Thursday, 8 December 2011

pan fried artichoke hearts with lemon,thyme and parmesan

This was so delicious that I had it for dinner tonight and blogged it straight away -soon to have a pretty picture posted but for now the recipe...

4 or 5  cooked artichokes hearts
about a teaspoon of lemon peel chopped finely
basil oil
dried or fresh thyme
quinoa cooked-a bowlful
Freshly grated parmesan
Boil the artichokes until tender.Peel back the stalks and chop.Take as much flesh as is possible from the artichoke and slice.Saute in olive oil over a high heat until slightly browned.Add the lemon peel and about a half teaspoon of dried thyme or one teaspoon of fresh thyme.Stir in the cooked quinoa,grated parmesan( to taste ),a slash of basil oil,salt and black pepper and serve immediately.The minute I finished eating this I went straight to the computer to type it up.This is pure Italian inspired joy and with the agreement of my boyfriend,perfect.

Artichoke and Green Olive Spread

I discovered this recipe in a blog recently,which the blogger adapted from another blog who adapted from another chef-When I read the recipe I instantly new it would be delicious so I made it for my boyfriends birthday and after about 20 comments of "its amazing!, what is it?" I feel its only good,just and right that I share it with a few more.
The beauty about this recipe is that you can have all the ingredients in the cuppard and when some one comes around you can whip up a dip (or spread )in about one minute.Eat with  breadsticks,toast or crunchy oven warmed bread.
An afterthought -this would be nice mixed a cream cheese -just a thought.

1 handful of cooked artichoke hearts(frozen,tinned,as you wish)
1 crushed garlic clove
half a handful of green olives(stoned)
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and squeezed
1 gurgle of  extra-virgin olive oil
Throw all the ingredients together and blend-how wonderfully simple.
These are hummus style rules-put less garlic in at first,the same goes for olive oil add more to taste.
This recipe doesn,t need salt because of the capers.
To play around a wee bit try adding some chopped cornichons,fresh thyme or lemon.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Parasol Mushroom Fritters

Parasol Mushroom or Lepiota procera grow plentifully here and are excuisite(not using the word lightly)dipped in flour ,then egg then breadcrumbs and pan fried.
I love wild mushrooms even though trully they are a bit rich for my stomach.One of these Mushrooms was enough for two people with a light salad for lunch.My boyfriend said it tasted of Merluza(Hake)-It has a very light texture and for vegetarians its a real joy.

One word of warning becareful not to confuse this mushroom with lepiota cristata which is poisonous-but easy to spot because it has a red dot in the center.If in doubt -don,t eat them and always ask an expert.

Cut off the stalk and clean with brush between the gills.Try not to clean with water,but blowing on them and a brush does the trick.

Cut in eight pieces.Here,s what you need...
A bowl with some seasoned flour.
A bowl with two beaten eggs ,add one crushed garlic clove,chopped parsley and salt and pepper(I use a pinch of organic stock powder but this optional)
Breadcrumbs(grate some day old or dry bread with a hand grater)season well.

With the help of my beautiful assistant Anouk(any messy 3 year old will do) dip the mushrooms in the flour,then the egg mixture,then the breadcrumbs and fry until golden brown on all sides-eat immediately when hot and crispy.For a vegan version omit the eggs and dip in batter then the breadcrumbs.Utter fake hake joy!

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Anouks Biscuits

These are not healthy.These are butter melting cookie explosions that are so easy my 3 year old daughter made them...
...with a little help from mama.Baking with kids is a lesson in patience.You can tell your kids to keep the work space clean but when bowls of flour are involved there will be a big mess afterwards.But nothing can prepare you for their joy and pride as they make their first cookies.

Anouks Butter Cookies
85g butter(I like salted)
50g white sugar
30g dark sugar
115g white flour
3 teaspoons of custard powder

As I said before these are not healthy-you could use all brown sugar if you add cinnamon and you could try half wholemeal and half white flour but it will change the texture greatly-They are utterly delicious- light and crisp and were devoured before I could take the "after" photo. To teach children the joys of baking let them make something that they will love.

