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Category Archives: Healthy

Hot-Smoked Salmon Pasta: Jamie Oliver 5 Ingredients

I’m in love with Jamie Oliver’s new book, 5 Ingredients. It is so simple, with a ton of recipes that read well, cook well and more importantly eat well!

This is the second recipe I’ve tried this week since acquiring the book. I made St Clement’s Polenta Biscuits a couple of posts back, this time I went savoury.

I’m a blogger because I’m passionate about food and it’s fair to say I’m cooking addicted! However for the last month I have been without a kitchen, as my old one has been demolished and the new one is very slowly taking shape.

So my long time friend and partner in crime in many adventures Ms D, kindly asked me over last night to cook dinner in her large and well equipped kitchen. How lovely to cook on an actual stove – bliss!

I made Hot-Smoked Salmon Pasta, a beautiful pasta dish with heaps of fresh asparagus to go with the hot-smoked salmon. It takes about 15 minutes all up, and can be made just before your diners want to dig in! Thank you too, to the enthusiastic R, his partner S and the taste taster Bella, their beautiful golden Labrador.

Igredients

350g asparagus

300sdried taglierini or angel-hair pasta (I used the latter)

250g hot-smoked salmon* skin off

1 lemon

100ml half-fat crème fraiche (I couldn’t find half-fat – the full fat seemed to work fine!)

Method

Use a speed peeler to strip the top tender half of the asparagus stalks into ribbons. Finely slice the remaining stalks, discarding the woody ends. Cook the pasta in a pan of boiling salted water according to the packet instructions, then drain, reserving a mugful of cooking water. Meanwhile, roughly break the salmon into a large non-stick frying pan on a medium-high heat. Add the sliced asparagus stalks, and toss occasionally until the pasta’s ready.

Finely great half the lemon zest into the salmon pan, squeeze in half the juice, then toss in the drained pasta, a good splash of the reserved cooking water and the crème fraiche. Add the asparagus ribbons, toss again, then season to perfection with sea salt and and black pepper. Serve with lemon wedges, for squeezing over.

*store bought is readily available, but here is a link to hot-smoking salmon, you can make it yourself if you have the time.

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Jamie Oliver’s Butternut Squash Mac ‘n’ Cheese

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This variation on traditional Mac ‘n’ Cheese is from Jamie’s Super Food family Classics. It’s a lighter version of the dish and is full of tasty veg in the form of butternut squash (pumpkin), so it’s very healthy!

I have included Jamie’s recipe with only some slight tweakings here. I made the recipe without the crumbs and popped beans topping, adding a few seeds and basil leaves as garnish.

The photos I took are of a HALF quantity – which was a pretty gernerous dish. The recipe below is for the FULL quantity.

Ingredients

l leek

1 onion

olive oil

1 butternut squash

1 heaped tbls plain wholemeal flour

500ml semi-skimmed milk

450g dried macaroni

2 tsp English mustard

300g cottage cheese 40g Parmesan cheese

For the topping

1x 400g tin of cannellini beans

2 cloves of garlic

1 tsp dried red chilli flakes

2 sprigs of fresh rosemary

1 slice of wholemeal bread

My topping

A handful of toasted seeds (pepitas, linseed, sesame or what ever you have in the store cupboard).

Basil leaves

Method

Wash and trim the leek, peel the onion, then finely chop and place in a pan on a medium heat with 1tablespoon of oil. Cook and stir while you carefully halve the squash lengthways and deseed, reserving the seedy core. Chop the squash into 2cm chunks, leaving the skin on, and stir into the pan. Cook for 10 minutes, then stir in the flour, followed by the milk and 500ml of water. Simmer with a lid ajar for 35 minutes, or until the squash is cooked through, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C. Parboil the macaroni in a large pan of boiling salted water for 5 minutes, then drain and tip back into the pan. Carefully pour the contents of the veg pan into a food processor and blitz until smooth (working in batches, if necessary) to make your sauce. Taste and season to perfection, then pour over the pasta, add the mustard and cottage cheese, finely grate over most of the Parmesan and mix well. Transfer to a high-sided baking dish (30cm x 40cm), then grate over the remaining Parmesan. Bake for around 40 minutes, or until golden and bubbling.

