RECIPES - ratatouille

La Ratatouille - quintessentially Provençal

Ratatouille is as Provençal as lavender and its blue sky above. It simply combines all the delicious vegetables which are ripe in the summer, allowing for the full flavor to develop by letting it simmer for almost two hours. Best served in the pot, along with some fresh country bread: in Provence bread is eaten along the main course and to soak up the sauce on the plate.
serves 4 - 6

Use a heavy cast-iron pot like Le Creusset, with fitting lid to trap the vapor during cooking

500g potatoes
5 medium-sized carrots
1 red or yellow large onion
2 large courgettes
200g string beans
3 medium-sized or 5 small tomatoes, ripe and juicy
4 cloves of garlic
5 sprigs of thyme or 1 full teaspoon dried
fresh bread or baguette  or lightly toasted in a pan

Fry onions and garlic first, then add all vegetables chopped in bite-sized pieces and layer them according to the list of ingredients above, with the hardest vegetable on the bottom. Add some water if necessary or possibly some white wine. Allow to cook covered on gas mark 2 for 1 hour, then reduce to gas mark 1 for another 45 minutes. Stir only occasionally and very gently.
Serve with fresh bread
and enjoy

 * Bon appétit *

LIFE AT LA VUDELE - merci beaucoup & thank you

This year we are seeing back quite a few of last year's guests - thank you so much to everyone who chose to return and who appreciates the work and effort - along with love and care - into our work!

Some of them are staying even longer than last year, a sign that what we offer here at La Vudèle is what our guests want and need. And all enquiring about our two cats right away! We have friends of returning guests and relatives of guests - simply wonderful!

We also have guests who are staying nearby but who come to pay us a visit, over tea and a game of table fussball, or who we meet up with at the market in Riez! One couple came for another yoga & vegan cooking retreat, wow! And this is only until the middle of July - amazing

merci beaucoup
  Thank you &
merci beaucoup
all you lovely people
for your kindness
respect &

Jim & Claudia
Mimie & Mia

YOGA - outdoor yoga

Go ahead, take your yoga practice outdoors this summer! It will totally change your perspective, your practice and your appreciation of nature. And get you in touch with what's around you.
Nature's abundance offers us plenty of opportunity to enjoy what can be found all around, no matter where we are.

lavender fields around La Vudèle

cooling shade behind La Vudèle

sun salutation facing the sunflower field

For inspiration on where to take your mat try this web site

If you live in a bigger city you can always find yoga on meetup.com or other social web sites which help connect with like-minded yogis.

Happy summer

EXTRA - yoga & vegan cooking weekend

For the last time before the summer, the weekend of 1. - 3. July, we held a yoga & vegan cooking weekend, with wonderful participants from Chicago! The lavender fields were in full bloom as was the sunflower field behind La Vudèle, and we enjoyed taking our yoga practice outdoors surrounded by this beautiful scent! During this retreat we explored and created vegan Provencal dishes using the freshest seasonal ingredients, the first tomato of the season, and enjoyed our dinners al fresco under the blue sky of Provence!

 A holistic time, where our participants took care of themselves from the inside, through
* mindful yoga practice
* delicious organic vegan food
* followed their personal yoga & meditation practice
* had time to explore the area
* and time to enjoy an in-depth practice, yoga philosophy, spirituality. The focus was not only on various asanas but on advancing on the path of yoga

goodie bag with apron, cook book, salt, eye mask and yoga tea

Equipped with the Yoga & Nature goodie bag which is filled with
* yoga & nature apron
* yoga & nature cookbook
* yoga & nature herbes de Provence salt
* eye mask
* herbal yoga tea

all presented in a typical Provencal basket
we set off on our vegan cooking journey Saturday afternoon. In the morning we had visited the fantastic farmers' market in Riez to purchase organic fresh produce, from carrots to onions, yellow and green zucchini to the first tomato of the season!

making chocolate tofu mousse

The recipe for this delicious dessert can be found in our yoga & nature cookbook which is also available in our boutique

grilled caviar d'aubergine

tips & tricks from Claudia for Anastasia

chopping away for the "hussimussi"
The menu consisted of
* gratte ail or grated garlic, with our own organic olive oil and fresh baguette
* caviar d'aubergine
* grilled tofu with couscous and vegetable medley
* chocolate mint ice cream (the recipe)
* lavender custard (the recipe )
accompanied by local wine of Quinson and a game of table foosball

It was a lovely experience to be cooking with Tracey and Anastasia who added their own ideas and experiences, and the resulting meal - prepared with love - was simply divine! As we were seated outdoors next to the field of sunflowers the sun was setting, casting a lovely gentle light over the field: a perfect setting!

