Tag Archives: tomato

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! :-)

Three Tomato Salad with Basil

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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.

My French Tabbouleh

French TabboulehSummer is here, I want nice, refreshing food. Tabbouleh is a good one!

INGREDIENTS FOR 2 (preferably organic):

150g wholegrain couscous

1 to 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil

3 tomatoes

2 mini sweet peppers

a bunch of mint

3 spring onions

the juice of 1 lemon

salt (unrefined sea salt or Himalayan salt are best because they contain lots of minerals)

black pepper

Ingredients tabbouleh

INSTRUCTIONS:

Boil some water and pour over the couscous in a bowl, to the point where the water just covers the cousous. Cover and leave for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, finely chop all the ingredients, including the mint.

When the couscous has cooled down, add the ingredients to the bowl, with the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and put in the fridge for a couple of hours to allow flavours to develop.

Serve at a BBQ with home made burgers or sausages, YUM!

Bon Appetit !!

Why not have salad for breakfast?

I’ve been watching documentaries about the health benefits of raw vegetables and fruits lately, and all I can say is, do it! Invite vegetables to your plate and you’ll do yourself a big favour. It’s no secret that fruits and vegetables need to be part of everyone’s diet. We have all heard for years now, about the 5-a-day. I don’t want to scare you but 5-a-day? It isn’t that much. Really, if you make a little effort you could make this 10-a-day and feed yourself with vitamins, minerals and fibre, so many things that our body needs for optimum functioning.

I found that, in this season particularly, it is easy to add more veg to my plate by having a salad for breakfast instead of toast. The other day I made a big salad with mixed green leaves, spinach, avocado, tomato, cucumber, walnuts and a mix of seeds (pumpkin, etc). Not only the salad was delicious, but I felt full and great after having it. It was 8am, and I had already had about 2 to 3 portions of fresh and raw vegetables! Of course, there were calories in this salad, especially coming from the avocado, nuts and olive oil, but you need calories to use as fuel for the day ahead. It’s just a matter of selecting the good ones. Since then, I have had salad for breakfast again, or just slices of organic juicy tomato and cucumber. It’s sweet, refreshing, hydrating and nourishing. Honestly, I don’t know anything else you could wish for… :-)

Have a lovely weekend fellow bloggers and friends xx

Federica’s Mediterranean Pasta Salad

MEDITERRANEAN PASTA SALAD

The one on the right

The one on the right

INGREDIENTS:

Fresh cherry tomatoes, Wholegrain penne, Extra virgin olive oil, Sea salt, Garlic, Dried chilies, Basil leaves, Parmesan

INSTRUCTIONS:

1 – Finely chop the tomatoes and basil and leave them to marinate together with garlic cloves, extra virgin olive oil, dried chilli and sea salt.

2 – Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the pasta, and cook until al dente. Drain pasta, and toss it in a serving bowl with the raw sauce and add the grated Parmesan. Finally stir until the cheese is melted completely.

  • Equally delicious raw or cooked, tomatoes are low in calories and a useful source of vitamin C and E, beta-carotene, folate and potassium. They also contain the powerful antioxidant Lycopene that exerts anticancer properties.
  • Whole-grain pasta is significantly higher in fiber and nutrients than its refined counterparts. Whole-grain pasta is an excellent source of B vitamins and iron, and provides significantly higher levels of the essential trace mineral selenium a nutrient with antioxidant properties. Whole-wheat pasta also contains appreciable levels of alpha-linolenic acid, a compound that converts to beneficial omega-3 fatty acids in the body.
  • Extra virgin olive oil is the primary source of fat in the healthy Mediterranean diet. It is rich in unique disease fighting phytochemicals, vitamin E and monounsaturated fat, which all help to prevent cholesterol from being deposited in the arteries.
  • The classical accompaniment to all tomato dishes, and important in Italian cooking, basil is a natural tranquillizer and is said to calm the nervous system. It can also aid digestion and ease stomach cramps.
  • Parmesan is a very nutritious cheese due to its high protein content. It is also rich in calcium, phosphorus and vitamins. One kilogram of Parmesan contains the nutritional equivalent of 17 litres of high-quality milk. It is recommended for youths, athletes and seniors who require an additional boost of energy. In addition, unlike other cheeses Parmesan has low cholesterol content.

