May 182016
 
Recipe: Kale and Spring Vegetable Salad

  Kale is one of my favourite green leaves to put into a salad because you can pre-toss it in dressing and it won’t get limp for days. My general method with most kale salads is to massage the kale leaves by chopping them and then squeezing them between my hands for about three minutes. It makes a world of a difference because the relaxed kale leaves become softer and more flavourful.   These days, I’m tossing my kale salads with roasted spring vegetables. Any three vegetables that roast well would work in this recipe, but do try and look for different coloured vegetables to get the most variety. Here I used carrots, leeks and beetroots. I’m using some irresistibly cute mini vegetables which I found in my market, but if you can’t use mini-sized vegetables feel free to use the regular-sized ones and simply cut them into bite-sized chunks.     Kale and Spring [Continue reading…]

May 022016
 
Recipe: Rhubarb and Strawberry Compote (with a hint of rosewater)

  Rhubarb and strawberries come into season at almost the same time, with rhubarb making its appearance first and strawberries following soon on its heels. Their flavours work beautifully when lightly stewed together. At its simplest, all you need to add is some brown sugar and a little water. I like to incorporate other flavours into it as well. This recipe for ‘Rhubarb and Strawberry Compote’ uses vanilla essence and rosewater to bring some Eastern flair to the dish. The compote stays fresh in the fridge for upto a week, and is delicious spooned onto yoghurt, smoothies, porridge, custard, chia pudding, pancakes or meringue.   RHUBARB AND STRAWBERRY COMPOTE (with a hint of rosewater) (Makes 3 cups)   Ingredients: 250g fresh strawberries 450g fresh rhubarb (discard leaves as they are inedible) 3/4 cup brown sugar 1/4 tsp sea salt 1/4 cup water 1 & 1/2 tsp vanilla essence 2 tsp rosewater [Continue reading…]

May 012016
 
Seasonal Snacks: May - Rhubarb and Strawberries

    Rhubarb and strawberries come into season roughly around the same time, with rhubarb making its appearance first and strawberries following soon after. They can be eaten separately of course, but they also work wonderfully stewed together with some brown sugar as a topping for desserts. Have a look at my recently posted recipe ‘Rhubarb and Strawberry Compote (with a hint of rosewater)’.   Rhubarb is a vegetable which is in season from around April to July. Only the stalks of the rhubarb are edible, with the leaves being toxic due to high levels of oxalic acid (so make sure you always discard your rhubarb leaves). Rhubarb is quite tart and some people dip it into sugar before eating it raw. I prefer stewing it with a little brown sugar and some fruit to make a topping for yogurt and desserts. Rhubarb freezes well, so you can chop it up and [Continue reading…]

Apr 272016
 
Salad Bowl: Quinoa and Prawn Salad

  When I want to put together a well-balanced salad fast, I make myself a quick salad bowl using a mix of pre-cooked leftovers and raw ingredients which I usually have washed and ready to cut. Instead of following a recipe, I simply follow my instinct.   Organising the salad ingredients into segments in the bowl which I plan to eat from helps me to create a well-balanced salad and ensures that the portion size is correct so that there is no waste.   This is a salad bowl I made recently using leftover grilled prawns and quinoa plus freshly cut lettuce, avocado and tomatoes. I like placing a dollop of yogurt or some kind of dip in the center and scatter a few chopped nuts or seeds on top. Leftovers are often well-seasoned, so I don’t always add a dressing. If I do, it is usually a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, balsamic [Continue reading…]

Apr 122016
 
Product: Berryfect Bilberry Powder

    Unless you live in an extremely northern country, chances are you haven’t encountered bilberries yet.   Bilberries are small dark berries which grow on wild shrubs in forests close to the Arctic Circle. It is the unique combination of the cold climate along with the Northern Lights of the winter and the Midnight Sun of the summer which contributes to developing this nutritional powerhouse of a berry.   Although bilberries look similar to blueberries, they are upto four times more nutrient-dense. They contain a potent antioxidant called anthocyanin which shows itself as red and blue pigments. If you compare the colour of a blueberry and a bilberry, you will see that the skin of a bilberry is much darker – almost black. The difference in colour is even more evident when you break the berries open. The inside of a blueberry is yellowish-green while the inside of a bilberry is deep red.   [Continue reading…]

Apr 072016
 
Recipe: Asparagus and Rucola Salad with Grapefruit Vinaigrette

    In my previous post, I highlighted some seasonal fruits and vegetables which are at their prime in April: Asparagus, Grapefruit and Rucola (also called arugula in the US or rocket in the UK).   I came up with a simple recipe which uses all three of these ingredients, called ‘Asparagus and Rucola Salad with Grapefruit Vinaigrette’. Although asparagus can be eaten raw, I lightly grill it for this recipe to deepen its flavour. The rucola works as a simple base and can be mixed with other spring greens of you find its flavour too overpowering. And I felt the best way to use the grapefruit was in a dressing.   This recipe can be used as a base on which to build a more complex salad by adding additional ingredients on top. Otherwise, it is delicious served simply as it is.     ASPARAGUS and RUCOLA SALAD with GRAPEFRUIT VINAIGRETTE   Dressing ingredients: (makes half [Continue reading…]

