December 21, 2013

Solstice Superfood Truffles


Treats that are good for you? In this festive season where sweets, cakes, biscuits and chocolates are a galore, it is nice to know that you can make treats and eat them without feeling guilty about it. Yes, really. The two main ingredients of these babies are no other than dates and tahini. To be fair, they are probably closer to fudge (both in taste and texture) than truffles, but because it’s Christmas, I wanted them to feel festive. The added bonus is the superfoods that perfectly blend in the recipe.

If you’ve never heard of superfoods (although not a scientific term as such), these are foods found in nature which are highly nutrient dense and come with a plenty of health benefits. Various types of superfoods include green superfoods, fruit and nuts superfoods, bee superfoods, seaweed superfoods and herb superfoods. Let me introduce you to three of them today:


• Hemp seeds: the hemp seed is a high protein seed containing all the essential amino acids that the body cannot produce. It is very rich in essential fatty acids, including Omega 3 and Omega 6, as well as iron, magnesium, zinc and phosphorus. It is also considered as a vegetarian protein that is easily digestible. You could use the seeds to top up your breakfast, in a smoothie, in pesto, in salads, etc.

• Maca powder: maca is a root, grown in the mountains of Peru. Maca’s benefits have long been valued. It is rich in vitamins B, C and E and a great source of calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and amino acids. It is often known as an aphrodisiac as it promotes sexual functions for both men and women, as well as balancing hormones and increasing fertility. Last but not least, when consumed on a regular basis, maca can increase energy levels and stamina, making it a favourite of athletes.

• Raw cacao powder: raw cacao is filled with iron, dietary fibres, calcium, zinc, potassium and antioxidants. It helps releasing neurotransmitters that release feel-good hormones and stimulates the secretion of endorphins for a mild mood boost.

Today is the winter solstice, and at this time of year filled with magical energies, what is better than sharing the gift of food with loved ones, such as these energy balls, filled with superfoods to make you feel and look good?

Wishing you a happy solstice and a very happy Christmas xx


Solstice Superfood Truffles – makes 18 to 20 truffles
• 20 medjool dates, pitted
• 2tbsp tahini
• 2tsp raw cacao powder
• 2tsp maca powder
• Hemp seeds

1. Place the dates, tahini, cacao powder and maca powder in the bowl of a food processor. Turn on and process until the mixture comes together into a ball.
2. Scatter hemp seeds onto a plate. Take 1tsp of the date mixture and roll it in your hands to shape a truffle. Roll it into the hemp seeds until it is covered in seeds. Set aside and repeat until all of the date mixture has been used.
3. Place in the fridge for 2 hours to firm up and enjoy. Can keep in the fridge (if they last that long) for a few days.

Truffes aux Superaliments – pour 18 à 20 truffes
• 20g de dattes medjool, dénoyautées
• 2cs de tahini
• 2cc de poudre de cacao cru
• 2cc de poudre de maca
• Graines de chanvre

1. Mettre les dattes dans le bol d’un robot avec le tahini, la poudre de cacao et la poudre de maca et mettre en route jusqu’à ce que le mélange forme une boule.
2. Répartir les graines de chanvre sur une assiette. Prendre 1cc du mélange et le rouler entre les mains pour former une petite boule. La rouler dans les graines de chanvre jusqu’à ce qu’elle en soit couverte. Mettre de côté et répéter jusqu’à épuisement.
3. Mettre au réfrigérateur pendant 2h, puis déguster. Se garde au frais pendant quelques jours.


Bibliography:
http://foodmatters.tv/superfoods
http://www.thenourishinggourmet.com/2009/03/hemp-seed-nutritional-value-and-thoughts.html
http://www.vegkitchen.com/nutrition/7-top-health-benefits-of-maca/
http://www.livestrong.com/article/522112-health-benefits-of-raw-cacao-nibs/
http://www.sol-semilla.fr/55--superaliments

December 09, 2013

Discover Exeter (for Foodies)


If you’ve been caught in the Christmas madness, I invite you to take a break and find out a little bit about my home town and where to find its best food places.

Exeter, Devon, United-Kingdom is where I’ve called home for the past four and something years. When we moved here, the place was new to both Luke and I and we didn’t think we would stay for very long. It has taken us a little bit of time to fully appreciate Exeter and discover it from the inside out. It is a medium size city, which still has got plenty of independent shops and eateries. Over the past year or so, by chance or by word of mouth, we’ve found out about a few gems, our favourites often being places that don’t necessarily catch the eyes at first sight, and are truly authentic.

Here is a list of some of our favourite cafés, restaurants, food shops, etc. There are still many to discover and if you know of any special place, feel free to share in the comments below.

Cafés & Restaurants:

• Dinosaur Café (5 New North Road, Exeter, EX4 4HH): Turkish restaurant and mezze bar, very friendly staff, delicious and authentic food

Mashawi (44 Sidwell Street, Exeter, EX4 6NS): favourite Middle-Eastern restaurant, try the falafels wraps

• Herbies (15 North Street, Exeter, EX4 3QS): cosy vegetarian restaurant, daily board in addition to menu

The Plant (1 Cathedral Yard, EX1 1HJ): another vegetarian hangout, yummy cakes and lemonades

Curry Leaf (50-51 North Street, Exeter, EX4 3QR): south Indian specialities

Tye Pye Dong (175 Sidwell Street, Exeter, EX4 6RH): Asian noodle bar, communal tables, cheap and fuss free

• Jamie’s (15 Magdalen Road, Exeter, EX2 4TA): one of Magdalene Road’s independent eateries, cheap, friendly & delicious

The Coffee Cellar (22 The Quay, Exeter, EX2 4AP): down on the quays, sit outside and enjoy toasted tea cakes for breakfast

Boston Tea Party (84 Queen Street, Exeter, EX4 3RP): often busy, but always great for cakes, smoothies, teas and salads

Café Espresso (12 Castle Street, Exeter, EX4 3PT): tiny café near the castle that makes great toasted sandwiches

Gourmandine Crêperie (14 Catherine Street, Exeter, EX1 1EU): when in need of crêpes, this is the place where to go

Tea on the Green (2 Cathedral Close, Exeter, EX1 1EZ): best Devonshire cream tea in town

The Exploding Bakery (1B Central Station Buildings, Exeter, EX4 3SB): the place to go to indulge in cakes or grab a soup before catching your train

Devon Coffee (88 Queen Street, Exeter, EX4 3RP): for coffee lovers, delish cakes, pastries and toasted sandwiches

Drinks:

The Bike Shed Theatre Bar (162-163 Fore Street, Exeter, EX4 3AT): eclectic decoration and great cocktail menu

The Cosy Club (1 Southernhay Gardens, Exeter, EX1 1SG): quirky and another good selection of cocktails

Rendez-Vous Wine Bar (38 Southernhay East, Exeter, EX1 1PE): smart and with a good selection of wines, great food too

Speak Easy Cocktail Lounge (60 New North Road, Exeter, EX4 4EP): if not closed for a private booking, this is another great place to go to for cocktails

The Rusty Bike (67 Howell Road, Exeter, EX4 4LZ): popular pub

Food Shops & Places

The Real Food Store (11 Paris Street, Exeter, EX1 2JB): shop run by locals that sell local foods, in store bakery.

Seasons (8 Well Street, Exeter, EX4 6QR): macrobiotic and healthy little food shop, best place in Exeter for healthy foods

• Best one (120-121 Sidwell Street, Exeter, EX4 6RY): up Sidwell street, good selection of foreign foods and vegetables

• Farmers Market (corner of South Street and Fore Street, every Thursday): weekly market, local, organic and beautiful produce from vegetables to fruits, meats, fish, baked goods and flowers

Whistle Wines (2 Central Station Buildings, Exeter, EX4 3SB): always good advice, great wines, the shop sometimes organises wine tastings

Bon Goût Delicatessen (45 Magdalen Road, Exeter, EX2 4TA) : when looking for something for a special occasion

The Exeter Trails leaflets have recently been launched and provide you with great themed itineraries of independent shops and eateries in Exeter. Check these out!

I hope this will give you plenty of ideas if ever you come to visit lovely Exeter...

