Caramelised Onion Cauliflower Tart.

Happy National Coeliacs Day!

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No, I didn’t know about it either until about an hour ago. But naturally I had to embrace it!

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It’s one of my last shifts at work tonight, and my last shift with the sous chef who is a hoot! It’s not going to be the same without him, but we all have uni to go to. Til next summer! However I promised him I’d bake him something tasty (he rather likes my cookies!) so I have baked some carrot cupcakes with orange cream cheese icing for him (recipe to follow soon!). But seeing as I’m wheat intolerant, I can’t have any of it. So it’s only fair that I baked myself something too.

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I told mum what this was and she did not seem impressed. After having her first bite she was hooked. Just because it’s gluten free AND vegan doesn’t mean it’s bland or dry as cardboard – this was delicious! Well, it doesn’t make The Guardian’s Top 10 Cauliflower Recipe list for nothing! I’ve barely changed it, just swapped the walnuts for pecans as a personal preference. Oh, and I replaced the spelt flour with plain old gf flour as it was already in the cupboard. Waste not, want not!

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Ingredients:

For the roasted cauliflower
1 medium-large cauliflower, chopped into florets
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp sea salt

For the crust
50g pecans
40g rolled oats
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp sea salt
A large pinch of black pepper
120g gluten free flour
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to oil the pan
2 tbsp plain soya milk

For the filling
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, finely sliced
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ tsp sea salt
A pinch of curry powder
3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
60g plain soya milk or unsweetened almond milk
Black pepper

To garnish
Lemon zest
Fresh parsley, chopped

1 To roast the cauliflower, preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

2 Toss the florets in olive oil and salt, then arrange evenly on the tray and roast for 30 minutes. Turn each floret over and return to the oven for 10 minutes, or until the florets are browning.

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3 Remove from the oven and set aside to cool while you make the crust.

4 To make the crust, reduce the oven temperature to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Lightly oil a 22cm tart tin with a removable bottom and set aside.

5 Place the pecans, oats, baking powder, salt and pepper in a food processor and blend until coarsely ground. Transfer to a bowl, add the flour and mix well. Drizzle in olive oil and mix until evenly distributed. Add the soya milk and mix again. The mixture should hold together when squeezed but not stick to your hands. Add a little more soya milk if it’s too dry.

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6 Press evenly into the prepared tin, trimming excess pastry from the edges. Prick with a fork and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

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7 To make the filling, warm the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onions and saute for 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for another 5 minutes.

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8 Turn the heat down low, add the salt, and continue cooking for another 10 minutes, or until caramelised.

9 Stir in the curry powder, remove from the heat and transfer into a food processor. Add a quarter of the roasted cauliflower, the lemon juice, soya milk and a large pinch of black pepper. Blend until smooth and creamy, scraping the sides as necessary.

10 Spread into the prebaked tart shell and arrange the remaining cauliflower on the top. Bake the tart for 30 minutes.

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11 Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes before sprinkling with the lemon zest and parsley.

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Avocado Spaghetti.

It’s one of those days where I’m just feeling a bit blah. I’m achey from my bootcamp (which of course is a good thing but right now it’s preventing me doing anything!), I was woken up prematurely by my brother’s alarm and I have loads of heavy reading to do for my dissertation (which I’ve not started on yet…). Not only that, but the caffeine from my multiple cups of coffees hasn’t hit me yet so it feels like I’m still half asleep. So I decided I needed something fun and exciting for lunch!

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This is quick, tasty and filling – perfect for on the couch in front of the telly.

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Ingredients for one:

75g spaghetti

1/2 avocado

1 Tbsp. rapeseed oil (or sub olive oil)

1 Tsp. pesto

2 Tbsp. lemon juice

salt and pepper

grated cheese, optional

Cook the spaghetti in salted boiling water. Whilst that’s going, scoop out the avocado and blitz it in a blender. Once smooth (or as smooth as possible), add in the oil and lemon juice and blitz again. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and put it back in the hot pan. Add the avocado and the pesto and mix thoroughly. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and cheese.

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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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Gluten Free American Style Pancakes.

This. If you make anything off of my blog, make it THIS.

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Let’s put it this way – these would probably be what I’d choose as my last meal. Deep, right?

