Tag Archives: Gluten free

Beetroot & PSB Risotto.

  

Today was a hectic, beans on toast kind of day so, as I promised a recipe a day this week, here’s something I made a couple of weeks ago. 

This is a beautiful, vibrant, pink and green dish. It’s lovely served with lots of chopped dill and some soft, tangy goats cheese. No specific amounts in the recipe I’m afraid, but don’t worry, risotto is a flexible art. I’m sure yours will turn out just fine. I hope you like it! Liz x

  • About one small beetroot per person (either buy those ready cooked & peeled packs or cook & peel your own…boil/roast as you like), diced
  • Diced onion
  • Oil/butter/both
  • Garlic, to taste
  • Fresh thyme leaves
  • Risotto rice
  • A glass of white wine/a splash of vermouth/the juice of a lemon
  • Stock/water & seasoning
  • Purple sprouting broccoli, with the stems split halfway up their length so that they cook evenly

Fry the onion in a little oil/butter on a medium heat until it starts to soften. Then add chopped garlic and diced, cooked beetroot. Sprinkle over the risotto rice and thyme leaves and give it all a good stir. Add the wine/vermouth/lemon juice and stir again. Then add a ladleful of stock/seasoned water at a time and keep stirring until the liquid has been absorbed. Keep adding ladles of stock/water and stirring until the rice is nearly cooked. When you only need to add a last couple of ladles, put the purple sprouting broccoli on the top of the rice to steam and put a lid on. Let it cook for about 3-5 minutes, until the broccoli is cooked through, and then serve immediately. Lemon wedges, chopped dill and cheese on the table.


Whole Roasted Cauliflower.

 

Cauliflowers are great. They are, of course, amazing covered in a cheese sauce and baked into the classic cauliflower cheese. But, they also live an exciting double life as the perfect vehicle for spice. I’ve been LOVING roasting spiced up cauliflower florets for years now so I just knew a whole roasted cauliflower was bound to be something special. And I was right! This was my first ever attempt and I’ve got loads of ideas up my sleeve for variations…see the end. But here’s something to get you started if you fancy a special meat-free roast this weekend. The important thing to remember when roasting cauli’s whole is that they take a long time, over an hour usually. Think giant jacket potato. As always, adapt and adjust to your liking, and let me know how you get on. Liz x 

 

Whole Roast Cauliflower, Chickpea & Coconut Curry. 

Serves 4-6 

  • 1 cauliflower, leaves peeled off & the base levelled
  • 1 tin of coconut milk
  • 1 (or 2 if you are feeding more than 4 people) tins of chickpeas, rinsed & drained
  • 1 lime, zest & juice
  • 1 tbsp brown mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp nigella seeds
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • A small handful of fresh/frozen curry leaves
  • Sliced chillies to taste
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • An inch or so of fresh ginger, grated
  • Salt & black pepper to taste

Put all the ingredients in a small, deep roasting dish and add a mug of water. Mix and smear the coconut and spices all over the cauliflower. Place in the middle shelf of your oven (200C) and roast for at least an hour depending on the size of your cauliflower. It could take an extra half hour… Keep checking on it every 15 minutes or so and basting it by spooning over the sauce. If your cauli is very big the sauce may start to dry out so add some more water or another tin of coconut milk. Check for done-ness by inserting a skewer into the middle. 

Serve sliced wedges of the cauliflower over some boiled rice and spoon over the lovely, coconutty roasted chickpeas. Sprinkle with lots of chopped coriander leaves and provide lime wedges to squeeze at the table. I love it with lime pickle and mango chutney too! 

Oh and don’t discard the cauliflower leaves! Fry them up in a little oil with sliced chillies, garlic, cumin seeds, salt and pepper! If you can get hold of some okra put that in too! With a squeeze of lime juice. Lovely 😋

   

 

Some other ideas I’ve had and which I will be trialing soon…

Smear with chermoula paste, tip in a couple of tins of tomatoes, a tbsp of Harissa paste, some chopped dates and red onions. Season well, drizzle with olive oil and roast. Serve with fluffy cous cous and salad. And a tahini dressing!