December 01, 2013

Red Rice Stuffed Squash


My shopping trolley was super heavy last week when I came back from my weekly trip to the farmers’ market. In it, I not only had a large bag full of apples that my colleague had very kindly given me, but also a load of different squashes. After making the spicy squash muffins, I was keen on using the vegetable in more of a savoury way. We had creamy butternut squash pasta, roasted squash and spaghetti squash and kale bowl just to name but a few. The one recipe that stood out the most for me was the stuffed squash I made at the weekend. A super comforting dish, that looks great when placed on the table. It’s so much fun having your own little squash in your plate! I had made loads and we had them reheated a few nights in a row. I found they were getting better and better each night, as the rice was becoming crispy and the squash flesh incredibly tender. I used different varieties of squash such as harlequin, kabosha and red kuri– a very pleasant way of experimenting with their flavours and texture. I’m feeling a little bit squashed out at the minute, but was really keen of making the most of this wonderful vegetable as long as it’s in season.


With this post I am taking part in an autumnal recipe competition, entitled ‘Couleurs & Saveurs d’Automne’ organised on the lovely blog Epices et moi.


Red Rice Stuffed Winter Squash – serves 4
• 200g red rice
• 4 small squash
• A drizzle of olive oil + 2tbsp
• 100g sunflower seeds
• Seeds from 1 pomegranate
• 50g sun dried tomatoes, soaked in warm water for 20min
• 2tsp sumac
• Salt and pepper

1. Cook the rice according to the packet instructions. Drain and set aside.
2. Preheat the oven to 190°C.
3. Cut the squash in half horizontally, about 1/3 of the way down. Scoop out the seeds. Brush the inside with olive oil.
4. Drain the tomatoes, keeping the soaking water. Chop them. In a large bowl, mix the cooked rice with the sunflower seeds, pomegranate seeds and sundried tomatoes. Season with the sumac, salt and pepper, 2tbsp olive oil and 2tbsp of the tomatoes soaking water. Stuff the squash with the rice and place their lid on top.
5. Put in the oven for about 1hour, until the flesh of the squash is completely cooked and tender.
6. Serve with a green salad.

Courges Farcies au Riz Rouge – pour 4 personnes
• 200g de riz rouge de Camargue
• 4 petites courges
• Un filet d’huile d’olive + 2cs
• 100g de graines de tournesol
• Graines d’une grenade
• 50g de tomates séchées, trempées dans de l’eau tiède pendant 20min
• 2cc de sumac
• Sel et poivre

1. Faire cuire le riz selon les instructions du paquet. Egoutter et mettre de côté.
2. Préchauffer le four sur 190°C.
3. Couper les courges dans l’horizontale de façon à obtenir un chapeau qui représentera environ 1/3 de la courge. Evider les courges et brosser l’intérieur au pinceau avec un filet d’huile d’olive.
4. Egoutter les tomates et mettre de côté le liquide. Les couper en petits morceaux. Dans un saladier, mélanger le riz avec les graines de tournesol, les graines de grenade et les tomates séchées. Assaisonner avec le sumac, du sel et du poivre, 2cs d’huile d’olive et 2cs du liquide des tomates. Mélanger et farcir les courges de ce mélange et placer leur chapeau sur le dessus.
5. Mettre au four pendant 1h, jusqu’à ce que la chaire des courges soit très tendre.
6. Servir avec une salade verte.

November 25, 2013

Spicy Squash & Coconut Muffins


For our last week of ‘Baking November’, I wanted to share another very seasonal recipe: little spicy squash and coconut muffins. I’m a big fan of using vegetables in cakes; they often go unnoticed to the taste but add something very special in terms of texture and of nutrition. In this case, the squash blends in so well with the spices and the coconut. Since I have discovered how to make whipped cream with coconut cream, I can’t get enough of it whether to have with fresh fruits or as a topping for cakes, like in this recipe.


I hope you’ve enjoyed this month’s challenge and that you’ve had the opportunity to get in the kitchen and bake. After this sweetness overload, I shall be back with something on the savoury side of things in my next post, before starting to think about the festivities ahead of us. Have a great week!


Spicy Squash & Coconut Muffins – makes 10 muffins

• 150g coconut flour
• 150g light spelt flour
• 2tsp baking powder
• A pinch of salt
• Seeds of 2 cardamom pods, crushed
• 1tsp ground cinnamon
• ½ tsp all spice
• 100g butter
• 6tbsp maple syrup
• 3 eggs, beaten
• 250g squash purée*
• 80g walnuts, chopped
• 250g coconut cream, chilled in the fridge for a few hours
• 1tsp set honey
• 1tsp corn flour
• Lemon and orange zest + finely chopped walnuts, to decorate

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a muffin dish with paper cases.
2. In a large bowl, mix the coconut flour with the spelt flour, baking powder, salt, cardamom, cinnamon and all spice. Make a well in the centre.
3. In a small saucepan, gently heat the butter and maple syrup until the butter is melted. In a bowl, mix the eggs with the squash purée. Add the butter and maple syrup to it and mix well.
4. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ones and mix well. Add the walnuts and mix to incorporate. Put spoonfuls of the mixture into the paper muffin cases. Place in the oven and cook for about 25min until golden and cooked through.
5. Prepare the icing by placing the coconut cream, honey and corn flour into a bowl. Whisk with an electricwhisk until the cream is slightly whipped. Place in the fridge to chill.
6. Leave the muffins to cool down on a wire rack and wait until they are completely cold to add the icing on top. Sprinkle with lemon and orange zest and finely chopped walnuts to decorate.

*to make the squash purée: preheat the oven to 180°C. Cut a red kuri squash in half and remove the seeds. Place it face down on a baking tray and bake for 35-45min until the flesh is soft. Scoop the flesh out with a spoon and blend in a food processor until smooth. Keeps in the fridge for a few days.

Muffins Epicés Courge et Noix de Coco – pour 10 muffins

• 150g de farine de noix de coco
• 150g de farine d’épeautre
• 2cc de levure chimique
• 1 pincée de sel
• Graines de 2 gousses de cardamome, moulues
• 1cc de cannelle en poudre
• ½ cc de 4-épices
• 100g de beurre
• 6cs de sirop d’érable
• 3 œufs, battus
• 250g de purée de courge*
• 80g de noix, émincées
• 250g de crème de noix de coco, gardée au réfrigérateur pendant quelques heures
• 1cc de miel épais
• 1cc de maïzena
• Zest d’1 citron et d’1 orange + quelques noix finement émincées, pour décorer

1. Préchauffer le four sur 180°C. Chemiser un moule à muffin avec des casettes en papier.
2. Dans un saladier, mélanger la farine de noix de coco avec la farine d’épeautre, la levure, le sel, la cardamome, la cannelle et le 4-épices. Creuser un puits au centre.
3. Dans une petite casserole, ajouter le beurre et le sirop d’érable et faire chauffer à feu doux jusqu’à ce que le beurre soit fondu. Dans un bol, mélanger les œufs avec la purée de courge. Y ajouter le beurre et sirop d’érable et mélanger.
4. Ajouter les ingrédients liquides aux ingrédients secs et mélanger. Incorporer les noix. Répartir la pâte dans les cassettes en papier. Mettre au four et faire cuire 25min jusqu’à ce que les muffins soient dorés et qu’une pique en bois insérée au milieu en ressorte sèche.
5. Préparer le glaçage : mettre la crème de noix de coco dans un bol avec le miel et la maïzena. Fouettez à l’aide d’un batteur électrique jusqu’à ce que la crème ressemble à une chantilly. Mettre au réfrigérateur.
6. Laisser les muffins refroidir sur une grille et attendre qu’ils soient complètement froids pour ajouter le glaçage. Parsemer de noix émincées et de zestes de citron et d’orange pour décorer.

*pour faire la purée de courge : préchauffer le four sur 180°C. Couper une courge/petit potiron en deux et en retirer les graines. La mettre sur une plaque à four recouverte de papier sulfurisé, face coupée vers le bas et mettre au four pour 35-45min jusqu’à ce que la chaire soit tendre. Retirer la chaire à l’aide d’une cuillère et mixer de façon à obtenir un mélange crémeux. Se garde au frais pendant environ 5 jours.

