Side dishes

Israeli Chopped Salad

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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