Buttered Dab with Prawns and Capers.

I have mixed feelings on this dish.

What a way to start a recipe post, eh?

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Mum bought some fresh fish from the fishmongers; dab. Have you ever had dab? I hadn’t until this dish. And it’s a delicate yet tasty white fish. I enjoyed it…

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BUT my goodness it’s boney! I can’t stand having to fish out the bones out of my meal, it’s so much effort. I just want to eat, not work!

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So this is where the mixed feelings come from. The taste of this dish is spectacular, but if you, like me, have an aversion to bones, maybe swap for a boneless haddock or other white fish!

Ingredients:

1 fresh white fish

huge knob of butter

100g cooked prawns

2 Tbsp. capers

baby spinach (optional)

Heat the butter over medium heat until it’s bubbly. Add the fish skin side down (if it’s got skin) then cook for 3-4 minutes. Flip it over and add the prawns and capers. Check the fish is cooked – add more butter if you fancy it. Serve over a bed of baby spinach.

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Puy Lentil and Feta Salad.

Puy lentils are quite possibly the best thing since sliced bread.

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I’m serious. They are amazing.

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On their own, in a curry, as a side dish – they are so versatile, not to mention incredibly fibrous and good for you. At my work there’s a couple of dishes which include puy lentils, such as sea bass with a tarragon vinaigrette which looks amazing, or a lighter dish of goat’s cheese salad with puy lentils. This is similar in nature to that dish, though the saltiness of the bacon compliments the woody flavour of the lentils. I love this!

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You can buy ready cooked pouches of puy lentils which make this meal fast and convenient, but oh so much healthier than take away!

Ingredients for one:

125g ready cooked puy lentils

1/2 onion

1 rasher bacon, chopped

handul cherry tomatoes, halved

feta, as much as you want

salt and pepper

coconut oil, for frying

olive oil, for drizzling

Heat the coconut oil over medium heat on the hob and sauté the onions. Add the cherry toms and bacon and fry until cooked.

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Meanwhile heat the lentils in a microwave according to the instructions on the packet. Once hot, add to the pan with the bacon etc and mix. Tip onto a plate and sprinkle over salt, pepper and as much feta as you fancy. Drizzle with olive oil and you’re ready to go.

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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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Greek Prawns.

It’s been a while! I’d like to say I’ve been super busy doing exciting things or jetting off to exotic places but that would be a flat out lie. Basically I’ve just been a combination of ill and working too much, so I’ve barely done any cooking. It’s so sad!

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But I’m back, at least for this post – busy weekend ahead so I don’t know how much I’ll get to cook. Waaah. This makes me grumpy.

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But here’s a quick and filling dish inspired by the wonderful white sand beaches of Greece. This is light and delicious – pair it with a fabulous champagne and your best friend!

Ingredients for two:

300g fresh raw prawns

1 red onion, sliced

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

2 Tsp. oregano

salt and pepper

coconut oil

feta

Heat the coconut oil in a pan and sauté the red onion for a minute or two. Add the prawns and cook until slightly pink – not fully cooked as otherwise they’ll be rubbery by the end of cooking! Add the garlic and chopped tomatoes and turn the heat down to medium. Season with salt, pepper and oregano and cook for a further 4-5 minutes or until the prawns are cooked. Serve in two bowls and sprinkle with more salt and feta.

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Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie Cups.

I may have fallen off the health wagon with this one.

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But you know what? It was worth it.

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These are bite size (well if you’ve got a huge gob like yours truly) gluten free cups which you can fill with more food! I had it for breakfast with yoghurt, and for dessert with ice cream and chocolate sauce (the latter is obviously more preferable). But if you fancy it, maybe try strawberries (and chocolate) or thick, whole milk with extra chocolate chips (I think there’s a pattern here…). Let me know what you stuff yours with!

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This makes 12, which is quite a lot, so you get to eat more (or share, whatever).

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups gluten free rolled oats

2 Tbsp. flaxseed

sprinkling of salt

1/3 cup maple syrup

2 Tbsp. peanut butter

1/4 cup rapeseed oil

1 ripe banana, mashed

2 Tsp. vanilla extract

200g chocolate chips (I went for dark but feel free to use milk or even white)

In a large bowl, mix the oats, flaxseed and salt.

In a glass bowl, combine the maple syrup and peanut butter and blast in the microwave on high until it’s bubbling (about 1 min). Add this to the mashed banana, and add in the vanilla extract and rapeseed oil.

