Cypriot grain salad

This is a delicious salad a friend brought to the table on my recent trip back to Sydney when a gaggle of us got together for a catch up feast.  It’s inspired by the ‘Hellenic Republic’ grain salad recipe by Melbourne chef George Dimitrios Calombaris.


Instead of freekah (cracked wheat) I used quinoa only because I didn’t have freekah in my pantry.  It’s a good gluten-free option although be aware that pseudo grains like quinoa can be a problem for grain-, or gluten-sensitive peeps.
I also used dairy-free coconut yoghurt as that’s what I had at hand – and with that the salad morphed into a vegan recipe!  And even though df yoghurt doesn’t sound very Hellenic it was absolutely delicious with the cumin and pomegranate swirled in it.  Also I snuck in some rocket because I love leafy greens and it’s such an easy way to get more into your daily diet.
All in all, this is a well-rounded dish with all the macronutrients you need, so enjoy it on its own, or alongside other dishes for a feast.  Last week we ate it as a side with falafel, very yummy.

 

Ingredients

(serves 4)

100g red and white quinoa (or freekah)
100g Puy lentils
1 bunch coriander, chopped
1 bunch parsely, chopped
handful rocket or any salad leaves you like
1 small red onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp (c 30g) toasted pine nuts
2 tbsp toasted flaked almonds
2 tbsp toasted pumpkin seeds
2-3 tbsp small capers
70g currants
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
100g pomegranate seeds (or a whole pomegranate)
100g Greek yoghurt or dairy free alternative
1 heaped tsp ground cumin

Method

Boil the Puy lentils and quinoa separately in water until cooked to your liking.  Drain and cool.
In a bowl, add these to the chopped herbs, toasted nuts and seeds, capers, currants, lemon juice and olive oil.  Mix well and then stir in the rocket or salad leaves.
Add the ground cumin and pomegranate to the yoghurt and dollop on top of the salad.
Easy, quick and very scrummy!

Red lentil curry coconut dahl

A scrummy lentil recipe for you to try, plus some quirky facts that take the lowly lentil to an altogether new level.
This recipe’s become a fast favourite.  We’ve eaten it as part of a meze feast, as a side to fish & veg as well as a stand-alone with wild basmati rice and a huge bowl of crunchy mixed leafies.

Lentils have certainly come a long way since I first spied them decades ago, an overcooked brown mound heaped beside some dry nut roast.  It took the deliciously exotic recipes from Asia and the Middle East to spark my interest and open up all sorts of lentil possibilities.

They’ve actually come an even longer way.  Not just the oldest cultivated legume but they’re also mentioned in the bible.  And as I was wading through lentil articles online I stumbled upon a blog, ‘The History of Lentils’ that claimed archeologists found lentil artifacts dating back to 8000 BC from the banks of the Euphrates.
Lentil artifacts?!  Can’t imagine what that means, can you?  I think of artifacts being ancient urns, crudely made stone weapons or broken bits of corners of obscure things… but not lentils.  [I have, however, since learned that organic material, when found alongside ancient artifacts, do have a name: biofacts.  Who knew?]
Whatever this dig on the Euphrates banks found, I now have an image I can’t shake from my head of an ancient cooking pot with petrified lentils stuck to the base (‘coz we all know how easy it is to overcook & burn them, even back in the day…back in the ancient day).

At different times over the milennia, and in different global cultures, lentils have see-sawed between poor man’s supper and sumptuous king’s feast.  What’s remained steadfast and certain is that they’ve always been nourishing, packed with fibre and protein, B vitamins, iron, zinc, potassium…

If you’re thinking split lentils are the same as split peas because they look so similar, they’re not.  The name says it all.
Split peas come from dried field peas and lentils are seeds found in pods on small plants with branching vines that love dry, warm climates.  This is one reason they’ve not been traditionally grown here in UK (although this, too, has changed.  Hodmedod’s, a Suffolk company specialising in pulses, seeds and grains, were the first to successfully grow them back in 2017, and since then it seems everyone’s giving them a go).
Undoubtedly lentils’ first love must be the prairies, since Canada’s production and export of the not-so-lowly lentil far outstrips the rest of the world’s production by thousands of tons.

