I’m about to move house and leave my lovely huge kitchen for the delights of a “do-er upper”. I am not moving far but will have a whole house – i’ll be knocking some walls down and building some new rooms so will have a lovely new kitchen in no time but tonight – as the last time i’ll cook here it was quite emotional.
So my last meal was a vegetable curry and it was delicious. It ticks all the gluten free, dairy free, low fat, no salt, no sugar boxes and was packed with nutritious vegetables.
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
1 onion – blitzed to form a paste
1 carrot – diced
1 potato – diced
1 tin plum tomatoes
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2tsp ground coriander
1/2 cauliflower – chopped to florets
1 red pepper – diced
1 courgette – sliced
1/2 tsp Garam masala
For the Masala – blitz the below:
1 red chilli
2 cloves garlic
In a large pan heat some oil, once hot add the cumin seeds until they start to pop. At this point when fragrant, add the onion and gently cook until caramelised and dark. Add the carrot and potato along with the spices, mix in the tinned tomatoes and then half fill the can with water and add this too. Leave on a high heat, covered for 10 minutes.
As the vegetables begin to soften, add the cauliflower, courgette and pepper and a little water if needed. Mix together and add the chilli masala paste. Leave covered on the hob, bubbling away for another 15 minutes. For the final 5 minutes uncover to allow the sauce to thicken a little. The curry will be ready when the veggies are soft and the sauce is thick and punchy!
Serve with cauliflower rice and a sprinkle of fresh coriander.
And with that il say a fond farewell to my lovely flat in Toots and sign off….next time I blog it will be from my new house!
New Year’s Day dinner this year was Ottolenghi inspired. Chicken Sofrito with Roasted Cauliflower & Hazelnut Salad and Roasted Tahini Squash. I did lots of research for Sofrito and found that each region makes it differently and Sofrito axtually refers more to the cooking method – the meat is lightly fried in a little oil and is then left to cook slowly in a pan on the hob, in steam created from its own juices.
I used Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem book as my inspiration for this meal but made a few changes – firstly I have kept the chicken whole for cooking, and, as im on a new year’s detox I ommitted any salt and sugar from the recipe. Elix announced she couldn’t tell as there is so much flavour from the marinade!
This meal was hearty and healthy – a perfect way to start 2017.
1.4kg Organic Whole Chicken
1 onion – quartered
1/2 tsp Turmeric
2 1/2 tbsp Lemon Juice
a tiny drizzle of agave nectar (or 1/4 tsp sugar)
1tbsp Grapeseed Oil
6 Garlic Cloves
2 medium sized potatoes – peeled and diced
Fry the chicken, whole in a large pan so that it turns light, golden brown on the outside. Whilst this is frying, mix together the paprika, lemon juice, turmeric and agave. Remove the chicken and brush all over with the spice mix. Pop back into the pan with the lid on and leave to cook for an hour. If the bottom of the pan becomes dry, just add a little water.
After an hour, remove the chicken from the pan. In an oven dish, pour the chicken sauce with the onion, garlic and diced potatoes and place the chicken on top. Pop into the oven at 180 degs for 30 minutes, this will given enough time for the potatoes to cook, the chicken skin the crisp up and the sauce to infuse with the garlic and onion and become your gravy! Serve the chicken simply, carved for the table to share with the gravy and potatoes on the side.
I served my chicken with a couple of sides which were super easy and healthy.
Roasted Squash with Tahini – Half and slice a butternut squash and roast in the oven, scattered with ground cumin and drizzled with olive oil for 40minutes. Serve with 50g roasted pinenuts and drizzle with a dressing made of 4tbsp tahini, 2tbsp lemon juice and a grated garlic clove. To serve sprinkle 1tsp of za’atar on top.
Roasted Cauliflower & Hazelnut Salad – chop half a cauliflower into tiny florets and roast for 30minutes. For the last 10 minutes add 30g hazelnuts to roast. In a sepearate salad bowl, slice one stick of celery diagonally and mix with a handful of parsley leaves and a handful of pomegranite seeds. Make a dressing of 1/2 tsp ground cinammon, 1/2 tsp mixed spice, 1tbsp Cider Vinegar and 1tsp agave nectar (or maple syrup). To serve, add the cauliflower and hazelnuts to the salad and mix the dressing.
Last year i holidayed in Myanmar and it was the best couple of weeks I could have wished for. The country is beautiful both physically and culturally with so much to see and do. The cities are vibrant, beaches are idyllic and everywhere in the middle is beautiful.
The food in Myanmar is a mixture of the cuisines of all it’s neighbouring countries – thai, indian, chinese flavours and spices and curries, salads, noodle soups and stir fries.
