Easiest paleo flatbread ever with Instant vegan savoury cashew cheese

Paleo flat bread, no fuss. And the cashew cheese… Amazing. Superfast. Nicer than any cow-based cream cheese, coming from someone who still occasionally eats dairy. Just mix it up and go… Tangy, salty, savoury, spicy, creamy, yum.

On a side note..¬† hello ūüôā

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Ingredients &  Method – serves 2-4

Super easy paleo flatbread:

Vegan pasta sauce of choice
Ground almonds
Flax seed
Generous pinch of salt

No measurements. Use mostly almonds, a tablespoon or so of flax if you like, salt (more than you think you need – bread is quite salty) , then just enough sauce to make a thick paste.

Spread the paste onto a lined baking sheet, bake at 200 degrees C for about 15 min. Allow to cool before peeling away from your liner.

Cashew cheese:

4 tbsp cashew butter
2 tbsp soy yoghurt
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp garlic oil
1/4 tsp smoked Paprika
1 tsp pomegranate molasses – do not skip, this is what makes it magic
1 tsp probiotic powder (optional)
2 tsp nutritional yeast
Salt to taste

Mix everything together
Adjust seasoning to taste

Enjoy!

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Incredible korean style crispy green pancakes – vegan, gluten free, low carb, paleo

You know when something tastes so good you can’t resist eating it while you cook, and when you finally get to the table you forget all about things like table manners and cutlery and start tearing bits off with your hands in excitement? This is one of those things. It took me a full 15 minutes of eating before I could muster enough sense to pick up the fork. I’m stuffed now but still find myself longingly staring at the uneaten half of my third helping. Oh yes. This is one to get the fat-pants out for.

Except, it isn’t… It’s almost all veggies, with gram flour, onions, vegan kimchi  (thank you miss Maangchi!) and seasonings – apart from the oil used to fry them in there aren’t that many calories in them at all, for the way they taste. It’s like an amazing, crispy, pakora-like pancake but a billion times better… No overabundance of powdery dough, just the sweet, cruncy green veggies coated in a light layer of delicious, crisp, spicy batter… If I don’t stop describing this thing soon I’ll cave in and finish my plate. Make this. Especially if you find – as we did – a beautiful bunch of beets with greens intact that it’d be a crime to waste. They’re like kale but softer, less grassy and more sweet tasting. Although I’m sure baby kale or de-veined regular kale would work just as well.

Adapted from Maangchi’s kale pancake and kimchi pancake recipe vids on YouTube.

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Here it is next to some stir-fried veggies… Yummm

Ingredients – serves 3-4
1 large bunch of beet greens with stalks, maybe 150g, chopped
1.5 pak choi, washed, sliced
1 medium onion, diced
1 green onion (scallion), chopped
1 medium chilli pepper, de-seeded and chopped finely
1/4 tsp smoked Paprika
1/2 cup kimchi of choice (we used vegan homemade – to Maangchi’s easy recipe with soy sauce instead of fish sauce & pear instead of rice flour slurry)
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp toasted Sesame oil
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ginger powder
1/2 tsp salt
About 3/4 cup water
Up to 1 cup gram flour, or as much as required to make a thin batter that coats everything.
Generous amount of oil to fry in (2tbsp per pancake)
Optional – toasted Sesame seeds as garnish

1. Put everything except frying oil and gram flour in a large bowl
2. Mix well then add half the gram flour, mixing and gradually adding more until a thin batter coats everything and there are a few tablespoons more of it at the bottom of the bowl
3. Heat your pan with 2tbsp oil on high, putting ladlefuls of the mixture into it when hot, then flattening them out to make a relatively thin pancake (thinner means crispier and tastier). Fry until crispy on the bottom (around 3 min) then flip using a spatula, or just using the pan if you want to show off. Cook the other side until that’s crispy too, a few more min.
4. Transfer to a plate then start the next pancake in the same way. Stack the pancakes to keep them warm as you cook. Try not to eat too many as you fry!
5. Serve immediately, topped with toasted Sesame seeds if you like.
Enjoy!

Really Great Tomato Soup

soup2 tomatoes2

Who could resist a recipe called “Really Great¬†Tomato Soup”?

This recipe is (lightly adapted) from¬†The Grain Brain cookbook, which promotes grain-free living for neurological health and protection from Alzheimer’s.

