November 30, 2012

Chocolate, Walnuts & Tahini Cookies

Last week, so much rain fell in the South West of England. There were floods, trees falling and landslips. I’m thinking of those who’ve been badly affected by these events. Last Wednesday we found out that our house was in a flood alert area and got a bit worried of what might happen. We took most of our things upstairs in the house. Thankfully the river levels went down and we didn’t get flooded. On Sunday morning, we had seen at the weather forecast that the rain was going to ease off a bit for a few hours so we took the chance to go down to the beach which was exactly what we needed. Walking in the salty breeze with a few rays of sunshine piercing through the clouds was enough to boost my energy levels. We had taken with us these tahini and chocolate cookies. I used tahini instead of butter and the result was chunky but light chocolaty cookies. We loved them :)

And as we turned round, we were greeted by the most beautiful rainbow…

PS: I am now on Pinterest, you can follow me here

Chocolate, Walnuts & Tahini Cookies – makes about 20 cookies
• 100g tahini
• 80g agave syrup or honey
• 1 egg
• 1tsp vanilla extract
• 100g walnuts, ground
• 70g spelt flour
• ½ tsp baking soda
• A pinch of salt
• 130g dark chocolate, cut into chunks

1. Preheat the oven to 190°C.
2. Place the tahini with the agave syrup or honey in a small saucepan, and heat for a few minutes until the mixture is liquid.
3. Transfer in a large bowl and incorporate the egg and vanilla extract.
4. Add the ground walnuts, spelt flour, baking soda and salt and mix. Finally incorporate the chocolate chunks. Place teaspoons of the batter on a baking tray covered with baking parchment.
5. Place in the oven for about 13min until the cookies are golden. Take out of the oven and leave to cool down on a wire rack.

Cookies au Chocolat, Noix et Tahini – pour environ 20 cookies
• 100g de tahini (purée de sésame)
• 80g de sirop d’agave ou de miel
• 1 œuf
• 1cc d’extrait de vanille
• 100g de noix en poudre
• 70g de farine d’épeautre
• ½ cc de bicarbonate de soude
• Une pincée de sel
• 130g de chocolat noir, coupé en morceaux

1. Préchauffer le four sur 190°C.
2. Mettre le tahini et le sirop d’agave ou miel dans une petite casserole et chauffer tout doucement pendant quelques minutes, jusqu’à ce que le mélange devienne liquide.
3. Transférer dans un saladier et incorporer l’œuf et l’extrait de vanille.
4. Ajouter les noix en poudre, la farine d’épeautre, le bicarbonate de soude et le sel et mélanger. Enfin, incorporer les morceaux de chocolat. Répartir des petites cuillérées du mélange sur une plaque à four recouverte de papier sulfurisé, pour avoir des petits tas.
5. Enfourner pour environ 13min, jusqu’à ce que les cookies soient dorés. Sortir du four et laisser refroidir sur une grille.

November 23, 2012

Beetroot & Walnut Houmous

A glass jar with pink hummus and crackers

As promised, here is another recipe inspired by the food from my yoga weekend: very pink beetroot and walnut houmous! I know it’s the second houmous recipe I feature this year, but what can I do, I just love houmous too much! Similarly with avocadoes, I like beetroots in phases: at times I will crave them and cook a lot with them, and then for a few weeks I won’t fancy them at all – weird isn’t it? I made this houmous several times in my recent beet craving phase, and we had it with veg sticks, crackers and in sandwiches. I think that what makes this recipe special is the addition of the walnuts. In the past I already made beetroot houmous but wasn’t that keen on it. The walnuts add this ‘je ne sais quoi’ which makes it truly delicious.

A jar of pink hummus and crackers

Beetroot & Walnut Houmous
• 80g walnuts, soaked overnight
• 3 medium beets
• 250g (1 can) chickpeas, drained
• 1 small clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
• 1tbsp tahini
• Juice of ½ lemon
• 3tbsp olive oil
• 1tsp ground cumin
• 1/2tsp smoked paprika

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Place the beetroots on a baking tray. Cook for 1hour until tender and cooked through. Leave to cool down, peel and chop them.
2. Drain the walnuts and rinse them well. Place in the bowl of a food processor together with the beetroots, chickpeas, garlic, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, cumin and smoked paprika. Blend until you obtain a smooth texture.
3. Keeps in the fridge for about 5 days.

Houmous de Betteraves et Noix
• 80g de noix, trempées pendant 1 nuit
• 3 betteraves crues de taille moyenne
• 250g de pois chiches (1 boîte), égouttés
• 1 petite gousse d’ail, pelée et émincée
• 1cs de tahini
• Jus d’1/2 citron
• 3cs d’huile d’olive
• 1cc de cumin en poudre
• 1/2cc de paprika fumé

1. Préchauffer le four à 200°C. Mettre les betteraves sur une plaque à four. Cuire pendant 1h, jusqu’à ce que les betteraves soient tendres et cuites. Laisser refroidir, les peler et les couper en morceaux.
2. Egoutter les noix et bien les rincer. Les mettre dans le bol d’un mixeur avec les betteraves, les pois chiches, l’ail, le tahini, le jus de citron, l’huile d’olive, le cumin et le paprika fumé. Mixer jusqu’à l'obtention d'une consistance lisse.
3. Se garde au réfrigérateur pendant environ 5 jours.

