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Prize Giveaway: Healthier Recipe Cookbook

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Who said creamy Arctic Roll can’t be healthy? Low fat doesn’t always mean low taste. Yes we’ve heard it all before; Many of us who have been round the diet block a few times will be familiar with this phrase.  What sends me back to old habits however is usually a lack of planning and scarce range of healthy tasty recipes to work with.

I’ve even gone as far as eliminating the word diet from my vocabulary whenever I embark on a new eating (dis)order…determined that this is how I’m going to eat for the rest of my life: no more bread. no more diary. No more strawberries. But somehow my body is smarter than what I think it is and so it kicks into survival mode clinging on to whatever morsel of sugar,  fat or berry I ‘treat’ myself with…on my ‘cheat day’ of course! 😉

Over the years you soon learn that the key to long-term weight-loss and health is a lifestyle change:

So here comes another healthy recipe book and I’m thinking, do we need another one really? That is until I start flicking through the pages and see cheesecake recipes, lentil salads, curries and chocolate mousse. Recipes I thought I would have to forever ban from my life are now fully embraced as being good for me? Yay!

I would love to share this cookbook with one of my followers, here are a few reasons why:

  • Over 100 healthy tried, tested & tasted recipes from Japanese Noodles to Orange & Maple Pudding Cake
  • Tips on how to prepare healthy no-fuss family meals
  • Beautiful glossy pictures and categorised recipes (breakfast, lunch, meat, fish, vegetarian etc…)
  • All recipes come with nutritional value guide

 

Prize giveaway rules:

All you have to do to win this cookbook, is send a picture of a healthy recipe you have created yourself to lovelorettaskitchen@gmail.com by 28 February 2015 or if your on Instagram tag the picture #lovelorettaskitchen and I’ll pick it up. The winner will not only receive a copy of this recipe book but  I will re-create their recipe and share it on this blog (giving credit to the winner of course!).

Happy cooking!

 

Cherry Coconut Lime Ice Cream

Love Your Freezer!

I know it’s that time of year again where I am still surprised it can get this cold in the UK; we’re experiencing the four seasons of snow, wind, sunshine and rain all in one day. Having said that, it’s also a perfect time to raid the kitchen cupboards or in this case the freezer to see what gems of a recipe I can create with ingredients you have thrown to the oblivion of the freezer bed.

Here is a recipe that I made a few months back- the beauty of it is that it requires no complicated equipment like a ice cream maker which to be honest you only bring out once a year to impress your neighbours. Nope, just your freezer box, some frozen cherries (or any frozen fruit you have) and 4 other ingredients.

This creamy ice-cream is really very satisfying, with so little effort. I think you’ll love it!

Loretta's Kitchen

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A few weeks ago I was catching up with a couple of friends, when quite naturally the conversation turned to food and some of the interesting food combinations we have had on our travels and experiments with chocolate in our baking. In that moment, Catherine interrupted my train of thought as she more or less re-enacted the first time she tried Cherry and Coconut Ice Cream in Barbados.

“It has to have the little bits of coconut in it” she explained, leaving the rest of us salivating at the thought. I immediately began to picture the combination, but the thought of grating a whole coconut on a lazy Sunday morning, just wasn’t my idea of fun. The conversation moved on, but the challenge never left me.

I knew I wanted to make an egg-less ice cream, one that also didn’t require an ice cream machine nor took all day to set. It…

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Sun dried Tomato Feta Parcels

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I could sit and munch on these little parcels all day. In fact when I go out to a Turkish Restaurant in London, I almost always order the feta cheese parcels from the menu. Their ingredients vary only slightly between restaurants with some preferring to keep it simple: frying the filo pastry filled parcels to a crispy golden hue before serving hot. Last night I had some filed with a blend of parsley and feta cheese. They’re perfectly fine filled with the cheese alone, I love the creamy warm texture of the salty cheese. I think I might try adding some mint the next time make them.

But you can experiment with all kinds of combinations here: spinach with pine nuts, mixed herbs and garlic or as pictured here sun dried tomatoes, herbs and capers. I think if I made this recipe again, I would tone down the tomato/ caper paste as it competes too much with the saltiness of the cheese and capers. But if you like strong flavours then this might be the combination for you…enjoy!

Sun dried Tomato Feta Parcels

  • Servings: Makes 10-12 parcels
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients: 

1 quantity of sun dried tomato, garlic and thyme paste (see below):

80g of sun dried tomatoes (drained of oil)

100ml olive oil

7 sprigs of thyme, leaves picked

2 garlic cloves

Salt and pepper to season

 

150g capers, drained

25ml olive oil

200g block of feta cheese

1 pack of filo pastry sheets, containing 6 sheets

70g butter, melted

Method:

Tomato Thyme Garlic Paste:

  1. Drain and place in the blender. Add the olive oil and blitz until you have a smooth paste
  2. Stir through the chopped herbs, season to taste and put aside.

Place the capers, olive oil and garlic in a small hand held blender and blitz or finely minced with a sharp knife/chopping board.

Roughly crumble the feta cheese into small pieces.

Mix the feta cheese with the sun dried tomato paste, cover with cling film and marinade for a a few hours.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 180′C, 350′F, gas mark 4. Remove the filo sheets from their pack and lay out on a flat surface. Cover with some baking parchment and a damp tea towel to stop them drying out while you assemble the parcels.

Take one sheet and lay on another flat surface. Fold in the longest edges so that they both meet in the centre, (halving the filo pastry sheet and creating a long narrow strip)

Brush the surface with some melted butter. Place a tablespoon of the mixture at one end of the pastry strip, leaving a 1/2 inch border all round. Take one of the top corners of the pastry, the one closest to you, and fold diagonally to the other side, encasing the mixture and creating a triangular shape. Keep folding like this, always creating a trianglular shape, until you have run out of pastry. Make sure the edges are tightly sealed as you go along to prevent the mixture popping out while baking. Set aside on a lined baking sheet while you do the rest.

When all of the parcels have been made, brush them with the remaining melted butter and place in the oven and bake for 15- 20 minutes. They will turn crisp and golden brown.

Recipe adapted from The Lazy Baker

 

 

 

Roasted Pumpkin & Garlic Soup

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So this is how you make effortless, tasty and satisfying soup in minutes. Soup doesn’t have to be complicated nor does it need a whole bunch of ingredients to leave your mouth watering for more. I grew up using yellow or red split peas as a base for thick soups. But as the split peas release no flavour of their own, I found myself adding tons of ingredients, and root vegetables which meant more time in the kitchen and less time doing the other things I enjoyed doing.