Lentils come in all sorts of colours, another reason to love them  – how many foods have this talent?  There’s black beluga here on the left of the photo (looking a little like caviar), and then various shades of brown, including the smaller puy ones (and a packet from Greece).  Plus green, red and yellow, and no doubt more I haven’t come across yet.

Pulses, even lentils, should be soaked overnight before rinsing and cooking in water.  Soaking, cooking and sprouting helps break down the oligosaccharides in the tough outer skin, that can cause bloating and gas for some.  Soaking also reduces the phytic acid, which can block absorption of important minerals in our foods.

The split red lentils in this recipe are smaller than the more common brown and green variety, and because they’ve been hulled (outer covering removed) and split, those hard-to-digest carbs have already been removed so they do not need soaking, just a rinse before cooking to ensure no small stones within are masquerading as lentils.
If you’re using canned pulses, give them a thorough rinse as they’ve been canned in firming agent, an additive that stops them turning to mush (another good reason to choose dried rather than canned).

Here’s the recipe and bravo for getting to the end of this lentil story.  I don’t know about you, but after discovering all these snippets I actually love this little pulse even more!

Ingredients

(serves 4 as a main)

100g dried red lentils
One 400 ml tin coconut milk
olive oil to gently fry:
3 large banana shallots, peeled and finely chopped
5 cms peeled fresh ginger,  grated
Optional: 1 red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped (or dried chilli, as much as your tastebuds enjoy)
20 dried curry leaves, crumbled and stems removed
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1 heaped tsp mild curry powder (or sharp if you want more zing)
200g very ripe tomatoes, or 200g from a 400g can tomatoes – OR 2 heaped tbsp tomato paste
a pinch of sea salt
500ml water, more or less (depends on what tomatoes you use)

Method

Pour the olive oil in a large pan and heat on medium.  Add the shallots until they’re transparent, not too coloured, then the grated ginger, chilli and curry leaves.
Stir through and heat for a few minutes.
Next add all the spices and chopped tomatoes (or paste) and the lentils.  Mix for another few minutes then pour in the coconut milk plus c 500ml water and that smidgeon of salt.  Check regularly as you may want to add more water if you used the tomato paste and not the fresh & juicier toms.

Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and let simmer for 20 minutes until the sauce thickens and the lentils are done.  Stir occasionally throughout to stop them becoming future lentil petrified artifacts!

Let me know if you love it too 🙂

 

 

Green curry paste

It seems every spring my mind turns to green curry!  This is my Green curry paste recipe, Mark 2, lol.  More ingredients, more depth of flavour plus vegan friendly.  An upgrade of last year’s recipe with less chilli, more ginger and kaffir, a combo of citrus juices plus oils and the addition of delicious adaptogenic and anti inflammatory holy basil.  In fact there are loads of anti inflammatory benefits in this mix.  And just look at the amazing zingy colour!

I love the fact that this recipe is simply the sum of it’s parts. No complicated prep, just some slicing, grating and squeezing.   Saying that, if you want to use whole coriander and cumin seed rather than powder then it’s best to heat them first in a pan to release flavour and aroma before crushing them in a mortar.   I used the powdered forms and they still added their distinctive flavours to the whole.

Last week I made fish cakes with some of the paste, so scrummy we had a repeat yesterday when two friends came over for an early outdoor supper.  (Great to have some Covid restrictions now lifting here in UK.  Long may it last).

You could use the paste as part of a veg curry sauce, with or without coconut milk, or marinate chicken pieces in that luscious green.  Lots of options but I’ll post my fishcake version in the coming week.
It only took about 10 minutes to prepare the paste and 5 minutes to mix ‘n blitz.  It’ll keep in the fridge for a few weeks and is freezer-friendly, hooray!

