Chilli, tamarind and parmesan courgetti

Posted in: LF, S, SF, Uncategorized, V, WF

OK, so I’ve done something controversial. I’ve sat on the fence. While this recipe makes a feature of courgetti, it’s not paleo, or anti-carb. It’s here for it’s pure deliciousness, alongside faithful old spaghetti. Over the decades I’ve toyed with various iterations of my Go To telly comfort food, recently finding the 50/50 mix not only fills me more than the vegan version, it adds texture and a clean crunchiness to the sometimes heavy pasta only version. In fact, it got the thumbs up from several of my ‘it’s not a meal without 1kg of carbs’ male friends. For the record, a 70-80g pasta portion (as Italians take it, I’m told) appears to have none of the usual bloat infamy I’m prone to. If still unconvinced, though, there’s zero taste compromise with 100% courgetti; I do both. And left-overs as a salad the next day are incredible.

Chilli, tamarind and feta courgetti

Feeds 2

INGREDIENTS

1 courgette, grated or spiralled
140g spaghetti
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp sun dried tomatoes, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 dsp tamarind paste – I like the big tubs from Indian supermarkets
1 tsp dried crushed chillies
Feta, cheddar cheese or parmesan to taste.

Optional:

1 dsp sun dried tomato paste (or bought) – I do without if I don’t have in the fridge.
1/2 tsp turmeric – I add where I can due to its incredible health benefits.

METHOD

Prep the ingredients. Grate the courgette and cheese; chop the garlic and sun dried tomatoes.

Set the frying pan over a medium to low heat and add the oil. Put the spaghetti to boil – not the courgette!

Add the remaining ingredients (apart from the cheese) to the frying pan in the order listed above, cooking gently until they warm through and the garlic turns translucent. Be very careful not to burn the garlic or pesto (if using) here.

Remove from the heat and fold in the pasta, courgetti and half of the cheese. Transfer to heated bowls or plates and top with the rest of the cheese.

For me, this is comfort food absolute, hot or cold.

Seasonal Seducer: Courgette

Posted in: Uncategorized

MOST ATTRACTIVE FEATURES

Packed with fibre and low in carbs and calories, this green squash is a dieter’s best friend.

WHY WE FELL IN LOVE

1 whole courgette = just 18 calories and is made up of 94% water. Bring on the skinny comfort courgetti!

Bacalao ceviche (Punheta de bacalhau)

Posted in: DF, LF, S, SF, WF

In honour of this weekend’s Lisbon trip, I thought it fitting to share a Portuguese salt cod ceviche classic. I claim no credit, this one comes direct from a local, my Lisboa love. Or more specifically, his mother; it’s the real deal. Super easy, tasty and healthy, it’s a busy food lover’s dream. And yes, it also ticks the paleo, clean eating, fit-fooder boxes. Thank you Portugal.

Easy Portuguese bacalao ceviche

Feeds: 4

INGREDIENTS

6 tbsp bacalao (salt cod), tuna or normal cod.
2 tomatoes
1 white medium – large onion, depending on your preference
1 green pepper or half red, half green (red adds a sweeter flavour)
1/2 cucumber
2 cloves of garlic
4 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp cider vinegar
Good grind black pepper

METHOD

Rinse bacalao in cold water, squeezing out with your hands (really) at the end. If using normal cod, simply chop and add salt at the end.

Chop all veg finely into 1-2 cm pieces and mix with bacalhau, oil, vinegar and pepper. Add in salt at this point if using cod as opposed to bacalhau.

You can eat right away but the flavours are best when left to develop for 15 – 20 mins or even overnight; perfect tupperware or advance prep supper fodder!

Delicious with a crusty white sourdough to dip into the juice.

The cooks, Wholesome Seduction

FYI: The literal (and more polite) translation for Punheta de bacalhau is ‘Tossed’ (ahem) salt cod. I kid you not.

