Eat your greens

With winter well and truly taking hold here, I start to yearn for spring and all things green. Well luckily you don’t really need to wait at all, there are so many delicious winter greens to keep you going until the first shoots of spring announce the beginning of the new growing season, just a few weeks away.

Here are a few of my favourite winter dishes using a selection of cabbages, leeks and spinach.

Kale ribollita with chargrilled sourdough

A hearty spring soup full of green vitality makes the perfect supper dish with slices of chargrilled garlic bruschetta.

Serves 4

Prep time: 1 hour (includes cooking beans)

Cooking time: 50 minutes

Soaking time: overnight

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to drizzle

1 onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, 2 chopped 1 left whole

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

1 large leek, trimmed and sliced

1 large carrot, finely chopped

1 large celery stalk, finely chopped

400g can chopped tomatoes

1 litre chicken or vegetable stock

500g kale, trimmed and shredded

4-6 slices sourdough bread

For the beans

125g dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight in cold water

1 onion, quartered

1 garlic clove, peeled

1 sprig fresh rosemary

6 black peppercorns

Method:

Start by cooking the beans. Drain the soaked beans, rinse and place in a saucepan with the quartered onion, garlic clove, rosemary stalk and peppercorns.  Add 1 litre of cold water and bring to the boil, skimming the surface. Cover and simmer gently over a low heat for 50-55 minutes or until the beans are tender.

Drain the beans, discarding the the onion quarters and rosemary stalk. Transfer half the beans and liquid to a food and puree until smooth. Return to the pan.

Make the soup. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan and gently fry the onion, garlic, rosemary and a little salt and pepper for 10 minutes until softened. Add the leek, carrot and celery and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the canned tomatoes, the cooked bean mixture and stock. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer gently over a low heat for about 20 minutes until the carrots are tender. Stir in the kale and cook for a further 10 minutes until wilted

Meanwhile, heat a ridged grill pan until hot and grill the sourdough until lightly charred on each side. Cut the remaining garlic clove in half and rub over the toast. Drizzle liberally with extra virgin olive oil. Spoon the soup into bowls and serve topped with the bruschetta.


Quinoa salad with broccoli, preserved lemon and avocado oil 

The preserved lemon adds a lovely zing to this salad dish with the combination of dried fruits, nuts and green veg. Perfect for lunch.

Serves

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Cooling time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

200g quinoa

350g broccoli

3 spring onions

1 small avocado

2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as coriander and mint

50g dried cherries

30g pumpkin seeds, toasted

4 tablespoons avocado or extra virgin olive oil

1 lemon, squeezed juice

2 tablespoons finely chopped preserved lemon

2 teaspoons honey

salt and pepper

Method:

Rinse the quinoa under cold water and drain well. Heat a frying pan until hot, add the wet quinoa and stir over a high heat, firstly until dry and then continue for a further 1-2 minutes until lightly toasted and starting to crackle.

Add 450ml cold water and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the pan. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer over a very low heat for 12 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat but leave undisturbed for a further 5 minutes. If there is any liquid remaining drain through a sieve and leave to cool.

Trim the broccoli, discarding the stalk and cut into florets. Place in a steamer and cook over a medium heat for 3 minutes until al dente. Remove and let cool.

In a bowl, lightly whisk the oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, the preserved lemon, honey and some salt and pepper.

Combine the quinoa, broccoli, spring onions, pumpkin seeds and cherries. Add the avocado and herbs and toss together. Add the dressing, stir well.

Tip: if you prefer serve this salad warm, rather than allowing the quinoa and broccoli to cool completely.


Orecchiette with softened spinach, Dolcelatte and hazelnuts

A classic combination of spinach and dolcelatte cheese is given a modern twist with the addition of toasted hazelnuts

Serves: 4

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 shallots, finely diced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 lemon, grated zest

500g spinach leaves, washed

50g hazelnuts, roughly chopped

50g butter

350g dried orecchiette pasta

150g dolcelatte cheese

4 tablespoons mascarpone cheese

salt and pepper

freshly grated Parmesan, to serve

Method:

Heat the oil in a large frying pan or saucepan and gently fry the shallots, garlic, lemon zest and a little salt and pepper over a low heat for 5 minutes until softened. Add the spinach leaves and stir well, then cook over a gentle heat for 2-3 minutes until wilted.

