Alons enfants de la patrie...

Monday 31/1/2005

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Diary and Notes



I'm getting to the age where the old biddy that Papa was having his little 'rendevous' with is more my thing - shame really. Plus, I'd have to spend weeks practising yoga to be able to contort myself enough to be able to 'get jiggy' in the back of a Renault Clio. The old bones aint what they used to be.

So now I am an old sophisticate like Papa (but without the car, money, house in France etc...) what sort of thing should I be eating for dinner. Hhmm, well, I could cycle through the town with a beret on my head flogging strings of onions and then head home for some tete de conchon persille (pigs head with parsley) or a nice andouillette, but I don't have a bicycle either, what to do eh?

That was it! I was going to make a tasty salade nicoise. My old biddy lover will just go for that. All low in calories and high in roughage (the French are very concerned with roughage and things connected with their movements). A meal in itself and posh enough that she wont work out I am an uncouth Englishman from a council estate in Swindon. I've got all the necessaries and the sun is shining (a bit) so it's my first salad of the year.

I checked a few books and websites to see what was recommended for a salade nicoise and every one was different. Nearly all of them had potatoes, green beans, tuna and tomatoes. The only one without the potatoes and green beans was my Petit Larousse de la Cuisine which recommended artichoke hearts and celery. I didn't have any artichoke hearts but I used some celery as they said and it was superb.

The recipe below is a bit of a mix of all the seven or eight recipes I saw. I basically put in everything I had that was on the list. It was a damn fine salad and I'd have it again if I could. Far tastier than a ceaser salad which seems to be all the rage at cafes up and down the country. Bring back the old French classics I say. More Bridgitte Bardot and less Britney Spears. These young pretenders just don't have what it takes.

Now, where did I leave my pipe and slippers?

Cake Blog

Pain au raisin: Seeing as we're pretending we're French today


  • Salad Nicoise

  • Cheese


  • Salad: Potatoes (I used Charlotte, excellent for salads), green (French) beans, cherry tomatoes, tuna, egg, red pepper, anchovies, lettuce, celery (with leaves), black olives.
  • Dressing: Mustard, white wine vinegar, olive oil, fresh parsley (chopped)salt, black pepper.


  • Wash and slice the potatoes into rounds, simmer in salted water until soft but not breaking apart. Top and tail the beans and simmer in salted water until soft (but not squidgy) and then rinse under cold water. Boil the eggs (in simmering water not boiling) for 10 mins, peel and quarter. Chop the tomatoes into halves, the olive sinto halves, the anchovies into small pieces. Shred the lettuce. Slice the pepper into julliennes and the celery into small pieces. Toss these together (gently so as not to break the eggs).
  • Dressing: Mix a little mustard and wine vinegar in a small jar. Add about 3 parts oil to vinegar, season and add the parsley, put the lid on and give it a good shake.