French Toilet Paper and other disasters
Immobilier, My Sister Heidi and Word of Mouth in French

Pesto in Bed. A delicious--and alluring--recipe!

Recipe for Pesto in Bed at the end of this post.


    : pesto 

ECOUTER/LISTEN - hear Jean-Marc pronounce these French words:


Le pistou. La sauce au pistou ou tout simplement pistou est une sauce, équivalent provençal du pesto ligure, à base de basilic pilé, d'ail et d'huile d'olive. Pesto. Pesto sauce or simply pesto is a sauce, the Provencale equivalent of ligurian pesto, with a base of crushed basil, garlic and olive oil. - example sentence from French Wikipedia


    by Kristin Espinasse

L'Art de déléguer

Tottering atop a wooden stump just beneath a giant olive tree, I paused to look down at my husband.  If it weren't for him I'd have walked right past these ripe olives, the harvesting of which was a big complication in my mind. The trees are massive, their branches, out of reach, and what tools were we to use? Then what? 

But when Jean-Marc delegated the project to our son, 20-year-old Max, it only took two days for him and his friends to bring in 200 kilos of fruit! The harvest over, I was surprised to find my husband in the kitchen, days later, emptying his pants pockets of more olives.  It seems he found more fruit on the trees and this time he would make cocktail olives to go with his rosé wine! 


This second harvest might never have occurred to me - or to Jean-Marc, had he not walked passed the tree, seen the fruit, and been tempted to pocket what he could! (And forget pockets! I'd have operated with antiseptic buckets and brand-new gloves! But in the time it would take me to prepare my harvesting equipment and google the "how to" of it all, Jean-Marc had managed to fill a three-gallon bowl with olives and he was already on his way to brining them! All this he did with one arm!

Inspired by his example, and curious to learn how to process olives, I found myself shoving handfulls of olives into my own pocket - pants', shirts', and jacket pockets as I helped Jean-Marc bring in more fruit over the next few days. What with my husband's "no nonsense" approach -- and my blossoming interest in agriculture (specifically "permaculture"), the two of us were gradually growing into a complimentary duo!  My heart began to swell as I looked down at my fellow picker and thought about the long and winding road that had brought us this far, to our second farm in France.

"We are a good team!"  I said to my husband when suddenly the handful of olives I'd been grasping tumbled from my palm down through my shirt, and came out the other end to bounce off my husband's shoulder provoking quite a grin on his face! Opportunist that he is, Jean-Marc reached up with his free hand (his other still in a sling) and tickled my belly.

Tugging down my shirt, and all but tumbling off the wooden stump in the process, I tried to refocus my man's attention. "I said we are a good team you and me!"

"Oui, toi et moi," Jean-Marc grinned from the ground below.

"Did you hear what I said?"

"I can see your bidou!" came the hopeless reply.

One week out of the hospital and Mr Frisky is alive and well. And that is a good thing because now that we are done with the olives we can move on to the herbs!

"How would you like to help me collect some parsley? It will soon go to flower but if we get it now I can make pesto!" (What good was learning from your husband if you couldn't now practice the art of delegation?)

Jean-Marc followed me up to the raised beds (not the kind he was hoping for!) and watched as I pointed to all the exciting parsley. At least I was excited, that is until my fellow picker made a suggestion:

Pointing to all the parsley that had grown along the gravel path, like weeds, he said: "Why not start with these?"

OH! It was just like my husband to be practical! But the vegetable garden is my domain and I will call the shots. "We'll leave those for now.  I want to start in the bed... " 

So much for taking the initiative! Now we were right back where we started - with one of us grinning and the other flustering. 

In the end, we managed to pick enough parsley to make a tasty batch of pistou de persil. And I'm calling this one "Pesto on the Rocks"! The next batch, if Jean-Marc has any luck, will be called Pesto in Bed.

The garden beds behind the house. Photo taken in summer 2014.