For our yoga practice early in the morning and in the afternoon we searched and found shade behind La Vudèle, surrounded by sunflowers, vines and of course lavender!
relaxing afternoon Yin yoga practice

final meditation in reclined butterfly pose
Upon their departure Tracey and Anastasia added their personal well-wishes to our line of Tibetan prayer flags, leaving a piece of personal memory at La Vudèle

our guests Tracey & Anastasia
Thank you so much, you two, for having chosen Yoga & Nature in Quinson for your mother/daughter weekend! It was truly a pleasure and honor to meet you two beautiful people and share this time with you! May your onward journey around France this summer be as colorful and delightful. Namasté.

And our next and final date for 2016 will be the third weekend in September:

Friday, 16. - Sunday, 18. September 2016
We already have one confirmed reservation so there are now only 4 spots left! On our web site is more information regarding a tentative schedule, photos, prices or email us 

Hope to see you here
in late summer!

ACTIVITIES - summer break

Summer has definitely arrived here in Provence, and we are going to take a break from our newsletter and
* go for a swim in one of the two lakes, Sainte Croix and Esparron
* visit friends
* partake in the local activities
* practice yoga

* to host our guests in our B&B
* and create delicious, fresh vegan dinners for them

* and enjoy the summer months

Claudia will partake in a yoga teacher training in Italy in August whilst Jim will take care of our guests and two cats Mimie and Mia

Enjoy your summer
à bientôt!


LIFE AT LA VUDELE - summer's in the air

After a mild and short winter and a lovely spring we are now gearing up for summer here in Provence!

Along with two more yoga & vegan cooking retreats coming up we are expecting quite a few returning guests which is fantastic and shows that what we offer -  cozy rooms, a delicious organic breakfast, vegetarian/vegan dinners, a relaxed atmosphere - is what our clientele likes and enjoys! And this gives us the energy and affirmation to continue with what we have created here at La Vudèle.

So a big THANK YOU to all of you who have made and shaped La Vudèle and "organic living in Provence" into what it is today!

merci beaucoup
thank you
Dziękuję Ci
 and a big hug!


ACTIVITIES - another Karma Exchange

This spring's Karma Exchange, on 8. May, was a great time, with new faces and of course new items to swap! Accompanied by a glass of champagne from Quinson and freshly baked muffins 6 women and one man came together, and everyone left with some new items!

Twice a year, in the spring and fall, an eclectic mix of people meets up here at La Vudèle for a Karma Exchange: the swapping of previously loved items like clothes, accessories, food, decoration or sometimes books, of ideas or whatever we would like to pass on. Everyone is welcome to show up, with or without something to physical to exchange: a smile, one's presence, one's spirit are plenty! With a glass of champagne or rosé in hand we sit together and swap, try on, decide to keep, admire, pay a compliment, laugh... enjoy.
Spring is a great time to get rid of items found and collected over the winter, be they from the closet, the cellar, the library or wherever. To make room for new items and to de-clutter, to re-discover and re-arrange. The same in the fall, and because people keep asking if they could bring their friends I am certain this fall's Karma Exchange will see more new people!

Happy swapping!

RECIPE - sage pesto, with a twist

Résultats de recherche d'images pour « pesto spaghetti »Classic pesto is made with fresh basil; this is the variety everybody knows and loves, be it from their vacations in Italy or a visit to their favorite Italian restaurant. But how about trying something new? With the abundance of sage plants in our herb garden, grown from seed and growing in massive bushes, I one late spring afternoon decided to try this wonderful herb in a pesto. Et voilà, it not only tastes almost like basil, it tastes even better! And it tastes best when the leaves are young so in late spring, though it is possible to use the leaves all year round but the taste will become stronger and more pungent.

During our yoga & organic vegan cooking retreat last weekend Top Vegan Chef Paul decided to add some green olives and freshly squeezed lemon juice, and my o my, was this pesto a treat!

Sage is a very versatile plant, a quintessential Mediterranean herb used in cooking, as an essential oil, as a decorative plant in the garden with its pretty purple flowers. Salvia officinalis can  be used to make a delicious tea.

Résultats de recherche d'images pour « pesto »
on croutons as an appetizer

Pesto is easy to make, considered a "raw food" as none of the ingredients are heated and can go on anything, from pasta bien sûr to sandwiches or tasty little croutons as appetizers with an apéritif or on pizza in place of or with tomato sauce

the ingredients:
* fresh sage leaves
* nutritional yeast
* toasted pine nuts
* depitted fleshy green olives
* freshly squeezed lemon juice
* garlic
* olive oil
* freshly ground sea salt
* freshly ground black pepper

All ingredients are approximate as this is really to everyone's personal taste. If you can get a hold of this season's fresh garlic use it sparingly and allow the fresh taste of sage to be the most prominent. Make a paste in your kitchen machine and season to taste. The great thing about pesto is that its all about personal preference.

