July 18, 2016

Blueberry Picking and a Skillet Blueberry Pancake



There’s a mountain at the foothills of the Pyrenees that we can see from our living-room window, and on that mountain is an organic blueberry farm. The Domaine Xixtaberri is open to the public for about one month in the year at the beginning of July, when blueberries are in season. We went there with a couple of friends and what a delight it was! Rows after rows of blueberry bushes bursting with juicy berries. I think that we probably ate nearly as many blueberries as we picked to take back home, but it was impossible to resist! This makes a perfect day out with children, who can help to the task and learn about how the fruits grow. Although too little to help us, our little man was on my back and didn’t fail to want to join in, pulling leaves from the trees as we went along!



We came home with nearly 3kg of blueberries, and at €4.70 a kilo of organic berries, this was not only a bargain, but also such a pleasure to support local farmers and experience a day out like no other.



We froze a large bag of them as a keeper for the rest of the year when not in season, and we’re still going through the rest, enjoying them in smoothies, tarts, jam, etc.



Here today, I wanted to share a very simple recipe for a baked skillet pancake that we had at the weekend. It can be thrown together in a couple of minutes, doesn’t take very long to cook either and makes a very special breakfast, best enjoyed with maple syrup and fresh fruits.

Blueberry PickingDomaine Xixtaberri, 64250 Cambo-les-Bains, France, +33777771052
Open in July, €4.70 a kilo of blueberries



Skillet Blueberry & Vanilla Baked Pancake – serves 2 to 4
For a sweeter pancake, feel free to add an extra 30g unrefined sugar to the batter.
•100g buckwheat flour
•½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
•A pinch of salt
•3 eggs
•250ml plant milk (I used rice)
•½ tsp vanilla extract
•Seeds from ½ vanilla bean
•125g blueberries
•1tbsp coconut oil

1.Preheat the oven to 190˚C.
2.In a large bowl, mix the flour with the bicarbonate of soda and salt.
3.In another bowl, beat the eggs with the milk, vanilla extract and vanilla seeds. Add to the dry ingredients and mix well with a whisk.
4.Heat the coconut oil in a skillet on the hob. Add half the blueberries, then pour the batter over and add the rest of the blueberries on top. Cook for about 5min on a medium heat, until starting to set, then transfer to the oven and cook for another 10-15min, until the pancake is completely set.
5.Serve cut into squares, along with maple syrup, yogurt, fresh fruits or any other topping of your choice.

Grosse Crêpe au Four aux Myrtilles et à la Vanille – pour 2 à 4 personnes
Pour une crêpe un peu plus sucrée, vous pouvez ajouter 30g de sucre complet à la pâte.
•100g de farine de sarrasin
•½ cc de bicarbonate de soude
•1 pincée de sel
•3 œufs
•250ml de lait végétal (j’ai utilisé du lait de riz)
•½ cc d’extrait de vanille
•Les graines d’½ gousse de vanille
•125g de myrtilles
•1cs d’huile de coco

1.Préchauffer le four sur 190˚C.
2.Dans un saladier, mélanger la farine avec le bicarbonate et le sel.
3.Dans un autre bol, battez les œufs avec le lait, l’extrait de vanille et les graines de vanille. Verser dans le mélange sec et mélanger avec un fouet pour obtenir une consistance homogène.
4.Faire chauffer l’huile de coco dans un poêlon allant au four. Ajouter la moitié des myrtilles puis verser la pâte et ajouter le reste des myrtilles. Laisser cuire 5min à feu moyen, puis transférer au four et laisser cuire 10-15min, jusqu'à ce que la crêpe soit cuite.
5.Servir coupé en quartiers avec du sirop d’érable, du yaourt, des fruits frais ou tout autre accompagnement de votre choix.


July 07, 2016

9 Best Summer Salad Recipes


Summer time is here and there's no better meal for this time of year than a good salad! I love creating big bowls of goodness with fresh and seasonal ingredients, often no-fuss and always easily portable. An important point because we tend to go on picnics on a weekly basis and salads are the perfect dish to take along and share. I browsed through previously posted recipes on the blog the other day and thought that you might like a little recap of my nine best summer salad recipes. I’d love to read about your favourite summer salads too so feel free to write a line or two in the comments section below to share them. Happy summer, yay!

Summer Holiday Pasta Salad

Summer Sunshine Lunchbowl

Carrot and Chickpea Salad with Za'atar :


Cauliflower Green Tabbouleh

Broad Beans, Feta and Mint Salad

Tomato with Mozzarella

Melon, Cucumber and Feta Salad

New Potato and Asparagus Salad

June 29, 2016


Layered Smoothies in Small Glass Bottles

Years ago, I had a German pen friend whom I used to visit during the summer holidays. She lived in the North of Germany near the Baltic sea, and I have fond memories of holidays spent with her. She introduced me to a drink called Kiba, and I invariably used to order this every time we went out. Kiba stands for ‘Kirsch-Banane-Saft’ or cherry-banana drink and is a sweet and pretty looking layered drink. I’m not really sure what the drink was made with in cafés and restaurants, but I experimented a bit at home and came up with this delightful version. I love the combination of cherry and banana together, and the almond flavour from the almond milk makes it even better. This is a no-fuss and refreshing drink to have, now that summer is on our doorstep and cherry season is in full bloom.

