Dessert · Lunch

Naanwich! Yeah.. apparently that’s a thing.. 

Yeah so I was recently introduced to Naan bread sandwiches. And wow was I in love! And also felt a little odd that I’d never considered that as an idea before…

So here we have it. A spicy Harissa and maple roasted chickpea filling with piles of sautéed veggies, loaded on top of a cool creamy hummus loaded Naan. This is what nights in are made for.  For added sweet and spicy combo, I made a quick fresh mango dressing for on top and we were ready to roll!

This recipe makes 2 Naan sandwiches.

Maple Harissa Chickpeas:

1/2 Carton Chickpeas drained

1/2 Tsp Harissa paste

1.5 Tsp Maple Syrup

1 Tbs Oil of choice (I used avocado)
Sautéed Veggies

1/2 Courgette

1/2 Yellow Pepper

1/2 Red Pepper

Hand full of Asparagus

Oil of choice (you’ll be shocked to hear I used avocado again)
Mango topping :

2 Fresh Mangos

1/4 Chilli seeds removed and chopped finely (feel free to add more)

Juice of 2 limes

Honey or agave to taste

Salt
2 Naan bread.

OK so let’s start with the Chickpeas, pop the oven on 400 and pop the oil, Harissa and maple into a bowl with a big pinch of salt and whisk together. Toss the chickpeas in the dressing and roast for 20-25 minutes. Giving them a stair half way through.

The move onto the Mango dressing so it had a little time to sit. Chop up one mango into a small dice and peel the other and pop into a mini processor or blender add the lime juice, the chilli and a good drizzle of something sweet to the blender. Blitz and add a little salt to taste. Toss the chopped mango through this and set aside. Feel free to add some ginger or spices at this point too. If it doesn’t blend well add a splash of oil or water.

Next, chop up your veggies, I kept mine quite big for a nice bite.  Preheat a sauté pan over medium and sizzle those veggies.

For the last few minutes of cooking time, add your Naan to the oven to get nice and warm.

Now we are ready to assemble. I did I layer of cool creamy hummus on top of my Naan. You can grab some nice organic ones these days or feel free to whip up your favourite batch. Then I piled the veggies and chickpeas on giving a little drizzle of the thick dressing the chickpeas were in. Topped it all off with my mango and some fresh cilantro/coriander or parsley.

Dinner · Lunch · Picnic

Spring time salads! Massaged Kale and Herb Quinoa. 

So spring has hit in a big way in Florida! Everything is popping in colour and literally springing back into life. The Garden is in full bloom currently, with blossoms on the peach tree, flowers on the nasturtiums. Blooms on the garlic,  and blueberries coming out in force. It’s a sight to behold and oh how I love it!

Keeping with spirit of spring and sunshine, all the abundance of fresh produce in the aunshine state right now has me in a constant state of happiness. I love when the Farmers Market are full to the brim of beautiful fresh greens and veggies. This week a particularly beautiful bunch of Cavolo Nero caught my eye. I love kale in all shapes and sizes but this has to be my ultimate favourite. And keeping it fresh and raw makes me happy in head heart and most importantly, tummy.

So let’s get started with a simple salad?

This serves two.

Recipe:

Quinoa:

1/2 Cup Quinoa

1 tbs Tahini

1/2 Tsp Herb de Provence

Salt.

Kale:

3 big Cups kale washed and chopped

Juice of a lemon

1/2 tsp Shoyu or Tamari

2 Tbs Tahini

2 Tbs Sweet Chili sauce

Toppings :

1 Pepper cut into strips

3 mandarins peeled and segmented

Edible flowers

Pumpkin Seeds

And fresh garden veggies you like.
Start by cooking the Quinoa according the the packet instructions. Mine takes about 2o minutes.

Half way through the Quinoa cooking time pop your Kale into a bowl and squeeze over the Lemon juice. Get your hands in and squish all the Kale together rubbing the leaves with the Lemon makes them lovely and tender. Massage it all together for a few minutes then rinse off the thick of the Lemon juice.

Dress the leaves with the Tamari, Tahini and Sweet Chili and mix again until it’s all covered.

By now the Quinoa should be nearly ready. Once it’s cooked and light and fluffy, drizzle in the Tahini , a pinch of salt and the herb de Provence. It’s one of my all time favourite spice blends and makes erything taste a little bit magic.

Pop the kale into bowls and top with the warm Quinoa. Add your other toppings at will.

I have to say, I just love to eat this out side!

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!

Lunch · Picnic

Roasted Beetroot and Pear Salad.

With all of these colours all on one plate I can’t stop smiling. I love eating every colour of the rainbow. Not only does it look enticing and feel fresh , but I get a rather smug sense of virtuosity having polished off a delicious meal that my body will love too. This Salad is so easy but really rather elegant, it’s great for a lunch to share with friends…

I love Beetroot. I really do. Something my teenaged self would shudder at the thought of. Mainly because I associated it with the hideous crinkle cut, boiled to death ,pickled variety stuffed in many a sandwhich as a child. Still makes me cringe. But this wonderful little root enters a realm of its own when roasted. So sweet and earthy, it’s now up there as one of my all time favourites.

I was excited to spot the Golden Beetroot at my local Farmers Market  and couldn’t wait to get home and play with them. The colours are just so prefect, a direct contrast with each other but both hosting the same flavour. Just gorgeous. Ok. Sorry. Getting a bit intense over the whole Beetroot thing so I’ll get on with it.

This recipe served two but you can multiply it easily.

Recipe:

1 Pear

2 Golden Beetroot

2 Purple Beetroot

Oil of choice I used Avacado

Big bag of Greens

Handful of Maple Roast Pecans (recipe to follow )

Dressing

1 Orange

2 tsp Oil

1 tsp Maple Syrup

Pinch of Salt.

Preheat the oven to 400°. Wrap the Beetroot in foil. I kept the colours separate so they didn’t bleed into each other. Pop them in the oven for an hour. For the last 40 minutes of the cooking time chop the pear in half and give a little drizzle of Oil. Pop onto a roasting tray and into the oven.

Once everything’s cooked. Cool till you can handle them. Give the Beetroot a good rub with kitchen roll and then skin should just slide off. Then slice to show their  pretty little stripes.

Throw a load of Greens onto a serving dish and top with the sliced Beets. Pop your Pear on there too.

Give a final adornment of some Maple Roast Pecans.
Dressing.

For the dressing , zest and juice an Orange into a jar. Pop in a splash of oil (i used olive here ) and a tsp of Maple with a pinch of Salt. Give everything a good shake together. .

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 · 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 !