Fabulous Fattoush with Fish

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I’ve been devouring Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem cook book at the moment. Jerusalem,The Holy City, fought over by nations and religious groups, a melting pot of culture, ethnicity, language, religion and cuisine. It seems to be a vibrant patchwork quilt of traditions. What a fascinating place it must be!

So I am inspired to use middle eastern flavours and traditional dishes. Today I had a friend for lunch. We had Fattoush, served with lightly pan-fried fish.

Fattoush is an Arabian salad, typically made with diced vegetables, yoghurt, spices and leftover pita bread (which soaks up the juices, similar to croutons). I wanted to avoid grains in our meal today, and so created a delicious alternative using toasted seeds in place of the bread. The result was crunchy, juicy and satisfying. The texture of the toasted seeds are a wonderful contrast to the juicy vegetables, and mop up the spicy yoghurt dressing more-than-adequately.

Fabulous Fattoush

1/2C acidophilus Greek yoghurt
1 Lebanese cucumber, peeled and diced
10 cherry tomatoes, cut in halves or quarters
3 radishes, thinly sliced
1/2 C diagonally sliced spring onion
Handful mint leaves, finely diced
Handful parsley, roughly chopped
Large handful of baby lettuce leaves, shredded
2 small garlic cloves, crushed
Juice of half a lemon
2T apple cider vinegar
3T Arabic spices of your choice – I used cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, coriander, nutmeg
1/4t chilli powder
1/2C toasted sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds
Pepper and salt to taste

Place all diced vegetables and herbs in a bowl, apart from the baby lettuce.
In a separate bowl, combine the garlic, yoghurt, lemon juice, and apple cider vinegar together to make a dressing.
Pour the dressing over the vegetables.
Add the spices and seeds, season with salt and pepper, and now stir to combine. Add the shredded lettuce and gently stir again to distribute evenly.

Serves 2-4

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Healthy Scrumptious Chocolate

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Here is a recipe for the most delicious chocolate you have ever had. And it’s so good for you!

This recipe is credited to beautiful Eleanor Ozich from Petite Kitchen. She has an incredible blog full of inspiring clean eating recipes and photography that you should check out. This recipe is based on her the best but butter chocolate, with a few additions.

This amazing chocolate has no artificial additives, preservatives or unhealthy fats. It’s high in minerals and vitamins and fast energy making it a guilt-free indulgence and a perfect energy lifter. It’s so GOOD for you! I keep a container in the freezer for when I need a little energy kick mid-afternoon or before a work out, or simply for that melt-in-your-mouth comfort and indulgence.

Coconut oil and cacao are the main ingredients. Coconut oil, primarily made of medium chain triglycerides, is quickly metabolised by the liver for use as energy. So, as a pre-workout snack it supplies your body with instant (and good quality) energy to perform well while using fat as it’s fuel. That means this fat is less likely to be stored as body fat. Cacao (raw cocoa) is high in vitamins, minerals and fibre, and it also contains theobromine, a natural, non-addictive stimulant that has been used to alleviate depression.

So it’s a happy chocolate too!

Try your own versions by adding different extras. Here I have added cinnamon and coconut flakes, but you could also try goji berries and pumpkin seeds for more of an ‘energy bar’, or nuts and sultanas for a ‘Black Forrest’ version. If you love chilli chocolate, add a few chilli flakes and a squeeze of lime juice.

Peanut Butter and Coconut Chocolate

1C coconut oil
1/2C Ceres organic peanut butter
1/3C honey
1/2C raw cacao powder
Pinch sea salt
1t vanilla
1t cinnamon
Handful coconut flakes, to garnish

In a small pot, gently melt the oil, peanut butter, and honey together, stirring constantly. Add the cacao, salt, vanilla and cinnamon and whisk to combine.

Line a small cookie tray (10x20cm) with baking paper. Pour mixture into the tray and spread thinly and evenly. Lastly, sprinkle coconut flakes over the chocolate.

Pop into the freezer to harden – 1 to 2 hours. Remove from freezer and cut into squares.

Store in a plastic container in the fridge or freezer.

Celery, onion, and spinach breakfast eggs

Celery, onion, spinach breakfast eggs

My, oh, my! This is a tasty combo.

Most days, I have eggs and veges for breakfast.

I used to be a fruit and muesli girl, but when I started having eggs and veges I realised that I could feel satisfied and full of energy until lunchtime… instead of the following hour!

Don’t get me wrong, I still love nutty granola and fruit… but eggs and veges are my bread and butter, they are my staple. And the fabulous thing about them is that you can dress them with various herbs and spices, combine them with any vegetable, and cook them in so many different ways that it’s easy to avoid boredom at the breakfast table!

Celery, onion and spinach breakfast eggs

Serves 2

1-2C sliced celery
1 small onion, diced
1T coconut oil
4 free-range eggs
Handful spinach leaves
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
Pop two individual-sized oven-proof ramekins into the oven to heat.
Saute the diced onion and celery in the coconut oil. The coconut oil beautifully enhances the sweetness of both the onion and the celery as they caramelise.
Add the spinach to the frypan until it is just wilted.
Carefully remove the ramekins from the oven. Spoon half the mixture into each ramekin, and then quickly crack two eggs into each.
Return to the oven until the eggs are cooked, about 10 minutes. Keep an eye on the eggs – you don’t want to overcook them, the yoke should be served perfectly orange and runny.

Season with salt and pepper. Serve on its own, or accompanying a couple of breakfast sausages.

Delicious and simple! Have a lovely weekend everyone.

Eat those fats!

