Gluten Free Super Seed Goujons

img_5568

I absolutely loathe unloading my dishwasher.  I know it’s not the worst household chore, not by a long shot. I think it’s the mundanity of it, the fact that I do it every single godforsaken day.  I remember when my daughter was very small, washing bottle after bottle and staring down the barrel of another long day on my own with this tiny little person.  I had no idea what I was doing and no idea how to fill day after day, each one the same as the last.  And each and every Groundhog Day began with the dreaded dishwasher.  I could have cried (I think I probably did a few times) just with the boredom and repetition and the futility of it.  Sometimes, just for a treat, I would load our dirty breakfast things on top of the clean things and put it on again, just to avoid unloading it for another few hours. What a thrill! Ah, those heady, reckless days!

Even though my days are now much more interesting than back then, and I have no qualms with how to fill time, rather with how to make more of it, the dishwasher-hatred has never quite left me.  It’s one of the reasons I try to cook one pot dishes and adapt my recipes so I can make cakes in one bowl where possible.  I have little interest in a recipe that’s going to mean I have to unload my dishwasher even more often.

So you can imagine my horror, then, when the husband made pesto pasta and brocolli for the children at the weekend.  He used 3 pans!!!  Who does that?  One for the brocolli.  One for the pasta.  One to mix the pesto and pasta in.  WTF?!!!  I have gently suggested to him on several occasions, through the medium of four letter words, if making pasta, PUT THE VEG IN WITH IT!! And then when it’s cooked, stir through the sauce in the same pan. It’s not rocket science!!!

Mr Intolerant makes amazing roasts and no one can cook a better steak than he, but he does like to use rather a lot of utensils.  His favourite trick is to use a slotted spoon to dish out something highly inappropriate, say, a casserole, or bolognese, and then a second serving spoon to dish up the actual sauce.  Cunningly, I recently melted our plastic slotted spoon on to the hob, so that’s put an end to that! Ha! Oh yes, I’m no fool! The acrid smoke, molten plastic and gloopy hob were a small price to pay for marital harmony (well, for one less thing to argue about).

So…. these gluten-free seedy Chicken Goujons have to be something really special for me to go through the faff of using two or three plates. These went down a storm with my kids. I’m rather partial to a chicken nugget myself and have to say they were really, really good.

IMG_5564.JPG

One of the few things that small boy is virtually guaranteed to eat is breaded chicken.  It’s a shame no supermarkets seem to make organic or even free range chicken nuggets.  Making my own means I know the meat is good quality and organic. The other benefit of making these is that you are upping your protein and omega content with all these seeds, rather than breadcrumbs, which are pretty void of nutrition. My kids aren’t big fish fans so I love recipes like this that increase their Omega 3 intake. It’s worth the faff, I promise. The sesame seeds, in particular, make these really tasty.  Use chicken mini fillets rather than strips of chicken breast as a) it saves you chopping and b) they are so lovely and tender.

PS The first time I made these I coated half of the chicken pieces with seeds and then mixed breadcrumbs into remainder of the seeds and made the rest with a mixture of breadcrumbs and seeds, just in case my kids didn’t like 100% seeds, so that’s worth a try to avoid any potential wastage or fussiness.

img_5567

Gluten-free, low carb, high protein, high in omega 3, paleo, nutrient dense, super tasty chicken nuggets… need I go on?!

RECIPE (serves 4)

1 packet organic chicken mini fillets (about 400g)

1 large egg

40g ground almonds

50g golden linseeds (approx)

60g sesame seeds (approx)

E123F187-BAB9-4F36-8C47-A004253AB2F2.jpg

1. Whisk egg briefly with a fork in a large shallow bowl or plate.  On a separate plate, mix together sesame and linseeds. Have a lightly oiled baking tray nearby to place the newly made goujons on.

2. Tip ground almonds into a large plastic bag and season with salt and pepper (omit salt if making for young children).  Place mini fillets in bag, close and shake well, separating the pieces to ensure they are well coated in almonds.  You may prefer to do this in two batches.  Or you can do this on a plate, but that would entail more dishes to wash.

3. Next, dip the goujons, one by one, briefly into the beaten egg, allowing excess to drip off, and then into the linseed and sesame seed mixture.  Roll them around and make sure they are fully coated   Place on baking tray.  Repeat with all goujons.

