November 29, 2014

Wild Mushrooms Quinoa

Plate and cuttlery with a wild mushroom quinoa dish, and  a glass of water

While some were celebrating Thanksgiving earlier this week, I couldn’t help but feel infinite gratitude for the things that make my everyday life. Each and every day, I try to remember to silently say thank you, in my heart for all I have. The good things, but also the not so good things and learn to be content with what I have here and now. A constant work in progress.

Chanterelles, ceps, shallots, parsley and quinoa on a wooden board

At the market, we’ve been very lucky to find an abundance of locally foraged wild mushrooms over the past few months. They remain a treat as they are pretty expensive, so we appreciated them even more. I wanted to create a simple meal that would enhance the mushrooms flavours, as they really are the stars of the show. And maybe, one day, we’ll learn to recognize mushrooms in the wild and will be able to go foraging them by ourselves. My granddad used to be a keen mushroom picker and I would love to have this skill too.

We had leftovers of the meal for the next day and served it with a fried egg, which was fantastic too. I hope you’ll enjoy this quintessentially autumnal meal, before we step into winter and more Christmassy recipes. With love and gratitude x

Chanterelle mushrooms on a paper bag

Helen at Well Being Secrets has written a very interesting article on the numerous health benefits of quinoa, take a look to learn more.

Wild Mushrooms Quinoa – serves 4
•250g quinoa
•2tbsp almonds
•2 big handfuls wild mushrooms, such as chanterelles, ceps, etc.
•1tbsp ghee or butter
•2tbsp olive oil
•2 shallots, finely chopped
•A large handful parsley, chopped + extra

1.Rinse the quinoa and place it in a saucepan with double its volume in water. Bring to the boil then cover and leave to cook for about 15-20min, until all the water has been absorbed.
2.Place the almonds on a small baking tray and place in a preheated oven (180°C) for about 5-10min, until golden and fragrant. Leave to cool down then chop them.
3.Clean the mushrooms with a small brush and wash them it necessary. Chop them.
4.Heat the ghee or butter and olive oil in a frying pan or sauté pan. Add the shallots and fry on a medium heat for 2min. Add the mushrooms and cook for about 5min, until tender. Finally, add the parsley.
5.Add the cooked quinoa to the pan and mix it in the mushrooms. Dish out onto plates and sprinkle with chopped almonds and extra parsley.

Quinoa aux Champignons Sauvages – pour 4 personnes
•250g de quinoa
•2cs d’amandes
•2 grosses poignées de champignons sauvages, tels que girolles, cèpes, etc.
•1cs de ghee ou de beurre
•2cs d’huile d’olive
•2 échalotes, finement émincées
•Une grosse poignée de persil, émincé + extra

1.Rincer le quinoa et le mettre dans une casserole avec le double de volume d’eau. Porter à ébullition, couvrir et laisser cuire à feu doux 15-20min, jusqu'à ce que toute l’eau soit absorbée.
2.Mettre les amandes sur une petite plaque à four et mettre dans un four préchauffé (180°C) pendant 5-10min, jusqu'à ce qu’elles soient dorées et parfumées. Laisser refroidir et les émincer.
3.Nettoyer les champignons à l’aide d’une petite brosse et les laver si nécessaire. Les émincer.
4.Faire chauffer le ghee ou beurre et l’huile d’olive dans une sauteuse ou poêle. Ajouter les échalotes et les faire revenir pendant 2min. Ajouter les champignons et cuire à feu moyen pendant environ 5min, jusqu'à ce qu’ils soient tendres. Enfin, ajouter le persil.
5.Ajouter le quinoa dans la sauteuse et le mélanger aux champignons. Servir dans des assiettes et parsemer d’amandes et de feuilles de persil.

Plate and cuttlery with a wild mushroom quinoa dish

November 21, 2014

Quince & Apple Baked Oatmeal

Oval dish with an apple and quince oatmeal pudding

Staying with the theme of breakfasts that can be had for pudding and vice-versa, I came up with this baked oatmeal recipe a few weekends ago. All I’ve wanted in the mornings recently have been warm breakfasts. When it’s dark and cold outside, this seems to be the only way to start the day. A bowl of something warm and comforting.  Have you noticed that if you take time to listen to your body and tap into your intuition/inner GPS, it’s hard to go wrong? I love tuning in with the seasons and adapting the way I eat accordingly. Listening to your inner light and going with the flow.

The oatmeal calls for oats, which slowly release their energy throughout the morning, easily keeping you going until lunchtime. I also used a fruit that I had kind of forgotten about: quince. I remember that my grandparents had a big quince tree in their back garden, but I hadn’t seen or eaten quince for years. At first sight, you’re not really sure whether they are a big lemon or a misshaped apple or pear. However, when cutting into their tough flesh, they are definitely recognisable. I am not sure quinces can be eaten raw. They are most often found in jams/jellies or paste form. I like to mix them with apples and cook them in a compote, for an easy no fuss dessert, or like here, steam them and use them as the base for a delicious warming autumn breakfast.

