I mentioned a few posts ago the Whole 30 eating plan Ben and I have been following- we made it our 30 days and are feeling so great we have extended the deliciousness. For 30 days we have said to no to dairy, gluten, pulses, alcohol, peanuts, legumes (lentils), seed oils, white potatoes and sugar. We have been feasting on lean meats, vegetables, fruit, nuts, healthy fats like coconut oil and avocado oil. This recipe from Nigel Slater was almost Whole 30 compliant- just omitting the sugar. We even had to track down a special fish sauce.
white peppercorns 1 tsp
coriander seeds 1 tsp
turmeric 1 tsp
lemon grass 2 stalks
garlic 2 cloves
ginger a 3cm lump, peeled
hot green chillies 3 small
fresh coriander a handful
vegetable stock 200ml
coconut milk 250ml
fish sauce 1 tbsp
lime juice 2 tbsp
spring vegetables, such as asparagus tips, broad beans, peas450g total weight
shredded greens, such as spring cabbage a handful
pinch of sugar and soy sauce to serve
For the paste, put the white peppercorns and coriander seeds in a dry non-stick frying pan and toast lightly for 2 or 3 minutes, then tip into the bowl of a food processor and add half a teaspoon of sea salt, the ground turmeric, lemon grass, peeled garlic cloves, ginger, green chillies, 3 tablespoons of groundnut oil and a handful of coriander stems and roots. Blitz to a course paste. You can keep this paste for a few days in the fridge, its surface covered with groundnut oil to prevent it drying out.
In a deep pan, fry 3 lightly heaped tablespoons of the curry paste in a tablespoon of oil for 30 seconds till fragrant, stirring as you go. Stir in the vegetable stock and coconut milk, the fish sauce and lime juice.
Add the asparagus tips, broad beans and peas and continue simmering for 5-6 minutes, then drop in a couple of handfuls of greens, shredded into thick ribbons. Finish the soup with a pinch of sugar, fish sauce, a little soy sauce, more lime.
Ben and I are attempting to mix-it-up and trying to be a bit more adventurous with our cooking. Ben has been perfecting his pulled pork recipe. It started with a tasty hunk from Peelham Farms, a local producer of high-quality meat products. You can even adopt a pig, then the team from Peelham slaughters it for you and you have piles of the other white meat.
Starting with the pork, Ben followed David Chang of Momofuku’s recipe for Pork-Belly Buns, but replace the pork belly with pork shoulder and used some of the elements of the Bo Ssam recipe that is so popular at his New York restaurant.
To cook the buns we picked up a steamer at our local Chinese supermarket. I have always wanted a steamer. With Ben, all my dreams do come true.
Perfectly puffed and brushed with oil so they do not stick together. They cook in 5-7 minutes.
The final product- with a taste explosion of ginger and scallion sauce and ssamjang, a fiery soybean paste. Momofuk-me they were good!
We had left-over pork, so the next night we had some traditional Chinese Char Siu Bao or pork buns.
PARIS STREET FOOD… Not to confuse you, I am in Istanbul.
Last Paris post, at least until my next visit. Post 10-mile run, Reia and I headed for some shopping in the Marais neighborhood. Loads of cute shops and open on Sunday, which is fantastic.
We saw several passersby with delicious looking falafel sandwiches. In a previous visit to Paris, Ben and I had seen people strolling and munching, but we did not find the place serving the tasty-looking sandwiches. I did find the place on this trip- L’As du Fallafel, located in a once vibrant Jewish neighbourhood on the Rue de Rosiers. They pile crispy falafel balls, hummus, crunchy slaw, roasted eggplant, pickles, yogurt sauce and more pickles!
These pita-pockets were followed by the best flat white in Paris, but I do not know the name of the coffee shop, but I know it was on the Rue des Francs-Bourgeois. It was tiny with just one barista and a selection of coffee beans. If you find it, send me the exact address.
This week has been relatively tomato heavy (here and here)! You can never have too much lycopene. We had a new friend for dinner the other night- Dalinda. Risotto is a great meal for guests, we can have a glass of wine while stirring constantly and keeping the conversation going.
For the roasted tomatoes
Preheat the oven to 190C/gas 5. For the roasted tomatoes, lightly oil a medium roasting dish. Halve the tomatoes or cut into quarters, and place in the dish. Scatter the garlic and lots of salt and pepper on top, then trickle over the olive oil and sprinkle on the sugar. Roast for about 30 minutes.
For the risotto, heat a dash of oil with the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion and saute gently until soft. Put the stock and saffron in another saucepan and bring to a simmer, then keep warm over a low heat.