November 18, 2012

Pear & Polenta Cake with Cashew Cream

Cake in a tin on a wooden background

And here is another recipe with pears. At my residential yoga weekend a few weeks ago, we had been cooked such beautiful foods that I got inspired to try making at home some of the dishes we enjoyed. This pear and polenta cake is one of them (and my next recipe to come on the blog will be another one). I didn’t get given the recipe and just had a go at it. Though the end result was somewhat different, I was still pretty happy with it.

This was the first time in my life that I was using polenta in my cooking. The memories of polenta I had were from my childhood at the school canteen, where I particularly disliked it at the time. So when I got served a cake with polenta a few weeks ago, I didn’t really know what to expect. What I found was a very tasty cake with an added crunchiness. I am now seriously considering using polenta a lot more often, whether it’d be in cakes, tart dough or as a side with vegetables.

As for the cashew cream...this was another revelation to me. Just a way of doing things differently, totally unexpected, a lovely flavour which goes super well with the pears.

Cake on a plate

Pear & Polenta Cake with Cashew Cream– makes 1 cake
• 3 pears, peeled, cored and sliced
• 100g unrefined cane sugar
• 3 eggs
• 100g butter, melted
• 150g polenta
• 100g ground almonds
• Zest of 1 lemon
• 1tsp baking powder
• 1 pinch of salt
• 100g cashew, soaked overnight
• 2tbsp agave syrup
• Rice milk

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the sugar. Add the melted butter and mix well. Add the polenta, ground almonds, lemon zest, baking powder and salt and mix well.
3. Place the pear slices in a greased cake tin. Pour the cake batter over the pears. Place in the oven and cook for 30-40min until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool down.
4. In the meantime, prepare the cashew cream. Rinse the cashew. Blend in a food processor with the agave syrup and 50ml rice milk. Add as much rice milk as needed until you obtain a smooth and creamy consistency.
5. Serve the cake with the cashew cream.

Gâteau Poire-Polenta et Crème de Noix de Cajou – pour 1 gâteau
• 3 poires, pelées, évidées et coupées en lamelles
• 100g de sucre blond de canne
• 3 œufs
• 100g de beurre fondu
• 150g de polenta
• 100g d’amandes en poudre
• Zeste d’1 citron
• 1cc de levure chimique
• 1 pincée de sel
• 100g de noix de cajou, trempées pendant 1 nuit
• 2cs de sirop d’agave
• Lait de riz

1. Préchauffer le four à 180°C.
2. Dans un grand bol, battre les œufs avec le sucre. Ajouter le beurre fondu et incorporer. Ajouter la polenta, l’amande en poudre, le zeste de citron, la levure et le sel et bien mélanger.
3. Mettre les lamelles de poires dans un moule à gâteau beurré. Verser dessus la préparation et mettre au four pour 30-40min jusqu’à ce qu’un cure-dent inséré au milieu du gâteau ressorte sec. Laisser refroidir.
4. Pendant ce temps, préparer la crème de noix de cajou : rincer les noix et les mixer avec le sirop d’agave et 50ml de lait de riz. Ajouter d’avantage de lait de riz si nécessaire jusqu’à l’obtention d’une consistance onctueuse.
5. Servir le gâteau avec la crème de noix de cajou.

Cake on a plate and cream in a small bowl

November 09, 2012

Pear & Persimmon Oat Crisp

Persimmons are fruits which have always intrigued me a bit. I remember my dad buying one every so often, it looked exotic to my eyes at the time. Several times we ate the fruits when they were not ripe enough: what followed was a bitter taste and horrible stick in the mouth sensation. When I saw some on a stall at the green grocers the other day, I bought a couple, already having in mind this recipe. At the time when I got them, they were quite hard to the touch, so I left them in the fruit bowl, hoping they would ripen. I had however forgotten that there are 2 different types of persimmons: the one that is ripe when it is soft and the other one which is fine to eat even when hard to the touch. So after about 3 weeks of them sitting in the fruit bowl, I realised mine were of the second sort and that it was time to eat them.

I really loved this pudding – the roasted persimmons and pears were melting in the mouth and got the sweet flavour of maple syrup – they were a perfect contrast with the crispiness of the topping. You could serve it with natural plain yogurt or vanilla or goat yogurt, or maybe vanilla ice cream if you feel like indulging a bit.

