Spiced Cod Flatbreads

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turmeric fish 18/06/2017

Spiced cod flatbreads with preserved lemon and avocado salsa, pul biber onions and harissa lime yoghurt

A vibrant dish of aromatic spiced cod with fragrant yoghurt and zesty salsa all wrapped up in a crisp, garlicky flatbread. The flavours going on here are insane. Zesty freshness from the lemony salsa, velvety cod in delicate spices, garlicky charred bread, zingy crunchy onions, creamy avocado, peppery heat, I could go on but I won’t hold you from the recipe any longer. This takes a bit of time to prepare as there are a few stages but it is in no way difficult and the result is so worth it!

You can use turmeric powder if you can’t find fresh turmeric root but it is quite readily available in most large supermarkets and gives a beautiful flavour, not to mention the health benefits.

Similarly, you can substitute paprika for the Aleppo pepper but if you can, try and source it as it has a mild fruitiness that is particularly tasty in this dish.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the spiced cod:

  • 2 tbsp Greek-style yoghurt
  • 2 inch piece fresh turmeric, peeled and finely grated
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 300g cod loin, cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

For the flatbreads:

  • 30g/1oz unsalted butter
  • 175g/6oz plain flour
  • 100ml/3½fl oz semi-skimmed milk
  • 2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tsp garlic granules
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

For the harissa and lime yoghurt:

  • 280g Greek-style yoghurt
  • 1 heaped tbsp rose harissa
  • 1 lime, zest and juice
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the salsa:

  • small handful dill, roughly chopped
  • 4 preserved lemons, deseeded and very finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp barberries (optional)
  • ½ ripe avocado, finely diced
  • 2 tsp nigella seeds

For the pul biber onions:

  • 1 small red onion, very thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 heaped tsp of pul biber/Aleppo pepper chilli flakes

Method:

  1. To make the spiced cod, mix 2 tablespoons of the yoghurt with the turmeric and crushed garlic. Season well with salt and pepper and marinate the cod for 1 hour.
  2. Meanwhile, to make the flatbreads, melt the butter and combine with the remaining ingredients, except for the oil. Mix until a firm dough has formed. Wrap in cling film and leave to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  3. To make the salsa, mix the ingredients together in a bowl, season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  4. To make the pickled onions, combine all the ingredients in a plastic container with a lid. Put the lid on and shake until the onions lose their rigidity. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  5. To make the harissa and lime yoghurt, mix everything together, season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  6. Divide the dough into four and roll into thin rounds. Preheat a large frying pan over a medium heat. Brush the hot pan with the oil and grill the flatbreads for about 45–60 seconds on each side until lightly browned.
  7. To make the cod, heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat, add the cod and brown on all sides until just cooked through.
  8. To serve, divide the cod between 4 flatbreads and dollop a generous amount of the yoghurt on top. Add the salsa, some onions and sprinkle over extra Aleppo chilli flakes or nigella seeds.

Meatball Giovetsi

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giovetsi 17/06/2017

Originally made with chicken, lamb or beef, giovetsi is a one pan Greek dish where everything is baked together to bubbling perfection to create an aromatic and delicious meal.

The orzo is toasted in the pan before adding the liquid to give a wonderfully nutty flavour. I have used halloumi to top and sausage meat to create meatballs purely because that is what I had but as with all my recipes, feel free to substitute for whatever you prefer. You will still end up with a gorgeous dinner!

Serves 1-2

Ingredients:

  • Sausage meat from 2 sausages, casing removed
  • ½ large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp breadcrumbs
  • 1 pinch of rosemary
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp tomato puree
  • pinch of ground cinnamon and oregano
  • ½ cup of orzo
  • 1 ½ cups of chicken stock
  • Halloumi Cheese

Method:

  1. Add the sausagemeat, breadbrumbs, seasoning, rosemary and half the onion in a bowl and mix well. Shape the mix into small meatballs. (I made 8).
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 180C
  3. In a frying pan, over medium heat, add 1 Tbsp oil and gently fry the sausage balls on all sides until browned all over. Remove from pan and set aside.
  4. Add your onions and peppers to the pan and sauté for 5-7 minutes or until softened.
  5. Add the Orzo and stir for a few minutes to toast the kernels.
  6. Add the hot stock, tomato puree, cinnamon and oregano and bring to a boil while stirring. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
  7. Transfer to an oven-proof baking dish and add your meatballs.
  8. Fry a few strips of halloumi in the same pan until lightly browned and top the orzo with these then bake uncovered for 40-45 minutes or until most of the juices have been absorbed and the top is golden brown.
  9. Serve hot with green salad.