Pour these wet ingredients into the dry oat mix and combine – they should be moist but not sticky. Place in the freezer for about 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 190C and grease your cupcake trays.

Remove the mix from the freezer and stir in the chocolate chips. It does not taste good at this point if you sneakily sample it (of course I did) but do not worry! Divide the mix into the cupcake tins and press from the bottom up so it has a dip in the middle (hence the cup).

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Bake for about 10 minutes and let cool for 5 before taking them out the tray. DO NOT BE IMPATIENT! Or these poor babies will break. And we don’t want that, do we?

Once cooled, remove by gently sliding a knife around the side, then fill with your chosen poison and demolish.

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Cauliflower Risotto.

Who doesn’t love a risotto? It’s creamy, filling and oh so moreish! However it’s also super calorific. Why is it all the good tasting things are either super bad for you or just plain calorific? So unfair.

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UNTIL the cauliflower risotto was born! When you pulse up the cauliflower it becomes rice like, then you can just cook this like a normal risotto, adding in the stock bit at a time. Enjoy this when you want a filling meal, but don’t want the guilt afterwards: have this low-cal, low-carb option instead!

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Ingredients for one:

1/2 cauliflower

1 Tsp. coconut oil

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 1/2 Tbsp. tahini

1 Tsp. miso paste

2-3 spring onions, chopped

1/2 yellow pepper

salt and pepper

lemon juice

about 1 mugful of made up stock

2 slices salami, sliced

parmesan for sprinkling

Pulse the cauliflower until it resembles rice.

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Heat the oil over a medium heat. Add the garlic, onions, pepper, miso paste and spring onions and sauté for 2-3 minutes.

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Stir in the cauliflower and cook for 5 minutes. Add in a bit of the stock, and stir until it’s evaporated. Add in a bit more once the first bit has been soaked up.

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This time add in the tahini and a squeeze of lemon. Taste the cauliflower – add in more stock if you feel it needs it.

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Throw in the salami and stir until it’s hot. Season generously. Once plated, grate over some parmesan.

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Cauliflower Bread Grilled Cheese.

Do you remember that coconut song by Harry Nilsson? “You put de lime in de coconut and mix a bowl up”. When I was younger I used to think he sang cauliflower every time he sang coconut, so I had a major love for cauliflowers – I mean, there’s a song about them!

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Years on and I’ve only just realised how silly that was. But my love for them remain! My all time favourite has got to be cauliflower cheese – it’s the best part of a roast!

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However I love how creative things are getting in the cauliflower world, and I am happy to share this cauliflower bread with you! It would be nice by itself, slightly warm from the oven, but there’s nothing better than gooey cheese oozing out from it. Feel free to mix up the fillings!

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This is enough for two people – I halved it as I only had half a cauliflower left:

1 small head of cauliflower

1 egg, beaten

50g grated mozzarella

salt and pepper

mayo (mix it with hot sauce if you desire – I did and it adds a lovely twang)

cheese of your choice, and as much as you can cram in

2-3 slices German salami

butter

Whiz the cauliflower in the food processor until it resembles rice and preheat the oven to 180. Place a baking sheet in to heat up.

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Put the cauliflower rice in a microwaveable bowl and set to high for 8 minutes.

When you remove the bowl tip the cauli into a clean tea towel and wring out over a sink – this will be scorching hot! Use oven mitts if you have to, or leave to cool a bit.

Once wrung out (it’s surprising how much water will come out) place in a large bowl with the egg, mozzarella and season. Mix it up then shape into 4 squares.

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Place onto baking parchment, then shimmy it onto the hot baking tray. Cook for 14-15 minutes then leave to cool for about 10 before removing it off the parchment. The bread is complete!

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The rest is your generic grilled cheese recipe. Once the bread is cooled, smother one side of each slice with mayo, then salami on one side and cheese on the other. Sandwich it. Melt some butter over a medium heat then add the sandwich. Cook for 3-4 minutes, then flip it. Add more butter if necessary. After another 3-4 minutes, the cheese should be melty and the bread browned. Eat up!

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Oat Crusted Potato Cakes with Bacon.

Finally! Bootcamp restarts tomorrow!

It’s only been a week since the last one finished and, guess what, I’ve done basically no exercise since. Uh oh. My trainer will kill me!

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What I have done however is gorge myself on carbs. Mainly potatoes. Oh how I love a potato! Jacket potato, mashed potato, cheesy mash… I pick on them at work (mainly new potatoes which I then smother in butter) or live off a jacket potato with tuna for lunch. Starting to turn into Mr. Potato Head I fear!

