Roasted Garlic and Pistachio Pesto

Slice the top off an entire head of garlic, wrap it up in a little tin foil packet, drizzle with olive oil and season with sea salt and pepper.

Roast the garlic in the oven for about 45 minutes or until fragrant brown and caramelised. Set aside and allow to cool down as much as possible. You’ll know its ready when the entire house smells of roasted garlic.

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In a frying pan, dry fry a few handfuls of pistachio and pine nuts. Watch carefully, toasting on medium-high heat and shake the pan often to get a quick but even toast.

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In a small blender, toss in the toasted nuts, a generous handful of roughly chopped parsley (you can also use spinach; use a neutral green that’s not overpowering in flavour).

Add the juice and zest of one lemon, a large glug of good quality olive oil, some grated parm, salt and pepper and a splash of water.

Blitz well and add a bit of parsley if its not green enough. Add more olive oil to thin out if necessary. Season to taste and enjoy!

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This is a great spread over some sourdough or focaccia or delicious with pasta!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Watercress and Beetroot Salad with Yuzu and Black Sesame

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Kale has been enjoying a golden moment for some time now. Some might say kale is one of the trendiest health foods out there; everyone from chefs to athletes to celebrities have been celebrating this incredibly healthy leafy vegetable. Whether you’re bored of kale, or never liked the taste to begin with, have you ever though it might be time for kale to step aside and let another leaf have its moment to shine?

According to the Centre for Disease Control, who analysed nutritional content of 47 fruits and vegetables and tanked them according to nutrition concentration (ie: how much fibre, proteins, potassium, vitamins and minerals they contain) kale did not make it to the top of the list—not even close. In terms of Nutrient Density kale scored an unimpressive 49.07/100, ranking below other leaves such as Romaine lettuce, parsley and spinach.

Right at the top of the list, with a perfect score of 100/100 for nutritional density: Watercress. These leaves are packed with vitamins and minerals proven to inhibit a range of cancers such as breast and prostate. It’s packed with anti oxidants that promote healthy vision and cardiovascular strength and is high in bone-strengthening vitamins K and A.

Watercress is a peppery and juicy leaf, and tastes slightly like rocket with a bit more of a punch. It’s distinctive taste pairs really well with earthy root vegetables and bright citrus flavours.

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RECIPE:

Using a mandolin or sharp knife, very thinly slice beetroot (assorted colours if possible) and radishes. On a large platter or board, arrange a layer of watercress leaves, the beetroot and radishes, and top with another scattering of leaves.

 

In a small bowl whisk 2 tablespoons of yuzu* 2 tablespoons of sesame oil and 1 heaped tablespoon of honey. Add plenty of freshly grated ginger and season with salt and pepper. (you may need to add a bit more honey as the yuzu can be quite bitter and tart!).

 

Spoon the vinaigrette over the salad and finish with a sprinkling of black sesame seeds.

 

 

*Yuzu is a Japanese cooking ingredient that is becoming more widely available in British grocery stores. It’s an extracted juice from a Japanese citrus fruit with a distinctive taste and very high levels of Vitamin C. It’s slightly sweet, tart and bitter with hints of orange, grapefruit and lime flavours.

Warm Potato Salad with Fennel and Oregano

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Begin by boiling 200-300g of potatoes until cooked through but still a bit firm.

While the potatoes are boiling, thinly slice half a fennel bulb, and celery hearts into a large bowl. Thinly slice 1-2 leeks and set them aside.

Finely chop a few generous handfuls of fresh herbs–as many as you have at your disposal–and  go heavy on the oregano. I also used mint, chives, and parsley. Set the chopped herbs aside.

When the potatoes are boiled, drain well, and cut into small cubes.

Warm up some olive oil in a frying pan and when the oil is hot throw in the potatoes. Shake the pan, season with salt and pepper. Add the sliced leeks to the pan, shake everything up again and fry until everything begins to crisp up.

When the potatoes and leeks are ready, set aside and let them cool off slightly so as not to wilt the fennel and celery. Shake the pan a bit and when the steam off the potatoes begins to dissipate, pour over the leeks and celery. Toss gently.

Pour over a good glug of olive oil, LOADS of lemon juice, salt pepper and all the chopped herbs.

Toss well and serve warm!

For a non-vegan version add crumbled feta! 

