Tag Archives: macrobiotic

Warm avocado soup

Decorate with chopped eggs and chopped sweet pepper

Decorate with chopped eggs and chopped sweet pepper

Ingredients list:

  • Avocados, 2
  • 1 stock cube
  • Boiling water, 250ml
  • Rice milk, 250ml
  • Paprika, 1 tsp
  • Lemon juice, 1 Tbsp
  • Chopped spring onion, 1
  • Cayenne pepper, to taste

This soup is warm but requires no cooking. So it’s ideal for time-poor students or older persons who want a healthy meal without the hassle of cooking it.

Blend all the ingredients until smooth in a food processor and serve warm with boiled eggs (chopped) and red pepper cubes, for a nice colour contrast. Season generously and choose either sweet or hot paprika, or both, according to your inclination.

I also like this soup with a generous slice of bread covered in Sobressada from Mallorca. This paprika flavoured sausage can be spread easily and comes to reinforce the smoked paprika hint already in the soup.

 Nutrition notes:

This is very gentle on your digestive system as well as being very restorative due to the high potassium content of both avocado and paprika. The healthy oils in the avocado are excellent for the skin and the brain.

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.

Steamed ratatouille with Pastis

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.

Ingredients list:

  • 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

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…

Nutrition notes:

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.

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Walking around in the 5th

Spring in Paris

Spring in Paris

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The lovely Hotel de l’Abbaye, rue Princesse

Light Agar posset with almond and orange blossom

Perfect for Red Nose Day

Perfect for Red Nose Day

The trouble with the British posset or the italian pannacotta is that they are full of cream and sometimes I want a pudding that is a little bit lighter than most. I have been experimenting with Agar Agar lately and – with a bit of trial and error- I managed to get some small successes!

This silky Agar pannacotta with orange blossom water is one of those: A fresh and creamy combination of almond milk, almond butter and orange blossom with the undertones of an oriental pudding ; recalling visions of elaborate flower’s water possets in overflowing banquets such as those described in The Arabian nights.

The story of Sharazad is my bedtime read at the moment and I am deeply enjoying plunging into a language as rich and expressive as a persian carpet…

The recipe itself come from a book on Agar recipes given to me by a kind friend and written by Cléa of Cleacuisine. Agar Agar has many health benefits and is a clever ingredient for anybody conscious of their waistline… I post this for the group of friends who came to cook with me yesterday and all enjoyed the taste of this dessert. Thanks for being so supportive and fun, I had a lovely time sharing tips and novel ingredients with you all!

Ingredients list

  • White almond butter (in health shops), 160g
  • Agave syrup, 10 tsp
  • Rice or almond milk, 400ml
  • Agar Agar powder, 4 small teaspoonful or 4 g
  • Orange blossom water, 2 Tbsp
  • A few drops of bitter almond essence

Mix the almond butter and the agave syrup in a small bowl.

Heat the milk until just below boiling point,then dissolve the agar powder in it and let it simmer for 30 seconds.

Mix in the sweetened almond cream until melted. Add the orange blossom water and a few drops of bitter almond essence to enhance the almond fragrance. This is also the reason why I use almond milk if I can rather than rice milk.

Pour into 6 individual pots or jars. Let it cool and reserve in the fridge until serving time. It is not necessary to take them out of the pans but you can if you wish. For a friends dinner I would probably serve them with a fresh raspberry and passion fruit sauce but that would raise the sugar content and I am so pleased those little desserts are sugar and dairy free I would not want to compromise tonight!

They are heavenly virtuous and that is what I want right now…

Spoon in and have your private Sharazad moment…

View of Istanbul and its port

View of Istanbul and its port

Salmon in miso glaze

Fish dishes are a great entertaining menu and if you are able to serve a whole wild salmon – as I did here- then it is worth doing a little bit of a show about it. Salmon  is such a good looking fish that I would advise to serve it intact and without cutting up its head – plus this will give more taste to the sauce eventually.

I do not have a proper Poissonniere dish so I use a roasting dish but if you have, do not hold back! 

Ingredients list:

  • One whole salmon or 6 salmon steaks
  • Water 500ml
  • Bouquet garni made with bay leaves, tarragon or basil and mint
  • Star anis 2 to 4 heads
  • Turmeric 1 Tbsp
  • Saffron 2 strands
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the glaze:

  • Shiro Miso paste 100 g
  • Mirin vinegar 1 tsp (sweet Japanese vinegar)
  • Soy sauce 2 tbsp
  • Olive or sesame oil 4 Tbsp

First clean the fish or cut it up into steaks.

Put it into a deep roasting dish and cover with water about half-way up. I line my dish with foil because it is easier to clean afterwards but you do not have to and it is probably not very “macrobiotic” to use foil… But practical!

Chuck in the “bouquet garni” and the spices. Do try to get fresh tarragon because combined with the star anis it will give the flesh a very subtle and sweet flavour that I find irresistible.

Warm the saffron strands into some hot water and chuck that in too. The saffron and turmeric give this dish its warm colour.

Put the fish in a hot oven and bake until you can insert a knife into the flesh all the way to the bone. I prefer to slightly undercook it to allow for the second grilling.

When it is baked, reserve until your guests arrive and prepare the glaze by mixing the miso with a bit of Japanese vinegar, some sesame oil and soy sauce.

If doing a whole fish, cut up the skin in the middle and push it back to uncover the flesh.

Then spread the miso marinade abundantly over it- Or just on one side of the steaks if doing individual portions.

Put the dish back in the oven at the last minute and grill for 5 to 8 minutes, watching over it carefully so it does not burn!

Serve with ladle-full of the very fragrant sauce and some rice salad or quinoa.

Baked in the juice, the salmon remains very moist. Best to baste it from time to time during the cooking, though. For the flavours need to penetrate the flesh.

The other plus point is you can also prepare most of this dish in advance, which makes for a great entertaining plan. We served a Chablis over this but a Sancerre would have been lovely too ; and in the summer I would serve it with a good rosé! My winemaker mother reckons anything pink is greatly enhanced by rosé and she should know… Do try because it is a fantastic idea and it works: from shrimps to pork, from ham to strawberries  – and smoked salmon. If you can’t source my favourite at Chateau de la Tuilerie, then try the delicious “English rose” from Chapel Down in Kent. Both world-class!