Posts

Cherry Tomato, Wild Strawberry & Rocket Salad

When Mum came to visit recently, she left an enticing pile of magazines from the UK.  It’s a real treat to read magazines in English every so often – even if I no longer recognise some faces that go with the gossip – is that what happens after being in France for so long? Flicking through the YOU Magazine, this inspiring salad of tomatoes with strawberries by Lucas Hollweg had been earmarked by Mum – I think it was something I was supposed to make when she was over. Sorry, Mum.  I’m a bit late but voilà, here it is for you to make it!

cherry tomato strawberry rocket salad

cherry tomato strawberry rocket salad

I discovered this “Spicy Globe” basil plant a few years’ ago.  The leaves are so small that there’s no need to chop them up for cooking.  They are also particularly powerful and, when added to a salad like this one, it adds a touch of peppery spice to it. Speaking of peppery spice, the rocket leaves (or arugula for my American friends) balance out the sweetness of the strawberries.

spicy globe basil

Spicy Globe Basil

Perfect on a sizzling summer day, this is sheer bliss with a glass of chilled rosé, a soft-on-the-inside and freckled, crusty-on-the-outside French baguette, listening to Strawberry Fields forever. I could eat this forever with its fresh, fruity and savoury flavours. Here, I also tossed in a few pre-cooked asparagus spears (7 mins in boiling water) since I was surprised to find them still at this late stage at the market.

cherry tomato strawberry rocket salad

cherry tomato strawberry rocket salad

Cherry Tomato Strawberry & Rocket Salad

Adapted from Lucas Hollweg’s recipe for Tomato and Strawberry Salad
(YOU Magazine from the Sunday Times
.)

Serves 4

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

300g / 11oz cherry tomatoes, halved
200g / 7oz rocket salad 100g strawberries, hulled & quartered
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 tsp balsamic vinegar
100g / 3.5oz parmesan reggiano (ensure it’s shaved, especially for good company)
a few asparagus spears, cooked (optional)
a handful of small basil leaves sea salt & ground peppercorns, to taste
a handful of wild strawberries

Mix together the olive oil with balsamic, season and toss all the ingredients together gently.

Serve immediately, adding the wild strawberries as a decoration.

Sweet Garden Herb Macarons

Why not accompany it with a garden herb macaron from my first book, Mad About Macarons?

Bon appétit!

Thyme to be Sage with Buttered Asparagus

This past week I was so ashamed of the garden. I had run away from it for too long. The weather didn’t give me an excuse, either, as the sun was shining. It was time to JUST DO IT! My back has been killing me since (the computer doesn’t help, either!) but the effort was worth it.  The cherry tree is now covered in netting (yeh, as if that will prevent the wood pigeons from pecking at them!) and the raspberries are well on their way.

chives mint herb garden

 

The only part of the garden that’s in full bloom is the wee herb corner. Once the major weeds disappeared, I discovered we actually had flowers: on the chives, lemon thyme, and they were popping out in their full glory on the sage plants.

sage in flower

 

Just seeing the word, sage, makes me laugh.  In French, sage means wise (if you’re referring to an adult), and good (when you’re referring to a child). I keep meaning to ask my husband how this works; I mean, at what point will it no longer be wise to shout, “Soyez sage!” as you drop the kids off at a party?

sage flowers close-up

Delicious and stunning sage flowers

I’ve never seen such gorgeous looking flowers that you can eat!  I just had to do something with them. When I did my usual weekly shop at the market, I also had to asparagus myself.  Well, that’s what they kept shouting at the market: “Aspergez-vous!”, “Aspergez-vous!”

asparagus and strawberries at the French market

Asparagus season at the French market

The French normally serve asparagus with hollandaise sauce, or toss it in butter.  With such beautiful and delicate sage flowers, I wanted an excuse to use them for friends coming to dinner. Nothing fancy. What could be easier than tossing them in butter infused with sage and decorating them with the edible flowers?

white asparagus with sage butter

White asparagus tossed in sage butter

For the sage butter, it’s not even a recipe – so not worth putting it as a recipe post on the site. It’s a no-brainer! Just take about 1/3 pack of unsalted butter, melt it over the most gentle heat you can, along with several sage leaves and a few leaves that have been chopped finely.  Stir it now and again with a wooden spoon – still on a very low heat – then discard the large leaves.  The butter is beautifully perfumed.  Toss the asparagus (peeled, trimmed & steamed in boiling water for about 5 minutes) in the butter and serve. Et voilà!

Just so the green asparagus didn’t feel left out, I did the same again for more guests.  The sage flowers were a real talking point.  They really taste of sage and it went well with the asparagus.

Asparagus, sage butter and flowers

Asparagus, sage butter and flowers

Hm.  Last week you may have been disappointed that I didn’t make a stinging nettle macaron.  I know, how could I not join in the fun?  Well, truth be told I preferred the nettles mixed with ricotta cheese and mint in some homemade ravioli, tossed in the sage butter and served with some crispy sage leaves.

ravioli with sage butter and sage flowers

Homemade nettle ravioli, sage butter and sage flowers

I don’t want to disappoint you this time, though.  Why not take a glass of wine, sit back and enjoy it with a mini sweet garden herb macaron?  And if you have the book handy, then just turn to page 97 for the recipe. Cheers!

Sweet Garden Herb Macarons

 

Making macarons but don’t know what to do with the egg yolks? Don’t despair. Check out this week’s guest recipe post from Joshua at Just Eat! He’s making us some Biscuits Bretons to use up our egg yolks.

If you missed the others, take a look at Liz’s silky Chocolate Pots de Crème (guest from That Skinny Chick Can Bake), Erin’s Blueberry or Pineapple Curd (guest from BigFatBaker), and Manu’s Genovesi Ericine Sicilian pastries (guest from Manu’s Menu).

Stay tuned, folks, since there are more guests coming soon to share their egg yolk recipes with us.

Before you go, I just wanted to say a huge thank you for some blog awards.  I haven’t forgotten: just stuck for time to post it all – will be up on the next post!