November 18, 2013

Sweet Grape Bread


Making bread is art in itself, but I also believe that everyone can make delicious bread at home, even without being an expert. The pleasure of eating bread straight out of the oven is unbelievable. And the smell in the kitchen…yum!
For this month of baking I thought it’d be great to share a seasonal bread recipe: a rich sweet loaf that will accompany perfectly an autumnal cheese and fruit platter, unless you prefer having it sliced for breakfast with honey or jam. I have to say that it looks pretty impressive, and is as good as it looks appetising.

I was going to make it with a mix of spelt and wholewheat flour, but found myself instead reaching for a bag of khorasan flour which I bought at the grocery store the other day, which made the bread even more special. While it was cooking, I went on the Internet and did a bit of research on khorasan – an ancient wheat variety, rich in proteins and minerals and milled the old fashion way. Khorasan wheat is considered a high energy wheat and has got a lovely nutty flavour. If you don’t find khorasan flour, you could easily substitute it for spelt or wholewheat, but if you do find some, try it, and I hope you’ll love it as much as I did.


Sweet Grape Bread – makes 1 large loaf

Recipe inspired by the ‘Sweet Grape Flat Bread’ recipe found in Leanne Kitchen’s Grower’s Market cookbook
• 2tsp sugar
• 270ml lukewarm water
• 1 ½ tsp dry yeast
• 600g khorasan wheat flour
• 5tbsp grated coconut
• 50g butter, melted
• 8tbsp natural yogurt
• 100g raisins
• 300g black seedless grapes
• 1tsp sugar

1. Mix 2tsp sugar with the water and dry yeast in a small bowl. Leave to stand for 10min.
2. Place the flour in a large bowl, add coconut and mix. Make a well in the centre. Add the yeast mixture, melted butter and yogurt and start mixing to bring the dough together and form a ball. Take the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for about 10min.
3. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover and leave to rise in a warm place for 2 hours.
4. Knock the dough back down and knead it again for 2min. Tear it in half and form two balls. Flatten them in a 20cm diameter circle. Place one of the circles on a baking sheet covered with baking paper. Sprinkle with 2/3 of the raisins and grapes. Place the other circle on top and seal around the edges by pressing with your fingers, to enclose the raisins and grapes. Sprinkle with the rest of the raisins and grapes, cover with a tea towel and set aside for another hour.
5. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Sprinkle the bread with the remaining sugar and place in the oven for 40-50min or until golden. Eat warm or leave to cool down on a wire rack.

Pain Sucré au Raisin – pour 1 grosse boule

Inspirée par la recette ‘Sweet Grape Flat Bread’ trouvée dans le livre ‘Grower’s Market de Leanne Kitchen
• 2cc de sucre
• 270ml d’eau tiède
• 1 ½ cc de levure de boulanger
• 600g de farine de khorasan
• 5cs de noix de coco râpée
• 50g de beurre, fondu
• 8cs de yaourt nature
• 100g de raisins secs
• 300g de raisins noirs sans pépins
• 1cc de sucre

1. Mélanger 2cc de sucre dans un petit bol avec la levure et l’eau tiède. Laisser de côté pendant 10min.
2. Mettre la farine dans un grand saladier, ajouter la noix de coco et mélanger. Faire un puits au milieu. Ajouter le mélange de levure, le beurre fondu et le yaourt et commencer à mélanger, de façon à former une boule de pâte. Transférer la pâte sur un plan de travail fariné et la pétrir pendant 10min.
3. Mettre la pâte dans un saladier huilé, couvrir et laisser lever pendant environ 2h.
4. Pétrir la pâte de nouveau pendant quelques instants. Diviser la pâte en deux boules. Former deux cercles de pâte d’environ 20cm de diamètre. Mettre le premier cercle sur une plaque à four recouverte de papier sulfurisé. Parsemer le cercle des deux tiers des raisins secs et raisins frais. Couvrir avec le deuxième cercle de pâte. Presser les bords pour enfermer les raisins. Enfin, parsemer du reste des raisins secs et frais, couvrir avec un torchon et laisser de nouveau lever pendant environ 1h.
5. Préchauffer le four sur 180°C. Parsemer le pain du sucre restant et mettre au four pour 40-50min, jusqu’à ce que la croûte du pain soit dorée. Déguster tiède ou laisser refroidir sur une grille.

November 11, 2013

Baking November - Lemon Drizzle Cake


To me, cakes usually need to contain either chocolate or fruits. For years, when going to a café or baking in my kitchen, I would stay away from plain cakes and would always go for something chocolaty or fruity – for no other reason that because that’s what I like the most. Or similarly, when going to the restaurant, my dessert of choice would very certainly be a chocolate pudding of some sort. But years go by and more recently I’ve wanted to become a bit more adventurous and I now make a conscious effort to try things that are slightly out of my comfort zone.

Take lemon cake. For a long time, it would have felt into the ‘plain cake’ category for me, and I wouldn’t have thought about baking this, let alone ordering it in a café. Little did I know how tasty it can be and what I was missing out! Now that I’m getting a bit older (and lemon cake feels like an adult’s cake), I dared baking it and loved so much its tanginess as well as the crunch of the poppy seeds. I wondered why on earth I had ever thought that lemon cake was plain! I am now pleased to have added it to my repertoire and will certainly bake it again for a posh afternoon tea or simply for the pleasure of it.


Lemon Drizzle Cake – makes 1 loaf

Inspired by Jamie Oliver’s recipe: http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/fruit-recipes/my-nan-s-lemon-drizzle-cake

For the cake:
• 150g ground almonds
• 150g light spelt flour
• 2tsp baking powder
• 3tbsp poppy seeds
• Finely grated zest of 2 lemons + juice of 1 lemon
• 100ml rapeseed oil
• 80ml honey or maple syrup
• 3 eggs
For the lemon syrup:
• Juice of 2 lemons
• 80g golden caster sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2. In a large bowl, mix the ground almond with the spelt flour, baking powder, poppy seeds and lemon zest.
3. Gently heat the oil and honey in a small saucepan until liquid. Take off the heat and mix in the lemon juice.
4. Beat the eggs in a small bowl and add the oil/honey/lemon mix to it. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour the liquid ingredients in it. Fold the mixture until smooth.
5. Line a loaf tin with baking paper and pour the cake batter in it. Put in the oven and cook for 40min, or until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
6. Make the lemon syrup by placing the lemon juice and sugar in a small saucepan and heat until the sugar has dissolved.
7. While the cake is still warm, unmold it, and make lots of little holes on the top using a skewer. Pour the syrup over the cake, and let it finish cooling down on a wire rack.

Cake au Citron – pour 1 cake

Inspirée par la recette de Jamie Oliver: http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/fruit-recipes/my-nan-s-lemon-drizzle-cake

Pour le gâteau :
• 150g de poudre d’amandes
• 150g de farine d’épeautre
• 2cc de levure chimique
• 3cs de graines de pavot
• Zeste finement râpé de 2 citrons + jus d’1 citron
• 100ml d’huile de colza
• 80ml de miel ou de sirop d’érable
• 3 œufs
Pour le sirop de citron :
• Jus de 2 citrons
• 80g de sucre brun en poudre

1. Préchauffer le four sur 180°C.
2. Dans un grand bol/saladier, mélanger la poudre d’amandes avec la farine d’épeautre, la levure, les graines de pavot et le zeste de citron.
3. Dans une petite casserole, faire chauffer l’huile de colza avec le miel tout doucement, jusqu’à ce que le mélange soit liquide. Retirer du feu et incorporer le jus de citron.
4. Battre les œufs et les incorporer au mélange huile/miel/citron. Faire un puits au milieu des ingrédients secs. Y verser les ingrédients liquides et bien mélanger.
5. Chemiser un moule à cake de papier cuisson et y verser la préparation. Mettre au four et faire cuire 40min, ou jusqu’à ce qu’une pique en bois insérée au milieu en ressorte sèche.
6. Préparer le sirop de citron : faire chauffer dans une petite casserole le jus des deux citrons avec le sucre en poudre jusqu’à ce que le sucre soit dissout.
7. Tant que le cake est encore chaud, le démouler et faire plein de petits trous sur le dessus à l’aide d’une pique en bois. Verser le sirop sur le cake et laisser refroidir sur une grille.

