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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Chicken Stir Fry.

Now I know a stir fry is hardly the thing of Michelin starred chefs, but when you’re in a hurry there’s nothing better – it’s healthy, hearty and nutritious. Add in some meat or fish for protein and you’re golden.

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My go-to sauce for stir fry is one my mum always cooks and is composed of just two ingredients. Mum uses soy sauce, but since I found out I’m wheat intolerant I swap that for tamari which I actually prefer (don’t tell mum!). The other key ingredient is raw honey.

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Ingredients:

1 bag of stir fry veg

200-300g cooked chicken, shredded

honey

tamari

rapeseed oil

Heat the oil up and add the chicken, to brown. Throw in the veg and stir to heat up. In a bowl, mix the honey and tamari at a ratio of 2 Tbsp. of honey to 1 Tbsp. tamari. How much of this quantity you make depends how saucy (ooh la la) you want your stir fry. Add it and stir to coat, then serve.

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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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Tuna and Spring Onion Fishcakes.

I am so behind the times.

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Literally, I should be in my 80s or something (she writes whilst wearing a pink fluffy dressing gown). I have ONLY JUST discovered how many amazing apps there are for my iPhone! The basics obviously, but you can get travel apps, shopping apps and, wait for it, food apps! On my super long train journey yesterday, I did a very good job of updating my phone with the app freebies. So this is inspired by the M&S free foodie app. Oh I can tell I’ll have fun with these..

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Ingredients for two: (about 320 calories each)

4 spring onions, sliced finely

185g tin of tuna

2 medium sized potatoes, peeled, boiled and mashed

pinch of chilli flakes

plain flour (I used gluten free)

1 egg, beaten

bowl of breadcrumbs (again, I used Schärs gluten free)

rapeseed oil

In a bowl, combine the mashed potato, tinned tuna and spring onions.

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Season with salt, pepper and chilli flakes. Divide in half (for two portions) and shape into patties.

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Get your stations ready! In one bowl place flour, in another the egg and the last the breadcrumbs. Dip the patty in the flour first to coat, then the egg and finally the breadcrumbs. Repeat until all the patties look like fishcakes.

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Heat the rapeseed oil on medium heat and add the fishcakes.

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Cook for 3-4 minutes either side, then serve up with a nice side salad.

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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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Pineapple Granita.

The weather’s been a bit funny at the moment. One minute it’s gloriously hot, the next I’m reaching for my hoody. That’s England for you I guess. We had a random pineapple in the fridge, and as the sun was shining when I woke up I decided granita was the best way forward. When I wanted to eat it though it was spitting with rain, so I just had to wait about half an hour for the sun to come back. How odd.

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I defy anyone to mess this up. Seriously, how can you go wrong with 3 ingredients?

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1 pineapple

about 30mls of water

agave nectar, to taste

Cut and core your pineapple.

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Put the insides in a food processor and blitz until it’s smooth.

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Whilst it’s whizzing, throw in the water and the agave.

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Pour this liquid into a shallow dish – metal works best but any will do. Leave in the freezer for 30 minutes, take it out and fork it up (this is a technical term.. Not). Just scrape it all up with a fork and put it back in the freezer. When you’re ready to serve fork it up again and serve in pretty glasses! IMG_1547

 

Flaxseed Twists.

In our cul-de-sac, once a month we hold a Ladies Night where we chitchat, drink wine and nibble. And what’s better than nibbling something which is good for you AND tasty? Nada, that’s what. Plus they look cool.

These little gems are perfect dunked in some hummus, or if you’re feeling virtuous serve these alongside a salad instead of croutons.

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I’ve done the flaxseed hype before, but as a quick recap this superfood is gaining a reputation as a food that may reduce risks of certain cancers, as well as cardiovascular disease and lung disease when eaten as part of a healthy diet. So eat up!

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Ingredients:

1/2 cup flaxseed

1 1/2 cups plain flour

1/2 Tsp. baking powder

1 Tsp. salt

1/2 Tsp. black pepper

2 Tsp. garlic powder

1 Tsp. oregano

1/2 cup semi-skimmed milk (or sub dairy-free if you’re vegan)

4 Tbsp. rapeseed oil

Preheat oven to 180C. Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl and the wet ingredients in a jug. Pour the milk/oil mix into the dry mix and combine with a wooden spoon until a dough forms. Dust some flour on a work surface and roll out the dough until it’s about 1/2 cm to 1 cm thick (doesn’t need to be exact).

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Slice it up lengthwise and twist each one.

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Place on greaseproof paper on a baking tray and bake for 15-18 minutes depending on your oven, or until slightly browned.

Japanese Breakfast Special.

And golly is this special. If you want something to keep you full until lunch (or beyond!) then this is the breakfast for you. I had it this morning knowing I’d be at work from 9:30 til gone 3 without a lunch break, and when I got home, I still wasn’t hungry! It’s chock full of protein and, according to an Oxford review, having soup for breakfast “increase[s] satiety through delayed gastric emptying yet increased glycaemic response”. In a nut shell, soups keep you fuller for longer. I cheated with my soup and used a cup-a-soup type thingy, but if you really have the time to make your own miso soup in the morning, go for it!

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This is my take on Japanese breakfast – real tamagoyaki includes dashi soup stock and mirin, but as I had neither in I didn’t include them. (Tamagoyaki is just a rolled omelette)

It’s quite hands-on, so be prepared to wait a little longer than pouring out a bowl of muesli! Also, and you’ll love this, the whole thing is about 300 calories. BOO YEAH.

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Ingredients:

1x instant miso soup

100g fresh salmon

For the tamagoyaki:

2 eggs

1 Tsp. sugar

1 1/2 Tsp. tamari (or sub soy sauce)

1/2 Tsp. rapeseed oil

To start, steam the fish. Whilst that is cooking, beat the eggs with a fork and add the sugar and tamari. Heat a non-stick pan with the oil and pour in the egg mixture when your fish is almost cooked (so it’s all ready at the same time). Click on the kettle. When the egg mixture is just set, roll the omelette and plate up. Place the salmon on the plate (with some optional spring onions) and pour the boiling water onto your instant miso soup. Dig in! Bonus points for eating the soup with chopsticks…

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Roasted Bone Marrow with Salsa Verde.

Bone marrow is widely underrated as a food stuff in the UK, but it is considered a delicacy in many countries. You can buy bone marrow from Waitrose for £1.50 for two, so you can feed two people for 75p! Excluding bread etc. But yeah. What I’m getting at is it’s cheap. Smother it on my gluten free bread with a dollop of salsa verde and you have a light lunch in about 30 minutes.

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This meal is not only delicious and quick, but it’s unbelievably good for you, as bone marrow contains conjugated linoleic acid which inhibits cancer cells! So I literally cannot think of one reason why you shouldn’t eat this.

Ingredients for two:

2 bone marrows

Handful of fresh parsley

Sprinkling of herbes de provence

1 Tbsp. capers (with a little brine)

6 anchovies

1 Tsp. red wine vinegar

Olive oil

Salt & pepper

Gluten free bread (click for recipe)

Preheat oven to 200C. Place the marrows on a baking tray and sprinkle over some pepper – that’s all it needs. Cook for 18 minutes.

Whilst they’re cooking, add the rest of the ingredients (except the bread, obvs.) to a food processor and whizz. Keep adding olive oil until it’s fairly liquidy, but this is a preference!

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Serve up! Scoop out some marrow onto the bread and add a bit of salsa verde for a light, healthy meal!

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