Shakshuka

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This is another Ottolenghi recipe, though I have had Shakshuka before in my local vegetarian cafe. It’s a very simple dish and doesn’t require too many ingredients. Takes about half an hour and perfect when it’s cold outside. I have scaled down to serve one.

Ingredients

1 ripe red bell pepper, chopped into small cubes
2 tablespoons of harissa paste (quite hot – available from most middle eastern groceries),
2 tsp tomato puree,
3 big ripe vine tomatoes, chopped
1/4 tsp salt,
2 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
1 tsp ground cumin,
2 eggs
chopped parsley to serve (optional)
cooking oil

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Directions

Heat your oil in large frying pan. Add the garlic, pepper, tomato puree, harissa, cumin and salt. Fry for 8 minutes on a medium heat, so that the pepper has softened.

Add the tomatoes. Fry for a further 8 minutes.

Next you need to make some ‘hollows’ in the sauce, so that you can poach the eggs in it. You can either make 4 hollows or 2, depending on whether or not you’d prefer to keep your yolks and whites separate. I don’t think it makes much difference – either way you break the eggs and let them fall into their places in the sauce. Cook for a further 8-10 minutes.

When done, add chopped parsley if using.
Serve with yoghurt and/or hummous.

Lovely.

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The Best of what I’ve Eaten, Since Last I Posted

Chermoula Aubergine with Quinoa (Lemony or Kisir)

I absolutely love aubergines. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before. Their flesh has an almost potato like texture, which is pleasant since I no longer eat normal potatoes because of the starch and its effect on insulin levels, and they soak up so much flavour. I never seem to gain weight when I eat them, something a friend of mine was discussing with me after I passed on my aubergine bug to him.

Oh before I post it, I must add, Ottolenghi’s directions for roasting aubergines always seem to be written with non-fan ovens in mind. If you have a fan oven, you only need to put the aubergines in at about 180 degrees and for half an hour, rather than the 40 minutes he states, otherwise they’ll end up charred and acrid.

from the Guardian

from the Guardian Newspaper

So I made this meal in the festive season between Christmas and New Year. It is perhaps the most popular dish of increasingly reknowned chef Yotam Ottolengh’s, judging from the ‘buzz’ being created by it online.

Here is the main recipe, which I changed and supplemented to make more suitable for a gluten-free vegan PCOS diet:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/jun/12/chermoula-aubergine-bulgar-recipe-ottolenghi

Served separately, both the aubergine and the bulgar salad from this dish are delicious with the accompanying Greek yoghurt, but all three together are a match made in food heaven. Chermoula is a potent North African spice paste that is ideal for smearing on your favourite vegetables for roasting. Serves four as a main course.

2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp sweet paprika
2 tbsp finely chopped preserved lemon skin make at least a night in advance
140ml olive oil, plus extra to finish
Salt
2 medium aubergines
150g quinoa or – choose this lemony quinoa recipe or Ottolenghi’s Kisir substituting the bulgar wheat with quinoa and adding more water than stated
50g sultanas
10g fresh coriander, chopped, plus extra to finish
10g fresh mint, chopped
50g green olives, halved
30g flaked almonds, toasted
3 spring onions, chopped
1½ tbsp lemon juice
120g Greek yoghurt

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. To make the chermoula, mix together the garlic, cumin, coriander, chilli, paprika, preserved lemon, two-thirds of the olive oil and half a teaspoon of salt.

Cut the aubergines in half lengthways and score the flesh of each half with diagonal, crisscross lines, making sure not to pierce the skin. Spoon the chermoula over each half, spreading it evenly, and place on a baking sheet. Roast for 40 minutes, or until the aubergines are very soft.

Meanwhile, place the bulgar in a large bowl and cover with 140ml boiling water. Soak the sultanas in 50ml of warm water for 10 minutes, then drain and add to the bulgar, along with the remaining oil. Stir in the herbs, olives, almonds, spring onions, lemon juice and salt, taste and add more salt, if necessary.

Serve the aubergines warm or at room temperature. Place one half-aubergine per portion on a serving plate, spoon bulgar on top, allowing some to fall over the sides, spoon over a little yoghurt, sprinkle with chopped coriander and finish with a dribble of olive oil. – The Guardian Newspaper

What I do is then add the ingredients he adds to the bulgar wheat, to add even more flavour.
So, yes, it’s quite an undertaking, cooking all this in its entirity, however it is very much how I imagine the food of gods must taste.

