August 29, 2014

Three Beans Salad & Lemony Millet

Beans come in a large variety of shapes and colours. As part of a mostly plant-based wholesome diet, they naturally find their place in my plate more often than not. However, for most of the year, I would tend to cook them from dried or canned form, so it is really an occasion to celebrate when they are finally in season and you can prepare them and cook them from fresh. In my family, we’ve always loved French beans, and as kids, we used to gather around the table with my mum to help prepare them all together. This year I decided to be a bit adventurous and to try cook fresh white beans too. They were easy enough to prepare and oh so delicious. I now wish I could eat fresh beans all year round!

Here is a recipe for a salad served on a bed of lemony millet. The beans are really the centrepiece of it. Although it will require a few pans and a little bit of time to prepare, it is so worth it. It is not every day you can eat fresh beans after all, and it is therefore worth having a feast, isn’t it?

Three Beans Salad & Lemony Millet – serves 6
•200g fresh white beans (weight once peeled)
•2 cloves garlic, peeled
•A sprig of thyme
•500g of a mix of yellow and green string beans, ends removed
•2tbsp almonds
•250g millet, rinsed
•Zest and juice of ½ lemon + juice of ½ lemon
•5tbsp olive oil
•1 large spring onion, finely chopped
•1 stick celery, finely chopped
•A bunch of parsley, roughly chopped
•Salt and pepper
•1tsp maple syrup
•1tsp wholegrain mustard

1.Place the white beans with one whole clove garlic and the sprig of thyme in a saucepan of boiling water. Cook for 20min, then add a good pinch of salt and cook for another 10min until tender. Drain and set aside.
2.Place the green and yellow beans into another large pan of boiling water and simmer for 15min, until tender. Drain, rinse under cold water and set aside.
3.Place the almonds on a baking tray and put into a preheated oven (180°C) for about 10min until golden and fragrant. Leave to cool down, then chop roughly.
4.Place the millet in another saucepan, cover with water and simmer on a gentle heat for about 20min, until cooked and all the water is absorbed. Add the zest and ½ lemon juice and 2tbsp olive oil to the pan and mix well.
5.Place all the beans in a large salad bowl, add the almonds, spring onion, celery and parsley. Prepare the dressing by mixing in a small bowl some salt and pepper with one finely chopped clove garlic, the maple syrup, wholegrain mustard, juice of ½ lemon and 3tbsp olive oil. Pour over the salad and mix well.
6.Place the lemony millet on a large serving plate, top up with the bean salad and serve.

Salade aux Trois Haricots sur un Lit de Millet Citronné – pour 6
•200g de haricots blancs frais (poids une fois écossés)
•2 gousses d’ail, pelées
•Un brin de thym
•500g d’un mélange de haricots verts et haricots beurre, dont on aura enlevé les extrémités
•2cs d’amandes
•250g de millet, rincé
•Zeste et jus d’1/2 citron + jus d’1/2 citron
•5cs d’huile d’olive
•1 gros oignon de printemps émincé
•1 branche de céleri, émincée
•1 poignée de persil, émincé
•Sel et poivre
•1cc de sirop d’érable
•1cc de moutarde à l’ancienne

1.Mettre les haricots blancs écossés dans une casserole d’eau bouillante avec une gousse d’ail et la branche de thym. Faire cuire 20min, puis ajouter une pincée de sel et poursuivre la cuisson encore 10min jusqu'à ce qu’ils soient tendres. Egoutter.
2.Pendant ce temps, mettre les haricots verts et beurre dans une autre casserole d’eau bouillante et laisser frémir 15min jusqu'à ce qu’ils soient tendres. Egoutter et rincer à l’eau froide.
3.Mettre les amandes sur une plaque de cuisson, puis mettre au four préchauffé sur 180°C pendant 10min jusqu'à ce qu’elles soient dorées. Laisser refroidir puis émincer.
4.Mettre le millet dans une autre casserole, couvrir d’eau puis laisser frémir à feu doux pendant environ 20min jusqu'à ce que l’eau soit absorbée. Ajouter le zeste et jus d’1/2 citron, ainsi que 2cs d’huile d’olive et mélanger.
5.Mettre tous les haricots dans un saladier avec les amandes, l’oignon, le céleri et le persil. Préparer l’assaisonnement dans un ramequin en mélangeant du sel et du poivre avec le sirop d’érable, la moutarde à l’ancienne, le jus d’1/2 citron et 3cs d’huile d’olive. Verser sur la salade de haricots et mélanger.
6.Etaler le millet citronné sur une assiette de service et recouvrir de salade de haricots, puis servir.

