#FoodieFriday: A Taste of Spring - Firefly Books Blog

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#FoodieFriday: A Taste of Spring

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#FoodieFriday: A Taste of Spring


The days are getting longer, flowers are beginning to bloom, and the birds are singing. Spring is here, and that means it’s time to add some fresh spring flavours to your cooking.

Whether you’re preparing for Sunday lunch or need some spring-inspired ideas for dinner with friends, these light and brightly flavoured recipes will bring a taste of spring to your table.

Bon appétit!


MAIN: Grilled Calamari with Black-Eyed Beans and Spinach Purée (from Mazi: Modern Greek Food)

What you need:
6 medium-sized baby squid (calamari), cleaned and heads/tentacles and bodies separated
Olive oil, or sunflower oil if deep-frying
Juice of 1 lemon

500g dried black-eyed beans
1 bunch of dill, chopped
1 bunch of flat leaf parsley, chopped
½ bunch of chives, chopped
Grated zest and juice of 1 large lemon
Grated zest of 1 lime
1 roasted red pepper from a jar, drained and diced
2 spring onions, chopped
Pinch of salt
Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

160ml extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp honey
Pinch of salt

4 tsp olive oil
2 tsp butter
1 bunch of spring onions, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
240g baby spinach leaves, washed
½ bunch of dill, chopped
100ml water
Salt and pepper

100ml extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
Grated zest of 1 lemon
Grated zest of 1 lime
1 small red chilli, finely chopped
½ bunch of chives, finely chopped

How to make it:
1. Soak the black-eyed beans in plenty of cold water for a minimum of 7 hours, or overnight.
2. Drain and rinse the beans. Cook in a saucepan of boiling water for 1 hour or until soft. Drain and leave to cool.
3. Mix the ingredients for the vinaigrette together in a small bowl until the honey has dissolved.
4. Add the cooled beans to a large bowl with the rest of ingredients, except the vinaigrette, and mix together. Finally, add the vinaigrette and toss to combine. Serve at room temperature or cold.
5. For the spinach purée, heat the olive oil and 1 teaspoon of the butter in a saucepan, add the spring onions and garlic and sweat over medium heat until soft but not browned. Add the spinach and dill, season with salt and pepper and cook until the spinach has wilted.
6. Transfer the spinach mixture to a food processor or blender, add the measured water and remaining teaspoon of butter and blend until puréed. Pour the purée into a bowl and place the bowl on top of another bowl filled with ice-cold water in order to keep the purée a nice bright green colour.
7. Mix all the ingredients for the chive oil together in a bowl and set aside.
8. Heat a griddle pan or heavy-based frying pan over high heat – you can use a barbecue in the summer months or an indoor grill if you have one. Cut the squid bodies into pieces and season with salt. Add the squid to the hot pan with a drizzle of olive oil and cook for 1 minute on each side until the squid firm up, turn from opaque to white inside and are nicely charred. Repeat with the squid heads/tentacles. Alternatively, deep-fry the squid heads/tentacles in a large, deep saucepan or a deep-fryer in sunflower oil heated to 375–400°F (190–200°C) for 1 minute, then drain and place on a plate lined with kitchen paper to soak up the excess oil. Squeeze the lemon juice over the calamari.
9. To serve, spread the spinach purée on a plate and pile the black-eyed bean salad on top. Add the calamari bodies and drizzle them with the chive oil, then place the calamari heads/tentacles on top. 


Serves 6.


DESSERT: French Lemon Tart with Berry Coulis (from Best of the Simple Things)

What you need:

225g plain flour
25g icing sugar
3 tbsp ice-cold water
150g butter
A pinch of salt

4 eggs, beaten and sieved
150g superfine sugar
275ml double cream
3 lemons, zest and juice

How to make it:
1. Sift the flour and icing sugar. Blitz pastry ingredients in a blender. Chill in the fridge for 30 mins.
2. Grease a 20cm flan dish.  Roll out the pastry, then bake blind in a moderate oven for about 10 minutes.
3. Beat the eggs and sugar together, then beat in the cream, then add the lemon juice and zest.
4. Pour the mixture into the baked tart case; bake at 325°F (170°C) for 30-40 mins. Chill.


What you need:
2 handfuls of mixed berries such as redcurrants, blackcurrants, raspberries and strawberries
1 tbsp agave syrup

How to make it:
1. Warm the berries in a pan until they start to mush slightly. Add the agave syrup and a touch of water. Chill.


Serves 8.


TO DRINK: French Spring Punch (from Cocktails: The Bartender's Bible)

What you need:
1 shot Cognac VSOP
½ shot Crème de framboise liqueur
½ shot Freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ shot Monin Pure Cane 2:1 sugar syrup
Top up with Brut champagne

How to make it:
1. Shake first 4 ingredients with ice and strain into an ice-filled sling glass.
2. Top with champagne, garnish with a strawberry, and serve with straws.




Get the books:

 Mazi: Modern Greek Food

 Best of the Simple Things

 Cocktails: The Bartender's Bible

in Books Hits: 1559

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