Kid’s Cooking Workshops

 

When children take an interest in cooking and nutrition they begin to create lifelong healthy eating habits while exploring their own creativity!

I am offering a range of Kid’s Cooking Workshops to inspire and educate the next generation of healthy eaters….

I am a Nutritional Consultant who is  DBS certified, with extensive experience working with children. Workshops can be vegetarian, vegan, gluten free or nut free and always involve delicious and nutritious bites.

To book a workshop, find out more details or to register your interest for summer activities or birthday parties, contact: melaniehadida@gmail.com 

 

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KOTTU ROTI–The New Shakshuka?

I’ve recently become obsessed with this fantastic Sri Lankan breakfast dish. As I continue my quest to introduce as many people as possible to the concept of spicy South Asian breakfast foods, I think this is the perfect way to start.

Shakshuka, a spicy Middle Eastern baked egg dish has become one of the trendiest brunch dishes in restaurants the world over, and I predict Kottu Roti is going to be the next big thing (even if I have to single-handedly make this happen!). Kottu Roti is a magical combination of spicy tomatoes, crunchy veg, scrambled eggs and leftover roti or chapati bread. It’s vibrant filling, healthy and uplifting–everything you need in a brunch food (especially with a hangover)!

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Kottu Roti

In a blender, whizz up about half a tin of fresh plum tomatoes, 4 cloves of garlic, a big thumb of ginger and some green or red chillies. Set aside.

Slice up a red onion and fry in some oil in a big wok, cooking down until soft and caramelised. Add some crushed cumin seeds (or just a bit of ground cumin) a splash of soya sauce, and the spicy tomato paste.

Add a few generous handfuls of sliced red cabbage and a couple carrots cut into matchsticks (or shredded or spiralised to your liking). Add some fresh curry leaves if you’ve got some on hand. Stir well, lower the heat and cook for a few minutes until the veggies soften but retain a good amount of crunch.

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Tear up a couple chapati or roti flatbreads (the idea is about using up leftovers in the house,  many Sri Lankan households presumably always have some leftover roti in the kitchen!) stir the roti in.

In a small bowl, lightly beat a couple eggs and gently fold the eggs in with the veggies and roti until cooked. Season with some salt.

Lastly, tear up some coriander leaves, chop some spring onions and scatter over the kottu roti, and serve up with plenty of fresh lemon or lime wedges.

I served this with a simple chopped cucumber salad with fresh mint and lime juice

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Herby Salad with Toasted Chickpeas (and quick-caramelised shallots!)

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In a large bowl, chop up an assortment of fresh herbs such as mint, coriander, parsley, chives etc. 

Roughly chop and add any other leaves and veg you have in your fridge. For this salad I used: endives, tomatoes, cucumber, and radishes.

In a large flat frying pan, toast some pine nuts, and bashed pistachio kernels on medium/high heat until golden and fragrant. Transfer to a small bowl and allow to cool.

In the same frying pan, heat up a small amount of oil. Drain and rinse one can of chickpeas and shake the colander to remove as much water from the chickpeas as possible.

Throw the chickpeas into the frying and shake the pan so that they’re spread out. Sprinkle a generous pinch of sumac and sea saltIf you can’t get your hands on some sumac you can use your own selection of spices. Ground coriander and paprika are also nice. Shake the pan to distribute the spices and toast the chickpeas on high heat for a few minutes, shaking every once in a while.

While the chickpeas are frying, roughly chop some shallots; chop them quite finely.

Remove the chickpeas, transfer to a bowl to cool off and add some more oil to the frying pan. Add the onions, some salt, and a drizzle of honey, lower the heat and allow the onions to cook down until golden. This shouldn’t take too long if the onions are cut finely.

When the nuts, chickpeas and onions have cooled off, add them to the bowl of chopped veg and toss well.

Drizzle with some good olive oil, honey, and the juice from a lemon and half an orange. Season with salt and pepper  and toss well.

This salad goes really well with marinated chicken skewers! I marinated my chicken in yogurt, crushed garlic, fresh mint, olive oil, salt and pepper for a few hours!

Chaat & Chutney Cooking Workshops!

I will be hosting a new Chat & Chutney cooking workshop in June! 

Together we’ll create some delicious vegetarian street snacks inspired by diverse regions of India such as bhajis, poha and channa chaat! We’ll also be making a green coconut chutney and a spicy summer fruit chutney to pair with the snacks.