Smear with Thai green curry paste. Add coconut milk, lime and spring onions. Roast and serve with rice/noodles and steamed greens.

…or any shop bought Indian curry paste, with a base of tomatoes/coconut milk, red lentils or chickpeas.

Or cover with olive oil and sprinkle fennel seeds, crushed chillies, crushed garlic, dried oregano and seasoning. Roast with a base of tomatoes and serve on pasta or polenta.

Or garlic, Rosemary, butter beans and tomatoes? 

The possibilities are endless! And endlessly delicious. 


Flourless Vegetable Chocolate Cake

I have something very special to share with you today. You absolutely MUST try this cake. Too often when we try recipes for healthy cakes they just don’t hit the spot and we never make them again. This cake is different. I have been testing and adjusting this recipe so that it works with both beetroot and aubergine purée. Now you can make this cake all year round with seasonal vegetables. Use aubergine all summer and well into autumn, and beetroot over winter and spring. Let me know how you get on. Liz x

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About 300g of cooked, peeled and puréed beetroot/aubergine
200g melted dark chocolate
4 eggs, separated (whites whisked to form soft peaks)
200g honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g ground almonds
50g Cocoa powder (plus an extra tsp for dusting)
2 tsp baking powder (get the gluten free variety if you like)
a pinch of salt

Start by preparing your vegetables. If you are using beetroot, boil them whole until soft, then run them under cool water and peel them. The skin should just slip off but use a sharp knife if you are having trouble. If you are using aubergine then prick them a few times with a skewer and either microwave in a covered bowl or roast until completely silky soft inside. Let them cool then slice in half lengthways, scoop out the flesh and discard the skin. Purée your vegetable of choice and set to one side.

Next melt the chocolate. Either microwave it gently or place in a glass bowl over a pan of simmering water. Once it’s completely melted, stir into the puréed vegetable.

Put all the other ingredients in with the lovely chocolately veggie goo (apart from the egg whites!) and give it all a good mix.

Whisk the egg white until soft peaks form then carefully fold into the cake mixture. Start with a big scoop to get things going, then fold in the rest, a half at a time. Use a big spatula and make sure you scrape all the goodness up from the bottom.

Pour the batter into a greased and lined (with baking parchment), loose bottomed cake tin (I would even line the bottom of a silicon cake tin if that’s what you are using) and bake at 180C for 30-40 minutes. Test with a clean skewer, when it comes out clean it’s done.

Let it cool a little then carefully turn the cake out onto a wire rack to cool. Dust with cocoa powder. This cake is absolutely amazing served with lots of fresh/frozen raspberries and a hot cup of coffee.

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Lazy Veggie Sushi Bowl

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Here’s my sushi roll recipe. Feel free to ignore it, as I have done (above), and make a lazy sushi bowl instead! I had loads of greens in the fridge so that’s what I used tonight (I fried broccoli, shredded greens and julienned leeks in a little oil and a splash of light soy sauce, the rest of the veg is raw – cucumber, spring onions, avocado, sugar snap peas…) but of course you can use what ever you have to hand. Liz x

My kids love veggie sushi. They love anything that they helped make themselves, and there is nothing like that feeling of pure satisfaction when you see your kids eat vegetables (and seaweed!! so good for you). Sushi is much easier to make than it looks…well, it is the way I make it anyway…
If you are in a rush you can always make a ‘lazy sushi bowl’. Simply put the cooked rice and prepped veg into bowl, tear up some sushi nori – you can buy packets of this dried, flattened seaweed in health food shops and most supermarkets now. Add sesame seeds, drizzle with sushi seasoning, dot a touch of wasabi around & a squeeze of chilli sauce and you are in lazy sushi heaven. Delicious!

