Tag Archives: gluten-free

Kale, Avocado and Orange Superblast Salad

It’s a sure sign that Xmas is over when the decorations come down and all that remains is a pile of lost property. We seem to have a lot of abandoned scarves this year. There’s a pile of them on the desk in the sitting room waiting to be reclaimed. This indicates not only that a lot of people received a scarf this year for Xmas but also that it wasn’t cold as they left our house without them. Spectacularly wet and windy yes, but not cold!

According to my mum the cold is on it’s way so best get prepared for the onslaught with plenty of vitamin C.

January brings the most delicious oranges. The big Spanish oranges are divine – juicy and bursting with flavour. Oranges from Spain are about as local as they get in this part of the world and worth seeking out.

I always look forward to the orange season and we consume vast amounts of them juiced, thrown into smoothies for breakfast or as general portable snacks. They also sneak into our lunch and dinners.

Oranges are great for brightening up winter salads.

They pair well with beetroots or fennel, with lentils and roasted vegetables and also with this recipe, a superfood blast of kale, avocado and orange.

Kale is well known to be the King of the supergreens, stacked with vitamins A, C and K, it is one of the most nutrient dense food available and avocados are right up there on the superfood list too so paired with orange this salad should up your odds on staying healthy this winter!

When choosing the kale for this salad go for small leaves rather than big and the avocados should be firm but with a bit of give, not hard, nor squishy.

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Kale, Avocado and Orange Salad

 

150g kale

1 big or 2 small ripe avocados

2 oranges

1 red onion

25g sunflower seeds

25g pumpkin seeds

1tsp tamari (optional)

1 tsp dijon mustard

1tbs cider or white balsamic vinegar + 1tsp for the onion

3tbs olive oil

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Wash the kale and shake off excess water. A salad spinner is excellent if you have one, otherwise resort to the old fashioned wrapped in a t-towel swing. Strip the center stem from each leaf then stack a few together and roll up like a cigar. Cut the kale into skinny ribbons and put them in a bowl.

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Juice half an orange, put 2 tbs of the juice into a cup and keep the rest aside. Mix the 2tbs juice with one teaspoon of dijon mustard, 1tbs cider or white balsamic vinegar then whisk in the olive oil with a fork. Season with a little salt and pour over the kale. Massage the dressing into the kale with your hands, leave aside for five minutes then massage again.

Peel the red onion and cut it in half. Slice thinly then sprinkle with a little salt. Toss them about and give them a quick rub to separate the rings. Put them into a bowl and drizzle a little white balsamic over them. Toss them well and put aside.

Heat a small frying pan, add the pumpkin and sunflower seeds and toss them together. Cook them on a medium heat for 3-4 minutes, shaking the pan regularly so they don’t burn. When they are lightly golden take them off the heat and shake the tamari over, if you are using it, then tip them onto a plate to cool.

Peel the orange with a sharp knife, removing the skin and pith in one go.

Using a small sharp knife cut each segment of orange from the outer membrane. Do this over the kale so the excess juice falls into the salad.

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Cut the avocado in half vertically. Hold one half firmly with one hand then wiggle the other half gently with the other hand. The avocado should come apart. Remove the pip and the peel and dice into cm cubes.

Toss the avocado cubes in the reserved orange juice, this will prevent discolouration.

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When you’re ready to eat toss the avocado, onion and orange segments with the kale and sprinkle the seeds on top.

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Potato Pizza

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I have been thinking about this making recipe for a long time – a cauliflower based pizza with potato on top. It’s kind of opposite from a normal pizza, no dough, no tomato sauce but this doesn’t make it in any way inferior, in fact it’s probably nutritionally superior and it’s quicker to make. Total comfort food. It definitely got the thumbs up as it was eaten in a flash.

Here’s the recipe

1 small cauliflower

2 eggs

3 tbs polenta

1 tsp dried oregano

1 level tsp salt

4-5 potatoes

100ml olive oil

100g cheese – I used cheddar

3 cloves garlic

a few sprigs thyme

Pre-heat the oven 200c

Rinse the cauliflower and break into florets. Blitz in a food processor until the consistency of breadcrumbs.

Tip the cauliflower into a bowl and mix in the eggs. Stir in the salt, oregano and polenta. Line a large baking tray with parchment paper and tip the mix onto the tray. Press down and smooth out with your hands to form a rectangle about 1cm thick- you could make it round if you prefer . Tidy up the sides and bake for 15 minutes or until the base becomes firm and lightly golden around the edge.

