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.

Back After New Year

Hellooooo. I have not posted anything since Christmas – it might even have been Christmas day itself. No reason why in particular, other than the general excuse of being busy ūüôā And ‘with what’ you might ask…

in which case a run down must include: being asked to write a book review for The Times Literary Supplement. Something I’ve wanted to get into doing for a while now – it happened mostly as a result of me getting a poem published in there last November; boyfriend stuff. Urgh. Sometimes relationships are very VERY stressy; finally *nearly* finishing work on my album; German AS Level; getting together all of my poems from the past year or so, having been awarded funding for some one-to-one tutorials; discovering and cooking excellent recipes I will share elsewhere on the site; going to Warsaw; finally getting back out in the hills and doing some hiking; finally making a regular thing of yoga classes; work (yes, I’ve started doing that again); joining a new band on guitar; and then there was just general laziness/ joyous instances of indolent comfort while reading or streaming films in bed.

My experiences of PCOS has inevitably continued over this time. I’ve had some extremely painful and debilitating periods, which included vomiting a couple of times, such was the pain. I’ve found some ways of alleviating this pain, or so it seems for now. I’ve also found ways of ridding the cyclical breast pain associated with PMS (via evening primrose oil supplements) and have finally changed the sanitary products I use, switching from expensive and uncomfortable tampons and pads, to the more environmentally and biologically friendly Mooncup. I’ve also learned some further diet information: started cooking with various forms of buckwheat, taking vitamin E etc. For Christmas I bought my mum Yotam Ottolenghi and Sammi Tamimi’s latest recipe book, ‘Jerusalem’, and that has got me cooking some exceptional vegan/PCOS-friendly food from the Middle East.

Now I just have to decide where to start, after this blog update… ūüôā

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.

 

 

Cool Chile Corn Tortilla

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I bought these today from Unicorn Greengrocery in Chorlton. ¬†And I can safely say they are fantastic. ¬†Nice and soft but not too flimsy and doesn’t taste like cardboard, unlike some of the supermarket gluten-free tortillas.

Simply put one in a warm pan and fry for a short while.

I had mine with the Laura’s Idea Bean Feast. ¬†All in all it was a far better experience than my recent visit to Barburrito…. and far cheaper! ¬†The only thing missing was salsa and sour cream.

They can be bought online from here:  http://www.realfoods.co.uk/product/24524/cool-chile-corn-tortilla-gluten-free-13pcs

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 ūüôā 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.

My Review of Domino’s Gluten Free Pizza

When I heard that Domino’s were finally due to start serving Gluten Free pizzas, I was¬†a little excited. ¬†I used to enjoy the veg supreme and volcano pizzas, and ordered them whenever there was a deal on, (as there often is in the student areas of Manchester) or I felt the urge to treat myself. ¬†I even had them a couple of times since my decision to rule gluten out of my diet. ¬†Such is their evil mono-sodium-glutamate filled allure.

The pizza bases went on sale last Monday, though I was almost expecting the branch I phoned to tell me they’d sold out or hadn’t been able to stock them yet for some reason. ¬†Of course, everything was fine, the only downfall being that the GF pizza bases are only made in small size. ‘ That doesn’t matter’ I said, and ordered the small Veg Supreme.

After the half an hour’s wait (plus delivery man checking with his boss that I had already paid over the phone like I’d said) I was ready for my pizza! ¬† I opened the box and noted that it was an inch or two or few bigger than the free ‘personal pizzas’ I pretend to be a student for at the start of each new academic year… ¬†I took a bite…

And it is safe to say that, at £11.99 a pop, which almost no pizza in the world is worth, it was a huge, gigantic let down.

The crust was noticeably warmed-from-frozen. ¬†The toppings tasted no different than if I had gone out and bought a cheap bag of veg and loaded its contents onto the pizza. ¬†The one redeeming feature was the garlic sauce, which just about made the pizza taste like normal Domino’s pizzas. ¬† However, I did not order garlic sauce as a main dish.

Perhaps I should be less harsh – it is good that Domino’s are conscious of their coeliac and gluten-intolerant customers, many of whom have been looking forward to this new development as much as I was…. but the recipe they use still needs improving if it’s to stand-up to the quality of their fresh pizzas.

So my advice is this: ¬†save your money and buy a frozen Genius tomato pizza base, which were about ¬£2.99 last time I checked in Tesco. ¬†Then buy whatever cheese and veg you want, pile that on top, and cook it in the oven for the 12 minutes necessary… ¬†it will be just as good, if not better….. and find a good garlic sauce!

Sad Truths About Juicing

One of the things I first read about in relation to PCOS was making sure I got a good daily intake of super foods Рgreens and flax seeds (aka linseed)  and that one of the ways I could do this was by drinking juiced veg.

However what I did not know is that, by juicing, which is a form of processing, the fibre is removed from the solid fruits and salads. ¬†And that this in turn makes the insulin spikes from sugars more pronounced. ¬†Having read this apparently well-researched¬†article, I have decided not to juice so often…

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 Рthey 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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Earth Cafe, Manchester, UK

open             mon-fri  11am-4pm Рsat 10am-5pm Рsun CLOSED

address        16-20 turner street, manchester m4 1dz   

Perhaps my favourite cafe in Manchester.  Although in a cellar next door to the Buddhist centre, it has not been a part of the centre for 5 years now.   It still maintains the original Buddhist theme, with brass figurines of the Buddha and information about meditation to hand etc.

There is a mix of large and small wooden tables to sit at, as well as more intimate booths, perfect for a romantic occasion.

Always popular is the £6 food platter, which gets you 4 portions of food Рup to 2 can be main courses, and the rest can be sides.  There are always gluten free choices available.  I tend to get the dahl, brown rice, carrot and apple salad, and roast potatoes.  The one criticism I have is that the variety of the food served rarely changes:  in other words, there is little variety.

Also available is an excellent smoothie and juice bar: ¬†I often go for the Green Queen so I don’t miss out on my dose of green fruit and veg.

I can’t remember ever having any of the cakes, though they look good. ¬†I rarely have enough room inside!

The atmosphere is that of a chilled canteen and the staff are friendly.

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.