Good seed makes a good crop

As Libération reported last year, a small revolution took place after a new law was voted by the European Parliament, allowing the sale of peasant seeds for farmers. They were no longer forced to be under the influence of some giants like Monsanto (as you know they produce and impose seeds but also pesticides such as glyphosate…).

Unfortunately still today, farmers, plant breeders and seed creators have long been asked to breed for yield, uniformity and shelf life but at the expense of good food and nutrition.

Dan Barber, pioneer chef in the restaurant industry and co-owner of Blue Hill Manhattan and Blue Hill Stone Barns, is going beyond farm to table with his new collection Row 7 Seed. Continuing on his journey to reimagine food from the ground up, he has partnered with plant breeders to breed organic seeds for deliciousness.  “By working together in the field and kitchen, they test, taste and market delicious new plant varieties to make an impact in the soil and at the table”.
On their website you will find their seeds to buy but also pretty recipes

I also recently discovered the Italian brand Piccolo, which offers seeds in lovely graphic and colorful packaging. You just want to collect them all! Vegetables and plants chosen with care, ideal for growing in pots and which will fit perfectly in any terrace garden space. Each seed pack is provided with its practical guide. Kits with accessories for passionate gardeners are also available on their online shop!

You will also find organic and ancient varieties of seeds on La boîte à graines or on the website of Kokopelli association, which claims the right to sow freely, the use of medicinal plants or the outright abolition of agriculture and medicine based on death, chemicals and genetic chimeras.

Frères Ibarboure

I take you a little beyond Paris today, on the side of the Basque Country, this beautiful green region, which offers many local products that we hasten to bring in our suitcases.

The Table Ibarboure is the only starred restaurant of the region for more than 30 years between Biarritz and Saint-Jean de Luz. A true family institution, it is today the young talented brothers Patrice (pastry chef) and Xabi (salt cuisine) who took over this pretty house nestled in the heights of Bidart, a few steps away from Guéthary. We quickly fall in love in this warm and pleasant place, with its family spirit.

The chefs invite us to a trip between land and sea, a particularity of the Basque Country which offers indeed rich local products (sausages, pigs, …) but also fish and shellfish. From the appetizers, the tone is given: we travel, certainly, but even beyond the region. We are taken to Asia with exotic notes that give the final touch to each dish, like when the cod plays with yuzu, or this homemade smoked trout (melting!) that wraps around a wasabi mayonnaise. The ball of tomato “tourin”, a traditional soup of Gascony, explodes in mouth ; the green pea ice cream and arabica coffee is sublime and delicate.

The entrées are creative and each plate is more suprising than the previous one. The bonito – which just got out of the water in Guéthary – subtly blends with miso and raw Arbonne cream, coriander seeds. The langoustine carpaccio is a real masterpiece in itself, its lemon cream is fabulous, black garlic, crispy shellfish chip and pike egg, adorned with garden flowers and puffed rice.

A walk in the woods with this sublime tricolor ravioli (dough with ceps, nature and parsley), and ceps, chanterelles, mushrooms in pickles, foie gras and its perfect quail egg. We continue with the astonishing encounter of the 16-week-old duck and mussels, enhanced by the acidity of a Taggiasche olive and coated with a foie gras sauce.

The wines are selected with care and are beautiful discoveries. Some are from the region and are almost all organic and biodynamic, and each bottle has its history, told with passion by the master sommelier.

The desserts are sculptural: the revisited mojito consists of a white chocolate disc, a mango ice cream, and a sparkling combination of pineapple and frosted mint, all topped with pulled sugar and coconut. Speaking of sugar… Pascal Ibarboure’s sculptures in sugar and chocolate are breathtaking, you can see them in the different rooms of the cottage. He has just won the prestigious title of Meilleur Ouvrier de France this year, and he deserves it! I appreciate all the more these desserts because they are very poor in sugar, which is to me the ideal way to finish this sumptuous meal; as with the Ghana’s chocolate and sesame seed tile, cardamom ice cream.

The chef Xabi, without his brother who just came back from the MOF contest

If you are in the Basque Country you must go there, and if you are not there, then you must plan to go!

La Table des Frères Ibarboure
Chemin Ttalienea
64210 Bidart

Open everyday except Mondays and Wednesdays
Lunch menu – 45€
Dinner menu dîner – Tasting 115€ / 5 courses 99€ / 4 courses 82€ / 3 courses 65€

Festive recipes

Are you searching for your Christmas menu? Don’t panic, you will find all my festive recipes right here, just click on the pictures !

