Warm crumble of apples and pears

A beautiful still life!

A beautiful still life!

A new Wild Food Market has blossomed in our neighbourhood and I got these apples and pears from one of the producers’ stalls. It was such a beautiful feature on my dining table I could hardly decide what to do with it!

Knowing that the beautiful Bramley apples turn into a light, soft snow once cooked, I decided to turn my display into a crumble once again…

Ingredients list:

  • 3 Bramley apples
  • 3 or four pears
  • Same amount of Flour, brown sugar and butter (150g)
  • Oatmeal or plain oats, 100g
  • Cinnamon, 1 Tbsp
  • ginger, 1 Tbsp
  • One capful of Orange blossom water
  • Cornflour, 1 tsp
  • A few blackberries (optional)

Butter up a deep dish  – terracotta or oven proof glass is best.

Peel and chop the fruit and squeeze some lemon juice over so as not to oxidise too rapidly.

With your fingers tips, rub the butter into the flour and sugar until it has the consistency of sifted sand. Leaving some bits and lumps is fine too. Mix the oatmeal in.

Add the cinnamon and ginger.

Spread the fruit into the dish.

Drip the capful of orange blossom water. Sprinkle with the cornflour and toss it all together.

Now sprinkle the flour mix over all of the surface, trying to cover it completely.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes at 180 degrees.

Serve warm with cream or ice-cream.

For a slightly different but equally delicious version, check out here my Blackberry and Apple Crumble or a GF version here.

An apple crumble is the very best of classical English baking! Never tire of it.

Have a beautiful week-end everyone.

Almond milk and orange blossom non-dairy yogurt

All the flowers of the Mediterranean shores in one gulp!

A yogurt with aga agar

A yogurt with aga agar

I present you one gorgeously velvety yogurt : sugar free and (almost )dairy-free!

Ingredients list ( for 5 yogurt pots)

  • Almond milk, 700ml
  • Greek yogurt 2 percent fat, 80g
  • Agar agar flakes, 3 tsp (levelled) or 4g
  • Orange blossom water, 2 tbsp

Boil a small cup of almond milk: dust the agar agar over the surface and bring to a slow boil for 3/4 minutes, turning all the time.

Mix it back into the rest of the milk and beat the Greek yogurt into it. You can take this ingredient out if you are lactose intolerant or vegan – it is really there for yogurty flavour in the mix so not essential but groovy.

Add the Orange blossom water (not extract!) or any favoured flavouring (vanilla extract, sugar, honey or anything else).

Pour into small jars, cover with foil and put in the fridge overnight.

You will have a very low-dairy, skinny yogurt that tastes like a dream. The agar agar is a bit tricky to use at first so experiment for the ideal consistency but it is a great help to create creamy dairy free and sugar light puddings…

I ate this straight, as I do yogurts, but feel free to add orange blossom honey or sugar if you like.

The beach is near...

The beach is near…

When I tasted this I felt immediately transported into a mediterranean grove crowned with almond and orange blossom… I love this oh-so fresh combination of tastes: it is super dreamy and makes you feel like you are about to go on holiday! Reach for a picnic blanket and go for a nap in the orange grove…

Darkest Peru magic bullets!

Raw balls of pure energy

Do you feel sometime that you need a break from your daily life? That you are up for a different kind of challenge?! That you are hungry for new views, new flavours, new emotions? Last week, this blog was travelling to Galicia in Northern Spain. You might know that already if you follow me on FB or Instagram… I was walking the millennia old Pilgrim’s Way and feeling way out of my comfort zone…  But loving every minute…

The Way of St James

The Way of St James

Here are some of the items I carry in my backpack :

Energy balls ready to pack!

Energy balls ready to pack!

Lucuma fruity energy balls to sustain my companion and I through the long daily walks! This is a new version of my Energy Balls– this time flavoured with orange , chocolate and Lucuma – a protein packed Aztec powder that a Peruvian friend introduced to me this year. To say my walking companion is addicted is an understatement: I have promised the recipe and here it is.

Lucuma Cocoa and Orange Energy Balls or Darkest Peru magic bullets!
Ingredients list:

  • Cup of almond(soaked)
  • Cup of dates
  • Handful of raisins
  • Zest of one small orange
  • 1 tbsp lucuma powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tbsp linseeds
  • 1 handful sunflower seeds
  • 2 or three squares of very dark chocolate (I use 100% cocoa sans sugar)
  • Cocoa powder and more Lucuma powder to roll in

Mix it all in a grinder /blender until it makes a sticky paste.
Roll each bite into a mix of cocoa and lucuma, as you would for a chocolate truffle! Those healthy chocolatey truffle melt in the mouth and done in the Thermomix, they are smooth and fudgey… Plus super packed with everything you need to walk all day with 8 kg of back-pack!
Store in a metal box. They can keep for weeks but they will not last that long.