 

Ingredients:

Makes 6 or 7 tablespoons (give or take the amount of coriander you choose to use)

1 tsp cumin powder (or seed)
1/2 tsp ground pepper ( ” )
1/2 tsp coriander powder ( ” )
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground turmeric (or 1 tbsp fresh, grated)
6 small or 3 large garlic cloves, crushed
2 stalks lemongrass (tips off, outer layer off as well if very tough.  Halve and finely chop)
2 tbsps chopped ginger
2-3 hot green chilli, halved, seeds removed and finely sliced, or 1/2-1 tsp dried
3 spring onions, green part only chopped
2 large soft kaffir limes leaves (the dried leaves are hard to blend and can ruin a paste unless you fully remove the leaf’s midrib (central vein) and then very finely slice the green parts, the leaf lamina.  If you can find soft leaves it’s so much easier!)
3 tbsp lemon juice
Zest and juice of a lime
a small bunch of coriander with some stem (about 15-20 leafy stems, give or take)
c 4 stems of holy basil, shredded leaves only
2 tbsp avocado or olive oil
1 tbsp sesame oil
A little water if it’s too congested at the end

Method:

If you want to use seeds for the coriander, cumin and pepper, toast these in a pan first until fragrant then crush with your pestle and add to the rest.

I used a hand-held blender to mix all the ingredients.  Coriander leaves and some stem, basil leaves, kaffir leaves, green chilli, garlic, lemongrass, ginger, spring onion, coriander, cumin, pepper, turmeric, sea salt, lemon and lime juice, lime zest, the oils, and then, right at the end, a dash of water to thin it slightly.
Do a quick taste test.  Add a little more salt or chilli for more kick if you want, or sesame oil or whatever flavours you’d like to taste more of.
The taste is supposed to be strong as it’s carrying most of the flavour for your veg curry or fish cakes.

Enjoy x

 

 

 

 

Asian-style soup

This is my wellness soup.  I’m such a fan of zingy fresh spices like lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves and ginger.  If I want a comfort soup this is it.  All the more so if adding chicken, with its high tryptophan, an amino acid that’s the precursor to our feel-good serotonin.
The soup can actually be anything you want.  Vegan, pescatarian or a good ‘ole chicken soup with an Asian swing to it.  Here are some options for you to try.

Ingredients

4 servings

Spices for the broth:

1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp grated or ground turmeric
1 heaped tbsp brown miso paste
1 crushed, then finely sliced lemon grass
5 dried kaffir lime leaves, crushed with stems removed
4 cms fresh ginger, grated or finely chopped
1.5 litres veg broth or water

*If doing a veg-only soup, ie. no marinade, add c4 tbsp tamari, 1/2 cup chopped coriander, 3 crushed garlic cloves and, if you want a kick, some chilli flakes to the above.  Also more veg broth to compensate for not having the fish/chicken liquid marinade to add to the pot.

The vegetables:

1/2 leek, sliced
150 g brussel sprouts, halved
200g broccoli florets
100g green beans, halved
100g mangetout or sugar snap peas
large handful spinach, shredded
another generous one of kale, finely shredded
4 mini bok choy (or 4 large if you can’t get minis)
olive oil to start the stir fry
sesame oil to drizzle at the very end
chopped coriander to decorate
1 lime, cut into 4 wedges

The optional chicken or salmon:

3 fillets free range or organic chicken, cut into chunks or thick slices
OR
3 wild salmon fillets, whole

Marinate the chicken or fish for at least 4 hours in:
1/2 cup chopped coriander
1/4 tsp dried chilli
1 tsp garam masala
3 crushed garlic
4-5 tbsp tamari
plus enough veg broth to cover the chicken/fish.

Method:

If I’m making my soup with either salmon or the chicken slices, I poach them first.  That way I can remove the fish skin easily and break it into smaller pieces, put aside and focus on the soup and veg.  You can of course poach whilst making the veg broth, whatever works for you.

Gently fry the leek in olive oil on a medium heat until soft.  Add all the spices, stirring well.
Pour in the vegetable broth plus the chicken/fish marinade [or the additions mentioned above for the  *veg-only].
Bring to the boil then simmer.
Add the vegetables to the broth, starting with the halved brussels which may take longer depending on size, then the beans and broccoli.  After simmering about 6-8 minutes (check the sprouts aren’t still rock hard), add the mangetout, bok choy, kale and spinach which only need a bat of an eyelid to wilt.  Now find room for the cooked chicken or salmon!

Serve in deep bowls, drizzle with sesame oil and top with chopped coriander and a wedge of lime, yumm!

