Dinner · Lunch

The food of love! Comfort food at its finest. Spaghetti with roasted Mediterranean Veggies

Anyone who knows me knows my love of all things carbohydrate. And pasta is no exception. I love my alternative pastas and tonight’s pick was an organic brown rice spaghetti, piled high with goodies from the farmers market. I love keeping it simple, I believe it really is the best option. Now that you know the way to my heart, and the reason my jeans no longer fit… lets get to it. With some seriously sexy comfort food.

 

Serves 2

2 Portions of Spaghetti – there is no point in me telling you how much to cook. Wing it. You know you want too.

1/2 Fennel

1 cm thick Slice of Aubergine / Eggplant

Handful Mushrooms

1/2 Pepper

Large handful of baby tomatoes.

Oil of choice- I used Avocado

2 tsp Herb de Provence

1-2 Cloves Garlic

1 Jar Passata or Pasta Sauce of choice

Optional 1Tbs Tomato paste

Salt and Pepper.

Fresh herbs

 

Pre heat the oven to 400. Chop all the veggies into 1-2 cm chunks. Toss in oil and herb de provence with a good pinch of salt. Pop on a roasting tray and roast for 25 -30 minutes.

During the last 15 minutes of cooking time. Pop enough water on to boil for the pasta, and cook according to the packet instructions. Before draining, remember to reserve some of the cooking water.

Pop the drained pasta back into the pan and pour over your pasatta or pasta sauce, dice the garlic and pop in now and cook everything until its all hot through. Add a little pasta water and the tomato sauce if you’re just using the pasatta. Season with salt and pepper.

Once the veggies are ready, lift them out and stir half of them through the spaghetti. Plate the pasta up and top with the remaining half of the veggies. Throw some nice fresh herbs on top for a boost of flavor and a lovely splash of colour!

 

 

 

Dinner · Lunch

Aubergine Pizza. 

I love pizza. Like for real. It’s the way to my heart. Proper pizza though. No cheese stuffed deep dish whatever that is. And tonight I was craving this beautiful spicy Tomato and fresh Oregano Pizza I had in Italy. Stone oven.. the works. However I’m not in Italy. And I haven’t got a pizza stone. And I hadn’t made any dough. And I needed to eat immediately for the safety of my own family….. And this little beauty was born.

I bought two beautiful Aubergines (Eggplant to my stateside friends ) at the Farmers Market because it’s a best friends favourite, and I wanted to create something for her. And I’m really hoping she approves. Keep your fingers crossed guys . So the new quick base for my pizza was born. And it didn’t disappoint.

Here it goes Alana. This one’s for you!
Makes 4 “slices”

1 Large Aubergine / Eggplant

Oil

1 Pepper sliced

Handful of Mushrooms sliced

1/2 Courgette thinly sliced

4 Tsp tomato paste

Pinch Red Pepper

Fresh Herbs.

This really is so simple.
Preheat the oven to 400. Slice the Aubergine into four 1 cm thick slices. Heat a large Skillet or griddle pan and cook the slices in a splash of oil for 2-3 minutes a side. Or until they’re nicely coloured and  nearly cooked. Pop onto a baking sheet. You may need to do this in batches. Pop the sliced Mushrooms and Peppers into the still hot pan. Just to cook until a little softened.

Spread your Tomato paste on to each slice of Aubergine. Add a sprinkle of Red pepper if you like it spicy. Top with your veggies. Be careful if they’re still hot from the pan. Have fun. Make it pretty! Pop them all in the oven to heat through for 5 minutes. Pretty much everything but the Courgette is cooked already so this doesn’t take long.
Once they’re ready throw on some fresh herbs and tuck in. So simple. But really yummy.
Enjoy !!

Dinner · Lunch

Pho!

So a few weeks back I got my very first taste of an all veggie Pho. It was love at first slurp. And I mean slurp. Like how do you eat this gracefully ? I came away with more on my chin and my top than I probably ate. But wow. Was it amazing. I couldn’t wait to get home and start playing with some flavours. And this has been my best effort so far.

This recipe serves two.

