Tag Archives: pomegranate

Cumin Roasted Eggplants, Feta, Almonds and Pomegranate Salad

18 Nov

I know, this is not really a seasonal dish that I am writing about today but sometimes you need sun in your plate as well as color.

As Autumn definitely turned our great blue sky into a low grey mess, I thought about that salad that many of you kept asking me about during the past few months.

What really brings the flavor together is the use of pomegranate molasse that is pretty hard to find in France.

So if you look for it, go to a Lebanese shop or order it online. I found mine at Izrael, that great shop located rue François Miron where you find any spice, nut, condiment…. you are looking fot but also where you have to be patient if it is a bit busy. The owners are an old passionate couple and when they serve a customer, they do it properly which means….. they take the time! So don’t be in a hurry and take the time to spend some time in that Aladdin’s cave.

 

Result large plate

Ingredients

  • 4-5 aubergines (cut in diagonal chunks)
  • 3 red onions, cut into wedges
  • 3 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 100g toasted almond flakes
  • 1/2 bunch of coriander, washed, dried and picked
  • 1 pomegranate, seeded
  • 250g of fresh Feta cheese, crumbled

Ingredients for the Dressing

  • 4 tbsp of pomegranate molasse
  • 6 tbsp of olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 garlic clove crushed

Method

Preheat your oven to 220°C.

Place the aubergines chunks on baking trays lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle them with olive oil, salt, pepper and the cumin seeds.

Roast them in the oven until they get soft to the touch and lightly browned on the edges.

Sprinkle the red onions with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast them the same way you did with the aubergines.

Spread the flaked almonds on a baking tray or in a heavy bottom pan and toast them in the oven or on the stove until lightly browned. Put a timer, they burn very quickly.

Ingredients Aubergines Salade_edited-1

Pick whole coriander leaves

Cut the pomegranate* into 2 and bash it with a wooden spoon to release the seeds- making sure there is not a lot of white ‘membrane’ coming with it.

In a big bowl or on a large serving dish, layer the aubergine chunks and red onion wedges then add coriander, Feta cheese crumbs, pomegranate seeds and almond flakes.

In a bowl, whisk together all the ingredients of the dressing then drizzle it on top of the salad.

*follow the link to see how to proceed

Result Focus  Result Small Bowl

Salade d’Aubergines grillées au Cumin, Feta, Amandes et Grenade

Ingrédients

  • 4-5 aubergines (coupées en morceaux de 3-4cm)
  • 3 oignions rouges coupés en quartiers
  • 3 cas de graines de cumin
  • 100g d’amandes effilées
  • 1/2 bouquet de coriandre lavé, séché
  • 1 grenade
  • 250g de Feta émietté

Ingrédients pour la sauce

  • 4 cas de molasse de grenade
  • 6 cas d’huile d’olive
  • sel et poivre
  • 1/2 gousse d’ail écrasée

Méthode

Préchauffez votre four à 220°C.

Placez vos aubergines sur une plaque recouverte de papier sulfurisé. Enduisez-les d’huile d’olive et assaisonnez de sel, poivre et cumin.

Faites-les cuire jusqu’à ce qu’elles soient tendres à cœur et prennent une jolie couleur brune aux angles.

Faites de même avec les oignons rouges.

Dans une poêle à fond épais ou sur une plaque, dispersez les amandes effilées et torréfiées les 2-3 minutes jusqu’à ce qu’elles prennent une jolie coloration dorée. Attention, comme elles sont fines, elles peuvent très vite bruler.

Prélevez les feuilles de coriandre.

Emiettez la feta en cubes grossiers d’1cm.

Coupez la grenade* en 2 et à l’aide d’une cuillère en bois, égrenez-la en prenant soin d’enlever les morceaux de membranes blanches.

Dans un bol, fouettez les ingrédients de la sauce et gardez à portée de main.

Dans un grand saladier ou sur un grand plat de présentation, disposez les aubergines et les oignons rouges, dispersez les cubes de feta puis les graines de grenade.

