Category Archives: RECIPES

Quick & Easy Thai Yellow Curry for One.

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Being home alone doesn’t mean having cereal or take out for dinner. This quick and easy Yellow Curry is ready in about 20 min and packed full of fresh veggies. I always keep a jar of Thai curry paste in the fridge and a can of low fat coconut milk in the cupboard. All you need are the veggies and some brown rice and your’e ready for a deliciously spicy, healthy and hearty meal.

I love cooking, mostly for a large group of people, that way I can make many dishes and flex my culinary skills 😉 So when I am home alone, cooking just for myself, I’m not as inspired to create something amazing. Having simple ingredients on hand makes coming up with dishes for one simple and less labor intensive (hey, cooking for one means there is no one else to share the clean up!).

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tbsp of Thai Curry Paste (yellow, red or green)
  • 1 tbsp of oil
  • 3 baby eggplants, about 3/4 cup chopped
  • 2 heads of baby bok choy (or 1/2 cup of chopped cabbage)
  • 3 shitaki mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 handful of sugar snap peas (or green beans)
  • 1 small green pepper, chopped
  • 1 handful of  fresh Thai basil or regular basil will do
  • 1/2 cup of low fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup of water or coconut water
  • 1 tbsp of tamari sauce (thats Gluten Free soy sauce)
  • 1 inch piece of ginger grated
  • 1 clove of garlic, diced fine
  • Plus a portion of cooked brown rice for one (about 1/2 cup of brown rice, I used basmati, 1 cup water, simmer for about 15 min, lid on)

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INSTRUCTIONS:

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  1. Wash and chop all of the veggies except the sugar snap peas, leave them whole.
  2. In a pan over medium heat, add the oil and curry paste. Cook for about 1 min.
  3. Add in all of the veggies except the peas and bok choy, plus the garlic and ginger. Stir and cook for about 3 min.
  4. Add in the coconut milk and water. Cook for about 5 min.
  5. Add in the peas and bok choy, cook for a further 2 min.

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At this point you can add a little corn starch to thicken it, as I water down my coconut milk to keep the fat content down, but you can thicken it back up if you prefer.

Heap some brown rice into a bowl and pour on the hearty veggie curry and you’re delicious dinner for one is ready! Much better than a bowl of Special K right?? 🙂

English Pea Bruschetta on Toasted Whole Grain Bread

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Beautifully bright green- they must be good for you! I love English peas (also known as Garden Peas, Green Peas) but my other half isn’t a fan. I think he might have the same attitude toward peas as many of us, weird little green things that are in a tasteless pile on our plates as a side dish. Usually bought frozen and then boiled to death. Sad.

Solution #1: Buy fresh peas (if you can). They are so fresh and tasty that you can actually eat them raw.

Solution #2: If you buy them frozen, boil them for about 1 minute and then dunk into an ice water bath to stop the cooking process and keep that intensely green color and crispness.

Solution #3: When dealing with ultra skeptical guests: garlic and parmesan on everything! That’ll usually do the trick 🙂

This now happens to be one of his (and mine of course) favorite snacks, and look at that, its made with peas! Changing peoples minds about foods is an amazing thing. Especially for them, as they have just added a new vegetable into their culinary world. Exciting!

This recipe literally takes about 2 minutes to make. You’ll need a mini food processor. Enough for 2 people, 2 toasts each.

IMG_3058Into the food processor:

1/4 cup of parmesan cheese (I cut a chunk off and let the processor do the grating for me)

1 tsp of fresh rosemary

1 cup of fresh English peas (raw or cooked for 1 minute and then placed in an ice cold water bath)

1 small clove of raw garlic

1 tbsp of olive oil

1 tbsp of balsamic vinigar

S&P

4 slices of whole grain bread, toasted

IMG_3063In it all goes, blend together until relatively smooth. Spread on toast, drizzle with a little good quality olive oil (optional) and serve. Delicious 🙂

Just wait until you read about the Health AND Environmental benefits of Peas! Amazing…

Screen Shot 2013-07-15 at 2.23.55 PMSource: WHFoods.com

Peas are naturally low in fat, about 1/3 of a gram per cup and full of vitamins and nutrients as you can see from the chart above. Thirty percent of your daily fiber requirement in just one cup of peas! An anti-oxident and anti-inflamatory food, peas have been known to help reduce stomach cancers, type 2 diabetes and promote a healthy heart.

