Fruits d’Automne

The Fruits of fall and vegetables of winter

A few weeks ago, on a Sunday, the girls were playing rough in their room and broke an old chair they used for their desk. A pity as it was a nice chair … but these things happen. Fortunately, about the easiest thing to replace in our village on a Sunday is a desk chair. In Médoc nothing is open on Sundays and our village and the surrounding ones literally have no stores at all. All we have is an antiques store, full of little gems. And the best part is, it’s open on Sunday afternoons. In other words, in our neck of the woods you couldn’t buy diapers or shampoo to save your life on a Sunday but a new chandelier or a portrait of someone’s grandfather, not a problem. After lunch Oddur headed to St Christoly and came back with two chairs (what’s happened once can always happen again, right?) some nice decanters and a beautiful drawing of a lady holding a basket of apples. Under it, in Italics, is written : Fruits d’Automne. Next to the sentence is a drawing of a funny little man with a hat. I was immediately taken by the image, very nicely done, very carefree, very seasonal. Seasonal before it became a lifestyle, when it was simply life. I immediately decided to talk about the lady in the picture in my next blogpost – the timing was just so perfect, but she also made me think about our way of life. Now that we have lived in the countryside for 7 years, seasonal living has truly become a part of who I am and while I can still remember how it was living in Paris (and it was magical) I can’t really feel it. We cook with what we have and what we have is what’s in season. Writing a blog over a period of time, I’m sure I’m starting to repeat myself, thoughts much like fruits and vegetables are cyclical, but just like you can never eat the same apple twice – neither can a thought ever be exactly the same. We all feel a familiar feeling as Christmas approaches, we go through the same motions. Buying presents, setting up the Christmas tree, the old ornaments. Stocking up on Champagne, planning feasts. But something is always new, even if it’s just our own perspective … and in our case we usually have a new family member pretty much every year.

This time I decided to do a very approachable menu, nothing too fancy, very tried and tested in this house. I think we’ve had all the dishes at least 5 times in the last few weeks. The ingredients are all quite humble, but of great quality and as it happens, very healthy. Kakis are some of my absolute favourite fruits and while I usually just have them plain after a big meal, when a light dessert is required, they are also wonderful in fritters. Talking about new thoughts, I was recently in Torino doing a special blend with our friends from the Vergnano coffee family in Chieri and one night we had dinner at the wonderful Al Gatto Nero restaurant. After indulging too much in white truffles, Andrea, the brilliant owner, who to me IS the place, suggested something light, Kaki. The way they served it was lightly soaked in Rum with a tiny dollop of ice-cream in the middle. It was as perfect an ending to a meal as any I’ve had.

The salad was the first thing on the menu and the first thing I thought of. We’ve been enjoying it so much recently and a dear friend, Hrafnhildur from Iceland, who was here with my mother-in-law recently said “Not only is this the best salad I’ve ever had, it’s also the most beautiful”. That’s what I call a compliment. The Chicken Supreme is my favourite cut of chicken, the breast with the succulent wingbone which makes everything juicier. But for dessert I was hesitating. The lady in the drawing and her apples were calling me but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. In walks Fabien (he literally walks in many mornings while I’m still in my pyjamas, to say hi and have coffee). I remember him saying years ago that one of his favourite childhood memories where those of his mother’s apple fritters (beignets). So that was sorted. As luck would have it, opposite his château is another wine making property with a glorious Kaki tree. Fabien told us he’d arrange for a permit from the owner to pluck some, he also promised to lend us a ladder. As you can see from the photos, he couldn’t find a ladder and brought a chair, which was good enough and as my husband would say, more photogenic. (you can see Fabien sitting on that chair next to his sister Véronique)

As I’m writing this I must admit that I’ve missed writing these posts, I’ve missed you all, your comments and thoughts. It’s a special feeling I don’t want to ever lose. It also doesn’t hurt that I’m drinking Champagne and the kids are behaving. So are the dogs which is even rarer. And my husband is cooking dinner. Spaghetti with garlic an chilies, then pigeon. Then chocolates (he doesn’t do dessert). It also mean we’ll eat late, that’s one of his specialities, very late dinners. He recruits the kids, turns it into a game, spends more time selecting music than actually chopping. Then selects the same opera anyway. I’m not complaining.