November 02, 2013

Baking November - Hazelnut & Pumpkin Seeds Flapjacks


It’s already November, and the weather has turned to pretty awful recently. I often call this ‘cake weather’. This is when it’s dark and cold outside, and all I fancy doing is to stay in the cosiness of my home and enjoy a piece of cake. It seems that November was therefore a perfect time to have a month of experimenting with baking and I have named it ‘Baking November’. I’d love to hear whether you’re up to doing some baking too, so leave comments below and let’s inspire each others!

To start with, I have chosen to make good ole flapjacks. The first ever recipe that I posted on foodmoods was actually a recipe for ‘yogurt coated raspberry flackjacks’, and to this day it seems to be the recipe that has had the most views on the blog. However, when having a look at it recently, I couldn’t believe the amount of butter and sugar involved! This recipe is a lot more on the healthier side of things, but still remains super tasty. The recipe makes plenty and we had them all week long in our lunch boxes, and they were also a real success when I shared them with colleagues, one of them suggesting that they could even be eaten as breakfast.

Flapjacks before cooking

So here is to Baking November! Have fun and enjoy x


Hazelnut & Pumpkin Seed Flapjacks – makes 18

• 400g oats flakes
• 150g hazelnuts, roughly chopped
• 100g pumpkin seeds
• 100g raisins
• 2tsp ground ginger
• 50g honey
• 50g coconut oil
• 300g unsweetened apple sauce

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2. In a large bowl, mix the oats with the hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, raisins and ground ginger.
3. Place the honey and coconut oil in a small saucepan and heat gently until melted and smooth.
4. Add the honey and coconut oil, as well as the apple sauce, to the dry ingredients and mix well so that they are well coated.
5. Line a baking sheet with baking paper and spread the mixture in a large square, about 6-7cm thick. Flatten it with the back of a spoon. Place in the oven for 20-30min until golden. If the edges tend to burn, lower down the oven to 170°C.
6. Take out of the oven, leave to cool down for 10min and cut into squares or rectangles (I made 18 large rectangles). Leave to cool down completely. Store in an airtight container for up to one week.

Flapjacks aux Noisettes et Graines de Courge – pour 18 barres
• 400g de flocons d’avoine
• 150g de noisettes, grossièrement hachées
• 100g de graines de courge
• 100g de raisins secs
• 2cc de gingembre en poudre
• 50g de miel
• 50g d’huile de noix de coco
• 300g de compote de pommes non sucrée

1. Préchauffer le four sur 180°C.
2. Dans un grand bol/saladier, mélanger les flocons d’avoine avec les noisettes, les graines de courge, les raisins secs et le gingembre en poudre.
3. Mettre le miel et l’huile de noix de coco dans une petite casserole et faire chauffer à feu doux jusqu’à ce que le mélange soit liquide.
4. Ajouter le miel et l’huile, ainsi que la compote de pommes, aux ingrédients secs. Bien mélanger.
5. Couvrir une plaque à four de papier cuisson. Etaler le mélange sur la plaque, pour former un grand carré de 6-7cm d’épaisseur. L’aplatir avec le dos d’une cuillère en bois. Mettre au four pour 20-30min jusqu’à ce que le flapjack soit doré. Si les bords ont tendance à brûler, baisser la température du four à 170°C.
6. Sortir du four, laisser refroidir 10min, puis couper des rectangles ou carrés (j’ai fait 18 rectangles). Laisser refroidir complètement. Se garde dans un récipient hermétique pendant une semaine.

October 25, 2013

Buckwheat Waffles with Vanilla Pears


We’ve just come back from France were we celebrated my brother’s 30th birthday and our first wedding anniversary, and spent a wonderful romantic day in Paris.

I seized the opportunity of staying at my parents to make waffles as an afternoon treat. The waffle iron was given to me by my grand-mother, but it lives in my parents’ home, so I only rarely get to use it.

Waffles always bring me back memories of days gone;

The first memories are of times spent at my grand-parents. They owned a house in a very rural area in the centre of France, where along with my brothers and cousins, we used to spend all of our school holidays as children. My grand-mother at the time always seemed to spend a lot of time in the kitchen – she had a hungry crowd to feed, and we all remember the delicious meals she used to prepare for us, such as pizzas or crêpes to name just a few. Sometimes we begged for waffles and she would make lots and lots of them that we would have for our ‘goûter’, the afternoon snack.

The second memories coming to mind are of my student years. I was lucky enough to live in the French Alps, and as soon as snow was falling, my friends and I would head to the mountains at the weekend for skiing. After a whole day spent on our skis, my friend Julie and I would always have a treat: usually a hot chocolate along with a crêpe or a waffle. I would go for the waffles with blueberry jam, while my friend would go for Nutella.

These are fond memories that I had in my heart while making waffles the other day, and creating new memories with my family at the same time.


Buckwheat Waffles with Vanilla Pears – makes 8 waffles
If time allows, prepare the batter early and leave it aside to rest for a couple of hours.

• 5 pears, peeled and cored
• 1tbsp muscovado sugar
• Seeds from 1 vanilla pod
• 150g buckwheat flour
• 100g wholewheat or spelt flour
• A pinch of salt
• 2tsp ground ginger
• 2 eggs
• 30g unsalted butter, melted
• 250ml milk of your choice
• 1tbsp maple syrup or honey
• 1tsp vanilla extract

1. Start by preparing the pears; put them in a large saucepan with the muscovado sugar, vanilla seeds and pod. Cover and simmer gently for 10-15min, stirring delicately every so often, until the pears are very soft and cooked through. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, mix the flours together with the salt and ground ginger.
3. In another bowl, beat the eggs with the melted butter, milk, maple syrup and vanilla extract.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and mix well.
5. Preheat the waffle iron, cover all the little squares with batter and cook according to the iron instructions. It took about 3min for mine to be ready. Repeat until you’ve used all the batter.
6. Serve the waffles with the pears and extra maple syrup if desired.

Gaufres au Sarrasin et Poires à la Vanille – pour 8 gaufres
Si vous avez le temps, préparez la pâte à l’avance et laissez la reposer quelques heures.

• 5 poires, pelées et évidées
• 1cs de sucre muscovado
• Graines d’une gousse de vanille
• 150g de farine de sarrasin
• 100g de farine de blé ou d’épeautre complète
• Une pincée de sel
• 2cc de gingembre en poudre
• 2 œufs
• 30g de beurre non salé
• 250ml de lait de votre choix
• 1cs de sirop d’érable ou de miel
• 1cc d’extrait de vanille

1. Préparer les poires ; les mettre dans une grande casserole avec le sucre muscovado, les graines et la gousse de vanille. Couvrir et laisser cuire à feu très doux pendant 10-15min, jusqu’à ce que les poires soient tendres et translucides. Mettre de côté.
2. Dans un grand bol ou saladier, mélanger les farines avec le sel et le gingembre en poudre.
3. Dans un autre bol, battre les œufs avec le beurre fondu, le lait, le sirop d’érable et l’extrait de vanille.
4. Ajouter ces ingrédients aux ingrédients secs et bien mélanger.
5. Préchauffer le gaufrier et y verser de la pâte uniformément. Faire cuire selon les instructions du gaufrier. Cela m’a pris environ 3min. Répéter jusqu’à épuisement de la pâte.
6. Servir les gaufres avec les poires et du sirop d’érable.

October 18, 2013

Tofu, Romanesco & Seaweed Noodle Bowl

Tofu-Romanesco-&-Seaweed-Noodle-Bowl

Ever since I read Emma’s Spicy Rice Noodle Salad post, I’ve felt in the mood for noodle bowls for lunch. Rice, egg, soba noodles, they come in all sorts of varieties and flavours. Combinations are endless.

I’ve always been intrigued by sea vegetables and over the years have started experimenting with a few in sushi, salads or noodle bowls. Seaweeds come with a whole load of nutritional benefits (you can read info on their amazing benefits here). In this recipe, I have opted for chopping them finely – they nearly go unnoticed taste and texture wise, which can be a good introduction if you’re new to sea vegetables.

I also happened to find soba noodles with wakame, another seaweed, but regular rice noodles or other soba noodles would do the job too (I love this brand).

