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Salad Nicoise

25 Jul

 

Salade Nicoise

 

Quite honestly, I am a firm believer that  the salad nicoise is your perfectly balanced healthy, satisfying meal. Packed full of goodness with protein-rich tuna and eggs, olive oil and seasonal vegetables, it leaves you feeling as if you could be sunning yourself in the Cote d’Azur (ok, so maybe not really… )

 

At this time of the year, if you can get the freshest  (preferably home grown or local) new potatoes, lettuce, tomatoes and french beans, it will be 10 x tastier. Costs are kept down if using tinned tuna however do be careful that it’s nice and sustainable.

 

And, if you have any left over – stick it in a French bread bun drizzled with olive oil and balsamic and have a pan bagnat!

 

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Serves 1

 

Ingredients:

 

Half a tin of tuna

 

Handful of good quality black olives (unpitted ones are the tastiest – avoid the cheap sort in brine, false economy trust me!)

 

A couple of tomatoes,  cut into wedges

 

A handful of cooked green beans

 

A few small new poatoes, steamed and left to cool

 

A few lettuce leaves of your choice

 

Anchovies (for a proper authentic salad, howevee they aren’t to everyones taste!)

 

A boiled egg, halved

A few tinned beans of your choice if you fancy (not really authentic I know!)

 

For the dressing :

 

One part balsamic or white wine vinegar to two parts good quality olive oil, mixed with as much mustard as you desire

 

 

 

Method:

 

Assemble all ingredients into a large salad bowl, serving the tuna on top and drizzled with the dressing. Eat with good quality French bread (make it yourself or go to a good bakery for a treat! )

 

The last (French) supper

16 Jun

As the title states, I had a lot of stuff to use before I headed back to the not so glorious weather as the Cote d’Azur, but wonderful United Kingdom. Massively misjudging how much stuff I had to take back meant I had to leave the collection of herbs and spices that we had collected. I am probably a bit more frugal than most and I really didn’t want to leave them but paying 10 Euros per kg of excess baggage meant sacrifices had to be made (unfortunately.)

I had some frozen spinach to use, as well as puff pastry, a lemon and feta. I brainstormed and tarts were formed. Yummy and giving me less guilt about wasting food! Perfect hot or cold, for lunch or dinner or even a picnic. And ready in about 20 minutes!

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Spinach & feta tart

Serves 2 or more depending on how big you like your portions

Half a pack of puff pastry, rolled into a rectangle

About 100grams spinach, thawed if frozen

1/2 a pack of feta cheese

Squeeze of lemon juice

Few grates of lemon rind

Pinch of chilli flakes

Garlic clove,  crushed

A little olive oil

Pinch of nutmeg if you have any goes quite nicely!

Method

1. In a bowl, combine the thawed and drained spinach, crumbled feta, lemon juice and rind, garlic with salt and pepper, nutmeg and a glug of olive oil.

2. Arrange your mixture on the rolled out pastry, leaving a pastry border of about an inch or more for those who love their pastry.

3. Bake in a preheated oven at 190 C for around 20 minutes.

Tomato thyme and feta tart IMG_20130615_075622

Serves the same amount

Half a pack of puff pastry, rolled into a rectangle (or however you like to be honest.. Go wild.)

The other half of the pack of feta

2tsp dried or fresh thyme

Any tomatoes you have, thinly sliced, enough to cover the pastry

Method:

1. Crumble the cheese evenly over the pastry, arrange the tomato slices over the cheese so that there is no gaps between them. Drizzle with a little olive oil, sprinkle over the thyme and season with pepper (feta is salty enough! ). Bake for around 20 minutes in a preheated oven at 190 C.

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Place Garibaldi, giant (raspberry and lychee cream filled!) Macarons and people watching in the sun. Ahhhh.

13 May

Since finishing working in Nice, I have pretty much been on ‘holiday’ here, before I leave in a few weeks to go back to the wet and cold of the UK. I have been making the most of my time, dividing it up between eating ice cream, going to cafes and people watching, drinking wine, eating patisserie, going to the beach… tough life really isn’t it?