Like the name promises, this really is “really great” soup!

table-tomato

  • 6 pounds tomatoes (the riper, the better!)
  • 8 ounces chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup salted butter (for economy’s sake, you could substitute olive oil for some of the butter, but use at least some butter for the flavour)
  • salt and pepper to¬†taste
  • optional: a bit of chopped green chilli, or a dash of red chilli pepper flakes
  • optional: a touch of sweetener or sugar

(For a medium-sized saucepan, or about 3 bowlfuls, you can use 2 pounds tomatoes, 1/2 medium-large onion, 1/2 clove garlic, and 1/3 cup salted butter.)

Note: No water!

1. Melt the butter over low heat in a large soup pot. Add the onions and garlic, and cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until soft and fragrant but not coloured. Add chilli (if using) when the onions are almost done.

2. Chop and core tomatoes. (Or, if you like, just chop them.)

3. Add tomatoes and season with salt and pepper to taste. Raise the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring frequently, until the tomatoes are mushy and the mixture soupy, about 25 minutes. (The tomatoes will produce their own water, so you do not need to add any water or broth.)

4. Puree with a blender.¬†If company’s coming, pour it through a fine-mesh sieve into a non-reactive saucepan. Add salt and pepper to taste, and, if you wish, a tiny dash of sweetener/sugar to bring out the natural sweetness of the tomatoes.

5. Garnish with toppings of choice, if desired. Basil would be an ideal choice. The soup in this photo is garnished with crumbled buffalo cheese, dried oregano, and black pepper. The soup also holds up well to any number of creative add-ins!

My favourite tomato, onion & herb cheesey quesadillas

We all have days off. ¬†Days off work, off our diets, days when you forget the rules and just enjoy something for the sake of it, without feeling guilty, just because we need it. ¬†This is one of my favourite foods for a day off. ¬†If you don’t know about the magical thing that is a quesadilla, its like a super easy stuffed tortilla, two crispy layers filled¬†with my favourite combinations of¬†flavours and all¬†held¬†together with the most glorious gooey, melted cheese. ¬†You can make it in 5 minutes flat, it’s healthier and faster than both pizza and its eastern cousin the paratha, and you could use the fillings and toppings from either of those here. ¬†You can use what you have in the house, but the particular combination I’ve used here is the best I’ve tried. ¬†As long as you spread a thinnish layer of your fillings and add a sparse sprinkle of cheese to hold it all in, have fun with it. ¬†You need to make this, trust me. ¬†You can thank me later.

quesadilla

Ingredients – makes 1 quesadilla (serves 1 as a snack or light lunch)

  • 2 medium/large tortilla flatbreads of choice – I used white flour tortillas here
  • 1 tbsp thinly sliced red onion
  • 2 tbsp finely sliced/ chopped baby plum tomatoes (or 1 tbsp sundried tomato, chopped – anything flavourful)
  • a pinch of dried thyme, or 1 tsp chopped fresh parsley or coriander (cilantro)
  • optional – 1 tsp sundried tomato oil (yum)
  • 3 tbsp grated hard cheese like cheddar
  • optional – lemon wedges or guacamole dip to serve (but please not the supermarket jars!)
  1. heat a large, round frying pan without putting any oil on it.  Put one of the tortillas flat on the bottom of the pan, then sprinkle over all of the other ingredients fairly evenly, leaving a 1cm-1.5cm gap all around the edge of the tortilla. It is important the cheese especially is evenly distributed.
  2. when you see the cheese start to melt, immediately place the second tortilla on top and squash it down with a spatula or kitchen tool of choice.  Make sure all of the second tortilla makes contact with the melted cheese and the whole thing gets stuck together.  Quickly slide your spatula underneath the tortilla and flip it over Рyou should notice what was the bottom tortilla has now become a beautiful golden colour and is crispy.
  3. Press the tortilla down carefully but firmly with the spatula, not tearing it but allowing the second side to crisp up.  After about 20-30 seconds carefully lift the quesadilla on to a plate to serve.
  4. Cut using a knife or¬†pizza slicer, and serve immediately with your choice of garnish or dip. ¬†Enjoy! ūüôā

