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.

IMG_3746

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.

IMG_3737.jpg

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!

IMG_3748.jpg

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Watercress and Beetroot Salad with Yuzu and Black Sesame

image2 (1).JPG

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.

_________________________________

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

image1.JPG

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! 

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)!

image1

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.

image2

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

image3

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

image1

 

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!

Ghee Roasted Cauliflower with Pickled Cucumber

image2.JPG

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.

image1 (1).JPG

Chola Palak with Ginger and Kale

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

IMG_2506

  • 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!

Super Simple Chickpea & Spinach Curry (Chana Saag)

image3.JPG

  • In a deep frying pan, heat up some oil and fry some black mustard and cumin seeds for about a minute, until they become fragrant and pop. Add one large diced onion, stir and fry for about 10 minutes on medium-high heat until they begin to caramelise.
  • When the onions are cooked down, add at least 3 big cloves of crushed garlic, and a big thumb of ginger, grated. Stir for about 3 more minutes and add one can of tinned tomatoesAs you pour in the tomatoes, use a spoon to crush them a bit. Fill about half the can up with water and add to the pan.
  • Raise the heat a bit and cook down for a few minutes until the curry dries out a bit and much of the water has evaporated. Rinse and drain a can of chickpeas and add to the pan.
  • Warm everything through for a couple minutes and then add some ground coriander, chilli powder, turmeric and salt. Stir the tomatoes around in the spicy tomato curry for a minute and then slowly add in a bag of fresh pre-washed spinach, one handful at a time until all the spinach is wilted and incorporated into the curry.
  • Serve with some fluffy rice or chapattis, fresh coriander, a dollop of yogurt and a wedge of lime!

image2.JPG

Golibajae! Savoury Coconut and Yogurt Fritters

If you embrace modest deep-frying endeavours at home your quality of life will improve exponentially.

image2.JPG

  • In a large mixing bowl combine 1 cup of plain flour, about a handful of grated fresh or desiccated coconut, chopped green chillies, some chopped fresh curry or coriander leaves, and a sprinkling of salt. Add about half a cup of sour yogurt and combine.
  • Slowly add water until you have a lose and sticky batter that slips slowly off of a spoon. Allow the batter to sit and ferment for at least 20 minutes. After fermentation, add 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda.
  • Heat a small pot with veg or canola oil until the oil is hot. you’ll know the oil is ready if you drop a lemon seed sized drop of batter into the oil and it sizzles and rises to the top.
  • Drop scoops of the batter into the oil. They should sink to the bottom and very quickly rise to the top of the oil and sizzle more than gently but not super vigorously. Flip them over from time to time until they’re golden on both sides. (This shouldn’t take too long).
  • Remove on to some paper towel and allow the oil to drain as much as possible. Transfer to a serving bowl or platter and season with sea salt. Serve with some coconut or mango chutney.

image1.JPG

Turmeric Cauliflower and Cucumber Salad with Lime

unnamed

Roast 

One small head of cauliflower cut into small florets and tossed in  a generous amount of rapeseed oil, turmeric, and sea salt; roast until shrunk down and golden and even a little burnt and crispy. 

Toss

Salad leaves, baby spinach and sliced cucumber  in a large bowl. Gently fold in the cauliflower once it’s cooled off. Dry toast some cumin seeds in a frying pan, scatter on top. 

Squeeze the juice from a few juicy limes all over–the oil and salt from the cauliflower should season the rest of the salad, but add pepper and more salt if needed.