Assaisonnez de sauce et finissez avec les amandes et les feuilles de coriandre.

*cf lien de la grenade pour la méthode

Knife Skills – The Fruits

14 Jan

Cutting Fruits

Fruits is part of our everyday meals. Some are easy to handle, bananas and apples for example. Other are trickier : mango, pineapple, papaya….

Here are a few tips to make your life easier.

First of all, learn to choose your fruits. If you want to use them the same days, they have to be just ripe. Neither too hard nor too soft. Especially in the summer or when the weather is stormy. They can collapse within an hour! If you buy them for later during the week, buy them greener and harder but neither too green or too hard, they might never mature if they have been picked way too early.

Also, try as much as you can to buy your fruits when they are seasonal. No red fruits during the winter obviously….

And last but not least, buy them in shops well-known for the quality of their fruits and veg selection.

Kiwi

Kiwi

The kiwi is a very tasty fruits but it has to be just ripe otherwise it is sour as lemon juice and when it is too ripe, the flesh gets a green dark color and is almost melting.

Your kiwi is ripe when you feel only a little resistance of the flesh when you slightly press the skin with your fingers.

Usually, you just need to cut the kiwi into 2 and scoop the inside with a spoon.

If you cut the kiwi for a desert decoration or a fruit salad, cut both ends and using a peeler or a sharp knife, cut stripes of skin 2-3 cm wide. Once the kiwi is peeled, either slice it or cut it into squares.

Suggestions: Sliced kiwi looks really great on fruit tarts but they also match with litchi, orange or strawberries in a fruit salad.

Mango

Mango

For a long time, I thought the only way to prepare mango was the Chinese restaurant way. Cut into 2, skin on, cut inside the skin and inner side pulled out to make it look like a porcupine. The problem is that you still have to get rid of the skin if you want to use the mango for something else!

Here is an alternative: peel the mango carefully then cut it lengthways into two large pieces. To do that, cut it along the stone of the mango, then cut the small part that remains around the stone if it is not too mushy.

Cut the mango parts into 1 cm wide stripes then into cubes. Reserve them in a bowl.

Suggestions: for breakfast once again with the papaya and other exotic fruits or in Asian salad with a lime and chilli dressing. Cut into large stripes and quickly caramelized, the mango is amazing with pancakes and ice-cream or vanilla cheesecake.

Orange

Orange-1

Orange-2

Like bananas and apples, oranges are one of these fruits that we all had as a healthy snack or desert when we were kids. We have all been getting our hands dirty while peeling them and we’ve also been fighting with the white membrane of the segments.

Later, we’ve also been served orange salad with orange slices that were not really appealing as the membrane was too thick to be pleasant.

Finally, we were lucky to enjoy once in a good place a truly pleasant orange salad with no membrane to be found anywhere….

First of all, you need to choose your fruits carefully. Ask for tasty, juicy oranges without pips. You can also use a mix of citrus such as grapefruit and blood orange, the result will be all the more appealing.

Start by cutting the ends off the orange just far enough to expose the flesh. Then place the orange cut end down. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut away as little of the peel as possible by following the line of the orange’s flesh. Cut away what remains of the peel.

If your orange is very juicy, do the next step on top of a bowl. With your sharp knife, cut along the inside of the membranes that separate the orange segments. Slice only down to the center of the orange. Continue around the entire orange cutting out each section, leaving the membrane.

Suggestions: for a fruit salad with mint leaves and a hint of orange blossom water, to decorate the top of orange pie (based on the technique of the lemon pie), for mixed salad, with beetroot, almonds and mixed leaves and also great with duck breasts. The famous “Canard à l’orange”.

Papaya

Papaye

Papaya is used green for Asian salad and is really good but as a fruit, it’s better to use ripped ones. The skin is very thin and the flesh quickly goes from hard to mushy when it gets ripe. Which means you have to catch the right time to use it!

Simply peel the whole fruit and cut it lengthways. Using a spoon, scoop the seeds out of the center and cut each halves into stripes then into sticks then into cubes.

