Viva Sweet Springtime: Two Astonishing Spring Dishes

Published April 17, 2014 by fashionfoodandflirts

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On this beautiful sunny day I think it is best to shut up for once and let some poetry do the talking. I am a huge EE Cummings fan and am often left bewildered by his astonishingly beautiful absurdity. The following poem truly captures the spirit of spring and the rhythm of these sexy vegetarian dishes. It is full of life. Full of love. Full of joy.

“sweet spring is your
time is my time is our
time for springtime is lovetime
and viva sweet love

(all the merry little birds are
flying in the floating in the
very spirits singing in
are winging in the blossoming)

lovers go and lovers come
awandering awondering
but any two are perfectly
alone there’s nobody else alive

(such a sky and such a sun
i never knew and neither did you
and everybody never breathed
quite so many kinds of yes)

not a tree can count his leaves
each herself by opening
but shining who by thousands mean
only one amazing thing

(secretly adoring shyly
tiny winging darting floating
merry in the blossoming
always joyful selves are singing)

sweet spring is your
time is my time is our
time for springtime is lovetime
and viva sweet love”

 

I couldn’t possibly give you a better introduction to the recipes myself.

So please, enjoy!

Feta, Pea and Mint Quiche

This wonderful quiche is a celebration of spring flavours. The sweetness of the peas dances a classic waltz with the fresh mint and together they rumba sensually with the sharpness of the feta cheese.  Perfect for a springtime brunch!

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Ingredients:

  • One sheet of short crust pastry
  • 400gr frozen peas
  • 5 tbsp freshly chopped mint
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 3 eggs
  • 200ml milk
  • 300gr feta cheese, cut into chunks

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Blind bake the short crust pastry in a lined pie case for 15-20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the peas in salted water until just tender. Mash the peas together with some olive oil, pepper, salt and ground cumin and stir in the chopped mint leaves.
  3. Once your pastry comes out of the oven, spread the pea “pesto” on the bottom of your pastry case. Now put the feta cheese on top in any kind of pattern you fancy.
  4. Mix the eggs with the milk and salt and pepper and pour over the filling of your quiche.
  5. Put in the oven for 30-40 minutes.

Exotic White Asparagus Omelet

White asparagus are a true delicacy this time of year and are often referred to as “white gold”. Although that last part might be a bit exaggerated, I do want to stress that white asparagus are divinely delicious. Traditionally they are served with a hollandaise sauce, eggs or smoked salmon, but as you all know, I like to think outside the box and wanted to try something different with these beauties. I made an exotic omelet with them. That earthy flavour of the asparagus went wonderfully well with the coconut, chili, lime and curry in the egg batter. It may seems strange at first, but trust me when I say that this tropical version is to die for.

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Ingredients (serves 1)

  • 6-8 white asparagus, peeled and cleaned
  • 2-3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp fresh coriander
  • 1 tbsp fresh mint
  • 1 tbsp sesame seed, toasted
  • ½ tsp curry powder
  • ½ chili pepper, finely chopped
  • Zest of half a lime
  • 1 tbsp grated coconut

Method:

  1. Steam the asparagus until just al dente.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the eggs with all the other herbs and spices and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat a knob of butter in a non-stick frying pan and sauté the asparagus for a minutes. Now pour in your egg batter and let the omelet fry on a medium heat until just set.
  4. Finally, sprinkle on some extra sesame seeds and finish with a good squeeze of lime juice. Delish!

 

The Skort: My New Fashion Obsession

Published April 15, 2014 by fashionfoodandflirts

skort white

The skort: part skirt, part shorts and nowadays hotter than hot in fashion land. Admittedly, the first skorts gained my attention when they started appearing on fashion blogs as early as last year’s summer, but they only managed to get my approval a couple of weeks ago when I bought one myself.

There were a couple of reasons behind my initial reluctance to buy a skort. The first one is obvious: that horrible name. Skort. It sounds like one of those ergonomic chairs from Ikea. Or the sound a choking patient makes when a handsome Grey’s Anatomy doctor performs the Heimlich maneuver on him…

You get my point. It’s not very sexy, the name skort.

And then there is the second main reason for my initial aversion: childhood memories. I remember when I was about ten years old, my mom used to dress me in a skort for school. I can still remember this lilac bermuda shorts (ouch!) with purple floral prints (double ouch!) with an apron-looking piece of fabric hanging in the front (triple ouch!). Basically, I looked like a flower-power girly version of Sweeney Todd. Not exactly the epitome of style and grace.