The fairytale

Since last night I’ve been playing around with playlists. Trying to assemble a decent, alternative to the holiday music we always listen to. So far I’m advancing well. Some French touches – Michel Legrand etc. Some all time favourites like Elvis’s blue Christmas. A lot of sixties music – sometimes it feels like Christmas was invented in the sixties. It makes you think of posters of men with hats and pipes, opening the trunks of their Cadillacs and pulling out a box with a puppy in it. A puppy called Buddy, a gift for a boy called Jack. And what is Christmas without the carols? Click here to follow my playlist on Spotify, it’s called Mimi’s Christmas.

This is where I was at until 10 minutes ago, then the phone rang. “We have found your puppy madame” said the lady from the veterinary clinic. I was stunned.

In July, our beautiful Moneypenny had a litter of 8 puppies – Smooth Fox Terriers. Humfri Bogart, the king of the house is the father. We had 7 boys, all brown and white. One girl, black and white. They had just started going to their new owners when disaster struck in late September. The puppies had been left out later than usual, it was a balmy evening and they were playing under the olive trees and we had a dinner elsewhere with our workshop guests. When we came back one was missing. Nelson. He was the most outgoing, fearless. The handsomest of the lot. Had someone wanted to take a puppy they would have opened the gates and he would always have been the first one to approach. We searched everywhere, Thorir, Oddur & Mathias spent most of the night driving, cycling, walking around the village, the vineyards. Not a trace. For a few days we were hopeful then we just hoped he was fine even if we’d never see him again.

And now this. A true Christmas miracle. He’s still at the Vet’s, it was too late to pick him up tonight as they were closing and my husband wasn’t here. But tomorrow will be so much fun.

Just like Christmas in the sixties.

Watch what happens in 2018

Since this is the last post of the year I thought I’d share a few things. This time not a new baby – phew 🙂

I’ve been promising a new site, Rue Loudenne. We are very behind I know. Sorry about that but it’s going to be worth it. Launch date is now firmly March 2018. It will be brilliant, and very different. But as I said before Manger will live on, four times a year.

So many projects in the pipelines, many exciting collaborations, for example our coffee venture with Caffé Vergnano, the nicest coffee family in Italy who make the absolute best coffee I ever had.

And a new cookbook slowly rising in the oven. As you know my heart, though French, has been beating in Italian for a while so an Italian cookbook had to happen. Next year we’ll do it.

We’ve just had the ‘French Country Cooking’ cookbook come out in French recently (Éditions Hachette), and soon it will also be in Italian (@ Guido Tomasi)!

And what else? Well, our own cooking show, lots of gifts for sale, and of course our exciting workshops (that are nearly all fully booked!)… I just can’t wait!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Enjoy the playlist! Joyeux Noël!

Much love, always, Mimi x

ps: Louise and Gaïa’s dresses are from Bonpoint, and Little Audrey’s is from Liberty’s and that amazing little burgundy coat is from Amaïa.

Jerusalem artichoke salad with spinach, red onions, radishes and walnuts

This is perhaps the most delicious way to cook these small artichokes. They are crunchy and filled with flavor. The colours of this salad are exquisite, deep browns and pinks. This will be my Christmas salad, adding pomegranate seeds to add sweetness and the best red in the business.

6-8 Jerusalem artichokes/ topinambours, cleaned and sliced
1 large red onion, sliced into quarters
A small bunch of radishes (preferably round ones), halved
2 large handfuls of fresh spinach leaves,
2 handful of fresh walnuts, halved
A sprig of fresh parsley, chopped finely
Extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse sea-salt & freshly ground black pepper
Balsamic vinegar (I like to use the crema of balsamic)

Preheat the oven to 180°C/ 350°F

Slice the Jerusalem artichokes vertically, halve the radishes and place on a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle salt. Roast for 15 minutes, (or until vegetables are golden) in the oven 180°C/ 350°C.