Broth :

4 cups Mushroom Stock

1 Inch Ginger sliced

2 Cloves garlic minced

2 Star Anise

1 Cinnamon Stick

1 tbs Shoyu (or Soy Sauce)

1 Lime -juice only

A handful of Basil

2 Tsp Maple Syrup
Filling and topping :

Noodles (I used brown rice )

1 Cup Mushrooms

3 Green onions (spring onions )

1 Large handful Bean Sprouts

Extra Basil

Pop all of the stock ingredients into a medium saucepan and simmer together gently for 15-20 minutes. Sieve out the the aromatics once the broth is well flavoured and the kitchen smells amazing.

At this point slice your Mushrooms and green onions. Add your noodles to the simmering broth and pop the mushrooms in there too. Once cooked decant into two bowls and topping with Bean Sprouts , Lime wedges and more Basil. Give a final adornment of Green onions. Grab a spoon and some chopsticks and give it your all!

Dinner

Butternut and Apricot Slow cooker Tagine !

I adore Butternut Squash, and I LOVE experimenting with how to cook it. And Slow cooking it with Spices and Aromatics just seemed wonderful. I love Slow cooking something as the whole house just gets scented so beautifully… and it is quite possibly the easiest thing to do.  So since I got some wonderful natural dried Apricots at the Market the other day, along with some Ras el Hanout , I had a form of Tagine in mind, and these paired together wonderfully. ( Ok SO I know its not technically a Tagine as I cooked it in a slow cooker, but give me a little artistic license here… )

This is quite a sweet dish by the way, I add a stark contrast with some Olives, to give you that Sweet/Salty combo to cut through the sweetness. But the Spices in this Dish bring another warming element too so its pretty rich. Just the way I like it..

Hope you enjoy it.

 

Serves 3-4.

1 Large Butternut Squash

1 Onion

1 Lb Jar Passata / crushed Tomatoes

Veg stock

2 Tsp Cinnamon

1 Cinnamon Stick

2 Tsp Paprika

2 Tsp Ras el Hanout

Salt

1 Tsp Maple

Zest and Juice of an Orange

Handful of  Apricots

Handful of Olives.

Peel and Chop the Butternut and Onion into Large Chunks. Throw them into the slow cooker, and sprinkle the spices on top , toss everything around to coat. Juice and Zest the Orange onto the Veggies too,

Pour in the Crushed Tomatoes and fill the jar half way up with vegetable stock, pour that in too. At this point I added a tsp of Maple Syrup to take the edge off the tomatoes. Pop in the Cinnamon Stick now too and stir to combine.

Cook this on the high setting for 4 hours. For the last half hour of cooking time pop in your Olives and Apricots.

 

To Serve :

Pomegranate Millet :

Cook Millet accoriding to packet instructions. Top With Pomegrante seeds and Chopped fresh mint.

I served this with just a simple green Salad.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dinner

First Trans Continental post !

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Ciao!! Guess who’s in Italy ? The weather here is amazing. Just perfect at this time of year. I’ve fallen in love with the fresh Markets and the many sorts of Pasta ! Gluten free ones everywhere too! I thought I may struggle to find many but they’re everywhere. I’ve found everything from Almond Milk to Buckwheat. It’s been such a pleasure to be out shopping on the local markets. I got a rather fabulous haul of goodies and I’m lucky enough for our Villa to have its very own herb garden ❤ home away from home.

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I’ve been eating alot of Pasta and Pizza and my jeans aren’t going to be my friends any time soon , but you only live once !

I’ve had the absolute pleasure of a beautiful out door kitchen to prep meals in and eat with the most fabulous view !

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This holiday has been just beautiful…

But back to the food :

Tonight I was cooking for one. Wanted something quick and easy (no comments please ) and this one turned out just right.

