Category Archives: autumn

Blue smoothie for post-Halloween or Guy Fawkes night!

Recovery smoothie

Recovery smoothie

Ingredients list:

  • Kefir
  • crushed ice
  • Blueberries/strawberry mix
  • Spirulina (½ teaspoon is plenty for one glass)
  • Honey

I mixed this drink for myself one morning on holiday and loved it – so here it is, simple and very refreshing.

Mix the ingredients in the ration that you like but I have listed them above by order of recommended quantity.

Kefir is a fermented goat or cow’s milk drink and is wonderful for your digestive system and Spirulina is a powder made of seaweed that can help your energy levels and is beneficial for all sorts of thyroid or fatigue problems.

Shake and enjoy chilled.

Tagine of spicy meatballs and pomegranate

This is another warming winter Tagine and this time it is beef and little else but also very quick and easy when you have ran out of ideas and you need a hot meal in 30 minutes! Some dishes carry a little dream after them and this one will transport you in whichever exotic oasis you choose to visit…

The pyramid shape is magic  for flavours

The pyramid shape is magic for flavours

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Ingredients list: for 20 meatballs

  • Ground beef, 500g
  • Tin of chopped tomatoes – or 2 fresh ones in season!
  • Passata, 200ml
  • Half a jar of chickpeas
  • Seasoning: harissa, thyme, sage and hot paprika to taste
  • More seasoning: M’rouzia or Ras El Hanout, 1 Tbsp
  • Light olive oil, 1 Tbsp
  • Salt and pepper to finish
  • Chopped fresh parsley, one handful
  • Pomegranate seeds, a small handful

First mix the ground beef and the seasoning (harissa, thyme and sage or other flavours) and roll small ping-pong ball sized chunks into oiled hands.

Chop the onions, diced up, and fry them in a little oil (1 Tbsp). Do not let the olive oil smoke, keep the heat under control.

Fry the meat balls in the oil for a few seconds.

Add the chopped tomatoes, M’rouzia or other Tagine spices, some hot paprika and the passata with a little water if needed.

Add the rinsed chickpeas – and frozen peas as well if you wish!

Only add salt towards the end as the stew will reduce and only very little salt will be needed, if any.

Cover and put on low heat for 30 minutes. If you can, use a pointy Tagine dish as the condensation of flavours is unmatchable by any other method.

Present with a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds and parsley. I love rich colour in food – it enhances the appetite.

Serve with steamed rice and vegetable or some couscous. Or just big slabs of flat bread to mop up the sauce…

A nomad's tent near Marrakech

A nomad’s tent near Marrakech

This tent is my dream place, and represents the best place ever to taste the sort of Tagines that I am raving about… This photo was taken at dusk, just before dinner was served. You are in an oasis, in the middle of the desert… I can just imagine I am back there as if lifted by a magic carpet and everything suddenly tastes so much better…

 

Tartine of fresh figs and fresh cheese – plus fig jam!

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Another one of my “tartines”

A few weeks ago, I had a windfall of fresh figs from a friend and neighbour and here I post one of my favourite “tartines”!

Ingredients list:

  • Slice of bread
  • Fresh goat cheese
  • Fresh basil
  • Two fresh figs
  • Cracked pepper, optional

Take a slice of Poilâne bread – or any other sourdough or artisan bread with substance- , spread a nice fresh goat cheese over, slice a juicy fig on top, then decorate with chopped basil and Pedro Jimenez reduction or a thick balsamic vinegar. Perfect lunch!

My neighbour grows her figs in central London in her front garden and I enlisted the help of my son on half-term break to go and get a small boxful! They were green but nicely ripe and I decided to do a jam with the rest of it.

Adding vanilla and cinnamon into it, I cooked a truly delicious jam and managed to fill two pots of London fig jam – a very special thing indeed!

Collected in Hammersmith!

Collected in Hammersmith!

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Recipe for the fig jam:

Ingredients list:

  • Figs, 2 kg
  • Jam sugar (with pectine), 1 kg
  • Cinnamon sticks 2
  • Vanilla bean, one scraped
  • Lemon juice of one lemon

Halve the fruit or quarter them and put all the ingredients in a jam pan.

Get to boiling point, rolling for 3 minutes, then reserve until the next day, covered with a grease proof paper so the jam does not develop a skin.

Next day: Get to boiling point again and keep on a rolling boil for 5 minutes.

Put in sterilised jars straight away and screw the tops then turn each jar upside down so the air inside is sterilised through the hot jam.

Enjoy with bread, cheese or just as a spooned sweet.

This is surely a little bit late for figs in most parts of Europe but I am so thrilled I still managed to gather those in my neighbourhood that I can’t resist posting it.

Here is my son, grabbing some earlier!

The gathering

The gathering

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Fig and creamed goat cheese bake

Figs are one of my favourite fruit and the season is sadly so short…  Therefore I cannot resist buying them when I happen to find them on a London fruit stall. I found these in Bayswater as I was coming out of my exam room last week and bought a huge bag of it. The smell was all I needed to feel on holiday again… 

This recipe was inspired by a dish my friend Sandrine made for us once at her beautiful place Le Domaine des Clos in Provence. Sandrine is married to a childhood friend of mine and I love spending time with them in the summer because they love what they do and they do it well and their friendship is one of the things that I always can count on when I head back to my birth town. I had kept a fragrant memory of this meal and especially of the plump figs, stewed in thick juice and creamy goat cheese that were served as a starter.

Fruit stall one of Berlin's markets

Fruit stall in one of Berlin’s markets

Ingredients list:

  • 10 to 12 figs, unpeeled and washed
  • 200g of fresh goat cheese
  • 150 of cream cheese
  • Handful of chopped basil
  • Cracked pepper

Wash and cut the tail end of the figs.

Slice them and arrange in an oven proof dish.

Mix the goat cheese and cream cheese together – This is only for the local version as English goat cheese tend to be dryer ; whereas elsewhere you might use a fresh creamy goat cheese on its own.

Drop dollops of the cheese amongst the fruit. Add pepper and basil leaves.

Bake in a hot oven for 30 minutes until the fruit are cooked and the juice has thickened. It is usually even better reheated the next day!

Serve as a starter with some Muscat de Rivesaltes or Sauternes. I adored this with a bottle of Macia Batle Dolce from Mallorca – a sweet white with remarquable balance and powerful aromas of white flowers and almond.

Figs and cheese

Figs and cheese

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Salade de chou rave, pommes et noix au miel et à la cannelle

This is shared from one of my favourite blogs – all in French by an Italian lady : and you can “hear” the accent, which I love! So read in French or use Google translate (Pouah… ) just for the ingredients, and enjoy this pretty autumn salad on my behalf. I give you just one hint: “Chou rave” is “Kholrabi” in English and the season is short.
Back soon!!! Heads down revising for an exam…