Green Beans Hazelnut Orange Salad

Greens Beans, Hazelnut & Orange Salad

I recently discovered a new type of green bean, the Purple Queen Bush Bean. In actual fact its outer skin is an aubergine colour which turns to a deep shade of green when cooked. Magic!

You could use these for this recipe but I only had normal green beans (French beans) on had, which work just as well. Toasting the hazelnuts removes their slightly bitter taste and allows you to rub off part of the skin, exposing the nut below. The orange is a nice contrast to the nuts and sweetness of the beans.

The original recipe is from the Ottolenghi cookbook. I adapted it as snow peas (mangetout) are often difficult to find here and I try, when possible, to buy local produce.

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Avocado, goat cheese, red quinoa salad

Quinoa –  simply delicious, with a little crunch and nutty flavour, makes a nice change from eating rice and cous cous. Add to that chunks of ripe avocado, pieces of creamy goats cheese, some garlicky pesto + toasted pine nuts, and you have a great salad!

I often find myself stuck for inspiration when it comes to lunch and craving something different, but at the same time not having hours to spend in the kitchen. This recipe checks all the boxes. I even made the quinoa the nightbefore, so it was just a matter of quickly chopping up the avo, toasting the nuts and throwing the salad together.

Thank god my avocado was ripe this time, as I have been on streak of bad luck lately, to the point of having to return two to the grocerystore as they were completely uneatable.  I figure at CHF2.50 an avocado, you should have something good to show for it!

And for those vegetarians out there, quinoa is a great hidden secret, a fab grain-like, pseudo cereal, which are actually edible seeds.  It comes in red or white, and is a great source of protein, while being gluten-free and easy to digest. What more could you ask for!

O-Foods-Contest Also I just received a note from Michelle of Bleeding Espresso Blog who is hosting a great food contest for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, called O Foods, so take a look HERE!!!


TABOULE / Tabbouleh

7 September 2009


Taboule (tabbouleh, tabouli ) – is an easy recipe for when you don’t feel like cooking! Or when you don’t have time to cook, or when you have a big group coming over, or if, like my brother, you don’t have an oven! There does not seem to be one single recipe for tabbouleh, but several variations on a theme: Moroccan, Armenian, Turkish, Syrian and Lebanese. The basic dish is a salad of herbs to which you add tomatoes, onions and bulgar wheat (cracked wheat). Traditionally it is eaten as part of a mezze, a selection of small dishes,  using a lettuce leaf.

I prefer this salad when it has a 50:50 balance of herbs (mint /parsley) to bulgar, but what is great is that you can  personalise the dish to your taste. Another reason I was attracted to this salad is that it is budget conscious and in these times that can be nothing but a good thing!




This summer I went to visit the Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall. How did I visit them if they were lost you might ask…. well once was lost now is found. The Heligan estate was in the Tremayne family for over 400 years, however in 1914, with the start of WWI the gardens were abandoned and left to disrepair. It was only seventy years late in 1990 that Tim Smith, John Nelson and a growing team of enthusiastic volunteers began restoring the gardens to their original splendor and working order.

They now boast one of the most wonderful vegetable garden with several rare varieties of plants, some of which you can buy from seed. There were also two wheelbarrows with freshly plucked veggies for guest to take home. A plump beetroot and several new potatoes made their way into my suitcase. I can only imagine what customs must have thought when scanning my things!!!

All this walking through gardens inspired me to create a few new recipes, including this salad. Great for hot summer lunches,  using fresh vegetables and easy to make in advance.



The DUTCH Series N°4

In the past I generally thought of salad as a summer dish, made with a variety of fresh leafy greens picked from the garden. However, I have since developed a taste for the less celebrated but very tastey winter salad varieties. They are

  • generally made with raw (often root)  vegetables  =  good for your health
  • inexpensive
  • quick & easy to make
  • & delicious additions to the limited, winter vegetables repetoir!

Though I think it is safe to say that in terms of winter veggies, celeriac (celery root) is the ugly duckling. As when browsing through the market the last thing to entice your eyes is this nobly, pale yellow-green, root vegetable. Which is a shame really, as despite its appearance the taste is wonderful, more subtle then stalk celery & with a slightly nutty flavour.

As my grated raw beetroot salad was such a hit, I decided to make the celeriac salad in a similar fashion. However as celeriac has a more subtle flavour than beetroot & tends to turn brown soon after grated, I decide to make a creamy dressing for whiteness of colour, with a little less vinegar so you could still taste the natural flavour of the celeriac & used fresh thyme to compliment.



13 September 2007

Beetroot salad web

{BEETROOT SALAD} STOP!!!! Please don’t leave ….. beetroot can also be delicious. No this is not a joke, and yes I too started out as a prominent member of the ‘tortured beet eaters’,  as my mother, a health conscious, vegetable loving woman used to serve her children cooked or pickled beets.  Now while nutritious I found them anything but delicious.

So you can imagine my anxiety when I first visited Olivier (my fiancé) in Geneva, and at the local farmers market he popped a bunch of freshly picked garden beets into the basket and said ‘je te fait une salade de betteraves, tu vas voir c’est délicieux’ (I will make you a beetroot salad, you will see it is delicious!) Delicious… is he crazy, oh god, can we give them back, can I sneak them out of the basket… how am I to get out of this. We left the market with the beets in tow and I prepared myself for the worst – that childhood feeling of being unable to swallow, the smell of pickled vinegar and that slightly odd texture.

However, a pleasant surprise was awaiting me – as the salad he made resembled nothing of the beetroot of my childhood. These beets were a vibrant red, shaved into thin strips, and served raw, glistening with vinaigrette. They tasted sweet and tart at the same time, with a crisp, crunchy texture. So good was this salad that I thought I would pass along my version of the recipe….