The Green Giant Quiche

My mum’s partner is a real green fingered gardener.  Their house is surrounded by a tranquil green garden with shade all year round, which is useful as they live in Israel. On my last viait I spotted some beautifully overgrown Swiss Chard plants in the veg patch at the edge of the garden. I asked, and turns out they didn’t even realise it’s edible! So I just had to do something about that.

We were invited to Friday night dinner with very close friends and I was tasked with making a vegan main course (veganism is the latest trend in Israel). Inspiration soon followed and I made this:

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It got raving reviews and dinners who aren’t keen on coconut didn’t even notice I used coconut crem in it. Suscess!

So when I returned home to the UK I decided I’d make the minimal alterations and suit it to our SCD diet. In the recipe I’ll give both Vegan and SCD options.

Pesto Green Giant Quiche

Ingredients:

For the base:

2 cups ground Almonds
5 sundried tomatoes (in oil or rehydrated in hot water)
1 tsp chilli flakes
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
2-4 tbsp water

For the filling:

1 large bunch (aprox 500g) fresh Spinach or Swiss Chard, washed
1 large Onion
1 Leak (optional)
2 bunches fresh Basil (I used two store bough packs)
1 small bunch fresh Parsley (It gives a really fresh touch)
3-5 large cloves Garlic
1/4 cup Olive Oil + 1 tbsp for frying the onions
50g raw Walnut Halves
50ml Coconut Cream (dissolve in some hot water to make required quantity or use coconut milk if you have an open can)
2 Eggs for SCD version and for Passover OR 3-4tbsp Garam Flour for Vegan option
1/2 tsp cooking Salt (use more if using Maldon/Kosher salt)
Black Pepper to taste
A handful of Pine Nuts for decoration

Method:

Make the quiche base:

  1. Heat the oven to 160˚c and have two large pieces of parchment paper ready for rolling the base dough.
  2. Dab the sun-dried tomatoes with kitchen paper to soak up excess oil or water and slice into thin strips.
  3. In a medium bowl combine dry base ingredients and mix in the tomatoes and chilli flakes, then add the olive oil and water and mix with a spoon into an oily dough (the dough will just come together and is not flexible at all as it made of ground nuts, rather than a glutinous flour).
  4. Place the dough between the two sheets of parchment paper and using a rolling-pin, roll it out to fit your pie dish (not too thin), then peel off the top piece of paper and transfer the dough onto the pie dish by flipping it onto the dish. Now the bottom piece of paper is on top. Using clean hands, ease the dough into the dish and peel off the paper. The dough will probably tear so just preform some patch work and form it to fit your dish.
  5. Blind bake the base for 15min or until golden brown and dry (no need for baking beans, this dough doesn’t rise). Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Leave the oven on to bake the filling.

Make the filling:

  1. Whilst the base is baking bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil. Blanch the spinach/chard for about 4min. Transfer the blanched greens into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process, then drain well and squeeze the excess liquid out. Leave to one side.
  2. Chop the onion and leak (not too finely). Heat the one tbsp olive oil and 2 tbsp water in a frying pan on medium heat, then fry the onion and leak until translucent but not burnt. Keep adding water, a tbsp at a time to prevent the onions from burning. leave to one side.
  3. In your food processor bowl, place the basil, parsley, garlic, olive oil and walnuts. Process until smooth, then add the drained and squeezed greens, coconut cream and eggs/garam flour. Add salt and pepper and process until well incorporated.
  4. Stop the food processor, taste the mix and amend seasoning if needed.
  5. Remove the processor blade and mix in the cooked onions, then tip the batter into the crusted pie dish and scatter the pine nuts over the top.
  6. Bake in the oven (still on 160˚c) for 30-40min, until the quiche is set. Remove from the oven and leave it to cool for five minutes before serving.

Serve with a big salad and enjoy!

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Flippin’ easy pancakes

Before coming to this country I never heard of Shrove Tuesday but like any tradition that has anything remotely to do with food, I embraced it and started flipping pancakes with a variety of toppings – as much As I tried, the sugar and lemon part of the tradition does not excite my taste buds at all.

Pancakes for me are weekend food, when you have time in the morning to indulge and surprise your other half with breakfast in bed, the kind that gives you energy for the rest of the day. When I started cooking the SCD way I naturally tried to find good replacements for my usual pancake recipe. After exploring some recipes I found online and in cookbooks, trying all sorts of ingredients such as ground almonds, coconut flower and cashew nuts, I finally landed on a recipe that really ticked all the pancake boxes: quick & easy to make, good flavour & texture and keeps you full for long.

