Category Archives: autumn

Asparagus and broad beans risotto with miso and Umeboshi flavours

An all singing, all dancing vegetarian dish to shake our bodies out of the summer slumber! This is as rejuvenating as an outdoor yoga class or a jog in a bluebells’ wood. The miso and Umeboshi (marinated prune paste) are very good and calming for the intestines and will help restore depleted energies. You can find the miso paste and the umeboshi paste in Japanese shops and most health shops in the UK. The Japanese use them to restore intestinal bacteria after an illness or a course of antibiotics. The umeboshi is quite tangy and salty in taste so you will not need to add any salt if you use it – Especially combined with Miso.

You can do without those weird and wonderful ingredients and replace them with a good chicken or vegetable stock if you prefer .  I just wanted to include a healing and strengthening aspect into my recipe . Both versions are delicious.

Ingredients list:

  • 1 shallot
  • olive oil
  • 10 asparagus
  • handful of frozen or fresh broad beans
  • 250g of arborio or other risotto rice
  • 50ml of white wine
  • 600ml of boiling water
  • soy cream to finish
  • 1 Tbsp of umeboshi plum paste
  • 2 Tbsp of white miso paste (or 1/2 cube stock)
  • Pepper to finish

This quantity serves 5/6 as starter portions or 3 as main. Halve all quantities to cook a plentiful meal for one! There should be just a bit left over for the dog.

This month is the perfect time to use up the latest asparagus and broad beans from the garden or allotment. They are still coming up on market stalls at a bargain. I have even seen them recently at a Pick-your-own farm!

Chop up the shallot and fry it in a little olive oil.

Then throw in the rice and fry that too until the grains look transparent.

Add the wine and simmer until it is almost gone. Then add half the stock and continue simmering and turning. The secret of a good risotto is to add the liquid in stages and to keep the mix soupy and wet until the end so it does not dry too much as it cools down in the plate. Keep simmering and adding stock until the rice is cooked.

Meanwhile (or previously), you have washed and trimmed the asparagus and steamed them. The broad beans need to be shelled but not pre-steamed.

You need to season with the umeboshi and the miso paste about 5/10 minutes before the end- not before because boiling would destroy a lot of the healthy bacteria.

Add the asparagus stalks but keep the tips aside. Add the broad beans as well towards the end of the cooking and cover. Rice usually takes 20 min in all.

Dress with a dash of cream, some pepper from the mill and serve warm but not hot.

Decorate with fresh mint!

Decorate with fresh mint!

Here I have used fresh peas and decorated with fresh mint from the potted garden.


Quick fish and tofu croquettes

A quick and healthy recipe for the week-end? This is for when you are not feeling up to much and looking at the left-overs in the fridge without much inspiration… Been there? Me too… But a nice easy little dish would cheer you up, and this is it.

This will make a dozen croquettes.

Ingredients list:

  • Firm tofu, 200g
  • Flaked cooked fish (salmon, cod, trout…), 200g
  • Basil leaves, 5
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt and pepper
  • Worcester sauce, 1 dash

This is a nice dish to use up left overs of any fish you have been enjoying that week. I make it with trout when it is in season and my other half has stuffed the freezer full of his catch! I might bake a trout with almonds and then use the flesh to make this the next day.

Blend the trout fillets with the tofu and seasoning in a food processor.

Add the eggs and mix. You will have a mix like a dough or a bit firmer.

Then shape some egg-sized balls in oiled hands and roll them in rice flour before frying them in a bit of sunflower oil. Turn them around to have it nicely brown all around.

Enjoy with a side salad.

Pink folly: raspberry, champagne and white chocolate tiramisu

Tiramisu rose

This is a very indulgent and pretty looking pudding for a dinner party or a gourmet lunch. It is perfect also, for AFTER the party, to use up half-drunk bottles of champagne… I devised it at first for my daughter who harbours a deep love of white chocolate but if you are worried about the alcohol content (you should not…), you can always make it with earl grey tea, rose syrup and elderflower cordial instead of the champagne. Whatever you choose, it HAS to be pink, though.

Ingredients List:

Pink Perfect!

  • 1 packet of 20 sponge fingers
  • Half a bottle of lambrusco or champagne rosé
  • Mascarpone 250g
  • Single cream 150ml
  • White chocolate 180g
  • A drop of water to melt the chocolate
  • Demerara sugar, 2 Tbsp
  • Raspberries 400g

Melt the chocolate on low heat with the water and sugar. Be careful not to overheat. White chocolate burns even faster than dark chocolate…

Whisk this into the mascarpone until it resembles a soft mayonnaise. Don’t beat it too long though or it will curdle up – If it does, try adding a little spoonful of cornflour.