Happy weekend x

Tofu-Romanesco-&-Seaweed-Noodle-Bowl


Tofu, Romanesco & Seaweed Noodle Bowl – serves 4
• 1 head romanesco cauliflower, florets separated and halved if large
• 250g soba noodles (I used rice and wakame noodles)
• 2 handfuls of arame seaweed, soaked in warm water for 20min, drained and finely chopped
• 1tbsp groundnut oil
• 200g smoked tofu (or regular tofu), cut into triangles
• ½ red chilli, finely chopped
• 1 shallot, finely chopped
• 1 small clove garlic, finely chopped
• 1cm chunk of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
• 3tbsp soy sauce
• 1tbsp toasted sesame oil
• 1tbsp brown rice vinegar
• Sechuan peppercorns, ground
• A large handful of herbs such as parsley, basil, mint & coriander, roughly chopped

1. Bring a pan of water to the boil, add the romanesco and cook for 5min until tender, drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
2. Bring another pan of water to the boil, add the soba noodles and cook for 5-6min (or according to the packet instructions), drain and rinse under cold water. Put back into the pan, add the arame seaweed and mix well to incorporate it in the noodles.
3. While the romanesco and noodles are cooking, heat the groundnut oil in a wok or large frying pan. Add the tofu add cook for 5min, stirring every so often until golden.
4. Prepare the seasoning by mixing in a small bowl the chilli with the shallot, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, rice vinegar and ground peppercorns.
5. Add the romanesco, noodles and seasoning to the frying pan or wok, turn the heat onto high and stir fry for 1min.
6. Dish out into bowls and top up with a large handful of fresh herbs.

Bol de Tofu, Romanesco, Algues & Nouilles – pour 4 personnes
• 1 chou romanesco, séparé en florettes
• 250g de nouilles soba (j’ai utilisé des nouilles de riz et wakame)
• 2 poignées d’algues arame, trempées 20min dans de l’eau tiède, égouttées et finement émincées
• 1cs d’huile d’arachide
• 200g de tofu fumé (ou tofu traditionnel), coupé en triangles
• ½ piment rouge, émincé
• 1 échalote, pelée et émincée
• 1 petite gousse d’ail, pelée et finement émincée
• 1 morceau de gingembre d’1cm, pelé et finement émincé
• 3cs de sauce soja
• 1cs d’huile de sésame toastée
• 1cs de vinaigre de riz
• Grains de poivre de Sichuan, moulu
• Une grosse poignée d’herbes fraîches, telles que persil, basilic, menthe, coriandre, grossièrement hachées

1. Porter une casserole d’eau à ébullition. Ajouter le romanesco et laisser frémir pendant 5min. Egoutter et rincer à l’eau froide.
2. Porter une autre casserole d’eau à ébullition, ajouter les nouilles soba et faire cuire 5-6min (ou bien suivre les instructions sur le paquet). Egoutter, rincer à l’eau froide, puis remettre dans la casserole et ajouter l’algue arame et bien mélanger pour les incorporer.
3. Faire chauffer l’huile d’arachide dans une grande poêle ou wok. Ajouter le tofu et faire revenir pendant 5min.
4. Préparer l’assaisonnement : mélanger dans un petit bol piment avec l’échalote, le gingembre, l’ail, la sauce soja, l’huile de sésame, le vinaigre de riz et le poivre.
5. Ajouter le romanesco ainsi que les nouilles dans la poêle avec le tofu et faire revenir à feu vif, en mélangeant bien, pendant 1min.
6. Servir dans des bols et y ajouter une grosse poignée d’herbes fraîches.

October 12, 2013

Apple, Oat & Hazelnut Biscuits



We headed to the beach last weekend to make the most of probably one of the last spells of mild and sunny weather for this year. The beach was wide and quiet with warm autumn colours and changing skies. We jumped in our wetsuits and went for a morning surf – how I love this feeling of being in the water and gliding on waves! We then wrapped up in a few layers, sat in deck chairs and enjoyed our lunch in the midday sun. We had packed these apple, hazelnut and oat biscuits which I had made the day before – comforting and perfect to snack on after a surf. I’ve recently been enjoying making flour from oats or nuts and playing with this in biscuits and cakes. You could either blend the oats/nuts very finely for a smooth texture or keep them a bit coarse in order to get a bit more texture. I hope you’ve had a lovely week and have been able to enjoy autumn’s bounties and beauties.


Apple, Oat and Hazelnut Biscuits – makes about 18 biscuits
• 150g oats
• 100g hazelnuts
• 2tbsp coconut palm sugar
• ½ tsp baking soda
• A pinch of salt
• 3tbsp coconut oil, at room temperature
• 1 apple, grated + 1 apple, finely sliced
• 1 large egg, beaten

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a large baking tray with baking paper.
2. Place the oats in a food processor, and whizz it until you obtain a flour-like texture. Transfer into a large bowl. Place the hazelnuts in the food processor and process until they are finely ground. Transfer to the bowl. Add the sugar, baking soda and salt to the bowl and mix.
3. Add the coconut oil to the bowl, and rub it in with your fingers, until you obtain a crumbly texture. Add the grated apple and egg and mix well until the mixture holds together.
4. Take little spoonfuls of the mixture, make a little ball and flatten it between your hands. Place on the baking tray. Repeat until you’ve used all the mixture. Top up each biscuit with a slice of apple.
5. Place in the oven and cook for 15min, until golden. Check the biscuits while they cook to make sure they don’t burn. Leave to cool down on a wire rack.


Biscuits aux Pommes, Avoine et Noisettes – pour environ 18 biscuits
• 150g de flocons d’avoine
• 100g de noisettes
• 2cs de sucre de noix de coco
• ½ cc de bicarbonate de soude
• Une pincée de sel
• 3cs d’huile de noix de coco, à température ambiante
• 1 pomme, râpée + 1 pomme, coupée en fines lamelles
• 1 gros œuf, battu

1. Préchauffer le four sur 180°C. Couvrir une plaque de cuisson de papier sulfurisé.
2. Mettre les flocons d’avoine dans le bol d’un robot et mixer jusqu’à l’obtention d’une fine poudre. Transférer dans un grand bol/saladier. Mettre les noisettes dans le bol du robot et mixer de façon à obtenir une poudre de noisettes. Transférer dans le bol. Ajouter le sucre, le bicarbonate de soude et le sel et bien mélanger.
3. Ajouter l’huile de noix de coco et frotter le mélange du bout des doigts de façon à obtenir des miettes grossières. Ajouter la pomme râpée et l’œuf et bien mélanger.
4. Prendre une petite portion du mélange et former une petite boule, puis l’aplatir entre les mains. Mettre sur la plaque de cuisson. Répéter l’opération jusqu’à épuisement. Ajouter une lamelle de pomme sue chaque biscuit.
5. Mettre four pour 15min jusqu’à ce que les biscuits soient dorés. Faire attention à ce qu’ils ne brûlent pas lors de la cuisson. Laisser refroidir sur une grille.

October 04, 2013

Roasted Beetroots with Greens & Balsamic Dressing


We’ve had a super busy September. Our ’30 days of awesome’ challenge has now come to an end. It’s been wonderful doing something awesome every day for a month. Our day to day life has definitely been spiced up as a result. It’s also been challenging in finding ideas for things to do, finding the time to do them and not always being able to do what we had planned. The weather especially hasn’t been as nice as we’d expected for this time of year and on several occasions we had to change our plans: but I guess it’s taught me to let go and not get frustrated if it was not all going according to plan.


Our kitchen has been busy too: there are too many gorgeous produce in season at the moment and meal ideas keep flowing into my mind. Roasting vegetables is one of my favourite ways of slowly easing into autumn. These beets took a very deep dark colour when roasting. I served them on a bed of greens that was a deep colour too and finished it with a drizzle of balsamic glaze. You could add crumbled feta or goat’s cheese on top too.

Roasted Beetroots with Greens and Balsamic Dressing– serves 4
• 6 large beetroots, peeled and cut into wedges
• 3tbsp light olive oil
• Salt and pepper
• 20ml balsamic vinegar
• 10g sugar
• 1tbsp coconut oil
• A large handful of greens (such as chard, spinach or kale), shredded

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
2. Place the beetroots in a baking tray, drizzle with 3tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper and stir to coat the beetroots with the seasoning. Place in the oven and roast for 30min, giving it a stir every so often.
3. To prepare the balsamic reduction, place the balsamic vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and leave on the heat for 2-4min until the mixture thickens. Take off the heat and set aside.
4. Heat the coconut oil in a large frying pan. Add the greens and stir-fry for 3-5min until they start wilting. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Place the greens in a serving dish. Top up with the beets and finally drizzle with the balsamic dressing.

