Something fruity, Something sweet

Rum raisin ice cream

Rum

This is delicious and super easy to make with only four ingredients. There’s no churning needed and it makes a creamy, soft-scoop ice cream. It’s based on Nigela Lawson’s no-churn ice cream recipes. It’s certainly not very healthy, but makes a nice treat.

Start by soaking 150g raisin in 150ml of spiced rum for a couple hours. Then put a can of condensed milk (about 380g) and 600ml of whipping cream in a large bowl or a stand mixer and whip them together until they become fluffy and begin to stiffen. This makes the ice cream light which means it does not need churning as it freezes. Then gently fold in the raisins and rum and put in an airtight container and freeze. The rum will prevent the ice cream freezing too hard so it can be scooped straight from the freezer. Enjoy!

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Snacks

Beetroot & bean spread

Beet spread

This is a yummy, vibrant spread / dip that’s quick to make. It’s has an earthy flavor and is nice and healthy.

Start by dry roasting 1 tsp. cumin seeds in a frying pan, then put them aside.  Chop a small onion and a stalk of celery and fry them in a couple of tbsp. olive oil, as they begin cooking add 3-4 clove of garlic. While they are all softening peel and grate a large beetroot (about 350 – 400g) then grate it coarsely. Add the beetroot to the frying pan and 1/2 tsp. salt. Fry for a couple of minutes until the beetroot begins to soften.

Meanwhile strain and rinse a can of beans (red kidney or mixed beans). Then add 1 tsp. of balsamic vinegar, 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika and half the cumin seeds to the veggies and turn off the heat.  Put the veggies and the beans in a food processor and blend until it becomes a smooth paste. Scoop out into a bowl and allow to coo. To serve drizzle with some olive oil and sprinkle with the remaining cumin seeds and a little smoked paprika.

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Baking, Brunch, The Basics

Granola

Granola

I’m trying to eat more fruit and healthier breakfasts so have started making batches of granola to eat with fresh fruit and homemade yoghurt in the mornings. Granola isn’t as healthy as muesli as it has some oil and sweetener in it but I do like the crunch and if you make your own you can control how sweet it is and add whatever healthy extras you like.

I start by preheating the oven to about 175 degrees C or 350F. Then I put 500g rolled oats and 200g – 250g of mixed nuts and seeds into a large roasting tin, here I used cashews, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and chia seeds. I start these off first in the oven and bake them for about 10 minutes. Then to this I add about 50ml of coconut oil, 120ml of honey (if you want a sweeter version add some a bit more honey) a pinch of salt and a few grating of nutmeg (you can use cinnamon if you prefer) and mix everything together and put it back in the oven. After about 10 mins. I take it out and stir it and add about 150g of dried fruit, here I used dried mango and sultanas. I put it back for about 10 minutes checking and stirring it after 5 mins. The oats should be golden brown. Take it out of the oven and allow to cool and then store in an airtight container.

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Veggie mains

Spaghetti with cabbage, garlic, chilli and breadcrumbs

spaghetti

This is a quick and easy pasta dish that makes a tasty supper or quick lunch. It’s pretty healthy, especially if you use whole wheat pasta, and it’s basically vegan, but if you like you can add some butter. This recipe is for two portions.

So what do you need?

  • 250g (whole wheat) spaghetti
  • 250 – 300g finely sliced cabbage
  • 5-8 cloves of garlic
  • 1.-2 dried chillies
  • salt
  • 1 slice of whole meal bread
  • 6 tbsp. olive oil
  • a squeeze of lemon juice (optional)
  • a knob of butter (optional)

So what do you do?

Start by heating a saucepan of salted water to cook the pasta in. While this is coming to the boil, crumble the slice of bread into breadcrumbs and crush a clove of garlic and add it with a pinch of salt to the breadcrumbs. Heat 1 tbsp. of oil in a frying pan and fry the breadcrumbs gently until golden brown and crisp and put them to one side in a bowl.

Once the pasta water boils cook the pasta and over the boiling pasta steam the cabbage for a few minutes in a sieve. Slice the rest of the garlic and fry it in the remaining olive oil until it starts to turn light brown and then add the chopped chillies. The cabbage should have started to soften by now and you can add it to the frying pan along with a pinch of salt. Sauté the cabbage while the pasta continues to cook you can add a little of the pasta water to help soften the cabbage. Once the past is cooked drain it and add it to the cabbage fry for about a minute so the pasta absorbs the flavours of the oil. At this stage you can add the butter and lemon juice if using them. Divide into two bowls and sprinkle over the breadcrumbs.

