Don’t waste your food, make quiche!

Last week I was introduced to a great organisation called Feeding the 5000. It’s a UK based organisation, working worldwide to fight food waste. J and I spent the afternoon in central London, helping them distribute perfectly good peppers and cherry tomatoes that were rejected by the supermarkets for not being ‘perfect’ enough to go on their shelves.

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The cleaver thing is that the Feeding the 5K guys didn’t just give away the vegetables. To anyone who would stop and listen to our shpiel, we gave out a bag with lots of veg which included a recipe for Gezpacho soup by celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. We asked them to maybe make the gezpacho and invite friends over to enjoy their soup, and in the ‘pop-up’ restaurant spirit maybe ask them for a donation to the organisation and sign up to the no-food-waste pledge.

This activity really brought to light the detachment we have from the food production process and the lack of awareness to the amount of food that is wasted every day.

At the end of the afternoon, we were still left with a good amount of peppers and as the City people went back to their offices we loaded our bags with peppers and headed back home to grill, cook and preserve about 30kg of red, yellow and green peppers.

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Upside Down Pepper Quiche

Inspired by this recipe by Dvarim Bealma
There are a few steps to this quiche, but it can be made all in one go.

Ingredients:
4-6 Peppers (asorted colours)
1 whole garlic bulb
4 Eggs
500ml Goats Milk Yogurt (SCD yogurt if possible)
30gr Parmesan Cheese, grated
12 Pitted Kalamata Olives, roughly chopped
6 Dried tomatoes, sliced
1tbsp fresh mint
1tbsp Fresh Thyme
Salt & Pepper to taste

Note about the herbs: Use any herb combination you like/have. If you don’t have fresh herbs, use dry.

Method:

First roast the peppers and garlic: 

  1. Heat the oven to 250˚c and line a baking tray with aluminium foil.
  2. Take another (smal-ish) piece of aluminium foil, place it flat on your work board and dress with a little olive oil, salt and a sprig of thyme, then cut off the bottom of the garlic bulb and place it, cut side down, on the dressed foil. Wrap up the garlic and place it on the baking trey.
  3. Place all of your peppers, whole and washed, on the baking tray and place in the hot oven.
  4. Important: the peppers need to be turned every aprox 10min so they are evenly roasted on all sides.
  5. After the peppers are roasted remove from the oven and lower the temperature to 170˚c. Set the roasted garlic aside to cool.
  6. Place all the peppers in a large glass bowl and cover the top with cling film. Leave the peppers to steam and cool. This process with make separating the peel from the flesh a very easy job.

Whilst the peppers are steaming and cooling, make the quiche filing by combining all the ingredients and whisking them in a bowl. Don’t forget to unwrap the garlic and squeeze the roasted cloves into the batter.

Assembling the quiche:

  1. Peel the roasted peppers, one by one, by pulling the loose burnt bits away from the soft flesh, then gently remove the flesh from the stem, trying to pull from the bottom, so the seeds stay on the stem.
  2. Gently slice the flesh on one side so the pepper can be spread out flat, then clean any seeds from the surface.
  3. When all your peppers are peeled and clean, start lining your pie dish with the peppers, making sure they overlap so the filling doesn’t seep through, just like a normal pie crust.
  4. Pour in the filling batter and bake in the oven for 35min, or until the filling is slightly wobbly but not runny.
  5. Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 15min, then place a plate , up-side-down on top of the pie and flip it over (do this over the sink as there will be some liquid spilling out).
  6. Release the quiche from the pie dish and serve with salad.

Enjoy!

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What? No Rice?!

Risotto is one of my favourite foods. I love making it, adding the stock and mixing the  rice in anticipation for that moment when the rice is just right; not hard but not ‘rice pudding’ soft. I also love the diversity or Risotto. You can create such great flavour combinations and experimenting is really fun. It can be a light starter or a meal in a bowl, depends on the size and creaminess.

The thing is, rice isn’t one of the allowed foods on the SCD diet.

I found recipes using cauliflower a rice substitute, but felt the cauli’s flavour was too strong and not to J’s taste, so I decided to try celeriac instead. Turns out, celeriac has a great savoury flavour which isn’t overpowering. It’s widely grown in the UK and seams to be in season all year round. We used it as plain rice for an indian style dish and then I decided to try making a risotto.

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Re-thinking the process

If you have any experience in making risotto, you know that the slow cooking and mixing of the rice releases the starch in the Arborio Rice, which creates a lovely creaminess and texture. Celeriac doesn’t do that, so I had to re-think the risotto making process and decided that I will have to create a ‘sauce’ which will give the creamy, rich texture.

I found that ‘sacrificing’ a small amount of the celeriac, adding olive oil and stock, and blending them to a smooth, cram-like sauce, added that ‘risotto’ texture. A knob of butter added a beautiful rich flavour and a good shine to the ‘rice’. This created a basic ‘Risotto Bianco’ and then I mixed in some pesto sauce and topped with roasted summer vegetable.

