July 29, 2011

Watermelon & Strawberry Lollies

Where is summer? We have been wondering lately...

Last week was awful. Rain, grey clouds and low temperatures. I was walking home the other day with my jacket zipped up and I started thinking that this was not right! Not at the end of July...

We had to cancel our picnic on the beach. I was feeling frustrated: the weather forecast had predicted bright sunshine, and it turned out to be a dull day. So I reminded myself that the weather is something very hard to predict and that there was no point getting annoyed as it cannot be changed. In the end, we watched the movie Julie and Julia instead. I loved it! If you are a blog writer, this is definitely one to see!

This week was a bit better. Even if still mostly grey, temperatures have significantly risen. I’ve been wearing shorts or skirts everyday and I made lollies. This definitely makes you feel like it is summer. They are so refreshing, and if you have kids who are not keen on eating fruits, this is a perfect way to make them eat some. We’ve already finished them all: this is how good they are!

On another note, I wanted to let you know that I have been uploading some of my pictures on Flickr for a while. If you would like to have a look, please click here or click on the link on the right hand-side.

Watermelon & Strawberry Lollies – makes 6

  • • 200g watermelon, peeled, deseeded and cut into chunks
  • • 175g strawberries, hulled
  • • 35g icing sugar

  • 1. Put all the ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth.
  • 2. Pour into 6 lolly moulds. Place in the freezer overnight. The lollies are ready!

    Sucettes Glacées à la Pastèque et aux Fraises – pour 6 sucettes

  • • 200g de pastèque, pelée, épépinée et coupée en morceaux
  • • 175g de fraises, équeutées
  • • 35g de sucre glace

  • 1. Mettre tous les ingrédients dans le bol d’un mixeur et mixer jusqu’à l’obtention d’une consistance lisse.
  • 2. Verser dans 6 moules à sucettes. Mettre au congélateur pour la nuit. Les sucettes sont prêtes !
  • July 22, 2011

    Tapenade, Tomato and Mozzarella Verrines

    Tapenade is an olive spread originating from Provence. During our travels through Europe, we stopped for a few days at my Gran’s home in the South of France. She cooked delicious meals for us, inspired by the seasons and the region she lives in. I observed her making tapenade and took note of the recipe.

    In St Ives, Cornwall

    A few month later (a week ago), my parents came to visit us in Exeter. It was the first time they came since we moved here, and on the first evening, I made these verrines as appetisers after having prepared tapenade. We had a wonderful time together. It was a real pleasure to show them where we live and give them a glimpse of our beautiful region. We had a busy program, every day going to different places from beautiful St Ives in Cornwall, to a long walk along the Exe Estuary or a boat cruise on the river Dart where we encountered an Atlantic grey seal. I wanted to make them taste local specialities – opportunities to eat out were plenty and we ate local crab and mussels, Devonshire Cream Tea and traditional pub food.

    Dartmouth Crab

    Most evenings, they came home for dinner. I cooked this salad and these tartines (replacing the fromage blanc with tapenade). We had this risotto, rhubarb and strawberry crumble, fruit salads, and a cheese and wine tasting evening with local cheeses: creamy Stilton, Taw Valley Tasty, Cornish Yarg and Somerset Brie.

    As usual, food was at the centre of all these lovely times spent together, creating memories. I was so happy to have them around.

    Tapenade, Tomato and Mozzarella Verrines – makes 4 verrines

  • • A handful of black olives, pitted
  • • 1 anchovy in olive oil
  • • 1 small clove of garlic
  • • 1tsp capers
  • • 3 basil leaves + 4 small leaves for decoration
  • • 1 tomato, seeded and very finely chopped
  • • ½ ball buffalo mozzarella, finely chopped
  • • Black pepper
  • • Olive oil

  • 1. Start by preparing the tapenade: put the olives, the anchovy, the capers, the garlic and the three basil leaves in a blender and blend for a few seconds. The tapenade is ready!

  • 2. Put two teaspoons tapenade in a very small glass (verrine), add a layer of tomatoes and finally a layer of mozzarella. Season with black pepper. Drizzle a bit of olive oil and add a small basil leaf to decorate. Repeat the process with the three other verrines.

