Smoked salmon, new potato and shallot salad

I’m not the biggest fan of smoked salmon in the world. It’s too much like raw salmon (in my mind) and I can usually enjoy one or two bites and then that’s me done.

Same with sushi, maki and sashimi. I can’t say I’m the bravest eater.

But in this salad? Mamma mia, it’s simply delicious. I’ll eat all the salmon you want in this salad. Especially during the summer, with a cool glass of rosé wine with grapefruit.

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Smoked salmon, new potato and shallot salad

Serves 1

25g smoked salmon

2-3 new potatoes

1/4 to 1/2 avocado

1/2 shallot

1 egg

A few handfuls of the salad of your choosing (I went for lamb’s lettuce, frisée lettuce and radicchio)

Olive oil

Balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

1. Fill a pot with water and bring to the boil. When boiling, add new potatoes and boil for  about ten minutes.

2. While these cook, prepare the remaining ingredients. Finely chop the shallot, cube the avocado, and toss them in a salad bowl with the salad leaves. Cut the smoked salmon into smaller pieces and add to the mix.

3. Take your potatoes out of the boiling water with a slotted spoon and place on chopping board. Place your egg in the boiling water and cook for 5 minutes. Meanwhile,  chop the potatoes into cubes and add to the salad.

4. In a smaller bowl on the side, make a balsamic vinaigrette – 3/5 olive oil to 2/5 balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Mix vinaigrette in with the rest of the salad mix.

5. When your egg is done, peel off the shell and place into your salad.

6. Enjoy!

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Finished in minutes 😉


Note: instead of using balsamic vinaigrette, you can also use crème fraiche, dill, salt and pepper to make a dressing.

Making it through the summer – moving, stress and trying to be healthy

So, after a lame and failed attempt to come out of my blogging stupor about a few weeks ago, here I am, actually back to the blogosphere with some new recipes to post and tales about my recent life changes.

Summer, as it turns out, isn’t necessarily that chill.

Even when you’re waiting for uni to start in September and hence, technically, on holiday.

Although I’d comment that without a home to call your own, it’s kind of hard to relax.

For the past few weeks, I have been up to a bunch of stuff: I moved out, went to a WEDDING (Congratulations again, Sarah and Robin!), found a new flat for next year (finally!), and visited my family for a week in Normandy.

And am currently squatting my boyfriend’s house before we can move in, in about three weeks’ time.

The whole moving business definitely took more from me than I thought it would, probably because I had to move out of my house and had nowhere to go that I could call my own. Visiting a chain of cluttered, dirty flats (that we could afford) and lovely, spacious flats (that we couldn’t) didn’t exactly help, and I’ve got to admit I felt a bit hopeless for the first few weeks of July.

BUT we have now found a lovely, spacious and AFFORDABLE place to live next year and that has taken some of the pressure off. YAY.


Alright, so, time for some honesty: recent stress has definitely not helped me, the supposed HEALTHY Frenchie, feel or act healthy in any way.

Unfortunately, I tend to act out when I’m stressed – either eating everything in sight or as little as possible and feeding on body negativity.

Kind of the reason why I haven’t felt up to posting recently. Feels wrong to talk about nutrition and healthy living when I can’t live up to my own standards.

BUT, I am now back on the healthy track, ready to discover new recipes and enjoy the rest of the summer, stress-free.

My last salad creation and upcoming recipe:

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Smoked salmon, boiled new potato, shallot, radicchio, frisée and lamb’s lettuce salad with a soft-boiled egg

The Frenchie is back

Sooo….I’m back!

Sorry for the long lull – life has simply been CrAzY these past three weeks and I just haven’t been able to keep up with the blog.

Between organising my upcoming move, a new work placement in a primary school, getting an operation and travelling back to France, I’ve just been all over the place..

Despite all of this, I’ve still been eating delicious, healthy food – there just hasn’t been much time to work on new recipes.

But I have, however, been having some of my ultimate favorite foods:

1. Super soupSuper soup – The week after my operation, I didn’t feel particularly great; I also very much didn’t feel up to cooking. This soup was an absolute life-saver: I made a batch of it before the operation and just had to reheat a portion whenever I got hungry.