4. Fry on a medium heat for 3-4 minutes on each side, trying not to turn or move too much as you risk losing your coating! Or bake in oven at 180c for 10-12 minutes. These will keep in the fridge for up to 24 hours before cooking so you can make a big batch in one go.

5. Curse, mumble and moan whilst loading all plates into dishwasher.

Perfect with chips, peas and ketchup or my kid’s favourite “wagamama” katsu style with rice, carrot, cucumber, sweetcorn  and a homemade amai sauce (honey and soy sauce mixed together) or for grown ups with a big salad…or chips 😍

img_5568

Good Gut Recipes. Chicken Pho, Pickles and Lashings of Ginger Beer, hurrah!

 

The Norovirus has swept through our house this last 10 days.  Daughter and I have both been ill and it will be an absolute miracle if the boys don’t get it too.  No doubt small boy will get it over half term so I will spend a third week confined to the house 😫  On the plus side, there’s nothing like a good tummy bug for weight loss and I have lost 4lbs.  Hurrah!  Sadly, this weight loss seems to be focused almost entirely on my boob area.  Why is life so bloody unfair??!!

So, anyway, this weekend I have decided we need a some extra nourishment and I’m going to make plenty of things which are good for gut health.  The main one is bone broth, see my recipe for Brilliant Bone Broth Bone broth contains Glutamine which helps maintain the function of your intestinal wall; Glycine which stimulates production of stomach acid and aids digestion and Collagen which can heal the gut lining.  Scientists are beginning to realise just how important gut health is to our overall health and wellbeing, and poor gut health is being linked to an increasing number of diseases as well as obesity and even depression. Did you know 80% of the happy hormone serotonin is produced in your gut? Nope, me neither. It is the largest sensory organ in the body and apparently  70% of our immune system is in our gut.  So it’s pretty important to look after your tummy.

How do we do that?  Taking good quality probiotic supplements will improve your gut microbiome.  As will eating naturally probiotic foods, which include garlic, leeks and onions, artichokes, bananas (I’ve been having them on my porridge every day this week), natural ‘live’ yoghurt, and fermented or pickled foods such as miso, sauerkraut and kimchi (they mustn’t be pasteurised though, as this destroys the good bacteria).  So, as well as making bone broth and OD-ing on probiotics, I have made a homemade pickle, and for the kids, a fermented fizzy ginger drink.

Here come the recipes…

9ffdb971-4b7d-478c-9b1d-35c1749aa3ca

GINGER POP

Enid Blyton, eat your heart out. The famous five would have loved this shit. Fanny and Dick would never have caught the Norovirus if they had drunk this.

Jolly hockeysticks!

INGREDIENTS

large root of ginger (about 5 thumbs in total)

1 tbsp unrefined sugar
spring water

METHOD

This takes about 10 days to make in total. Hopefully it will be worth the ball-ache.

Day 1: You need a clean bottle with an airtight stopper. Rinse through with boiled water to sterilise.  Grate about 1 inch ginger into bottle and add 1 tsp sugar and cover with spring water. Leave in warm place for 24 hours.

2. Repeat process for 5 days until mixture begins to bubble. This is your ‘Ginger Bug’. I love that name!

3. You can use your Ginger Bug to make any flavour Pop you like, add some cooked rhubarb, orange juice, lemon… The world is your oyster. I’m just sticking to the ginger to begin with. So, add any extra flavourings, then top up your bottle with water and ferment for a further five days, then it’s ready to drink. It should be slightly sparkling. I will let you know how ours is doing in 10 days time…

VIETNAMESE CHICKEN PHO

 

Don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients, this is actually pretty quick and easy to make.

INGREDIENTS (serves about 4)

2 litres bone broth or chicken stock

2 litres bone broth (or chicken stock, it just won’t have quite the same gut healing capability)

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely grated or crushed

2 thumbs of ginger, finely grated

1 tsp cinnamon

2 tbsp fish sauce

2 star anise

veg – we like sliced Pak Choi and a mixture of different types of mushrooms, you could also use courgetti noodles or just throw in a bag of pre-prepared stir-fry

To serve

100g beansprouts

small bunch roughly chopped coriander

1 lime

1 red chilli, chopped

2 spring onions, finely chopped

soy sauce

METHOD

1. Bring bone broth to the boil in a large pan. Meanwhile prepare and chop veg.

2. Add whole chicken thighs and all other ingredients apart from veg. Season with salt and pepper.  Simmer on a low heat for 30 minutes.

