March 22, 2013

Cheeky Choco Coco Raw Bars

I am delighted that it is now fairly easy to find delicious raw bars in many shops. The only thing that I find hard to swallow is their price, eeek! Naturally, what sprung to my mind was to try a homemade version of these beauties! After reading labels of shop-bought bars, it seemed to me that this was feasible. The element to get right was the quantities of each ingredient. I was pretty chuffed with how my bars turned out, whether the mix of flavours or the consistency. In the end, it probably cost me a quarter of what I would have spent if I had bought them at the shop and was as good if not better.
Have a great weekend!

Cheeky Choco Coco Raw Bars – makes 8 bars
• 300g Medjool dates, pitted
• Juice of ½ lime
• 80g cashew nuts, soaked overnight, rinsed and drained
• A pinch of chilli powder
• 30g desiccated coconut + extra for sprinkling
• 2tbsp raw cocoa powder

1. Place the dates with the lime juice and cashew nuts in the bowl of a food processor and blitz until it forms a rough sticky paste.
2. Transfer to a bowl, add the chilli powder, coconut and cocoa powder and mix well with a wooden spoon. Spoon the mixture onto a small square dish lined with baking paper. Smooth the top out with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle with extra desiccated coconut and place in the fridge for at least 3 hours.
3. Cut about 8 bars. What is not eaten at first can be kept in the fridge for at least 5 days.

Barres Crues Choco Coco – pour 8 barres
• 300g de dattes Medjool, dénoyautées
• Jus d’1/2 citron vert
• 80g de noix de cajou, trempées pendant une nuit, rincées et égouttées
• Une pincée de piment en poudre
• 30g de noix de coco en poudre + extra pour saupoudrer
• 2cs de poudre de cacao crue

1. Mettre les dattes, le jus de citron vert et les noix de cajou dans le bol d’un mixeur et mixer jusqu’à l’obtention d’une pâte collante.
2. Transférer dans un grand bol, ajouter le piment en poudre, la noix de coco et bien mélanger avec une cuillère en bois. Transférer dans un petit plat carré recouvert de papier sulfurisé. Lisser la surface avec le dos d’une cuillère. Saupoudrez de poudre de noix de coco et mettre au réfrigérateur pour au moins 3h.
3. Couper environ 8 barres. Se conserve au réfrigérateur pendant au moins 5 jours.

March 15, 2013

Yellow Split Pea & Vegetable Stew

We spent the last two weekends doing works in the house. We started with repainting the spare bedroom, and the next week we sorted and cleaned the kitchen, going through the entire pantry and having a good sort. I really enjoyed that but it was harder work than I thought. We were exhausted by the end of it! Last weekend, as we were doing the kitchen, I could see rain falling outside. It was cold and wet and made me crave for a warm dish of hearty vegetables. And there came this stew. What I loved about it was the fact that I put it on the stove and then didn’t have much to do while it was cooking apart from checking it once in a while. Maybe you’ve had snow or cold weather too recently; if so, run to the kitchen and make this stew, I promise it will warm your heart :)

Yellow Split Pea and Vegetable Stew – serves 4 – 6
• 500g potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
• 4 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
• 180g yellow split peas, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed
• Vegetable stock
• 2 sprigs of thyme
• 1 Savoy cabbage, shredded
• 1tbsp tomato purée
• 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
• Salt and pepper

1. Place the potatoes, carrots and drained split peas in a large pot, cover with vegetable stock, add the thyme sprigs and bring to a simmer. Leave to cook for 35min.
2. Add the cabbage and tomato purée and leave to simmer for another 20min. Add vegetable stock if there is not much liquid left.
3. Add the chickpeas, salt and pepper and leave to cook for another 5min. Serve into bowls.

Ragoût de Pois Cassés & Légumes – pour 4 à 6 personnes
• 500g de pommes de terre, pelées et coupées en gros morceaux
• 4 carottes, pelées et coupées en gros morceaux
• 180g de pois cassés jaunes, trempés pendant une nuit, égouttés et rincés
• Bouillon de légumes
• 2 brins de thym
• 1 chou vert, haché
• 1cs de concentré de tomates
• 1 boîte de pois chiches, égouttés et rincés
• Sel et poivre

1. Mettre les pommes de terre, les carottes et les pois cassés dans un grand faitout, couvrir de bouillon de légume, ajouter les brins de thym et porter à ébullition. Laisser mijoter à feu moyen pendant 35min.
2. Ajouter le chou et le concentré de tomates et laisser frémir pendant encore 20min. Ajouter du bouillon de légumes si le liquide a beaucoup réduit.
3. Ajouter les pois chiches, du sel et du poivre et laisser cuire encore 5min. Servir dans des bols.

March 07, 2013

Mushroom Salad

A simple mushroom salad in a green bowl on a wooden background

I remember the first time I made this mushroom salad for Luke and I; we were both at uni and it was a Sunday lunch time. The look on the face of Luke’s housemate when he saw what was in our plates was quite amusing as he asked ‘what on earth are you eating?’ He had obviously never seen before that you could eat raw mushrooms! I hadn’t realised that this could be an oddity, having grown up in France, where mushroom salad is something pretty common to have. I’ve only ever had button or chestnut mushrooms in salad, and I wouldn’t be able to say whether it is possible to eat other varieties of mushrooms raw. Button mushrooms really make an easy salad, as a starter or a main, and it is truly delicious. I would advice to use mushrooms that are as fresh as possible for it. Enjoy!

Mushroom Salad – serves 4 as a starter or 2 as a light main
• 300g button mushrooms, sliced thinly
• Salt, pepper
• Juice of ½ lemon
• 3tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• A large bunch of chives, parsley or mint, finely chopped

1. Mix together the salt, pepper, lemon juice and olive oil at the bottom of a salad bowl. Add the mushrooms and mix well. Leave to stand for 10-15min to allow the mushrooms to absorb the juices. Sprinkle with the herbs and serve.

Salade de Champignons – pour 4 personnes en entrée ou 2 personnes pour un plat principal léger
• 300g de champignons de Paris, coupés en fines lamelles
• Sel et poivre
• Jus d’1/2 citron
• 3cs d’huile d’olive vierge extra
• Une poignée de ciboulette, persil ou menthe, finement hachée

1. Préparer l’assaisonnement dans le fond d’un saladier, en mélangeant le sel, poivre, jus de citron et huile d’olive. Ajouter les champignons et bien mélanger. Laisser de côté pour 10-15min, de façon à ce que les champignons absorbent l’assaisonnement. Parsemer d’herbes fraiches et servir.