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Peel the potatoes and garlic and slice very thinly. Put them into a bowl and drizzle over enough olive oil to coat them. Add some salt and crumble in the thyme. Toss well together. Finely grate the cheese and toss again.

Arrange the potatoes in a thin layer, overlapping on top.

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Bake for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender and slightly crispy at the edge

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Sardinian Minestrone

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On a recent trip to Sardinia we visited an agriturismo in the hills above Tempio Pausania. Admittedly we didn’t get to see much of the countryside due to the insane rain – it dumped thirteen centimetres in one day, which was quite spectacular. As we had gone on a ‘sunsnack’ we’d left our wellies behind so there was nothing to do but eat. The family that ran the farm made dinner for the guests. There was no menu, just a series of dishes delivered to the table, all washed down with a jug of the local wine. I enjoy these surprise menus – I love being fed!

Our dinner began with a brushetta of artichokes, grilled courgettes and smoked ricotta, followed with delicious minestrone, then grilled pecorino or the farm’s own beef with tomatoes and rocket. The dessert was a tiramisu made with fresh creamy ricotta chased with a shot of the local myrtille liqueur. I have no photos!  we were so busy eating we didn’t notice until the plates were nearly empty

The minestrone famous in Sardinia, is also known as longevity soup as it’s a staple in the small villages where the people grow their own veggies and often live to become one hundred. I checked it out when I got home and Sardinia is one of the five places in the world where people live so long – this is along with Ikana in Greece, Nocaya Peninsular in Costa Rica, Okinawa in Japan and Loma Linda in California where the Seventh day Adventists live.

One thing that all these places have in common is that they principally eat very little meat but plenty of locally grown vegetables.

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This minestrone, which is particular to Sardinia, is made with whatever is in the garden – onions, celery, carrots, fennel etc. and beans. They could be fava beans, cannelini, borlotti or chickpeas. The version we ate had chickpeas and borlotti beans and also what looked like rice but was in fact orzo or riso pasta. It was served with grated Pecorino, the local sheep cheese, on the side but Parmesan would do the job too if you haven’t Pecorino.

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It’s the kind of soup that you could live on – nourishing, tasty and cheap, and who knows maybe become one hundred!

 

Sardinian Minestrone

1 large onion

3-4 tbs extra virgin olive oil

1 small bulb fennel

2-3 stems celery

2-3 carrots

1 large potato

6-7 cabbage leaves

2 ripe tomatoes

300g cooked chickpeas or 1 can, rinsed

300g cooked borlotti beans, or 1 can rinsed

1200 mls vegetable stock

100g orzo, riso or for g/f use rice

a handful chopped parsley

a handful chopped basil

grated Pecorino or Parmesan to serve

 

Peel and chop the onion. Heat a largish saucepan and add enough olive oil to cover the bottom. Stir in the onions and cook on a medium heat.

Trim the fennel and the celery and chop into small pieces. Add to the onions and stir.

Peel the carrot and dice into roughly 1cm pieces.

Peel the potato and chop into slightly bigger pieces.

Stir into the onion mix. Season with a little salt and keep cooking but don’t let the veggies brown.

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Wash the cabbage leaves and remove any large stem. Stack the leaves on top of each other then roll up into a big cigar and chop into ribbons. Stir into the pot

Peel and chop the garlic then stir into the pot.

Roughly chop the tomatoes into small pieces then add to the pot.

Keep cooking on a gentle heat until the tomatoes break down then stir in the borlotti beans, chickpeas and vegetable stock.

Bring the soup to the boil then simmer for 30 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper and add the orzo/riso or rice. Cook for a further 12-15 minutes. Check the seasoning and allow the soup to stand for ten minutes before serving.


Serve with grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese on the side.

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Crispy Noodle Fish Cakes

The most challenging aspect of these Thai inspired crispy noodle fish cakes is getting the noodles out of the packet and into the bowl!

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Mung bean vermicelli, also known as glass noodles are like bailer twine, almost impossible to break. I use scissors but they still ping all over the place

Once the noodles have been soaked  the rest of the ingredients only have to be whacked into the food processor to make a paste. They are truly delicious and guaranteed to get the ummm of approval.

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Crispy Noodle Fish Cakes

600g white fish such as hake or haddock

75g glass noodles/mung bean vermicelli

2 stems lemongrass

2 cloves garlic

2cm piece fresh ginger

3-4 spring onions,

a handful fresh coriander

2tbs Thai fish sauce

1 egg

Put the noodles into a bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside for 5 minutes

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Drain the noodles and snip into small pled pieces with a pair of scissors.