Betteraves Rôties, Légumes Verts et Assaisonnement Balsamique – pour 4 personnes
• 6 grosses betteraves, pelées et coupées en quartiers
• 3cs d’huile d’olive
• Sel et poivre
• 20ml de vinaigre balsamique
• 10g de sucre
• 1cs d’huile de noix de coco
• Une grosse poignée de légumes verts tels que blettes, épinards ou kale, hachés

1. Préchauffer le four sur 180°C.
2. Mettre les betteraves sur une plaque de cuisson, arroser d’huile d’olive et assaisonner avec du sel et du poivre et mélanger. Mettre au four pour 30min, en remuant de temps en temps.
3. Pour préparer la réduction au balsamique, mettre le vinaigre balsamique et le sucre dans une petite casserole. Porter à ébullition et laisser frémir 2-4min, jusqu’à ce que le mélange épaississe. Retirer du feu.
4. Faire chauffer l’huile de noix de coco dans une poêle. Ajouter les légumes verts et faire revenir 3-5min, jusqu’à ce qu’ils commencent à flétrir. Assaisonner avec du sel et du poivre.
5. Répartir les légumes verts dans un plat de servir, parsemer les betteraves dessus et arroser d’assaisonnement au balsamique.

September 24, 2013

Japanese Style Sautéed Aubergines


How pretty these aubergines were! I couldn’t resist them. With their long curvy shapes and light purple colour, they looked like dancing painted bodies. As they cook, they unfortunately lose their beautiful colour, but they are super tender and perfect to use in stir-fries. You could easily substitute them with baby aubergines if you can’t manage to get hold of this type. Here is an idea for a quick weekday supper.



Japanese Style Sautéed Aubergines – serves 2 as a main or 4 as a side
• 1tbsp coconut oil or groundnut oil
• 5 long and thin aubergines, sliced diagonally
• 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
• ½ chilli, seeded and finely chopped
• 1tbsp rice vinegar
• 2tbsp shoyu or other soy sauce
• White pepper
• 2tbsp black sesame seeds

1. Heat the coconut oil in a skillet. Add the aubergines and fry for about 10min, stirring with a wooden spoon so that they do not stick and burn. They should take the colour or traditional aubergines once cooked.
2. When the aubergines are cooked, add the garlic and chilli and fry for another minute. Add the rice vinegar, followed by the shoyu and a sprinkle of white pepper. Give it all a good stir and take off the heat. Sprinkle with black sesame seeds and serve with brown rice.


Aubergines Sautées à la Japonaise – pour 2 personnes en plat principal ou 4 personnes en accompagnement
• 1cs d’huile de noix de coco ou d’huile d’arachide
• 5 longues aubergines, coupées en tranches dans la diagonale
• 2 gousses d’ail, pelée et émincées
• ½ piment, égrainé et émincé
• 1cs de vinaigre de riz
• 2cs de shoyu ou autre sauce soja
• Poivre blanc
• 2cs de graines de sésame noires

1. Faire chauffer l’huile de noix de coco dans une poêle en fonte. Ajouter les aubergines et faire revenir pendant environ 10min, en mélangeant régulièrement de façon à ce qu’elles n’attachent pas. Elles devraient avoir la couleur des aubergines traditionnelles une fois cuites.
2. Ajouter l’ail, le piment et faire revenir pendant une minute. Ajouter le vinaigre de riz, la sauce shoyu et une pincée de poivre blanc. Bien mélanger et retirer du feu. Parsemer de graines de sésame noires et servir avec du riz complet.

September 15, 2013

Blackberry & Peach Raw Crumble


The early autumn is a forager’s paradise and it’s always worth taking a box, a bowl or a basket when going for a walk as you never know what you might stumble upon. Saying that, as we left in a bit of a rush yesterday morning, I forgot to take one with me. Later on in the day, as we started a beautiful walk along the river Dart, I regretted not to have a container with me. The hedgerows were bursting with blackberries. I still decided to make the most of it and soon enough my pockets were full of hazelnuts, my fingers stained and my mouth full. I couldn’t stop eating blackberries: every bush we saw, I was helping myself to handfuls of them telling Luke that I needed to get strength for the rest of the walk. I felt like a child, enjoying simple pleasures of life.


Here I’ve put together a no-bake kind of crumble, layering juicy fruits with nutty cinnamon crumbs and sultry cashew cream. You could keep the base of the recipe the same and use any kind of fruits you have to hand, but I have to say that blackberry and peaches make a great combo.


Blackberry & Peach Raw Crumble with Vanilla Cashew Cream – serves 4 to 6
• 100g Medjool dates, pitted
• 50g pecan nuts
• 50g walnuts
• 1tsp ground cinnamon
• 100g cashews, soaked for at least 30min
• 1tsp pure vanilla extract
• 1tbsp maple syrup
• Water
• 4 peaches, sliced
• 2 large handfuls of blackberries (wild ones if possible)

1. Place the dates, pecans, walnuts and cinnamon in a food processor and blend until it forms rough crumbs. Set aside.
2. Next, prepare the cashew cream by draining and rinsing the cashews and blending them with the vanilla extract, maple syrup and 3tbsp of water until you obtain a smooth cream. If needed add more water gradually until you reach the desired consistency (not too liquid but not too set).
3. To serve, layer the fruits, crumbs and cashew creams in glass jars or bowls and serve straight away or keep in the fridge until ready to eat.


Crumble Cru aux Mûres et Pêches et Crème Cajou-Vanille – pour 4 à 6 personnes
• 100g de dates Medjool, dénoyautées
• 50g de noix de pécan
• 50g de noix
• 1cc de cannelle en poudre
• 100g de noix de cajou, trempées pendant au moins 30min
• 1cc d’extrait de vanille
• 1cs de sirop d’érable
• Eau
• 4 pêches, coupées en fins quartiers
• 2 grosses poignées de mûres (sauvages si possible)

1. Mettre les dates, noix de pécan, noix et cannelle dans un robot et mixer jusqu’à l’obtention de miettes grossières.
2. Ensuite, préparer la crème, en égouttant les noix de cajou et les rinçant, puis en les mixant avec l’extrait de vanille, le sirop d’érable et 3cs d’eau jusqu’à l’obtention d’une crème onctueuse. Si nécessaire, ajouter de l’eau, une cuillérée à la fois jusqu’à obtenir la consistance voulue (pas trop liquide ni trop épaisse).
3. Pour servir, arranger dans des verres ou petits bols les fruits en couches alternées avec les miettes et la crème. Servir de suite ou garder au frais en attendant.

September 08, 2013

Red Pepper Cold Soup


I’m writing this post sat in the living room of our new house. We’ve been busy packing, sorting and preparing for the move the past few weeks and I’ve found it hard keeping up posting on the blog, but finally I am back. We haven’t moved far away, only in the house next door to where we lived. It still feels like a change which I am embracing fully. Today I’d love to share a cold soup recipe before the weather gets too chilly to appreciate it. While Luke is definitely a warm soup person, I do love cold ones in the summer. This soup is a sort of an adaptation of a gaspacho, though a lot thinner. I made it using my juicer, which made it the quickest soup you can ever make. It could also be drunk like a juice, directly in a glass.


PS: Follow us on Book of Wander, Luke and I have started a ’30 days of awesome’ challenge


Red Pepper Cold Soup – serves 4
• 3 red peppers, seeded
• 600g tomatoes
• 1 large cucumber
• 1 shallot, peeled
• A handful of basil
• ½ lime, peeled
• Salt and pepper
• 1tbsp white wine vinegar
• 2tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1. Put the peppers, tomatoes, cucumber, shallot, basil and lime through a juicer and juice (you might need to do this in batches).
2. Season with salt, pepper, vinegar and olive oil.
3. Best eaten straight away but can be kept covered in the fridge until the next day.