We were walking from Santiago de Compostella to Finisterre, the “end of the world” – or at least the extreme western point of Europe!

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 Postscript: You can find Lucuma powder in Peru -but also at your nearest Wholefoods store. It is rich in B vitamins and has a high protein content. It tastes a bit sweet and chocolatey so goes really well with cocoa and orange!

Light golden onion soup for after-party supper!

I always love old classics and this is a favourite of “Bistro cooking”, the sort of no-fuss, hearty and comforting cooking you might find in a true Parisian Bistrot. I know there are less and less of those haunts in Paris nowadays but they are worth seeking out. This soup reminds me of late night suppers after a play or a dance in Paris… It was a perfect student days pick-me up and it was served at my own wedding to give strength to the dancers around midnight – with this, most of us managed to last until 6am on the dance-floor!

Ingredients list:

(This serves about four bowls. You can easily freeze it too if you are doing it for yourselves.)

  • Roscof onions, 5 to 6 ( a lovely pink onion from Brittany)
  • Garlic cloves, 2
  • Ghee or butter, 2 Tbsp
  • Grape or date syrup, 2 Tbsp
  • Chicken stock cube, 1
  • Bay leaf and “bouquet garni” to flavour
  • Water, 500 ml
  • Cider, 200 ml

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Peel the onions and garlic and chop it all together in a food processor- this will save lots of tears!
Melt the onions in a large saucepan with the ghee or butter. Leave to melt on low heat for about 20 minutes, watching closedly in order to avoid burning the bottom.
Add two spoonfuls of grape or date syrup – a little fruit sugar is needed to counteract the bitterness of the onions. I use grape molasse for its lovely spicy taste. I source it from Middle Eastern shops.
Add the chicken stock (made of one cube and 500ml water) and the bay leaves and bouquet garni. If you prefer, replace with a bunch of thyme and tarragon.
Herbs should play a big role in our spring cooking: they give it seasonal flavour, awaken the senses and have anti-viral properties.
Reduce and simmer for another 30 minutes.
The soup should be thick and golden. Add salt and pepper to taste, just before serving.

Beautiful Roscoff pink onions

Beautiful Roscoff pink onions

I serve this with a thick brown toast, brushed with garlic and spread with olive oil. It is also nice with melted cheese on toast. Dip in and enjoy!
This is health in a bowl. A perfect Friday supper after a couple of drinks down the pub! Onion soup is strengthening and good for recovery; the reason it is usually served at midnight during late parties in France is because it clears the head and gives you a nice boost before heading home…

Light buttermilk and vanilla waffles

Today London feels like the gateway to summer! 24 degrees and rising!..
For breakfast, I whipped up those delicious waffles. Maybe it is the sunshine outside or my impending trip to Spain soon but I felt like giving the kids and I a particularly fruity breakfast and here it is.Those are made with skinny buttermilk so they are lighter and more virtuous than ever! plus covered in fresh fruit, they can definitely count towards your 5-a-day… Or is it 7 these days?!

Ingredients list:
This made 8 generous waffles.

  • 4 eggs
  • Self-raising flour 250g (I used light brown flour)
  • Butter 125g (I used English butter – with salt)
  • Buttermilk 280ml
  • Vanilla sugar, 2 large spoonfuls
(I make my own vanilla sugar by putting a split vanilla bean into a jar full of caster sugar.)
Fruity waffle

Fruity waffle

In a large bowl, work the butter and sugar until fluffy and creamy.
Split your egg whites from their yolk. Then, add the yolks one by one to the mix. Use an electric whisk for that and add the cream and flour, bit by bit. It should be creamy not lumpy.
Clean your hand whisk to beat the egg whites to a stiff consistency, adding a pinch of salt to help start it. They must make peaks when you pull out the blades but don’t overdo it! Carefully fold the whites into the mix with a wooden spatula. You now have a gloriously plump batter, soft as a pillow.

Warm the waffle iron or the electric maker and drop a large spoonful of batter in the centre. Bake until crisp and brown.

Those waffles are lighter and just as gorgeous as my previous recipe with full fat cream. This is the perfect version for a bit of spring clean – but with a smack of indulgence!

Try them with a dash of maple syrup in the morning or just with fresh fruit and a dollop of rich yogurt anytime of the day. They taste so delicious they hardly need the extra sugar so pile them high with fresh fruit -or fruit purée- and have them guilt-free.

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Used light whipped cream no sugar

In any case, guilt is a useless negative emotion and probably worse for you than the indulgent food you might be having, so just enjoy and forego the guilt – next time you might balance this out!

Just remember that enjoying a stress-free treat is very good for your mood and therefore good for your health: you will appreciate it better, certainly digest it better and maybe feel contented for longer! No-one can be virtuous all the time… Not even Gwyneth!..

Spring is here!

Spring is here!