Suggestions: when traveling abroad, papaya is served on its own or with mango, pineapple and other exotic fruits for breakfast. You can also add lime juice and cane sugar on top if you want.

Pineapple

Pineapple-1

Pineapple-2

The pineapple is not an easy fruit to handle, it is pretty big and the skin is not easy to get rid of. Anyway, before starting, I just wanted to share a tip I learned from a visit to one of our suppliers in Miami. If your pineapple is not mature and you want to keep it a few days. Keep it upside down as all the sugar gather at the bottom of the fruit. That way, the whole pineapple will have a good balance of sugar as the sugar will be equally distributed by the juice running down to the bottom of the pineapple.

Now, let’s cut the pineapple. First, use a large board and a long serrated knife. You will have a better grip. Remove the stalk and cut the top (at least 2 cm) of the fruit then the bottom (also 2 cm at least).

Stand the pineapple on its side and cut the skin off of the sides in strips. It does not matter if you have a great amount of those dark “eyes” left. You’ll get rid of them at the second round.

Continue cutting strips around the pineapple until you have cut all of the skin off of it then start the second round and cut only what needs to be cut. Doing it into 2 rounds gets you to avoid wasting too much pineapple flesh and also have a nice shape especially if you want to slice the pineapple.

Depending on what you want to use it for, either slice it whole then remove the center with a pastry-cutter or cut it into 4 wedges, cut off the center and slice the wedges into 1 cm bites.

Suggestions: Pineapple is great with a great amount of recipes from all over the world, it is used cooked in curry, fresh with fish, in Asian salad, flambed with rum, caramelized in upside-down cakes, in carpaccio, thinly cut into brunoise and mixed with other raw vegetables and spices to serve with grilled meats…

Pomegranate

desseed

As pomegranate are really juicy, choose a board big enough to prevent the juice from dripping on your kitchen counter.

Cut the pomegranate into 2 and on top of a large bowl, knock the pomegranate skin with a wooden spoon. It will help releasing most of the seeds.

You will collect lots of juice and seeds but still you will have to finish picking the remaining seeds one by one. To make it easier, push gently the top of your half pomegranate toward the bottom to reverse it. You will have a better view of what’s remaining and it will be easier to get rid of the white membrane.

Once you have finish, get rid of the last parcels of white membrane and separate the seeds from the juice as they will get soft if kept in a liquid.

Suggestions: pomegranates decorate salads or meats. They are also great for breakfast, served with yogurt and granola or sprinkled on whipped cream with a slice of dark chocolate cake….

Strawberries

Strawberries

As most of the red fruits, strawberries are very delicate. Many people will tell you that you must not wash strawberries. That’s true but it does not mean you can’t rinse them!

It’s just that if you leave strawberries for a long time in the water, they will loose all their flavor and texture.

Place them in a large colander and rinse them under cold running water to get rid of any dirt.

Gently rub them in a tea towel and serve them whole or cut them to make a nice salad.

Using a very sharp knife, hull the strawberries and depending on the size of the fruit, keep them whole or cut them into 2, 4 or 6 wedges. You can also slice them but your strawberries have to be firm otherwise it will get very mushy.

Suggestions: Strawberries are naturally very sweet and don’t need anything usually but they are often served with caster sugar.

As a salad, you can add lemon juice, thinly sliced mint and icing sugar or a flavor such as orange blossom water or rose water. You can dip them in chocolate sauce as well or drizzle balsamic glaze on top for decoration.

Crab… 3 ways

8 Jan

crab 3 ways

After our tour of Pinecrest Farmer’s Market, we ended-up with so many things (as usual) that I had to figure out what to do with it…..

That’s how I ended up with that post about crab. Except when you are living by the sea, crab is not really in your every day menu. It’s rather a treat.

Still, we need to accommodate it in a nice way to enjoy all its flavor potential.

Here it is: my crab, 3 ways.

