April 03, 2017
This recipe is an example of the kind of meals we have on a weekly basis, mixing whole grains, greens, raw vegetables and seeds – full of flavours, healthy and nutritious. I guess it’s yet another take on the ‘Buddha Bowl’ I talked about a couple of months ago, but I can’t help but think that these types of meals are the best!
We’ve been growing leafy greens on our balcony and nothing beats picking fresh leaves straight from the plant and using them in cooking, which is what I did with this simple pesto recipe, which could also be used many other ways: in pasta, spread on a slice of bread, topping up a soup, etc.
Over here, spring is in full swing, and in spite of the unpredictable weather, we’re always in awe of nature coming back to life and the abundance of produce available at this time of year.
Happy Spring to all!!!
Green Quinoa – serves 4 to 6
•125g white quinoa
•125g red quinoa
•A bunch of greens (parsley, kale, baby spinach, chard, etc.), roughly chopped
•30g toasted pumpkin seeds
•Juice of 1 lemon
•Salt and pepper
•1 small clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
•125ml olive oil
•1 small head broccoli, separated into florets
•½ cucumber, cubed
•2 avocadoes, peeled, stoned and sliced
•A handful cashew nuts, toasted and roughly chopped
•2tbsp sesame seeds
•2tbsp seaweed flakes
1.Rinse the quinoa, then place it in a small saucepan with 500ml water. Bring to a gentle boil, cover, reduce to a simmer and leave to cook for about 15min. Take off the heat and leave to cool down. Transfer to a large salad bowl.
2.Prepare the pesto by placing the chopped greens in a small food processor with the pumpkin seeds, lemon juice, some salt and pepper, the garlic and olive oil. Process until you get a pesto-like consistency. Add to the quinoa and mix to coat it well.
3.Place the broccoli florets in the food processor and pulse until grain-like. Transfer to the salad bowl.
4.Add the cucumber to the bowl and mix well.
5.Dish out the green quinoa into plates and top up with the sliced avocado, cashew nuts, sesame seeds and seaweed flakes. Tuck in.
Quinoa Vert – pour 4 à 6 personnes
•125g de quinoa
•125g de quinoa rouge
•Une poignée de feuilles vertes (persil, kale, pousses d’épinards, blettes, etc.), émincées
•30g de graines de courges, toastées
•Jus d’1 citron
•Sel et poivre
•1 petite gousse d’ail, pelée et émincée
•125ml d’huile d’olive
•1 petit brocoli, séparé en fleurettes
•½ concombre, coupé en dés
•2 avocats, pelés, dénoyautés et coupés en lamelles
•1 poignée de noix de cajou toastées et grossièrement émincées
•2cs de graines de sésame
•2cs de paillettes d’algues
1.Rincer le quinoa et le mettre dans une petite casserole avec 500ml d’eau. Porter à ébullition, couvrir, réduire le feu et laisser frémir pendant une quinzaine de minutes. Retirer du feu et laisser refroidir. Transférer dans un saladier.
2.Préparer le pesto: mettre les feuilles vertes dans un petit robot avec les graines de courge, le jus de citron, du sel et du poivre, l’ail et l’huile d’olive. Mixer, jusqu’ à l’obtention du pesto. Ajouter au quinoa et mélanger.
3.Mettre les fleurettes de brocoli dans le robot and utiliser la touche pulse jusqu’à l’obtention d’une texture similaire à des petites graines. Transférer dans le saladier.
4.Ajouter le concombre et bien mélanger.
5.Répartir la salade dans des assiettes de service et ajouter des lamelles d’avocat, des noix de cajou, des graines de sésame et des paillettes d’algues. Déguster !
March 13, 2017
I’ve wanted to share some thoughts on introducing solid foods to babies to share our experience and inspire other mums and dads on this wonderful journey. This first article will focus on the first few months of introducing solids (something between 5-12 months old), and I’ll share a few recipe ideas below.
As a frame of reference, I breastfed our baby boy exclusively for the first six months of his life, by which time we noticed he was starting showing interest for food we were eating and we thought he was ready to be introduced to solids. I delightedly started cooking him purées and compotes… but in all honesty, he wasn’t actually very keen in eating them! It took a couple of months for him to happily eat the food that we gave him, and it was interesting to see that he seemed to appreciate more anything on the sweet side of things such as sweet potatoes, butternut, beetroot, bananas and apples.
Because I chose to breastfeed him for the whole first year of his life (and still do to this day), breast milk remained his main nutrient intake and anything else was more of a discovery of taste.
