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.

 

Coconut & mushroom scrambled eggs

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

Crunchy yet creamy; seductive yet wholesome; filling yet bloat free; these are scrambled eggs as, I’d hazard a guess, you’ve never had them. I’m addicted. Knowing my appreciation for his native nut, and Wholesome Seduction, #ChefRaheem of Old Harbour Hotel in Kerala worked his magic on countless coconut incarnations for ‘Madam’. Every one created with health and healing in mind. Raheem’s an artist and doctor all in one. And my unfailing inspiration.

Coconut-scrambled-eggs

Feeds 1

INGREDIENTS

1 dsp coconut oil
2 eggs
Dash coconut (or cow’s) milk
Salt and black pepper – I like sea or Himalaya pink salt
½ carrot, grated
1 tbsp mushroom, or spinach. Or both.
1 tbsp desiccated coconut

Optional extras:

1 tbsp spinach, finely sliced
1 dsp cabbage, finely sliced – I like this for added crunch
¼ onion

METHOD

On a medium flame, set coconut oil to heat in a frying pan. Meanwhile whisk eggs with milk and salt. Set aside.

Sauté carrot and mushroom (+ any other optional extras) in the hot coconut oil for 1-2 mins – you want the veg to remain crunchy.

Add whisked eggs, stirring until cooked and fluffy. Add in most of the desiccated coconut, remove from the heat immediately and serve.

Top with the remaining coconut and a side of roasted tomato or toasted rye bread. I like Village Bakery for taste and because there’s no added yeast (yeast = bloat and lethargy for me).

ChefRaheen-and-Vineetha

Click here for why I fell in love with coconut oil and here for the best ones to buy

From the streets: Coconut oil

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

Wholesome Seduction has featured a few recipes containing coconut oil recently so I think it’s time to explain my (and the UK’s) latest love. Apart from transforming sweet potato wedges into sticky and crispy comfort food, the health benefits of this miracle fruit (botanically a drupe) are so extensive, fitness gurus are eating the oil by the dessert spoon. Literally.

Virgin-Coconut-Oil

For the full lowdown find out why I fell in love here. Think metabolism boosting, energy sustaining, bacterial and viral infection fighting and apparently, weight loss!

There are countless raw or virgin varieties available in wholefood shops. Unfortunately, at £10 a pop they don’t come cheap. There’s now a ‘cuisine’ (non raw / refined) option for a fiver which makes sense if you’re cooking.

What’s the difference? In all honesty, I attribute most of the (crazy £10!) cost to marketing and fashion. South India’s awash with palm trees and the smell of dosa (a kind of breakfast pancake staple) being fried in coconut oil. A year’s supply wouldn’t even set Amma back a tenner. Having said that, there is something in the raw / virgin tag line.

Refined vs. raw coconut oil

Virgin-vs-Refined-coconut-oil

All coconut oils are refined as the oils need to be extracted from the whole fruit; raw has just been less so. As goes with the raw argument, such foods are said to retain higher levels of their nutrients and antioxidants. The (more) refined version doesn’t alter the medium chain fatty acids so still ticks all the virtues that make this a Storehouse Seducer.

I stock up on £2.50 tubs of KTC, an Indian brand, when I can get them. Note: KTC (above) is more easily found by the bottle but given the oil sets outside of tropical climates, not ideal as it can’t be poured. #globalsalesstrategy #fail

Since I sub other oils for coconut wherever taste is either improved or uncompromised, I go through quite a bit so use two types: Raw for energy balls, shakes and spreading on toast, and KTC for scrambled eggs (yep), roasting and frying kale and fritters. The good news: many dishes taste infinitely better. When cooked, coconut oil has a creamy flavour and adds a crispiness that would turn the local chippy green with envy.

KTC: £2.50 from Asian shops and Tesco World Food aisle. Biona and Lucy Bee: £9.95 from Wholefoods or Planet Organic. Biona Cuisine: £4.95 from Wholefoods. Amazon also has slightly cheaper bulk buying options and rumour has it Lidl plan to get in on the cut price action.

 

Some more coconuts:

For the purpose of this post, I’ve focussed on the oil, but actually, so extensive are this drupe’s merits, it comes in every imaginable incarnation: dairy free ice cream (amazing), yoghurt (ditto) and of course, the water celebrities practically bathe in.

CoYo

Invo-Coconut-water

All of them at prices requiring a conversation with the bank manager. Who’d have thought this stuff grows on trees?

 

The Anti-diet: Carbs v. protein

Posted in: Uncategorized

I once paid exorbitant amounts of cash to see a fit guru who promptly rigged me up to a mask attached to lots of wires, while making me stretch my poor little heart to breaking point on various apparatus. I only learned calories the year before (goodbye family size trifle) and have zero comprehension of my weight, so this was a little out of character. It was surprisingly useful however: I learned that eating nothing but kumquats can make you fat.

