Salads…definitely not boring

I overheard someone the other day saying that they found salads boring. This made me feel a little sad. With such a diversity of flavours and endless possibilities of combinations how can salads become boring? I thought the days of  salads comprised of iceberg lettuce, cucumber and tomato had long since passed. Seemingly not.

I have a simple formula for my salads: green leaf, 3 or more additions – ideally different colours and a dressing – preferably with one ingredient that is a fermented food. Often one ingredient that is hot e.g.roasted butternut squash

Different dressings I make:  (a splash of each in to a small jar and shaken)

Tamari (gluten-free soy sauce), apple cider vinegar and olive oil

Tahini, apple cider vinegar and tamari

Peanut butter and apple cider vinegar

Avocado oil drizzle

Lime juice and olive oil

Here are a selection of the salads we have eaten over the last couple of weeks:

A                                                        B

A: papaya, roasted butternut squash, watercress, olives, tomatoes and olive oil and lime dressing

B: Beetroot houmous and chia seed oatcakes with avocado, tomatoes, olives and watercress

A                                                          B

A: Apricot, pomegranate seeds, mange tout, houmous, tomatoes, olives and rocket with avocado oil drizzle

B:Tomatoes, mange tout, yellow pepper, watercress and houmous – no dressing

A                                                         B

A: peas shoots, watercress, avocado, tomatoes and mange tout with olive oil, tamari and apple cider vinegar dressing

B: shredded carrots, red and white cabbage, hen and quail eggs, avocado, tomatoes and houmous with drizzle of olive oil

A                                                         B

A: rocket, watercress, avocado, apricot, roasted butternut squash with peanut butter and apple cider vinegar dressing

B: carrot sticks, houmous, mango, tomatoes, avocado, beetroot and avocado oil drizzle.

…definitely not boring!!

What is your favourite salad combination?

Spinach and grain loaf

Delicious as ‘bread’ or toasted.

Preheat oven to 180 C/ gas mark 5    Prepare a 1 lb loaf tin
Ingredients:

8 eggs                                    1/2 cup coconut oil – melted

1/4 cup chia seeds              1/4 cup linseed

1/4 cup sesame seeds        1/4 cup coconut flour

3 handfuls  spinach           1-2 tsp chilli flakes

Method:

Blend eggs and coconut oil for 1 minute. Add all other ingredients  and blend until thoroughly mixed. Pour in to the loaf tin. Cook for 30-40 minutes – skewer comes out clean. Once cold refrigerate.

Simnel Cake (gf)

A deliciously rich fruit cake with the hidden yumminess of 2 layers of marzipan

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Grease and line an 20 cm deep cake tin. Preheat oven to Gas mark 2 / 150 C

Ingredients:

675 g dried fruit – I use a combination of sultanas, raisins, currants, mixed peel and a handful of glace cherries (washed, cut in half and dried.

225 g plain gluten-free flour

160 g butter – softened

150 g muscovado sugar

5 eggs (4 if using non gf flour)

500 g marzipan (if I have time or the inclination I make my own but shop bought works just as well) split in to 4. 3 pieces rolled out to the size of the cake tin diameter and 1 piece divided in to 11 balls

Apricot jam – optional

Method:

Put all the ingredients ( except dried fruit and marzipan) in to a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Add the fruit and stir until completely mixed.

Put 1/3 of the mixture in to the cake tin and level. Add one of the marzipan circles. Add the second 1//3 of the cake mixture, level and place another marzipan circle on top. Finally add the final 1/3 of the cake mixture. Level and place in the cool oven for about 1 1/2 – 2 hours. When a skewer comes out clean increase the oven temperature to Gas Mark 4 / 180 C and cook for  10 mins to allow the cake to turn a rich brown colour. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin.

Once cool, remove and cover the top of the cake with the marzipan circle (some people use an apricot jam glaze as ‘glue’ – I don’t find this necessary). Place the 11 marzipan balls on top. Using a grill or blow torch (much more fun!) heat the marzipan until it bubbles and turns brown on the top.

