Saturday, 27 September 2008

Hong Kong Style noodles

I invented this super easy recipe (take it as healthy fast food…:)

Preparation : 10 mn
Cooking time :
10 mn
For 2 people

- 2 lots of ‘easycook’ noodles (they cook in 3 minutes)
1 big onion
5 tablespoons of dark soya sauce
4 tablespoons of soya sauce
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 birdeye chilli
- 1 teaspoon of sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
- 200g of mangetout beans
- 300g of fried tofu pre-cooked (or use caramelised tofu)
- 3 spring onions

Making it:
Blanch the beans and drain (but keep the water). Put aside.
Cook the noodles as indicated on the packet. Rince them with cold water and drain. Put aside.
Cut the onion in thin slices, fry it in the oil until it is golden.
Add the thinly cut garlic and chilli. After a minute or two add the soya sauces, cook a
few more minutes; do not hesitate to add some of the water you cooked the mangetouts in to deglaze and maintain the sauce in a sticky state.
Add the tofu cut in bite-size squares. If you use the fried tofu, make sure you coat it well with the sauce.
Add the mangetouts (which should be vivid green and crunchy by the way), and the noodles.
Mix well and cook for 1 min for the noodles to warm up.
Dish in bowls, sprinkle with the sliced spring onions, and serve with chopsticks.

Do not add salt as the soya sauces already contain salt.
If you don’t like tofu, you can replace it by slices of wok-fried chicken

Vegans, use replacement products for soy sauces

Now, enjoy!

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Thai steamed seabass - my favorite

I must have mentioned by now how much I love Thai food.
Now this is a dish which is light, very delicate and delicious, incredibly healthy, simple and flavoursome, and beautiful too.

I prefer to buy fillets of sea bass (cut in front of me) rather than the whole fish, purely for taste, it also cooks faster and more evenly.

Anyway, for 2 you will need:
- 2 fillets of sea bass (in french 'loup', but buy the babies at a proper fishmonger's, not the big ones..)
- 1 lemongrass
- 1 and 1/2 juicy lime
- Thai fish sauce (beware: this is important, Vietnamese fish sauce tastes completely different)
- 4 medium tomatoes
- 1 big red pepper
- fresh coriander (fresh basil is OK if you're stuck for coriander)
- 3 fresh Kaffir lime leaves (dried if you can get hold of it)
- 1 clove of garlic finely chopped
- 1 nail worth of finely chopped ginger
- 1 Bird eye chili

In the photo you can see I see I also used a courgette, but you don't have to.

Place the diced red pepper and diced tomatoes ( and diced courgettes if any) in the lower tier of your steamer.
Place the sea bass fillet in the top tier of the steamer, with on it one or two slices of lemongrass and the Kaffir lime leaves if dry. Set your steamer on 10 minutes

In the meantime, prepare the sauce:
Squeeze the juice of 1 lime, and mix with it a bit less than the same quantity of fish sauce.
Taste and adjust (it should not taste too salty nor too sour from the lime) with the juice of he 1/2 lime and the fish sauce.
When the taste is right, add the rest of the sliced lemongrass, the sliced bird's eye chili, the garlic and the ginger,kaffir lime leaves and fresh coriander chopped.

When the fish and vegges have finished cooking, dispose on a plate and add the sauce on top. Serve immediately, and sit down to enjoy the beautiful signals ALL your taste buds will send your overwhelmed brain.

Source: Chorchaba, who used to be my Thai cooking class master, the best ever Thai cook I ever hope to encounter..

Monday, 22 September 2008

Raspberry Charlotte

You are receiving friends last minute? Here's a pudding they'll love. It's a french classic, the Charlotte (of Russian origins I believe). A friend of mine at Uni showed me how to do this particular one, many moons ago.

It is based on the same principle as tiramisu (recipe to come soon on this blog), only I'd say it is more a summer pudding.

For 4 You'll need:
-500g 'Total' Greek yogurt, or fromage blanc in France if you can't get hold of it.
- A can of raspberries - yes I said a can, and they are surprisingly very good..
- Sponge biscuits (also called finger biscuits: biscuits a la cuillere in french)
- A dash of alcohol that suits raspberries (smell the bottles and decide which ones goes best is my best advice)
- My own secret weapon option: lemongrass, finely chopped
- 4 spoons of sugar
- A medium dish, square is easier, but round looks better I'd say. In the photos you'll see I I used a silicon mould.
There is no cooking involved, just 1/2h at least in the fridge, just the time to have the rest of the meal. longer is better of course, but since you are short of time and ravenous...

Drain the raspberry juice in a hollow plate and add the alcohol. Leave the raspberries in the can for now
Dip the biscuits one by one and lay them tight in a dish of medium size, so that the bottom and the sides are covered.
Mix directly in the pot of yoghurt the sugar and the lemongrass finely chopped, mix well, and cover the biscuits with half the yogurt.
Cover the yogurt layer with the raspberries, spread them evenly.

Then add the last layer of yogurt, make sure it is flush with the biscuits on the side of the dish.