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So anyway, I was recommended by a French friend a place called Deli Bo – a trendy hipster hangout serving lunches, coffees and AMAZING patisseries! I subsequently headed there, picked up a Lychee and Rasberry Giant Macaron and headed to one of the many cafes in Place Garibaldi (my fave place to chill, attempt to read my French magazines, and people watch) to eat it, away from the waiters gaze of course, along with a noisette (a bargain of a coffee – an espresso with a bit of frothy milk – no more than 2 Euros in any French cafe.)

‘Twas delish and so thought I would gloat about how amazing it was with pictures and a blog post here 😀Image

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Feta, beetroot, cherry tomatoes, olive, rocket and lentil salad (so healthy a cake must be eaten afterwards)

6 May

I’ve been eating so many salads recently as the weather has finally become what I like to call ‘beach hot’ (a temperature gauged on if it’s hot enough to go to the beach to sunbathe… thought it was quite good no!?) here in Nice, which is not a bad thing I suppose!

Perfectly balanced with the sweet beetroot salty olives and feta, earthy lentils, fresh rocket and a sharp wholegrain mustard,  olive oil and balsamic dressing (phew what a description). You can alter the quantities as much as you fancy, I’ve just given a rough idea as to how I assembled mine.

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Wholesome and filling enough for a satisfying dinner or a healthy lunch. Super quick to put together, no expensive or obscure ingredients to hunt down, no excuses not to make it. Many people on ‘health’ binges often eat plates and plates of salads, often loaded with creamy dressings, cheeses and bacon, which to be frank is just not going to make much difference, may as well just tuck into that carbonara.

Serves 1:
A tablespoon of crumbled feta
1 small beetroot
2.5 tablespoons cooked brown lentils (or whatever type you have, just not mushy red lentils!)
A few cherry tomatoes
A few handfuls of rocket
3/4 black olives, chopped

Method:
Wash all salady bits and dry well, chop up your olives and beetroot, half your cherry tomatoes, crumble your feta, make your dressing by using 2 tbsp good olive oil combined with 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar and 1tsp wholegrain mustard and assemble. Voila.

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p.s I am doing a student marketing campaign to encourage people to sign up to volunteer for various music festivals in the summer, if you could click on this link below you would be doing me a massive favour!
http://www.phansta.com/1140/27/view.html

Olive, chilli, oregano, basil and feta bruschetta

18 Apr

I had half a tin of plum tomatoes to use and half a baguette.

I hate wasting food – I will make a point of using something up. I bought a cabbage a few months ago, literally couldn’t get rid of it – genuinely thought it was growing in the fridge. So I would sneak it into pretty much anything much to Ollie’s amusement – Greek salad with a bit of shredded cabbage?! Why not eh!

Anyway this was one of those cases, storecuboard/fridge stables such as tinned olives, oregano, jarred feta cheese and chilli flakes and a few fresh basil leaves from my plant. (it’s laaaaavely weather here down in Nice so no dying plants for meeee!)

It was delish. Perfect for a quick, summery lunch!

Ingredients:
Half a baguette, sliced (get best quality you can… even if you don’t have a cheap artisan bakery at the end of your road… hehe)
a few black olives, cut into quarters
half a tin of tomatoes
teaspoon of dried oregano
salt and pepper
pinch (or more if feeling wild) chilli
feta cubes (however cheesy you’re feeling)
olive oil (I used basil infused)

Method:
1. Combine all ingredients except for the feta cheese and olive oil (and bread, obviously…) in a bowl.
2. Slice your baguette, drizzle over a little olive oil and pop under the grill for a few minutes.
3. Top  bread with the tomato mixture, sprinkle with the feta cubes then pop under the grill until the cheese starts to look as if it is melting slightly. It should smell deeelliiisshhh

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A hankering for Hot Cross Buns (the French don’t do them)

31 Mar

Hot Cross Buns are ALWAYS present in my house (uni or at home – my mum makes some great ones, albeit with the help of the breadmaker…) over Easter time. They make a healthy breakfast or teatime treat with the low amount of fat in the dough, you can have them toasted slathered in butter and jam, or they are pretty tasty on their own, warm out of the oven.

Although not immediately out the oven… greedy me burnt my hands/lips and learned my lesson…IMG_20130331_163950

Anyway, I decided to tackle making my own this year, after sneakily downloading (IPlayer has me coming across ‘content unavailable outside the UK’ notifications whenever I see a programme that I want to watch and I ALWAYS forget in my excitement) the Great British Bake off’s Eater Masterclass, I attempted Paul Hollywoods recipe. They seemed pretty simple?! (She says, forgetting that he is a professional baker and herself a more chuck-in-a-bowl-and-stir kinda baker) But yes, they were really easy to make, a little time consuming with two 1hour rises but it’s something you have to expect. I actually like having my afternoon being taken up by baking, I always feel productive (even if I am meant to be doing that French translation but tant pis!)

