Couscous takes over French Favourites

Forget magret de canard and moules fritescouscous served with its savoury slow-cooked stews is popular in French cuisine. It was voted France’s 3rd favourite meal in a study conducted for Vie Pratique Gourmand (2011). There are references to couscous consumption in France that date as far back as 1630 (Toulon) and 1699 (Brittany).

Aix Market Pottery #France #Provence #Markets @GingerandNutmeg

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French Recipe Favourites

Nutmeg has learned a few things about technology in the last couple months including:

  • It is a brilliant idea to keep back-up files
  • Software version updates can cause problems
  • The benefits of saving documents to a cloud

Luckily, there are a few loyal readers including CardaMOM, who prints everything.  Nutmeg has rebuilt the recipe database on this blog over the last few weeks, and she has been able to recover 99% of the recipes.  The new format is much better for printing.  Rather than make you search back through old posts for the French recipes, some of them are captured below (click the links) and enjoy!


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Happy Halloween in France a Pumpkin Salad Recipe

Halloween (“Old Hallows Even”) has been typically associated with the Celtic festival of Samhain.  The name means summer’s end.  The celebration is to denote the end of the lighter half of the year and the start of the darker part of the year.  Ginger loves Halloween, a big kid at heart he loves to buy the candy and hand it out to the many visitors who come by on that evening.  Ginger loves the interaction with all the ghosts, goblins, princesses, cats, action figures, pirates and anything else that shows up looking for a sweet hand-out.  Nutmeg is not as interested in this process of moving into the darker part of the year.  She does however, love to see how her brother (Papa Q) and sister-in-law (Sugar) celebrate the event with much joy and festivity (and crazy outfits). Continue reading

Market Series Green Mango Salad

Have you ever had an interview, and after an hour they have tested your ability to answer probing questions like:

  • Describe a situation when you had to report bad news to a client  (So sorry, too bad so sad…)
  • Why are you the right candidate for the job? (Don’t you know who I am?)
  • What are your weaknesses?  (Like I am really going to tell you…)
  • Describe your greatest accomplishment and why it is significant (Getting paid)

Then out of left field they throw in the wild card question, you know the interview is almost over at this point. What fruit would you use to describe you and why?  Nutmeg was able to answer that one without hesitation.  Without a doubt, her answer is the mango, it grows in warm, frost-free climates, it has a unique flavor, very sweet when ripe and it is widely used in tropical and Asian cuisine.

There are many kinds of mangoes and the growing season varies around the globe.  In May and June, the North American grocery stores are filled with produce from Mexico including the Champagne or Ataulfo variety.  The Alphonso, which grows in India, is considered the global premium variety.  The total world-wide production of mangoes is 33 million tons, India produces almost 50% at 13 million tons, followed by China then Mexico.

Mangoes are a great source of Vitamins A, C and E, although you should not eat the peel it contains urushiol, the same chemical as poison ivy. The best way to eat a mango is to cut out the juicy fruit and enjoy.  Other options are of course smoothies, salsa, gelato, belininis etc.. One of Nutmeg’s absolute favourite recipies is actually green mangoes salad here is the recipe:

Green Mango Salad
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: Asian
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
Ginger and Nutmeg had this salad many times in Vietnam, it is also considered a Thai salad. It really does not matter, it is a delicious summer salad. This salad is not hard to make but does require some chopping. A few notes: A bottle of Fish sauce will last a lifetime You can play with the level of "heat" to your taste You can use green papaya instead of mango Instead of chopped peanuts you can use cashews.

  • 2 Green (not ripe) Mangoes, peeled and julienned
  • 2 Small Carrots, julienned
  • 1 Cup Bean Sprouts, washed
  • 1 - 2 Teaspoons (to your taste) Hot Chilies, crushed
  • 2 Green Onions, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons Cilantro, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons Mint, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons Thai Basil, chopped (or regular basil)
  • 1 Tablespoon Fish Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Lime Juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Palm Sugar
  1. Mix the mango, carrot, bean sprouts, chili, green onion, cilantro, mint, basil in a large bowl
  2. Mix fish sauce, lime juice and sugar in a small bowl
  3. Toss the salad with the dressing and serve garnished with the nuts


SIDE NOTE:  Nutmeg did not get the job so you may want to prepare a better answer for your next interview.