Kedgeree, the appleaday way

I didn’t know this dish actually had a name.  For years I made a version of it with leftover rice and fresh fish, shredded greens and various curry ingredients.
One day a friend, a nutritional therapist colleague staying with us, sat back after dinner and said, ‘I like the way you make kedgeree with fresh fish and no egg.’
And that’s when I discovered my leftover rice-fish dish was called something.  I’d prepared it with more leafies, more antioxidants, and taken away some of the smokey flavour.  A tasty and healthier version, this kedgeree-ISH dish.

I use mainly fresh fish fillets with a nod to the original smoked recipe by adding a small fillet of lightly smoked salmon.  Sadly, studies show that smoked foods contain nitrates & nitrites that convert to cancer-causing compounds.  I’d recommend that if you want to eat anything smoked, enjoy it as a rare treat and not something to keep in your weekly diet.
When I look at traditional kedgeree recipes what stands out is the lack of colour.  Admittedly we don’t want every meal we eat to look like the same rainbow.  However, adding some leafy greens and broccoli to this dish livened it up yet didn’t detract from the fish and curry flavours.  More leafies = more phytonutrients and immune support.

I don’t always add boiled eggs, which of course is one of kedgeree’s hallmarks.   As delicious as they are (& such a fab protein & nutrient source, especially if the chickens are fed on a rich omega 3 diet), eggs are quite a common intolerance food.   I’m seeing more and more clients who say they sometimes feel ‘off’ after eating them.  However, if they’re a friend of your digestion by all means add them when serving up.

Here’s a snapshot of most of the ingredients in the recipe.  Please imagine a leek lying horizontally at the top, and real fish not photos, laid out on that plate.
I only thought of taking this shot after we’d scoffed it all!

Ingredients
Serves 4 – 6

250g lightly smoked salmon
250g white flakey fish like haddock or cod.  Or wild salmon if you don’t mind salmon… and more salmon
250g mixed rice (eg. basmati brown, red, black or whatever blend you can find)
500ml water or vegetable broth for the rice
2 or 3 small red onions, finely sliced
1/2 leek, green part, sliced
100g shredded spinach
100-150g broccoli, broken into tiny florets
100g frozen peas
1 heaped tsp hot curry powder (or mild if you prefer)
10 dried curry leaves, crushed
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 – 1/2 tsp dried chilli (optional)
200-250g plant milk;  I’ve used coconut or oat
2 boiled eggs (for 4 servings, 3 eggs for 6)
olive oil for cooking
freshly ground pepper
sea salt if needed
4 tbsp flat leafed parsely, chopped

Method:

In a pot gently heat the olive oil then add the sliced onion.  Cook until translucent.
Add the rice and stir until coated then cover with 500ml vegetable broth or water.  Bring to the boil, uncovered, then lower the heat, replace the lid and allow to cook for about 15 mins.
Check the rice near the end to make sure it isn’t catching.

Meanwhile boil your eggs if you’re adding them to the dish.  Rinse in cold water and peel ready to quarter.

In a deep pan, or large pot that will take the finished meal with rice, heat 3 tbsp olive oil.
Gently fry the leek then add the crushed curry leaves, curry powder and other spices.  Gently fry the fish on both sides.  Note that if your fish has skin, fry it skin-side down before using tongs or a fork and knife to remove it.

Add the vegetable milk to the fish-spice-leek and simmer.
Most fish fillets will be cooked within 10-12 minutes.  Even though this is a forgiving dish you don’t want your fish overcooked and turning into a mush when you add the rice and mix them together.
For the last 5 minutes of fish cooking time add the tiny florets of broccoli, frozen peas and spinach.
Once the fish is cooked, gently break it into chunks to your liking.

Add the cooked rice to the pan of fish, spices and greens.  Gently fold in and do a taste check.
Do you want more curry powder or perhaps some chilli?   You may need sea salt if you haven’t used vegetable broth, or smoked fish.

Serve in large bowls, top with chopped parsley and divide up the quartered eggs evenly.

Finish with ground black pepper –  and enjoy.

Fava or split pea mash

Greek fava is delicious alongside a selection of meze or as a dip with bread or carrot sticks, or a replacement for your mashed potato.  Versatile or what!?
Made of yellow (or red) split peas, fava originates from Santorini where the peas grow well on the island’s rich volcanic soil.  These days we can find dried split peas in health food shops and most supermarkets.  Easy to keep in your larder and have at hand when you’re wondering what to cook that night.

