Healing Foods: Artichoke and banana flowers Round-Up & giveaway winners

Artichokes and banana flowers? I know that one of the two might still have a mysterious aura for some of you, but after seeing the 17 recipes for this month’s Healing Food series, I am sure that you won’t resist the temptation of discovering them…

You might however wonder what the connection between artichokes and banana flowers is.

The explanation is simple: initially I had chosen artichokes as theme for this month’s Healing Foods, but shortly after the announcement, I was informed that artichokes can’t be found in India…  So, I first came with cardoon, which is from the same species than artichokes, but it turned out that it was not available in India either… Mocha or banana flowers then came to my mind. Not only do they look and taste a bit similar but they required quite some time to trim and prepare, exactly like fresh artichokes…

I am very impressed by the quality and originality of  recipes sent by 11 talented ladies for this event and I would like to thank all of them for their creativity! You are awesome, ladies – vous êtes géniales, Mesdames! Merci beaucoup!

A big thank you to  Siri to have given me the opportunity to host this event during the month of March and to Pritya books who is generously giving away these two great books:

Cooking At Home With Pedatha: Awarded Best Vegetarian Cookbook in the World 2006, this book documents the culinary legacy of an illustrious Indian grandmother for posterity.


Sukham Ayu: Winner of Best Health & Nutrition Book in the World 2009 – Second Place, this beautiful book has been researched at KARE, an idyllic Ayurvedic research & rejeuvenation establishment near Pune.

There are still many artichoke recipes that I want to share with you but I ran short of time during March, so I could only post two recipes and repost 2 old ones. My future personal challenge will be to come up with a recipe for actually sweet artichokes… so stay tuned!

Before discovering who are the lucky winners of the books, let’s discover the round-up for the month of March:

The recipes are shown in the order I received them click on the pic or hyperlink to go to the recipe:

Johanna from “Green Gourmet Giraffe”  prepared artichoke muffins that she took  for a picnic at the zoo:

The preparation of  these Banana flowers chops brought back lovely childhood memories to Sukanya from “Saffron streaks” ,:

Janet from “The Taste Space” has been experimenting with variations of her recipes. I really enjoyed reading the creative process behind these beautiful Artichoke and Spinach Rice Paper Rolls with Lemon Rosemary Baked Tofu

Priya from “Priya’s easy and tasty recipes” – first experimented with artichoke calzone :


… and she liked this veggie so much, that she got inspired for two more recipes:

a very innovative artichoke and curry leaves chutney and…

and an equally innovative artichoke, potato and mushroom curry:

Nivedita from “Panfusine – Iyer’n Chef” was happily singing ABBA’s songs  and nearly choked of delight when she first tasted her artichoke masala vadai,

Did you know that artichoke existed in the Greek Mythology? Discover what happened to the beautiful Cynara  and enjoy these  delicious artichoke lasagna sent by  Ivy from “Kopiaste … to Greek Hospitality”  :

What about an Indo-Iranian fusion dish?

Malli from “Malli’s Mint and Mimosa” loves Iranian chelow kebabs and got inspired to prepare a vegetarian version using banana blossoms : check out her Iranian black bean Kebab with mocha :

Simona from  “Briciole”  is fan of  Italian artichokes, she prepared a hummus with artichoke, check her post to see  how many strands has the beautiful home-made challah bread she served with it…

Don’t be scared of fresh baby artichokes! Amy from “Savory moments” was nicely surprised on how easy it is to clean and trim them and she prepared these  delicious lemon and thyme braised baby artichokes:

Are you tempted to cook banana flowers but you are no sure on what is the edible part and how to extract it? Fear no more, Vijitha from “A Foodie in her cooking hat” has not only sent us this Banana Flower stir fry, she is also providing a thorough explanation on how to prepare the flowers.

