Two Sundays without you (part I)


“I shall always think of you and feel about you the way it was that Fourth of July day three years ago when you met me at the boat, and we went out on the cafe on the river and had a drink and later went on top of the tall building, and all the strangeness and the glory and the power of life and of the city was below.”

Thomas Wolfe in his final letter to Maxwell Perkins

Is it possible to have a memory of something that happened before we were even born? And is it possible to remember someone before they were born? Lucian and I had many moments together before his birth on the 8th of June. He lived in my body but even more in my mind and my imagination. In the last weeks before his birth I was consumed by one thought. This would be my last pregnancy and looking around me, at my beautiful family they would be the people he would grow up with. Our house would be his magic world, filled with puppies and flowers and delicious food. As his arrival approached these thoughts intensified, everything seemed so calm and clear.

Lucian, I will always remember you before you could be remembered. This is who we were before you were born and this is how I would like you to remember the days before you could remember.

This is your world before you could live in it.






May 15

The seeds for this glorious Sunday had been planted 10 day earlier when we gave Oddur his birthday present. They were more than seeds actually, a whole olive tree that sat in its black plastic pot for 10 days, relentlessly attacked by puppies who tried their best to destroy it. Fortunately olive trees are tough and the tree survived until we had time to do what we had decided, which was to have a meal together in the garden next time the weather was good and then plant the tree after lunch. It felt like the hottest day of summer (so far), and may have been for real. The dogs searched lethargically for shadows to lie in and the kids thought it best to steal all my winter hats (I guess they couldn’t find the summer ones) to protect themselves from the sun.






In March I was invited to Provence and stayed at the Couvent des Minimes where I had a wonderful almond-flaked cod served on a bed of artichoke and almond purée cooked by the fantastic chef Jérôme Roy. It was so delicious I ordered it two nights in a row. I had recreated it for one of my workshops to rave reviews and wanted to have it again as soon as possible and of course to share it with you. That day we had no fresh artichokes and I guess I was feeling a bit lazy so we used frozen artichokes which I rarely do. It turns out it was a good thing because now that I am finally posting this artichokes are slowly going out of season and the frozen ones work perfectly as a substitute. For dessert I couldn’t think of anything better than Véronique Courrian’s lemon tart which has already featured on this blog some years ago but is so good and so simple that it deserves to be here twice. We were having such a good time that we almost forgot the tart in the oven, burning it slightly but in all honesty, that’s how I prefer it – generously caramelized.

After lunch Francesco planted the olive tree or rather made an attempt at it. He dug a little hole is more accurate. His shovel was just to weak for our stubborn, hard and dry clay soil. The tree would be planted a few days later but at least the place had been chosen and marked.

This was right in the middle of artichoke season and the most beautiful artichoke fields I have ever seen are at our friends vegetable farm, about half an hour’s drive from our house. What better activity on a Sunday than to visit an artichoke farm? Next to the artichoke farm is a strawberry farm, also owned by friends and mid-May is peak time for strawberries in Médoc. It was where I took Audrey for a visit when she was just a few days old two years ago and it felt wonderful to revisit, with a mouth filled with freshly picked strawberries, flanked by my girls in (strawberry stained) summer dresses.

Of course we got overly enthusiastic with our artichoke cutting and cut two baskets worth, a problem solved the next day with stuffed artichokes for all. This time there was no shortage of artichokes.

I would like to pretend there was something wrong with that Sunday, a little detail, an unpleasant incident but I’m afraid there wasn’t anything negative to say about the whole thing. It was all one big perfect perfection (well, apart from the frozen artichokes). Which, I admit, can be boring, especially to read about. That’s why we need the mess, and bad weather and unfortunate incidents of everyday life.

But when you are waiting for a baby boy, and you’re getting a little tired of it all and impatience creeps in. A perfect day is much-needed.

… to be continued (on Wednesday)





Workshops 2016 – 2017

Just a quick message here at the end to let you know that we still have some availability for Autumn and Winter workshops. September is impossibly full and so is the second October workshop. I still might have some space in the wine tasting class at the beginning of October though, due to some people moving their dates.

We have some limited availability in both November classes and December is not yet full.

