Category Archives: summer

Beet hummous with fresh mint

Love the colour!

Love the summer colours!

This is a perfect holiday recipe: healthy vibrant colour and gorgeous taste for a minimum of efforts…

I used mint from the wonderful herb garden that comes with the villa we are staying in here in Crete and I would encourage you to grow a pot of mint wherever you can as it is such an uplifting smell and it grows really fast in pots, on windowsills or balconies in pretty much any climate.

Ingredient list:

  • 1/2 tin of chick pea
  • 1 cooked beetrout
  • 1 spoonful of Tahini
  • Virgin cold pressed Olive oil 100ml
  • Lemon juice of 1 and 1/2 lemon
  • 3 garlic cloves crushed
  • 1 spoonful of ground cumin
  • a small handful of crushed mint leaves

Blitz all ingredients in a food processor (I use a standing blender); adding a bit of olive oil or even water too make it lighter if the consistency is too thick. But I never puree it to finely as I enjoy a bit of texture.

Beetroot is great for joints and particularly important for runners or anybody who wishes to take care of their knees. I love it also for its happy colour !

Cold gaspacho of melon, cucumber and mint – as fresh as a kiss!

A sweet and savoury soup as cool and healthy as a salty kiss, the kind you get when you are flirting in the waves! Try it!

IMG_0697

Ingredients list:

  • Honeydew melon, 1 small
  • Cucumber, seeded, 1/2
  • Grape, one small bunch  (if the melon is not sweet enough)
  • Yogurt, 150g
  • Chopped sweet shallots, 2  small ones
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Lemon juice, 1 lemon
  • Olive oil, 50 ml
  • Mint, small bunch plus sprigs to decorate

    A peek at the mix!

    A peek at the mix!

Scoop out the melon’s flesh, peel the cucumber and take the seeds out.

Peel the garlic and took out the inner shoot if green.

Chop and mix all of the above ingredients then blitz into a blender (or Thermomix). Add the chopped mint and blitz again. Keep a few sprigs aside.

Reserve and chill until ready to eat.

Decorate with fresh  mint and a little stick with fruit on it. Add a few ice cubes when serving.

Freshly made

Freshly made

We had this in a little “chiringuito” in El Palmar, not far from the Roche beach that I have pictured above. I fell in love with the sweetness and coolness of this perfect summer combination. Soups are a great summer dish – a welcome alternative to the salads… The beauty of cold soup is that they are choking-full of watery fruit and veg and therefore so hydrating and refreshing in the heat. Plus the extra shot of vitamins will leave you radiant when returning from the beach.

This is the second in my series of Spanish themed soups for summer goodness. Hope you are loving them as much as I do! Third one soon on it’s way and it is the famous and mysterious “Ajo Blanco”…

 

Salmorejo – The other gazpacho!

On a very hot like today, this cold soup is a godsend!  I first tasted last year in Granada and a few days ago on the beautiful beach of El Palmar near Cadix, in a Chiringuito with a view. I am writing this from the roof terrace of my hotel in Seville, on a still and very hot night – the temperature having hardly cooled down since sunset…

I gift this dish to my friend and neighbour “Abracadabra”, who will recognise herself and recently asked me for healthy, “eat beautiful” recipes with a Thermomix!

View from the Chiringuito

View from the Chiringuito

Ingredients list:

  • Tomatoes, ripe 1kg
  • Wholemeal bread150g,
  • Garlic cloves, 1 or 2
  • Olive oil, 150ml,
  • Salt and pepper ,
  • green pepper, one seeded
  • Vinaigre of Jerez or cider 30ml,
  • Pimenton dulce, 1 tbsp parsley, chopped , couple of sprigs
  • Soft boiled egg,chopped , 1 per guest
  • Spanish cured ham, chopped, a handful

Serve this with aubergines chips (recipe to follow!)

To Drink: A Tinto de verano with lots of ice! It’s 37 in the shade of the orange grove today as I write this…

The Giralda, a muslim tower turned Belfry

The Giralda, a muslim tower turned Belfry

First soft-boil the eggs and chop the ham. Reserve.

Put the whole tomatoes in a pan of just boiled water. Leave a couple of minutes then peel, quarter and seed them.

Put the garlic (centre shoot removed), the pepper and tomatoes in the Thermomix: feed them through the top hole while turning at speed 4/5.

Tonight's version

My version

Mix the bread chunks with the oil, add the vinaigre and seasoning. Leave to rest a few minutes then add to the tomato mixture.

