May 22, 2017
I started the month with a juice cleanse, something I had meant on doing for a while. The cleanse itself lasted five days, with an introductory period beforehand and a follow-up afterwards. I feel it’s had benefits on my body, but it was harder than I imagined. Maybe doing it at home with a toddler around isn’t the most appropriate of environments, but I’m still glad I did it and learnt that preparation (on all level) is key for undertaking a detox of that kind.
Soup was naturally the kind of meal that I went back to when starting eating ‘solid’ foods again. Set aside the pesto, this recipe is a year-rounder – it requires few ingredients and is packed with flavour. I however tend to make it in the spring using tender new-season carrots and making a delicious pesto with the tops. I tend more and more to cook using as much of the ingredients as I can, as going waste-free is a topic that has become dear to my heart. I hope to get the chance to develop my thoughts and ideas on this in the future on the blog, but while you bear with me here’s a simple recipe to get you started.
Carrot + Ginger Soup with Carrot Top Pesto – serves 4
•1tbsp coconut oil
•1 large shallot, peeled and chopped
•2 garlic cloves + 1, peeled and minced
•A knob of ginger, peeled and minced
•A large bunch of spring carrots with tops
•1L vegetable stock
•30g sunflower seeds, soaked overnight
•Juice of ½ lemon
•150ml olive oil
•Salt and pepper
•A handful flaked almonds, toasted
1.Heat the coconut oil in a large saucepan. Add the shallot, two cloves garlic and ginger and fry gently for a few minutes until tender.
2.Chop the carrots and add them to the pan, and fry for about 5min, stirring regularly. Add the vegetable stock, bring to the boil and simmer on a medium heat for 30min.
3.In the meantime, prepare the pesto. Wash the carrot tops thoroughly and place the green leaves in a food processor, discarding the hard centre stems. Add the sunflower seeds (previously rinsed and drained), lemon juice, one clove garlic, the olive oil and a pinch of salt. Blend until you get a pesto-like texture.
4.When the soup is ready, season it with salt and pepper and blend with a stick blender until smooth.
5.Serve the soup with a dollop of pesto and a sprinkle of flaked almonds.
Soupe Carotte-Gingembre et Pesto de Fanes – pour 4 personnes
•1cs d’huile de coco
•1 grosse échalote, pelée et émincée
•2 gousses d’ail + 1, pelées et émincées
•Un morceau de gingembre, pelé et émincé
•Une grosse botte de carottes avec leurs fanes
•1L de bouillon de légumes
•30g de graines de tournesol, trempées pendant une nuit
•Jus d’½ citron
•150ml d’huile d’olive
•Sel et poivre
•Une poignée d’amandes effilées, toastées
1.Faire chauffer l’huile de coco dans une grande casserole. Ajouter l’échalote, deux gousses d’ail et le gingembre et faire revenir quelques minutes.
2.Emincer les carottes et les ajouter dans la casserole et les faire revenir environ 5min en remuant régulièrement. Ajouter le bouillon de légumes, porter à ébullition, puis laisser frémir à feu moyen pendant 30min.
3.Pendant ce temps, préparer le pesto. Bien laver les fanes de carottes et mettre leurs feuilles vertes dans le bol d’un robot. Jeter la partie centrale un peu ferme. Ajouter les graines de tournesol (préalablement rincées et égouttées), le jus de citron, une gousse d’ail, l’huile d’olive et une pincée de sel. Mixer jusqu’à l’obtention d’un pesto.
4.Quand la soupe est prête, l’assaisonner de sel et de poivre et la mixer avec un mixeur plongeur, jusqu’à l’obtention d’une texture lisse.
5.Servir la soupe avec une cuillérée de pesto aux fanes et parsemer d’amandes effilées.
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.