Stop. Start. But, start with a tradition: a lentil dish on the menu for the first post of the year. Of course it had to be a Yotam Ottolengi’s . Quick, easy and totally delicious, this is a hearty dish that will warm you to the soul in a cold winter day.
Crushed puy lentils with tahini and cumin (adapted from Yotam Ottolengi’s column in The Guardian)
- 200g puy lentils
- 30g unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to finish
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 3 medium tomatoes, cut into 1cm dice
- 25g coriander leaves, chopped
- 4 tbsp tahini paste
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- Salt and black pepper
- ½ small red onion, peeled and sliced very thin
- 2 hard-boiled eggs, quartered
Cook the lentils according to the instructions on the packet,until completely cooked. Then drain and set aside.
Put the butter and oil in a large frying pan and place on a medium-high heat. Once the butter melts, add the garlic and cumin, and cook for a minute. Add the tomatoes, 20g of coriander and the cooked lentils. Cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes,
Add the tahini, lemon juice, 70ml of water, a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper. Turn down the heat to medium and cook gently, stirring, for a few minutes more, until hot and thickened. Roughly mash the lentils with a potato masher, so that some are broken up and you get a thick, porridge consistency. Serve warm with the hard-boiled eggs alongside.
Mighty, gluten-free seeds, packed with omega-3, protein Blah-di-blah-di-blah-di-blah Eleven health benefits of chia seeds that are supported by science Blah-di-blah-di-blah-di-blah Great source of healthy omega-3 fats and fibre blah-di and fortunately it’s an easy food to ad lalalalala. Indeed, I am trying to repurpose this blog into an healthy super foods outlet. The thing is that I actually like the gelatinous texture with some bite and a nutty flavour. It make me feel full for a long time. It is super easy a pudding like dessert – all you need is milk or vegetal equivalent, add spices and you are ready to go. For extra healthy points, add another superfood.
Spiced chia pudding with blueberries and crunchy chocolate muesli (adapted from a recipe found in Food and Wine on-line magazine).
- 3 tablespoons chia seeds
- 1/2 cup (about 120mL) water
- 1 1/4 cup (about 300mL) of light or full fat coconut milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt
- fresh blueberries to task
- crunchy chocolate muesli
In a bowl, combine the chia seeds, water, coconut milk, vanilla, cardamom, cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of maple syrup.
Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
To serve, stir in the sea salt and top with fresh blueberries, granola and drizzle with maple syrup. Serve chilled.
A bit more nutritious and wholesome than regular tabouleh, but a very interesting spin on this dish. The kind of stuff that makes you look forward for your lunch box…
Pearl barley tabouleh with marinated feta (adapted from Yotam Ottolengi’s column in The Guardian)
- 40g pearl barley
- 100g feta cheese
- 1½ tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp za’atar
- ½ tsp coriander seeds, lightly toasted and crushed
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- 80g parsley, leaves and stems
- 4 spring onions (about 40g in total), finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 40g cashew nuts, lightly toasted and crushed roughly
- 1 green pepper, deseeded and cut into 1cm dice
- ½ teasponn ground allspice
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 60ml olive oil
- Salt and black pepper
Put the pearl barley in a small saucepan, cover with water and boil for 30-35 minutes, until tender but still with a bite. Drain into a fine sieve, shake to remove all the water and transfer to a large bowl.
Break the feta into rough pieces about 2cm in size, and mix in a small bowl with the olive oil, za’atar, coriander seeds and cumin. Gently mix together and leave to marinate while you prepare the rest of the salad.
Chop the parsley finely and place in a bowl with the spring onion, garlic, cashew nuts, green pepper, allspice, lemon juice, olive oil and cooked pearl barley. Mix well together and season to taste.
By accident, I found out a close enough version of the zucchini soup I used to ate at the university’s research centre canteen. Many years and canteens after, I now realise how much love and care was put into it. It was probably the most homely food away from home I ever had…
Zucchini Garlic Soup (adapted from a recipe found in The Kitchn)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 white onion, sliced
- 8 to 9 large cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
- 4 medium zucchini (about 750g), peeled
- 1L of chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 thumb of ginger, grated
- Salt and pepper
Melt the butter in a heavy pot over medium heat. When it foams, add the onions and cook on a medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the crushed garlic and ginger. Fry for a couple of minutes more, making sure the garlic doesn’t brown.
When the onions and garlic are done, add the zucchini and cook until soft. Add the broth and bring to a simmer. Simmer at a low heat for about 45 minutes.Taste and season with freshly ground salt and pepper.
Super healthy, gluten-free and protein packed. Also very tasty… The perfect thing to have on stand by for a weekday meal or a snack.
Chickpeas and feta cheese patties (adapted from Mafalda Pinto Leite’s blog)
- 100g feta cheese
- ½ grated onion (optional)
- 1 small courgette grated
- 2 small carrots peeled and grated
- ½ teaspoon cumins, roasted
- 1 teaspoon lemon (or lume) zest
- 2 400g chickpeas tin, drained and washed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- leafy salad
- plain yoghurt
Put the cheese, cumin, lemon zest, chickpeas, and the grated onion, carrots and courgette in a mixer. Mix until you have a coarse consistent puree, still with some chunks.
Make small patties with your hands. Put in the fridge and let them cool until cooking time.
To fry, heat the olive oil until pipping hot and drop in a couple of patties. Be careful not to add too many, otherwise they will boil. Sauté about 2 minutes on each side, until golden brow.
