February 08, 2016

Chestnut Crêpes for Pancake Day

A selection of plates with crepes and fillings

For some reason, Pancake Day is one of those celebrations that I tend to miss in the calendar. I always seem to know that it’s coming but believe that I still have plenty of time before it’s upon us. Then, one day, I decide to check its actual date and realise it is in two days time or, in some occasions, that it’s already gone by! For once, I got a bit better organised this year and managed to prepare a crêpe recipe for the blog well on time. My Gran had sent me a big bag of chestnut flour a while ago, and I had in mind to use it for making crêpes. It gives them a delicious nutty flavour that pairs really nicely with the goat’s cheese and nut butter spread (which by the way, tastes divine!) and raw veggies used in the filling.

Any excuse is good to throw a crêpe party, and I would loooove to hear how you like to eat your crêpes/pancakes, so please share your ideas below ;-)

A plate with two crepes

In the meantime, here is further inspiration:
Breton Galettes
Coconut & Rosehip Pancakes with Raspberry Compote
Carrot Pancakes with Grilled Halloumi

Ahead of tomorrow, happy Pancake Day!!!

Chestnut Crêpes + Goat’s Cheese & Almond Butter Spread, Red Cabbage, Lettuce & Apple – serves 8
•150g chestnut flour
•100g whole wheat flour
•A pinch of salt
•2 eggs
•1tbsp sunflower oil
•500ml rice milk (or other plant milk)
•150g fresh soft goat’s cheese
•4tbsp almond butter
•¼ red cabbage, shredded
•2 handfuls lamb’s lettuce
•1 red apple, cored and sliced
•Coconut oil

1.Prepare the crêpe dough: in a large bowl, mix the chestnut and wheat flours with the pinch of salt. Make a well in the middle and add the eggs, sunflower oil and rice milk. Whisk until you obtain a smooth batter. Set aside to rest for at least 30min.
2.In the meantime, prepare the spread by crushing the goat’s cheese in a small bowl with a wooden spoon and mixing it with the almond butter until you get a smooth texture.
3.When ready to cook the crêpes, heat your pan on a medium heat. When hot, add a small knob of coconut oil and spread it across the pan using a kitchen paper. Add a ladle of batter to the pan and swirl it in order to spread it into a thin crêpe. Leave to cook for about 2-3min, until able to lift off the pan with a spatula and quickly flip it on the other side. Cook for another minute or so and set aside on a plate. Repeat, until all the batter has been used.
4.To eat the crêpes, place one in a plate, spread a spoonful of goat’s cheese and almond butter spread in the centre. Top up with lettuce leaves, shredded cabbage and apple slices. Roll or fold the crêpe and tuck in. Delicious warm or cold.

Crêpes de Châtaigne + Tartinade de Fromage de Chèvre et Purée d’Amandes, Mâche, Chou-Rouge et Pomme – pour 8 personnes
•150g de farine de châtaigne
•100g de farine de blé complet
•1 pincée de sel
•2 œufs
•1cs d’huile de tournesol
•500ml de lait de riz (ou autre lait végétal)
•150g de fromage de chèvre frais
•4cs de purée d’amandes
•¼ de chou rouge, émincé
•2 poignées de mâche
•1 pomme rouge, évidée et coupée en lamelles
•Huile de coco

1.Préparer la pâte à crêpes : dans un saladier, mélanger les farines avec le sel. Y creuser un puis et y verser les œufs, l’huile de tournesol et le lait de riz. Mélanger à l’aide d’un fouet jusqu'à l’obtention d’une consistance lisse. Laisser reposer au moins 30min.
2.Pendant ce temps, préparer la tartinade en écrasant le fromage de chèvre dans un petit bol avec une cuillère en bois et en le mélangeant à la purée d’amande.
3.Pour cuire les crêpes, faire chauffer la poêle à feu moyen. Lorsqu’elle est bien chaude, y déposer une noix d’huile de coco et la répartir sur toute la surface de la poêle avec un papier absorbant. Verser une louche de pâte dans la poêle et incliner la poêle pour bien y répartir la pâte en une fine galette. Cuire 2-3min jusqu'à ce que la pâte puisse se décoller facilement à l’aide d’une spatule. Retourner la crêpe et la cuire encore 1min. Transférer dans une autre assiette puis répéter l’opération jusqu‘à épuisement de la pâte.
4.Pour servir, déposer une crêpe dans une assiette. Y étaler une cuillérée de tartinade en son centre, et ajouter quelques feuilles de mâche, un peu de chou-rouge et quelques tranches de pomme. Rouler ou plier la crêpe et déguster. Se mange chaud ou froid.

