December 17, 2014

Christmas Salad

Salad Bowl with a salad of rice, lentils, clementines, cranberries and Brussels sprouts

I am delightfully enjoying the lead up to Christmas and I hope that you are too. There are always routines that I am looking forward to such as baking mince pies and gingerbread men, making home-made decorations and crafts and playing Christmas songs on the ukulele. Likewise, there are ingredients which always seem to find their way in my kitchen at this time of year like clementines, spices, nuts, dried fruits, root veggies and Brussels sprouts. The idea for this Christmas salad therefore came naturally, mixing some of my favourite ingredients from the season. I am sure it will be appreciated on the Christmas table whether you choose to serve it as a side or a main for vegetarians.

Clementines on a wooden board

Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas

With love and light x

Vegetables, fruits and nutson a wooden board

Christmas Salad – serves 4 to 6
•200g black rice, rinsed
•200g beluga lentils, rinsed
•A pinch of mustard seeds
•A pinch of cumin seeds
•2 handfuls pecan nuts, shelled
•300g Brussels sprouts
•Juice of 1 lemon
•Salt and pepper
•1tsp wholegrain mustard
•1tbsp maple syrup
•2tbsp olive oil
•3 clementines, peeled and quartered
•3tbsp dried cranberries

1.Place the black rice in a large pot of boiling water and cook for 25min. Add the lentils, mustard and cumin seeds and extra water if needed and cook for another 20min. Drain and set aside.
2.Preheat the oven to 170°C. Place the pecan nuts on a baking tray and put in the oven for 10-15min until fragrant. Set aside.
3.Shred the Brussels sprouts with a mandolin slicer or grater, place in a bowl, add half the lemon juice and mix well with your hands until coated. Leave aside for at least 10min to soften.
4.Prepare the dressing by mixing in a small bowl salt and pepper with the mustard, remaining lemon juice, maple syrup and olive oil.
5.To assemble the salad, place the rice and lentils in a large salad bowl, add the sprouts, pecans, clementines, cranberries and dressing. Toss well and serve.

Salade de Noël – pour 4 à 6 personnes
•200g de riz noir, rincé
•200g de lentilles beluga, rincées
•Une pincée de graines de moutarde
•Une pincée de graines de cumin
•2 poignées de noix de pécan, épluchées
•300g de choux de Bruxelles
•Jus d’1 citron
•Sel et poivre
•1cc de moutarde à l’ancienne
•1cs de sirop d’érable
•2cs d’huile d’olive
•3 clémentines pelées et coupées en quartiers
•3cs de canneberges séchées

1.Mettre le riz dans une grande casserole d’eau bouillante et faire cuire 25min. Ajouter les lentilles, les graine de moutarde et de cumin et faire cuire encore 20min. Egoutter et réserver.
2.Préchauffer le four sur 170°C. Mettre les noix de pécan sur une plaque à four et enfourner pour 10-15min jusqu'à ce qu’elles commencent à dorer. Réserver.
3.Emincer les choux de Bruxelles très finement à l’aide d’une mandoline ou d’une râpe, mettre dans un bol avec le jus d’1/2 citron et bien mélanger avec les mains pour les imprégner de jus de citron. Laisser de côté pour une dizaine de minutes.
4.Dans un petit bol, préparer l’assaisonnement en mélangeant du sel et du poivre avec la moutarde, le reste de jus de citron, le sirop d’érable et l’huile d’olive.
5.Pour assembler la salade, mettre le riz et les lentilles dans un grand saladier. Ajouter les choux de Bruxelles, les noix de pécan, les clémentines, les canneberges et l’assaisonnement. Mélanger et servir.