Check this out:

Green peas stand out as an environmentally friendly food. Agricultural research has shown that pea crops can provide the soil with important benefits. First, peas belong to a category of crops called “nitrogen fixing” crops. With the help of bacteria in the soil, peas and other pulse crops are able to take nitrogen gas from the air and convert it into more complex and usable forms. This process increases nitrogen available in the soil without the need for added fertilizer. Peas also have a relatively shallow root system which can help prevent erosion of the soil, and once the peas have been picked, the plant remainders tend to break down relatively easily for soil replenishment. Finally, rotation of peas with other crops has been shown to lower the risk of pest problems. These environmentally friendly aspects of pea production add to their desirability as a regular part of our diet.”  Source: WHFoods.com

 

 

Baked Maple Syrup & Cinnamon Apples (minus the Pie) for Dessert

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Hot apples baking away in the oven with cinnamon and maple syrup…mmmm… Why go for the full fat apple pie when you can get all of the flavor with these “skinny” baked apples? Oh and did I mention it takes about 5 min to make?

Ingredients:

2 apples, skin on, organic

pinch of cinnamon

drizzle of 100% pure Maple Syrup

handful of raisins

handful of sliced almonds

1/4 cup of water

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Instructions:

Heat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius/430 F

Cut the middle out of your apples with a sharp knife, and preserve a little “lid” for the bottom (so the juices stay inside).

Place in an oven proof dish.

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Top with raisins, a pinch of cinnamon, drizzle over the maple syrup (making sure to get some inside the apple) and sprinkle on the almonds.

Add the water to the bottom of the dish, so the apples don’t get stuck to the bottom (and you get more of a sweet syrupy sauce).

Bake for about 15 min, until apples are tender.

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Serve alone or with a little cream (5.5g of fat per 30ml serving) or you can do vanilla frozen yogurt. Homemade, simple and delicious.

Health Benefits of Apples:

“Apple polyphenols (anti-oxidents) are standout nutrients in this widely loved fruit. These polyphenols include flavonols (especially quercetin, but also kaempferol and myricetin), catechins (especially epicatechin), anthocyanins (if the apples are red-skinned), chlorogenic acid, phloridizin, and several dozen more health-supportive polyphenol nutrients. Apple is a good source of fiber, including the soluble fiber pectin, and it’s also a good source of vitamin C. Apple nutrients are disproportionately present in the skin, which is a particularly valuable part of the fruit with respect to its nutrient content.” http://www.whfoods.org

Creamy Banana Mango Breakfast Smoothie- Dairy & Soy Free!

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Smoothies are a great breakfast option for days when you don’t have time to cook, or want your breakfast to go or in a hurry.
I try to keep my blender in plain sight in my kitchen so I am reminded to use it in the morning to make nutrient packed smoothies (just a tip!).

I love creaminess in my smoothies, not a big fan of just pure fruit and ice. But I don’t want to use milk or soy, so instead I use coconut milk. It’s not the coconut milk from a can used in Thai cooking, but rather it comes in a milk carton and is low in fat and tastes refreshing. I personally like this brand, available in select grocery stores.

http://www.kokodairyfree.com/

This recipe is super simple, and I like the fact that there are no berries involved, unlike most smoothies.

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Ingredients:

1 banana
1/2 cup of frozen mangoes (now you don’t need any ice)
1 tbsp of honey
1 cup of coconut milk

Instructions:

Everything into a blender and blend until smooth(ie). That was easy! 🙂

From the KoKo Dairy Free website:

Unique, great tasting, dairy free alternatives to milk

+ Made from freshly pressed coconut milk.
+ Naturally free of lactose, cow’s milk protein, soya and gluten.
+ Ideal for anyone with lactose, cow’s milk protein, soya or gluten intolerance.
+ Suitable for vegans, vegetarians, and coeliacs.
+ Cholesterol free and with calcium and fat levels matched to semi-skimmed milk. A naturally healthy
option for all to enjoy.
+ Palatable and versatile to use as drinks and in cooking.

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Quick & Easy Lunchtime Hand Rolls with Sesame Tomato & Cucumber Salad

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I love hand rolls! What’s so great about them is they are actually a perfect snack or lunch time treat if you are bored with sandwiches but don’t want to splurge on Sushi. They are super easy to make at home with ingredients you already have in your pantry.

Key ingredient of course: Nori (seaweed). But what you put inside is totally up to you and your imagination. I had a can of tuna and mayonnaise in the fridge. You could also add veggies to it, like your standard avocado or cucumber, but I decided to save mine for a salad on the side.

This literally took about 20 min to make, but if you happen to have leftover rice in the fridge you could be eating in about 5 minutes.

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Ingredients:

1 cup Sushi Rice, Brown rice or I used a mixture that I like which has Wild Rice and Lentils, rinse well, until water runs clear

1 1/2 cup water

1 can tuna fish

4 Nori wraps (make sure to have more handy, it takes a few tries to get them rolled just right without the insides dropping onto the floor!)

