Overnight Muesli

45g Gluten Free oats

2 large tbsp. Greek Yogurt

59g raspberries, blueberries, or strawberries or a mixture

20g Flaked Almonds

45ml Almond milk

1 tsp honey

  • Pop all the ingredients in a jar with an airtight lid.
  • Give it a good mix. It should be the consistency of yogurt, because it thickens overnight.
  • Pop on the lid and close tightly.

And that’s it. It will be ready to serve the next day (or the ones after that). If it’s too thick, just add a little more milk.

Lemon, Sunflower Seed and Blackberry Muffins (makes 8)

At this time of year, I start thinking about festive food. The first job on my list of preparations is to empty out my usually overstocked freezer to make way for dishes prepared ahead of time, to take the strain off Christmas entertaining.
Every year without exception I find bags of blackberries, freshly frozen from one of my many foraging frenzies.
At the end of August and beginning of September, when the warm days of summer are either present or recent enough to imagine the heat on the back of your arms, the blackberries ripen; round and plump glistening like wild garnets. I just can’t resist.
This year I‘ve made jam and chutney and still had plenty of blackberries left. I had the urge to bake (I blame The Great British Bake off- BBC have a lot to answer for!).
I looked for a recipe I could adapt and came across one in my
ever faithful and very stained Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache, by Harry Eastwood.
The recipe also uses courgette, a vegetable that always gets wasted because no one in my family wants to eat it, apart from me.
I just have to make sure that I peel them well, and they never guess what the ‘mystery ingredient’ is’!

2 large unwaxed lemons
3 medium eggs, free range, of course and brought to room temperature
160g Caster sugar
250g peeled topped, tailed, and finely grated courgette (zucchini if you’re in the US)
180g white rice flour
160g ground almonds
2 tsp. baking power
1/2 tsp. bicarbonate of soda
1/4 tsp. salt
60g sunflower seeds
150g blackberries

  • Preheat the oven to 180c/350f/gas mark 4 and line the muffin tray with paper cases (I prefer to use silicone cases)
  • Finely grate the lemon zest on to a plate.
  • Beat the eggs and sugar together with an electric whisk or mixer for exactly 3 minutes and till pale and creamy.
  • Add the courgette and lemon zest and beat.
  • Using a spatula, wooden spoon (or if you’re a complete lazy bones like me, continue using the mixer), beat in the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt until they are thoroughly mixed. Be quick though.
  • Quickly stir in the seeds and berries. It’s important to use a spoon or spatula for this part, so that the berries don’t become mushy.
  • Spoon the mixture into the cases, making sure that the mixture comes right to the top.
  • Bake in the centre of your oven for 35 minutes.
  • Remove the muffins from the oven and cool on a wire rack.
  • They might be cracked on the top. Do not be alarmed, this is normal!

Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 15.32.04

Caption found on http://www.the36thavenue.com

Light Chocolate Cake- serves 12

February and March is birthday season in our family, which means the obligatory birthday cake or 2, or in the case of my eldest daughter, 4! – Well she was 16!
On this occasion, some of the cakes didn’t need to be gluten free, but one did, and that is where my gluten free cake ‘bible’, ‘Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache’ by Harry Eastwood came in again. It is one of those special books, that has dog-eared pages, splattered with cake mix. The really interesting thing about the recipes is that they all include vegetables in their ingredients.
Handy if you’ve got a glut of anything or just vegetables about to ‘turn’. The other thing is that the vegetables are interchangeable, for example sweet potato instead of butternut squash (lets face it, they’re easier to peel!).
Chocolate cake is a popular choice and this one always goes down well. Continue reading “Light Chocolate Cake- serves 12”

New Resolutions……

Happy New Year! 
I know its February-where did January go? January’s often a month that drags but this year my feet hardly touched the ground, with work, family commitments and the shared stresses of my daughters mock exams. One certainty in the New Year, is the threat of the common cold. I’ve made it my mission this month to eat super healthily, drink plenty of fluids and get plenty of fresh air. It cant be good to be inside all of the time, even when its a bit chilly. So far, I’ve managed to ‘dodge the bullet’ and remained ‘cold’ free.
I’ve also been hoping for some snow. I love the way it’s so bright and muffles the sounds of the street. We had a brief flurry recently, but sadly it didn’t settle, still, there’s always next year.
Soup is the perfect thing to have when it is really cold outside. I have this romantic vision of clutching a mug of soup, standing outside in the snow. To date I’ve yet to do that, but maybe next time we have a winter wonderland I will.
Summertime is my favourite time of year, and I really love all the sunshine foods that available, but I don’t just confine them to the summer, and so on a dull grey February day, of which there is usually plenty, I make this colourful soup.