    Verrines à la Tapenade, Tomate et Mozzarella – pour 4 verrines

  • • Une poignée d’olives noires, dénoyautées
  • • 1 anchois à l’huile d’olive
  • • 1 petite gousse d’ail
  • • 1cc de câpres
  • • 3 feuilles de basilic + 4 petites feuilles pour la décoration
  • • 1 tomate, dont on aura retiré les pépins, finement émincée
  • • ½ boule de mozzarella de buffle
  • • Poivre noir
  • • Huile d’olive

  • 1. Préparer la tapenade. Mixer finement les olives avec l’anchois, les câpres, l’ail et les three feuilles de basilic. La tapenade est prête !

  • 2. Mettre deux cuillérées à café de tapenade dans une verrine. Ajouter des dés de tomate, puis des dés de mozzarella. Assaisonner avec du poivre et un filet d’huile d’olive. Décorer avec une feuille de basilic. Répéter avec les trois autres verrines.
  • July 16, 2011

    Halloumi, Flowers and Strawberry Salad

    Here is another salad, perfect for the warm summer evenings. The vegetable merchant at the local market prepares delicious bags of mixed green salad, in which he adds edible flowers. I love them. They give the salad a very pretty twist, don’t you find? I have also been growing delicate heartsease on my balcony, and they complemented the salad very well.

    Halloumi is one of my summer favourite cheeses, to grill on the BBQ or in the oven. On the pics you can see that it looks a little bit burned: I was grilling it in the oven, checking it regularly. One minute it was still white, the next...oups, it was starting to burn! Next time, I’ll pay more attention.

    We had a visit over the last weekend and were pretty busy, but I’ll tell you more about it next time.

    Halloumi, Flowers and Strawberry Salad – serves 2

  • • A bunch of mixed green salad
  • • A mix of edible flowers
  • • 8 strawberries, finely sliced
  • • 50g halloumi, sliced
  • • Salt, pepper
  • • 1tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • • 2tbsp olive oil

  • 1. Preheat the grill of your oven. Place the halloumi slices on a baking tray. Once the grill is hot, place in the oven until the halloumi starts to get golden. Get out of the oven.

  • 2. Prepare the seasoning by mixing together the salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar and olive oil in a large serving bowl. Add the salad, the flowers and the strawberries. Mix well. Add the slices of halloumi on top and serve straight away.

    Salade à l’Halloumi, Fleurs et Fraises – pour 2 personnes

  • • Une bonne poignée d’un mélange de salades
  • • Un mélange de fleurs comestibles
  • • 8 fraises, coupées en tranches fines
  • • 50g d’halloumi, coupé en tranches
  • • Sel et poivre
  • • 1cs de vinaigre balsamique
  • • 2cs d’huile d’olive

  • 1. Préchauffer le grill du four. Mettre les tranches d’halloumi sur une plaque de cuisson. Une fois que le grill est chaud, mettre au four jusqu’à ce que l’halloumi commence à dorer, puis retirer du four.

  • 2. Préparer la sauce : mélanger dans un saladier le sel, le poivre, le vinaigre balsamique et l’huile d’olive. Ajouter la salade, les fleurs et les fraises. Bien mélanger. Ajouter les tranches d’halloumi sur le dessus et servir de suite.
  • July 06, 2011

    Broad Beans, Feta and Mint Salad

    While travelling through Europe, we ate out most days. It was brilliant to be able to taste local cuisine and experience what it’s like to eat in a restaurant or a café in a different country. Mind you, they had English menus in most places, so it was not too hard to understand what was on offer.

    But still, depending on the country you’re in, there are different ways of doing things. For instance, in Portugal, as soon as you sit at a table, they will bring you a selection of bread, olives and cheeses. All this looks very tempting, but you need to know that in the end, you will have to pay for every single bit that you eat. It is perfectly accepted if you politely decline the offer when they bring all this at your table, or you can simply leave it on the side, and the waiters will take it back.

    As enjoyable as it was to eat out, after a while I found myself craving for healthy homemade food. I really missed being able to cook and use all the beautiful ingredients that were in season. As soon as we came back, I got back into my weekly routine of going to the farmers market, and I cooked lots, just getting inspired by the ingredients I found. This salad is one of many I made, very tasty and refreshing.