This soup however is complete in 3 easy steps: roast, blend, boil.

And if you have any left over, it could work as a good based for a pasta dish or stew. The dense sweet nutty flavour of this variety of pumpkin (normally sold in caribbean markets) when roasted needs very little to enhance its flavour more. You can add more or less water to achieve the consistency you want. I think you’re going to really like this one…;-)

Roasted Pumpkin and Garlic Soup

Ingredients:

600g Raw Pumpkin (leave skin on)

Half White Onion

Half Garlic Head (sliced down centre)

Drizzle of Olive Oil

4-5 Sprigs Fresh Thyme

1 Scotch Bonnet

1/2 vegetable stock cube

1 tsp garlic/ ginger paste

Salt/ pepper to taste

1 1/2 cups water

Method:

Pre-heat oven to Gas Mark 8

Place Pumpkin, onion and garlic into a roasting tin and drizzle with oil, salt and pepper. Remove any excess skin from the onion and garlic to reduce burning.

Place in oven for 23-30 minutes or until the pumpkin is tender

Remove the tin from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes before scooping the pumpkin flesh, squeezing the garlic bulbs out of its shell and removing the outer skin from the now caramelised onion.

Transfer to a large pot with the remaining ingredients on the list. Boil for 5-6 minutes gently breaking up the vegetables.

Then allow it to cool for 10 minutes before transferring all the ingredients (except the thyme and pepper) into a blender until smooth. Return the soup to the pot and continue boiling for 5 minutes, season to taste and serve!

“Make-Away” Thai Green Fish Curry

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The last two weeks have probably been the most hectic; if I haven’t seen the inside of my fridge for a few days, you know there is something wrong. It’s in those spaces that I’ve found myself darting across the road from my local train station… to the nearest take-away.

I don’t say it with pride: take-away is not for pleasure or a treat; what could be less appealing than eating your dinner out of a greasy brown paper bag or shallow plastic container? Ok I know it’s not that bad. But there is one thing: I don’t expect the food to be authentic, or satisfying. In fact I wasn’t suppose to maintain this for more than a few days…it lasted a few weeks! I really miss cooking. And the extra change in my pocket. But my hectic schedule hasn’t eased off to make much room for it. This is the dilemma; tasty food in little to no time and no effort.

As it turns out that my local Sainsbury’s has created a ‘Make-away’ range featuring Italian, Indian, Chinese and Thai dishes that you can re-create at home. I thought I’d give the Thai range a try so put together these ingredients:

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  • Cod Fillet
  • Thai Sticky Rice
  • Coconut Milk
  • Thai Green Curry Paste
  • 2 – Garlic cloves (as I like a lot of garlic)
  • Lime (garnish/ marinate fish)
  • Few Sprigs of Coriander
  • Half Red Sweet Pepper – sliced
  • Baby Sweetcorn – sliced
  • splash of fish sauce

It couldn’t be easier: Marinate and clean fish with lime juice and cut into cubes, add fish sauce and. Set aside. Fry a couple of heap spoonfuls of thai green curry in peanut oil for a few minutes, then add the garlic cloves and half the can of coconut milk. Allow of simmer for a few minutes.

Then add the fish carefully and stir only till the fish is coated in the sauce then leave for 5-10 minutes to cook gently. Check after 8 minutes to see if the fish has cooked.

Then season to taste with salt/ pepper before adding the vegetables at the end. You want them vegetables to remain crunchy.

Serve with sticky thai rice and your favourite Take-Away sides!

Enjoy in less than 15 minutes, a lot less time than a take-away with a lot more taste!

Baking for Macmillan: Lemon Sponge with Fresh Blueberry Cream

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Last week Friday I was invited to take part in the ‘Biggest Coffee Morning’ on record. It’s Macmillan’s biggest fundraising event of the year, where people across the UK hold a coffee morning and raise money for people living with cancer. In 2013, 154,000 people signed up, raising a record £20 million.

At my work place the coffee stations were situated in various buildings to meet the sweet tooth decaying cravings of as many people as possible. By 10am the official ‘opening time’ colleagues had already  forming queues making a mental selection of the cake slices they wanted, because once it was gone, that was it.

There was a stunning selection of cakes on display from swiss rolls to red velvet and cupcakes to pastries. I donated three cakes to the event: a carrot and apple cake (already featured on the blog), cinnamon buns and a blueberry and lemon sponge cake.

The recipes for each of those cakes are featured on this blog!

Blueberry Lemon Sponge Cake

This has to be one of the most decadent cakes I have ever made: the sponge is moist and fluffy with a good dose of lemon flavour in it. The blueberry cream is made up of a quick blueberry Jam made with fresh blueberries and rich cream cheese. I made this cake for my birthday as layer cake, baking the cake in 3 separate tins and then sandwiching them together with a quick blueberry butter cream (excuse the wipe marks on the plate)

The key to the amazing texture of the cake is to whip the cream before adding it to the batter and then baking it in an oven that has been pre-heated at a medium/low temperature.

Blueberry Lemon Sponge Cake

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For the Sponge
Ingredients

2 3/4 cups (345g) flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt

1 1/4 cups (285g) unsalted butter

3 cups (600g) sugar

1/3 cup (80ml) canola oil

zest from 4 large lemons

1/4 cup (60ml) fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

6 eggs

1/2 cup (120ml) heavy cream

For the Fresh Blueberry Cream

Ingredients

2 cups (300g) fresh blueberries

3 tablespoons (45g) sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

finely grated zest from 1/2 a medium lemon

Two 8oz (225g) packages cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup (1 stick or 113g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 1/4 cups (270g) powdered sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

pinch of kosher or sea salt

 

For the Sponge

Method

Preheat the oven at Gas Mark 4.

Butter and flour a 12-cup bundt pan or 3 shallow cake tins.
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt for at least 20 seconds.
In a mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy – 3 minutes.
Beat in the oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. On the lowest speed, beat in the eggs, one at a time.
Mix in the flour mixture 1 cup at a time until combined.
In a separate bowl whip the cream just past the soft peak stage. Stir in about 1/4 of the whipped cream into the batter, and then fold in the remaining whipped cream.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan then drop the pan from about 4″ above the counter to knock out any bubbles.

Bake on the middle oven rack for 50-60 minutes (about 40 mins for the shallow tins), or until a toothpick comes out clean near the center.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes before turning out on to a cooling rack.

