August 26, 2012

4 things I've loved so far this Summer

Sea swimming

Finding an empty beach in Cornwall and going for a dip in clear waters
First the toes. Then the ankles, calves and thighs. I pause for a moment clenching my teeth and wondering whether I can do it. Gentle waves are lapping on my legs and splashing my tummy. We look at each other giggling and wondering who’s going to dare fully going in first. A minute passes by and we decide to count up to 3 and to go in: him: 1, me: 2, pause, him: 3… we let our bodies getting fully submerged, checking that the other hasn’t backed up at the last second. For a little while, I am gasping for breath as I am getting used to being in the cold waters. But soon enough, I cannot feel the cold anymore and I just enjoy swimming freely, seeing a myriad of little fish passing under my body. An immense joy rises in me as I float on my back as a starfish and look at the clear blue sky. Minutes later, as we walk back to the beach to dry ourselves up, I have forgotten all my worries of the day, as if they got washed away into the sea.

Preparing Portobello and Peach Burgers
In our neighbourhood, you know easily when summer has arrived, thanks to the smell of barbecues in the early evening air. Cooking and eating outdoors to me resonates as summer holidays and times spent with friends and family sharing beautiful foods. While for some barbecue might mean only cooking meat, I have tried to be a bit more adventurous and still enjoy my share of food cooked on the BBQ. Some of my favourites have been grilled asparagus, Portobello mushrooms, black bean burgers, vegetable and halloumi skewers as well as salmon kebabs.

Wild flowers
Butterfly Love
It is their strong smell that made me know that they were finally in bloom. Butterfly trees. I can’t get enough of their sweet honey fragrance which helps me to spot them from the distance. As we were sitting in the sunshine in Luke’s parents’ garden the other weekend, a lot of colourful butterflies came to suck their nectar and left me in awe, admiring them, so pretty little creatures.

Teaching Yoga
Halfway through my yoga teacher training, I naturally took a step forward and decided to set up my own class for a few weeks. Yoga has brought so much to me and I’ve been willing to share this with others. It has been a great but also challenging experience, and although I have now stopped my lessons for a few weeks, I am very much looking forward to starting again in the autumn. If you are interested in private or group lessons in the Exeter area, please get in touch ;)

I hope you’re having a great summer too! What are you loving?

August 20, 2012

Honey & Lavender Baked Apricots

I have a crush for apricots: I’m in love with their pretty shape, their hues of oranges and pink and their melt in the mouth taste. As their season is definitely coming to an end, it was time for me to share a way of preparing them which I have really enjoyed this summer. Honey, lavender and apricot are a beautiful marriage which I cannot get enough of. Top it up with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and I am in heaven…

I am thinking of freezing some, so that I can maybe have this recipe again in the cold of winter. If you want to freeze apricots, it’s a piece of cake, really: cut them in half and stone them. Place them on a plate and pop them into the freezer. Once frozen, place them in little ziplock bags.

Honey & Lavender Baked Apricots – serves 2

• 8 apricots, halved and stoned
• 2tbsp runny honey
• 1tsp vanilla extract
• 2tsp edible lavender
• Vanilla ice cream or natural yogurt, to serve

1. Preheat the oven to 170°C.
2. Place the apricots face up in an ovenproof dish. Drizzle with honey and vanilla extract and sprinkle with the lavender flowers.
3. Cook in the oven for 15-20min until the apricots are soft. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or natural yogurt.
Abricots Rôtis au Miel et à la Lavande – pour 2 personnes
• 8 abricots, coupés en 2 et dénoyautés
• 2cs de miel liquide
• 1cc d’extrait de vanille
• 2cc de lavande comestible
• Glace à la vanille ou fromage blanc

1. Préchauffer le four sur 170°C.
2. Mettre les abricots dans un plat à four. Arroser de miel et d’extrait de vanille et parsemer de lavande.
3. Cuire au four pendant 15-20min jusqu’à ce que les abricots soient moelleux. Servir avec une boule de glace à la vanille ou du fromage blanc.

PS1: sorry that I’ve been away from the blog for a bit – just enjoying the good weather :)

PS2: I’m super happy to have not only 1, but 2 of my recipes featured in the new issue of Yummy magazine!

August 05, 2012

Honeysuckle Lemonade

Two glass bottles filled with lemonade, in the grass

Luke told me many times that he hates the shrub growing in our back garden (not looking nice, taking too much space, etc). I had identified it as honeysuckle, and was waiting expectantly for the first flowers to bloom. You see, I’m kind of addicted to their sweet and delicious smell. However, unfortunately, it barely had any flowers, probably because we cut the bush too many times so that it wouldn’t splay too much over the garden fence. Never mind, I found another far healthier plant growing in our neighbourhood, and when the flowers were in full bloom, helped myself to a few. 

Honeysuckle Flowers

Honeysuckle bush

It’s funny how some flowers can taste very different to what you might have imagined. This is however not the case with honeysuckle. I found that its taste was very similar to its smell. Adding a handful of flowers to lemonade gives it wonderful flavours. So refreshing on a hot summer day!

Lemon slices and honeysuckle flowers

Two glass bottles filled with lemonade, in the grass

Honeysuckle Lemonade – for 4 glasses
• 4 slices of fresh ginger, peeled
• Juice of 1 ½ lemons
• 4tbsp agave syrup
• 800ml filtered water
• A handful honeysuckle flowers

1. Place all the ingredients in a jug and give them a stir.
2. Place in the fridge for a few hours to chill.
3. Serve with ice cubes.

Limonade au Chèvrefeuille – pour 4 verres
• 4 rondelles de gingembre frais, pelées
• Jus d’1 ½ citron
• 4cs de sirop d'agave
• 800ml d’eau filtrée
• Une poignée de fleurs de chèvrefeuille

1. Mettre tous les ingrédients dans une carafe et mélanger à l’aide d’une cuillère.
2. Mettre au réfrigérateur pour quelques heures.
3. Servir sur des glaçons.