 

WEDNESDAY JULY 12TH (New added date!)

THURSDAY JUNE 29TH IS FULLY BOOKED

WEDNESDAY JULY 5th IS FULLY BOOKED

 

Time: 19:00-21:00
Location: Chapel Allerton (exact location to be confirmed after booking)
Cost: £23 per person — £20 per person for CARA Members 

The course is  Vegan and Gluten Free ! BYOB/BYOW 

To book your space or for more details email: melaniehadida@gmail.com 

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Ghee Roasted Cauliflower with Pickled Cucumber

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Rinse and trim a head of cauliflower and place in a roasting tray. Smother the cauliflower with ghee, or coconut oil. Sprinkle over some turmeric, ground coriander and sea salt.

Roast at medium/high heat for at least one hour, check it every 15 minutes or so and add more oil or ghee if it looks like its starting to dry out. Continue to roast until the cauliflower has shrunken down and taken on a golden colour.

While the cauliflower is roasting, peel a cucumber into ribbons, thinly slice one shallot and transfer to a bowl. Cover the cucumber with loads of lime juice, a sprinkling of white sugar, salt, black mustard seeds and chilli flakes.

When the cauliflower its ready, cut into thick slices and serve with the pickled cucumber and some pomegranate seeds.

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Perfect Tarka Dhal

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  • Fill a large mug with lentils (ideally orange lentils, white urad dhal, or split mung dhal). Empty the lentils into a strainer and rinse very well. You should keep rinsing the lentils until the water runs clear.
  • Warm a bit of rapeseed oil, butter or ghee in a large saucepan and add the lentils. Cover with at least 1L of water and a sprinkling of sea salt. Bring to a boil and then turn down the heat allowing to simmer, uncovered, for about 30 minutes. Stir regularly and don’t be shy to add a few splashes of extra water as the lentils cook and the water absorbs. You want the lentils to get tender and the dhal to be smooth and creamy.

While the lentils are simmering, make the tarka, or tempering.

  • Heat some rapeseed oil, ghee or butter in a frying pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot add some cumin seeds and about 3 large banana shallots, finely sliced. Cook for around 5 minutes.
  • Add 2 tiny green birds eye chillies, sliced and 2-3 large cloves of garlic, crushed. Stir and cook for another 5 minutes, until the shallots brown and caramelise. Add heaped tablespoons of turmeric and garam masala.
  • If the dhal is too thick, add a bit of hot water and stir. Then, tip the tarka into the dhal, reserving about ¼ of it, and stir it in well.
  • Serve up with the reserved onions scattered on top, fresh coriander, lime wedges, yoghurt, basmati rice or rotis.

 

Chola Palak with Ginger and Kale

Chola and palak, another way of saying channa and saag , the mighty chickpea and spinach.

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  • In a frying pan, dry toast some cumin seeds and black mustard seeds. After a couple minutes, add some rapeseed oil, a few thinly sliced shallots or small onions and sauté for about 5 minutes on medium-high heat.
  • When the onions begin to brown and cook down, add some sliced garlic cloves, sliced red chilli and a big chunk of ginger cut into matchsticks. Sautee everything for another 5 minutes or so.
  • Drain and rinse a can of chickpeas and add to the frying pan. Stir well, adding some salt and a generous scoop of turmeric. Lower the heat and allow everything to sizzle a bit, but make sure nothing burns too much.
  • While the chickpeas are sizzling, use a nutribullet or food processor to blitz up a few massive handfuls of spinach, kale, a splash of water and some tomato puree.  (If you don’t want to use a food processor or just don’t have one, roughly but finely chop the spinach kale finely and bash up and bruise it with a spoon or mortar and pestle. Transfer to a small pot, add the water and tomato puree and warm gently until the spinach and kale has wilted, stir to make a ‘rustic’  puree.) It shouldn’t be perfectly pureed, just blitzed up a bit as if you’ve made a really thick spinach smoothie.
  • Transfer the spinach and kale into the pan with the chickpeas, onions, garlic, ginger and chillies. Lower the heat to minimum, or turn off the heat completely and gently fold in the spinach until it’s fully wilted and darkened in colour.
  • Serve with plenty of lime and fresh coriander!