 

Sun dried tomato and cashew nut pesto

Posted in: DF, N, S, SF, Uncategorized, V, WF

Delicious with just about anything, this is a grazing plate and BBQ’d burger’s best friend. But given our monsoon weather, maybe opt for the slathered over toasted sourdough, avocado and / or bacon option. The ‘clarted over courgetti’ (or pasta) variety makes a regular appearance on my instant healthy supper table. With jamón and cold meats; stirred through tomato dishes to give them, well… more. I’m sure my tips are superfluous, I doubt anyone’s a stranger to pesto. Add parmesan if you want but the flavour’s so good, it really isn’t necessary. This lasts for weeks, I make a big batch ensuring I’m never without.

Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 13.34.36

INGREDIENTS

200g sun dried tomatoes
2 tbsp cashew nuts
4 tbsp olive oil – I use the oil from the tomato jar.
1 tsp dried red chillies. Or 1 tsp Kema Kulo if you have it.
1 clove garlic – optional.
Pinch sea or Himalayan pink salt
1/2 tsp turmeric – untold health benefits

METHOD

Add all ingredients to a blender, Magimix or Vitamix and blitz until you a have rough paste. Basically as you would pesto.

IMG_3644

Store in the fridge in an airtight jar or container for as long as you would sun dried tomatoes. My guess would be you’ll eat it long before it goes off.

(Paleo) pumpkin seed and cranberry bircher

Posted in: Uncategorized

I’ve been a fan of traditional (oatie) bircher for many years, so initially only developed this lighter, crunchier paleo version for the sake a visiting friend. Given I sometimes find the classic recipe a little heavy and, dare I say it, potentially gloopy, I was keen to experiment. As it turns out, the fresh, tangy apple against nutty, popping seeds is pretty damn fine. And as a bi-product, we have another paleo breakfast.

Paleo pumpkin seed & cranberry bircher

Paleo pumpkin seed & cranberry bircher

INGREDIENTS

1 apple, grated
1 tbsp ground almonds
1 tbsp toasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds
1/2 dsp linseed / flax (much cheaper than chia!)
1 tbsp desiccated coconut
2 tbsp natural bio yoghurt
1 dsp dried cranberries

For Non Paleo / Oatie bircher, add:

2 tbsp porridge oats
1 tbsp yoghurt (additional to above)
2 tbsp cow’s, almond, coconut or rice milk

METHOD

Add ingredients in order listed above to a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Set aside for an hour for the flavours to develop fully. Stir and serve as is. Delicious and nut

Making-bircher

This recipe keeps well in the fridge so I do a bigger batch, setting me up with Breakfasts-to-Go for a busy week.

Creamy superseed and coconut butter

Posted in: DF, N, S, SF, Uncategorized, V, WF

Relentlessly moreish, filling and self-righteously nutritious, almond butter has been one of my storehouse staples for many years. Slathered on toast, dolloped into smoothies or mainly, scooped from the jar pre or post training, yoga or surfing. This is the iPhone 6S to the 4, upgrade now. To retain the health benefits, I keep most of the ingredients raw, but toast 1/3 of the nuts and seeds for extra flavour.

Coconut-superseed-butter

Makes: A vat, you may want to halve measures

INGREDIENTS

400g almonds
200g sunflower seeds
150g pumpkin seeds
250g peanuts or cashews – both delicious, although peanuts are much cheaper.
3 tbsp coconut oil – in this recipe I use virgin / unheated for a stronger coconut flavour
Pinch sea or Himalayan pink salt

METHOD

In a 180 degree oven, lightly toast 1/2 the almonds and cashews until the edges start to brown with the centres remaining white when you bit in the middle. Approx. 6 mins.

Toasting gives a more intense nutty flavour. I like to keep some raw so as to maintain as many nutrients as possible, without compromise to flavour, but you can swap as you wish.

Using a Magimix or wide based blender:

This recipe couldn’t be easier: add all ingredients and combine.

After 1 min, stop and scrape down the sides.
If making a crunchy nut butter, remove 1/3 of the breadcrumb consistency nuts and set aside. If you like a smooth butter, there’s no need to do this.

Continue blending, scraping down the sides every minute or so, until the nuts release their own oils and the butter loosens – 6 mins upwards, depending on the power of your blender.
For crunchy, return the retained 1/3 of nuts to the finished nut butter at the end and combine lightly; be sure not to overblend or you´ll get a smooth butter.

Using a Vitamix or tall blender:

You’ll need to go more slowly and carefully so as not to clog and overheat the blades. Start with half the almonds and all of the oil (Vitamix seems to need liquid, annoyingly) and continue to add through the top hole as the nuts blend fully.

