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Chickpea Power! Two Healthy Salads to Fuel You All Day

Lemony Broccoli Chickpea Salad ©2014 La Domestique

Bonjour! How is your week going? The husband and I survived our big move to Dublin last weekend. We are still living out of boxes and getting settled into the new routine. Our little dachshund, Minnie, likes her new home and all the kids running around the park next door to our apartment. Now that I’ve got my kitchen organized I’m busy working on some new programs to help you put healthy, delicious meals on the table every day. (For more info on this, check out my most recent post, Seeds of Change and Recipe for Green Spring Salad with Quinoa and Lemon.) I’m excited to roll out my new Cooking Coach services very soon!

I hope you enjoy the first weekly edition of La Belle Vie weekly newsletter delivered to your inbox this evening! If you haven’t subscribed hop on over to the home page or about page and get your name on the list! Subscribe this week and get a bonus recipe for the ras el hanout spice blend used in my Moroccan Spiced Carrot and Chickpea Salad below.

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Seeds of Change and Recipe for Green Spring Salad with Quinoa and Lemon

Green Spring Salad with Quinoa ©2014 LaDomestique

 

Happy May Day! Spring is in full bloom here in the Irish countryside—little lambs are bouncing across the fields, sedge warblers are singing their hearts out, and tiny yellow primroses are blooming at the edges of winding roads. The warm sunshine and longer days cast a positive glow on everything this time of year. Spring brings the excitement of a fresh start, a chance to begin again.

The theme this month at La Domestique is change.

On the surface it’s been quiet, but underneath we’re a hive of activity.

The first change is a personal announcement:

One year ago my husband and I (and our little dog, Minnie) made the big move from America to Ireland, returning to his homeland. His job brought us to a small country town in the northern province of Ulster. In just a few days we move to the big city of Dublin. We’re sad to leave good friends behind, but at the same time excited for all the possibilities that await us in the bustling city.

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Chicken Soup Noodle For What Ails You

Chicken Soup Noodle ©2014 La Domestique

It’s that time of year. As winter draws to an end and spring threatens to break through, everyone seems to be suffering from a cough or a sniffle. I made it all winter without getting sick, and then BAM! It hit me like a freight train: a full blown head cold. Miserable. You know how it goes– the first day I felt a bit off, a bit tired, and just couldn’t seem to get warm. Day 2 began with a scratchy throat and ended with the chills. After a fitful sleep I awoke on day 3 unable to breathe, my head completely blocked up and my nose running like a faucet. It was over, I surrendered, waving a white tissue to let the enemy know I had no fight left in me. The husband kindly banished me to the couch and built a roaring fire in the hearth, declaring me officially out of commission until further notice.

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Easy Flourless Chocolate Cake for Valentine’s Day

Flourless Chocolate Cake ©2014 LaDomestique

I love chocolate– the darker the better. I might even say I need chocolate. Every day around 4:00pm I start rifling through kitchen drawers looking for my hidden dark chocolate bar. One little bite is all I need. A good quality chocolate bar is a beautiful thing, but every once and a while I like to treat myself to a decadent piece of chocolate cake. For me it’s all about the chocolate– no need for whipped cream or berries or even frosting– just a moist, fudgey cake with rich, dark chocolate flavor. I remember one of the restaurants I worked at had a popular recipe for Flourless Chocolate Cake. It was baked from scratch when an order came in, filling the dining room with the most wonderful chocolate aroma. As the name says, this classic cake is made with chocolate, eggs, butter and sugar– no flour and therefore gluten free. It’s a simple cake, but I wanted to make it even simpler.

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Brussels Sprout Salad with Hazelnuts, Thyme and a Pink Lady

Brussels Sprouts Salad ©2014 La Domestique

Happy New Year! I have a good feeling about 2014. The last year was one of change and transition as my husband and I moved from America to a small town in Ireland. This year holds so much promise! I’m eager to discover everything Ireland has to offer– the artisanal food producers, the natural wonders of Irish landscapes, the culture of the Irish people. I look forward to savoring each season fully and have plans to plant a garden. The theme in my kitchen for 2014 is:

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

Hippocrates

I’m not a nutritionist, but more and more I’m beginning to understand that the food I eat has a direct effect on my health. In the beginning, food was only for pleasure. Now I believe food may have the power not just to promote health, but to heal. I’ll explore this idea here on La Domestique throughout the year with delicious recipes that celebrate the seasons and nourish the body.

