Archive of ‘Recipes’ category

Gorgeous Greek Gemista

Stuffed vegetables are very common in various cuisines of the world. They appear in different shapes and forms, depending on what is available in different geographical locations. There is a tremendous amount of recipe for stuffed vegetables and all seem to use one basic principle: you can stuff any vegetable that is solid enough to hold the filling, which can be a mixture of almost anything at hand in your kitchen. Afterwards, bake or potentially fry the dish. That’s quite flexible, isn’t it?

It is very common to use peppers, tomatoes, aubergines and courgettes to stuff, which can be filled with rice, minced meat or even grains. The filling tends to be mixed with onion, garlic, herbs and spices but nuts, pulses and raisins can also be added for a change of flavours.

In Spain, stuffed peppers – called “Pimientos Rellenos” – constitute a traditional dish, especially in the Basque Country. They use “Manchegocheese, beef and cod in béchamel sauce. In India, “Bharvan Mirch” or “Bharva Hari Mirch” is a type of stuffed pepper that is filled with cooked meat, potatoes and onions. For seasoning, turmeric, cumin, chilli, coriander, salt and lemon juice are used. “Mirchi Bajji” is a type of stuffed pepper that is fried and served with sauces and chutneys. In Mexico, the fried “Chile Relleno” consists of cheese and minced meat and served with various sauces. Sometime rice and taco are served together with this stuffed pepper dish. Also, Mexicans use jalapenos to stuff in their “Jalapeno Poppers” that is also fried. In Guatemala, a similar, fried stuffed vegetable dish calledPimiento” is common, which is filled with shredded pork and seasonal vegetables. And these are just a few examples!

The dish – in various forms – is also part of the traditional cuisines of Central and Eastern Europe, Southern Europe and the Mediterranean, the Balkans, Scandinavia, the Baltics, Central Asia, the Middle East and North Africa.

In my opinion, one of the most delicious and easy to make stuffed pepper dishes is from Greece. It’s called “Gemista” (or “Yemista”), which simply means “to stuff” in Greek. Baked peppers or tomatoes are stuffed with rice, minced meat and summer vegetables. Most Greek “tavernas” would use seasonal vegetables that they source from the local markets. It is easy to omit meat from the dish and create a wholesome but light vegetarian version of the “Gemista”. They are not only very delicious, but they please the eyes as the pretty and colourful peppers are lined up next to each other, baked to perfection.

I found the below vegan recipe on the website of Forks over Knives. The recipe was designed by Veronica Grace, a vegan chef, who is specialised on low fat vegan recipes. I made a few slight changes to the original recipe to suit my personal taste, but the changes are minor. The dish serves 3 to 4 people.

Ingredients:

  • 6 large or 8 small bell peppers (of varying colours)
  • 1 large onion (finely diced)
  • 3 small courgettes (peeled and finely diced)
  • 3 medium carrots (peeled and finely diced)
  • 250 ml low-sodium vegetable broth (preferably home-made or if packaged, use organic)
  • 500 gram brown rice (cooked to packet instructions)
  • 5 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 20 grams of fresh parsley (finely chopped; if not available use 10 grams of dried parsley)
  • 20 grams of fresh dill (chopped, if not available use 10 grams of dried dill)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Pepper (according to taste)
  • Salt (according to taste)

Preparation method:

  • Preheat oven to 180 Celsius.
  • Cut off the top of the peppers and deseed them. Retain the top with stem. Wash the peppers and tops thoroughly.
  • Place the peppers in an ovenproof dish, arrange them upright and put tops back on. Bake them at 180 Celsius for 30 minutes.
  • While the peppers are baking, sauté onions, courgettes and carrots in a vegetable broth for 5 minutes.
  • Cook rice according to package instructions in a separate pot.
  • Once the rice is ready, stir it into the onion, courgettes and carrot mixture. Add the tomato paste and mix well so that the tomato paste coats the vegetables.
  • Add parsley, dill, lemon juice, pepper and salt and stir well to combine them thoroughly. The filling is ready.
  • By now the peppers should be baked. Remove them from the oven and stuff the peppers with the filling.
  • Place the pepper tops on the peppers and bake them for 30 minutes at 180 Celsius. (If the peppers start to brown, lower the temperature in the oven and keep an eye on them. They may require that you remove them from the oven earlier.)