3. Remove chicken thighs and shred using 2 forks.  Whilst you are shredding chicken, pop veg into pan to cook.  Return shredded chicken to pan and cook for a further minute or two.

4. Ladle generously into bowls and serve topped with beansprouts, spring onions, coriander, chilli, soy sauce and a wedge of lime.

 

PICKLED VEGETABLES

img_7061

I’m not a big fan of sauerkraut or kimchi, or anything too pickle-y or fermented come to think of it, so I hope I like these.  They look very pretty sitting in the jar, so that’s a good start.  Raw garlic and onions are supposed to be brilliant probiotics but can both be a bit harsh on the tastebuds, so fermenting them shound give them a more mellow flavour whilst retaining all their raw benefits. Best of both worlds!  PS You must use spring water for this as tap water contains chlorine to kill bad bacteria in the water supply, but that also means it will prevent the very bacteria we are trying to create in this process. Doh!

INGREDIENTS

veg – anything you like… I used 2 cauliflower florets, baby corn, green beans, 1/2 red pepper, small red onion, 2 garlic cloves,  1 small carrot.

1 tbsp sea salt or Himalayan salt

1 tsp whole black peppercorns

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 star anise

METHOD

1. Wash a kilner jar and rinse through with boiled water.

2. Fill with veg, leaving a 2cm gap at top to allow water to cover completely and to allow room for the veg to swell up. Sprinkle with 1 tbsp salt. Close lid and shake jar well, this ensures salt fully covers the veg and preserves it and also helps to break down the cell walls of the vegetables, which will accelerate the lacto-fermentation process (I know, get me! 🤓 )

3. Add star anise, pepper and mustard seeds.  Top up with spring water until veg is fully submerged (if it’s not, mould can form).

4. Keep in a warm place for 3-4 days and then it’s ready to eat.  I’ll let you know how it tastes on Wednesday…!

 

 

 

 

 

Clean Green Pad Thai in Five

Last weekend we stayed with Nanna, my Mum-in-law.  She lives up north, near a beautiful beach (yes, Up North can be beautiful and yes they have beaches, with rolling sand dunes and everything! I can say all of this because, I too am from this part of the world. It’s really very pretty, take a look).

It’s not all grim Up North.

After a lovely morning collecting (fighting over) seashells, we had Sunday lunch in a cosy pub. We all plumped for roast beef, even our 7 year old daughter, she loves roast beef 😍), apart from our 17 year old niece who wouldn’t dream of eating a slab of red meat and always likes to be a bit more exotic. She went for the Pad Thai.

“What’s that?” asked Nanna

“Pad Thai”

“What?”

“PAD THAI”

“Pat’s Eye???? That’s an unusual name”

Uproarious laughter. It took some time before any of us could recover enough to explain it was P-A-D  T-H-A-I.

Pad Thai, or Pat’s Eye as it will now forever be known to me, is one of my all time faves, but, although gluten free, it can be a bit of a greasy carb fest, so here is a healthier, greener version. It’s also super quick and easy to make.

INGREDIENTS (serves 2)

1 pack prawns or 2 chicken breasts, sliced into thin strips

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 tbsp honey

1 tbsp fish sauce

1 tbsp dark soy sauce

1 lime

coconut oil

1/2 small pack coriander, roughly chopped

1/2 red chilli, chopped (or 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes)

VEG – any combination of the below.  My favourite is a bag of beansprouts, 1/2 small head red cabbage, 1/2 head broccoli, 1 red pepper and 2 carrots (julienne or spiralized)

You could also use: courgetti noodles, sliced mushrooms, pak choi, green cabbage, leeks, or just a big bag of mixed stir fry if you want something really quick and easy

4 spring onions, finely sliced

chopped roasted peanuts or a spoonful of sugar free chunky peanut butter or almond butter

img_6688img_6689

METHOD

1. Heat a tablespoon of coconut oil in a large heavy based pan or wok.  Chop your all of your ingredients so they ready to throw into the pan.  Chop brocolli into small florets which will cook quickly.

