In case you haven’t guessed it, green is my FAVOURITE colour of all : the greener the better – and I don’t just mean “good for the environment”- though I like that too ! – I love the colour in fields, in clothes, in house deco and in food! Especially in food!
I just made this soup and loved its lusch, deep green and its tangy, velvety taste.
Extra virgin olive oil 3 Tbsp
Garlic cloves 4
Coriander, ground 1 tsp
Ground cumin 1tsp
Green lentils 150g
Vegetable stock 1L
Celery 1 stick
Fresh baby Spinach 200g
Lemon, freshly squeezed juice
Sea salt and black pepper
1 Tbsp of yogurt and some pine nuts
Heat the oil in large wok-style pan and add the chopped onions.
Cook for 10 min until soft, then another 10 min on higher heat to brown them. Remove some for decoration and set aside.
Add the garlic, coriander and cumin then the lentils and coat well in oil.
Add the stock and bring to a gentle boil. Turn the heat down to simmer for 30 min or so.
Add the fresh spinach and stir until wilted.
Liquidize half the soup and mix back in the pan. Season with lemon juice, sea salt and black pepper.
Serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt, some pine nuts and some fried onions, if you want.
I borrow this from Tonia George’s book “Soup”(Ryland Peters Small). With thanks!
>Salmon and spinach pie
2 round circles of puff pastry (frozen, all butter)
3 nice slices of smoked salmon
A big bag of spring greens or spinach leaves
1 Pot of crème fraiche
Grated gruyere or parmesan 50g
Pinch of grated nutmeg or all-spices
Butter for cooking the spinach 50g
Warm the oven: pastry raises better in a hot oven. Now oil and prepare a pie dish and lay one circle of pastry in it. Prick with a fork. Cut the salmon up and scatter at the bottom of the dish. Beat the egg, pepper and cream together and keep aside.
Wash the greens thoroughly in cold water with a dash of vinegar and drain well.
Put the butter in a thick cast-iron pan and melt the spinach on low heat until it has reduced to half its volume! Thankfully there is plenty of it in season now.
Mix the cream and egg with the spinach and reserve. Add the grated cheese, the pressed garlic and the spices.
Now pour this on top of the salmon, cover with the second circle of pastry and glaze with a bit of egg yolk – what’s left in the pan where you beat your egg is enough.
With a sharp knife, incise the crust with a pretty but simple pattern and put in the oven at 210°C on the middle rack. Bake for 20mn or until the pastry has raised and taken a golden tinge.
Serve hot but be careful because pies tend to remain very hot inside: that is why they make traditional picnic food and used to be eaten in the field after a hard morning’s work! Their crust acts like a natural lid and keeps food piping hot for very long… Which is very handy when your children only arrive at the table after you’ve shouted for twenty minutes… But maybe it’s just us!
>Soba salad with king prawns
Soba noodles (1 bunch for each guest- love the way they’re tied with a paper ring…)
A few handfuls of baby spinach
3 or 4 sliced Parisian mushrooms
2 shredded spring onions (I have a great little Japanese tool for that with tiny blades that do the job itself very quickly)
1 handful of frozen peas
1 handful of king prawns (frozen or fresh)
1 handful of frozen pacific scallops
1 dash of soya sauce
1 crushed bite-size chunk of fresh ginger
1 dash of rapeseed oil
A few cashew nuts
Oyster sauce , Japanese pickled ginger and wasabi to serve.
This I made twice today for lunch (for me) and for my daughter after school so this recipe is twice tried and tested! Soba is made with buckwheat and a very healthy alternative to wheat pasta.
Put the soba noodles 4 min in boiling water. Drain and rinse under a cold tap. Put aside.
