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.

 

Sesame & rosemary spice

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

Naming this recipe was particularly tricky: seasoning or flour-less breadcrumb? Is crunch or crumb too circa 1996? Either way, it’s a random experiment that quickly evolved into a storehouse staple. Seasoning on steroids, I sprinkle it on everything from mushrooms on toast to kale (trust me); soups to salads. Even the most pathetic emergency supper is instantly transformed into meaty, nutty, spicy, saltiness. And it’s carb-free, protein packed and ideal for reducing your salt intake. Now do you see why no name does it justice?

Sesame,-rosemary-&-chilli-spice

INGREDIENTS

200g sesame seeds
100g sunflower seeds
50g ground almonds
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp smoked paprika or chipotle – optional
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp turmeric
4 sprigs rosemary
50g parmesan – drop this for a vegan option which is just as tasty.

METHOD

Pre-heat oven to 200C. Line two baking trays with the seeds, ground almonds and spice. Keep to a thin layer or the edges and bottom will burn while half the seeds remain white.

Sesame-spice

Cook in oven 8-10 mins or until browned. Stir half way through, ensuring the bottom seeds don’t burn. Remove and leave to cool.

In a blender, blitz parmesan and rosemary. Add chilled seed mix and whizz till you have a fine bread crumb consistency with lots of sesame seeds still in tact for texture.

Store in an airtight container for up to 2 wks.

Sprinkle over roasted veggies, put 1 dsp onto soups with a dollop of Labneh, or my favourite, sprinkled onto Mushrooms & poached egg on rye.

Sesame-&-rosemary-spice

I’ve recently developed a (minor) addiction to this on tahini marinated kale, which I’ll share soon. Think meaty, nutty salad. Yes, such a thing exists.

Broad bean & cashew pesto

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

This is one of my favourite fridge staples; it tastes amazing and goes with just about just about anything. In theory you should hull broad beans. Every. Single. One. I did this once, turning grey in the process. According to several guinea pig friends, though, this tastes so good it’s worth the effort. Unfortunately, I don’t have the patience of Ghandi so threw caution to the wind and tested with skins on. The result: zesty, clean, creamy, bang on summer and ready in 10 minutes. A delicious alkaline and raw dip with this week’s Sticky sweet potato wedges, or unbeatable with courgette spaghetti. Alternatively, dollop on salads, rye, fritters or pasta.

Broad-bean-&-cashew-pesto

Makes 1 350ml jar

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup cashew nuts
1 1/2 cups broad beans or soya beans, steamed – I like 50/50.
1 dsp tahini
pinch sea salt
2 limes, juice of
1 tbsp cottage cheese or yoghurt – optional
50ml water or olive oil

METHOD

Blitz the cashew nuts in a Magimix or blender for 20 secs or until you get a breadcrumb texture. Chuck in your chosen beans and whiz briefly.

Add in the remaining ingredients, following with the water. You should have a hummus-like consistency.

Decant to jars in the fridge, eating within 3 days.

Bean-puree

Tip

I love this with a tablespoon of cottage cheese or yoghurt whizzed through at the end – more protein and a bolder, tangier flavour. In the interests of vegan / dairy free / paleo friendly options, I’ve omitted from the above.

 

Sticky sweet potato wedges

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

Coconut oil seems to be the key that sets this recipe apart from the now ubiquitous orange wedge. It works much better than olive oil, resulting in a sticky, sweet and salty flavour. The good news: coconut oil’s so ridiculously healthy, fitness gurus are eating it by the desert spoon for breakfast. Literally. What’s more, sweet potatoes are low GI, packed with anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals and the recipe takes all of 5 mins to prep.

Sticky-sweet-potato-wedges,instag

INGREDIENTS

3 sweet potatoes
1 dsp coconut oil
2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp turmeric – for gut health
1 tsp sea salt
Good grind black pepper

METHOD

Pre-heat oven to 220C / 375F. Scrub sweet potatoes, removing any particularly scraggly bits, and retaining the skins. Cut lengthways into wedges  approx. 8 per potato.

Transfer the wedges to a baking tray, skin side down is ideal as you want them to char and blacken. Dot the coconut oil around the tray and sprinkle with spices and salt.

Bake for 35 mins, or until soft in the middle and charred on the outside. Turn the wedges half way through cooking to coat your wedges with the coconut oil and spices.

Serve with Broad bean & cashew pesto or hummus. I almost always have a tub in the fridge to chop into salads or to tide me through a yoga class.

 

Aubergine, chilli & coriander salsa

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

I dreamt up this salsa after 4 months of craving raw, crunchy salads in India. There’s nothing I like more than fish and spice but there comes a point when even the most dedicated curry fans need to macerate. So, said recipe materialised on a Middle East stopover at my bother’s, where aubergines are as integral to the local diet as tatties are to the Irish. Once charred or roasted, few ingredients compare to the flavour and ‘meatiness’ of this super berry . For me, this salad’s at it’s best with steak or at a BBQ. You can also pair with chicken, fish or even toasted sourdough for a light lunch or supper.

Aubergine-&-tomato-salsa2

Feeds 6

 

Ingredients

3 aubergines
2 tbsp olive oil
Sea salt
Black pepper, freshly ground
1/2 red onion
150g tomatoes
1 bch / tbsp coriander, chopped
1 lime, juice of

Method

Pre-heat oven to 200°C. Slice aubergine into 1 inch rounds, mix with oil, salt & pepper. Lay flat on baking tray and place in oven for 45 mins, or until browned. Turn each slice every 15 mins – you want a mix of soft, charred and crispy slices for flavour and texture.

