Happy news and a Leek & Sea Vegetable quiche – Des nouvelles et une quiche aux algues et poireaux

(en français, plus bas)

It’s been a few months that I have been blogging sporadically, and seldom visiting my favourite blogs… Believe me, I am sorry about it because I do miss blogging and my passion for cooking has surely not disappeared! In general, during winter, my energy is pretty low and I always wish I could hibernate, but this time my silence and apparent hibernation have another reason…  Actually, it is a very happy and exciting news that I now want to share with you, dear readers:

Mr Artichoke and I are expecting our first baby very soon! So, as you can imagine our life is  changing a lot and we are pretty busy preparing everything for the arrival of our little angel.

I just wanted you to know that I am not abandoning Sweet Artichoke, I am just taking it slowly because, after all, blogging is a fun activity and should not be taken with pressure and stress, that is why I will try to post new recipes but it will be at irregular intervals…

All is going well, but I have been super tired since the beginning of pregnancy: I have also tried to listen to my body and I turned to very simple foods and most of my pregnancy cravings were healthy ones… among them: oat porridge, chickpeas, and you surely don’t want to hear about my chicory and walnut salad addiction, do you? It’s been my staple lunch and dinner for a few weeks!! Most of them were really not very interesting to blog about… However, what amazed me most is that I discovered that most of my healthy cravings were actually providing the important nutriments needed by the baby at that time…

One of my recent addiction is sea vegetables  (I do not like to call them “seaweeds”, because given all the good nutriments they are packed with, “weeds” seems an unfair name) and I think this quiche is so good, that it is worth sharing it with you…

Leek and Sea Vegetable Quiche

Ingredients for a 22cm diameter baking tin
(2-3 servings as main course or 4-5 servings as starter)

 a medium size leek (about 250g), finely chopped

2 medium size potatoes (about 300g), peeled and sliced

1 tablespoon oil

2 teaspoons hot madras curry powder

200g tofu

½ cup dried mixed sea vegetables

1 dried red chili (optional)

1 tablespoon soy sauce

3-4 tablespoons water

Salt and pepper to season

1 ½ tablespoons chia seeds, soaked in 0.5 dl warm water or 1 egg

1 ready-rolled puff pastry (or short-crust pastry)

Method:

Pre-heat the oven at 190°C.

Heat the oil in a pan. Add the curry powder and fry it for a few seconds. Add the chopped leek. Stir well and reduce heat to low. Cover with a lid and sauté for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. The leek should not become brown, you only want to pre-cook it. When it is done, keep aside.

In the meantime, put the potatoes in a saucepan, cover with water, add ½ teaspoon of salt. Bring the water to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes. Drain well and keep aside.

Rehydrate the dried sea vegetables in warm water, according to the instructions. The ones I use take 5 minutes to rehydrate. Drain them well and put them in a food processor, with the tofu, dried red chilli, soy sauce, pepper, chia seeds (or one egg)  and 3-4 tablespoon water. Pulse until it becomes a smooth paste. If it is too thick, you might add a little bit more water, but not too much as it should not be liquid.

Add the leek to the preparation and combine well.

Place the pastry crust in the baking tin. Prick a few times the bottom of the pastry crust with a fork, which will prevent the dough from puffing up as it bakes. Bake the crust for 5 minutes and take out of the oven.

Fill the bottom of the crust with the potato slices. Garnish with the leek-sea vegetable-tofu mixture.

Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Serve warm.

Quiche aux algues et poireaux

Cela fait quelques mois que je n’ai plus été très présente sur ce blog et que je n’ai pas rendu visite à mes blogs préférés … Croyez-moi, c’est quelque chose que je regrette beaucoup parce que ma passion pour la cuisine n’a pas bien évidemment pas disparu. En général, pendant l’hiver, mon énergie descend en flèche et c’est un peu comme si j’hibernais…  mais cette fois mon silence et mon apparente hibernation ont une autre raison… En fait, il s’agit plutôt d’une heureuse et belle nouvelle que j’aimerais maintenant partager avec vous :

M. Artichoke et moi attendons notre premier bébé pour très, très bientôt!

Je n’ai donc pas l’intention d’abandonner Sweet Artichoke, mais comme vous pouvez l’imaginer, notre vie est en train de beaucoup changer et même si j’adore mon blog et le « blogging » en général, je considère que cette passion ne doit pas s’accompagner de stress pour les délais à publier de nouveaux posts… Je vais toutefois essayer de continuer à publier de nouvelles recettes, mais à intervalles irréguliers …

En général, ma grossesse se passe bien, si ce n’est que je suis super fatiguée depuis le début ! Et comme j’ai essayé d’écouter mon corps et j’ai privilégié des aliments très simples et la plupart de mes fringales étaient plutôt saines … par exemple : bircher avec de l’avoine, pois chiches, plusieurs semaines de folle passion pour la salade d’endives aux noix… donc pas vraiment de quoi alimenter un blog… Cela dit, ce qui m’a le plus émerveillée, c’est que j’ai découvert que la plupart de mes envies « saines » contenaient les nutriments correspondant aux besoins les plus importants pour la croissance du bébé, à ce moment particulier.

