Curried Okra & Roast Tomato Frittata

I love it when what begins as a random throw-together of ingredients becomes something delicious! I usually make a curry when cooking with okra, or ‘lady’s fingers’, but this time I tried my hand at something a little different.

Truth be told I’m not a big tomato fan but I had some big organic tomatoes from the farmer’s market that needed to be used up so I halved them and popped them into the oven with some olive oil to roast – which for me makes them instantly more appetizing! How long they take depends on their size but after approximately 20 mins at 200.C flip them so they roast evenly on both sides then return for another 15 mins.

Then I set about frying 2 cloves of garlic in 1 tsp coconut oil with some sea salt over medium heat. After 1-2 minutes I added a chopped fresh red chili (seeds and all!). Once the garlic had started to turn golden I added 1 tsp of curry powder for 1 min, to release the flavour, then I added 1kg of chopped okra and 1 tbsp coconut oil. These veggies really soak up the oil and in order to get them soft and tender more oil than I would usually use is needed.

Leave the okra to cook over medium-low heat, tossing continuously for 25-30 mins.

Once the tomatoes are roasted, make space to fit them, flat side down on pan and continue to cook over a low heat for a further 10-15 mins. **Note: Don’t turn the oven off – you’ll need it again soon!

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Also, throughout this recipe, while the veggies are cooking you don’t need to stay tied to the stove – leave them to cook while you go about your business in the house and just toss occasionally to ensure they are cooking evenly and that the temperature is not too high.

Finally, crack 6 eggs into a bowl and whisk then pour over the okra and tomatoes so that all are covered and transfer the pan from the stove top to the oven to bake until set (approx. 6-8 mins).

Allow to cool slightly then slice and enjoy! Or this recipe also tastes great re-heated the next day so bring leftovers for lunch 🙂

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Versatility of Veggies Part 2 – Roast Squash

So here is my second showcase of a humble veggie. This time ’round – Roasted Butternut Squash. A regular feature in my kitchen for its super versatility.

One of the things I love about it, is how you don’t need to use any oil when roasting. Simply slice in half, remove the seeds (you can score the skin to speed up cooking) and roast. It’s own beautifully sweet juices will caramelise as it roasts for a really sumptuous flavour.

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Once roasted here are a few delicious options for you to enjoy.

  1. Stuffed: Remove some of the flesh from the inside of one half of the squash and mix it with ingredients of your choice before re-stuffing. Below left, I mixed the flesh with black quinoa, goat’s cheese, greens and pomegranate for a fresh hot-cold combo.

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2. Looking for something a bit warmer now that winter is upon us? Then Roast Squash Soup is your man. One of my favourite wholesome, nourishing recipes. I love mine topped with oven-baked crunchy chickpeas and fresh herbs.

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3. Sticking with our lighter options. These Squash Falafels are the perfect snack on the go. I used one of my favourite foodies – Susan Jane White’s, Sweet Potato Falafel recipe.

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4. Here I have roasted chunks rather than halves for a light lunch/brunch option served with sautéed mushrooms and poached eggs.
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5. Finally for something more hearty it’s got to be one of my all-time winner winner dinners – My Caramelised Banana, Chickpea and Roast Squash Curry.

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The choice is endless my dear readers. So what ya waiting for – go grab your veggies! If anyone has any other squash recipes they’d like to share i’d love to hear about them!

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Versatile Veggies Part 1 – Roasted Aubergine

I’ve decided to do a series of posts to show you just how versatile one humble veggie can be and how many different ways you can make it a meal.

Aubergines, or eggplants, are up first and I love mine roasted. Below I will show you three different versions and how you can enjoy them. All three are roasted with coconut oil, salt and pepper.

First up you can slice them into thin discs and roast until brown and crisp.

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Secondly, you can halve and score them (make criss-cross incisons in the flesh) with a dash of paprika

Last but not least, whole roasted (with the skin pierced a number of times)

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I love the eggplant crisps as you would fries, but as a healthier savoury snack, they are also perfect for dipping in hummus.

The whole/halve versions I get more adventurous with and below I will share some previous versions I put together.