Cheesy Lentil Bake

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lentil 13/06/2017

You could try using different veggies and cheeses for this. I just used what I had in at the time but this could be great with leeks, spring onions, parsnips, green beans, peppers… anything. Just remember that since you want this cheesy lentil slice to set nice and firm, you’ll need to thoroughly cook any particularly wet vegetables beforehand, and cut them nice and small.

This cheesy lentil slice is super high in protein and fibre and it’s still absolutely delish. The slice can be… well, sliced. This means that as well as making a great dinner alongside some homemade chips, garlic bread, salad or whatever else tickles your fancy, it can also be packed into lunch boxes to be served cold. Gotta love a versatile recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 190g red lentils
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small carrot, diced fairly small
  • 60g frozen peas
  • 75g rolled oats
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp each oregano and thyme
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 70 g cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 large tomato, sliced

Instructions:

  1. Add the red lentils, chicken stock and tomato puree to a saucepan, and bring to a simmer. Cook over a medium heat until the red lentils are tender and any excess liquid has cooked off – around 15 minutes. You’ll need to stir regularly, especially in the last few minutes, to ensure the lentils don’t stick to the pan.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frying pan, and add the chopped onion and carrot. Cook for a few minutes over a medium heat, until softened then add the peas for a couple more minutes. Set aside to cool.
  3. When the lentils are cooked, transfer them to a large mixing bowl, and add the cooked vegetables, rolled oats, smoked paprika, herbs and a generous pinch of black pepper. Allow the mixture to cool for a few minutes then add about half of the grated cheese (hold some back for topping). Mix thoroughly.
  4. Spread the lentil mixture out into a greased baking tin (mine was 9 inches squared), and smooth out the top. Add the remaining grated cheese and a few slices of tomato. Bake at 180°C for around 45 minutes, or until the lentil slice is firm and the cheese on top is golden (cover with foil if you feel the cheese is browning too quickly). Either serve immediately, or allow to cool and cut into slices.

 

Sausage Meatball Stroganoff

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meatba 12/06/2017

After going meat free for so long, I was craving a meat fix. What better way to get it than with sausages?! This recipe uses good quality sausages to create a really simple meatball dish that packs a ton of flavour and satisfaction.

If you can find it, shiitake mushroom powder is so good to use in recipes like this. It delivers a real umami punch to dishes. The savoury flavour is perfect with the creamy mustard sauce but if you can’t find it, the dish will still be really lovely.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

For the meatballs:

  • 4 sausages, skins removed (I used Lincolnshire)
  • 2 spring onions, chopped finely
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • ½ tsp dried rosemary
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp breadcrumbs

For the sauce:

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 100g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp flour
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • 2 Tbsp sour cream
  • 1 heaped tsp mustard
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp Shiitake powder
  • 300ml water
  • 2 spring onions, chopped
  • Linguine, or any pasta and fresh herbs to serve

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Method:

  1. Grind the fennel seeds and rosemary in a pestle and mortar until well ground.
  2. Add the sausage meat to a bowl along with the spring onions, breadcrumbs, seasoning and ground herb mix. Stir really well with a fork to combine.
  3. Take teaspoons of the mixture and roll out into little meatballs.
  4. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Fry the meatballs off until browned all over.
  5. Add the garlic and mushrooms to the pan and continue to cook for 2 minutes.
  6. Next, add the flour and shitake powder and crumble in the stock cube. Stir to coat the meatballs and mushrooms before adding any liquid.
  7. Once this is done, add a splash of water along with the sour cream and mustard. Stir everything together then add the remaining water and let the meatballs bubble away on a medium low heat while you cook the pasta.
  8. Once the pasta is ready, stir the spring onions through the meatball sauce and serve.

Carrot Cake Cheesecake… Cake

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cx 11/06/2017

My friends and I have wanted to make this cake for ages. It is really several cakes piled into one glorious creation. The cheesecake centre is smooth and creamy against the spiced, nut studded carrot cake that is topped with a luxurious icing and even more nuts for beautiful texture and flavour. A real celebration cake!

The frosting makes enough to cover the entire cake generously however, I only covered the top of the cake and this was more than enough as the frosting is very sweet. I used the remaining frosting for a coffee and banana pecan cake which was really nice or you could just half the recipe.

