Zoodles with a cilantro-avocado and sunflower seeds unctuous pesto topped with lightly spiced garlic-paprika shrimps. A great way to cut on carbs and fit right in that bikini this summer!cilantro Zoodles Pin

Creamy Cilantro Zoodles with paprika shrimps (5)

Zoodles, zoodles, zoodles… Quite a “hit” from last summer, not yet out of the spectrum of trends this summer… so let’s make good use of it! I’m looking for ways to cut on carbs those days and zoodles are a great way to imitate a plate of pasta without all the empty calories! If you don’t have a special instrument to make zoodles, no worry! Simply use the large hole cheese grater!

I’ve the zoodles ultra creamy with the help of an avocado based pesto and gave it a fresh touch of cilantro. If you are one of those “soap” tasting guys when you eat cilantro, just substitute it by some basil. Plus, since the carbs are out the window, the avocado will help make the dish a satisfying and unctuous one with it’s fat content. Don’t worry it’s a good “kind” of fat!

What is pesto exactly?

Creamy Cilantro Zoodles with paprika shrimpsWell I did not know if I could call this sauce a “pesto”, so I went on to check my good friend Wikipedia and got my answer. Pesto is technically a paste that is made by pounding, in other words, done in a mortar. I didn’t use a mortar, since I’m fairly lazy when it’s too hot in the kitchen to cook, but most people nowadays makes their pesto with the blender which … is the modern way to make pesto…. so I’ve used it for this “modern pesto”. The idea came from another Zoodle recipe I’ve made last year (Pesto-Avocado Zoodles) which was dreamy creamy, the perfect dish for a hot summer day. This time I wanted to use a different set of ingredients yet still similar to Genovese pesto. I’ve change the basil for cilantro, the pine nuts for sunflower seeds, the garlic for a fresh green pepper and to keep it vivid green and fresh a touch of lime. I wanted to use shrimps with the Zoodles to add proteins in there so I thought this Cilantro “creamy sweet pesto” would fit perfectly to the spiced shrimps.

Paprika’s many faces

Here, in Spain, there are many types of paprikas… the smoked, the spicy, the bittersweet and the sweet… Each done with different peppers and methods which gives them their own attributes, giving different directions to a dish. Although where I’m from, Canada, and am sure many other places. The markets often just have one or two type of “paprika”, you can generally find  a “smoked paprika” and then the general “paprika”. For this recipe, I wanted some of that “spicy” paprika for the shrimps, to complement the sweet cream pesto underneath so hopefully your version at home is the “spicy” kind. If not, add a sprinkle of espelette pepper or cayenne powder in there. We wouldn’t want to make this a “too sweet” dish and miss that nice dynamic duo that is spicy and sweet!

So let’s make zoodles!


Creamy Cilantro Zoodles with Paprika Shrimps

Makes 4 portions |Preparation: 15 minutes | Difficulty: easy

Creamy Cilantro Zoodles with paprika shrimpsIngredients
  • 6 zucchinis
  • shrimps (amount up to you)
  • 1 garlic clove finely chopped
  • paprika (spicy)
  • 40ml (1 shot) brandy  
  • salt and pepper
Cilantro Pesto
  • 50g of sunflower seeds
  • 2 full hands of fresh cilantro leaves
  • 3 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 lime (juice)
  • 1/4 of a green bell pepper
  • 1 small avocado
  • salt and pepper
  1. Start by making the zoodles with the zucchinis, add them to a sieve with a sprinkle of salt
  2. In a blender mix all the ingredients for the cilantro pesto and reserve
  3. In a small pan, high heat, cook the shrimps with the vodka, garlic, paprika and salt and let them cook until the liquid is out (2 minutes)
  4. Rinse the pan and cook, high heat, the zoodles in a bit of olive oil for 1 minute, just enough to warm them up
  5. Add the pesto to the zoodles and mix
  6. Serve the shrimps on top of the zoodles with a lime wedge



Creamy Cilantro Zoodles with paprika shrimps

Tequila Lime Shrimp Bowl is a light mexican citric recipe with a touch of heat made of sauté shrimps, avocado, cilantro leaves, pico de gallo, mango and quinoa for a light and colorful Mexican dinner.Tequila lime shrimp bowl with avocado, pico de gallo, avocado, quinoa and cilantro

Mexican Shrimps tequila lime avocado mango cilantro and pico de gallo

This Mexican bowl is filled with fresh and colorful ingredients and simply irresistible for a hot summer night. The protagonist of the bowl here is the shrimps, they are cooked in a tad of tequila, garlic, habanero and a squeeze of lime for a little boost in flavor. I saw the recipe of Tequila Lime Shrimp here and there on the web and wanted to try it out. I add to come up with a slightly different version, so I’ve done a Mexican Bowl. Nothing looks more appealing to me than a simple bowl with lots of fresh and colorful veggies one next to the other and a touch of protein and grains.