Melt the butter in a small frying pan and add the hazelnuts. Stir over a medium-low heat until the nuts and butter turn a lovely nutty brown colour.

Meanwhile plunge the pasta into a large saucepan of lightly salted, boiling water and cook for 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain well reserving 3 tablespoons of the cooking liquid. Return the pasta and liquid to the pan.

Stir in the spinach mixture, dolcelatte, mascarpone and all the Parmesan. Stir well over a low heat for 1 minute until the pasta is well coated with the sauce. Divide between bowls and serve topped with the hazelnut butter and some extra, freshly grated Parmesan.


Baked savoy cabbage with Emmental and breadcrumbs

A fabulous way to bake cabbages in a creamy, cheesy sauce topped with crispy breadcrumbs and Parmesan. You can use any cheese you like.

Serves: 4

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

1 medium savoy cabbage. About 650g

25g butter, plus extra for greasing

1 whole nutmeg

500ml single cream

150g Emmental, grated

50g freshly made breadcrumbs

25g freshly grated Parmesan cheese

salt and pepper

Method:

Preheat the oven to 200c/400f/ gas mark 6 and grease a 2.5 litre baking tin with a little butter. Remove any really large tough outer leaves from the cabbage and very carefully cut into 6 wedges making sure you cut through the stalk so that the wedges remain attached at the base.

Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to a rolling boil. Add the cabbage wedges and blanch for 4-5 minutes until vibrant green. Using tongs or a slotted spoon remove the cabbage from the pan. Shake off excess liquid and drain on kitchen towel.

Arrange the wedges in the prepared baking tin. Season with freshly grated nutmeg, salt and pepper and dot over the remaining butter. Scatter the Emmental between the cabbage pressing some down into the leaves and pour over the cream. Scatter over the breadcrumbs and the Parmesan and transfer to the oven. Bake for 30-25 minutes until bubbling and golden.


Recipes © Louise Pickford 2019

Images © Ian Wallace 2019 ( ianwallacephotographer.com )

First published by Sainsbury’s magazine March 2016

I’m back………

Hello friends and followers of A Food Stylist’s Blog, I am back on WordPress, the only slight change is my site title is Come Cook in France (just so I can get all the i’s dotted) but otherwise my content will remain the same.

So with this piece of news comes my favourite recipe of the moment.

Enjoy…….

and for any of you who missed my latest posts on my website, please click on the link Come Cook In France 

Margarita cheesecake with salted lime crackle

Margarita cheesecake 2 copy 2

Makes: 8

200g white chocolate, melted

50g butter, melted

175g digestive biscuits, crushed

grated zest and juice 3 limes

100ml tequila

250g caster sugar

600g soft cheese

250ml cream

1 teaspoon sea salt

Finely grate 50g of the white chocolate into a shallow bowl. Take 8 martini or margarita glasses, dip the rims into cold water and then into the grated chocolate to coat the rims. Set aside for 5 minutes.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan and pour into a bowl. Add the digestives and stir well until evenly coated. Divide between the glasses pressing them down lightly using the end of a rolling pin. Chill until required.

Combine the lime juice, tequila and half the sugar in a small saucepan and heat gently, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Bring to the boil and then remove from the heat. Leave to cool completely.

Melt the remaining chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water (do not let the base of the bowl touch the water), stirring until the chocolate is melted. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.

Place the cheese in a food processor with the tequila lime mixture and blitz until smooth. Then stir in the melted chocolate and cream and blend again. Using a piping bag with a large lain nozzle divide the mixture between the glasses. Chill for at least 2 hours.

Make praline. Line a baking sheet with baking paper. Combine the remaining sugar with 2 tablespoons water in a small saucepan and heat very gently, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil and cook without stirring for a further 5-6 mins until the liquid turns golden brown. Pour the caramel onto the prepared tray and leave to go cold.

