Prawn, coconut & tamarind curry

Posted in: DF, S, SF, WF

A healthy, tangy and creamy curry to help you on your way to summer body. That’s right, curry needn’t be laden with ghee and consumed only in the early hours. In fact, the spices and coconut oil in this recipe are even good for your gut. I’ve used prawns for a potentially wider appeal, but I also make this with any white, sustainable fish as a less extravagant mid week supper.

Prawn,-coconut-&-tamarind-curry
Feeds 4

INGREDIENTS

2″ piece ginger
2 red chillies
4 cloves garlic
6 tsp coriander seed, toasted and ground
1 tin tomatoes or 6 ripe tomatoes

1 tbsp coconut oil
2 onions
3 tsp tamarind paste
1 dsp Agave syrup
1 x 400ml can coconut milk or coconut powder if you can get it.
1 tsp sea salt
500g raw, shelled, uncooked tiger prawns or white sustainable fish, deboned.
1 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped

METHOD

In a blender, blitz ginger, garlic, chillies, tomatoes and coriander seeds to make rough paste. Depending on how many I’m cooking for, I often leave half aside at this point to make a fresh curry another day. If you’re going the whole hog, however, use the lot.

Heat coconut oil in heavy based pan, chop onions and fry on medium to low heat until they’re translucent.

Add your tomato paste to the onions and cook for 5 mins, stirring intermittently. Follow with tamarind, Agave, coconut milk or powder and sea salt. Cook on a medium heat for 10 mins.

Check for seasoning, put the prawns or fish into the pan, stir and cook gently for 3 – 4 mins, or until meat is cooked through.

Serve with brown rice, roti or wholemeal paratha and chopped coriander. I also like this on it’s own for supper, effectively as a chunky soup… when carb baby needs curbing.

Coconut-powder

Tip: Tinned coconut milk can vary widely in flavour from the real thing, often altering the curry considerably. Even if fresh coconuts were readily available in the UK, however, I’m not about to start tackling them. So, I was very pleased to come across coconut powder in the world food isle, which somehow tastes far more authentic. You just add to the curry, diluting with water to your taste. Frozen roti and paratha are pretty easy to come by in most supermarkets too.

Tip: Don’t throw away coriander stalks. Instead, keep in the freezer to add a clean, freshness to other curries. See Spring lamb with apricots & chilli for example.

 

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.

Courgette, prawn & chilli fritters

Posted in: DF, S, SF, WF

Fritters are an easy and healthy alternative to bread, and just as versatile. In this version, the chilli bite is contrasted by cooling mint and clean coriander; hard to beat for breakfast or supper when topped with bacon, avocado and a poached egg. Or you can make minis with a dip for everyone to dig into as a starter or canapé. Try Broad bean & cashew dip or hung yoghurt (labneh) & basil pesto.

fritters,-bacon-&-egg

Makes: 12 fritters. Feeds: 4

INGREDIENTS

150g chickpea flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp turmeric (for gut health)
black pepper
2 limes, juice of
½ red Kashmiri chilli, chopped
8 spring onions, chopped
2 tbsp coriander, chopped
1 dsp mint, chopped
1 courgette, grated
200g peeled, raw tiger prawns, chopped ½ inch thick
1 tbsp coconut oil. Or your choice of oil.

METHOD

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. In stages, add 100ml water and the lime juice and stir until you get a thick batter, removing any lumps.

Add the spices, chilli, spring onions and herbs, followed by the courgette and prawns.

making-fritters

Dollop coconut oil into a frying pan and set over a medium heat. When very hot, add your mix (1 heaped dsp per fritter) and flatten to 2cm thick.

Cook for 2 – 3 mins on one side and 1 on the reverse. Or until your fritters are a reddish brown. Coconut oil gives a lovely crispness, and countless health benefits in the process!

Serve hot topped with avocado & cottage cheese or a poached egg.

Pitt Cue Co. Chipotle Ketchup

It would appear the latter’s surprisingly good with Pitt Cue Co’s chipotle ketchup and bacon. An accidental combination (I may have been nursing a hangover) and potentially menu carnage but I like it. Impressive given I don’t do ketchup. The recipe’s widely available on the net, or I’ve included a tweaked version made with agave instead of sugar.

Make the most of seductive courgette’s health benefits while in season. See also skinny Courgette & lemon drizzle cake.

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.

Spelt & tahini soda bread

Posted in: DF, S, SF, V

For me, Soda bread’s a true winner: Yeast and hassle free (no sweat provoking kneading required), you can have a batch in the oven within 10 minutes. Genuinely. It’s so quick in fact, I’ve adjusted, binned and tweaked this ambitious (for someone who doesn’t make bread) combo countless times. I’m now ready to disclose.

Spelt & tahini soda bread recipe. Wholesome Seduction.

Ingredients

275g spelt flour
175g rice flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1tsp sea salt
1 tbsp tahini
250ml milk retain drizzle for to brush over top (based on semi skimmed milk)

Method

Preheat oven to 190C / 375F / Gas 5. Sieve dry ingredients into a large bowl and mix to a soft dough with the milk. The dough should be slack but not wet.

Spelt & tahini soda bread recipe

Knead until smooth, form into a ball and flatten dough to 3 – 4” thick. Put on a greased baking tin and score a large cross o the top. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 35 – 40 mins.

The bread should still be quite moist in the centre due to the tahini so a knife shouldn’t come out clean. If you over cook, the bread will become dry quickly after cooling.

Serve warm or toasted with good, salty butter and soup. Or with Mum’s Seville orange marmalade.

