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Category Archives: Recipes

Green curry paste

Here’s a photo of the ingredients I was able to find at the moment in lockdown for a green curry paste.  The recipe’s from a cookbook I was given almost thirty years ago when Thai food was really popular in Sydney – still is!  Each page gives evidence of how often it’s been used, splashed with sauce from my beaters or from sticky fingers mid-read.

website green paste

So much better – & healthier – making your own base as there are no preservatives and you can add and subtract to suit your own taste.  I couldn’t get some of the ingredients as the Thai store is currently closed.  I’ll make mention of the ones I’ve not included (in italics in brackets) and how I replaced them.  This recipe as is definitely stands alone, it’s delicious!  And a great base for any green curry dish whether vegetarian or with fish, chicken, lamb, duck.
Next month I’ll try to post a recipe for a chicken curry dish where I’ve used this as the base.
Enjoy and stay safe!

Ingredients:

Makes about 8 tablespoons
(I used 5 tbsp for 4 servings)

1 tsp cumin seeds (I only had ground cumin powder which was fine)
2 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
8 fresh green chillies, seeded and chopped
2 shallots, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 stalks lemon grass, outer hard leaf removed, flat-knife-crushed then chopped
3 dried large kaffir lime leaves, chopped, central stem removed
(3 coriander roots, chopped) I added 3 extra tbsp chopped coriander leaves & stems instead)
(3 cms galangal)  I used 3 cms fresh ginger, chopped & would probably stick to it, delicious
(2 tsp shrimp paste)  I used a dollop of fish sauce instead.  for a vegetarian version you can get that extra layer with miso paste or even a splash of tamari
3 tbsp chopped coriander leaves

Method:

Heat your pan and add the coriander and cumin seeds (or powder) until you have aroma.  Then crush them in a pestle and mortar or a small blender together with the peppercorns.

Now add the rest of the ingredients and blend anyway you can. I use a hand held stick blender and it works fine as long as I chop the coriander leaves small.  You can also pound it all by hand.

This is a great starter for any green curry and can be stored in the fridge up to 4 weeks.

Gf/df buckwheat banana pancakes

Here is February’s delayed post and Shrove Tuesday’s delayed pancakes.  Was a hard month that ran away with me but better late than never (and for me this was worth the wait!)
I have an idea for my March post bubbling away, so I’ll be on the case soon :)

I tried a vegan version of this I saw on Instagram.  The pancake looked great but when I tried – several times! – it kept sticking to my copiously oiled pan, refused to cook through, didn’t want to stay in a circle and basically wouldn’t be friends.  Another day, another vegan attempt.  Until then, an added egg made this into one of the tastiest pancakes I’ve ever eaten.  I used to not be a huge fan of buckwheat but I’ve now got lots of delicious combos that work.  I think the mashed bananas within really makes it.  And I’m so happy to have such a delicious gf/df option for breakfasts and treats.  Give it a try and let me know what you think.

buckwheat pancake

Ingredients:

6 small pancakes
80g buckwheat flour
tsp gf baking powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch sea salt
2 mashed ripe bananas
250 ml coconut milk
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 egg
Enough light olive oil or odourless coconut oil to create a good base in your choice of pan so the mixture doesn’t stick; approx 2 tbsp worked for the small pan I used.
Topping:
Coconut yoghurt (to which I added a splash of maple syrup coz the bottle was there, lol).  Berries and a sprinkling of cinnamon to top it all off.

Method:

Mash the bananas, beat the egg then add them to the coconut milk, maple syrup and vanilla essence, then mix together. Gently add the sieved buckwheat flour, sea salt and gf baking powder.  Stir until well mixed.

Heat either odourless coconut oil or a light olive oil in your fave pancake pan (some pans really don’t respond well to pancakes – my oldest one loves them) and then go for it.
Pour a little mixture in the pan; when you see bubbles forming on the top of the pancake it’s ready to flip.  Gently ease your ‘flipper’ beneath it as the mashed banana can sometimes stick to the base.

I make small pancakes mainly because my first one or two seldom work; I don’t want to waste too much of all that deliciousness.
Also, this way you can pile up a few, add your yoghurt and fruit topping to create a mini pancake tower.

Not just for Shrove Tuesday!

Curry miso with roasted veg, buckwheat noodles and egg

I love the days in between Christmas and new year when the crazy festive bustle is over and New Year’s Eve seems a way to go.  Some quieter times can suddenly happen when you meet up with a friend for a cuppa, or play with some of your Xmas presents, or even go on an outing (that felt very brave – surely I needed to cook for a gaggle or clear up the festive mess, change bedlinen?)