Preheat oven at 180c.
Cut the butter into small cubes or very roughly chopped pieces of my daughter and add the sugar.All the cook books say cream the sugar and butter together which we did but with clean hands,which is much more fun-squishing butter in your hands for a three year is up there with splashing in puddles.
Add the flour and custard powder -again with hands(if baking with kids) until it forms a soft dough.
Sprinke some flour on the work(or play) surface and on a rolling pin.Roll out the mixture to about 5mm in thickness and cut out shapes using cookie cutters .You could use play dough cutters(if v clean) a plastic glass,or free styling and cut out your self some gingerbread men or some butterflies,etc,etc,etc

Keep cutting,re flouring,re rolling until you fill two baking trays making sure to leave a half an inch of space in between each biscuit and pop it into the oven for 7 minutes and lightly golden(they will firm up quickly when the come out of the oven)

Anouk put a blob of apricot jam on top of the biscuits before popping them into the oven-try other jams too.
A day later after making these I experimented by adding a tablespoon of cocoa powder for chocolate biscuits and baking on my own took 15 minutes-super quick and much more delicious than any buscuits you can buy.

I have a cunning plan to get my daughter obsessed with cooking so she,ll be preparing the meals when shes 5...It,s so crazy it just might work!

Autumn Oven Recipes

I made the most of a box of veggies that my neighbour Ramon dropped in and decided to take advantage  of the oven space by cooking four or five dishes at the one time.When you're going to roast something have a quick look in fridge for anything else you can pop in to make the most of cooking time and organize food for the following days.
Heres what I made-
 Roasted ratatoille
Roasted Aubergine stuffed with  goats cheese,barley, tomato and fresh basil
Tomato sauce
Roasted pumkin and sweet potatoes
Autumn soup

This is no rocket science,easy peasy and boy was I glad the following day having my fridge full of roasted veg ready to be transformed.

Chop and roughly dice the following-
10 medium sized ripe tomatoes
2 medium onions
1 courgette
1 aubergine
1 red pepper
3 peeled cloves of garlic
1 or two rosemary sprigs
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
1 very large and very generous measure of olive oil
Pop into a preheated oven at 180C ,stir every now and then until it has reduced considerably and the vegetables are soft.

What you´re left with is a delicious rich tomato and vegetable chunky sauce(not unlike real ratatoille-which is slow cooked meticulously adding one vegetable at a time-but this is oven roasted and equally good)
Use this sauce on pasta,with rice,polenta or cereals-add some fresh sauted mushrooms-cooked beans

I whizzed it up for my daughter who now doesn,t eat onions,peppers,aubergine and courgettes(ahhhh three year olds) -as a rich tomato sauce with a wee bit of organic tomato sauce she guppled all the vegetables up(ha ha Anouk )which I added to some cooked barley(lovely and chewy-a great alternative to rice)and some fried smoked tofu.

When I had the ratatoille in the oven I sliced a large aubergine length ways (about half an inch in thickness) brushed with olive oil and popped it into the oven.I turned it over to brown on bothsides and took it out(genius writing skills).

With the a small bit of the ratatoille sauce(to make use of cooking time I took out a few spoonfuls half during the cooking time and blended it up-for the aubergine rolls and for my hungry daughter) I added a few spoons of cooked barley that I had in the fridge,fresh basil and spread the mixture on each slice with some aged goats cheese and rolled it up.In a small baking dish I put a dollop of sauce on the bottom ,aubergine rolls on top with some diced fried smoked tofu sprinkled on top and cook it in the oven until the cheese melted a wee bit .Then I sprinked some fresh basil(still alive in the garden ,I love it ,November and fresh basil-joy) , some fresh parsley and a drizzle of basil oil and our lunch was ready too...yummm

Also added to the little group of oven buddies was some roughly chopped pumpkin and sweet potatoes this time drizzled with sunflower oil(because I wasn,t sure at first what I,d use them for and sunflower oil has a neutral flavour -so you can use them for sweet or savoury dishes after)and roasted until soft.

The following day I  sauted two finely diced onions with some chopped garlic for about 5 minutes added the roasted sweet potatoes and pumpkin ,3 sage leaves,vegetable stock and oatmilk and blended until smooth(adjust the amount of stock and milk to taste),a dash of basil oil and salt and pepper and you have a delicious autumn soup in 10 minutes.Anouk has also declared that she doesn,t like sweet potatoes or pumpkin but in a soup all is forgotten-hail soups!
(For a spicey adult twist add some curry powder,chillies, nutmeg or cinnamon to the onion at the beginning-play people play)

Everything gets whizzed up in autumn for soups in my house-you could blend  the cooked ratatoille with less stock and add lots of pesto or fresh basil and crunchy croutons(dice some stale bread brushed with garlic and olive oil and rosemary and leave in the oven until crunchy and golden stirring occassionally )

Tomorrow I,m thinking of some some corn pancakes filled with the ratatoille
with polenta and lots of melted cheese
Lasagne with ratatoille
pumpkin and sweet potato pie
the list goes on,and on-see how easy cooking is when you have a fridge full of oven roasted leftovers(or standbys,I prefer the word standbys)

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Roasted Red Pepper and coconut soup

This soup can be made in about twenty minutes.It´s wonderfully warming colour and sweetly spiced flavour is perfect for the cold weather.