For the Blueberry Butter cream 

Method

Combine the blueberries, sugar, cornstarch, and lemon zest in a saucepan.
Cook the sauce over medium heat until the sauce thickens and the cornstarch becomes translucent, about 10 minutes.
Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature
Pass the blueberries through a sieve to separate the skin from the pulp. Discard the skin.
In large bowl, add cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar and vanilla. Cream together all the ingredients until smooth and creamy.
Little by little add the blueberry sauce and gently fold into the cream cheese frosting.
Spread frosting over the cake just before serving
 

Quick Golden Multi-seed Bread

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There is nothing more appealing than the smell and look of fresh bread from straight out the oven. It sends you drooling, scrambling for the bread knife or the first opportunity to rip a piece out of its side to smother it with cool butter, jam or chocolate spread. In this case chocolate spread won: it was a delicious combination of Nutella with the crunchy seeds and malty taste of the fluffy bread that made my midday brunch most satisfying.

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And to think that only a couple of hours earlier this loaf of bread was merely a packet of bread mix, olive oil and a bit of water away from becoming delicious! This is probably the most surprisingly tasty bread mixes I have made: the dough turned into deep caramel the moment I started to add water to the mix. I was also tempted at some stage to add honey to the mix, in fear the bread would be bland, but it wasn’t necessary. The bread was fluffy and had a slight sweetness to it.

The following day the bread was a little firmer, probably because I put it in the fridge wrapped in cling film. This actually made it good for toasting. Every once in a while it’s nice to treat yourself to some home made bread, the downside is you feel obliged to eat it all yourself so I would recommend making rolls so that you can share it among your friends and family.

Golden Multi-Seed Bread

Ingredients:

1 packet of Sainsbury’s Golden Multi-seed Bread Mix

15 ml Olive Oil or 25g butter

320 ml luke warm water

Method:

(to bake by hand0

1. Rub the bread mix with the butter or oil in a bowl with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Gradually add the water to form a soft dough.

2. Knead well on a floured surface for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic, then place it back in the bowl, cover with lightly oiled cling film. Leave the dough in a warm place for one hour to rise and double in size.

3. Knead well again on a floured surface for a few minutes, place in a greased 2lb loaf tin. Or shape the dough into 8 equal sized balls and placed in a round tin (as pictured above).

Cover with lightly oiled cling film. Leave the dough in a warm place for half an hour to rise again and increase in size. Preheated oven 230oC/450oF/Gas mark 8

4. Remove cling film and bake in the top of the ovenfor 30 minutes or until golden brown. Then brush with melted butter to give the warm bread a glossy shine and buttery taste.

The Classics: Brown Stew Chicken

 

I grew up watching my Mum do all the cooking in our home. But when I was old enough to appreciate that my Mum had a job which sometimes involved working nights, I had to learn to appreciate my Daddy’s cooking. I say learn to appreciate, because there was only one dish my Daddy knew to do: brown stew chicken.

I recall with almost near grief watching my mum hitch up her blue and white nurses uniform over her knee and perch herself gracefully on her brown and orange bike to ride through the quiet streets of Crawley, taking all the tasty food ideas with her to the nursing home where she worked. About 15 minutes into her journey I’m sure the smell of something burning must have reached her nose as far as she was from home. My Dad loved brown stew chicken and he made sure the chicken was just that – brown and indistinguishable from the molasses like gravy it sat in. It’s not that I disliked the bitter sweet taste, it was more that I was bored of it. Every. Other. Sunday.

But now come to think of it, I really didn’t appreciate what I had: a dad who didn’t cut corners and buy us a cheap takeaway to give himself an easy night in front the TV. Instead he chose to make to give his children something from his own hand and heart. We had no choice but to eat it, but it’s now with good memories that I have adapted this dish, minus the bitterness to make it one of my favourite classic recipes.

 

Brown Stew Chicken

 

Ingredients

For the marinade: 

Juice of 2 limes

3 tbsp garlic and ginger paste

1 tbsp salt

 

For the stew:

1/2 half scotch bonnet –  half finely chopped,

4 pieces of skinless chicken on the bone (thigh used in this recipe)

1 scotch bonnet – whole

4-5 sprigs fresh thyme

1/2 chicken stock jelly

2 halves of green and yellow pepper

2-cloves garlic – crushed

1/2 white onion finely sliced

salt and black pepper to taste

2 tbsp oil (frying)

2 tbsp white sugar

2 fresh bay leave

1 – 2 cups water

 

Method

1. clean the chicken with the lime and salt, rinsing well with water.

2. In a freezer bag place put the garlic and ginger paste, scotch bonnet pepper, salt and juice of half a lime. Add the chicken to the bag smothering the chicken in the marinade before transferring to the fridge over night or at least 4-6 hours.

3. When ready to cook, take a little oil in a deep pot and fry the onion, sweet pepper and thyme. When the vegetables have softened, remove from the pot, placing it in separate bowl.

4. Then add the rest of the oil to the pot with the sugar. Allow the sugar to caramelise to a deep brown colour. Remove from the heat and place the chicken one by one into the caramel (try to remove any excess seasoning off the chicken before doing so to minimise burning but keep the seasoning to add later).

5. When you have added all the chicken, cover the pot with a lid and gently shake the pot in a circular motion to help submerge the chicken in the caramel. Then returning the pot to the fire under a medium/low heat open the pot and with a spoon try and coat the chicken with the caramel.

6. then add the onions and peppers with the scotch bonnet, thyme, bay leaf and seasoning from the chicken. Stir it gently then cover the chicken with the lid again for about 5 minutes. You want to give the chicken some time to cook and soak up the colour and seasoning from the caramel.

7. Check the chicken after about 5 minutes and turn over the pieces before adding the chicken stock jelly. Then add 1 cup of water to the stew. You can add 1/2 cup more if necessary. Allow to simmer for 20 minutes more under a medium/ low heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

8. Serve with rice and peas or plain white rice.

 

 

Spiced Porridge w/ Sweet Sprinkles

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I used to think anything that was good for me normally takes a long time to prepare, before I realised I was really just making excuses for eating the sugary, empty carb, fattening diet that I relished. Breakfast is always a test of my resolve: how I start the day normally determines how the rest of my day will play out. So getting breakfast right is very important to me.

I love Granola but, we all fancy a change once in a while. And with the weather cooling down and the winds picking up, I fancied something warm, nutritious and quick in my belly.

