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.

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.

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

Pea, kale, fennel & smoky bacon soup

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

If kale really isn’t your thing but you want some of its (biblically proportioned) health benefits, stick it in soup. While the freshness of the pea in this old classic is retained, the antioxidant, fibre and nutrient dense kale adds a meaty, heartiness which is perfect for fresh spring days and, should you so wish, summer slimming prep. Soup’s also surprisingly quick: this takes 15 mins.

Pea, kale, fennel & smokey bacon soup

Feeds 4-6

INGREDIENTS

1 tbsp coconut or olive oil
4 rashers smoked bacon – optional, the fennel seed gives this lots of flavour
1 onion, chopped
3 tsp ground fennel seeds
500g frozen peas
1 ltr Boullion or chicken stock
200g chopped curly kale, stalks retained
Sea salt and black pepper

METHOD

Set 1 dsp of the oil to heat, then fry bacon until it starts to brown. Remove and set aside. Add remaining oil, followed by onions once hot. After a couple of mins stir through ground fennel seeds.

Once onions have started to turn translucent, add in kale, then stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 mins. Add peas and chopped bacon and simmer for a further 5 mins.

Remove from the heat and blend. I use a hand blender for ease and minimal washing up.

Return to the heat, adding salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

 

Kale superfood salad. And Dolly.

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

Quick, packed with flavour, antioxidants, iron and filling energy, this is my year round Go-to recipe. When rubbed with olive oil, salt and lemon, raw kale breaks down into a super delicious (honestly) and meaty salad leaf; rocket now seems pretty insubstantial by comparison. Sesame & rosemary spice was made for this, the chilli meatiness sticks to the leaves and is seriously tasty. Use as a base for any of your favourite toppings for lunch, supper or take-away.

Superfood-salad

Serves 1

INGREDIENTS

Base

1 good handful kale, chopped
1 dsp olive oil
Squeeze lemon juice
Pinch Himalayan pink or sea salt
2 dsp Sesame, rosemary spice – optional but worth the effort!

Optional toppings

1 tbsp cooked quinoa = complete protein, fibre + all essential amino acids.
1/2 avocado, chopped = potassium + heart healthy unsaturated fats.
1 dsp feta, crumbled = calcium flavour kick with reduced lactose (I’m addicted).
1 cooked chicken breast, chopped = filling lean protein.
1 dsp hummus = great sub for meat protein or Middle Eastern deliciousness with chicken.

And some more

Goji berries = sweet tanginess + antioxidant and skin loving beta-carotene.
Rocket leaves = peppery green crunch.
Sticky sweet potato wedges, chopped = low GI filling sweetness
Poached egg = #addictedtoeggs
Balsamic vinegar = adds a tangy sweet contrast to the nutty and creamy salad.

Kale-&-Dolly

METHOD

Using a large bowl, rub the olive oil, salt and lemon into the kale. As you do so, the volume will reduce by half and the stalks pop to the surface – there’s no need to painstakingly remove beforehand.

It’s up to you if you want to include in the salad or discard; Dolly eats mine as I’m prepping. #wholesomeseductiondog

Top with the Sesame & rosemary spice, followed by any other ingredients from the list. The flavours all complement each other, so you can add as many or as few as you like. It goes without saying that you may want to reduce quantities if opting for all eight…

This recipe tastes even better on day two, so make a big batch for instant eating.

For something similar without lifting a finger, try The Good Life Eatery’s Good Life Bowl.

 

Kale, ricotta & chorizo rosti

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

Kicking off the long promised Kale-fest (briefly interrupted by Valentine’s and Pancake Day) with a crowd pleasing brunch. Yes, healthy comfort food does exist. This recipe’s hearty and indulgent, yet packed with antioxidants, Vitamins C, A and K and cholesterol lowering goodness. Hail the Kale!

Crispy and robust, kale’s a natural bed fellow for rosti. Poached egg and avocado are a match made in heaven with the smokey chorizo, and the chickpea flour make these a gluten-free option packed with goodness. Veggies, you can drop the chorizo – the lemon ricotta and smokey paprika are already bursting with flavour. I also love these as a light supper with hung yoghurt and chimichurri. Note: you just use enough coconut oil to keep the rosti from sticking, no deep frying!

Kale,-ricotta-&-chorizo-rosti

Makes 14 fritters

INGREDIENTS

150g chickpea flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp turmeric (for gut health)
1 good tsp smoked paprika
3 lemons, juice of all, zest of 1
150g curly kale
100g ricotta
80g chorizo – I like the thin ‘cooking chorizos’
150 ml water
1 tbsp coconut (or olive) oil, for frying

METHOD

Chop chorizo into mini pieces, approx. 1cm cubed. Pre-heat frying pan, drop in chorizo pieces and dry fry for a couple of minutes, or until crispy. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Mix ricotta with lemon zest and set aside. Sift flour, salt and spices into a large bowl. In stages, add juice of 2 lemons (retain the third for serving) and 150ml water. Beat into a thick batter, removing any lumps.

Add in the kale and mix with your hands – much quicker for breaking down the kale. You’ll also find the chunkier stalks pretty much pop out so you don’t need to painstakingly pick through removing them beforehand. I eat the smaller bits, Dolly (dog) eats the chunks. Really.

Heat a little coconut oil in a frying pan on a medium flame and dollop in 1 dsp of mix per fritter. You’ll need to press down lightly, ensuring there are no holes but don’t worry about a perfect edge; you’re going for rostis.

Fry for 2 mins on one side, or until reddish brown and 1 minute on the reverse. Don’t touch or move in between or they’ll mush as opposed to crisp.

Squeeze over the remaining lemon juice and eat right away. Ideal for instant suppers or snacks, you’re mix will keep in the fridge for up to a week.

 

Almond, orange & cranberry granola

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

You can’t go wrong with granola, loved by all and packed with nutty goodness, this is wholesome seduction at it’s best. The ideal start to your day, oats famously provide slow release energy and fibre, while the nuts and seeds are packed with protein, vitamin E, Omega-3 and minerals, magnesium and phosphorus. Even the coconut oil not only adds creamy deliciousness, but does wonders for your skin, hair and digestion (more info on why I fell in love here). As if that’s not enough, this recipe contains no refined sugar and, I think, tastes even better for it. Crunchy nut, creamy coconut and juicy cranberries; the perfect boxing day breakfast?

Granola

INGREDIENTS

3 cups oats – I like 2 of rolled oats and 1 of rye or buckwheat flakes
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup linseed
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup pecans
1 tbsp almond or sunflower oil
1 tbsp coconut oil – you can also sub for sunflower oil
2 tbsp agave, honey or maple syrup
3 tsp ground cinnamon
1 orange, juice and zest
1 cup flaked or desiccated coconut
1 cup dried cranberries (or raisins)

METHOD

Pre-heat oven to 180C. Warm coconut oil in a small pan until it becomes runny, then add in all wet ingredients: honey, agave, oils, cinnamon and orange juice plus zest.

In a bowl, mix remaining ingredients except for the coconut and cranberries. Stir in the syrupy oil and transfer to two baking trays, flattening out your mix to a 1 inch flapjack approx.

Cook for 25 – 30 mins, stirring a couple of times so the top doesn’t burn. Add in the coconut flakes around 10 mins before the end.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5 mins before breaking up. You should have chunks of crispy, flapjack granola. Store in an airtight jar or container.

In winter I love this with Coyo yoghurt or Rude Health almond milk and a green shake. You can’t beat the tangy berry, crunchy granola and creamy yoghurt combo in summer, when fruit’s at it’s best.

Follow with my Mushrooms with poached egg & spicy sesame for a long, lazy brunch.