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.


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