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

 

Coconut iced coffee

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

Apparently The Garcia’s can’t have a conversation without the subject of coffee making an appearance. Bad coffee being the cause of untold dismay, it seems. Iced coffee, however, can redeem many an ‘operator error’, tasting as robust and sweetly creamy as any passionately barista’d flat white. I’ve given measures for one glass but tend to make a batch for the fridge, topping up with coconut milk and ice for my morning wake up addiction. On a recent Indian holiday, I ‘encouraged’ friends at Old Harbour Hotel and Kashi Art Cafe to do the same; Kerala means Land of Coconuts after all. And a new menu fixture was born.

Coconut-iced-coffee

Feeds 1

INGREDIENTS

1-2 shots espresso, depending how strong you like your coffee
1 tsp raw honey – optional
1 cup coconut milk – you can also sub 1/3 for coconut water. Drop the honey if doing this.
Ice

METHOD

Make espresso and stir through honey until dissolved – otherwise it will sink to the bottom of your glass.

Drop in a few cubes of ice and shake or stir until coffee is cooled. Transfer to a glass, top with coconut milk and a couple more cubes of ice.

Rebel-kitchen

Rebel Kitchen have recently launched a take-away version that tastes almost identical, if a little sweeter. Perfect for a dairy and refined sugar-free caffeine kick on the go. I’ve done the chocolate mylk taste test with several friends and none can believe how good it tastes.

After a lifetime of a market saturated with nasty, additive and sugar laden Food-To-Go, it makes me very happy to see entrepreneurial guys like these popping up. Thank you Rebel Kitchen.

 

Travel Pick: Riad Lolita, Tarifa

Worthy of it’s own post, Riad Lolita is one of my favourite Tarifa guesthouses. And I’ve ticked off my fair share of accommodation across multiple visits to Spain’s most southern tip – the mountains in the picture are Africa. My obsession with Tarifa can hardly have gone unnoticed (see Travel Pick: Tarifa, Andalucia). I may even have renovated my own little white washed Tarifa holiday house: La Casita Melo. My penchant for understated luxury may have been hinted at once or twice. Moorish mansion, Riad Lolita is the cherry on the cake. Here’s why:

Tarifa-skyline

Built in 1893 for the town mayor, this shrine to nineteenth century luxury retains the granduar and original features of its past: Marble floors and staircases; Moorish courtyards and tiles that prompted me to scramble for my credit card; and light flooding in from every angle through the seemingly endless windows and patio doors.

Converted from a private home last year (the layout remained the same), Danish interior design goddess Pia sourced most of the furnishings from Morocco. Synonymous with chic Tarifa, Pia oversees the creative direction of Tarifa’s more stylish apartments. A celebration of her paired back Scandi style with the architecture of the casco antiguo (old town).

The really good news? Pia believes that to keep people happy, “you need to give them more than they expect.” So, Riad Lolita is incredibly reasonably priced. Incredibly.

Riad-Lolita,-upstairs-sitting-room

Riad-Lolita,-courtyard

Riad-Lolita,-hallway

The upstairs living room, hallway and Moorish courtyard.

Moroccan suite

Riad Lolita was full when I travelled but Pia very kindly moved things around so I could spend 5 nights in this little beauty. It didn’t disappoint.

Riad-Lolita,-Moroccan-suite

Moroccan-suite,-bedroom2

Riad-Lolita,-Moroccan-suite,-sitting

Moroccan suite 2 has two rooms: living area and a bedroom with further seating area and open plan bathroom. As with the rest of the house, large windows are in abundance; a godsend during hot summer months, though all rooms have AC. Both Moroccan suites have the advantage of their own entrances onto the street; ideal for nipping out for your morning cortado.

Pia sourced most of the furniture from Morocco; the headboard is covered in a rug and the carpet, a design The Rug Company would drool over. Needless to say, I’m now planning a Tangier van haul so I can replicate all of the above in my South West London basement bedroom. Minus the extensive windows, light and sunshine. Humph.

A double room

Riad-Lolita,-South-Room

North and South rooms have an interconnecting door, should you go with a group. The tiles (and 70 euro p/nt price tag) got me in a heartbeat.