To flame or not to flame

Tequila lime shrimp bowlFor sauté the shrimps I didn’t flamed them in the tequila, I wanted the shrimp to simply cook in this super tasty broth to get all that residual sweetness from the agave the calm way… to kick up the shrimps a notch. I’ve used a reposado type of Tequila which is darker and sweeter, although any tequila would do, I highly recommend the reposado for the final taste. To flame or not to flame is up to you and the tequila you use. Remember that in order to flame the shrimps you’ll need a Tequila with an alcohol content of 40% and over. Tastewise flaming or simply cooking in alcohol doesn’t change the final taste or structure of the dish. The Maillard reaction or caramelisation doesn’t have enough time or heat to take place and brown up the surface of those shrimps.


The sidekicks

Tequila lime shrimp bowl

As for the other ingredients in the bowl, I’ve use a healthy filler from South America ; white quinoa. I believe quinoa is the perfect crunchy and healthy sidekick to the shrimps, plus it fits the “Latino” flair from the dish. Quinoa being a South American grain which is high in proteins, iron and vitamins, it serves as the energy giver of the dish. The pico de gallo gives the bowl a fresh and lightly spiced element, the mango the sweetness and tropical flair, the avocado the smooth and creamy side and the cilantro leaves the crunch and some extra freshness. For a bowl filled with colors, flavors and textures!

Let’s get this bowl going!


Tequila Lime Shrimp Bowl

Makes 2 portions | Preparation: 15 minutes | Difficulty: Easy

Tequila lime shrimp bowlThe shrimps
  • 200g of medium size shrimps (frozen or fresh)
  • 50ml of Tequila reposado
  • 1 lime
  • 2-3 garlic clove finely minced
  • 1/2 tsp of fresh habanero or your favorite hot pepper
  • salt and pepper
The pico de Gallo
  • 2 big tomato cut into small dices
  • 1/2 tsp of habanero or your favorite hot pepper
  • 2 tbsp onions finely chopped
  • 1/2 lime juice
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • salt and pepper
The other bowl sides
  • mango 
  • quinoa
  • cilantro
  • avocado
  • extra lime wedge
  1. Start by unfreezing the shrimps (if frozen) and season them with salt and pepper
  2. Assemble the pico de gallo, mix it up and let it marinate
  3. Cook the quinoa following the instructions
  4. In a wok or sauté pan, add a bit of cooking oil and saute the shrimps high heat for a minute
  5. Add the garlic, hot pepper and tequila and let them cook until the tequila is gone
  6. Stop the fire, add the squeeze of a lime
  7. Assemble the bowls with all the elements



Tequila lime shrimp bowl

An unctuous orange sauce made out of papaya and white wine mustard covers the shrimps. Accompanied by a crunchy yellow bell pepper and cilantro leaves for an asian/tropical influence. A lovely recipe with lots of character!curry fruity seafood

Papaya-Mustard Shrimps

This flavor is a combination of sweet and sour with a touch of spice, it has an asian/tropical side to it, or more precisely it’s a kind of curry with extra mustard flavor. Fresh, light and easy to prepare, another beloved “done under 30 minutes” meal. I’ve used a wok for this recipe although a pan would do as well. A nice crunchy yellow bell pepper and cilantro leaves are going to accompany to perfection this meal. The peppers aren’t cooked here, to keep the meal extra fresh and crunchy, although if you prefer… add them to the shrimps to warm them up a bit. The highlight of the dish lie in the sweet and sour sauce, a thick sweet mustard sauce made out of mainly papaya and white wine mustard. Mustard is a great emulsifier making the sauce thick or creamy. A dish filled with flavors!

The mustard world

sweet and sour shrimps with cilantro

First of all, mustard is relatively light ingredient only containing 15 calories per teaspoon. There are 3 types of mustard grains (black, brown and white) although only the brown and the white are used to make the mustard paste, the black one is added to mustard paste to give it a crunch. The brown grain as a stronger, spicier note to it, while the white one is relatively soft. Then again, there are different intensities in mustard flavors, whether it’s mixed with vinegar, wine or cold water. The vinegar neutralizes the spices from the mustard and makes it milder, the cold water keeps all the compounds intact keeping all the mustard grains sharpness intact. The wine version is the “in between” of the two methods above, in my opinion the best type of all mustards are the ones done with wine (white wine, whole grain mustard). In the south of Germany, they have a great sweet mustard made with whether apple sauce or honey while in England they have the opposite; the “hot mustard” which is powerful and going up to the nose in no time with its spicy/bold notes. Of course, in between are many many more variation and flavors (dijon, etc). For this recipe, I’ve used one of my favorite mustard, the one I used the most; the white wine mustard. It’s a perfect fit to this recipe, it balance to perfection the sweet papaya. I encourage you to use the same one, because the result can differ greatly with a stronger or softer type of mustard.