I also made a version of this soup with peas and coriander – it was delicious! 

IMG_38152. Baked sweet potato with feta chipotle cream and chorizo – This is such a simple option for dinner and I don’t think I will ever tire of it! Although the SP takes a while to cook (30-40 minutes), preparation time for this recipe is under ten minutes. No need to slave away in the kitchen to make something this scrumptious!

Avocado toast

3. Avocado toast – I love avo toast so much I could have it at breakfast, lunch and dinner! It was a great reward this past weekend after my particularly hard week at work. I added some crispy streaky bacon to the mix this time as well – mmm.

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4. Roasted sweet potato fajitas – I spent a week working in a primary school last week and, believe me, it was exhausting! These fajitas were a great pick-me-up when lunch came around – and, as an added bonus, making one big batch of roasted veg at the beginning of the week lasted me all five lunches!

IMG_4373I haven’t just eaten my own concoctions and creations, however : I took some time to go visit my family in France and ate some of my mother’s wonderful cooking, including but not limited to her stunning apricot tart, which I never managed to get a full picture of despite the fact she made it twice because it just disappears so quickly.

With her permission, however, the recipe will be posted shortly.

Oh, and…

HAPPY 1st OF JULY EVERYONE! 

Can’t wait to share my favorite summer recipes with you.

Black beans cakes with quinoa and avocado salad

This past week, I’ve been organising. I’m going to be moving from my current house *into an as of yet undecided location* in about a month, so I’ve decided to get a head start on things and start sorting through what I wanted to keep and what I couldn’t be bothered to lug around with me.

Most people will think I’m a bit loopy – I mean, come on, I’ve got a month to do all of this. Where’s the rush?

However, while I completely understand the validity of such a comment, I can’t help it. I’m organised. So sue me.

First to go were the beauty products – you just can’t imagine how many out of date bottles I had in my room and bathroom! I threw away an entire bag of creams and pills and such I couldn’t use anymore and I’m pretty sure I’ve kept some things I’ll never use either.

Second came the papers – you really do accumulate so many useless pieces of paper as a teacher, it’s unbelievable! Those went straight to recycling.

Lastly came my favourite and most hated part of the spring cleaning – getting rid of my old Olive magazines. Because, seriously, those things weigh a ton and I just can’t bring them with me everywhere.

It sucked throwing them away, but it did come to some good – before tossing them, I went through each and every single one to find recipes I’d earmarked and never gotten around to making, cut them all out and put them in a recipe folder. I have now got a BILLION recipes to try.

The first one to catch my eye was from Olive’s latest edition – black bean cakes with quinoa and avocado salad. I love trying new vegetarian options and black beans are one of my favourite beans as well!

They were amazingly easy to make, zingy and tasty, and the quinoa salad had me at the first bite. Can’t say my picture is very flattering, but believe me, you won’t regret this simple, summery vegetarian dinner option!

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Serves 2

Ingredients:

FOR BLACK BEANS CAKES:

400g tin black beans, drained and rinsed

5 spring onion, chopped

1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped

1 tsp ground cumin

Small bunch of coriander, stalks chopped and leaves set aside

5 tbsp breadcrumbs

1 egg, beaten

Coconut oil

FOR SALAD:

1 pack ready cooked quinoa

1/2 avocado, diced

1/4 cucumber, diced

1/2 red pepper, diced

1/2 red onion, diced

1 lemon, 1/2 juiced, 1/2 cut into wedges

1. Heat some coconut oil in a pan over medium heat. Cook spring onion and red chilli until softened, then add cumin and chopped coriander stalks. Cook for a further minute.

2. Put the red chilli and spring onion mix into a bowl with the rinsed black beans, salt and pepper. Using a hand blender, pulse together. Alternatively, you can use a blender. Stir in 5 tbsp of breadcrumbs. Form into 6 small cakes and chill for 20 minutes in the refrigerator.

3. Mix the quinoa with the diced vegetables, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste and set aside to serve.

4. To cook the black bean cakes, heat some coconut oil in a pan. Dip the cakes in the beaten egg then roll in some more breadcrumbs. Fry until golden and heated through.

5. Serve with the quinoa and avocado salad, some coriander leaves and lemon wedges.

6. Enjoy!

PS. The quinoa salad is also delicious on its own!