I tend to soak the split peas for at least four hours even though they’re more easily digested than larger dried beans – just habit from working with clients who can’t tolerate pulses.
I love fava with caramelised onion on top or with capers – or both.  There are so many variations, it’s one of those taste-and-decide recipes, as you can tell by some of the options I’ve suggested below 🙂
You can blend it super smooth or mash it to whatever texture your taste buds like.  It’s a super easy & delicious recipe, so I hope you try it out.

Ingredients:
For 4

250 g yellow or red split peas (soaked min 4 hours if you want to play it safe)
1/2 red onion, peeled
another onion, peeled and finely sliced
1 peeled clove garlic, & an extra to add later if you like a garlicky taste
1 heaped tsp ground cumin
squeeze of lemon juice
a smidgeon or more (or less) of ground chilli
sea salt
freshly ground pepper
extra virgin oil
capers, if you like them

Method:

Sieve the split peas to remove any possible small stones then if you have the time soak overnight, but otherwise just wash well.
Put into a pot and cover with about 1″ water.
Peel your onion, chop in half and snuggle it, together with the peeled garlic clove, into the centre of your peas-in-a-pot.
Boil and skim off the white froth that will want to bubble over.  Then simmer with lid on.
When I used to try different versions of this recipe I’d often read, ‘cook for 40 mins’ but, to be honest, my split peas seem to get soft within 15-20 minutes.  This could be due to the soaking, or the peas.  However, once you’ve skimmed the scum and place on simmer, don’t head off to your desk or into the garden.  Stay close as they may be soft and ready sooner than you think, or they may need more topping up with water if they’re resolutely hard.

Meanwhile, finely slice the other 1 + 1/2 onion and gently fry in oil in a pan.  This will be your topping, so just put aside until you need it.

When the split peas are cooked and soft, blend or mash, add the squeeze of lemon, spices and taste.  If the garlic flavour has boiled away, add another fresh clove.
Make a small crater (ode to Santorini) in the middle and drizzle in some virgin olive oil and top with your caramelised onion and/or capers.
Enjoy!

Fig chutney

Finding different ways to prepare and cook summer’s ripe vegetables and fruit is an important part of seasonal eating.
At the moment fig trees here in Greece are laden, so we’re eating them daily (never thought I’d say I’m figged out!)
Delicious when freshly chopped in muesli, added to smoothies or salads, or with cheese, but as I want to preserve as many as possible – not let the wasps eat them all! – I’m also stewing them to freeze, drying them in the sun and making chutneys, a definite favourite and so very easy.
It’s summer here, too hot for Moroccan stews, but that could be something for the winter, adding some of the lightly stewed figs you’ve cooked and popped in the freezer now.


This chutney started off as on online BBC food recipe but it was somehow lacking, plus the figs here are so sweet, most of the online recipes had too much added sugar.   That’s something to bear in mind.  Adjust to the sweetness of the figs in your part of the world!

Honey rather than sugar gives a chutney another scrummy layer especially if you use your local honey, raw honey or perhaps even Arbutus honey with its sweet-bitter taste.
I kept the chilli in this recipe to a small ‘kick;’ just enough to make it less jammy.  Very individual whether you want chilli in it at all – or if you want to add even more.  You could always start small and work up, like I did.
Chutney isn’t just an addition to cheese or a ploughman’s lunch!  It can be added to steamed veg or to a stir fry or enjoyed alongside roast meats, chicken or turkey, very delicious.
I’m loving it topped on my almond butter toast here!  I hope you get lots of mileage from the scrummy recipe x

Ingredients

For a 1/2 litre Kilner jar (or a tad more so you can eat some straight away 🙂

400g fresh ripe figs, chopped
120 ml apple cider vinegar
1 organic apple, cored and chopped (peel first if not organic)
1 red onion, finely chopped
50g sultanas or raisins
1 heaped tbs honey (or more depending on your figs’ sweetness)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamom
1 (less or more) red chilli, seeds removed and finely chopped
1 tsp sea salt

Method

Put all the ingredients into a pot and simmer uncovered for about 1 hour.  Spoon into a sterilised Kilner jar or empty glass jar.  As easy as that!

