Ramsons Pesto with Wholewheat Spaghetti

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Ramsons is also known as "wild garlic" due to its pungent garlic odour, or "bear's garlic" as the brown bears after hibernation, seek it out to cleanse their system. Ramsons has similar medicinal properties to those of the garlic. It is therefore especially valuable for a spring cleaning and waste removal course of treatment. They can be used as salad, as a vegetable, in soup, or as an ingredient for pesto in lieu of basil.

Ramsons Pesto
  • 250 g Wholewheat spaghetti
  • 10 Cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 10 Bocconcini, optional
  • A handful of baby greens
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 80 g Ramsons leaves, chopped
  • 60 g Almond, chopped
  • 80 g Parmesan-Reggiano, grated
  • 130 ml Olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

  1. Add only enough chopped almonds to the skillet so they lie in a single layer. Turn heat on to medium and toast, stirring occasionally until the nuts are fragrant. Remove from heat and cool.
  2. Rinse, dry and chop the ramsons. In a food processor, pulse toasted almonds and ramsons a few times. Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on, stopping to scrape down sides of container. Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. If you have a mortar and pestle, do use them to pound the ingredients.
  3. To store the pesto, simply place them in a jar and allow the oil to rise to the top. If it doesn't add a little oil to seal the top. It will keep fresh in the refrigerator for about a week.
  4. Cook pasta to al dente according to package directions. Drain in colander and transfer to a mixing bowl. Add in pesto (about 1/2 cup) and gently toss to coat thoroughly. If pesto is too thick, you can add a tablespoon of the pasta water to thin it a little.
  5. When pesto is mixed in, add cherry tomatoes, bocconcini if used, baby greens and season with freshly ground black pepper to taste.

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Rhubarb Streusel Cake

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A delicious tea time cake/tart with a tangy rhubarb filling topped with nutty and buttery streusel. Serve it warm, if desired, with ice cream or vanilla sauce.

CakeStreusel Topping
  • 150 g Flour
  • 50 g Sugar
  • 1 pinch Salt
  • 1 Egg yolk
  • 75 g Butter, diced
  • 1 tbsp Cold water
  • 500 g Rhubarb
  • 70 g Ladyfingers, crumbled
  • 50 g Brown sugar
  • 100 g Flour
  • 100 g Almond, ground
  • 100 g Sugar
  • 1/3 tsp Nutmeg powder
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon powder
  • 150 g Butter, diced
  1. To prepare the base. Place flour, sugar, salt, egg yolk, butter and cold water in a mixing bowl. Stir with a hand mixer attached with dough hooks until the mixture comes together. Form it into a ball and chill, wrapped with a cling film, for 30 minutes.
  2. Clean and trim rhubarb, removing any leaves. Cut the rhubarb stalks into 1cm pieces. Crush the ladyfingers until fine crumbs form. In a mixing bowl, mix together 100 grams sugar, flour, ground almond, nutmeg and cinnamon. Cut in butter to form crumbs. Chill, covered, until ready to use.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. Butter a 26cm tart dish or line with parchment paper. Roll the dough into a 32cm round between two sheets of parchment paper and place it into the tart dish. Sprinkle the crumbled ladyfingers at the bottom of the tart, scatter over the rhubarb pieces, and then sprinkle on brown sugar evenly. Now cover it with streusel topping. Bake in the middle of hot oven for 45 minutes until nicely golden brown.

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Spice Crusted Cod Fillets with Zucchini Salad

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Mild flavoured and low fat filleted cod fish nicely crusted with a blend of ground coriander, cumin and garlic salt, and then seared to medium (or to your desire), served with yoghurt dressing and lemon wedges on a bed of zucchini salad.