 

This dish is very healthy and very nutritious. If you crave for strong Greek flavours, add a dash of cinnamon and oregano to the filling. I normally serve them with steamed or stir-fried French beans, okra or broccoli. Alternatively, fresh garden salad or baby spinach leaves are suitable side dishes too.

Bon appetite!

Glorious Ginger Tea

Ginger has been known for thousands of years both as a cooking ingredient and as medicine. This perennial herb originally comes from China and India. Today, it is widely grown in Asia, Australia and in the Americas. While the delicate leaves of ginger can be used in salads, its root contains the real benefits. The root called “rhizomes” are rich in Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, magnesium, manganese, potassium, copper and dietary fiber.

Ginger’s root has a very distinctive, tangy taste. It is used in many Asian dishes to balance their flavours. Also, a very aromatic tea can be made of its root. Drinking ginger tea is an excellent way to enjoy a range of health benefits associated with the plant.

The root of ginger is known to be very beneficial for a number of conditions. It helps combat nausea, improves digestion and helps the absorption of food. It prevents bloating and some people feel that it boosts their appetite. Ginger detoxifies the liver and it has anti-inflammatory properties, which make it a good remedy for joint and muscle problems. For people who suffer from respiratory problems due to allergies or to common cold, ginger can be a remedy, too. The root also improves blood circulation by preventing fat blocking arteries. In addition, it can relive pain related to menstrual discomfort; it strengthens immunity, boosts fertility and relives stress.

 

Though the health benefits are proven, ginger also can cause some side effects. If an excessive amount of ginger tea is consumed, digestive problems and acidity may present themselves. Also, too much ginger tea may lower blood sugar levels. Ginger may also disturb some anesthetic agents, causing bleeding and the slowing down of the healing process. Therefore, it is best to avoid ginger for a while for those, who have a surgery scheduled. Ginger may also disturb a good night’s sleep, so it is best not to drink ginger tea at night. Generally, ginger should also be avoided by people who suffer hemophilia or similar conditions; those who have hypertension and those who have gallstones. Also, pregnant and breastfeeding mothers should avoid ginger tea, just to be on the safe side.

It is remarkably easy to make ginger tea. Try it today and enjoy the health benefits. The recipe below is for four servings, so drink it with your family or friends to avoid over-indulgence!

Ingredients:

  • 500 ml water
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh grated ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon of honey or agave nectar
  • Juice of half a lemon

Optional additions: pinch of pepper, camomile flowers, fresh mint leaves, half a teaspoon of turmeric.

Preparation method:

  • Peel the ginger root with a peeler.
  • Grate the ginger with a grater.
  • Boil the water.
  • Place the grated ginger in a teapot and pour over the water.
  • Add the cinnamon, lemon juice and honey/agave syrup. Stir well.

You may serve it hot or cold with ice-cubes. It is lovely both ways! Enjoy!

Mexican Quesadillas with Black Beans & Sweet Potatoes

Quesadillas are very popular in Latin America. They originally come from colonial Mexico, but the dish evolved over time and today it exists in many different forms. Most of the time, quesadillas are served in flour or corn tortillas (a type of thin flatbread) that are made from finely ground wheat flour. They are filled with a savoury mixture, which may contain cheese, vegetables or meat. Once the tortillas are filled, they are folded into half.

Mexicans traditionally make their tortillas in a “comal”, which is a flat griddle. It is a very old kitchenware, which was originally used by the Aztecs. The word “comal” comes from the Nahuatl language, from the word “comalli”. “Comals” are generally round or oval-shaped and made from heavy cast iron. It is an important kitchenware, which is traditionally handed down from generation to generation because it is believed that the “comal” will cook better tortillas if it is tempered over many years of usage. “Comals” are also popular in the modern kitchens of Mexico.

Mexican quesadillas are typically made with partially cooked tortillas that are warmed up in the “comal” and filled with “oaxacacheese, a white, semi-hard cheese. Originally, the tortillas with the cheese on top are fried gently in the “comal” until the cheese melts. Cooked vegetables and / or cooked meat are then added, as well as fresh avocado or guacamole, chopped onions, chilli peppers, coriander and tomatoes. Salsas may be added as topping, too.