 

 

 

Spiced carrot and red chard pancakes

This is a delicious vegan dish, a combination of shredded carrot pancakes with roasted spiced carrot – carrot upon carrot! – topped with a mint-garlic-lime juice df yoghurt.

Inspired by Nikki Webster’s scrummy recipe I added red chard to mine here below for extra colour and antioxidant goodness.  Spinach or kale, cavalo nero or even something like radicchio with its slightly sharp tang, would be delicious.  Really, the choice is yours.
Antioxidants are on my mind big-time due to my current auto immune and post-chemo clients not to mention the background noise of Covid-19, so I multiplied the antioxidant ooomph that spices offer and added lots of ginger, turmeric and garlic.

These gram spiced pancakes are a fabulous base for all sorts of other meals.  I topped them with a mixed rainbow salad last week and last night ate them with fish (cumin and garam masala rubbed on hake before grilling).
It’s so good to wriggle a recipe into the shape that suits your individual taste – and the occasion.
Have fun, and I hope you enjoy this dish 🙂

Ingredients:

Serves 2

Spiced carrots:

2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp brown mustard seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 – 1 tsp chilli flakes
1 large or 2 medium onions, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, pressed
4 cms knob ginger, grated
3 medium carrots, diced into small cubes
6 large red chard leaves (I finely sliced some of the stalks as well); or 2 large handfuls of young spinach or kale, roughly chopped
250ml filtered water
4 tbsp desiccated coconut, lightly roasted
sea salt and black pepper to taste

Carrot pancakes:

140g gram flour
1 tsp sea salt
2 garlic, pressed
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
pinch chilli flakes – optional of course!
80g grated carrots
handful fresh coriander, chopped
300 ml luke warm water
2 tbsp olive oil

Yoghurt Topping:

6 tbsp plain coconut- or almond-based yoghurt (I used Coconut Collaborative’s df)
juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp virgin olive oil
1-2 garlic, squeezed
4 tbsp chopped fresh mint (about 5 medium leaves per tbsp) or 3 tbsp dried
sea salt to taste

Mix these together and your topping is done!

 

Method:

Carrot pancakes:

Mix all the dry ingredients, add the pressed garlic, olive oil and water.  Blend well then stir in the chopped coriander and grated carrots.  Set aside for 15-20 minutes whilst you start the carrot curry below.

To cook the pancakes, add some olive oil to your non-stick pan then use a soup ladel to pour in your mixture (you’ll figure out the size you want after the first ‘trial’ which is always a good tester for size and taste).
Once bubbles form in the pancake and the edge darkens a little, ease the spatula beneath it and turn.  After the first one your pan usually finds its mojo.
Cover with a cloth or place in a low heat oven whilst you make a total of about 8 small pancakes.

Meanwhile….

The carrot curry:

Heat the oil then add the mustard and cumin seeds. When they start popping add the other spices and stir before frying the chopped onions till they soften.  Then comes the garlic and ginger followed by the diced carrots and water.  Cover and leave to simmer for about 10 mins, adding your chopped chard or greens so they wilt but don’t get cooked to nothing!

Meanwhile….dry roast the coconut in a pan until it just colours then stir it into the carrot-chard mix and season with sea salt and pepper.

To serve, spoon a generous amount onto the pancake base and dollop the mint yoghurt on top.  Add extra mint for decoration (I forgot in this photo!)

Enjoy!

 

 

Ginger-lime marinated chicken

Just skidding in before the month of May moves on.  I’m not sure why I didn’t post this earlier, given how aware I am of time passing.  Counting the daily fall in Covid cases and the lessening of restrictions – long may that last! – and watching the unfolding of spring each day.  Time has slowed down in so many ways…and yet filled up in other ways.

Aside from a website glitsch – yes, that’ll help put the brakes on – I’m also wondering if it’s because my routine has changed.  Suddenly more working time for online webinars, and more free time to walk and weed.  And these wonderful light evenings.  Sitting outside or taking time to water the garden, looking at each plant, seeing how it’s doing in this unusual heat.
Cooking more!  Planning meals and writing food lists so that ‘unnecessary journeys’  for extra food shops don’t happen.  Are you spending more time cooking or thinking about food?  I certainly am!