FRD2013 Pasta saladFood tasting, pasta saladPasta salad recipe

Summer Quinoa Salad for Two

The one on the left

The one on the left

INGREDIENTS

160g quinoa

1 medium tomato, finely diced

1/2 avocado

1/3 cucumber, diced

½ small red pepper (use romano pepper for a sweeter taste), finely chopped

1 tablespoon of fresh lime juice

1 ½ tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

½ tablespoon of red wine vinegar

Sea salt and pepper

a few coriander leaves

INSTRUCTIONS

Boil the quinoa for 20 minutes or as instructed on packet.

Meanwhile, chop the tomato in small cubes, peel and slice the avocado, dice the cucumber and chop the red pepper.

Drain and rinse the quinoa and leave to rest for a few minutes then add all the previously prepared ingredients. Add olive oil, lime juice and vinegar. Finish with salt, pepper and coriander.

The one on the left

 A SALAD FULL OF GOODNESS !!

QUINOA provides a vegetarian source of protein. It is also a good source of wholesome carbohydrate and fibre.

TOMATOES contain vitamins A and E and the antioxidant Lycopene that is known for its anti-cancer properties.

OLIVE OIL is a monounsaturated fat. It means it is heart-friendly.

AVOCADO is amazing for heart health, weight management, and for good health overall. It contains B-vitamins, vitamin E, folate, potassium and many more.

LIME is a fantastic source of vitamin C!

CORIANDER must be good for something too, I’ll let you guess!

Back home to Lyon for a family reunion…

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… and the kitchen is already full of food!

(Thursday)

I arrived from the 11am Easyjet flight this morning. The pilot said it was raining in Lyon but when we landed the sun was shining and dad was waiting for me in the arrival area. We drove home to find mum in the middle of feeding lunch to her grandson, my lovely 2 year old nephew. After his afternoon nap, we all went grocery shopping for the weekend. You see, this weekend we are reuniting for the 1st time since a year ago: my parents, brother, sister and her two kids and me, all together at the same place at the same time. It’s a miracle!

There is a reason why we managed to get this organized: we are celebrating our birthdays. All of our birthdays! We were all born in February, March and April (except dad, but he will get his own special celebration later this year).

I am loving the atmosphere here today. I can feel there is something special in the air. My brother will land tonight from Vancouver and we are going to meet his girlfriend. My sister will arrive tomorrow with her eldest, who does miss his uncle Charles a lot. I can tell my parents are excited even though they are not making a fuss.

It is going to be a good weekend!

But – there is a but – I have been doing so well on my New Year’s resolutions (see the ‘About’ page) that I am getting a bit nervous about how it’s going to go here. Canapés, cheese, bread, cakes, wine, etc. It all looks so good and smells so deeeeelicious! We got the bread from a local traiteur that make the best country style bread in town. It smelled so good in the car on the way back!

Anyway, all I’m saying is I am a little concerned about this weekend going a bit overboard if not totally, but I just remembered: “When you have healthy habits, indulging every now and again won’t make a difference on your health”.

Therefore, I am now ready to enjoy this long waited for reunion, sharing good food and wine and our stories of the past year.

(Saturday)

Last night dad cooked! It’s a “once-a-year” event!! His favourite and very own recipe is stuffed tomatoes. He makes them with love and it’s always a success. Check out the recipe on my recipe page.

Stuffed tomato and rice

Stuffed tomato and rice

(Monday)

Oh dear! I just read that and I see all I was worried about was me eating too much. Well, I’m an optimist, what can I do?! Sure I ate and drank too much this weekend but honestly it’s no big deal.

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Pain au chocolat, croissant, baguette, brioche and bugnes

Kids and their mummy have just gone and the house is quiet again. It feels strange. As if something was missing. They are loud but it’s so much fun to have them around. However I must say, four days with brother, sister, nephews who fight and cry (not all the time, thank god!), and grand parents is a bit overwhelming. But hey, that’s family!

I will go back to London tomorrow feeling refreshed and ready to face revision period, yes, even immunology. I’m ready!

That’s what family does to me. I am glad we are a strong loving family and looking forward to seeing them again.

Family at work

Family working hard in the kitchen