Sumac Roasted Cauliflower.

I’m going away tomorrow, so the fridge is looking pretty bare. Literally, I think we have avocados, milk, cauliflower and a leftover duck leg. Crazy. So when 3 o’clock rolled around and my lunch/dinner hybrid meal needs to occur, I was at a bit of a loss for what I wanted. Well, the cauliflower seemed the most filling of all those ingredients, so I plucked that. But plain cauliflower is dull as anything, cauliflower cheese is unhealthy (and requires cheese which was lacking from the fridge!) so a spiced cauliflower would have to suffice. I didn’t think it’d taste as good as it did! Sumac really makes it come alive, and the charring from the roasting adds a lovely depth of flavour. PLUS did you know a whole cauliflower has about 210 calories? Which is diddly! So don’t feel guilty about eating the whole thing. Which I did..

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This is quite simply the easiest, tastiest side dish to make – plus it makes quite a showstopper on your Sunday table!

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Ingredients:

1 head of cauliflower

2 Tbsp. rapeseed oil

1 Tsp. sumac

1 Tsp. cumin

salt

Preheat the oven to 180C. In a roasting tray place the cauliflower, and drizzle over the rest of the ingredients. Roast for 40-50 minutes.

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Sopa Paraguaya.

Cornbread. This is a post for cornbread. Granted, this cornbread has a bizarre name, but that’s because it’s a Paraguayan savoury cheese and onion cornbread. But I can see you’re not fooled. Anyone can see that sopa resembles soup, and in fact that’s what it translates as.

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There is a legendary story about the origin of this dish and name dating back to the founder and first president of the Paraguayan state. One day his cook was preparing one of his favorite meals, a soup made with cheese, onions, eggs and cornflour.

Once it was too late to start over, the cook realized she had added too much cornflour. In an attempt to salvage the dish and have something ready to serve, she baked the thick ‘soup’. Her employer was delighted with the result and named the dish ‘Sopa Paraguaya’. (Thanks Wikipedia)

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Smothered in butter, it is a great snack, or serve it with a soup for lunch. Bonus – it’s gluten free.

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Ingredients:

1 large onion, sliced

1 Tbsp. butter

100g grated cheese

250g cottage cheese

250ml milk

5 eggs

1 Tsp. salt

1 Tsp. baking powder

320g polenta

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Preheat oven to about 180C. Melt the butter in a frying pan and sauté the onion until soft. Turn the heat down and throw in the grated cheese – stir until it melts. Turn off the heat and add the rest of the ingredients one at a time, making sure it’s mixed. Transfer the batter to a lined tin and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until brown on top.

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Indian Green Beans with a Cucumber Raita.

It is chucking it down. Not only that, but it’s a thunderstorm too. “Thunder bolts and lightning, very very frightening” etc. Well, not for me, but my poor pooch is cowering in the lounge. Bless. I actually quite enjoy thunderstorms; watching the lightning, hearing the roar of the thunder. However my run has been most definitely neglected – I may enjoy storms, but that doesn’t mean I want to go out in them. No, the comfort of my conservatory is close enough.

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So for lunch I thought I needed something warming, exotic and tasty (not to mention healthy) to compensate for my lack of exercise. This recipe is simple and tasty, full of greens, and would be a nice side for a main meal, or eat it all yourself for lunch (like I did). It’s about 300 calories for the whole thing, and includes a load of ginger, which aids digestion and can keep flatulence at bay. Fab.

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I’ve served this green bean salad with a cucumber raita – after all, that’s one of my favourite bits about going to the Indian! By using fat free plain yoghurt, you can enjoy this at any time. The quantities for the raita make a lot of raita, so feel free to spread it on your toast or serve it with lamb throughout the week – just keep it in the fridge and it should last a few days.

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Ingredients:
100g green beans, top and tailed
1/2 head of broccoli
30g frozen petits pois
1 large carrot, grated
1 Tsp. chilli flakes
1 Tbsp. sunflower seeds
2 Tbsp. coriander
Rapeseed oil

For the raita:
150ml fat free plain yoghurt
1/3 cucumber, peeled and grated
about a thumb sized chunk of ginger, grated
1-2 Tbsp. chopped mint
1/2 Tsp. cumin

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Just mix all the ingredients for the raita together and there you have it! Leave to rest in the fridge until ready to serve, to let the flavours infuse.

Get a saucepan of water boiling on the stove and add the green beans. After about 2 minutes, add in the broccoli florets, and about a minute after that add in the peas. Cook together for a further minute or two (depending on how firm you like your broccoli) and drain the water. Return the veggies to the pan, add a splash of oil and the carrots and stir until the carrots are warm. Throw in the chilli flakes, coriander and sunflower seeds and tuck into this warming, Indian style dish!

