ME and Ophelia

Sunday, April 04, 2004

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Then use food to bolster your mood

Instant Rewards -

Croque monsieur offers a satisfyingly sophisticated savoury fix. Lightly toast some white bread, spread with a little butter and lots of dijon mustard, then cover with slices of good quality smoked ham, topped by slices of mature emmenthal. Set under a medium-hot grill until the cheese is bubbling and golden-flecked. Eat immediately.

For an instant comfort fix, make a bacon and egg sandwich. Use the best ingredients you can lay your hands on. Accompany with either a perfect cup of tea or glass off chilled champagne.

Make an instant banana split with vanilla-choc-fudge ice cream, served with a sliced banana. (I must remember to try freezing yoghurt mixed with honey, to see how it turns out as a quick ice cream).

Those keen for childhood comforts could indulge in chocolate Rice Krispie (or cornflake) cakes. Melt some chocolate and a little butter with some golden syrup and mix in enough Rice Krispies to make a batch of cakes. Spoon into cupcake papers and try to resist until they are firm. (I've substituted chocolate with real cocoa powder - and muesli mix instead of Krispies - and spooned mix flat - into a slab - instead of using cupcake papers. Not sure how firm it sets - I've never given it a chance :-)

If you are feeling insecure about eating the wrong things, then ...

Drop asparagus tips into a pan of boiling water and cook until tender. Drain and dip into a mustard-flavoured vinaigrette. (reminder: try honey and dijon salad dressing)

Increase your feeling of virtuousness by indulging in a plate of exotic fruit such as sweet juicy mangoes or fragrant lychees, instead of a sweet-fest.

Smoked salmon is a simple but good indulgence, particularly when eaten with fresh chicory, a few capers, a drizzle of crème fraiche and a squeeze of lemon.

Core an apple and stuff it with butter that has been beaten with sugar, cinnamon, raisins, lemon juice and zest until fluffy, and bake at 180C/340F/Gas Mark 4 for 30 minutes.
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Create a drink bursting with vitamins A and C, with a huge dose of natural protective antioxidants. This instant tonic is guaranteed to chase away the blues, bring a bloom to your skin and give you a burst of energy.

2 large mangoes
170g blueberries
4 passion fruit

Chill the fruit. Peel the mangoes, then juice with the blueberries and scooped-out flesh of the passion fruit. Serve in a long tall glass. The nutritionist Michael Van Straten is the author of Superjuice (Michael Beazley GBP 10.99)
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The Michelin-starred chef Raymond Blanc

What couldn't you live without?
"It's very much the food I associate with my childhood in Besancon: I love my saucisson and pate with big, fat gherkins."

Store-cupboard confession?
When Raymond gets home after cooking all day, he's so lazy that he likes nothing better than sardines on toast with lemon.

His best-ever meal?
His mother's cooking. His dad would go out and get a chicken, and they would eat it with fresh organic vegetables and herbs from the garden. Cooked slowly, it would build up layers and layers of textures and taste amazing.
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One sheet of conventional pack-bought puff pastry is made up of 729 individual leaves.
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Serves 4

Tomato soup is numero uno in terms of comfort food. At this time of year, organic canned tomatoes have the best flavour, but later on use fresh ones.

3 tablespoon olive oil
2 onions, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and roughly diced
2 sticks celery, roughly diced
2 x 400g cans chopped Italian organic plum tomatoes
800 ml good chicken stock (optional) - btw I use Knorr chicken stock cubes)
Handful basil leaves
3 springs of parsley (tip: I keep a bunch of washed parsley in a plastic box or glass jar in freezer - it's easier to chop when frozen)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Place the olive oil in a large saucepan over a low head and gently fry the onion, garlic, carrots and celery for 10 minutes until soft.

Add the canned tomatoes, stock fresh basil and parsley. Bring to the boil, season and simmer for 40 minutes

Puree the soup, push through a strainer and return to the saucepan to reheat.

Adjust the seasoning. Serve with lots of crusty bread.

[Source courtesy the Sunday Times Style magazine, Sybil Kapoor, Lydia Slater's truly scrumptious, home economist Louise Macaness, April 4, 2004]

# posted by Ingrid J. Jones @ 4/04/2004
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