Salad Bowl with black rice, lentils, clementines, pecans and Brussel sprouts

December 08, 2014

Pears Poached in Sweet Wine, Honey & Thyme

Pears on small plates and thyme sprigs

I had dreamt of a poached pear recipe for a while and had imagined that I would serve it with a chocolate sauce. In my books, pear and chocolate is such a perfect combo. However, when I came to make the recipe, I had a little voice in my head whispering: ‘keep it simple’. It seems to have been my golden rule over the last few months, cooking dishes that are simple and highlight the taste and quality of the ingredients used. I decided to trust the voice and set aside the idea of the chocolate sauce, and instead serve the pears on their own, simply dressed with a few spoonfuls of the cooking liquid. The result is an incredibly tender fruit with delicate aromas of the cooking wine, honey and thyme.

Pears on a wooden board and brown linen

Choose to use a more or less strong honey and wine depending on how prominent you want their flavours to be. We found the recipe was as enjoyable eaten warm or at room temperature and this makes a lovely light festive pudding.

Have a beautiful week x

Four pears in a small saucepan on a wooden board

Pears Poached in Sweet Wine, Honey & Thyme – serves 4
•750ml sweet white wine
•3tbsp honey
•3 sprigs of thyme
•4 pears

1.Pour the wine in a small saucepan and add the honey and thyme. Bring to the boil.
2.Peel the pears carefully, keeping them whole. Add to the saucepan. Simmer on a gentle heat for about 15min, until the pears are really tender. Take off the heat and serve.

Poires Pochées au Vin Doux, Miel et Thym – pour 4 personnes
•750ml de vin doux
•3cs de miel
•3 brins de thym
•4 poires

1.Verser le vin dans une petite casserole et ajouter le miel et le thym. Porter à ébullition.
2.Peler les poires, en les gardant entières. Ajouter les dans la casserole. Faire frémir pendant 15min, jusqu'à ce que les poires soient complètement tendres. Retirer du feu et servir.

November 29, 2014

Wild Mushrooms Quinoa

Plate and cuttlery with a wild mushroom quinoa dish, and  a glass of water

While some were celebrating Thanksgiving earlier this week, I couldn’t help but feel infinite gratitude for the things that make my everyday life. Each and every day, I try to remember to silently say thank you, in my heart for all I have. The good things, but also the not so good things and learn to be content with what I have here and now. A constant work in progress.

Chanterelles, ceps, shallots, parsley and quinoa on a wooden board

At the market, we’ve been very lucky to find an abundance of locally foraged wild mushrooms over the past few months. They remain a treat as they are pretty expensive, so we appreciated them even more. I wanted to create a simple meal that would enhance the mushrooms flavours, as they really are the stars of the show. And maybe, one day, we’ll learn to recognize mushrooms in the wild and will be able to go foraging them by ourselves. My granddad used to be a keen mushroom picker and I would love to have this skill too.

We had leftovers of the meal for the next day and served it with a fried egg, which was fantastic too. I hope you’ll enjoy this quintessentially autumnal meal, before we step into winter and more Christmassy recipes. With love and gratitude x

Chanterelle mushrooms on a paper bag

Wild Mushrooms Quinoa – serves 4
•250g quinoa
•2tbsp almonds
•2 big handfuls wild mushrooms, such as chanterelles, ceps, etc.
•1tbsp ghee or butter
•2tbsp olive oil
•2 shallots, finely chopped
•A large handful parsley, chopped + extra

1.Rinse the quinoa and place it in a saucepan with double its volume in water. Bring to the boil then cover and leave to cook for about 15-20min, until all the water has been absorbed.
2.Place the almonds on a small baking tray and place in a preheated oven (180°C) for about 5-10min, until golden and fragrant. Leave to cool down then chop them.
3.Clean the mushrooms with a small brush and wash them it necessary. Chop them.
4.Heat the ghee or butter and olive oil in a frying pan or sauté pan. Add the shallots and fry on a medium heat for 2min. Add the mushrooms and cook for about 5min, until tender. Finally, add the parsley.
5.Add the cooked quinoa to the pan and mix it in the mushrooms. Dish out onto plates and sprinkle with chopped almonds and extra parsley.