Have a lovely weekend x

Quince & Apple Baked Oatmeal – serves 4 to 6
•4 quinces
•3 apples
•180g small rolled oats
•A pinch of salt
•1tsp baking powder
•2 eggs
•500ml plant milk (I used sesame milk)
•1 red apple
•1tbsp nut butter (such as peanut or hazelnut)
•1tbsp honey

1.Peel, core and chop the quinces. Steam them for about 20min, until tender. Add the apples and steam for another 5min.  Spread across the bottom of an oven dish.
2.Preheat the oven to 180°C.
3.In a bowl, mix the oats with the salt and baking powder.
4.In another bowl, beat the eggs with the plant milk. Add to the dry ingredients and mix well. Spread over the quinces/apples.
5.Core the red apple and slice it into thin slices. Spread them over the dish and put in the oven for 30-40min until cooked and fragrant.
6.In the meantime, mix the nut butter and honey in a small bowl. Add water, 1tbsp at a time until you obtain a smooth runny sauce. When taking the dish out of the oven, drizzle the sauce over the oatmeal. Serve warm.

Gruau d’Avoine au Four aux Coings & Pommes – pour 4 à 6 personnes
•4 coings
•3 pommes
•180g de petits flocons d’avoine
•1 pincée de sel
•1cc de levure
•2 œufs
•500ml de lait végétal (j’ai utilisé du lait de sésame)
•1 pomme rouge
•1cs de purée d’oléagineux (de noisette ou de cacahuète par exemple)
•1cs de miel

1.Peler, évider et couper les coings en morceaux. Les faire cuire 20min à la vapeur, jusqu'à ce qu’ils soient tendres. Ajouter les pommes et faire cuire encore 5min à la vapeur. Répartir dans le fond d’un plat à four.
2.Préchauffer le four sur 180°C.
3.Dans un bol, mélanger les flocons d’avoine avec la levure et le sel.
4.Dans un autre bol, battre les œufs et les mélanger avec le lait végétal. Ajouter aux ingrédients secs et mélanger. Répartir sur les fruits.
5.Evider la pomme rouge et la couper en tranches fines. Les répartir sur le dessus du plat et enfourner pour 30-40min, jusqu'à ce que le gruau soit doré.
6.Pendant ce temps, mélanger la purée d’oléagineux avec le miel. Ajouter l’eau, une cuillérée à la fois, jusqu'à l’obtention d’une sauce lisse. A la sortie du four, la verser en filet sur le plat. Servir chaud.

November 10, 2014

Sesame Milk - 2 Ways

Two glass bottles of plant milk, made from sesame seeds

Discovering plant milks opened a whole new array of possibilities for me. As a child, I simply wouldn’t drink cow’s milk as this would make me feel sick. I would however tolerate other dairy products, but milk on its own was a no-no. Later, I tried soy milk, but never really liked its taste either.  And then, a few years ago, I was introduced to homemade almond milk. And my universe suddenly changed. Its delicate flavour and smooth texture seemed to have been made in heaven. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to experiment with many different plant milk variations, and even if I often buy readymade organic rice or oat milk for convenience, it is always a treat to make my own. Each type of milk has a distinctive taste, and this is particularly true of sesame milk. I’ve come up with two ways of making it: the first one uses sesame seeds and I opt for this option when wanting to make a big bottle and when I have a bit more time ahead of me and the second one, which uses tahini, for cases when I want a drink that will be ready in only a matter of minutes. The later tends to be a bit thicker and richer; you can try both and see which one you like best.

Sesame milk is rich in calcium and can be used as a substitute to dairy milk, as a drink or in recipes. It can also be sweetened by adding a date before blending, or maybe a grated vanilla pod for extra flavour.  Have a great week!

Two spoons, one filled with sesame seeds, the other with tahini

Sesame Milk – 2 ways
Option 1
•100g whole sesame seeds, soaked overnight
•500ml pure filtered water

1.Drain and rinse the seeds. Place them with the water in a blender and blend on high speed until the seeds break.
2.Pass through a muslin cloth to filter the seeds. Pour the milk in a bottle and keep in the fridge for up to a week.

Option 2
•2tbsp tahini
•250ml pure filtered water

1.Place the tahini in a small bowl and add a couple of tablespoons water. Stir with a spoon to start incorporate the tahini to the water.
2.Pour in a blender and add the rest of the water. Blend until smooth. Enjoy straight away or pour in a bottle and keep in the fridge for later.

Boisson Végétale au Sésame – de 2 façons
Option 1
•100g de graines de sésame complètes, trempées pendant une nuit
•500ml d’eau filtrée

1.Egoutter et rincer les graines. Les mettre dans un blender avec l’eau et mixer jusqu’à ce que les graines soient broyées.
2.Passer à travers une mousseline, pour filtrer les graines, puis verser le liquide dans une bouteille en verre. Se garde au réfrigérateur pendant une semaine.

