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!

Amazing oriental style meatballs with rice

This recipe is adapted from Monique’s slow cooker lamb recipe on the Divas Can Cook blog. One thing about Monique is she really knows her flavours, this combination blew us away. This is a stovetop version using our favourite vegetarian meatballs, absolutely delicious on a bed of buttered rice (that’s rice 3 days in a row this week lol – my new favourite thing)

See previous post for rice quantities/method

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Ingredients: serves 4
600g meatballs of choice
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 medium red onion, diced
4 tbsp olive oil plus 3 tbsp toasted sesame oil (do not sub – important for flavour. Must be dark black brown coloured toasted sesame oil, not the light coloured version )
4 tbsp soy sauce (we used Japanese)
2 vegetable stock cubes, or 2 1/2 cups stock of choice (we used organic veg cubes)
4 tbsp honey
2 tbsp thickener of choice – cornflour, flour or arrowroot (optional)
3 large cloves garlic (you can increase this, up to one small head, it’ll be delicious but the leftovers will be lethal – garlic develops in flavour & gets stronger over time)
1 sweet pointed red pepper, diced

To serve: rice & steamed broccoli

Method:
1. Fry the onion, garlic in the oils until soft & translucent
2. Add the pepper and ginger, fry for a couple of minutes
3. Add everything else except thickener, plus 2. 5 cups water if not using stock.  Dissolve thickener of choice in 2 tbsp water & pour in.
4. Bring to the boil, simmer 15 mins or until the sauce has thickened & meatballs are done
5. Adjust seasoning, then serve.
Enjoy!

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 🙂

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.

fish-in-green-dressing

 

Three fillets, waiting to be eaten 🙂

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! 🙂

 

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!