Bastille day barbecue


On the 14th of July we, like the rest of France, celebrated Bastille day. I woke up in a state of relaxed excitement (if that exists), I knew what I wanted, fabulous food, balloons and champagne but I also wanted to have it nice n’easy. For me Bastille day is all about spending time outdoors, enjoying life, embraced by family and not making too much of a fuss (a little bit is ok, though). When we lived in Paris we used to take the kids to watch the celebrations on the Champs Elysées and Place de la Concorde, they were always mesmerized by the colorful uniforms, the fighter jets and the music. This year we’ve become so “countrified” that we even forgot to watch it all on TV. Typically we have Brittany lobster with tarragon butter on the 14th of July but this summer we seem to be in a barbecue state of mind, simply loving the taste of meat infused with smoky vine sarments. We were well stocked for the weekend so we had a bit of choice but everyone voted for crispy ventrèches de porc Basque (Basque porc belly). I served them with steamed new potatoes sprinkled with mint and parsley, and had a last-minute idea to make little zucchini flans from the zucchini mountain that had been gracing my kitchen table and was threatening to lose it’s luster if I didn’t tend to it. I was in no mood to further heat up my furnace of a kitchen with cooking or baking so I went for a simple yet elegant chilled peach soup for dessert. So refreshing, such lovely colors.  Talking of peaches, nothing quite says summer like a beautiful ripe peach.  I think we have about a crate every day, in Bellinis, tarts, for breakfast, for dessert. Bellini’s are my husband’s duty most afternoons, everybody needs one, with sparkling wine for us, sparkling soda for the kids – all done by hand, the Harry’s bar version – our summer tradition. You can’t beat the feeling as they say.





After a very long, lazy and enjoyable lunch the beach beckoned, it’s where everybody gathers in the evening to have more food & wine and watch the fireworks. We joined some of our friends, met some new ones, and most importantly I finally got some champagne, just before sunset. Louise danced with Mathis on the beach (her chosen one, just 4 years older), I chatted with a very lovely Irish/French couple who we met through mutual friends and Oddur chased after their dog, Elvis, who is trying to abandon his origins as a German Schnauzer with a very hippie hairdo. Through these newfound friends, Paul and Karine, we were introduced to another lady who offered everybody a lovely apricot clafoutis, her husband’s recipe it turned out, a very good one I might add. This is what I love most about food, enjoying it with people I like, new friends, old friends – discovering new techniques and recipes, sharing it all.
We arrived safely at the house, late but not too late. Everybody escaped the guillotine which on Bastille day is quite a feat.






On another, and slightly off topic note, as I am writing this it’s approaching midnight and we’ve had yet another smashing meal, perhaps the most amazing entrecôte à la Bordelaise I’ve ever had. I guess the stars aligned. The kids came back so happy from the beach today, apparently the waves were amazing. Tonight we’re blessed by the gods, the steak, the wine …
What a difference a few shallots make.


Zucchini flans (makes about 10 small flans)
2 large zucchini, sliced in half-rondelles
5 eggs
4 tbsp cornstarch (maïzana in France)
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
A handful of chopped mint
150 g grated cheese (Emmental or Gruyère)
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, sliced finely
½ tsp nutmeg
Salt & black pepper

Preheat oven 180°C/ 350 F
Slice zucchini thinly in half rondelles. Slice shallots and garlic finely. In a large frying pan, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil and fry shallots, garlic and zucchini for a few minutes, until slightly golden.
In a large bowl, whisk eggs and cornstarch, then add grated cheese, nutmeg, salt & pepper. Combine zucchini/shallots/garlic, lemon juice and sliced mint – stir gently.
Pour mixture into a muffin pan. Bake in oven for 20 minutes, until slightly golden on top.


Grilled ventrèche (pig flank/ pork belly) (for 4)

For this recipe, we grilled them over a sarment vine branches barbecue.

