Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Soupe de Passion

It arrived with a flourish. A steaming tureen with a ladle poking out from a slit in the lid, little bowls of cheese, croutons, a red coloured mayonnaise and bread... but what really caught our eye was that all this was for one man. Then, after filling a bowl, the waiter just left the tureen. My brother and I were young, pre teen, we just stared, unable to imagine anything more perfect. We continued to watch, mesmerised as a very French looking man spread mayonnaise on the croutons, popped them in the soup, then sprinkled the lot with cheese. We ordered it on the spot and at every other spot we found it for the rest of the holiday.

Today was pleasantly warm, first time really this year. Always a good excuse to play 'being on holiday'. It's a relatively easy game for me involving a jar of soupe de poissons plus accompaniments and a bottle of rose. There are a thousand recipes for rouille. My recipe is: 2 crushed cloves of garlic, a tablespoon of harissa, 2 egg yolks- mash it all together in a mortar and pestle then add olive oil a drop at a time, stirring, as for mayonnaise. When it's very thick thin it down with the juice of half a lemon. Season.

The rose came from the Co-op for the remarkably reasonable price of £4.79. It's pretty good too, very much a food wine, but I'd definitely buy it again.

For a few glinting moments I'm transported back... to the Quayside in Sete, chuckling into our glasses as Parisian gangsters drive by playing hip hop. Or, in Marseille, flicking a finger to the guys on scooters who smile to reveal cellophane wrapped crack between their teeth. Ahh, the glories of the Med. Unfortunately the view tonight wasn't quite so colourful.


  1. That sort of entertainment on the quai could only enhance my french wine experience, I look forward to it this summer!

  2. Ah you're visiting France this summer. Lucky devil. Need a dose of that wonderful country myself, it's been two years and I'm in serious withdrawal.