This recipe is quick, easy and very tasty. You can use any non-diary milk that you like (I’m enjoying the oat, almond and coconut flavours out there now). And don’t forget the sprinkles! These sweet sprinkles (a mixture of candied cranberry and dried apricot and seeds) work very well with the warm spice flavours in the porridge.

Method:

1 cup porridge oats
2 cups non diary milk (almond milk was used here)
1 cup water
1 tsp brown sugar (to taste)
1/2 tsp almond oil
1/2 tsp nutmeg powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 serving of Sainsbury’s Fruit and seed Sprinkles

Ingredients:

Add all the above ingredients (except the sprinkles) under a medium. Bring the pot to a boil and then allow it to simmer under a low heat for 4-5 minutes stirring frequently. When the porridge has reached your desired consistency, serve with a dash of the milk and sprinkle with the fruit and seed sprinkles.

Creamy Spaghetti with Italian Style Sprinkles

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This recipe was literally created on the journey home from work. I had a mental picture in my head of what I had left in the fridge, cupboard and wherever else I hid food in the kitchen. I knew I had some soft cheese left over from making the Raspberry Cheesecake Brownie, I had some sun-dried tomatoes which I had bought yonks ago and had been meaning to use at some point; I also had several packets of savoury seed and oat sprinkles.

Soft cheese is a great base for sauces whether combined with salmon or vegetables. And so flowing from that I thought, spaghetti would do a good job of soaking up that creamy sauce to make a filling evening meal (which could roll over to form my lunch the next day).

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Out of the selection of savoury sprinkles, I picked the Italian Salad Sprinkle as I thought the mix of toasted pine nuts, sunflower seeds and red onion would add a nice crunch and sweetness to the dish. And it really did! I used half the packet and saved the rest for the next day when I would enjoy the same meal again, this time for lunch!

 

Creamy Spaghetti with Italian Style Sprinkles

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

1/2 packet of Spaghetti

11-12 large sun-dried tomato slices (with 2 tbsp of its oil)

3 garlic cloves

1/2 white onion

2 tbsp freshly chopped sage

1 tbsp tomato paste

1/2 chicken or vegetable stock jelly

2 tbsp soft cream cheese

Salt and black pepper to season to taste

1/2 packet Sainsbury’s Italian Salad Sprinkles 

 

 

Method

1. Put the Spaghetti to boil in a pot of salted water with a dash of oil. In another pan, saute the onion and garlic in the oil from the sun-dried tomato until soft (under a medium heat)

2. Add the tomato paste and sun-dried tomato (finely sliced into strips) and stir for a couple of minutes

3. Add the chopped sage and chicken stock and a little water from the spaghetti (about 1/4 cup) until the stock jelly has dissolved completely

4. Add the soft cheese and stir into the mixture until fully incorporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add a 1/4 cup of water from the spaghetti

5. When the spaghetti is ready (should be al dente, not too soft), drain and slowly add to the sauce, stirring it in as you go.

6. Season and taste, when ready to serve sprinkle with the Italian Salad Sprinkles.

 

 

 

Raspberry Cheesecake Brownie

 

Someone once said that the best things in life come in threes like friends, dreams and memories. I would like to stick this cake at the end of that quote, because the three layers that make up this sweet sandwich will be a close memory I hope to never wake up from.

This cake has something for everyone: when I brought this cake into work Monday morning, the winning layer appeared to be the soufflé type raspberry cream topping. Others favoured the dense texture of the brownie and a small minority enjoyed the fluffy and  slight saltiness of the layer of cheesecake.

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My eyes are immediately drawn to the creamy top if I’m honest; I’m not one for things being symmetrical and in order, but I have to say I love how the contrasting textures hold together forming this perfectly layered square.  I was a little nervous baking the brownie and the cheesecake together,  fearing one would bleed into the other forming some kind of marble effect. But as long as you keep the cake in the fridge, the cream will keep on top of the cake and keep its shape for a good 6 hours.

 

Rasberry Cheesecake Brownie

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

 

Ingredients:

For the Brownie 

200g Sainsbury’s Belgian dark chocolate chips

200g unsalted butter (softened)

250g icing sugar

3 eggs

110g plain flour

 

For the Cheesecake

400g cream cheese

150g icing sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs

 

For the Cream topping

300 ml whipping cream

100g icing sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

150g  fresh raspberries, plus extra to decorate

 

For the brownie:

Preheat the oven to 170°C (or Gas mark 5)

Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water (do not let the base of the bowl touch the water). Stir occasionally until the chocolate is  melted.

Put the butter and sugar in a bowl and with a spoon or electric whisk beat until you have a fluffy light cream.

Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well.

Gradually beat in the flour until you get a smooth mixture. Do this for about 2 minutes on high speed with an electric whisk.

Slowly pour in the melted chocolate and mix thoroughly. Pour into the prepared baking tray and smooth over with a palette knife.

 

For the cheesecake:

Put the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla extract in a bowl and mix until smooth and thick. Add one egg at a time, while still mixing. The mixture should be very smooth and creamy.

For a little lighter and fluffier mixture, beat the cream at high speed for 1 minute with an electric or manual whisk, but be careful not to over-mix, otherwise the cheese will split. Spoon on top of the brownie and smooth over with a palette knife.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30–40 minutes, or until the cheesecake is firm to the touch and light golden around the edges. The centre should still be pale. Leave to cool completely, then cover and refrigerate for 2 hours at least.

For the cream topping:

Put the cream, sugar and in a bowl and whisk or beat until firm but not stiff.

Mince up the raspberries with a fork (keeping 12 or so back for decoration) and stir into the cream.

Turn the brownie out onto a board and turn the right way up.

Spread the topping evenly over the brownie, cut into portions and decorate with more raspberries.

Adapted from the  Humming Bird Bakery Cookbook 

 

Green Fig Salad

 

 

It was only during my first trip to Trinidad as a teenager that I realised the sheer variety of bananas that existed. Most of us are familiar with the Chiquito variety of medium sized bananas and a few more with yellow plantain and even green banana. But Trinidad introduced to me red skin banana, sour tasting banana, short fig and cooking fig. I think I’ll work with the 3 I know for now.

This recipe is a typical alternative to potato salad in Trinidad. The firm starchy texture of the green banana makes it a usual candidate for  Metemgee; but it works really well in this salad as it resembles the waxy texture of new potatoes.  It’s also packed with vitamin C, B6 and Potassium, so don’t feel guilty serving yourself a larger portion.