2. If using chicken, fry this first for 2-3 mins. If using prawns, skip to next step.

3. Add garlic, 2/3 of spring onions and prawns, if using. Fry for 1 minute.  Add broccoli and red cabbage and any chunkier veg that will take longer to cook.  Squeeze in half of the lime and add fish sauce. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until brocolli is al dente.

4. Add your quicker-cooking veg, soy sauce and honey and stir fry for a further minute or two.

5. Serve with remainder of spring onions, chilli and coriander scattered on top and a teaspoonful of nut butter or chopped peanuts. Serve with a wedge of lime.

img_6685

 

Lamb Kleftiko

This doesn’t photograph so well, you can see that, but don’t judge a book by it’s cover, it tastes amazing!  We LOVE this in our house. We first had Kleftiko on a trip to Kefalonia many moons ago and as soon as we got home I set about working on my own version. Kleftiko is a traditional Greek lamb dish, slow cooked with herbs, tomatoes and potatoes. It is garlicky, tangy, rich heaven on a plate. Every restaurant we have been to on various trips to Greece seems to have their own version of this. And the more I googled it, the more variations I found.  So this is my very own hybrid, slightly quicker and easier version. In my humble opinion, it’s the coating of the lamb with the garlic that really makes this amazing, so don’t forget that part whatever you do!

img_7026

This does contain feta cheese, so is not lactose free as such, but many lactose-phobes like myself can tolerate sheep’s or goat’s milk cheeses as they don’t contain Casein, also known as A1 protein, which is found in cow’s milk. Casein is the guilty party that can make cow’s milk hard to digest. There is a helpul blurb about cheese for the lactose intolerant here This will also still taste delicious if you don’t want to use the feta, just add an extra squeeze of lemon for additional tanginess.

This Kleftiko can also be made in individual baking paper parcels for a     30 minute midweek     version. Making it in parcels is also a nice twist on the presentation and means you can make  smaller quantities for 1 or 2 rather than making a big pot. SCROLL DOWN TO END FOR METHOD.

It can also be made more traditionally with a whole shoulder of lamb, which makes for a gorgeous Sunday Roast. Mmmm…. And if you want a lighter or paleo meal, I often omit the potatoes and use an extra courgette, or some sliced, fried aubergine. I’m sure you could also easily make this in a slow cooker, just omit the stock.

c1791737-cea2-4e9f-93c4-543f1566724c

INGREDIENTS (serves 4)

4 shoulder or lamb leg steaks (ideally organic)

3-4 carrots

2 large potatoes

2 red onions

2 courgettes

1 tin chopped or plum tomatoes

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp mint (fresh or dried)

2 bay leaves

100ml stock/bone broth/water

Extra Virgin olive oil

Squeeze of lemon juice

1/2 pack feta cheese

METHOD

1. Preheat oven to 180C (170 fan). Rub your lamb steaks with crushed garlic and set aside.

2. Oil casserole dish. Slice potatoes thinly and layer at bottom of dish. Season with salt and pepper and a pinch of the herbs and spices. Slice carrots and place on top of potatoes. Slice onions into thin rings and layer on top. Pour stock over.

3. Place garlicky lamb on top of onions, add another pinch of herbs and cinnamon, drizzle with EVOO and a squeeze of lemon.

4. Pour over tinned tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle over remainder of herbs and cinnamon. Crumble over 3/4 of feta. Slice courgette into 1cm thick rounds and layer on top.

5. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and bake, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours or until pots and carrots are tender. If a lot of liquid remains, cook without the lid for a further 20 mins; the longer you cook it, the tastier it will be. I often turn the oven down to 140C and cook for an extra hour with the lid off so the sauce really thickens up.

Serve with green or roast vegetables, and sprinkle the remainder of the feta on top for extra tang and presentation brownie points. Drink lots of red wine alongside.

QUICKER AND LIGHTER OPTION: If making individual portions in parchment paper, lay carrots and onions in middle of a large square of parchment. Lay garlicky  lamb on top, cover with a few spoonfuls of chopped toms, herbs, spices and feta. Top with courgette. Fold sides together to form a parcel and bake for 30 mins.