Roughly crumble the praline and place in a food processor with the lime zest and salt and blitz to make a slightly chunky crumb mixture. Spoon onto the set creams and serve at once.

 

 

A change of blog details

Hello to all the followers of my blog A Food Stylist’s Blog. Firstly I would like to thank you all for following me and my posts over the last 3years.

As my life and business has evolved in France I am now finding that most of time is take up with running my Cookery School and all the spin offs from it – Come Cook In France – therefore I am now blogging directly from the website www.comecookinfrance.com

If you wish to continue following my posts and my life in France (and I really hope that you all will) please click on the link, go to the blog page and you can then subscribe there.

Again, thank you everyone.

Louise

 

Recipe of the week…………..pearl barley

Warm salad of roasted vegetables and barley

A great time of year to serve this warm salad – still cold enough outside, but it will soon be time to start looking forward to warmer days.

roasted-vegetable-and-barley-salad-copy-2-e1517819870381.jpg

Serves: 6

6 large shallots, halved

6 large garlic cloves, left whole

750g carrots, roughly chopped

750g beetroot beetroot, cut into wedges

2 sprigs each of fresh thyme and rosemary

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 litre chicken stock

2 tablespoons fresh coriander

finely grated zest and juice 1lemon

2 tsp cumin seeds

100g Greek yogurt

salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 200 c/fan forced 180c and line a roasting tin with baking paper. Place the shallots, garlic, carrots, beetroot, herbs and some salt and pepper in the prepared tray. Add half the oil, 3 tablespoons of the stock and stir well. Cover with foil and roast for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and roast for a further 15-20 minutes until the vegetables are tender.

Meanwhile, rinse the barley in a fine sieve and place in a saucepan. Add the remaining chicken stock and a pinch salt. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for about 30 minutes until the barley is al dente. Strain off and discard any remaining stock. Place barley in a large bowl.

Remove the vegetables from the oven and stir into the barley with the coriander and lemon juice, season to taste.

Heat the remaining oil in a small frying pan and gently fry the cumin seeds and lemon zest for 1 minute until fragrant. Spoon yogurt over the salad and drizzle over the cumin scented oil. Serve at once.

 

 

Copyright Food & Travel magazine, published 2017

Recipe and styling Louise Pickfordf

Photography Ian Wallace

Seasonal delights……..asparagus

As the ground starts to warm after the winter chill, the garden is abloom with spring flowers and the first signs of life in the veg plot start to twist and turn their way towards the sun. It is still too early for any homegrown asparagus but as I drive around the local area I noticed several of the local producers have started to advertise their early crop and it won’t be long before bundles of vibrant green asparagus stalks are all over the markets.

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It is without doubt my first real treat of the season and I am going to pair some tender young stalks with soft poached duck eggs. For something a little different to normal I have scattered over a little dukkah, an Egyptian blend of toasted nuts and spices, which marries perfectly the soft creaminess of the egg and the sweet, almost citric flavour of the asparagus. A bed of creamy tahini yogurt and a slug of fruity olive oil makes this combination truly delicious.

Asparagus with duck eggs, tahini and dukhah

Serves: 2

4 tablespoons Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon tahini paste

1 teaspoon lemon juice

2 duck eggs

1 bundle young asparagus, trimmed

2 teaspoons dukhah*

a drizzle extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper

Combine the yogurt, tahini, lemon juice and salt and pepper, to taste. Divide between 2 plates.

Cook the duck eggs in a small pan of boiling water for 7-8 minutes. Drain and immediately refresh under cold water to stop further cooking. As soon as they are cool enough to handle, peel the eggs and cut in half.

Plunge asparagus spears into a saucepan of lightly salted boiling water and cook for 2 minutes. Drain immediately and shake dry.

Arrange the asparagus spears over the tahini sauce, pop the egg halves on top  and scatter over the dukhah. Drizzle with a little oil and serve.