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Below is half an aubergine roasted and stuffed with sautéed onions, garlic and mushrooms mixed with quinoa, tahini, rocket and pomegranate. 601

Next is a real – “what have I got in the fridge?” lunch. I had some leftover lentil, bean and purple quinoa salads (see a recipe for the likes here), butterbean hummus, kale and cherry tomatoes.

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My fridge was really empty on this  particular day so the aubergine was the stand alone flavour hero and I just enhanced it with a mixture of fresh herbs, tahini and pomegranate seeds. 
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You can also find baby eggplants like these ones below, which I stuffed with goats cheese, cranberry and roasted squash inside – again leftovers from a previous meal (see here) and served on some greens with asparagus and tamari mushrooms. 

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All in all, you can see how one simple vegetable can be transformed into a multitude of dishes and customised to your own taste buds. Happy experimenting!

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Carb-Free Protein Wraps

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These carb-free, high-protein egg wraps are the perfect tortilla substitute. Whether you are wheat or gluten intolerant or just trying to limit your carb intake they are really quick and easy to whip up and taste good warm or cold – perfect for lunchboxes!

Ingredients:

(Serves 4)

6 eggs

1 handful kale, spinach, rocca or any green leaves of your choosing

Salt & Pepper

Coconut oil

+ Toppings/Fillings of choice

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How to bring it all together..

These couldn’t be any easier. Simply whizz all ingredients, except the oil, in a food processor.

Heat the oil on a pan, then once hot, pour a ladle-full of your green mixture into the pan.

After 2-3 minutes – when bubbles begin to form on the surface of the mixture – flip and allow to cook for another 1 minute on the other side.

Top/fill your wrap with your desired goodies – I chose roast squash, goats cheese, soaked dried cranberries (soak in warm water for 10 minutes so you obtain softened berries and a little syrup for drizzling) & fresh dill.

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Then Wrap & Roll!

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Beetroot, Walnut & Goat’s Cheese Burgers

I’ve been a long-time fan of The Happy Pear café & although gifted with their cookbook last year I hadn’t gotten around to trying many dishes from it so when a few friends were coming around for dinner lately I decided to whip it out and adapt their beetroot, walnut and feta burgers’ recipe for my wheat and lactose-free goats cheese, almond flour version. In the guys version they also use cheddar cheese which again I swapped for nutritional yeast which is a cheesy tasting B12 supplement found in all good health stores.

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The recipe was really simple to put together and the burgers were light but filling thanks to the nutty additions and the gooey cheese! The great thing about making these burgers in my home in Ireland was using the fresh mint, parsley, beetroot and spring onions straight from my parent’s vegetable patch! Fresh, organic goodness from right outside the kitchen window – ideal.

Ingredients:

Makes 4-6 burgers depending on how big you like ’em!

140g Toasted Walnuts

400g Cooked Beetroot

4 tbsps Fresh mint (chopped)

4 Spring onions

100g Goats cheese

80g Nutritional yeast

150g Ground Almonds

2 tbsp Coconut Oil

Topping:

Roast Carrot Hummus & Fresh Parsley

I served the burgers with roast carrot hummus (I highly recommend this!) and a tamari roasted portobello mushroom that I topped with a scoop of mashed chili sweet potato and some leftover burger mix and then baked for a further few minutes to crisp up.

Start by pre-heating the oven to 200.C

I like to get all my ingredients prepared for use first as it makes it easier once you start cooking and putting the recipe together.

So to follow my lead, scrub and grate the uncooked beetroot then chop the spring onions.

Roughly chop or crumble the goats cheese and the walnuts. If you bought your walnuts un-toasted just pop them in a dry pan for less than 5 minutes to toast. Keep a close eye on them as they can burn very easily and once happy with their colour, remove from the pan so they don’t continue to toast.

Heat the oil in a pan and cook the beetroot and spring onions for approx. 5 minutes then set aside to cool.

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In a large bowl, combine the beetroot mixture with the goats cheese, nutritional yeast, walnuts, mint and ground almonds and mix well with your hands (this part is messy – Wear gloves to avoid pink hands!).

Season with a good pinch of sea salt and black pepper then shape into your desired burger sizes.

Place the burgers on a baking tray and bake for approx. 25 minutes, turning halfway.

Top with hummus, fresh herbs or sprouts and enjoy!