4dccd3ea-bad7-4a89-a59d-3b855d50cd7b

Burrito Lasagne… Burragne? Basagne? Any ideas?

I will openly admit it, I hold my hands up, this is not the ‘cleanest’ of my recipes. And it is neither wheat nor dairy free. Sorry. But it is unprocessed, organic and tastes AMAZING!!! It is also super easy  to make and is loads healthier than your average burritos or lasagne, which is why I’m going out on an intolerant limb and including it.

A few months ago my daughter innocently commented that “we always have the same things to eat” and I realised with horror that she was right! Since her younger, pickier brother came on the scene, I have experimented less and less as each attempt was met with failure. And whilst I try different things for me and the husband, or we might give a new recipe a go at weekends, I do tend to churn the same things out for the kids on weekdays. Well, no longer! I hit the supermarket with a vengeance! Some time later, after traipsing round trying to ignore small boys screams for chocolate/magazines/ anything, I trundled out with some mild Moroccan spice (see Tantrums and Tagines) which was a total waste, and some corn taco shells. Which were a hit! As they are essentially Doritos/crisps I was right to assume small boy would woof them down like a rabid dog. Brilliant.

Tacos are not the healthiest thing on the planet, but they are gluten free (hurrah!) and a welcome variation from the rice/pasta/potatoes conveyor belt as they contain corn. I like to ‘rotate’ the kids grains where I can to try to prevent them from becoming intolerant, to get as many different nutrients in them as possible, and just for a bit of interest and flavour. Taco filling leftovers are also fab with wraps to make enchiladas or burritos, or just with some rice, so you have several different meals from one creation. RESULT!

Burritos in particular were such a hit that I played around with them and created this little beauty of a recipe. Once you try this you will never make lasagne again. It takes less than half an hour to make this. Seriously, bit of chopping, 20 minutes total cooking… BOOM! Kids tea. DONE!


RECIPE

500g minced beef (ideally grass fed or organic)

1 onion, chopped finely

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped/crushed

1 red pepper (or any colour, doesn’t matter)

2 tsp paprika

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp oregano

1/2 tin kidney beans

2/3 tin chopped tomatoes

3 large tortilla wraps (I use these Crosta Mollica Organic Flatbreadthey literally contain wheat, oil, salt, unlike most other wraps which contain a million ingredients)

2 handfuls grated organic cheddar

METHOD

1. Fry onion in olive oil for a few minutes, turn heat up and fry mince until browned. Then add spices, herbs, garlic and chopped pepper and fry for another 2-3 minutes. Add kidney beans and 100ml water, cover and simmer for 5-10 minutes. The mixture should be fairly dry, you don’t want the wraps to go too soggy. Simmer with the lid off for a few more minutes if there is too much liquid.

2. Lightly oil an oven dish that will hold your wrap without it overlapping the edges or coming up at the sides. Or, cut your wraps to fit the dish you have. Lay your first wrap down and top with half the meat mixture, making sure it goes all the way to the edge of the wrap to keep everything moist. Add the next wrap and repeat with rest of meat. Top with final wrap.

3. Mash chopped tomatoes roughly with a fork to create a smoother texture. Spoon over top wrap, again making sure everything is well covered so it doesn’t dry out. Season with a little extra oregano, salt and pepper. Top with grated cheese. Bake in oven (180C) for 10 minutes or so until cheese is all bubbly and golden.

Serve with sour cream and/or guacamole if your kids will eat them. FYI mine won’t.

Salmon To Make Your Skin Glow

I have rubbish skin. My daughter tells me so, often. I am a master in the art of concealer (Rimmel Hide The Blemish, if you’re asking. I’ve tried many and this is just THE best). I’ve never had them on my T-zone, always on my cheeks or jaw, like a teenage boy. I was told it is “male pattern acne” caused by too much testosterone. Jesus Christ! Could it get any worse? Also known as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. So my hormones are to blame. It will never be perfect but it has DEFINITELY got better since I cleaned up my diet.  Or perhaps it’s now that I am thirty-fucking-five and it’s harder for the spots to fight for space between my crow’s feet??? Anyway, it’s one of the reasons I try to avoid lactose as I notice it flairs up straight away if I have too much dairy, and I definitely think cutting out sugar has balanced my hormones, thus improving my skin.