Fat

Apparently, the body likes a little protein with carbs. If eaten in isolation, carbohydrate may as well be a lump of lard, it would seem. OK, maybe this is a slight exaggeration but I find the visual helps me focus.

It’s all down to our blood sugar levels. In the interests of keeping you awake, I’ll abstain from the over convoluted workings of the Glycaemic Index, just heed this: High GI foods (the white stuff: tatties, pasta etc) turn almost instantaneously to sugar in the body, producing insulin (= sugar rush, then slump), which tells your body to store fat. So you see, starving yourself on Snack A Jacks and blueberries will not only make you miserable, devoid of dinner party invites and probably unwell, you’ll gain weight.

Before you frantically renounce all ingredients bar celery, however, we need carbohydrates for energy, and to prevent us being likened to an irritable Devil Wears Prada Diva. All our shrewd bodies crave is a mix of protein, fat, fibre and carbs.

World-Flours-3

Mother nature (and the supermarket World Foods aisle) has fortuitously provided us with a cornucopia of options, not to mention wheat alternatives, if we’re ever so slightly open minded.

As our Seducers explain, pulses and quinoa, with their mix of carbs, fibre and protein, are a veritable gift from the Gods to be coveted. They’re also super easy to incorporate into soups, stews, salads and fritters: Quinoa, lentil & feta salad, Courgette & prawn fritters (made with chickpea flour).

Avocado, cottage cheese & vegemite on sourdough

Eggs, olive oil, nuts, lean meats and avocado are not to be avoided on pain of death; they are our friends. In moderation (blah blahhh). Now, I don’t know about you, but I think this is pretty good news.

Some other protein hit recipes: HummusGaram masala & tamarind chickenBramble Bircher or Almond butter.

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

 

 

Clare’s spicy nuts

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

I’ve been a bit of a scrooge with this recipe – it took a lot (!!) of amends to get the sticky, chilli clusters just right. However, I shared with a colleague, then another, and now Clare’s Spicy Nuts feature in the Gather & Gather marketing pack with said secret recipe launching across 250 restaurants. Humph.

spicy-nuts

Filling and packed with protein and goodness, nuts are an ideal snack. Snack being the operative word; mini portions are key! Don’t be put off by the biblically proportioned ingredients; they’re largely spices and prep takes all of 10 mins.

Ingredients

200g almonds
100g cashews
100g pecans
200g sunflower seeds
150g pumpkin seeds
2 egg whites
4 tsp caraway seeds
2 tsp crushed chillies
1 tsp chipotle / smoked paprika
2 tsp cumin seeds
4 tsp sea salt
3 tbsp honey
1 tbsp brown sugar

Method

Pre-heat oven to 200°C / 390°F. Whisk egg whites to form soft peaks.

Stir through spices and nuts, followed by honey and brown sugar.

Transfer to a baking tray, or two (keeping to one layer of nuts for even toasting) and cook for 20 mins, or till the nuts have browned. Stir  half way through for even toasting.

I like to keep in a kilner jar to dip into mid-morning or as a pre dinner party snack.

Check out Storehouse Seducer Almonds for more reasons to snack on Spicy nuts – think anti-oxidants, vitamins, fibre, magnesium, cholesterol & GI lowering; the benefits are endless.

Orange, almond & chocolate cake

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

This is one of my all time favourite recipes: uber moist; sophisticatedly sweet and tangy; distinctively almondy. A cake for grown ups. Commonly used in Spanish and Moorish cakes, almonds bring so much more to the party than Bulk Out Flour, and they taste better. They’re filling, good for us, moist in baking and gluten free. The swapping of sugar for Agave is a trick I’m a tiny bit pleased with. Options are also given for sugar and Stevia (saccharine barf) FYI, though my preference on both taste and waistline would be Agave.

You can lose the choc drops for a more traditional recipe which is also sugar and dairy free. This cake is so devoid of bad stuff, in fact, you can even use it as an energy and protein pick me up for fitness training. I’ve baked in tartan cups as a nod to Edinburgh’s Brew Lab inspiration from last week.

Orange,-Almond-&-Choc-Cake

 

Ingredients

3 medium oranges
4 tbsp Agave / 3 tbsp Stevia / 300g tbsp caster sugar
400g ground almonds
4 eggs
2 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp dark choc chips

For the syrup

2 oranges, juice of
2 tbsp Agave / 1 tbsp Stevia / 100g sugar

Method

Preheat oven to 180C / 350F / Gas 4. Grease and line a 25cm springform cake tin with greaseproof paper. Alternatively, you can make 8 – 10 individual cakes with muffin moulds or ANTA ovenproof cups.

