Asian style broccoli

I love broccoli in most things, but this has to be one of the absolute best ways to eat it.

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Ingredients – serves 2-3
1 pkt broccoli, steamed, about 250g
Pinch garlic powder
2 tsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp hot Paprika
1tbsp toasted Sesame oil
Toasted Sesame seeds to top

1. Mix everything together
2. Serve immediately
Enjoy!

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Vegan kimchi

A spicy, salty fermented pickle that is the basis of many korean dishes. A couple of my past posts have used it so I thought it only right to post the recipe properly.  Adapted from maangchi’s easy kimchi recipe on her site.

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Ingredients – makes about 2 litres
3lb cabbage
1/3cup salt
2 cups pureed korean pear – aka  Asian pears, but I’ve also used ripe conference pears, about 2 largish ones (peeled & cored before blending with a lil water)
1/3 cup soy sauce plus some salt
2 cloves garlic (the original calls for wayy too much imo. Wayyy too much)
1tsp minced ginger
1 cup minced onion (1 large onion)
3 green onions
1 granny smith apple
2 medium carrots, peeled
1/2 cup hot pepper flakes, or if like us y can’t get a hold of that, 46g ancho chilli powder plus 1tsp hot paprika & 2 generous pinches chilli flakes

1. Cut the chinese leaf into small pieces and remove the stalk. Wash well 2/3 times and drain (pic 1)
2. Add the salt and toss well. Allow to sit for 30 mins then toss again, repeating this 3 times. The leaves will wilt, release water and shrink considerably in size (pic 2)
3. Wash and drain the chinese leaf well. Chop the green onions, carrot and apple into matchsticks and add (pic 3)
4. Put all remaining ingredients into a food processor with 1.5 cups of water and blend until smooth (pic 4)
5. Mix your paste into the veggies, then store in a plastic tub in the fridge until needed. You can eat it immediately or let it ferment a couple of days at room temp to get a bit more sour, before storing in the fridge.
Enjoy!

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

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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!

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  • 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!

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 🙂

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 – The salad should be crunchy, flavourful and with a tart hit from the lemon and vinegar – if 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 🙂  Enjoy!

Oven roasted butternut squash with cherry tomatoes

This was one of the most delicious and guilt free dinners I remember having in a long time. With only a handful of fresh, natural ingredients, when cooked right this will make you wonder why you ever looked twice at a baked potato, or even sweet potato. The trick to getting the flesh of the squash beautifully sweet and tender and cooked through is to steam it beforehand; it cuts the oven time in half, ensures an even cook and means you can put everything in the oven at once and it’ll be ready together, as opposed to finding your squash raw in the middle, or your tomatoes burnt into little black inedible biscuits, or if you’re really unlucky, both.

The flesh of the squash has a slightly sweet tinge to its taste, which goes well with strong flavours such as tomato, thyme, lemon and garlic, or warm spices for an eastern twist. If you wanted to change this dish up I would steer clear of more subtle, creamier flavours as the dish wouldn’t be savoury enough, with nothing to cut through the mild sweetness.

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Ingredients – serves 2
One whole, large butternut squash, halved and deseeded
1 medium sized leek, sliced (sub: bunch of spring onions /scallions)
1 punnet (about 300g) cherry tomatoes of choice – good quality ones please
2 tsp dried oregano or thyme
1/8 tsp dried garlic powder
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt & pepper
Optional – shaved parmesan or hard cheese to top

1. Steam the squash. You can do this in a steamer on the hob, or in the microwave like we did. I put it in a large bowl, covered in cling film which I pierced a couple of times. About 10 minutes later the whole thing should be soft and squishy on the outside, with possibly a little bit of uncooked flesh in the very centre if your two halves were touching. This is alright. Any more than 1/4 uncooked and you’ll need to steam for longer.
2. Arrange the two halves in an ovenproof dish, open as shown. Sprinkle around the leeks, then tomatoes, then drizzle on the olive oil and herbs/ garlic. Season with salt & pepper then bake in the oven at 200 degrees Celsius  for about half an hour.
3. Your dish is ready when everything is cooked, soft, golden looking and the tomatoes have burst and look delicious. Remove from the oven, top with cheese and serve immediately.
Enjoy!

The most delicious leek & courgette soup

There are few soups I actually crave. This is one of them. The velvety creaminess of the courgettes, the sweet hint of onion from the leeks, the light chicken and vegetable broth with a hint of thyme, and the freshness of sour cream or creme fraiche… There is nothing about this combination that’s short of heavenly.  I’m not usually a fan of courgette (thats zucchini for those who call it that) and neither is my other half, but both of us love this soup… I think it has the potential to convert even the staunchest of cynics and have them stealing spoonfuls from each other’s bowls! (not that we did that…. Of course not. Ahem)

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Ingredients – serves 4-6
2 stock cubes, one chicken, one vegetable (or both vegetable for vegetarian /vegan)
1 small leek, sliced thinly
3-4 small courgettes (zucchini), sliced thinly, tops and ends discarded
Pinch garlic powder
1 tbsp dried (or fresh, chopped) thyme
4 tbsp creme fraiche, sour cream or mild/unflavoured soy yoghurt or 2tbsp coconut cream for vegan/paleo (important that the yoghurt doesn’t have much of a taste/ aftertaste so choose brands accordingly)

1. Put everything in a saucepan as shown. No need to pre-fry anything, that’s the beauty of using leeks instead of onion and thinly slicing everything
2. Add 1.5 litres of water approximately, or about 2 cups over what your two stock cubes recommend in total
3. Bring to the boil then simmer for 5 min or until veggies are soft (thin slices makes this faster)
4. Optional: blend soup in a jug blender or with the stick type (careful not to splash it everywhere like I did). Serve immediately 🙂
Enjoy!