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


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 – 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.