Tag Archives: cooking

Challenging food: how to use Swiss chard in recipes

Swiss chard is one pretty vegetable, with bright green leaves and stalks that grow in various shades of white, red, pink, orange or yellow.

Colorful stalk Swiss Chard_Lea_A Storytelling Home

Prior to setting sight on one of these multicolored bouquets, I’d never felt compelled to try to cook Swiss Chard because they had never been easily available to me.

Colorful Stalks Swiss Chard_Lea_A Storytelling Home

When we got some at the small market where I work, I immediately bought one bunch and decided to challenge myself in finding a way to use it in a recipe.

Here are two delicious and nutritious recipes that came out of it:

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Pictures of beautiful food: Blood oranges + recipe Fennel and blood orange salad

These gorgeous (and delicious) blood oranges don’t seem to know if they want to be red or orange.

(See below for the blood orange and fennel recipe. Voir plus bas pour la recette de salade au fenouil et orange sanguine)

Blood oranges

Black and white blood oranges

Blood oranges in blue bowl

When I finally mustered the will to cut these pretty things, I made the following recipe with them:

Fennel blood orange walnut salad


Fennel, blood orange and walnut salad

Ingredients for the salad: (serves 2)

1/2 bulb of fennel, cut into julienne slices

Handful of walnuts

100g Mesclun salad

2 blood oranges, each slice cut in half

1 Ryvita sesame rye cracker, broken into small bits

Ingredients for the dressing:

2 tablespoons Olive Oil (choose your favorite but lighter tasting is better in this case)

1 tablespoon Honey Dijon mustard

1/2 tablespoon Sherry vinegar

Salt and pepper

How to serve it:

You can mix all the elements together in no particular order, or you can dip the cracker bits in the dressing for a few minutes, then put them and the remaining sauce into the salad.

Salade de fenouil, orange sanguine et noix de grenoble:

Ingrédients pour la salade (pour 2 personnes)

/2 bulbe de fenouil, coupé en juliennes

Une poignée de noix de grenobles

100g de salade Mesclun

2 oranges sanguines, chaque tranche coupée en 2

1 craquelin au sésame et seigle Ryvita, cassé en morceaux de petite taille
Ingrédients pour la vinaigrette:

2 cuillères à table d’Huile d’olive (choississez votre préférée, mais une huile plus douce complémentera mieux le goût des oranges sanguines)

1 cuillère à table Moutarde de Dijon

1/2 cuillère à table Vinaigre de Xéres

Sel et poivre

Comment la préparer:

Vous pouvez mélanger les éléments sans ordre particulier, ou vous pouvez tremper les morceaux de craquelin dans la vinaigrette pendant quelques minutes, puis les mettre avec le restant de la sauce avec la salade.


Sweet sundays: Spice cake french toast recipe

A few weeks ago I wrote about how much I love Sundays.

Staying in bed until 8h30 AM, chilling with my cats and my boyfriend, then preparing a hearty breakfast. That’s my idea of heaven.

Today I was prepared to make crepes. However, we had some leftover spice cake and that inspired me to try something new: Spice cake french toast.


This recipe is easy and does not require tremendous cooking skills. If you can manage to do so, set the spice cake out the night before so it will dry (make sure to slice it). If not, follow the instructions as it can be done without the drying process.

You will need:
+ 1 350g spice cake (can be found at most large surface grocery stores)
+ 2 eggs
+ 1/2 cup of milk
+ 1 or 2 drops of vanilla extract

optional: 1 teaspoon sugar (for those with major sweet tooth’s, careful though because most spice cakes are already very sweet).

Spice cake sliced


+ 1 frying pan
+ 1 wooden spoon
+ 1 bowl or tupperware type container (for the egg mix)
+ 1 spatula

Spice cake french toast recipe


+ Cut the spice cake into 1 inch thick slices
+ IF and ONLY if you haven’t set the slices out the night before, toast them or grill them on a plaque until they are dry. (Time will depend on your toaster or oven so keep an eye on them)
+ Mix the eggs, milk and vanilla extract (plus sugar if you want some) in a bowl.
+ Heat the frying pan at medium temperature. Don’t forget to add a drop of oil or a small dollop of butter to prevent sticking if your pan is old or if the non-sticking surface is not efficient anymore.
+ Drop each slice of spice cake, one at a time, into the batter. Leave it in for approx. 30 seconds.
+ Put the slices on the frying pan and cook, turning them over often, until the sides are brown and a bit crispy.

Suggested sauces to drizzle onto the spice cake french toast: Maple butter, maple syrup, Dulce de leche, Speculoos paste.

Enjoy! My boyfriend sure did! 🙂
Yummy face

All in a day’s work: planning dinner recipes in advance

Each week, I try to prepare creative, healthy meals that will provide to my boyfriend and I the energy that we need in order to get through our long workdays.
Since food is one of my tasks on the common chore list, I need to find ways to be able to cook my dinners in advance because when the work week starts, I don’t have the time to do it. Currently, I try to cook 3 or 4 dinners at a time, usually on Wednesday afternoons. This way, dinners are ready until Saturday.

This is how I usually function:

On Tuesday evenings, I map out the list of recipes I’m going to make. My criteria is: healthy ingredients, flavor and accessibility of ingredients (I need to be able to buy them at the store where I work or at another grocery store that is near my house). I also try to prioritize recipes that I can cook at the same time (so they share ovens and don’t require too many stove elements).

