‘Pea, celery and mint soup’ is a seasonal and healthy recipe that I concocted at a recent Healthy Cooking Club with children aged 6 to 9 and I post it here ahead of the next session tomorrow because it has all the attributes I want my spring dishes to have: It is seasonal and healthy all right, but also light and warming at the same time and, more importantly, it is GREEN (my favourite colour). But let’s not forget its most endearing quality: you already have most of its ingredients in your cupboard and freezer, if not in your fridge!
- Olive oil 1 tbsp,
- 2 small chopped onions
- sea salt
- garden peas 500g (frozen is fine)
- celery, 3 stalks chopped
- handful of mint
Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the chopped onion and stir with a wooden spoon.
Add the peas, celery and 1 cup of water. Cover and bring to a boil.
Add enough water (500ml) to cover the vegetables and season with a little salt.
Bring to a boil and simmer until the vegetables are cooked : 15 minutes should suffice.
Stir in the mint, liquidize and serve.
Contact me for more information about The Healthy Cooking club for Children aged 7 to 14.
Kale seems to be plentiful in the spring and even in winter my local supermarket shelves are awash with their green leaves so I am always trying to find new ways to accommodate this super food.
I cooked this creamy risotto with my daughter recently and we decided that was one of our best Family recipes! Because it ticks all three criteria: it is quick, contains no more than 4/5 main ingredients and is a very balanced and healthy food.
- Drop of olive oil
- Shallots, 2
- Ebly (or barley grains) 200g
- Water 400ml
- White miso, 50g or two tablespoons
- Blanched kale, two big handful- hard stalks removed
- Fresh sorrel, 1 small bunch
- Soya cream and olive oil to finish off
- Black pepper and salt to season after cooking
Ebly is a wheat grain and makes a lovely change from rice. I find mine at Tesco. It keeps a crunch when cooked and has a nutty taste.
Fry the sliced shallots in a little bit of oil, then add the grain and water.
Leave to simmer while you do what follows:
Steam or quickly blanch the chopped kale (discarding the tough stems) and add those in with the freshly washed sorrel – or dandelion or rocket if you prefer: any peppery and flavoured greens will do! Not much is needed. Sorrel gives a nice citrussy taste.
Cook on low heat for 10 to 15 minutes until most of the water has been soaked up, not unlike a risotto. Add the miso paste towards the end
Season with salt (if you have used miso you won’t need it) and pepper ; then serve with a dash of soya cream or olive oil.
Nutrition notes: Ebly is a complex carb and rich in fibre; Kale is rich in antioxidants and vitamins (K, A and C). Together they make a super energising and cleansing food, ideal for a macrobiotic or vegetarian option. The white miso paste is a staple of the macrobiotic diet and allows good bacteria to grow in your guts and to provide good digestion.
I enjoy good looking vegetables! A butternut squash is this very handsomely shaped squash, looking like an oversized acorn and sporting a smooth, soft brown skin. It has a nutty taste and here is a recipe where it literally shines!
If you’ve never come across it, do look out for one; it is called “la courge musquée” in French, a delightful name for a delicious vegetable, I think.
- Several sheets of filo pastry
- One diced butternut squash
- Creamy goat cheese, 1 big slice
- Olive oil
- Salt, mace and pepper to season
- Optional: a drizzle of acacia honey to finish off nicely
First roast the cubes of butternut squash in a tray with a bit of olive oil and pinch of salt: Best to rub it all in with your fingers. Roast for 30 min at 180°.
Then put two folded layers of filo into individual tartlets pans and crunch them up a bit with fingers dipped in oil – yes, there is a lot of fingers work here!
Lay the roasted butternut in the middle, put a slice or dollop of very fresh and very creamy goat cheese. Sprinkle with mace and a hint of pepper.
Put under the grill for about 10 min until the cheese has softened and the edges are crispy.
Drizzle with a tiny bit of acacia honey and serve hot!
Best wine match is a muscat de Rivesaltes or Beaume de Venise but any creamy white will do.
Stall in Borough Market
This lovely way with kale is so childishly simple that I am reluctantly sharing it – it is hardly a recipe and I feel like a bit of a cheat but I have to include it in this blog for the simple reason that it is one of the vegetable dishes I cook most often and eat with most pleasure!
Ingredients and method : One shredded cabbage or kale or any dark green leafy cabbagey thing! Spread into a roasting dish, add a sprinkle of sea salt, a line of olive oil and roast under the grill for 10 min or until the tips turn brown. Shake it and then grill some more, making sure not to burn it! It’s quick! Enjoy as a side dish with any roasted meat.
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!