May 27, 2012

Rose & Mint Infused Strawberries

Finally, the weather has changed from feeling like we were still in the middle of March to hot and sunny, the way it should be at that time of year. I’ve found hard to spend time in front of my computer screen, all I’ve wanted to do is stay outdoors and make the most of that beautiful sunshine. So, that’s was I’ve done (when not at work), and went swimming, walking and gardening, and all that exercise and fresh air have left me achy and sunburnt. So today, I’ve decided to take it easy and have a bit of a rest. I made coconut and strawberry lollies, which are currently setting in the freezer and should be ready for later. Speaking of strawberries, when they are in season, I cannot get enough of them. Nearly everyday I eat strawberries. We wanted to grow some in hanging baskets in our garden, but haven’t had a chance to do it yet. However, we seem to have wild strawberries growing, and I’m very much looking forward to eating them. We made that dessert last week and it was fresh and fruity, exactly what I love at that time of year :)
Rose & Mint Infused Strawberries – serves 4
• 400g strawberries, hulled and quartered
• 2 sprigs of mint, leaves taken off
• 300ml water
• 2tbsp rose water
• 3tbsp golden caster sugar
• 1tbsp dry rose petals, crushed

1. Place the strawberries and mint leaves in a large bowl.
2. In a small saucepan, put the water, rose water, sugar and dry rose. Bring to the boil. Lower the heat and leave to simmer for 15-20min until the liquid becomes syrupy.
3. Pour over the strawberries. Leave to cool down before placing in the fridge for a few hours before eating.
Fraises Infusées à la Rose et Menthe – pour 4 personnes
• 400g de fraises, équeutées et coupées en 4
• 2 brins de menthe, effeuillés
• 300ml d’eau
• 2cs d’eau de rose
• 3cs de sucre
• 1cs de pétales de rose séchés et réduits en poudre

1. Mettre les fraises dans un saladier avec les feuilles de menthe.
2. Dans une petite casserole, mettre l’eau, l’eau de rose, le sucre et la rose séchée. Porter à ébullition. Réduire le feu et laisser frémir pendant 15-20min, jusqu’à ce que le liquide devienne sirupeux.
3. Verser sur les fraises. Laisser refroidir avant de mettre au frais pour quelques heures avant de déguster.

May 18, 2012

Savoury Mini Flans

You know how I love to throw aperitifs parties and prepare finger food of all kinds. I’ve actually realised that it’s been a while since I last did that and I’ve missed it. As a remedy, I still decided to prepare finger food for Luke and I for a movie evening. We had potato nests, blinis, cheese gougères and these mini flans. Of course, we had leftovers, and that made our lunch for the next day too. They take only minutes to put together, and you could take them on a picnic too.

Savoury Mini Flans – makes 12
• Butter
• 100g baby button mushrooms, halved
• 100g cherry tomatoes, halved
• A handful of spinach leaves, torn
• 6 eggs, beaten
• 100g ricotta
• Salt & pepper
• 1tsp smoked paprika
• 1 handful of parsley, chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
2. Grease the 12 holes of a muffin pan with butter or alternatively fill the holes with baking paper. Split the mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and spinach leaves amongst the pan.
3. In a bowl, beat the eggs with the ricotta, salt, pepper, smoked paprika and parsley. Pour this over the vegetables in the muffin pan.
4. Place in the oven for 20min, until golden. Take out of the oven and leave to cool down for a bit before taking out of the muffin pan. Enjoy warm or cold.

Mini Flans Salés – pour 12 flans
• Beurre
• 100g de petits champignons de Paris, coupés en 2
• 100g de tomates cerise, coupées en 2
• Une poignée de pousses d’épinards, déchirées
• 6 œufs, battus
• 100g de ricotta
• Sel et poivre
• 1cc de paprika fumé
• 1 poignée de persil, haché

1. Préchauffer le four sur 200°C.
2. Graisser une plaque avec 12 moules à muffins avec le beurre, ou bien, les garnir de papier cuisson. Répartir les champignons, tomates et épinards dans les moules à muffins.
3. Dans un bol, battre les œufs avec la ricotta, du sel, du poivre, le paprika fumé et le persil. Verser sur les légumes dans les moules à muffins.
4. Mettre au four pour 20min jusqu’à ce qu’ils soient dorés. Sortir du four et laisser refroidir quelques instants avant de démouler. Servir tiède ou froid.

May 13, 2012

Spring Rolls

This spring, I have been quite into making savoury rolls. First, we’ve tried making sushi for the first time ever. I had never dared giving it a try before as I thought it was far too complicated and I wasn’t sure I liked them anyway. But when I stumbled upon this recipe, it seemed to me like it was feasible. On a Saturday evening, we had a go at it, and even if they were not perfect of course, they were still delicious and looked not bad at all (thanks Emma for the great pieces of advice!).

After that, I made the omelette wraps which I wrote about a few weeks ago. I decided that I would definitely make them again to take on a picnic or cut them in slices and serve them as appetizers.

 Finally, the spring rolls! Again, this was something I wouldn’t have thought about doing at home, but after a quick search on the Internet, I realize it was easy peasy. Since then, I’ve loved making them, varying the filling depending on what I have in my fridge. They are so fresh and springy. At that time of year, it’s great to start reintroducing more raw food in our diets and these rolls really do the job.

