatively short cooking time and a very appealing presentation.

Herbes de Provence

Herbes de Provence is available as a dried herbs mix in most well-stocked supermarkets . You can achieve an even better result using fresh herbs. All you need is fresh parsley, thyme, oregano, marjoram (or rosemary) and winter savory (in French: Sarriette).


Sofrito is a slowly sautéed pepper-garlic-tomato sauce (sofreir = to sauté lightly in Spanish). There are many regional variations, this one is the traditional Spanish one.

Beans, Beans and Beans

Healthy economical and easy to prepare, beans are an essential legume in the kitchen. This guide will give an overview of the most common beans you encounter in recipes.

Tagine (Tajine)

A Tagine or Tajine is both the name of the dish and the glazed earthenware vessel in which the food is prepared in Morocco and Algeria. It is used for cooking and for serving. Nomads use it as portable ovens over charcoal braziers, called kanoun. A constant, low level heat diffuses around the pot resulting in a gradual reduction of the liquid.

Sauce Bechamel

It originated in the 17th century and was named in honor of Louis de Bechameil. It is needed in a great number of traditional French recipes.

Shortcrust Pastry

One of the most common types of pastry is shortcrust pastry. It is used for both sweet and savory pies, tarts, pastries, and quiches.