Nawel from “Jeux d’épices et Saveurs” is proud to share the recipe of  “Artichoke, fava beans and dry tomatoes stir fry” , which will be featured next month in a French magazine. As her recipe was in French, the translation has been provided below the picture :

Ingredients for  4 servings
1 shallot
2 cloves garlic
280 g peeled frozen fava beans
4-5 frozen artichoke hearts
130 g chickpeas
5 sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil
1 tsp cumin powder
½ tsp strong or mild paprika
½ bunch chopped fresh cilantro
2 tbsp chopped parsley
2 ½  tbsp olive oil
100 ml water
Salt and pepper
Cut artichoke hearts into quarters. Cut the sun-dried tomatoes in three.
Peel the shallot and chop it finely. Peel the garlic cloves and crush them.
Heat the olive oil in a pan, on low heat and add the shallot.
Fry for 1 minute. Add the artichokes, beans, chickpeas, sun-dried tomatoes, herbs, salt and pepper.
Stir and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring regularly.
Add the cold water, stir and add the spices.
Cover and simmer over low heat for 10 more minutes.

And finally, voilà your Sweet Artichoke’s artichoke recipes….

An artichoke and chickpeas curry, that can be eaten cold as salad, which is really great when you have left overs… (here)

… a rather unusual way of eating artichokes, as filling for these savoury hazelnut sandwich cookies (here)

and,  from Sweet Artichoke’s archives:

I had celebrated my 100th post with an artichoke tapenade, which was also my first posted recipe with artichokes!

I did not come back from our trip to Roma with designer shoes or clothes, but with fresh Roman artichokes, bought at one of the local market… delicious in these pasta ai carciofi (here)

By now, I do hope that you are feeling hungry…. and tempted by these goodies….

It is my pleasure to announce the lucky winners of the two books:

*drums rolling….*

I first prepared an alphabetical list of all participants:

Then I went on http://www.randomizer.org:

which drew number 11 and number 8.

Congratulations to Vijitha and Priya!

Please send me your contact details at:  sweetartichoke@gmail.com

Penne with beans and pistacchio pesto – Penne au pesto de haricots verts et pistaches

(en français, plus bas)

A few days ago, one of my colleagues came back from a trip in Tajikistan and brought us different kind of dry fruits, among which almonds and pistachios… OMG, these pistachios were very very tiny, but their taste was amazing: like a concentrate of pistachios… Needless to say that I have been munching pistachios for the past few days and that I have become slightly obsessed with them!…So why not put them in a pesto? I love preparing pesto, because it is so versatile: forget about the classical combination of basil-pine nuts-garlic… Try different kinds of nuts, different herbs (for example: coriander, see: here) and why not… French beans and pistachios!!

By the way, there is still time to send my your recipes for the AWED on Persian food … You have until 31st January !

Ingredients for 3-4 servings :
300g French beans, washed, ends removed
1 spring onion, green part only
3 tablespoons pistachios

4 tablespoons parsley, coarsely chopped
½ green chilli
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
Pasta of your choice for 3-4 servings
1 dl of the water in which the pasta were cooked
Optional: grated parmeggiano cheese to your liking

Bring a pot of water with a teaspoon of salt to the boil. Add the beans, keeping aside about 15 raw beans that will be used later. Let them simmer for 5 minutes or until slightly crunchy. Drain them and keep aside.
Prepare the pesto:
Blend together: the raw beans, 1/3 of the cooked beans, chilli, spring onion greens, pistachios, olive oil, salt and freshly ground pepper.
Cook the pasta al-dente. As they will again cook later with the beans and pesto, I would suggest to cook them 1 or 2 minutes less than indicated on the package. Drain them, keeping in a bowl about 1dl of the cookingwater.
Combine the beans and pasta with a few tablespoons of the cooking water. Put on medium heat for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the pesto and a little more water and cook for one more minute.
Serve with some grated parmeggiano cheese and some chopped pistachios.

I am sending these penne to Presto Pasta Nights #198, hosted this week by Jen of Tastes of Home. Pasta Presto Nights is a weekly event started by Ruth of Once Upon a Feast and  Presto Pasta Nights.

Penne aux haricots vert avec pesto aux pistaches et haricots

Il ya quelques jours, une de mes collègues est revenue d’un voyage au Tadjikistan et nous a apporté différents types de fruits secs, dont des amandes et des pistaches … OMG, ces pistaches sont toutes petites,  mais leur goût est étonnant: c’est un vrai  concentré de pistaches! Inutile de dire que j’ai croqué des pistaches tous ces jours et que je suis totalement accro à la pistache!! Alors pourquoi ne pas les mettre dans un pesto? J’adore préparer des pestos, parce qu’il y a tellement de possibilités d’être inventif avec : oublions  la combinaison classique de pignons, basilic et ail … On peut combiner différentes sortes de noix, d’herbes, comme par exemple de la coriander (ici) et pourquoi pas … des haricots verts et des pistaches!