INGREDIENTS:

FOR THE CARROT CAKE LAYERS:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup muscovado sugar
  • 1 cup sunflower oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups grated carrots
  • ½-1 cup chopped pecans

FOR THE CHEESECAKE LAYER:

  • 16oz full fat cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream

FOR THE FROSTING:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 oz full fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup whipping cream
  • 4 cups icing sugar
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

DIRECTIONS:

FOR THE CHEESECAKE LAYER:

  1. Prepare the cheesecake layer first. This can be done early in the day, or the night before. If freezing the cheesecake, can be stored 1-2 weeks in the freezer.
  2. Preheat oven to 160C. Using a large roasting pan, add 1 inch of hot water to the pan. Place it on the lower shelf of the oven. Allow it to preheat in the oven.
  3. Prepare an 8-inch spring-form pan by wrapping the bottom of the pan (outside) with a double layer of foil. Line the bottom (inside) with a circle of parchment paper.
  4. Beat cream cheese with granulated sugar for 2-3 minutes until creamy. Add in salt and eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. Beat in sour cream and whipping cream, until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Pour into prepared 8-inch spring-form pan. Place pan in centre of preheated roasting pan in the oven, making sure to be careful not to spill water.
  6. Bake cheesecake for 45 minutes. There should still be a slight wobble in the centre. Turn oven off and let cheesecake sit in oven for an additional 30 minutes. Remove and cool completely on counter.
  7. When cooled, remove outside portion of the spring-form pan and place into the freezer for a couple of hours or overnight. If using within 24 hours, feel free to just refrigerate cheesecake (this is what I did).

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FOR THE CARROT CAKE LAYERS:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Grease two 8-inch cake pans. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar, oil and eggs until blended. Add in flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Beat for about 2 minutes. Stir in the grated carrots and pecans. Pour into prepared cake pans.
  3. Bake for 30-40 minutes until a knife inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for ten minutes then remove from pans and cool completely.

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FOR THE FROSTING:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine cream cheese and butter. Beat with whisk attachment for 3 minutes. Add in sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and heavy cream. Beat for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy. Fold in chopped pecans.
  2. To assemble the cake, layer one layer of carrot cake. Add the cheesecake then top with second layer of carrot cake. Spread on the frosting on top and on the sides if you feel particularly decadent.
  3. Store in the fridge, covered, for up to 3 days. ENJOY!

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Spiced Orange, Oatmeal & Raisin Cookies

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cookie 10/06/2017

I realise that the majority of my vegan series has been curries and soups which is partly down to my personal preferences so to cater for those who don’t have quite such an obsession with Indian food, may I present some of the loveliest vegan cookies I have ever tried. The smell that filled my kitchen when baking these was heavenly and the flavour even more so.

Filled with warming spices and zesty orange, these cookies make a lovely autumn treat!

Serves 9

INGREDIENTS:

  • 30ml / 2 tbsp oat milk
  • 40ml /3 tbsprapeseed oil
  • 40g / 1⁄4 cuplight brown sugar
  • 1 tsporange extract
  • 1⁄2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1⁄2 tbsp zest from 1 orange
  • 70g / 3⁄4 cup rolled oats
  • 50g / 1⁄3 cup wholemeal flour
  • 1⁄2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1⁄4 tsp ground ginger
  • pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1⁄4 tsp bicarbonate of soda and 1⁄4 tsp baking powder
  • 1⁄4 tsp salt
  • 45g / 1⁄4 cup raisins

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan). Line a large baking sheet with non-stick baking paper.
  2. Add the milk, oil and sugar to a mixing bowl and whisk together with a fork until fully combined.
  3. Whisk in the orange extract, vanilla extract and orange zest.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (oats, our, spices, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt). Tip the dry ingredients into the wet ingredient bowl and stir to combine. Stir in the raisins.
  5. Scoop rounded tablespoons of dough onto the prepared baking sheet. Using damp hands, press the dough balls into cookie shapes (these cookies don’t spread much).
  6. Bake for 12 minutes, or until lightly browned and dry to the touch.
  7. Leave to cool for a few minutes (the cookies will firm up as they cool) then use a thin spatula to slide them off the baking paper and transfer to a wire rack.
  8. Once completely cooled, store in an airtight container where they will keep for a week. They also freeze really well.

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Curried Vegetable Brown Rice Bowls

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curry bowl 09/06/2017

Quick and easy to make, super healthy and positively bursting with spicy Indian-style deliciousness, vegan dish number 5 is a winner!

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp cumin and coriander each
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 ½ tsp garam masala
  • 1 ½ tsp curry powder
  • water as needed
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 1 inch root ginger, grated
  • 2 ½ cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 lb. bag of frozen veggies, (I used broccoli and peppers)
  • 2 cups frozen peas
  • ½ tsp salt and pepper each
  • 2 Tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp peanut butter
  • ½ cup water

Instructions:

  1. Add the olive oil to a large pan or cooking pot.
  2. Add the paprika, cumin, coriander, chili powder, garam masala and curry powder. Turn the heat to low and let the spices bloom for a minute. Add a splash of water.
  3. Raise the heat to medium and add the onion, ginger and garlic and another splash of water. Sauté for about 2 minutes.
  4. Add all the remaining ingredients and stir well to combine. Put a lid on the pot and let heat through for 5-7 minutes, or until the veggies are hot, stirring frequently.
  5. Serve in a bowl for a comforting, healthy and simple meal.