My love of Thai food just keeps on growing and a trip to Chinatown in London on Friday where i found some flat rice noodles inspired me to attempt to recreate a stir fry that we learnt to cook in Chiang Mai.
This dish contains loads of healthy vegetables, is meat and gluten free and very easy and tasty.
150g Flat Rice Noodles
3tsp low salt Soy Sauce
2 heads Pak Choi – leaves and stems halved
Handful of Mange Tout, Mini Corn, Mushrooms – all sliced
100g Extra firm Tofu – diced into 2cm cubes
1 Chilli – diced
2 Cloves Garlic – diced
1 Egg – beaten
3tbsp Oyster Sauce
1tsp Fish Sauce
1/2 tsp Palm Sugar
If using dry noodles, soak these in boiling water until softened, drain and then leave to soak in 1tsp Soy Sauce – put to one side.
Get two frying pans on the hob. In one, heat 4tbsp vegetable oil, once hot, gently place the tofu and chilli in to crisp up and turn golden.
In the other pan or wok heat 1tbsp coconut oil and add the garlic. Once sizzling, add the mange tout, mushrooms, pak choi and baby corn. As the veggies begin to soften add the prawns and noodles, followed by the sauces and sugar. As everything mixes together smelling sweet and giving a little colour to the noodles – push it all to one side of the wok and tip in the beaten egg. Let the egg scramble and mix into the noodles and the vegetables.
Keep an eye on the tofu, turning over until each piece is golden and crispy. When cooked, place on some kitchen roll to dry.
Serve with the crispy tofu on top for extra crunch and let the full texture and taste of the sweet noodles come through.
In a food mixer whip together the eggs, sugar and vanilla until combined, pale and fluffy. Then stir in the almonds, coconut and cinammon until all mixed through. Finally add the carrots, pistachios and butter and give the mixture a final stir.
Pop into the cake tin and bake in a 180 degree oven for an hour (check after 40 minutes to make sure the top is colouring evenly).
As usual with cakes, it is cooked when a skewer poked through the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely.
As per the recipe I served with whipped rosewater cream (1tbsp rosewater, 180ml double cream and 1tbsp icing sugar whipped together) and sprinkled with pistachios.
The bikini diet continues as does the no-sugar and no-carb phase!
This recipe achieves both of the above as well as being super nutritious. Lamb contains a good amount of Vitamin B12 which is good for a healthy nervous system and glowing skin. Lamb is lower im cholesterol than some other meats and is a good source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Protein meats are healthiest and easiest to digest when eaten with non-starchy vegetables as they are in this dish. The original recipe I was inspired by, roasted lamb chops for 20minutes with the veggies but I used lean lamb leg steaks – as these cook quicker, i lightly fried and caramelised them in a pan for a couple of minutes and then left them to roast for 10 in the oven.
2 portions lean lamb leg steaks
2 Cloves Garlic – smashed
1tsp dried oregano
Juice of 1 Lemon
1 Red Onion
1 Red Pepper
1 Yellow Pepper
200g Cherry Tomatoes
Handful Black Olives
Handful of Mint
Marinade the lamb in the garlic, oil and oregano and leave to rest for at least 30 minutes – all day is better!
Roughly chop the veggies (not the tomatoes) and mix with olive oil, salt and pepper and pop in an 200 degree oven for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, throw in the tomatoes, feta and olives and pop back in the oven (if using lamb chops pop them in now aswell).
Lightly fry the lamb steaks for a couple of minutes on each side until sealed and caramelised. Pop into the oven for 10 minutes on top of the veggies- this will let the lamb cook through and allow the cooking juices and marinade to flow into the veggies.
Meanwhile make the pea and mint puree by pulsing together the blanched peas and mint with some olive oil until mixed together.
To serve, place the pea puree on top of the lamb and veggies.
It was a frugal evening at home tonight making the most of leftover pork mince from the Mee Krob aswell as making sure we were eating plenty of veggies after a big few days holidaying in Mallorca (lots of bread, wine, tapas, paella and crisps – my holiday staple!). I decided on Mexican as we haven’t had it in a while and its a good variation to all the asian and spanish flavours i’ve been eating recently. I took inspiration from a Rick Stein idea of Middle Eastern lamb stuffed aubergine and made it Mexican….with Pork!
Onto the health part – aubergine helps to remove toxins from the body providing a good balance of blood sugar and water levels. Aubergines have digestive benefits and are good for the heart. This recipe also has a fair bit of chilli im it. I used fresh green chilli, dried morito chilli and chipotle chilli paste. All varieties of chilli, including dried contain the oil capsaicin which provides both the strong, spicy flavour as well as antioxident and anti-inflammatory effects. These, in turn, give chilli the powers of lowering cholesterol, balancing blood sugar and supressing appetite which are all good for detoxification. Whilst pork mince isnt the healthiest meat to use, pork generally is a good source of vitamin B and had useful amounts of zinc and iron which are good for energy release. I used extra lean mince to further reduce fat content.
The dish is spicy and smokey to taste, balanced by the creaminess of the feta and sweetness of the tomatoes. It is light, carb free and gluten free.
Start by halving the aubergine lenghthways and scoring the flesh. Lay skin-side down on a baking tray and roast in a 200deg oven for 30 minutes.
