Tag: raw

Tomatoes and Mozzarella with Creamy Homemade Pesto (or toms on toast…)

Tomatoes and Mozzarella with Creamy Homemade Pesto (or toms on toast…)

Tomatoes and Mozzarella. An all time favourite; a classic. Easily adaptable but always juicey- it’s the Romeo & Juliet of the culinary world.

After publishing my recipe for Harissa-Roast Aubergine and Spiralized Greek Salad, I suddenly realised that the majority of my recipes, although uncomplicated in principle, seem to involve several ingredients and lots of fiddly tasks. Not to mention a whole load of washing up afterwards.

This salad (or sandwich if you opt for the toast version – which I’d advise that you do at least once) is the opposite. Barely any ingredients and nothing you wouldn’t necessarily have in a store cupboard (except, perhaps, the pine nuts). It’s as simple as it is tasty.

Tomatoes and Mozzarella

Tomatoes and Mozzarella with Creamy Pesto (or tomatoes on toast)

 

Ingredients

  • 4-5 Large Tomatoes
  • 150-200g Fresh Mozzarella
  • 2 Large Handfuls of Fresh, Washed Spinach
  • Toasted Dark Rye Bread, to serve (optional)

Tomatoes and Mozzarella

For the Pesto

  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 50 ml Olive Oil
  • 3 Large Handfuls of Fresh Basil
  • 20 grams Pine Nuts
  • 1 Clove Garlic
  • A splash of water
  • Salt & Pepper to season

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Method

Put the spinach into a bowl. Drain the mozzarella of any excess liquid and slice into circles, approximately 1cm in thickness/depth. Cut the tomatoes into similar rounds and arrange both the tomatoes & mozzarella on top of the spinach.

For the pesto, simply bung the whole lot of ingredients into a blender, and blitz until creamy. This is a cheat’s way of doing things, and creates a lovely smooth, sauce-like pesto. If you prefer something more traditional and chunky, you’d have to go for the old-fashioned method, with a pestle and mortar.

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Drizzle the pesto over the tomatoes and mozzarella, and whether you choose a bowl or a slice of hot and crunchy toast, it’ll be equally delicious.

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The thing to remember about homemade pesto is that all the ingredients are fresh, so the flavour is very strong; much more so than what you get in shop-bought jars. This means that you barely need any for the flavours to come across – just a few splodges here and there.

Tomatoes and Mozzarella

Recipe: “Healthy” Courgette Cupcakes

Recipe: “Healthy” Courgette Cupcakes

These cupcakes were a bit of a not-so-subtle attempt to get my boyfriend to try courgette, which is normally something that he avoids at all costs.

I have very little tolerance for fussy eaters- especially when the victim in question is as innocent as the humble courgette. They’re essentially just cucumber with slightly less water. Courgettes are certainly not offensive – I can understand the common distaste for mushrooms (the texture) or sprouts (the taste) but with a mild taste and a crunchy texture, I just can’t see what he has against them.

Nothing like cramming a vegetable into a sweetly spiced cake (covered in chocolate) to get a sweet-tooth guy to go against his morals.

Courgette Cake

Courgette- or Zucchini if you’re across the pond- work just as well in baking as carrots, because they create nice, mellow cakes that aren’t overly rich or sweet, but work splendidly well with spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. Plus they are full of Vitamin C, Potassium, and are a great source of fibre.

Despite being packed full of your essential minerals, the word healthy is a bit of a stretch when it comes to these cakes…they’re not vegan, as they do contain eggs, but apart from that the dairy is minimal, and they also don’t call for any butter or sugar. If you use quinoa flour (as I did) then they pack in some protein and can easily be made gluten free.

Courgette

The chocolate peanut butter topping was a half-arsed attempt to hide the give-away green of the courgette…needless to say he saw past my sneaky ways, but it was a pretty stellar addition, so I’ve added it to the recipe. Chocolate, nuts and courgette go mysteriously well together, which is bizarre because you’d never find yourself chopping up a courgette on a daily fridge raid and dunking it in nutella….

Or who knows, maybe you would.

Courgette Cupcake

Courgette Cupcakes

Ingredients

For the Cake

  • 2 large or 3 small courgettes, spiralized and roughly chopped (or grated)
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil (either soft or melted)
  • 3 Tablespoons of Agave Syrup, or honey
  • 225 Grams Quinoa, or Wholewheat flour
  • 2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 2 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
  • 1 Tablespoon Cocoa Powder (for an optional chocolatey-ness)
  • 100ml soy milk, soy yoghurt or greek yoghurt
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Essence
  • 50-100 Grams Dark Chocolate Chips

 

For the Topping

  • 100 Grams Palm-Oil Free Peanut Butter (or a different nut butter of your choice)
  • 125 Grams Melted Dark Chocolate Chips
  • Edible Gold Sprinkles (or other fancy garnish of your choice)

Vanilla

Makes 24 Cupcakes or 2 Round-Tin Cakes

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and either line a cupcake tin with paper cases, or grease your round cake tins with a little bit of coconut oil.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, then beat in the syrup and softened coconut oil, until combined.

