Cooking healthy food : demystifying the myths (2)

Avocado SaladSo how do you feel after eating that fresh homemade Tzatziki? I bet you feel amazing, and you already start feeling the Pamela Anderson (Or Justin Beiber for you gentlemen) growing in you….

As I am very nice, and want to be part of your “transformation”, here is another 5 minutes healthy and tasty recipe: Spinach & avocado salad.

On a more serious note, I am sure some of you experienced the same as I did when growing up: having to eat disgusting mushy soggy spinach at the canteen. (The cook would keep on staring at me and doing dark eyes until I finish the last leave in the plate). Yikes. I can still feel the iron after taste… You know that delicious taste you get when the vegetables have come directly out of the can! Later on, I realized that spinach are actually very good, and can be also eaten fresh (like the recipe I am giving you today). I also realized that eating spinach would not make me have the same arms as Popeye, and I will then have to go to the body pump class on a weekly basis…

You can eat the salad for a light dinner or as a side to a white grilled meat for instance.

Recipe for 2 servings :

2 big handfuls of fresh Spinach leaves,
1 avocado,
1 tomato,
Half a red onion,
1 table spoon of sliced almonds,
The juice of half a lime,
Olive oil, balsamic vinegar,

Turn on the oven, heat at 180◦ Celsius. When hot, spread the almonds in a tray and let them roast for few minutes in the oven until they get a nice light brown color. When done, take them off the oven and let cool down.

Wash the spinach leaves. Dry them with kitchen roll.

Slice the avocado and the tomato..
Slice very thinly the red onion with a mandolin; roughly 2 mm thick.

In a salad bowl, put the spinach leaves. Add the tomato, the avocado and the lime juice.

In a bowl, mix 3 table spoon of olive oil with 1 table spoon or balsamic vinegar. Add a bit of salt, pepper and smoked paprika. Mix.

Drizzle the salad with vinaigrette and toss to coat (quantity of vinaigrette depends on your taste…).

Serve immediately with a slice of toasted sourdough.

Ta-da !

Unfortunately the picture is not mine as I did not think about taking a pic of the salad when I was done… but at least there is Spinach and avocado on it 🙂

The picture is from this website: http://www.heatherlikesfood.com

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Cooking healthy food : demystifying the myths (1)

Tzatziki

As soon as Christmas and New Year’s celebrations are over, our favorite magazines, TV shows and internet sites release their first subject of the year: how to look like a mermaid (or a body builder for you gentlemen) for the next summer holidays. By that, you need to read : how to get rid off the muffin top you got last winter after eating jars of Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream while watching the full seasons of “Downton Abbey”, you little lazy and weak creature ! I won’t mention the turkey, Christmas cakes, chocolates and other delicatessen you got between Thanksgiving and December 31st. 🙂

Golden rule for this challenge: If you want that amazing body, you will have to eat healthy. Ban all processed foods, cook fresh and tasteful home-made recipes. To help you, a team of nutritionists put recipes together. At that point in time, you are super excited and already see yourself wearing that amazing red bikini, highlighting your nice curves, running on the beach like Pamela Anderson (and you gents, proudly showing your 6 packs, and smiling with the brightest smile ever, ready to make all the chicks on the beach fall in love with you.)

HUM … Well… this was before you and I check the ingredients required to cook those healthy meals! After that, the mermaid/surfer look vanished and became a mirage.

SERIOUSLY, who has at home and ready to be used: chestnut flour, Jamaica pepper, purple potatoes or donkey milk ?

Do you really think that the supermarket at the corner of the street I live sells black tomatoes?

Do I look like a girl who can eat cabbage soup for breakfast, lunch and dinner?

And you reader, do you have time to cook a delicious home-made fresh spring roll, with a papaya salad when coming back home after an 8 hours working day ? 😉

If you can find and/or do all of the above, I admire you ! On my side, I decided to try easier recipes that require “boring” ingredients (just kidding), because tt is time to Demystify the myths of healthy food recipes. Last week I had the opportunity to try 3 recipes that were very easy and tasty. I thought I would share them with you.

The first one I am going to share with you is the Tzatziki. It is a Greek recipe, made of Greek yogurt, cucumber, garlic and fresh mint. It takes literally 10 minutes to do.(The other recipes will follow in future posts)

For roughly 4 people (as a starter, or 2 people for a light dinner) , you will need :

450 grams of Greek Yogurt,
1 cucumber, peeled, deseeded and grated
2 to 3 cloves of garlic crushed,
2 table spoons of fresh chopped mint,
2 table spoons of Olive oil,
The juice of half a lemon,
Salt, pepper and smoked paprika (optional, only if you like spices)

1. Wash the cucumber, peel it and deseed it. Grated it to have very thin slices (almost about to melt in a mouthful). Place the cucumber in a sieve and sprinkle with salt. Set aside and allow the juices to escape.