January 20, 2016

French Apple Tart

Apple tart on a wooden board

To put our previous recipe of unsweetened apple sauce into good use, I thought I would share a recipe for French apple tart. I’m feeling a bit nostalgic as I write these words as this is a pudding that brings back childhood memories. When I grew up, apple tart used to be the classic Sunday dessert that my Gran would make and bring for us to enjoy together. The only time of year when we’d have something different was as soon as rhubarb was in season. I already featured her rhubarb tart recipe on Food Moods many moons ago, and it is still available if you’d like to check it out. For this apple tart, you could use the pastry recipe that my Gran use to make, or try this gluten-free version. I have opted for not sweetening the tart much at all, and in my opinion this allows the fruit flavours to shine. Simple home-cooked food, to share and create memories...

A slice of apple tart in a plate and apple tart in the background

French Apple Tart – serves 8
•125g brown rice flour
•50g chickpea flour
•50g ground almonds
•25g arrow-root
•2tbsp unrefined sugar
•125g cold butter, cubed
•1 egg, beaten
•10tbsp apple sauce
•2 firm apples, peeled and cored
•2tbsp apricot jam

1.Place the rice and chickpea flour in a large bowl with the ground almonds, arrow-root, sugar and butter. Rub the butter in the flour with the fingers, until obtaining rough crumbs. Add the egg and shape into a ball. (Alternatively, place all ingredients in a food processor with a dough attachment and pulse until the dough comes together.) Wrap the ball in cling film and place in the fridge for 30min.
2.Slice the apples finely.
3.Preheat the oven to 180°C.
4.When the dough is ready, place it between two sheets of baking paper and with a rolling pin, flatten it into a circle slightly bigger than your tart dish. Place the dough into the dish, pressing it against the sides, and remove the upper sheet of paper. Prick the bottom with a fork.
5.Spread the apple sauce over the pastry and arrange the apple slices on top.
6.Gently heat the apricot jam in a small saucepan, and when runny, spread over the apple slices with a brush.
7.Place the tart in the oven for about 40min, until the pastry edges are golden. Leave to cool down before serving.

Tarte aux Pommes – pour 8 personnes
•125g de farine de riz complet
•50g de farine de pois chiche
•50g d’amandes en poudre
•25g d’arrow-root
•2cs de sucre complet
•125g de beurre froid, coupé en cubes
•1 œuf, battus
•2cs de purée de pomme
•2 pommes à chair ferme, évidées et pelées
•2cs de confiture d’abricots

1.Mettre la farine de riz dans un saladier avec la farine de pois chiche, l’amande en poudre, l’arrow-root,  le sucre et le beurre. Frotter les ingrédients du bout des doigts pour former des miettes grossières. Ajouter l’œuf et former une boule de pâte. (Alternativement, mettre les ingrédients dans le bol d’un robot avec un attachement pour pâte et faire tourner jusqu'à l’obtention d’une boule de pâte). Envelopper la pâte dans du papier film et la mettre au réfrigérateur au moins 30min.
2.Couper les pommes en tranches fines.
3. Préchauffer le four sur 180°C.
4.Quand la pâte est prête, la placer entre deux feuilles de papier cuisson, et à l’aide d’un rouleau à pâtisserie, l’étaler en un disque un peu plus grand que votre moule à tarte. Placer la pâte dans le moule, retirer la feuille de papier supérieure et presser la pâte dans le fond du moule et sur les côtés. Piquer le fond à la fourchette.
5.Etaler la purée de pomme sur le fond de tarte et arranger les tranches de pomme joliment sur le dessus.
6.Faire chauffer à feu doux la confiture d’abricot dans une petite casserole, et lorsqu’elle se liquéfie, retirer du feu et étaler sur les pommes à l’aide d’un pinceau.
7.Mettre au four pour environ 40min, jusqu'à ce que les bords de la pâte soient dorés. Sortir du four et laisser refroidir avant de déguster.

January 07, 2016

Apple Sauce - Toolbox

A glass jar filled with apple sauce

Happy New Year dear readers! May 2016 be filled with love, health and delicious foods.

When January comes, there seems to be an abundance of detox plans of all sorts out there, and although I firmly believe that the New Year is an ideal time to take on new healthy habits and why not cleanse a bit your diet, the cold weather and dark long nights also bring with them the need for comfort and cozying and I personally don’t feel like undertaking a strict regime at this moment in time. Instead, another option could be to cultivate self compassion and kindness to yourself, to set you on the path to health and contentment. Being gentle, taking your time, working on your goals one step at a time.

