May 28, 2013

New Potato & Asparagus Salad with Yogurt & Tahini Dressing

A salad of new potatoes, asparagus, feta and gerkins

When on the lookout for ideas to create new salads, I often get inspiration from nature and what is currently in season. I believe that using vegetables as fresh as possible and in season will not only have the best taste possible, but also the best nutritional values. Asparagus have arrived a bit late this year, due to the cold snap we had in March, but thankfully, here they are. I picked some from the farmers’ market and knew that I would want to use them in a salad with delicious new season potatoes. I don’t know where the idea for the gherkins came from, but I hadn’t eaten any for years and had only recently bought a jar from the local store. That, with feta and dill, and our lunch was sorted.

Spooning dressing onto a salad

I hope you’ve enjoyed the long bank holiday weekends this May and are ready to embrace and enjoy this delightful time of year. I’m pretty excited about our garden and various vegetables which are growing in it at the moment. Will have to do a little reportage on it some time soon ;-)

A salad mixed in a tahini dressing

New Potatoes and Asparagus Salad with Yogurt and Tahini Dressing – serves 4
• 650g new potatoes
• A bunch of green asparagus, cut into chunks
• A handful of gherkins, finely sliced
• 100g feta, cubed
• A bunch of dill, chopped
• Salt and pepper
• 1tbsp white wine vinegar
• 2tbsp olive oil
• 2tbsp natural yogurt
• 1tbsp tahini

1. Cook the potatoes in a pan of boiling water for 20min or until cooked through. Drain, rinse under cold water and cut into chunks.
2. Cook the asparagus in a pan of boiling water for 3min. Drain and rinse under cold water.
3. Place the potatoes, asparagus, gherkins, feta and dill in a large salad bowl.
4. To make the dressing, mix salt, pepper, vinegar, olive oil, yogurt and tahini.
5. Mix the dressing in the salad before serving.

Salade de Pommes de Terre Nouvelles et Asperges Vertes, Assaisonnement au Yaourt et Tahini – pour 4 personnes
• 650g de pommes de terre nouvelles
• Une poignée d’asperges vertes, coupées en 4
• Une poignée de cornichons, coupés en fines rondelles
• 100g de feta, coupée en cubes
• Une poignée d’aneth, haché
• Sel et poivre
• 1cs de vinaigre de vin blanc
• 2cs d’huile d’olive
• 2cs de yaourt nature (ou fromage blanc)
• 1cs de tahini

1. Faire cuire les pommes de terre dans une casserole d’eau bouillante 20min, ou jusqu’à ce qu’elles soient cuites. Egoutter, rincer à l’eau froide et les couper en morceaux.
2. Faire cuire les asperges dans une casserole d’eau bouillante pendant 3min. Egoutter et rincer à l’eau froide.
3. Mettre les pommes de terre, les asperges, les cornichons, la feta et l’aneth dans un grand saladier.
4. Pour préparer l’assaisonnement, mélanger sel, poivre, vinaigre, huile, yaourt et tahini.
5. Mélanger la salade avec l’assaisonnement avant de servir.

A salad of new potatoes, asparagus, feta, dill and gerkins

May 20, 2013

A 7 Day Vegan Challenge + Dhal Recipe


Stumbling upon a new blog can sometimes be a magic moment – I had one of them a few months back when I discovered Leo Babauta's Zen Habits. Reading Zen Habits has been life changing. It has stirred up something inside of me that has given me strength and inspiration for life. I cannot recommend enough for you to take a few moments and read some of Leo’s hugely inspirational posts. A couple of weeks ago, he offered a 7-day vegan challenge to his readers. I decided to follow it and just finished it last Saturday. How was it? I have to say that it didn’t feel like a big difference to what I usually eat and was not particularly difficult to achieve for me. But it allowed me to have a break from dairy and eggs, which, even if I do not eat a large quantity of, was keen on reducing my consumption of. It also allowed me to think about what being vegan could mean to me, and the importance in my eyes of what you eat and where it comes from. Our various meals during the challenge included chili tofu with greens, split pea soup, asparagus and quinoa salad and a three bean chilli. Our breakfast usually consisted either of raw porridge or granola with soy yogurt. If you would like to have a try and get recipes inspirations, go to the 7-day vegan challenge's website where you will find all the info needed.

I haven’t decided to turn vegan, but really enjoyed the challenge and the break it offered me. Today, I will therefore share a vegan fav recipe of mine: dhal. Please note that my recipe is not particularly authentic Indian, but just the way I’ve made it for years. I used to have dhal a lot when I was a student and turned vegetarian. It is delicious simply served with rice or with stir fried vegetables, but also makes a great accompaniment to curry.

