Spiced lentil / quinoa balls in a roasted butternut squash sauce

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Preheat oven to 180 C / Gas mark 5.    Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper

Ingredients:

For the ‘meatballs’                                              For the sauce

1 cup quinoa                                                           Medium butternut squash

1 cup green / puy lentils                                     About 400 ml vegetable stock

1 tsp ginger                                                             4 spring onions (coarsely chopped)

1 tsp turmeric                                                         10 cherry tomatoes (chopped in half

2 tsp coconut oil                                                    About 100 ml coconut milk

1 egg                                                                          Spinach (large handful)

(Chick pea flour)                                                    Coconut oil

1 tsp cumin seeds                                                  1 tsp cayenne pepper

Method:

Deseed and chop the butternut squash in to medium-sized chunks. Drizzle with coconut oil and pop in the oven for 30 mins to soften

Rinse the quinoa and lentils and put them in a pan with 3 cups of water and the cumin seeds. Bring to boil and cook until soft. Drain any excess water.

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Allow to cool. Add all the other ingredients (except chick pea flour) and mix thoroughly. If the mixture is loose add a desertspoon of chick pea flour and mix again. You may have to do this a couple of times. Take a generous desertspoon full of mixture and roll in to a ping-pong sized ball. Lay the balls on the prepared tray

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and cook in the oven for 10-15 mins.

When the butternut squash is roasted, put half in to a blender along with the vegetable stock – you want a thick sauce consistency so add the liquid a little a time until this is achieved.

Fry the spring onions until soft. Add the cayenne powder and stir for a minute. Add the tomatoes and cook for another minute. Add the butternut squash sauce

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and once heated through add the spinach and allow to wilt.Stir in the coconut milk.

Place the ‘meatballs’ in to the sauce and simmer gently.20160916_180635Prior to serving pop the remaining butternut squash chunks in to the sauce.

I served this with naan bread. Enjoy.

If the egg was replaced with tofu, this would be a vegan dish.

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Mushroom ‘stroganoff’

A thoroughly delicious but incredibly simple meal. I used full fat everything…but all the relevant ingredients could be substituted for reduced calorie if so desired.

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I didn’t really measure anything so this is rough guide:

Ingredients:

Punnet of button mushrooms                          Parmesan      Butter/oil to cook

Brie – chopped into chunks                               Single cream

Garlic clove – finely chopped                            Onion – finely chopped

Method:

Saute the onions, garlic and mushrooms in butter/oil.

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Add the brie and stir until melted.

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Stir in sufficient cream to make a sauce – do not boil.

Serve immediately. Sprinkle with parmesan.

Delicious on naan (gf) bread.

 

Vegetarian chilli

This is my go to speedy chilli dish. One pot does the cooking so limited washing up – always a bonus. Have played around with my spice mix and this is a moderate chilli- the addition of the cayena guindillas do give it an additional punch so can be omitted. Chewing on a hidden gem does give your tongue a bit of a zap!

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Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 tbsp coconut oil       1 white onion – chopped

1 pepper – deseeded and chopped

250 g of vegetarian mince

1 large can of kidney beans – washed and drained

1 large can of chopped tomatoes      1 can of water

5 guindillas chopped (optional)

Spices: 2 tsp chilli powder, 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp cayenne pepper, 2 tsp of cumin and 1 tsp of raw cacao powder

Method:

Saute the onions and pepper until softened.

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Add the vegetarian mince and stir until heated through.

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Add the tinned tomatoes and kidney beans.

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Stir through and fill the tomato can with water and add to the mix.

Add the spice blend, stir thoroughly, cover and allow to heat through thoroughly.

 

 

 

Is 3 the magic number?

The other day I fancied a super speedy breakfast – in truth I couldn’t be bothered to put much effort in! So, 3 minutes later I was chomping on a piece of gluten-free toast slathered (such an onomatopoeic word) in crunchy peanut butter and topped with slices of banana.Delicious.IMG_20160812_100340My caption within my IG post stated, ‘Two’s company but in this case three is definitely not a crowd.’ This got me thinking… I often eat a combination of 3 flavours without thinking about it.

This morning I had a kefir, coconut and maca smoothie. Yesterday’s lunch for my hubby – quail eggs and bacon on gf toast. The day before…avocado, scrambled eggs and oatcakes.  Don’t worry I’m not going to list all my meals over the last month. But, when I look back over my IG account over 50% (always like a statistic) of my meals are a 3 flavour combination.

I started to think about old childhood favourites …fish, chips and mushy peas, beans on toast with grated cheese on top…ooh…choux pastry, cream (i.e. profiteroles) and chocolate sauce.

I have just looked up from typing at my cookbook selection and there on the shelves is Three Good Things by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

Not sure whether I feel a challenge coming on…would I have to count spices and seasoning as one of my three?

Another winning combination – smoked salmon, lemon juice and bread. Must stop||

It does make me wonder though how much we complicate things – do we need to combine so many flavours in one dish or do we actually savour simple, more?

Love to know your thoughts and your favourite combinations of 3.

 

 

 

 

Corn on the cob curry 

A really simple, mild but full of flavour curry. Served on a bed of brown rice.

My daughters don’t enjoy hot and spicy food but this curry goes down very well indeed.

The blend of peanuts and yoghurt ensure a creamy sauce that coats the accompanying rice well.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 corn on the cob – chopped in half and then split length ways

50 g gram / chickpea flour         3 tbsp groundnut oil

1 450 g carton of Greek yogurt

250 g unsalted peanuts – ground

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp chilli powder

500 ml water

Method:

Cook the prepared corn on the cob in boiling water for 6-8 minutes. Drain.

On high, heat the oil in a frying pan and add the flour – stirring continuously for a couple of minutes. Turn the heat down to a moderate temperature and add the ground peanuts, Stir for a coupe of minutes. Add the yoghurt, turmeric and chilli and stir till mixed thoroughly.Slowly add the 500 ml of water stirring all the time to create a thick sauce. Add the corn on the cob and simmer until all heated through.

Serve on a bed of warm rice.

Cooking is therapy

Having had a day last week that was very different to the norm and not the sort of day I would like to repeat, it was wonderful to receive a postal delivery of dry ingredients that I had ordered prior to my op. I always get very excited when new, to me, flavours arrive.

This is my comfort zone, my area of contentment and my normality – cooking is my therapy.

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I use lots of spices in my cooking and have always been relatively confident playing around with combinations (with only the very occasional flavour disaster). My latest delivery contains sumac and za’ater – two spices I have not used myself although I have eaten many Persian and Middle Eastern dishes. So, while I recover and am relatively housebound I will enjoy spending my time conjuring up recipes. Watch this space …

Mint and Feta whip

This combination of flavours tastes absolutely gorgeous and compliments many dishes – my husband enjoys it with burgers and I think it adds a new level to a salad. Unfortunately no picture does it justice ..so here goes:20160723_171433Ingredients:

200 g Feta cheese chopped in to small chunks

150 ml sour cream         2 tsp paprika

2 tbsp honey           Handful of chopped mint

Method:

Put all the ingredients in to a bowl and mix thoroughly until smooth.

Place in fridge until serving.