En ce moment, je suis complètement accro aux algues ! Et franchement, cette quiche est si bonne, que je la partage sans hésitation avec vous … L’avantage d’y ajouter des poireaux (ah oui, un autre de mes chouchous du moment…) est que ceux-ci masquent un peu le goût des algues, pour celles et ceux qui y sont sensibles.

Ingrédients pour un moule de diamètre 22cm

(pour 2-3 personnes en plat principal ou 4-5 personnes en entrée)

 un poireau de taille moyenne (environ 250g), émincé finement

2 pommes de terre de taille moyenne (environ 300g), pelées et tranchées

1cuillère à soupe d’huile

2 cuillères à café de poudre de curry Madras

200g de tofu

½ tasse d’algues séchées mélangées

1 piment rouge séché (facultatif)

1 cuillère à soupe de sauce soja

3-4 cuillères à soupe d’eau

Sel et poivre pour assaisonner

1 ½ cuillères à soupe de graines de chia, trempée dans 0,5 dl d’eau chaude ou 1 œuf

1 paquet de pâte feuilletée

Préparation:

Préchauffer  le four à 190 ° C.

Chauffer l’huile dans une poêle. Ajouter la poudre de curry et la faire frire pendant quelques secondes. Ajouter le poireau émincé. Bien remuer et réduire à feu doux. Couvrir avec un couvercle et faire revenir pendant environ 15 minutes, en remuant de temps en temps. Les poireaux ne doivent pas brunir, ils doivent juste pré-cuire. Lorsque cela est fait, les mettre de côté.

Pendant ce temps, mettre les pommes de terre dans une casserole, couvrir d’eau, ajouter ½ cuillère à café de sel. Porter l’eau à ébullition. Laisser mijoter pendant 10 minutes. Bien égoutter et mettre de côté.

Réhydrater les algues séchées dans de l’eau chaude, selon les instructions du paquet. Celles que j’utilise ont besoin de 5 minutes. Egouttez-les bien et mettez-les dans un blender, avec le tofu, le piment rouge séché, la sauce soja, le poivre, les graines de chia (ou un oeuf) et 3-4 cuillères à soupe d’eau. Mixer jusqu’à ce que la préparation devienne lisse. Si elle est trop épaisse, vous pouvez ajouter un peu plus d’eau, mais pas trop car elle ne doit pas être liquide.

Ajouter les poireaux et bien mélanger.

Mettre la pâte dans un moule et piquer plusieurs fois le fond avec une fourchette, ce qui va empêcher la pâte de gonfler pendant la cuisson. Cuire la pâte pendant 5 minutes et la sortir du four.

Garnir  avec les tranches de pommes de terre, puis ajouter le mélange poireaux-algues- tofu.

Cuire au four pendant 30 minutes et servir chaud.

Vegetarian Biryani with spicy paneer

(la traduction en français arrive sous peu…)
My quest for the perfect biryani recipe has started a few years ago. After tasting the best biryani ever in a restaurant in Dubai, I wanted to be able to eat in my own home the delicate and delicious taste of the spices, and the perfect texture of the rice… I tried many recipes, even bought some ready made spices-mix (a total heresy for me!) but it seems I never managed to get it right… Eventually, I gave up, I even gave up eating biryani in restaurants here in Geneva, as they usually turned out even worse than my attempts…
However, when my dear Heavenly Housewife challenged us to prepare a biryani, I decided it was time to try once more… And I did well!
The result was beyond my expectations! Of course, it is far from the perfection of the biryani I ate in Dubai, but seriously, it is pretty close to it…
The list of ingredients is quite long, and the preparation might seem lenghty, but fear not, it can be done in… let’s say about 2 hours (not counting the cooking time in the oven) and the preparation can be spread on two days (pls see my note at the bottom of the post)
By the way, what is a biryani?

The name “biryani” come from the Persian word beryān/biryan which means “fried” or “roasted“. There are many kinds of biryanis and it is a festive dish both in Middle Eastern and South Asian cuisines. The origin of biryani in India comes from the Moghol dynasty (originally from Persia) who brought many delicate and eleborated dishes to the already rich Indian cuisine.  Biryani is made from a mixture of spices, basmati rice, meat or vegetables and yogurt.  Unlike pulao in which all ingredients are cooked together, the main components of biryani are cooked separately, then layered and finally slowly cooked in the oven.