Roasted Tomato Soup with Basil Puree (serves 4 generously)
1.8kg ripe tomatoes (you need to feel them!), halved
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, crushed
4 bay leaves
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
4 medium onions, sliced finely
4 sticks of celery, sliced
1 medium head of fennel, sliced
1/2 fresh chilli, deseeded (more if you like it fiery)
2 tsp tomato puree
2 tsp honey
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and black pepper

Basil Puree
60g fresh basil leaves
1/2 tsp sea salt
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp good quality balsamic vinegar

  • Preheat the grill.
  • Place the tomatoes cut side up on a baking sheet.
  • Grill until soft and darkening at the edges.
  • 
Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5.
  • Heat the oil and then add the garlic, herbs and the remaining vegetables.
  • Cook until the vegetables start to soften and then transfer to a roasting tin or baking dish and roast for 30 minutes until soft.
  • 
Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  • 
Blend until smooth along with the grilled tomatoes, tomato puree, honey and lemon juice, until it is a smooth pouring consistency, adding water if needed.
  • Sieve the mixture to separate the pulp.
  • Heat gently and season to taste.
  • Garnish with a swirl of basil puree.

To make the basil puree

If you have a mini blender, puree the basil with the salt, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
If not use a pestle and mortar, crushing up the basil with the salt first before and the rest of the ingredients.

coll-ee-fl-ow-ah

Ok, I have to admit it- I’m not a massive fan of cauliflower. I’m not keen on the texture or flavour. It’s a brassica like cabbage (which I love) and broccoli (which is ok sometimes) and Brussels Sprouts (NO!)- One group of foods, but not one of them the same as the other, as far as my taste buds are concerned. That is not to say that I don’t eat Cauliflower. I do. It’s so nutritious.
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=13,
It would be wrong not to. I just have to cut it into small pieces and add a different flavour (cauliflower cheese, anyone?) or blend it up and make it into soup. This soup is really spicy, which suits me, but if you really like the taste of cauliflower, then add less harissa paste.

Moroccan Cauliflower Soup– serves 4
1 large cauliflower, cut into small florets
2 tbsp. olive oil
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
2 tbsp. harissa paste
1 litre gluten free chicken or vegetable stock
50g toasted flaked almonds and a little extra to garnish.

  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan and gently fry the spices and harissa paste for 2 minutes.
  • Add the cauliflower followed by the stock and flaked almonds.
  •  Cover and cook for 20 minutes until the cauliflower is tender.
  •  Allow to cool a little and then puree until smooth.
  •  Pour into bowls and top with a swirl of harissa paste mixed with a little water (otherwise it won’t swirl!) and a sprinkling of flaked almonds. And add a swirl of yogurt if you want to cool it down a bit!

Adapted from a recipe by BBC Good Food

Spicy Chickpea and Tomato Soup with Pesto- serves 4

“I run because if I didn’t, I’d be sluggish and glum and spend too much time on the couch. I run to breathe the fresh air. I run to explore. I run to escape the ordinary. I run…to savor the trip along the way. Life becomes a little more vibrant, a little more intense. I like that.”

Dean Karnazes, Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner

Continue reading “Spicy Chickpea and Tomato Soup with Pesto- serves 4”

Hey Pesto!

I always buy fresh herbs for recipes, but end up throwing most of them out. Occasionally I buy herbs in pots, but me and plants do not go together, My father over the years has given me plants, in hope that I will look after them, but because they don’t talk and tell me they’re thirsty, all of them have hit the dust. Sorry Dad. Most people would be delighted to be given a beautiful orchid. Not me. I just know how it’s going to end, and it won’t be pretty.
I did however buy a basil plant because there weren’t any little packets available in the supermarket. I didn’t end up making the dish I had planned, or did I just forget to garnish something (something I’ve done too many times when we’ve had friends over for dinner!) – I can’t remember. Anyway, I still had the basil plant. I really looked after it, feeding it regularly with sparkling water (which was just due to convenience initially; there was a half used bottle in the kitchen and it poured well!). Basil (by this time, I was forming a bond) really liked the water and I could almost sense its delight every time I watered it. The leaves became large and lush and I knew that I was going to have to use its harvest pretty soon. Hmm, what should I make? Pesto, of course!

Pesto– makes 125ml

25g Pine nuts
40g Basil leaves
25g Grated Parmesan
75ml olive oil
1 garlic clove

  • Cook the pine nuts in a small pan over a low heat until golden. Give the pan a good shake from time to time, and don’t take your eye off the ball! Burnt pine nuts aren’t nice.
  •  Pop the basil, Parmesan, garlic in a food processor.
  • Add the roasted pine nuts and blend.
  • Add the olive oil and blend again.
  • It’s that simple.

Soup- again?

I always seem to be making and photographing soup. I love it. It’s a great way to get lots of nutrients and now that it’s finally turned cold here in England, it makes the perfect lunch, and this recipe is no exception. Not only does it taste great, it has a really interesting texture. I’m not sure how authentic it is; as I’m never been to the Caribbean, but I can always dream! Continue reading “Soup- again?”