First fry 1 spring onion finely diced in olive oil.Cook until softened.
Next add one chopped garlic,a little chopped fresh ginger,3 carrots diced finely and cook for about a minute with the lid on.
Next add roasted a jar of roasted red peppers(pimientos de piquillo) and a few leaves of fresh basil.Cook for another minute.
Add half a litre of light vegetable stock,one cardamon pot crushed,two teaspoons of curry powder and cook until the carrot has sofened.
Add half a can of coconut milk and blend untl smooth.

This soup was made for my sweet tooth daughter and partner.If it was made for adults I would have put some fresh chilli at the beginning and changed the basil for fresh coriander...or would I?My alter ego says it was delicious just as the way it was.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Aduki bean and spinach stew

Put some roasted garlic (4 cloves for four big tomatoes)in a saucepan and warm them in extra virgen olive oil ,Add four large tomatoes chopped and diced with a generous amount of freshly chopped basil(or pesto)....leave to bubble and reduce for about a half an hour,liquidize and put to one side.

Measure one cup of aduki beans and half a cup of spelt grains and cover with three cups of salted  water.Toss in a few fennel stalks.a celery stick,some parsley stalks,and one or two bay leaves.Cook for one hour on medium heat,remove the stalks and sticks and bay leaves,drain and set aside.

Cram as much well washed spinach into a saucepan with a sprinkle of salt and a tablespoon of heated olive oil on the bottom.Pop the lid on and  leave to cook until softened and shrunk...this should take a minute or so.Drain and season.

Fry some cooked potatoes until golden add some cooked brocoli at the last moment.

Combine the bean mixture,tomato sauce and chopped cooked spinach -heat it up ,bowl it up and top with the golden potato and brocoli.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Organic fruit flavoured icecream

Get some creamy organic fruit yoghurt pour into some ice lolly moulds,pop them in the freezer and heh presto you have healthy, sugar free and additive free  icecream for your kids.
You could use a dairy free yoghurt.
Try dipping in chocolate  once frozen for adults.
Or dip,once frozen  in chopped mixed nuts and grated coconut.

If you don,t have icecream lolly moulds use small cups and put a stick in them or plastic spoon .
For adults you could use a cinnamon stick....they make such pretty icecream sticks.
AAhh the quickest posts are the bestest. 

Friday, 6 May 2011

Another quicky dessert

 A simple quicky and most lovely dessert...

Organic natural yogurt mixed with mille flores(flower) honey to taste.
Add a wee bit of grated lemon zest(just a tinch).
Serve with some chopped dates, banana and a swinkling of cinnamon.

Feel free to use a dairy free yoghurt with an agave syrup  for any vegans out there.

Dates are one of the super foods because they are rich in Iron-Add them to cakes ,breakfast cereals,track down some date syrup to add to tahini for sandwiches or on toast.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Mixed green salad with strawberries.

Strawberries.Summer...all I can say is halelujah!
Get some mixed green salad leaves,add chopped strawberries,a good splash of balsamic vinegar and olive oil ,salt and pepper and last minute some toasted seeds(pumpkin,sunflower and sesame seeds)
Perfect .

Toasted seeds are one of my kitchen stables..I try to sneak them into as much recipes as pòssible.
Boost your vitamin and mineral  intake with seeds and nuts.

Brown rice with artichokes

I love brown rice.It,s nutty and chewy and completely different to white rice.With it,s husk still on you have all the vitamins and goodness which disappears with white rice.
This recipe was created because I always cook too much rice and on this particular day I had about 8 cooked artichokes to use up aswell.

Saute one large onion (diced)in some olive oil.Cook until softened and slightly browned.
Add two small garlic cloves crushed.Saute for a minute or so.
Add a sprinkle of dried oregano,a small sprig of fresh rosemary and fresh thyme.
Cover with about half litre of organic tomato juice and a handful of pitted olives.
Simmer for 20 minutes.
Add cooked artichoke hearts and cooked brown rice.
Decorate with chive flowers.

The tomato juice is a new surprise for me because of it,s natural sweetness,s ideal to use like a tomato based stock.
Tinned artichokes could be used but the taste won,t be the same.
I used olives from aragon in Spain,but any good rich strong tasting olive could be used.Please don,t use ready pitted olives as they normally taste weird.Get some nice juicey ones that you can squeesh and pop the stone out easily.