superhealthy super-tasty mixed bean and pickle salad

This¬†dish is the kind of salad you could serve to someone who hates salad, and be pretty sure they’ll still like it. ¬†Unlike the standard leafy vegetables with cucumber, tomato, blah that salads can be, this is more filling, has a texture like “real” food, and is much more flavourful. ¬†Its like a far more delicious cold version of refried beans, with a few of the same crunchy ingredients as guacamole (minus the avocado). You can serve it as a side dish, or alongside more standard salad options such as lettuce, spinach, cucumber and flaked tuna as we did here – because these finicky perishable ingredients are served separately it means your lovely bean salad can be stored for up to a week in the fridge – if it lasts that long! ¬†It contains numerous super foods (beans being the top of the list), and is so healthy you could literally fill up on it at a relatively low caloric intake. ¬†It is also so good that my other half forgot all about the tuna – one of his favourite foods, and polished off three servings of this salad instead ūüôā

What makes this recipe so delicious is the flavour combination. ¬†Slow cooked beans, crunchy red onion, diced cherry tomatoes and red¬†peppers, chopped gherkins, capers, herbs and a special lemon and garlic dressing. ¬†What makes the dressing unique is the amount of acidity in it – a regular dressing contains twice the amount of olive oil as vinegar or lemon juice, this dressing has the opposite – an increase in tasty¬†sourness¬†being necessary to balance the unflavoured beans and to prevent indigestion from the beans and onions. ¬†Incidentally, when eating this (or any other dish containing pulses¬†or onion) I recommend drinking orange or apple juice, or lemonade or soda with it as opposed to water, because any dilution of your stomach acids can leave you feeling rather bloated (sour drinks help reduce¬†that). ¬†If you really don’t like those options, its best not to drink anything for an hour or so after eating.

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Ingredients – serves 4 (recipe can be halved)

  • 3 cups mixed, cooked beans (or the contents of 3 cans of beans of choice such as kidney beans,¬†butter beans, chickpeas, mixed beans etc drained)
  • 1/2 red onion, diced finely
  • 1/2 punnet (about 150g) baby plum or cherry tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 red pepper or pimento, diced
  • handful of baby gherkin pickles, diced
  • 2 tbsp capers, chopped
  • 4 sundried tomatoes or preserved slowbaked tomatoes (from a jar), finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp arabian dried thyme and sesame (or regular dried thyme)
  • 4 or 5 pieces of preserved artichoke (in oil- from a jar), diced
  • 4 tsp olive oil, or the oil from one of your jars such as¬†sundried tomatoes
  • 6 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt plus more to taste (varies if using canned or home cooked beans)
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  1. combine all of the beans and chopped pickles/ vegetables in a large salad bowl.
  2. in a cup or small bowl, combine all of the remaining ingredients to make a dressing.  Mix well.
  3. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well to ensure everything is coated.  Taste, and adjust seasoning if necessary РThe salad should be crunchy, flavourful and with a tart hit from the lemon and vinegar Рif the bean/ tomato/ herb flavours seem too bland it is probably lacking salt.  Carefully add more a pinch at a time, stirring well and tasting between additions.
  4. Serve immediately if desired, or store in the fridge for the flavours to develop. ¬†Can be made in advance and kept for up to a week. ¬†This makes a lot ūüôā ¬†Enjoy!

the ultimate comfort food: spiced butternut squash soup

It’s almost autumn. ¬†I say almost because I refuse to let go of the last glorious days of one of the few actual summers we’ve had in Britain during my life… but alas the leaves are turning funny colours and falling off, conkers are everywhere and it’s the season for squash and it’s cousin the pumpkin. ¬†Which brings me to one of my favourite parts of autumn – making this soup. ¬†It is by far the best way I know of to eat a butternut squash, requires no pre-roasting (unless you want to get all fancy – it does enhance the flavour but perhaps not enough to spend an extra 1-1.5 hours cooking it), and has *the* most wonderful taste – a subtly warming, creamy smooth, lightly sweet, slightly tart golden bowl of happiness, waiting to give your senses a big hug. ¬†The ultimate¬†comfort food – tastes every bit as warm, reassuring and delicious as others but is as good for you as it makes you feel eating it. ¬†This has to be one of my favourite soups of all time, which is saying something when you have tried as many soup recipes as I have ūüôā