Serve with a leafy salad and plain yoghurt.
A very simplified version of Thomas Keller’s brined pork tenderloin with lemon and rosemary. Not as a good as, for obvious reasons, but good enough for a lunch box. Or to add to a salad. Or to make a sandwich. One of the best dishes of this year – easy, delicious and versatile.
Roast Pork Loin with Garlic and Rosemary (adapted from a recipe found in epicurious.com)
- 4 large garlic cloves, pressed
- 4 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary (or 2 teaspoons dried)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 2 1/2-pound boneless pork loin roast
1. Preheat oven to 200°c .
2. Line the roasting tray with parchment paper.
3. Mix the garlic, the rosemary, the salt and the freshly ground black pepper.
4. Rub the garlic mixture all over pork.
5. Place the pork, fat side down, in the baking tray.
6. Roast the pork for about 45min until thermometer inserted into center of pork registers 70°C., a
7. Remove from the oven; let it rest for about 10 minutes. Serve.
The last thing I was expecting was seeing bacon muffins offered as a “healthy option packed with protein”. Specially, when I classified them as totally unhealthy, but worthwhile the risk about 3 years ago. Well, it is gluten free, after all… In any case, an excellent make ahead dish for brunch, lunch or keep the
beasts lovely colleagues happy, motivated or blissfully unaware of the sky falling down their heads challenges.
Bacon eggs and cheese muffins (adapted from Our Nourishing Groots)
- 12 eggs
- 350g of bacon, chopped and cooked
- 180g of Gruyere (or other sharp) cheese, shredded
- A pinch of dried basil and oregano
- salt and pepper to taste
- 80g 0f Parmesan cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 175oC
2. Heat a large flat frying pan until is piping hot. Lay out the chopped bacon strips so that they are not overlapping but generally fill the pan. Cook the bacon on its own grease. When they are translucent, remove them from the heat and reserve.
3. In the meanwhile, stir together the 12 eggs whole eggs. Add the cooked bacon and the grated Gruyere cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Add the oregano and shredded basil.
4. Line the muffin tray with paper liners. Ladle the muffin mixture and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
5. Bake for 25 minutes, or until puffy and slightly browned on top. Remove from oven and let cool for about 15 minutes on a wire cooling rack. Loosen the paper cups with a butter knife and lift out of the muffin pan.
6.Serve immediately while still warm, or let cool completely and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
A memory of the Summer that has never been… Very easy to do, bold flavours and can be prepared in advance. What’s not to like..?
Fennel with radishes and sumac (Adapted from The Guardian’s The 10 best salad drawer recipes)
- 3 tablespoon of lemon juice
- 1 small fennel bulb, about 200g
- 200g radishes
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- Seeds of ¼ pomegranate (optional)
- 1 teaspoon of sumac
1 Have ready a bowl of water with 1 tbsp of lemon juice in it. Finely slice the fennel using a mandoline and place in the acidulated water until just ready to serve, to prevent it discolouring.
2 Finely slice the radishes and place in a bowl. Whisk the oil and remaining lemon juice together. Drain the fennel and mix with the radishes. Drizzle over the dressing and toss gently. Strew the salad over a large serving platter and scatter with the pomegranate seeds, if using. Finish with a dusting of sumac and a little salt then serve straight away.
A couple of years latter, with a different camera and the right almond meal… St James cake, take 2. Also, it doubles up as my birthday cake. A far cry from the formidable cakes years of the past few years, but still a sophisticated, luscious and almondy affair to put on the table with a glass of prosseco.
Almond cake (adapted from Ferran Adrià’s The Family Meal)
- Baking spray or butter and flour as required
- 3 large eggs
- 150g of sugar
- 150g of almond meal (make sure you are using the off white mixture, made with pealed almonds)
- 1 pinch ground cinnamon
- Icing sugar as required
1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Coat a baking tray with baking spray (or butter and flour). It has to be a large one, like a 40 cm round one)
2. In a large bowl, beat the whole eggs and the sugar until you have a pale yellow foamy mixture
3. Add the the ground almond and the cinnamon to the egg mixture. Fold it slowly in the same direction with a wooden spoon, until you obtain a fluffy and airy mixture.
4. Pour the mixture in the tray (it should be must be about 1.5cm deep)
5. Put in the oven for about 20min, or until golden brown. Make sure it doesn’t stick to the sides of tray when you take it out of the tray.
6. Sprinkle icing sugar on top of it before serving.
To keep up with the British traditional foods motif, a mess. Whatever fruits you were using, it us all in all, a very summery dessert, perfect to serve to a crowd. If you buy the meringue, you will have it done in no time, without the need to get close to the stove, even.
Raspberry and strawberry Eton Mess (adapted from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Everyday)
- 250g strawberries
- 35g caster sugar
- 350mL double cream lightly whipped
- 150g of meringue
Halve the strawberries, thickly slicing any whoppers. Put in a large bowl with the raspberries and sugar. Roughly crush and squeeze some of the berries with your hands so the juices start to run. Cover and leave to macerate in the fridge for an hour or two.
To assemble the mess, break the meringues into rough pieces, then fold into the whipped cream. Now lightly fold in the chilled fruit, so everything is rippled together rather than thoroughly blended. Pile into glasses and serve. You can make it an hours or so in advance, but not more, or the meringue will go weepy in the cream.