Put some oil in a thick-bottomed pan and quickly fry the parsley and shallots. Turn down the hob and add the other ingredients. Cover and cook for another 4 to 5 minutes on slow heat. The natural juice of the spinach will be released and the other ingredients will be steamed in the pan. All the flavours mingle at once and the slow cooking keeping all the goodness of the food inside the pot. I am a big fan of slow cooking and I need to write about it soon as it is so good for the health as well.
Serve the salad at room temperature with the pickled ginger and the oyster sauce on the side. A pinch of wasabi will make it more real but it is up to your own taste. I love its bite and freshness and would put it on every single seafood if I let myself!
This was fresh and healthy and delicious, hence perfect to open the new season with, in the first days of spring. And to celebrate the first camellia bloom in my garden! Rather later than usual…
Wine note: Riesling, I am told, goes beautifully with exotic food… Any other suggestion welcome, please!
This meal I made a couple of nights ago was inspired by a wonderfully creamy dish I enjoyed at Sketch with a side serving of Mozzarella ice-cream… I have attempted to recreate it in my kitchen, as simply as possible, and helped in that by the always concise and effective recommendations of Ginette Mathiot in “La Cuisine de Ginette Mathiot”. The result was effortless and delicious but don’t take my word for it and try it for yourself… Alternatively, go for the real thing and book a lunch at Sketch where it is on the rapide gourmet menu and sample real artist food – it is always well worth it!
Arborio rice 300gr
1 large bag of fresh baby spinach
Liquid (see recipe below) 600 to 700ml
2 maggi cubes
Grated comté 50gr
Salt and pepper to taste
Finely chop the shallots and fry in the butter in a cast iron pan or skillet: Rinse the rice under cold water, strain and add to the pan. Fry until the grains turn slightly transparent. Move them around with a wooden spoon to avoid sticking.
Steam the cleaned spinach leaves in a pan with a little water then liquidize the lot and top up the resulting green liquid with water in order to get about 700ml in total. Add 2 small magi cubes diluted in a bit of water and pour into a measuring jug.
Slowly pour the liquid into the rice and add more every time it has been absorbed. Cook on slow heat with a lid. This should take about 15mn of constant care!
When the rice is soft but not mushy, turn off the gas and add the grated cheeses. A turn off the pepper mill and it’s ready to eat with the aforementioned side dish of Mozzarella ice-cream on a bed of “rocket” and balsamic dressing! It impressed the children, in any case!
-But all good things come to those who wait (as we say in France: Tout vient à point à qui sait attendre) and so this recipe will come in my next post!
>This week I must be desperate for green shoots outside because I am experimenting an awful lot with spinach and anything of the brightest viridian colour!
Here is a quick family dish but tomorrow I’ll spoil you with a recipe tasted at Sketch last week and made yesterday in my kitchen: a bright green spinach risotto as creamy as they come; wildly attractive dish that could have been served to Alice by the Mad Hatter… or by Pierre Gagnaire‘s kitchen as it was the case for me!
It was an almost graphic pleasure so I illustrate with some digital “body art” performed by me and my 10 year old son at Decode, the fascinating digital design exhibition in the V&A at the moment.
2 whole eggs (beaten)
1 bag of washed spinach or baby spinach
2 spoonfuls of crème fraiche
2 spoonfuls of curd cheese or cream cheese
salt and pepper
40g of butter to melt in the steamed spinach
1 pinch of mace
Put the washed and strained leaves in a large pan with a lid and put a few minutes on the hob until they melt and soften. They will cook in the water released and so you do not need to add water or take any out at the end. Mix in the butter and cook a little longer to melt it. It is best to put the butter at the end when all the moisture from the leaves has evaporated ; it also avoids burning the butter!
Now mix in the cream and cheese, season lightly.
Beat the whole eggs and pour them in, stirring well.
Pour the mix into an oiled flan or pie dish. A small dish with a high rim will be best.
Put on the bottom rack of a hot oven to cook 20mn at 250 C.
Serve as a main dish with some boiled and buttered new potatoes.
You can replace the spinach with English spring greens or young chards.