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Monthly Archives: April 2013

Honey and Ginger Panna Cotta

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Hoorah the sun is shining! I’ve just finished my breakfast of scrambled eggs and veggies with a nice cup of coffee with a splash of cream in it. I can’t remember what life was like before I got my Nespresso machine for Christmas! I think a leisurely stroll into town to run some errands and let my breakfast digest before a hardcore workout and then off to work in the afternoon. A good way to spend the day.

It’s now a week and a day until I fly to Thailand! I’m starting to freak out about the thought of wearing a bikini as I’m about 10lbs heavier than I’d like to be right now! I blame this blog! Grilled chicken breast and steamed veggies doesn’t make exciting reading for you! Anyway, this week I have to be really good in an attempt at losing a couple of extra pounds before I go (because let’s face it, who knows what’s going to happen while I’m away).

As promised here is the recipe for the delicious panna cotta I made on the weekend. Definitely not diet food! I probably wouldn’t be 10lbs heavier if I hadn’t eaten this on Saturday! Only joking! But seriously…this is an indulgent treat. I made this in individual ramekins. You could easily make one larger dessert which you can cut and serve. How many individual ones you can get out of the mixture really depends on the size of your ramekins. I had enough for 3 filled halfway (my ramekins are quite big). Non-dairy eaters could substitute coconut milk for the dairy. I’m actually looking forward to experimenting with making a coconut panna cotta as I think it will be equally delicious… But not until after my holiday!

Honey and Ginger Panna Cotta (Serves 2-4)
Ingredients:

2 inch piece of ginger root, peeled and pressed for juice, fibre discarded (I used a garlic press for this)
230ml double/heavy cream
230ml whole milk
4 leaves gelatine, soaked in cold water until soft
2 tbsp honey
1/4 tsp vanilla beans or 1tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

Bring milk, cream, ginger juice, honey and salt to a simmer in a saucepan.
Whisk in vanilla and stir in softened gelatine until it has fully dissolved.
Pour the mixture into ramekins/ a mould.
Place in the fridge to chill and set (at least 2 hours).
Eat from the ramekin, or to remove, partially submerge ramekin/mould in a bowl of boiling water for about 15 seconds, until the edges loosen.
Carefully invert onto plate/ serving dish.
Garnish with sliced strawberries or any other fruit that takes your fancy.

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Smokey BBQ Ribs

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I’m sitting here feeling quite smug! I just made a fabulous meal for my boyfriend and I (if I do say so myself!) I could tell he absolutely loved it from the noises of ‘deliciousness’ he made throughout the entire meal (he did actually verbally tell me how good it was too!)
We both love ribs smothered with sticky sweet BBQ sauce, but I never get to eat them when we are out as I know there is absolutely no way they don’t contain sugar and other things I don’t eat. Anyway I had a real hankering for ribs the last couple of days so I paid a visit to my fantastic local butcher shop and picked up 3 slabs of pork ribs this morning. I’m glad I bought 3 as they were so good, we ate them all! For dessert I made a Primal honey and ginger panna cotta (recipe coming soon). Also very delicious but very decadent!
Here are my ribs!

Smokey BBQ Ribs (serves 3)
Ingredients:

3 slabs of organic outdoor reared pork ribs
Several sprays of liquid smoke
For the rub:
2 chipotle chillies, ground to powder in a food processor
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp allspice
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp mustard powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt

For the BBQ Sauce
1 tbsp maple syrup
3 tbsp tomato purée
4 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp liquid smoke
1/8 tsp allspice
1 tsp chipotle chilli in adobo
Salt to taste

Preheat oven to 150C.
Pat the ribs dry all over with paper towels.
Now spritz them with liquid smoke to cover all of the meat, but not so much that it runs off.
Mix together the ingredients for the spice rub.
Rub all over both surfaces and edges of the ribs.
Place ribs in a roasting tray, meat side up.
Bake in the oven for 45 mins or so.
Mix the ingredients for the BBQ sauce.
When the ribs have had at least 45 mins, remove from oven and baste on both sides with the BBQ sauce. Don’t skimp – use it all! Mostly on the meaty side, but save a little for the bone side too.
Wrap in aluminium foil and return to oven for a further 45 mins.
Serve with steamed veggies or slaw.
Eat with your fingers – there is no way you can be all civilised and eat these ribs with a knife and fork! Do it caveman style and gnaw the meat off the bones whilst making noises of ‘deliciousness’!