 

 

 

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Edible gifts, The Basics

Celery salt

salt.jpg

Flavoured salts are a good way of adding subtle flavours when cooking, particularly if you don’t have any of the fresh ingredient for a dish. They also look better as a condiment than boring plain salt. If you are lucky enough to get a bunch of fresh celery with plenty of leaves then save the nice darker green outer leaves and after rinsing and removing any excess water, in a salad spinner, spread them out on a baking tray and put them in the oven at about 120 degrees C / 250 F for about 10-15 mins until they dehydrate. You can turn off the oven and leave them in there to ensure that they are completely dried out. They will be dry and crisp and you can either crush them in your hands or chop them up roughly with some scissors. Then place them in a mortar and add sea salt, enough to fill a smallish jar, and pound them together. Put the salt in a sealed jar and keep in a dry place. This also makes a nice gift for a foodie friend.

 

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Thai Food, Veggie sides

Stir-fried celery

celery.jpg

Yesterday at a local organic farmers’ market they were selling beautiful bunches of celery an I couldn’t resist buying some. Normally in Thailand we can only find tiny bunches of Chinese celery so it was irresistible. Celery is something my family are very fond of and as well as eating raw celery in the past, my grandparents had it fresh and crunchy just dipped in a bit of salt, I can remember having braised celery sometimes, although I wasn’t that fond of it cooked this way as it lost it’s crunch. Today I wanted to let the celery take centre stage in a cooked dish but I also wanted it to keep it’s crunch so I decided to stir fry it and resisted adding too much else to it. This is probably more Chinese than Thai in it’s style, whatever it’s great if you like celery!

Start by cutting the base of the bunch of celery and then wash the stalks and leaves. Remove the leaves, keeping all the fresh green ones. My bunch had lots of leaves so I kept half of them for making celery salt. Then chop the stalks into bite-sized pieces. Heat up about 2 tbps. of sesame oil, or other vegetable oil, in a wok. While the oil is heating finely slice two large cloves of garlic. Fry a couple of dried chillies and the garlic in the oil, these will flavor the oil, The chilles will cook very quickly so as soon as the puff up and start to change colour, brown, remove them and keep frying the garlic for a minute of so, turning occasionally, until golden brown and then remove these too.

Put the chopped celery stalks, not the leaves, into the wok and stir-fry for about a minute. Then add a couple of tbps. of water and about 1/2 – 1 tbsp. of light soy sauce and continue frying. The celery will let out some liquid too and will steam / fry and this will bring out it’s colour and stop it burning. Fry for a few minutes until it looks just cooked through, the colour will change as it cooks so check that it’s cooked almost through and most of the liquid has evaporated. This will take 4-5 mins. depending on the heat of your wok etc. Then add the leaves, 2 tsp. sesame seeds, I used a mix of black and white, a tbsp. of veggie (mushroom) oyster sauce and some white ground pepper. The oyster sauce can be left out if you don’t have it but it makes the dish nice and glossy and thickens the sauce up.  Stir-fry so the leave wilt and everything if coated in the sauce. Then add the garlic back in and break the chillies into the wok and give it a last stir. Serve with rice and any other dishes you like, I had it with a Massaman curry. Enjoy!

 

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Thai Food, Veggie mains

Spaghetti pad kaprao

spaghetti

This makes a quick and easy lunch or supper made from store cupboard staples. It’s an adaption of spaghetti aglio olio to include Thai holy basil. The breadcrumbs pangrattato give extra texture to the dish and are used instead of cheese making it a great vegan option. The recipe here serves 2.

So what do you need?

  • 1 or 2 slices of bread
  • 5-6 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 150g mushrooms
  • 4-5 colves of garlic
  • 3-4 birds-eye chillies
  • 250g spaghetti
  • a small bunch of holy basil

So what do you do?

Start by putting your salted pasta water on to boil. Then make your breadcrumbs by putting the bread in a food processor and chopping them until you have relatively coarse breadcrumbs. Pour a little olive oil in a frying pan and over a medium heat toast the breadcrumbs with a pinch of salt until crisp and golden brown. Then put them to one side in a bowl. Slice up your mushrooms and peal and chop the garlic, give the chillies a bash and then heat up about 4 – 5 tbsp. of oil in the frying pan and add the mushrooms, garlic, chilli a good pinch or two of salt and a grind of black pepper. Cook on a medium heat until the garlic starts to go golden brown and the mushrooms are cooked.

Meanwhile cook your spaghetti according to instructions. While it’s cooking pluck the leaves off the holy basil so you have a good handful. Once the spaghetti is cooked drain it reserving some of the pasta water. Add the spaghetti to the frying pan with about 1/3 up of pasta water and throw in the holy basil leaves cook until the leaves wilt and the pasta is covered in the oild mixture. Divide the spaghetti into two bowls and sprinkle over the breadcrumbs.

 

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