Place in the refrigerator for at least 1/2h, and when comes the time, place a plate on top of the mould, reverse the lot quickly, and you should not have any difficulty to unmould the Charlotte. it should then look like that:

You can decorate it in whatever fashion you want if you have some spare time, but I must say I don't usually have enough time to fool around. In any case, the charlotte always goes down a treat and disappears in no time. When i have a little more time, I use fresh fruits:
- Ripe bananas that I heat up to a compote with a slither of butter and sugar. tend to use dark rhum for the biscuits
- fresh peaches heated up with a bit of sugar and lavender, with these , I dip the biscuits in Earl Grey tea.
- And of course, anything else that takes my fancy at the time!

I tend to use the 'Total' Greek yogurt for everything these days, It replaces advantageously sour cream, even when you heat it up a it does not separate like other yogurts. it makes dishes so much lighter, and of course, for me it has become to my fridge what the tinned chopped tomatoes is to my pantry...

And you can always have it in the morning with runny honey and fruits on it - or cheat and serve it like that as a desert -.

Source: Laurent Ganne who managed to drop the content of the whole can of raspberries on his boxer shorts one morning as he was showing me and another friend how to make this dessert of his....

Friday, 19 September 2008

Ham-rolled endive gratin

I used to hate this dish when I was little, probably because my mum likes it bitter. But with time, I grew to love it!
Unfortunately it is quite hard to find endives in Britain... So when |I can't find endives (also called chicons), I use leeks.

Take two endives per person, remove the hard core to get rid of the bitterness, cook them for 10 min in the steamer.Roll each endive in a slice of ham. Place in an oven dish.
Cover with white sauce (with salt and pepper), then sprinkle with grated cheese (gruyere's my fav but use what you can).
Place in the oven at 180 degrees for 15 minutes, and it's ready!!

How to make the white sauce:
Place 25g butter and the equivalent in volume of flour. heat up and mix well, cook it for a bit. Then add gradually the milk, still stirring. when all the milk (that is the quantity of white sauce you require) is added, if the sauce is still too liquid, bring to light bol stirring, and then take it off the fire, it's done! Add salt and pepper at the end.

Source: my mum!

Arte-y Pico Award

I am really chuffed to have received this award from My kitchen snippets. Thank you so much for your support! Before passing this on, here are a few set rules to follow.....

1) You have to pick FIVE blogs that you consider deserve this award for creativity, design, interesting material and also contribute to the blogger community regardless of language.

2) Each award has to have the name of the author and a link to his/her blog to be visited.

3) Each award winner has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given him/her the award itself.

4) Award winners and the one who has given the prize have to show the link of the "
Arte-y-Pico" blog so everyone will know the origin of the award

5) In compliance with said RULES, the award winner must show the RULES.
Now, I would love to share this award with these five inspiring blogs:

Cooking cute
Set de Table
Clea cuisine
O-cha to wagashi
La cuisine de Mercotte

Cheese biscuits

Another easy,fast and successful recipe. This time it is cheese biscuits..

4 laughing cow portions
90g butter
200g flour
1 tsp raising agent

Making it:
Soften the butter then mix it with the laughing cow until you get a smooth paste. then add the flower little by little and mix to a very thick dough that you will flatten with a rolling pin. Then cut shapes in dough, and place them on an oven tray. place in the oven heated at 180 degree during 12 minutes.
These keep long enough in a metal tin.
You can add herbs in the dough such as thyme, or even salt and pepper etc..

Alternatively you can add a bit of sugar and vanilla to obtain sweet biscuits....


Hey, I never said these were healthy!!...


And for those who asked, here is a photo of the iconic processed cheese:

Monday, 15 September 2008

Simple steamed salmon and broccolis

Here you go, no prep:
Lay the salmon in the first tier of the steamer with ginger slices or grated ginger on top , Florets of broccoli, set the timer to 15 min...
Moist salmon and slightly crunchy broccoli...
A few droplets of roasted sesame oil on the salmon, and a filet of lime juice
on the broccoli. You can use a few drops of oyster sauce on the broccoli as well.

Et voila! Total 3 min of preparation, 15 min reading emails whilst it's in the steamer...
Lots of iron and folic acid from the broccoli (and made more assimilable by the citrus juice),
Fish oils, Proteins and vegetable and fibre Ah.
Light and very tasty too...! ;)
No excuse then about not having time to eat properly!

I have not found a name for the dish, it's so simple...

Friday, 12 September 2008

Angelique's mum's biscuits

I'm not a sweet tooth, but I do enjoy some sweetness from time to time. Today I am writing about a recipe I was given but my friend Angelique's mum. She keeps young children as an occupation, so she always makes sure that she has lots of cookies in the jar...
These biscuits are very versatile, easy to make, fast to cook and prepare, and super fast to eat...

: 10 min

QUANTITY: a biiiiiig tin of biscuits

- 450 g of flour
- 150 g of powdered almond or coconut
- 150 g of sugar
- 1 tea spoon of baking powder
- 2 beaten eggs
- 250 g of soft butter

Mix the whole lot, then spread it to a sheet of 1/2cm thick, and use shapes to cut the biscuits (I used my lemon squeezer! anything shapy will do really...).

