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Feasting paused


London is exhausting.

I got home to Paris today after a week of warbling, feasting and fêting. Highlights included dinner at Bao Fitzrovia (sticky delicious), Monteverdi madrigals in colourful Leighton House, mama’s home cooked Sunday lamb (faultless), and being paid to imitate police sirens in a recording studio.

Thank goodness Paris is so QUIET in comparison. Emigrating has its benefits.

That’s until tomorrow evening, at least, when DJ and EJB are descending for a long weekend of Parisian decadence. Dinner at Clown Bar, wontons in Belleville and a cheeky truffle croque madame are all on the menu. Lucky us.

A vague attempt at packing in some essential vitamins and minerals seems like a good idea over the next 36 hours. Here are two colourful bowls of goodness for a quick, light supper or lunch. The first is also a pretty good hang over cure, which is a happy coincidence.

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Sprouts with butternut and soft boiled eggs

Serves 2, takes 20 minutes

main / salad / autumn / winter / vegetarian / easy peasy / ready in a jiffy / nothing fancy / brunch / detox / on a budget / dairy free / gluten free

Brunch, lunch or supper, this is always good. Enough sweetness and essential egginess to help you through a hangover (if in need), but also a healthy and nourishing plate. For those of you craving bacon, you could add that. Crumbled feta is also good.

* Butternut or small pumpkin - half, seeds removed

* Olive oil

* Paprika – a couple of pinches

* Brussels sprouts - a few big handfuls (c. 300g), tops removed

* Dried herbs - oregano or thyme, a couple of pinches

* Marsala wine or something boozy (white wine/martini) - A splash

* Eggs - 4

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C.

Chop the butternut into dice sized cubes (you can leave the skin on), toss with olive oil, paprika, salt and pepper in a roasting dish and bake for 15 minutes.

Roughly chop the sprouts and sauté in a large frying pan over a medium high heat with a glug of olive oil and some herbs. Season generously and add a splash of Marsala wine. Cook until al dente.

Meanwhile boil the eggs. Bring a pan of water to the boil and then simmer the eggs for 7 minutes. Run the eggs under cold water and peel them carefully.

Serve in a bowl, scattering the butternut over a generous heap of sprouts. Cut each egg in half and place on top, seasoning again with salt, pepper and paprika.

Warm salad of prawns, preserved lemon, fennel and bulgur

Serves 2, takes 20 minutes

main / salad / perennial / fish / dairy free / detox / easy peasy / nothing fancy / ready in a jiffy

This salad was an experiment with leftovers. Dark bulgur is apparently easier to digest than other wheat strains, but it's also tasty and nutty and chewy. Preserved lemons and soft leeks make a delectable addition to many grains and pulses. Use what you have.

* Leek - 1, sliced

* Olive oil

* Fennel - 1 small bulb, finely diced

* Lemon - juice of 3/4

* Dark bulgur - 2/3 cup

* Parsley or coriander - a handful, chopped

* Mint - a few leaves, chopped

* Paprika - 1/2 tsp

* Preserved lemon - 1/4, finely diced

* Cooked, peeled prawns - 300g

Sweat the leek and a glug of olive oil in a large frying pan for five minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the fennel, cover the pan and leave to steam for ten minutes.

Meanwhile prepare the bulgur. Place in a saucepan with 1 and 1/3 cups of salted water (use twice the volume of liquid to grain) and bring to the boil. Cover the pan and leave to simmer for ten minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to steam for a further two minutes.

Add a glug of olive to the bulgur, along with a the juice of half a lemon, the chopped herbs, paprika, preserved lemon and some fresh black pepper. Stir to combine.

Season the prawns with salt, pepper and another squeeze of lemon. Add them to the frying pan with the leek and fennel for thirty seconds or so, just to heat them up.

Finally add the leek, fennel and prawns to the bulgur and toss to combine.


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