2. Mix the yoghurt, cucumber and mint. Add the garlic, lemon and olive oil to the mix. Season with pepper. Garnish with mint and smoked paprika before serving.

Tzatziki is better when served chilled. Do not hesitate to keep it in the fridge. Sometimes it is even better the day after as all the ingredients infused in the yogurt. I served it with some toasted sourdough bread slices with a dash of olive oil on top.

PS : In all honesty, I am kidding, I am very happy about the food I got over winter, and would not starve myself just because I want to look good in a suite… instead I go to the gym so I can enjoy good food, but remain and look healthy.

The picture in the post comes from the site “Food people want”. http://www.foodpeoplewant.com

The Fabulous Baker Brothers

Fabulous Baker Brothers

Alright ! Some of you may know, I am a real foodie. Last winter, I spent many hours in front of cooking shows, as I did not get many opportunities to go outside (the blame is on the weather). I am based in UK, so I tend to follow local chefs: Jamie Oliver, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall from River Cottage; and a duet that is not as famous as the first ones: The Fabulous Baker Brothers (Tom & Henry).

One is a butcher the other is a baker. They travel across UK to meet with the owners of restaurants that have experienced a decline in frequentation (most of the time). During the show, those 2 guys revamp the menu, creating new recipes and revisiting some of the restaurant’s favorites. The good thing is that you can find all the recipes from the show on Channel4.co.uk website.

In this show, it is all about comfort food: easy, savory recipes made using local products.

I like the Fabulous Baker Brother because the recipes are simple, and the 2 guys cook live: so you can see step by steps how they prepare the meal. It helps demystifying cooking: thanks to it, I realized that it does not take hours to make a nice soup or bake a delicious sticky toffee pudding.

 You can find the shows and the recipes on the Channel 4 website: http://www.channel4.com/programmes/the-fabulous-baker-brothers

 Hope you will like it and find inspiration for the next meals you’ll cook,

I know a little amazing restaurant in Athens (Greece)

To_Trikyklo

Hello world! Today’s post is about an amazing little restaurant we went to in Athens. Such a nice place, I could not do without sharing it!

If you go to Greece, you will find a lot of tavernas. They are restaurants serving traditional Greek cuisine: simple, but lovely food. Last month, we spent 2 amazing weeks in Greece and went to “To Trikyklo” for dinner. Verdict: this taverna is a little gem for food and to see the real Greek life unfold.

First of all, I like this restaurant because it is off the tourist circuit. We sat at the terrace, and were probably the only tourists there. To me it is the best way to enjoy “local” lifestyle. I could stay like that and enjoy people watching for hours: teenagers meeting up with friends to play basketball (there is a basket ground right in front of the place) ; families going on evening walks; locals “get together”, chatting about daily life I presume …

When I travel, I usually want to speak the local language as much as I can but my Greek skills were quite limited. So, the first good thing was that the waiters spoke English and were so kind to us :they were such nice hosts. We did not feel “treated” as “tourists” like it can happen in some places. For those who have already experienced the French waiters in Paris – you know what I am talking about ! (And overall I must say, Greek people are very nice and welcoming)

Food wise, “To Trikyklo” is a MUST VISIT. This is my favorite restaurant in Athens. There is a huge variety of Greek mezze, made from fresh ingredients: heaven in a mouthful! I recommend you take several mezze/appetizers instead of having a main. That is the best way to try a bit of everything. Though be careful, portions are huge!

My favorites were: mushrooms stuffed with cheese & bacon, fennel pie (see the picture below), tzatziki, Cyprus grilled cheese, fried tomato balls. We got a pitcher of the local house red wine. I liked it as it was a light one that fitted perfectly with the food we had.

Fennel Pie

I noticed that a lot of restaurants in Greece  offer the desert, and so does this place! We had a delicious chocolate biscuit (I do not recall the name), paired with a glass of honey raki : a lovely way to finish a great meal.

Prices are more than reasonable, so you have no excuses not to go there! 🙂

The location of the restaurant is not so easy to find. Make sure you look on the map before going there. The place is located in a pedestrian street, so it is not very accessible by car. The taxi will drop you at the top of the street and you just need to walk for 5 meters to get to the place.

I hope you will have the opportunity to try if you go to Athens, and tell me what you think about it! I am very curious to hear your feedback.

Details :
Pytheou 34 & Geometrou 1
Neos Kosmos, Athens 11743,
Greece

Phone number: +30 210 923 2384
Website with the English menu: http://www.totrikyklo.gr/blog/?page_id=7

The pictures in this post come from the Trip Advisor page dedicated to “To Trikyklo” : http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g189400-d2649991-Reviews-To_Trikyklo-Athens_Attica.html

Delicious home made Raspberries – White Chocolate muffins

muffin

Alright! For those who know me, I am based in Scotland and this country is famous for 2 main reasons: the amazing Scotch and the relatively cold temperatures.