  • Crab with drinks with lemon or homemade mayonnaise,
  • Crab, Fennel, Almond and Pomegranate Salad as a starter or light lunch salad,
  • Mediterranean Crab Linguine as a main.

For those of you still living in London, many places sell crab meat but I used to love walking by The Fish Place on Kensington Church Street, the fishmongers work in front of you and you can see them working on dozens of crabs and other fishes to make them look so great that they are priceless. Even though, the crab meat is really good and worth the price if you are craving for it. At least you won’t have to spend your priceless time working on the crab.

LF064213_942long

Crab with drinks

Ingredients

  • crab’s pincer
  • crab cracker
  • lemon and/or lime
  • mayonnaise* (natural, ketchup, garlic…)
  • napkins
  • a good bottle of white wine such as Sancerre or Entre-Deux-Mers (if you stop by The Fish Place, just keep walking a little further and stop by Lea & Sandemann for a perfect match)

* I’ll try to write a post about mayonnaise but this is definitely something I am not good at. My mum, sisters and even best friends make it so much better that I never took the time to work on it properly. I’ll gather their best recipes for you.

Method

Just gather a small bunch of really good friends on a sunny day and get your fingers dirty working on the crab!

Crab, Fennel, Almond & Pomegranate Salad

Ingredients – serves 4 as a starter

  • 1/2 fennel
  • 1 lemon juice
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of crab meat or 4-5 crab’s pincers
  • 1/2 pomegranate
  • 1/4 cup whole or slivered almonds
  • 1/2 tsp butter
  • 2 handful mixed leaves
  • salt and pepper

Method

First of all, start with the fennel as it needs to marinate.

Cut the leafy parts and set them aside then cut the fennel into 2. You need to remove the center of the fennel, this is the part that looks like a triangle. You can remove it with a knife, make two incisions and pull it off.

Once you are done, thinly slice the fennel and pour it in a bowl. Squeeze a lemon juice on top to prevent it from getting brown with oxydation then add olive oil, salt and pepper to marinate it. Set aside in the fridge.

Fennel Cutting

If you did not buy your crab meat already prepared, break the crab’s pincer and carefully get rid of the cartilages and shells. Reserve the crab meat in a bowl.

Cut your pomegranate into two and as explained in the Pomegranate Post, use a wooden spoon to get the seeds out of it.Reserve in a bowl.

Thinly slice your almonds if you did not find slivered one and in a pan, gently fry them with a little butter, salt and pepper. This step will really make the whole salad different in term of flavor. The butter will release the flavor of the almonds and add richness to the whole dish. Reserve in a bowl.

Get all your ingredients at hand and start assembling your salad. If you serve it as a starter, present it individually in small flat bowls or on a long flat serving dish. It will really enhance the whole dish.

Gently toss the mixed leaves with olive oil, salt, pepper and some of the fennel marinade. Spread a generous layer on the dish you choose then sprinkle fennel, crab, pomegranate seeds and almonds one after another.

You can chop the leafy part of the fennel and use it as you would use dill to bring more flavor but it’s really up to your taste.

As for the Crab with drinks, this starter goes along very well with a light and crispy white wine.

Crab Salad

Mediterranean Crab Linguine

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of crab meat or 7-8 crab’s pincers
  • 1 onion thinly diced
  • 1 garlic clove crushed
  • 1 courgette thinly diced, skin on
  • 1 large tomato or 2-3 tomatoes on the vine thinly diced
  • 1 lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp white wine – optional
  • 4-5 basil leaves
  • olive oil
  • a drop of Tabasco
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 pack of linguine
  • pine nuts gently toasted

Method

Once again, if you did not buy your crab meat already prepared, break the crab’s pincer and carefully get rid of the cartilages and shells. Reserve the crab meat in a bowl.

Get all the vegetables thinly diced and ready to cook.

Ingredients

In a frying pan, gently cook the diced onion with olive oil, when it gets translucent, add the garlic then 2-3 minutes later add the diced courgette.

