Kohlrabi Salad with Beetroot and Granny Smith Apple

Oh boy, it's hot in Paris.  I call it cani-kill but most properly in French it's canicule which is a scorching heatwave.    With temperatures reaching the high 30's (celsius) and even near the 50's for the poor bakers in the bakery, one has to remember to keep hydrated.   

No air con here—  this is living in France.   Air conditioners are not commonplace in France, especially in Paris where the city codes don't allow us to blemish their beautiful historic building facades.  So I sit in my bathing suit while writing this with beads of sweat dripping down the sides of my face, forming along the back of my nape, and rolling down my back and chest.  We are on a heatwave alert, level orange.

Fortunately, Paris has plenty of municipal pools and fountains.  Remember the scene from La Dolce Vita with Anita Ekberg wading into the Trevi Fountain—well, then you can imagine how lucky we are to be able to jump into the waters of our equally beautiful fountains in Paris and recreate that scene.   They are open to the public and it's a fantastic way to keep cool.

These days it's tough to muster up any energy to do anything, much less cook.   I've got a super simple recipe for us today.   Just chop, chop away these three crispy, hydrating and refreshing ingredients and voilà, the hard part is done.  Otherwise just throw it all in a robot (food processor in French) and let it do the work!


So raw & crunchy...and so simply delicious.   Stay cool.

Kohlrabi Salad with Beetroot and Granny Smith Apple

• 1 medium size kohlrabi, matchstick
• 1 small size beetroot, matchstick
• 1 granny smith apple, matchstick
• 1/2 lemon, juiced
• Salt and pepper, adjust accordingly


Combine the matchstick size kohlrabi, beetroot, and Granny Smith apple in a bowl.

Squeeze some lemon, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.


Beetroot Brownies

Beetroot Brownies

INGREDIENTS//Yields 12 squares

• 1 medium size beetroot (approximately 250 grams), finely grated
• 130 grams dark chocolate, chopped
• 130 grams butter
• 3 tablespoons agave or honey
• 100 grams chestnut flour
• 30 grams cacao powder
• 3 whole eggs, whisked
• A pinch of sea salt


In a medium size pot add some water and boil the beets until soft.  Then use a sieve and drain all the water out.  With the help of a back of a spoon, press into the beets to squeeze out any excess liquids.  Set it aside.

Melt your chocolate and butter in a bain-marie.  Then pour it into a blender, add the beetroot and the agave, and whiz it up.  Set it aside.

In a seperate mixing bowl combine your chestnut flour, cocao powder, and egg.  Mix by hand.

Add a pinch of sea salt and fold in the chocolate beetroot mixture.

Line a baking tray with parchment paper and pour in your mix.

Pop it into your pre-heated oven at 160° Celsius and bake for 30 minutes or until you can slide a knife into it and pull it out clean.


Beetroot Crackers

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  I'll be celebrating on Saturday with friends.  As the years go by in Paris, I find myself defeated against upholding a traditional fanfare feast each year.  The thought of basting a Turkey—which I don't even eat—for hours and preparing all the side dishes that go along with it just plain 'ole fatigues me.

The fact that it is celebrated on a Thursday is another challenge.  We obviously don't get the long weekend to recuperate from all that feasting, but we don't even get the turkey Thursday off to feast.   But of course, I'm in France.  What do I expect?  What does anyone expect around me?  What does anyone expect from me? 

You got it...nothing.

I try to give a nod to turkey Thursdays, as there is a whole lot to be thankful for.  I've been reduced to taking the family out to a local "American" diner called Breakfast of America (BOA) in the Marais where they usually serve turkey plates on this particular Thursday. 

The ironic thing is that my French husband usually winds up being the only one ordering the turkey plate.  My kids don't have any recollection of a moment when their mum comes out of the kitchen with the star turkey and places it on the table along with the beautiful side dishes that match.  Ooh, and stuffing, well I never got the traditional stuff as I grew up in an Asian household and our turkeys were stuffed with sticky rice but at least I grew up with the concept and nostalgia of stuffing.  Stuffing is for stuffed animals as far as my children are concerned.

This is the time when I miss my family the most.  I miss the football playing on the t.v. screen (it's just part of the background scene), Nat King Cole singing in the background, adults drinking, kids playing, and the scent of sweets and spices tickling our noses—Mmmm, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, sweet potato marshmallow mash.... 

So this is just another Thursday in Paris, France...no turkey day recipe here.  Like I said, I'll be celebrating on Saturday, we'll be creating new traditions.

Beetroot Crackers

INGREDIENTS//Yields 20 pieces

• 100 grams beetroot, raw and finely grated
• 30 grams chia seeds
• 60 grams oats
• 70 grams sunflower seeds
• 20 grams flax seeds
• 10 grams poppy seeds
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon cumin


Let the chia seeds sit in 12 tablespoons of water for about 15 minutes.  It will become gelatinous.


In a food processor, pulse your beet. 

In a medium size mixing bowl, combine your beets and chia seeds.

Then stir in your oats, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, and poppy seeds.

Add the salt and cumin.

Pre-heat your oven to 150° celsius.

Line a baking tray with parchment paper and then spread your mix onto it.

Use a spatula to spread and flatten the mix flat to form a rectangular shape, and don't forget to score it into square bite-size pieces.  Thiis will make it easy to break into cracker shapes afterwards.

Place it in the oven for an hour.   Your crackers should harden up around this time.  If not, leave it in longer.