Quinoa Salad Facts

Quinoa pronounced “keen-wha” is a really old grain.  It is classified as a pseudocereal, which means it is not a cereal or a grain.  Quinoa is a chenopod, so it is the same family as beets and spinach.  It was a sacred grain for the Inca’s, who called it chissaya mama “mother of all grains”.  It has been cultivated for over 6000 years in the Andes.  It does not grow like a rice; quinoa has a long growing season, likes well drained soil and easily grows at high altitudes up to 4000 meters.  The Spanish conquistadors (really bad guys) who called it “food for Indians” forbade the production and strongly encouraged the farming of corn (maize).  Quinoa is also really good for you, it is gluten-free, high in phosphorus, magnesium, iron and it is high in protein.  Best of all it cooks in 15 minutes or less.

Ginger hates quinoa but he is away…. so Nutmeg (who loves it) got a great recipe from Hot Chili to try.  The recipe is great but even better the next day when the flavors soak in.

Curried Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Mango
Recipe type: Salad
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
You can play with the ingredients to your taste. Red Inca Quinoa adds more fibre and color.

  • 1 Cup Quinoa
  • 2 Cups Water
  • 1-2 Whole Ripe Mangoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 Whole Red Pepper, chopped
  • ¼ Cup Seedless Cucumber, chopped
  • 2-3 Green Onions, chopped
  • 2 Cups Spinach leaves, washed
  • 1 Can Black Beans, drained
  • 1 Handful (optional) Cilantro, chopped
  • ¼ Cup Olive or Canola Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons White Balsamic or regular vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Mango Chutney
  • 1 Teaspoon Honey
  • 1 Teaspoon Curry Powder
  • ¼ Teaspoon Cumin, ground
  1. Rinse quinoa well under cold water, then drain through fine sieve
  2. Combine the quinoa and the water, bring to a boil and then cover, cook for 15 minutes or less
  3. Drain and rinse
  4. Combine ingredients for dressing (starting at the Olive Oil) with a whisk or in jar and shake
  5. Place quinoa, chopped vegetables, and beans in large bowl, drizzle with dressing and toss until well coated

So quinoa is really old and really good for you – Nutmeg will be eating it until Ginger gets back!


The Iceberg Wedge a Classic Salad

Chili Pepper (Nutmeg’s Dad) loves the “wedge” salad.  Essentially, a large wedge of iceberg lettuce with blue cheese dressing.  This salad can be found in every steak restaurant in North America,  if they do not have it on the menu you may want to check their credentials.  There are of course variations on the classic theme; add bacon bits (real or not so real) or add tomato pieces (mostly for color) or nuts (way too healthy).  In the end there is very little nutritional value, although who really cares as it will most likely be followed by a rare steak and fully garnished baked potato.  The wedge salad is truly a classic, there are historical references to the lettuce from the 1920s and to the salad mixture from the 1950’s and 1960’s.

Iceberg Wedge a Classic Salad
Recipe type: Salad
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-3
  • 1 Full Head Iceberg Lettuce
  • ¼ Cup Blue Cheese Dressing
  • ¼ Cup Tomato, chopped
  • ¼ Cup Bacon Bits, crumbled
  • ¼ Cup Green Onions, chopped
  1. Remove the outer leaves off of an Iceberg head of lettuce, do not core
  2. Cut in half and then in half again or as small a wedge as you like
  3. Dress with blue cheese dressing and garnish with toppings to your taste

The hard thing today is actually finding a head of iceberg lettuce at the grocery store, as the modern shelf space has been replaced with Arugula, Spinach, Mache and other mixed greens.  So Chili Pepper would like to recommend you toast the start of Spring and Summer by lighting the briquettes on your barbeque, cook your steak medium rare and serve with a classic iceberg wedge salad.

Enjoy (on behalf of Nutmeg…she is eating Mache)