Vegetable wraps

As wonderful and tasty as they are, not to mention a blessing for anyone who’s gluten sensitive or coeliac, the array of gluten free flours can at times be overwhelming.  Especially if you haven’t planned ahead and stocked up on the ones you need.  I love cooking with a variety of gf flours, have shared recipes here, but sometimes I just want to open the fridge and find an instant solution rather than start baking.  Something fresh, not ready-bought, which I can fill with salad, or delicious protein whether lentils, salmon, tofu, chicken or scrambled egg.  Quick, delicious and easy.

Cos or Romaine lettuce:

Filled lettuce leaves aren’t new in cooking but they may not be on your radar.  I love Cos or Romaine because it holds its form and therefore the contents, plus it has a delicious crunch which adds to the whole eating experience.

Here in the photo I cooked a filet of wild salmon in a fish broth, removed it, let it cool then flaked it, adding 3″ of cubed cucumber, 5 chopped cherry tomatos & radishes.  The dressing could be olive oil with lemon or a dash of apple cider vinegar but I wanted an Asian flavour, so I used juice of a lime, finely chopped lime leaf (easy to keep in the freezer),  1/2 finely chopped crushed stalk lemon grass (outer tough leaves removed), 1 heaped tsp tamarind paste, sesame oil, splash of water).
Easy to spoon into the Cos leaves and serve at room temperature.

Another time I filled the Romaine with a Greek-type salad and served it alongside the following…

Eggy Portabellino mushrooms:

We love scrambled egg with fried mushrooms, so when I saw these perfectly formed portabellino ‘cups’ in the photo below it seemed worth a try.

I filled the small ‘shroom cups with a beaten raw egg + salt,pepper,tumeric + spring onion.  A bit of a fiddle since these four tiny ‘shrooms didn’t even take a single beaten egg.

The trick to filling the ‘shrooms turned out to be filling them ‘en place’.  Put the empty portabellinos on an oiled oven tray, or matt (no heat yet of couse) then use a small jug to gently pour in the mixture.  A steady hand required, but a rewarding result.  I’ve been eyeing up lots of different mushrooms since then, looking for bigger ‘cups’!

In the end, two raw beaten eggs filled 10 small portabellinos.  Added to the plate of Cos leaves filled with a Greek-ish salad it was lunch AND dinner.
Cooking time for the shrooms with eggs was about 12-15 mins in a medium oven.  Just ‘tap test’ to ensure the egg has set.

The salad I served alongside was what I had at hand.  More chopped tomatoes, cucumber, chopped radish, avocado, cubed fetta (Violife vegan, or regular), chopped fresh fennel.  The dressing was our olive oil, lemon juice mixed with a dash of water, pepper and pressed garlic.

Wilted white pointed cabbage leaves:

Another easy wrap is to wilt cabbage leaves.  I made a very simple lentil-rice mixture to fill them.

Cook about two cups of mixed rice (black, red basmati – great texture, good fibre) in boiling water, then place a steamer attachment on top with one large cabbage leaf per person.  I usually cut away the thick end of the central vein before steaming if the cabbage seems especially tough.  You could use Savoy or Purple cabbage, any firm cabbage, although the latter has a more distinctive taste (which may improve your meal, so go for it!)  However, as the latter always reminds me of Christmas I tend to stick to Pointed or Savoy.

The leaves only need about 5-8 minutes to wilt.  Keep an eye on them as you don’t want them to overcook and tear. Remove and cool.

For speedy meals I buy Merchant cooked and vacuum packed lentils.  I mixed half the packet in the pot for the last few minutes of cooking time, to heat through. Then I added chopped fried onion, finely chopped coriander, roasted pine nuts, freshly ground pepper or a dash of dried chilli, for heat lovers.  If you have left overs it’ll keep in the fridge for a couple of days and add it to soups, to salads –  or put a few spoonfuls in some Cos lettuce leaves.


Beetroot orange salad or its haloumi cousin

It’s been too long since I’ve shared a recipe but I promise it has not been due to lack of cooking or food inspiration.  This year I’ve spent far more hours helping clients put meal plans together, so yes, I’ve been very busy adjusting or concocting recipes but I’ve had less time to share them here in writing.
And now that it’s freezing outside in Dorset – in most of UK in fact – when everyone is hankering for steaming stews or warming soups I’m about to hand you some salad ideas!
(Well, it’s warm somewhere in the world right now 😉 )
There is some method to my madness.  What I’ve found over these past cold weeks is that I’m still wanting to keep the fresh crispness of salads in my life.  By adding a warm component to the salad leaves – in this case cooked warm beetroot – it’s proving to be a delicious accompaniment to our caper wild salmon or roasted chicken.  And it’s satisfying my craving for crispy fresh, raw veg.  Is this me trying to hang onto the hot summer?

Another easy version is to keep the core family together, ie. the salad leaves, orange and poms, but replace the warm beetroot with grilled slices of haloumi, equally scrummy.

Enjoy, and do share some photos of yours  x


Rocket or any mixed leaves for your salad base.  Your choice how much!
1 large orange, segmented (remove the white membranes if you have time on your hands)
3 medium beetroot, cooked then remove skins and quarter or cube the beets
3-5 tbsp pomegranate seeds
sunflower seeds to sprinkle

Ingredients for dressing:

Add to a jar:  the juice of 1/2 orange and 1/2 lemon, a generous dollop of virgin olive oil, 1 pressed garlic clove, sea salt and some water to bind the mixture. Shake, taste and adjust x


Simply layer your salad by starting with the mixed leaves, then adding the warm (or cold, your choice) cubed/quartered beetroot and segmented orange pieces.  Then finally sprinkle those glorious pomegranate seeds on top, and that’s it.  The joy of this salad is that the fabulous tastes are what sell it, not any complicated prep or cooking.