Pesto puff pastry Christmas tree

  I bet everyone is preparing for Christmas Eve now! I am a little bit in advance as I am celebrating Christmas with my in-laws for the first time this year but we did a little pre-Christmas at my parents too. 

If you are still looking for an easy but original idea that does not break the bank for you guests to nibble on with the bubbly, I have the perfect recipe for you : a yummy pesto Christmas tree! 

I have seen this recipe all over Facebook lately and I just had to try it for myself! It looks amazing, very festive and it is so quick and easy! 

What do you need? 2 sheets puff pastry – a couple tbsp red pesto – a couple tbsp green pesto – a few spoonfuls of milk or a beaten egg (optional)

How to make it?   

1. Spread the pesto onto the first sheet of pastry. 

2. Cover with the 2nd sheet

3. Cut out the shape of a tree – don’t through away the rest of the dough, you can cut it into pieces and serve them alongside the tree. 

4. Twirl the branches

5. Brush with egg wash or milk for extra shine

6. Bake in the oven at 200C for 10-15 mn

You can make this recipe with lots of other savoury or sweet fillings! How about a jam or Nutella filled Christmas tree for brunch or an afternoon treat? YUM! 

Merry Christmas everyone! I’d love to know all the good stuff you are preparing! I am sure your kitchens are are smelling divinely! 

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No-Meatloaf Wellington

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Only 3 weeks until Christmas! I am usually sharing my recipes a bit late  but this time I am trying to share a couple of ideas ahead of the big day, so you can actually use them. Let’s be realistic, I doubt anyone is flagging my old recipes for future use in one year’s time! This one is a very nice vegan option, looks really yummy and only requires a minimum amount of work. Even braiding the pastry is dead easy!

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Maple-balsamic glased roasted winter veg

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Having friends over for lunch this week-end, it’s been a while! I love having people over at ours and I usually really enjoy looking up recipes over the week ahead of the gathering. This week though, I was really busy with work and did not really have time for anything. And then on Friday I went out for drinks with my team … and what was going to be a glass of time ended up in a much longer night out and I only got tobed around 3am. So Saturday morning I did not really feel up to cooking, and needed a bit of extra time for getting ready really! This recipe was perfect for this situation! Once you are done cutting the veg, you just need to leave them in the oven until they (and you) are ready.

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Coconut cookies (vegan)

imageSo… How did you dress up for Halloween?? This year I finally realised that here, Halloween in about dressing up. Not looking scary – which is how we do it in France. Actually in the UK Halloween looks more like an excuse to wear your kinkiest outfit. Lots of sexy nurses, sexy policewomen, sexy whatever. So I decided to look innocent for a change and dressed up as Little Red Riding Hood. Not zombie or sexy version. Just Little Red Riding Hood.
And of course to make the costume complete, you need a basket full of biscuits and a jar of butter.

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Morrocan style quinoa soup

imageSometimes inspiration comes from the least expected places. I have been travelling a lot for work in the last couple of weeks, and I ended up in the departure area of same Heathrow terminal two days in a row. Just like many of us I expect, I am not a fan of aeroport or plane food. But this time I was quite surprised with my findings at EAT. They have a lot of nice fillings soups to chose from, and quite tasty I have to say.

One of them was the inspiration for this Moroccan style soup, that is filling enough to be your lunch or dinner!

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Mushroom, courgette, spinach and tarragon vegan lasagna

vegan lasagna

We have now reached the end of our 1 month back-to-school vegan challenge and I have to say it was a great experience. First of all it was not nearly as difficult as I expected it to be. I actually really enjoyed the challenge of cooking vegan every day, and as long as you have the right things in your pantry, it’s all fine.

The one thing that I found a bit difficult was when eating out – and I live in London so it is pretty easy to find a vegan option in most restaurants. But I don;t want to force my friends to go to a vegan restaurant, and in the other ones there is only one vegan option. So you end up paying to eat what you can, rather than what you want. Not fun.

Another thing is that I ended up cooking a lot of stews of all sorts : curries, chilies, lentil soups etc.. It was all very nice, and absolutely not a bland and boring diet, but as we are usually eating mostly French and Italian inspired dishes, I was missing other “formats” of food. Until I tried putting together this super quick and simple vegan lasagna which can be easily adapted with all sorts of veggies. What I liked best about this one is how the nutritional yeast really makes a good job at replacing the cheese crust on the top. Yum!

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Blackbean pumpkin chilli (vegan, GF)

Vegan chili FINAL

We are well into October and autumn now, which means colder days and darker evenings. I don;t know about you but I always dread the arrival of Winter. I love the festive season of course, but I have a hard time keeping up my energy when I seem to never see the sun due to the shorter days. But my yoga teacher convinced me to embrace the colder season this time, with everything it has to offer, rather than go against the flow. Basically the meditation of the day was all about how we should follow the rhythm of seasons and slow down when autumn comes rather than trying to keep going doing as many things as in spring and summer. It will be all about cosying up from now on until April ! I am officially entering my hibernation period. Let’s start with this warming pumpkin and bean stew!

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Vegan GF oatmeal banana pancakes

Night out in Brixton and Clapham with the girls yesterday … Good times!! But of course the morning after always hurts, and – I was told – more and more so as you get to the dreaded 30’s! One more year to go for me so I better up my game for my last year of “light” hangovers.

Nothing better than a big stack of pancakes to recover though! And this version is vegan and GF too … though you would never guess!

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Fudgy vegan black bean brownies

Vegan brownies

After 2 weeks of successfully following our vegan diet at home, we have been faced with our first “social challenge”. We were spending Sunday lunch with good friends, and realised we would have to ask them to cook something vegan for us. Thankfully, they took it well and seem to have enjoyed the challenge. Of course, I offered to bring dessert. And I thought it would be a good occasion to test a vegan cake recipe … and not any cake, a chocolate cake! For me a rich, fudgy, melt in the mouth chocolate cake epitomised what I was giving up on a vegan diet, so let’s see if I proved myself wrong here..

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Super easy baked vegan falafel 

(null)_1Since we started our vegan challenge, I have to admit the grocery bill has gone up quite a bit, as we buy more organic products and things we can only find in the “nature store”. That’s fine though, as we cook with better, higher quality ingredients. We are made of what we eat,  so let’s not eat too much sh*! And frankly after 12 days of vegan food, we are both feeling great and full of energy.

One thing on my shopping list that has been bothering me are the falafel we were buying – which I found a tad expensive for what they were. £2 for 5 (dry) little chickpea balls in a plastic box? Not convinced.  I have always loved falafel dishes when going out, and the ones in my fridge did not live up to my expectations. So I set out to making them myself and realised it was oh-so-easy!

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