And before sharing the recipe, I can only advise you to visit these talented bloggers for more biryani-love:

Vegetarian Biryani with spicy paneer

Recipe adapted from IndiaCurry (here)
ingredients for 4-5 servings:
  • Spiced water
8dl water
2 cm fresh ginger, chopped
6 black cardamom pods, crushed
10 black peppercorn
4 cm cinnamon stick, broken in half
4 whole cloves
½ teaspoon fennel seeds
2 Bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Spiced milk

2 dl milk
2 cardamom pods, crushed
a pinch of Saffron strands
1 teaspoon rose water

  • Rice

150g (1cup) Basmati rice
2 cups spiced water
a few saffron strands
1/2 teaspon salt

  • Vegetable Layer

1 tablespoon Ghee (or neutral oil, such as sunflower)
1 medium onions,chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon cumin powder
½ teaspoon coriander powder
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
½ cup green peas
salt to taste
¼ cup yogurt
½ cup spiced water

  • Paneer Layer

200g paneer, cubed
1 tablespoon Ghee (or neutral oil, such as sunflower)
1 medium onion,chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1cm ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, crushed
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
½ teaspoon cumin powder
½ teaspoon coriander powder

  • Garnish layer

1 tablespoon ghee (or neutral oil, such as sunflower)
2 medium onions, chopped
3 tablespoons slivered almonds
3 tablespoons cashews
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons chopped fresh peppermint leaves

  • Chapatti dough to seal the pot

2 cups wholemeal flour
Water to knead the dough (about 1/3 cup)

Method:

1. Prepare the spiced water: put the water and the spices indicated under “spiced water” in a pot and bring it to a boil. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes on low heat. Drain and keep aside.

2. Prepare the spiced milk: put the milk, cardamom pods and saffron in a pot and simmer for 10 minutes. Let it cool, remove the cardamom pods and add the rosewater.

3.Prepare the paneer:Heat the ghee in a pan, add the onion. Fry for 2-3 minutes, add the spices. Fry for 2-3 more minutes. Add the paneer. Stir well to coat it with the spice and fry for a few minutes. Keep aside.

4. Prepare the vegetable: Put the ghee in a pan, add the onion. Fry for 2-3 minutes, add the spices. Fry for 2-3 more minutes. Add the vegetable, season with salt and pepper and stir well. Reduce heat to medium, add 1/2 cup of spiced water and the yogurt. Simmer until the vegetable are nearly cooked (about 10-15 minutes).

5. Prepare the garnish layer: Heat the ghee in a pan, add the onions and fry them until golden brown. Add the cashew and almonds. Fry for 2 more minutes. Keep aside and add the chopped herbs.

6. Prepare the rice: Rinse the rice until the water is clear. Put in a pot and add 2 cups of spiced water and 1/2 a teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil Reduce heat, cover with a lid and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let is stand for 10 more minutes.If there is water that has not been absorbed, drain it.

7. Prepare the chapatti dough: slowly add a little water to the flour until combined. Knead for 2 minutes. Keep aside.
8. Layering the biryani: Preheat the oven to 210°C. Spread one layer of rice in a pot. Sprinkle about 2-3 teaspoons of spiced water and 2-3 teaspoons of spiced milk on the rice.
Add the vegetables, spreading them evenly. Cover with one thin layer of rice, sprinkling about 2-3 teaspoons of spiced water and 2-3 teaspoons of spiced milk on the rice.
Add the paneer, spreading it evenly. Add a thin layer of rice, sprinkling about 2-3 teaspoons of spiced water and 2-3 teaspoons of spiced milk on the rice.

Add the garnish ingredients and finally, top it with a final layer of rice. Sprinkle with about 2-3 teaspoons of spiced water and 2-3 teaspoons of spiced milk on the rice

Take 1/3 of the dough and roll it in a 1 cm diameter log. Place it around the edge of the pot. Roll the rest of the dough in a circle, a bit bigger than the diameter of your pot. Cover the pot with it, pressing the edges on the log, so that it is well sealed.


Put in the oven and cook for 20 minutes.Then, reduce heat to 180°C and cook for 20 more minutes.


When serving, cut off the bread lid and stir the biryani with a spoon to combine all the flavours.

notes: 

1. If you are short of time, you can prepare steps 1 to 5 the day before and keep all the items in the refrigerator.

2. It is not necessary to seal with a chapatti. You can seal the pot with a tight lid or with foil, tightly wrapped around the pot.

3. You can add cauliflower and/or other veggies. Similarly, paneer can be omitted or replaced by boiled eggs.

Sweet Potato & Feta salad – Salade de patate douce et feta

(en français, plus bas)

It is summer time in Switzerland and one of the thing I enjoy most during summer is having picnics!

And what about you, dear readers, do you like picnics? Is there any picnic food/tips/stories you would like to share?