Here’s the result of one late afternoon’s play with a cookbook by Gizzi Erskine.
A quirky mix of recipes with a bit more ‘meaty’ than I expected, but also delicious vegetable dishes with fascinating flavours, a combination of Asian and Polish and more….

When I stand in a bookstore and leaf through a cookbook I instantly see some stand-out recipes, the ones that make me want Ownership of the book.
This recipe is one of those.  The curry miso soup has so many decadently delicious ingredients, just reading it made my mouth water, already tasting the heady rich miso-soy broth.

My recipe here is slightly different to the original; I’ve made it mine.  Still gluten and dairy free, I added some roasted gem and chicory because they were in our kitchen and I love leafies.
I left out the tofu and kimchi only because we needed a holiday from tofu, and the kimchi had magically vanished.  I did offer a side dish of other pickled veg, but it remained untouched.  Our plates already had enough going on – and yes, I should make mention here that there is also quite a bit going on in the making of this dish.  You’ll have a warm glow of achievement when you serve up, lol!

There is a lot of elbow room to be creative.  You could add different roasted veg, like I did.  Or make it vegan by leaving out the egg, or swap it for marinated chicken or add more noodles.
I’ll be sticking to this one as it was delicious.

curry miso

Ingredients for 2 portions

(the soup part is enough for 4 portions)

2 tbsp coconut oil or virgin olive
6 garlic cloves, crushed
1 red onion, finely chopped
4 cms ginger, chopped
2 tbsp curry powder (I used Steenbergs organic)
1/2 tsp turmeric (I used Rachels’ turmeric paste; worked fine)
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes (or the amount to suit you; OR add 1 tbsp soy bean chilli oil instead)
200g white miso paste (I used Clearspring)
3 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp Marmite (oh joy it was still in our larder from our youngest son)
2 tbsp tamari sauce
1.2 litres boiling water
400ml soy milk or any non-dairy milk (I used Mylk)
200g shiitake mushrooms, sliced (I used portabello & ‘exotic mix’ )
100ml teriyaki sauce
2 free-range eggs, boiled for 6 minutes, then put in iced water, then peeled
80g buckwheat noodles per person, cooked al dente (then dunked in iced water to stop the cooking process)
3 slices roasted butternut squash per person
1 roasted gem lettuce, halved
2 roasted red chicory, halved
spring onions, chopped
tsp sesame seeds

Optional: 200g firm tofu, thickly sliced, or pieces of marinated chicken….

Method:

In a medium pot or deep pan, heat the oil and add the chopped onion till it softens, about 10 mins.  Add the garlic and ginger and sweat a few minutes before adding the turmeric, coriander and curry powders, then the chilli flakes (or above mentioned chillli oil).
Stir for a couple of minutes then add the water and whisk in the miso paste and marmite.  Add the mirin and tamari.  Cook on a low simmer for 30 mins to reduce, then add the non-dairy milk.  Blend till smooth and put aside until you are ready to reheat.

Meanwhile, in a little oil roast the butternut slices in the oven until slightly caramelized.  Add the halved chicory and gem lettuce for the last  8 or so mins of that roasting.  You want these to be slightly charred on the outside but still with some crispness, some body.

Whilst roasting, put the cooked, peeled eggs in a bowl of teriyaki sauce, coat and leave until you’re ready to put the meal together.
Fry the sliced mushrooms in oil and put aside when done.  If you’re adding tofu or chicken then you could fry these now and also marinate them in teriyaki sauce.
Cook the buckwheat noodles in boiling water; they only need a few minutes but follow the packet’s instructions, then dip in iced water and place on the side until you put the dish together.

Putting it together:

Reheat the soup.
Divide the noodles between the two bowls as well as the roasted butternut slices, 1/2 roasted gem lettuce and chicory.
Pour in the hot soup so some of the ingredients are peeking out.  Remember there will be liquid left over for you to repeat another meal of two portions, hooray!
Add the halved egg, and if you’re using tofu or cooked chicken, add those.
Sprinkle the chopped spring onion over the top (& the sesame seeds I forgot in this photo, lol).

Now enjoy your delicious work of art!