Have a lovely week, and I hope some of you will be inspired to take on the vegan challenge too!

Dhal – serves 4
• Coconut oil
• 1onion, finely chopped
• 1tsp ground turmeric
• 2tsp ground coriander
• 2 tomatoes, finely chopped
• 250g red split lentils, rinsed
• 3 curry leaves

1. Heat a knob of coconut oil in a medium saucepan. Add the onion and fry gently until soft. Add the spices and tomatoes and fry for 3-4min.
2. Add the red lentils and curry leaves. Cover with water. Put a lid on and leave to simmer on a low heat for about 20min until the lentils are cooked. Give a stir every so often to prevent sticking at the bottom, and add a bit more water if it has evaporated quickly.
3. Remove the curry leaves and serve with rice, steamed spinach, a vegetable stir fry or as a side for a curry.

Dhal – pour 4 personnes
• Huile de noix de coco
• 1 oignon, émincé
• 1cc de curcuma en poudre
• 2cc de coriandre en poudre
• 2 tomates, émincées
• 250g de lentilles corail, rincées
• 3 feuilles de curry

1. Faire chauffer une noix d’huile de noix de coco dans une casserole de taille moyenne. Ajouter l’oignon et faire revenir doucement jusqu’à ce qu’il soit tendre. Ajouter les épices et la tomate et faire revenir pendant 3-4min.
2. Ajouter les lentilles et feuilles de curry. Couvrir d’eau. Mettre le couvercle et cuire à feu doux pendant environ 20min, jusqu’à ce que les lentilles soient cuites. Mélanger de temps en temps à l’aide d’une cuillère en bois pour éviter que cela n’attache, et ajouter un peu d’eau si le liquide s’évapore trop rapidement.
3. Retirer les feuilles de curry et servir avec du riz, des épinards cuits à la vapeur, un sauté de légumes ou comme accompagnement d’un curry.

May 12, 2013

Croatia


I’ve just come back from a lovely trip to Croatia and wanted to share a few pictures.


We travelled from Split to Dubrovnik, both beautiful Unesco World Heritage cities. We then went on the island of Korcula, before heading back to Split.


I have been amazed by the beauty of the landscapes and the kindness of the people.


The food was beyond wonder, made with fresh ingredients and tasted of a mix of Mediterranean and Middle-East flavours.


Talking of travels, my other half has just created a travel and adventure blog, called Book of Wander, check it out here.

May 03, 2013

Radish Leaves & Hazelnut Pesto Pasta

A plate with pesto pasta on a white wooden background

When we grew radishes in our garden last year, they had such beautiful leaves (those which hadn’t been eaten by slugs), that I was keen on using them in some way. That’s when I came up with this pesto recipe, which we made again and again every time we had new radishes popping out of the earth. You see, until fairly recently, I wasn’t a big eater of greens. As a child I used to hate anything green and leafy (but for green salad). In recent years, I have educated my taste buds to green leaves and have decided to progressively include more and more in my diet. I’ve discovered that not only they do taste good but also have amazing health benefits – they are indeed charged with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Pesto is a delicious way of eating greens and is not only good with pasta but also goes well in salads, sandwiches, dips, spreads, etc.

2 bunches of radishes on a white wooden background

Radish Leaves & Hazelnut Pesto Pasta – serves 4
• A bunch of radish leaves
• 60g hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
• 1 clove garlic, chopped
• 30g parmesan, grated
• 100ml extra virgin olive oil
• 400g wholewheat or spelt spaghetti

1. In a food processor, blend the leaves with the hazelnuts and garlic. Add the cheese and olive oil and mix them in.
2. Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. Drain them well. Add the pesto to the pan and mix well. Serve straight away.

Pâtes au Pesto de Feuilles de Radis et Noisettes – pour 4 personnes
• Une poignée de feuilles de radis
• 60g de noisettes, légèrement toastées et émincées
• 1 gousse d’ail, émincée
• 30g de parmesan, râpé
• 100ml d’huile d’olive vierge extra
• 400g de spaghetti au blé complet ou à l’épeautre

1. Mettre les feuilles de radis avec les noisettes et l’ail dans le bol d’un mixeur et mixer. Ajouter le fromage et l’huile et mélanger.
2. Cuire les pâtes selon les instructions du paquet. Bien les égoutter. Ajouter le pesto dans la casserole et bien mélanger. Servir de suite.

A jar of pesto with a wooden spoon on a white background