So, last week, I was watching TV with daughter and a Clearasil advert came on TV. Daughter turned to me and said, in her kindest voice, with a somewhat patronising smile, “Don’t you get that Mummy…. You wouldn’t be the same without your spots” Sigh. She has also said on several occasions, with real fear in her eyes, “I won’t get spots like you when I’m older, will I?” I really hope she doesn’t, and remains peachy skinned and beautiful  throughout her teens. And twenties. And sodding thirties. God, when will they go?!!! She and her brother are totally screwed in the genetics department mind you, both me and Mr Intolerant have dreadful skin, so the odds are sadly stacked against them.

img_6163

Anyway, salmon is supposed to be good for your skin. And seeds. All those omegas and essential fatty acids. So here is a salmon and seed recipe to make your skin glow, or to at least make it slightly less shit, if you’re me.  I LOVE this salad, it’s easy, tasty and protein-rich. P. S. Try to buy wild salmon, my Mum told me farmed salmon is really bad for you, so it must be true. If you want to do your own research you can read about it here Wild Vs Farmed Salmon

SALMON PESTO CANELLINI BEAN SALAD

INGREDIENTS (serves 2)

2 salmon fillets

4 tbsps pesto (dairy free pesto if you like)

extra Virgin olive oil

handful tomatoes, fresh or sunblush

salad leaves

1/2 courgette

1/2 tin canellini beans

1/4 small red onion or 1 Spring onion

4-5 radishes, sliced

lemon juice

balsamic vinegar

pumpkin/sunflower etc seeds

METHOD

1. Get your pan really hot, pat dry and season salmon. Add 1 tbsp olive oil and cook salmon flesh-side down on medium-high for 5 minutes.  DO NOT TOUCH IT. Not even a teensy bit, you want a nice crisp top.

2. Meanwhile drain and rinse beans, chop 1/4 red onion or spring onion very finely. Mix with beans, squeeze over lemon juice and season with lots of black pepper and a little salt.

3. Use a vegetable peeler to peel fairly thick strips from courgette (you want some bite).

4. You probably want to flip your salmon now if it’s had 5 minutes. Cook skin side down for another minute or two.

5. Place 2 tbsps pesto on each serving plate. Mix with about 1 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil to thin it a little. Place courgette strips, salad leaves, bean mixture, tomatoes (halved if fresh) in pesto-y bowls and mix around a little. Drizzle with about 1 tsp balsamic vinegar (you don’t need much, you have a lot of flavours going on here) and place salmon on top.  Scatter with seeds.

Burrito Lasagne… Burragne? Basagne? Any ideas?!!

I will openly admit it, I hold my hands up, this is not the ‘cleanest’ of my recipes.  And it is neither wheat nor dairy free. Sorry. But it is unprocessed, organic and tastes AMAZING!!! It is also super easy suser easy to make and is loads healthier than your average burritos or lasagne, which is why I’m going out on an intolerant limb and including it.

A few months ago my daughter innocently commented that “we always have the same things to eat” and I realised with horror that she was right! Since her younger, pickier brother came on the scene, I have experimented less and less as each attempt was met with failure. And whilst I try different things for me and the husband, or we might give a new recipe a go at weekends, I do tend to churn the same things out for the kids on weekdays. Well, no longer! I hit the supermarket with a vengeance! Some time later, after traipsing round trying to ignore small boys screams for chocolate/magazines/ anything, I trundled out with some mild Moroccan spice (see Tantrums and Tagines) which was a total waste, and some corn taco shells. Which were a hit! As they are essentially Doritos/crisps I was right to assume small boy would woof them down like a rabid dog. Brilliant.

Tacos are not the healthiest thing on the planet, but they are gluten free (hurrah!) and a welcome variation from the rice/pasta/potatoes conveyor belt as they contain corn.  I like to ‘rotate’ the kids grains where I can to try to prevent them from becoming intolerant, to get as many different nutrients in them as possible, and just for a bit of interest and flavour.  Taco filling leftovers are also fab with  wraps to make enchiladas or burritos, or just with some rice, so you have several different meals from one creation. RESULT!

