Tag Archives: Fresh

Zesty prawn linguine

10 Jul

One of my favourite pasta dishes is this combination of prawns, basil, zingy lemon, red chillies, the freshness of rocket, sweet cherry tomatoes and spring onion combined with linguine.

It’s super healthy yet light and satisfying (and takes no time at all). We had this when I took a visit up to Newcastle (furthest North I’ve ever gone, couldn’t get over the fact that there was a Greggs in the airport. Brilliant) to see my friend Jane. This is her boyfriend Andy’s recipe, which can be found on his impressive food blog – http://grubblog.wordpress.com/

Eat when in need of some comfort food or when on a health binge – possibly one of the few recipes that satisfies both.

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Farmers market, Nice

13 Jan

If you venture north of the Nice Ville train station (a seldom-practiced activity for tourists and locals alike) and you will come across the biggest open air market in Nice. Hop off at the Libération tram stop and you will find yourself in the middle of the buzzing market. It’s a great place to people watch so before you lug your buys home, sit yourself outside a cafe for ten minutes and observe!

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Tens of market traders come down from the hinterland to sell their fresh flowers, seasonal fruit and vegetables, honey, jams, cheese and other produce every day bar Monday. It is a truly huge farmers market – yet a little more rustic and not so middle-class orientated and expensive as the ones we have in the UK. It’s no wonder that it’s so popular with prices that are genuinely cheaper than supermarkets, including the Organic produce stalls.

 

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You can even barter with the stall holders to get a better price – great French practice too! Despite being half asleep during my mission there today I managed to get 3.50Euros worth of parsnips for 1Euro as all the decent sized ones had sold out and all that was left were the skinny, weedy looking ones (I went out to a friend’s housewarming party last night so it was quite an effort to get up and go before the market closes at lunchtime…)
Also near the Place du Général de Gaulle is a small under-cover market selling speciality cheeses, pastas and cured meats. Oh I love being so close to Italy! There is also a fish market on one side of the Place selling fresh produce.
It’s so great that here in Nice most people use the market to buy their groceries. It’s a shame that in the UK it has diminished. Like here in Nice, it would be a win-win situation if we had more of a market culture in the UK as producers could successfully sell their produce at cheap prices (no supermarket middle man!) to a demanding customer base. I love the UK farmers markets and I’m pleased to see that they are being supported more and more. For me however, trips to the farmers markets are a rare treat due to my student budget! IMG_20130113_131239

So, when in Nice, avoid the overpriced, touristy Cours Saleya market in the Old Town although and head here for an authentic French market experience!

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Ollie’s smoked salmon scrambled eggs

18 Dec
copyright OllieN2012
Oh the grief I would get I tried to pass this off as my own! Ollie’s specialty is his smoked salmon scrambled eggs. And yes, they are worth being proud of. After 19 years of serious aversion too eggs that were ‘too eggy’ (only a few egg-converts out there will know what I mean – I used to stare at scrambled eggs in horror as if they were yellow brains on a plate) I finally came round to them after Ollie made me this dish for a hungover brunch last year. They are great, packed full of protein and a good way to use up any eggs that are near their sell-by-date – you’ll need quite a few (eggs always seem to shrink to minuscule portions when being scrambled – the only downside!)
Yesterday, we had a big Christmas dinner with 6 of our friends. Our feast included smoked salmon blinis, Yorkshire puddings and mince pies and creme fraiche. This left us with spare eggs, chives, smoked salmon and creme fraiche. Conveniently exactly what is needed!
Serves 2smoked salmon eggs
Ingredients:
100g Smoked salmon, cut into small strips
Half a fresh baguette
6 Eggs
Large knob of butter
Heaped tablespoon creme fraiche
Small bunch chives, chopped
Salt and pepper
Sliced tomato, rocket and avocado
Method:
1. Before scrambling your eggs, get everything sliced so you don’t have to prepare your salad/salmon/chives/baguette in a rush due to not wanting your eggs to go cold (chopped fingers are not a good or practical look!)
2. On a high heat, add the butter and crack your eggs into the saucepan. With a spatula, immediately starting working the eggs (you will get a good arm workout from this!) Work them for 30 seconds on the heat, 30 seconds off the heat, until they are nicely scrambled. You will find that your eggs will scramble all of a sudden, so keep mixing!)
3. Add the dollop of creme fraiche as soon as the eggs are done to cool them down and stop them from overcooking. Then, add the strips of smoked salmon and chives, mix and season well.
4. Serve your eggs on lightly toasted baguette, with a side salad and eat up.
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Nice, France

8 Nov

At the moment I am living in Nice, Cote d’azur, for the year as part of my university studies (tough life, I know!)

The south of France is my favourite region by far, not only for the weather (I have recently decided I was born for the Mediterranean climate) but for the food and lifestyle that goes hand in hand with it.

The laid back lifestyle of the southern French contributes to the increasingly long lunch breaks. Usually, the nicer the weather, the longer the lunch break. The majority of the 900+ (!) restaurants in Nice keep their outside terraces open well into late November. If the sun is out, then it is warm enough to have a lunch or coffee outside.

The Italian influence in Nice is overwhelming when it comes to its restaurants, not that I’m complaining! You can also find excellent Corsican, Nicoise as well as north African restaurants.
The high competition between restaurants, especially in the old town, where restaurants and cafes sit side by side, allows for a good deal with a ‘formule dejeuner’ (set menu). This is  usually the freshest food as well as being excellent value for money.

There are many specialties of Nice, including socca, a flatbread made out of chick peas. You are meant to eat it by itself and it is tasty enough to do so if you want a quick, cheap snack on the run. However I prefer to have it with some ratatouille or something similar, as it can be quite dry!

Then of course, there is the nicoise salad, as well as the pan bagnant, which is basically a nicoise salad in a bun (I actually prefer it!)
The up-market reputation of the Cote d’azur has led to many speciality shops, selling the best local produce. There are a few shops specialising in olive oil which is just amazing in my eyes. I love olive oil, I once drank a shot of olive oil last year at uni after a few drinks, to show how much I love it (don’t ask – I don’t even know where this came from!) Anyway, my love is satisfied with shops that stock tens of varieties of oil, all with distinctive tastes, like wine tastings, you can have a sip of any oil you want! Some people may think olive oil is just olive oil, but oh no, it is not!

We have just ran out of our ‘drizzling’ oil – now time to try another one 😀

My boyfriend and I have made a decision to eat out way through Trip Advisor’s best restaurants in Nice, we plan on going once a week and so far, not one bad meal!

Mediterranean veg is in abundance here – aubergines, varieties of tomatoes, courgettes… which means it is cheap (YAY says the student!) I hardly go a week without roasting a tray of veg to use in a variety of dishes. On the downside, it meant that vegetables such as butternut squash are about 5euros a piece (ouch) therefore butternut squash soups are a real treat. Oh well, can’t have everything!

NOTE: I think I went on about olive oil a little too much. Hmm.