Zucchini Salad
  • 1 tsp Ground coriander
  • 1 tsp Ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic salt
  • 3-4 (about 150 g each) Cod fillets(or any white fish)
  • 1 tbsp Corn oil
  • Lemon wedges, to serve
  • Some yoghurt dressing, to serve
  • 180 g Green zucchini, trimmed and cut into 1cm pieces 1 tbsp Red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Tomato, halved, deseeded, cut into 1cm pieces
  • 1 tbsp Finely chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Fresh lemon juice
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper
  1. Combine ground coriander, cumin, paprika and garlic salt in a small bowl. Rub over fish fillets. Set aside for 15 minutes to allow the flavours to develop.
  2. To make the zucchini salad, combine zucchini, onion, tomato, mint, parsley, olive oil and lemon juice in a salad bowl. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat the corn oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add in fish fillets and cook for 2-3 minutes each side until nicely golden brown.
  4. Spoon zucchini salad among 2-3 serving plates. Top with cod fish and drizzle with dressing. Serve with lemon wedges.

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Scrambled Eggs with Green Asparagus and Parmesan

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A simple twist to typical scrambled eggs. The additions of asparagus offers a good source of vitamin, dietary fiber and protein. I had it for the weekend lunch served with rye crackers, but it is as delicious as for breakfast. If you prefer your scrambled eggs moist and creamy, then cook them over low flame.

  • 250 g Green asparagus
  • 2 Eggs, large
  • 2 tbsp Milk
  • 20 g Parmesan, grated
  • 1 tbsp Chives (or spring onion), chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 10 g Butter
  • 1-2 slice Rye bread or pumpernickel
  • 1 tbsp Sour Cream
  1. Clean and trim the asparagus. Discard the woody ends and cut asparagus into 2-inch lengths.
  2. Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl. Add in milk, grated Parmesan, chopped chives, salt and pepper. Beat the egg mixture with a whisk until all the ingredients are completely blended together.
  3. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add in the asparagus and stir fry for about 4-5 minutes. Pour in the egg mixture and cook, covered, for about 5 minutes until set or to your liking. Turn the egg on the bread and serve with sour cream.

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Avocado and Gorgonzola Salad with Parmesan Vinaigrette

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Creamy avocado, pungent blue cheese, sweet onions, and juicy tomatoes. This is one of my favorite salads to throw together. Dried fruits, like cherry or cranberry, and toasted nuts could also be added to create a wonderful salad with variety of textures and flavours.

Parmesan VinaigretteSalad
  • 100 ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 45 g Fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tbsp White wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp Dried thyme
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 50 g Field salad leaves
  • 1 Avocado, peeled and diced
  • 80 g Gorgonzola cheese, diced
  • 1 Carrot, peeled and thinly shredded
  • 1/2 Red onion, sliced
  • 1 Tomato, cut into wedges
  • Some dried cherries
  1. Whisk all ingredients until creamy and smooth. Store in the fridge until ready to use.
  2. In a large bowl, place field salad leaves, diced avocado, Gorgonzola, shredded carrot, red onion and tomato wedges. Drizzle with Parmesan vinaigrette and toss gently. Divide the salad in two serving plates, then sprinkle the dried cherries over.

Last, but not the least, I want to thank two lovely ladies, Eva at DAILY DOSES OF SUGAR, and Parsley Sage from The Deep Dish for passing two wonderful blog awards to me. Thank you!


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Chocolate Glazed Tart with Pistachios

Monday, April 11, 2011

A crisp yet crumbly chocolate shortbread crust filled with a layer of rich chocolate glaze and finished off with some chopped lightly salted roasted pistachios---an unbeatable combination for an unforgettable sweet treat!

ShortbreadTopping
  • 120 g Butter, at room temperature
  • 60 g Golden caster sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 130 g Plain flour
  • 20 g Cocoa powder
  • 120 g Bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tbsp Maple syrup
  • 20 g Butter
  • 100 ml Heavy cream
  • Some lightly salted roasted pistachios, roughly chopped
  • Caramelized walnuts, roughly chopped
  1. Preheat the oven to 160C/320F. Put the butter into a large mixing bowl, and beat with a wooden spoon until soft. Beat in the sugar and salt. Sift over the flour and cocoa powder and mix just until a dough forms.
  2. Divide the shortbread dough into four portions and press each in an even layer onto the bottom of four 12cm/4inch tart pans or one 26cm/10inch. Bake for about 20 minutes, or just until the they are firm to the touch.
  3. Meanwhile, melt the chopped chocolate, maple syrup, butter and heavy cream in a stainless steel bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Mix until smooth.
  4. Remove the shortbread from the oven and pour the warm chocolate glaze over the shortbread crusts and evenly spread the surface. Sprinkle the chopped pistachios or caramelized walnuts. They can be stored in container at room temperature for a few days.