Spicy Chicken Livers

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Today was another glorious day in London! I feel so much more lively and energetic when the sun is shining! Sadly they say the weather will change tomorrow and we’ll go back to cool, grey days for the whole weekend.

I’m very excited! My boyfriend and I have just booked a last minute holiday to Thailand! Actually we’re planning to visit Cambodia for the majority of the time we are away, with a couple of days in Bangkok at the start. I’m not sure how easy it’s going to be eating grain-free, but I feel that a bit of rice probably won’t kill me (I draw the line at wheat, but I think it’s mainly rice and rice noodles in Cambodia). I’m looking forward to some great seafood and lots of coconut! I’m less excited about crickets, bugs in general that they eat there and pickled duck embryo which I heard is a delicacy! I guess I’m just not that much of a cave woman after all! Anyway I’ll shut up about gross food now and talk about my delicious dinner instead! If you don’t do dairy you can omit the crème fraîche altogether or sub a little coconut milk in its place, although it will change the flavour.

Spicy Chicken Livers (serves 2)
Ingredients:

Approx 400g chicken livers, cut into bite size pieces
1 red pepper, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tbsp bacon fat
1/4 cup crème fraîche
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp hot chilli powder
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 tbsp white wine
Himalayan salt and freshly ground pepper

Melt the bacon fat in a large frying pan or wok.
Add the onion and livers and sauté for around 5 mins.
Add the garlic and fry for around 30 seconds before throwing the green and red peppers into the pan.
Sauté until the veggies are tender.
Add the spices, stir to coat everything with them.
Add the crème fraîche, lemon and wine.
Stir well and allow to cook until most of the liquid has evaporated.
Serve with steamed green veg.

Baba Ghanoush

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Today was the most beautiful day! Hot and sunny. I lay outside for several hours topping up my much depleted vitamin D stores and listening to the birds chirping, with the cat snoozing next to me (I had the day off work in case you were wondering). I also had a chance to do a little cooking too.

I’m not quite sure how, but I found myself in possession of 3 aubergines this morning when a third turned up in my organic veg box delivery to join the other two already lurking in my crisper drawer. I had a moment of inspiration to make some Baba Ghanoush. I had probably the worst I have ever tasted in my life a couple of weeks ago in a Lebanese restaurant. It tasted like the stuff you can get in a can in Arabic shops (I’m guessing it probably was!). My only issue today was that the tahini in my cupboard was out of date, so I had to make my own. The end result was delicious, although if I breathe on anyone this evening, they will die from inhaling garlic fumes! Feel free to go easy on the garlic if you don’t want to melt your partner’s face!

Baba Ghanoush
Ingredients:

2 aubergines/eggplants
1/4 cup sesame seeds
2 cloves garlic
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp EVOO
1 tsp cumin seeds

Preheat oven to 200C.
Place aubergines on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 20 mins.
Turn the oven down to 140C and bake for a further 40mins.
Remove aubergines from the oven and allow to cool completely.
Place sesame seeds in a food processor and blitz until they form a dry nut butter consistency.
Peel the skin from the aubergines and put into the food processor with the remaining ingredients.
Pulse, scraping down the sides, until it forms a smooth paste.
Serve with crudités, grain-free crackers, or as an accompaniment to Middle Eastern chicken or lamb dishes (watch this space for a Middle Eastern inspired chicken dish).
Make sure everyone around you tucks into it too, to avoid unpopularity due to face-melting garlic breath!

Herb Crusted Salmon

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Sorry for the recent hiatus! Last week was very busy and I just didn’t have the time to cook new and interesting things worth sharing with you guys, let alone time to post them! This week will be a bit more chilled out, so I’m looking forward to having more kitchen time.

I whipped up this herb crusted salmon in no time at all this evening. I needed something quick and easy after teaching boxing class. It was in the oven in less than 5 minutes after walking through the door and in my belly 17 minutes later!