And speaking of the future I announced the 2016 dates in September last year and that seemed perfect. I have, however, been getting a large number of emails requesting dates for 2017 from people who (admirably I must say) like to plan ahead. So I’m considering announcing the dates very soon and we have a lot of new things to introduce next year.

Mimi xx

ps: The dress I am wearing is by 1 et 1 font 3. Louise and Gaïa’s dresses by Marie-Puce. xx



Sage fritters

Approx 20 sage leaves

300 g/ 2 & 1/2 cups plain flour
125 ml/ 1/2 cup of ice-cold beer (to make a sticky thick batter – not too liquid not too thick, it should coat the sage leaves)
1 teaspoon of sugar

Sift the flour and sugar together in a bowl. Whisk in the beer until combined and allow to rest for at least 30 minutes in the fridge.

Take the batter out of the fridge and add the salt. Mix well.

Heat the vegetable oil on a medium heat in a saucepan and test with a drop of batter. If the batter immediately floats up golden brown then it’s ready for frying. Dip the sage leaves in the batter and fry them in hot vegetable oil until golden brown on both sides. Drain on kitchen paper and season lightly with salt. Serve immediately.


Pan-fried almond cod with almond artichoke purée
(inspired by Jérôme Roy’s dish at Le Couvent des Minimes in Provence)

For 4 people

150 g/ 1/3 pound x 4 cod fillets
1 kg/ 2 pounds approx. chopped large artichoke hearts
60 ml/ ¼ cup heavy cream
60 ml/ ¼ cup milk
90 g/ ¾ cup almond flour
Fleur de sel and freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces/ 230 g slivered almonds, toasted
A dash of piment d’Espelette
A dash of plain flour
Fleur de sel and freshly ground black pepper
A bunch of chives, finely chopped

Cook the artichoke hearts in a large pot of salted boiling water for about 20 minutes, or until tender. Drain the pot and transfer the artichoke hearts to a blender (I use my magimix). Pour the cream and milk , add the almond flour and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside in a saucepan and re-heat just before serving.

Dredge the cod fillets in the flour and season with salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 160°C/320°F

Place slivered almonds on a baking tray and toast them for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Set aside.

Heat a large sauté pan with olive oil on a medium to high heat and fry the cod (by batch if necessary) for about a minute and a half on each side. Transfer to the baking tray and continue to cook in the oven for 6 minutes.

Place the pureed artichoke hearts in the center of the plate, followed by the cod on top. Scatter the slivered almonds and finely chopped chives on top. Season with a dash of fleur de sel and piment d’Espelette. Drizzle with olive oil just before serving.


Asparagus and Roquefort tart

8 ounces/ 230 g puff pastry
6 tablepoons of crème fraîche
200 g/ 7 ounces approx. Roquefort cheese
Approx 10 white asparagus, peeled and halved, ends trimmed
A drizzle of olive oil

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F

Roll out the puff pastry into a rectangular shape and place on the parchment paper covered baking tray. Fold the edges, about 1 cm. Spread the crème fraîche all over the pastry, place the peeled and halved asparagus all over (see photos). Crumble the Roquefort cheese and scatter on top if the asparagus and add a drizzle of olive oil.

Place in the preheated oven and cook for 20 minutes, or until puffy, sizzling and golden brown.


Stuffed artichokes

Serves 4

4 large artichokes
120 g/1 & ½ cup fresh breadcrumbs
130 g/ 1 & ½ cup grated Pecorino
2 cloves garlic, minced
80 ml/ 1 /3 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
A dash of piment d’Espelette
Fleur de sel and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 180°C/ 350°F

In a large bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, ground garlic, grated Pecorino, olive oil, chopped parsley, salt and freshly ground black pepper

Trim the bottom of each artichoke and cut the top spiky tips with kitchen scissors. Separate the leaves to open up the artichokes. Place the artichoke in a large deep pan and pour water  ¾ high. Cover with a lid and cook for 15 minutes on a medium heat. Take out the artichokes and set aside. Reserve the cooking liquid.

When the artichokes have cooled down, stuff the filling mixture between all the leaves.