8 slices of good-quality pork belly (here we call it ventrèche, cut into 5-6 mm thickness slices – mine were from a Basque farm) – count about 2 per person
Sea salt/ Fleur de sel & black pepper

Season the pork belly slices generously with salt and a dash of black pepper just before cooking – keep in the refrigerator until grilling time.
Grill on barbecue a few minutes on both sides until golden and nearly crispy.


Soupe de pêches blanches (white peach ‘soup’) (serves 4)
10 white peaches
1 organic lemon – you will need the zest (chopped into small specks) and the juice
300 g granulated sugar
200 ml white wine
A small bunch of mint leaves
1 cinnamon stick
1 vanilla pod – slit lengthwise
Peel the skin off the lemon and slice them into tiny specks.
Plunge the peaches in boiling water for 10 seconds. Peel and cut them in half.
In a large saucepan, combine the wine, sugar, cinnamon stick, vanilla pod (slit & vanilla beans scraped off), lemon juice and lemon zest. Bring to a boil and add the halved peaches for 3 minutes.
Set aside to cool. Sprinkle with mint leaves, cover and refrigerate 3 hours minimum before serving.


79 thoughts on “Bastille day barbecue

  1. Thank you for sharing your creativity and refreshing lifestyle that understands the true meaning of life.

    1. Thank you Georgia! I love to come up with lovely recipes, especially in the summer when our lunch/dining table is filled with family and friends! Lots of good times to be shared. Happy summer, Mimix

  2. That Son with the red shorts is mine IF you ever tire of him!GORGEOUS just like the new PRINCE!Who happened to be born on my birthday!
    The Zucchini Flan is so exciting to me as I’m gluten free and can eat cornstarch!We too have heaps of them from the jar din!Plus, the white peach soup?Or was it a dessert?Looks DIVINE!Merci once again…..

    1. Bonjour La Contessa! Happy belated birthday to you! I hope you had a beautiful birthday! So glad you like the zucchini flan, it’s delicious hot or cold, and oh-so pretty on the table. Bon week-end ma chère! Mimix

  3. Wonderful Mimi… The perfect family celebration with friends and delicious food…
    Thank you for the zucchini inspiration… I always struggle a little with those… xv

  4. Mimi, your meals and get-togethers always look so wonderful! I know it would be an absolute treat to be a guest at your table.

    xo Sarah

    1. Thank you Tracy – it a beautiful dessert to prepare, especially the peeling part – peeled peached look like gems, next time I think I want to paint them 🙂 Bon weeke-end! Mimi x

  5. A bit surreal, a touch of magical realism, a pinch of tradition, a pat of yummy practicality,but always the layers of beauty topped with blessings.

  6. Good morning dear Mimi, drinking my morning oolong tea and reading your beautiful inspiring post, Love! Gorgeous photos of you and your precious kids. Delicious food and recipes.
    Traveling this week to spend some time in the summer home in Mount Lebanon, I can’t wait, with all the fresh fruits and vegetables from the gardens, Soupe de pêches blanches is on my list.
    Best wishes xoxo

      1. Thank you Mimi xx I will also email you pics!
        In your previous post for the duck burger recipe, can I use Dijon mustard or only the regular mustard. And for the buns recipe, if I am using instant dry yeast, teaspoon! Thank you

  7. Même les chiens sont beaux chez vous 🙂 Je rêve de pêches gouteuses mais n’en trouve pas dans mon pays d’adoption (Allemagne). Merci pour ce blog qui inspire.

      1. Thank you, Mimi. We have a wonderful sunny day today in HK after so much rain earlier in the week. I’m going to make zucchini flans, bought everything for it today. I forgot to ask if you peel zucchini of just slice them with the skin?
        Thank you.

  8. I’ll have to rope my partner into Bellini duty, too! Lovely recipes, as always, Mimi. There’s something very special about coming back from a long day at the beach, then dining al fresco, watching the sun set.

  9. Courgette flans, what a great idea. l love courgettes and I almost always make them as fritters (the classic Greek way). What a wonderful day you all had.
    I hope you share the entrecote recipe soon. Sounds tempting.