The thing with me is that I don’t like to repeat myself in terms of cooking. I’m always challenging myself to try something new. This means that we’ve rarely eaten the same dinner twice in the past year and a half. It’s not easy, but I have a blast doing it (most of the time).

Last Wednesday, I prepared three meals.

I started out by placing all the ingredients I needed for those three recipes on top of my small buffet, and grouping them together by separate meals.

Brocoli eggplant carrots

sausage green beans

Spinach potato

I started out by preheating the oven at 400F(205C). Then I got ready for the recipe that requires the most time:

Roast chicken with baby potatoes, garlic and spinach

What you’ll need (for 2 people)
+2 chicken thighs
+Light olive oil or grapeseed oil
+5 or 6 cloves of garlic
+100g of spinach
+200g Baby potatoes
+1 tbsp lemon juice
+Herbes de provence or Court Bouillon spices

spinach in the oven

How to prepare it:
+In a rectangular pan, spread out the spinach and splash it with either of the oils you’ve chosen (as shown in the picture)
+Add the garlic cloves (bared beforehand of their skin)
+Pat down the chicken thighs with a bit of oil, lemon juice and spices
+Put the chicken over the spinach
+Add the baby potatoes
+When the oven has reached 400F, put the dish in and cook for 1 hour. After 1 hour, check to make sure the chicken is well cooked. Depending on your oven, it may take another 20 minutes.

Serve with some brown rice noodles.

In my 3 meal plan, I had another dish that required cooking in the oven:

Brocoli, tomato, eggplant, sausage and cheese casserole

What you’ll need (for two people)
+2 sausages (choose your own type. mild italian, tomato and basil or honey dijon are all good for this recipe)
+250 grams of mild cheddar cheese
+1 good sized Broccoli
+1 medium sized eggplant
+1 can whole tomatoes (fresh is good too)
+ 4 cloves of garlic

brocoli eggplant tomato sausage cheese


+Start out by thoroughly cleaning the broccoli and skinning the eggplant
+Cut them into bite sized pieces
+In a large pan (of any shape, I used a medium sized round one and a small rectangular one), set the broccoli, eggplant, garlic and tomatoes (with the juice)
+Cook for thirty minutes before checking to see if the vegetables are ready
+During that time, cook the sausage, at low heat, in a pan. This should take approx. 15-20 minutes if you bought them uncooked, 5-10 if they were precooked, but do keep an eye on them at all times and remember to turn them often.
+Grate the cheese
+Check the broccoli. Once you find that it is close to being ready (still crispy but manageable under the teeth)  take the pan out of the oven, cover everything in cheese and put it back in. Leave it to cook for 5 minutes.
+ When the cheese has melted, remove the pans from the oven and add the sausage to the vegetables.

Brown rice noodles with shrimp, Bok choy, green beans and chili sauce

What you’ll need: (for 2 people)
+1/2 package of Brown Rice Noodles
+3 baby Bok choys
+Green beans (10 per person is good)
+30-40 small precooked shrimp or 20 big ones
+1 carrot
+Sweet chili Eggroll sauce (I use it on EVERYTHING)
+1 tsp Light olive oil or Grapeseed oil

shrimp bok choy green bean noodles

+Start out by heating the olive oil in a large pot(medium heat)
+Add the green beans, still cooking at low to medium heat (if the oil spits at you, turn it down)
+Cut the Bok Choy into bite sized pieces (including the leaves), add it to the pot
+Grate the carrot into the pot, stirring all the ingredients so they don’t stick to the bottom.
+When the green beans start softening, add the shrimp
+Start boiling some water for the noodles
+Once the water is boiling, follow the instructions on the package in order to know how long to leave the noodles in (2-3 minutes is pretty frequent)
+When the noodles are soft and ready, drain them in a colander
+Mix everything together and add some sweet chili eggroll sauce (1 tbsp per person should do the trick)

Dinner on the stove

Tips on how to cook multiple meals at the same time:

Calculate how to use your downtime on one meal: The roasted chicken took less than 10 minutes to prepare but cooking it is long, so I had 1 hour to work on the other food.

Know what is done and what needs to be done. I’m still able to manage with just my head most of the time, but written lists can help a lot too.

Make meals that share common ingredients. We ate brown rice noodles with both the chicken and the stir fry. Nutritious and time-saving!

All told, this took me 1.5 hours in one afternoon and I had food ready for the rest of the week (including a couple of leftovers that we used for lunch)

Beautiful food: the romanesco broccoli

When I’m not out looking for a new subject to blog about, I work at a small, family-owned grocery store.

I’m one of those people that gets amazed at the little things in life, and the fact that I get to play with fruits and vegetables all day long makes me happy.

Rarely will I get excited about an apple, an orange or an onion, but once in a while a new, cool looking variety pops up and I’m back to being a kid again.

The romanesco broccoli is one of those vegetables that amazes me.

I first saw a romanesco broccoli in a book called Pour en finir avec la cuisine de mémé (In english : Down with boring old food! Inventive little recipes for the 21st century) by Raphaele Vidaling.

Taste-wise, it has been compared to a mix between a regular cauliflower and a broccoli. It was first discovered in Italy, hence the name.

If ever you come across one of these, don’t be intimidated by it! Here is a list of interesting recipes:

Linguine recipe on La Tartine Gourmande

Pan-roasted Romanesco with peas on Martha Stewart

Roasted romanesco cauliflower with thyme and pine nuts on Almostveg

Pasta and Cauliflower soup federica on Epicurious

Roast chicken and romanesco cauliflower and potatoes on Sweet Potato chronicles