The heat must not be too strong in order to preserve the shape of the vegetables. Once the courgette gets soft, add the tomato and keep on cooking for 2-3 minutes. Squeeze the lemon juice (and white wine if you have some) on top of it and season with salt and pepper. Cover and reserve on very low heat.

Sauce Base Prep

During that process, bring to a boil a large pan filled with water for the linguine. Add salt to it.

Cook the linguine al dente – should be 9 minutes but check the package for instructions.

At last, finish the crab sauce. Add the crab meat and cook it for 1-2 minutes, add the basil and cook it for another minute. Adjust the seasoning up to your taste. At that stage, I like to add 1-2 drops of Tabasco.

Drain the linguine and pour a generous amount of them in individual flat bowls or in a large serving dish.

Pour the crab sauce on top of it and serve it straight away. You can sprinkle pine nuts on top of it and if you really can’t imagine your pasta without Parmesan, go for it but at least you should try it as it is….

Cooking Pasta

To me pasta is definitely a Sunday night dish. No need to add anything on the side, no need to think about quantity…. make as much as you want. Pasta is really great the day after as well!

Result 2

Simply Pomegranate… focus on the method and a light lunch suggestion

3 Jan

Back to Miami…. palm trees, blue sky and warm weather are still here…. No need to say that all the earthy dishes I was craving for when I was back at home are not anymore among my top 10. 

Looking at my fruit basket, I see 3 beautiful pomegranates waiting for a clever use! It suddenly reminded me of the streets of Jerusalem where you can drink a freshly pressed pomegranate juices at any stalls or cafe.

Jerusalem

That’s it, I still don’t know yet but one of these pomegranates will be part of my lunch today and I’ll drink the juice collected as it is an antioxidant but also because I love that sweet and sour hint, the fresh and light effect it has on me.

The only thing with pomegranate is that you have to deserve it…. Either you buy the seeds or you buy the fruit and you have to deal with it. Here is the method: don’t forget the apron, don’t were anything white and clear your kitchen counter!

Utensils:

  • a pomegranate
  • a sharp knife
  • a wooden spoon
  • a board
  • a bowl
  • an apron

Method:

As pomegranate are really juicy, choose a board big enough to prevent the juice from dripping on your kitchen counter.

Cut the pomegranate into 2 and on top of a large bowl, knock the pomegranate skin with a wooden spoon. It will help releasing most of the seeds.

You will collect lots of juice and seeds but still you will have to finish picking the remaining seeds one by one. To make it easier, push gently the top of your half pomegranate toward the bottom to reverse it. You will have a better view of what’s remaining and it will be easier to get rid of the white membrane.

Once you have finish, get rid of the last parcels of white membrane and separate the seeds from the juice as they will get soft if kept in a liquid.

desseed

Ingredients for the light lunch suggestion*:

  • 1/2 pomegranate deseeded
  • a handful of mixed leaves
  • 4-5 cherry tomatoes cut in halves
  • 3-4 generous leaves of fresh basil
  • 1 tbsp of toasted pinenuts
  • 1-2 slices of thinly sliced prosciutto
  • a bread roll
  • 2 slices of fresh goats cheese 1/2 cm thick
  • olive oil
  • vinegar such as Xeres or Cabernet Sauvignon
  • salt & pepper

Method:

Preheat your oven to 400°F or turn it on the grill position.
Cut your bread into 2 lengthwise and place each slice of goats cheese in the center, season with salt and pepper and if you like it caramelized, add a little honey on top. Place them on a piece of parchment paper and grill them for about 5 minutes until it gets a nice golden surface.
In the meantime, prepare the salad:
Roughly slice the basil, tear into thin stripes the prosciutto and whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.
Assemble the components of your salad in a salad bowl and drizzle with the dressing.
Once the goats cheese toasts are ready, place them on top of the salad and serve it straightaway.

salad compo

* Of course, the variations on that salad are infinite….. here is a few ideas

  • any nuts or seeds can replace the pine nuts: pistachios, cashew, pumpkin seeds….
  • use dry fruits, mango or avocado instead of pomegranate, just think about the color
  • if you are on a gluten free diet, just crumble the cheese on top of the salad
  • instead of goat’s cheese, use crumbled feta, shaved parmesan, grilled halloumi, diced mimolette
  • substitute prosciutto with crispy bacon, turkey breasts, crayfish, bresaola…..
  • have fun with the dressing and make it Asian with soy sauce and lime, Lebanese with pomegranate molasse, French with mustard, Indian with curry….