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Chickpea Salad with Cumin

Thursday, April 07, 2011

In this wonderful healthy salad, chickpeas are first cooked in salt cumin water, that makes them more digestible as well as adding a nutty and peppery flavours to the chickpeas. The chickpeas are then dressed in a spicy vinaigrette.

  • 250 g Dried chickpeas
  • 1/3 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1-2 tsp Ground cumin
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • 1/3 tsp Chilli powder
  • 1-2 tbsp Fresh lime juice
  • 2 tbsp Parsley, finely chopped
  • 2-3 tbsp Walnut oil
  1. Place the chickpeas in a bowl and add enough water to cover by 1 inch. Soak the chickpeas for 4 hours or overnight. Drain the chickpeas and discard the soaking water.
  2. Add the chickpeas, salt, cumin seeds and water to the pressure cooker so that the cooker is no more than one-third full. Lock the lid onto the pressure cooker and activate the desired program setting. Allow pressure to be fully released before removing the lid.
  3. Drain the chickpeas and place in a large bowl. Add the ground cumin , minced garlic, chilli powder, lime juice, chopped parsley, walnut oil, and salt to taste. Toss well. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes at room temperature. Check the seasoning and add more salt or lime juice if needed. You can serve the chickpeas mounded on some lettuce leaves if desired.

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Fresh Fruit Tartlets

Monday, April 04, 2011

Those mini fresh fruit tartlets have a sweet pastry crust that is filled with a rich hazelnut cream and topped with fresh fruit. Dust the fruit with powdered sugar before serving or glaze with apricot glaze to give the fruit a bright shiny finish.

Sweet Pastry CrustTopping
  • 250 g Pastry flour
  • 60 g Caster sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 125 g Butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 Egg yolk
  • 2-3 tbsp Cold water
  • 85 g Butter, softened
  • 85 g Powdered sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 85 g Ground hazelnut
  • 8 tbsp Chantilly cream
  • Seedless grapes
  • Strawberries
  • Powdered sugar
  1. Heap the flour on a work surface and make a well. Put in butter, salt, sugar, and egg yolk. Using your fingertips, mix all the ingredients together. Add in cold water and work until the dough begins to hold together. Shape each into a ball and wrap with a plastic film and chill for half an hour.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar with a hand mixer in the bowl. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract until smooth. Add the ground hazelnut and beat until it forms a smooth paste. Set aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Grease four 12cm tartlet tins with butter and sprinkle them lightly with flour. Remove the pastry from the refrigerator and divide into four equal portions. On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion of pastry into a 16cm circle. Line the tins with pastry and prick several times with a fork.
  4. Divide the hazelnut mixture into 4 pastry cases and smooth the top. Put the tart tins on the hot baking tray and bake for 30 minutes until golden brown. Lift the tart and base from the tin and leave on a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. Spread two tablespoons of chantilly cream on top of each tartlet. Arrange the fruit on top. If desired, dust with powdered sugar before serving.

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Tomato, Olive and Gorgonzola Salad

Friday, April 01, 2011

Fresh, delicious and so easy to make, that you can enjoy a light but satisfying lunch in 5 minutes. If Gorgonzola is way too strong for you, milder Scandinavian blues would be perfect for crumbling over the salad too.

  • 3 Large tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 tbsp Balsamic cream
  • 2 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 Pitted black olives, cut into wedges
  • 50 g Gorgonzola, crumbled
  • 1 tbsp Pistachios, chopped (optional)
  • Fresh basil leaves (or corn salad leaves)
  1. Arrange sliced tomatoes on a plate. Drizzle with balsamic cream and then olive oil.
  2. Sprinkle lightly with salt and fresh ground black pepper. Sprinkle with olives, crumbled Gorgonzola and if using, chopped pistachios. Garnish with basil or corn salad leaves.

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