(for Pesto on the Rocks, follow same recipe... with added modesty. Recipe adapted from this video)

    Two bunches of parsley (about 3 packed cups)
    3 or 4 cloves of garlic
    500 ml of olive oil
    2 squeezed lemons (add some of the peel, if you like)
    250 grams of parmesan cheese
    80 grams of roasted pine nuts 
    1 tablespoon honey
    salt and pepper to taste

Put all ingredients into a blender and whirl until smooth.  Or use one of these wonderful immersion blenders.

Use this delicious parsley pesto on French bread - or with chicken, fish, in soup, on hard-boiled eggs.... or as a secret ingredient to this Traditional French Olive cake!

Immersion blender

Click here to order an immersion blender or to check out other handy kitchen tools.

Jean-Marc took the pictures in this post. He is doing well, after his bike accident which left him with a broken elbow. Can you see him behind me in the mirror? Don't miss a photo. Join me here at Instagram and be sure to hit the "follow" button.

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Cindy Mc

La vie est belle. Bonne journée, Kristi.

Carol K USA

The pesto recipe looks like one to try...and do you also make this with basil?
my question is. how long will you keep this in the
refrigerator....does it last very long if not eaten immediately? I am only one person and always wonder
about spoilage?
love your messages !

Kristin Espinasse

Carol,  it is the honey and lemon that make this outstanding.  Not sure if this could be used as a basil pesto recipe. It should keep in the fridge for three weeks.  Add a layer of olive oil on top,  to protect it.


Bonjour, Kristi!

Sounds delicious!

Mais j'ai une question: qu'est-ce que c'est un bidou?




Hi Kristin,

The pesto recipe sounds yummy! I think I still have some parsley in the porch herb box that hasn't been touched by the frost yet.

Love the photo of you and Smokey and the little lemon tree!

Have a great week!

Kristin Espinasse

Kim,  Thanks for asking.  I forgot to post the definition. Le bidou means tummy.


Will give it a try! Thanks, Kristi!

Cute story! I, too, love the pic of you in your hat looking so chic while cooking, with your cute little sous chef ever by your side. And the photo with JM in the mirror was very clever!

Enjoy the wine tasting! Wish I could be there... :)


J'adore le pistou! Thank you for the delicious recipe. I have one of those Cuisinart immersion blenders and happily welcome any opportunity to put it to good use. :) Thank you, also, for the adorable story. You and Jean-Marc are such a great couple!

Trina from St. Petersburg, FL USA

The opening photo one of my new favorites. I am glad Kim asked the definition; I wondered, too. Thanks for defining, Kristi.

This post inspires me to make a meal out of olives, some nan bread, and a glass of wine. Something I was last inspired to do when reading The Red Tent (novel) and living in NYC where I had access to buy a wide variety of olives (types). Yum. Perhaps now some fresh pesto and a baguette?

Chris Allin

Dear Kristi,

Parsley pesto! One of my favorites! (For Carol...I have frozen it in small batches for later use and that worked okay.) It is similar to chimichurri...another favorite. As I looked at the picture of you and your sous-chef I thought how it might help to have a kitchen truc called an herb stripper. Kind of fits into the theme of today's post...

Hope you let us know how Jean-Marc's olives turn out. So glad he is doing well. Seems like nothing much can keep him down!

Thanks for sharing your recipe. Always so inspiring!

Cynthia Gillespie-Smith

CHARMING POST, Kristi! And very cool photos!! Love Chris Allin's comments.

Kristin Espinasse

Thanks,  Cynthia. Me too--loved Chriss comment and am cheered by Trina,  Katia,  Alisa and our other friends who have commented. Thank you all! 

catharine ewart-touzot

sounds like Jean Marc is making use of his down time and the two of you are becoming aware of what a fine team you are.

Susan Hodgson

Love,isn't it grand. How blessed you are, a good man, interesting life and children to add a little spice.

Cynthia P. Lewis

The pictures which you "paint" with your words are perfect. Le bidou is a new word for me, too, but I don't think I'll be forgetting it any time soon! ... so glad that Jean-Marc is feeling well again. Thank him for the lovely photos and thanks to you for today's amusing post along with recipes. My best wishes.


