Monthly Archives: August 2013

Child-friendly, Super Easy and Healthy Appetizer

It is possible, and not difficult to have a drink before dinner with kids, of quick preparation and keeping it healthy. Forget the crisps, the crisps of today are mixed nuts, tomato and melon skewers, and grapes!

Obviously, don’t give a skewer to a child under 5 years old! But you can give him each piece of fruit one by one. For older children, it’s a fun presentation, that they can help you make as well. My six year old nephew loved it. If yours doesn’t like tomatoes, make it melon and grapes, or plum and tomatoes, whatever fruits and veg they like.

About the nuts, as long as your kids aren’t allergic, it’s a great appetizer if you get natural ones, not grilled, nor salted. Each nut provides a different set of nutrients and we all should eat more! Nuts are good sources of protein, fibre, unsaturated fat and each provides its own vitamins and minerals:

  • Cashew nuts contain potassium, iron and vitamin B-6
  • Brazil nuts contain potassium, iron and magnesium
  • Almonds contain potassium, calcium and magnesium
  • Walnut also contain potassium, vitamin B-6, magnesium and iron
  • (potassium = healthy salt)

Enjoy, and let me know what you made your skewers with! :-)

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Summer Light Plum Clafouti

Hello from France!

I’m still enjoying the sea, sun and… the cooking and have now got with me my nephew. Not that only kids like cakes, but they do enjoy baking don’t they?!

We have made a French traditional summer cake called CLAFOUTI. The most commonly found clafoutis are made with cherries. But this time of year, cherries are no longer in season so we need to get creative and use other fruits, and basically whatever fruits we like. Last year we made one with nectarines, this time, small green plums. You can really chose the fruits you have available locally.

Ingredients (serves 6):

  • 400-500g fruits (as many as you can fit in your dish, they will shrink when baking)
  • 100g flour
  • 25cl milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 70g sugar or to make it lighter like mine, use stevia, half a tsp is enough because the fruits when cooking release a lot of natural sugar.
  • small pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tsp of vanilla essence (optional)
  • 20g butter to butter the dish
  1. Wash and chop the fruits in small pieces.
  2. Butter the dish, then add the fruits.
  3. In a bowl, place the flour in the centre and dig a hole, add the sugar, salt and eggs all together (and vanilla essence if using it).
  4. Mix well then add the milk gradually while stirring.
  5. Pour into the dish and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes at 180 degrees c, 350 degrees f.
  6. The clafouti is ready when the consistency is the one of a flan and the fruits looked cooked. Inserting a knife, as we do in sponge cakes, won’t work because the inside of the clafouti will stay a bit wet from the fruits.

Three Tomato Salad with Basil

photo(164)

Sometimes, the simplest things are the best. I hope you guys like this recipe. The quality of the tomatoes is key. If they are either organic or close to being organic, come from a garden, or a small producer, and grew with a lot of sun, they should taste so good you don’t even want to add any dressing! Don’t worry though, I have two different dressings here for you, and as I’m spending some time with my parents at the moment, my mum took part in preparing lunch and told me it would probably be nice to mix both dressings together. I disagreed, but without telling me, she did it (stubborn much?), and it was a great surprise! Very nice and flavoursome. A pure taste of summer, perfect to eat whilst listening to the cicadas in the shade of a pine tree :-)

Ingredients:

  • 1 big black tomato
  • 1 big red tomato
  • 1 big yellow tomato
  • Half a red onion
  • basil leaves, finely chopped

Dressing 1:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1-2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt
  • pepper

No need to prepare in advance, just add on the top of the salad all the ingredients before serving.

sauce mousseline

Dressing 2 (mum’ sauce mousseline):

  • 1 tsp of Dijon mustard
  • salt, pepper
  • 6-7 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  1. In a bowl, combine the mustard, salt and pepper
  2. Add the oil gradually, slowly while whisking.
  3. Carry on whisking, the sauce should start to foam.
  4. To finish, add the vinegar, only as much as you think tastes right. Vinegar tends to counteract the effect from the previous ingredients and the foamy aspect of the sauce may decrease. That’s why you only need a tiny bit, just for the taste (1 to 2 tsp).

It’s a bit of a gamble to manage to keep it foamy, the sauce mousseline will still taste nice if it didn’t work, but it’s best when foamy.

Strawberries, goat cheese and green leaves

The tastiest recipe I’ve made in a while. I found it on Pinterest from this website: http://www.skylineempire.com/avocado-strawberry-spinach-salad-with-poppyseed-dressing/

My version is a bit different because I couldn’t find baby spinach leaves and I prefer goat cheese to blue cheese. So here it is:

Serves 3

  • half a bag of young mixed leaves
  • 1 avocado
  • about the same quantity of strawberries, washed and cut in halves
  • half a small red onion
  • 6 or 7 slices of goat cheese log
  • a handful of almonds, chopped
  • nothing more nothing less, it’s perfect just like that!

For the dressing:

  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 3 to 4 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbsp apple cider viegar
  • 1 tbsp of poppy seeds
  • half a teaspoon of Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper

For the dressing, whisk all ingredients together until combined. Toss the salad, add the dressing and serve. If you fancy a bit of animal protein, the salad goes well with Parma ham.

Enjoy!

Cooking with a sea view

Homemade Hummus Nice & Easy

Home Made Hummus

Hello food-loving friends!

Today I am writing to you from the south of France where I am spending the summer. London is a fantastic place to live but nothing beats the south of France for summer holidays!

Holidays… I love cooking while on holidays. I can’t find anything more relaxing than cooking with a sea view, something healthy, something tasty.

Last night I made hummus from a recipe found on BBC Good Food. Ingredients were:

  • 200g/7oz canned ckickpeas

  • 2 tbsp lemon juice or more

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed

  • 1 tsp ground cumin

  • salt

  • 100ml/3½fl oz tahini (sesame seed paste) optional

  • 4 tbsp water

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 tsp paprika

  • But I didn’t have any cumin or paprika so I used turmeric instead and it worked just fine.

Basically, just throw everything in a bowl and blend using an immersion blender. Taste, add more lemon juice, salt, or oil if needed.

Have you tried eating hummus with carrots instead of pitta bread? It’s a great combination in terms of taste and texture, and carrots are very rich in beta carotene (in vitamin A), which, among other things, is good for your skin and is thought to be useful to prepare skin before sun exposure. And guess what: its absorption is enhanced when eaten with fat. Great news since hummus is made with olive oil !!

Carrots are also a good antioxidant, rich in vitamin c, and contain vitamin B-6, calcium and magnesium in smaller amounts.

I’m going to be cooking with a sea view until the end of August, so come back for more summer recipes soon!

And Bon Appetit bien sur!

Home Made Hummus