Tortillas are normally cooked without using oil. However, some recipes suggest that they should be fried in oil to make “quesadillas fritas”. In this version, the quesadillas are immersed into hot oil. They are deep-fried until their exterior is crispy.

The dish is extremely versatile and you can create your own version based on your personal taste. Serve the quesadillas with fresh salad, chopped onions, green or red salsa, fresh cream, and guacamole. These sides and dips give complexity to the dish.

The below quesadillas with black beans & sweet potatoes are very nutritious and healthy. The original recipe is designed by Rip Esselstyn but I made slight changes to it to suit my personal taste. I am happy to recommend either the below version or the original that can be found on the website on Forks over Knives. Try it today and enjoy a Mexican-style lunch or dinner!

Ingredients:

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 200 gram brown rice (cooked)
  • 225 gram vegetarian re-fried beans
  • 235 millilitre tomato sauce or pre-made salsa
  • 225 gram fresh spinach
  • 225 gram black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • ¼ teaspoon of onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon of chilli powder
  • ¼ teaspoon of cumin
  • Jalapeño peppers (diced)
  • 8 whole-wheat tortillas

Preparation method:

  • Preheat the oven to 180 Celsius.
  • Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into quarters. Bake them on a baking tray for 45 minutes to one hour, until soft.
  • In a separate pan, cook the rice according to packet instructions.
  • Once the sweet potatoes are soft, remove them from the oven and place them in a mixing bowl. Mash the sweet potatoes and mix them with the tomato sauce / salsa, rice and fresh spinach.
  • Place the sweet potato mash in a saucepan and mix in the black beans and the refried beans. Season with onion powder, chilli powder and cumin. Mix well and heat the mixture over medium heat.
  • Fry both sides of the tortillas gently in a frying pan.
  • Fill tortillas with the mixture and fold them in half to form a half-moon shape.
  • Serve immediately with side dishes including salads, onions and dips.

Bon appetite!

Creamy Mushroom Soup from Italy

Creamy soups are around for a long time. They were invented based on the famous “balsamella” sauce that is also known as “béchamel”.

Originally, the well-known sauces “balsamella” (or “besciamella” and alternatively “salsa colla” or “salsa colletta”) were used in the Middle Ages in Tuscany in Italy. The sauce was definitely known to the chefs of Catherina de’ Medici in the 1530s. Food historians suggest that it was imported to France by the chefs of Marie de’ Medici, the second wife of King Henry IV. Thus, the flour-based butter & milk sauce was added to the French cuisine. The original name “balsamella” was then translated as “béchamel”, which later became famous all over the world. Also, skilful cooks and housewives turned the sauce into different creamy soups by diluting it and adding different vegetables to it, including mushrooms.

In the United States, the creamy mushroom soup appeared as a canned product in 1934 by the Campbell Soup Company. Ever since, it is one of the most popular canned soups in America.

My favourite creamy mushroom soup is easy to make and it only uses butter, not flour. The below recipe from Channel 4 is so delicious that I even made it for a Christmas dinner once. I made some slight alterations to the original recipe based on the fact that some ingredients were just not available in my area. I think it is perfect and I would recommend making the soup based on this slightly modified recipe. It is perfect for occasions, too as it easily lends itself for professional presentation!

Ingredients:

  • 25 gram butter
  • 1 large onion (finely chopped)
  • 400 gram large, flat, brown-skinned mushrooms (thinly sliced)
  • 600 ml vegetable stock (preferably home-made or if packaged, use “organic”)
  • 500 ml milk
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Few dollops of single cream (to garnish)
  • Handful of pine nuts (toasted and to garnish)
  • Fresh chives (snipped to garnish)

Preparation method:

  • Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the onion. Sweat it on a low heat until softened. Avoid browning.
  • Add the mushrooms to the saucepan and cook it for a few minutes so that the mushrooms wilt.
  • Stir in the stock and the milk and bring the soup to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Allow the soup to cool. Once it is cool, transfer it into a blender and liquidise it. Season well, add the lemon juice and blend it briefly once again.
  • Transfer to soup bowls and garnish with fresh cream, toasted pine nuts and fresh chives.