Vegan Christmas chestnut and sage soup

This creamy (no-cream) soup always tastes so special because I only ever make it at Christmas, plus chestnuts are still somewhat exotic for me.  They simply weren’t on our family’s radar when growing up in Australia.
I first came across them when I moved to Germany.  Roasted chestnuts, oh my!  Love at first bite.
This is a minimum effort maximum effect dish.   Its few ingredients tell the whole story with no pips ‘n squeaks or complications.  No room to go wrong.
I usually cook it a few days before Christmas as it freezes well, plus it makes me believe I’m organised, lol.   I’m surprised I haven’t posted the recipe before now on my website (was I keeping it all to myself??!)
My gift to you this Christmas, (and I just spy Merchant’s chestnuts are halfprice @ Tesco’s online.  Yessss, double portions this year).

website soup

Ingredients

4 peeps (for 6, add another pkt chestnuts and 0.5 litre veg broth)

2-3 tbsp olive oil
1 medium or 2 small red onions, chopped finely
c 8-10 sage leaves, chopped, plus extra whole leaves for garnish
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 litre vegetable stock
400g vacuum-packed chestnuts, roughly chopped

Method

Heat the oil in a pan over a low heat and sweat the onion until soft and translucent.  Add the sage and garlic; gently fry for a minute before pouring in the stock and adding most of the chestnuts – save some for garnish, together with a few extra fried whole sage leaves.
Cook for about 15 minutes, remove from the heat, cool slightly and blend.
That’s it!
Return to the pot and reheat gently when it’s time to serve with a garnish of fried sage leaf and some chopped chestnut.  You could also add a dollop of yoghurt for a non-vegan option.

Beetroot and red cabbage borscht

This is such a quick soup to make it surprises me everytime!  And it only takes a few potent ingredients to have this delicious flavour and a colour to wow your dinner guests.
Each time I’ve made it I’ve played around with the amounts.  Sometimes I didn’t have enough beetroot, other times not enough red cabbage.  The soup is very forgiving – tastes delicious every time.

Both beetroot and red cabbage are rich in minerals and vitamins, esp A, C & K; not to mention both having great fibre content.  The nitrates in beetroot result in relaxing & dilating blood vessels (one reason its juice was such a trend some time ago; shame, however, not to eat it whole esp due to that bowel-healthy fibre!)
Studies show these nitrates, after being converted in our body, not only have the potential to lower BP but also improve cognition due to increased blood flow to the brain.  Something to be aware of is that beetroot is a FODMAP food (note: far less so when pickled!) so, if you have IBS issues you may want to do some gut healing first.

The DIM and sulforaphane in cabbage have been widely researched and written about due to their cancer-protective properties, so I won’t say any more than that.  Well worth reading about.
The vibrant colour of both these veg give away the fact they contain potent polphenols, those protective anti oxidants so vital to good health.  Betacyanin in the beetroot, and anthocyanin in red cabbage give it their colour and are just two of the many polyphenols within.

With all these benefits this is certainly one deliciously powerful recipe I’m keeping in my immune-supportive arsenal for the coming winter months…hope you enjoy it as much as we do x

borscht

 Ingredients:

(serves 4-6)
6 cooked beetroot
1 medium red cabbage
1 clove crushed garlic
800ml rich vegetable broth
4-5 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
an optional few dollops of maple syrup
garnish of leaves; basil and parsley worked for me

Method:

Cut the cabbage into chunks and steam until soft.  Put in a pot with the roughly chopped cooked beetroot, garlic and vegetable broth.   Heat then add the apple cider vinegar – and optional maple syrup.

Take off the heat, cool a little then blend to the consistency you like.

Taste test!  You may wish to add a little sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, or add more vegetable broth if you find it too thick.
Serve and garnish with basil or parsley leaves.
A rich, hearty soup – and so quick and easy!

 

Beetroot & fennel flan (gf)

I wanted to try making a gluten free version of this delicious flan that a friend baked for a recent picnic.  I also wanted it dairy-free – although I ended up keeping the butter in the pastry.  Butter is low in lactose, contains less casein (protein) and is generally better tolerated than other dairy foods.

After Takes 1 and 2, the following recipe is the one that went down well with friends and family.  Even though everyone liked the crumbly texture I might try adding a little potato starch/flour next time.  See what you think…
As I’ve had quite a few plays with this over a short period of time – and my cup really does runneth over with beetroot – I’ll not be tweaking this version again in the near future, lol.
Enjoy making it!

beetroot and fennel

Ingredients:

Serves 6-8 using an 11″ or 28cm flan dish

300g organic beetroot, cooked then peeled
3 eggs
200ml coconut-based yoghurt (like Koko or Coconut Collaborative here in UK; or regular yoghurt/creme fraiche if you’re fine with dairy)
160 ml plant-based milk (like whole coconut milk from Mylk or Oatley or…)
200g goat’s cheese, broken up/chopped
freshly ground pepper, sea salt
1 heaped tbsp chopped fresh fennel fronds, or dill
1 large or 2 medium fennel bulbs
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
virgin olive oil
50g broken up walnuts

Pastry:

150 g butter
150g chestnut flour
100g brown rice flour
1 egg yolk
pinch salt
1-2 tbsp cold water, if necessary

(note: if you want to use regular flours, the original recipe was 150g plain flour; 100g wholegrain rye)

Method:

Cook the beetroot until soft.  Peel when cooled then slice quite finely.  Set aside.