Love the story & pics as always...nature provides as always....permaculture makes us ponder about the beauty of it all....a spiritual experience.

Heather in Arles

Thank JM for the giggle please. :)

Dawn Johnson

Just love it!!!

Diane Young

Way to go, JM! Glad you're not letting a minor thing like a broken arm keep you from enjoying life. Kristi, I buy my pesto from grocery store, since there's only me, but enjoy the kind with the pine nuts in the middle. Yummy. I envy your ability to come up with so many comestibles from your garden. La Sud de la France has many advantages for those who like to grow plants, flowers, grapes, olives, etc. Life is good.


My my, Kristin...
this post is rather saucy... in more ways than one!

I tried to reply to Carol K unsuccessfully, so, wearing my Queensland Herb Society hat, I vouch for putting pestos and other oily sauces in the freezer. A glass jar is fine provided it is not overful.
Pestos (or is it pesti?) keep very well that way and won't freeze solid as water-based concoctions would. A great option for thos in tropical or sub-tropical climes.

Now, to a little spellcheck:
- had he not walked passed the tree = past the tree
- pants', shirts' = apostrophe is either superfluous or should be before the 's'

About the olives... are you planning to tell us JM's methos of processing them? I hope so.


Our dear Kristi,
Another wonderful post(as always!) and pictures that wrap us in hugs(and smiles!)
You two absolutely are a good team!
And we are absolutely graced to share in your lives!
Natalia XO
PS LOVE your recipe!

Kristin Espinasse

Jacqueline,  Mille mercis for the edits.  These are so helpful. I will update the post at the next chance.  Re Jean-Marcs method : he is learning from the Internet searches and plans to change the water daily (my job!) for ten days.  Then he will boil local herbs in a pot,  adding salt,  and then pour this (brine?) over the olives in jars. The olives will rest for a time before they are enjoyed. Any tips are welcome!

Brenda Prowse

What a delightful post, Kristi. I am so glad that Jean-Marc is feeling frisky. And now when I buy those big bunches of parsley at the market (because they look so beautiful) I will have another great recipe to use. Thank you. And happy olive brining.

Marianne Rankin

Jean-Marc is simply amazing - I think a great word to describe him is "intrepid." Nothing seems to slow him down, and he seems to have never-ending enthusiasm.

Kristin, I'm looking forward to trying your "pistou" recipe. This one looks pretty flexible. In general when trying to figure out European recipes, such as some I've seen in magazines, the challenge is figuring out how much of something is the equivalent of the "grams". Of course I know that, say, 30 grams is about an ounce - but most American recipes are by volume, not weight, and the weight of different things varies, whereas volume (such as a cup) is constant. How much is 250 grams? Are there any rough volume equivalents?

Thanks, as always, for an interesting post.

Kristin Espinasse

Marianne,  re the measurements,  in this case I would Google a parsley pesto recipe--and choose a page that has a USA version. (This is what I often do =-)  It will give you an idea of weights and measurements.  As you say,  this recipe leaves room for more or less of any of the ingredients. Enjoy!  It is worth making! I have been eating it out of the jar,  like peanut butter!


One of the buffet options at my daughter's wedding was a vegetarian lasagna made with basil pesto instead of the more typical tomato-based sauce. It was wonderful! I don't have near enough basil plants to make that type of lasagna, but a little on bread makes a lovely addition to many meals.


Loved the 'working together' you and Jean-Marc shared - as it reminded me of what was one of the best parts with Chris; whenever we did some household chore or enhancement and spent time together - pulling together (well, sometimes, pulling in opposite directions!), but we both loved those times, sharing work!! I too, like both the pictures of you in your straw hat.


I can vouch that the pesto parsley was we had the privilege of partaking.

Thank you Kristy and Jean Marc


Fun blog. What a year of accidents, n'est-ce pas ? Keep sane! :)

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