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The original Bouillabaisse: nowhere else, in Marseille, Mediterranea, “Med” in France

July 29th, 2009

soupe-poissonLa BOUILLABAISSE des Calanques de Marseilles

Boui Abaisso, the boiling soup, low on the warm cinders,

or Boui Peis, fish soup in Provençal; Bullit de Peis in Ibicenco…

Boui, Abaisso!, It boils, you dip the fish… the true solution, with the accent, please.

But fish is expensive and rare… the delicate abbess, queen of the art, praised by Joseph Mery, the gastronom poet from Marseille in XIX° century, friend of Dumas and of the Goncourt, used to say :

” Nothing should be more expensive, in this life; after this,

Nothing more expensive than a marble stone, with four cypresses.”

So, before the poem, we need to do

A serious coulis, as foreword too,

Of hundred little fish, from this morning,

swiftly slowly on a smokeless fire distilating,

A liquid treasure and fragrant broth;

Here then will come and melt, delicatly,

All needed for the aroma and flavor, spicy :

Sprigs of saffron, a bunch of fenel,

Pepper from Lebanon, crackling laurel,

Salt, the friend of man, and the delicious urchins,

That our dear Arenc feed his bassin.

When the foam is simmering on this immense coulis,

Coocked to its’ point, the poem starts, Si !

To this Phocean treat, accomplished indeed,

Indispensable, and  before all, we need

The Rascass, fish, of the most vulgar;

Alone on a grill, it is just good for the mortar,

But in the bouille-abaisse, it suddenly spreads

Marvellous flavour which goes to our heads.

The rascass fed on the bunches of syrtles,

In the bays covered with laurel and myrtles,

Or just under a rock of flowers of thym,

Bringing all perfumes to the table of this festin.

Then the fish away from the harbour, at a distance

In the depth of the reefs, the red mullet for instance

The delicate Pagel, the john dory suculant,

Favorite game of the sea bass, the arrogant,

Last, the galinette, with its eyes of old dogs,

And many more, forgotten by the ichtyologues,

Fine fish for which Neptune, in his flaming sky,

Leaves the trident for the fork, not a bit shy

Frivolous travellers and juges illegitimate,

For a 60 cent bouille-abaisse, never be candidate;

Go to the Chateau Vert, order a supper;

Say : ” I want a good meal, the best for the upper;

send the divers in the marine rocks, deep,

To ravish my senses with the perfume, divine and sweet;

Serve yourself with parangre of the Romans and from the Greeks, the thyse ,

Tomorrow is another day; hush dont tell the price ! “

Le Gourmet – Joseph Méry (1798-1866) – translation by lesfoodingues


Firm meat fish : spiny lobster, the strange cicada, the rare red gambas, the galinette, the gurnard, the weever, the vaudreuil and the monk fish, conger, fielas and all sorts of crabs…

the delicate meat fish : the whiting, the sea bass, the roucaou, red mulet, mulet, john dory…

Scale and clean them  (except the red mullet, the wood cock of the sea and all the crustaceous) lay the two kind of fish on separate plates.

sofritoIn a wide pan, a sofrito : 5 fresh onions chopped with their herbs; a whole garlic, two tomatoes, thyme, wild fenel, a dash of absynthe, a leaf of laurel, flat parsley, orange or citrus peels (use the iranian dried limes if you dont have fresh organic ones). A good chile ancho, negro or pasilla from Oaxaca, Mexico.

Pour all the fishing of the day, small rock fish with no ceremony, except a glass of pastis for yourself. Once the soup ready, first cook the firm flesh fish and then the delicate flesh, each time adding a spoon of olive oil and bringging to a boil to emulsify. Serve one fish at a time and share it with your friends. At the end serve the broth.


Put a toasted bread piece rubbed with garlic on the side of the plate, put one piece of firm flesh fish and one piece of delicate flesh fish on its side. A cup of soup some parsley and serve.

Dont forget your glass of pastis or Casanis on the side of the furnace, as you might dry up more quickly than the fish…

Two important things: the diversity fo the rock fish and the ad hoc timing for each fish (a monk fish has not the same timing as the john dory…)

soupe-haricots1Third essential point : olive oil, garlic and broth ; the three elements which allow the perfect emulsion, garlic providing the tensio activ mollecules for the perfect texture. The true bouillabaisse requires quite some garlic and olive oil to succeed.

Tonight in total intimity we decided to dedicate a simple homage to the small fish fished just under our cabin in the Calanques de Marseille this morning. As we did not fish any big ones (see we are not always boasting in Marseille…) we remplaced them with the stupendous red coco beans, cooked slowly during hours in onions and chile pasilla from Oaxaca. We also replaced the garlic rubbed bread with Sare fish fillets fished and BBQed the day before, which we spread with garlic…

Sorry you cannot eat this in a restaurant; though if you find it in a restaurant tel me and I will rush there immidiatly.