Green Fig Salad

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

 

Ingredients:

3 Green bananas

3 tbsp Garlic Mayonnaise

1/2 carrot cut into cubes

2 tbsp frozen peas

1 tsp English Mustard (optional)

 

Method:

Cut the banana into thirds with skin still on and boil in a pot of salted water for 15 minute or until firm. Remove from the stove, drain the water, replace with cold water to help it to cool down.

In the meantime take the carrot and boil in some water in a pot until tender. Drain water.

Take each of the banana pieces, remove the skin, slice down the middle then into chunks (1″ pieces). Place in a bowl with the carrots, peas and mayonnaise. Mix well, season to taste and serve.

 

Jollof Cous Cous w/ Honey Glazed Baked Chicken

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Giant Couscous is the big brother of regular Couscous. Just like my older brothers (I have two)  it’s bolder in shape and size and can take the heat (giant couscous is normally toasted in an open flame oven, which allows it to keep its shape). This also makes it pretty stubborn…we’re talking about my brother’s here, but for the couscous it’s good that it remains al dente in texture after cooking.

These pearl-like grains are a great alternative to regular couscous, or pasta, or in this case rice as jollof rice is a main stable in many Nigerian and Ghanaian dishes. I absolutely love jollof. I used to live with a Nigerian lady for 2 years and she cooked this practically every week with so much ease. I love the peppery perfumed smell and the shocking yellow/red colour of the rice created by a combination of peppers and tomatoes.

The chicken was an easy accompaniment to this dish, once the chicken is in the oven the cous cous takes about 8-10 minutes to prepare once you’ve created the tomato stew. The longer you leave the chicken to marinate, the sweeter the taste. Enjoy!

Jollof Cous Cous w/ Honey Glazed Baked Chicken

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

For the Chicken

4 chicken thighs (or legs, your choice)
1/2 white onion – grated
2 garlic crushed
Juice of 1/2 lime
2 tbsp Chinese Five Spice Paste (or powder with 1 tbsp oil)
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 bay leave, crushed
2 tbsp soya sauce
3 tbsp honey
4 tbsp oil (frying)

 

For the Jollof Cous Cous

2 cups giant cous cous
1 can plum tomatoes
1/2 scotch bonnet pepper
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 garlic crushed
1 chicken/ vegetable stock cube
1/2 cup boiling water
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 sweet red pepper
2 tbsp palm oil (or vegetable oil)
salt/ pepper (to taste)
2 bay leaves
1/2 white onion – grated

 

Night before /4 hours before

1. Clean the Chicken and marinate in all the ingredients listed under chicken (except the honey and lime). Marinate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Day of cooking 

2. When ready to cook, take the honey and lime, mix together and set aside.

3. Take a baking tray and drizzle with oil. Place in a heated oven (Gas Mark 6) for 5 minutes or till the pan gets hot.

4. Take the chicken and clean off any excess marinade. Remove the baking tray from oven and place on top of kitchen stove. Place the individual chicken pieces in the pan, it should sizzle as you do so. Then baste the chicken with the honey and lime glaze before returning the pan to the oven.

Continue to baste the chicken throughout its cooking with the honey and lime. This should take up to 25-30 minutes.

Making the ‘Stew’ for the Cous Cous 

1. Blend the tomato, red pepper, scotch bonnet until smooth.
2. In a deep pot fry the onion and garlic in oil for 5 minutes or until soft.
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3. Then add the blended tomatoes to the pot and allow it to fry for 8-10 minutes, to allow most of the water to evaporate from the sauce.
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4. Then add the tomato paste and bay leaves to the sauce and cook for a further 2 minutes.

5. Add the chicken stock dissolved in boiling water and allow it to simmer for a further 2-3 minutes. Then add the curry powder, salt and thyme. season to taste.
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6. You should have at the end of the process, a thick tomato sauce. At this point you want to turn the fire very low and add the couscous, stirring it in thoroughly with a fork until fully drenched in the sauce.

You may wish to add some water at this point, if you do, add a quarter of a cup at a time: cover the pot tightly with a lid and check after 3 minutes. Stir the pot, and add a little water if needed, otherwise cover the pot again and allow the couscous time to swell and drink up the sauce.
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7. Giant couscous should take no more than 10 minutes to cook fully. At the end, take a knob of butter or drizzle of olive oil through the couscous. Serve with the chicken.

 

XinXim (de Galinha)

Brazil is infamous for three things: Football, Carnival and Cuisine. I forgave them for their disappointing yet memorable defeat at the World Cup when I discovered their champion dish whilst dining in Las Iguanas during the football season.  Apparently one of Pele’s favourite dishes, Xinxim is a chicken stew which captures all that Brazil represents: a blend of  Portuguese, African and native Latin American Indian flavours. The marinated pieces of chicken are quickly browned and then cooked in this marvellously delicious thick rich sauce which is a combination of nuts and one key ingredient: Palm Oil.

Palm ‘fruit’ oil (as opposed to palm kernel which does not carry the same health benefits) is now sold in most supermarkets, and is commonly used in West African recipes from what I have tasted. I was surprised to find its distinguishing rusty red colour and mild fruity taste makes it healthier than olive, avocado or even coconut oil. Its colour is attributed to its high carotene content, the same antioxidant that gives tomatoes and carrots their rich red and orange colour. Palm oil is very high in vitamin E also.

My version of this recipe is made without crayfish as I don’t eat seafood, but you can still enjoy this rich stew with a side of fried plantain and rice.

XinXim

Ingredients

1 KG of Chicken thighs (de-boned and cut into medium pieces) or breast

1/3 cup palm oil

1/3 cup roasted peanuts

1/3 cup of cashew nuts

1/3 bunch chopped Coriander

1 tbsp spoon of grated ginger

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

3 cloves garlic

1 large onion – finely chopped

1 Tbsp of lime juice

1 Can of coconut milk

1 whole scotch bonnet

salt to season

Method

1. Cut the chicken into medium chunks, clean and marinate (in a combination of lime juice, salt, black pepper, salt, dried thyme, paprika, grated onion, garlic) overnight or at least 3 hours.

2. In a large saucepan, heat the palm oil and cook the chicken pieces for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally

3. In a blender add cashew nuts, peanuts, ginger and garlic. Blend it into a rough paste and add it to the chicken with the whole scotch bonnet pepper.