The family suite

Riad-Lolita,-Family-room Riad-Lolita,-family-suite

The master bedroom and kids room in the family suite, which comprises of four rooms, to include a living room and bathroom. Rarely are triple rooms this stylish. Take note, long lost travel buddies with babies!

The Penthouse

Riad-Lolita,-Penthouse

The Penthouse kitchen and master bathroom.

With two bathrooms, two bedrooms (or a double bed and sitting room), a kitchen and terrace, this is incredibly good value at 130 euro per night. As with the entire house, design hasn’t been compromised; mosaic tiles, a mix of antique furniture and comfort are in abundance.

The terrace

Riad-Lolita,-terrace

Bang in the centre of el casco antiguo (old town) with views of Morocco. A sangria spit away.

Shared spaces

Riad-Lolita,-kitchen

Riad-Lolita,-shared-living

Riad-Lolita,-courtyard-sitting

With two sitting rooms, a large kitchen, terrace and even chill out hallways, Riad Lolita has ample living space outside of the bedrooms. This is actually quite unusual for Tarifa and  as such, it’s an ideal and very reasonable (500 euros per night for 9 bedrooms / 22 people) option for groups.

For prices and how to book, contact: Riad Lolita or Tarifa Beach House.

For why and when to go: Travel Pick: Tarifa, Andalucia

Reasons to visit Tarifa (other than for Riad Lolita):

Bar-El-Frances-tapas

Valdevaqueros-beach,-Candy-Kites Los-Lances-beach-sunset

I’m yet to meet anyone in Tarifa who either, hasn’t been before, or isn’t already planning their return. It really is a very special place.

Travel Pick: Tarifa, Andalucia

 

Eating out: The Good Life Eatery’s Top 5

Posted in: DF, Featured, LF, N, Reviews, S, SF, Uncategorized, V, WF

Lunchtime queues have been unavoidable since this shrine to LA and New York clean eating opened its doors 18 months ago. Brainchild of Yasmine Larizadeh and Shirin Kouros, The Good Life Eatery is a long time coming for the ever growing allergy friendly and fitness obsessed hoi polloi. True Wholesome Seduction, recipes include Red Velvet cake made without gluten or refined sugar that tastes better than ‘the real thing’ (trust me), skinny eggs royale (ditto), protein superfood shakes, detox salads and kale, kale, kale! We like kale.

Skinny-eggs-royale-on-sunflower-seed-rye

I may be a little obsessed with this place and as such, have worked my way through most of the menu. I’m pretty sure any of the Top 5 listed in this post will plead my case: click on the images and re-cap at the end.

Where The Good Life Eatery really gets my vote (apart from for its evidently passionate and ingredient savvy staff) is that while raw and vegan fare are standard, meat and eggs are also on the menu. Love an egg. You’re not out of place (or a pain in the ass) if you order a cappuccino, almond ‘mylk’ flat white or a Ninja Turtle avocado and spirulina shake to kick start your day. Hail non-despotic Good Life.

So-Clean-So-Fresh

Almond-milk-flat-white

While I’m not vegan, vegetarian or following a 100% raw diet, I eat a lot of plant based recipes,. I love the passion and relentless creativity inherent to this world. The traditional rulebook of “gourmet cooking” is thrown out; gluten, dairy and (refined) sugar-free are a given and honestly taste better than the real thing. In my opinion. And my dog’s apparently.

The-Good-Life-Eatery

Maybe I’m biased because I feel better when I avoid certain ingredients – sugar is an insatiable drug that instantly sucks me back in. Green juices, and Kale Lime Pie, (Oh yes!) not only satisfy my sweet tooth, they give me energy, make me happier and don’t pile on extra pounds to haul through chataranga. If you’re cutting out certain ingredients, want more energy, or just love food, give my Good Life Eatery Top 5 a go and see for yourself:

The Good Life Eatery Top 5

  1. Skinny eggs royale. The star of the show and the drool shot that pulled you in. As good as it looks.
  2. So Clean, So Fresh. Basically The Good Life bowl for brunch (remember those eggs?). And the most versatile salad staple. For a similar recipe try my Meanest, greenest (& meatiest) superfood salad.
  3. Ninja Turtle shake. Will turn you into a ninja. Obvs. 
  4. Dr Green Love or Drink Your Salad green juices. I can’t pick just one. 
  5. Raw cacao mousse. You’ll be amazed by how good this tastes, and it’s actually super healthy. Think: antioxidants, iron, calcium, potassium, zinc, fibre etc. For a DIY version so easy a toddler could nail it, try my Raw Chocolate Orange Mousse.