For the appetizer…

Polish Blinis

Beetroot salmon gravlax

Litchees homemade foie gras

For the entrées…

A cold (or hot) beetroot soup

Thai baslic, pimiento and saffron shells

To go with your poultry…

Red oignons pickles

A butternut and apple chutney

For dessert…

A red berries bundt cake

A coconut and passionfruit Christmas log

A gluten free pear and chestnut Christmas log

Chocolate candied oranges


Gift ideas under 15 euros!

You have not finished making your gifts yet, are you running out of ideas? Do not panic, here are some tracks for small budgets…And stay tuned for other ideas!

1/ Clutch Delfonics x Redfries – Delfonics Carrousel du Louvre (15€)

2/ Chocolate almonds – Le chocolat des français (13€)

3/ Curry salt – Nicolas Vahé (11€)

4/ Coffee Himalaya Bourbon Rouge – Terres de Café (10,90€)

5/ Lemon juicer Diego – Cookut (13,90€)

6/ Thé Chaï Cederberg – Paper & Tea (11€)

7/ Le Petit Manuel de la Bûche – Marabout (15€)

8/ Mug monogram – Anthropologie (10€)

9/ Jeans apron – Amazon (10€)



I am sometimes asked if I know restaurants in the district of Les Halles, and it is true that this is not my favorite area because I often find restaurants a little expensive and touristy; although I have been working in this area for a few years, I do not hang out there for dinner. Now that I have discovered Margus, I have good reasons to go there on a regular basis! In this pretty Parisian bistro, Colombian specialties are revisited by chef Tomàs Rueda, found in Colombia by brothers Juan (co-founder of SOMA) and Alexandre Quillet.

The (small) card offers tacos, and plates to be shared, all equally delicious. The fried sweet potato is crazy, melting inside, crispy on the outside, and goes perfectly with their lime mayonnaise. I was not so keen on the octopus tacos, which was a bit too salty, but rather on the grilled fennel with ricotta, watercress and pine nuts. This ceviche, which was probably one of the best I’ve ever tasted in Paris (and elsewhere), saw sea bream and cockles make the astonishing meeting of yellow mirabelles, all seasoned to the perfection by a well acidulated and spicy sauce with lime and pimiento.

1 rue des Prouvaires
75001 Paris

Lunch – bowls at 16 euros
Dinner – tapas from 4 to 15 euros / desserts 8 euros
Tacos – from 4 to 7 euros

Tuesday until Saturday – 12:00-2:30pm / 7:30-11:00pm

Fêtes Végétales

For you, Christmas rhymes with foie gras, caviar, smoked salmon, and other food of all kinds? If you want to change your habits and try out 100% vegan holiday meals, this book is made for you! The dazzling naturopath and chef Angèle Ferreux-Maeght has teamed up with the talented Alain Ducasse, as well as Romain Mader, chef of the starred restaurant at Plaza Athénée, and offers 100Ù vegetal book around festive recipes.
For Christmas, we can for example try the vegetable caviar, followed by a black truffle cauliflower, and end with a Christmas pavlova and orange blossom ice cream.

I take this opportunity to share a seasonal recipe from this beautiful book of 164 pages:

The Ingredients
– 6 small pumpkins to choose from (jack-be-little, baby pumpkins, olive squash, etc.)
– 1 drizzle of olive oil
– Salt and pepper
– 3 artichokes
– 200g ceps mushrooms
– 1 bunch of parsley
– 2 cloves garlic
– 100g walnut
– 200g cooked chestnuts
– 200g onions

The Recipe

  1. Preheat the oven to 170° C (T6). Cut the top of the squash, then empty them. Pour a splash of olive oil into each. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, and bake for 15 minutes.
  2. Steam the artichokes for 30 minutes. Then remove the leaves and hay. Keep only the hearts.
  3. Chop the onions. Wash and cut the ceps in brunoise. Finely chop the parsley and garlic.
  4. Crush the nuts roughly, crumble the chestnuts and cut the hearts of artichokes in brunoise.
  5. Fry the onions in olive oil for about 10 minutes over low heat. Once they are tender, add the brunoise of mushrooms, then chopped garlic and parsley. Cook for 5 minutes over very high heat and dispose into a bowl.
  6. Add the artichokes, crumbled chestnuts and walnuts. Correct the seasoning if necessary.
  7. Garnish the stuffing squash and bake in the oven at 180°C (T6) 10 min before serving.

Fêtes Végétales
Ducasse Edition out on the 18 October 2018
Authors: Angèle Ferreux-Maeght, Alain Ducasse & Romain Meder
Photograph: Aurélie Miquel
Available in libraries for 35€