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Salad season!

I’ve started to realise that I use the word favourite a lot.

“That’s my favourite.”

“This is my favourite.”

“Wait, no, actually, THAT’s definitely my favourite!”

Right, so I get a little overexcited about things.

 – Sorry, not sorry, that’s just me –

And right now, I am overexcited about SALADS.

Yup, salads.

I very rarely eat salads during autumn or winter – I’d rather have something hot to warm me up – but during spring and summer, I could have nothing but.

Delicious salads, every day.

Quinoa, roasted sweet potato and onion salad

Not only are they delicious, but it’s so much fun inventing new salad recipes with whatever I’ve got in the fridge or the pantry.

Latest creation: freshly picked iceberg lettuce from the allotment, a few baby plums, crumbled feta cheese, crispy pancetta cubes and homemade croutons made from homemade pumpkin seed and sunflower seed bread.

YUM.

Baby plum tomato, feta, crispy lardons and crouton salad

So, please, pretty please, if you guys have good salad recipes/ideas lying around, comment and tell me. I am dying to try new things and am going to exhaust my own salad recipes pretty quickly at this rate!

Baked halloumi and red pepper salad

I’ve been seeing a lot of halloumi and roasted red peppers lately – in toasties at Prêt, in wraps, inside one another (think halloumi stuffed peppers), and as halloumi is one of my food crushes of the moment, I decided to give it a whirl.

I kept it simple and baked them before tossing them with a fresh salad, with a little lemon and thyme as a personal twist.

A great option as a starter – you’d have to serve it with something more consistent to have it as a main – and definitely tasting of summer!

How do you eat your halloumi?

*

Serves 1

Ingredients:

1/2 block of halloumi, thinly sliced

1 red pepper, roasted and skin peeled off

1/2 lemon, sliced

A few sprigs of thyme

1/2 clove of garlic, crushed and chopped

1/2 tbsp olive oil

1/3 cucumber, thinly sliced

A few baby plum tomatoes, thinly sliced

1 sweet pepper, thinly sliced

A handful of salad leaves

1. Preheat oven to 200° C. In an oven-proof dish, place halloumi and roasted pepper slices.

2. Mix thyme, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic in a small bowl. Pour over the halloumi and red peppers. Place in the oven for 10 minutes, until cheese is soft and golden.

3. While the cheese cooks, plate salad leaves, cucumber, tomato and sweet pepper slices. When the cheese is done, place with red pepper on top of salad with some of the cooking juices.

4. Enjoy!

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Feta, chorizo and spring onion quesadillas

Quesadillas again! Aren’t you thrilled?

I am! I just love finding new things to eat with tortillas.

Oh, I’m not obsessed.

Really.

Cross my heart.

(and my fingers)

Right, so maybe I am obsessed with quesadillas. I should probably start a quesadilla page on the blog. Or just turn this into a quesadilla blog altogether!

Or not. But believe me, these quesadillas, you will want to try. Thank you, Olive Magazine, for the recipe and happy tummy.

Ps. Added bonus: these looks like crêpes before you cut them. My French side is OVER THE MOON.

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Serves 2

Ingredients:

4 corn tortillas

100g feta cheese, crumbled

100g chorizo, chopped into small pieces

10 baby plum tomatoes, diced

2 spring onion, chopped (including green ends)

1/2 bunch of coriander, chopped

1 lime

1. Mix chopped baby plum tomatoes, spring onions, and coriander. Put 3 tbsp aside and mix the rest in with the juice of the lime to make some salsa.

2. Heat a large frying pan and place one tortilla in the bottom. Add half the crumbled feta, half the chopped chorizo and half the tomato mixture. Place second tortilla on top. When the bottom tortilla is coloured and the feta has melted, flip the quesadilla and cook until the other side has browned.

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3. Repeat with other tortillas and the rest of the feta, chorizo and tomato mixture. Cut both into wedges and enjoy with the salsa and a small side salad.

4. Enjoy!

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Spicy red lentil stew

Think comfort.

Spicy, warm comfort.

This dish is simply perfect for those cold nights where you just want to wrap up in a warm blanket and cosy up inside.