We started introducing solids with sweet compotes and moved on to vegetables next. Each time, we introduced one ingredient on its own for three days in a row and saw how he reacted to it – some he seemed to love, others he would look at in disgust. One day we noticed red spots on his face after he ate aubergine purée. We tried it again another time and he had the same reaction so we knew we’d have to not give it to him again for the time being as he seemed to have a reaction to it.
Gradually, we moved onto mixed fruit compotes and mixed vegetable purées and had therefore the opportunity to reintroduce ingredients that he might not have seemed to like in the first place. I always add a spoonful of oil in his purée (we love this baby oil blend) before serving it, essential for brain development.
Around 8-9 months, we started introducing dairy with ewe’s milk and goat’s milk organic yogurts. Later (around 11 months), we introduced cow’s dairy too and our little man seemed to really like eating yogurt.
As for grains, we started incorporating them around 9 months with gluten-free grains to start with (brown rice, quinoa, millet, amaranth), which we blended in small quantities with his vegetable purées (I often used grain flakes for convenience).
Around 10 months we also gradually introduced legumes such as lentils, chickpeas and beans.
When Kai started having teeth coming through, he also loved ‘chewing’ onto a piece of food by himself and a ring of cucumber (amazing for soothing sore gums) or a piece of melon seemed to do the trick. Later on, we also gave him little chunks of bread, which he absolutely loves!
From a practical point of view, a saucepan and a stick blender are the main utensils that we’ve used (as well as a knife and chopping board, that is!), no fancy special baby cooking device required here!
Even if I know that freshly cooked food is the very best, I’ve often prepared a few portions at once (two or three usually) that keep well in the fridge, or that can also be frozen for later use. I repurposed a few small glass pots to keep his food in for when we are on the go and have to take his lunch with us.
We (almost) always buy organic and seasonal ingredients to cook with, and produced locally as much as possible.
I’ve combined a little list of fruits and vegetables that can be introduced to babies in their first few months of eating solids. Regarding fruits, a number of them are best firstly introduced cooked, I’ve specified it in brackets;
-Fruits: banana, avocado, apple (cooked), pear (cooked), quince (cooked), peach, apricot, melon, mango, plum (cooked), blueberries (cooked)
-Vegetables (cooked): carrot, sweet potato, pumpkin and squash, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, potato, courgette, beetroot, cucumber, peas, parsnip, leek, sunchokes
Finally, introducing solids to our baby boy has taught me to be patient and not get frustrated on days when he wouldn’t have any of what I had prepared. Infusing love into the meals you prepare for your wee one and taking pleasure in feeding him/her surely ensures a pleasant experience and optimal nourishment for your baby ;-)
Below you’ll find three easy recipes for little ones:
Butternut Purée – 2 Ways (roasted + steamed)
•1 small butternut squash or ½ large one
Steamed: peel, seed and cut the squash into small cubes. Place them in a saucepan and add a good splash of water. Bring to a simmer, cover with a lid and cook for 20-25min until the squash is tender. Blend with the water.
Roasted: Preheat the oven to 180°C. Peel, seed and cut the squash into small cubes. Place them onto a large baking tray covered with baking paper. Place in the oven for 25-30min until tender. Blend, adding a little bit of water if needed.
Avocado and Mango
•1 large avocado, peeled and stoned
•A splash of lime juice
•1 mango, peeled and stoned
•1tbsp melted coconut oil
Place all the ingredients into a jug and blend using a stick blender until smooth.
Apple and Quince Compote
•5 cooking apples
•1 large quince
Peel, core and cut the fruits into cubes. Place in a small saucepan with a good splash of water. Bring to a simmer, cover with a lid and cook for 25-30min until the fruits are really tender. Blend with a stick blender and leave to cool down before serving.
I would absolutely love to hear your stories about when first introducing solids to your little ones, so please feel free to share them in the comments box below!
February 13, 2017
So, January is already behind us and as we’re well into February, I’ve seen myself making various types of energy bars and balls that I enjoy snacking on mid-afternoon or after teaching a yoga class. I made these on an occasion when I found a bag of rice puffs in our kitchen cupboard that could do with being used and tried to keep the recipe as simple as possible using only pantry staples that I had on hand. I decided to drizzle them in chocolate just after they came out of the oven, but this is optional (though totally recommended!). Even with a batch of those, I didn’t go through the bag of rice puffs so we’ve had these little treats on more than one occasion.
Wishing you a lovely start to the week xx
Rice Puff Chocolate & Peanut Butter Bites – makes about 20
•40g rice puffs
•2tbsp cacao powder
•125ml peanut butter
•80ml rice syrup
•80g dark chocolate
1.Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2.In a large bowl, mix the rice puffs with the raisins, cinnamon and cacao powder.