Dice tomatoes and red onion and mix with chopped coriander and lime juice.

Chop cooled aubergine into approx. 2cm pieces, mix with salsa and serve.

To salt or not to salt? Originally done to remove bitterness, today’s auberignes rarely suffer from the affliction of their ancestors. Salting can help to reduce the amount of oil absorbed during cooking, however. Once cut, sprinkle with sea salt and place in a colander for ½ hr.

Basil pesto

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

Is there an ingredient which tastes of summer more than basil? Thanks to Mum Garcia’s tireless efforts to appease her offspring, you can store up summer and dollop it on your salad, chicken, salmon or pasta whenever the sun shines. Or doesn’t. I’m pretty confident this is the best pesto recipe I’ve eaten. Ever.

basil-pesto

Ingredients

60g basil leaves
2 cloves garlic, crushed
50g pine nuts
50g parmesan, grated
¼ tsp sea salt
150ml olive oil – increase this if you like a runner pesto or more of a dressing

Method

Blitz all ingredients except the olive oil into a Magimix or food processor for 10 secs.

Scrape down the sides and turn on the machine again, adding the olive oil in a steady stream. Decant to a jar and store in the fridge.

Note: if using a Vitamix or tall blender, add the oil at the beginning. Depending on your blender, you may need to stop to press the ingredients down several times throughout blending. In spite of the hype around new blenders available on the market (which I have), I still find the Magimix hard to beat. Such a shame it doesn’t clean itself.

I always seem to inhale before it goes off but mum has an almost constant supply, keeping in the fridge for a couple of weeks at a time. I make double quantities and store in the freezer. Because I’m lazy.

Top tip: Stir in some olive oil to make a dressing for a simple side salad of spinach, watercress, rocket, tomatoes (sun dried outside of summer) and toasted pine nuts. Great with roast chicken for a picnic.

 

Tamari Wild salmon

Posted in: DF, S, SF, WF

We’ve just come into Wild salmon season so I had to share this long-standing favourite Toolkit recipe. It takes about 20 mins to get on the plate and tastes as good cold as it does hot. I always make extra so I have a quick fix protein for after work or yoga. It’s delicious in salads or added to stir-fry or soup – try a fish version of Cheat’s chilli chicken & veg soup from last week.

Tamari Wild salmon

Feeds: 2. Takes: Less than ½ hr.

 

Ingredients

2 salmon steaks
1 clove garlic, crushed
1” piece ginger, finely chopped
1 dsp toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
Lemon juice, squeeze only

Method

Preheat oven to 200C / 400F / Gas 6. Line a baking tray with silver foil – a piece big enough to fold over the salmon steaks. Place the salmon on the foil and score the flesh 3 times on each steak.

Cover with the garlic and ginger, gently pushing some bits into the incisions. Pour over the oil, tamari and lemon, fold over the foil to make a parcel, leaving an opening at the top and transfer to the oven.

Cook for 12 – 15 mins, or until the salmon is cooked through. I like the flesh to still be almost raw in the centre but that’s up to you.

Serve with purple sprouting broccoli or a leaf salad. Or, willpower permitting, store in the fridge to eat cold for up to 3 days.

Note: Eat the the salty tamari sauce while it’s hot; it’s addictive in a junky, cheap crisp way so Little Miss Piggie can’t help but scrape every last bit off the foil. I guess that’s what happens when you forbid yourself junky, cheap crisps…

P/100g steak: Kcal: 203, Pr: 18.0g, Carb: 2.1g, OWS: 0.2g, Fat: 13.8g, Sat Fat: 2.0g, Salt: 1.7g

 

Hummus

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

As much a staple in my fridge as a pint of milk, hummus is a protein, sesame and pulse packed powerhouse of instant filling wonder. A perfect partner for chicken, sweet potato, feta or oatcakes.

Hummus

Prep time: 10 mins.

Ingredients

1 tin chickpeas or 300g dried, soaked overnight
150ml water (take from chickpeas if cooking from dried)
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 lemon, juice of
1 tbsp tahini
150ml olive oil – you can sub with part water, I like the olive oil flavour
1 tsp sea or Himalayan pink salt

Method

If using soaked chickpeas, boil until soft but not mushy. Set aside a few to top on your hummus at the end.

In a food processor or Vitamix, blitz all ingredients until you get a rough puree. Scrape down the sides and blend again until smooth. If using a Vitamix, you can use the puree setting and leave it to do it’s work. If you double the quantities, though, you’ll probably need to use the plunger mid way.

Test for salt, lemon and tahini – adding more to your taste, if required and transfer to a jar. Top with a few whole chickpeas, some paprika and a drizzle of olive oil. Store in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Tip: I never tire of hummus with my Sticky sweet potato wedges (so good!), with Quinoa, feta & rocket salad or slathered over chicken in a wrap (shawarma) or salad.

 

P/dsp: Kcal:104, Pr: 2.9g, Carb: 4.9g, OWS: 0.2g, Fat: 8.2g, Sat Fat: 1.1g, Salt: 0.3g

P/100g: Kcal: 248, Pr: 7.0g, Carb: 11.6g, OWS: 0.5g, Fat: 19.7g, Sat Fat: 2.7g, Salt: 0.9g

 

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