Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Winter Couscous Salad

Six months since the last post, and it feels like it has flown.

2013 was a crazy year, a trans-continental move, a wedding, styling my first cookbook, getting settled in this big new city. It was a whirlwind, although fun. 2014 has already been more grounded and I feel like I am finding my stride here.
There have been lots of new things to discover and lots to adapt to. One of the biggest changes has been the food. In San Francisco we shopped the farmers market every Saturday and had some of the worlds freshest, most diverse and beautiful produce within easy reach. In London I have struggled to find such variety and quality and our diets have become more seasonal. But, being a New England-er by birth, many of the option available to me here aren't so very different from the foods I grew up with. 

Nuts, whole grains, dried fruits and hearty root vegetables have been staples and I have been playing a lot in the kitchen with different flavors and combinations. The exposure to more middle eastern flavors and cooking has a been a welcome new experience. I have been carrying this cookbook with me everywhere. 
This Winter Couscous Salad has also been making quite a few appearances at our table. Its great on its own or with some winter greens in the bottom of a bowl. It also works well as a side with chicken or lamb. I have been roasting up baby cauliflowers I found at the market, but thick roasted slices of full sized cauliflower works too.  

Winter Couscous Salad
Large couscous (2 cups dry). I used whole wheat here but any will do. 
1 lemon  - slice off two round slices  
3 cloves garlic (crushed)
1 bay leaf
2 cups stock
cinnamon (half a stick or 1/4 teaspoon if using ground)
Olive oil 
walnuts (1/2 cup) toasted - throw them in with the cauliflower for about 8 mins.
parsley - aprox 1/2 cup, chopped.  
feta cheese (100 grams) cut into 1/2" cubes
green olives - 100 grams. sliced in half. The olives I use are stuffed with orange peel 
salt & pepper
Cauliflower or other protein.
If using cauliflower,
slice a medium head laterally from top to bottom in 4 slices. toss with olive oil, salt & pepper roast on a baking sheet at 350/180 until tender (aprox 20 mins) flip halfway through. Add walnuts (aprox 8 mins) at the end to toast. 
For the salad:
Put tbsp of olive oil in a heavy bottom sauce pan.
Drop in cinnamon - toast for 30 seconds or until fragrant
add 3 crushed garlic cloves and lemon slices & bay leaf - toast for another 30 seconds
Add couscous and toast over medium high heat until lightly browned. Add 1.5 cups of stock and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer until done, you may need to add more stock. I leave a very little bit unabsorbed to keep couscous from drying out in the salad. But drain if too much liquid remains 
Discard the lemon slices, cinnamon stick, bay leaf & garlic cloves. Let the couscous cool 
Mix in feta, olives, walnuts & parsley. Squeeze remaining lemon juice over the mixture and fresh cracked black pepper. Mix well.

Serve with cauliflower on the side. 
serves 4.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Monday Mood Board

Saturday was my first trip to a flea market here in London. It was fun to spend a morning poking around, talking to people about their items and making a few purchases. I am particularly excited about an antique ceramic plate that was once part of a weighing scale. It has a gorgeous brown makers stamp on it and will make the perfect cheese board!

I noticed that there were many pieces decorated with a sort of faux tortoise shell look. It immediately started seeing it everywhere and I think its just lovely. Super chic and bit earthy and very elegant. 

So this Monday's mood board is inspired by my trip to the flea market this weekend and my new found love of tortoise shell. 

images: lamps, dining room, clutch, flats, earrings, sunglasses, tumblers, knives.  

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Fruits of Labor : Redcurrant & Spinach Salad

Watching these tiny red jeweled globes appear at the markets has been on of the greatest culinary thrills for me here in London thus far. They are stunning and I felt inspired make something with them.

I had a look through some of my cookbooks at just what to do with them but everything seemed to involve Redcurrants as a dessert. Likely this is because they have a fresh and rather tart taste to them. But its been so hot here that the thought of turning on the oven was unbearable, so to find a way to use them in a savory dish. 
I wanted to maintain the fruit as much as possible both for its little burst of tartness as its gorgeous looks. 
This Redcurrant Salad does exactly that and more. It is a surprisingly robust salad for its seemingly delicate ingredients. And, it pairs exceptionally well with cold chicken or grilled steaks. So its perfect for a quick Monday night dinner. 

Redcurrant Salad with a Green Tea Miso Dressing 
serves 2
First Make the Dressing 
1/4 tsp of very finely sliced shallot 
1/2 tsp of Mirin 
Dash of Salt 

Combine these ingredients in a small bowl and let them stand for a few minutes
Then add to this mixture 
3 tsp of sweet miso 
2 tsp of honey 
4 tsp of strongly brewed green tea

Whisk throughly to combine 

Assemble the Salad
Use the desired portion of baby spinach leaves on each plate
Drizzle generously with the miso dressing 
Top each salad with 15 -20 redcurrants 
a heaping Tbsp of crumbled feta
a handful of roasted shelled pistachios 
and fresh cracked black pepper 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Monday Mood Board

Todays entire post is inspired by the gorgeous dress of Scott Corridan. It is beautifully feminine and romantic. And this dress if filled with an old world glamour that is so seductive. That cashmere crewel work on the bodice is to die for and I love anything in a shirt style. 
Its simply lovely ~

table setting, shaving brush, ring, painting, bed

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Interior Inspiration

Its all about a gorgeous workspace today! We all need a place where we can sit and feel comfortable and inspired, whatever the task at hand. Such a space starts with two simple pieces: A beautiful, comfortable chair & a stunning surface. I especially love some of the unexpected pairings in these photos!  
All of the necessities are present on each of these desks but not much else. Being careful not to over-style your workspace is the key. I want a place that feels clean, uncluttered and full of possibility. I don't want to feel like I must clean up my work-surface before starting something. That takes away from creative energy. 

Im thinking about creating a new little work-space in my apartment soon! Where do you work from at home?