For the pastry, cut the butter into small cubes and blitz with the flours and salt in a food processor.  Add the yolk.
If the pastry hasn’t started to ‘form’, add a little cold water.
Shape into a ball and chill in the fridge for 30 mins.

When ready, take the ball of pastry and knead into the oiled flan dish.  I tried rolling out my pastry but it really was too crumbly.  I gently pushed it into the base and sides of the flan dish – worked well (& felt quite therapeutic!  Memories of those halcyon playdough days….)

Pre-bake in the middle of a 160 degree oven (320F) for about 10 minutes.

Whilst it’s baking cut the fennel in half, remove the hard core and finely slice.  Saute in a low-heat pan with some olive oil for about 5 minutes.  Add 1-2 tsp of balsamic vinegar at the end. Put aside.

Mix together all the filling ingredients: coconut-based yoghurt, coconut milk (or whatever milk is your preference), the beaten eggs, goat’s cheese, pepper, salt and finely chopped fennel/dill).

Scatter the sauted fennel across the pre-baked base, then add half the yoghurt mixture.  Place the sliced beetroot on top, arranging in a layer.  Add the remaining yoghurt mixture and scatter with the crushed walnuts.

Return to the oven and bake for 30-40 mins.   Despite a common heat temperature, ovens vary, so check after 30 mins and continue baking if necessary until the liquid has firmed up.

Serve with a delicious salad of your choice.

Vegan choc-almond-chestnut cake

The name’s a bit of a mouthful!  The original title “Chocolate chestnut cake” didn’t do it justice for me as I felt it tasted more of almonds than chestnut flour.

I came upon this recipe on Instagram earlier in the year on the fab Rebel-kitchen-recipe page.  Not one of her recipes, apparently, but a cake she was raving about online and kindly shared on her page.

I forgot about it until last week when I unearthed my scribbles from a pile of to-do papers.  I’ve changed the original topping recipe as it included almond flour which is not easy to find, and is also expensive.  My initial idea of replacing it with ground almonds didn’t work!
Dark melted chocolate with a hint of maple syrup is an easy, glossy topping on a deliciously moist cake. Divine!

vegan cake

 Ingredients:

120g almond flour (ground almonds are fine and less expensive. The cake has a slightly coarser texture)
120g chestnut flour
100ml coconut oil, melted
500ml coconut milk (or any other plant milk)
80g sugar (coconut sugar if you have it)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarb of soda
5-6 tbsp cocao

Maple-chocolate topping

One 120g packet of dark chocolate, melted
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp naturli vegan butter
water

Method:

Grease a medium-size round cake tin with coconut oil.  Beat all the cake ingredients to a smooth batter.
Bake in a 160 degree oven (350 fahrenheit) for about 30-40 minutes, or until just cooked in the middle – my toothpick came out a bit sticky.
To make the topping, place the broken up chocolate in a bain-marie together with the maple syrup and naturli vegan butter so they all melt together.  If you can’t get the latter, whisk in some water instead to avoid it becoming claggy.  Keep whisking over the bain marie, adding a little more warm water if the chocolate starts to set, then smooth over the cake and top with berries or any seasonal fruit.
Enjoy!

 

Beetroot humus

Hummus is always a delectable nibble to have at the ready and this beetroot one is simply delicious, and the colour is divine!
Inspired by one we ate – and keep eating! – at Lorraine’s Magic Hill restaurant on the isle of Kefalonia in Greece.

beetroot humus

Ingredients:

3 medium-size cooked beetroots, about 300g
300g cooked chickpeas.
(NB.  I soak the dried chickpeas overnight, change the water twice, then throw it out and cook the chickpeas in fresh water.  Sounds a pfaff, but it’s a good habit in case your guests have issues digesting pulses, those problematic oligosaccharides)
1 generously heaped tbsp tahini
juice from 1 lemon (or half, if it’s a super juicy Mediterranean one)
1 large clove of garlic (or more if you’re game)
80ml virgin olive oil
sea salt to taste
optional chilli flakes – go easy
small amount of water to thin the mixture as you blend

 

Method

Basically everything is blended together – can’t get much easier.  I start with the beetroot, then add 99% of the chickpeas (rest is decoration), together with some oil and the tahini and spices/herbs.   If the mixture is getting too stodgy, aka like concrete, carefully add a little water to the mix until it’s just right for you.
A lot of humus recipes rely on the oil for the smooth consistency however I find using more oil instead of a little water makes it far too heavy and rich.