Soupe Froide de Poivrons Rouges – pour 4 personnes
• 3 poivrons rouges, épépinés
• 600g de tomates
• 1 gros concombre
• 1 échalote, pelée
• Une poignée de basilic
• ½ citron vert, pelé
• Sel et poivre
• 1cs de vinaigre de vin blanc
• 2cs d’huile d’olive extra vierge

1. Passer les poivrons, tomates, concombre, échalote, basilic et citron vert dans un extracteur de jus (il sera peut être nécessaire de le faire en plusieurs fois).
2. Assaisonner avec du sel, du poivre, le vinaigre et l’huile d’olive.
3. Manger/boire de suite, ou peut se garder couvert au réfrigérateur jusqu’au lendemain.

August 27, 2013

Courgette & Ricotta Quiche with Marjoram



The first signs of summer coming to a close have appeared: the dewy mornings, the night drawing in increasingly earlier, the first ripe blackberries and the sweetcorn available on the market stalls. Before this beautiful season is over, I’m cooking with the produce that abound at this time of year. Courgettes are one of them, which I used in this tart with marjoram and ricotta. The filling stayed on top of the tart, hiding the courgettes, which isn’t what I had expected at first, but in the end the cooking gave it beautiful patterns and made the tart very pretty.


Courgette & Ricotta Quiche with Marjoram – makes 1 tart
• 90g buckwheat flour
• 90g maize flour
• A pinch of salt
• 85g butter, cubed
• 1 egg, beaten
• Possibly 1 or 2tbsp cold water if needed
• 2 large courgettes, finely sliced
• 3 eggs, beaten
• 250g ricotta
• Zest of ½ lemon
• A few sprigs fresh marjoram
• Salt
• Pink peppercorns, ground
• Olive oil

1. Prepare the tart crust: in a large bowl, mix together the flours and salt. Add the butter and rub it in with your fingers until you obtain crumbs. Add the egg and mix with your hands so that the dough comes together and you can form a ball with it. If it is still crumbly, add cold water, 1tbsp at a time. Wrap the ball in cling film and place in the fridge for at least 30min.
2. In a bowl, beat together the eggs with the ricotta, lemon zest, marjoram, salt and pink peppercorns until smooth.
3. Preheat the oven to 190°C. Brush a tart dish with a bit of oil.
4. Take the dough out of the fridge. Roll it out on a lightly floured work surface. Transfer it to the tart dish. Prick the bottom with a fork. Layer the courgettes in the dish. Pour the ricotta and egg cream on top.
5. Place in the oven for 30min or until golden and set. Serve warm or at room temperature, with a green salad.

Quiche Courgette-Ricotta & Marjolaine – pour 1 tarte
• 90g de farine de sarrasin
• 90g de farine de maïs
• Une pincée de sel
• 85g de beurre, coupé en cubes
• 1 œuf, battu
• 1 ou 2cs d’eau froide, si nécessaire
• 2 grosses courgettes, coupées en rondelles
• 3 œufs, battus
• 250g de ricotta
• Zest d’½ citron
• Quelques brins de marjolaine
• Sel
• Baies roses, moulues
• Huile d’olive

1. Préparer la pâte à tarte : dans un saladier, mélanger les farines et le sel. Ajouter le beurre et mélanger du bout des doigts pour obtenir des miettes grossières. Ajouter l’œuf et mélanger avec les mains et former une boule de pâte. Si la pâte est trop friable, ajouter de l’eau froide, 1cs à la fois. Envelopper la pâte dans du papier sulfurisé et mettre au réfrigérateur pour au moins 30min.
2. Dans un bol, battre les œufs aves la ricotta, le zeste de citron, la marjolaine, du sel et des baies roses moulues.
3. Préchauffer le gour à 190°C. Brosser le fond d’un moule à tarte avec de l’huile et un pinceau.
4. Sortir la tarte du réfrigérateur. L’étaler sur un plan de travail légèrement fariné et en garnir le moule à tarte. Piquer le fond à l’aide d’une fourchette. Répartir les courgettes dans le fond du moule. Verser dessus le mélange à la ricotta.
5. Mettre au four pour 30min jusqu’à ce que le centre de la tarte soit cuit. Servir chaud ou froid, avec une salade verte.

August 15, 2013

Raw Buckwheat, Sunflower Seeds & Apricot Porridge


The past few months, I’ve really been into eating raw breakfasts. It leaves me lighter and energized, ready for the day. What I love the most is being able to prepare it ahead and in the morning just having to top it up with fresh fruits and superfoods. My favourite recipe so far has been Green Kitchen Stories’ Raw Buckwheat Porridge – the recipe I feature here today is my adapted version of theirs, to which I gave a summer touch. I hope you’ll like it ;-)

Raw Buckwheat, Sunflower Seeds & Apricot Porridge – makes 4 small servings
• 125g buckwheat, soaked overnight, rinsed and drained
• 125g sunflower seeds, soaked overnight, rinsed and drained
• 1tsp almond extract
• Juice of ½ lemon
• 6 apricots, stoned
• To serve: fresh fruits, edible flowers, bee pollen, hemp seeds, raw cacao nibs

1. Place the buckwheat, sunflower seeds, almond extract, lemon juice and apricots in a food processor and blend until ground and mixed.
2. Either serve straight away in glasses or bowls or keep for later in the fridge. When ready to serve, top up with fresh fruits, edible flowers, bee pollen…

Porridge Cru au Sarrasin, Graines de Tournesol & Abricots – pour 4 petites portions
• 125g de sarrasin, mis à tremper pendant une nuit, rincé et égoutté
• 125g de graines de tournesol, mises à tremper pendant une nuit, rincées et égouttées
• 1cc d’extrait d’amande
• Jus d’½ citron
• 6 abricots, dénoyautés
• Pour servir : fruits frais, fleurs comestibles, pollen, graines de chanvre, pépites de cacao crues

1. Mettre le sarrasin dans le bol d’un mixeur avec les graines de tournesol, l’extrait d’amande, le jus de citron et les abricots et mixer jusqu’à l’obtention d’un mélange granuleux.
2. Servir immédiatement ou garder au réfrigérateur pour plus tard. Lorsque vous êtes prêt à le déguster, répartir dans des verres ou bols et parsemer de fruits frais, fleurs comestibles, pollen.

July 31, 2013

Pasta with Yellow Courgettes, Pine Nuts, Mint & Preserved Lemon


If wish these beautiful courgettes and patty pans would come from our garden. Unfortunately, the courgettes that we have on our plants seem to rot before reaching an even decent size. Any idea why this might be?

Luckily, there’s plenty of choice at the farmers market at the moment: shopping there every week is such a feast for the eyes and the palate. I have to use self control to restrain myself from buying all the vegetables on display!


This dish has got a bit of a Middle-Eastern twist, with the use of the mint, preserved lemon and sumac. Back in the winter I remember watching ‘Ottolenghi’s Mediterranean Feast’ programme and it really inspired me to use flavours from the Mediterranean in my cooking. I topped up the dish with sumac (easily available in health food stores/ethnic shops). Sumac is a small shrub, which fruit can be dried and ground into a tangy crimson spice.


Pasta with Yellow Courgettes, Pine Nuts, Mint & Preserved Lemon – serves 4
• 320g spelt or wholemeal pasta
• 2tbsp light olive oil
• 4 yellow courgettes (or yellow patty pans), thinly sliced
• 2tbsp pine nuts
• ½ preserved lemon, finely chopped
• Juice of ½ lemon
• A handful of mint, chopped
• 4tbsp sumac (optional but delicious)

1. Cook the pasta according to the packet instruction. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2. In the meantime, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the courgettes and fry gently until they are soft and cooked through (5-10min). Place the pine nuts in a small oven dish and place them in the oven for 5-10min until fragrant and golden (be careful not to let them burn).
3. Add the pine nuts, preserved lemon, lemon juice and mint to the courgettes and mix. Drain the pasta and dish it out into plates or bowls. Top up with the courgettes and sprinkle with a tablespoon of sumac.