So let’s make this flavorful dish going!

Papaya-Mustard Shrimps

Makes 2 portions | Preparation: 15 minutes

IPapaya-Mustard Shrimpsngredients
  • 200g Shrimps
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper sliced
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil (peanut, vegetable)
  • 1/2 garlic clove minced
  • cilantro leaves to taste
The papaya-mustard sauce
  • 100g papaya
  • 30ml of white wine mustard
  • 1 tbsp of vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp of white rice vinegar (or cider vinegar)
  • 1 tbsp of honey (maple syrup or sugar)
  • 1/2 tsp of fish sauce (salt or soy sauce)
  • 1/4 tsp of sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp of chilli in oil
  1. Blend all the ingredients from the sauce together, reserve
  2. In a wok, high heat, cook the shrimps in the peanut oil and cook them through (about 3 minutes)
  3. 30 seconds before the end, add the garlic
  4. 15 seconds before the end, add the papaya sauce to the shrimps, mix and cook just a few seconds only to warm it up
  5. Serve on rice topped with sliced bell pepper, cilantro and scallions


Papaya-Mustard Shrimps

Shrimp Ceviche with Quinoa pasta

Living in Peru for a few months, one must learn how to make a good ceviche! It’s such an easy and light meal, perfect for summer. I had to make it all the way peruvian by adding the Quinoa element. So I found a nice quinoa fusilli, and mixed it with a shrimp ceviche. I came with this idea, of quinoa pasta ceviche, for a friend 40th birthday. She loves Peru so much and she had a surprise party, where everyone had to bring a meal… So… I’ve created this dish to honor her love for Peru.

Ceviche quinoa pastaBack in Peru, where they say the ceviche is from, the Moche civilization (the guys before the Incas, situated on the coast), apparently created the dish. Today, the peruvians make ceviche mostly with fresh fish or shellfish, on the coast, even with shark… The peruvian ceviche is usually served with a side of sweet potatoes and choclo (big grain corn) and it is quite spicy. The Ecuadorians version, though, is served as a soup and contains more fresh coriander leaves and tomato juice. As for my recipe, it’s a mix of both world, I add the fresh coriander and make it less spicy than the peruvians, oh! and the personal touch, it’s served on quinoa pasta.

The ceviche process, require fresh seafood. Then, it’s the acid of the lime that cooks the seafood over a period of time. I do my shrimp ceviche in 24-30 hours, this way the shrimp gets firm enough, if it’s a fish ceviche then it won’t be as long. Most recipes, I see on the Web, say 3 hours of refrigeration… but from my personal experience in Peru, I know they leave it, at least, overnight in the fridge. It won’t get bad, just firmer with time. The only problem is the “hot peppers” are quite hard to find in Spain, I found some frozen Rocoto peppers in a Latin American market, but they lose a lot of their spice strength. I know in the Caribbeans, they do their ceviche with Habanero peppers. I mean… you pick the kind of hot pepper you prefer.

So let’s get that Peru flavour going!

Shrimp Ceviche with Quinoa Pasta

Makes 4 portions

IngredientsShrimp Ceviche with Quinoa pasta
  • 250g quinoa pasta
  • 300g fresh shrimps
  • 1 yellow or red bell pepper
  • 1 red onion
  • 20 limes or lemon (there is more to make sure…they have enough juice)
  • 1 orange 
  • 1/2 rocoto pepper (or Habanero)
  • coriander leaves
  • salt, pepper
  1. Devein and wash the fresh shrimps, rinse in cold water
  2. Add the shrimps to the bottom of a bowl, add a little salt and pepper
  3. Squeeze limes and orange until covering the shrimps
  4. On top, add the finely sliced (mandoline) rocoto, onion, pepper (in that order so the rocoto flavour merge to the lime juice)
  5. Leave to marinade in the fridge for about 24 hours
  6. Cook the quinoa pasta
  7. Take out the juice from the shrimps (keep a tiny bit)
  8. Add to the quinoa pasta with the coriander leaves, salt, pepper, mix it up

Serve cold, with a nice lime on the side. Enjoy!

Shrimp tartar with strawberries and avocado

Shrimp tartar is quite simple to make and taste simply divine, without saying it’s looks irresistible. The base of the dish is similar to a shrimp ceviche, simply needing to marinate the fresh shrimps in lime juice for a couple of hours. The bigger the size of the shrimp the longer you’ll need to marinate it. By definition, tartar means finely cut and raw meat… In restaurants, the eternal favorites are the salmon, tuna or beef tartare. In this shrimp case, I’ve used fresh shrimps. Usually, tartare dishes aren’t marinated in acidic marinade for that long… the shrimps, here, were in lime juice for about 24 hours, but you could easily just marinated them 3 hours. The result would be a softer texture but as delicious… and it’s really important you get really fresh seafood to make this appetizer. shrimptartarepinShrimp tartar with strawberries and avocado

I believe strawberries and avocados are a match made in heaven. First, their colors are the perfect dynamic and appetizing pair and the creamy smooth avocado and the acidic and fruity strawberry pair beautifully.