Clean oranges, cover with water in a saucepan, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 10 mins. Cut into quarters, removing the seeds.

Transfer to a food processor (retaining the peel!) and blitz with 4 tbsp of the Agave or 300g sugar for about 30 secs. Add almonds, eggs and baking powder and puree for a few seconds before scraping down the sides and blitzing again until smooth – approx. 10 secs.

Fold through the choc chips and transfer into your greased tin. Bake for 50 or so mins. If opting for the muffin-sized cakes, cook for 20 mins. A knife should come out moist. Set your cake aside in the tin or cups for 10 mins.

Making-Orange,-Almond-&-Choc-Cake

Bring the syrup ingredients to the boil and simmer until the sauce starts to thicken. Prick the cake/s all over with a skewer and pour over the syrup. Leave to soak up all the juices.

Once cooled, remove and serve on a plate, or directly from your ANTA cups. Dollop with double cream.

The almonds will keep this cake moist for several days. In fact, it will go moldy before it goes stale. As an added bonus, almonds are also a Seducer, check out their charms here.

From the streets: Village Bakery 100% rye bread

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

Or more specifically, from Waitrose. In light of my recent The best thing since sliced bread article and Spelt & tahini soda bread recipe, here’s a good value, off the shelf option which is hard to beat.

Village Bakery Rye Bread

I’ve sampled innumerable rye breads over the past 15 plus years, finding all but a few either too chewy, dense or Pumpernickelesque. This one on the other hand, is a clear winner in terms of flavour, health and value. Lighter in texture, colour and taste, it’s perfect toasted with scrambled eggs, butter and Mum’s Seville orange marmalade, or smoked salmon. And it’s yeast free! All for under two quid. Thank you Village Bakery.

Gails Artisan Bakery also do an excellent 100% rye that many of my wheat loving friends ask for when they come to stay.

The jam co-operative

Posted in: Uncategorized

I had an early induction on street food. Pioneering in nutrition, my mum would pitch up in a salubrious Black Isle (a peninsula on the Scottish Highlands) square every Saturday to sell home grown fruit and veg. Decent varieties of which were harder to come by without the use of the Inverness ferry (and a very long queue) in the, ahem, 1970s.

Netherton Farm Jam & marmalade

Not limited just to veggies, I’d help mum sell our home-made jams, chutneys, marmalades and spun wool (I kid you not) from the neighbour’s burger van. The rest of the week Pat would use said vehicle to supply highlanders with gourmet venison burgers; you see, we Scots don’t just eat deep fried Mars bars!

In those days street food was somewhat less en vogue; one well-heeled village resident promptly enlisted the local bobby to deal with the mobile people. I can only imagine the shame at Granny Mac’s charity lunches; wasn’t procreating with a Spanish drummer rogue enough? Mindful of his duties, our diligent PC promptly marched over to Mrs Garcia-Macintyre and with a broad Scottish accent, and a hint of a chuckle, demanded a passion fruit.

One area where Rebel Garcia and Matriarch Macintyre et al saw eye to eye though, was on the caliber of preserves we purveyed. With the help of a 1929 MAFF guide, mum’s marmalade at least, has never been cause for debate.

The Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries & Food, HMSO Bulletin 21: Home Preservation of Fruit & Vegetables.

Ministry of Agriculture, Farming & Fisheries Guide

Mother Garcia’s cherished (and sous chef crayoned) 1970’s copy talked her through jamming, canning and bottling in preparation for the winter months; and a Wholesome Seduction child is born.

Mrs Garcia now serves her wares, along with Netherton Farm eggs (more free-range than I feel is entirely necessary) with Wild boar cross Tamworth sausages and bacon at B&B Netherton Farm.

Netherton Farm Eggs & Wild Boar Sausage

My Home-made soda & tahini bread, Wild boar cross Tamworth sausages, Netherton Farm eggs and Mum’s chutney.

It’s getting a little late in the day but you should still be able to get your hands on Seville oranges for MAFF Marmalade next week.

 

Zesty Fish Pie

Posted in: S, SF, WF

In light of the almost sub-zero temperatures, I’ve deviated from the Tortilla plan to a fish pie feast. Because who doesn’t love a (tangy and creamy, chunky and cheesy) fish pie? This recipe feeds 8 – 10 and doesn’t skimp on the fish, so you can bribe your friends to visit and still have left overs for Sunday. Seasonal, cosy comfort: perfect winter week-end sharing.