  10. In hindsight this is quite american having a bbq on national wearing red, white and blue. all jokes aside, im sure everything was lovely. thanks for the recipes!

  11. The zucchini flan recipe will come in handy in only a few short weeks… If you also have an abundance of this vegetable then the inspiration on how to use it would be very much appreciated! Maybe a creamy soup? A side dish one would never consider otherwise? The celebrations looked perfect!

  12. Such a beautiful post! A feast for the eyes! i’m always looking forward to reading your posts, seeing your family, your husband’s beautiful photos, your stories about your country life and your beautiful children. Thanks for sharing !

  13. Never heard of a peach “soup” before. Looks interesting. Since I don’t drink, or use alcohol, I would need to find a substitute for the wine.

    1. I just read about your blog on Our Growing Paynes’ site and wow am I happy I did! Your photographs are breathtaking and the recipes sound phenomenal. I’m sure most of the world wouldn’t mind trading lives with you for a little while. It looks so brilliant! Thank you for sharing!

  14. Dear Mimi,
    I just wanted to write to say thank you for your inspirational post. Thanks to the seasonality and simplicity of your recipes I made both the courgette flans AND the peach soup last weekend (for 2 separate guests) and both were delightful and much praised!! I am new to your blog, but I look forward to the next installment! 🙂

    1. Dear Mandy,
      Thank you so much for letting me know you enjoyed the recipes – that makes me more than happy! I am always so grateful to get good feedback. My main goal is to make everyone enjoy beautiful meals, and to make the recipes as enjoyable (and simple) as possible. Merci beaucoup! Mimi x

  15. I just read about your blog on Our Growing Paynes’ site and wow am I happy I did! Your photographs are breathtaking and the recipes sound phenomenal. I’m sure most of the world wouldn’t mind trading lives with you for a little while. It looks so brilliant! Thank you for sharing!

  16. Great recipe for zucchini! I just love the way French deck their tables, overflowing with natural good food. I can imagine the fun you all had!

  17. Hello Mimi,
    I love the photo feed on your blog. I have never left a comment here before, but I’ve been following you since quite a while. I couldn’t try the recipes yet, but I’m thinking to start with “Chocolate cake à la crème de marron” for my boyfriend’s birthday soon:) Besides I do not live far away from Ardèche, the source of good crème de marron (I live in the Rhône Alpes region).

    passez un bon été!

  18. Mimi! I love how there are some ingredients that always repeat themselves in the French kitchen – like nutmeg, shallots and cheese. I am trying to figure out what base- ingredients to buy when I move into my next apartment.

    1. Hi Anna! Basic ingredients make a perfect kitchen! I always have garlic, parsley, shallots & onions (think persillade) :). Crème fraîche, butter (both salted and unsalted) and I can’t live without orange blossom water – it’s in most of my pastries and cakes. oh, and wine for cooking – red and white – they make the best sauces! Godd luck! Mimi x

  19. I have just stumbled across your blog for the first time and I’m so glad I did! What beautiful photography and innovative recipes – can’t wait to try the peach soup. I have just returned for a long holiday in France myself, such a wonderful place!

  20. I prepared the muffins and the peach soup dessert.AMAZING! I am so PROUD of myself thanks to you!

    I am 44, new in the kitchen and loving it for the first time in my life.

    My husband is also really happy.

    Love your blog,


  21. Hi Mimi 🙂
    Thanks for share these lovely moments. I cook the peaches but i couldn’t peel them before boiling, any suggestion? And how can you obtain this special red color in soup?
    Best wishes!

    1. Maybe you have to leave them longer – 30s – in boiling water before peeling.

      I have another question for Mimi: is the 200ml wine correct?? 2dl only??


      1. Hi Petra – the time varies between 10 to 30 – depending on ripeness of peaches. And yes, 200 ml is correct – the peaches release a lot of juice. Enjoy! One of my favorite summer desserts! Mimi x

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