Chia Seed Porridge with Kuzu and Berry Compote

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This is an odd one for breakfast, taken from Honestly Healthy for Life.

Chia seeds are tasteless seeds – and all you do is soak then in milk – we used Almond Milk and Hazelnut Milk  – and a half teaspoon of cinnamon.

This has a completely different texture to an oat based porridge, but you do have to soak the seeds for some time. It says 30 minutes in the recipe – but I’d say a couple of hours might be better. That’s what we did.

The texture is a bit frog-spawny. Freya didn’t like it. I thought it wasn’t too bad.

The compote went really well with the porridge. There was also a sprinkling of almonds.

The compote is made up of raspberries, blackberries, agave syrup, vanilla extract and kuzu. The ingredients are boiled up and simmered and that’s pretty much all you have to do.

Kuzu is one of my ‘special’ ingredients. It’s a gluten free starch made from the kuzu root, which is used for thickening.

Unless we can’t find another use for the Chia Seeds we have I imagine we won’t be making this again. Although it is supposed to be really good for you, it’s relatively tasteless.

Raw Green Curry with Courgette Noodles

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Been wanting to make this one all week!

You really need a high speed blender to make this one. Otherwise you’re not going to be able to make the sauce smooth enough. I already tried with my Magimix and it was way too lumpy (something I also found with the Hot Chocolate). Magimix’s aren’t made for pureeing nuts! Fortunately Freya’s mum had a Vitamix I could borrow – so I went and did that.

To my delight she also had a birthday present for me. A voucher to eat at ‘Terre a Terre‘ in Brighton. Allegedly the best vegetarian restaurant in the UK. Freya has been wanting to eat there for quite some time – so I wonder where that idea came from !

You’ll also need a Spiraliser. Essentially a spiraliser makes spirals out of vegetables. I’ve got a cheap one that I bought from Amazon – which was apparently essential for making anything from the cookery book ‘Raw’ – which I have yet to make anything from.

I supposed you could julienne the courgettes but then they wouldn’t look like noodles. Obviously it would still taste the same!

Anyway – back to the recipe. You blitz cashews, coriander, fresh curry leaves, garlic, red chilli, lime juice, ginger and coconut milk (and some other herbs and spices) until you get a smooth paste. It goes a lovely avocado green colour.

You add this paste to your spiralised courgettes, beansprouts, mange tout, sugar snap peas, baby sweetcorn and sliced red peppers, mix it all together and serve it with a few cashews on top for decoration.

This dish is incredibly tasty. And crunchy. And fresh. And very very mild. Barely a curry at all.

You’d be convinced there were avocados in there too – but I think that’s just the mind tricking you because of the colour of the sauce.

I think if I were making this again I’d want to make it more spicy. This is certainly the mildest curry I’ve every eaten. Maybe more ginger or more red chilli would have done the trick.

It did feel like something was lacking. I just don’t know what it was. I loved it though. I’ve just been spoiled by the Honestly Healthy for Life book this week – from which this recipe is taken.

Quinoa, Lemon Kale and Sesame Beetroot Salad

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This is another offering from Honestly Healthy for Life. Freya made this one as I was feeling poorly and she insisted I sit down and rest while she did the cooking.

I really can’t go on about Quinoa enough. It’s so versatile and takes on the flavours of any liquid you cook it in. This recipe is no exception. Most of the dishes in this book cook the quinoa in bouillon.

We eat a lot of roasted beetroot – so I was glad to see a few beetroot dishes in the Honestly Healthy book.

The dish contains beetroot, kale, broccoli tips, leeks, lemons and onion – and of course quinoa.

Kale is amazingly dark and is apparently also a superfood – so I guess I’ll always be substituting it for greens or cabbage in future dishes. There’s a whole array of nutrients in kale – but I won’t bore you with that.

It’s supposed to have some bee pollen on it – but mine has mysteriously gone missing from my Amazon delivery – so it ended up being a vegan dish. It was also supposed to have mint but we seemed to have run out.

When you eat it there are an explosion of flavours and textures in your mouth. The kale and the broccoli is still crunchy, the beetroots are rich and there is a lovely citrus lemon running through it too. It also has a vinegary sour taste that comes from the mirin and the brown rice vinegar. It all comes together beautifully.

This dish is a definite keeper. I’ll be making this regularly. It keeps well too – I had some leftovers today (cold) and it was still as yummy as last night – although the kale and broccoli had gone a bit soft. You could probably keep the dressing separate to the dry ingredients and throw them together at the last minute if you want it for work lunch the next day.

 

Roasted Aubergine and Mango Salsa with Black Rice Noodles

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Apart from the vibrant contrast in colours, this dish is amazing. It has a wonderful array of textures and flavours; roasted red onions and aubergines, chopped coriander, mango and lemon zest – and then those wonderful noodles.