Recipe :
Cherry tomatoes on the vine
1/2 Pepper
1 Baby Courgette
5 Baby Portabellos
1 Carton Passata
2 Cloves Garlic
Handful Basil
Brown Rice Pasta
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper

Pop the oven on 400°. Pop cherry tomatoes into a roasting tray and give a good glug of oil and sprinkle of salt. Pop in the oven to roast for 20 mins or until split and tender.
Pop a big pan of water on to boil and salt well. Add your Pasta when it’s boiling.
Heat a sauté pan with some Oil and chop your veggies and Garlic . Pop everything in the pan and saute until it all has a little colour pop in Pasatta give everything a good stir.
Reserve a little pasta cooking water and then drain Pasta. Add Pasta to veggie sauce with a little of the cooking water to help it stick.
Plate everything and grab the Cherry Tomatoes out of the oven to put in top with a good sprinkle of fresh Basil.

Dinner · Lunch

Leek and Mushroom Polenta Tart.

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Have to admit , I’m feeling pretty smug about this one… couldn’t decide what to do with a lonely Leek and some Mushrooms than needed using up. I used to make Leek and Mushroom Tarts all the time , however they were loaded with things I can no longer tolerate. So I had to have a think of how to adapt this flavour combo… and it worked a treat. This was so easy to throw together too, and really turned out quite pretty. Win. I adore the combination of Leek , Mushrooms ,Garlic and Thyme. I hope you do too.

Base Recipe :
2 Cups Water
1/2 Cup Quick Cook Polenta
Salt
Olive oil.

Spread :
Canellini Beans (I Carton, drained and rinsed )
1 Lemon juice and Zest
Salt

Topping :
Oil high heat safe ( I used Avacado)
1 Leek
1 Tub Baby Portabellos
Thyme
Rosemary
Salt
2 Cloves of Garlic.

Grease a tart tin with a little oil, and give a little spatula a little coat of oil too
Then start by boiling your water and whisking in Polenta and Salt whish until it’s thick and add in a good quality olive oil for some flavour.
Pour into your greased pan and flatten out with your spatula. You’ll have to work quick because it will set fast !

Pop that to one side to set. Pre heat your oven on a low warming temp.

Then chop your Leek, Mushrooms , Garlic, Rosemary and Thyme. Heat your oil in a sauté pan and then add everything. Keep this going until everything is soft but still holding shape. About 6-8 minutes.

Then pop your Canellini Beans in a processor and whizz with lemon and salt and some hot water to make a nice thick spread.

Your Polenta should be set nicely by now , pop your spread on top and then pile your Leeks and Mushrooms on too.

I popped this in the oven to warm the base through again for 5 minutes.
Then served warm.

Dinner · Lunch

Roasted Butternut and Kale Salad.

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I adore Butternut Squash. There’s just something so rich and delicious about it. It can carry really lovely flavors with added spices too. It’s definetly in my top ten all time favourite favourite foods. I love it in soups and casseroles, roasted or mashed. It even makes a pretty yummy Lasagne too. Pasta sauce, you name it this little Veggie can do it. They’re an excellent little nutritional powerhouse and they keep for weeks because of their tough outer skin. If you Bake it in its skin ,  the skin actually becomes pretty soft and chewy too. I just absolutely adore these little beauties. I like to get medium sized ones or smaller ones. The Darker the skin colour the sweeter I find them. The big ones tend to be a little watery for me. I like flavors that pack a punch.

This Salad is as simple as it gets. But with heaps of Raw kale under , it’s pretty nutritious as well as beautiful. Please don’t be put off with Raw Kale. It’s massaged and squished so it doesn’t take ten year to chew.. it’s soft and a bit more delicate. Kale can be pretty robust, but with this method it really is lovey. And can be made in advance. I like to serve this with the Squash warm. But I think room temperature would be fine too of you wanted to make ahead!

Recipe
1 Medium Butternut
A few Chipolinni onions ( optional )
Oil (high heat I used Avacado )
Salt
Sprinkle of Paprika
Fresh Rosemary

For the Kale :
Bunch of Kale I used curly Kale today
Juice of a Lemon
Salt
2 Tbs Tahini  (optional I like it to add creamy but only use it sometimes)
Olive oil (you can whip out the EVOO here since it’s raw of you like )
1 Tsp Maple
Chilli flakes (optional – some like it hot )

Toppings : seeds and dried fruit (I used Tart Cherries )

Preheat the oven to 400°. Peel and chop the squash into 1cm cubes. Toss in a good glug of oil with Salt , Rosemary and Paprika. Toss in peeled Chipolinni if using also.