There are also a multitude of other creamy protein shakes and tangy energy juices, along with excellent coffee. Every cake I’ve tried has been delicious: The raw cacao brownie bites are happily, without a whiff of date, and the banana muffin is suitably sweet and gooey yet feels like an acceptable breakfast.

Did I mention I was a little obsessed? Said love has seeped into my eating habits and I’m starting to feel so much better as a result. I have more energy, feel lighter and need less sleep – I normally live by the minimum 8 hrs a night dogma. Over the coming weeks I’ll blog my go-to recipes here.

The Good Life Eatery, 53 Sloane Ave, SW3 3DH.

Mon – Fri: 7.30am – 8pm. Sat: 8am – 7pm. Sun: 9am – 6pm.

 

3 things for a happy, healthy new year

Posted in: Uncategorized

Don’t diet this new year, feel healthier, happier and springier with my top wholesomely seductive tips. Xmas-Excess and the cold, shorter days leave me desperate for a re-charge. My body’s creaking through yoga and cycling, even dog walking’s less springy. This time last year I blogged The Anti-diet. The Wholesome Seduction way of life that’s bursting with flavour and makes us feel and look our best. Without dieting. I live by this, mindful of 3 key things:

Hail the Kale, Bench cafe.

EATING IN. EATING OUT. EXERCISE.

Anyone who’s attempted to cut out certain ingredients, detox or just eat more healthily, will know this isn’t always easy when on-the-go in the UK – Nope, crisps and chocolate aren’t part of our #eatclean menu.

The bottom line: We need to be prepared. Most of us are super busy so having a bank of quick and easy recipes is key. Over the coming weeks, I’ll blog my Top 5 green breakfasts, brunches, suppers and packed lunches. Including recipes for entertaining, along with my favourite clean, green eats restaurant, The Good Life Eatery.

And because how we feel is about more than what we eat, I’ll share workout wear to inspire, nip and tuck even the most lethargic and style conscious amongst you.

In the meantime:

Here are some of my go-to recipes and products for feeling healthy and cutting down on the stuff that makes us feel like we’ve been hit by a truck:

From the streets: Rude Health dairy-free milks and Coconut oil and Coyo yoghurt.

Recipes: Watercress, avocado & passion-fruit smoothie, Sticky sweet potato wedges, Broad bean & cashew pesto, Quinoa, feta & toasted seed salad, Orange, almond & chocolate cake, Cranberry & lemon amoretti (yes, these count!).

 

Happy Christmas & New Year from Cape Town

Posted in: Travel, Uncategorized

Mandela-Christmas

Granted it’s potentially a little late in the day to be dishing out festive goodwill, allow me to explain. This Christmas and New Year were spent much like any other, eating, yet this time with the not insignificant addition of sunshine. The Garcia, Woodroffe, MacGillivray and Spurrier clans united to take over a vast, light flooded Cape Town house made for family cooking and entertaining. The bottom line: I’ve been busy ‘researching’ as opposed to reporting. Here’s what we got up to.

Christmas-Cooks2     Roast-tatties NYE New-Year's-Day

And that was just Christmas and New Year. Here are some other things we did, (inevitably) revolving around food. Cape Town eating is exceptionally good; just about anything is available, ingredients and eating out. Not to mention cheap.

granolaMountainsTable-View

We breakfasted on (and fought over) Almond, orange & cranberry granola. Then climbed and marvelled at mountains, while my sibling surfed and kite surfed his way round the coast.

Townships1   Townships2

We learned the importance of teaching gender equality in townships. And were blown away by the welcome from the kids and their mentors.

