A lovely but short week-end in Paris yielded a bunch of photos, some nice encounters and a few recipes. Travelling is such a creative pursuit: you come back refreshed, full of new flavours, new images and new ideas. There is nothing like breaking the routine to give you a renewed zest for life!
I had experimented lately with a few low fat recipes in my steamer and Cecile’s suggestion of using Pastis to finish off a ratatouille sounded too tempting to resist, so here is my take on it. A lovely, fluffy and light summer dish with a strong hint of aniseed to conjure up some sunshine.
- Aubergines, 2
- Red pepper,1
- Green pepper, 1
- Courgettes, 2
- Large tomatoes, 4
- Onions, 3
- Garlic cloves, 3
- Thyme, sprigs
- Rosemary, sprigs
- Olive oil, 4 Tbsp
- Tomato paste, 2 Tbsp
- Dash of Pastis (Pernod or Ricard, no bias)
All the colours of summer
Wash the vegetables and cut them up in cubes of equal size. Take the seeds out of the peppers and peel and chop the onions and garlic. To get rid of tomato skin, plunge them into a bowl of boiling water and peel with a sharp knife: most of it will come off easily!
Steam the vegetables on the hob or in an electric steamer for 15 minutes, adding the courgettes and tomatoes towards the end (about 5 minutes before). Do reserve the sliced onions and garlic which you are going to fry in a little olive oil until they are soft.
Drain the vegetables and add them to the frying pan over low heat now for another 10 minutes.
Add a spoonful of tomato paste, season with salt, pepper and herbs. Adjust the amount of liquid by adding water if necessary and simmer for 30 minutes. Towards the end, raise the heat and drop a dash of pastis into the mix!
You can use fresh tarragon to decorate and add to the flavours. But either way, this recipe will produce an intensely flavoured ratatouille that is neither oily nor watery, will melt in you mouth and be good for you inside out…
Gentle steaming is the best way to keep the good vitamins inside your veggies and avoid using too much fat in cooking. It is recommended in a macrobiotic diet because it allows to keep the nutrients and the energy of the plants alive.
Walking around in the 5th
Spring in Paris
The lovely Hotel de l’Abbaye, rue Princesse
It’s in the air, I think, but I have recently been experimenting with gluten-free recipes to see if I can get a good enough taste versus the health promise.
Hence, I created by chance this light and delicious muffins recipe and I am so chuffed about this one that I will delay no more and give you THE LIGHTEST AND TASTIEST MUFFINS ever… See for yourself!
This makes 15 muffins.
Buckwheat flour 90g
Brown rice flour 45g
Potato flour 50g
Fine oatmeal 50g
Almond powder 50g
Baking powder 1 Tbsp
Bicarbonate of soda 1 Tbsp
Xantham gum 1/2 tsp
Rapeseed oil 100ml
Grated lemon zest and lemon juice of one lemon
Lemon extract 1/2 tsp
Poppy seeds 1 tsp
Mix the flours and raising agents together with the xantham gum.
Add 100ml of oil and mix in the sugar, eggs beaten as for an omelette and the lemon extract, lemon juice, seeds and buttermilk.
Whisk it all in a food processor until you get a light and creamy mix.
For best results, leave the dough to rest 15 min at room temperature.
Bake at 180〫for 20 or 25 min.
These muffins are amazingly light and cloud like!
I took them for tea to my friend’s Lala’s place and we had them as a Mad Hatter’s tea party in her wonderland basement flat, surrounded by lovely antiques and the smell of pot-pourri.
This is a gluten-free and diet friendly recipe and there is no trade off on the taste front because they taste so yummy I still can’t believe they are good for you…
I ate this as a starter in a village bistro in Castillon du Gard and I HAD to make my version as soon as I got close to an oven!
This is a creamy and tasty loaf, closer to a flan consistancy but baked in a cake pan for convenience.
Aubergines 6 medium
Salt, pepper and thyme
Cut off the end of the aubergines and put them whole in a baking dish into
a hot oven for one hour.
When they are soft to the touch, peel them and dice them into a
blender with one tbsp of salt, pepper and thyme combined.
Beat the eggs as if for an omelette, add one spoonful of virgin olive
oil and mix with the aubergines in the blender.
Pour the mix into a greased cake tin.
Bake at 170 degrees for 1hour.
Turn the tin onto a serving dish and serve at room temperature with a
good tomato coulis or just some fresh tomatoes, olive oil and thyme
crushed in the blender.
A fat-free, light and easy starter if ever I saw one and it looks like
you’ve spent hours perfecting it… Credits without the sweat: that’s
my idea of a good deal!
I am not a big fan of mayonnaise and in any case I have never succeeded in making a good enough one so the dislike must be mutual: I dont like it and it doesnt like me… but I have recently come across this dip and for me it ticks all the boxes that mayonnaise does not:
- Lean and light – not oily
- Tasty in an exotic kind of way
- Quick to make
- Impossible to fail!
1 garlic clove
Tahini 50 ml
Silken Tofu 115g
Lemon juice to taste
Rapeseed oil 50ml
Spring onion 1 chopped
Light soy sauce 1 tbsp
Same amount of water
Pinch of salt and smoke paprika
Crush the garlic and stir in the tahini. In a blender, add the tofu, lemon juice and the tahini mixture. Then drizzle in the oil and soy sauce. Add water in if it feels too thick and stir in the chopped spring onion and the salt and paprika. Re-ajust with more lemon juice or oil if needed. The mix must be creamy and of a pale buff colour like a really nicely set mayonnaise.
Serve with lots of vegetable sticks (carrots, cucumber, celery) or some vegetable crisps. Enjoy immoderately! If more moderate, you can keep it in the refrigerator in a screw-top jar for a fortnight.
Nutrition notes: A lighter dip, full of good quality protein and low fat. You can up the content in healthy Omegas by using a bit of linseed oil or whizzing a cup to linseed into the mix. Good for your colon and easy on your arteries – who would want mayonnaise instead?!
Recipe adapted from “Food combining for weight loss and health” by Gilly Love and Patrizia Diemling.
This is a simple dish full of the tastes and colours of summer, for when you only have 20 minutes in the kitchen.
Filo pastry (several sheets)
Passata a small glass
30 or so Cherry tomatoes
Lay several sheets of Filo into a pie dish. I use about 5 or 6 of them and overlap each layer. Brush with a bit of olive oil.
Mix the tofu and 1/2 a tub of ricotta or 125 g. Blend in one egg, a small glass of Passata or crushed tomatoes. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Pour the mix inside the pie and arrange the halved cherry tomatoes on top. Decorate with a generous amount of cured anchovies. Add some basil, coriander and a few sun-dried tomatoes if you have them. Fold the sheets edges back onto the pie and sprinkle with a small spoonful of olive oil before putting in a hot oven (250°C) about 20 min.
A low fat dish full of good quality protein (in the tofu) and vitamins, it is perfect if you are watching your waistline pre-bikini season and the taste is VERY indulgent!
I love using filo instead of more robust pastry in my pies because you get the taste without the calories and it looks dainty and festive on the table.