Most Londoners have experienced the joy of stumbling across Leon. Offering fast food that is also good food, their delicious offerings hit every note without leaving you sluggish and heavy afterwards. And they’ve brought out a series of books called the Little Leon series. They are pocket-sized collections (with adorable designs) that offer up all the humour, character and flair associated with Leon cookbooks, but in a handy size ideal for taking on your travels. With their exciting variety of recipes, these books make it easier than ever to feed the ones you love fabulous food that will do them good.
Little Leon: Lunchbox guarantees healthy happy tummies and offers up nutritious but delicious food ideas that your children will love, either in school lunch boxes or when travelling. And Little Leon: Sweet Treats proves that you can have your cake and eat it. The delicious selection of puddings, pies and cakes are all made from natural ingredients. With recipes designed for people trying to cut out sugar, wheat or dairy, and simply those who want to make their pleasures a bit less sinful, these treats are guilt-free and wonderful to make with your children either at home or on holiday. We are thrilled to have three recipes for you here from the new books, chosen specially with kids in mind.
Leon Chocolate Mousse
Serves 4. Prep time: 25 minutes. Cooking time: None.
100g dark chocolate (70 cocoa solids)
30g unsalted butter
2 free-range egg yolks
1 shot of dark espresso
A drop of orange oil or very finely grated zest of half an orange (optional)
3 free-range egg whites
15g fructose (If you don’t have fructose you can use 20g of caster sugar instead).
- Melt the chocolate and butter until smooth in a large, heat-proof bowl in the microwave, or over a pan of simmering water, making sure the water does not touch the surface of the bowl.
- Separately whisk the egg yolks until nearly white and thick in consistency. Gently stir the whisked yolks into the butter and chocolate, and then stir in the coffee and the orangey bit, if you are adding it.
- Use an electric hand whisk to whip the egg whites to soft peaks, then add the fructose and whisk for another minute just to get that shine.
- Beat a third of the egg white into the chocolate mixture until smooth, then add the third more gently, and the last with the strokes of an angel.
- Neither over-mix nor leave white streaks, then divide the mousse into pretty things and leave in the fridge for an hour.
Serves 4-6. Prep time: 15 minutes. Cooking time: None
Panzanella is traditionally a Tuscan summer salad; however, this version comes from Salvatore, a Sicilian chef cooking in Umbria. The ‘King of Pork (and cork)’, as he was known to his customers, Salvatore still has a vegetable garden where he grows a huge array of some 54 types of tomato in one year. The bread used in the original version of his Panzanella was a very dry barley roll, but a dense wholemeal or sourdough loaf makes a good substitute. Panzanella can also be made with capers and roasted peppers. And while some of the ingredients may not smack of favourite foods for little ones, they will love making it with you.
250 g stale sourdough or wholemeal bread, ripped into 2-3 cm pieces.
60ml good red wine vinegar
60ml olive oil
1 clove of garlic, crushed
500g cherry or good quality ripe tomatoes
Salt and freshly ground pepper
A bunch of fresh basil
1 celery heart, thinly sliced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
50g stoned olives
A pinch of dried oregano
Lots of good olive oil
- Put the bread into a wide, shallow serving dish. Put the vinegar, oil and garlic into a bowl and mix together, then drizzle over the bread, mixing it in well with your hands.
- Halve the tomatoes, sprinkle with salt and add to the bread.
- Set aside a few leaves of basil for the garnish and scatter the rest over the bread, along with the celery, onion and olives. Sprinkle with a little pepper and oregano and drizzle with lots of good olive oil.
- Cover the dish and set to one side in a cool place until ready to eat.
Asparagus and Wild Garlic Frittata
Serves 4. Prep time: 10 minutes. Cooking time: 10 minutes.
350 – 400g asparagus
6 free range eggs
1 tablespoon white wine
2 tablespoons grated vegetarian pecorino or parmesan-style cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove of garlic, crushed
A small bunch of fresh wild garlic leave, washed and shredded. (If these aren’t in season then fresh mint of basil can be used instead).
- To prepare the asparagus, first snap off and discard the woody ends. Cut the asparagus into 2-3 cm lengths. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, add the asparagus, blanch for two minutes and drain.
- Put the eggs into a bowl with the white wine and 1 tablespoon of grated pecorino and whisk together. Season well.
- Heat the grill. Heat the olive oil in a 22-24cm non-stick frying pan. Add the asparagus, garlic and wild garlic leaves and sauté over a medium heat for 2 minutes, then lower the heat.
- Pour in the egg mixture and draw in from the sides with a wooden spoon to allow the uncooked egg to run underneath.
- Cook gently for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the rest of the cheese and flash under the hot grill to finish cooking the top.
- Slide from the pan on to a large plate and cut into wedges.
For more information on Leon, click here.
To purchase any of the Little Leon books, click here.