For Jamie’s crumbs and popped beans:

With 15 minutes to go, drain the beans, then toast and dry fry them in a large frying pan on a medium-high heat for 5 minutes, or until popped, shaking occasionally. Peel the garlic and put in the processor with the chilli  flakes, seedy squash  core,  rosemary  leaves  and  bread  and  blitz  into  crumbs.  Add to the beans, then toast and toss until crisp and gnarly. Serve the pasta with the toasted beans and crumbs on the side. Good with a lemon-dressed salad.

For my topping:

Serve with a handful of toasted seeds scattered on top and a few basil leaves.

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Nectarine, Zucchini and Apple Muffins

 

img_5282img_5280Here’s another riff on my latest muffin recipe, Matt Stone’s beautiful Greenhouse Muffins from his book “The Natural Cook Maximum Taste Zero Waste”, see here to buy the book.

Matt’s recipe uses carrots and apple. I substituted zucchini (courgettes) for the carrot, and added nectarine slices inside the mix and also as decoration on the top.

Ingredients

4 eggs

280g raw sugar

200g zucchini unpeeled and grated

1 apple unpeeled and grated

1 nectarine chopped into small pieces

150ml vegetable oil

100g nuts, roughly chopped –  pecans, walnuts, almonds would be good. I used pecans.

300g plain flour

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp salt

Topping

50g cold butter

70g plain flour

50g rolled oats

50g sunflower seeds

3 tsp honey

1 nectarine cut into thin slices

Method

Whisk the eggs together in a large mixing bowl until they are frothy. Slowly pour in the sugar. Keep whisking until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has doubled in size. Whisk in the zucchini , apple, oil and nuts. Using a spatula,  gently fold in the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Lastly gently fold in the nectarine pieces.

The mixture can be baked straight away but Matt suggests leaving it in the fridge overnight. This will give the flour a chance to hydrate and the baking powder to activate, resulting in a more consistent muffin texture. The mix will keep for 3–4 days in the fridge.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. For the topping, place the cold butter and flour in a bowl and rub together with your fingertips. Add the oats and seeds and mix well, then mix in the honey to create a crumble-type mixture.

Grease a 12-hole standard muffin tin and line the holes with squares of baking paper. Spoon in the muffin mixture and press it down to the level of the tin.

Cover the top of the muffins with the crumble  topping and place 2 or 3 nectarine slices on top of the crumble. Place the tray in the oven and cook for about 25 minutes. After  15 minutes check the muffins using a skewers and test  for “doneness”. My experience has been that they will need another  5-10 minutes, so keep checking until you are sure they are cooked.

When done, take the muffins out of the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 5–10 minutes. Then finish cooling on a wire rack. They keep fine in their paper wraps, making them easy to store  and transport.

 

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Summer Breakfast Trifles

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Here’s another easy, healthy and really delicious way to start the day off – breakfast trifles!

I love breakfast – I think it’s my favourite meal of the day. And I love cereals and grains, and I make batches of muesli and granola, switching the ingredients to suit the mood or the weather! Nuts and seeds feature strongly in the mix. It’s great to add in fresh fruit, whatever is in season.

So breakfast trifles are the logical extension of the muesli/granola idea. They’re easy to make as they need no preparation, and can be portable if you make them in jars instead of glasses.  I have been inspired by some recipes from Jamie Oliver in his Everday Superfood  and Superfood Family Classics, where he layers goodies in glasses for visually appealing and very tasty breakfasts.

So here are 3 ideas you can do really easily and quickly. They’re designed around the wonderful summer fruit in season in Sydney now – berries of all kinds, stone fruit, mango and figs. You don’t have to do any preparation, but as an alternative, you could lightly toast the nuts and seeds in a frying pan to bring out their flavour.