spiced-butternut-squash-soup

Ingredients – serves 2

  • 400g butternut squash, peeled, diced
  • 2 tbsp crispy onion pieces (good quality only, nothing with dextrose and additives please – just onion, oil, salt, flour) OR half a small onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil¬†
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • around 600ml water, or a bit more than the stock cube recommends
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 2 tbsp natural yoghurt or creme fraiche (if substituting, use a non-dairy yoghurt with some tartness (i.e. not like coconut milk), or add 1tsp of lemon juice)
  1. heat the oil in a saucepan. If using fresh onion add it now and fry until golden.  
  2. Tip the squash into the saucepan, and add the curry powder.  Fry for a few minutes.
  3. add all of the remaining ingredients except the yoghurt to the pan and bring to the boil.  Simmer for 5-10 minutes until the squash is tender and cooked through.
  4. Remove from the heat. ¬†Blend using a stick blender or in a jug type, then stir through the yoghurt. ¬†Serve immediately. ¬†Enjoy ūüôā ¬†

Poached white fish with a leek, lemon & herb dressing

There are few dishes as elegant and delicious as a well poached piece of fish. ¬†Unlike other means of cooking fish which, in my experience, can be somewhat temperamental, this way is relatively foolproof because you can’t burn it or make it hard or dry, and its much less likely to become rubbery. ¬†Fish is good friends with lemon, onion (leek in this case) and herbs – the tartness and strong flavours become absorbed very easily and this particular combination somewhat masks the overly fishy taste you get with some varieties such as Mackerel. ¬†Having said that, I don’t like that fishy taste at all so we opted for lovely, clean tasting fillets of Basa instead (but any white fish will do). ¬†You can serve this immediately as a hot dish, with your favourite steamed veggies, or chill it and serve flaked on top of a nice green salad. ¬†Very versatile, and – like almost everything on this blog – fast (you can cook everything from frozen without defrosting), healthy & delicious ūüôā

For those of you familiar with poaching, you’ll probably wonder why I haven’t flavoured the poaching liquid with anything. ¬†The answer is simple – I tried it once and the fish tasted of absolutely nothing afterwards. ¬†I boiled it with fennel, onions, lemon, herbs, peppercorns, salt, you name it – and the only result was a soggy waste of all those precious ingredients (boiling lemon in any form makes the stock too bitter to be used for anything else)¬†and some rather bland fish. ¬†So in this recipe I’ve saved all the good stuff and made a hot dressing to pour over the fish later – so you can taste it all instead of tipping it down the sink.

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Three fillets, waiting to be eaten ūüôā

Ingredients – serves 2

  • 4 small or 2 large fillets of white fish, skinless & boneless (fresh or frozen – your choice)
  • 1/2 a small leek, or 1/3 to 1/4 of a large one, finely sliced
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • sea salt or himalayan pink salt, to taste
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp dried herbs of choice – we used oregano
  1. fill a large, shallow saucepan or frying pan¬†with water (no more than 1.5″ to the top though, you don’t want it overspilling when you add the fish) and bring to the boil. Once boiling, add the fish. ¬†If you’re using frozen fillets (all packaging removed first please), boil for 5¬†minutes then flip the fillets over, and lower the heat to low (or very low, and cover the pan) – however you do it the idea is to keep the¬†water barely¬†bubbling. ¬†leave it in there for another 5 minutes or so. ¬†If using fresh fillets, you’ll probably need to halve both those times. ¬†Check the fish is done by breaking it open a little in one of the¬†thickest parts – the flesh should be flaky and pure white, not translucent or firm/ hard to break apart (if it is continue to boil). ¬†Remove from the heat, leaving it in the hot water to keep it warm.
  2. in a small pot, heat the olive oil until hot. ¬†Add the leeks and stir for a few minutes, until soft and cooked. ¬†Add the garlic, herbs and salt and fry for a minute more, then remove from the heat – note, you want more salt than you think, because it has to go on that unflavoured fish. ¬†Once it has cooled for a minute, add the lemon juice and stir well – boiling lemon juice is not good as we’ve already mentioned.¬†
  3. Arrange the fillets on a warm plate, then spoon over the dressing and gently spread it over the surface of the fish.¬† Serve immediately. ¬†Enjoy! ūüôā