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Chop the lemongrass, peel and chop the ginger and garlic then put them into a food processor and buzz to a puree. Keep the motor running, chop the fish into chunks and post down the chute into the processor then add 2tbs fish sauce. This should all buzz to a thick paste. Add the egg then tip into a bowl.

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Chop the spring onions and coriander.

Mix the noodles, spring onions and coriander through the fish paste.

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Wet your hands and form the paste into small balls.

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Heat a large frying pan, add enough oil to just cover the bottom. Put the fish balls into the pan and gently flatten a little. Don’t overcrowd the pan, you’ll probably have to cook 2 or 3 batches. Leave to cook for 3-4 minutes each side on medium high heat. Don’t fiddle about with them, wait until there is a good crust before turning and cooking the other side.

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Serve with dipping sauce or sweet chill sauce

makes approx 15  fish cakes.

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Dipping Sauce

3tbs lime juice

2tbs fish sauce

2-3 chillies

2 cloves garlic

1dsp sugar

Pell and chop the garlic, chop the chillies then mix together with the other ingredients.


Bombay Beans

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A couple of left over spuds and a bucket of beans was the starting point for last nights dinner.
The beans in the garden are finally ripening. We’ve borlotti beans, runner beans, French beans and cannelini beans, all ready for eating right now so we’re eating beans with everything.
Yesterdays dinner was Indian style French beans with tomatoes also from the garden.
These just picked veggies with their big bold flavours stood well with the spices, complimenting each other rather than being taken over.

Here’s the recipe

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Indian Style Green Beans

2 onions
50g ghee
4 cloves garlic – peeled and chopped
a thumb sized piece of ginger- peeled and chopped
1tsp cumin seeds
1tsp mustard seeds
1dsp turmeric
1dsp ground coriander
3 cooked spuds – waxy and not too big and chopped into chunks
3 ripe fatty tomatoes – diced
300g green beans – topped and tailed
salt
chopped coriander

Peel and slice the onions. Heat a medium sized pot and melt the ghee. Stir in the onions, cook them for about 5 minutes then stir in the cumin and mustard seeds, cook 5 minutes more before stirring in the garlic and ginger and cooking for a couple more minutes. Season with a little salt and add the coriander and turmeric, stir to mix with the onions and cook for a few minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes, when everything in the pot is bubbling reduce the heat. Cook until the tomatoes have broken down then simmer gently for about fifteen minutes.

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Bring a large pot of water to the boil, add a little salt and the beans. Cook the beans for four minutes then drain and add to the sauce.Leave to cook for a couple of minutes then take off the heat, stir in the chopped coriander and serve.
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We ate this with brown basmati rice and a little yoghurt on the side.
Yum!


Beetroot Scoffins

Our beetroots loved the July rain, revelled in the humidity, didn’t care when the wind was cold and now they are ready to eat. Soldiers, everyone of them and they certainly cheer things up on a rainy day.The beetroot and chia seed muffins I made today were luminous pink. Guaranteed to bring a smile to your face whatever the weather and very easy to make.

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I buzzed some cooked beetroot to a puree, mixed it with yoghurt eggs and coconut oil

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then folded it into the dry ingredients.

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Spooned the mix into a muffin tin and hey presto, thirty minutes later – Pink muffins!!!
They weren’t only good looking, they were delicious.

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I took some to the shop and they flew out the door.

Here’s the recipe if you fancy trying it. It’s gluten free and could be dairy free if you wanted, just swop the yoghurt for soy yoghurt

Beetroot and Chia Seed Scoffins

200g cooked and peeled beetroot
250mls natural yoghurt
140g rice flour
170g coconut flour
1tbs chia seeds
1 and a half tsp baking powder
half tsp baking soda
half tsp salt
2 eggs
150g caster sugar
120mls coconut oil

Pre heat the oven 180c

Put the beetroot into a food processor and puree to a smooth paste.
Add the yoghurt, eggs and coconut oil to the beetroot then buzz everything together.
Put the rice flour, coconut flour, baking powder, bread soda, salt sugar and chia seeds into a large bowl. Pour the beetroot mix on top then mix everything together. Put a paper muffin case in each hole in the muffin tin. Spoon a generous tablespoon of the mix into each muffin case then divi up any left overs.
Bake for 25-30 minutes. Stick a sharp clean dry knife into the centre of one of the muffins to test for doneness. If it comes out clean it’s ready.
Cool before eating.