4. Cook over medium heat for a further 10 minutes, if the paste gets too dry, add some water

5. Add the coconut milk and simmer for another 15 min.

6. Serve with garlic and lime rice and a side of fried plantain

Nutritional value of 1 serving of XinXim

1 bowl
Calories(Calories from fat) 256
Sodium 148 mg
Total Fat 10 g
Potassium
Saturated Fat  4 g
Total Carbs
Polyunsaturated  1 g
Dietary Fibre 1 g
Monounsaturated  2 g
Sugars
Protein 29 g
Vitamin A
Calcium
Vitamin C
Iron 5%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Guyanese: Pine Tarts

A friend of mine ‘returned home’ to get married in Guyana and a couple of our mutual friends joined her for the experience. For most of them, this was their first trip to Guyana; although of Caribbean descent themselves, I had to admit I was slightly nervous for them as Guyana is a very different experience to say Jamaica and Trinidad and so I was interested to hear their take on the country, especially as I hadn’t seen the country for over 10 years myself.

They all came back smiling I am pleased to say, not only for our friend whose wedding was beautiful and heart warming, but also for the love of the country. “Those Pine Tarts were so amazing!” recalled one of my friends, also the Chief Bridesmaid at the wedding. “And although I don’t eat a lot of meat, I really enjoyed the pepperpot stew”.

I was curious to hear how much Guyana had really developed since I last visited. When I was there, it felt very rural yet lively with friendly, approachable people and social events that brought out the whole community. But those Pine Tarts, yes I had to agree, are pretty good. My mother use to make these during the summer holidays once the school term was done and would sometimes pack them into our bags for summer play-scheme.

Pine tarts a very easy to make with either fresh or canned pineapple. The sweet pastry really holds the filling together and tastes just as good as the jam inside. So if you have time during the summer holidays, I would recommend setting aside an hour or two to make some of these tarts for the family. You won’t regret it.

Guyanese: Pine Tarts

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients: 

For the Pineapple Filling

425g Pineapple Chunks (or fresh pineapple chunks)

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 tsp cinnamon powder

1/4 tsp ginger powder

1/4 tsp grated nutmeg

1/2 tsp Vanilla essence

For the Pastry

1/2 cup salted butter (soft)

1/2 cup of vegetable shortening

2 3/4 cups plain flour

2 tsp sugar

pinch of salt

1 egg (egg wash)

3/4 cup ice cold water

Method

The filling

1. If you are using fresh pineapple, then peel and cut the pineapple into large chunks and transfer into a food blender, pulsate for a minute until you have small lumps. You want to then measure out 2 1/2 cups of pineapple from that to use in the filling.

2. If using pineapple from a can, take the fruit and half of the juice and pulsate in the blender until you have small lumps.

3. Place the fruit into a sauce pan with the remaining juice and the spices and sugar. Simmer slowly for 30 mins under a low to medium heat or until the mixture thickens to a jam like consistency. Keep stirring regularly to avoid it burning. When ready, remove from the heat and set aside to cool down completely.

The dough

4. Place the flour, butter, salt and sugar in a bowl and mix together until it forms a crumbly texture. Then little by little, add the cold water until you can form a dough. Knead the dough to a  smooth log (about a foot long), wrap in cling film and refrigerate for between 30 minutes and 4 hours before use. When you are ready to use it, leave the dough out the fridge for about 30 minutes to get to room temperature.

The assembly

5. Cut the log into 1 inch thick rounds, flour your work surface and roll the dough out into a 6″ circle (I used a plate).

6. Place 1 1/2 tablespoon of pineapple filling into the middle of the circle and brush the edges with egg wash.

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7. Fold the corners of the dough into the middle, to form a triangle. ensure the ends are sealed, you can use a fork to do this.

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8. Brush the top with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar (optional)

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9. Bake in the oven (Gas Mark 5) for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

10. Serve hot or cold.

Spiced Walnut Butter

 

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If your anything like me, walnuts haven’t rated too highly on my ‘nut list’ either. But did you know that walnuts have the highest amount of omega 3- fatty acid of any nut? In other words it’s the all round hair, skin and nail food. Now does it sound a bit more appealing? Ok well I tried.

I still believe the walnut has the right to be released from the prison of banana breads and festive nut trail mixes; it has a hugely bold even bitter flavour, I agree, but when combined with sweet cinnamon and nutmeg, it seems to mellow down to a smooth pecan like taste. I say make the most of that trail mix and create the most irresistible butter you would have ever tasted. I’ve been enjoying it all week and feeling good!

This recipe can keep for up to 2 weeks if stored in an air tight glass jar in the fridge. This recipe makes just over a cup of walnut butter. Enjoy!

 

Spiced Walnut Butter

Ingredients

3 cups of raw walnuts
pinch of salt
40 mls Maple Syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp ginger powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
2-3 tsp liquid coconut oil

Method

Pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 4 (350F). Place the walnuts on a baking tray and toast in the oven for 5-7 minutes. Watch them carefully as you don’t want them to go brown. Set aside to cool.

In a food processor, place the other ingredients and add the walnuts. Blend on a high speed until you have the consistency you want: crunchy or smooth butter. Taste the mixture and add more syrup or spice if desired.

Serve with warm toast or bagels.

Nutritional value of Spiced Walnut Butter.

Spiced Walnut Butter(2 tbsp)
Calories(Calories from fat) 258
Sodium 2 g
Total Fat 19 g
Potassium 42.8 mg
Saturated Fat 2 g
Total Carbs 17.4 g
Polyunsaturated 2 g
Dietary Fibre 3.2 g
Monounsaturated 3 g
Sugars 11.9 g
Protein 5 g
Zinc 5.5%
Calcium 4.8%
Manganese 33%
Iron 5% 9.3%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Roasted Chickpea Salad

 

 

I’ve been talking about making this recipe for so long and now I’ve finally made it. It was certainly worth the prep talk! Salads can be boring at times, especially if you have made it your main meal (usually at lunchtime) and you don’t have that bottle of dressing or sachet of mayonnaise to hand. These spicy chickpeas gives this salad the kick that it needs; it not only appeals to me visually, but it also gives an interesting crunchy texture to the salad. Obviously you can try any salad combination that you want, and maybe throw in some humus somewhere in between. All I know is that these chickpeas will be on repeat for a few more months!

Roasted chickpeas Salad

Ingredients:

For the Chickpeas

1 can of chickpeas
1 tbsp garam masala
3 garlic – crushed
1 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp cumin powder (Geera)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Paprika
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1/4 cinnamon powder
4 tbsp olive oil

For the Rainbow Salad

1 carrot thinly sliced
1/2 cup sweet corn
1 cup cucumber sliced
1 beetroot (raw) shredded
Lettuce of your choice (lambs lettuce, frisee, radicchio)
1/2 sweet red pepper

Method

Pre-heat oven to 350 F. (Gas Mark 4-5)

Drain the chickpeas into a colander and rinse well with cold water until no more foam appears. Pat dry with a paper towel if they still look wet.

