Category Archives: winter

Avocado and kiwi frozen smoothie for radiant health

 

Just 3 ingredients and lots of ice...

Just 3 ingredients and lots of ice…

A cooling smoothie with an unusual savoury tang: The smooth avocado marries the tangy kiwi in a delicious if surprising combination.

Ingredients list:

  • avocado, 1
  • kiwi, 1 peeled
  • spirulina powder, 1 tsp (optional)
  • orange, 1 squeezed
  • ice cubes, handful

Blitz all of the above ingredients in your food processor ( mine is a Thermomix) and serve cold in an ice cream glass. I love it as a starter or anytime of day as a smoothie. It is also a great post work out recovery drink! Need to remember that next sunday as I attempt to run the Richmond running festival Half-marathon…

Be sure that, with or without spirulina, this sweet and savoury smoothie packs a big vitamin punch in a small size –  quantities above are per person.

You can source Spirulina powder in health shops. It is great for energy because it contains a wide range of vitamins and minerals as well as anti-oxydants. I can’t say I enjoy the taste of it of in small quantities in smoothies it does the job and provide even more green to your diet… The taste is fresh and clean so perfect to start the day feeling radiant with health and virtue!

Pure green energy

Pure green energy

 

 

 

 

Burn’s night haggis and duck egg tartlet

Tonight is Burn’s Night, in which the Scots eat Haggis and drink whiskies, recite Burn’s poetry to the sound of bag pipes and generally have a song and a dance around one of the weirdest food stuff possible!

I happen to really enjoy Haggis and I share with my Franco-English brood a very candid love for the full flavours of this ancient and mythical dish. So we usually share at least one Haggis with friends during the months of January or February.  The Haggis itself is best bought from your butcher and if you follow the instructions you should be set ! What I suggest here is what to do the next day with the left-overs – I always buy generously and so the left-over is quite plentiful. You could always just purchase a small haggis, cook it for the time required and use it in this recipe. I reckon this starter is an easy and user-friendly introduction to the real thing…

A sausage shaped haggis ! Perfect

A sausage shaped haggis ! Perfect

Ingredients for 6 tartlets:

  • 500g of Haggis (cooked and cooled)
  • one egg, beaten
  • Fine oatmeal or brown flour
  • Duck eggs, 6
  • Maldon salt
  • Little glass of whisky

Poach the duck eggs directly in boiling water (with a spoonful of vinegar added) or in small darioles moulds stood in one inch of boiling water. Count 3 to 4 minutes after boiling point to get soft boiled eggs. Rinse under cool water, peel and reserve.

Put one spoonful of rapeseed oil in a skillet and heat up.

With oiled hands, shape 100g of haggis in round tartlet shape or flat pat tie and brush both sides in the beaten egg. Add a bit of water with your fingers if this helps. Sprinkle the fine oatmeal over and then fry both sides in oil. Repeat for 6 rounds.

Drain the excess oil on some kitchen towel then serve the Haggis base with one poached egg on top and sprinkle some salt over.

Serve with a sprinkle of whisky on the haggis base.

Each guest will cut the egg : the soft yolk mingling with the spicy haggis meat and the alcool gives a lovely and very unusual mouthful. Some bag-pipe music might always be enjoyable at that point but if you want to really get the full experience of Burn’s Night you can always try reciting the traditional address or heading to a Scottish pub during the next three or four weeks and seeing how it is done properly!

In any case, this is a night for loud and rowdy fun and for eating things you never thought you would love! Never miss an opportunity to party, is my honest advice for this new year. And may the memory last long after Burn’s Night is over…

I took no picture of the starter sadly but here is a picture of the whole Haggis, ready to be cut up, the night before…

A robust and fragrant Haggis

A robust and fragrant Haggis

Chicken lemon in tagine dish

Tagines make ideal winter dishes

Tagines make ideal winter dishes

As a child, I used to spend most of my Christmas holidays in Morrocco where my maternal grend-parents used to live. So Christmas is not necessarily associated for me with snow or Fir trees but more often with donkey rides in the garden, fish for supper and an exotic, tenderly arranged nativity scene or crèche in the ‘salon’ where my parents and grand-parents would take us to on Christmas morning. Tagines were served to us as a warming winter dish and they are the perfect antidote to cold and dark winter evenings. With warming spices to suffuse the soul and limbs, they  also represent the easy option of a perfect one-pot no-fuss meal.