Dip the biscuits in the wine, dipping all sides. Lay them into your gratin dish and throw a scatter of raspberries on top.

Spread a layer of mascarpone and chocolate cream. Beat the single cream and add a few dollops of this.

Add a layer of biscuits, then follow with another  carpet of raspberries and  a little more whipped cream. Cover with the rest of the mascarpone and decorate the top with raspberries, candied violets and a sprinkle of cocoa.

Reserve in the fridge for at least half hour.

Pretty party food

 This is a very festive and pretty version of the classic tiramisu. I made it by chance one weekend, in advance of some party, to use up some “biscuits de Reims” I had collected from France and it has stuck to our repertoire of favorite puddings. It is quite a grown-up recipe but if you are making it for children, you can dip the biscuits in rose syrup and elderflower and that works beautifully too. When I can get hold of French biscuits de Reims, in their unique pink colour, I make it with those for a very « couture » look !

Daikon, cucumber and pomegranate side salad

I have recently discovered the japanese Daikon radish – also called Mooli by some-  and I love adding it to side salads or eating it alongside smoked fish. Its acidity is unrivalled to help digest salmon or mackerel and it would go brilliantly with red meat too. Paired with seasonnal pomegranate and a refreshing cucumber it is the most perfect palate cleansing side dish. Don’t you love those colours, too?! Beautiful food is more satisfying…

red and green, bejewelled salad

Ingredients list:

  • 1/1 daikon radish
  • 1/2 seeded pomegranate
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • Dash of pomegranate syrup or molasse
  • Balsamic vinegar 1 Tbsp
  • A splash of olive oil
Peel the daikon and wash the cucumber without peeling.
Cut up both like a thin “julienne” or grate with the large grater side of your mandoline.
De-seed the pomegranate and mix all the vegetables in with your fingers.
For seasoning, I used a delicious pomegranate syrup I buy from a turkish delicatessen  and it is worth looking for it if you can but otherwise, olive oil and balsamic vinegar are perfect on their own. These quantities serve 5 or 6 and you can make the same salad the next day with the other halves!

Nutrition notes:

Daikon is a wonder vegetable and it will help break down the fat in anything you eat . It is a very “healing” food according to the Macrobiotic way and it also aids relaxation and acts as a diuretic. It is very useful as a weight loss support.

Adopt a new friend today

Try a new ingredient this week! And make it a promise…

Still life for winter stew






Try a new ingredient this week! And make it a promise…











Kohlrabi is not the most handsome of autumn vegetables. In fact, it is quite alien looking and if one was casting for vegetables, it would probably not be the prettiest of characters. In fact, I doubt that anybody would put it in the lead ; It would probably be cast as the slightly scarry outsider!

But if you have never tried its crisp and clean taste, between a radish and a water chesnut, then this is your chance! It works beautifully grated as in today’s salad, with cucumber and carrots. Maybe it is an occasion to start with a new resolution this term: Why not try to introduce an ingredient you have never tried before, each week – something not necessarily exotic or hard to find but just not in your usual repertoire. A change of routine!

The pursuit of fantasy and curiosity in the kitchen is just what I need to shake the boredom that can sometimes find its way into our meals. Too many of us cook the same things weeks after weeks- a true recipe to loose your appetite for good! Forget the ubiquitous greens beans and try Kolrabi instead…

ET comes home

Kohlrabi, carrot and cucumber salad with fresh mint and pumpkin seeds

Ingredients list: It’s all in the title!

  • Grated kohlrabi 1
  • Grated carrots 2
  • Grated cucumber ½
  • Some mint leaves
  • Handful of pumpkin seeds

For the dressing:

  • ½ a squeezed lemon
  • Dash of Maggie Liquid seasoning
  • Olive oil 2 Tbsp

Grate all of the above. I use a steel mandolin to do that and therefore I get a very quick and prettily cut “julienne” as a result. But a normal vegetable grater will do.

Toss in a big bowl and dress with the squeezed lemon, a bit of olive oil and some Maggi liquid seasoning or a dash of soy sauce. Sprinkle the chopped mint and seeds on the top before serving.

Nutrition notes: This is a very easily digested salad and if you use very fresh vegetables, you’ll be getting heaps of vitamins and good fibre too. All very macrobiotic indeed…

You can also use kohlrabi to replace turnips in soups or potatoes, as in “gratin dauphinois”.