As fresh as it gets.

Man cannot live on cake alone.  I’ve tried.  To keep things fresh and light for the summer, I’ve been mixing up the evening meals to include things that make use of the herbs in my garden.  Mint, lavender, parsley, sage, thyme, Greek oregano and lemon thyme are all bursting into life right now, so it would be silly not to take advantage.

The recipe I’m sharing with you today is a far cry from the chocolate craziness that I’ve thrown your way before.  It’s really delicious, a doddle to prepare and it goes well with so many things that you’ll easily be able to make it a part of at least one meal.  All you need are some fresh herbs and a few minutes to make this classic crowd pleaser!

Tabouleh

4 tblspoons fresh mint (finely chopped)

1 bunch fresh parsley (finely chopped)

100g cous cous

half a cucumber (chopped)

1 onion (finely chopped)

4 ripe tomatoes (chopped)

juice of half a lemon

4 tblspoons extra virgin olive oil

sea salt

black pepper

I used cous cous to make my tabouleh which is a deal-breaker for many people.  Bulgur wheat is used in a traditional tabouleh.  Cous cous was all that I had to hand on the day that I made this and I’ve no regrets.  I also added a little more olive oil than stated in my recipe, but it’s really up to you to season this beautiful salad how you like it.

I cooked the cous cous for a few minutes in boiling water until soft and set it aside to cool.  I then lined a bowl with mixed leaves.  In another bowl I added the cous cous and the rest of the ingredients.  I gave them a good mix and kept tasting as I seasoned everything.  A little more lemon juice here, a bit of oil there…it was fun getting a nice balance.

Once everything was nicely combined, I tipped the tabouleh carefully into the bowl lined with salad leaves.

You can serve the tabouleh immediately or cover it and leave it in the fridge for an hour or so like I did.  The flavours were wonderful.  This is a seriously uplifting dish and one that benefits from the use of ultra fresh ingredients.  I can’t wait to serve this with some grilled lamb and lots of pita.

Natural sugars don’t count- Part 3: Banana muffins with honey cream.

I’m not sure if you know this, but bananas are boring.  Who am I to criticise Nature’s most popular yellow creation?  Well, I’m someone who really loves food and I’ve eaten my share of bananas, but I always come to the same conclusion: bananas (despite their nutritional value) are incredibly boring.  Something must be done.

Banana fritters with syrup?  Yes.  Chocolate and banana cake with peanut butter?  Yup.  Muesli with slices of banana on top?  Are you serious?  Never!  To bring a little sugary fun to the dullest fruit on the stand, I decided to make some banana muffins and add a little something to perk them up.  This is such an easy recipe, so if you’ve got any spare bananas and you’re sick of smoothies, give this a go!

Banana muffins with honey cream

4 bananas

300g plain flour

200g caster sugar

1 egg (beaten)

65g melted butter

1 tspoon bicarbonate of soda

1 tspoon baking powder

1/2 tspoon salt

4 tblspoons double cream

2 tblspoons clear honey

Begin by sifting all of the dry ingredients into a bowl and set them aside.  Next, mash up the bananas and mix them with the sugar, butter and eggs.  In a large bowl, combine the banana mixture with the flour mixture.  Keep stirring until there are no dry bits in the bowl.

I told you this was an easy recipe.  Pour the muffin mixture into muffins tins.  Fill each about halfway because the muffins will rise in the oven.  Slide them into the centre of the oven for about twenty minutes at 180C.  When they’ve risen and are golden, they’re ready to rock.

To make the honey cream, whisk the cream until it is quite thick and then briskly stir in the honey.

Once the muffins have come out of the oven and cooled, use a teaspoon to scoop out a little section from the top of each one.  Now pipe the cream (or dollop it with a spoon) into the hole you’ve made.  What?  You thought there was more?  Nope.  Now it’s time to tuck in!  Enjoy!