Mix the spice mix ingredients together with the oil

Combine the spice mix with the peas and transfer to a baking sheet spreading them out evenly to form one layer. Roast for 40-50 minutes, or until they are slightly browned and make a rattling sound when you shake the baking sheet.  Serve warm or let cool if serving with the salad and your favourite  salad dressing.

Nutritional Value of Roasted Chickpea Salad

Roasted Chickpeas(1/2 cup) Rainbow Salad (100 g)
Calories(Calories from fat) 240 114
Sodium 160 mg 0.1 g
Total Fat 7 g 0.3 g
Potassium 390 mg
Saturated Fat 1g- 0.1 g
Total Carbs 36 g 7 g
Polyunsaturated 2 g
Dietary Fibre 10 g 2.5 g
Monounsaturated 3 g
Sugars 6 g 3.2 g
Protein 11 g 1.4 g
Vitamin A 4% 113%
Calcium 7% 1%
Vitamin C 7% 120
Iron 5% 22% 3

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Vanilla Cardamom infused Mango w/ Honeyed Greek Yoghurt

 

photo 1

Greek Yoghurt has become my new obsession, especially now that I appreciate its health benefits a bit more. I have always been a lover of yoghurts: my family of 6 was split cleanly down the middle; 3 gulped it down by the gallons, the others couldn’t care less.

I experimented with soya yoghurts and even coconut ones for a while, the latter tasting mega delicious, but at £3 a small pot I couldn’t sustain it for too long. Maybe I’ll experiment a little with making my own…who knows. But in the meantime, this recipe works just fine. If you want to preserve some of the nutrition from the mangoes, you might only want to poach it gently, remove the fruit and then allow the liquid to simmer to a syrup like consistency.

 

Vanilla Cardamom infused Mango w/ Honeyed Greek Yoghurt

 

Ingredients:

1 Ripe Mangoes – cut into large chunks (1 cups)

1 tbsp honey

1 Vanilla Pod

1 cup water

1 cardamom pod – crushed

 

1 cup Greek yoghurt

1 tbsp honey

 

Method

Take the yoghurt and honey, blend together and set aside or place in the fridge to keep cool.

Take the remainder of the ingredients and place them in a pot. Simmer the fruit for 8-10 minutes. You can remove the fruit after 3 minutes to allow the liquid to thicken. Once you have the desired consistency remove the cardamom pod and transfer the fruit to a bowl to cool before serving with the yoghurt.

 

Nutritional Value of Mango w/ Honeyed Greek Yoghurt

Mango Greek Yoghurt Honey(2 tbsp)
Calories(Calories from fat) 107 100 120
Sodium 3 mg 65 mg 1 mg
Total Fat
Potassium 257 mg
Saturated Fat
Total Carbs 28 g 7 g 17 g
Polyunsaturated
Dietary Fiber 3 g
Monounsaturated
Sugars 24 g 7 g 16 g
Protein 1 g 18 g
Vitamin A 25%
Calcium 2% 20%
Vitamin C 76%
Iron 5% 1%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

 

Avocado & Egg Breakfast Burritos

photo 1

 

As far as savoury breakfasts go, mine have been limited to but a few: beans on toast; fried or scrambled egg…with beans on toast.  Or if I wander to my family home: fried bakes, buljol (a kind of salt-fish salad), mushrooms and avocado; all washed down with some mint tea.

But now that I’m on this health trip, which I sincerely hope survives longer than most of my pre- summer holiday crash diets, I’ve been looking for healthy tastier alternatives that can work both on a weekend when I have a bit more time on your hands. Don’t get me wrong baked beans on toast can work, once in a while, but now only if I’m prepared to make my own from scratch, reducing my salt and sugar intake.

I’ve also found and I know some of my friends think I’m just attention seeking here, but I am allergic to the ‘Hass’ variety of Avocado: the one with black bumpy skin commonly sold in the shops or piled high in crates at market stalls it has become my worst enemy I am sorry to say. I feel nauseous from the moment it slides down my throat. I am now greatly suspicious of them: are they genetically modified? I remember avocado’s being a bit of a rarity, now I see them being sold in abundance like white rice it further added resistance to a certain variety, I get suspicious. Does anyone else share my revulsion?

Now I can only eat the large smooth skin green ones , which actually taste like avocado as I remember as a child.

The recipe below is very simple and nutritious to make, feel free to add any extra condiments like grated cheese or chopped tomatoes.

 

Avocado & Egg Breakfast Burritos

 

Ingredients:

1-2 cups chopped Avocado

1 garlic clove crushed

1 tbsp olive oil

juice 1/2 lime

pinch salt and black pepper

1-2 whole-wheat Tortilla wraps

1-2 eggs

Oil Spray (fry egg)

 

Method

Take the avocado pieces, oil, lime juice, salt and pepper, garlic. Place in a bowl and mash together until you reach the consistency you want.

In the meantime, fry the egg using the oil spray and place the Tortilla in a warm oven for 1 minute or into a dry frying pan over a medium heat.

When the egg is cooked, assemble the burritos: Tortilla, Avocado, Egg. Then wrap, roll and eat.

Nutritional Value of Avocado & Egg Breakfast Burritos

(based on 1 serving)

Avocado Fried Egg Whole-wheat Tortilla
Calories(Calories from fat) 240 (184) 90 (63) 109
Sodium 11 mg (0%) 94 mg (4%) 200 mg
Total Fat 22 g (34 %) 11% 3g
Potassium 16
Saturated Fat 3 g (16%) 10%
Total Carbs 13 g (4 %)
Polyunsaturated 3 g
Dietary Fiber 40% 3g
Monounsaturated 15 g
Sugars 1 g 0% 1g
Protein 3 g 6g 4g
Vitamin A 4% 7%
Calcium 2% 3%
Vitamin C 25% 0%
Iron 5% 5% 5%

 

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

 

 

Coconut Lentils w/ Honey Roasted Salmon

 

 

It’s with sadness that I have to announce that this recipe will be the final act in the ‘Beat the Bloat’ series. It’s been really special guys, I have loved the research and creating these recipes, I have learnt so much about correct food combinations and clean eating, all without losing out on taste and all within a reasonable budget.

