Chef Tom – DIY Niçoise Salad, and On That Note

This seems just right for the Summer weather, don’t you agree? An easy, delicious, salad, and some wonderful music to go with it.


DIY Niçoise Salad

Niçoise Salad

DIY Niçoise Salad

Serves 4

Ingredients: For the vinaigrette

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 tablespoon cold water

1 large garlic clove

2 sprigs tarragon

1/2 teaspoon of Dijon mustard (or to taste)

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


1) For the vinaigrette, gently warm the lemon juice, a couple of tablespoons of water, the garlic, and the tarragon together in a pan. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 30 minutes. Strain into a bowl and whisk in the mustard. Slowly add the olive oil, whisking continuously. Set aside.

2) For the salad, set a small pan of water on to boil and cook the eggs for 7 minutes until hard boiled. Cool. Gently peel and rinse under cold water. Chop into large chunks.

3) Place the potatoes in a pan, cover with water, season with salt and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and gently simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes or until cooked. Refresh under cold water. When cold, slice in half, season with a little olive oil and some salt and pepper,  and place in a bowl.

4) Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, season with salt and cook the French beans for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove and plunge straight into iced water. Drain.

For the salad

Place the lettuce on a platter and surround the platter with small bowls full of these classic Niçoise ingredients. Allow your guests to make up their own combination, and drizzle the vinaigrette over. Serve with crunchy whole grain bread and plenty of good butter.

  • butter lettuce, separated into leaves
  • baby potatoes
  • capers, rinsed
  • cherry tomatoes (or early girls), cut in half
  • good-quality tuna in spring water or olive oil, drained
  • (English) cucumber, scored lengthwise and sliced
  • feta, crumbled *French is milder and sweeter, Greek is traditional, Bulgarian is delish, as well)
  • your favorite pitted olives
  • anchovies
  • boiled eggs
  • French beans (haricot verts – regular green beans work too)






Haricot Verts

Cherry Toms




On That Note

Raw Buskin’

I love watching buskers on YouTube and their raw talent; unrefined, rough-edged, new-to-the-scene, up-and-coming, fresh energy, all that.

Been watching Tuba Skinny (great name!) for a couple of years. Band members come and go, and most of their vids take place out on the street, often in New Orleans. Not so raw anymore now, they’ve still maintained that “street” sensibility.

From their website:
” Formed in 2009, Tuba Skinny has steadily evolved from a loose collection of street musicians into a solid ensemble dedicated to bringing the traditional New Orleans sound to audiences around the world. Drawing on a wide range of musical influences—from spirituals to Depression-era blues, from ragtime to traditional jazz—their sound evokes the rich musical heritage of their New Orleans home. The band has gained a loyal following through their distinctive sound, their commitment to reviving long-lost songs, and their barnstorming live performances.”

They’re touring France all this month, and have three albums out:

  1. Some Kind-A-Shake
  2. Blue Chime Stomp
  3. Owl Call Blues

Tuba Skinny

Tuba Skinny

Jubilee Stomp – Royal Street II 2018

Postage Stomp

Shake It and Break It on Royal St JF 2016

Just discovered a group of raw boys with serious chops called The Big Push. The lead is a talented guy named Ren, with at least one album under his belt called Freckled Angels (freckled angels laugh the hardest). His performance here with The Big Push of Nina Simone’s medley Wade in the Water/Trouble So Hard is just so very soulful.

From their website:
“Brighton based group The Big Push are an exciting new rock band comprised by songwriting trio, Ren, Romain Axisa and Gorran Kendall. Drawing elements from classic brit-bands like The Beatles or The Police, they craft their clever modern arrangements into insanely catchy pop tunes.  

The three full time musicians met busking in the vibrant seaside town, and coming from three fairly different backgrounds, have managed to create a unique and tasteful original sound.”


The Big Push

The Big Push

Wade in the water / Nina Simone / Trouble so Hard

My Generation

It’s Alright (their new single)


Chef Tom is currently Resident Chef for a small tech firm in San Francisco. He also teaches cooking classes, caters small parties and leads overseas culinary tours. His specialty for the last twelve years has been cooking for people with food allergies and sensitivities. His motto is “Food should give you pleasure, not pressure.”

Check him out at

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