You can make and eat straight away, or keep in the fridge for a couple of days. They will soften up a bit, kind of like bircher muesli.

Here is a guide to putting these trifles together. Nothing too prescriptive, feel free to layer in any way you like.

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Ingredients

Fresh fruit – strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, peaches, nectarines, apricots, figs, mango

Nuts – macadamias, hazelnuts, pecans, pistachios

Seeds – pumpkin, linseed, poppy, sesame, chia

Rolled oats

No fat yoghurt

Raw honey

Method

Layer sturdy glasses or glass jars with ingredients. I started with fruit pieces, then nuts, seeds and oats, and more fruit. Finish with a dollop of yoghurt and drizzle a little honey over the top.

My fruit combos, photographed here, are – mango apricot and fig; peach, nectarine, fig and raspberry; blueberry, blackberry, raspberry and strawberry.

To serve, eat straight from the glass or jar, or you can loosen the mixture with a little milk if you like.

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Bircher Muesli Trifles

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I get to work quite early and really enjoy having breakfast at work after I’ve done the first round of emails. I bring in all sorts of tasty treats – home baked sourdough, treacle soda bread, fruit rolls and scrolls, all with lots of my jams and marmalades, and different combinations of cereals, muesli and granola that I put together in the store cupboard for quick breakfasts.

My latest addiction is Bircher muesli, piled into jars with fresh fruit, nuts, seeds and anything else I fancy, plus a drizzle of honey. This becomes a Bircher Muesli Trifle. The basic muesli can be made on the weekend, enough for the week, and the individual jars or pots put together in the morning ready for transportation to work. Just add some milk to pull the whole thing together. An incredibly easy, tasty and very healthy breakfast!

Here is the basic recipe for the Bircher muesli, and my suggestions for what to layer your trifle with. The quantities will make 4 jars. Just multiply for bigger amounts.

Bircher Muesli
Ingredients
75g rolled oats
100g no fat yoghurt
1 apple or pear, grated

Trifle additions
Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, bananas, passionfruit, quinces, apples, pears
Macadamias, pecans, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, pistachios
Any seeds you like
Drizzle of honey – raw if you can get it

Method
Combine oats, yoghurt and grated apple or pear in a bowl. At this stage you can cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or you can use straight away.

When you are ready to make your jars, start layering. It really doesn’t matter what order you use. I start with fresh fruit first as it’s much easier to turn out the trifle into a bowl – if you go Bircher first, it tends to stick to the bottom of the jar!

Suggested order – fruit, Bircher, fruit, nuts, seeds, honey.

Pop the lid on tightly and that’s it! When you’re ready to eat, loosen with a splash or more of semi-skimmed milk. You can eat straight from the jar or tip into a bowl. Depending on how hungry I am, I sometimes add a banana or a chopped apple to the bowl. That makes a really substantial breakfast to get me through the day.

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Greenhouse Muffins

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This is Matt Stone‘s recipe for really delicious muffins! The recipe is from his great book “The Natural Cook Maximum Taste Zero Waste”, see here for link. He’s an interesting, sustainable chef, who has been involved in innovative kitchens such as the Greenhouse in Perth, Western Australia.

The recipe is full of grated apples and carrots, with walnuts and cinnamon, with an oaty crumble topping. What I liked too, was that Matt suggests making a big mixture, baking some straight away and keeping the rest of the mixture to bake in a day or two. Genius, if you want freshly baked muffins for breakfast, without having to make the mixture from scratch in the morning. He even suggests that it’s best to make the muffin mix the night before anyway, to let the flour and baking powder work overnight.

Matt’s recipe uses freshly milled flour and freshly rolled oats, as he is an advocate of using ingredients in the freshest possible state. I didn’t have access to these techniques, so I used regular plain flour and rolled oats. But I am seriously thinking about acquiring the equipment to mill and roll at home!