Bon appetite!

Spinach & Tofu Cannelloni from Italy

Cannelloni is a typical Italian dish, which can be made with minced beef, cheese and/or vegetables. Cannelloni is typically made with a cylindrical type of pasta or with fresh lasagne sheets that are rolled over around the filling. Cannelloni is typically sitting on tomato sauce and sometimes either tomato or béchamel sauce is used on the top of the dish. Most of the time, cheese is sprinkled on its top and then the dish is baked so that the flavours mingle and the topping turns brown and slightly crispy.

There is little to know about the origins of cannelloni. Probably it originates from the 19th or early 20th Century and it is associated with the name of Nicola Federico, an Italian chef. It is thought that he created the cannelloni in a small restaurant in Naples. From the little restaurant, the cannelloni spread all over the world. It became very popular; so much that probably most Italian restaurants offer it on their menu.

I often make cannelloni based on the below vegetarian recipe that I found on BBC Good Food. It is very healthy and nutritious as it uses spinach and tofu for filling. The dish is sitting on a bed of tomato sauce and tomato sauce is used on its top, too. Instead of cheese, nuts and breadcrumbs are used to achieve the crispy finish.

The dish contains ample amount of vitamins and nutrients. Thanks to the spinach, vitamin K, A, B2, B6, E, manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, copper and calcium are included in the dish, amongst other nutrients. The tofu mostly contributes calcium, manganese, copper, selenium and protein and also includes other minerals and vitamins to a lesser extent. Nuts and the ample amount of tomato sauce used in this dish provide additional valuable nutritional content.

This spinach & tofu cannelloni serves 4 people. Serve it with steamed or stir-fried French beans, broccoli or okra or mix them all up for a lovely side dish. Try it today and enjoy both the health benefits and the lovely taste of this dish!

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 onion (finely chopped)
  • 3 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 2 cans of chopped tomatoes (400 grams each)
  • 50 grams of pine nuts or walnuts (roughly chopped)
  • 400 gram bag of frozen spinach (defrosted)
  • 350 gram pack of silken tofu
  • 300 gram pack of fresh lasagne sheets
  • 4 tablespoons of fresh breadcrumbs
  • Salt (according to taste)
  • Pepper (according to taste)
  • Basil or oregano or Italian mixed herbs (according to taste)
  • Pinch of grated nutmeg

Preparation method:

  • Sweat the onion in half of the oil in a saucepan. Add one-third of the garlic and fry until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Pour in the tomatoes, season with salt, pepper and basil / oregano / Italian mixed herbs. Bring the sauce to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 180 Celsius.
  • Heat half the oil in a saucepan and fry one-third of the garlic for 1 minute. Add half the pine nuts / walnuts and the spinach. Wilt the spinach and tip out the excess liquid.
  • Whizz tofu in a food processor until smooth. Add it to the spinach & nut mixture. Add the nutmeg and some pepper. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  • Pour half of the tomato sauce into a 20 cm x 30 cm ovenproof dish. Divide the spinach, nut & tofu mixture between the lasagne sheets. Roll the lasagne sheets up and lay them on top of the tomato sauce in the ovenproof dish.
  • Pour half of the tomato sauce over the lasagne sheets, cover with aluminium foil and bake the dish for 30 minutes.
  • Mix breadcrumbs with one-third of the garlic and half of the pine nuts / walnuts. Sprinkle this mixture over the dish, drizzle with a little oil and bake for 10 minutes uncovered until the crumbs and nuts are golden.

Bon appetite!

Almond & Lentil Stew from England

Across time and cultures, the consumption of stew has been very common. For example, there are references to stew-type meat-based dishes from the era of Herodotus, who recorded that Scythians consumed such dishes from the 8th to the 4th Century BC. Historians also suggest that Amazonian tribes made stews 8000 years ago. In the Roman Empire, fish and lamb stews were consumed and the Hungarian goulash is also known since the 9th Century.

The English cuisine also used stews of various ingredients as staple. However, the term “stew” did not appear commonly until the 14th Century as a verb, referring to the preparation method or “vessel for cooking” of stews. The term “stew” as a noun only appeared in 1756 in Devil’s Drive by Byron, in which he mentioned an “Irish stew”.