Add the rice to the onions and stir for a minute or two. Pour in the wine and cook until absorbed, then add the bay leaf and/or thyme. Now add the stock, a quarter at a time, keeping the rice at a low simmer, stirring often. Let each batch of stock be absorbed by the rice before you add the next. Continue until creamy, 20–25 minutes. Take off the heat, dot with butter, cover and leave to rest for a couple of minutes.
Remove the bay leaf and/or thyme, fork through and season to taste. Spoon into warm bowls and top with the juicy roasted tomatoes.
We have been loving raw beets these days. They are tasty raw (try this recipe) and oven roasted. Mr. Fearnley-Whittingstall’s recipe is relatively quick, flavourful and lovely on the plate.
Preheat the oven to 190C/gas 5. Peel the beetroot, cut into thick wedges and put into a roasting dish in which it fits snugly. Add the garlic cloves. Trickle over the olive oil and 3 tablespoons of water. Season with salt and pepper, tuck in the thyme and bay, if using, and cover tightly with foil. Roast for about an hour until completely tender. Discard the garlic and herbs.
Transfer the wedges to a bowl. Drain off the roasting juices into a small pan; if very reduced, add a splash of water to the dish first and stir to deglaze. Add the vinegar to the pan and bring to the boil. Simmer until reduced by about half. Pour this syrup back over the beetroot.
Leave the beetroot to macerate in the dressing and cool to room temperature, turning occasionally. Season to taste.
Arrange on serving plates. Tear the mozzarella into small chunks and add to the plates. Finish with a sprinkling of thyme leaves, if you have them, and trickle over the remaining syrup from the bowl.
‘I used to work in an Italian deli…’
Ben claims, I start about one-third of my sentences this way. It was a great learning experience, work ethic, climbing the mini-ranks and food education. I learned so much during my years with Wendy and the crew.
One of the my take-aways was the difference between prosciuttos- di Parma and Daniele. For this salad, we used di Parma- a much finer, less salty flavour. This was a tasty and light meal and the final spritz of lemon was a perfect finish.
Preheat the oven to 190C/gas 5. Peel and deseed the squash, then cut into big chunks. Put into a roasting dish with the garlic and a few thyme sprigs, if using. Trickle over the 2 tablespoons of extra virgin oil, season with salt and pepper and toss well. Roast for 40–50 minutes, or until the squash is tender and starting to caramelise, giving it a stir halfway through cooking. Discard the garlic and thyme and leave to cool completely.
Put the roasted squash on individual plates or a large platter.
Dot the ricotta over the top. Tear the ham into shreds and scatter over the squash and ricotta. Tear the leaves from the rest of the thyme sprigs, if you have them, and scatter over the dish.
Season with pepper, salt and extra virgin olive oil. Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice, then serve.
One of the things we have struggled to find are tasty replacement pastries. We used to love popping to the local boulangeries for weekend treats. Our favourite was at Trois Dauphin on rue Montroge.
We came close this recently with a trip to the Stockbridge Market. Tasty croissants aux amandes, filled with frangipan. In France they use day-old croissants filled with the almonds and then baked- a calorie bomb is there ever was one. These were lighter and probably a bit healthier, but I doubt it.
Other fun things that have been on the menu with some recent visitors:
- Lamb burgers with sun dried tomatoes and feta- very summery (we had three days of sunshine last week) and on homemade bread buns (by me) with James.
- Cinnamon Baked French Toast with Leanne and Robyn.
- We enjoyed these Banana Crumb Muffins with Chloe.
- Have you tried lasagne with lamb, you should try this Lamb and Feta Lasagne.
- Mini-ricotta cheese cakes with added ginger- nice!
CHILAQUILES… We whipped up these salsa-simmered tortillas recently. Even with frying our own tortilla chips they were not too labor intensive. Thanks to Lupe Pintos for the tasty chorizo and smoky adobos.
The recipe calls for four cans of chipotle peppers, but after reading the reviews I decided to use three, it was still a touch spicy- a can and a half would probably be plenty.
To cool the burn, we used plain yogurt instead of sour cream.
This past weekend, I wanted to try out our ‘new’ appliances and spend some time in our kitchen with a window.
I took Friday off, mainly to unpack, but I also wanted to make a nice dinner for Ben for all his work on the move (he moved all but 5 large pieces of furniture in two days, a-mah-zing). I made these burgers, the toasted pecans really elevated them. For desert I tried coconut flan- with new our oven it baked in 30 minutes instead of the 1.5 hours, I think it might have been up too high.
On Saturday evening, we were invited to a spontaneous Cinco de Mayo Party. Knowing the hostess is not a baker, I made some theme cookies- Mexican Wedding Cake- nice albeit very crumbly when warm-similar to a shortbread with toasted nuts. These reminded me of cookies my Grandma Betty made at Christmas. I also tried these, a spicy chocolate cookie with black and red pepper- so easy and tasty.
(Photo from epicurious.com)