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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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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Ginger Steamed Cod with Mushroom Fried Rice.

I was on yet another split shift at work. There’s a part of me which is like, “yay money” but the more human part which is like “need food and sleep”. It is the latter part which thought up this meal in-between my shifts at about 4pm. What is a lunch dinner hybrid? We all know breakfast for dinner is brinner, but lunch/dinner? Linner? Dunch? Who knows. This is what this is.

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Carbs for slow release energy, eggs and fish for protein and mushrooms, well, I just love mushrooms. These are nameko mushrooms, but you can easily sub button mushrooms. This meal is quick and quite simply delicious.

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Ingredients for one:

1 cod fillet

Knob of ginger, finely sliced/grated

coriander

1 bowlful of cooked rice (this will have lots of leftovers)

1 onion, sliced

250g nameko mushrooms

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2 Tsp. Chinese five spice

couple of dashes tamari

rapeseed oil

Get your fish steaming by placing a colander over a saucepan of boiling water. Put the fish in the colander or steamer with the ginger and coriander and cover. Turn the heat to low.

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Heat the oil in a pan, and gently sauté the onions. Add the cooked rice and break up any clumps with a wooden spoon. Add in the five spice, tamari and mushrooms, and stir until the rice is hot.

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The fish should be cooked by now (it doesn’t take long!), so throw in the eggs, stir and plate it all up.

Breakfast Fried Rice.

What’s this, another breakfast recipe?

Sure is!

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I came downstairs this morning after getting in late from work to find a bowl of cooked rice in the fridge. I love it when leftovers happen – especially cooked rice. When you fry day old rice, it takes on a different texture and style, you can change it up so often with different additions of spices, meats, etc and I just love it!

We also had bacon and eggs so, uh, breakfast fried rice.

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Ingredients for 1 hungry person/fat bitch like me:

2 slices of bacon

1 Tbsp. rapeseed oil

2 spring onions, chopped

day old rice – enough for you (I just whacked in half of the bowl I found in the fridge…)

3 Tbsp. tamari

1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar

1 Tbsp. red chilli flakes, or to taste

1/2 Tbsp. butter

1 egg

Add the rapeseed oil to a pan over medium heat and fry the bacon. Once cooked, place the bacon on some kitchen towel to drain, and then cut it up with scissors (remember to wash the scissors!). Add one of the spring onions to the bacon-juice pan (technical) and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add in the rice, tamari, rice wine vinegar and chilli flakes. Keep stirring, making sure the rice isn’t in clumps. Turn the heat to low, and in another pan heat the butter. Add the egg and fry for about 3 minutes or until set. Plate up – rice first, then egg, then sprinkle over the last spring onion.

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Roasted Red Wine Mushrooms with Blue Cheese and Spinach Baked Risotto.

You know when you’ve been eyeing up a recipe for sooooo long that you just have to give in and cook in? That’s what this is. It’s hardly the healthiest of meals, what with the wine and cheese, but sometimes you need to eat something hearty like this – we can’t all live off kale forever (yuk!).

My excuse for such a lavish dish was my neighbours birthday and I was volunteered to cook – so this show stopper of a meal had to make it’s debut appearance!

ImageThe recipe is from one of my favourite cookbooks, Jo Pratt’s In The Mood For Entertaining. I’ve altered the quantities to suit 4 people instead of 6 as the book intends, and changed the amount of cheese – I’ve decreased the blue cheese, surprisingly! I think any more than 60g would be overpowering and too rich; this amount was, as Goldilocks would say, “just right”.

Ingredients for 4 very hungry people:

For the mushrooms:

  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 2 Tsp. dried oregano
  • a handful of basil leaves, chopped finely (dried would be fine)
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato purée
  • 4 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • 6 large flat mushrooms (Portobello would work)
  • 150 ml red wine

Put the mushrooms into a heatproof dish. In a small bowl, mix the garlic, oregano, basil, tomato purée, olive oil and balsamic vinegar to make a paste. Rub this paste into the mushrooms, smearing it lightly into the gills. Pour over 100ml of the red wine and leave to cover for at least 1 hour. When the red wine has been absorbed, add the remaining 50ml (you can always add more!).

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For the risotto:

  • 50g butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 300g risotto rice
  • 150ml white wine
  • 600ml vegetable stock
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • 60g blue cheese (I used Danish Blue, but Stilton or Gorgonzola would be fine)
  • 100g grated cheddar
  • 170g spinach leaves
  • 50g pine nuts

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Melt the butter in a large ovenproof dish (such as a casserole dish) and gently sauté the onion until it’s transparent. Add the rice and stir to coat it in the butter before adding the white wine. Cook until half of the wine has been absorbed.

Put the mushrooms in the oven to cook for about 25 minutes.

Add the hot stock to the rice with a twist of black pepper (omit the salt as the blue cheese will give some saltiness when added). Stir briefly and cover with a tight fitting lid. Place in the oven and bake for 18 minutes, until just cooked. Remove from the oven, stir in the cheese and spinach, until melted or wilted.

Remove the mushrooms from the oven, and cut each one in half.

Lightly toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan.

Serve up! Plate the risotto on warm plates and scatter over the pine nuts. Put 3 halves of a mushroom on each plate, and spoon any remaining red wine juices over them.

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I can’t stress how rich and delicious this is – you HAVE to have it!