3.Place the peanut butter and rice syrup in a small saucepan and heat gently until they get a smooth liquid texture. Transfer to the bowl and mix well. With your hands, take a spoonful of the mixture and roll it in small balls between your hands. Place each ball on a baking tray covered with baking paper.
4.Place in the oven for about 20min, until firm. Take out of the oven and leave to cool down.
5.Melt the chocolate in a double boiler and then drizzle the chocolate over the rice puff bites using a spoon. Leave to harden at room temperature or place in the fridge for 30min or so.
Bouchées au Riz Soufflé, Chocolat et Beurre de Cacahuète – pour environ 20 boules
•40g de riz soufflé
•60g de raisins secs
•2cc de cannelle moulue
•2cs de cacao en poudre
•125ml de beurre de cacahuète
•80ml de sirop de riz
•80g de chocolat noir
1.Préchauffer le four sur 180°C.
2.Dans un saladier, mélanger le riz soufflé avec les raisins secs, la cannelle et le cacao.
3.Mettre le beurre de cacahuète et le sirop de riz dans une petite casserole et chauffer à feu doux, jusqu'à l’obtention d’une texture liquide. Verser le mélange dans le saladier et bien mélanger. Prendre un petit peu du mélange et le rouler entre les mains en une petite boule, puis la mettre sur une plaque de cuisson recouverte de papier sulfurisé. Répétez jusqu'à épuisement.
4.Mettre au four pour une vingtaine de minutes puis laisser refroidir.
5.Faire fondre le chocolat au bain marie, puis à l’aide d’une petite cuillère, faire des zébrures de chocolat sur les bouchées au riz soufflé. Laisser refroidir à température ambiante ou bien placer au réfrigérateur pour une trentaine de minutes.
January 16, 2017
If you take a peek at gardens in our neighbourhood, you will see plenty of citrus trees laden with lemons, oranges, grapefruits or kumquats. Winter sunshines waiting to be picked and eaten. The usually mild winter climate of this part of France makes it ideal to grow such trees and we’ve also had a lemon tree on our balcony for over a year, although recent frosts have required covering it for shelter. We eat a fair amount of citrus fruits all winter long for all the health benefits they provide (vitamin C + lots of essential nutrients), but we also love their sweet/acidic taste.
We bought a lot of kumquats at the market the other day, and my favourite way to eat them was to simply stew them with a little bit of maple syrup and serve them with my morning porridge or thick strained yogurt. They get deliciously sweet all the while keeping a bit of their bitterness.
My next cooking project is to try making jam as I have a fond memory of a kumquat marmalade that I tried in Australia a few years ago, and that was so incredible that I still seem to remember its taste! If you’ve got experience in preserving citrus fruits, I’d love to hear about it. Thanks heaps and wishing you a lovely week x
Labneh with Stewed Kumquats – serves 4
You could easily double the proportions to have a bigger batch of both the labneh and kumquats. For a vegan option, labneh can also be made with soy yogurt.
•500g natural yogurt (I use sheep’s milk yogurt)
•3tbsp maple syrup
1.To make the labneh, in the evening, pour the yogurt into a sieve covered with muslin cloth. Place the sieve over a bowl. Cover the yogurt with the cloth, place a small plate on it with a weight and place in the fridge to drain overnight.
2.In the morning, transfer the strained yogurt to a container, your labneh is ready! Don’t discard the whey (the strained liquid) as it is delicious added to smoothies for instance and rich in protein.
3.Slice the kumquats, removing the pips at the same time, and place them in a small saucepan with the maple syrup and 2tbsp water. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring every so often for about 10-15min until soft and translucent.
4.Serve the kumquats still warm or cooled down with a generous spoonful of labneh.
Labneh et Compotée de Kumquats – pour 4 personnes
Vous pouvez tout à fait doubler les proportions à la fois du labneh et des kumquats pour en avoir un peu plus. Pour une option vegan, il est possible de réaliser le labneh avec du yaourt de soja.
•500g de fromage blanc nature (j’utilise du fromage blanc de brebis)
•300g de kumquats
•3cs de sirop d’érable
1.Pour faire le labneh, la veille au soir, verser le fromage blanc dans une passoire fine recouverte de mousseline. Mettre la passoire au-dessus d’un saladier. Envelopper le yaourt dans la mousseline, mettre une petite assiette dessus ainsi qu’un poids, et mettre à égoutter au réfrigérateur toute la nuit.
2.Le lendemain, transférer le yaourt égoutté dans un récipient, votre labneh est prêt ! Ne jetez pas le liquide récupérer dans le saladier, il est délicieux dans des smoothies par exemple, et une bonne source de protéines.