Having more indoor time is the perfect opportunity to cook and preserve harvests, and today, our toolbox how-to is a very simple recipe for unsweetened apple sauce. Apple sauce is a staple that finds its place in any kitchen: it simply is cooked and pureed apples and can either be left a bit chunky (you will then have more of a compote consistency) or completely smooth like in the recipe below. It is incredibly versatile and can be used as follows:
•if you’re a keen baker, it makes a great substitute for part/all of the fat in cake recipes, for a healthier take on them. I usually find that replacing half of the fat with it gives best results in terms of texture;
•as egg replacement in biscuits: use 60ml apple sauce per egg
•delicious swirled into your morning porridge
•added to a batch of granola before cooking (e.g. this recipe)
•mixed with natural yogurt for a simple snack/pudding
•mixed with ricotta for dipping vegetable sticks
•spread onto pancakes or over a slice of fresh bread
•to accompany hard cheeses

Below is a basic recipe for apple sauce, but depending on what the intended use is, you could add spices to it such as ground cinnamon, cloves or cardamom and possibly a tablespoon or two of sweetener such as maple or agave syrup.
A batch will keep in the fridge in a glass jar for up to a week. It is also possible to double or triple the quantities, divide the sauce in small portions and freeze them. You then have ready-made apple sauce in stock for when needed!

I’d love to hear your ideas for using apple sauce so please feel free to post a comment to share them below...

Apple Sauce
1kg cooking apples
•Juice of ½ lemon
•100ml water

1.Peel, core and cut the apples into small cubes.
2.Place them in a saucepan with the lemon juice and water. Bring to a gentle boil, cover and leave to cook on a medium-low heat for 25min, until completely tender.
3.Take off the heat, leave to cool down and blend with a hand blender until smooth.
4.Transfer to a glass jar and keep in the fridge for up to a week or divide into small portions and freeze for up to several months.

Purée de Pommes
1kg de pommes à cuire
•Jus d’1/2 citron
•100ml d’eau

1.Peler, évider et couper les pommes en petits cubes.
2.Les mettre dans une casserole avec le jus de citron et l’eau. Porter à ébullition, couvrir et laisser frémir à feu doux pendant environ 25min, jusqu'à ce que les fruits soient tendres.
3.Retirer du feu, laisser refroidir et mixer à l’aide d’un mixeur plongeur, jusqu'à l’obtention d’une consistance lisse.
4.Verser dans un bocal en verre et garder au réfrigérateur. Se garde environ une semaine. Il est également possible de diviser la purée en petites portions et de la garder au congélateur pour plusieurs mois.

December 11, 2015

Spicy Chickpeas

Jar of spiced chickpeas hand held

I am usually waiting for Christmas with much anticipation. This year, things have however been slightly different. Maybe it is the incredibly mild and sunny weather or very probably the arrival of our little boy, but for some reason it’s taken me a good while to get into the spirit of it and I don’t really realise that the big day is in less than two weeks.

But you know what? It’s actually felt good. I’ve enjoyed not being caught in the whirlwind that this time of year usually is and taken time to simply be with my little family, slow living. We’ve only just put up our handmade driftwood tree and a couple other decorations and are starting to bake Christmas biscuits and treats. What if this time of year was actually the perfect moment to pause, say no to countless to-do lists and invitations and take time to turn inwards, contemplating what the past year has brought us, expressing gratitude for it and sowing seeds for future growth?

Chickpeas on a baking tray

Today’s recipe makes for lovely nibbles: chickpeas rolled in spices and roasted in the oven. We also love these as salad or soup toppings, a nice addition to any winter dish, really. I hope you enjoy making it and wish you love and bliss for the holidays x

Spicy Chickpeas – makes one batch
•400g cooked chickpeas
•1tsp caraway seeds
•1tsp ground cumin
•1tsp ground smoked paprika
•A good pinch of salt

1.Preheat the oven to 200°C.
2.Place the chickpeas in a large tea towel and rub them in it, in order to dry them and remove any skin that would come off.
3.Place them on a large baking tray covered with baking paper. Sprinkle the spices and the salt and mix with your hands to cover to ensure the chickpeas are covered in spices.
4.Place in the oven and cook for 25min. Take out of the oven and leave to cool down. Keeps 2-3 days in an air-tight jar.