Sushi Rice
Sushi Rice Seasoning
Sushi Nori
Sesame Seeds

Spring vegetables of your choice…eg:
Asparagus (steamed or raw)
Spring Onions
Spring Greens (wilted)
Purple Sprouting Broccoli (steamed)
Beetroot (boiled & skinned)

Optional extras…
Avocado
Cucumber
Grated Carrot
Smoked Tofu (I recommend looking for the one with almonds & sesame seeds)

Optional condiments…
Wasabi
Pickled ginger
Light Soy Sauce/Liquid Aminos
Chilli sauce (sweet/hot)

Cook enough sushi rice for everyone. Generally adults would eat one roll of sushi each – eight pieces. You will need about half a cup of cooked rice per roll, so that’s a quarter of a cup (about 50g) of uncooked rice per person. Measure out your rice using a cup/jug. Add twice the volume of water using the same cup/jug. Bring to the boil with the lid on then immediately turn the heat right down to the lowest setting and simmer. Don’t fiddle with it! The rice is done when it has absorbed all the water. As soon as it is done tip it into a large bowl/platter to cool it quickly. Sprinkle one tbs of sushi seasoning per portion onto the rice and gently stir it in and spread it out to cool it down to room temperature. You can fan it to speed up the cooling process if you like.
Start preparing your vegetables. Use your judgement with amounts…you will only need 3 or 4 different fillings per roll, a little goes a long way. Slice all the vegetables and tofu into long thin strips and put them on a large platter ready for assembly. I like to sauté some veg with a splash of good light soy sauce (look for tamari or liquid aminos if you are avoiding gluten) and a sprinkle of sesame seeds for an extra savoury kick.
Assemble the sushi rolls one at a time until you run out of rice. Lay a sheet of sushi nori, shiny side down, onto a rolling mat. Using two spoons, spread a thin layer of rice evenly over the nori. Start layering on vegetables in different combinations (try beetroot, avocado & spring onion or asparagus, spring greens & smoked tofu), try to keep the veg even and in the first quarter of the roll closest to you. Start rolling as tightly and evenly as you can. I find it easier to start by tucking in the first bit without using the mat, then gather up the mat and roll & tuck, roll & tuck until you get to the end. Firmly squeeze the roll in the mat to ensure it all sticks. Gently unfold the mat and place the roll onto a chopping board and slice each roll into eight.
Serve on a nice board with some dipping sauces/condiments of your choice. Gently press some of the little slices, rice side down, into a small ramekin of sesame seeds. Then dunk into the dipping sauces and eat!

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Lentil Dal: pure comfort from the store cupboard.

Here’s a favourite recipe I’m working on for my book. I hope you find my ‘recipe at a glance’ illustrations helpful alongside my more conventionally written recipes. Let me know how you get on if you try it.
Liz x

Dal is the ultimate comfort food in my house, loved by adults and children alike. We often have these softly stewed, spicy lentils with nutty brown rice, or scooped up with naan breads or popadoms…with a liberal dollop of lime pickle on the side of course. I am totally addicted to the stuff! You can’t go wrong with dal, it’s warming, hearty, nutritious and delicious, and all from the store-cupboard. We often include a diced seasonal vegetable, like carrot, winter squash or cauliflower if we have some in the house but this is completely optional. Dal is typically made with South Indian flavours but can be made in many ways. My favourite way is with coconut milk, curry leaves and tamarind, but we often have it simply with spices and water. There are two ways of spicing this dish. At the cafe we generally fry off the spices, garlic and onions in oil before adding the lentils and liquid, because it’s easier to keep it like this, especially in such large quantities. A lovely way to present this at home is to boil the lentils with a simple seasoning and some turmeric and then make a fresh, spicy tarka to drizzle over and stir through each portion just before serving. This way we can leave out the tarka for the kids and we still get to enjoy a good chilli hit! Whenever I can get them I also sometimes fry okra in the tarka before spooning it over the dal. I have included the tarka in this recipe at the end, but feel free to make it at the beginning instead, then add the lentils and liquid to the spices and simmer and stir until it’s done. This is a great recipe to make in the slow cooker. Dal is divine!

