Left to our own devices for a day in Paris and without having any particular plans, we jumped on the metro to Saint Germain, but ended up not quite IN Saint Germain, and not entirely sure where 'St Germain' was. So rather than wander round and try to work it out, we decided to walk to Monmarte. 

What looked like a couple of miles on the map - an easy walk - ended up taking us through busy tourist filled streets and then up winding hills, past kebab houses and launderettes, and eventually into Monmarte. Towards the end of our walk we passed lots of restaurants serving Moules and had been tempted to stop, but none of them seemed to be quite what I was hoping for. But within minutes of arriving at the cobbled streets of Monmarte we found La Mascotte, an innocent looking place, that looked more like a bar tacked onto the side of an amazing fishmonger than a really good restaurant.

La Mascotte turned out to be the best restaurant I ate at in Paris. We sat outside on the pavement, with the sun on our faces. The menu offered every different edible thing from the sea you could imagine, including 8 different types of oyster. We had the second cheapest variety of oyster to start, and served with an excellently sharp and sweet red wine shallot vinegar, they were perfect. Full, flavorsome oysters, tasting like they'd been plucked straight from the sea.

We also had oysters two days later from a lovely French lady in a Saturday food market, who shucked the oysters for us to eat then and there.

We followed the oysters with Moules Mariniere - served by the litre. Delicious. Absolutely delicious. The photo I took of them doesn't even do the mussels justice (so I'm not going to put it on here), they were some of the best I've tried. And they just kept on going, I've never seen so many mussels. Or eaten so many!

La Mascotte was perfect sunny France. I will definitely eat there again.
View Post



I spent a long weekend in Paris recently, and having not been there since I was 14, I asked friends who'd been there more recently for suggestions of where to eat. A very good friend of mine, Hugo, said that I should go to Cafe Hugo, on Place des Vosges. I wasn't sure how much this had to do with it being a good place to eat, or with it sharing his name. Anyhow, we ended up here on a lazy Sunday afternoon, and I'm so glad we did! In fact, it turns out that when I was in Paris with my family all those years ago, we stayed about 300m away from Cafe Hugo.

We got there at about 2.30pm and the place was heaving. We got a table though, outside on the pavement, covered with a see-through marquee. It was such a (naughty) treat to be able to sit at my table, in the warmth, and smoke a cigarette!!

But the best thing about Cafe Hugo was the food. Bowls of onion soup, smelling sweet and thick with melted cheese, were carried past us to many of the other diners. I couldn't manage the onion soup and a main course (after a long weekend of many meals) so opted for just a main course - a beautiful rib of beef I shared with my boyfriend. It was cooked to perfection - 'a pointe' as they call it there. And on point it was. Served with a rustic looking dauphinoise, a few grilled spring onions and half a Parmesan crusted baked tomato - not quite the seasonal vegetables I'd imagined from the description of the dish, but all the same, it was really tasty. After 4 days in Paris, eating in amazing restaurants, I had by now learnt that fresh, simple vegetables simply don't exist as part of main courses!

The service at Cafe Hugo was brilliant. We were very well attended to, and felt relaxed and really comfortable, despite the fact there must've been at least 100 people seated for food there. After conquering our main courses and some good red wine, a quick espresso got me on my feet for a stroll around the stunning square that is Place de Vosges, before heading to the station and back to London.  

A perfect way to spend our last sunny afternoon of a wonderful weekend in Paris.

View Post



Coley has been called 'the fish that could save cod'. We all know that cod is overfished, but as it is still present in EVERY supermarket, frozen, fresh and from the fish counter, it is easy to still pick it up without thinking. However, my new found love of coley has diverted my attentions, and I hope it can change your minds too. The longer we carry on eating overfished fish, the quicker it is going to run out.

This is a great recipe for cooking Coley, but you can choose any of your favorite cod recipes and replace it with coley. Coley is also particularly cheap.

1 small bag of baby new potatoes
3 leeks
1 onion
4 cloves of garlic
4 fillets of coley
4 pieces of parma ham
4 sprigs of thyme
1 lemon

Put a pan of salted water on to boil. Add some cleaned baby new potatoes once boiling.

Wash the leeks and chop into cm long slices. Chop the onion finely and add to an oiled pan with the leeks. Fry gently for 5-7 minutes until everything is starting to soften. Place the softened leek and onion in a pile in a roasting tin, and tuck the crushed cloves of garlic into the pile. Now take your coley fillets. Wrap each fillet with a piece of parma ham, and tuck a spring of thyme and a slice of lemon in between the fish and the ham. Pop the wrapped Coley fillets on top of the leek pile. Grill the fish and leeks for 20 minutes under a medium grill.

Drain the potatoes, and crush gently with a fork. Serve alongside a wrapped fillet of coley and some leeks, with a wedge of lemon.
View Post



Stew is a perfect winter food, warm and hearty, and can be left to cook while you go about your day. And this one includes all my favorite Spanish flavours. It also all cooks in one pot, so there is little washing up!

This recipe serves 3 people.

500g leg of lamb, diced
1 onion, finely sliced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 red pepper, sliced
1 tsp paprika
1 tin of tomatoes
1 tin of olives stuffed with anchovy
1 glass red wine
3 glasses of beef or chicken stock
2 bay leaves
Bunch of rosemary
Zest of half a lemon
1 tin of flageolet beans

Brown the lamb in a heavy bottomed pan over a medium heat. Once brown, remove from the pan and keep to one side. Add the onion, garlic and sliced pepper, and cook until the onion is translucent. Add the paprika and chorizo cut into cm chunks to the pan. Stir for a minute or so. Then mix in the tin of tomatoes and olives. Bubble gently for a few minutes and add the red wine, stock, bay leaves and some rosemary. Season with pepper, and a little salt to taste (the anchovy olives are quite salty though so always taste first). Bring up to a slow simmer.

Replace the browned lamb in the pan with a grate of lemon zest. Part cover the pan and leave to simmer gently for 2 hours, stirring every now and again.

After two hours, add the flageolet beans to the stew. Stir and cook for ten minutes.

Serve with mashed potato, and sprinkle with parsley.
View Post
© a little lusciousness. All rights reserved.
Blogger Template Made By pipdig