August 22, 2016

Our Summer of Slow Living and a Melon, Mint and Cucumber Cooler

Melon-Mint-and-Cucumber-Cooler

Before I get on to the recipe for this melon, mint and cucumber cooler I wanted to share a few thoughts on the subject of slow living. Living slow is a concept that has kept on coming back to me all throughout the year. We might all have different definition of what this entails, but to me it means simplifying and living a life being fully present, soaking each and every moment as it comes and goes. So many times I’ve found myself caught into the mad rush of life and although there are certain situations when this whirlwind seems hard to avoid, coming back to what is essential, what matters most, is what keeps me grounded. And what happens when you start slowing down is that you notice the little things; a pretty flower, the smile of a stranger, the rays of the sun filtering through the branches of a tree... It doesn’t mean you don’t do or achieve anything, but it means to be fully aware and present in what you do – which in turns gives you increased focus and clarity. When life has thrown challenges at us, I’ve found that taking time to assess the situation and find an appropriate answer to it, has been what’s worked best, trying to get out of the pattern of instant reaction to things.

slow-living-beach-scene

So, this is what we’ve tried to put into practice this year, and what better time of year than summer, when things can naturally slow down and the cycles of nature invite you to take time to take time. In practice, my philosophy is always to start small and build up from it. A few areas we work on include going on long mindful walks every day, playing with our baby boy, practicing daily yoga/meditation, eating with full awareness, growing our own food and disconnecting from social media and the Internet.

When our boy and I spent a couple of week’s holiday with my parents, I thoroughly enjoyed cooking simple meals for them with seasonal fare. One hot day all I could think of was the idea of a chilled thirst-quencher drink and I therefore prepared this cooling beverage using a few hydrating ingredients that I most often than not have to hand in the summer months: melon, cucumber, lime and mint. We had it sat out on the deck, simply enjoying each other’s presence, before we headed to the beach for a late afternoon play. Snippet of a summer lived wholeheartedly.

I would love to read what your thoughts on the subject of slow living are, it is always such a delight to hear from you and feel part of an amazing community of like-minded people. Much love x

Melon-Mint-and-Cucumber-Cooler

Melon, Mint and Cucumber Cooler – serves 6
Ice cubes can be added for extra freshness, and cucumber and lime slices can decorate the glass.
•¼ of a green melon, peeled, seeded and cut into cubes
•½ large cucumber, peeled and seeded
•2 sprigs of mint, leaves picked
•Juice of 2 limes
•Sparkling water, chilled

1.Place the melon, cucumber, mint and lime juice into a blender and blend until smooth.
2.Pour the liquid into glasses up to about one third and top up with sparkling water and enjoy straight away.

Boisson Rafraichissante au Melon, Menthe et Concombre – pour 6 personnes
Il est possible d'ajouter des glacons pour plus de fraicheur et d'utiliser des rondelles de citron vert et concombre pour décorer les verres.
•¼ de melon vert, pelé, épépiné et coupé en cubes
•½ gros concombre, pelé et épépiné
•Feuilles de 2 brins de menthe
•Jus de 2 citrons verts
•Eau gazeuse, fraiche

1.Mettre le melon, le concombre, la menthe et le jus de citron vert dans un mixeur et mixer.
2.Remplir des verres au tiers de ce mélange puis compléter avec de l’eau gazeuse et servir de suite.

August 01, 2016

Edible Flowers, Purslane and Quinoa Salad

Edible-Flowers-Purslane-and-Quinoa-Salad


This very simple salad was inspired by the edible flowers and fresh herbs that we’ve grown on our balcony garden. I love the visual appeal of it (such a showstopper, how can you resist such pretty flowers?) and the explosion of flavours in the mouth! Yet it remains so easy to prepare, makes a healthy and balanced meal and tastes of summer days. I added purslane to the salad; though often considered as a weed, I find it absolutely delightful, with a slight crunch to the tooth and is packed with antioxidants and omega 3 fatty acids amongst other health benefits.


Borage

Spring-Onions

Calendula


I hope you have a beautiful summer, with love x


Bloom Salad – serves 4
• 4 raspberries
• Salt and pepper
• Juice of 1 lime
• 3tbsp olive oil
• 180g cooked red quinoa
• 2 handfuls purslane, leaves picked
• 1 handful fresh herbs (basil, parsley, chives, dill)
• A bunch of edible flowers (calendula, borage, nasturtium, cornflower, etc.)


1. Mash the raspberries with a fork in a small bowl, then add salt and pepper, the lime juice and olive oil and stir. Set aside.
2. Place the quinoa and purslane in a salad bowl with the raspberry dressing and mix together. Dish out into plates and sprinkle with fresh herbs (chopped or left whole) and edible flowers.


Salade Fleurie – pour 4 personnes
• 4 framboises
• Sel et poivre
• Jus d’1 citron vert
• 3cs d’huile d’olive
• 180g de quinoa rouge cuit
• 2 poignées de feuilles de pourpier
• 1 poignée d’herbes fraiches (basilic, persil, ciboulette, aneth)
• Une poignée de fleurs comestibles (souci, bourache, capucine, bleuet, etc.)


1. Ecraser les framboises dans un petit bol, puis ajouter le sel et le poivre, le jus de citron vert, l’huile d’olive et bien mélanger. Mettre de côté.
2. Mettre le quinoa et le pourpier dans un saladier avec l’assaisonnement à la framboise et mélanger délicatement. Servir sur des assiettes ou bols et parsemer d’herbes fraiches (émincées ou non) et de fleurs comestibles.


Edible-Flowers-Purslane-and-Quinoa-Salad

July 18, 2016

Blueberry Picking and a Skillet Blueberry Pancake

Skillet-Blueberry-and-Vanilla-Pancake

Blueberry-Picking-at-Domaine-Xixtaberri

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!

Blueberry-Picking-at-Domaine-Xixtaberri

Blueberry-Picking-at-Domaine-Xixtaberri

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.

Blueberry-Picking-at-Domaine-Xixtaberri

Blueberry-Picking-at-Domaine-Xixtaberri

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.

Blueberry-Picking-at-Domaine-Xixtaberri

Blueberry-Picking-at-Domaine-Xixtaberri

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


Blueberry-Picking-at-Domaine-Xixtaberri


Skillet-Blueberry-and-Vanilla-Pancake

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.

Skillet-Blueberry-and-Vanilla-Pancake


July 07, 2016

9 Best Summer Salad Recipes

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-Holiday-Pasta-Salad

Summer Sunshine Lunchbowl
Summer-Sunshine-Lunchbowl

Carrot and Chickpea Salad with Za'atar :
Carrot-and-Chickpea-Salad-with-Za'atar

Tabbouleh
Tabbouleh

Cauliflower Green Tabbouleh
Cauliflower-Green-Tabbouleh

Broad Beans, Feta and Mint Salad
Broad-Beans-Feta-and-Mint-Salad

Tomato with Mozzarella
Tomato-with-Mozzarella

Melon, Cucumber and Feta Salad
Melon-Cucumber-and-Feta-Salad

New Potato and Asparagus Salad
New-Potato-and-Asparagus-Salad

June 29, 2016

Kiba

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