Tag Archives: spring

Put a spring in your plate – with a Tortilla Sacramento…

A week end in Granada got me a whiff and a taste of spring, ahead of it really arriving here. Granada is a baking hot Andalusian town laying at the foot of a snow capped Sierra, the fire and the ice ; a cool arab paradise in gypsy flamenco dress, an oxymoron of a place that is hard to define and delicious to loose yourselves in…

In April, the gardens of the Generalife are bursting with roses and carnations, a riot of spring flowers everywhere and the lingering scent of orange blossom and heady climbing roses following you around like a music… I came back wanting more : Especially more colour, more taste, more fragrance! So I recreated one of the local dishes that encapsulated all of my longings: Tortilla Sacramento.

Sacramento is the gipsy quarter from which you have an incredible view over the red walls of the Alhambra palaces and gardens. A view immortalised by numerous painters and engravers over the centuries but still magic when you “recognise” it under the moonlight. Imagine a warm April night with a cool breeze and the towers of the palace of the last Moors of Spain in front of you… A palace full of legends, songs and poems…

Tortilla Sacramento for 4

Ingredients list:

  • Eggs, two per persons: 8 here
  • Steamed asparagus, 6/8
  • Shallot, 1 sliced finely
  • yellow pepper, sliced, 1
  • Petit pois or garden peas, 1 small handful
  • Olive oil to fry
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Parsley and chives, a few sprigs
  • Optional: shreds of spanish ham to top it and Pedro Jimenez reduction to decorate!

NOTE TO SELF: There is not one dish that can’t be improved with a swish of Pedro Jimenez wine reduction – Take my word for it… This is a delicacy I just brought back from Spain: a sticky, spicy and sweet wine reduction that goes with ab-so-lu-tely everything from fresh fruit to foie gras and beyond…

Here dishes without "Pedro" and with "Pedro"! See the difference?

Here dishes without “Pedro” and with “Pedro”!
See the difference? Salad in next post…

 

Steam and prepare the chosen vegetables. The idea is to go for seasonal, fresh and colourful! Fry the shallots in olive oil, fry the sweet peppers and quickly cook the peas (fresh or frozen). Break the eggs and proceed to make your omelette in the usual way but pile it high with vegetables and herbs and only cook it on one side. Serve warm IN THE PAN with a swish of Pedro Jimenez reduction – if you have any.

Rioting colours in my pan

Rioting colours in my pan

My address book in Granada:

The Alhambra Palace Hotel for its incredible balcony over the Sierra Nevada and its HUGE gin and tonic served in a large wine glass. Salud!

Los Italianos, for the best ice-cream ever – particularly the chestnut  and the orange flavours. An institution very near the cathedral. Expect long queues that nobody respects.

Try the tapas and also the wonderful “churros con chocolate” served in the many restaurants around the cathedral – Look out for “Churrerias” for a treat at any time of the day and night!

Enjoying breakfast at 3pm...

Enjoying breakfast at 3pm…

Restaurante Chikito  for the unique “Tortilla Sacramento de la case” that inspired this post and its cool outdoor space.

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My coral lentil and sweet potato soup

When I am in need of energy, comfort or just recovering, I usually turn to soups! So I devised this one last week in order to get extra protein in after running the London Marathon – and it was a real success with my last born…

The day after the race, my thigh muscles felt so weak – as if they had been shredded to bits! I am not a big fan of sports protein drinks but I felt I needed to rebuild the muscular tissue with some healthy plant protein and so I imagined to mix coral red lentils with sweet potatoes, carrots and indian spices for a restorative orange dish. Orange is such a powerful colour anyhow! Just the colour is enough to replenish depleted energies…

Artful food

Artful food

Ingredients list:

  • Shallots, 2
  • Sweet potato, 1 diced and baked
  • Carrots, 2
  • Red split lentils, 1 cup or 150g
  • Smoked paprika, chilli powder, turmeric , to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Water, 1 litre
  • Small tin of coconut cream or 100ml coconut milk

Bake the sweet potato peeled and chunked until soft: about 15 minutes in a hot oven.