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Almond Crust Pizzas

These bad boys have been something I have been trying to master for a long time now. I had previously attempted cauliflower and quinoa crust pizzas but let’s be honest we all knew it wasn’t real pizza! They never held their shape and admittedly sometimes had to be ate with a spoon! 😦

Until now that is!

I surprised myself with this clean cheat – it really does look, eat and taste like real pizza! Even my pizza-loving sister was amazed! Plus the almond crust makes them really filling so don’t be put off by their size.

Yes they take a bit longer to make then whacking a frozen store-bought version in the oven but that’s part of the satisfaction of making your own healthy clean cheats and not worrying about all the crap you’re putting in your body and onto your waistline!

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To make 3 mini pizzas – or 3 individual portions

Ingredients

Base:
180-200g ground almonds
2 eggs beaten
2 tbsp nutritional yeast (or parmesan if not dairy-free/vegan)
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 crushed garlic cloves
1 tsp oregano or basil (dried herbs are fine)

Plus extra meal for rolling the dough – I ran out of ground almonds so I improvised and used buckwheat flakes which worked perfectly too. The amount used is only minimal and only to stop the dough sticking to the rolling pin.

Toppings:
2 tbsp tomoto paste (sugar free)
1tbsp nutritional yeast
& Whatever tickles your fancy/is in your fridge!

I chose kale, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes and capers purely because that was what I had in my fridge at the sporadic time of making!

What to do:

Begin by adding all of the base ingredients to your blender to make your dough. The mixture should hold together but if too wet add some more ground almonds or too dry add a little water.

Seperate the dough into 3 equal sized portions then roll into circular pizza-shaped bases. Add more ground almonds, as you would do with flour when baking, if the dough is sticking to the rolling pin.

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I recommend placing parchment paper on a chopping board and rolling from the centre of the dough outwards, rotating the board as you go, to get a good shape.

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Pop in the oven at 200.C and bake for approx. 8 mins or until golden brown. This may vary depending on your oven.

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Now add your toppings! Have fun here – why not do 3 different versions?!

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Place back in the oven for a further 7 minutes to allow toppings to cook.

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Remove & allow to cool for a minute or two before cutting with a pizza slicer!

Then try not to eat all 3 pizzas by yourself!!

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Jackfruit Curry

Jackfruit is an exotic fruit I first came across in India, although it is the national fruit of Bangladesh. Known as “The Jack of all fruits” because it is packed full of nutrients; it is rich in vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, carbohydrates, electrolytes, fibre, fat and protein and although it contains calories it has little to no cholesterol or saturated fat.

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Pictured here on the bottom two shelves of a fruit stall in the North East of India

Similar in taste to a banana or durian, its inside is packed full of edible bright yellow bulbs. Inside each of these bulbs is a nut, or seed, which is also edible once boiled or roasted, making a tasty snack.

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The taste and texture of jackfruit makes it great for sweet dishes, jams, chutneys and cakes but prepared in a savoury way it’s texture is similar to soft meat, like mutton, making it great for vegetarians and non-veggies alike!

Since returning from Sri Lanka where I tried my first jackfruit curry, having only eaten it raw in India, it has become something of a comfort dish for me. Paired with the creaminess of organic coconut milk it is divine! The version I make is very mild and as I am being very concious of my IBS symptoms at the moment I am avoiding onions and garlic which are two major triggers for flare-ups, however feel free to add them to this recipe.

What you need:

You can find pre-prepared and packaged jackfruit bulb in many grocery stores across Dubai meaning all you need to do is chop them into thin slices.

  • 2 packets of jackfruit bulbs, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/3 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seed powder
  • 1 can organic coconut milk

Place all ingredients in a large pot over medium-high heat. Once the coconut milk starts to boil reduce to a simmer and leave for 15-20 minutes. Remove the lid and cook on higher heat for 2 or 3 minutes to thicken the sauce if needed. You can serve at this point but if you have time I recommend covering the dish once more and allowing to stand with the heat off for approx. 5 minutes before serving as the sauce thickens further and the dish cools slightly to a more enjoyable eating temperature.

Jackfruit curry

 Enjoy on a bed of red rice with some fresh herbs or micro greens on top 

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**Top Tip**

Delicious to eat this versatile fruit can also be used as a face mask for a glowing complexion by soaking it’s seeds in milk, then grinding and mixing into a paste with some honey.