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Grandma Bercher’s Cinnamon Rolls

Grandma Berchers Cinnamon Rolls ©2013 La Domestique

Cinnamon rolls are a Bercher family tradition. It all started with my great grandmother, Frances Bercher. Born Frances Schuster in Germany, she immigrated to America with her family in 1908 at 13 years of age. Eventually she married my great grandfather and settled along with other German immigrants in Arkansas, where most of our family still lives today. I never knew Grandma Bercher, but she was a legend in our family and in the town. She was famous for her cinnamon rolls, but even more famous for her welcoming, generous spirit. A devoted Catholic, she baked trays and trays of cinnamon rolls for parish functions. Sugar was rationed during the Depression before Word War II, but that didn’t stop her. She and Papa Bercher tended a vegetable garden in their yard and people would bring their sugar to trade for home grown produce so she could continue baking for the community.

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Duck Breasts with Pomegranate Sauce

Duck Breasts with Pomegranate Sauce ©2013 La Domestique

Hello there! It’s been a bit quiet here on La Domestique, but right now can find me over on Contemporary Living with a festive recipe for Duck Breasts with Pomegranate Sauce and Roasted Brussels Sprouts. It’s a quick seared duck breast paired with a tangy, sweet sauce spiced with Christmasy cinnamon and clove. For the full recipe pop on over to Contemporary Living.

I wish all my American readers a very Happy Thanksgiving. It’s my first Thanksgiving in Ireland, and the husband and I are planning a relaxing weekend getaway. Feels strange not to have the turkey and all the trimmings, but I know the most important thing is to be thankful for all the blessings in my life. Thank you for reading La Domestique!

Barley Risotto with Irish Red Ale, Butternut Squash and Sage

Pearl Barley Risotto with Irish Ale, Butternut Squash and Sage (c)2013 La Domestique

It’s been one of those perfect autumn days here in Cavan. We had blue skies and golden sunshine, the wind felt fresh and crisp, and there were even a couple passing sun showers. As I write this now I gaze out the window and watch the sun slowly disappearing behind the hill. Our house looks out onto grassy fields and this is the time of day the cows come round. As I cook supper I like to look out my kitchen window and watch Herefords and Charlaois navigating the bushes looking for tasty bits of grass and basking in the sun. A stream winds its way around the field, and I can see magnificent grey herons gliding towards the water and meadow pipets darting in and out of the grass. I remember that not every home I’ve lived in had a kitchen window, and the thought of cooking in a dark box with harsh florescent light makes me appreciate my view of nature even more. There are times when I wish I lived in Dublin, where it’s all happening, but this is not one of those times. Right now I’m happy to be just where I am, in the rolling hills and the land of the lakes that is Cavan.

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Autumn Mushroom Soup with Thyme and Brandy

Autumn Mushroom Soup (c)2013 La Domestique

Autumn is my favorite time of year. This is my first Irish autumn, and the change in country makes the season even more interesting. It’s not the fall that I grew up with in Arkansas, which was marked by warm golden-hued days with dramatic red, orange and yellow changes in foliage. Nor is it the Colorado harvest season with fields full of pumpkins, bugling elk and blazing yellow aspen trees. Each day I discover something new about an Irish autumn: it is moody and mysterious, soft and subtle, a slowing of pace that sends us back into our nests. A week of cool, dark, misty days is interrupted by a couple of breezy, sunny afternoons– perfect for opening all the windows to let in the cherished light and fresh air. The blackberry bushes have withered, but windfalls of apples arrive just in time. It’s not too difficult to find a friend with an apple tree who needs to offload a bumper harvest of the quickly deteriorating fruits. I’m eager to taste my first quince, slurp down briny oysters and (hopefully) forage for mushrooms.

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How -To Prepare Whole Squid

Moorish Roast Squid with Smoky Tomatoes and Saffron Couscous (c)2013 La Domestique

 

It was a cold and drizzly Irish morning at the Cavan Farmers Market. Making my usual rounds I took a mental note of everything on offer– must get a couple of éclairs from The Mason’s Apron to bring home for breakfast, don’t forget to grab some eggs, the kale is looking good today—I saw the fishmonger was showing the fresh catch to another customer and something unusual caught my eye. I had never seen a whole squid, but there they were, a pile of ink-stained bodies and tangled tentacles. I had bought squid many times in the American grocery store, Whole Foods, but they were already cleaned and portioned. I was used to seeing neat rows of wingless calamari bodies, all exactly the same size, displayed over a mountain of pristine crushed ice. It was all so sterile, those neatly organized remnants of such weird and wonderful creatures.

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About Jess

Jess O'Toole is La Domestique

Hi, I’m Jess, aka La Domestique. No matter how busy or cooking-challenged you are I can help you live the good life and enjoy fresh, healthy meals at home every day. Find out more

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