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Eggs – quick and hassle free dishes

People who know me know that my cooking style is minimum effort but hopefully maximum taste. I am lucky enough to have a small group of my own ladies pecking about in my garden. From them I get a plentiful and daily supply of wonderful power houses of goodness. I adore eggs – scrambled, poached, fried, omelettes, frittatas, Benedict, souffles, Huevos Rancheros, in cakes etc. but I do enjoy trying them in different ways.

Recently I have served all in one breakfast  / dinner dishes – the one pot cooking and washing up dream 🙂  I heartily recommend this approach.

  1. Sausages and fried onion – gf sausages cooked in the tin, add the chopped onion and when all cooked add the egg mixture.
  2. Sausages,Stornaway black pudding, asparagus and tomatoes  – gf sausages and black pudding cooked in the tin. Egg mixture added and then when nearly cooked tomatoes and coconut fried asparagus placed on the top and returned to the oven
  3. Sausage, mushroom and tomato – gf sausages cooked in the tin and mushrooms and tomatoes added. When all cooked add egg mixture.

I have also served up my eggy combinations as breakfast muffins – all ingredients mixed together and baked in muffin tins – bacon rashers cooked first and chopped in to pieces and added to egg mixture, spinach and black pepper.

Serving suggestion – grilled plum tomatoes, avocado and hot buttered toast.

Stem ginger gluten free sponge pudding – microwaved

I don’t use my microwave very much – heating up milk for my coffee, defrosting some things. However, when a speedy pudding is needed then it comes in to its own. From getting the ingredients out of the cupboard to eating the pudding takes about 12 minutes!!

Ingredients:

170 g self-raising flour – gluten-free      4 eggs (3 if not using gluten free flour)

140 g butter – softened

100 g muscovado sugar

4 pieces of stem ginger – chopped in to small pieces

2 tsp ginger powder

1 tbsp syrup from the stem ginger jar

Method:

Put all the ingredients (except stem ginger and syrup) in to a bowl and mix well.  Add the stem ginger pieces and syrup and mix until combined. Put in to a microwave proof dish / bowl – I line a 2 lb pudding bowl with cling film so the pudding turns out easily.

Cook on a high setting for 5 – 6 mins and check whether the sponge is cooked – skewer test. It should not take any more than 7 minutes to cook.

Delicious with custard 🙂

 

Breakfast muffin (gluten free)

One of my daughters is always dashing around, frequently doesn’t have breakfast and often ‘picks something up’ on the way in to work when she gets her daily caffeine hit.

I know you can buy breakfast bars etc. but when I have looked at the ingredients I can’t really say I would want to start my day in this way.

So, I had a session experimenting at the weekend and created a muffin – full of breakfast  ingredients. Tasty, filling and nutritious.

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Makes 9

Preheat oven to 180c / Gas 4       Lightly grease a muffin tin

Ingredients:

1 cup of rolled oats      1 cup of milk           2 eggs (1 if using non gf flour)

1 cup of gf plain flour    1tsp baking powder   1 tsp baking soda

1/4 cup coconut sugar / muscavado sugar       1/2 cup stewed apple    1/2 cup raisins

Method:

Put the oats, milk and eggs in a bowl. Stir in the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Finally add the sugar, apple and raisins. Spoon into muffin tins and bake for 15 – 20 minutes.

I served them with Greek yoghurt and a dollop of apples sauce.

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…my daughter took a couple to test – had them for ‘breakfast on the go’ – thumbs up from her 🙂

Lemon and poppy seed gf cake 

Prepare a 2 lb/ 900 g loaf tin

Preheat the oven to 180c / gas mark 5

Ingredients:

170 g Self raising gluten-free flour      120 g light muscavado sugar    2 or 3 tbsp poppy seeds

140 g softened butter          4 eggs ( 3 if using non gf flour)    1 tsp baking powder

Juice and rind of 2 lemons – juice of 1/2 lemon for cake and 1 1/2 for drizzle topping

80 g sugar for topping (mix the sugar and lemon from 1 1/2 lemons together)

Method:

Put all of the ingredients for the cake (except lemon juice, rind and poppy seeds) in to a bowl and mix well. Add the lemon rind, juice from half a lemon and poppy seeds and combine. Put mixture in to the prepared tin and bake for about 35 mins – until skewer is clean.

Whilst the cake is still hot and in the tin spoon the lemon/sugar mixture all over the top of the cake. Once cool, remove the cake from the tin.