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Sometimes, simplicity is all that the body and mind are asking for. When it's cold and I have to get away from a warm and comfy bed, my taste buds are asking for something warm and comfy!
Like everybody else, I don't have hours ahead of me in the morning.
 I love a simple egg with some melted cheddar cheese, espelette hot red pepper, sprouts and fresh basil.
It's quick and nourishing. It's filling and the colours are helping to start the day!
So it's not always necessary to spen hours in the kitchen in order to eat well and you don't need a cupboard or a fridge full of fancy stuffs.
Sometimes I skip the cheese and the green but the only thing I can't do without is the espelette red hot pepper.
It comes from some part of France (pays Basque in the South East near Spain) and for me it's like a magic powder that brings some depth to a simple meal.
Try it next time you taste like the sauce is missing something. Often, it's either a few drops of lemon juice or a pinch of red hot pepper. It's a light red pepper, not too hot but subtle in flavor. But if you like it spicy, don't hesitate to use another one!


vegetable and lentils stew with coriander and spices

This a nourishing meal, easy to prepare un advance. Rich in vitamins and minerals, it can be adapted to all seasons...
I like my vegetable cooked al dente but you can leave it to cook longer, until melted.
Cover 1/2 a cup of green lentils in water and leave to rest overnight. The next morning, drain and rince well. Leave in a colander over a bowl. Before preparing your meal, rince well again and cook in a steamer, covered in water for about 25 minutes.
This way you get sprouted lentils which are easier to digest in richer in many good nutrients. 
Once cooked, drain the lentils if necessary.
 1 tbsp of coconut oil or olive oil
1 peeled and minced onion
2 peeled and minced garlic cloves
2 tbsp of minced fresh ginger
1/2 tsp of strong paprika or mild chili flakes
1 tsp of grounded fennel seeds
tsp of grounded coriander seeds
1 tsp og grounded cumin
1/2 washed brocoli cut into florets
2 washed, peeled and diced carrots
1 small fennel, washed and minced
1 small zucchini, washed and cut in thick dices
2 cans of tomatoes
1 bouquet de coriandre fraîche lavée et émincée
Heat the oil in a cast iron pan or in a wok. Add the onion and the garlic. Once melted, add the spices (cumin, coriander, fennel seeds and paprika) and the ginger. When you can smell the spices, add the brocoli, the carrots, the fennel and the zucchini. Cook over warm heat for about 5 minutes then add the tomatoes and the lentils. Leave to cook 5 to 10 more minutes.
Salt in the end.
Serve with the fresh coriandre.
For a more whole meal, serve with a bowl of steamed rice. 
Adapt the vegetables to the season (replace zucchini for squash, use fresh tomatoes...). Vary the spices, the fresh herb, replace the lentils for garbanzo beans or quinoa...


Still there and disappointed

Hello everyone,

I'm still in the kitchen and I've been a little overwhelmed at work so I've tried to stay tuned but I did mostly in the French version of this blog. I'm sorry I've let it go...
I still cook a lot, I'm inspired by people I meet, by books and magazine I read.

Lately, I've been disappointed. I have a digital subscription to Food & Wine magazine. It's a bit posh but it's beautiful and I find most recipes interesting and the stories inspiring. But now the app goes on iOs 7 and my "old" iOs 5 can't get anymore edition from the magazine.

I think it would be ridiculous to replace my really well working device just because technology pushes me to it. I think it's ridiculous to throw away resources as we're more and more humans on this planet. I think we have to stop being selfish and think about the future generations. I wish my children and their children (and hopefully the ones after them) to enjoy technology and food as much as we do. But if we keep throwing away resources and perfectly functioning devices, throwing away food, clothes, stuff, I'm not sure there'll be much left for everyone to enjoy (and not a few "happy" few).

Enjoy autumn though, with seasonal recipes and warm hugs!

This week-end I'm traveling to the East of Belgium and I'll enjoy the sound of dry leaves under my feet. I'm curious of the food I'll have and I hope I'll have time to share with you!

Take care.


chestnut "financiers"

What to do with egg white when you make cannelés or crème brûlée? Here is a great idea that everyone will enjoy!
I love financiers!
It's soft and delicious especially when you take time to brown the butter as it should be!
It's easy to make and to take for a pic nic if you can resist eating them all at once!

For this recipe, I chose a mix of almond and chestnut but you can make it 100% almond or replace the chestnut by pistachio.
Because I'm crazy about matcha green tea, I can't resist adding a spoon of the emerald powder to the mix when it's all almond.

I use whole sugar as it has a caramel like taste that goes really well with chestnut.

140g of salted butter
3 eggs' whites
100g whole sugar
60g powdered almonds
20g powdered chestnuts
50g flour

Turn the oven on at 160°C.
You can mix whole chestnuts and almonds in a blender if you can't find grounded nuts.
Melt the butter in a pan until golden brown (beurre noisette pr chestnut butter!)
Leave to cool a little.
Grill the chestnut powder at 160°C for 10 minutes. Leave to cool and turn the oven up at 220°C.
Mix the flour + sugar + almond and chestnut powders.
Add the whites while whisking.
Add the butter also while whisking.
When the mix is smooth, pour into financier molds (about 8 mm deep rectangles)and cook in the oven for 7-8 minutes. Leave to cook on a cooling rack.

You can replace the flour by the same amount of almond powder. It works really well and suits the gluten sensitive while everyone can enjoy it.
If you want to avoid lactose, you can replace the butter with the coconut oil. You can't brown the coconut oil so it's important to use the whole sugar.
I choose rapadura or muscovado or any whole sugar.
Sometimes this sugar is a bit "thick" so you can mix it to get a finer sugar.