This recipe is a lockdown version of a fab Rebel kitchen recipe from years ago.  And apparently that was a follow on from Rick Stein’s Indian cookbook chicken kebabs.   So it’s covered some miles with a few tweaks here and there to make it one’s own.  I’ve taken the kebab out of it because I preferred it baked, turned out so tender and moist.

We’re loving it so much it’s a weekly repeat since lockdown began – sometimes with salmon fillets instead of chicken.  And more recently lathered on cauliflower florets, delicious!  Such an easy recipe, and that combo of lime, ginger and cardomon is divine.
If you use fish, then I’d suggest a more solid one like salmon, rather than a flaky white.

The marinade is pale and you don’t want to overbake to get colour, so I’d suggest adding a bright mixed salad or some rainbow veg to zhuzh it up.  To make it look like it’s amazing taste.
Here, in this photo, the chicken’s on a bed of mashed butternut-sweet potato instead of rice.  I couldn’t find a green mango the second time we ate it, when I thought, yes, a photo’s needed because this must be shared.  It works well with mashed starchy vegetables, but I do love that green mango rice!

website marinate chicken

 

Ingredients

Serves 2
2 chicken breasts cut into bite-size portions
60g grated fresh ginger
1 lime, juiced
1 red chilli, seeds removed and chopped finely
2 tbsp yoghurt (use coconut yoghurt for dairy free; or you could use coconut cream instead!?)
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

Mango fried rice

140g mixed rice (brown, basmati, wild)
1-2 tbsp tamari sauce
1 green mango, cubed
Juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp oil
a generous handful of toasted slivered almonds – save some for decoration at the end

 

Method

Mix together the lime juice, grated ginger, spices and yoghurt then add the chicken cubes and mix well.  Let marinate for at least four hours, ideally overnight.
When ready to cook, place the chicken in its marinade on baking paper or parchment in a 160C degree (360 F) oven for approx 20-30 mins (depends on the size of those chunks and whether it’s a fan-heated oven).
Meanwhile, boil the rice and set aside when done.
When the chicken is almost ready, put the rice into a heated pan with oil.  Add the cubed mango, lime juice, tamari and most of the toasted almonds and fry for about 5 minutes.
When ready, place the chicken on the rice – sprinkle the remaining almond slivers on top – and serve alongside colourful steamed veg or a rainbowl salad.
Let me know how you like it!

 

Green curry paste

Here’s a photo of the ingredients I was able to find at the moment in lockdown for a green curry paste.  The recipe’s from a cookbook I was given almost thirty years ago when Thai food was really popular in Sydney – still is!  Each page gives evidence of how often it’s been used, splashed with sauce from my beaters or from sticky fingers mid-read.

website green paste

So much better – & healthier – making your own base as there are no preservatives and you can add and subtract to suit your own taste.  I couldn’t get some of the ingredients as the Thai store is currently closed.  I’ll make mention of the ones I’ve not included (in italics in brackets) and how I replaced them.  This recipe as is definitely stands alone, it’s delicious!  And a great base for any green curry dish whether vegetarian or with fish, chicken, lamb, duck.
Next month I’ll try to post a recipe for a chicken curry dish where I’ve used this as the base.
Enjoy and stay safe!

Ingredients:

Makes about 8 tablespoons
(I used 5 tbsp for 4 servings)

1 tsp cumin seeds (I only had ground cumin powder which was fine)
2 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
8 fresh green chillies, seeded and chopped
2 shallots, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 stalks lemon grass, outer hard leaf removed, flat-knife-crushed then chopped
3 dried large kaffir lime leaves, chopped, central stem removed
(3 coriander roots, chopped) I added 3 extra tbsp chopped coriander leaves & stems instead)
(3 cms galangal)  I used 3 cms fresh ginger, chopped & would probably stick to it, delicious
(2 tsp shrimp paste)  I used a dollop of fish sauce instead.  for a vegetarian version you can get that extra layer with miso paste or even a splash of tamari
3 tbsp chopped coriander leaves

Method:

Heat your pan and add the coriander and cumin seeds (or powder) until you have aroma.  Then crush them in a pestle and mortar or a small blender together with the peppercorns.

Now add the rest of the ingredients and blend anyway you can. I use a hand held stick blender and it works fine as long as I chop the coriander leaves small.  You can also pound it all by hand.

This is a great starter for any green curry and can be stored in the fridge up to 4 weeks.