3.Couper les kumquats en rondelles, en prenant soin d’enlever les pépins au passage, et les mettre dans une petite casserole avec le sirop d’érable et 2cs d’eau. Laisser frémir pour 10-15min, jusqu'à ce que les fruits soient tendres et translucides.
4.Servir les kumquats encore chaud ou refroidis avec un généreuse cuillérée de labneh.
December 23, 2016
The end of the year and Holiday season is always a perfect time to reflect back on the past year and look forward to what’s to come in the new one. Although I have a general feeling of 2016 having been a difficult year on many aspects, I was thinking back earlier of all the happy memories from this year, and realised that after all it had also been pretty good.
Even if I would have loved to do a lot more with Food Moods in 2016, I’m learning the art of acceptance and to be content with how things turn out, and I hope you’ve enjoyed what I shared on this special online space over the last 12 months. I also wanted to say a huge thank you for all those of you who read my blog and support me doing one of the things I love the most!
Here I’m sharing one last recipe for this year; if like me you like to have lighter meals in between the holiday celebrations and flourish of treats, this dish would make a nice light lunch (or you might want to save the recipe for January!). The salad can easily be prepared ahead of time, to allow the seasoning to soften slightly (though they will retain their crunch) and flavour the vegetables. You could also decide to replace the red cabbage with radicchio salad and use purple kale instead of green for more of a monochrome dish. I served it alongside a bowl of fruity and spicy quinoa, which definitely gave festive flavours to it. This all made a simple but truly satisfying and delicious winter meal.
Wishing you a happy Christmas and a healthy, abundant and vibrant New Year! Xx
Red Cabbage, Fennel and Kale Salad with Orange Dressing + Fruity Quinoa – serves 4 to 6
•Juice of 1 orange
•Salt and pepper
•1tbsp wholegrain mustard
•3tbsp olive oil
•2tbsp sunflower seeds
•1/2 red cabbage
•1 small fennel
•1 small or ½ large chioggia beetroot, peeled
•4 curly kale leaves
•125g quinoa, rinsed (and if possible soaked overnight)
•1tbsp dried cranberries
•½ tsp cinnamon
•½ tsp all spice
1.Preheat the oven to 150°C.
2.Prepare the salad dressing in a large salad bowl by mixing together the orange juice, some salt and pepper, the wholegrain mustard and the olive oil.
3.Place the hazelnuts and sunflower seeds on a small baking tray and place in the oven for 10-15min until golden and fragrant. Set aside to cool.
4.Shred the red cabbage, fennel and beetroot very finely using a mandolin slicer or a sharp knife. Chop the kale finely, after having discarded the central hard stem. Place all the ingredients in the salad bowl and mix well using your hands, to coat the vegetables with the dressing.
5.Place the quinoa in a small saucepan with the raisins, cranberries, cinnamon and all spice, cover with about 500ml water, bring to a gentle boil, cover and leave to simmer for about 15min or until all the water is absorbed.
6.Sprinkle the salad with the hazelnuts and the quinoa with the sunflower seeds and serve.
Salade de Chou Rouge, Fenouil et Kale, Vinaigrette à l’Orange + Quinoa Fruité - pour 4 à 6 personnes
•Jus d’ 1 orange
•Sel et poivre
•1cs de moutarde à l’ancienne
•3cs d’huile d’olive
•3cs de noisettes
•2cs de graines de tournesol
•½ chou rouge
•1 petit fenouil
•1 petite ou ½ grosse betterave chioggia, pelée
•4 feuilles de kale
•125g de quinoa, rincé (et si possible trempé pendant une nuit)
•1cs de raisins secs
•1cs de cranberries séchées
•½ cc de cannelle moulu
•½ cc de 4-épices
1.Préchauffer le four sur 150°C.
2.Préparer la vinaigrette en mélangeant dans un grand saladier le jus d’orange, du sel et du poivre, la moutarde et l’huile d’olive.
3.Mettre les noisettes et les graines de tournesol dans un petit plat à four et enfourner pour 10-15min jusqu’a ce qu’elles soient dorées et parfumées. Laisser refroidir.
4.Emincer finement le chou rouge, le fenouil et la betterave à l’aide d’une mandoline ou d’un couteau bien tranchant. Emincer le kale au couteau après avoir retiré la partie centrale dure. Mettre tous les ingrédients dans le saladier et bien mélanger avec les mains pour imbiber les légumes de vinaigrette.
5.Mettre le quinoa dans une petite casserole avec les raisins secs, les cranberries, la cannelle et le 4-épices, couvrir d’environ 500ml d’eau et porter à ébullition. Puis couvrir et laisser frémir environ 15min, ou jusqu’ à ce que toute l’eau soit absorbée.
6.Parsemer la salade de noisettes et de quinoa de graines de tournesol et servir.