Herb Crusted Salmon (serves 2)
Ingredients:

2 wild salmon fillets
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried rosemary
1/4 dried thyme
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
3 tbsp ground almonds
Freshly ground pepper
A drizzle of EVOO

Preheat the oven to 180C.
Mix ground almonds, herbs, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
Place salmon on a baking sheet and drizzle the EVOO over the top of it.
Sprinkle the herby almond topping over each fillet.
Bake in the oven for 17 minutes or so, depending on the size of the fillets.
Serve with buttered steamed veggies (I had cabbage and leeks).

“Porchetta” Style Roast Pork

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What a lovely afternoon/evening! The sun is shining, it’s quite warm (well, compared to the weather we’ve been having lately!) and the birds are chirping! Perfect for a spot of boxing in the park!

A promised, here is the recipe for the porchetta I made on Sunday (the day of the pig party!). Basically it is a pork belly, rubbed with spices on the inside and stuffed with a pork tenderloin. My butcher kindly gave me extra pork rind to completely enclose the meat, but in the end I didn’t use it as I wanted the juices and fat to seep out and into the veg in the bottom of the pan. I laid the pork on a bed of fennel bulbs which had been quartered and parsnips which were cut into chunky sticks. Feel free to omit or change the veg (I haven’t included them in the recipe).

“Porchetta” Style Roast Pork (serves 6-8)
Ingredients

2kg pork belly with skin which has been scored
500g pork tenderloin
1 bay leaf
4 large garlic cloves
3 tbsp fennel seeds
1/2 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp juniper berries
1 tbsp dried sage
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, needles only (discard woody stems)
1 tbsp coarse sea salt crystals
1 tsp black pepper corns
1 tbsp red chilli flakes (less for milder heat)
A drizzle of EVOO
Himalayan salt

Preheat oven to 200C.
Put all ingredients except pork, EVOO and Himalayan salt into a food processor and blitz until it is finely ground and forms a dry-ish paste.
Season the tenderloin with Himalayan salt. Set aside.
Rub the meat side of the pork belly with the seasoning paste, making sure you go right to the edges.
Place the tenderloin on top of the pork belly, tuck in any edges and roll up. Tie the joint with string in several places to keep everything together.
Place in a roasting pan, with or without veg of your choice.
Place in the oven for 40 mins.
After 40 mins, turn the oven down to 150 and cook for a further 2 hours.
After 2 hours, turn the heat back up to 200C and cook for a further 20-30 mins to really crisp up the crackling.
Remove from oven, cover loosely with foil and allow to rest for 10 mins before carving and serving.

Coconut Lime Cupcakes with Avocado Lime Frosting

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Aaarrrggghh! Sometimes I really hate London Underground! Today I was on the tube and there was a signal failure, so they suspended the two lines I can get from my local station to work. They kindly suggested that everyone get off the train and take busses instead! Thanks a bunch! Consequently I completely missed the boxing class I was supposed to be teaching at lunchtime. Really annoying!
If only I had some of these delicious cupcakes to come home to…sadly they are long gone!

Coconut Lime Cupcakes with Avocado Lime Frosting (makes 15)
Ingredients:

For the cakes
400g coconut cream concentrate, melted
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
250g zucchini/courgette, grated
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp honey
Zest and juice of 3 limes plus juice of 1 extra lime
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
4 eggs
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 170C
Line a muffin pan with paper liners.
Mix all wet ingredients in a bowl.
Add all dry ingredients and stir well to incorporate. This should form a thick batter.
Using an ice cream scoop, spoon batter into the paper liners almost up to the top. The cupcakes won’t rise much and will have quite a dense texture.
Bake in the oven for 25 mins.
Remove and allow to cool completely before icing.

For the frosting:
150g butter at room temperature
100g cream cheese at room temperature
100g mascarpone cheese at room temperature
1/2 an avocado
Juice and zest of 2 limes
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 tbsp honey

Put all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth, scraping down the sides occasionally. If the frosting curdles, keep blitzing it – eventually it should smooth out.
When the cupcakes are completely cool, put frosting in a piping bag and pipe a nice dollop on the top of each cake.
Stuff them in your face and enjoy!