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.

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.

 

(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

 

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.

 

Porridge of fairytales

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

Being a Scot (albeit a half Spanish one), I should probably apologise that this post is only now appearing on Wholesome Seduction; I was weaned on porridge. Literally. Although vocally apathetic as a child (what’s wrong with Frosties and Coco Pops?!), I grew to crave the creamy coziness of this breakfast… and / or supper (see aforementioned craving). Here are my simple steps, and added tricks, for creating porridge Goldilocks would be proud of. Englishers, take note: a pinch of salt is compulsory. As a rule, I prefer to err away from dogmatic recipes, but on this I stand firm.

Porridge

Feeds: 1

INGREDIENTS

1 cup / part porridge oats (jumbo if poss)
2 cups / parts water
Good dash of cow’s milk, or sub for mylk or your choice
1 dsp ground almonds – optional but it makes for a thicker, creamier porridge
Pinch Himalayan pink or sea salt – non negotiable!

Toppings:

1 dsp dried cranberries
Knob of butter or coconut oil

METHOD

Soak the oats in the water and salt overnight if possible, or for 1/2 hr.  Not a deal breaker but it helps in the creamy porridge stakes, and it’s quicker to cook on a cold winter morning.

Cook on a low heat (again = creamier), stirring intermittently until it starts to bubble and thicken. Stir through the milk and ground almonds until you reach the consistency you prefer – I like my porridge pretty thick.

Fold through cranberries if using, remove from the heat, cover and set aside for a couple of mins. Again, adding the creamy thickness.

Transfer to bowls and eat as is, or topped with your favourites: milk, banana, seeds, berries, tahini, yoghurt etc. My personal Go To: dried cranberries and knob of butter (kinda’ wish I hadn’t discovered this) or coconut oil.

Wooden spoon optional but it really does seem to taste better…

For the real deal, with a ridiculous Highland view, I’m yet to find better porridge than that of Mumma Garcia-Macintyre of Netherton Farm. She claims it’s the water / Aga / overconvoluted mix of oatmeal and porridge oats (I kept things simple!); either way, it rests on the stove every morning. If you’re ever in the Scottish Highlands…

 

Maple roasted roots with Stilton & walnuts

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

Loaded with winter goodness, this is a crowd pleaser for carnivore and vegetarian guests alike. Served at room temperature, it has a particularly special place in my heart for allowing me to prep in advance so I can focus my efforts on the perfect mulled wine. I’ve done a mix of veggies here, but you can equally double up on sweet potatoes and drop all other roots. I’ve opted for an orange dressing with stilton and walnuts for a nod to the festive season, but feel free to sub for your favourites.

Maple-roasted-roots

Feeds 6 as side

INGREDIENTS

3 sweet potatoes
4 medium sized carrots
4 beetroot
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp turmeric (for anti-bacterial gut health)
Pinch sea or Himalayan pink salt
70g stilton or blue cheese
Fistful / 50g walnuts, lightly dry toasted in a pan or oven – a couple of mins
1 tbsp dried cranberries

Dressing

Juice of 1/2 orange
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp maple syrup
Himalayan pink or sea salt and black pepper
1 tsp crushed, dried chillies – optional

METHOD

Pre-heat oven to 200C. Slice carrots and sweet potatoes lengthways into wedges and beetroot into quarters. Line, skin side down onto a baking tray and roast for approx. 35 mins, gently turning the veg a couple of times throughout. You’re aiming for crispy wedges; soft in the centre with slightly charred edges.

Roast-veg-prep

Set aside the veg to cool slightly – you don’t want them to turn to mush by adding the citrus and olive oil too quickly. Mix the dressing ingredients.

In a large bowl gently combine the dressing with the veg (I use my hands). At this stage, you can set aside in the fridge for the flavours to develop.

When ready to eat / prep, transfer veg to a large platter, layering with the cheese, cranberries and nuts. Topping with parsley also adds colour and freshness.

Serve as a main for vegetarians and / or alongside your turkey or meat of choice.

Raw chocolate & Cointreau mousse

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

No refined sugar options seem to be the latest health trend consuming the nation, so what to do at Christmas? Super creamy and chocolate rich, this is seriously delicious; your taste buds will feel in no way cheated – I can’t quite stress this enough! Thanks to the lack of nasties and abundance of good stuff (vitamins, minerals, unsat fats etc), it won’t leave you in a food coma or relentlessly scrambling for the Quality Street bucket. It also takes 10 mins to make, tops. Although not obligatory, the addition of Cointreau comes highly recommended.

Raw-chocolate-&-cointreau-mousse

Feeds: 6 – 8

INGREDIENTS

2 avocados
2 tbsp cacao powder
4 tbsp / 100g cashew nuts
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
300ml water
1 tbsp Cointreau or juice and zest of 1/2 orange

METHOD

Blitz all ingredients in a blender or Vitamix until smooth and creamy. Transfer to small glasses or bowls and set aside in the fridge until you’re ready to eat. Beware, it’s pretty rich; chocolate shots are probably the way to go…

Easiest Christmas ever. Ho ho ho.

Coconut & cumin mung bean thoran

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

Mung beans can have a bad rep, often associated with flower-powering, free-loving, sixties stoners. This is a little unfair, I feel. When cooked, mung beans are as versatile as a toddlers bowl of penne pasta, with enough bite to woo the most discerning Italian. They’re also insanely good for our digestion. In fact, this thoran (a traditional recipe wouldn’t have garlic) was developed specifically for my lethargic Indian stomach by Keralan (medicinal) chef, Raheem – Delhi belly’s just one Indian holiday affliction apparently. Packed with cleansing and anti-bloat ingredients, this is my go-to skinny stomach smoother. It’s also a supper club and yoga holiday favourite; I’m yet to feed it to anyone who doesn’t go back for seconds, hence blogging it here.

mung-bean-thoran

Feeds 4 – 6

Ingredients

200g mung beans
2 tbsp coconut oil
4 tsp mustard seeds
4 tsp cumin seeds
2 red onions, chopped
4 – 6 cloves garlic, chopped, depending on your taste
100g spinach, chopped
6 tbsp desiccated coconut
½ tsp turmeric
Salt to taste, I like Himalayan pink or sea salt

Method

Soak mung beans overnight. When ready to cook, set to boil until tender yet still with a bite. Add salt when water comes to boil, not before. Set aside.

In heated coconut oil, fry mustard seeds over a medium heat until begin to pop. Follow with cumin, garlic and onion, turn up the heat and sauté until onions turn translucent and start to brown.

Tip in desiccated coconut, followed by mung beans and turmeric. Fold through spinach, cook for a couple of mins and serve. I like this as a light supper or lunch, just as it is, or alongside other salads or my Prawn, coconut & tamarind curry.

Tip: It’s said that turmeric loses it’s medicinal powers (anti-bacterial) when burnt or overcooked, always add at the end of a recipe.