Apr 012016
 
Seasonal Snacks: April - Asparagus, Grapefruit and Rucola (Arugula/Rocket)

  April means that we’re well into Springtime. Here is what you should be snacking on this month:   Asparagus is in season from March until June, with April being it’s peak month. Raw asparagus has a taste similar to mangetout, and it can be eaten in many different ways. Thin and delicate spears can be eaten as is, while thick spears do well if you slice them thinly. You can dunk them in your favourite dip, throw them into a salad, or scatter them on top of virtually anything you’re eating. If you can’t quite get yourself to munch on raw asparagus, tossing them with olive oil and throwing them into a grill pan, panini press or oven to cook lightly will intensify their flavour to the more familiar asparagus taste that most of us are used to. Cooked asparagus can be kept in the refrigerator for upto three days.   Grapefruit is in [Continue reading…]

Mar 212016
 
Recipe: Tomato and Goat Cheese Salad with Pea Shoots

  Multi-coloured tomatoes always inspire me to make a flat salad to show off the tomatoes’ different hues and shapes.   My recipe for ‘Tomato and Goat Cheese Salad with Pea Shoots’ is very simple, using only a few ingredients. As is the case with most simple things, quantities are not as important as quality of ingredients in this recipe.     TOMATO and GOAT CHEESE SALAD with PEA SHOOTS   Ingredients: (quantities should be according to taste) 2-3 handfuls of ripe tomatoes A log of soft crumbly goat cheese A scattering of pea shoots (or other microgreens) A good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil A drizzle of balsamic vinegar A pinch of sea salt   Directions: In a flat platter, crumble a log of soft crumbly goat cheese. The amount of goat cheese you use should depend on your preference for it. Wash and dry your tomatoes and cut [Continue reading…]

Mar 032016
 
Restaurant: Nathalie's, Dubai Sports City (UAE)

  The GIVEAWAY for a AED250 voucher to eat at Nathalie’s is now over. You can keep up to date with other giveaways by signing up for my newsletter or following me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.   VENUE   Nathalie’s is a coffee and kitchen concept which serves up healthy and wholesome food all day long, from 7am until 10pm. Located in Dubai Sports City right next to the gym Fit Republik, Nathalie’s is tucked away from the hustle and bustle of some of the busier locations in Dubai. Despite its discrete location, it has a growing fan-base amongst those who value healthy eating and nutrition. Their customers seems to be a good mix of gym enthusiasts looking to refuel after a workout and non-gym clientele just looking for something good to eat.   The space itself is beautiful. The eclectic interior design harmoniously combines some of my favourite natural materials [Continue reading…]

Mar 012016
 
Seasonal Snacks: March - Radishes, Baby Spinach and Endives

    March is here so start looking out for delicious new Spring vegetables!   Radishes come into season in spring. They tend to become spicier as the temperature gets higher, so spring radishes are milder than summer radishes. Look for firm radishes with fresh green leaves, and avoid any radishes which feel soft or spongey. To store radishes, chop off the green stems and leaves at the top because they pull moisture from the radish. The leaves are edible raw or cooked so make sure you store the radishes and the separated leaves in your refrigerator’s vegetable drawer.   Baby spinach is a cool weather vegetable which grows best in early Spring and in Autumn. Look for fresh dark green leaves which are not wilted. Baby spinach is extremely versatile and can be added into all sorts of food for a quick nutritional boost. It takes on other flavours well so it [Continue reading…]

Feb 292016
 
Recipe: Baby Spinach and Garlic Dip

    Spinach is a cool weather crop which grows best in early Spring and in Autumn.   It’s a very versatile vegetable and takes on other flavours well. I use spinach in so many things from smoothies to salads to curries. I hadn’t really thought to use it as a dip until fairly recently when I started seeing so many beautiful fresh early Spring vegetables emerge in the market. Fresh vegetables are good, but fresh vegetables with a healthy dip are even better!   You can follow my recipe below for ‘Baby Spinach and Garlic Dip’, but the truth is that baby spinach is so versatile that you could easily blend it into any dip to boost its nutritional value and it would work well.     BABY SPINACH and GARLIC DIP (makes about 2 cups)     Ingredients: 150g / 5 oz Fresh baby spinach (roughly equivalent to 4 big handfuls [Continue reading…]

Feb 182016
 
Product: French Cheeses

  One of the easiest ways to quickly turn a simple salad into a delicious and complete meal is by adding some cheese to it. While cheese is produced in many countries, the largest variety by far comes from France where they produce over 400 different types of cheese. By how do you know which French cheeses are good to add to a salad and which ones aren’t?   To help navigate the wondrous world of French cheeses, I was invited to attend a workshop at Top Chef Cooking Studio in Dubai given by award-winning cheesemonger Francois Robin (he was voted Best Cheesemonger in France in 2011 which allows him to wear the coveted tricolore collar on his chef coat).     As Francois explained early on in our workshop, there is no bad type of cheese, there are just many varieties and you have to find YOUR cheese – that is, learn which types [Continue reading…]