Quinoa aux Champignons Sauvages – pour 4 personnes
•250g de quinoa
•2cs d’amandes
•2 grosses poignées de champignons sauvages, tels que girolles, cèpes, etc.
•1cs de ghee ou de beurre
•2cs d’huile d’olive
•2 échalotes, finement émincées
•Une grosse poignée de persil, émincé + extra

1.Rincer le quinoa et le mettre dans une casserole avec le double de volume d’eau. Porter à ébullition, couvrir et laisser cuire à feu doux 15-20min, jusqu'à ce que toute l’eau soit absorbée.
2.Mettre les amandes sur une petite plaque à four et mettre dans un four préchauffé (180°C) pendant 5-10min, jusqu'à ce qu’elles soient dorées et parfumées. Laisser refroidir et les émincer.
3.Nettoyer les champignons à l’aide d’une petite brosse et les laver si nécessaire. Les émincer.
4.Faire chauffer le ghee ou beurre et l’huile d’olive dans une sauteuse ou poêle. Ajouter les échalotes et les faire revenir pendant 2min. Ajouter les champignons et cuire à feu moyen pendant environ 5min, jusqu'à ce qu’ils soient tendres. Enfin, ajouter le persil.
5.Ajouter le quinoa dans la sauteuse et le mélanger aux champignons. Servir dans des assiettes et parsemer d’amandes et de feuilles de persil.

Plate and cuttlery with a wild mushroom quinoa dish

November 21, 2014

Quince & Apple Baked Oatmeal

Oval dish with an apple and quince oatmeal pudding

Staying with the theme of breakfasts that can be had for pudding and vice-versa, I came up with this baked oatmeal recipe a few weekends ago. All I’ve wanted in the mornings recently have been warm breakfasts. When it’s dark and cold outside, this seems to be the only way to start the day. A bowl of something warm and comforting.  Have you noticed that if you take time to listen to your body and tap into your intuition/inner GPS, it’s hard to go wrong? I love tuning in with the seasons and adapting the way I eat accordingly. Listening to your inner light and going with the flow.

The oatmeal calls for oats, which slowly release their energy throughout the morning, easily keeping you going until lunchtime. I also used a fruit that I had kind of forgotten about: quince. I remember that my grandparents had a big quince tree in their back garden, but I hadn’t seen or eaten quince for years. At first sight, you’re not really sure whether they are a big lemon or a misshaped apple or pear. However, when cutting into their tough flesh, they are definitely recognisable. I am not sure quinces can be eaten raw. They are most often found in jams/jellies or paste form. I like to mix them with apples and cook them in a compote, for an easy no fuss dessert, or like here, steam them and use them as the base for a delicious warming autumn breakfast.

Have a lovely weekend x

Quince & Apple Baked Oatmeal – serves 4 to 6
•4 quinces
•3 apples
•180g small rolled oats
•A pinch of salt
•1tsp baking powder
•2 eggs
•500ml plant milk (I used sesame milk)
•1 red apple
•1tbsp nut butter (such as peanut or hazelnut)
•1tbsp honey

1.Peel, core and chop the quinces. Steam them for about 20min, until tender. Add the apples and steam for another 5min.  Spread across the bottom of an oven dish.
2.Preheat the oven to 180°C.
3.In a bowl, mix the oats with the salt and baking powder.
4.In another bowl, beat the eggs with the plant milk. Add to the dry ingredients and mix well. Spread over the quinces/apples.
5.Core the red apple and slice it into thin slices. Spread them over the dish and put in the oven for 30-40min until cooked and fragrant.
6.In the meantime, mix the nut butter and honey in a small bowl. Add water, 1tbsp at a time until you obtain a smooth runny sauce. When taking the dish out of the oven, drizzle the sauce over the oatmeal. Serve warm.