Option 2
•2cs de tahini (purée de sésame)
•250ml d’eau filtrée

1.Mettre le tahini dans un petit bol et ajouter quelques cuillérées d’eau. Remuer pour incorporer le tahini à l’eau.
2.Verser dan un blender et mixer jusqu'à l’obtention d’une texture lisse et crémeuse. Déguster de suite ou verser dans une bouteille et garder au réfrigérateur.

November 03, 2014

Butternut Squash & Black Beans Enchiladas

Weekend meals tend to be fairly relaxed in our home. I love cooking with my other half and we sometimes spend a fair amount of time in the kitchen preparing homey comforting dishes. Foreign foods is often what we go for on Saturday or Sunday nights, and we might be inspired by dishes from China, Japan, India, Italy or Mexico, to only name a few. We might take a basic recipe and give it a few twists to adapt it to our taste or mood of the moment. Enchiladas are a no fuss favourite of ours, and I think we’ve had the combination of black beans and squash already a number of times in the past few years, but we never get tired of it.

The past two months were incredibly hot and sunny here: I was still wearing shorts last week, going for sea swims, and temperatures were averaging 28°C during day time! But with days being shorter and eating autumnal foods, my body kind of felt a bit at odds with what’s the season. November is now upon us, and as if by magic, the weather seems to have finally turned to proper autumn. Maybe it’s just time to pause and embrace it, like the calm before the storm that December usually is.

Have a lovely week and if you decide to feed your tummies with these enchiladas, I’m sure you’ll be on for a treat! x

Butternut Squash & Black Bean Enchiladas – serves 4
•200g dried black beans, soaked overnight
•1 small butternut squash
•Salt and pepper
•Olive oil
•1 onion, peeled and chopped
•3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
•1tsp ground cumin
•2tsp chilli powder
•2tsp smoked paprika
•1 can chopped tomatoes
•8 corn tortillas
•150g manchego cheese (or other hard sheep cheese), grated
•1 avocado, peeled, stoned and sliced

1.Rinse the beans, place in a large saucepan, cover with plenty of water and bring to the boil. Cover, lower the heat and cook for 1 hour. Drain and set aside.
2.Preheat the oven to 200°C. Peel, seed and chop the butternut squash into small cubes. Place on a baking tray, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Mix well and place in the oven for 20-25min until tender. Set aside.
3.In a large sauté pan, heat 2tbsp olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and fry gently until soft. Add the spices and stir them in. Then add the tomato can, mix and leave to cook for 15-20min until reduced to a fairly thick sauce.
4.In a large bowl, mix together the beans, butternut squash, half of the sauce and a third of the cheese. Place a few spoonfuls of the mixture in the centre of a corn tortilla, roll it and place in an oven dish. Repeat. Once all the tortillas are in the dish, spread over the rest of the sauce and sprinkle with the rest of the cheese. Place in the oven (still on 200°C) for about 10min, until the cheese has melted. Serve with the avocado slices and a green salad.

Enchiladas à la Courge Butternut et Haricots Noirs – pour 4 personnes
•200g de haricots noirs secs, trempés pendant une nuit
•1 petite courge butternut
•Sel et poivre
•Huile d’olive
•1 oignon, pelé, et émincé
•3 gousses d’ail, pelées et émincées
•1cc de cumin en poudre
•2cc de piment en poudre
•2cc de paprika fumé en poudre
•1 boîte de tomates concassées
•8 tortillas de maïs
•150g de manchego (ou autre fromage de brebis), râpé
•1 avocat, pelé, dénoyauté et tranché

1.Rincer les haricots. Les mettre dans une grande casserole, couvrir d’eau et porter à ébullition. Couvrir et laisser cuire à petits bouillons pendant environ 1h. Egoutter et réserver.
2.Préchauffer le four sur 200°C. Peler, égrainer et couper la courge butternut en petits morceaux. Les mettre sur une plaque à four. Assaisonner de sel et poivre et d’huile d’olive, bien mélanger et mettre au four 20-25min, jusqu'à ce qu’elle soit tendre. Réserver.
3.Dans une sauteuse, faire chauffer 2cs d’huile d’olive. Ajouter l’oignon et l’ail et faire revenir à feu doux quelques minutes. Ajouter les épices et faire revenir 1min. Ajouter la tomate et laisser réduire pendant 10-15min, jusqu'à l’obtention d’une sauce assez épaisse.
4.Dans un grand saladier/bol, mélanger les haricots avec la courge, la moitié de la sauce tomate et un tiers du fromage. Mettre une bonne cuillérée de cette garniture au centre d’une tortilla, puis la rouler et mettre dans un plat à four. Répéter jusqu'à épuisement. Une fois que toutes les tortillas sont dans le plat, parsemer le reste de sauce tomate au dessus, puis le reste du fromage. Mettre au four (toujours sur 200°C) pour 10min, jusqu'à ce que le fromage ai fondu. Servir avec les tranches d’avocat et une salade verte.