Tag Archives: mint

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 !

Tartine of cream cheese, strawberries, fresh mint and… Pedro!

For me today, there is life BEFORE and AFTER Pedro…

Here is a fresh idea for a sophisticated breakfast or a light lunch:

Take a slice of Pain Poilâne – or chunky wholemeal- , spread it with cream cheese, slice fresh strawberries, chop some mint on top, give it a shake of black pepper and a swirl of Pedro Jimenez reduction and savour with a cup of Earl Grey, a jug of Pims or a glass of Prosecco! I am talking PROPER breakfast here : the kind you want just before you are off to Ascot or Henley or Wimbledon…  And the touch of Pedro here is just the thing to make you swoon. If no Pedro, then try just a dash of thick balsamic vinegar or even some dark honey… Though Pedro IS irreplacable, you can make substitutes – much like you do in a football match when things don’t quite work out!!! What on earth is happening to Brazil right now???!!! Come on Guys…

IMG_7254This is light snack food at its best! On top of that, it is super healthy and delicious so why not indulge…

Shop version from Le Pain Quotidien in Marylebone

Shop version from Le Pain Quotidien in Marylebone

More of a tip than a recipe but here is another photo to show you how it all gets together – in case you thought the above was complex. This is tomato, basil, artichoke in brine and PEDRO…

A more mediterranean version

A more mediterranean version


Vietnamese spring rolls for the weekend!

I love welcoming the world into my kitchen , especially by travelling through flavours. Exotic vanilla, burning chillies, unexpectedly flowery cardamom, warming cinnamon or cloves… The appeal of far-away flavours and food is unabated by their modern availability!

Though I wish sometimes that I could enjoy them with the trepidation the great explorers of past times must have felt when coming back with the first plant of cocoa (Hans Sloane) or the first root of ginger (Marco Polo)… Now, that must have been something!

Like freshly bundled babies!

For the weekend, I give you a well-loved Vietnamese recipe! Thanks to the lovely Bhopa who taught me to roll them properly during the summer, mine look now as delicate and neat as they taste. No difficulty at all. Easy peasy recipe! Though I’ ll upload a drawing if I can.

Vietnamese Spring Rolls

Ingredients list: for about a dozen rolls

  • One handful of cooked prawns
  • Handful of thin rice noodles or rice vermicelli
  • ½ grated carrot
  • 3 Tbsp of dry shiitake mushrooms
  • Fish sauce 4 Tbsp
  • Soy sauce or oyster sauce 2 Tbsp
  • Ground pepper
  • Egg, 1
  • Rapeseed oil for frying
  • Thai or Vietnamese rice paper

For the dipping sauce:

  • Rice vinegar
  • Agave syrup
  • Fish sauce
  • water

Mix one equal part of each in a dipping bowl and serve that sauce with the warm rolls, some fresh lettuce leaves and sprigs of fresh mint.

First, boil some water and soak the rice noodles and the mushrooms, separately in two bowls.

Then put the other  ingredients in a big bowl and season to your taste. Don’t forget the pepper and fish sauce.

Add the beaten egg to link it through.

Drain the noodles and the mushrooms and add them in. At this stage you can either chop the whole lot very roughly with a sharp knife or put it for a few seconds in a food processor. You want a rough and chunky mix in which each ingredient can sing its own tune and where none should overwhelm the others – least the noodles!

Leave to rest for one hour in the fridge – This is great to prepare in the afternoon and then you just have to roll them in the rice paper and fry them up just before sitting down for dinner.

When you are ready, prepare a tray full of water and a wet cloth: Dip the rice paper in the water on both sides, lay it on the cloth and put a small spoonful of stuffing about three fingers from the top end. Bring down the top over the stuffing, then fold both sides over this, joining in the middle and start rolling down as tight as you can. Reserve each of your treasures under a second cloth.

Once you have used up all of the filling, heat a bit of oil in a wok or deep pan and fry each roll lightly on all sides until they colour a little.

Put them on kitchen paper to drain the excess oil and eat immediately. This is how: You roll the spring roll into a salad leaf with a mint leaf or two and you dip into the sauce before devouring with glee! It’s messy and delicious.

 This is evidently a weekend recipe, for when you have a bit of time and can invite some friends around to pat you on the back! Who doesn’t need that?! I dedicate this to Mum and Dad who are soon off to Vietnam! Lucky them.

English garden pea soup with mint


Credit to Sophie Dahl for the frightfully British and always divine recipes of her book “Miss Dahl’s Voluptuous Delights “. I borrowed this one because it is an English classic- if fact, you can’t get more English than this fresh peas and mint combination!

Sophie Dahl’s Pea soup

Ingredients list:
Olive oil
Spring onions 3
Freshly shelled peas 500 g
Vegetable stock 1 litre
Mint, a good handful
Salt and pepper
Crème fraîche

The Delicious Miss Dahl makes her with “frozen peas” but why use frozen when pea is the one green vegetable this country seems to produce in abundance?!
I used child labour to get these freshly shelled ones but it was worth it. Shelling beans or peas “en famille” is such a relaxing and mind-cleansing activity… why deprive yourself when they are in season?!

In a medium size pan, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil and sauté the chopped spring onion for a few minutes. Add the peas and coat them in oil, stirring. Add the stock and mint and cook on low heat for about 10-15 minutes. Season to taste. Add some dried mint if you have some- as I did. Transfer to a blender and whiz –Here I use a traditional “Moulin a legumes” in stainless steel instead so the soft skins of the peas are sieved out but if the peas are very small and tender, the blender is probably fine.

Serve warm or cool, depending on the weather, with a whirl of crème fraiche.
Everybody lapped it up and it is now a family favourite!

Gateau de courgettes a la menthe


Gateau de courgettes a la menthe
Minty courgettes loaf
Ingredients list:
Courgettes 500g
Onion 1 small
Cream cheese1 big tbsp
Crème fraiche 1 tbsp
100g feta cheese
Oil for the dish
4 eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
1 bunch of mint
Grate the unpeeled courgettes and brown them with a bit of olive oil and the diced onion. Stir and simmer on low heat until all water has evaporated from the vegetables.
Whisk the eggs in a bowl, then mix the cream and cream cheese  with the salt and pepper. Incorporate the feta by crumbling it in between your fingers. Add the chopped mint – I also used some dried mint flowers I had bought in Greece some time ago and found it still smelt wonderful! Like Thyme flowers, this is a very special ingredient if you happen to find it in a market on holiday or to collect it yourself.
Mix in the grated courgette after chewing on a morsel to make sure they are not bitter. One bitter courgette can ruin a whole dish…
Butter your tin, pour the preparation inside and put in a warm oven (170° C.)for about 30 min. Serve cold with a tomato coulis (cold tomato sauce) or hot tomato sauce.
A perfect picnic dish bringing back wonderful memories of Greek holidays and sunshine, of finger-food on the boat and al-fresco lunches in sea-side tavernas.
This is the best thing about food: you may travel on the smell of a dish or on a forgotten taste suddenly rediscovered as if it were on a flying carpet. You get a whiff of wild mint and suddenly you are spread-eagle on a soft meadow bed, looking at the clouds overhead and chewing a wild fennel stem.