Recipes

Side dishes

Israeli Chopped Salad

IMG_0163

This is barely a recipe, more a suggestion of an easy and flavorful summer side dish that will works well with any Middle Eastern or Mediterranean main course, or even on its own with a dollop of hummus.

IMG_0161

This chopped salad is very popular not just in Israel but all over the Middle East. It comes together in just a few minutes but will also benefit from resting in the fridge for an hour or two.

Israeli Chopped Salad

250 g ripe cherry tomatoes

1 large cucumber (approx 450 g)

1/2 red onion

juice of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

optional extra toppings: chopped parsley, pomegranate seeds, feta cheese, sumac

Serves 4 as a side dish

Slice the onion, then soak in cold water for 15 minutes to reduce the bite (skip this if you like some bite to your salad). Pat dry, then chop into fine dice.

Quarter the cherry tomatoes.

Peel the cucumber and quarter lengthwise. Scoop out any excess seeds if necessary, then dice.

Place the onion, tomatoes and cucumber in a bowl and add the lemon juice, olive oil and seasoning. Toss well, and serve immediately or chill for a few hours.

IMG_1040photos and food styling by Yaelle

Breakfast

Banana Almond Pancakes

pancakes2

Did you see my healthy breakfast tips in The Telegraph earlier this month? The Telegraph featured several Brain Food breakfast recipes in their article on “How to make your child a healthy breakfast that they’ll actually like”.  But looking through the recipes the Telegraph chose made me realize that one of my favorite breakfast recipes was not on the website at all! This recipe for banana almond pancakes is so quick and easy to throw together on a weekend morning, and you probably have all of the ingredients to hand. The pancakes pair beautifully with fruit and berries, a drizzle of maple syrup or a spoonful of chia seed jam.

pancakes1

Banana Almond Pancakes

2 very ripe medium bananas, peeled

4 large eggs

4 tablespoons (40 g) ground almonds

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

coconut oil for cooking (or any other cooking fat)

Makes about 8 pancakes.

In a large bowl, mash the bananas well with a fork. Whisk in the eggs, then add the ground almonds and mix well.

Melt a small spoonful of coconut oil in a pan over medium heat. Using a ladle, add about 3 tablespoons of batter to the pan. The key to these pancakes is to keep them small, around the size of a scotch pancake, as they will be difficult to flip otherwise. Using a spatula correct the shape if necessary. When the bottom side is firmly cooked, after about 2 minutes, flip over (carefully!) and cook the other side for about 1 minute. Remove from the pan, and start again for the next pancake.

Dessert, Snacks

Chocolate-dipped Cherries

chocolatecherries1

Just two ingredients … but they are two of my favorite ingredients!

Chocolate-dipped Cherries

200 g cherries (with stalks attached)

150 g dark cooking chocolate

Makes about 25 chocolate-dipped cherries.

Wash and dry the cherries, then place on a tray in the freezer for an hour or until you are ready to dip them.

Melt the chocolate in a small bowl over simmering water, stirring occasionally, until completely melted. Set aside to cool for a minute or two.

Dip the cherries one by one, then place on a tray or plate lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate until serving.

For a lighter version, only dip the cherries halfway.

 

 

 

 

 

Dessert, Snacks

Chocolate coconut squares

date1

These chocolate coconut squares are free from gluten, dairy and refined sugar, but are nonetheless one of the most intensely chocolate flavoured desserts I have ever eaten. I had intended the recipe to be for chocolate coconut bars, but they came out so rich I had to downgrade the size to squares. These are lovely with a cup of coffee or as an after-school treat for hungry children.

date2

Chocolate Coconut Squares

360 g pitted medjool dates

100 g organic cacao powder (I use Creative Nature)

60 g dessicated coconut + extra to sprinkle

50 g chopped almonds

2 tablespoons honey

4 tablespoons water

pinch of salt

Makes about 30 squares.

Line a 20 x 20 cm baking tin with parchment paper.

Put all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blitz until smooth.

Tip the mixture into the tin and spread out evenly. Press down and smooth the surface with the back of a large spoon. Sprinkle a bit more coconut over the top and press into the surface.