Aubergine Parmagiana

The following is a very easy and cheap recipe to make with the added bonus that it is delicious!  Great gluten-free alternative to lasagne.  I’ve noticed that it also seems quite a good dish if I’m coming down with a cold.

 

Ingredients:

 

2 large aubergines chopped into thin round discs from the bottom up,

olive oil,

tomato and basil sauce, or a few large fresh chopped tomatoes and basil to make into a sauce yourself,

cheddar cheese (grated),

parmasan cheese (grated),

herbs:  ie. thyme, oregano, rosemary

 

Method:

 

After chopping the aubergines, place the discs on an oiled baking or pizza tray.  Brush the surfaces of the aubergine with a little more oil and scatter your choice of herbs on top.  Bake in fan oven at 240 celsius for 10 minutes.

Spread some of the tomato sauce in the bottom of a pyrex baking dish.  Place some of the aubergine discs on top, and then scatter with cheeses.  Continue to layer in this way until you end with the last of the cheeses.  Sprinkle herbs on top.  Bake again for another 10-15 minutes.

Enjoy with brown rice or quinoa, and/or green salad.

 

 

Hot Kidney Bean Hash

This next recipe happened by accident, as a result of me failing to properly read the recipe I was trying to follow.  What was supposed to be a simplified version of Louisiana Red Beans turned into something far creamier and thicker in consistency, reminding me of the corned beef hash my mum used to make, but without the mashed potato topping.  Sometimes our mistakes are good 🙂 And this meal turned out to be very hearty, almost curry-like comfort food which kept me from starving for a total of 3 days.

 

1 onion,

3 garlic cloves,

1/2 green pepper,

2 celery sticks,

3 cans of sugar-free red beans,

1 can of tomatoes,

1 tsp paprika,

1 tsp thyme,

1 tsp oregano,

half tsp ground black pepper,

1 tsp cayenne pepper,

2 tsp hot sauce,

plenty of cooked brown rice to serve.

 

In the blender, pulse the onion, pepper, garlic and celery until you have a green puree.  Cook for about 10 minutes in a large pre-heated pan.  While that is cooking, rinse the beans well and pulse 1 and a half cans worth of them in the blender along with the can of tomatoes.  Stir in the slushy beans and the whole beans with the vegetables and add the herbs and spices.  Boil then place lid on pot, turn heat low and cook for 30 minutes, stirring every now and then.

Fresh coriander makes a good garnish.  Add salt and extra hot sauce to taste.

Raw Pineapple Curry with Aubergine Pancakes

Here is a recipe I found at rawmazing.com

(you can tell the difference between myself, as a lay chef, and Susan from Rawmazing, a professional, just by a comparison of the two above photos! 🙂

Curried Pineapple and Parsnips with Veggies

  • 2 cups parsnips, chopped fine in the food processor
  • 1 cup pineapple, diced
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped fine
  • 1 cup cucumber, diced
  • 1/2 cup scallions, sliced
  • 1/2 cup currants
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 2 teaspoons yellow curry powder
  • Himalayan salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup mâche

1. Stir all ingredients together.

Mache Dressing

  • 1 cup mâche
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • Himalayan salt and pepper to taste

1. Place all ingredients in blender, blend until smooth. Serve to the side of the salad.

Aubergine Pancakes

A tasty, substantial savoury pancake.  Plus it contains aubergine, which I love at the minute, for some reason, that may or not not be to do with the nicotine content!  Makes 4.

  • 1 aubergine
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
  • 50 g (2o z) flour
  • 4 tablespoon vegetable stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper

Prick the aubergine all over and roast it on a baking sheet at 175°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 for 30-35 minutes. Let it cool, then scoop out the flesh into a mixing bowl and mash it with a fork until it is smooth. Sauté the garlic and onions in a non-stick pan (with water or a little stock if desired). Add this to the aubergine. Add the flour, baking powder, stock, parsley, pepper, and salt, and mix it all thoroughly. Coat a frying pan with a little oil and heat it to a medium heat. Add spoonfuls of the batter to the pan and cook until golden.

Terriyaki Brocconut Noodles

Yum, yum yum!  This is mighty good.

Serves 1.