So no. The skort was never on my wish list. Until I noticed that the new stylishly tweaked version of the skort looked actually really elegant. And edgy. And fashionable.

My favourite skort type is the one with an asymmetric kimono-style skirt in the front, because it breathes elegance and avant-garde chic. And at the same time, you can ride a bike or sit cross-legged in the grass without having to worry about flashing your lace panties at innocent by-standers! ;)

skort zara

What do you think, dear readers?

skort asos

Pretty nice, huh?

skort black

So let’s forget the horrible name and the horrible childhood memories and embrace the awesomeness of the modern-day version of the skort! You will not regret it!

 

Maneesh Mania: Delicious Middle Eastern Flatbread

Published April 13, 2014 by fashionfoodandflirts

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Some use a knife and fork, some use a spoon and some use chopsticks, but the best way by far to enjoy a dish, is if you can eat it with an edible spoon. This awesome Middle Eastern Flatbread is one of those edible eating utensils that make any other type of cutlery seem superfluous. Maneesh is a super easy, deliciously comforting flat bread topped with Za’atar (or other seeds and dried herbs you like) and is the perfect accompaniment to a mezze. Whether you’ve made some hummus, baba ganoush or a spicy harissa-yoghurt dip, everything will taste divine on this homemade bread.

 I’m not an expert in the art of baking bread, but I can honestly say that this Maneesh recipe (adapted from baking God Paul Hollywood) is absolutely foolproof. The dough doesn’t need too long to proof, baking it into the oven requires only 15 minutes but transforms the house into a Middle Eastern Walhalla and eating it is even more gratifying. Soft in the middle, crunchy on the outside and the aroma of spice as the ultimate cherry on the cake. (Or in this case “the topping on the bread”)

So gather around some delicious dips, salted olives, refreshing salads, crumbly cheese and some friends to share it with, and start dunking your Maneesh!

You don’t even have to sit at a table. The only thing you need to start your dinner party are your fingers and your maneesh (and maybe possibly some napkins ;) )

Ingredients (makes 4 flatbreads)

  • 500gr strong white flour
  • 10gr salt
  • 25gr caster sugar
  • 10gr instant yeast
  • 20ml olive oil
  • 360ml tepid water

For the topping:

  • 2 tbsp za’atar
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp oregano

Method:

  1. Mix together the flour, salt, sugar and yeast. Add the olive oil and 250ml of water. Mix the ingredients together with your fingers. Gradually add the remaining water until all the flour has come away from the sides of the bowl and you have a soft dough.
  2. Pour a little oil onto your work top. Place the dough on top and knead for 5-10 minutes. The dough will be wet in the beginning (that’s completely normal so don’t panic!) but will form a smooth dough once kneaded.
  3. Place into a clean oiled bowl, cover and leave to double in size. (This will take approx.. 1-2 hours.)
  4. Line 2 baking trays with baking parchment.
  5. Tip the dough onto an oiled work top. Knock the dough back until all the air is knocked out and the dough is smooth. Split the dough into four and roll into large circles/ squares/ whatever shape seems suitable.
  6. Mix the topping ingredients with a little olive oil until you have a thick paste and spread the topping over each of the breads.
  7. Bake in the oven for approx. 15 minutes.
  8. Place onto the lined baking trays and leave to rest for another 20 minutes. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 230°C.
  9. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.

 

 

Lighter days: The Chocolate Avocado Mousse Project

Published April 10, 2014 by fashionfoodandflirts

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It is no secret that I love baking and that I adore eating decadent desserts. My afternoon treats often involve loads of chocolate and heaped hills of sugar, which –as we all know- are not really that good for your health. (Bummer!)

Although the naughty cakes and pies on my blog may make you think otherwise, I truly believe that healthy eating is the way to go. Not only will it keep me from exploding out of my jeans (‘cuz I can still rock a crop top, high five!), it also helps keeping my mind –not just my body- in shape (Mens sana in corpore sano, and all that.)

Now, before you start complaining “but naughty treats are just so damn good!”, remember that the lighter version can be naughty too. All you need is a good dollop of sassiness and a large spoon of adventurous spirit!

Die-hard readers will probably remember the delicious and healthy muffins I baked a couple of weeks ago, or the most brilliant brownies on the planet I baked a couple of months back. These were both daring and bold bakes, but also very delicious and healthy!

The only problem with lighter baking so far is that many people frown upon the array of strange looking and sounding ingredients (I can’t blame them, they often do sound terribly frightening!). That is why I prefer to stick to ingredients that are widely available in supermarkets, which makes the recipes both easier and less expensive.