Place the artichokes in a large and deep baking dish. Fill the dish with 3 cm/ 1 inch of the reserved cooking liquid. Cook in the preheated oven for 45 minutes. Serve immediately.


Véronique’s lemon tart

For this recipe, please click on this link.


80 thoughts on “Two Sundays without you (part I)

  1. Your sentiments are so very sweet, thank you for sharing this. I wish you and your beautiful family the best always.

  2. How beautiful and lush you look, Mimi. I don’t think I’ve seen a more ravishing pregnant lady.

    Congratulations on the birth of Lucian. I imagine that his sisters are mad with joy to have their very own living baby doll.

    Thank you for such a lovely post and such tempting recipes.

    All the best,

  3. Bonjour Mimi! Simply beautiful!!! I adore your words to little Lucian! We can’t wait for October and will have to be ready for 2017 as well!!! 🙂 I want to visit every season until we’ve experienced them all in lovely Medoc with you all!!! 🙂 Congratulations on your newest bundle of joy! xo, Dana

    1. Ahh…Dana, you stole the words right out of my mouth! I’ve always said that I wished I could go once a season but it hadn’t occured to me that I could do it across the years. Can’t wait to meet you and Kevin and, of course, to meet the new little man – Mimi, it will be a bit like déja-vu as I think Audrey must have been about the age that he will be in October when I was there last year. Oh what a wonderful few days it’s going to be and wishing you all a beautiful and happy time between now and then.


      1. Susie!!! I cannot wait to meet you as well! We are so ready to go back! I think yearly trips for as long as the workshops and pop-up restaurant are taking place sounds like a great yearly vacation plan…Or as you all say, holiday! 🙂 We plan to purchase a home in France in the future, I don’t know that it will be in Medoc, but wherever it is, it will at least be a train ride away! 🙂 Countdown to October! xo, Dana

  4. The stuffed artichokes look delicious !
    I will have to try them very soon.
    I hope that you and Lucian are well. Will there be a seasonal restaurant next summer ?

    Prenez bien soin de vous 🙂


    1. Alice! We are doing great – I am so happy and relieved! Lucian is adorable and it feels so good to have passed the 2 weeks post-birth period. Yes, we will definitely do a pop-up next summer. I hope to meet you very soon. Mimi x

  5. Everything in France continues to be such a dream. These posts of yours MiMi keep me alive. We are coming July…. a sudden wedding has put us off in June… we will be using your recipes for the engagement party this Sunday. Love to all at 1 Rue Loudonne + 1 very special young man we are dying to meet xox

    1. Linda! I was starting to think you disappeared from St Yzans – we miss you! You will love all the recipes, they are extra-delicious. Are you coming this July then? Mimi x

  6. What a lovely blog post, Mimi! And congrats on the birth of Lucian! I am pregnant with my first, and wanted to tell you that your ginger fried rice has been such a helpful/delicious recipe for me on some very difficult first trimester days!

  7. What a beautiful post and one your son will love to read when he is old enough, dreamy pictures and mouth watering food – the perfect combination. It just makes me realise how lucky we all are to live this fantastic lifestyle in the French countryside with children enjoying such freedom. Have a wonderful weekend, without too many sleepless nights!!!

  8. Congratulations Mimi and Oddur! Lucian is a lucky little man to have such a wonderful family.
    A beautiful post as always. I’m dying to try that lemon tart!
    My family and I will be going to France next month, but sadly won’t be going to the Medoc. Next time!


  9. What a lovely post and welcome to your son. How lucky your children are to have such wonderful food and photography, and rich environment. They will provide beautiful memories.

    We visit La Dordogne two or three times per year (Monpazier). Can you say what you have available this November, Mimi?

  10. Querida Mimi, muchas felicidades, es tan hermoso tu pequeño bebė Lucien…. nos transmites tanta felicidad y tanto amor, me alegro por todos vosotros. Pienso a menudo en vosotros, en esa vida sencilla y apasionada a la vez,en ese entorno tan idīlico y mågico, me hace sentir feliz. Las recetas exquisitas , pronto estaran en mi mesa…Muchos besos Mimi, te llevo en mi corazön.