I have my looooovely friends coming to visit on Easter Monday, I hope they like them 😉

Ingredients:
300ml milk
50g butter
500g strong bread flour
1 tsp salt
75g caster sugar
7g sachet fast-action or easy-blend yeast
1 egg, beaten
75g sultanas
50g mixed peel
zest 1 orange
1 apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
1 tsp ground cinnamon
70g flour/2 tbsp water (for the cross!
1tbsp apricot jam mixed with ½ tbsp water (for the glaze)

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Method:

1. Bring the milk to the boil, then remove from the heat and add the butter. Leave to cool until it reaches hand temperature. Tip the flour, salt, sugar and yeast into a bowl. Pour in the warm milk and butter mixture into a well in the centre and add the egg. Mix well with a wooden spoon. Add the mixed peel, spices, orange zest and sultanas.

2. Knead for 5 minutes on a well floured surface until the dough starts to come together, you may need to add more flour, but don’t add too much – kneading will help the dough lose its ‘stickyness’. Put the dough in a slightly oiled bowl and leave in a warm place to rise for an hour.

3. When the dough is at least doubled in size, knock out and knead again for 5 minutes until elastic. The dough should smell erm-aahh-zing right now.

4. Divide into around 15 equal sized balls and arrange on a baking sheet, with a gap either side to allow for rising. Leave to rise in a warm place for another hour. Before baking, mix the water/flour together to make the cross, the mixture should be a consistency that drops off a spoon and is easily pipeable but still holds it shape. Pop into a piping bag and get crossing!
5. Bake for about 12 minutes in an oven preheated to 200C, then glaze with a pastry brush the warmed, mixed water & jam for a really professional finish.

Skiing in Auron and Pain Bagnats

5 Mar

Last Sunday we took yet another ski day-trip, it’s just too fun/close/(relatively) cheap not to make the most of it! This time, we decided to go to the resort of Auron, which is another small, family resort in the Mercantour national park area. Like Isola 2000, it’s less than 2 hours by bus from Nice.

To be quite honest as it’s a lot lower than Isola, it was a warm +6 C which meant slushy skiing and lots of ugly brown mud/mountains. We didn’t like it as much as Isola but you know, can’t really complain about spending a relaxing Sunday on the slopes.

One of my favourite parts (obviously) of skiing is having a hearty lunch outside in the sun on the side of a mountain in preparation for an afternoons skiing. Laaavely.

The restaurant with the best view (priorities hey!) we came across on the slopes was la Bergerie, despite it being absolutely heaving (French half term…) we were served quickly. The menu was mostly Provencal-inspired dishes, hence choosing between us the Raviolis Nicois in a meaty sauce daube and the Pain Bagnat Revisité.

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The Pain Bagnat is amazing (basically a Nicois salad in a bun.) It is one of my favourite food discoveries here, which is perfect as the boulangerie on the corner of our road does the best one using their own fresh olive bread bagnat rolls. The Pain Bagnat Revisité  was more of an elegant, open sandwich type dish, being in a restaurant and costing 14euros what do you expect. I must admit the hearty roll is a lot more satisfying.

I went to the boulangerie today to pick up a pain bagnat for lunch. Due to it

being 2pm (the French eat their lunch at 12pm sharp) there were non left. No worries. I bought myself a bagnat roll and made myself a Pain Bagnat à la Phoebe (that is, without anchovies, eww.)

Serves 1 hungry person, 2 hungry-ish people

Ingredients:                                                                 IMG_20130305_163836

1 giant olive bread roll
1 tin tuna in olive oil
6 cherry tomatoes, halved
handful rocket
5 black olives, halved
a few slices of red pepper
a few slices of hard boiled egg
anchovies (optional)
good olive oil and balsamic vinegar for drizzling

Method:
1. Slice  your bun, drizzle the olive oil onto the bread, spread the tuna on the bread then pile up all the other ingredients. Drizzle with a little more olive oil and balsamic et voilà!