One bite, hold by the finger tips, to eat with tea, coffee or hot chocolate. A golden bite like gold!


Baby food but not quite!

Being a mother is quite time consuming and the perfect test to see how you adapt to new situation! As soon as you get around to breast feeding or to organizing bottle schedule, you have to learn how to give real food to your, already, a few months old!
So, here are a few ideas of mix that you can actually use for adults too, mixed or not, to accompany some protein (vegan or vegetarian or meat) and, maybe a few raw veggies to get some crunch.

I cook everything in an electric steamer then I mix and I might add some water if the mix is too thick which can be the case with rice.

You'll have a few * to give you ideas to complete the mix to get an adult meal.

Until now, my baby has eaten all of it without spitting it out!
potatoes + beetroot*
rice + cherry tomatoes
cucumber + millet
parsnip + rice + basil**
quinoa + broccoli
sweet potatoes + mushrooms
turnip + millet
potatoes + parsnip + fresh coriander
fennel + rice***
pumpkin + cauliflower
potatoes + zucchini
celeriac + basmati rice
sweet potatoes + carrots

I either add some virgin olive oil or some organic butter.

It's so great to see my kid test new food and to see the promise of so many shared meals!

* The potatoes and beetroot purée is great and delicious. It would be perfect with some fresh ruccola and goat cheese. Why not a few chopped hazelnuts and for the meat eater, a nice steak.

**I also tried the parsnip and rice with fresh coriander. For adults, adding some freshly grounded coriander would be delicious. I would keep them unmixed and serve it with a curry made with coconut milk and lots of veggies. If you need protein, you can add some lentils or some chicken to the mix.
Don't hesitate to add heat!

***If you use some arborio rice (the round one for risotto), you could serve it with Italian sausage containing fennel seeds or heat some fennel seeds in a hot pan and add cubes of firm marinated tofu.
Marinate the tofu in a mix of olive oil, freshly grounded fennel seeds, salt and pepper.
Add some sauce made with a reduction of white wine, shallots, a little water and saffron. When the reduction is ready add either butter or olive oil to emulsify.


steamed matcha cake

 I do love green tea and I'm always ready to try dessert recipes containing matcha powder (matcha green tea is use in Japanese Tea ceremony).  This tea works beautifully with white chocolate and almond but this recipe makes steamed cake called Mushipan in Japan.

As I used whole sugar (I feel less guilty eating sweets made with whole sugar!), my cakes have kind of a look from the seventies!
But it's delicious!
You  have to eat them the day you made them as they won't be as good when they dry out.
It(s very good with sweet azukis purée but as it takes time to cook, I skipped it this time around.
Néanmoins ils sont délicieux!

For 6
125g flour
3 tsp matcha tea powder
2 tsp baking powder
1 egg lightly beaten
100 ml raw milk
4 tbsp rapadura, muscovado or whole cane sugar
4 tbsp of olive oil (choose a fruity one)

Line 6 round tin with papercups of use cupcake silicone mould.
Preheat your steamer (or the pan on which you'll add you steam basket). The water has to be really hot when you add the cakes in the basket.

In a bowl, mix the flour, the matcha tea, the baking  powder and a pinch of salt.
In another bowl, whisk the egg with the milk, the sugar and the olive oil.
Mix the dry ingredients with the wet ones but don't overwork the dough.
Divide the dough into the 6 papercups and put the tins in the basket of your steamer. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes.
Check if it's done with a skewer or a knife. The blade has to come out clean. 
Take the tin out and leave to cool for about 10 minutes before you eat it.

You can replace wheat flour with rice flour or almond meal.
You can replace cow milk with any vegan one but I love coconut and rice.

It's not possible to make green tea powder at home but for another tea cake, you can infuse green tea leaves in the milk warmed at 60°C for 10 minutes. Filter the milk before using.


savory butternut pie

Even if winter is weird here this year and that some trees are burgeoning, we should try to stick to seasonal food and use colorful squash!
My favorites are the ones I don't have to peel like butternut and potimarron. But you could use any squash to make this recipe if you have some from your garden or from a generous neighbour.

This pie can be eaten warm, thawed or cold. It could be made as a sweet pie like a pumpkin pie but it's another chapter!
You can use any non-animal milk and any spices you fancy.
I was going towards India with coconut milk and coriander seeds.

You could serve this pie with some winter salad like endives. The bitterness of the salad will balance greatly the sweetness of the pie.

Even though I gave you my pie dough recipe at least a thousand times, here is one of the many version I use and that I would eat even with nothing on it!

162g of butter in thin slices
500g of flour (I used T110 semi-whole grain but it would be great with whole grain or even with a gluten free flour like buckwheat)
175ml of water

Preheat the oven at 180°C.
Work the butter with the salt and the flour until sandy (use a pastry blender if you have one). Add the water and mix until the dough doesn't stick to the bowl anymore. Make a ball.
Put some flour on your tabletop and roll the dough to a few mm.
Line a pie tin with parchment paper then add the rolled dough. Prick it with a fork, cover with parchment paper and cooking pastry marbles or beans.
Put in the oven and cook for 10 minutes. take the marbles/beans and the paper away and cook 5 more minutes.

Wash and cut the butternut in half, take the seed away and cut in cubes.
Cook in a steamer for 25 to 30 minutes until completely soft.
I use a blender to mix the butternut with 5 eggs, salt, coriander seeds (about 1 teaspoon) and 400ml of coconut milk (1 can).
With the use of coriander seeds, you get some bites that are more subtle other that are stronger in coriander taste. If you want something more consistent trough the whole tasting, mix the coriander seeds before adding it to the butternut.

Pour the mixture in the cooked pie dough and cook in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes until the custard is completely set.

As said, enjoy warm, thawed or cold!