Gluten Free Super Seed Goujons

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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.

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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.

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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)

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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 😍

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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…

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

Spinach Sweet Potato and Pea Seasonal Supergreen Soup

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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…

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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!

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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!