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Pop on a baking sheet and pop in the oven for 30 -40 minutes depending on how crispy you like the edges.

Whilst that’s cooking you can make the Kale. Wash Kale, pat dry and tear into bite size pieces , removing tough stems. Pop into a large bow. And squeeze lemon over. Add salt and a splash of oil too. Pop Tahini in too if using.
Now the messy bit. Stick your hands in and get squishing. You really want to work the Lemon juice into the leaves as this is what helps break down the toughness. Keep rubbing and massaging till everything’s turned a little darker and intense green. Then drizzle with a little more oil and tiny bit of Maple to take the Lemons edge off. Sprinkle with chilli if using . This can be left to sit for a good while so don’t panic.

Once the Butternut and Chipolinni are all set. Pop then out of the oven and top the Kale with them. Add any of your optional toppings and serve.

Dinner

Cinco De Mayo ! My Mexican Feast!

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Happy Cinco De Mayo !!
Ok. Mexican food. Yes please. The spices , the colours , the flavors. Oh my , how in love could I be. Today I actually had a hard time picking which of my favourite recipes to make for our little Celebration. But I decided on this little mix to keep things fun and hands on. I love playing with my food. And I’m 26 now so no one can tell me not to. No one tell my Gran I said that. Seriously….

So get stuffing, rolling , squishing. However you like it. I won’t judge.

I made a whole bunch of goodies. Some Fajita veggies , some Black Beans with Sweet Corn, some Guac, some Sweet Potatoes ! Soft and crispy Tortillas. And no Mexican Feast would be complete without some Pico De Gallo !

Where to start ? !

Sweet potato mash – you know the deal. I bake mine for an hour and squeeze them into a bowl with a little salt and a 1/2 tsp Maple. Nothing too hard right ?

I adore Black beans and sweet potatoes. They’re the star of a Burrito I make too … but more of that later.

For the Black bean goodness :
1 Carton Black Beans , rinsed and drained.
1 Cup Corn Kernels. Fresh or Frozen(defrosted )
1 Tsp Paprika
1 Tsp Cumin
Optional Chilli.
Lime juice 1 or 2
Optional Green onions.

Pop the black beans , Corn, Spices and Lime juice in a pan with about 1/2 cup of water and heat through till nice and hot season and serve  !

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Fajita Veggies.
1 Red Pepper
1 Yellow Pepper
1/2 Red Onion
Oil
Salt

Give everything a chop nice and then sauté in a medium hot pan with a sprinkle of salt. Use an oil with a high burning temp. I used Avacado!

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Pico De Gallo :
2 Medium Tomatoes
1/2 Red Onion
1 Lime Zest and Juice
Little Handful of Cilantro (Corriander )
Salt
Optional Sweetner.

Dice the tomatoes , and Red Onion , I make sure to keep the Red onion pretty small! Pop in a bowl and mix with salt , Lime juice and zest. Taste , if your tomatoes make your eyes squeeze , add a little Agave to sweeten. Give a final stir with some chopped Cilantro (Corriander ).

Guacamole! :

1 Large Ripe Avacado
2 limes
Salt
Handful of Cilantro (optional )

Either Squish with a fork or blend together , depending on your smooth or chunky preference.

I made some Fresh Mini Tortillas, this is obviously optional. But not difficult.

Recipe Tortillas

1 Cup Flour
1/4 Cup water
3 Tbs Olive oil.

Combine everything into a dough and let rest for a little while. Then roll put and cut out mini Tortillas. I made 5. Heat these in a medium heat non stick pan one at a time for a minute or so on each side until cooked through. Wrap in foil to keep warm till you serve !

Corn Tortilla Cups :

Ready made Corn Tortillas
Mould or upside down Cupcake tin.

Pop Tortillas in spaces in tin and toast in a 375 ° oven for 5 – 10 minutes or until crispsy.

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Dinner · Lunch

Roasted Fennel with Herb and Garlic Mash. My style of comfort food.

