Monthly Archives: May 2012

Salmon and Sauerkraut in crunchy papillotes

This is hardly a recipe because it is so quickly put together and because you can accommodate it in so many idiosyncratic ways! But it is very healthy and delicious and I have produced it so many times over the past months that I feel I have to include it… This is a family food diary first and foremost, after all.

Sauerkraut is a pickled cabbage that is used a lot in Macrobiotic cooking because it is very digestible : it promotes good bacteria in the digestive system. It is also a great combination with oily fish for it helps the digestion of fat. I find that its sour taste compliments salmon particularly well. This recipe is inspired by one found on the associative French site Marmiton.org.

Ingredients list:

  • Sheets of filo or strudel pastry
  • Onions, 2
  • Fillets of fresh or smoked salmon
  • Soya cream or crème fraîche
  • Rapeseed oil
  • salt and pepper
  • Fresh or dried dill
  • Tin of Sauerkraut (cabbage in brine): Check for a Sauerkraut that does not contain added sugar – sadly, some pickles do…
  • Small glass of white wine – I’d happily drink the rest over the meal.
Peal and chop the onions and cook them in a little oil until soft.
Mix in the drained sauerkraut. Add a small glass of white wine and let it steam off. Reserve.
Chop the salmon in large chunks. Add the cream, seasoning and the onions. Toss it so the sauce coats each morsels.
Spreand your strudel pastry or lay the filo sheets. One sheet is enough to wrap around.
Put a big scoop of drained Sauerkraut filling in the top corner of each sheets, top with some salmon chunks and start rolling down diagonally, tucking the sides in as you roll.
Put the parcels in an oven tray, sprinkle a little oil and bake at 180º for 20 to 30 minutes. Enjoy with the rest of your wine.

My top 5 cookery books for 2012

Like all lists, this one is partial, personal and prejudiced so you have been warned!

There is something that I enjoy more than cooking, it is buying cookery books and my latest purchases include the following:

The Family Meal by Ferran Adria reminds me of old childhood favourites: cookery books that in a step by step illustrated manner took you by the hand and got you safely through your first gingerbread man or your first quiche!

The style and photography is fresh and modern and a daring revamping of the genre. The recipes presented bear no resemblance to El Bulli famously weird and wonderful menu. These are the staff dinners: wholesome, quick and satisfying ; family food at its very best.

I love the retro illustrations and the very fresh and clear chapter design. It is published by Phaidon in their characteristically lavish style – price to boot…

My favourite recipes include the very tasty Porc ribs with a gorgeous barbecue sauce (I tried) and a strawberry with yogurt foam that almost makes me want to rush on Ebay to buy a siphon and a canister of N2O – whatever that is…

This one makes every other book look dated. The instructions are so clear and precise a child could follow them and yet each dish is the sort of dish that you dream of being presented with when you go and visit your relatives! Simple is artful…

My second choice is the Gate Easy (New) Vegetarian Cookbook by Adrian and Michael Daniel.

The Gate is the best vegetarian in our neighbourhood and one of the oldest in London. The recipes are deliciously exotic and perfect for the summer. I want to try making their Mung Bean soup and also the Watermelon and feta salad, not to mention that the puddings sound heavenly! Plus it looks great in the dove grey kitchen with all its lovely warm colours. It is distributed by The Gate.

I have also bought, been gifted or enjoyed this year:

  • Every day and sunday recipes from the Riverford Farm by Guy Watson and Jane Baxter
  • Handmade and homemade, recipes from Jersey by Jersey pottery
  • Small adventures in cooking by James Ramsden

Please note these are current personal favourites and I do not get a penny from the sales! But you can send me your reviews of cookbooks too and I will gladly put a link in for you because there are so many good cookbooks around and I obviously do not read or buy all of them… I wish…

Green tea cupcakes

Green tea cupcakes

Ingredients list:

  • Caster sugar 125g
  • Cornflour 65g
  • Bicarbonate of soda 1 tsp
  • Matcha tea powder 2 tsp
  • Eggs 4
  • Salt
  • Butter 80g

Green tea icing:

  • Icing sugar 125g
  • Butter 40g
  • Cream cheese 100g
  • Matcha tea powder 1 Tbsp
  • Lemon juice 2Tbsp

Cream the butter and sugar until light.

Then add the egg yolks (or the whole eggs if in a hurry). If you have the time, whisk the whites separately.