 

Over centuries, the dish was mostly referred to as “pottage”, “stewpan” and “hotpot” in England. Nevertheless, the dish was common and mostly it was eaten by necessity, by the poor. They mixed up vegetables and grains and cooked them slowly in liquid to allow flavours to mingle and to achieve a homogenous consistency and a gravy-style sauce. In better times, the vegetables in the dish were supplemented with fish or meat. Wealthier households added spices, almonds and sometimes wine to add variety and flavour to the dish.

When “English stew” is mentioned in gastronomic history, the term tends to refer to a beef-based dish, which includes onions, root vegetables and potatoes. Normally, it is simmered in water or stock slowly and sometimes red wine or beer is added to it.

I found a vegetarian English stew designed by Nigel Slater on BBC Food, which is perfect for vegetarians who want to enjoy typical English flavours without the beef or any other meat component. The dish is rustic and hearty and it is perfect for a substantial, nutrient-rich lunch or dinner. Let’s see how to make it!

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil, plus extra for frying the almonds
  • 1 carrot (chopped)
  • 1 stalk celery (chopped)
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 1 turnip (chopped)
  • 2 garlic cloves (chopped)
  • 150 grams of baby button mushrooms (halved)
  • 250 grams of green lentils
  • 2 litres vegetable stock (home-made or if packaged, use organic)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 4 sprigs of thyme
  • handful of almonds
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon
  • 10 cherry tomatoes (quartered)

Preparation method:

  • Heat the olive oil in a large pan and fry the carrot, celery, onion and turnip until softened. It takes about five minutes.
  • Add the garlic and mushrooms. Fry for a further five minutes.
  • Add the lentils, pour over the stock and add the herbs. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes.
  • Add the cherry tomatoes to the stew and warm through.
  • Just before the stew is ready, fry the almonds in a separate saucepan, in a splash of olive oil with the cinnamon for two minutes. (Be careful as it burns easily.)
  • Serve the lentil stew with the almonds on top.

Bon appetite!

Pommes Boulangere from France

The French term, “pommes boulangere” simply means “potatoes from the baker”. It is a lovely baked potato-based dish with a little story behind it. Centuries ago, when homes in rural France were not equipped with ovens, women still wanted to present baked dishes to their families. For Sunday lunches, they prepared potato-based casseroles in their homes. On their way to church, along with a piece of lamb they took their casseroles to the local baker’s. While they attended the service, the meal was baking in the shop’s oven. When the service was over, they just picked up their dishes and soon enough, they could serve roast lamb surrounded with pommes boulangere” to their families for a Sunday treat.

It is important that “pommes boulangere” is made of very thinly sliced potatoes and onions. If it is prepared this way, the top layer of the potatoes will be crisp and slightly brown, while the lower layers will become thick and moist.

Non-vegetarians can enjoy this dish in the traditional way, served with roast meat. For vegetarians, it can be served with steamed or stir-fried French beans or mixed vegetables. Alternatively, it can be offered with a lovely salad. In my view, fresh spinach works particularly well with this dish.

I found the following recipe for 6 portions on the website of Forks over Knives. It was designed by an American chef, Ramses Bravo. In my opinion, it is lovely when it is freshly-baked, but perhaps the next day it is even better as the flavours get absorbed into the potatoes and the tastes mature a bit. Now, let’s see the recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 1 leek (thinly sliced)
  • 1 yellow onion (thinly sliced)
  • 1 stalk celery (thinly sliced)
  • 2 shallots (thinly sliced)
  • 2 tablespoons garlic (minced)
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 1 tablespoon granulated onion
  • 5 litre low-sodium vegetable broth (preferably home-made or if you used packaged, use organic vegetable stock)
  • 9 medium potatoes (peeled and very thinly sliced)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped, fresh flat-leaf parsley, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried

Preparation method: 

  • Preheat the oven to 180 Celsius. Place the leek, onion, celery, shallots, and garlic in a large dry saucepan over low to medium heat and cook until the onion starts to brown (approximately 5 minutes). Stir occasionally to avoid the ingredients sticking to the pan.
  • Stir in the granulated garlic and granulated onion and cook for further 2 minutes. Stir in the broth, increase the heat to medium-high, and simmer. Cook until the liquid reduces to half.
  • Add the potatoes and stir the ingredients until well combined. Decrease the heat to low and cook until the potatoes are translucent, about 15 minutes. Stir occasionally to avoid the potatoes sticking together.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley and thyme. Transfer to large baking dish (approximately 33 cm x 22 cm) and bake uncovered for about 25 minutes. The potatoes should turn tender in the dish and the top layer of them should brown slightly.