August 18, 2014

Berry Mini Cakes

Summer always surprises me in allowing simplicity. It is as if suddenly life could slow down and we could let go of the unnecessary, going back to a simpler pace of life. I guess it is the essence of summer holidays: letting go of our daily routines and finding an easy going way of life. Even if I haven’t actually taken a holiday this summer, I have tried to allow this to happen. Taking things simple.

Right now, nature abounds with fresh produce, such as a simple bowl of fresh berries. For this recipe, I simply tweaked my pear and vanilla financiers recipe from back then, using a short list of ingredients and adding fresh juicy berries. In just a few mouthfuls, they were all gone – they were that good! Happy Monday to you all and have a beautiful week :)

Berry Mini Cakes – makes 9
•120g ground almonds
•30g sugar (I used vanilla coconut blossom sugar)
•A pinch of salt
•50g butter, melted
•3 egg whites
•A handful of berries/currants

1.Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2.In a bowl, mix together the ground almonds, sugar, salt and butter. Whisk the egg whites until foamy, then add to the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
3.Pour the mixture into small silicone moulds. Top up each cake with a few berries and place in the oven for 25-30min, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
4.Leave to cool down for a bit before unmolding and cool down completely on a wire rack.

Mini Cakes aux Fruits Rouges – pour 9
•120g de poudre d’amandes
•30g de sucre (j’ai utilisé du sucre de fleur de coco)
•Une pincée de sel
•50g de beurre, fondu
•3 blancs d’œufs
•Une poignée de fruits rouges

1.Préchauffer le four sur 180°C.
2.Dans un bol, mélanger la poudre d’amandes avec le sucre, le sel et le beurre. Fouetter les œufs jusqu'à ce qu’ils deviennent mousseux, puis ajouter dans le bol et bien mélanger.
3.Verser le mélange dans des petits moules en silicone. Déposer quelques fruits rouges sur le dessus de chaque cake et mettre au four pour 25-30min, jusqu'à ce qu’une pique en bois insérée au milieu en ressorte sèche.
4.Laisser refroidir quelques instants avant de démouler et laisser refroidir complètement sur une grille.

August 08, 2014

Summer Sunshine Lunch Bowl

With the risk of you thinking that I am totally obsessed with salads AND mixing fruits & vegetables together, I couldn’t resist sharing the recipe for this summer sunshine bowl. Except from the avocado, it was made using local ingredients that we had shopped at the market. The colours for this dish are vibrant like the reflection of a hot summer’s day. If you’re sceptical about using strawberries in a savoury dish, I promise this won’t disappoint you. They add that extra touch of ‘je ne sais quoi’ to the dish, a fruity note. We had it with a slice of dark rye bread, in what made a wholesome lunch.

I made this lunch bowl for the first time a couple of weeks ago when we went away for a weekend. We had the whole three days completely disconnected from any internet, phones, etc. and I was reflecting on how amazing this felt and how important it is to have breaks from all the modern technologies. Don’t get me wrong, they are wonderful tools and as a blogger, they serve my purpose of sharing beautiful recipes and connecting with people from all over the world. I also love browsing other blogs or play with social media. However, I do think that it is so beneficial to disconnect from the digital world on a very regular basis, and take time to reconnect with yourself, with others around you and with nature. And summer is definitely the best time of year to do this, especially if you’re able to go on holiday, when routines do not really exist anymore and we are able to open ourselves to new adventures. So this summer sunshine lunch bowl was kind of created in that spirit: reconnecting with the land that provide the food that we enjoy, eating it with full awareness, and sharing the meal with loved ones.

So let’s celebrate summer, sunshine, fresh and vibrant foods and reconnecting! Happy weekend x

Summer Sunshine Lunch Bowl – serves 2
•2 large handfuls cherry tomatoes
•1 small yellow courgette, very finely sliced
•1 avocado, peeled, stoned and cubed
•100g strawberries, hulled and halved
•A bunch of basil, leaved picked
•2 hard-boiled eggs, shelled and halved
•Salt and pepper
•2tbsp balsamic vinegar
•3tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1.Arrange the ingredients in a large salad bowl.
2.To prepare the dressing, mix some salt and pepper with the balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Pour over the salad when ready to serve.

Assiette Estivale Ensoleillée – pour 2 personnes
•2 grosses poignées de tomates cerise
•1 petite courgette jaune, coupée en fines tranches
•1 avocat, pelé, dénoyauté et coupé en cubes
•100g de fraises, dont on aura retiré la queue, coupées en deux
•Une poignée de basilic
•2 œufs durs, pelés et coupés en deux
•Sel et poivre
•2cs de vinaigre balsamique
•3cs d’huile d’olive extra-vierge

1.Arranger les ingrédients dans un saladier.
2.Pour préparer l’assaisonnement, mélanger le sel et poivre avec le vinaigre et l’huile. Verser sur la salade au moment de servir.