 

Ingredients

1 x packet of Brown Rice Soba Noodles

A handful of tenderstem Broccoli, washed

Half a Red Chilli, chopped

1 x Garlic Clove, chopped

2cm piece of fresh Ginger, chopped

2 tablespoons Tamari Soy Sauce

1 teaspoon Agave Nectar

A handful of Cashew Nuts

A knob of butter

Olive Oil

salt

Fresh lemon chunk to serve

 

Drop a dash of olive oil into a frying pan and heat.  Throw in your handful of cashew nuts and toast on a medium heat.  Add your small knob of butter (I use olive butter to minimise dairy intake) and a generous pinch of salt.  When the cashews are golden-brown, remove them to a bowl.  Try not to eat them while finishing the cooking – they are dangerously delicious!

Without adding further oil or butter to the pan, heat up your broccoli, so that it turns a deep bright green.  When it is threatening to brown in places, add the chilli, garlic and ginger.

While those are gently frying, cook your soba noodles as packet states.

While the noodles are cooking, add your 2 tablespoons of tamari to the broccolli, chilli, garlic and ginger.  Also add agave nectar.  Toss so contents of pan are coated.  Switch off the heat.

When your noodles are cooked, transfer them to bowl or plate.  Pile the contents of frying pan on top of the noodles and then scatter your cashews over and squeeze a bit of fresh lemon juice on top.

 

I challenge you not to become addicted!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roasted Aubergines with Feta and Walnut Salsa

I have pinched this recipe from BBC Good Food, but that’s because it really is good food.  I used toasted sesame oil for the aubergines instead of olive oil, and olive oil instead of ‘walnut pickling liquid’ and walnut oil.  I also used a real chilli instead of flakes, and dried cranberries instead of pomegranate seeds.

Anyway, I often have a craving for aubergines (which are full of B vitamins, manganese, copper, potassium, iron, as well as cancer-preventative flavonoids) and this combines their lovely subtle flavour with a yummy, exotic mix of fruit and spices.  The recipe was written by brilliant Israeli cook Yotam Ottolenghi.

 

Ingredients

For the salsa

Preparation method

  1. Preheat the oven to 230C/450F/Gas 8. Cut both the aubergines in half lengthways and score the flesh in a criss-cross pattern. Brush the flesh liberally with the oil then sprinkle with 1½ teaspoons of salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Place on a baking tray, flesh-side up, and roast in the oven for about 40 minutes, or until the flesh is cooked through and turns a dark golden-brown.
  2. Meanwhile, make the salsa. Mix together the walnuts, walnut pickling liquid, vinegar, garlic, chilli, walnut oil, parsley and half the coriander with one teaspoon of salt.
  3. Spoon the salsa over the aubergines as soon as they come out of the oven and leave to cool completely. Just before serving, sprinkle the remaining coriander on top along with the goats’ cheese and pomegranate seeds.

Lentils, Rice and Caramelised onions

A delicious, simple and cheap way of ensuring you get a good protein intake:

 

Ingredients

1 onion, peeled, sliced thinly,

1-2 tbs olive oil,

2 pints of water,

225g green or brown lentils,

50g brown basmati or long grain rice,

salt and pepper.

 

  • Fry onion in oil over a low heat for 20-30 mins, without burning.
  • While that’s cooking, boil the water in pan and add lentils.  Cook 20 mins/until tender with bite.
  • Add rice.  Cook 25-30 mins.  Drain.
  • Stir in half the onions and all the lentils.  Pile rest of the onions on top.

 

 

 

Chilli Lime Halloumi Salad

Ingredients

1 x 250 gram pack of Halloumi cheese,

Greens:  Spinach, Rocket, Lettuce,

1 Lime,

1 Red Chilli, chopped.

Dressing:

1 tsp Mustard,

1 tsp fruit sugar,

1 garlic clove,

1-2 tbsps wine vinegar,

6 tbsps olive oil,

seaoning

Make the dressing in a bowl.  Add the salad and toss.

Cut the cheese into thick slices.  Fry 1-2 minutes per side until browned.

Drizzle the halloumi with chilli and lime.  Place on the salad. YUM YUM

Huevos Rancheros

This one’s a spicy Mexican dish, adapted to make sure you get a good intake of greens.

Ingredients:

2 eggs,

4 lettuce leaves,

1 green chilli, chopped

1 onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, sliced or crushed

pinch of paprika

extra virgin olive oil

Fry the eggs in oil.  In another pan, heat a glug of oil with a tablespoon of water.  Add the garlic.  Once that’s browned, add the onion, chilli and paprika.  Allow to boil then simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  When the eggs are fried to your liking, sit each one atop a lettuce leaf on a plate.  Add the spicy onions on top – they will cook the eggs a little more.  Cover with the remaining leaves of lettuce.  Enjoy 🙂