    Broad Beans, Feta and Mint Salad – serves 2

  • • 900g broad beans
  • • A bunch of spring onions, finely sliced
  • • 30g feta cheese, crumbled
  • • A bunch of mint, finely chopped
  • • Juice of ½ lemon
  • • 2tbsp olive oil
  • • Salt and pepper

  • 1. Start by taking the broad beans out of their pods. Blanch them in a pan of boiling water for about 4min. Drain well. You can now remove the skin around the beans if you wish.

  • 2. Place the broad beans in a salad bowl or serving plate. Sprinkle with the spring onions, the feta and the mint.

  • 3. In a bowl, mix the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour over the salad and serve straight away.

    Salade de Fèves, Feta et Menthe – pour 2 personnes

  • • 900g de fèves
  • • Quelques oignons de printemps, finement émincés
  • • 30g de feta, émiettée
  • • Une poignée de menthe, ciselée
  • • Le jus d’1/2 citron
  • • 2cs d’huile d’olive
  • • Sel et poivre

  • 1. Ecosser les fèves. Les blanchir dans une casserole d’eau bouillante pendant 4min environ. Il est ensuite possible d’enlever la peau autour des fèves.

  • 2. Mettre les fèves dans un saladier ou une assiette de service. Ajouter les oignons, la feta et la menthe.

  • 3. Dans un bol, mélanger le jus de citron, l’huile d’olive, le sel et le poivre. En assaisonner la salade et servir de suite.
  • July 01, 2011

    Sticky Choccy Cherry Muffins

    Cherries are one of those seasonal pleasures that only last for a short period of time. A beautiful red and juicy delicacy. I find them so hard to resist! I could have tons, as whenever I start to eat them, I can’t stop.

    Sometimes, I find myself dreaming of having a big cherry tree in my garden that would literally be covered in cherries, and all the things I could do with them… Waiting for that day, I got some at the grocery store and cooked cherry clafoutis, this salad and these delightful muffins. Cherries and chocolate, yum! Maybe this combo would remind you of Black Forest cake.

    My Gran had recently bought me a cherry stoner, and I couldn’t wait to try it. I was pleased as it worked pretty well.

    In no time the little cakes were gone – not only Luke and I tucking in them, but also my friends.

    I liked the idea of adding yogurt in the mixture – it made them really moist. If you’d like something a bit drier, I would suggest that you reduce the quantity of yogurt in the preparation.

    I hope you have a good weekend! I’m off surfing and making the most of the long summer days :)

    Sticky Choccy Cherry Muffins – Makes 12

  • • 200g dark chocolate, cut into squares
  • • 150g butter
  • • 2 eggs
  • • 160g sugar
  • • 160g self-raising flour
  • • 250g natural yogurt
  • • 300g cherries, pitted

  • 1. Preheat the oven to 210°C. Melt the chocolate with the butter in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Mix well.

  • 2. Put the yogurt in a large bowl, add the chocolate and butter, the eggs, the sugar and flour, while mixing. Add half the cherries. Do not over mix.

  • 3. Fill up muffin paper cases placed in a muffin dish. Finish by adding a few cherries on top of each muffin. Pop in the oven. After 5 min, lower the oven temperature to 190°C and cook for another 20min.

  • 4. Leave to cool down before serving.

    Muffins Collants Chocolat Cerises – pour 12 muffins

  • • 200g de chocolat noir, coupé en morceaux
  • • 150g de beurre
  • • 2 œufs
  • • 160g de sucre
  • • 160g de farine à poudre levante incorporée
  • • 250g de yaourt nature
  • • 300g de cerises dénoyautées

  • 1. Préchauffer le four à 210°C. Faire fondre le chocolat et le beurre au bain-marie. Lisser.

  • 2. Mettre le yaourt dans un grand bol, ajouter le chocolat et le beurre, les œufs, le sucre et la farine tout en mélangeant. Ajouter la moitié des cerises. Ne pas trop travailler la pâte.

  • 3. Remplir des caissettes en papier placées dans des moules à muffins. Ajouter quelques cerises sur le dessus de chaque muffin. Mettre au four. Au bout de 5min, baisser la température à 190°C et poursuivre la cuisson pendant 20min.

  • 4. Laisser refroidir avant de servir.