I go pretty slowly on a low number setting and scrape down the sides every 30 secs or so.

Spooning-nut-butter

Your nut butter will keep in sealed jars for several weeks, although I imagine it will be long gone before then; this has passed the taste test with countless people, it’s seriously addictive.

 

Seared tuna with parsley pesto

Posted in: DF, LF, S, SF, Uncategorized

Located between the Mediterranean and Atlantic, Tarifa, and indeed the Cadiz coast, is famous for its Atun Almadraba. Fished between April and June using the same method as the Phoenicians and later the Romans, it´s considered respectful of the species. A la plancha (seared), tartare or in a bun (The Reason for Bread), you’d be hard pressed to find a substandard tuna steak here. This recipe was inspired by my favourite Tarifa restaurant Bar El Frances; for me, the herb pesto addition raises the bar on the town´s ubiquitous tuna perfection. I´ve added minutes for a (hopefully) foolproof tuna steak en casa. Vegan’s, veggies, anti-fish people: I keep a jar of the dressing in the fridge to mash into avocado or stir through salad. Trust me.

Tuna-backup-shot

Feeds 2

INGREDIENTS

2 tuna steaks
30g / bunch parsley
30g / bunch basil or your choice
1 tbsp cashew nuts
1 clove garlic
200ml olive oil
Tsp sea or Himalayan pink salt
Tsp grind black pepper
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tsp Kema Kulo or sub for 1/2 green chilli – optional

METHOD

Start by making the dressing. Blitz all ingredients in a Magimix, Vitamix or blender until herbs finely chopped. You’ll need to stop to scrape down the sides midway, potentially more if using anything other than a Magimix.

Parsley-&-coriander-salsa

Transfer to a jar or sealed container and set aside. Make half quantities if you just want enough for the fish; you should still have a little left over.

To make the tuna: set a frying pan to heat on full power. When very hot, add a drizzle of olive oil, followed by the steaks. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

I like mine poco hecho (virtually raw), so 30 seconds on each side is perfect.

Tuna-30secs-each-side

For ‘en su punto’ (‘just right’ a little raw in the centre), fry for 1 min on the first side and 30 secs on the reverse.

Tuna-1min

Well done needs a minute on each side. Any more and it will turn chewy.

Transfer to a plate, drizzle with the pesto and serve with spring´s new potatoes crushed with salt and olive oil, or with salad. Aproveche!

Tuna-bun

For seriously delicious ‘El Frances Montaditos’, sandwich a piece of your tuna in a bun with a slice of tomato, a little lettuce and red onion and un poquito of herb dressing. Incredible.

Tuna-montadito

 

Raw cacao & almond pralines

Posted in: DF, N, S, SF, Uncategorized, V, WF

Woo your Valentine with chocolates which aren’t only devoid of bad stuff, they’re packed with goodness, and The LOVE Drug. As an added bonus, these insanely tasty little morsels take all of 6 minutes to make (I’ve timed it); freeing you up for some extra loving.

Praline-centre

In it’s raw, unprocessed state cacao’s loaded with antioxidants, iron, zinc (said to increase testosterone, stamina and libido..!), calcium and potassium. Cacao also helps produce the body’s happy hormone, seratonin and there’s the Love Drug: Phenylethylamine is said to mimic the feeling of being in love. Minus the drama. And if that doesn’t float your boat, there are always the almonds. Apparently the aroma induces passionate thoughts in women – Samson’s strategy with Delilah…

Makes 25 chocolates (depending on your mould)

Ingredients

1/2 cup cacao butter or coconut oil
2 1/2 tbsp raw cacao
2 tbsp maple syrup or agave
1 tbsp almond butter
1 tbsp macadamia butter. Optional but makes the chocolates sweeter and creamier.

Cacao-pralines

raw-cacao-pralines,-lace

Method

In a bain-marie (bowl placed with a pan of simmering water) very gently melt the cacao butter. Stir in the cacao powder, removing any lumps, followed by the maple syrup. Take care not to boil or over heat or you’ll obliterate the fantastic health benefits of raw cacao.