The curry in this blog perfectly showcases the fusion in Myanmar’s cuisine with Indian turmeric and chilli spices mixed with South East Asian fish sauce and lemon juice. The curry was lightly spiced, sweet, fresh and nutritious. It was also nice and easy to cook!
3 Chicken Thighs – chopped into bitesize pieces
1 Medium Potato – cubed
1 Large tomato – chopped
1/2 Cauliflower – chopped into florets
1tsp Lemongrass Paste
1 Clove Garlic
1tbsp Chilli Powder
1tsp Fish Sauce
1tsp Lemon Juice
Start by making a paste of onion, garlic, ginger and lemongrass using a little vegetable oil if needed. Slowly fry the paste with some water until rich in colour which should take 10-15minutes. Meanwhile part boil the cauliflower and potato for 8 minutes. Add the chicken and coat in the paste, sprinkle in the chilli powder and turmeric, cover the pan with a lid and continue to cook for another 10 minutes until the chicken is sealed. Add the cauliflower and potato aswell as the tomato and pour in 100ml water and the fish sauce and lemon juice. Stir to combine and simmer until the sauce has reduced to a thick gravy and the vegetables are cooked.
Serve with brown rice and a little naan bread.
After spending much of my childhood through to my early twenties avoiding cauliflower because of an unfounded phobia of the stuff, I now love it and enjoy experimenting whether it be cauliflower pizza bases, cauliflower couscous or a simple roasted cauliflower side dish.
Not only is it tasty and versatile but oh so nutritious. One serving of cauliflower provides you with 75% of your daily vitamin C and it is also rich in vitamin K, potassium and fibre. Some nutritionists advocate cauliflower as a good remedy for high blood pressure and a healthy heart.
My latest trial was roast cauliflower and pancetta spaghetti which went down a treat in our house. Elix and I have been out and about a lot lately so cooking this, eating in and having a much needed catch up was a nice relaxing treat for the two of us.
3/4 cauliflower – chopped into bitesize florets
2 tsp Grated Parmesan
1 tbsp Lemon Juice
2 Cloves Garlic – grated
1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
4 rashers pancetta – sliced into strips
Handful of peas
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degs. Place the cauliflower in a roasting dish and sprinkle with the parmesan, lemon juice, garlic and some olive oil. Mix together and pop into the oven for 45 minutes until cooked and caramelised.
Meanwhile cook the spaghetti and peas together in boiling water and whilst it bubbles away start on the pancetta. You only need a tiny bit of olive oil in the pan to fry the pancetta, as it starts to crisp up, add in the chilli flakes and mix. Mix together with the caramelised cauliflower and allow the smoky pancetta flavour to really mix with the cauliflower.
Once the pasta and peas are cooked, combine with the pancetta and cauliflower.
This dinner was inspired by Jason Atherton from his Social Suppers book. After a lifetime of cauliflower phobia I now love the stuff amd recently have been incorporating it into as many meals as possible! Our favourite is simply roasted with crushed garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and parmesan – 40 minutes in the oven and the taste is sensational. We also grate it to use in salads or as a substitute for rice with curries. Cauliflower is also full of vitamin C and anti-oxidents as well as being good for digestion and the heart.
Anyway – back to this recipe. A main reason for me wanting to include this in a blog is because i think my mum and dad will like it so want to share the recipe and also because of the countless times Elix and I have routed through all the cookbooks trying to recall which one this recipe is in. Having it on here is easier and makes for a great instant shopping list on the rare occasion Sainsbury’s in Toots has monkfish in!
Ingredients for 2 Serves
2 Monkfish fillets
Salt & Pepper
75g Bulgar Wheat
1 Red Chilli – finely chopped
Flat Leaf Parsley
Start with the bulgar wheat – melt 50g butter in a frying pan and stir in the chilli and 1tsp caraway seeds until a toasty, spicey fragrance develops. Add the bulgar wheat in and stir to coat in the spices then add 1tsp tumeric and 100ml-200ml chicken stock (add gradually as needed).
Simmer for 5 minutes uncovered, then simmer for 5 minutes covered and then turn off th heat and leave to steam.
Now for the cauliflower which is chopped into florets and simply fried in butter with thyme until caramelised and golden round the edges (should take 6-8 minutes).
Finally the monkfish should be seasoned and rolled in 1-2tsp curry powder – fry in some olive oil and butter for a few minutes on each side until golden and firm.
To serve drizzle some olive oil into the bulgar wheat and stir through the chopped parsley. Spoon onto the plate, topped with the monkfish and decorated with the cauliflower.