Ingrédients pour 3-4 personnes:
300g haricots verts, lavés et équeutés
1 cébette, partie verte seulement
3 cuillères à soupe de pistaches

4cuillères à soupe de persil plat,ciselé pas trop finement

½ piment vert
3 cuillères à soupe d’huile d’olive
Sel et poivre
Pâtes de votre choix pour 3-4 personnes
1 dl d’eau de cuisson des pâtes
Facultatif : du parmesan râpé
Porter une casserole d’eau avec une cuillère à café de sel à ébullition. Ajouter les haricots en gardant de côté environ 15 haricots crus qui seront utilisés plus tard. Laisser cuire pendant 5 minutes ou jusqu’à ce qu’ils soient encore légèrement croquants. Egoutter et les mettre de côté.
Préparer le pesto:
Mixer ensemble: les haricots crus, 1 / 3 des haricots cuits, le piment, le vert de cébette, les pistaches, l’huile d’olive, du sel et du poivre fraîchement moulu.
Faire cuire les pâtes al dente. Comme elles vont encore cuire un peu plus tard avec les haricots et le pesto, je vous suggère de les cuire 1 ou 2 minutes de moins que ce qui est indiqué sur l’emballage. Egoutter les pâtes et garder dans un bol environ 1 dl de l’eau.
Mélanger les haricots et les pâtes avec quelques cuillères à soupe d’eau de cuisson. Cuire à feu moyen pendant 1 minute, en remuant constamment. Ajouter le pesto et un peu plus d’eau et faire cuire une minute de plus.
Servir avec un peu de parmesan râpé et quelques pistaches concassées.

Pasta ai Carciofi – Pasta with artichokes – pâtes aux artichauts.

(en français, plus bas)

What would you bring back from a trip in Rome,? Shoes, designer clothes or pasta?

Well, I came back with 4 artichokes (and,… two pairs of shoes :-))

The “eternal city” is a wonderful place to visit: almost every street has some beautiful architecture, there are many museums and monuments to see, not mentioning the shops and great food… And it is also one of the best place to eat artichokes! There are different kind of antipasti with artichokes and I have eaten different kind of pasta with artichokes nearly every day…

There, I found out – with great interest – that there are two periods for Italian artichokes: the spring crop, starting in March and then, a second crop, starting in November!

Seeing so many of them made it impossible for me to resist bringing back some of these lovely babies home!

Pasta with Artichokes

Ingredients for 2 servings:

1 lemon

4 medium-size artichokes or 6 small

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 cloves garlic, crushed

4 tablespoons parsley, chopped

3/4 cup vegetable stock

160g uncooked pasta (I used wholewheat spaghetti)

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup grated parmesan or pecorino romano

2 tablespoons parsley, chopped


Prepare the artichokes.

Excellent explanations on how to prepare artichokes can be found on The Artichoke Blog, here and here. This blog is a real treasure for artichokes recipes, information, and events.

Here are the instructions in my own images and words…

Fill a pot with cold water and the juice of a lemon.

Cut the stem of the artichokes and trim them. The inside part can be eaten, it is very tender.

Trim the  artichoke leaves, about 2/3 of its total length (see below,picture 1). Remove a few layers of leaves, until the colour of leaves is a lighter shade of green and maybe a few stripes of purple.

Cut the artichoke in 4 or 6 and remove all of the straw/hair kind of thing in the middle as well as a few layers of the core leaves. Then, immediately put it into the lemon-water: it will prevent the browning.

Heat the olive oil in a pan. Add the garlic and stir. As soon as the garlic starts to become a little golden, add the cut artichokes and 4 tablespoons of parsley. Stir well.

Add 3/4 vegetable stock and bring to a boil. As soon as it boils, reduce the heat, cover with a lid and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the artichokes are tender. The stock should have reduced to one or two spoons of thick liquid.

In the meantime, prepare the pasta al-dente. I usually cook them 2 minutes less than indicated in the instructions.

Drain the pasta, keeping about 1/4 cup of the cooking water.