Slice onions, halve the walnuts and add to the baking tray after 10 minutes. Continue to roast for 10 to 12 minutes. Let the tray cool down and toss the spinach leaves with extra olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Season accordingly.

Chicken suprême cocotte with autumn vegetables

This is one of my favourite recipes this year. Always a crowd pleaser (this is especially for all my workshop guests who have waited so long for the recipe!), the chicken suprême (it’s the chicken breast with the wing bone attached) is so tasteful with the seasonal vegetables, and I love to use Jura yellow wine (le vin du Jura), but white wine will do beautifully too. Adding cream is optional, but everyone at home asks for it so it must be better! Make sure to add it last so you don’t cook the cream.

Ingredients (serves 6):

6 chicken supremes (chicken breast with the wing bone or chicken cutlet)
5 carrots, peeled and sliced lengthwise
4 medium turnips (navets), quartered
2 parsnips (panais), peeled and sliced lengthwise
200 gr peeled and cooked chestnuts, halved
10 radishes, cut in half
1 and a half glass of white wine
Olive oil
Unsalted butter, about 25 g
Coarse sea-salt and freshly ground pepper
A few sprigs of fresh parsley, chopped for garnishing

Preheat the oven to 180°C/ 350°C

In a large pot, heat olive oil and butter on a medium heat.

Mix the flour with pepper and salt; dredge the chicken pieces in the flour mixture lightly. Brown the chicken on all sides until golden. Set aside.

With the rest of the oil in the pot, sauté all the vegetables batch by batch until golden on all sides.All vegetables should be al dente.

Toss everything together and bring to a high heat for 2 minutes. Add the white wine and stir everything together gently. Let the wine reduce for less than a minute. Season accordingly with salt and pepper.

Place in the oven for about 10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Stir in the cream (optional).

Scatter lots of parsley on top.

Serve immediately.

Apple and persimmon beignets

This is such an old-fashioned dessert, simple and delicious. What I love most is the flexibility of this recipe, you can use almost any fruits you desire. Un vrai délice!


2 medium apples and 2 persimmons, sliced

Prepare the batter:

250 g/ 2 cups plain flour
2 eggs
200 ml/ 3/4 cup half or whole (full-cream) milk
150 m/ 2/3 cup beer
50 g/ 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp rum (optional)
1/2 tsp fine salt
2 1/2 cups vegetable oil, for cooking the fritters
Icing sugar/ confectioner’s sugar, to dust the fritters

Mix all the ingredients for the batter together in a large bowl until you get a smooth consistency. Cover and set aside to rest for 30 minutes to one hour.

Heat oil in a saucepan, about 1 to 1 1/2 inch deep in the pan. To test if the oil is ready, fry a few drops of batter. If it sizzles and turns golden brown within seconds, it’s ready. Dip the apple and persimmons slices in the batter, drain slightly and fry in batches (about 3-4 per batch) until the fritters become golden brown, approx 2 minutes on each side. Remove fritters with pliers or slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Dust lightly with icing/ confectioner’s sugar before serving.

94 thoughts on “Fruits d’Automne

  1. Coucou ma Mimi,
    Ça fait tellement de bien de revoir ces belles photos et ces recettes délicieuses. Tu es une vraie source d’inspiration et de joie!
    Merci et bonnes fêtes de fin d’annee, on sera dans le Sud Ouest nous aussi! Je t’embrasse fort

  2. Such happy news! Welcome home Nelson! Its always so nice to take a break and read your posts – next year looks like a lot of exciting things for you all and I have to say Monte Cristo just gets handsomer!

  3. Beautiful photos and thoughts about this time of year. Are you considering doing anything in summer when some of us (me) are around . Merry Christmas from South Carolina.