August 01, 2014

Introducing the Toolbox & Making Ice Cream, the Easy Way

Today, I’d love to introduce you to the ‘Toolbox’. This will be a new section on the blog where I will share tips, tricks and how tos. The aim is to give you tools to play with in the kitchen, become a better cook or try something completely new. If you’d like to see something featured in it, please feel free to email me on to make any suggestion.

And now is time for our first how to...

Nothing symbolises summer better than ice cream, don’t you think? I especially love having one on a hot day, while lazily wandering by the sea front. I also like having them at home, but if like me you don’t happen to have an ice cream machine, the good news is that you can still have your very own homemade ice cream! And because I like treats to be on the healthier side of things, here are two wholesome versions for making ice cream, the easy way.

Scoops of peach and yogurt ice-cream in a small cup

The first version calls for frozen fruits and yogurt. I have chosen peaches, but you could very well use apricots, mango or berries for instance, depending on whatever takes your fancy.

The base for the second version is nothing else than frozen bananas! They become incredibly creamy as you blend them and surprisingly look like real ice cream. I have chosen to add maple roasted pecans and raw cacao nibs, but this is totally optional, of course.

In both cases, any leftovers can be put back in the freezer in a small container, and would need to be taken out of the freezer at least one hour before eating in order to soften. You could also quickly blend the leftovers again before serving to get that wonderful creamy texture.

So, all you need to think about is to freeze fruits, and you’ll be able to prepare ice cream in minutes whenever you fancy one. Bonus: no nasties and no added sugar, only fruit goodness!

Peach & Yogurt Ice Cream – serves 4
•2 large peaches
•4tbsp natural yogurt (I used sheep yogurt)

1.Peel and stone the peaches and cut into cubes. Place on a plate covered with greaseproof paper or in a freezing bag and put in the freezer overnight.
2.Take the peaches out of the freezer about 1hour before using them, to let them soften slightly. Place in a high speed blender or food processor with the natural yogurt and blend until smooth and creamy. Serve.

Bananicecream – serves 4
•6 small bananas
•2tbsp pecan nuts, chopped (optional)
•1tbsp maple syrup (optional)
•1tbsp raw cacao nibs (optional)

1.Peel and slice the bananas. Place on a plate covered with greaseproof paper or in a freezer bag and put in the freezer overnight.
2.If using the nuts, preheat the oven to 180°C. Place the nuts in a bowl and mix with the maple syrup, then place on a baking tray covered with baking paper and put in the oven for about 10min until they caramelize. Leave to cool down.
3.When ready to make the ice cream, take the bananas out of the freezer, place in a food processor along with the caramelized nuts and cacao nibs and blend until smooth. Serve.

Glace Pêche-Yaourt – pour 4 personnes
•2 grosses pêches
•4cs de yaourt/fromage blanc nature (j’ai utilisé du yaourt de brebis)

1.Peler et dénoyauter les pêches et les couper en cubes. Mettre sur une assiette recouverte de papier sulfurisé ou dans un sac congélation et mettre au congélateur pendant une nuit.
2.Sortir les pêches du congélateur environ 1h avant de s’en servir, pour les laisser ramollir légèrement. Mettre dans un blender à grande vitesse ou un robot avec le yaourt/fromage blanc et mixer jusqu'à l’obtention d’un mélange crémeux et lisse. Servir.

Glace à la Banane – pour 4 personnes
•6 petites bananes
•2cs de noix de pécan (optionnel)
•1cs de sirop d’érable (optionnel)
•1cs de pépites de cacao cru

1.Peler et couper les bananes en rondelles. Mettre sur une assiette recouverte de papier sulfurisé ou dans un sac congélation et mettre au congélateur pendant une nuit.
2.Si vous utiliser les noix de pécan, préchauffer le four sur 180°C. Mettre les noix dans un bol et les mélanger avec le sirop d’érable, puis les étaler sur une plaque à four recouverte de papier sulfurisé, et les mettre au four pour environ 10min de façon à ce qu’elles caramélisent. Laisser refroidir.
3.Pour faire la glace, sortir les bananes du congélateur et les mettre dans un robot avec les noix caramélisées et les pépites de cacao et mixer jusqu'à l’obtention d’une texture crémeuse. Servir.

PS: I’m super happy to have an interview and recipe featured in the latest issue of Surfgirl! Grab your copy ;-)