Argentina 8 : to plant trees is fine, but to use them to guaranty food security is better

July 7th, 2009

How to plant trees for food security ?

In order to diversify the revenus of the estancia, the agronome engineers came with the great idea of planting wallnut trees.


Wallnuts are sold a good price and have a fair market in Argentina. Then, in 20 years, you ill be able to sell your wood if you choose so. So why not participate in the general fight against global warming by planting trees.

But to plant 8500 wallnut in a go, in the short term, it will become forest which will take 60ha of pasture from the cattle. The dense foilage and the low architecture of the wallnut empeaches any kind of plant to grow under it.

Without speaking about the proliferation of uncontrolable foreign plants it can cast, ready to put an end to the original balance of the ecosystem, with high levels of cyanidrides and all the dejections of the wallnut cork which will act as herbicides.

To palnt trees can be much more profitable, and here we come :

You must make the tree an ally of your plans and use it to reenforce your strategy of sustainability.

Waht brings the wallnut tree ?

  • It can fix up to 200kg azote/year from the air to the soil.
  • it keeps up a mycelial network, which distributes directly to the roots all the water, the minerals and nutrients a tree needs.
  • It takes care of the life of the soil by maintaining the good bacterias which the plant needs to grow.
  • It fixes and retain the soil from erosion, stop the progression of canyons, the main menace of the domain.
  • It can be a true climatic shock absorber against the current climate change, protecting from the wind, frost, and attracting rain by the mollecules they cast in the air.
  • Trees are vital to horse alimentation chevaux; dont forget that the primary biotope of horses is wood.

What are the priorities of the domain?

We need azote to make nitrates to accelerate the growth fo the pastures.

We desperatly need to reenforce the vegetal web and the deep and surface root web to stop erosion and the progress of the canyons.

We need to settle Sylvo-agriculture :

Experience has shown us that the ideal density of trees for this is 50 trees by hectare. This number allows the passage of the machinery while letting sufficient light for the crops.
8500 trees will cover 170 ha.

How to plant these trees ?

The distance between trees :
To know the distance between each tree you should calculate :

d = √A/n

d, for distance, A for the area, n the number of trees. This is how used to do Braun-Blanquet, the inventor of phytosociology.

So for our 50 trees hectarewe need to 1 a plant 1 tree every 14m.

The type of soil :

The wallnut tree does not like water in excess. It must be well drained, with little clay as possible. If you do not pay attentionto this it will catch deseases and parasites. In Argentina the most commun parasite is the mushroom Phytophtora. It takes up the base of the tree and the roots. The only remedy known here is amputation, which does not help to the growth of the tree. So better avoid any kind of drop to dop irrigation, etc.

Dont work on the soil before planting. If you tile you will create a tilage sole, by destructuring the soil which will create blocks of clay, hindering the water absorbtion. Tilage is the best way to put your trees vulnarable to parasite mushrooms or insects.

To plant them you only have to dig a hole the size of the clod of your tree you need to plant. Punto y basta.

To make shure our tree will get a quick and steady growth we go for mycoforestation

Two techniques according to the site :

chenesIf you have an old forest close by, you will link it with your young trees by a path of wood chips which will make a web between all the trees, which will make the mycelium run.

Or you proceed directly to the inoculation with mycelium raised in a lab, which as soon as it runs will provide directly to the trees all the nutrient they need. One must always use the help of nature in agriculture, it is the most efficient way.

This is another reason to avoid tilage around trees, it is the best way to break all mycelial and mycorhizal relationships, the symbiosis trees and mushroom have creates for their mutual health and benefit. A work the man is ready to distroy for the false purpose of letting the soil breathe, while he is destructuring its profound nature, and distroying the dynamic of the beings which maintain its’ balance. Nobody has had the idea of tiling a forest to make it grow yet…

Trees for agriculture.

With a density of 50 trees hectare, one tree every 14m, food plantations as well as pastures can prosper… and above all each year you have your crop of wallnuts and in 20 years you get your share of wood if you want to timber.

Organise the biodiversity

dont plant only wallnut trees … when you want to succeed with you graminees crop, rice, wheat, or pasture you need leguminous trees: acacias mimosaceas, here we have the fabulous pink lapacho a great medicinal tree to cure cancer; another leguminous like the caroub tree, which will provide fourage with its leaves (attentionwith the excess of azote) and nutritional complement by its beans.

control pollution.