I am working on some other food projects even as we speak, so if you don’t hear from me in the next few days it’s because I’m planning and experimenting away! All of these recipes have many more benefits to your health and well-being more than simply getting into those pair of jeans you bought a year ago, although that has its place too!

I hope the recipes have more than just inspired you…what would be truly amazing is if you tried making one of them and really liked it –  a lot! That would bring a smile to my face, your tummy would also be happy too!

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Honey roasted salmon. I love smoked honey roasted salmon and there is always a way to artificially re-create that flavour; but I didn’t want to add too many artificial condiments to this recipe.

I love the colour and texture of this dish, it really is one for sharing. Be sure not to over cook the salmon; make it the last thing that you cook and try not to re-heat it, otherwise it tastes all chewy.

Then bask in the sunshine on your plate and enjoy a fork full of honey roasted goodness…until next time!

 

Coconut Lentils w/ Honey Roasted Salmon

Ingredients

For the Salmon:

2 Salmon fillets

Thumb size piece of fresh ginger (finely grated)

1 Tbsp Honey

Juice of half a lime

1 tsp Old Bay Seasoning

1 tbsp Soya Sauce

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 Himalayan Pink Salt

2 garlic cloves crushed

1/4 white onion (finely grated)

 

For the Lentils:

1 cup Puy Lentils

3 cups water

1 vegetable stock cube/ jelly

1/4 Scotch bonnet pepper

1/2 tbsp Curry paste

1/2 Onion finely chopped

2 garlic cloves crushed

1 tsp tomato paste

1 tbsp of coconut cream (from a solid block) or 2 tbsp of coconut milk

Pinch of salt

2 Kaffir leaves

 

For the Roasted Vegetables:

2 Sweet Peppers (one red, yellow)

1/2 White Onion

1 garlic crushed

5 Chestnut Brown Mushrooms (cut into quarters)

3 sprigs of fresh thyme

1 carrot cut into chunks

Pinch of salt

2 tbsp of Olive Oil.

 

Handful of Kale (steamed)

 

Method

Preparation:

Pre-heat the Oven (Gas Mark 6)

1. Chop up the vegetables for roasting (excluding the Kale and peppers) and place them in a bowl (without the oil).

2. Prepare the marinade for the Salmon. Once you have cleaned the fish marinade it with the seasoning and transfer to the fridge.

 

Cooking:

3. Take the Lentils, water and vegetable stock and transfer to a pot. Bring the pot to a boil and then simmer for 20-5 mins until the water is reduced and the lentils are firm but cooked.

4. You may roast the sweet peppers with the other vegetables or you can do so over an open flame as I did: take each of the peppers and rest it over a open flame on the cooker, turning the pepper as the skin begins to blacken.

5. When you have finished the first pepper, transfer it to a sealed container (or bowl with a plate over it), the steam will help to soften the skin to make it easier to peel off. Do the same with the second one.

6. Now take the baking tray to roast the vegetables in, add the oil and garlic and transfer to the hot oven. Bring out the tray when the pan is heated, you should be able to add the vegetables to a sizzling pan and return it to the oven for 10 minutes. Near the end, you can add the peppers so that all the flavours from the vegetables are soaked up.

7. When the lentils are cooked, take a separate pot and fry the onions, garlic, pepper and curry paste. Then add the tomato paste and stir for 1 minute.

8. Then straining the lentils but keeping the water, transfer the lentils to the pot of onions and stir adding all the lentils in and stirring completely.

9. Then add the water from the lentils and coconut milk. Season to taste and simmer for 5 minutes leaving a little sauce in the stew.

10. Take the vegetables out the oven and throw in the Salmon for 10 minutes or until the salmon is cooked.

11. To steam the Kale, simply place it on top of the lentil stew and cover with the pot cover; the steam from the lentils will cook the Kale – it should be a nice bright green and slightly firm.

 

Plate up:

12. Place the Kale on the plate first with a sprinkle of lentils, then add some of the roasted vegetables and keep layering. Then flake the Salmon on top of the plate.

{Cheaters} Pilau Rice

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The good thing about using short grain brown rice in this recipe, besides its huge health benefits, is that unlike regular brown rice, short grain rice tends to retain its form and shape and can soak up a lot of flavour. It’s best for ‘one pot’ recipes like this where the rice takes quite a few knocks before being served; I find it it very difficult to over cook this rice surprisingly (see my pumpkin rice recipe as another example).

To be really honest, I am not the greatest fan of brown rice unless its well seasoned; But when I have shared this dish with friends, no one really notices the substitute of brown rice – which is great! A great way to sneak in good food to you health-phobe mates!

The great cheat in this is the Pilau seasoning. Looking at the ingredients on the bottle, I could probably replicate it, but sometimes you just want good food without the effort! And this seasoning tastes pretty authentic to me.

For more information on the health benefits of brown rice, check out my earlier article.

 

(Cheaters) Pilau Rice

 

Ingredients

250g of Short Grain Brown Rice

1/2 Red Sweet Pepper – sliced

1/2 Yellow Sweet Pepper – sliced

1/2 Medium Onion – sliced

2 Garlic Cloves – crushed

1 tbsp Tomato Paste

1 tsp Garlic Paste

1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder

1 heap tbsp Schwartz Pilau Seasoning

Pinch of Salt

1 heap tbsp Coconut Oil (frying)

1/4 cup of frozen garden peas

Fresh Coriander (garnish)

 

Method:

1. Soak the brown rice for 30 minutes. Then draining the water, place the rice in a deep pot with the water about 1/2 inch above the rice. Fast bowl the rice for 15 minutes before bringing the fire down to a medium boil, covering the pot 3/4 of the way and allowing it to cook for a further 10 minutes or until the rice is tender. Drain the rice if necessary.

2. In another frying pan, fry the onions first with some of the coconut oil until they start to caramelise. Then remove the onions and place the peppers in the oil to soften, then remove the peppers.

3. Next place the garlic, tomato paste, pilau seasoning, turmeric and garlic paste in the frying pan, adding more oil if necessary and allow it to fry gently to release the flavours from the seasoning. Then add 1/2 cup of water to the pan and allow the sauce to simmer for 3 minutes.

4. Then taking a large spoon of rice, transfer the rice of the frying pan and stir into the sauce with a fork. Don’t worry if the rice looks ‘wet’ as the rice will absorb the sauce quickly. Keep doing this until all the rice has been transferred and it thoroughly mixed through.

5. Then add return the onions, peppers with the peas to the pan and stir in.

7. Season to taste and garnish with coriander leaves.