  11. Félicitations! So nice to have you back again. It will be so special for Lucien to read these words in years to come. I hope he is sleeping well and you are able to get some rest.

  12. What sweet sentiments Mimi, Lucian took in all those beautiful moments and came into the world as cute as could be! He sure won life’s lottery being born into such a lovely and kind family. I hope to be able to visit again someday and meet him.
    Also, the photos in the artichoke field are absolutely gorgeous! That one you shared a couple weeks ago just blew me away; it should be a painting. Best wishes to you and yours!

  13. My goodness, Mimi, the sumptuous photos, the dreamy yellows, such a sunny post💛! I’m so enjoying these images and your touching sentiments about Baby Lucian. Congratulations again – what a lucky little boy to come into the world you and Oddur made for your family. Thanks for that reminder of the Lemon Tart, I’ve baked that recipe, so yummy. I’ve got to try all these recipes now, but I’m running very low on pigment d’Espelette. Big hugs to you – looking forward to reading Part 2 ! xxx – Linny

    1. Hello Linny. Thank you for your kind words, we are so thrilled with his arrival, I can’t wait to see him grow into that little boy I always imagined. Wishing you a lovely summer. Mimi x

  14. This post arrives on the birthday of my youngest son so I too was in a retrospective mood. I love your cookbook, and the recipe for the Praline tart reminds us all of when our family ate a small friendly bistro and it was our favorite dessert. And artichokes are my absolute favorite thing to eat; I will say it is very nice to use homemade chicken stock, some olive oil, parsley and garlic to make a nice dipping sauce for the leaves. I am going to re-create these recipes this summer for a special dinner – you couldn’t have planned a more perfect menu. Thank you for the mini vacation and inspiration your blog provides.

  15. Whoops! I just read my post and I meant to say we ate AT the bistro, we did not eat the bistro! That night, the lady dining next to us, a perfect stranger, gave me one of her escargot after I commented on the delicious aroma, and my son couldn’t believe it! It taught him something about food, and people (and wine, as we shared) that all the lectures in the world would not have brought home to him. And why we love France!

  16. Such a delicious post in every way Mimi!
    Sweet and lucious: food,children,friends,baby and oh yes, the wine!
    How is baby Audrey May handling all of this ?

      1. Sweet indeed! Audrey gets to be a big sister like oh so many before her! Babies,big families,great food and wine…ah summertime!
        This seems a crazy question, but will you gave your restaurant this summer and autumn?
        I am in Eymet in Sept and would love to come!

  17. Delightful as always! Reaping what you all have worked so,so hard for. Welcome Lucien, and hello to all the others. Photos, as usual, absolutely beautiful.

  18. You have such a beautiful style of involving the reader in your stories and the photos, it makes one feel that for a brief moment you are there and part of the wonderful life that you and your family (and dogs) have created in Medoc. Congratulations on the birth of Lucian, he is very lucky being born into your family

  19. Chere Mimi,
    Tes mots sont très touchants et je me suis souvent fait cette reflexion de l’avant la naissance de nos enfants, ces moments passés à les aimer, à vivre des instants précieux avec eux vivant en nous… Et ces souvenirs à leur raconter après leur naissance…
    Je pense bien à toi avec cette grande grande famille… Et ce nouveau petit Lucian ♡ . Merci pour les recettes, j’ai acheté des artichauts et des asperges à mes petits producteurs hier…
    Bel ete en famille et essaie de prendre soin de toi xx cecile

    1. Merci Cécile! Les derniers moments avant la naissance de Lucian étaient si poétiques, voir magiques… Je te souhaite un bel été, et une bonne cuisine aussi! Mimi x

  20. Oh Mimi, what a beautiful sentiment. Congratulations on the happy arrival of your precious final bubba. May I ask – did you manage to have an equally lovely life when living in a city? I live in a city and I wonder if I can cultivate such beauty and simplicity for my little family, as you have….x Sarah

    1. Thank you Sarah! Whether we were in the city or the country, it was all wonderful! The moment you start a family, there are so many loving memories to collect. Mimi x

  21. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, words and recipes. Can’t wait to try! What lovely pictures as well. Have a wonderful summer. Patti

  22. Congratulations, dear Mimi, and family, on the birth of your precious Lucian! I also wanted to tell you that you make one of the most beautiful pregnant women; you seem to just be more stunning as life forms within your womb. Thank you for sharing such touching words of love, life, and food. God bless all of you!