Put all the other ingredients, save the spices, into a pan and cook covered until the carrots are soft. Add the diced cooked sweet potato. Blend or not according to what you prefer, put the spices in, mix the coconut cream and serve with a sprinkling of coriander. Easy! And bright orange to lift you out of yourself…

Chunky!

Chunky!

Nutrition notes:

This is full of healthy plant based protein and good carotene and minerals. With the add zing of the spices, it is a properly restorative and energising soup, ideal for shaking off any lethargic feel and opening to Spring.

Creamy!

Creamy!

 

Superfood granola

Granola is a relatively new comer on the food scene- I don’t recall eating anything like that when I was younger. But it is a very worthy addition to a health-conscious larder and even though there are some delicious shop-bought versions, it remains a luxury product. Given it is such an easy thing to make in big quantities, I would really recommend you try doing your own customised version from time to time.

Best homemade breakfast

I do realise that this is my second Granola on the blog but they are very different: the previous one had the smoky and rich taste of treacle and held into clumps because of the butter content ; while this new one is a finer, paler edition and has a delicate hint of citrus with the addition of grated lemon and orange zest. I also really love the coconut shavings I’ve added! Let’s say it’s a springtime version…

I have it in the morning with oat milk, for a snack directly from the jar and if coming back hungry from late night outing, I enjoy it over yogurt with a hint of honey or agave syrup. You can have it with milk, add fresh fruit to it, the combinations are endless…

Ingredients list:

  • Rapeseed oil (with dash of linseed oil) 160ml
  • Maple syrup 120ml
  • Rolled oats 200g
  • Barley or quinoa flakes 50g (optional)
  • Agave syrup 2 Tbsp
  • Mix of pecan nuts, linseeds, pumpkins seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower and linseeds
  • Coconut shavings or ground coconut
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Zest of one orange and one lemon

Mix all the dry ingredients into a large bowl, then add the oil and mix it in.

Add the maple syrup and rub it all in.

This time I used some toasted coconut shavings that I had found at Wholefoods and they were a great addition! But if I don’t have them I’ll try something else!

I love experimenting with new flavours and the hint of citrus brought in by the zest makes my morning every day at the moment! Aromatherapy tells us that lemon and orange essential oils are both uplifting and energising so I feel this is therapy as well as a meal.

Spread the mix into a shallow dish and place in the middle shelf of your oven for no more than 40 min at 150°. Slowly baking is best. It is ready when toasted and golden. A low oven is important because the seeds burn easily.

A hint of spring?… My rhubarb is in season

>Portobello market yesterday morning. I caught sight of the first “forced rhubarb” of the year… This signals in Britain that, against all evidence, spring is on its way… Albeit, this is not the greenish, leafy rhubarb we will get in April-May but its crimson sister, less fibrous and just as sweet. I’ve just learned that “‘forced rhubarb” is grown in dark sheds and almost by candle-light so that the stem shoots out looking for light and does not produce the large leaves you expect for the lack of light prevents the photosynthesis. Hence the harvest is of these long, crimson stalks that are as sweet as a fruit, although this is of course a vegetable.

Spring rhubarb and custard pie

Ingredients list:

  • A few fresh raspberries or strawberries
  • 1 roll of all butter puff pastry
  • 3 or 4 stalks of rhubarb, chopped finely
  • Sugar 150g
  • Egg 1
  • Crème fraîche 2 tablespoons
  • Vanilla sugar 1 tbsp or a few drops of essence

Lay the pastry into a quiche tin. Then beat the egg with the cream and vanilla sugar and spread on top.
Cook the rhubarb in a pan with the sugar and stir for 10mn on medium flame. Do not overcook so the stems don’t des-integrate too much or loose their blush.
Spread the fruit on top of the custard mix and bake in a very hot oven at 200 C. for 10 to 15 mn. You must make sure the bottom oven is very hot so the under-pastry cooks wells and does not get soggy.
You can decorate with fresh strawberries or raspberries when in season so the pink theme is nicely highlighted in the presentation!


This is one of my children’s favourite pies…
And because the custard is already inside the pie, you don’t need to do anymore then serve it.