Burritos in particular were such a hit that I played around with them and created this little beauty of a recipe. Once you try this you will never make lasagne again.  It takes less than half an hour to make this. Seriously, bit of chopping, 20 minutes total cooking… BOOM! Kids tea. DONE!

RECIPE

500g minced beef (ideally grass fed or organic)

1 onion, chopped finely

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped/crushed

1 red pepper (or any colour, doesn’t matter)

2 tsp paprika

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp oregano

1/2 tin kidney beans

2/3 tin chopped tomatoes

3 large tortilla wraps (I use these Crosta Mollica Organic Flatbread they literally contain wheat, oil, salt, unlike most other wraps which contain a million ingredients)

2 handfuls grated organic cheddar

METHOD

1. Fry onion in olive oil for a few minutes, turn heat up and fry mince until browned. Then add spices, herbs, garlic and chopped pepper and fry for another 2-3 minutes. Add kidney beans and 100ml water, cover and simmer for 5-10 minutes.  The mixture should be fairly dry, you don’t want the wraps to go too soggy. Simmer with the lid off for a few more minutes if there is too much liquid.

2. Lightly oil an oven dish that will hold your wrap without it overlapping the edges or coming up at the sides. Or, cut your wraps to fit the dish you have. Lay your first wrap down and top with half the meat mixture, making sure it goes all the way to the edge of the wrap to keep everything moist. Add the next wrap and repeat with rest of meat. Top with final wrap.

3. Mash chopped tomatoes roughly with a fork to create a smoother texture. Spoon over top wrap, again making sure everything is well covered so it doesn’t dry out. Season with a little extra oregano, salt and pepper. Top with grated cheese. Bake in oven (180C) for 10 minutes or so until cheese is all bubbly and golden.

Serve with sour cream and/or guacamole if your kids will eat them. FYI mine won’t.

Spinach Sweet Potato and Pea Seasonal Supergreen Soup

image

I had the perfect excuse to make my favourite soup today, as my organic veg box this week contained leeks, sweet potatoes and spinach.  It’s quite worrying how happy this made me. Anyway, I have to pay homage to baby food guru Annabel Karmel for this recipe, as this in fact started off life as one of her baby food purees. See Annabel Karmel for more inspiration.

This was yet another failed attempt to get The Boy With The Sweet Tooth to eat something nutritious. Predictably, small boy wanted nothing to do with this purée, but it smelt amazing, so I added some seasoning and found I had a pretty life-changing soup on my hands. Thank god one of us liked it!  I can’t say I have ever tried a baby purée before (OK, well, apart from the ones I use to make my Paleo Porridge, obvs)  I find there is something a bit repulsive about blended food, I’m a bit squeamish about anything coming out of a nutribullet, even.  So, I promise you, this had to be something special to get me to try it.

I’ve played around with the original recipe, and as with most of of my recipes it’s all very free and easy so just adjust to how many leeks you need to use up or how many peas are at the bottom of the bag lurking in your freezer. This cries out for thickly buttered fresh brown bread to be dunked into it, but is equally nice as a virtuous snack on its own, or bulked up with some protein on the side. If I have a batch in the fridge I tend to have it as a mid-afternoon snack to keep the 4pm slump away. I always feel wonderfully wholesome after I have eaten this.  And ready to tackle the mayhem of kids teatime and witching hour. Well, maybe…

image

RECIPE (serves about 4)

2 large sweet potatoes

large bag of spinach

3 leeks

about 200g frozen peas

water, stock or bone broth (about 200ml depending on how thick you like your soup)

1 tbsp butter or coconut oil

 

METHOD

1. Warm the oil or butter in a heavy based pan with a well fitting lid. Wash leeks well, chop and sweat on a low heat with the lid on for about 4-5 minutes.

2. Peel and chop sweet potatoes into roughly 1 inch chunks. Add to pan and sauté for a further minute or two.

3. Add approx 200ml bone broth/water or stock, I always add less as I like thick soup, and you can always top it up if it needs more when you blend it.  Season well and simmer for 10 mins or until potatoes are lovely and soft.

4. Wash spinach and gently squeeze out excess water, add to pan along with peas and simmer for a further 3 minutes or so.