The first batch I made in a regular muffin tin but I made the second batch using a texas muffin tin. From one mixture I got 6 regular muffins and 4 texas sized ones. The recipe below refers to using a regular, 12 hole muffin tin. Obviously you can make different sizes, as I did, if you want.

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Ingredients

100g nuts (I used walnuts)

4 eggs

280g raw sugar

200g carrots, unpeeled and grated

200g apples, unpeeled and grated

150ml vegetable oil

300g plain flour

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp salt

Topping

50g cold butter

70g plain flour

50g rolled oats

50g sunflower seeds

1 tsp vegetable oil

3 tsp honey

Method

Dry-toast the nuts in a heavy-based frying pan over medium–high heat for 3–5 minutes until fragrant and golden, then roughly chop.

Whisk the eggs together in a large mixing bowl and once things start to get foamy, slowly begin to pour in the sugar. Keep whisking until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has doubled in size. Whisk in the carrot, apple, oil and toasted nuts. Use a spatula to gently fold in the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.

The mixture can be baked straight away but Matt suggests leaving it in the fridge overnight. This will give the flour a chance to hydrate and the baking powder to activate, resulting in a more consistent muffin texture. The mix will keep for 3–4 days in the fridge so it’s not a bad idea to make a double batch and bake every second day so you can have fresh muffins all week with little fuss.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. For the topping, place the cold butter and flour in a bowl and rub together with your fingertips. Add the oats, seeds and oil, mix well, then mix in the honey. You want a crumble-type mixture. If it’s too dry, add a splash of water to get it to a lovely, crumbly consistency.

Grease a 12-hole standard muffin tin and line the holes with squares of baking paper. Spoon in the muffin mixture and press it down to the level of the tin.

Cover the top of the muffins with the crumbly topping mixture. Place the tray in the oven and cook for about 25 minutes. Check the muffins at 15 minutes and every 5 minutes from there. The good ol’ skewer test is the perfect way to see if they’re cooked through.

Once cooked, remove the muffins from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 5–10 minutes. Remove them from the tin, peel off the baking paper and place on a wire rack.

Serve warm, pretty much after baking, with butter!

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Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Black Beans and Jalapeño Tomato Salsa: Everyday Super Food

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Another simple, tasty and healthy recipe from Jamie Oliver’s book Everyday Super Food. The dish is more of an assembly than a complicated cooking procedure. If you can bake sweet potato, fry beans, cook rice, and make a salsa you have this dish covered!

My decided to cook the black beans instead of using tinned beans. Probably a mistake – soaking and cooking took so much time!  The rest was easy peasy, and the dish looked as tasty as it was.

Ingredients

2 x 200g sweet potatoes

100g brown rice

250g mixed colour tomatoes

2 spring onions

1 x 200g jar jalopeños

1/2 bunch coriander

1 red onion

olive oil

1 level tsp cumin seeds

1 x400g tin black beans

2 heaped tsps cottage cheese

Method

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Wash the sweet potatoes, then season and roast for 1 hour or until cooked through. After 30 minutes, cook the rice according to packet instructions or your favourite method, then drain. Roughly drop the tomatoes, finely slice the spring onions and place both in a bowl. Tip the jalopeños and their liquid into a blender or food processor putting in most of the coriander, reserving some leaves for decoration. Blitz until smooth, then return the mixture to the jar, using 2 tablespoons to dress the tomatoes and spring onions. The remaining dressing can be used for other meals.

Peel and finely slice the onion. Put a pan on medium heat on the stove top with 1 teaspoon of oil and the cumin seeds. Fry for 30 seconds then stir in the onion and a splash of water. Cook and stir for 8 minutes, or until the onion is softened, then add the beans and all their juice. Reduce the heat and cook for a further 5 minutes or until thick and oozy, stirring occasionally. Taste and season, loosening with splash or two of boiling water if needed.

Divide the beans, rice and tomato salsa between plates. Split open the sweet potatoes and add one to each plate. Spoon over the cottage cheese, season with black pepper and finish with the reserved coriander leaves.

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