Weekend’s nearly there! Have a good one x

Pear & Persimmon Oat Crisp – serves 4

• 3 pears, peeled, cored and cut into slices
• 2 persimmons, cut into slices
• Juice of ½ lemon
• ½ vanilla pod, seeds grated
• 30ml maple syrup
• 60g coconut oil
• 80ml agave syrup
• 200g jumbo oats
• 100g pecans
• 1tsp ground cinnamon
• 1tsp ground ginger

1. Preheat the oven on 180°C. Put the pear and persimmon slices in an oven dish. Add the vanilla seeds and drizzle with lemon juice and maple syrup.
2. Place in the oven for about 25min, until the fruits are tender.
3. In the meantime, melt slowly the coconut oil with the agave syrup in a small saucepan. Take off the heat. In a large bowl, mix the oats with the pecans, cinnamon and ginger. Add the coconut oil and agave syrup and mix well. Spread on a baking sheet covered with greaseproof paper.
4. Turn the oven down to 140°C. Place the baking sheet in the oven for 30min. After 15min, take out of the oven and give them a mix. Put back for another 15min.
5. To serve, put a few spoonfuls of fruit together with a few spoonfuls of oat crisp. Add a couple of spoonfuls of yogurt if you wish.

Croustillant d’Avoine aux Poires et Kaki – pour 4 personnes

• 3 poires, pelées, évidées et coupées en lamelles
• 2 kakis, coupés en tranches
• Jus d’1/2 citron
• Graines d’½ gousse de vanille
• 30ml de sirop d’érable
• 60g d’huile de noix de coco
• 80ml de sirop d’agave
• 200g de gros flocons d’avoine
• 100g de noix de pécan
• 1cc de cannelle en poudre
• 1cc de gingembre en poudre

1. Préchauffer le four à 180°C. Mettre les tranches de poires et de kaki dans un plat à four. Parsemer de graines de vanille et arroser de jus de citron et de sirop d’érable.
2. Mettre au four pour 25min environ jusqu’à ce que les fruits soient tendres.
3. Pendant ce temps, faire fondre doucement l’huile de noix de coco avec le sirop d’agave dans une petite casserole. Retirer du feu. Dans un saladier, mélanger les flocons d’avoine avec les noix de pécan, la cannelle et le gingembre. Ajouter l’huile de noix de coco et sirop d’agave et bien mélanger. Répartir sur une plaque à four recouverte de papier sulfurisé.
4. Baisser la température du four à 140°C. Mettre la plaque au four pour 30min. Au bout de 15min sortir la plaque du four et mélanger, puis la remettre au four pour 15min.
5. Pour servir, mettre quelques cuillérées de fruits dans un bol et ajouter quelques cuillérées d’avoine. Ajouter quelques cuillérées de yaourt si vous le souhaitez.

November 03, 2012

Prunes, Goat's Cheese & Walnut Cake

Last weekend we went on a walk in Dartmoor National Park, on the edge of Devon. It was a sunny and crisp morning and the grass was covered in a layer of frost. The path took us through the woods along a delightful river. I thought we could have well been in the Lord of the Rings. It felt as if nature around us was enchanted. We walked through an old stone wall, and I wondered how long this wall had been there, probably centuries, and what it was parting at the time. We went up a hill overlooking a waterfall, crossed a river on stepping stones, walked through a field full of ponies, and finally emerged out of the woods, where we had the highest tors of Dartmoor in front of us. Soon enough, we went back down the valley, where we had our picnic. I had made a savoury cake the day before, which is something very French, to take on picnic or have as an appetizer.

Prunes, Goat’s Cheese & Walnut Cake – makes 1 loaf
• 3 eggs
• 3tbsp olive oil
• 100ml goat’s milk
• 100g brown rice flour
• 80g maize flour
• 2tsp baking powder
• 70g walnut pieces
• 100g prunes, stoned and cubed
• 100g goat’s cheese, cubed
• Salt & pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2. Beat the eggs with the oil and milk in a large bowl.
3. Add the flours and baking powder and mix. Add the walnuts, prunes, goat’s cheese, salt and pepper and mix well.
4. Pour into a greased loaf tin. Place in the oven for 45min. Check it is cooked by inserting a toothpick in it, it should come out clean.

Cake aux Pruneaux, Fromage de Chèvre et Noix – pour 1 cake
• 3 œufs
• 3cs d’huile d’olive
• 100ml de lait de chèvre
• 100g de farine de riz complète
• 80g de farine de maïs
• 2cc de levure chimique
• 70g de noix, en morceaux
• 100g de pruneaux, dénoyautés et coupés en morceaux
• 100g de fromage de chèvre, coupé en morceaux
• Sel et poivre

1. Préchauffer le four sur 180°C.
2. Dans un saladier, battre les œufs avec l’huile et le lait.
3. Ajouter les farines et la levure et mélanger. Ajouter les noix, les pruneaux et le fromage de chèvre et bien mélanger.
4. Verser dans un moule à cake graissé. Mettre au four pour 45min. Vérifier la cuisson du cake en y insérant un cure-dent, il doit ressortir sec.