Believe it or not, there are some downsides to living in Paris. Let’s see…there’s…ummmm…hmmmm OK, there aren’t that many instantly springing to mind except for one, and that is being surrounded by such delicious food that it instantly sends the scales rocketing skyward (and that’s not the kitchen scales either!)
Some of my fav’s: baguettes/pain campagne, butter (particularly those with grains of fleur de sel), pain au raisin, tartiflette, rillettes, tête de veau, fromage, duck confit, macarons, artisanal creme fraîche (speaking of which, there’s no way I’m going back to the bulk standard stuff…I bought some last week that was so thick I almost had to cut it out of the jar and it had the most delicate taste of toffee, even though nothing had been added!) There’s also the potato galettes that are made on the spot at the organic market on Sunday’s at Marche Raspail (less than a 5 minute walk from home). Their aroma is over the top, and it takes a lot of willpower to hold back (hangovers are an exception when I think it’s almost a crime to NOT have one). Ahhh, yes, I could go on and on about the food that tempts me but I will spare both of us the pain!
If you haven’t already guessed, unfortunately I am fairly weak when it comes to food, so I have to counter it by eating ‘sensibly’ wherever possible. And that usually means more frugal week-day lunches for me. Below is one of many variations on a theme of using pulses (my favorites being chickpeas and cannellini, or white kidney, beans) – sometimes straight from a can (rinsed of course), or, if I’ve been super-geeky, using beans that I soaked and cooked myself (super simple to do, you just need to be thinking ahead as it usually involves a minimum 8 hours soaking). Beans are both healthy and filling, which means you can avoid the evil-but-oh-so-addictive bread/starch option for lunch.
My Virtuous Salad – serving size for 1 (easily multiplied though)
Take 1/2 can beans, 1/2 can salmon (or tuna) and mix. Add finely chopped celery, red pepper, green (or red) onion (for this week’s salad, I had some leftover sautéed green onions made by our friend Axel, who cooked up a feast on Sunday night – so I included these plus some grilled eggplant). Also if you have one lying around, I like to add some chopped up apple to give a hint of sweetness (salty/sweet is my thing!) Finely chop a small handful of basil and parsley. Finally, dress to taste with your best olive oil and some sherry or red wine vinegar; season with salt and pepper.
Voila – I guarantee it will leave you feeling most virtuous (although don’t blame me if it leads you to counter the effects later by over-indulging!)