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My friend Alice and I had been wanting to make these whilst we were living in France for absolutely ages, and yet never got round to it. What idiots we were. This is just perfection.

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Sweet pancakes, which, when cooked, ooze dark chocolate, complimenting the natural sugars in it from the banana, and they are thick enough to fulfil any craving you have. PLUS they’re gluten free, and if you substitute the dark chocolate for dairy free chocolate, they can be vegan too. Everyone can enjoy them!

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So… what are you waiting for?

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Recipe from The Minimalist Baker

Ingredients for two portions (note I didn’t say people.. one for you today, one for you tomorrow)
  • 1 flax egg (1 Tbsp flaxseed meal + 2.5 Tbsp water)
  • 1 very ripe medium banana (~1/2 cup mashed)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
  • 1 Tablespoon almond butter
  • 1 Tablespoon melted coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 cup gluten free rolled oats
  • 2 Tbsp ground almonds
  • 1/4 cup gluten free flour blend (I used Dove’s plain gluten free flour)
  • as many dark chocolate chips as your heart desires
  • OPTIONAL: 1 tsp agave syrup if your banana wasn’t very sweet
Method
  1. Prepare flax egg in a large bowl by mixing flaxseed meal and water and letting set for 3-5 minutes.
  2. Add your very ripe banana and baking powder and mash.
  3. Add oil, salt, vanilla, almond butter, almond milk and stir.
  4. Stir in oats, almond meal and gluten free flour blend until just combined.
  5. Then sprinkle in chocolate chips and fold gently. Let rest for 5 minutes whilst heating some coconut oil in a frying pan. You want it hot but not too hot or it will burn the pancakes – heaven forbid! This mix will last – I put mine in the fridge after making the first batch and went back to it the next day – it was still as yummy as fresh! Just get it out of the fridge 10 minutes before cooking so it’s at room temperature.
  6. I cooked them for about 20-30 seconds either side but the original method says they take longer to cook, so this really is a judgement call. Flip them with a pallet knife – this turned out easiest for me!

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Demolish them like Godzilla demolishes towns.

 

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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Clean Eating Quinoa.

Day 2, lunch, of my clean eating thingy-ma-bob.

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And I tell you, if clean eating always tastes this good, I’m a convert. This is a fresh tasting, healthy “salad” (though no green leaves in sight!), using the superfood quinoa. Quinoa, which has been around for thousands of years, is now classed as a superfood.  It’s packed with protein and low in fat and calories so it’s pretty much the perfect grain to use for healthy side dishes and salads. Plus, because of the protein, it really fills you up!

So here you have it, quinoa with chickpeas, onion, peppers and coriander. Tasty, filling, and can be made ahead of time – perfect for a picnic!

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This serves 2 very generously so go back for seconds and don’t feel guilty!

For the salad:

1/2 a mugful of quinoa

1 mugful (use the same mug!) of boiling water

1/2 tin chickpeas, drained

1 onion, thinly sliced

roasted peppers (I used 4 diddy peppers, but perhaps use 2 bell peppers)

2 Tsp. coconut oil

50-75g feta cheese, crumbled

 

For the dressing:

1 1/2 Tbsp. cider vinegar

1 Tsp. minced garlic (or more to taste – I like things very garlicky!)

salt and pepper

2 Tbsp. coriander

Olive oil

 

First off, get the peppers sliced thinly and in a baking tray with the coconut oil. Whack into a preheated oven of about 200C and keep an eye on them – they’ll need tossing. Mine took about 15-20 minutes to roast, but if you’ve got bigger ones they’ll take longer!

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Place the quinoa in a pan with the boiling water and a sprinkling of salt. Keep it on the boil, stirring until there’s no water left. This means it’s ready, so go ahead and put it in the fridge, or leave to cool if you’ve more patience than I do.

Make the dressing by mixing it all together. The oil is a judgement call, which is why I’ve not added a quantity. I’d estimate about 5 Tbsp, but if you want it more emulsified add less.

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To the quinoa, add the chickpeas, sliced onion, roasted peppers and feta. Gently toss, then add the dressing. You can add more coriander now, or gobble it up as it is. Either way, eat it!