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So my challenge (on top of bootcamp) is to TOTALLY give up white, floury potatoes. I will still allow myself sweet potatoes mainly because mum rarely buys them and because they are much healthily (lower GI, high in iron, magnesium etc). But this will be tough.

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So here it is! My last potato recipe before hell-on-earth starts tomorrow in the form of a potato-less world for me. Although I may have a jacket potato for dinner..

Ingredients for 2:

1 medium-large floury potato

1 Tbsp. flour (I used GF)

about 75g gluten free rolled oats (not instant)

4 rashers bacon

salt and pepper

rapeseed oil

Start by boiling the potato in salted water for about 15 minutes, or until tender. Drain and mash. Add in the flour and 2 Tbsp. oats. Season and mix. Place some oats in a bowl. Shape the potatoes into rounds and dip each side into the oat bowl to cover – you may just need to press on the oats for them to stick. Heat about 2 Tbsp. oil over a medium heat and add the potatoes. After about 2 minutes, flip them then get your bacon going. Serve up with a healthy dollop of ketchup.

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Sweet Potato Hash Browns with Sausages and Balsamic Cherry Tomatoes.

AKA. The alternative fry up.

And just as effective on a hangover. Not that I’m speaking from experience at all…

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This is your basic fry up just turned up a notch; you don’t lose the sacred sausages (innuendo much?) necessary to a fry up, nor the hash browns but you add a little pazzazz (I don’t think that’s a word but you get the gist). By making your own hash browns, you’ll not only gain brownie points for whomever you make it for (yourself?!), but this recipe calls for sweet potato, which complements the sweet, balsamic tomatoes perfectly. Who needs ketchup, eh?

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You can easily sub in veggie sausages to make this veggie friendly, and feel free to add a rasher or two of bacon for more hangover aid.

Ingredients for one:

3 good quality sausages (I used gluten free chipolatas)

1/2 sweet potato, peeled and grated

1 egg

handful of cherry tomatoes

1 Tsp. caster sugar

1 Tsp. balsamic vinegar

rapeseed oil

salt and pepper

Cut up your sausages and heat the oil over medium heat. Place them in the pan and keep turning them so they don’t burn.

Meanwhile mix the grated potato with the egg and season. Divide into two portions (for two hash browns).

Check the sausages are golden and cooked through, then remove from the pan and keep warm.

In the same pan add the grated potato – flatten them slightly with the back of a spoon. After 2-3 minutes, flip them.

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By the time your hash browns are cooked, these should be heated through – I squished mine to get the juices mingling but that’s a personal thing.

Plate up the hash browns with the tomatoes and sausages on top.

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Minced Beef and Rice Stuffed Courgettes.

Right now I have a cracking hangover. Quel surprise, right?

I just want carbs and chocolate and awful things, but mind over matter! Now I know most of you will disagree with me that courgette is hardly an amazing substitute but when you turn it into little boats (you don’t realise how much it excites me to make them into boats!) and stuff it with meat and carbs – am I selling it yet?

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The rice dish itself is yummy enough to have on its own, but added to juicy courgette and with a grating of cheese – hangover cured! (I’m going to bed immediately after finishing this post).

It’s quite a fussy dish as all the components need doing at the same time, so make sure your prep is done before starting.

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Ingredients for one hungry person:

1 courgette

150g mince

1/4 cup of rice

1 large, juicy tomato

dried mint

powdered onion

1 Tsp. herbes de provence

1/2 onion, diced

2 Tbsp. sun dried tomato purée

1-2 garlic cloves, crushed

1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped

scattering of pine nuts, optional

rapeseed oil

Heat the oven to 190C. Cut your courgette in half lengthways and using a teaspoon scoop out the pulpy centre – you can get rid of this. Put the courgette boats (eee!) in a roasting tray, cover with foil and bake for 16-18 minutes.

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Meanwhile, get the rice cooking according to the packet instructions in salted water. In a separate pan, heat some rapeseed oil and brown the beef. Add the onion, pepper, garlic, tomato, tomato purée and the dried herbs and stir to mix thoroughly.

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Drain the rice and add this as well and mix again. Keep warm until the courgette is cooked.

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To check if the courgette is cooked prod it with a fork – it should pierce easily. Scoop the rice/beef mix into the boats and shave some parmesan over the top. Polish it off!

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