23 May 2012

A Happy Medium

''You know what else everybody likes? Parfaits. Have you ever met a person, you say, ''Let's get some parfait,'' they say, ''Hello no, I don't like no parfait''? Parfaits are delicious.''
-Donkey (Shrek)

Parfaits are a particular weakness of mine. They're marvellous. Even the French couldn't find a better way to describe the dessert than to just call it perfect, and I don't know what else could be better. When it comes to dessert, I trust the French with all my heart. Not that this here berry parfait of mine could compare to the likes of the mega-layered monster in Shrek, but still, it's pretty good. More to the point, it's incredibly refreshing. 

You see, the weather over here has been particularly warm these past few days, with temperatures as high as 30ºC (86ºF) which is quite a lot in my neck of the woods. Summer is well and truly here, and though Spring has gone to sleep, some of its late harvest – with this I refer specifically to dandelions – has stubbornly refused to leave. There are so incredibly many dandelions blossoming out and about in the fields by the lake, and I for one refuse to simply let them go to waste. 

Yes, dandelions are something to look forward to come later Spring/early Summer. Not that it matters much, but they are, in fact, also quite healthy. Dandelion leaves are rich in A, C and K vitamins, as well as iron, calcium and potassium. I kind of like it when food I love is good for me. It makes it so much easier to indulge. 

Anyway, I ended up spending yesterday morning picking dandelion leaves and churning them to a deep green, delicious pesto. The pesto ended up in a bowl of fresh, salted pasta. Because it has such a distinctive taste, I like to keep other toppings simple; a handful of cashew nuts and some freshly grated Manchego cheese is more than enough. The pesto pasta was followed by my simple and tasty berry parfait and a glass of black chokeberry soda. I heartily recommend anyone who can get hold of black chokeberry syrup to invest in a bottle or five. It has an exquisite taste, and is neither too sweet nor too sour. Best of all, it keeps me cool in this humid and hot summer climate :-) 

Oh, and just a quick note in the flurry of babbling here, but I will be gone for a month or so. I'm off on a backpacking trip with a friend. We will begin in Moscow, stop by St. Petersburg, then take the Trans-Siberian railway to Mongolia via Siberia, before stopping by Beijing and finally finishing the journey in Taiwan. I can't wait to go and I can't wait to tell you all about it afterwards, but in the meantime I wish you a very lovely end of May and June.

À bientôt <3 See you soon

Penne with Dandelion Pesto

450 g. (15.87 oz.) penne
Raw cashew nuts, lightly toasted 
Manchego cheese, freshly grated 

Dandelion Pesto
40 g. (3 ½ tbsp.) pine nuts
300 g. (10 oz.) dandelion leaves, cleansed and chopped
225 ml. (7.5-8 fl. oz.) olive oil
6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped 
1 tsp. sea salt 
65 g. (3/4 cup) parmigiano reggiano, freshly grated

Mix all the pesto ingredients, except the oil and parmesan, together in a blender. Slowly add the oil until you have a thick, creamy sauce. Add the parmesan, and set aside. Meanwhile, cook the penne in a large pot of boiling salted water under al dente. Mix the cashew nuts, penne and pesto together. Sprinkle shaved Manchego on top, and garnish with fresh basil.

Black Chokeberry Soda

25 g. (2 tbsp.) black chokeberry (aronia) syrup
260 ml. (8.79 fl. oz.) sparkling water
Ice cubes (optional)

Pour the black chokeberry syrup in a pitcher. Add the sparkling water and ice cubes. 

Easy Berry Parfait

200 g. (7 oz.) mixed berries, of your choice (I used blueberries & raspberries)
40 g. (3 ½ tbsp) powdered sugar
3 tsp. vanilla sugar (or seeds from one vanilla)
200 g. (7 oz.) vanilla-flavoured yoghurt
Extra berries, for decoration

Combine the yoghurt, half the powdered sugar and vanilla in a bowl. Crush the berries with a fork, and mix with remaining sugar. Layer yoghurt mixture and berries in two glasses. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, and top with extra berries.

    3 comment (s):

    Baltic Maid said...

    Have a great trip!!!

    Vicky said...

    I really like the recipes you do - I have made your breakfast rolls and the garlic bread thanks for sharing :)

    Marion said...

    @ Baltic Maid: Thank you!

    @ Vicky: Thank you so much. I'm glad to hear it :)

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