Version Française : La grenade, méthode et recette légère

Ustensiles:

•    1 grenade
•    1 couteau bien aiguisé
•    1 cuillère en bois
•    1 planche a découper
•    1 bol
•    1 tablier

Méthode:

La grenade est un fruit très juteux, il est donc préférable d’utiliser une planche munie d’une gouttière ou suffisamment grande pour éviter d’inonder le plan de travail. Ceci étant dit, vous pouvez désormais couper votre grenade en 2. En maintenant une des 2 moitiés au dessus d’un bol, frappez la coque énergiquement avec le dos d’une cuillère en bois. Les graines vont se défaire d’elles-mêmes et tomber dans le bol.
En procédant ainsi, vous devriez réussir a collecter l’essentiel des graines du fruit et aussi beaucoup de jus. Pour les graines restantes, retourner le fruit en poussant la coque vers l’intérieur. Les dernières graines seront très faciles a récupérer. Débarrasser vous des quelques morceaux de membranes blanches qui sont venus avec et mettez le jus de cote afin de garder le croquant des graines.

Ingrédients pour une salade légère et fraiche:

•    les graines d’1/2 grenade
•    une poignée de mesclun
•    4-5 tomates cerises coupées en 2
•    3-4 belles feuilles de basilic
•    1 cas de pignons de pin grillés
•    1-2 tranches de prosciutto
•    1 tranche de pain type Poilane
•    2-3 tranches de chèvre frais d’1/2 cm d’épaisseur
•    miel liquide (optionnel)
•    huile d’olive
•    vinaigre de Xérès ou un bon vinaigre de vin rouge
•    sel et poivre du moulin

Méthode:

Préchauffez le four a 200°C ou le mettre en position grill.
Déposez les tranches de chèvre sur le pain, poivrez et si vous aimez votre chèvre caramélisé, versez un peu de miel en surface.
Faites griller le toast 4-5 minutes au four sur une plaque couverte de papier sulfurisé. Le toast est prêt lorsque le chèvre a pris une jolie couleur dorée-brune en surface.
Pendant ce temps, préparez votre salade:
Emincez grossièrement votre basilic, divisez votre Prosciutto en 3-4 bandes et préparez la sauce en émulsionnant le vinaigre, l’huile, le sel et le poivre. Ajustez selon votre gout.
Assaisonnez le mesclun avec la sauce puis dans un bol a salade, assemblez les différents éléments de votre salade de façon appétissante en finissant avec les bandes de Prosciutto. Assaisonnez de nouveau si nécessaire et ajoutez les toasts de chèvres tranchés avant de servir.

* Vous vous en doutez, il existe une infinité de variations pour cette salade mais voici tout de même quelques idées si vous êtes en panne d’inspiration:
    •    les pignons peuvent être remplacés par n’importe quel type de noix: cajous, pécans, pistaches…..
    •    remplacez la grenade par des fruits secs ou de la mangue, de l’avocat, pensez a mettre de la couleur pour rendre le plat appétissant!
    •    si vous ne tolérez pas le gluten, oubliez les toasts et émiettez simplement le chèvre sur la salade,
    •    a la place du chèvre, utilisez de la féta, des copeaux deParmesan, de l’Halloumi grillé, de la mimolette vieille coupée en dés,
    •    pensez au bacon grillé, a la Bresaola, aux queues de langoustines ou au blanc de dinde si vous voulez changer du Prosciutto
    •    et surtout amusez vous avec la sauce: asiatique avec de la sauce soja et du citron vert, libanaise avec de la molasse de grenade, indienne avec du curry ou simplement française avec une bonne base de moutarde!