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Today was a long day. And when I finally pulled round for food, I wanted something simple and comforting. And nothing is simpler or more comforting than mashed potatoes. They have always been one of my all time favourite foods … Swoon. I love topping mash with all sorts of goodies. From Garlic Mushrooms to caremelised onions. But today’s go to had method in my madness. I was using Fennel . Fennel , you may not know , is a bit of a hero of mine. This little bulb has a natural antihistamine and a natural anti inflammatory properties. It’s also good anti oxidant. All of which I was in need of this evening. And this recipe never fails. I love roasted Fennel. I love raw Fennel. Basically if there was a fennel fan club I’d have the tshirt. And tonight it didn’t disappoint.
Hope you enjoy. I know it put a smile back on my fave today.

Recipe :
1 Bulb of Fennel
Oil (high heat – I used avacado )
Salt
Pepper
3 Garlic Cloves
3 Medium Potatoes
4 Spring Onion
Small handful of Parsley
Milk of choice (I used Almond )
Olive oil
Honey or Maple Syrup (optional )

Optional : Roasted Cherry Tomatoes with Herb de Provence.

Preheat oven to 400°. Slice the Fennel. About 1/2 cm thick. I did this from top to bottom , but it was a little tricky so be careful, or cut the opposite way.
Toss with oil and Salt. Pop on a roasting tray with the cloves of garlic (unpeeled )and pop into the oven for 30 minutes.  (Add the tomatoes tossed in oil and Herb de Provence to the oven too if using ).

Next peel the potatoes and chop into 2cm pieces pop into a pan of water and bring to the boil -20 mins ish.

While everything is cooking give your Parsley and Spring onions a quick chop.
Once the potatoes are fork tender drain them (carefully ) and mash with Almond milk and a splash of olive oil. I always give potatoes a good hit of salt too.
Lift the Roasted Fennel and Garlic out if the oven and squish the Garlic with a spoon till it comes out of its little jacket. Give it a quick chop- it should be soft, and stir through your potatoes , with the herbs and onion.

At this point a tiny drizzle Maple or Honey on the Fennel is an option to before popping the oven back for 5 to add a caramelized element to the dish.

Pile everything into a bowl and give a final sprinkle of herbs (and any fronds you may have left over from your Fennel ).

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Dinner · Lunch · Uncategorized

Ginger and Garlic Cauliflower Steaks.

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I’ve been playing with marinading veggies for a while now. But this one one is by my favourite so far. I love the idea of Cauliflower Steaks too. And as I’ve professed before I do love how versatile Cauliflower is.  I always love the combination of Garlic and Ginger , great for flavor and a super food double up! Ginger is fantastic for digestion , and inflammation. Whilst Garlic has influence with the cardiovascular system , helping regulate blood pressure and blood flow. They pack a punch in more way than one ! So having a boat load of them from last week’s haul at the Farmers Market , it was the perfect time to play.

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I marinated these during the day while I worked , but I imagine over night would be great too. And don’t worry if your Cauli doesn’t lent it’s self to stakes – some will just fall apart – but litte florets in this marinade would be great too!

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Recipe :
1 Large Cauli
2″ Piece of Ginger
2 Cloves Garlic
Juice of a Lemon
1/4 Tsp Cardamom
Salt
1 Tbs Oil

Optional topping :

Handful of Parsley
Pine nuts
Lemon Zest.

Chop the Cauli in the steaks the best you can (Mine were about half and nice thick). And pop them into a baking dish or a Food bag. Chop the Garlic and Ginger and add too the bag with them Lemon juice, Cardamom , Oil and a sprinkle of Salt. Give everything a good coating and mix them about. Then you can leave this to sit in the fridge as long as you like.
I had mine in for the day, but I imagine overnight would be good too!

Then once you’re ready, pop the oven on to 400° and pop the Steaks into a baking tray if they’re in a bag. Then let them go in the oven for about 30 minutes (they may need longer if you cut them thicker ) check them until they’re tender.

I topped these with the Lemon , Parsley and Pine nuts. Just a good Sprinkle of each !