Spring Rolls

• Rice pancakes
• Cucumber, cut into sticks
• Carrot, cut into sticks
• Avocado, sliced
• Mango, sliced
• Sprouts such as mung beans or alfalfa
• Spring onion, sliced
• Lime juice
• A few mint leaves, left whole

1. Have all your ingredients for the filling ready in a plate.
2. Fill in a large bowl with water. Take a rice pancake and dip it into the bowl, leaving it for a minute or so until it becomes soft. Take it out and place on a plate.
3. Leaving a 2cm edge on the horizontal and 1cm edge on each side, make a band of filling on the side of the pancake the closer to you. Do not overfill but still put enough filling to have a nice roll. Start by folding the 2 edges on the side. Then fold the 2cm edge away from you and carry on rolling the pancake until you obtain a nice spring roll.
4. It might take a few go before you perfect the technique. Repeat until you’ve made as many rolls as you like or you’ve ran out of filling. Serve as it is or with a dipping sauce.

Rouleaux de Printemps

• Galettes de riz
• Concombre, coupé en bâtonnets
• Carotte, coupée en bâtonnets
• Avocat, coupé en lamelles
• Mangue, coupée en lamelles
• Graines germées
• Oignons nouveaux, émincés
• Jus de citron vert
• Feuilles de menthe

1. Avoir tous les ingrédients à portée de main dans une assiette.
2. Remplir un grand bol/saladier d’eau. Prendre une galette de riz et la faire tremper pendant environ 1min jusqu’à ce qu’elle ramollisse. La sortir du bol et la mettre sur une assiette.
3. Laisser un bord de 2cm sur le bas de la galette et un bord d’1cm de chaque côté et disposer la garniture en une bande, sur le côté de la galette le plus proche de vous. Ne pas trop remplir, mais mettre tout de même assez de garniture de façon à avoir un rouleau bien remplit. Relier les 2 côtés de la galette vers le centre. Puis plier le bord le plus proche de vous sur la garniture et continuer à rouler en vous éloignant de vous jusqu’à l’obtention d’un beau rouleau.
4. Répéter jusqu’à épuisement de la garniture. Servir comme tel ou avec une sauce.

May 07, 2012

Spelt Pizza with Ricotta, Artichokes & Asparagus

While March had made us believe that summer had arrived and that it was time to wear shorts and eat alfresco, April took us back to reality. The past month can be summed up in one word: rain. We had A LOT of it. I heard on the radio that it was the wettest April in over a century. With May coming, we’ve been hoping for some better weather – and so far, although it’s been dryer, it still is really cold. Anyway, this has given us an excuse to snuggle up at home and eat comfort food such as these pizzas, which still make use of beautiful spring ingredients such as artichokes and asparagus. Enjoy!
Spelt Pizza with Ricotta, Artichokes & Asparagus – makes 4 medium pizzas or 2 large

Pizza dough
• 1tsp sugar
• 1 tsp dry yeast
• 300ml lukewarm water
• 500g wholemeal spelt flour
• ½ tsp salt
• Olive oil
• 200g ricotta
• 1can artichoke hearts, drained and cut in chunks
• A bunch of asparagus spears, blanched
• A bunch of rocket
• A few parmesan shavings
• Black pepper

1. Prepare the pizza dough. In a small bowl, mix the sugar with the lukewarm water. Sprinkle the yeast on top. Leave to rest for about 5min until the mix becomes frothy.
2. In a large bowl, mix the spelt flour with the salt. Make a well in the centre. Add the yeast mixture and start mixing it in with a fork until it all comes together. Shape into a ball and knead the dough for about 5min until smooth and elastic. Put back into the bowl, drizzle with olive oil, cover and leave to rise for at least 1hr.
3. Preheat the oven to 250°C.
4. After that time, punch the dough back and knead it again for 1min. Divide the dough into 2 or 4 balls depending on how many pizzas you want and spread them out in circles. Put them on baking sheets covered with greaseproof paper.
5. Spread the ricotta on top of the pizzas and add the artichokes and asparagus.
6. Put into the oven for 15min until the dough is cooked through. Take out of the oven, add a few sprigs of rocket, parmesan shavings and season with black pepper. Serve at once.

Pizza à la Farine d’Epeautre, Ricotta, Artichauts et Asperges – pour 4 moyennes pizzas ou 2 grandes

Pâte à pizza
• 1cc de sucre
• 1cc de levure de boulanger
• 300ml d’eau tiède
• 500g de farine d’épeautre complète
• ½ cc de sel
• Huile d’olive
• 200g de ricotta
• 1 boîte d’artichauts en boîte, égouttés, et coupés en morceaux
• Une botte de pointes d’asperges vertes, blanchies
• Une poignée de roquette
• Quelques copeaux de parmesan
• Poivre noir

1. Préparer la pâte à pizza : dans un petit bol, mélanger le sucre avec l’eau tiède. Saupoudrez la levure sur le dessus. Mettre de côté pour 5min jusqu’à ce que le mélange devienne mousseux.
2. Dans un grand saladier, mélanger la farine avec le sel. Y creuser un puits. Y verser le mélange de levure et commencer à mélanger avec une fourchette jusqu’à pouvoir former une boule de pâte. Pétrir la pâte pendant 5min jusqu’à ce qu’elle soit homogène et élastique. Remettre dans le saladier, arroser d’huile d’olive et laisser monter pendant au moins 1h.
3. Préchauffer le four à 250°C.
4. Raplatir la pâte et la pétrir de nouveau pendant 1min. La séparer en 2 ou 4 boules en fonction du nombre de pizzas que vous souhaitez obtenir et former des cercles de pâte. Les mettre sur des plaques à four recouvertes de papier sulfurisé.
5. Etaler la ricotta sur le dessus des pizzas et ajouter les artichauts et les asperges.
6. Mettre au four pour 15min. à la sortie du four, parsemer de roquette, de copeaux de parmesan et de poivre noir. Servir de suite.