Whilst this is cooking, heat some olive oil in a pan and start to fry the onion, as it softens, add the pork and cook. Once the pork is cooked add in the pepper, garlic, cayenne pepper and chopped red and green chilli. Mix well and combine the chopped tomatoes and chipotle chilli paste. Once the aubergine is softened, gently scoop out the flesh (be careful to leave the skin in tact on the baking tray) and mix in with the pork mixture.
Place the mixture back into the aubergine skin, scatter with feta cheese (as much or as little as you like!) and pop back in the oven to heat through for 10 minutes.
Serve with extra veggies or brown rice if you fancy a carb kick!
After a very busy week and a busy (and food-filled) Easter weekend ahead I wanted a quick and healthy dinner which would revive me after my gym workout and was full of lovely fresh ingredients. Tuna Nicoise it was!
I’m not going to bore you with the recipe – it was a salad with leaves, boiled potatoes, cucumber, carrots, green beans, anchovies and an egg with a lovely grilled tuna steak on top.
Tuna is an excellent source of protein and is known for its high level of omega-3 fatty acid which is good for anti-inflammatory health and heart health.
I will mention the dressing I made though which was very tasty and nutritious and would work nicely with any salad:
2 tbsp Cider Vinegar
¾ tsp Cayenne Pepper
½ tsp English Mustard
1tsp Olive Oil
Juice of ½ a Lemon
Cayenne Pepper is known for it anti-irritant and anti-fungal properties – good for fighting infection and colds, it is also a well known digestive aid (often advised in these detox diets people do) as it stimulates the body’s ability to metabolize food and toxins.
Cider Vinegar is again good for detox and weight loss and has been known to help reduce blood sugar levels and some studies have shown it is good for heart health and fighting infection.
I always try and make my own salad dressings so that I can use natural flavours and spices for taste rather than adding salt and sugar – what’s the point of eating a healthy salad if you are going to smother it with mayonnaise or another sugary sauce!
Every evening as I walk home from the tube, I call my parents to hear about their days and tell them about my day, usually whinge to them, find out what they are having for dinner and tell them what we are cooking…..today this is when the trouble started!
I declared to Dad that we were having courgetti with a tomato, n’duja and ricotta sauce. “What’s N’Duja?” I tried explaining that its a spicy sausage paste, similar in texture to a coarse pate that almost liquifies when cooks. It tastes like spicy chorizo and is common in Italian and Spanish cooking – I have had it on pizzas, in pasta and on bruschetta. Dad was confused and couldn’t understand asking silly questions like “is it meat?” and “is it liquid pate?”. Well Dad – here is a blog to teach you all about it!
N’Duja is a spicy, spreadable pork salami from Italy. The pork meat is chopped finely, mixed with roasted pepper and chilli spices and cured in the same way chorizo is.
Tonight I cooked courgetti with a spiced tomato sauce and it was delicious!
2 large courgettes – spiralized
2 garlic cloves – finely diced
200g Cherry Tomatoes
8 Fine Asparagus – sliced
Ricotta to serve
Fry the tomatoes in a frying pan until charred and mash-able. Add a drizzle of olive oil to the pan and add the garlic. As the tomatoes burst and the juice adds extra moisture to the pan, stir in the n’duja and asparagus. Let the n’duja dissolve into the sauce – add a little extra water to loosen if necessary. Once the sauce is a thick consistency and the n’duja is incorporated add the courgetti and coat with the sauce.
As the n’duja is so spicy and smoky I added a few small dollops of ricotta to stir through to tone down the heat and add some creaminess to the sweet tomato sauce.
As we continue being healthy and trying my new cookbooks out we stumbled on this little gem by Gizzi Erskine and what can I say….she is a genius! This salad is filling without being stodgy, nutritious, tasty and easy. Normally I dont simply copy recipes for my blog and always try and add my own spin on things but I have not changed one thing about this one – there is no need!
100ml Chicken Stock
1/2 Butternut Squash
1 Red Pepper
2 Handfuls Spinach shredded
Handful of Pine Nuts
Handful of Mixed Seeds
Handful chopped Coriander, Parsley & Mint
1 packet Prawns
1 tbsp Harissa
1/2 tsp Ground Cumin
1/2 tsp Ground Coriander
3 Cloves Garlic – finely chopped
Juice of one Lemon
1 tbsp Olive Oil
5 tbsp Natural Yoghurt
1 tsp Harissa
Kick things off by slicing the squash, courgette and pepper and roasting in the oven at 200 degrees. Slice them any which way – ours took 40 minutes to roast and caramelise slightly with a little bit of tasty char. We left the skins on the pepper and the squash but the official recipe recommends peeling off.
Marinate the prawns in the harissa, garlic, spices, oil and lemon juice and leave to infuse for at least 30 minutes.
Blitz the cauliflower until the consistency of couscous and then fry in a little oil for a minute or two. Add the stock to the pan and cover for 5 minutes until the stock has absorbed, take the lid off and cook for another minute then take off the heat.
Toast the seeds and nuts until fragrant and leave to one side.
Final step before assembling the salad is to fry the prawns, as they have been marinating in a little oil and harissa, there is no need to add extra oil and this should only take a couple of minutes.
Now time to assemble the salad which as Elix’s job when we did it!
Lay the cauliflower at the base of the serving bowl and top with the herbs, spinach and vegetables – drizzle a little lemon juice and mix together. Scatter the nuts and seeds over the top and finally add the prawns with the marinade as this acts as a dressing.
To serve, mix some harissa into natural yoghurt and drizzle this on top of the salad.