Monthly Archives: March 2011

>Butternut squash and goat cheese filo tartlets


Alternative recipe done with red sweet pepper
 Ingredients list:
Filo sheets
Butternut squash, diced (1 cupful)
Olive oil
Ground mace 1tsp
Pepper and salt
Soft goat cheese
Rub the diced butternut with the olive oil and some sea salt flakes.
Roast for 15 min until soft, at 200°C.
Put several layers of filo brushed with little oil into a pie dish or an individual tartlets pan as here.
Chuck in some roasted squash with torn bits of cheese. Fill it up nicely.
Sprinkle with mace and black pepper.
Put under a hot grill until the cheese has melted and the filo turns a nice golden colour. Watch out for it tends to burn quickly!
Serve straight away as filo sheets tends to soften as they cool down and I love a crispy light base for this.
Nutrition notes: Filo is a great and tasty alternative to the usual pastry base for tartlets. I use it all the time for convenience and nutritional reasons. Half the  pastry and twice the taste! What’s not to like?

Thai sweet potato and coconut soup


Recipe from Avoca cafe in Dublin
Sweet potato is one of my star foods and this soup is a delicious, exotically spiced manner to accommodate it. I love the zing given by the fresh ginger, chillies and lemon grass to lift the sweet and smooth taste of the sweet potato…
Ingredients list:
Sweet potatoes, 2 peeled and diced
Rapeseed oil 4 Tbsp
Onion 1 sliced
Leeks 2 trimmed and sliced
Ginger, walnut-size grated
Green chillies, 2 seeded and chopped
Lemon grass 2, tough leaves removed and interior thinly sliced
Lime 1, pinch of zest
Nam pla or Thai fish sauce
Chicken stock 1 L
Coconut milk 1 cup
salt and pepper
Some olive oil
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Toss the diced potatoes in 2 Tbsp of olive oil, season with salt and pepper and roast in the oven for 15 min until tender.
Heat the rapeseed oil in a wok-like pan and add the sliced onion. Fry for a few minutes, add the sliced leeks, grated fresh ginger, chillies, lemon grass and zest.
Add the stock and fish sauce and simmer for 10 minutes.
This works very well in the Thermomix, just adjust times and temperatures accordingly.
Add the sweet potatoes along with the coconut milk.
Check the seasoning and serve with torn basil if you have any.
I liquidized two thirds of this soup, then blended it back with the non-liquidised third and it was smooth and creamy with just the right amount of texture and bite!
This is my current favourite: It beats all the other soups hands down. And it is deceptively quick to make – especially with the right blender… My mom brought me the above recipe book back from Ireland and it has become a big favourite!
Nutrition notes: Sweet potatoes is a super-food with low GI and lots of vitamin C and A. Ginger, lemon grass and chillies are great detoxifying aids. This is a good detox option and despite its sweetness, a great nutritional choice, so I can indulge with a clear conscience.
Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of :
– Vitamin B6
– Copper and Manganese
– Bêta-carotène which is a great anti-oxydant element, so protecting us from cancers.
They also contain
– Vitamins A, E, B and C
Plus a good deal of fibre and zinc- essential for a healthy digestion and immune system.

>Churros from Spain for this TGIF feeling!

>If the children happen to be on holiday on a Friday, I often take them to Portobello Market in the morning to have a browse around the clothes stalls, grab some cool T-shirts from Pinky Fish and get a plateful of “churros con chocolate” at Cafe Garcia, next to the supermarket of the same name. It is our treat and our pleasure to dip the fat Churros into a thick Spanish chocolate while sharing a few thoughts.

For the week-end, I give you the true Churros recipe from the bible of Spanish cooking by Simone and Ines Ortega “1080 Recipes”.

A holiday feeling with “chichis” (French Churros)

I tried it together with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingshall’s one in last week-end’s Guardian and I am afraid it won hands down for authenticity and speed – They were on par for taste with Hugh’s one being heaviest.

Ingredients list:
Boiling water 350 ml
Flour 175g
Rapeseed oil for frying
Icing sugar and cinnamon

Boil the water in a large saucepan.
Add a pinch of salt and the flour all in one go- do not worry about lumps!
Mix briskly with a wooden spoon until the batter gathers up and pulls away from the sides.
Take it off the hob and leave to cool.
Heat the oil in a wok or a chip pan.
Using a piping bag with the fattest possible opening, fill and squeeze the cooled dough out.
Make long fat Churros and cut them up as they come out to chuck into the oil.
Fry until golden.
Take out on some kitchen towel then dust with the sugar flavoured with a pinch of cinnamon.
Serve hot for breakfast with a cup of thick chocolate. This is Seville street breakfast at its best!

This is so easy I wonder why I never tried it before… But I will still take the kids out for it because it is really a street and café food and I love the buzz of the market.

>Blogging compassion in action! Nos billets ont un peu aidé…


Les dessinateurs se mobilisent pour les Restos du Coeur


Les 4 et 5 mars s’est tenue la grande collecte annuelle des Restos du Coeur. Elle s’est aussi déroulée sur le net pendant une quinzaine de jours lors de la campagne numérique. Vous y avez participé en publiant un ou plusieurs billets, permettant cette année encore à Carrefour et Danone de financer des repas aux Restos du Coeur. Cette année, vous avez publié 2275 billets, qui se sont traduits concrètement en 22 750 repas pour les Restos du Coeur, soit une augmentation de 30% par rapport à l’année dernière.
Des billets émouvants, des textes beaux et simples, parfois des coups de gueules et de très beaux dessins, nous avons été heureux de vous lire.
Un grand merci pour avoir fait de cette collecte numérique un succès mais également un grand moment de solidarité !

Golden onion jam for Spring roasts


I love jams and preserves for their quaint charm and pure indulgence and this is perfect to complement the new lamb, new veal and new everything that comes with Spring!

Ingredients list:

Butter 40g
Onions 3
Sugar 4 Tbsp
Cinnamon 1tsp
Salt and pepper, one pinch of each

Chop the onion finely in a food processor: just peel and chuck in and rejoice because of no tears! Result!
Melt the butter and add the onion puree.
Cook in a small pan on low heat until soft and brownish.
Then add the spices and seasoning.

I keep this in a clean jar for a few weeks in the fridge and warm it up (or not) to eat over a joint of lamb or some duck legs. You can replace the butter with rapeseed oil if you want – but I do love butter! It’s got good vitamins too…

Orchid display in Kew