Before anything else, let me apologise for my radio silence over the last two months, I’ve been a little preoccupied to say the least! It’s all well and good to get all excited and decide to have three different wedding celebrations (with the biggest yet to come!), but in practice, to organise them is quite another thing all together! I have been meaning to write a short post to say that I’d be back soon, but obviously, that never happened. So, I hope that you pick up reading where you left off, and I promise I’ll be around more often … until about September, when I’m going to start feeling the organisational crunch again!
I just stepped off the plane this afternoon, having spent a truly magical two weeks in France! We started off in Paris and ended up on the French Riviera, with stops in Auvergne, Lozere, Luberon along the way. There were so many special memories, unforgettable moments, incredible meals, and too many photos to share straight away, but I’m hoping to get around to it all because it would be a crime to not share some of the magic – and perhaps plant a seed in your mind to encourage you to make the journey yourself.
For the moment, I just wanted to share a salad recipe that I thought up whilst in the supermarket. Being inspired by the variety of courgette dishes that I had in the south of France, and also with a need to take it easy on the fat/meat/butter/bread, (which I have been consuming in vast amounts!), I picked up some fresh ingredients to make a light and tasty salad, and attempted to trick my stomach into thinking that I was not yet back in Hong Kong. It makes a great light meal together with a green salad, or as a side salad for a summer BBQ.
Courgette, Mozzarella and Tomato Salad
1 courgette (zucchini)
125g (a large ball) mozzarella
1/4 red onion, very thinly sliced (or French shallots if you have them)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
A generous sprinkle of herbes de provence
Good quality olive oil
Salt and pepper
❤ Slice the tomatoes, mozzarella and red onion and distribute evenly on a platter. Generously drizzle the platter with good quality olive oil, and season with fleur de sel, or Maldon sea salt.
❤ Whilst the tomatoes and mozzarella are marinating, slice the courgette into 1/2 inch-thick disks. In a bowl, toss the courgette slices with olive oil, a good several pinches herbes de provence, salt and pepper. Lay the courgettes out on a baking tray and grill under high heat for 4-5 minutes each side. The courgettes should be caramelised before you turn them.
❤ Whilst still hot, lay the courgettes over the tomatoes and mozzarella, season again with salt and pepper and a bit more of the good quality olive oil. Bon appetit!
Regarding olive oil, I usually use regular extra virgin olive oil from the local supermarket for cooking, but when it comes to seasoning and salads, I raid my stash of olive oils that I’ve brought back from France. At the moment, I am loving the Black Fruity virgin olive oil from A L’olivier. It’s a brand that you can find in Hong Kong, but you won’t necessarily find all of the flavoured ones. This black fruity oil has a distinct perfume of black olives, but it’s not too much for non-olive eaters. It’s gorgeous.
As for salt, I have also been converted to French fleur de sel de guerande, it makes me wonder why I used table salt for all those years for anything other than boiling pasta, and a little bit goes a long way! Fleur de sel (‘flower of salt’) is hand-harvested sea salt, traditionally collected off the coast of Brittany. I’ve bought these two brands before in either CitySuper or GrEAT. The Reflet de France sel moulu is larger salt crystals that can be used in marinades or cooking on the stove, whereas the other brand is crystals that have been ground, so they can be used directly in salads, or as a table salt.