Top with a few cooked chickpeas or any herbs of your choice.  Kali orexi!

 

 

Asian spiced apricot chutney

A glut of mini apricots here in the garden so I’ve been stewing and jamming some of the nine kilo picked by us over the past few days.  Apricot chutney sounded too delectable to miss!

apricot chutney

I found several online recipes, but added and subtracted and adapted the various ingredient suggestions.  In the end, it’s an appleaday recipe through and through.
Fresh limes at the green grocer’s simply had to be added – an Asian recipe without them is lacking!  Plus garam masala (thank you Rebelkitchen, I am now an even bigger fan of that delicious spice after the mushroom korma I adapted ‘n posted here back in December ’18).

Regarding chopping instructions, I’ll leave that up to you.  As I don’t have a blender here I finely chopped the apples, onions & ginger by hand.  If you have a blender, chop the lot roughly, then blend so it’s fine, but not a mush.

The result is simply divine, and can be an added side dish to allsorts, not just curries.

Ingredients:

1.5 kg apricots, stoned and quartered
2 red onions, finely chopped  (see the note above re chopping)
3 small braeburn apples, or similar, finely chopped
6 cm ginger, finely chopped
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black or mixed pepper
1 heaped tsp garam masala
1 heaped tsp Chinese five spice (=cinnamon, fennel, clove, star anise and peppercorns!)
350 ml apple cider vinegar
juice of 2 limes
2 – 3 finely chopped chilli (or 4 if you like your chutney to bite back)
250g sugar
2 tbsp local honey

Method:

Stone and quarter the apricots and put aside.  Chop the onions, ginger, apples and chillies - seeds and all – and put into a large pot.

Add to this mix the garam masala & Chinese five spice, as well as salt, pepper, lime juice and vinegar; bring to the boil.  Turn down and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring once in a while (trying not to cry from the onions and vinegar, lol).

Stir in the quartered apricots and return to the boil, then simmer until the apricots are softened.

Add the sugar and honey, then boil again for about 20 minutes until the delicious brew thickens, stirring occasionally to stop it catching.

Let it cool slightly whilst you sterilize your jars in a hot oven.  Once cooled, pour and seal.  Display for one and all to delight in, then store up to a year in a cool dry place.

Moroccan lentil vegetable stew

We arrived back on the island and found one food store open on the way to the villa.  I stocked up on tomatoes – always in Greece, lol – carrots, lemons, white onion, celery, garlic and of course the ubiquitous spinach.  Where would the Greeks be without their delicious spinach pies!?

Later that night, foraging in our kitchen cupboards,  there was the usual store of spices, a jar of tahini and a packet of dried lentils.

So here’s the creation that evolved – luckily it was delicious.  And after stocking up in Argostoli the next morning, I added chopped coriander to the leftovers!
(The curry leaves you may spy in the photo were in my larder, but we couldn’t taste them.  They’ve been edited out :)

Lentils are generally easier to handle than other pulses but they still contain those hard-to-digest oligosaccharides so I always suggest soaking them overnight.

lentils 3

Ingredients (for 4 peeps)

3 tbsp olive oil
large white onion, chopped
3 carrots, diced
3 celery sticks, diced
3 generous handfuls spinach, shredded
4 garlic cloves, pressed or grated or sliced, whatever you like to do with garlic
15 small red tomatoes, halved
400g lentils  We happened to have the conventional brown ones that soaked up a lot of the broth; you could use puy lentils and make this a soup!
1.5 – 2 litres vegetable broth.  Start with less then add if necessary; depends on the lentils used as to how much liquid they absorb.
Spices:
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cardamom
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp sumach (optional)
… plus chilli flakes, sea salt and pepper to taste

And fresh coriander, chopped, as a topping

Tahini dressing:

2 tbsp tahini
juice of 1 lemon
Approx 4 tbsp water, depending on how juicy your lemon
ground pepper and sea salt to taste

Method:

Add the chopped onion to a pan of olive oil and cook until soft.  Add the diced carrots, celery, shredded spinach and stir to coat them.
Then add the spices, garlic, tomatoes and your vegetable broth.

Cook covered for about 10 minutes, then uncovered for about 10-15mins, depending on the type of lentils; the smaller, the less cooking time needed.

Dollop with the tahini dressing and chopped fresh coriander – and enjoy!