Pois-Chiches Epicés – pour une fournée
•400g de pois-chiches cuits
•1cc de graines de carvi
•1cc de cumin moulu
•1cc de paprika fumé
•Une pincée de sel

1.Préchauffer le four sur 200°C.
2.Mettre les pois-chiches dans un torchon et les frotter, de façon à retirer leur peau facilement.
3.Les étaler sur une grande plaque à four recouverte de papier sulfurisé. Parsemer des épices et du sel et mélanger avec les mains pour bien enrober les pois-chiches d’épices.
4.Mettre au four pour 25min. Sortir du four et laisser refroidir. Se garde 2 ou 3 jours dans un bocal hermétique.

November 23, 2015

Curried Cauliflower, Beluga Lentils & Fennel Salad

A salad bowl on a blue background

When putting together a salad bowl, I consider flavours and tastes as key elements, but I also think that colours and textures play an equally important part. It needs to be appealing for all the senses. I find there similarities to any creative process and although I sometimes have imagined the dish way ahead in my head, on other occasions I just go with the flow to mix and match ingredients which just feel right at that moment in time. All senses can also be stimulated during the making, touching, looking at, smelling and tasting the produce used for cooking, offering the opportunity to fully connect with the food, even long before eating it.

This curried cauliflower, lentil and fennel salad was created with these thoughts in mind. The lentils and cauli are tender, the fennel crispy. The curry powder gives a delicious fragrance to the kitchen and a beautiful colour to the cauliflower. There’s a mix of sweet and savoury flavours, warm and fresh ingredients that match and contrast with each other.

And life goes on, with each of us able to spread a little bit more love and peace on this planet, because this is all that we need right now and always...

With love and light x

A salad bowl on a blue background

Curried Cauliflower, Beluga Lentils & Fennel Salad – serves 4 to 6
•250g beluga lentils, rinsed
•1tsp cumin seeds
•1tsp mustard seeds
•1 head cauliflower, separated into florets
•2tsp curry powder
•3tbsp sunflower oil
•2 fennel bulbs
•2tbsp raisins
•Salt and pepper
•1tsp wholegrain mustard
•Juice of ½ lemon
•2tbsp olive oil
•1 green chilli, finely sliced
•A large bunch parsley, roughly chopped

1.Preheat the oven to 200°C.
2.Place the lentils in a medium-sized saucepan with the cumin and mustard seeds, cover with cold water, bring to the boil and cook over a medium heat for about 20min, until tender. Drain any excess water and set aside.
3.Spread the cauliflower on a baking tray covered with baking paper. Sprinkle with curry powder and drizzle the sunflower oil over. Mix well with your hands to cover the cauliflower well with curry powder and oil. Place in the oven and cook for 20min, giving it a stir halfway through. Set aside.
4.Remove the fennel tops, cut the bulbs in half and slice them finely.
5.Prepare the dressing by mixing in a small bowl some salt and pepper with the mustard, lemon juice and olive oil.
6.Place the lentils, cauliflower, fennel and raisins in a serving bowl/dish. Drizzle the dressing over and mix. Top up with parsley and chilli slices and serve.

Salade de Chou-fleur au Curry, Lentilles Beluga et Fenouil – pour 4 à 6 personnes
•250g de lentilles béluga, rincées
•1cc de graines de cumin
•1cc de graines de moutarde
•1 chou-fleur, séparé en bouquets
•2cc de poudre de curry
•3cs d’huile de tournesol
•2 bulbes de fenouil
•2cs de raisins secs
•Sel et poivre
•1cc de moutarde à l’ancienne
•Jus d’1/2 citron
•2cs d’huile d’olive
•1 piment vert, coupé en fines rondelles
•Une poignée de persil, émincé grossièrement

1.Préchauffer le four sur 200°C.
2.Mettre les lentilles dans une casserole de taille moyenne avec les graines de cumin et de moutarde, couvrir avec de l’eau froide, porter à ébullition et faire cuire à feu moyen environ 20min, jusqu'à ce qu’elles soient tendres. Egoutter si nécessaire et mettre de côté.
3.Répartir les bouquets de chou-fleur sur une plaque à four recouverte de papier sulfurisé. Parsemer de curry en poudre et arroser d’huile de tournesol. Mélanger avec les mains de façon à bien recouvrir le chou-fleur de curry et d’huile. Mettre au four pour 20min et remuer à mi-cuisson. Mettre de côté une fois cuit.
4.Enlever le dessus des bulbes de fenouil, puis les couper en deux et enfin les émincer finement.
5.Préparer l’assaisonnement dans un petit bol en mélangeant du sel et du poivre avec la moutarde, le jus de citron et l’huile d’olive.
6.Mettre les lentilles, le chou-fleur, le fenouil et les raisins secs dans un saladier/assiette de service. Verser l’assaisonnement et mélanger. Parsemer de rondelles de piment et de persil et servir.