Black rice noodles look amazing don’t they. Amazingly purple. They taste amazing too. They aren’t readily accessible in supermarkets – I ordered mine from Amazon and they weren’t that expensive as long as you buy in bulk.

Black rice noodles are rich in minerals such as manganese, calcium and zinc. They are also high in fibre. They only took 5 minutes on a rolling boil and they were done. They just need rinsing and refreshing in cold water as the water gets rather gloopy.

I was initially disappointed that my mango was too firm and not very juicy – but as it turned out to add an extra crunchy texture to the dish. A ripe mango might have changed this dish completely; as I will find out next time I make it.

Also, I used baby aubergines rather than regular ones, and I think the bigger ones would have roasted up better. There was too much skin on the baby aubergines and the skin is much tarter than the flesh in my opinion. Again I’ll try changing that next time I make it.

This dish was drizzled with a Tahina dressing – which was a simple blend of tahini, tamari, garlic, coriander and sesame oil. It added a very nice twang to an already amazing dish.

I put this together in less than 30 minutes – so it’s quick and easy. Just as well given I only started making it at 9pm – having spent all day at the boat – making a wardrobe from scratch. Got to put those clothes somewhere.

Wild Mushroom Quinoa ‘Risotto’

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Here’s an interesting ‘risotto’ from Honesty Healthy. 

Essentially the risotto rice is replaced with Quinoa – but the principle of making it is the same.

Quinoa is an amazing ingredient. Most people think it is a grain – but its actually a seed. It is packed with protein and omega-3 so it makes so much sense to substitute it for rice whenever you can.

This risotto is pretty sparse on ingredients – apart from the quinoa and stock, you only add mushrooms and goats cheese. And when you are ready to serve you pour over a parsley butter – that’s it!

I was a little disappointed with how mine turned out as I couldn’t really taste the goats cheese that you add at the end – and my mushrooms were tiny – so the dish didn’t look as impressive as I would have liked.

I do think the quinoa probably needed cooking a bit longer that I did – to make it more gloopy and soft. Some of the quinoa was a bit firm and something in the dish was gritty – maybe it was in the mushrooms – I’m not sure.

That said – it was very tasty. It tasted like a genuine risotto – not just a poor imitation. The parsley butter was essential; it lifted the dish and made everything more tasty.

I’ll definitely make it again – just with some nicer wild mushrooms and maybe a tastier goats cheese.

Hot Chocolate with Cashew

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Hot chocolate is our ‘go to bed’ drink pretty much every other day. I tend to dabble with a variety of made up recipes. Lately the one that’s been working for me includes Green and Black’s Cocoa Powder, Twinings Hot Chocolate Powder, Hazelnut milk, and right at the end when it’s hot I squirt in some Carnation Condensed Milk. It’s a delight!

This recipe – from Honestly Healthy calls for one of my ‘specialist’ ingredients – not that specialist – I just couldn’t get it on Ocado. 

For this hot chocolate you blend coconut milk, raw cacao powder (I got mine from amazon), raw cashew nuts and agave syrup until it is smooth – then you simply heat it.

My blender didn’t blend the nuts too well so it was a bit grainy. I think I’ll pop over to my mother in laws and blitz a kilo of cashews in her Thermomix – as that amazing device will reduce anything to a powder.

This was really tasty – just a shame about the bits in the bottom of the mug.

Here’s a picture of my not so healthy Hot Chocolate – topped with mini marshmallows that I got for Christmas this year.

Naughty Hot Chocolate

Granola

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I’m not generally one for breakfasts. We usually get up and go to work on just a cup of tea. If we feel like it we might have some ‘free toast’ from work. There is an abundant supply of bread at work – ducks would be in their element.

We’ve decided to start eating breakfasts as we usually struggle to make it to lunch time and end up grazing on things. Steve at work has a jar of sweets that everyone dips into – and by 11am you find yourself scooping out it’s contents to get you through to lunchtime.

So, we’ve done the ‘perfect omelette’ (I usually save omelettes for the weekend when we need some sustenance for boat work) and today we have granola.

I made this last night. It’s not all that time consuming but I think you’ll need at least an hour to make it – and however long it takes for the granola to cool down before you add the apricots.

It’s pretty simple. You roast jumbo oats in agave syrup, cinnamon and sunflower oil. You then add in sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and almonds and keep roasting until it’s all golden. When it’s cold you stir in some chopped dried apricots. 

We had some for breakfast this morning with a handful of raspberrries and blackberries, a sliced apple and a good glug of almond milk. It looked quite nice in my new enamelware pudding basins which double up as breakfast bowls.

Very very tasty and sure to keep us going until lunchtime.

I made rather a lot of this so the rest of it I’ve decanted into a kilner jar (as the recipe suggests) so that should serve us well for several breakfasts to come.

Have a good day !