Last week, I was craving chocolate mousse. (Fun fact: I normally never crave chocolate mousse, because I find it dreadfully boring, but for some reason I really needed some smooth, comforting chocolaty goodness.) There was only one problem: I didn’t have any in the fridge. And I didn’t want to go to shop to go and buy the ingredients, because I wanted it now and not a couple of hours later. (Or maybe I was just too lazy?) What I did have lying around in my fridge was an avocado… and so my experimental journey of trying to make a chocolate avocado mousse began!

Chocolate avocado mousse is a big thing on many vegan/ healthy diet blogs. I always thought the idea was fascinating, but never attempted making one, because –like I said- I usually don’t eat chocolate mousse. However, I was now on a mission: I really wanted to obtain the lightest chocolate mousse possible but one that was still bursting with flavour.

The fruits of my labour resulted in this heavenly glass of chocolate avocado mousse. It was good, dear readers. Really good. Could you tell that it wasn’t made with eggs and double cream? Maybe. But was it still damn tasty and oh so comforting? Hell yeah!

Please don’t let the avocado freak you out! It adds creaminess without the actual cream. What more could you possibly desire? ;)

Ingredients (makes 2 glasses)

  • 1 avocado
  • 4 tbsp soy milk
  • 1 tbsp  cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp dark chocolate chips
  • 2 -3 tbsp honey (depending on how sweet you want it)
  • Handful of fresh raspberries

Method:

  1. Put the avocado, soy milk, cocoa and honey in a blender and mix until you get a mousse texture. Melt the chocolate chips and stir the melted chocolate in the avocado mousse.
  2. Spoon the mixture in the glasses and decorate with raspberries (optional)
  3. If you want you can add other types of fruit (like mango) or sprinkle some extra chocolate biscuits on top (this, of course, will make it less light ;) )

Sing! Ed Sheeran’s Brand New Song Will Make Your Day

Published April 8, 2014 by fashionfoodandflirts

FACT: Ed Sheeran is a true virtuoso.

The British singer-songwriter (and our favourite redhead) dropped his highly anticipated song on BBC Radio One last night and -needless to say- I was going completely nutso!  (Okay, stupid rhyme. I’m just too excited)

The new track is called “SING” (very appropriate title),  for which he teams up with the one-and-only Pharrell (and his Hat). It is an invigorating up-tempo jam and it allows him to show off his impressive vocals and an even more impressive falsetto. It all sounded like sex to my ears:

“Feel it rush in through you from your head to toe.”

Oh, I’m feeling it, alright.

His new album “X” (as in “multiply”; Ed is really into math) will be released on June 23 and I seriously cannot wait to hear it blasting through my stereo!

In short, Ed Sheeran’s new song is the bomb!

No wait, scratch that. It is “the Mona Lisa of BOOM”! (Side note: All rights reserved to the insanely talented writers on Scandal. This was by far the best oneliner in the history of TV oneliners.)

So listen to it/ share it/ buy it/ download it/ preorder it

Whatever you do, just

ed-sheeran-sing-artwork

 

LOUDER!

How to Survive in a Post ‘How I Met Your Mother’ Era: Watch The Mindy Project

Published April 7, 2014 by fashionfoodandflirts

Almost one week ago, the much anticipated (and dreaded) finale of the best comedy TV series on the planet How I Met Your Mother was aired and left us all with a gigantic –nay, legendary!- hole in our hearts.

What are we going to watch next? That is the million dollar question that lies on all our lips. Yes, you could watch some Friends re-runs or indulge in some Big Bang Theory “binge watching”, but this very sad moment in television history might be the ideal occasion to discover a new comedy TV series, like… say… the Mindy Project.

The Mindy Project, of course, is not a brand new show (the pilot episode was aired somewhere in 2012) but for some odd reason it is not very well known across the Atlantic ( in this funny place called Europe). When I talk to friends and say how much I love the Mindy Project they frown and look at me in bewilderment. They had never heard of it and maybe some of you –my dearest readers- haven’t heard of it either.

It’s a shame, because it is completely awesome. And bonkers. And over the top. And bonkers. And hilarious. And crazy. And bonkers.

And.. oh yeah, did I mention that it is bonkers?

I often ask myself: why the hell am I watching this? But then I realize… it’s because Mindy gets me. She says out loud all the things I only dare to silently mumble in the hope that no one notices. She is like the American version of Bridget Jones, but with much nicer hair…

And here is a fun fact: Did you know that on the exact same day of the last episode of HYMYM , the Mindy Project returned after a mid-season break? Talking about destiny!