Check for sweetness and consistency, adding more maple syrup for a sweeter tooth (remember the nut butter will also sweeten). As you’d expect, cacao thickens, butter  adds gloss and thins out.

Pour into moulds or ice cube trays and freeze for 30 mins. Transfer to a fridge to store. Eat. See, quicker than a desperate dash to the garage for Dairy Milk.

For any of you balking at the price of cacao (it isn’t cheap): It packs such a punch, that very little goes a very long way. I’ve had my bag for at least 6 months and I make a LOT of energy bites and chocolates. So, it’s quite possible that gram for gram, it’s cheaper than Cadbury’s.

 

Avocado with feta and soft boiled egg

Posted in: S, SF, Uncategorized, V, WF

This is one of those dishes you have in mind and are pleasantly surprised to find surpasses even your own vastly optimistic imagination. In fact, so pleased was I with the result, I ate double that of my brunch party. Developed for impatient post workout fitness holiday groupies, a faff-free recipe was imperative. I find swapping for soft boiled eggs over poached so much easier and just as tasty. I’ve written quantities for 1 but this equally feeds 2, depending on your level of avocado gluttony. If doing for larger groups, drop to 1/2 avo per person with a little extra.

Avo,-feta-&-egg

Feeds 1

INGREDIENTS

2 eggs
1 avocado
25g feta
1 tbsp chopped coriander
1 dsp olive oil
Squeeze lime juice, 1/4 – 1/2 a lime
1/2 tsp Kema Kulo or 1/2 chopped chilli – optional

METHOD

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, mashing roughly with a fork – you want to keep chunks of avo and feta as opposed to creating a pulp. Delicious with toasted rye or spelt and topped with a soft boiled egg.

For perfect, fail-safe boiled eggs (see above pic) courtesy of yoga guru Stewart Heffernan:

Set water to boil in a pan. When lightly boiling, add eggs for 5 mins.

Remove and eat immediately. If serving to a group in the middle of the table, crack the top of each egg to stop cooking.

 

Banana, almond & cardamom pancakes

Posted in: DF, N, S, SF, Uncategorized, V, WF

These pancakes are seriously delicious and filling. Plus they’re easy. I’ve deliberately kept the prep (and dishes) to a minimum for a fuss free Shrove Tuesday pudding / supper, or Wednesday AM post Pancake Day breakfast. Almonds are packed with anti-oxidants, Vit E, fibre, magnesium and protein and are proven to reduce insulin and blood sugar levels after eating. As you’d expect, these little delights are also seductively, yet wholesomely, gluten, dairy and refined sugar-free, and a great option for all you paleo people out there.

Banana, coconut & cardamom pancakes

Makes 8 – 10 pancakes. Feeds 2

INGREDIENTS

1 egg, whisked
1 banana, mashed
4 tbsp ground almonds
2 tbsp desiccated coconut – or sub for 1 tbsp almond
1 tsp baking powder
16 cardamom pods, seeds removed and crushed – optional
1 tbsp almond milk, sparkling water or water
1/2 dsp coconut oil

To serve

1 lemon
Creme fraiche, Coyo coconut yoghurt (I love this!) or greek yoghurt
Maple syrup

METHOD

Whisk eggs in bowl, add in banana and mash with fork. Add in remaining ingredients, apart from coconut oil and toppings, and stir. Set aside for a couple of minutes for the baking powder to activate.

Melt coconut oil in a frying pan and maintain a steady medium to low heat. Dollop in 1 dsp scoops of your pancake mix. Fry until browned, around 1 – 1 1/2 mins on the first side and 1 minute on the reverse.

Serve in a stack, alternating between a squeeze of lemon and yoghurt between each layer. Drizzle with (mineral rich!) maple syrup and eat. So good.

Tip

Cardamom’s a bit like Marmite so drop this if not to your taste, I love cardamom but don’t always include it. I find the easiest way to remove the seeds is to bash the pods in a pestle and mortar until the husks separate themselves and can be easily removed, allowing me to crush the seeds to a fine powder.

Click here for more info on Storehouse Seducer almonds.

The mug and plate in the picture are by South African potter, Wonki Ware. I hauled mine back in hand luggage (worth it!) but The Conran Shop has recently introduced a decent, and growing, range.