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Gluten Free, Low Carb Bread.

Gluten free bread – the recipes often call for xantham gum or random ingredients which you don’t often have lying around. This, however, does not. It uses the increasingly-popular flaxseed.

Okay, superfood hype again, sorry. The flaxseed (or linseed as it’s sometimes called) has 100% of your daily fibrous intake in 2 tablespoons! That means, it’ll get your colon feeling happy again, and you’ll be pooping like a baby (aka, a lot!). Which is good! Means your innards are all working. On top of that it’s packed full of omega 3, most of the B vitamins, and it’s great for your hair, skin, nails, joints & keeping your heart healthy. AND you can buy it in Aldi for a little over a pound. Seriously, just make it already!

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And this bread, well! It’s a sort of hybrid between brown bread and a moist cake, and has a marvellously nutty flavour. Perfect with a smidge of butter as a nibble, or smothered in avocado for breakfast. Today, I used it to mop up all the sauce from my mussels – can’t have that going to waste! (Excuse the laptop, I’m hooked on Luther. Bet I’ll have finished it all by the end of the day!)

 

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I’m afraid the measurements are in cups as I use a Tala Dry Measures cone, so either invest in one of those or convert it, or just keep it all in proportion.

Ingredients:

4 eggs

3 Tbsp. water

1 cup of flaxseed (mine has goji berries in it, which is why there are reddish specks in my loaf!)

1/2 cup ground almonds

1 Tsp. baking powder

Sprinkling of salt

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Preheat the oven to 200C and line a loaf tin with a paper case. Whisk the eggs, then add the water. In a separate bowl, throw in all the dry ingredients, then slowly mix the egg/water concoction in with the dry ingredients. FYI it doesn’t look pretty at this point.. A bit sloppy, but that’s fine! Pour it into the loaf tin, and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. It’s lovely warm, but it’ll keep for a few days.

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How to: Sun blush Tomatoes

I’m getting to the point where I don’t want to pay for things I can make, and you should too! Sun blushed tomatoes are the simplest things to make, and taste super yummy when fresh from the oven. Throw it in a salad, or a simple pasta dish; with just these tomatoes, some garlic and a drizzle of oil and you have a fresh, summer pasta dish! You can even preserve it in a jar filled with oil like the ones you’d buy – and you’re saving a bucketload.

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Ingredients:

  • As many tomatoes as you want, any type (this time I used cherry tomatoes)
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Garlic cloves, crushed (optional)
  • Dried herbs (optional)

I haven’t included quantities as it obviously depends on how many tomatoes you intend on making.

Preheat your oven to it’s lowest setting (mine was 80 C). Halve your tomatoes and scatter face up on a baking sheet. Drizzle over olive oil (each tomato should have a bit of oil on it), the salt and garlic if using. Place in the oven and leave to bake for 40 minutes to an hour, shaking the tray occasionally to re-coat the tomatoes in oil (or add a bit more!).

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And there you have it – told you it was simple!

Special Green Beans.

Because sometimes plain French beans just don’t cut it! This would be nice as an accompaniment to a roast for a change, or you could even replace your chips with them for a healthier meal.

Recipe adapted from Simply Scratch

Ingredients:
2 packets green beans (or however many you want)
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
1 mugful breadcrumbs made from stale bread (3 or 4 slices would be plenty – I used the remains from gluten free loaf I’d made)
1 mugful finely grated strong white cheese (I used Cornish Gove, but Cheddar would be fine)
Salt and pepper


Instructions:
1. Heat the oven to 180 degrees C. Boil the green beans in salted water for 3-4 minutes, then drain and rinse in cold water to retain the bright green colour. Pat dry. 
2. Get your station ready! Mix the grated cheese and breadcrumbs together in a bowl, with a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Dip the DRY green green in the egg whites, then in the breadcrumb/cheese mix. Place on a baking tray.
3. Place the green beans in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the breadcrumbs are golden brown. Serve hot.

Simple Broccoli Rabe.

The inspiration for this came from my last visit to the States, where we bought this from a little deli on the outskirts of St Louis. I’ve made it a few times, but this one is lighter as I’ve replaced the mayo I normally use for plain yoghurt. Try it for an alternative picnic dish – it’s oh-so summery!

 
 
Ingredients:
2 heads broccoli
200 ml plain yoghurt
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. caster sugar
A handful of slivered almonds
A handful of dried cranberries
 
Instructions:
1. Cook the broccoli in salted boiling water until al dente.
2. Mix together the yoghurt, vinegar and sugar.
3. Drain the broccoli and add to the serving dish. Mix in the yoghurt sauce, and scatter the almonds and cranberries on top.
4. Leave to rest in the fridge and serve cold.