Add the pasta to the artichokes, stir well. Add the grated cheese, season with salt and pepper. Add some of the cooking water and cook for 1 or 2 minutes maximum, stirring constantly.

Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of parsley and serve. You can add some more grated cheese just before serving.

I am sending these pasta ai carciofi to Presto Pasta Nights which is being hosted this week by Rachel of The Crispy Cook.


I am participating  to Healing Food: Artichokes,  March 2011, hosted by me. Healing foods is an event created by Siri.

Pâtes aux artichauts

Qu’est-ce que vous rapporteriez d’un voyage à Rome? Chaussures, vêtements de marque ou des pâtes?

En ce qui me concerne, je suis revenue avec 4 artichauts (et, … deux paires de chaussures :-))

La “ville éternelle” est un endroit merveilleux à visiter: presque toutes les rues ont une très belles architectures, il y a de nombreux musées et monuments à voir, et je ne parle pas des magasins et de la délicieuse cuisine italienne … En plus, c’est l’un des meilleurs endroits pour manger des artichauts! Il existe différentes sortes d’antipasti aux artichauts et chaque jour, j’ai pu manger des pâtes aux artichauts préparées différemment de la veille.

J’ai appris qu’il yavait deux périodes pour les artichauts italiens: la production de printemps, à partir du mois de mars, puis, une seconde récolte, à partir du mois de novembre! En voyant tous ces artichauts sur les marchés, il m’a été impossible de résister à en ramener quelques-uns à la maison…

Ingrédients pour 2  personnes:

1 citron

4 artichauts italiens de taille moyenne ou 6 petits (style artichauts poivrade)

2 cuillères à soupe d’huile d’olive

3 gousses d’ail, hachées

4 cuillères à soupe de persil haché

3 / 4 tasse de bouillon de légumes

160g de pâtes crues (j’ai utilisé des spaghettis de blé entier)

sel et poivre noir fraîchement moulu

1 / 2 tasse de parmesan râpé ou de pecorino romano

2 cuillères à soupe de persil haché


Préparer les artichauts.

D’excellentes explications (en anglais) sur la manière de préparer les artichauts peuvent être trouvé sur un super blog en anglais, exclusivement consacré aux artichauts: The Artichoke Blog, ici et ici. Ce blog est un véritable trésor pour les recettes , les informations et les événements consacrés aux artichauts.

Pour les instructions en images , voir ci-dessus, dans le texte anglais.

Remplir un recipient d’eau froide mélangée au jus d’un citron.

Couper la tige des artichauts et la peler pour ne garder que la partie centrale. La partie intérieure peut être consommée, elle est très tendre.

Couper les feuilles d’artichaut, environ 2 / 3 de sa longueur totale (voir ci-dessus, photo 1 de “preparing an artichoke”). Enlever ensuite quelques couches de feuilles, jusqu’à ce que la couleur des feuilles soit plus clair et qu’il y ait peut-être quelques rayures violettes.

Couper les artichauts en 4 ou 6 et enlever le foin à l’intérieur, ainsi que les feuilles centrales. Immédiatement les mettre dans leau  citronnée : cela permet d’éviter le brunissement.

Chauffer l’huile d’olive dans une poêle. Ajouter l’ail et remuer. Dès que l’ail commence à devenir un peu doré, ajouter les artichauts coupés et 4 cuillères à soupe de persil. Bien remuer.

Ajouter 3 / 4 d’un verre de bouillon de légumes et porter à ébullition. Dès que ça bout, baisser le feu, couvrir avec un couvercle et laisser mijoter pendant environ 15 minutes ou jusqu’à ce que les artichauts soient tendres. Le bouillon devrait avoir réduit à une ou deux cuillères de liquide épais.

Dans le même temps, préparer les pâtes al dente. J’ai l’habitude de les faire cuire 2 minutes de moins que ce qui est indiqué dans les instructions.

Égoutter les pâtes, en conservant environ 1 / 4 tasse de l’eau de cuisson.

Ajouter les pâtes aux artichauts, et bien mélanger. Ajouter le fromage râpé, saler et poivrer. Ajouter un peu d’eau de cuisson et faites cuire pendant 1 ou 2 minutes au maximum, en remuant constamment.

Saupoudrer de 2 cuillères à soupe de persil et servir. Vous pouvez ajouter un peu de fromage râpé juste avant de servir.