Put in oven for 6 mins.

Dry for 15 mins on an oven grill outside the oven.

If you fancy, you can add flaked almonds, cristallised ginger, hazelnuts, aniseed etc... in the dough for variety.
If you keep them in a tin, you can have them with your tea for quite while.

And you know what they say? Et voila!

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Morrocan style meatballs and endive salad

I invented this dish one day when I was in for experimenting quite a bit. This sweet and sour dish is made of Moroccan-style meatballs on a bed of endives with vinaigrette.

The Meatballs (for 2):
- 400g minced lamb
- fig jam
- 1 good pinch powdered cumin
- 1 good pinch powdered ginger
- 1 good pinch powdered paprika
- 1 good pinch powdered flaked chillies
- sultanas
- 1 dash of old balsamic vinegar
- 1 clove of garlic very finely cut
- 1 diced fresh tomato
- salt, black pepper

Mix well, form balls, and place in the oven for 10-15 minutes to your liking on a grid to let the fat drip. One's never healthy enough...

- 2 spoons of olive oil
- 1 spoon of water
- 1 spoon of balsamic vinegar
- some walnut kernels
- salt, black pepper

Wash the endives, cut them in slices and place in the plate, sprinkle with vinaigrette, and dispose the meatball on top.

Very tasty, and it's pretty fast when you're too lazy to cook when you are back from work...

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Tofu is good!: the proof is in caramelised tofu

After last post, I thought I'd better make up with my vegetarian friends and prove that I am not carnivore, but omnivore indeed. I am very food curious and I tend to try anything and everything that's new to me, which mean I have experimented with a lot of commonly thought vegetarian ingredients. I have learnt to apreciate tofu in all its shapes and forms, and when I try to convince friends that yes tofu is brilliant, I tend to cook it for them this way first, as it seems that it is the easiest acquaintance. I don't go for the delicate tofu, which they usually find too bland....

Here's a way of cooking tofu that will make it more attractive for those who usually don't like it!

1 - Cut a bloc of fresh tofu in medium sized cubes.

2 - Heat up some sesame oil and 2 or 3 teaspoons of soy sauce (or replacement product for vegans)

3- Throw the cubes in the pan and cook them until they are caramelised.

That's too easy and only 5 min in total. Now we're talking real fast food!

You can use it hot in salads, or in dishes instead of meat. They can make great nibbles too.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

The ultimate fast food, Le steak tartare....

And for very good reasons indeed: this dish does not require any cooking! Not everybody's taste of course, but one of my favorites. It's healthy, great provider of iron, vitamin B12 and folic acid for people whose blood type is O (type A abstain see I am one these O type people, and I use this dish to prop me up when I am low in energy and tired.

For 1 person, take 200g lean mince beef, just bought at your favorite butcher's. Add a yolk, and the same volume of Dijon mustard, pepper - no salt - and capers and/or diced gherkins and/or diced pickled onions. Mix a bit, it's ready!

You can add pretty much whatever else you'd want with it, but I reckon that too many ingredients spoil the dish. Simplicity is best.

In France, the dish is often eaten with horse mince. I know it sounds horrible to you, but put it in perspective: horses are best eaten when either young or around 25 years old. Obviously they are not eaten young, but when they are old, which is the age at which they would have been put down because they are too old to be kept. And when you think of it in these terms, being eaten or not is hardly relevant to the fact that they would not have been kept alive anyway...

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Thai Chicken and red peppers

Et Voila, my dish tonight (It's fast food!)! Not a very french dish again.. If you have any idea of french dishes you'd like me to talk about, please give me some suggestions.. I've forgotten what it's like, eating French food every day...

In toasted sesame oil fry the strips of chicken with garlic, brown it a bit, throw the broccoli tomato and red pepper, remove from fire and add fresh kaffir lime leaves, sliced lemongrass, and 1/2 squeezed lime and adjust with fish sauce.
Serve with couscous you will have prepared with fish sauce and seaweed... nothing easier and faster than couscous. for 21 persons, plan a cup of couscous semolina, mix with a teaspoon of fish sauce, 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil, a few dry wakame seaweeds. Mix well add the same volume (1 cup) of water, and let it rest for a few minutes. Then detach the grains with a fork, place in a coffee cup or other recipient to shape nicely, and return onto the plate. Done!

Monday, 1 September 2008

The fastest soup on earth - 5min top chronos

For the lazy but healthy days (for 2):

Wash, cut, and put directly in your steamer:
- 1 small broccoli,
- 1 green pepper,
- a few Brussels sprouts,
- 1 stem of fresh lemongrass,
- 3 to 5 garlic cloves,

Steam until cooked (set 20 minutes, depending on your steamer)

Pour in blender and add
- wasabi
- salt,
- pepper,
- 1 spoon of Italian olive oil (the one that tastes like freshly cut grass)
- water (to your preferred consistency)

Blend it as much as you like,


That's too easy really. Tasty and healthy and very green.