Category Archives: summer

Aubergine dip

Caviar d’aubergine

  • 4 aubergines
  • 4 tablespoons of Tahini
  • 1 lemon
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • olive oil
  • Pepper
  • Smoked paprika, 1 tsp

Wash and cut up the aubergines in two halves, then brush with a little olive oil and place the halves on a roasting tray. Bake in the oven for 1h  at 170°.

Once cooled, peel them and squash them with a potato masher. Add the lemon juice and other ingredients and finish with a little trail of olive oil.

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 !

Aubergine caviar – In praise of simple food!

“Caviar d’aubergine” or Aubergine dip is a traditional middle eastern dish and I love it everywhere and anywhere because it is super healthy and oh so simple to whip up. I can hardly believe I have not yet included it in this blog… For us, it always goes with our family size pot of hummous and lots of fresh veg and homemade bread to dip in.

I have been recently immersed in the excellent book by Dr Michel de Lorgeril “Le nouveau régime méditerranéen”- a well written, even humorous scientific essay-

IMG_7185 and I am loving the idea that simple, century-old recipes still hold the key to good health and longevity. Aubergine salad or dip is one of the staples of the Mediterranean diet and as such needs to feature in a balanced diet. So here it is : not a fad’ and not made of fancy expensive ingredients nobody has heard of – just authentic, simple and classic food.

 

 Ingredients List:

  • Aubergines, 4 medium size
  • Tahini, 3 Tbsp
  • Lemon juice,  of 1 lemon
  • Pinch of salt
  • Garlic cloves, 2
  • Olive oil
  • Pepper and smoked paprika to taste

Slice the aubergines in two halves, drizzle a little oil over and put them in the oven for 1h at 160°.

Once cooled, peel them and cut them up in chunks. Press them with a potato masher or put them through the food processor with all the other ingredients until you get a smooth cream.

Check the seasoning. It needs to be sharp and well balanced but not too pungent. One tip: cut each garlic clove in twos and removed the greenish shoot in the middle to take the edge off the garlic but still have a beautiful  flavour.

Serve with oatcakes or flat bread. Or just with cut up raw carrots and peppers if you are going Paleo!

A venitian market

A venitian market

Roasted Spanish style haddock with red peppers

As students up and down the country prepare themselves to move into their Freshmen’s halls or flat-shares, this is a cheap and very tasty recipe to warm up an autumn evening in a new city! A fast and healthy recipe, all cupboard based, to save time and money. The flavours are inspired by a couple of recent Spanish week-ends and the endless and delicious tapas tasted, where only a few but excellent ingredients help produce food that sing in the soul!

Haddock is a firm fleshed fish with no bones and a great source of omegas, lean protein and important minerals to nurture hungry young brains. It is very nice frozen so no need to look for fresh one unless you are near the sea. This dish is all cupboard or frozen ingredients so easy and cheap to source and it only boasts 3 to 4 ingredients (plus some seasoning) so it is real quick to put together. Hardware wise, all you need is an oven proof dish and the oven that goes with it.

Spanish red

Spanish red

Ingredients list

  • Frozen haddock, 1 filet per person
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • ½ red pepper, chopped

Seasoning:

  • Sweet paprika, 1 tsp
  • salt and pepper
  • A little olive oil
  • Quarter of  a lemon to serve

Lay the fillet (still frozen) in a dish and pour all the ingredients on top.

Swing it into the oven at 180° and bake for 30min or until the fish is tender and totally defrosted. Cooking frozen fish without defrosting is key to getting a tender but firm and tasty end dish rather than soggy and unappetising flesh… Unlike meat, fish should always be cooked frozen!

Summer evening on a beach somewhere...

Summer evening on a beach somewhere last month…

Barbecue style spare ribs in tamari and chipotle sauce

I know this is not barbecue weather and I am not suggesting you set one up in the rain! On the contrary this is fake barbecue food so perfect when you want to “pretend” and enjoy the taste of a barbecue without the hassle or indeed the health risk of charcoal meat… The Tamari sauce and Chipotle chilli give the meat a lovely, smoky taste and appearance but no burning needed.

Chipotle is a fiery and delicate chilli from Mexico and here I have paired it with Cajun spices, bought on a market in Martinique.

 

Marinated porc

Marinated porc

IMG_0266

Crispy and blackened by the spices

Ingredients list:

  • One or two pork ribs rack
  • Tamari sauce 100ml
  • Olive oil 50ml
  • Cajun spice 1 Tbsp
  • Chipotle chilli powder, 1tsp
  • Treacle, 1 Tbsp

Get trimmed pork ribs in preference, with just enough fat to sizzle.

Put all the ingredients and spices into a bowl and mix well. You might need to heat the treacle so it blends with the other ingredients.

Put the marinade over the meat, massage it  in with your fingers and leave in the fridge for ½ hour if you can.

Put the racks into your roasting oven on the roast setting and leave it to cook for 2 hours max at just over 160 degrees. It needs to slow roast so the meat is melting and literally falling off the racks.

Serve this to share with your fingers and add a green salad on the side.

The spices, the Tamari and treacle, all give it the distinctive charcoal colour and a great taste. All done in the oven and no outdoor BBQ to clean afterwards!

It is also quicker to make than most spare ribs recipes I know and it tastes just right.