5. Blend to desired consistency and tuck in!

imageimage

This is will keep well in the fridge for about 3 days and also freezes beautifully. You could always even try and give it to your baby (minus the salt), you may have better luck than me!

 

 

Lamb Kleftiko

We LOVE this in our house! We first had Kleftiko on a trip to Kefalonia many moons ago and as soon as we got home I set about working on my own version.  Kleftiko is a traditional Greek lamb dish, slow cooked with herbs, tomatoes and potatoes.  It is garlicky, tangy, rich heaven on a plate.  Every restaurant we have been to on various trips to Greece seems to have their own version of this.  And the more I googled it, the more variations I found.  So this is my very own hybrid, slightly quicker and easier version. In my humble opinion, it’s the coating of the lamb with the garlic that really makes this amazing, so don’t forget that part whatever you do!  It does contain feta cheese, so is not lactose free as such, but many lactose-phobes like myself can tolerate sheep’s or goat’s milk cheeses as they don’t contain Casein, also known as A1 protein, which is found in cow’s milk.  Casein is the guilty party that can make cow’s milk hard to digest.

This Kleftiko can also be made in individual baking paper parcels for a twist on the presentation, or if you want to make it in smaller quantities for 1 or 2 rather than making a big pot.  It can be made more traditionally with a whole shoulder of lamb. Mmmm…. And if you want a lighter midweek or paleo meal, I often omit the potatoes and use an extra courgette.  I’m sure you could also easily make this in a slow cooker, just omit the stock.

 

INGREDIENTS (serves 4)

4 shoulder or lamb leg steaks (ideally organic)

4 large carrots

2-3 large waxy potatoes

1 red onion

2 courgettes

1 tin tomatoes

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp mint

100ml stock/bone broth/water

extra Virgin olive oil

1/2 pack feta cheese

 

METHOD

1. Preheat oven to 180C.  Rub your lamb steaks with crushed garlic and set aside.

2. Oil casserole dish. Slice potatoes thinly and layer half at bottom of dish. Season with salt and pepper.  Slice carrots and place half quantity on top of potatoes. Slice onion into thin rings and place on top.

3. Place garlicky lamb on top of onions, add half of herbs and cinnamon and season.

4. Cover lamb with rest of carrots and then potatoes. Add sliced courgette on top.

5.  Pour over tinned tomatoes and stock. Season with salt and pepper again. Crumble over 3/4 of feta and rest of herbs and spice. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and bake, covered, for about 1 hour until vegetables are tender.  The longer you cook it, the tastier it will be. I often turn the oven down to 140 and cook for an extra hour with the lid off so the sauce thickens up.

Serve with green or roast vegetables, and sprinkle the remainder of the feta on top for extra tang and presentation brownie points.  Drink lots of red wine alongside.

 

 

 

 

 

A little bit of Spain…. In Surrey

A few weeks ago we started getting an organic fruit and veg box delivery from Riverford Farms.  I love it!  Each Tuesday, I am quite worryingly excited to see what goodies it contains. Last week one of our little treasures was a big bag of padron peppers. They are lovely, tasty little green peppers fried and served as tapas in Spain.  So, feeling inspired, and with an autumnal nip in the air, we decided to make our favourite Spanish pork stew.  This recipe is from Jose Pizarro, and is one of our all time favourites.  We buy a big shoulder of pork and cut it into chunks, which is really economical.

Delicious with paprika roasted sweet potatoes and green beans, courgetti or just some good bread or toast for dipping.  Small boy turned his nose up at all vegetable accompaniments, as usual,🙄 but did eat it mixed into pasta. Result. I had it the next day for lunch with some grated raw courgette and carrot (it was a lazy day, spiralizing felt like way too much hard work).

img_5413img_5415img_5414

PADRON PEPPERS

Heat olive oil in a frying pan until shimmering. Throw in peppers and cook on high moving occasionally until skin is blistered and blackened in places.  Serve sprinkled with plenty of coarse salt for flavour and crunch.

Jose Pizarro’s Braised Iberico Pork with Tomatoes, Chorizo, Black Olives and Thyme

You can swap the 2tsps of sugar for maple syrup if you are going to be really fussy about it.