In order to convince you of the brilliant craziness that is the Mindy Project, I decided to give you a list of all the things Mindy and I have in common:

1)      We love chocolate fountains

mindy chocolate

2)      We are crazy ass smart

mindy smart

… But why does nobody see that??

3)      We both have trouble defining what’s more important in a guy: beauty or brains

mindy brain angy

4)      Why can’t guys talk about their bloody feelings??

mindy feelings

…Why, dudes? Why?

5)      We are both very rational people…sort of.

mindy outdoors

6)      We know what we want

mindy picky

But maybe those standards are a little bit too high…

mindy want

7)      So yeah, we both really really like Michael Fassbender

mindy fassbender

… But, I mean, who doesn’t??

8)      We both watch too much Scandal

mindy pope

9)      We have the same problem…

mindy problems

10)   And then the last one…

mindy flea

 

 

Squid Tales: Speedy, Simple and Spectacular

Published April 5, 2014 by fashionfoodandflirts

squid

From the traditional calamari fritti to some sticky and caramelized squid in a Vietnamese stir-fry: I love squid in all its glorious versatility. The following recipes are no exception. The first one is an eccentric explosion of flavours; a harmonious sing-along of pistachio, coriander and parsley. Whereas the second recipe is exhuberantly hearty, a Cajun-spiced one-pot wonder.

If you’re a seafood expert who loves getting his or her hands stuck in some slimy tentacles, be my guest to clean the squid all be yourself. (The satisfaction will be even greater!) But if you’re a squid nitwit or someone who just got her nails done (like me), there is no shame in asking the fish monger to do it for you. It will make cooking these recipes even easier than they already are.

Kamut linguini with pistachio pesto and smoky squid

I love kamut pasta, because this ancient wheat gives the pasta an incredibly satisfying earthy flavour. (Plus: it is a wholegrain pasta, which means it is really good for you!) The pesto is a nice alternative to the traditional basil-pine nut version and goes beautifully with the smokiness of the squid.

DSCN3760

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 350gr kamut linguini
  • 4 squid tubes
  • ¼ tsp smoked paprika
  • ¼ tsp chili flakes
  • 2 yellow courgettes, diced
  • 250gr cherry tomatoes

For the pistachio pesto:

  • 60gr pistachios
  • Lots of fresh coriander
  • Lots of fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Olive oil

Method:

  1. Blend all the ingredients for the pesto together in an electric mixer and season with salt and pepper. Add enough olive oil to form a paste but it shouldn’t be runny.
  2. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan and fry the courgette for a couple of minutes. Add the halved cherry tomatoes.
  3. Meanwhile cook the kamut linguini al dente. Drain but keep 100ml of the starchy cooking liquid.
  4. Stir the cooked pasta in the vegetables and add the pistachio pesto. Now pour in the cooking liquid so that the pesto transforms into a lovely glossy pasta coating.
  5. Wait until the very last minute to cook your squid. Cut the squid into 0,5 cm strip. Heat a knob of butter in a frying pan and when the pan is scorching hot, add the squid, smoked paprika and chili flakes. Season with salt. Fry for no more than 3 minutes.
  6. Scoop a large serving of pasta onto your plate and put your delicious squid on top.

Cajun-spiced rice with squid and brown shrimp

Just like the recipe above, I used brown rice for this one, because it just has so much more flavour and adds a really gutsy element to the dish. (You know what they say: No guts, no Glory!) This dish is inspired by the world famous Jambalayah but contains no meat, only seafood. The blend of spices together with the heartiness of the rice and the sweetness of the seafood is incredibly comforting…

DSCN3771

Ingredients (serves 4)

Ingredients:

  • 300gr brown rice
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 200gr green beans, chopped into 2cm pieces
  • 1 yellow pepper, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 3-4 tbsp Cajun spice (depending on how spicy you want it)
  • 400gr or one can of chopped tomatoes
  • 3 squid tubes, cut into strips
  • 200gr brown shrimps
  • 150gr crayfish
  • Lemon
  • Fresh coriander
  • Vegetable stock (approx. 750ml)

Method:

  1. Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large pan and sauté the onion for a minute. Add the rice and fry for a further minute or two. Stir in the green beans and peppers and add the chopped tomatoes. Add the Cajun spice.
  2. Pour in the vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Let it simmer for at least 45 minutes. Until your rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed. (It should not be a stew but it should not be completely dry either. Just the right amount of moisture. It’s a tricky thing, but follow your gut ;) )
  3. In a separate pan fry the squid with some extra Cajun spice and salt. Stir the squid, shrimps and crayfish into your rice and finish with lemon juice and chopped coriander.
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