Layered Smoothie in a glass

Kiba – makes 2 large glasses
•2 frozen bananas
•1 banana, peeled and sliced
•400ml almond milk
•A large handful of cherries, pitted

1.Place one frozen banana, the sliced banana and 200ml almond milk in a blender and blend until smooth. Poor into two glasses or glass bottles.
2.Put the leftover frozen banana with the cherries and 200ml almond milk in the blender and blend until smooth. Carefully pour the liquid on top of the first layer, pouring it on the back of a spoon to prevent the two layers from mixing. Serve.

Kiba – pour 2 grands verres
•2 bananes, congelées
•1 banane, pelée et coupée en rondelles
•400ml de lait d’amandes
•Une grosse poignée de cerises, dénoyautées

1.Mettre une des bananes congelées dans le bol d’un blender avec la banana en rondelles et 200ml de lait d’amandes et mixer jusqu'à l’obtention d’une texture lisse. Verser dans deux verres ou petites bouteilles.
2.Mettre l’autre banane congelée, les cerises et 200ml de lait d’amandes dans le blender et mixer jusqu'à l’obtention d’une texture lisse. Verser le mélange tout doucement dans les verres, en le versant sur le dos d’une cuillère pour éviter que les deux couleurs ne se mélangent. Servir.

Layered Smoothie in a Small Glass Bottle

June 13, 2016

Minty Pea + Feta Purée with Asparagus on Toast from 'A Year in my Real Food Kitchen'

Spring toasts on a white background

There are a number of food bloggers out there that I truly admire, and Emma from My Darling Lemon Thyme is one of them. I love her approach to cooking simple recipes with in-season ingredients and her passion for real food and local produce. I’ve tried and tasted many of her recipes, whether from her blog or her first book, and I was absolutely delighted to learn that Emma was releasing a new book this year, ‘A Year in my Real Food Kitchen’. I treated myself to it for my birthday, and you guessed it, I absolutely loved it! The book is divided into four sections, one for each season, and features beautiful recipes and pictures. The first recipe I tried was the Minty Pea + Feta Purée with Buttered Asparagus on Toast – super easy to prepare and an explosion of spring flavours. Below you’ll find the recipe for it, slightly adapted – Emma suggests gently frying the peas in butter with garlic, as well as the asparagus once cooked. I skipped this step and simply cooked them in boiling water for a few minutes. Either way is delicious and the toasts can be enjoyed on their own, or like I did, served alongside a carrot soup for lunch - the two paired really well.

Cookbook and ingredients on a white background

Toasts on a plate

Minty Pea + Feta Purée with Asparagus on Toast – serves 4
Recipe adapted from Emma Galloway's 'A Year in my Real Food Kitchen'.
•375g podded fresh or frozen peas
•2 bunches green asparagus, woody ends snapped off, cut in half
•2tbsp olive oil
•2 small cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
•100g feta, cubed + extra
•Big handful mint leaves, roughly chopped
•2tbsp lemon juice + zest from 1 lemon
•8 (gluten-free or not) bread slices
•Pea shoots or sprouts, to serve

1.Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil, add the peas and asparagus and cook for 5min. Drain and rinse under cold water.
2.Place the cooled peas, 1tbsp olive oil, garlic, feta, mint and lemon juice into a small food processor and pulse until puréed. Spread onto the bread slices.
3.Top up each slice with asparagus, crumbled feta, lemon zest, a drizzle of olive oil and pea shouts of sprouts. Serve.

Tartines à la purée de Petits Pois, Feta et Menthe et Asperges Vertes – pour 4 personnes
Recette adaptée du livre 'A Year in my Real Food Kitchen' d'Emma Galloway.
•375g de petits pois écossés, frais ou surgelés
•2 poignées d’asperges vertes, dont on aura coupé les extrémités, coupées en deux
•2 cs d’huile d’olive
•2 petites gousses d’ail, pelées et émincées
•100g de feta, coupée en cubes
•Une grosse poignée de feuilles de menthe, émincées
•2cs de jus de citron + le zeste d’1 citron
•8 tranches de pain (sans gluten ou non)
•Pousses de petits pois ou graines germées pour servir

1.Porter une grande casserole d’eau à ébullition, ajouter les petits pois et les asperges et cuire pour 5min. Egoutter et rincer à l’eau froide.
2.Mettre les petits pois refroidis dans un petit robot avec 1cs d’huile d’olive, l’ail, la feta, la menthe et le jus de citron et mixer jusqu’à l’obtention d’une purée. Etaler sur les tranches de pain.
3.Répartir sur les tranches de pain les asperges, la feta, le zeste de citron, un filet d’huile d’olive et les pousses de petits pois ou graines germées. Servir.