Celeriac ‘Risotto’ with Pesto and roasted vegetables
Serves 2, cooking time: 30-45 min (‘Risotto Bianco’ takes 30min)

Ingredients:

For the ‘Risotto’:
1 small Onion, finely chopped
1/2 Large Celeriac root, peeled and chopped into large chunks
1 tbsp + 1/4 cup  Olive Oil
2 tbsp water
1/4 cup stock (veg, chicken or fish, depends on your preference. I used vegetable stock in this recipe)
1 knob butter (about 15gr)
Salt and pepper to taste

For flavouring:
4 tbsp pesto sauce (make your own to avoid additives, stabilisers and other non-SCD ingredients)
Extra garlic clove if needed for flavour

For roasted vegetables (use any vegetable combination that you like. I used the following):
1 Red Pepper, de-seeded and sliced into strips
1 Aubergine, chopped into small chunks
1 Courgette, cut into rounds
1 Red Onion, halved and sliced
2 Garlic Cloves, chopped
Oregano/Thyme/Marjoram or a combination of all
Olive Oil
Salt

Method:

First roast your vegetables:

  1. Heat the oven to 190˚c and prepare a roasting pan, lined with aluminium foil.
  2. Place all your vegetables, including the garlic in a large mixing bowl, drizzle a good glug of olive oil and season with salt and herbs to taste.
  3. Mix the vegetables thoroughly to ensure they are all coated in oil, herbs and garlic. I found clean hands are best for this job.
  4. Arrange the veg on the roasting pan and roast in the oven for 35-40min, mixing occasionally to avoid burning.

Whilst the veg is roasting, cook the ‘Risotto’:

  1. In a frying pan, heat the 1tbsp of olive oil and the water, the add the chopped onion, and slowly fry on medium heat until translucent but not brown. Add more water if onions start to colour.
  2. Meanwhile, place the celeriac chunks in a food processor and chop to rice-size pieces. Make sure it is all processed to the same consistency.
  3. Once the onions are cooked, add all the chopped celeriac and slowly cook on medium heat, until the celeriac is soft but not too soft (‘al-dente’ is best), then take off the heat.
  4. Scoop a 1/4 cup of the cooked celeriac and onion into a blender, add the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil, the stock, 2 tbsp of the pesto sauce (if using), salt and pepper and blend until smooth (single cram consistency). If the mixture is too thick, add more stock. If it lacks flavour, add salt, more pesto and a garlic clove until it is to your taste.
  5. Return the pan with the fried celeriac to the heat and mix the sauce through.
  6. Add the butter and the rest of the pesto and mix again until the butter is melted. taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

Serve:

  1. Place the risotto in a bowl, top with the roasted vegetables, a drizzle of olive oil and shavings of Parmesan cheese.

Enjoy!

The best SCD Grain Free bread

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Going grain-free and specifically going SCD means about half of the supermarket isles are off limits, but walking past the bakery and bread areas, smelling these beautiful ‘freshly baked’ scents can cause even the strongest willed person to ‘slip’.

Bread is such a staple food and sandwiches are such an easy ‘on-the-go’ kind of food that I really wanted to find a recipe for a good substitute. I found that loafs based on ground almonds come out quite wet, don’t hold their shape very well and tend to crumble, so when I came across this recipe by Brittany I instantly tried it with great success. The only thing was the cost and availability of the ingredients. Raw almond butter isn’t readily available in UK supermarkets and it isn’t cheap when you do find it, so I decided to make my own.

Using a powerful food processor, you can make your own nut butter. Depending on the toughness of the nut, it can take between five and 15 minutes. I found that adding cashew nuts to the ‘buttering’ process results in a fluffier bread and adding herbs and spices reduces the ‘eggy’ smell and flavour. Olives, walnuts, sun dried tomatoes and even sweet additions can be made for added flavour.

The bread also slices nicely and as it’s a dense, nutty and not so low on fat, a little goes a long way. I like using the bread to make Smörgåsbord style open sandwiches for brunch.

Almond-Cashew grain-free bread
Original recipe by CSD Foodie with my changes and updates

Makes one ‘Loaf’ tin which results in about 20 slices.
It’s worth reading Brittany’s notes about which pan to use.

Ingredients:

2 cups raw Almonds
1 cup raw Cashews
6 Eggs
1 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
3 tbsp good quality Olive Oil
1/2 tsp Salt
Optional flavour variations: 1 tbsp curry powder // pesto // sun-dried tomatoes, chopped // Kalamata olives // Zaatar spice mix

Method:

  1. Heat the oven to 170˚c. If using a non-stick pan, line it with parchment paper.
  2. Measure the raw almonds and cashews into your food processor and turn it on. It’s a loud start so don’t be startled. Continue processing for about 10-15 min until the mixture transformed from crumbs, to a dough-like ball and then into a creamy butter texture. Your food processor will probably heat up, so be careful and don’t panic if you see steam rising from the bowl.
  3. With the processor still running, add the eggs and measure in the rest of the ingredients. You will have a thick and gloopy (but not lumpy) batter. If adding olives or other flavours, pulse them in now (Don’t over work them, just mix them in).
  4. Pour the batter into the loaf tin and bake for 45 min, checking a toothpick comes out dry before removing from the oven. The bread doesn’t brown so much on the top.
  5. Let it cool for 5 min, then remove from the tin onto a cooling rack.
  6. Storage: The bread keeps for 5-7 days in the fridge, wrapped in a layer of parchment paper, then covered with a layer of aluminium foil.

Enjoy!