In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and cocoa (if using) before stirring gently into the egg mixture. Add the yoghurt and vanilla essence, stirring so that all the ingredients are completely combined and have a fairly soft, but not too runny batter-y texture.

Batter

Once the courgettes have been grated and/or spiralized and chopped, pat them dry with some kitchen paper so that they don’t add too much water to the mixture. Mix these into the cake mix with the chocolate chips until both the chocolate and the courgette are evenly spread throughout.

Choc Chip Batter

Spoon the mixture into the paper cases until they are ¾ full, or divide evenly into the two tins.

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Put them in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

Whilst the cakes are in the oven you can get on with making the topping, which is the simple yet heavenly job of melting together the chocolate and peanut butter in a pan, over a low heat and stirring regularly to make sure that it doesn’t burn.

Choc Peanut

Try not to add the topping until the cakes are completely cool…but if you don’t have the patience to add pretty sparkles want to eat them right away then I wouldn’t blame you!

Courgette Cupcake
If you have any more tips on getting fussy eaters to eat their vegetables, I’d love to hear them in the comments!

Recipe – Courgetti Pad-Thai Salad

Recipe – Courgetti Pad-Thai Salad

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been a massive fan of the sandwich. This is a longstanding arrangement, going back to when I was an inordinately fussy-eater as a child – I didn’t like the idea that what I was eating was hidden between two slices of bread.

Thankfully, I am far from fussy with food anymore (although I’m still just as stubborn in general). Nevertheless, for some reason, my dislike of sandwiches has stuck- nowadays I just find them a bit boring, and I tend to prefer fork-food to finger-food.

I like to create inventive salads and snacks to take into work for lunch every day because, let’s face it, nothing is worse than sitting at a desk all day without having something to look forward to at lunchtime.

This is one of my all time favourite recipes, a result of several attempts of trial and error before getting the final thing just right. I’m not going to claim that it’s really authentically Thai (because it’s probably not) but it’s so flavourful and aromatic and I often get my colleagues asking what it is and how to make it.

There is a fair amount of prep involved but honestly it’s so worth it – it’s also great for lunches because you can make a big batch in advance and divvy it up into tupperware, so really you’re saving yourself time from having to worry about tomorrow’s lunch during the week.

Courgetti Pad-Thai Salad

Courgetti Pad Thai Recipe

Ingredients

For the Salad

  • 3 large or 4 small courgettes, spiralized or peeled into long thin slices
  • 4 medium carrots, grated (or a small bag of the pre-grated stuff if you’re like me and would rather hoover the entire house than grate even the tiniest square of cheese)
  • Half a small red cabbage, thinly chopped
  • 1 bell pepper in a colour of your choice
  • 3-4 spring onions or salad onions
  • 2 fresh red chillis, thinly cut
  • A couple of handfuls of kale
  • A handful of bean sprouts (optional)

 

For the Dressing

  • Juice and grated zest of one lime or you can literally just shove the whole thing into a strong blender (ditto above, I hate grating)
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon of finely chopped ginger
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 2-3 teaspoons of peanut butter (optional)
  • 100ml water
  • 75ml sesame oil
  • 100-150ml rice wine vinegar (I like mine really vinegary, but realise that this isn’t to everyone’s taste)
  • 75-100ml soy sauce or tamari
  • Salt, pepper and a few more dried chillis (optional)

 

Optional Garnishes

  • Unsalted peanuts (for added crunch)
  • Handful of chopped fresh coriander
  • Sprinkling of sesame seeds

Should be enough for 5 lunchtime portions.

Courgetti

I realise there’s quite a lot of ingredients, but you can do loads with things like soy sauce and fancy oils and vinegars, they last a long time too, so hopefully they’ll be worthwhile additions to your store cupboard.

 

Also, the great thing about this salad is that apart from a few really essential ingredients (courgette, soy, tahini, sesame oil etc) you can change up the veg, the garnish and the flavourings in the dressing depending on what you like, how you feel, and (as I realise this might not seem like the thriftiest of salads) whether payday has just been or not…

 

Method

Spiralize, julienne or peel your courgettes into long thin noodles and finely slice the rest of the veg into long, thin slices too. Chuck all the salad ingredients into a big bowl and make sure they’re well mixed.

Courgetti Pad Thai Recipe

For the dressing, either chuck everything into a powerful blender, or you can whisk the ingredients by hand in a jug – just make sure that the garlic and the ginger is nice and finely chopped. Blend or whisk until you get a nice, slightly thick but smooth dressing.

Courgetti Pad Thai Recipe

I much prefer to dress the big batch immediately, using my hands to really mix everything together before separating into the tupperwares. This way the veg can soak up all the flavours throughout the week. However, if you’re worried about soggy veg, you can always keep the dressing in a jar in the fridge and pour a bit on each morning.

 

Simple as that really! After the chopping is over and done with it’s just a case of mixing together and bob’s your uncle. Again, it’s a really versatile salad, so have a play around with your ingredients to get the balance just right for your tastes. If you give it a go, I’d love to hear what you think in the comments!

Courgetti Pad Thai Recipe

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