      1. Mimi, you must know that your book “Fruit on the Table” indeed graces my table.
        I had shared it with my aunt this time last year when she had come up from Florida to spend the holidays with us. I had told her that on our next trip (she was always my travel partner as well as partner in crime) we would go back to France, this time seeking out your restaurant / home taking in a quieter side of France….but that was not meant to be as she passed away unexpectedly this past summer.
        So I have in turn told a dear childhood friend that she may now have to make that trek with me…we will see what the future will hold.
        Thank you Mimi for always providing me, along with all who read your posts and or cookbooks, with such a sense of the familiar as it is beautifully offered by both you and your husband ( I taught art in our school system for 31 years so I do greatly appreciate his photography)
        Yes, blessings and joy to you and your family and staff this holiday season and much happiness in the new year!

    1. Barbara you are an absolute darling! Thank you for the loveliest parcel we received today! I love the vegetable Christmas tree decorations, I hope to see you soon next year! Lots of love, Mimi x

  4. These photographs are all so beautiful, the colors alone make me smile, add the delicious looking food, your beautiful family and the sweet puppy’s face and I’m finding myself perusing the pictures over and over again. Thank you for sharing the joy. Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and an even merrier New Year!

  5. Your adorable girls look as if they have stepped right out of an old French children’s book.
    The salad sounds delicious. I never think to put cooked vegetables in a salad, but why not!

  6. Mimi…..I love that sunchoke (aka Jerusalem artichoke) salad! Will try it when I can find those precious little tubers, I love them!

    And so happy your little Nelson has been found, and I hope he is safe and well.

    Merry Happy!
    xo Stacey

  7. Mimi,
    Your posts showing you, your family (including the short, furry members), your countryside, and your accomplishments, are always an inspiration.
    That is, when they don’t make me green with envy.

    I remember walking through farm fields with my uncle outside of Einbeck, Germany. He was trying to explain to me what the crop was that we were looking at. “Topinambour”. “Huh”. “Topinambour”. “OK”.
    Up til then, I hadn’t heard of sunchokes or Jerusalem artichokes, and certainly not Topinambour. This was about 35 years ago, but I still haven’t knowingly eaten one.
    Will give that recipe a try, though.

    “All’s well that ends well” always reminds me of the final frames of Tintin’s “Red Rackham’s Treasure”.

    Thanks for sharing your life and your art.


    1. Thank you Joachim! And yes it’s about time you tried these little topinambours! Deliciously crunchy and adds a twists to winter salads. I will add pomegranates to the salad this Christmas! Happy holidays and all the very best! Mimix

  8. Oh Mimi and Oddur your photos and recipes this post are just so beautiful. Wishing you and your lovely family a very Happy and Healthy Christmas . looking forward to all that you have planned for us in 2018.

  9. Chere Mimi,

    Such lovely news about Nelson, he’s a little rascal by the sound of it! LOL Always a pleasure reading anything that you written, your love of food and family is evident by not only Oddur’s photos but what you write and I really enjoy taking a few minutes out of my day and reading your latest post. Wishing you and your family all the best this Christmas and may 2018 be as successful, peaceful and joyful. Joyeaux Noel et bonne annee! x

    1. Nelson is settling in very well. Happy to be back and it seems he is quite hungry! Thank you for all your kind words, it is always a pleasure to connect via the blog! Wishing you happy holidays! Mimi x

  10. Your timing could not have been better. I was feeling very down today having seen one too many homeless people walking in the cold rain and trying the best I can to deal with the knowledge that my only son is suffering from PTSD and is away at yet another Christmas. Your blog and play list transported me into a calmer more beautiful place. Thank you, Melinda

    1. Dear Melinda, I am so sorry to hear about your son, hopefully he will have quality time to relax during the holidays. I can also understand how sad it is to see homeless people, it seems to be more and more frequent. The best thing we can all do is to help one way or another. My friends and I raise money during events and we donate the funds to help underprivileged children/ school/ and shelters.