Serves 4

For the dal…
200g red split lentils
(or chana or urid dal)
salt & pepper to taste
2 tsp turmeric powder
4 cardamom pods
a handful of fresh curry leaves if you can find them, if not dried will do
1/2 400ml tin coconut milk (optional)
1 tsp tamarind paste (optional)
diced seasonal vegetable (optional)

For the tarka…
4 tbsp coconut oil (or light oil of your choice)
2 tsp brown mustard seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp nigella seeds (optional)
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 large onion, finely sliced
4 cloves garlic, sliced
4 cm piece fresh root ginger, grated
sliced fresh chilli to taste

To garnish…
lots of chopped coriander
wedges of lime

Measure the lentils out into a jug. Make a note of where they come up to. Put the lentils, salt and pepper, turmeric, cardamom pods, curry leaves (and tamarind if you are using) into a large sauce pan. Use the jug to measure out the coconut milk (if using) and water into the pan. You will need 3 times the volume of liquid:lentils. Bring to the boil then turn down the heat to the lowest setting and simmer with the lid on. Give it an occasional stir to make sure it’s not sticking on the bottom and add more liquid if it looks like it’s drying out before it’s done. This will take between 20 minutes and 40 minutes depending on the amount and type of lentils you are using.
Once the lentils are soft and at a texture that you are happy with (I like my dal the consistency of somewhere between a porridge and a thick soup) You can keep them warm while you make your tarka.
Put the oil in a small milk pan and heat it up. Add the onion and fry for a few minutes until it starts to colour. Then add the whole spices, garlic, ginger, and chillies. Fry for another minute or so and then spoon over individual bowls of the lentils.
Serve with rice, popadoms or Indian flat breads and a selection of chutneys. Lime pickle and mango chutney are our favourites.

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Wild mushrooms on polenta

This simple and elegant dish is one of our favourite ways of showcasing a freshly foraged batch of wild mushrooms. Of course you should feel free to substitute shop bought mushrooms here. Only ever pick mushrooms you are 100% sure are edible.

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First job is sorting through the mushrooms and cutting out any bits that have a slightly too high maggot-to-mushroom ratio for your taste, wiping off any dirt and slicing as you like. We like to keep the little ones whole and slice bigger ones so that they keep their mushroomy shape.

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Here we have a selection of little ceps and boletus’, puffballs and beautiful little amethyst deceivers. Fry them all up in a little olive oil, garlic and butter with salt and plenty of black pepper. Set to one side on your stove to keep warm and get started on the polenta. I normally use a finely ground variety as I am the most impatient person on the planet but feel free to use a courser polenta if that is what you like to do. Just perhaps start cooking it before the mushrooms…

The basic rule for any polenta is one part polenta to four parts liquid (water/stock). Be aware that polenta swells up almost unbelievably so a small coffee cup will more than adequately feed two hungry adults. Put your liquid into a pot (I used freshly boiled water, a veg stock cube and some chilli flakes and rosemary) and bring to the boil. Add the polenta and whisk on a high heat until it starts to thicken. Turn down the heat and keep stirring until when you taste it, it is smooth and creamy, almost like mashed potatoes, rather than grainy. Add a generous knob of butter and some grated cheese. Check for seasoning and give it one last stir before pouring into bowls and topping with the oozy fried mushrooms. A sprinkling of freshly chopped flat leaf parsley does not go amiss here, nor does another fine grating of cheese. Enjoy! Liz x

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Submitting to autumn

Making lunch for my lovely mummy friends at home today and it is definitely soup weather.

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Sweet potatoes (this is also great with winter squash of course) are simmering with onions, garlic, chillies, cumin seeds, coriander seeds and smoked paprika. I’m also making a sweet and spicy topping of caramelised onions and chickpeas with cumin seeds and Harissa.

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And here it is… ‘Spicy Sweet Potato Soup with Caramelised Onions, Chickpeas and Harissa’

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Also good with natural yogurt to cool it down a little. Liz x