Chicken lemon in tagine dish – Serves 2 to 3

Ingredients list:

For the marinade:

  • 1 frozen chopped chilli cube or two pea-size drops of Harissa paste
  • 200 ml water
  • 70 ml olive oil
  • Salt
  • Ras el hanout or M’rouzia mix, 1 Tbsp
  • Cumin 1 Tbsp
  • Ground Coriander 1 tsp
  • Pinch of safran
  • Fresh coriander
  • Fresh parsley

For the stew:

  • Cubed skinless chicken breast with wing bone (2/3 breasts) or oyster thighs -ask a good butcher!
  • 1 large red onion cubed
  • 2 / 3 lemons in brine quartered
  • Zest of half a fresh lemon
  • 2 big handful of garden peas, fresh or frozen

Note that a few quartered potatoes can be included as an option, as in the image above –  I tend to give those a miss if I am trying to recover from excessive festive indulgence… Check the water if you have added potatoes and add if necessary towards the end.

Lay all the meat and put the vegetables in the dish, then mix the marinade in a small jug and pour on top of the dish. Cover and cook on medium to low heat for 45 min. Do not open the dish too often, if ever. Chuck the peas towards the end. Serve with a sprinkle of fresh parsley.

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All the world’s spice under a tent

Mini Christmas cakes for well-wishing

In preparation for a Christmas coffee with girlfriends tomorrow morning, I have baked these little beauties in the afternoon after a grisly midday run and as they are releasing their fragrant appeal through the house, I thought I would reblog this to remind all it is time for some Christmas baking…
Happy baking – and do not get as forgetful as I did just now and – OMG!- I forgot to put in half of the spices … So it is just vanilla, ginger and rum in there… A new twist on my Xmas recipe.

travels around my kitchen

This morning at 11am, A. and I went to Westminster Abbey for the magical “Crib service” in the royal cathedral- because prayers and Carols are as essential to my Christmas as mince-pies and foie gras ! 
Halfway through the nave, a life-size nativity scene awaited us, on a bed of straw, next to two beautifully lit trees… and lots of small children joined in the nicest and best loved carols. It was a very moving, secluded and intimate service – but you are also in for a treat if you have booked seats for the 4pm candlelit Christmas service of today.
There were only a few people with us, all gathered around the Crib and with the 30 metres of the nave above us, figuring the infinite sky beyond the barn. We talked of shepherds coming to worship the babe and of their gifts of lamb. I thought of giving…

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Tagine of chicken with pomegranate and prunes

For this I advise you to use a proper pointy tagine dish but a heavy pan with lid will do if you can not have the real thing. The pointy shape of the dish does concentrate flavours wonderfully and makes a great centrepiece on the dinner table. Do not forget to soak the unglazed underside of the tagine prior to using it to avoid cracking in the feat. I use a heat diffuseur as well over the hob.

A moroccan tagine

A moroccan tagine

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Ingredients list:

  • Onion,1
  • M’rouzia (or Ras El Hanout), 1 tbsp
  • Chicken stock, 1 large glass
  • Passata, 100m
  • salt
  • Olive oil
  • Pomegranate syrup, 2 Tbsp
  • Diced chicken, 1 with bones and skin
  • Celery heart,1 diced
  • Carrots, 3 or 4
  • Prunes, one handful
  • Roasted almonds, one handful
  • Parsley and coriander to serve.

Fry the chicken in a pan with a little olive oil and turn each morsel a few times for about 15 minutes. Toss the M’rouzia mix over and roll the chicken in the spices until coated, add some salt, then reserve.

Lay the sliced onion at the bottom of the dish, place the chicken bits over. Cut up the celery heart and the carrots lengthwise and pile on.

Drain the chicken juice from the frying pan into a jug, add the passata, some more spice mix (M’rouzia is a current favourite but Ras el Hanout is good too). Then blend in some pomegranate syrup or grape molasses – in sale from any good middle-eastern grocer.  You should have about 250ml of liquid. Add a bit of water if you need too, then pour it all over the meat and vegetables.

Cover and cook on low heat for 45 min to 1 hour. Add the prunes at the end and give a little more heat for 5 minutes. Check the liquid level: the juice must be thick and reduced but still there to give moisture to the dish.

To serve, sprinkle with chopped parsley and coriander, a small amount of roasted almonds and 3 tbsp of fresh pomegranate seeds. The mixed fruity and nutty flavours are great against the saltiness of the meat!

You can serve it on it own or with steamed bulgur wheat. I love bulgur and it loves me back: it is impossible to fail and I really like its rough nuttiness better sometime than a silky couscous.