1 tbsp mayonnaise

1 tsp spicy red pepper Dijon mustard (you could use any type of hot sauce for this)

2 tsp Amino Acids (one for the spicy tuna and one for the salad dressing)

1 tbsp rice vinegar

1/2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

1 small tomato, diced

1/3 cucumber, skin on, diced (about 1/2 cup)

2 tbsp sesame oil

1/2 tbsp of tamari sauce

Instructions:

Boil the rice, with the lid on. About 15 min. If you have time to let it cool great, otherwise pop it in the freezer to cool down.

Drain the tuna, add the mayo, spicy Dijon mustard, 1 tsp rice vinegar, sesame seeds and 1 tsp of the amino acids in a bowl and mix together.

In a separate bowl add the sesame oil, 1 tbsp rice vinegar, 1 tsp amino acids, s&p,  mix together and add in the tomatoes and cucumber. Toss well.

The assembly!

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Now this part looks easier than it is. I went through a couple of these before I got it right. The key is you want to make a cone so when you pick it up, the rice doesn’t fall out if the bottom. So tear the square seaweed sheet in half and place a bit of the rice and tuna mixture on the left side, roll the left corner inwards, and as you roll bring it on an angle towards you to make a cone shape. No matter what shape you come up with- it’s still edible!

One thing to keep in mind is the seaweed will go soft the longer it sits, so try to prepare and eat right away. I also found that instead of dipping the hand-roll into the tamari sauce, you could also drizzle a little on before you roll it up. Lessening your chances of any more spillage! 🙂

Tamari vs Soy Sauce:

Both are made of fermented soy beans. However Soy Sauce actually contains wheat and gluten, where as Tamari is Gluten and wheat free. I find that taste very similar but to me, tamari tastes less salty yet richer. I only use Tamari now.

Nutrition for Nori Seaweed:

Nori has about a third protein and a third dietary fiber, and contains high proportions of iodine, vitamins AB, and K, and iron. (Wikipedia)

Salad Nicoise, Herbes de Provence Encrusted Ahi Tuna, Burrata and Heirloom Tomatoes with Homemade Aioli

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Some holidays you just never want to leave. That was the case last week when I was in the South of France. The warm sea breeze, bright sunshine, the freshest seafood and local produce including juicy ripe tomatoes, sweet and mouth-watering melons,  the famous and fragrant Herbes de Provence and of course lets not forget Cotê de Provence Rosé. A delicious vacation to say the least!

After visiting the Chateau Minuty Winery  (http://www.chateauminuty.com) to bring back some bottles for ourselves, I decided to share the experience and have a dinner party once back in London, so we could all celebrate the flavors of South of France.

What’s great about this dinner is that it can accommodate different dietary requirements. The salad portion of the Salad Nicoise is kept separate from the tuna, so those who are Vegetarian (but eat eggs) can help themselves, those who eat fish can add it later and I even made grilled organic, local Sirloin steak for the die-hard meat eaters in the house.

On the Menu:

Hors D’œuvres: Spring Radishes with Herbes de Provence infused Fleur de Sel (Sea Salt)

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This is very easy to make and a French classic. The first time these were offered to me I thought to myself “you can’t be serious, radishes with salt on a plate? Really??”.  I was used to seeing radishes as a garnish and always tossed aside. But I couldn’t insult my host, so I gave them a shot. I was pleasantly surprised at how much flavor they had. Peppery, and cold with a perfect crunch. Just a hint of sea salt, making them the perfect fat-free snack.

This variety is called the French Breakfast Radish and I find the flavor stronger and more distinct than the ones commonly sold in grocery stores (red, round and used for garnishing). Just chop the tops off and rinse in cold water, add some Fleur de Sel on the side, butter is traditional but not necessary and serve right away. Radishes will dry out if left to stand.

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Les Plats (the main dish): Homemade  Aioli, Heirloom Tomato and Burrata Salad, Salad Nicoise and  Grilled Herbs de Provence encrusted Ahi Tuna

Ingredients & Instructions:

To serve a dinner party of 8 people

Aioli:

  • 1 clove smashed up garlic (I like to use a mortar & pestle)
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • s&p
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup of extra virgin olive oil

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Smash up the garlic clove really well. You can use a whisk for this recipe and a large bowl or you can use a hand blender or food processor. The key is to be really quick with the whisk as the olive oil needs to be drizzled in very slowly to incorporate air to create thickness.