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  • dukhah is available from Middle eastern stores, delis and some supermarkets

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Food photography & styling workshops

Given that I spent 20 years as a food stylist working with my brilliant food photographer husband Ian Wallace in London and Sydney, it seems crazy NOT to offer some food styling and photography courses at our new cookery school in SW France. So we are running a couple of bespoke courses this summer during July and August for 2 people. You will learn the secrets of how to shop and cook for a photo shoot, choose props to work with the menu and then how to set up and shoot the food.

With our fantastic weather and stunning locations you will be able to produce beautiful food pictures to illustrate your blog, put together a portfolio of work or just to learn and create something special to take away with you.

We will either put you up in our superb guest accommodation or put you in touch with some of the local B&B’s in the area.

The course itself will run for 4 days and will include cooking lessons, styling lessons and photography lessons, culminating in a photo shoot on location. These are very intimate bespoke course so we can talk through the details at length and cater for individual requirements.

Ian has shot for magazines such as Food & Travel magazine, Delicious Australia and UK, Gourmet Traveler, Vogue Entertaining and BBC Good Food as well as many commercial clients. His work is highly regarded around the world and he continues to work on food & lifestyle shoots with me here in France.

To view his portfolio please go to http://www.ianwallacephotographer.com

Contact me for more information louise@comecookinfrance.com and check out all our courses at http://www.comecookinfrance.com

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Asian noodles cook club

The first of my monthly Cook Club courses took place last week with great success. The concept of cook club is to offer people who live locally in SW France the chance to join me for a 4 hour cooking session and learn to cook dishes from around the world and craft their culinary skills with courses on all food subjects. Living here in France is great but occasionally we all yearn for something else and so we began with Asian noodles.

On the menu this week were Salmon and spring onion gyoza, Steamed scallop and chive dumplings, Green papaya, crispy pork and vermicelli noodle salad and a classic Prawn pad Thai (stir-fried noodles).We began by filling the gyoza wrappers and dumpling wrappers and made up their delicious but totally different sauces. Next came the green papaya salad which we left to one side, ready to assemble just before lunch, whilst we finished off prepping up the Pad Thai. After a full-on morning of cooking and learning about noodles we sat down together to enjoy the fruits of our labours……….. delicious!

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Steamed scallop and bean shoot dumplings

Serves: 2

125g shelled scallops (corals removed)

25g bamboo shoots, drained and chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 tablespoon chopped fresh garlic chives/or chives

1/2 tablespoon light soy sauce

1 teaspoons oyster sauce

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

12-16 wonton wrappers

a little sunflower oil, for cooking

shredded spring onions, to garnish

Trim the scallops, cutting away the grey muscle attached at one side and cut into small dice. Place in a bowl with the bean shoots, garlic, chives, soy sauce, oyster sauce and sesame oil and stir well.

Lay the wrappers flat on a board and place a teaspoon of the scallop mixture in the center. Brush around the edges with a little water and draw the sides up and around the filling pressing together to seal. Transfer each one to a baking tray lined with baking paper.

Pop the base of each dumpling in a dish of oil and transfer to a medium-sized bamboo steamer. Cover and steam over a pan of simmering water for about 8-10 minutes until firm and cooked through. Serve with the dressing, garnished with shredded spring onions.

Szechuan chilli dressing

Makes: 50ml

50ml sunflower oil

1 teaspoon dried red chilli flakes

1 tablespoons light soy sauce

1/2 tablespoon black vinegar

1 teaspoons caster sugar

¼ teaspoon Szechuan pepper

Heat the oil in a small saucepan until it just starts to shimmer, remove from the heat and stir in the chilli flakes. Set aside for 30 minutes and then strain through a fine sieve into a clean bowl. Stir in all the remaining ingredients and serve as required.