Gruau d’Avoine au Four aux Coings & Pommes – pour 4 à 6 personnes
•4 coings
•3 pommes
•180g de petits flocons d’avoine
•1 pincée de sel
•1cc de levure
•2 œufs
•500ml de lait végétal (j’ai utilisé du lait de sésame)
•1 pomme rouge
•1cs de purée d’oléagineux (de noisette ou de cacahuète par exemple)
•1cs de miel

1.Peler, évider et couper les coings en morceaux. Les faire cuire 20min à la vapeur, jusqu'à ce qu’ils soient tendres. Ajouter les pommes et faire cuire encore 5min à la vapeur. Répartir dans le fond d’un plat à four.
2.Préchauffer le four sur 180°C.
3.Dans un bol, mélanger les flocons d’avoine avec la levure et le sel.
4.Dans un autre bol, battre les œufs et les mélanger avec le lait végétal. Ajouter aux ingrédients secs et mélanger. Répartir sur les fruits.
5.Evider la pomme rouge et la couper en tranches fines. Les répartir sur le dessus du plat et enfourner pour 30-40min, jusqu'à ce que le gruau soit doré.
6.Pendant ce temps, mélanger la purée d’oléagineux avec le miel. Ajouter l’eau, une cuillérée à la fois, jusqu'à l’obtention d’une sauce lisse. A la sortie du four, la verser en filet sur le plat. Servir chaud.

November 10, 2014

Sesame Milk - 2 Ways

Two glass bottles of plant milk, made from sesame seeds

Discovering plant milks opened a whole new array of possibilities for me. As a child, I simply wouldn’t drink cow’s milk as this would make me feel sick. I would however tolerate other dairy products, but milk on its own was a no-no. Later, I tried soy milk, but never really liked its taste either.  And then, a few years ago, I was introduced to homemade almond milk. And my universe suddenly changed. Its delicate flavour and smooth texture seemed to have been made in heaven. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to experiment with many different plant milk variations, and even if I often buy readymade organic rice or oat milk for convenience, it is always a treat to make my own. Each type of milk has a distinctive taste, and this is particularly true of sesame milk. I’ve come up with two ways of making it: the first one uses sesame seeds and I opt for this option when wanting to make a big bottle and when I have a bit more time ahead of me and the second one, which uses tahini, for cases when I want a drink that will be ready in only a matter of minutes. The later tends to be a bit thicker and richer; you can try both and see which one you like best.

Sesame milk is rich in calcium and can be used as a substitute to dairy milk, as a drink or in recipes. It can also be sweetened by adding a date before blending, or maybe a grated vanilla pod for extra flavour.  Have a great week!

Two spoons, one filled with sesame seeds, the other with tahini

Sesame Milk – 2 ways
Option 1
•100g whole sesame seeds, soaked overnight
•500ml pure filtered water

1.Drain and rinse the seeds. Place them with the water in a blender and blend on high speed until the seeds break.
2.Pass through a muslin cloth to filter the seeds. Pour the milk in a bottle and keep in the fridge for up to a week.

Option 2
•2tbsp tahini
•250ml pure filtered water

1.Place the tahini in a small bowl and add a couple of tablespoons water. Stir with a spoon to start incorporate the tahini to the water.
2.Pour in a blender and add the rest of the water. Blend until smooth. Enjoy straight away or pour in a bottle and keep in the fridge for later.

Boisson Végétale au Sésame – de 2 façons
Option 1
•100g de graines de sésame complètes, trempées pendant une nuit
•500ml d’eau filtrée

1.Egoutter et rincer les graines. Les mettre dans un blender avec l’eau et mixer jusqu’à ce que les graines soient broyées.
2.Passer à travers une mousseline, pour filtrer les graines, puis verser le liquide dans une bouteille en verre. Se garde au réfrigérateur pendant une semaine.

Option 2
•2cs de tahini (purée de sésame)
•250ml d’eau filtrée

1.Mettre le tahini dans un petit bol et ajouter quelques cuillérées d’eau. Remuer pour incorporer le tahini à l’eau.
2.Verser dan un blender et mixer jusqu'à l’obtention d’une texture lisse et crémeuse. Déguster de suite ou verser dans une bouteille et garder au réfrigérateur.