As this week-end the weather was not so nice, I baked Raspberries & White chocolate muffins. The recipe is very easy, and I am going to share it with you. They are perfect with a tea; or as a picnic desert. Muffins are not the lightest cakes on earth, so I baked “mini” ones, using a baking tray that enabled me to get 24 cute cakes.

Ingredients :  (You need 2 bowls for this recipe)

Pre-heat the oven at 180◦ Celsius temperature.

250 gr of plain white flour
1 bag of raising powder
80 gr of butter
80 gr of sugar
10 cl of milk
1 table spoon of Crème Fraiche (or the equivalent you can find wherever you are)
2 eggs
200 gr of raspberries
100 gr of white chocolate that you roughly chopped

In the first bowl, mix the flour with the raising powder

In the second bowl, mix the sugar, the eggs, the melted butter, the crème fraiche and the milk. Then add to this mix the raspberries and the white chocolate.

Take the mix from the second bowl and pour it on the flour/raising powder.

Mix roughly with your hands, until you get a homogeneous dough. Do not over mix it else the raspberries would be crushed (you want to keep them as whole as possible)

 When done, take the baking tray and fill it in with the mix. Put it in the oven for 20 minutes (Temperature : 180◦ Celsius)

When done, take the tray out of the oven and let cool down. I personally prefer eating them cold.

 Note :

You can do the muffins using frozen raspberries if you prefer: it is less expensive and  you can do the recipe all year long. On top of that, when I get fresh raspberries, I’d rather eat them as is! 🙂

Cup “tea cafe” in Aberdeen : a cozy space in a lovely place …

CUP

 Cup is one of my favorite brunch place in Aberdeen.( I’ll tell you about the other one later).

If I were to use one word to describe Cup, it would be: cute. I was charmed by the atmosphere and the coziness of the place: light colors, a lovely decoration, food served in pretty china plates, tea comes with beautiful and original tea pots. Cup is a life-size dollhouse; a place where Alice from Alice in Wonderland could go for an afternoon tea!

 You can go there for breakfast, lunch, brunch, afternoon tea or simply have a relaxing moment sipping tea.

Trio Tea

 The food is simple but good; portions have the right size. I recommend the homemade soups and the sandwiches. I got the chorizo and sun dried tomato panini, and the hummus & pepper sandwich: I liked them both. I have not tried the pastries, but I read reviews on Trip Advisor: it looks like people liked them.

If you are a tea lover, come on in. Cup has a wide range of tea flavors. We tried the Vienna Cinnamon and the Lavender Iced tea : original and tasteful.

The service is fast, and prices are very reasonable. The place is now quite successful so it can be busy. Tell me what you think about this place!

Details : 9 little Belmont street, Aberdeen, Scotland; http://cupcafe.co.uk

The pictures in this post come from the Trip Advisor page dedicated to Cup : http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g186487-d4028420-Reviews-Cup_Cafe-Aberdeen_Aberdeenshire_Scotland.html

The BEST burger in Paris… BIG TIME

This is not a sponsored post but a review on a place that any burger lover shoudl try.

My brother used to tell me about a place in Paris that has AMAZING burgers . Quite frankly, I could not understand why he was so enthusiatic about it, as I usually associated burger with fast or “junk” food.

One day, after a we went to see a very fun play at the theater, we ended up starving at 10:30 pm in Paris. For those who have never experienced this situation, let me tell you, there are few restaurants in Paris that welcome you passed that time. As Blend was open – a good start – he finally had the opportunity to introduce me to this place.

Blend does what we call a Gourmet Burger. Prices are a bit higher than a fast food but it is really worth it.

So why do I love this place so much? The answer is simple : for the quality of the products and the fact that ingredients they use are home made.

Blend burger 2

The restaurant grinds the meat daily, and uses cuts chosen by Yves-Marie Le Bourdonnec, Paris’ best butcher and creator of the New York Times’ best burger in the world. Have a bite, you’ll understand what I am talking about!

Sweet Potatoes Fries

Buns are baked fresh daily, and have the shine and velvety texture of a brioche. Sauces are home made too (of course).You can chose among a list of 9 burgers. My favorite side are the sweet potatoes fries.

 Not much to add. The best way to prove me right is to go and try. A good sign is that there is always a queue oustide of the restaurant: an indicator of the quality and the success of the place. The service is fast. You will be able to make it  inside relatively quickly.

Of course, we area talking about burgers and fries, so not the type of food I recommend you eat every day. But if you decide to have a burger, go for a good one, and try Blend.

I am looking forward to hearing your review,

Details :

Blend Hamburger,
44 rue d’Argout, 75002 Paris.
10€ le hamburger, 3€ les french fries, sur place uniquement
Du lundi au samedi
Tél. : + 33 1 40 26 84 57

http://blendhamburger.com/blend?change=en