I’ve just finished reading Love and Hunger from Charlotte Wood. Charlotte’s writing style is inviting and I liked how each recipe is beautifully wrapped with a personal story.
This book had me thinking about my experience; How I cook and what I eat today is somehow different yet influenced by the food I grew up with.
In la Réunion, the cuisine gives a good place to legumes, les grains as we call them.
I remember my three sisters and I had each one a favourite. And I think it remains true till today. My eldest sister, is fond of haricots rouges -red beans; My second elder sister has a soft spot for lentils; My younger sister prefers petits pois -peas- and I like flageolets very much.
As for fava beans, it’s much later, when I first settled in Paris with Paprika that I got to taste them. It’s a little confused in our mind how we cooked the beans or what we did exactly, but we both clearly remember their taste was terrible. We were totally inexperienced cooks at that time…
Things have changed since and there’s no more aversion. Each spring when broad beans appear on market stalls, I’m all happy.
I grabbed a bag full last week and this salad is a little improvisation. It works well as main for lunch, but could go well served with grilled meat or shrimps.
All images © Viviane Perenyi
Fava Bean and Pink Grapefruit Couscous Salad (For 2)
170g (about a glass) couscous
250g shelled fava beans
2 pink grapefruits, peeled and sliced into segments
A handful of mint leaves, rinsed and finely chopped
Salt and pepper
Bring a pan filled with water to a boil and blanch fava beans for 1-2 minutes. Drain and cool under cold running water. Peel the skin of fava beans, then drizzle with olive oil. Cook couscous following your packet instructions. After a couple of minutes scrap gently with a fork to separate the grains. When couscous has cooled down, mix in fava beans, grapefruits segments and chopped mint. Add olive oil and season with salt and pepper. You can add a couple of spoons of grapefruit juice too.
LA SUITE EN FRANÇAIS…
The fresh taste of mint has become a favourite lately.
Steeped in green tea, mix in salads or finely chopped in dressing, I generously use mint.
The tortellini were no exception.
After reading about sourdough pasta, I had to satisfy my curiosity and I made these tortellini.
The distinct smell was noticeable when working the dough, but once cooked, the sour taste was too subtle to make a difference.
Nevertheless, feta paired with fresh mint made a delicious filling for this experimental pasta, that were served with a drizzle of olive oil.
Sourdough Tortellini with Mint and Feta
(Makes 22-25 pieces)
120g sourdough starter (100% hydration)
A pinch of salt
170g feta, crumbled
1 generous bunch of mint, leaves finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
Freshly cracked pepper
In a large bowl mix together sourdough, flour, egg and salt. Knead until the dough is smooth. Let it rest for an hour in a greased bowl covered with cling wrap. Meanwhile prepare the filling. In a bowl crumble feta and mix it with chopped mint, olive oil and black pepper to form a homogenous paste (You may want to add salt depending on the feta you use)
Divide the dough into four equal parts and using a pasta machine or a rolling-pin roll out each piece into a thin and large stripe. Cut out 9cm diameter disks of pastry. Place disks on a tray lined with baking paper and cover with a damp tea-towel to prevent from drying. Place in the centre of each disk a teaspoon of filling. Lightly moisten the disk edge with water and fold the disk in two, pinching all around the edge, so that it forms a semi-circle. Lightly moisten one tip and join by pressing the two ends together.
In a large pan bring plenty of water to a boil. Add tortellini and let them cook a couple of minutes after they reach the surface. Drain and serve warm with a drizzle of olive oil.
LA SUITE EN FRANÇAIS…
I remember eating this salad for the first time at Mike’s place during one of his potluck dinners.
I instantly liked the combination of flavours and textures.
I’ve made this salad countless of time since; Sometimes with finely sliced red onion thrown in the mix, also with couscous or quinoa for a substantial version.
Here in Sydney, the weather seems to be one season ahead. Winter was like spring and spring already feels like summer…
So today I prepared this lunch for one. Just a matter of minutes and here it was, a fresh and colourful salad gracing my plate.
All images © Viviane Perényi
Fennel Orange and Mint Salad (For one)
1 small fennel bulb, trimmed, finely sliced
1 navel orange, peeled and diced
A handful mint leaves
Olive oil, salt and pepper
In a bowl mix the fennel and orange together. Drizzle olive oil on top and season with salt and freshly cracked pepper. Let it rest for a couple of minutes. Toss mint leaves just before serving.
LA SUITE EN FRANÇAIS…