Pâtes aux Courgettes Jaunes, Pignons de Pin, Menthe & Citron Confit – pour 4 personnes
• 320g de pâtes d’épeautre ou complètes
• 2cs d’huile d’olive légère
• 4 courgettes jaunes (ou pâtissons jaunes), coupées en fines rondelles
• 2cs de pignons de pin
• ½ citron confit, émincé
• Jus d’½ citron
• Une poignée de menthe, hachée
• 4cs de sumac (optionnel mais délicieux)

1. Cuire les pâtes selon les instructions du paquet. Préchauffer le four sur 180°C.
2. Pendant ce temps, faire chauffer l’huile d’olive dans une grande poêle. Ajouter les courgettes and faire revenir doucement jusqu’à ce qu’elles soient cuites (5-10min). Mettre les pignons dans un petit plat à four et les mettre au four pour 5-10min jusqu’à ce qu’ils soient dorés (sans les laisser bruler).
3. Ajouter les pignons de pin, le citron confit, le jus de citron et la menthe aux courgettes. Egoutter les pâtes et les servir dans des assiettes ou bols. Ajouter les courgettes sur le dessus et parsemer dune cuillérée de sumac.

July 22, 2013

Ribbon Salad


What do you fancy eating on hot summer days? When the thermometer climbs above 20°C (and it’s more like 30°C these days), my body craves fresh and raw foods. Salads are the main staple of my diet at the moment. I like to vary taste and texture, hence the idea of making ribbons for a change. It looks super pretty and colourful in the plate. The day we initially made this salad, Luke helped me prepare it. He did the seasoning, using a VERY hot chilli, in which he left the seeds and white membranes. As we tucked in the salad, within seconds our mouths were on fire! It was all the contrary of a refreshing salad, rather one that made our body temperature rise up. We had a good laugh, but I would recommend that you either leave the chilli out all together or use a fairly mild one.

PS: I’ve done a guest post for travel & adventure blog Book of Wander, check it out here.

Ribbon Salad – serves 4
• Salt & pepper
• ½ red chilli, finely chopped
• Juice of ½ lemon
• 1tbsp balsamic vinegar
• 2tbsp olive oil
• 1 cucumber
• 3 carrots
• 2 courgettes
• A bunch of green asparagus
• A bunch of mint, shredded
• 2tbsp pumpkin seeds
• A handful of alfalfa sprouts (optional but delicious)

1. Prepare the seasoning by mixing together in a large salad bowl some salt and pepper with the chilli, lemon juice, vinegar and olive oil.
2. With a vegetable peeler, make some long ribbons of the vegetables. Place them in the salad bowl with the mint. Mix the salad with your hands to make sure that the ribbons are well seasoned.
3. Dish out into plates or bowls and top up with pumpkin seeds and alfalfa sprouts.

Salade de Rubans – pour 4 personnes
• Sel et poivre
• ½ piment rouge, finement émincé
• Jus d’1/2 citron
• 1cs de vinaigre balsamique
• 2cs d’huile d’olive
• 1 concombre
• 3 carottes
• 2 courgettes
• Une poignée d’asperges vertes
• Une poignée de menthe, hachée
• 2cs de graines de courge
• Une poignée de graines de luzerne germées (optionnel mais délicieux)

1. Préparer l’assaisonnement en mélangeant dans un saladier du sel et du poivre avec le piment, le jus de citron, le vinaigre balsamique et l’huile d’olive.
2. A l’aide d’un couteau économe, faire de longs rubans avec les légumes. Les mettre dans le saladier avec la menthe. Mélanger la salade avec les mains de façon à ce que les légumes puissent s’imprégner de l’assaisonnement.
3. Servir dans des assiettes ou bols et parsemer de graines de courge et de graines de luzerne germées.

July 14, 2013

Cherry & Coconut Clafoutis


Summer is in full swing in the British Isles – it’s hot and beautiful. I will keep this post short to get back sit in the sun in my garden, but not before I share with you my twist on the traditional French cherry clafoutis. Cherry clafoutis is an unmissable pud of early summer, celebrating the arrival of cherries. To keep the stones in the cherries or not to keep them in, that is the question! Some argue that keeping them in preserves the flavours of the cherries; other would rather not have to spit them out while eating. I have chosen to leave them in, but try for yourself and see what you prefer. As for my twist: I used coconut milk as well as coconut flour for an exotic touch. The coconut flour made it a bit grainier than it would usually be, but this was not unpleasant at all.

Enjoy!

Cherry & Coconut Clafoutis – serves 6
• 15g coconut oil + extra to grease
• 250g cherries
• 200ml coconut milk
• Seeds of 1 vanilla pod
• 2 eggs
• 50g rapadura sugar
• 65g coconut flour

1. Preheat the oven to 210°C.
2. Grease 6 ramequins with coconut oil. Place the cherries at the bottom of the ramequins.
3. Place the coconut milk, 15g coconut oil and vanilla seeds in a small saucepan. Gently bring to the boil and then take off the heat.
4. In a large bowl, mix the eggs with the sugar. Add the coconut flour and mix well. Finally, add the warm milk and mix well with a whisk.
5. Pour over the cherries in the ramequins. Place in the oven for 20-25 min until cooked through.
6. Leave to cool down for a bit before serving.
Tip: you can easily double the quantities and make a bigger clafoutis, cooking it in a medium sized oven dish instead

Clafoutis Cerises – Noix de Coco – pour 6 personnes
• 15 d’huile de noix de coco + 1 noix pour graisser
• 250g de cerises (dénoyautées ou non)
• 200ml de lait de coco
• Graines d’une gousse de vanille
• 2 œufs
• 50g de sucre rapadura
• 65g de farine de noix de coco

1. Préchauffer le four sur 210°C.
2. Graisser 6 ramequins avec de l’huile de noix de coco. Disperser les cerises au fond des ramequins.
3. Mettre le lait de coco, 15g d’huile de noix de coco et les graines de vanille dans une petite casserole. Porter à ébullition et retirer du feu.
4. Dans un saladier, mélanger les œufs avec le sucre. Ajouter la farine de noix de coco et bien mélanger.Enfin, ajouter le contenu de la casserole et bien mélanger.
5. Répartir dans les ramequins. Mettre au four pour 20-25min jusqu’à ce que les clafoutis soient cuits.
6. Laisser refroidir avant de servir.
Truc : vous pouvez facilement doubler les quantités pour faire un grand clafoutis – cuisez le alors dans un plat à four de taille moyenne.

July 06, 2013

Courgette, Tomato & Halloumi Skewers with Za'atar


We had our first barbecue of the season not long ago, and I’m so in love with summer lunches and long evenings cooking and sharing food outdoors. We’ve kept it simple with these halloumi and vegetable skewers. For those of you who are new to halloumi, this is a Cypriot cheese, traditionally made of a mix of goat and sheep milk, a bit chewy and fantastic to use in cooking. It can be fried until brown without melting, which makes it the perfect partner for barbecues! I rubbed the ingredients in za’atar, a Middle Eastern spice & herb mix. Za’atar can be bought readymade, or you can have a try at making your own. It goes really well in salad or as seasoning for various Mediterranean inspired dishes.


I thought I would do a little round up of some of my favourite ideas for vegetarian cooking on the barbie, to keep you inspired for the summer:
Corn on the cob
• Homemade veggie burgers
• Vegetable skewers
• Grilled & stuffed Portobello mushrooms
• Grilled asparagus
• Charred fennel
• Stuffed peppers
• Bbq baked sweet potatoes
• Pizzas

Have a great summer! x

Courgette, Tomato & Halloumi Skewers – serves 6
• 1 large courgette, cut into crescents
• 200g cherry tomatoes
• 150g halloumi, cubed
• 2tbsp olive oil
• 1tbsp za’atar

1. Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix until the vegetables and cheese are covered in seasoning.
2. Put onto wooden skewers. Place on the preheated BBQ and cook for about 15min, until the vegetables are cooked through, turning the skewers a couple of times throughout.
Tip: dip the wooden skewers in cold water before putting the ingredients on it so that they don’t burn while it’s cooking

Brochettes de Courgettes, Tomates et Halloumi – pour 6 brochettes
• 1 grosse courgette, coupée en demi-lunes
• 200g de tomates cerise
• 150g de halloumi, coupé en cubes
• 2cs d’huile d’olive
• 1cs de za’atar

1. Mettre tous les ingrédients dans un bol et mélanger de façon à ce que les légumes et le fromage soient bien assaisonnés.
2. Enfiler sur des pics en bois. Mettre sur le BBQ préchauffé et cuire environ 15min, jusqu’ ‘à ce que les légumes soient cuits, en tournant les brochettes de temps en temps.
Truc: tremper les pics en bois dans de l’eau froide avant d’y enfiler les ingrédients, de façon à ce qu’elles ne brûlent pas durant la cuisson