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Perfect Nicoise + a recipe for happiness

Chrissy Dupé

Why is it that women are so good at caring for everyone else, but we don’t always do the same for ourselves?

Sure, we’re generous, awesome and good at everything. Not to mention ridiculously busy. But there’s a reason they tell you to strap on your oxygen mask before helping others.

You take great care of everyone else in your life. But who’s looking after you?

Given we’re such valuable assets, how come we often forget to invest in ourselves? Maybe we don’t think we deserve to come first. That it’s our role to care for others, and we’ll check in ourselves if and when we get some spare time.

Whatever the reason, Women’s Health Week is a great time to reflect on how we can make sure we’re looking after number one and keeping our wellbeing in check.

There are of course loads of things you can do to maintain good health. Not smoking, cutting down on the booze and getting regular health checks and screening are some obvious ones. And I know if I don’t go for my regular jog and get a solid eight hours shut-eye things ain’t gonna be pretty in my house.

But as I get older, I realise more and more that while physical health is really important, it’s just as important to do the stuff that makes you happy and to look after your mental health.

One of my favourite ways to do both is (of course!) making and eating delicious food.

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Cooking is one of those things that just makes me feel great, regardless of what else is going on. I love everything about it. The shopping, the preparation, the act itself, the way food brings people together, the eating (hello!). Ok, maybe not the cleaning.

And no, I don’t eat super healthy all the time. But to be honest, I think that’s a really important part of wellbeing. Not being so damn hard on ourselves. We all have that nagging voice telling you what you should have done in that situation, what you should be doing right now and what you’re going to need to get onto tomorrow. Next week. Next month. Next year.

Shut up already, brain! How about just enjoying today? Seems like it should be easy. But to many it just doesn’t come naturally and it’s something we need to work on. I think achieving balance and enjoying everything in moderation is key. And working towards fulfilment; whatever that might look like to you.

Anyway, back to cooking! One of the things I love to do is to make healthy ingredients into a delicious meal, so I can feel really virtuous while also still getting ALL THE NOMS INTO MY BELLY.

This cute little twist on the classic nicoise salad is the perfect way to do it. It’s colourful and elegant, and it’s chockers full of ingredients that are all delicious in their own right. So when you get them together it’s a full on yum-fest.

It’s really quick and easy to make, so you can throw it together for lunch or as a side dish for dinner. I’ve used smoked trout here, but you can substitute it for salmon if you prefer. The quail eggs look super cute, and you can pick them up from most Asian butchers or fresh food markets. Top it all off with the fragrant, luxurious truffle dressing and the toasted almonds, which add a lovely crunch.

And there you have it – the perfect Nicoise. Quick. Easy. Healthy. Tasty.

So be kind to yourself this week. Take some time out to read a book, take a walk, hang out with a friend, whip up a delicious meal, and ask yourself: ’What really makes me happy?’.

If you’re already doing it, great. If you’re not then today’s the day to start.

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Smoked Trout and Quail Egg Nicoise Salad

Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Serves: 2

Ingredients

Salad
100g smoked trout
8 quail eggs, boiled
Packet of rocket leaves (however much you fancy)
8 vine ripened baby tomatoes, quartered
2 tbsp slivered almonds, toasted

Truffle oil vinaigrette
1 tsp white truffle oil
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Juice of 3/4 lemon
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp fresh finely chopped tarragon
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp sea salt

Instructions

Prepare your salad ingredients, then toast your almonds by cooking in a frypan over medium heat, stirring often to avoid burning, until golden (about 4-6 minutes). Remove and let cool on paper towel.

Boil your quail eggs for 3 minutes, then run under cold water and leave for 5-10 mins before peeling.

Assemble salad, including quail eggs, carefully halved.

Mix all truffle oil vinaigrette ingredients together well and drizzle over salad. Scatter with slivered almonds to serve.

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Chrissy Dupé

Chrissy is a lover of lists and a self-confessed control freak. Her mission is to help other women with a strong need to be in control learn how to harness the power of their inner control freak and use it for good. Having lived through the devastation that being control freak without focus brings, and going out the other side stronger, Chrissy developed a series of hands-on, zero 'fluff' programs to help women control their freak, instead of letting it run them into the ground. Her philosophy is based on the little-known fact that control freaks are actually born for greatness... and that without them, the world would fall into disorganised chaos. You can find out more at www.controlyourfreak.com. More about the Author