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It’s a beautiful day for lunch in the park. Here is what my husband and I munched on.

For lunches we typically use what’s available in the garden and fridge to make salads. We throw some things together, so each time the combination is different and (usually!!) lovely.

Today’s lunch – a medley of leaves from the garden, sliced avo, thinly sliced veal and beef sausage, blueberries, pumpkin seeds, diced red onion and a drizzle of cold pressed virgin olive oil and apple cider vinegar. High in good fats, protein, and vitamins. Perfect!

Remember, if you want your body to use fat as fuel, you have to eat it! If you’re avoiding grains and sugar, good in you, but don’t forget to replace it with good fats that will nourish and satisfy.

E xx

Pumpkin, Date and Walnut cake

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Here is a recipe for a delicious, moist, flavoursome and nutritious cake. What better way to nourish your body than by eating cake? It’s ideal!

Pumpkin is a wonderful vegetable. High in fibre and Vitamin C, it also contains beta-carotene which is important for healthy vision and skin. The honey and dates complement the pumpkin perfectly, enhancing its natural sweetness. Almond meal is already high in protein, and the ground linseed, sunflower seeds and chia seeds boost the omega 3 fatty acids, resulting in a powerful protein cake.

You can enjoy this cake for afternoon tea or dessert, in full knowledge that it contains only that which will build you up and bless you and yours.

No artificial sugar, no grains, and no dairy. Sweet, guilt-free indulgence.

Pumpkin, Date and Walnut cake

Ingredients

2.5C almond meal
1/2C LSC (ground linseed, sunflower seeds and chia seeds)
2T baking soda
1T mixed spice
1T cinnamon
1t nutmeg
Pinch sea salt
Zest of one orange

5T coconut oil
5T honey
2t vanilla
3 eggs

3C raw pumpkin, grated
3/4C chopped dried dates
3/4C walnut pieces

Pumpkin seeds and coconut flakes to garnish, if you so choose.

Method

– Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius and grease a 20cm spring-form cake tin.
– Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.
– In a microwave or a pot on a low heat, gently melt coconut oil, honey and vanilla together. Remove from the heat. Add the eggs, and whisk to combine all wet ingredients.
– Add the wet ingredients to the dry. Combine.
– Lastly, mix in the pumpkin, dates, and walnuts.
– Pour batter into greased cake tin and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.

I topped my cake with cashew coconut icing and a sprinkling of coconut and pumpkin seeds. However, this cake is beautiful on its own and would be equally nice simply served with a dollop of tangy Greek yoghurt.

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Pesto Baked Chicken with Prosciutto

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A lovely way to use homemade pesto, like my Parmesan, Parsley and Pistachio Pesto, is this Italian flavoured dish. It is delightfully flavoursome and deceptively straightforward to prepare.

Pesto Baked Chicken with Prosciutto

Serves 6-8

8 free-range boneless, skinless chicken breasts
200g prosciutto
3 or 4 shallots, peeled and quartered
1 whole head of garlic
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes, halved
Handful of parsley, roughly chopped
5T Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Squeeze of lemon

– Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line a baking tray with paper.
– To stuff the chicken breasts, find the natural pocket on the underside of each chicken breast and enlarge slightly with hands or a knife. Fill the pocket with approximately 1T of pesto.
– Wrap each chicken breast in a few lengths of prosciutto. Place chicken breasts in the oven tray.
– Separate individual garlic cloves but do not peel them. Smash each clove once with the flat side of your knife, to loosen the skin slightly, and cut off the hard end. Toss the cloves into the tray with the chicken.
– Toss the peeled and quartered shallots, the sundried tomatoes and parsley into the tray.
– Drizzle generously with olive oil and a squeeze of lemon. Season with salt and pepper.

Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until juices run clear.

I served this with a simple spinach, basil, tomato and haloumi salad, drizzled with olive oil and white wine vinegar. Yum!

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Spiced Summer Paleo Bread

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It’s a gorgeous summer’s afternoon, perfect for a picnic beneath the trees.

This morning I planned to do just that, so I whipped up a loaf of Spiced Summer Paleo Bread for the occasion. This bread is incredibly versatile. It is not crumbly like many of the alternative gluten-free recipes out there. Slice it thinly and cover with a slab of coconut oil and organic peanut butter. Toast a few slices for breakfast and munch it covered in avocado, tomato and olive oil. Even use it to mop up the tasty dregs if a summer soup!

This loaf is packed with nutritional value. Bananas, high in potassium, are used here to add moisture and subtle sweetness. Almond meal, gluten-free, is full of vitamins, minerals and healthy fats. Ground linseed adds precious omega-3 fatty acids. Cinnamon helps to regulate blood sugar levels, and pumpkin seeds… Where do I begin with those little gems?!

A rich source of magnesium, zinc, omega-3, antioxidants, fibre, pumpkin seeds support growth and repair, reduce oxidation and inflammation, and support a healthy heart and liver! They also contain an amino acid called tryptophan, which converts into serotonin, and then into melatonin – the sleep hormone. Simply put, eating pumpkin seeds can assist you in getting a restful night’s sleep. Read about their benefits and more here.

So many reasons to enjoy eating this healthy bread!

Recipe

350g almond meal
3T ground linseed
1.5t mixed spice
1t ground ginger
1t cinnamon
1t baking soda
6 eggs
1t vanilla
3 medium bananas
Pumpkin seeds to sprinkle on top

Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius and grease a loaf tin with coconut oil.

Add all ingredients, apart from sunflower seeds, into a food processor and blend until well combined.

Pour into tin, sprinkle with seeds, and pop into the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the top is golden and a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Simple and delicious!