Résultats de recherche d'images pour « vegan pesto pizza »
on pizza as a base

Try something new today and remember to enjoy not only the result but also the process! Preparing food from scratch is a fantastic way to spend time, observing the making of something delicious, with one's own creativity, passion and hands!

bon appétit! 

YOGA - extra retreat in June vegan cooking

Top Vegan Chefs
We just finished our first yoga & organic vegan cooking retreat and would like to thank the participants, Paul & Anna who were already here for last year's 6-day retreat, and Justine & Sofiane from Taiwan, for coming here to La Vudèle and sharing their spirit and enthusiasm with us during this weekend!

And for those who would like to attend this summer we have 2 more dates before August: Tuesday, 14.6. - Thursday, 16.4. & Friday, 1. - Sunday, 3. July

retreat goodie bag
Friday afternoon we started out with a welcome workshop, blind-folded with the eye mask of the La Vudèle goodie bag and using the sense of smell only to explore the various beautiful aromas of herbs and flowers like lavender, thyme, sage, and essential oils like orange, rosemary and fennel. Also contained in the goodie bag were
~ the yoga & nature en Provence apron
~ the La Vudèle guest book with recipes, mantras, yoga sequences and various information
~ a post-yoga tea blend
~ a special herbes de Provence salt
~ all presented in a typical Mediterranean straw basket

This was followed by our first afternoon yoga session outdoors, enjoying the beautiful sun, vistas and sounds all around.

Using the freshest ingredients from the market and our favorite organic food store "Nature & Vous" in Manosque we prepared an apéritif dinatoire in the evening, with lots of delicious delicacies like
* caviar d'aubergine
* black olive tapenade
* white bean dip
* our freshly baked sourdough bread
* and a superb quiche, with the recipe to be found in the La Vudèle guest book

Saturday morning we met for an invigoration morning yoga session and a mindfulness meditation, to the rising sun, followed by breakfast in the morning sun. Afterwards we went to the local market in Riez to purchase delicacies for dinner like artichokes, the first courgettes and strawberries. In the afternoon another lovely yoga session outdoors, under the beautiful blue sky of Provence, with a Metta meditation and some challenging asanas!

We then started cooking in our farmhouse kitchen, with everywhere assigned to different tasks: there was a dessert station, a pesto making station, pea shelling of peas fresh from the field, marinating the tofu, and the artichokes also had to be prepared, cleaned and then boiled, to be grilled for dinner.

Sofiane at the grill
Anna, a trained nutritionist
master sage pesto maker
Mia the cat with Justine

lavender custard - yum!
Sofiane and his new toy
The copious gala dinner, with lots of candles, we enjoyed accompanied by local wines of Quinson, thanks to Jim's selection and expertise. The two desserts, a lavender custard and a chocolate mousse, finished off our meal, and we all went to bed feeling accomplished and light-hearted.

Sunday morning started out with another morning yoga session to the rising sun - simply wonderful -  and breakfast with crêpes à la Jim were served at the breakfast table.

the flag ceremony
As a parting gift the participants designed their own flags, to be added to the Tibetan prayer flags fluttering in the wind....

This was a wonderful weekend, thank you so much, you all! 

And for those who would like to attend this summer we have 2 more dates before August:

yoga & organic vegan cooking

Tuesday, 14.6. - Thursday, 16.4.
and another weekend of yoga & fun
Friday, 1. - Sunday, 3. July

On our web site is more information, photos and prices, or simply email us 
Hope to see you here
this summer!

EXTRA - Thursday morning yoga starting 2. June

It's this time of year again... time for outdoor yoga at La Vudèle! Starting next Thursday, 2. June, at 10h we will take our morning practice to the garden behind the house, to greet the rising sun and enjoy a lovely morning practice.

Each week there is a different theme, a different focus, be it on balance, inversions, cooling asanas, invigorating sequences, all dependent on the experience of the participant, the mood of the day and the general energy.

And what a joy it was to practice outdoors, to be outside, surrounded by nature: in the cooling shade under the vast mulberry in our garden; by the side of the wheat field with views across lavender fields onto Mont Denier. This mountain range, with an altitude of almost 1900m, serves as a focal point for tadasana or mountain pose: imagining oneself a mountain, a natural structure which like our body and mind does neither sway nor move, solid, grounded. 

No reservation is required, mats are provided, € 10 per person participatory fee.

Namasté and welcome to everyone who will join this summer!