Fish Pie Pots Wholesome Seduction

Feeds 10

Ingredients

5 eggs
2 lemons, juice and zest
1.4kg potatoes: Rooster or Maris Piper both good for mashing
600g Pollack, filleted bones and skin removed
200g smoked haddock, filleted, bones and skin removed
340ml milk: I swap between soya and cow’s and no-one notices.
20g butter
3 tbsp flour: plain or rice
2 tsp Dijon mustard
60g low fat cream cheese
2 tbsp olive oil
1 dsp wholegrain mustard
250g tiger pawns
5 scallops – optional
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
120g mature cheddar, grated

Fish Pie Wholesome Seduction

Fish pie calls for a bit of pan juggling. Don’t stress about timings, it all goes into the oven at the end so there’s no roast dinner co-ordination called for.

Method

  1. Put eggs to simmer in a pan of cold water that just covers them. From the point the water begins to boil, set the timer for 6 mins.
  2. Pat fish (not shellfish) with lemon zest and put to one side.
  3. Peel potatoes and set to boil with pinch of salt.
  4. Remove the eggs and stand in cold water.
  5. Lightly poach fish in milk then turn off heat.
  6. Meanwhile, melt butter in a pan and stir in flour, slowly add milk from fish pan to make the white sauce. Add Dijon mustard and stir continuously until the sauce begins to bubble and thicken. Remove from the heat and set aside. You’ll have a little milk left over, should you need it for the mash.
  7. Pre-heat oven to 180°C and grease baking dish.
  8. Drain potatoes and return pan to a low heat to dry off – See my Mash not Smash tips for perfect creamed tatties.
  9. Add low fat cream cheese, olive oil, wholegrain mustard salt and pepper and mash. A lot. Then whisk with a fork to get lots of air in, giving you fluffy, creamy mash heaven. You may want to add the retained milk from earlier. If not, discard.
  10. Peel boiled eggs and cut into quarters. Mix with fish, shellfish and white sauce and pour into baking dish. Make sure your fish isn’t swimming in liquid, or you’ll end up with a sloppy pie.
  11. Top with mash, then grated cheese and bake in oven for 30 mins, until cheese has started to brown and sauce begins to erupt around the edges.

Zesty Winter Fish Pie Wholesome Seduction

Serve with green salad. Crunchy freshness with creamy pie.

PP: 385 Kcals Protein 29.5g  Carbs 32.8g OWS 2.6g  Fat 16.1g Sat Fat 7.4g Salt 1.2g

 

Mash not Smash

Posted in: SF, V, WF

On making my faithful old fish pie recipe, it occurred to me that perhaps my mash checklist could be considered more meticulous than most. In my defence, Root was essentially a mashed potato shop. Kind of. And my Granny was a beef farming Scot: we love our mince and tatties. Even my non cooking uncle felt compelled to bark instructions at me on the need for endless mashing and whisking as I sweated over his Aga. So, here’s my step by step guide on perfect mashed tatties.

Feeds 6 (or 4 farmer portions)

1kg potatoes: Rooster tend to lump less; and Maris Piper, a safe, readily available bet.
60g low fat cream cheese
3-4 tbsp olive oil
100ml warm, full fat milk (or cream if you prefer). I often drop all together.
Salt, lots of
Freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Peel potatoes and cut to similarly proportioned pieces. Quartering is generally a fair guide.
  2. Place in a large pan and just cover with cold water. Set to boil gently.
  3. After approx. 20 mins, test with a knife. You want soft right through, though not disintigrating.
  4. Drain off water and return pan to the lowest heat, ensuring all water evaporates. Dry potatoes are key if you want a fluffy, non-Smash, mash.
  5. Keeping the pan on the heat, start to mash. When you think you’re finished, go round again, working to remove all the lumps.
  6. Add cream cheese, salt and pepper and whisk with a fork.
  7. Add olive oil and milk (if using) and whisk until you feel the need to remove layers of clothing from having burned more calories than in a spin class.
  8. Taste, season, add more oil or milk if needs be. Whisk and test again.
  9. Ta dahhh!

Add wholegrain mustard, chives (added to hot milk then whisked through), lemon or frozen peas – they’ll de-frost in seconds. Potatoes go with everything so you can’t go far wrong.

Swapping the Rooster for new potatoes, skins on, and adding rosemary sea salt is my all-time favourite. Top with salmon and poached egg. Trust me. 

Note: Potatoes love salt and fat. There are times when no-one’s any the wiser if we cut out or swap the ‘baddies’, and there are times when food partners need to be respected, however waist expanding. So speeketh the Scot.

PP (6): 218 kcals Protein 3.7g Carbs 28.8g OwS 1g Fat 10.6g Sat fat 3.8g Salt 0.9g

PP (4): 328 kcals Protein 5.6g Carbs 43.3g OwS 1.5g Fat 15.9g Sat fat 5.6g Salt 1.4g