      Wishing you peaceful and happy holidays. Mimi x

  11. Mimi – so lovely as always but this post, for me, has actually, not to be too dramatic, been life-changing. When I read about how long you’ve been in the Medoc, and think about how life-changing it was, with children in tow, it make me feel strong and brave. I’ve decided today, right now, to make a change in my life in January, to retire and start to live the life I want to live – eating healthy and with the seasons, not stressed, traveling without worrying about the office – living the life you portray (although I realize it’s not all champagne and roses for you). Thank you, Mimi, for being such an inspiration! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone in your household! My best, Dawn

    1. Oh wow Dawn I am so touched! It is the time of the year to cherish what’s most important to us. The key is to realise that life is short and we should do everything we can to make it meaningful. I am so happy to have been able to reach out to you, one way or another. Wishing you all the very best in the near future! HAPPY HOLIDAYS! Mimi X

  12. Thank you, Mimi. I can never wait. So inspiring, so fresh, so delightful. Will try the artichokes and the poulet.
    You mentioned gifts in your post. Will there be a shop in the near future? (Books, aprons, cork screws, local artisan stuff?) Have one of your books in German, and keep using it. Wish you and your family peaceful and happy x-mas. Love from Zürich, Magnus

    1. Bonjour Magnus, yes in the future there will be gifts, a collection of all the things that have inspired me in the kitchen and art-de-vivre. I wanted to do this last year but I couldn’t find the time. This coming new year I have a plan! Wishing you a lovely Christmas! Be merry! Mimi x

  13. Love love your post and beyond words pics of your life in medoc – I can’t imagine having such a life of beautiful food – wine – children – dogs – home – etc….. I make your carrot soup and wish when making I was in your kitchen – I have your lovely cookbook and have enjoyed all I have cooked from it. Best of wishes to you and family from Texas!!!

  14. Louise has such an ethereal elfin beauty. She reminds me of Liv Tyler in Lord of the Rings. I love reading your stories about your family. Thanks for sharing.

  15. You are a poet, Mimi! It is such a gift to follow these posts – as magical doves. Happy holidays to the whole family and keep up this flight – up, up, up to the sky!

  16. Your posts make me so happy. The photos make me yearn in the best way possible. I wish you and your beautiful family a very happy and healthy New Year!!

  17. Happy Holidays to you and yours Mimi! What a lovely post and what a stunning little coat Audrey is wearing. A perfect shade of red. Glad to hear you found your beloved puppy. My mom and I decided on making your Icelandic fish soup and Sarah Bernhardt cake for one of our holiday family lunch. Looking forward to make the above salad as well. It looks delicious. Thank you and all the best for 2018! Cassandre xx

  18. Oh Mimi, your post is “Awesome.” The pictures breathtaking.
    I am always so “drawn” by the handsome “scenery” and inventive “flair” of your posts. Your “Medoc charm” echoes a life infused with family, food and love. How lucky we are, as readers, to be able to “travel” along with you as you share your beautiful and inspiring life with us. There is nothing more precious than family and you have created the perfect “nest” straight out of a fairytale!
    Such wonderful news about Nelson! What a lovely time during the Holiday season to have such a “spirited” gift returned. I can only imagine the “delight” in the children’s eyes.
    Happy Holidays! Blessings in 2018! ❤️

  19. Love the playlist! I too have a Holiday playlist since 2015 and I’m always adding and deleting, but Blue Christmas is a staple, as is some Sinatra. My kids absolutely love the addition of Mamacita Donde Esta Santa Clause! Best to you and Oddur!

  20. So thrilled that you found Nelson! I remember that evening very well, when we were all returning from our workshop evening in the neighboring village. Congratulations! And best wishes to you, Oddur, and the family for a wonderful Christmas!

    1. Hello Jennifer! Yes, it was that night, when he disappeared! I don’t really know what happened to him since then, but he is on good form and he sure looks happy to see his family! Don’t we all love a happy ending? Wishing you the loveliest Christmas! Mimi x

  21. Mimi,
    I love this post, so full of your thoughts and ponderings. I’m sitting having my morning tea remembering being in Medoc, picturing your surroundings and wishing I could go back! Thank you for sharing your delightful world with us 🙂 Wishing you and your family a very Happy Christmas.


  23. Are the stories you write the result of a beautiful life ? Or is the beautiful life a result of an imagination and the romance ?

    Mimi, you are a poet. Your book #2 was a huge inspiration for me to chase the life I want. I loved into a cottage on a mountain and life has gotten significantly better.

    Happy Holidays to your family.