Some notes on the recipe:

  • The recipe is child friendly. I usually use a small food processor to make the batter, but if kids are making it and they are not old enough to use sharp electrical appliances, they should use the manual option of the process.
  • The quantities make apron 10 small pancakes and 4-5 large ones.
  • I believe the first batch of pancakes is always a ‘sacrifice to the pancakes gods’ and usually rippes, scrunches or burns, so don’t panic if the first few pancake aren’t perfect, just hide them at the bottom of the pile.
  • I like using coconut oil for frying the pancakes. It burns at high temperature which makes it a bit healthier than other fats or oils, but the best bit about it that it fills the kitchen with scents that send me back to the streets of Bangkok.

Banana Pancakes

Based on this recipe, with my changes

Ingredients:

1 ripe Banana (the riper the better)
2 Eggs
1 tbsp nut butter (any nut butter you have at home, almond, cashew or peanut are all good, as long as they are pure)
1 tbsp Coconut Oil for frying (it’s good for frying as it burns at hight temperatures but you can use any other vegetable oil or butter/ghee you prefer)

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SCD Banana Pancakes batter, made in a processor and made manually in a bowl

SCD Banana Pancakes Ingredients

SCD Banana Pancakes Ingredients

Method:

  1. If you have one, chop the banana and it with the eggs and nut butter in a small food processor or blender and blitz to a smooth batter.2014-03-01 09.38.37
  2. If you are doing it manually, use a fork to mash the banana to a puree on a plate or cutting board, then place the banana in a bowl with the eggs and nut butter, whisk to a smooth batter.
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  3. Warm the oil in a frying pan on the hob to a high heat.
  4. Lower the heat to medium and using a small measuring cup to dollop the batter into the hot pan.
  5. When small bubbles appear on the pancakes, it’s time to flip them and fry for another minute on the other side (just like with wheat based pancakes).
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  6. Continu making pancakes until the batter is all used up, then serve with fresh fruit and drizzle honey on top.
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Enjoy.

Lovingly grain free

Making love happen is so much better when you aren’t bloated, uncomfortable and in pain. here are some ideas for a grain free Valentines Day meal that will leave you with enough energy and spunk for the real deal:

First Course: Herby cracker wedges with a Labaneh dip

For the herby Crackers:
Original recipe from Elena’s Pantry

2 cups Ground Almonds
1 tsp Salt
2 Dired Figs, chopped into small cubes (if figs don’t agree with you, used dates)
1 Rosemary Sprigs, roughly chopped
1 Egg
2 tbsp Olive Oil
2 tbsp water (optional)

Method:

  1. Heat the oven to 160˚c
  2. In a bowl mix together the ground almonds, salt, figs and rosemary.
  3. In a separate small bowl whisk together the egg and olive oil.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the bowl of dry ingredients and combine with a spoon to a greedy dough. If the dough is too dry and won’t come together, add some water, a little at a time.
  5. Roll the dough out between two sheets of  parchment paper and slice the raw dough into wedges (like slicing a pizza)
  6. Bake for 10min or until the crackers are golden brown, remove from the oven and let cool for 5 min before serving with SCD Labaneh.

* If you are vegan these wedges work great without the egg.

Fig and Rosemary crackers in the making

For the Labaneh (a Lebanese style cream cheese spread):

The night before your dinner, line a sieve with a muslin cloth and place over a bowl. Pour into the lined sieve 3 cups of SCD yogurt (if you can tolerate it, shop bought sheep or goat’s yogurt are also good). Gather the edges of the muslin over the yogurt so nothing falls in and leave in the fridge or a very cool place over night. When you are ready to serve scrape the creamy cheese from the muslin into the serving dish and decorate with olive oil and Zaatar if you have. If not, use thyme or smoky paprika.

Meatballs and Cavolo Nero 'Pasta'

Main Course: Meatballs in tomato sauce and cavolo nero ‘pasta’

Inspired by Disney’s Lady and the Tramp

Cavolo Nero is ‘black cabbage’ and is both yummy and healthy. It’s available this time of year and it’s shape lends itself to be a great replacement to pasta, but don’t be discouraged if you can’t find it in the shops, use kale instead.