You can use this as a tapas dish also, simply add the 3 components to a nice presentation spoon or small bowl and voilà! I assure you, there isn’t a better way to start an evening then this!

So let’s get that fresh and light bite going!

Shrimp tartar with strawberries and avocado

makes 4 appetizers / 8 tapas

IShrimp tartar with strawberries and avocadongredients
  • 1 big avocado in small cubes
  • 40 small fresh shrimps
  • 6 strawberries in small cubes
  • 10 chives finely cut
  • 3-4 limes (3 1/2 for the marinade and 1/2 for the avocado)
  • 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt, pepper
  1. Clean the shrimps, take the veins out and wash them in cold water
  2. Add the shrimps to a small bowl with the lime juice, salt (enough to barely cover them)
  3. Let marinate in the fridge for 3 hours to 24 hours (longer the tougher the texture)
  4. Cut the avocado, strawberry and chives
  5. Add to the avocado, olive oil, chives, a lime squeeze, salt and pepper and mix
  6. In the center of a plate, add a small cookie cutter (the metal cylinder) add a bottom layer of avocado mix, then the lime marinated shrimps then top with strawberries and a leaf of coriander *optional
  7. Take out the cookie cutter and voilà!

Serve as it is or with a nest of lettuce of your choice. Enjoy!

Spring rolls

Are you one of those people who can never get enough of those spring rolls at the restaurant? Well, I am! And since I never want it to end, I make a do-it-yourself fun and full diner with them. You just need to prepare all the ingredients, add a bowl of water next to the table, a wet towel to roll them and voilà! You are set for a fun spring roll diner.

In Vietnam they’re called summer roll… well, spring or summer, it’s all good to me. We were on a “junk” boat in Halong bay when they taught us how to roll those precious rolls. It’s really easySpring rolls, the only problem with those rolls is the preparation… cutting everything into thin little sticks takes some time, but once it’s done and everything is on the table, there is nothing nicer to do, than rolling your own just the way you want it, and dipping it in a peanut or a typical Vietnamese sauce. This way you can eat as many as you want, it’s no longer just an appetizer, but rather a convivial meal in itself.

In Vietnam, they told us to never dip your rolls right in the sauces, you should always use a spoon in order to keep the sauces clean, but I just don’t… love to go right in with my whole spring roll. I guess it depends on if your are with guests or not, then it’s more appropriate to serve the sauce with some extra spoons. Also, I highly recommend the fish sauce from Vietnam, they make it with dried fishes only and taste fantastic, while the fish sauce from Thailand is different… they use squid… find the mistake… and result into a whole other flavour.

Let’s get that knife sharp to cut all those nice veggies, and finally fill up those stomachs with those precious spring rolls.

Spring / Summer rolls diner

for 2-3 portions

The rolls
  • 2 big carrots, cut into fine sticks
  • 1 cucumber, cut into fine sticks (not the middle part, where all the seeds are)
  • 1 small pack of frozen medium sized shrimps
  • rice papers
  • 150g rice vermicelli
  • 1 mango, cut into fine sticks
  • bean sprouts *optional
  • a few leaves of lettuce
  • fresh mint or coriander leaves
  • sesame oil
The peanut sauceSpring rolls
  • 45 ml Hoisin sauce
  • 30g crushed peanuts (or crunchy peanut butter)
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp water
The vietnamese sauce
  • 15g sugar
  • 30ml rice vinegar
  • 15ml fish sauce
  • 10g hot pepper in oil sauce
  1. Defrost the shrimps in a cold water bath
  2. When ready, add 1 tbs of fish sauce to the shrimps, drain again
  3. Sauté the shrimps
  4. Cook the rice vermicelli in hot water for about 2 minutes
  5. Drain and rinse them in cold water
  6. Add 1 tbs of sesame oil and mix them a bit
  7. Cut all the vegetables and make the sauces, add to the table
  1. ricepaperbowlAdd a bowl of lukewarm water or buy a special one (picture) and leave it near the table to soak the rice papers.
  2. Just need to soak them completely, no need to wait.
  3. Lay the paper on a wet towel
  4. Add the ingredients of your choice in the center of the roll. (not too much)
  5. Fold the sides on top first, then roll it up gently but still tight.
  6. Dip it in the sauces and bite!

Enjoy your dinner!