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Avocado and Poached Egg on Toast.

Yesterday I started a 6 week bootcamp called Xtreme Inch Loss Challenge.. It was as terrifying as it sounds. Basically, I woke up this morning feeling like I’d jumped out of a 40 storey building – I ache SO much! But, as the saying goes, “Sore today, Strong tomorrow”. The one problem with that saying is that I’m back at the bootcamp tomorrow, so it’s just going to be a continuous sore sensation I feel!

As part of this challenge, we were also told to give up something for these six weeks. Most people chose chocolate or cake, but my weakness is chips. Deep fried, golden bites of heaven… Stop me! And with working in a kitchen, it’s very easy to pop them into my gob. But I have to resist! I made the decision, therefore, to try a clean eating thing – there’s no point slogging it at this bootcamp if I’m just going to come home and pig out on unhealthy foods. No, this is not a diet (it’s too easy to fall off the diet wagon!), it’s just a good food, clean food sort of thing.

So here’s my first clean eating recipe and meal! Keep tuned for the next 6 weeks, let’s hope this exercise and good food combination work!

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This was just my breakfast, so not overly difficult (who wants difficult first thing in the morning?!):

For one:

1 slice gluten free bread

1/2 avocado, mashed

1 egg

dash of apple cider vinegar

Chilli flakes

Salt and pepper

My foolproof method for poaching an egg!

Boil some water on a high/medium heat, until it’s on a rolling boil. Add a dash of apple cider vinegar (this will stop the egg from splitting whilst in the water) and swirl the water around in one direction. Crack the egg in the water – it’ll swirl along with the water. When the egg has risen to the top, it’s poached to perfection!

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Toast the bread (get this toasting once you’ve added the egg to the water, but before it’s cooked), and smother on the avocado.

Top with the poached egg and a sprinkling of chilli flakes to kickstart your metabolism! Serve with a green tea and salt and pepper, and know that this is good for you!

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Cauliflower Pizza.

Now now, don’t scroll on past – this isn’t as bad as you’d think! In fact, it’s not bad at all. And if you love pizza but are trying to eat healthier then this is the thing for you. No, it doesn’t taste like a deep pan, crispy pizza; it kind of tastes like an undercooked thin base, but it doesn’t taste of cauliflower. It tastes good!

And when each slice is about 60 calories, is that enough for tempt you? That means the whole pizza (tomato and mozzarella included – not your fancy toppings) is under 400 calories. BOO-YAH. Do it. You have to.

But be warned – this stuff is life changing. Still able to have a meat feast topping whilst saving on carbs? Who can argue with that? Also this is suitable for coeliacs, those with wheat intolerance or paleolithic dieters!

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To make one pizza you’ll need:

  • 1 small cauliflower
  • 50g parmesan
  • 50g grated mozzarella
  • 1 Tsp. oregano
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 egg
  • Pinch of salt and pepper

Toppings:

  • tomato sauce (out of a jar or homemade – homemade see below)
  • one ball of mozzarella
  • your toppings of choice! I went for chillies and prosciutto

Preheat your oven to 220C and pop in a baking tray (big enough to hold your pizza).

Grate your cauliflower – it should look like rice.

Put it into the microwave for 4 minutes. When it pings, tip onto a clean tea towel and wring it out over the sink to get rid of the moisture from the cauli. If it’s too hot to handle, leave to cool for a few minutes.

Throw it into a bowl with the cheese, oregano, garlic, salt, pepper and egg. Mix with a fork until it’s combined.

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Then tip onto some parchment and make it pizza-shaped (use fingers!).

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Because you’re using the baking parchment, you can then drag it onto your preheated baking sheet, and put it in to cook for 10 minutes, or until it’s starting to brown.

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(Sorry the picture’s a bit shitty, we had the door open as the sun was shining! Make the most of the weather haha!)

Smooth on your sauce and your toppings (I went for prosciutto and chillies), then whack it back in for 4 minutes or until it’s all bubbly and tempting. Slice it into 6 slices and serve up! Mamma mia! 

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For the homemade tomato sauce, simply throw a tin of tomatoes into a food processor, with a sprinkling of salt, pepper and oregano. Simples!

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!