The-Dynasty-Shot

We  buzzed on Paranga’s espresso martinis. #yesweusedafilter #80shues

The-Watershed-shopping-&-eating Watershed,-Famke

We shopped in the expertly curated and designed Watershed Market, a mecca of African start up food and craft concepts. Then ate some more. If visiting Cape Town, hover over the images for a list of my Must Do guide; click to be connected to the site:

Fish-&-Chips Hout-Bay-Market The-Vinyard Raw-&-Roxy Healthy-Living Healthy living is pretty much endemic to Cape Town. Raw, vegan and allergy friendly options are standard, even the local (Woolworth’s affiliated) petrol station showcases coconut oil, rice milk and gluten free abundance at the till. A far cry from our Mars and sugar shrines. Given health insurance companies incentivise customers with cash back and 30% off airfares for tick list shopping trolley items and gym memberships, it’s hardly surprising.

Polo

Ostrich

We watched polo from an ostrich farm, where we ate prego rolls (steak sandwich on crack – it’s in the sauce) and ostrich kebabs washed down with sauvignon blanc from one of the player’s vineyards.

We even got engaged! LaPetiteFerme,Franschhoek Eating-&-drinking Nick-and-Sally Not me. Little brother, Nick and the lovely Sally. Who returned to Franschhoek (post sealing the deal), family in toe, on the promise of La Petite Ferme’s painfully good wine and food. It didn’t disappoint.

We’re all now so in love (with Cape Town), we’re plotting emigration, or at the very least, another 2015 trip.

The Anti-diet: Blah blah moderation blahhh…

Posted in: Featured, Uncategorized

If you do nothing else, heed this tip. I could fill Santa’s sleigh with the Weight Watchers nemesis foods I sample each year, so it’s largely assumed I must have a chocolate spitting bowl. I don’t.  It’s very simple but the vast majority of you won’t like what I’m about to say: I stop eating when I’m full.

The Anti-diet: Blah blah Moderation blahhh...

As obvious as this sounds, it took me a good 6 months to master. Suddenly surrounded by food in my café, Root I got over excited. And of course, a Scot never throws away. Two years in, I was hit by the realisation that 30% of the food I consumed was surplus to requirements and I resembled a prize heifer.  OK, maybe I’m exaggerating but it took a significant expanse of cortex to check if I really needed the entire family size trifle – Trifle for One as a friend aptly named it in my honour. For the record, I didn’t sell giant trifles in Root, this was more of a weekend indulgence.

If eating is the highlight of your day, you won’t like the next bit either: We don’t need the volume of food we think. Our stomachs are only the size of our not so giant fists. In fact, portions are 40% bigger than they were 20 years ago. Thank you Supersize America.

Side Plate Eating. Moderation.

In this case, Victoria Beckham’s only eating off a side plate trick isn’t entirely off the mark. I’d gently suggest not taking your own receptacle to dinner parties if you want to keep your friends (and dignity), however.

Coming soon: Breakfast like a king, and why fat and carbs are our friends. Again, applying The Moderation Principle. In the meantime, munch on some wholesomely seductive winter recipes that won’t bust your gut: Zesty fish pie, Mash not Smash, Hummus, Almond butter; even Orange, almond & chocolate cake.

For more Anti-diet tips click on the Tag on the right or type Anti-diet into the Search box at the top of the page.

 

Fort Cochin: Chic, tropical India & chai

Posted in: Travel

Unable to withstand yet another day of bone chilling, sludgy (Spring!) London snow, I’ve fled to my Indian home: Fort Cochin in Kerala. Via a quick eating fest in Bombay. Here’s a snapshot to tide you over until full disclosure when I’m back on UK soil.

Fort Cochin, Kerala, India. Wholesome Seduction.

 

Bombay: Taj Palace & Tower hotel; Cafe Mondigar; Paan.

Bombay. Taj Palace & Cafe Mondigar.

Paan. Bombay, India.

 

Fort Cochin, Kerala: Art cafes, Indian Biennale, boutique hotels, street food and my Indian family.

Kashi Art Cafe. Fort Cochin, India.

Vineetha & Kashi.

Street Art: India's first Biennale

Chai & Gujarati sweets

Relaxation. Fort Cochin, India.

Old Harbour Hotel, Cochin. India. Wholesome Seduction.

Masala Dosa & Gujarati sweets

My Indian Family: Vineetha & Emily.

Vineetha and Emily: My Cochin family. And my Keralan cooking gurus. I promise to share…