When I think of a picnic, many happy, colourful things come to my mind:

The pleasure of sitting in the grass or on the beach , a bright summer tablecloth, lots of laughters, chilled rosé wine, the loving atmosphere of food sharing and, of course, the excitement of preparing the food! Even a simple piece of cheese and bread become suddenly so festive!

It was during a recent picnic that my dear friend H. brought this bright and tasty sweet potato salad!

The taste of feta cheese blends very well with the sweetness of potatoes and the pumpkin seeds add a crunchy touch to the soft texture of the main ingredients. It is quick to prepare and I am totally in love with its orange colour! Careful, though,  one gets very addicted to it and you might be asked to bring it to all the upcoming picnics you are invited to!

Ingredients for 4 servings:

4 medium sized sweet potatoes (about 500g)

2 tablespoons oil (olive oil for me)

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 large onion, chopped

200g feta cheese, diced

2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds

salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Put the unpeeled sweet potatoes in a large pot. Cover with water. Put on the stove and bring water to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook until a knife can be inserted easily in the potatoes.

Drain the potatoes and keep aside to cool down.

When they have cooled enough to be held in your hand, peel them. Then you can dice or slice them. I made little balls, using a “cuillère parisienne” (click on the word).

Heat the oil in a pan.

Add the turmeric, garlic and onion. Strirring frequently, fry until the onion start to become a little golden.

Add the potato balls and fry briefly, for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. The idea is that the potatoes are coated with turmeric, garlic and onion. Keep aside.

Dice the feta cheese and put it in a bowl. Add the sweet potato balls. Season with freshly ground pepper and a little salt (the feta cheese is already pretty salty).

Add the parsley and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds.

You can serve it immediately, with potato ball still warm or cold.

I am sending this salad to Anamika of the blog Taste Junction, for the “Salad Spread” event she is organising (until 30th July)

Salade de Patate Douce et feta

Ici, en Suisse, c’est l’été et une de mes activités préférées pendant l’été c’est d’organiser des pique-niques!

Et vous, chers lecteurs, aimez-vous les pique-niques? Voulez-vous partager vos anecdotes, conseils, recettes de pique-niques?

Quand je pense à  “pique-nique”, il y a plein d’idée colorées et joyeuses qui me viennent à l’esprit:

Le plaisir d’être assis dans l’herbe ou sur la plage, une nappe aux couleurs gaies, beaucoup de rires, un vin rosé bien frais, l’atmosphère  pleine d’amour du partage de la nourriture et, bien sûr, l’excitation de la préparation d’un repas festif et fameux!

C’est lors d’un pique-nique récent en sa companie que ma chère amie H. a apporté cette savoureuse salade de patates douces.

Le goût de la feta se marie très bien avec la douceur des patates et les graines de courge ajoutent une touche croquante à la texture plutôt moelleuse des principaux ingrédients. Elle est préparée en un éclair et je suis totalement sous le charme de sa couleur orange! Il faut cependant faire attention, car on y devient vite accro et on pourrait bien vous demander d’en apporter à tous les futurs pique-niques auxquels vous serez invités!

Ingrédients pour 4 personnes:

4 patates douces de taille moyenne (environ 500g)

2 cuillères à soupe d’huile (huile d’olive pour moi)

1 / 2 cuillère à café de curcuma

2 gousses d’ail hachées

1 gros oignon, coupé finement

200g de feta , coupée en dés

2 cuillères à soupe de persil ciselé finement

2 cuillères à soupe de graines de courge

sel et poivre pour assaisonner

Préparation:

Mettre les patates douces non pelées dans une grande casserole. Les recouvrir avec de l’eau. Mettre sur le feu et porter à ébullition. Réduire à feu moyen et cuire jusqu’à ce qu’un couteau puisse être inséré facilement dans les patates.

Égoutter les patates et les laisser refroidir un peu.

Dès qu’elles ont  suffisamment refroidi pour être tenues dans dans la main sans se brûler, pelez-les. Ensuite, on les coupe en dés ou en tranches.  J’ai fait des petites boules, en utilisant une cuillère parisienne (cliquer sur le mot).

Chauffer l’huile dans une poêle.

Ajouter le curcuma, l’ail et l’oignon. Tout en remuant fréquemment, faire frire jusqu’à ce que l’oignon commence à dorer.

Ajouter les boules de patate douce et faire revenir brièvement, pendant 2-3 minutes, en remuant constamment. L’idée est que les patates soient recouvertes avec le curcuma, l’ail et l’oignon. Mettre de côté.

Couper la feta en dés et la mettre dans un bol. Ajouter les boules de patates douces. Assaisonner avec du poivre fraîchement moulu et un petit peu de sel (la feta est déjà salée).

Ajouter le persil et saupoudrer de graines de courge.

Cette salade se sert froide ou on peut la servir immédiatement, avec les boules de patate douce encore tièdes.