Sweet Potato Marshmallow Pie

Certainly not my healthiest recipe but something a bit fun for those choosing to have a little sugar now and then!

I made this dish as a random idea/experiment for Christmas dinner this year and it turned out surprisingly well. It looks impressive when cooked, golden-brown and crisp on the outside, gooey and oozing on the inside!

What you will need:

1 bag of marshmallows

2 sweet potatoes

1 tsp cinnamon

 

To make this dish couldn’t be easier. Simply steam the sweet potatoes until soft to prick with a fork, then mash and add the cinnamon.

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Transfer mashed potatoes into the baking dish you plan to use and spread evenly.

Cover the potato with marshmallows as shown below.

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Pop in the oven at 200.C and bake until golden brown and crisp on top (approx. 20mins).

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I love how the marhsmallows all melt together to give a perfect swollen top to the pie! We ate this dish as an unusual sweet-savoury dish with our main meal and it strangely worked but it would also work well as a dessert/sweet option.

Sweet potato marshmallow pie

Three-Bean Burgers

You will need:

150g Black eyed beans

1/2 a can or approx 150g of Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans

1/2 a can or approx 150g Kidney beans

 Cooking Instructions:

Soak the beans then boil until tender, approx. 10 minutes. Alternatively use canned cooked version but usually black eyed beans you won’t find pre-cooked.

Season with salt, pepper and 2tbsp paprika, mix well to coat all then blend 2/3 of the beans; reserving 1/3.

Once blended, stir in the un-blended 1/3 of beans to add texture and bite to the burgers. Adjust seasoning if required.

Using wet hands shape into burgers or patties and leave to rest and firm up for at least 1 hour before cooking. I made mine the night before cooking them and then simply grilled them for a few minutes until crisp on the outside the next day. Alternatively you could bake them which again is a similarly healthy option using no oil, but if frying use coconut oil.

The burgers don’t need much cooking as the beans are already cooked, just some crisping up!

IMG_7927I enjoyed mine with some avocado, sprouts, herbs and pomegranate as a simple supper.

 

Wrap & Roll

Us Irish islanders are extremely lucky to only have an abundance of fantastic land produce but also sea – and I’m not talking fish. I’m talking about that slippery, slimy stuff that gets wrapped around your leg at the beach (on the one day of the year the sun comes out) and you begin flapping about hysterically thinking it’s a jelly-fish, called seaweed.

As I mentioned in my previous DIY Face Masks blog post, I love Irish brand Voya, which uses seaweed in all their beauty products, but as well as using seaweed externally I also love eating the stuff & I am going to be sharing a number of different seaweed recipes with you over the coming weeks.

There are a variety of seaweeds and people are probably most familiar with nori which is commonly in sushi and Japanese cuisine. I use nori all the time as a wheat-free wrap alternative or as a tasty garnish on soups. You can find nori sheets inexpensively in health-food stores, Asian markets and large supermarkets. Sometimes they are already crisp and toasted for you while others you just need to hold them over a gas burner or a hot plate for a few seconds until they turn bright green and are then ready to use. Below I will share with you some ideas of how to use it but first – why you should use it!

Nori is packed full of antioxidants, why do you think those Japanese live so long! It has a 50% protein content and just one sheet has more fibre than a cup of raw spinach and more omega-3 fatty acids than a cup of avocado!

Remember my Baked Sweet Potato Falafel recipe, work great as a carb-free Falafel wrap alternative. In the picture below, I used smashed the falafel before rolling up in my nori sheet with avocado, tahini, pomegranate and sprouts.

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My Healthy Version of a Falafel Wrap

You can literally put anything you like in your nori wraps, that’s why I love them because they are so versatile but fish does work particularly well so I often use smoked salmon, prawns or tuna steak in mine.

597Lunch/Dinner Inspiration: Pictured above are prawn and avocado nori rolls with quinoa lettuce cups.

It’s worth mentioning that because the wraps are so light I usually have two and fill each with something wholesome such as avocado or Cashew Nut Cheese (as is in the side dish below) for healthy fats and extra filling-power.

Nori rolls & cashew nut cheese dip