Chilli, tamarind and parmesan courgetti

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

Over the decades I’ve toyed with various iterations of my Go To comfort food. I find this  50/50 spaghetti – courgette split not only fills me up, it adds a clean crunchiness to the sometimes heavy pasta only version. 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. Left-overs as a salad the next day are also delicious.

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.

 

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.

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.

 

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.

 

Spring lamb with apricots & chilli

Posted in: DF, S, SF, WF

Happy Easter! Here’s something savoury to wash down all your chocolate eggs. After much tweaking, I think this tagine has a perfect balance of agrodolce: Tangy, clean lime, coriander and tamarind working wonders against the sweet, sticky apricots and meaty lamb. Don’t be put off by the mega ingredients list, it’s largely comprised of Storehouse items, and one pot recipes always get my vote for being faff free. It’s also a dinner party winner that tastes even better on day two.

Spring lamb with apricots & chilli

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS

500g lamb leg or shoulder, diced to 1 inch pieces, removing the fat.
1 tsp cumin, ground or seeds
2 tsp coriander seeds, ground
3 tsp mustard seeds
4 tsp garam masala from the Larder or shop bought

1 tbsp olive oil
3 red onions, peeled and chopped
2 inch piece ginger, peeled and chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 chilli, finely chopped (seeds included)
3 tsp tamarind
1 bunch coriander (leaves and stalks), chopped

1 ltr chicken or veg stock (I like Marigold bouillon)
1 x 400g tin quality plum or chopped tomatoes
1/2 tsp turmeric
150g prunes, pitted
100g dried apricots
1 tbsp tamari, soy sauce or good pinch sea salt
2 limes, juice of

METHOD

Marinate the meat in the spices for 2 hrs, or ideally, overnight.

In a large, heavy based pan, heat olive oil till starts to smoke and add meat to brown. Set aside and fry onions and ginger until soft, aprox 5 mins. Add garlic, chilli, tamarind and coriander stalks (keep leaves aside for later) and fry for a further 5 mins.

Add stock, tomatoes and turmeric and bring to the boil. Follow with lamb and apricots, turn down the heat, cover and cook 30 mins.

Stir to unstick, add remaining ingredients and simmer gently with the lid off for 45 mins. Test for seasoning (you want a balance of sweet, salt and tang) and serve.

Best with yellow split peas, polenta mash or brown rice, a dollop of Labneh (from the Larder) and fresh coriander. Bulgar wheat with a drizzle of Lemon oil is a safe bet if the others float your boat.

Tip: It’s important to add turmeric later in the cooking process so as not to burn off its health benefits, of which there are multitudes!

For reasons this is a recipe your insides will love as much as your tastebuds, check out Seasonal Seducer Lamb.

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

 

Cheat’s chilli chicken & veg soup

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

Last week I promised some more ridiculously easy Toolkit recipes; I’m not sure supper gets much quicker than 10 minutes. The barbie sized 224 calories per portion may also sway you if like me, impending Easter beach escapes are to be prepared for… I’ve even thrown in a stir-fry version using the same toolkit.

Cheat's chicken & veg soup. Wholesome Seduction.

Feeds: 2. Cooking time: 10 mins. Genuinely.

 

Ingredients

800ml veg stock – Bouillon
2 tsp Thai red curry paste
1 tsp fresh ginger, chopped or paste – optional
1 cooked chicken breast, chopped into 1” pieces
400g stir-fry veggies or Kale – I use a mix of the two bags. Yup, bags.
Small bunch coriander
½ red chilli

Method

In a pan, add veg stock, curry paste and ginger and bring to the boil. Chop the Garam masala & tamarind chicken (you can also use simple, roast chicken) while waiting for the soup stock to heat.

Add chicken to stock and simmer for 2 – 4 mins., until the meat is heated through. Chop the herbs and chillies at this point, if using.

Add veggies and heat 2 mins until cooked but still crunchy. Serve with fresh, chopped chillies and coriander.

Tip:

You can swap the chicken for salmon, prawns or toasted cashews. I’m sure tofu would work just as well. You can also add some rice noodles a la Vietnamese Pho. The options are endless.

And for stir-fry:

Heat 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil in a wok or frying pan, toast 1 dsp cashews and set aside. To the pan, add 1 tsp each of chopped ginger and garlic and fry. Throw in the sliced meat to heat through (1 – 2 mins, depending on your choice). Top with the veggies, cashews and a dash of soy sauce and fry until veggies are cooked but still crunchy. Eat; full of self-congratulatory, skinny, smugness.

Nutritional data for chicken soup: PP: Kcal: 224 Pr: 33g, Carb: 5g, OWS 3.3g, Fat: 8.1g, Sat Fat: 0.9g.

Roast butternut & fennel seed

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

Another faithful Toolkit recipe that’s as impressive at a BBQ or dinner party (a hit at Yotel’s Christmas party!) as it is fridge staple for adding to packed lunch salads and wraps. I’ve even topped it with a poached egg, feta and coriander for brunch.

Roast butternut & fennel seed

Feeds 6. Prep: 10 mins. Cook: 40 mins.

Ingredients

1 butternut squash – approx.
2kg 2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp fennel seeds
1 head garlic, halved – no need to remove skin
1 tsp dried chilli flakes – optional
1 tsp sea salt
Black pepper, good grind

Method

Preheat oven to 200C / 400F / Gas 6. Half butternut lengthways – skin stays on. Remove seeds and cut at into 1.5″ thick semi circles.

In a bowl, mix by hand with remaining ingredients. Transfer to a baking tray, placing skin side down where possible.

Bake for 30 – 40 mins, till flesh is soft and skin slightly blackened. Charring is key for smoky, salty skin and to avoid toughness.

Pile on a platter for dinner party awe, served warm or at room temperature, with roast lamb or chicken. Or store in the fridge to add to salads or wraps  – so good with feta, hummus and rocket!

P/4 semi-circles: Kcal:128, Pr: 3.6g, Carb: 23g, OWS: 12.1g, Fat: 3.4g, Sat Fat: 0.4g, Salt: Trace