I know I was trying to will the summer on by eating salads, but when it pours outside all day, sometimes you just want to have something to heat up your insides.

One of the best things about this stew? You can make a big batch, freeze a few portions – and presto! A fuss free, healthy meal for one (or two) without having to spend hours in the kitchen waiting for it to cook. Just take it out of the freezer in the morning and heat up in a saucepan (or microwave).

Anyway, try it, savour it, thank me later!

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 onion, chopped

1 carrot, peeled and diced

1 stick of celery, diced

1 clove of garlic, crushed and chopped

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tbsp tomato purée

400g tin chopped tomatoes

200g red split lentils, soaked overnight, rinsed and drained

Salt and pepper, to taste

Coconut oil

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1. Heat some coconut oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery and fry for 5 minutes.

2. Add the garlic, tomato purée, cumin, coriander and cayenne pepper and fry for a further two minutes, while stirring.

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3. Add chopped tomatoes, red lentils and 500ml of water. Season to taste, then simmer over low heat for 30 minutes until sauce has thickened and lentils are cooked.

4. Serve with warm, crusty bread.

5. Enjoy!

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Quick and easy tomato and mascarpone spaghetti

Some days, you just don’t feel like cooking.

I mean, be honest: it happens to the best of us! And, despite my love of cooking (and my best intentions), it happens to me ALL. THE. TIME.

And I have found my easy solution to those lazy days – tomato and mascarpone pasta.

It’s easy: boil water. Add spaghetti. Fry half a chopped onion. Add tomato purée and mascarpone. Mix in with pasta when cooked and drained. Sprinkle over some parmesan. EAT.

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If you’re feeling up for it, dice a cherry tomato or two  to throw into the mix. Adds a bit of freshness.

The great part about this dish: it only takes as long to make as your pasta takes to cook, and it’s still healthy!

I also used wholemeal spaghetti to make it a little healthier – although I must say, I personally really enjoy the taste and extra crunch of wholemeal spaghetti.

Serves 1

Ingredients:

75-100g wholemeal spaghetti

1/2 roughly chopped onion

5-6 cherry tomatoes, diced

1/2 tbsp tomato purée

1 tbsp mascarpone

Salt and pepper to taste

Coconut oil

Parmesan

1. Boil some water in a large pot. When bubbling, add spaghetti.

2. While spaghetti cooks, heat some coconut oil in a small pan over medium heat. When hot, add the chopped onion and cook for a few minutes until soft. Add tomato purée and mascarpone, mixing thoroughly.

3. Drain the spaghetti, then place back in pot. Mix tomato mascarpone sauce in with the spaghetti. Drop in the diced tomato.

4. Plate pasta and sprinkle parmesan on top.

5. Enjoy!

Roasted red pepper butterbean salad

The English weather, true to itself, keeps going from amazingly warm, sunny and AWESOME days to raining, pouring, old man snoring-type of days.

Hence, I’ve decided to will the sun out by eating delicious, summer salads all day, every day.

Well, for lunch.

And dinner.

Not breakfast.

Don’t think I could manage breakfast.

Attempt n°1

(It seems to have worked as the rain has temporarily stopped here in the Midlands):

Roasted red pepper butter bean salad

Serves 2

Ingredients:

1 red pepper

80g pancetta cubes

1 shallot, finely chopped

1 tin of butter beans, drained and rinsed

Apple cider vinegar (or red wine if you have it)

Two handfuls of rocket

Salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat your oven to 200°. On a baking tray, place your red pepper, deseeded and sliced into four sides. Place in oven until the skin is burnt. Then, put the pepper into a sealed plastic bag and leave to cool. Once it is cool to the touch, peel off the skin, slice into strips and set aside.

2. Heat a large pan over medium heat. Once hot, fry the pancetta cubes (no need to add any oil or fats) until golden. Then, add chopped shallots until soft.

3. Tip in strips of roasted pepper and butterbeans, as well as a dash a vinegar and stir until heated through. Season to taste.

4. Plate with the rocket and serve with warm, crusty bread.

5. Enjoy!

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Ps. I bought some bread in store today because I didn’t have time to make my own. It was delicious spicy corn bread and I LOVED it. Definitely going to try making some at home ^^