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

 

Toolkit recipes

Posted in: LF, N, Nutrition Info, S, Uncategorized, V, WF

With a teeny tiny bit of prep, and some Tupperware, you can eat within five minutes of stepping in your kitchen. Literally. Leaving the evening free to do, well, whatever it is you like to do…

Toolkit recipes

Now, I enjoy cooking but the last thing I want to do when I get in late, so hungry I could eat a weathered donkey, is cook. And quite frankly, my creativity and patience by this point have entirely evaporated in the face of anything more challenging than a tub of hummus. So, what happens if one is equipped with enough toolkit tupperware for several days? Revolutionary.

You may have noticed I’m a bit of a salad groupie. None of the insubstantial, rabbit feed variety for me though. An ideal receptacle for accommodating almost the entire contents of the fridge and given the high male praise of being “like eating meat”, I’ve termed them Man Salads. The key is in the base, and in embracing accidental recipes; where my most treasured dishes are born.

Pick & Mix lunch

Salad base (for two):

1 handful salad leaves: rocket, watercress, spinach and / or herbs
2 dsp puy lentils – from the Larder page
2 tbsp qunioa – from the Larder page
2 tbsp peas, frozen (and defrosted!) fine
4 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1 tbsp vinaigrette, or to taste
1 tbsp toasted seeds

See Qunioa, feta, rocket & toasted seed for rough nutritional data. Note: this recipe includes feta.

Quinoa, feta & toasted seed salad, wholesomeseduction

With a couple of additions, the options are endless. Click on the recipe links in the text:

Feta, butternut & hummus

Top with feta for one of my favourite, healthy suppers: Qunioa, feta, rocket & toasted seed. Or swap the quinoa for Roast butternut & fennel seed and a desert spoon of hummus. The saltiness of the feta against the sweet butternut squash and earthy, yet lemony hummus and nutty, crunchy seeds is happiness itself. In my opinion…

Garam masala chicken

Chuck in half a breast of Garam masala chicken and maybe a desert spoon of hummus for my take on Shawarma joy – a Middle eastern staple. This is also delicious in a wrap; chicken and hummus really are perfect partners. The chicken and feta route is a winner too.

I sometimes swap the quinoa, hummus and vinaigrette for Caesar salad dressing and toasted pine nuts with feta, goat’s cheese or Parmesan – an altogether meatier Chicken Caesar. And Goat’s cheese, apple and Caesar is pretty addictive.

Food to Go - salad

As you may have noticed, I have a tendency to throw all sorts of ingredients in together, even sometimes adding to shop bought salads if they err towards bland or insubstantial. Don’t be afraid to improvise; some concoctions work, some don’t. Making mistakes is the best way to learn and innovate.

In the interests of your sanity (and mine), I’ve stuck to bite sized tips: Salads this week, soups and stews next.

The Anti-diet: Fresh, naturally

Posted in: Uncategorized

By this I mean made by you. Or your granny / the local deli / anyone not advocating the use of ingredients you’d expect to find in a science lab. As this blog eulogises, food is our fuel. I have a sneaking suspicion our growing girths and ever more vociferous food intolerance grumbles, can largely be attributed to the unpronounceable nasties poured into our ready-meals.

Seasonally Seductive Variety

Our bodies like variety. And by eating seasonally, you automatically tick the balanced diet manifesto. At the very least, you’ll never unwittingly consume horse in your beef burgers again.

Horse Burgers

And don’t get me started on salt, fat and sugar. It’s now common knowledge that many ready meals contain over half our recommended daily allowance of the former in a single serving. As a result, salt has become a swear word when in fact, our bodies need it to function.

It’s like this: Our heart is a muscle. Our digestive tract and limbs, amongst other things, are controlled by our muscles. Without salt, said muscles can’t move (hence cramp). If you’re not living off packaged loaves or processed food, you can probably scratch this one off your worry list.

Caravan Coffee, Exmouth Market, London.

By the same token, coffee houses such as Monmouth, All Press and Caravan (pictured), don’t do skinny milk. Because lattes weren’t invented with watered down, processed lactose. Coffee and the sweet, velvety cows milk are perfect partners. Enjoy them as they’re meant to be – in a smaller cup as opposed to a 32oz Venti bucket.

Pick and MIx. Love Hearts.

And what is the deal with sugar? When did we Brits develop such a super saccharine tooth? Most Rhubarb crumbles are now sweeter than Pick ‘N Mix with even ready meals and low fat foods typically loaded with sugar. It’s no wonder obesity and diabetes are on the increase, hence the press recently turning into our most vociferous saccherophobe (sugar hater). sugar demon taking such a beating by the press of late. On current trends, by 2050 half the UK adult population will be obese. We currently stand at 1/3. Nice.

For the record, the legendary J. Sheekey’s still flies the flag for our tangy British crumble favourite, complimented with the silkiest, vanilla bean speckled crème Anglais. #drool

JSheekey Oyster Bar, London.

“But I don’t step foot in my kitchen before 9pm”, I hear you groan. Without wishing to sound like Martha Stewart, soups, stews and salads can be super quick to prepare. The key is to make bigger batches for the fridge or freezer.

Next week I’ll blog some key recipes that can be mixed and matched for a week of almost instantaneous post work suppers and office lunch boxes, putting into easy practice what must seem like Anti-diet overload! In the meantime, click on the Seasonal Seducers and recipes for Wholesomely Seductive eating that’s a way of life, as opposed to a starve v. binge battle.

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

All Anti-diet posts have been approved by nutritionist and Gather & Gather colleague Kate Taylor, find her on Twitter @kate_t85