  23. Hi Mimi,
    Are the cod fillets are dredged in regular flour or almond flour? in the list of ingredients you have ‘dash of flour’ is this for the cod? Thank you for your blog and inspiration. Your recipes are always a big hit chez moi!

  24. “Freedom has a scent
    Like the top of a new born baby’s head”
    Bono | U2: Miracle Drug

    Mimi – I always relish when your latest post hits my In Box. Your prose is pure joy.

    Congratulations to you and family, on the birth of Lucian! The love for your little man is radiating across the ocean, right here to sunny Los Angeles.

  25. Dear Mimi and family, Congratulations on the birth of Lucian! A true blessing.

    We are interested in your 2017 workshop dates. Are there any workshops that accommodate children? We will be traveling with ours but would also love to attend a workshop.

    Best, Amanda

  26. Hi Mimi!
    Reading your blog post on Sunday morning is such a wonderful treat. I love the opening of the post. Glad to hear the arrival of baby Lucien in your family. Your life in Medoc really inspired me:) I look forward to make the lemon tart and the next blog post. Take care:)

    Sye Ling

  27. What a wonderfully blissful post! I have really been so far behind in reading blogs (and yours is one of my favorites) as we too welcomed our sweet seventh baby Jasmin this spring as well as a new coffee shop in Helsinki…but that is life at it’s best isn’t it? Hoping you all the best and hope to someday have the chance to come to one of your courses! All the best to you from one large family to another ❤️

  28. Dear Mimi, your posts just sweep me away. Merci for that. I too am lucky enough to have a small field of artichokes all ready for the picking right now in my front yard. So your stuffed artichokes just got added to the dinner menu.

  29. Congratulations on baby Lucas, Mimi! Enjoy these precious early weeks with him. The lemon tart is a little too sweet for me, and I wonder how you manage to get a nice caramelisation without overcooking the pastry/browning the rest of the lemon topping too much. Blow torch? Your chocolate tart is just perfect 😉 xxx

  30. Mimi, I just love reading you’re posts and the photos are just so pretty they take my mind to some magical, calm, romantic,beautiful place! Bless you and you’re lovely family. Thanks for the great cod recipe which I will serve tonight over sautéed zucchini!

  31. Mimi, every day I check for new posts, and when there is, like this, what joy!
    His life with children and dogs, and food and td not prevent you to have the courtesy to respond to all comments.
    Here in Brazil blowing kisses to all there in Medoc, wishing Lucian happiness on arrival to a family so blessed.
    Kisses Mimi, you’re always so bright, impossible not to admire it!

  32. THAT WHITE DRESS ON YOU Is THE BEST!Your garden is looking SO GOOD!Not to be forgotten THE FOOD……I adore what you and Oddur have created here…….you have made a HOME.A REAL HOME which doesNOT happen much anymore here in the STATES……..PUPPIES and FLOWERS VERY IMPORTANT along with THOSE CHILDREN.YOU are COMPLETE MADEMOSELLE!XOXOXO

  33. all the best with your sweet babe, you look both gorgeous and sweet in this flowing gown, you always inspire me to cook more and right now I’m aching to make a delicious supper for the love of my life!

  34. Mimi, your thoughts on the world Lucian has been born into and what can and cannot be remembered are very beautiful and very poetic. Your posts are a timely reminder to celebrate the ordinary, simple and beautiful things of everyday life, many thanks! Best wishes to you all, David x

  35. Hi Mimi,
    The cod with the artichoke and almond puree was my favorite from the April workshop. I am so happy to have the complete recipe! I have never seen frozen artichoke hearts in California, but have used canned plain artichoke hearts for this recipe, and your artichoke tartlets and they work surprisingly well.
    Welcome Lucien and salut to the rest of the family a 1 rue de Loudenne. xx Barbara

  36. I just love reading you’re posts and the photos are just so pretty they take my mind to some magical, calm, romantic,beautiful place!

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