If you are making ahead of time omit the pepper, adding it just before serving


RPS1796_P56 Salmon gyozas copy

Salmon and spring onion gyoza

Serves: 2

125 g skinless salmon fillet, boned

1 spring onion, trimmed and thinly sliced

1/2 tablespoon Mirin

1/2 tablespoon light soy sauce

10-12 gyoza wrappers

1/2 tablespoon sunflower oil

pinch salt

black sesame seeds

Cut the salmon fillet into small dice and place in a bowl. Add the spring onions, Mirin and soy sauce and stir well to combine.

Using 1 wrapper at a time, lay flat on a clean board and place a spoonful of the salmon mixture on one half of each wrapper. Dampen the edges with water, fold in half and turn edges over, pressing together well to seal.

Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan and fry the gyoza on one side until really browned. Add 100ml water and simmer, partially covered for 3 minutes until the water is evaporated. Fry for a further 1 minutes until crisp. Transfer to serving dishes and drizzle over the dipping sauce.

Noodle dipping sauce

Makes: 150 ml

100 ml dashi stock

11/2 tablespoons Japanese soy sauce

11/2 tablespoons Mirin

1/4 teaspoon caster sugar

Combine the dipping sauce ingredients together and chill until required. This will keep indefinitely in a screw top jar in the fridge.


RPS1796_Green papay salad copy 2

Green papaya and crispy panchetta salad

Serves: 4

150 g dried rice vermicelli noodles

150 g pancetta, diced

150 g green papaya, peeled, halved and seeded

1 cucumber, seeded and thinly sliced

a good handful fresh mint, coriander and Thai basil

125g grape cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered

2 tablespoons fish sauce

2 tablespoons palm sugar

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 red bird’s eye chillies, thinly sliced and seeded if wished

4 tablespoons dry roasted peanuts, finely chopped

1 tablespoon roasted rice powder

crispy fried shallots, to serve

Place the noodles in a large bowl and pour over boiling water to cover. Soak for 20 minutes until just tender. Drain and then dry the noodles on a clean tea towel and place in a large bowl.

Dry fry the panchetta in a small frying pan over high heat until crisp and golden. Set aside to cool.

Thinly slice the papaya and cut into long thin strips or julienne. Add to the noodles with the cucumber, herbs, cherry tomatoes and panchetta.

Whisk together the fish sauce, sugar and lime juice and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add to the salad, toss well and divide between plates. Top with the peanuts and powdered rice. Serve with crispy fried shallots.


Prawn Pad Thai

RPS1796_Pad thai

Serves: 1

90g dried rice stick noodles

6-8 medium raw prawns, peeled and de-veined

2 tablespoons fish sauce

1 tablespoons grated palm sugar

1 tablespoon white sugar

1 tablespoon tamarind water

4 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil

125 g firm tofu, diced

2 red shallots

2 garlic cloves or 1 small bunch garlic chives

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 tablespoon dried shrimps (see Store Cupboard ID pages)

a pinch cayenne pepper

125 g bean sprouts, trimmed plus extra to serve

Garnishes

crushed peanuts,

lime wedges, to serve

coriander/garlic chives

cayenne pepper

Place the noodles in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave to soak for 20 minutes stirring to ensure they separate. Drain well. Prepare the prawns. Shell and remove the black vein from the back, wash and pat dry.

Place the fish sauce, palm sugar, white sugar and tamarind water in a small saucepan and stir over a low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Simmer for 2 minutes and then remove from the heat.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a wok, add the tofu to the pan and stir-fry for 4-5 minutes until crispy. Remove from the pan.

Add the prawns (with a little extra oil, if needed) and stir-fry for 2 minutes until pink, remove with a slotted spoon.

Add the shallots and garlic to the pan and fry over a medium heat for 30 seconds and pour in the beaten egg. Lower the heat and cook, stirring gently for 10 seconds until starting to set.

Return the tofu to the pan along with the cooked prawns, dried shrimp and noodles and stir-fry over a high heat until the noodles start top brown.

Add the sauce and a pinch of cayenne stirring constantly, until everything is heated through. Stir through the half beansprouts.

Transfer to a platter and sprinkle over the remaining beansprouts, peanuts, coriander and cayenne pepper and serve with lime wedges.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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