Strawberry, nectarine and walnuts bake

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A confession: I have been looking for gluten free recipes as of late. Apparently, i am gluten intolerant  according to my doctor. Considering I am also lactose intolerant, this is making my breakfast more and more difficult. Even muesli *may* be an issue –  especially if you live in the country who invented the thing and swears by it. But, one manages to find alternatives and eventually find happiness in dishes like this. For sure there is life beyond gluten…

Strawberry, nectarine and walnuts bake  (adapted from a recipe found in the Minimalist Baker blog)

Ingredients

  • 4 cups strawberries and nectarines, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup (app 85g) oats
  • 1/2 cup (app 45g) almond meal
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup (app 50g) of light brown sugar
  • pinch sea salt
  • 60g of cold butter
  • Plain yoghurt to serve

Method

Preheat oven to 180oC  (350cF).

Butter and flower a baking dish.

Chop the fruit in big chunks. Reserve.

Put the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix them until the butter is well incorporate (probably best done by hand).

Put the fruit in the previously buttered dish, making sure it well spread. On top of it, add a layer of  the flour and butter mix

Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the fruit is bubbling and the top is crisp and golden.

Let it cool. Serve with a dollop of yughurt

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Spiced lentils with cucumber yogurt, take 2

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It was one of the first posts of this blog,  long long time ago. Since then, an awful lot has happened: people have walked in and out of my life, some doors have shut and others have opened and Summer might have taken its time to arrive, but it alway did…  Yet, for whatever reason, I keep coming back to it, specially in the first days of Winter. Confort food doesn’t get much better than this… Seriously, it is quite easy to do. It requires minimum attention and preparation – just the odd bit of mixing suff here and there. Most of the ingredients are spices and the most sophisticated ones are actually optional.

Spiced lentils with cucumber yogurt (adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s column in The Guardian)

Ingredients

For the lentils

  • 200g split red lentils
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander
  • 1 small onion, peeled
  • 40g ginger, peeled
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 mild green chilli
  • half teaspoon of black mustard seeds
  • 4 tablespoons of sunflower oil
  • half teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • half teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • half teaspoon ground turmeric
  • half teaspoon paprika
  • 10 curry leaves
  • 300g ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 teaspoon caster sugar
  • half teaspoon fenugreek (optional)
  • 1 pinch asafoetida (optional)
  • Salt

For the cucumber yogurt

  • 150g Greek yogurt (I used regular lactose free yogurt)
  • 75g finely diced cucumber
  • half tablespoon of olive oil
  • 70g unsalted butter
  • lime juice

 Method

Wash the lentils in plenty of water, drain and soak in 350ml of fresh water for 30 minutes. Cut the coriander bunch somewhere around its centre to get a leafy top half and a stem/root bottom half. Roughly chop the leaves. Put the stem half in the bowl of a food processor, add the onion, ginger, garlic and chilli – all roughly broken – and pulse a few times to chop up without turning into a paste.

Put the mustard seeds in a heavy-based pot and place over medium heat. When they begin to pop, add the onion mix and sunflower oil, stir and cook on low heat for 10 minutes. Add the spices and curry leaves, and continue cooking and stirring for five minutes longer. Now add the lentils and their soaking water, the tomatoes, sugar, fenugreek, asafoetida and a pinch of salt. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the lentils are fully cooked.

Before serving, whisk together the yogurt, cucumber, oil and some salt. Stir into the lentils the butter, lime juice and chopped coriander leaves, taste and season generously with salt. Divide into bowls, spoon yogurt on top and garnish with coriander.


Beetroot, apple and walnuts salad with yoghurt and cumin seeds dressing

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Beetroots again! It has been while – but here they are again… #Beetrootgate proceeds with a lovely salad of contrasting flavours and different textures. Add a bit of feta cheese for a full meal, perfect for a lunch box.

Beetroot, apple and walnuts salad with yoghurt and cumin seeds dressing  (adapted from Dave Myers and Si King’s The Hairy Dieters: How to Love Food and Lose Weight)

Ingredients

  • 2 medium cooked beetroots (not pickled), cut into small cubes
  • 20g blanched hazelnuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cumin seeds
  • 2 chicory heads, trimmed.
  • 2 red apples, like gala 
  • 1/2 small red onion
  • small handful of fresh mint leaves
  • small handful of fresh flat leaf parsley

Dressing

  • 150g of low fat yoghurt
  • the juice and the zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 teaspoon of runny honey

Method

Slip the beetroots out of their skins. Cut them into wedges and then into cubes

Roughly chop the hazelnuts on a board. Tip them into a colander and give it a good shake until get rid of all the small powdery bits. Reserve the big chunky ones.

Scatter the nuts into a non-stick frying pan and toast over a medium-high heat for about 5min or until lightly browned, turning them as they cook. Add the cumin seeds and toast together for about 1-2min. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Mix the ingredients for the dressing in a bowl.

Cut each head of chicory lengthways into 6 thin wedges and put them in a salad bowl; alternatively you can separate the some leaves. Cut the apple into quarters, remove the core and the slice the apple quarters fairly thinly. Peel and finely slice the onion. Roughly chop the mint and parsley leaves.