8500 wallnut trees produce wallnut… at least 12 000 tons/year. Among these 12000 tons, 7000 tons rubish filled with black cyanidrides and carbon. Pollution ? Not really, it can be the ideal raw material to produce biodiesel thanks to micro algaes

Agriculture Design Assignment – Argentina 4 / How a fair understanding of nature’s biodiversity could help farmers. wild or cultivated essential oils, medicinals or ornementals

March 24th, 2009


This dense scrubland was considered as bad, against breeding and agriculture. In fact it is a living treasure :

It has more than ten varieties of colibris and hummingbirds (far to difficult to get a picture of), not to mention all kind of eagles, vultures and six nest of the big condor… as well as a couple of spectacular big kari bustards of which the male is over 4 feet high. You have wild “quaras” as well, the small wild llamas and big cats “cougars” which share the territory.


When one handle cattle, the puma can be a great help as well : the cows know how to fight it but its presence maintain it in a permanent alert and make it move. When the puma plays its’ role properly, it is a great help to avoid over pasture, while cleaning at the same time and eliminating the wounded and diseased cattle.

Nature plays its’ role. One must observe, understand and let be.

Let us come back to the richness of this chaotic place invaded by smalla acacias. First its biodiversity :

We are on the original cradle of tabocco, its’ original biome. You have taboccos of any kind and shape here and Diana who decided to stop smoking each time she picked a plant… it was a tabacco. Here are some photos of this sacred plant…




We start by this sacred plant which is intermediary between man and Gods, which intercedes for peace at the table of the angels; the plant which is pollinated by the hummingbirds. One must protect tobacco at any price to shelter the magical bird (Tobacco glauca on the high left can be smoked withou fermentation). In the US and Canada Indian tribes are trying to find back the meaning and the spirit of this sacred plant. Stop smoking to link back with the true rite of tobacco is a way to find back the foundation of their culture, their identity. This plant is man.



Now essential oils : first the arbustiv verveina, Aloisia sp., the one which was the fortune of the perfume maker of Grasse in France, l’Eau du Coq, l’Eau de Cologne… in the XVIII century this plant has been introduced on the banks of the Mediterranee. Here we are on the original biome, where the strength and the wide palette of the perfume expresses itself at its’ utmost. Here we are in front of tons of olfactiv treasures; production can start whenever. But it has to be with a sustainable way, to keep its’ wild strength. The essential oil must be produce with the French techniques with steam being very cautious that the oil is preserved from heat once it is extracted not to become carcinogenous. Extracts from the other plants above will be analysed with the help of the university of Tucuman to have an idea of the composition and the interest of heir essential oils.



Wild food are numerous on this territory, some of them are some of the most important of all human food: the wild potato, the origine of all potatoes in the world, the wild pumpkin, wild peas, wild garlic… the Andes elder tree which is here an impressive tree, the delicious Berberis, the wild peaches, the wild radish, and among all the now famous maca of the Andes, the funny aphrodisiac turnip with its bitter chocolate taste, the most concentrated vegetable in minerals and vitamins, for which everyday there is a bigger market in the world…


And splendour! over the top of the lapachos, Uncaria tomentosa, cat’s claw, which have the delicacy to alternate its bright yellow flowers with the pink flowers of the lapacho, the emblematic tree of North West Argentina. Both of these plants are concidered as a priority for the World Health Organisation to produce medicine against cancer. The production of these two plants can be a perfect example of permaculture.



white and red Begonia, hypomeas, arum, uncarias, solenaceas, cacti, lianas, creepers… so many wild plants that we are familiar to in our European gardens. Apparently thare are many more left to be tamed…

Like this huge arbustiv jasmin, Mandevilla sp., whith its tantalizing fragrances…


There is not only cattle, soja and cereal to be produced in the world! It seems that Argentina only knows these boaring productions. One must be attentive to nature and it will open new horizons. This is all the art of agriculture design. Create products and productions which can seduce neew markets away from the usual distributors and the standard agriculture market, insecure and unpersonal.

The “Tika Papa” project : 3 international medals for food security and development

March 18th, 2009

Since 2004 we are consultants for the T’ikapapa project in the Andes to support

fao-med-filteredin  Peru, the origin of the potato and its’ biodiversity. We are working on its’ dvelopment, its’ organic agriculture, fairtrade, the creation of product lines, design and esthetic, its’ distribution.

Tika Papa has been granted with 3 international awards for the environment and development among the most prestigious in the world.

The 2006 Gold Medal of the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation) for food security.

The SEED AWARD 2007 from the United Nations, the UNDP and the UNEP (UN Programmes for Development and Environment)seed award

The NEWSWEEK & BBC WORLD CHALLENGE 2007 elected by the viewers best development project of the year.

bbc_world.news_week-filteredbbc world challenge