  24. Can’t wait to see all the new endeavors, particularly the Italian cookbook and the coffee co-lab. Your Turin photos inspired my husband and I to swing into the city for lunch while driving from Lake Como to Lake Annecy on our honeymoon in October, which turned out to not nearly be enough time to get a good taste of the city, but we did walk away with an espresso maker and some cups that have taken up residence on our open shelving in the kitchen for all to see. And most of all, thank you for the walnut cake recipe in your cookbook. We have had many family visitors to our new house over the last year and I always keep the cake on hand for them and it gets raves reviews. Recommend a bit of China-China in the batter, if only for the heavenly scent!

    1. Thank you! We are so excited with our Italian projects, it is such a thrill to be inspired! Glad to hear you like the walnut cake, it’s also one of our family faves! Happy holidays! Mimix

  25. Ahhh! Thank you Mimi for this warm and comforting post! I am so looking forward to the fall workshop with you!
    My how the girls have grown!
    Sending Christmas greetings as I slice into your Chestnut Cake! A family favorite now!
    Very best to you and your family this Christmas season!
    And happy solstice! Longer days shall come!

  26. It’s such a pleasure to see you with your children. Little Audrey makes me smile. She reminds me of my granddaughter: she’s always reaching out, engaging with her world: offering you the apple, patting the dog (or maybe pulling its ears??!), hopping a little dance. Your children show the loving spirit of your home.

    1. Merry Christmas dearest Polly! And a HUGE thank you for the chocolate chip cookies and lemons! It was the best surprise delivery! The kids devoured the delicious cookies 🙂 and yes, it was that chicken stew we made together at the workshop! Happy holidays, Mimi x

  27. Merry Christmas! Made the sunchoke salad *with* pomegranite! as part of our holiday meal of Polish borowik mushroom soup and it was a huge success! Very delicious. Thank you so much, will definitely be making this salad again!

    All the best ~ !

  28. I’m sooooo glad your little pup made his way home safely, Mimi. Now that is a Christmas miracle! Hope you can keep him after such an adventure, what a little survivor! We’ve just had the best Christmas ever, but your descriptions of France always make me yearn for those lovely traditions. All the best to you and yours for 2018 😊😊😊

  29. How sweet it is to harvest your own fruits and vegetables especially with such lovely helpers…I bet they also provide for a lot of entertainment. Happy, healthy New Year to all!

  30. Oh my gosh Mimi, I know exactly which kaki tree you are talking about! I was admiring that exact same tree when we made the visit to Fabien’s property during the fall harvest workshop. The tree practically glows orange with the amount of fruit on it. Enjoy!


  31. Dear Mimi,
    Even though Christmas is long over, I so enjoyed reading this post right now. So festive. Opera, champagne, late dinners, husband cooking, girls in pretty dresses. What could possibly be better?
    I look forward to all of your new adventures in 2018!

    Seven YEARS in the country……….is that how long I have been reading your blog?If not 7 close enough……I recall one year sending Christmas ornaments!The GIRLS are getting SO BIG……and BEAUTIFUL!The return of the DOG was CHRISTMAS MAGIC!The PRINT and the apple dessert are enticing!But first I think I have to make the chicken!AN ITALIAN COOKBOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!WELL, YOU KNOW WHO will be FIRST IN LINE FOR THAT ONE!!!!FANTASTICO!!!!AUGURI to all………….XOXO

  33. mimi,

    you cook so many wonderful dishes in Staub cast iron. Do you remember the size of the oval in these pictures and the recent pic on Oddur’s instagram page showing a roasted chicken?



  34. I read all the comments hoping to see that someone had asked where you got the long golden pendant necklace you are wearing! I will just have to keep hunting for one of my own…although I have never seen one quite like it!

  35. Dear Mimi,

    I am sending you a separate email re doing a workshop with you this year or ? next year. I would love you to identify the jacket, boots an grey skirt in this post. I have had a rough night with Lucette and need a cheering bit of online shopping! Your posts and show are just the remedy when your nerves are a little frayed by little people! Many thanks, Kate

Leave a Reply