Bon appetite!

Delightful Date Smoothie from the Middle East

Dates are very popular in the Middle East, where I currently live. You can find many types of dates and date-based products including honey, syrups, sauces, preserves and spreads in any supermarket or “souq”.

It is a very important fruit for the Arabs, for several reasons. Most importantly, it is one of the “fruits of paradise” in the Islamic tradition. Also, it is one of the few nutrient rich plants that grow in this region and both the fruit and the palm tree are very versatile. For example, branches of the date palms were used to weave baskets and ropes and to thatch rooftops in traditional Arab households. Trunks of the date palm were used in building structures. Cooking oils were derived from the pits of dates and the palm tree’s other parts were made use of too, e.g. the heart of the palm was used in salads and the flower cluster’s sheath was used as medicine for upset stomach.

There are several types of dates and they are distinguished by being “soft”, “semi-dry” and “dry”. Soft dates include the “barhee”, “halawy”, “khadrawy” and “medjool” varieties. The semi-dry type can be found under the names “dayri”, “deglet noor” and “zahdi”, while the dry is the “thoory”. They are all different by look, feel and taste and they also differ in their glucose, fructose and sucrose contents.

Dates are also considered as “superfood” in the Middle East. The date pulp contains phytochemicals, natural sugars and amino acids. Dates are low in fat but rich in fibre and phytosterols, which control cholesterol levels. Dates also contain minerals including selenium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, manganese and iron, in addition to vitamin B and C and omega fatty acids. Dates are also rich in compounds like carotenoids and polyphenols, which are efficient free-radical scavengers.

Generally dates are known as agents that boost the immune system and nurture people living in the harsh deserts of the Middle East. It is believed that consuming dates helps to detoxify the human body, fortify the liver, stimulate the thyroid, aid the nervous system and prevent vision problems. Arabs believe that they can help eliminate parasites and they also cure bronchitis. They use it to ease digestive disorders and prescribe it to pregnant women to boost bone building in the foetus. Women in labour eat dates to regulate contractions and prevent haemorrhage. Dates are also believed to cure infertility and sexual problems.

This lovely date smoothie recipe is from the Guardian. It will make two glasses of a delightful date-based drink that can be consumed either as as a breakfast drink or as a lovely and healthy dessert.

dates from stzlecraze.com picturewww. stylecraze.com

Ingredients:

  • 25 gram dried dates (halved)
  • 2 small bananas (chopped)
  • 100ml low-fat natural bio yoghurt
  • 150ml semi-skimmed milk or plant-based milk (e.g. almond milk or hazelnut milk)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1 wheat biscuit (crumbled)

Preparation method:

  • Cover the dates in boiled water, set aside and leave it to soften for 10 minutes. It is necessary if you use dry dates. If you use soft types of date, soak them for a few minutes only.
  • Meanwhile, blend the bananas, yoghurt, milk, vanilla, cinnamon and the oat biscuit. Add the dates and 3 tablespoons of the soaking water and blend until smooth and creamy.
  • Pour into 2 glasses and top with cinnamon. Serve immediately.
data and banana smoothie from www.womenio.com picturewww.womenio.com

Bon appetite!

Vichyssoise Soup from New York City

The Vichyssoise soup is a versatile dish, as it can be served both hot and cold. Originally, it is made of pureed leeks, onions, potatoes, cream and chicken stock. Nevertheless, vegetarians can also enjoy this lovely soup if they replace the chicken stock to vegetable stock.

The soup’s origins are debated by food historians. Some believe it is a French dish; others regard it as an “American invention”. Most often, Louis Diat, a French chef of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in New York City is credited with the soup’s recipe or at least with its re-invention based on childhood memories of a similar soup he enjoyed when growing up in France.