For the meatballs:

1 Onion, finely chopped
2 tbp fresh or dry herbs (whatever you have at home… rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil…)
500gr Minced Beef
1 egg
Salt and Pepper to taste
Oil for frying

For the tomato sauce:

1 large onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves Garlic
2 Carrots, grated
2 cans Chopped Tomatoes or 1 bottle of legal Passata
1/2 cup Dry Red Wine (add more to taste or if sauce is too dry)
2 tbsp herbs of your choice (I used rosemary)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Olive Oil

Method:

  1. Make the meatballs: Combine all the meatball ingredients in a bowl and leave to rest at room temperature whilst you make the sauce.
  2. In a deep pan heat a glugg of oil and an equal amount of water, add the chopped onion and fry on a medium heat until translucent and golden brown. If the onions start to burn add a little more water. Browning them slowly will develop a sweet taste but burning them will give a bitter flavour. Add the garlic and grated carrots and continue frying for 3-5min.
  3. Add the tomatoes, red wine and herbs and season to taste.
  4. Cook, uncovered, on a medium heat whilst you are frying the meatballs.
  5. Heat a glugg of olive oil in a pan.
  6. Roll meat balls to the size of a ping-pong ball and brown in the heated oil, about 2-3 min on each side. Make sure the meatballs are not crammed in the pan, as this will make them boil rather than fry. This might take a few batches, so transfer the cooked balls into the bubbling sauce.
  7. Once all the balls are fried and cooking in the tomato sauce, make you ‘pasta’

For the Cavolo Nero ‘Pasta’:

1/2 ‘head’ of Cavolo Nero cabbage or half bag of ready to use chopped Kale
1 sprig Rosemary
2 garlic cloves (if you are both eating garlic than it won’t matter when you kiss)
1tsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Ghee
Salt and Pepper to taste
Grated Parmesan to taste

Method:

  1. Fill a large saucepan with salted water and bring to the boil.
  2. Wash the cavolo nero thoroughly and shake to dry, then place each leaf up-side-down on a cutting bore and using a sharp knife, cut the dark leaf away from the light green stem. The stem is quite woody even when cooked so I usually discard it. The leaves are now long strips and resemble pasta noodles.
  3. When the water is boiling, drop the leaves in and simmer for 3-4 minutes.
  4. Whilst the leaves are cooking, finely slice the garlic cloves and rosemary.
  5. When the Cavolo Nero is cooked, drain into a colander. Leave the leaves in the colander and return the saucepan to the heat, melt the ghee and oil together, add the garlic and rosemary and stir gently for about 1 minute before adding the cavolo nero leaves. Warm through and make sure the leaves are covered. Season to taste.

Assemble:

  1. The cavolo nero is your pasta, so pile it in the middle of a pasta dish and top with the meatballs and tomato sauce (I usually serve 4 balls for each diner).
  2. Grate or shave parmesan over everything and enjoy.

* If you are gentle, you might even be able to re-inact the movie scene.

Layered Dessert

Dessert: Fruit, Crumble and Cream Layered Heaven

Make the crumble and whipped coconut crease in advance the assemble just before serving.

First thing’s first: The night before your dinner, put 1 can Coconut Milk (Make sure you get pure coconut milk with no stabilisers and additives) in the fridge. Don’t shake it. The milk will separate to water and cream and you want the cream for whipping later.

1 cup blanched almonds
1/2 cup cashew nuts
1/2 cup pecan nuts
(use any nut combination you like and have in the house: Walnuts, Macadamia or Brazil nuts work really well too)
2 tbsp coconut flakes, optional (shredded coconut is also fine just make sure you use an unsweetened product)
2 tbsp Ghee
2 tbsp honey
Pinch of salt (use pink Himalayan if you have)
1 Mango / 1 punnet Strawberries / 1 punnet blueberries / pitted cherries or any other fruit you like and works with a soft and crunchy combination.

Method:

  1. Heat the oven to 170˚c and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. Scatter all the nuts and coconut flakes, if using, on the tray, drop little clumps of ghee in and around the nuts and drizzle the honey over everything, then sprinkle the salt.
  3. Roast in the hot oven for 10-15min, checking and shaking the pan every 5min. You what the nuts to turn golden and the honey to caramelise, but nothing should burn, so keep an eye on it.
  4. Once golden and beautiful, remove from the oven and cool completely. The nuts may seam soggy at the start but as they cool they will crunch up.
  5. Put the cold nuts in a food processor and pulse to brake them up. DON’T MAKE A POWDER! Set aside until you are ready to serve.
  6. Prepare the fruit you are using (peel and slice the mango or hull and quarter the strawberries) and set aside until you are ready to serve.
  7. Open the cooled coconut milk can and scoop the hardened cream into a mixing bowl. Save the ‘water’ for cooking but make sure none of it gets into the bowl.
  8. Using an electric mixer whisk the coconut until it resembles fluffy whipped cream. Sweeten with a little honey if required. Store the cream in the fridge until you are ready to use.

Assemble:

In wine glasses or martini cocktail glasses, layer the fruit and then the nut crumble, a bit at a time. When the glass is full, dollop the coconut whipped cream and top with a mint leaf or lemon verbena garnish.

Enjoy and may you have a happy and loving Valentines day. x