Add the garlic, egg yolk, Dijon mustard, s&p and lemon juice to the bowl and whisk together, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until you have a mayonnaise like texture. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Heirloom Tomato and Burrata Salad:

  • 6 heirloom tomatoes (Heirloom: A non-hybrid breed of tomato, usually passed down through generations, these are my favorite tomatoes bursting with juicy sweetness)
  • handful of fresh basil leaves
  • 2 balls of Burrata cheese (this is a fresh Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream, it is tough on the outside and soft and creamy in the middle, a special treat!)
  • good drizzle of good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • good drizzle of balsamic vinegar
  • Herbs de Provence seasoned Sea Salt & fresh cracked pepper ( I picked this up in St. Tropez but you could easily make it yourself, just add herbs de provence to your salt and keep in a jar, it will be fragrant and give your food a South of France flavor)
  • 1 tsp of dried oregano

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Chop the tomatoes and burrata into 2 inch pieces and place in a large dish. Chop the basil up and sprinkle on the tomatoes and burrata, add the oregano, fresh cracked pepper and herbs de Provence sea salt, olive oil and balsamic.

Salad Nicoise:

  • 2 heads of cos or romaine lettuce
  • 6 boiled organic eggs, cooled and peeled
  • 10-12 baby potatoes skin on
  • 1 cup of nicoise olives, pitted
  • 500-600 grams of French or Fine green beans, ends cut off (handful per person)
  • Dressing: 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil, 1/3 cup of champagne or white wine vinegar, 2 tbsp honey Dijon mustard, s&p

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Wash the lettuce and chop into bite size pieces (the French never cut their salad with a knife and fork! I was quickly informed of this on my first trip to Paris…ahem…). Chop the potatoes in half or quarters and boil for about 15 min. Boil the eggs for about 10 min and let cool. Boil the beans until they are just al dente, about 3 min and then plunge into an ice water bath to stop the cooking process.

Peel the eggs and cut in half. Assemble on a large plate, placing the olives in the middle.

Herbes de Provence Encrusted Grilled Ahi Tuna:

  • 4 tuna steaks, about a pound each, make sure you go to a trusted fish monger with good quality fish
  • 4 tbsp herbes de Provence
  • s&p
  • olive oil

IMG_4936Rinse and dry the tuna steaks. Brush a little olive oil onto each side and then sprinkle with the herbs, about 1 tbsp per steak and s&p. Do both sides.

Have the BBQ on high and cook the tuna for about 2 minutes so it is medium rare. Tuna tends to dry out very quickly if it is fully cooked, so be careful not to over cook. This method will sear the outside and leave the inside pink. If you want it fully cooked go for about 4-5 min on each side.

Slice lengthways and plate. Drizzle with a touch of extra virgin olive oil before serving.

Bon Apetite! 🙂

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Picnic Lunch: Quinoa Salad with Roasted Squash and Sweet Potato, Feta Cheese and Toasted Seeds

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Finally it’s warm (and dry!) enough in London to sit outside in the park for lunch. I love having picnics, it reminds me of my childhood- eating finger foods, lounging on the grass, out in the sunshine.
Also, bringing your own lunch to work is a great way to save money, eat healthy and save calories (restaurants are concerned primarily about taste so in goes the butter, oils, fats, sugars and salts to make the food taste great). Cooking for yourself enables you to control all of that.

I found these great little lunch boxes that are BPA free and even have the utensils right in the lid, making them perfect for picnics.

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Ingredients:

1 cup of rinsed organic Quinoa
1 cup of water with veggie stock (optional)
1 cup of diced squash and sweet potato (mixed)
1 small zucchini diced
1/2 yellow pepper diced
1/4 cup of organic low fat feta cheese
2 tbsp of toasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds (mixed)
Small handful of parsley
1 tbsp of fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp of dried oregano
1 tsp of smoked paprika
1/2 lemon, juiced
Extra virgin olive oil, good quality
S&P

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Instructions:

1. Add the rinsed quinoa to a pot plus the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and continue to cook for 20 min.
2. Turn the oven to 250 degrees C.
3. Add all of your diced veggies in a large bowl, add in the thyme, oregano, paprika, s&p, and a good drizzle of oil. Toss around and spread on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven for about 15-20 min.
4. This dish can be eaten warm but if you want more of a salad, once the quinoa and veggies are cooked, let them cool down. Once cool (or kept warm) add back to the large bowl to incorporate.
5. Add in the feta cheese, chopped parsley, toasted seeds, a drizzle of good quality olive oil and lemon juice. Toss well. Ready to serve!

Quinoa is really high in protein and Gluten-Free, making this a gluten-free meal that will give you enough energy to make it through the day 🙂