Refrigerate for at least one hour, then cut into squares. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

date3

Side dishes

Kimchi – Cauliflower “Fried Rice”

kimchi cauliflower rice

Last week I had a great time co-hosting a fermentation workshop with Katharine Locke. After a busy morning of chopping vegetables and filling jars, we all sat down to a lunch featuring a fermented food tasting along with my new favorite lunch dish, this kimchi-cauliflower “fried rice” adapted from a recipe in Gwyneth Paltrow’s new book, It’s All Easy.

Although it is not difficult to make kimchi at home (try this recipe if you want to give it a go), because I live near an excellent Korean supermarket I tend to buy kimchi in pouches rather than make my own. I do now know that the kimchi sold in pouches is well fermented, having lived through The Night Of The Exploding Kimchi.  But that’s a story for another time, maybe when I finish deep-cleaning my fridge.

And if you have never made cauliflower couscous (or rice), I would highly recommend that you try it. It is really tasty but low-carb and perfect for anyone on a grain-free diet.

Kimchi-Cauliflower “Fried Rice” (adapted from It’s All Easy by Gwyneth Paltrow)

1 small head of cauliflower, broken into small florets

100 g curly kale, cut or torn into small pieces and stems removed

2 tablespoons coconut oil

2 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

3 tablespoons coconut aminos (or tamari soy sauce)

2 spring onions, thinly sliced

200 g chopped kimchi

1 small bunch of coriander leaves, chopped

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

Serves 4 as a main course (lovely with a fried egg on top!) or 6-8 as a side.

Pulse the cauliflower florets in a food processor until they are broken down to the size of couscous.

Heat the coconut oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the kale and saute for for 2 minutes, until it is starting to wilt. Add the cauliflower and the water and continue to saute for 5 minutes. Then cover the pan and reduce the heat to low for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, combine the remaining ingredients in a bowl. Add the cooled cauliflower-kale mixture and mix well. Garnish with sesame seeds and serve immediately.

Breakfast, Dips and spreads

Pear Butter

pearbutter2

I love the magic quality of this recipe, in which just one ingredient – pears – cook in a bit of water until they are completely transformed.  The result is a naturally sweet spread perfect for toast or pancakes, or stirred into some natural yogurt.  It is also a great way to use up any pears that are less than perfect or slightly past their prime.

This is good fun to make with children. They can chop the pears and stir the pot, and will be amazed at how cooking can completely change an ingredient.

Pear Butter

4 large pears or 6 medium (about 1.2 kg total)

200 ml water

Core and chop the pears, but do not peel them, and put in a pan with the water. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until pears are tender, about 1 hour.

Once the pears have softened, remove the lid and continue cooking for another 2-3 hours, stirring from time to time, until the mixture is smooth and brown and there is no visible liquid. You will need to stir more frequently towards the end of cooking, to avoid scorching.

Cool to room temperature and blend in a food processor or blender until smooth. Transfer to a jar and refrigerate.

 

Breakfast, Dips and spreads

Blueberry Chia Jam

blueberrychiajam

Happy new year! I hope you all enjoyed the holidays and had a good break. To get started cooking in 2016, I am sharing a recipe that we will be making in my GAPS For Breakfast workshop next week. This workshop is now sold out – sorry! – but I will be holding it again in April 2016. Details of other upcoming workshops are in the sidebar or on my Events page.

Chia seeds are not only loaded with nutrients, but also very versatile in cooking. For those with an egg allergy, chia seeds can be used as an egg substitute. Chia seeds can be used to make a delicious gluten-free porridge. And here they are used to make a pan of runny fruit set into a jam, without the added sugar of traditional jam. Instead I have just added a touch of honey for sweetness. Chia jam is also incredibly quick to make compared to traditional jam, which is more of a “project”. I hope you enjoy it!

Blueberry Chia Jam

300 g fresh blueberries

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons chia seeds

½ teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

Yield – one small jam jar

Put the blueberries and honey in a pan and heat on the hob stirring frequently, until the blueberries have burst and the liquid is boiling. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the chia seeds and cook for another 10 minutes, continuing to stir.

When the jam has thickened, take off the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Taste and add more honey if necessary. Cool to room temperature, then transfer to a jar and refrigerate. Keeps for up to one week.