Yes, my wife and I live in France now! Almost where I started my private chef career, St. Tropez to be exact. On land!
Don’t get me wrong, I loved working on yachts! But I’m in my late thirties now, married and wanted a life again. So, Karma was good to us and we scored an estate manager job together. It’s almost two years since we moved from Miami to Provence.
We’re working for a lovely family, whom we respect and enjoy taking care of. There is only one tourist season in Saint Tropez, which is from June through September. Spring and fall are lovely as well, less crowded and the weather is gorgeous.
I think we’re well settled by now, ate a ton of cheese and croissants… My wife is getting better with the French language and we even played some Pétanque ( it’s like Bocce ball ) with a former French champion.
I’m still cooking of course… When I’m not fixing things, or driving the Bentley or picking up dry cleaning! Actually, I’m challenged with all kinds of dietary requirements. No more sugar, gluten, cow dairy, low on animal protein, rich on fibers and organic ingredients.
It was my wife and I who introduced the family to a healthier diet, without forgetting flavor, presentation and diversity. And they love it, stay fit and look great!
As a son of a butcher, my DNA still requires animal protein. I’ve started replacing the meat or fish from the center of a dish with fresh organic vegetables, fruits, whole grains, seeds etc. Then the animal becomes the side dish. It’s definitely the trend at the moment for a healthier lifestyle, including regular exercise!
Winter is pretty quite here in the Golf of St. Tropez, so I will be posting some dishes with recipes regularly.
In this Moroccan inspired dish you can serve additionally some lamb cutlets, Merguez sausages or a nice piece of fish for added animal protein.
Braised Eggplant with Harissa, Pomegranate, Pistachio, Olives and Rice
- 1 medium Red Onion
- 2 cloves Garlic
- Olive Oil
- ½ teaspoon Cumin Seeds
- 150 grams Brown or Red Rice
- 800 ml Vegetable Stock
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large Eggplant
- 2 teaspoons Harissa
- 1 teaspoon Rosewater
- 10 Olives
- 200 grams Cherry Tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Sheeps Milk Yogurt
- ½ Pomegranate, seeds only
- 30 grams Pistachio Nuts, shelled
- Coriander Leaves
1.Peel onion and garlic, slice thinly and sauté with 1 tbsp olive oil and cumin seeds in a braising pot until soft, about 5 mins. Add rice, vegetable stock, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cover with lid, cook for about 10 mins.
2.Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F
Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise. With a knife cut a criss cross pattern into the flesh and season with some salt. Mix the Harissa paste with the rose water and brush over the eggplant cut side. Place on top of the rice and cover again, place in the oven for 20 mins.
3.Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and toss with the balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle the tomatoes and olives around the eggplant and braise without lid for another 30 mins until nicely browned.
4.Serve with chopped pistachio nuts, pomegranate seeds, coriander leafs and sheep yogurt.
Inspired by J.Oliver : About 1 1/2 hour including cooking time