Take out your ready made crackers and let it cool down.  

Break your beetroot sheet along the lines you have scored for bite size cracker shapes.





Watercress Salad and Cilantro Dressing

A colorful diet is a healthful diet.  Orignally I was looking for jicama to add to this salad.  It was supposed to be a jicama watercress salad with mango slices except that I couldn't find it nearby.  My brain still thinks we are in San Diego but being back in Paris, this meant I'd have to find a specialty Mexican store (not near me).  Popular in Mexican cuisine, jicama has also spread to find itself cultivated in Asia.  Ding!  So off I went to my local Asian stores in search of jicama.  Well, I didn't quite find the jicama, nor was there a ripe mango ready for me, but I did wind up with a bunch of fresh nèfles (very similar to the loquats of Asia).  

Upon arriving at home I was greeted by Lady Jo and was handed a basket of organic veggies.  She was on duty call at her local organic co-op and got dibs on the veggies left behind.  Now, just so you know, I fully support the "No Veggies Left Behind" act and accepted the vegetables gracefully.  I eyed the big beetrootfor that would feed me for at least a weekand whipped out my mandoline to get working on it.  So this is how a dish begins to transforms itself, jicama replaced by beet root and mangos by nèfles.  Ooh, what else can I use on my mandoline since I have it out ahhh...yes, carrots... then a little bit of this, and a little bit of that...

Watercress Salad and Cilantro Dressing


• 1 bunch watercress
• 2 carrots, julienned
• 1 medium beetroot, julienned
• 1 cup loquats (neflè), cut into bite-size pieces; mango is also a good substitution.
• Handful of sunflower seeds and linseeds (flaxseeds)


• 1 bunch coriander (cilantro)
• 1 shallot
• 1/2 lime, juiced
• 1/2 inch of ginger, fresh and grated
• 1 clove garlic
• 1 Thai chili, cut a piece according to your spice level
• 1 1/2 tablespoon tamari sauce (or soy sauce)
• 1/2 teaspoon honey (optional)
• 2 tablespoons sesame oil
• 1 tablespoon vegetable or canonla oil


Rinse the watercress and put it in your salad spinner.

Prepare a medium size bowl.  Separate and discard the stalks from the leaves, keeping just the thin, top bit of the stalks attached to the leaves.

With your mandoline, prepared your carrots and beetroot and set them aside.

Cut your fruit into bite size pieces.

Prepare your dressing by combing all the ingredients into a food processor.

Process until smooth.

In a salad bowl, add your watercress and pour in the dressing.

Toss together so that the watercress is drenched in the dressing, and then add in the rest of the ingredients.

Sprinkle some sunflower seeds and linseeds (flaxseeds) over your salad before serving.


Beetroot Hummus Dip

Living under the influence of a little girl, the color pink has made its way onto my table.  I never thought of my daughter as a pink kind of girl.  She's the kind that jumps into a mud hole and has uncontrollable laughs when she's covered in dirt.  She eats her whole carrot stick with a grip so hard, no one can pry it away from her even if your life depended on it.  She enjoys wrestling her brother to the ground, screaming at the top of her lungs, and coming home with grass stains on each and every possible limb.  Yet, she also loves to dress in pink and eat anything pink.  Preferably a cloud fluffy full of cotton candy pink.

This is dedicated to my little girl.  A variation to the basic hummus recipe that includes a veggie, the beetroot!  Any extra veg I can get in a day makes me feel good.  I have snuck this one into the hummus dip.  No secret about it, the color itself screams out loud.  It's an eye-popper and attention grabber that's perfect for parties.  I like to have this for breakfast, lunch or a snack on a piece of whole grain bread with slices of avocado and black radish.  So does Mila, but sans radis for now.

Beetroot Hummus Dip


Soak the dried chickpeas overnight with a cover.  Be sure to add more than enough water to cover the chickpeas because they swell up to almost double their size. 

INGREDIENTS//yields 2.5 cups

• 1 cup dried chickpeas (yields about 3 cups cooked, 1 cup cooked=150 grams)
• 2.5 cloves garlic
• 1.5 teaspoons cumin
• 1.5 teaspoons sea salt (adjust accordingly to personal taste)
• 3.5 tablespoons tahini paste
• 1 small beetroot (boiled until soft), about 70 grams
• 1.5 lemon, juiced
• Olive oil, drizzle


Drain and transfer your soaked chickpeas to a large cooking pot.  Fill it up with water with about an inch or two to cover. 

Bring it to a boil and then turn down the heat to a slow simmer for at least two hours.  If you see some white foam during this time, just scoop it out.  Taste check every 10 minutes afterwards to see if is firm enough on the outside and tender on the inside.  Next drain and rinse them under cold water. 

Optional:  I have heard of people peeling skin off of each and every chickpea before adding it into the food processor.  Apparently, the dip comes out smoother.  I don't know.  I never seem to have the time to do this.

Add all your ingredients into the food processor and turn it on.  Use your spatula to swipe along the sides occasionally so that you get every bit of it to blend together for a smooth consistency.  You can add water to the batch if it is too thick. 

Top it off with a generous drizzle of olive oil.


I am a garlic fan.  I like my hummus and beetroot hummus with a sharp garlicky taste and a slight citrusy twang to it.  If you want a milder recipe just use 2 cloves of garlic and the sweet flavor of the beetroot will come through.  Add enough water as needed to achieve the consistency you like.  I added nearly a half cup of water to this recipe.