Toast on a white background

May 25, 2016

Elderflower & Strawberry Cake


Spring and early summer is a time of many birthdays in our families. This year has been an especially special one as both my hubby and I turned 30. In the lead to our birthday celebrations, I experimented with various cake recipes (all with many layers!) and in the end, we settled for a gorgeous black forest chocolate cake (recipe which I found on Jo’s blog Nurturing Kitchen). The cake I had initially planned on making was this beautiful elderflower and strawberry cake. But at the time of celebrating (back in early April), strawberries were barely in season, and there was not an elder tree blooming in sight. I still made the cake a month or so later, just for us to enjoy, and for the pleasure of sharing the recipe with you today. I’ll admit that I may have stepped into a private property to pick a few elderflower's heads just for the purpose of this recipe, but this was definitely worth taking the risk! Elder trees are unfortunately not a very common sight down the part of the world where we are, on the contrary to back where we lived in England where they were a plenty. Along with strawberries, they’ll always be for me a quintessential symbol of late spring in Britain, and I find their combination absolutely delightful.


Now onto the cake, below is a list of a few side notes which I hope you will find useful:
•This recipe is adapted from the Blood Orange and Chocolate Layer Cake recipe found in Sarah Britton’s My New Roots cookbook;
•I’m showing you how to make a double-layered cake, however, I expect you could double the quantities and make a four-layered cake if you wished to;
•If you’re not keen on making the strawberry jam yourself, you could always use ready-made jam instead. However, try to find an unsweetened one that highlights the fruit taste;
•For a vegan version of this cake, you could easily substitute the Greek yogurt or labneh with the cashew/coconut icing recipe from my Vegan Carrot Cake;
•Don’t expect a light and fluffy cake, this one is deliciously sticky, reminding me of Jamaican ginger cake;
•If you have any leftovers, you can keep them in the fridge for a couple of days.

Enjoy and have a beautiful Wednesday! x

Elderflower & Strawberry Cake – Serves 8
•280g whole spelt flour
•2tsp baking powder
•1tsp baking soda
•Pinch of salt
•250ml maple syrup or agave syrup + 1tbsp
•200ml elderflower cordial (see recipe here)
•80ml rice milk
•6tbsp melted coconut oil
•2tsp vanilla extract
•300g fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped + 200g whole strawberries
•1tbsp corn flour, mixed with 2tbsp water
•6tbsp thick Greek yogurt or homemade labneh
•Elderflowers (optional)

1.Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a 18cm springform cake pan with baking paper.
2.In a large mixing bowl, mix the flour with the baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, mix the maple syrup with the elderflower cordial, rice milk, coconut oil and vanilla extract. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well. Pour into the prepared cake tin, and place in the oven for about 50min, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool completely before unmolding.
3.While the cake is cooking, prepare the strawberry jam by placing the 300g strawberries in a small saucepan with 1tbsp maple syrup and 2tbsp water. Bring to a simmer, cover and leave to cook for approximately 10-15min, or until mushy. Add the corn flour and water and cook for another 2min until the mixture starts to set. Set aside to cool.
4.To assemble the cake, cut it in half lengthways, using a long sharp knife. Cover the lower half with Greek yogurt and strawberry jam and place the upper half on top. Finally, top up with fresh strawberries and elderflowers.

Gâteau à la Fleur de Sureau et aux Fraises – pour 8 personnes
•280g de farine d’épeautre complète
•2cc de poudre à lever
•1cc de bicarbonate de soude
•1 pincée de sel
•250ml de sirop d’érable + 1cs
•200ml de sirop de fleurs de sureau (voir la recette ici)
•80ml de lait de riz
•6cs d’huile de noix de coco fondue
•2cc d’extrait de vanille
•300g de fraises, équeutées et coupées en morceaux + 200g de fraises entières
•1cs de fécule de maïs mélangée à 2cs d’eau
•6cs de yaourt épais à la Grecque ou de labneh maison
•Fleurs de sureau (optionnel)

1.Préchauffer le four sur 180°C. Chemiser un moule de 18cm de diamètre de papier sulfurisé.
2.Dans un grand bol ou saladier, mélanger la farine avec la poudre à lever, le bicarbonate de soude et le sel. Dans un autre bol, mélanger le sirop d’érable avec le sirop de fleurs de sureau, le lait de riz, l’huile de coco et l’extrait de vanille. Ajouter aux ingrédients secs et bien mélanger. Verser dans le moule à gâteau et enfourner pour environ 50min ou jusqu'à ce qu’une pique en bois insérée au milieu en ressorte sèche. Laisser refroidir complètement avant de démouler.
3.Pendant que le gâteau est en train de cuire, préparer la confiture de fraises. Mettre les fraises dans une casserole avec 1cs de sirop d’érable et 2cs d’eau. Porter à ébullition, couvrir et laisser cuire 10-15min, jusqu'à ce que les fruits soient réduits en compote. Ajouter le mélange de fécule de maïs et eau et laisser cuire encore 2min, jusqu'à ce que le mélange épaississe. Laisser refroidir.
4.Pour assembler le gâteau, le couper en deux dans la hauteur à l’aide d’un grand couteau. Recouvrir la base de yaourt épais, puis d’une couche de confiture de fraises. Déposer l’autre moitié au dessus. Enfin, parsemer de fraises entières et de fleurs de sureau.