Add the cornflour and green tea powder.

Mix well.

Fold in the whites- if you have separated them. I often don’t do that to save time and the result is pretty much the same!

Spoon the mixture into the muffins cases.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes at 180º- they are ready when they raise and do not colour.

Now onto the next stage: Decorating is healing and stress-busting so take your time to enjoy this!

While they bake, mix the icing sugar, lemon juice, soft butter and cream cheese.

Beat with a whisk until fluffy, being careful to crush any lumps and get a silky smooth result. Taste and add lemon or sugar if necessary. Put in the fridge until needed.

Take the cupcakes out of the oven. Let them cool down.

Use a piping bag and nozzle to decorate your cupcakes with the cream. Make a nice swirl and put a sugar bud or a rose in the middle. Sprinkle a dust of Matcha.

Et voilà! I made those for a friend to share in the afternoon but you could just have them plain with a cup of coffee as a morning treat.

Dainty and light, ready to go!

Recipe inspired by “Les cordons bleus de Londres”, published for the association Enfants du Mekong, Londres.

Mung beans miso soup

I never think of soup as a purely winter staple and in fact, I find there is a soup (or two) for every season. Try this one for Springtime!

Ingredients list :

  • Large shallot, 1
  • Water, 1 L
  • Pre-soaked Mung beans, 250g
  • Knorr vegetable cube, 1
  • Golden miso paste (Shiro Miso), 1 Tsp
  • Umeboshi paste (pickled plums), 1 tsp
  • Dash of almond or soya cream to serve
  • Olive oil

I soak the Mung for 24h to 36h  prior to using them in soups, stews or salad. Just rinse them and cover and put in a dark cool corner of the kitchen. If they sprout too quickly, you can reserve in the fridge under a cloth. Use them when the white tips are just appearing.

Chop the shallots finely and fry on medium heat in one Tbsp of olive oil. When they turn brown, add the soaked beans and the hot water – with the vegetable stock cube dissolved in it.

Boil for 15 minutes until the grain is soft.

Add the Shiro miso and Umeboshi paste and let those melt on low heat for a few minutes.

Note: Never let the miso or Umeboshi boil up for fear of loosing their health properties. They both promote an alkaline digestive environment and are therefore invaluable in any effort to acquiring better health. I find these ingredients at the Japanese centre in Lower Regents street W1 : Always buy from a reputable brand and check for added sugar.

Added and hidden sugar…This is my new bug-bear! Hear more on the Sugar as Toxin by a scientist called Robert Lustig, here.

This soup is a great springtime pick-me-up. The energy from the sprouting seeds is just what you need when Spring is a bit late to come and you want to feel attuned to the renewal of life all around… Or so it should be … Mung beans are also good at this time of year because they are meant to be very cooling and soothing for the internal organs.

Serve hot with wholemeal bread and a dash of almond cream. Add a little salt and pepper to taste but only if you need to. I don’t liquidize it but you could.

A crunchy stir-fry in springtime colours

Matcha latte- A drink made in Chelsea

This is the sort of posh drink you would imagine the cast of “Made in Chelsea” sipping for their breakfast, still wrapped in a White Company fluffy toweling robe and all the while discussing the latest antics of so and so on their crystal studded Blackberry…

It is also delicious and healthy and packs a good punch against free radicals so your skin will remain radiant and smooth – and Botox-free!

A communal garden off Sloane street

Ingredients list for two glasses:

  • Matcha latte powder 1 tsp
  • Soya milk 250 ml
  • Agave or brown rice syrup 2 Tbsp

Dissolve the green Matcha tea into a little bit of cold milk, then add the rest of the milk into a pan, add the sweetener and warm this over gentle heat.

Just before boiling point, switch off and beat the liquid with a whisk to make it frothy.

Serve into two tall glasses. It should be very warm but not boiling.

You can add some more frothy milk on top like a cappuccino and decorate with a pinch of Matcha.

This is a particularly warming, lean but nourishing drink. I find it is a wacky alternative to coffee and it gives you the zing you require to go bouncing into the afternoon!

You can customise and add more or less sugar according to your taste and mood.

Tombo in Thurloe place (South Kensington) makes a very sweet and indulgent version – and I find myself regularly coming back for more… They also sell divine Mochi sweets to nibble on with your latte. I could give you the exact address but then I’d have to kill you afterwards…