Whizz thoroughly at speed 6/7. Check and adjust the seasoning with “pimentón” (a kind of Spanish paprika that can come in sweet or hot according to taste), salt and pepper.
Blend at top speed until smooth. If using a Thermomix, you might be able to cut corners and not peel nor seed your tomatoes! If not using one, on the other hand, you might have to sieve the mixture at this point… The soup needs to look like a beefed up gazpacho, creamy and thick.

Reserve in the fridge until serving : Then decorate with chopped cured ham and parsley and chopped hard boiled egg or your soft boil one. I tried this version the other night in Puerto Santamaria and fell in love with it! The soft boiled or poached egg once cut, oozes a delicious yolk into the soup.

This is one of several super-healthy summer soups that I will be posting during the next month, to show that summer soups can be very versatile as well as nutritive and full of health. And that there is so much more to it than Gazpacho!

The Spanish drink a “Tinto de Verano” when the weather is hot like it is at the moment in Andalucia and I am fast becoming partial to it: red Rioja and lemonade with lots of large ice cubes and a slice of lemon…  Enjoy your summer!

With my son in the ocean waves...

With my youngest son in the ocean waves…

Rum raisin creamy frozen yogurt

Rum and raisin frozen yogurt

To celebrate the hottest summer in many many years – or as far as my memories of London can stretch- I give you a lovely frozen yogurt embellished by a touch of  spirit! and a scatter of sultanas.

IMG_7415 Ingredients list:

  • Demerara sugar 200g
  • Water 150ml
  • Raisins sultanas 200g
  • Greek yogurt 1 L pot
  • Vanilla in “jelly” or vanilla bean, scraped
  • Dark rum

Make a syrup with 200g of sugar, two capfuls of dark rum and a small glass (150ml) of water. Melt all of the sugar and reduce the syrup a little bit but without getting to a boil: You do not want to get to a caramel ! Switch off : Throw the raisins in the pan and get them to soak the juice for a little while.
Leave to cool.

Mix a large tub of Greek yogurt (1L) with the cooled syrup and a small spoonful of vanilla jelly – I have just discovered this product and I love it: it’s great and easy to use in puddings and pastry, plus it lasts longer and there is less wastage than with vanilla pods. In the Uk, it is sold at Waitrose: try the Organic vanilla bean paste by Taylor and Colledge.

Beat the yogurt with a whisk, add some rum to taste and pour the mix into your ice-cream maker or just into a container and in the freezer.

The tangy yogurt complements the rum and vanilla flavour so well I do not know why I had not thought of it earlier… This frozen yogurt is delicious and goes very well with fresh brownies. This is indeed how I served it last night to friends from Spain on a very hot summer evening in London… But this week-end, should the nice weather continue to hold, I am heading to West Wittering, my favourite British beach… See you on Monday!

I scream for Ice scream! except that's a yogurt...

I scream for Ice cream! Except that’s a yogurt…

 

Strawberry, mint and cucumber picnic salad

A great looking, great tasting salad for your next picnic. This would be the ideal menu to bring to a Bank Holiday lunch “al fresco” and in the sun…

Here dishes without "Pedro" and with "Pedro"! See the difference?

Salad and tortilla for a summer lunch outside

Ingredients list:

  • Bunch of mint (fresh pepper mint is best)
  • 1 cucumber, seeded
  • Strawberry, 1 punnet
  • Feta cheese, 1 cubed slab
  • Pedro Jimenez reduction or Balsamic vinegar

This came to me in flash as I was trying to use a punnet of strawberries but in a savoury way. I thought that strawberries are great with cracked pepper but also with mint and  from then on I imagined to pair them with the amazing “chocolate peppermint” I have been growing in my front garden. It is a spicy tasting plant with a real smell of “After eight” and the taste of strong Hollywood chewing gum! It is wonderful in that salad but sweet moroccan mint would be nice too.

Chop the strawberries and cucumber a similar size cubes and same with the cheese – although the cheese is pleasant in adding a bit of salt in there, it is by no means essential. It might even distract a bit from the wholesome simplicity of flavours so I have sometimes omitted it.

Dress with a simple drizzle of balsamic vinegar or my favourite Pedro Jimenez reduction. It hardly needs anything else and if it did it would be a hint of black pepper, if your fruit are a little bland. Toss and serve.

A healthy, skinny and super tasty salad.

Love the colours...

Love the colours…

Our first picnic of the year was in Hyde park and this is what we carried:

(The gorgeous metal plate are Heritage designs printed for the Wallace collection by Elite Gift `boxes)IMG_6623 IMG_6624Many happy memories are created around picnics so choose your spot, your day, your company and make it a picnic to remember…