When the soup first appeared on the menu of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in 1917, it was called “Crème Vichyssoise Glacée”. Later, from the 1930s onwards, it was simply referred to as “Vichy”. Today, its is most often called “Vichyssoise”. It sounds very elegant, doesn’t it?

I came across the recipe of the Vichyssoise soup when I attended an intermediary cookery course at the Ashburton Cookery School in the United Kingdom. The soup we prepared at the course under the guidance of professional chefs was of restaurant quality, both by taste and look. It’s an easy but very impressive dish, in my opinion.

The original recipe of the Ashburton Cookery School contains chicken stock. I changed it to vegetable stock when I became vegetarian. In my opinion, it is equally delicious. I would recommend trying this fabulous recipe either way, according to your taste.

Vichyssoise Soup from Found on onionchoco.blogspot.com picturehttp://onionchoco.blogspot.ae/

Ingredients:

  • 25 gram butter
  • 100 gram onion (finely chopped)
  • 200 gram leek (finely sliced)
  • 150 gram potato (peeled and finely chopped)
  • 500 millilitre vegetable stock (preferably home made or organic packaged)
  • 50 millilitre double cream
  • Salt according to taste
  • Pepper according to taste
  • Handful of chives (finely chopped)

Preparation method:

  • Melt the butter and seat the leeks and onions until softened.
  • Add the stock and potatoes and bring to a simmer. Stir constantly and add a little stock occasionally to keep topped up to the 500-millilitre level while it simmers.
  • When the potatoes are thoroughly cooked, allow the soup to cool slightly and then liquidise the soup until smooth. Strain through a fine sieve.
  • Add the double cream and adjust the consistency with a little more stock if necessary.
  • Season with salt and pepper and garnish with the chopped chives.

Once you prepared the soup, serve it either hot or cold. Don’t forget to decorate with finely chopped chives to get the restaurant-look!

Bon appetite!

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

Cold pasta salads can offer really good solution for light and quick lunches, picnics or even for parties. As they are served cold, they can be pre-prepared, which is a huge advantage in a number of scenarios.

I often make this pasta salad not only because of practical considerations. My husband simply loves it! I love it too not only because it is so easy to prepare but because it is full of fresh and tasty vegetables. The goat’s cheese or feta gives it a bit of a “binding” agent while the pine nuts or walnuts make it slightly crunchy. I normally serve it with a simple egg sandwich or with rustic bread with pesto, guacamole or hummus spread.

The recipe originates from the BBC Food website but I made minor changes to it. Ever since I found it, this dish has been an essential part of my household. Everyone who tasted it so far, instantly fell in love with it. So, don’t hesitate to try it and impress your family and friends with it.

picnic_pasta_salad_47257_16x9www.bbc.co.uk/food

Ingredients: 

  • 300 gram pasta (preferably durum penne, farfalle or fusilli)
  • 250 gram cherry tomatoes (quartered)
  • 100 gram black olives (stoned and sliced)
  • 225 gram baby spinach leaves
  • 1 bunch of fresh basil (alternatively 1 tablespoon of dried basil flakes can be used)
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 200 gram goat’s cheese (crumbled) or feta cheese (squared)
  • 2 tablespoons of toasted pine nuts or walnuts (if walnuts are used, chop them roughly)
  • Salt according to taste

Preparation method:

  • Cook the pasta according to package instructions until al dente. Drain the pasta, rinse in cold water. Set aside to cool.
  • In a large salad bowl, add the quartered cherry tomatoes and sprinkle them with the salt. Add the olives and the baby spinach leaves. Sprinkle the mixture with the olive oil and the juice of the lemon. Add the crumbled goat’s cheese and mix well. Add the cold pasta to the salad mixture and mix gently but thoroughly.
  • Sprinkle the salad with the toasted pine nuts or walnuts.
  • Serve immediately. Alternatively, you can keep it for a few days in the fridge in a sealed container.
picnic pasta salad from www.recipe.comwww.recipe.com

Serve it with sandwiches, eggs, spreads and the success of this quick meal will be guaranteed. Offer some old-fashioned lemonade, lemon water or ginger beer with it and the meal will be complete & unforgettable.

Bon appetite!

1 2