Lightly toss the chicory, apple, onion, hazelnuts, cumin seeds and herbs together. Scatter the beetroot on top of the salad and mix gently. Scatter around the dressing to taste


Strawberry smoothie

It is only a smoothie… Not much art in putting it together, really.  Just drop in the mixer 1 part of cut strawberries, 1 part of plain yoghurt and 1 part of milk. If you must, add crushed  ice cubes. Buzz in a mixer, check for sugar, buzz again. Chill. Drink. It was definitely more complicated put the kitchen aid to work for the first time…


Tzatziki

It was a very hot day, and all we feel like eating was something cool and fresh. A little couscous salad, roasted aubergines and of course that creamy cucumbery thing the Greeks call Tzatziki. It tastes much better by a big blue sea, but nevertheless it is always welcome in a bright Summer day. The recipe was adapted from Reference Answers

Tzatziki 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups plain yogurt
  • 1 unpeeled cucumber, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Method

In a bowl, add the cucumber, garlic, olive oil, and salt to the yogurt.

Blend well with a fork and refrigerate.

Serve with toasted pieces of pita bread or fresh vegetables, such as carrots, celery, or peppers.


Spiced lentils with cucumber yogurt

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Another typical Yotam Ottolenghi dish: a kilometric list of ingredients for an amazing plate of lentils, that will warm you even on the coldest days of winter. The recipe was found on Yotam’s New Vegetarian column at the Guardian, and of course on Plenty, his latest cookbook.

Spiced lentils with cucumber yogurt

Ingredients 

  • 200g split red lentils
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander
  • 1 small onion, peeled
  • 40g ginger, peeled
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 mild green chilli
  • half teaspoon of  black mustard seeds
  • 4 tablespoons of sunflower oil
  • half teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • half teaspoon ground turmeric
  • half teaspoon paprika
  • 10 curry leaves
  • 300g ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 teaspoon caster sugar
  • half teaspoon fenugreek (optional)
  • 1 pinch asafoetida (optional)
  • Salt
  • 150g Greek yogurt (I used regular lactose free yogurt)
  • 75g finely diced cucumber
  • half tablespoon of olive oil
  • 70g unsalted butter
  • lime juice

Methods

Wash the lentils in plenty of water, drain and soak in 350ml of fresh water for 30 minutes. Cut the coriander bunch somewhere around its centre to get a leafy top half and a stem/root bottom half. Roughly chop the leaves. Put the stem half in the bowl of a food processor, add the onion, ginger, garlic and chilli – all roughly broken – and pulse a few times to chop up without turning into a paste.

Put the mustard seeds in a heavy-based pot and place over medium heat. When they begin to pop, add the onion mix and sunflower oil, stir and cook on low heat for 10 minutes. Add the spices and curry leaves, and continue cooking and stirring for five minutes longer. Now add the lentils and their soaking water, the tomatoes, sugar, fenugreek, asafoetida and a pinch of salt. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the lentils are fully cooked.

Before serving, whisk together the yogurt, cucumber, oil and some salt. Stir into the lentils the butter, lime juice and chopped coriander leaves, taste and season generously with salt. Divide into bowls, spoon yogurt on top and garnish with coriander.


Leek fritters.

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A Yotam Ottolenghi‘s family dish, with its usual kilometric list of ingredients and a recommendation: do not skip any of them. If anything, spare yourself the bother of doing the sauce. Recipe was found on Plenty, his latest cookbook.

Ingredients 

For the sauce

  • 100g Greek yogurt
  • 100g sour cream
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • 20g finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 30g finely chopped coriander leaves

For the fritters

  • 3 leeks (450g trimmed weight)
  • 2 banana shallots, peeled and finely chopped (I used regular red onions)
  • 140ml olive oil
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and sliced
  • 25g parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoons coriander seeds, crushed
  • 1 teaspoons  ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoons ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoons  ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoons sugar
  • salt to taste
  • 1 egg white
  • 120g self-raising flour (or regular all purpose flour with 2 teaspoons of a raising agent, like Royal).
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 150ml milk
  • 55g unsalted butter, melted

Method

Start by making the sauce. Put all the sauce ingredients into the bowl of a food processor, blitz together until a uniform green, then set to one side.

Cut the leeks into 2cm thick rounds, rinse and dry. Over medium heat, sauté the leeks and shallots in a pan with five tablespoons of oil until soft – about 15 minutes – then transfer to a bowl and add the chilli, parsley, spices, sugar and salt. Leave to cool.

Whisk the egg white to soft peaks and fold it into the vegetables. In another bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, egg, milk and butter to form a batter. Gently mix this into the egg white and vegetable mixture.

Put two tablespoons of oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Spoon the mixture into the pan to make four large fritters, and fry for two to three minutes a side, until golden and crisp. Transfer to kitchen towel and repeat, adding oil as needed, until the mixture is used up. Serve warm with the sauce on the side or drizzled over.