Sardines with peaches and a saffron, ginger and lime sauce

I eat Sardines regularly. They say it’s good for the brain… That is one reason, the other is its wonderful taste. Here is a lovely recipe with a delightful sauce.

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For one can of plain sardines
1- Open the can of sardines and let the oil out.
2- Place the sardines in a bowl and sprinkle with a generous amount of lime juice. Let them soak for about 20 minutes.
3- Take the sardines out of the bowl and in the remaining liquid add some fresh ginger root grated, freshly crushed pepper and a tablespoon of saffron liquid (recipe here).

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To serve, place some fresh baby arugula on a plate, top with the sardines and some fresh peaches cut in cubes. Pour the sauce on top of it all and sprinkle with fresh min leaves. I served it accompanied with a good “pain de campagne.”

Confiture d’abricot et verneine – Apricot and verbena jam

Verveine, known in English as Verbena or Verbena Citronella, is a delicate herb used mainly for tea and as a digestive all around the Mediterranean. It is not readily available in Mexico except if grown in a private garden. So the last time I was in Paris, I bought boxes and boxes of it. I grew up drinking it in the evening, and to this day, I do the same.

Verbena has a lovely minty fragrance and a slightly citrus like taste, making it a wonderful match with many jams such as apricot, peach or raspberries. To use it in jam, the best would be to use loose fresh leaves. But if you do not have any at hand, as in my case, simply prepare a infusion as indicated in this recipe.

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For one kilogram of fresh apricots
1- First, make the verbena infusion. It should be concentrated. Place one teabag in 100 ml of boiling water and let it sit until the water becomes dark gold.

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2- Wash the apricots, cut in half, take out the pits and cut again in quarters if the apricots are large.

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3- In a large cooking pan, place the apricots, the verbena infusion and a mix of 550 gr of white granulated sugar and 250 gr of brown sugar (sugar should total 800 gr).
4- Place on medium heat until it starts to boil. During that time, mix gently so that the sugar does not stick to the bottom of the pan.
5- Bring down the heat to low and let it simmer for about 25 minutes. Stir every five minutes or so during the process, do it gently so as not to break the fruits.
6- You know the jam is done once you place a drop of the liquid on a cold plate and it does not run when you tilt the plate. Once it is done, immediately place the jam in tightly closed glass containers previously sterilized with boiling water.
7- Let it cool down then place in the fridge. The jam is ready 24 hours later.

Enjoy as you would enjoy any jam!

Fig and lavender jam

An enchanting jam made with fresh figs and a touch of lavender. The taste is absolutely divine and the lavender gives it a subtle aroma that seems to transport us into a lush garden on an early summer morning.

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I used fresh organic figs and the lavender was from the terrace where it is plentiful these days. I like to grow lavender because of its lovely fragrance, and also because it helps to repopulate the bees.

I have placed pots of lavender at the entrance of the house and next to the window in the bedrooms. They are wonderful to keep mosquitos away.

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For one kilogram of fresh figs 
1- Wash the figs, cut the stem and cut the fruits in two if small, and four if large.
2- Put half of the figs in a cooking pot. Place on top of them six lavender flowers. They should have some stem but no leaves. Just the flower.
3- Put the rest of the figs on top. Do not mix. Then pour 800 gr of sugar on top of it all. Again no mixing. Finally, close the lid and let it rest for one hour.
4- Place the pot on medium fire and let it come to a boil. Mix so that the sugar gets diluted without sticking to the bottom of the pot.
5- Now reduce the fire and cook for 20 minutes. Stir constantly.
6- Place in prepared jam jars (sterilised with boiling water) and wait until they are cool enough to place in the fridge.

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Let the jam rest in the fridge for a day then enjoy! It is a delight when served with white cheese, such as panela, and fresh bread. 

Cooling cucumber salad with mint

A refreshing salad, lovely in colour and in taste. The touch of cumin gives it a nice twist, as well as helps with digestion. This salad is recommended as an accompaniment to spicy food, such as curry, since all its ingredients are soothing to the stomach.

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To prepare, simply sprinkle cucumbers with lime juice, olive oil, fresh mint, a dash of salt and another one of cumin.

Enjoy!

Cucumber and avocado cold soup

Wonderful as an appetiser when the temperatures are up!

One tip before you start making the soup, make sure the cucumbers are cold. I know cucumbers are not supposed to go in the fridge, but make an exception this time, and leave them in the fridge for an hour.

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For four servings: 
In a blender just mix: two small cucumbers, two avocados at the point of becoming ripe (if you use ripe and very soft avocados, the soup will not taste as fresh), the juice of one lime juice, two cloves of garlic, a bunch of fresh mint leaves, a teaspoon of crushed black pepper and one cup of natural yoghurt.

To serve, place some coarse salt and Tabasco sauce on the side for guests to add to their servings. It goes well with fresh bread.