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:

20140331_204542   20140331_204514

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!

Advertisements

It’s nibble time

Every dinner party should start with some nibbles and drinks. Our ‘go to’ nibbles have always been posh crisps but now, on SCD, potato crisps are out of the question and most shop bought nibbles contain illegal ingredients such as sugar and starch.

Every SCD kitchen probably has lots of nuts in thepantry and I have been experimenting to find the best result. I love the sweet and salty flavour combination so that’s waht I went for.

So, it’s nibble time!

Sweet-Chilli nut nibbles

Sweet Chilly Roasted Mixed Nuts

Ingredients:

100-150g raw Pecan nuts

100-150g raw blanched Almonds

100-150g raw Cashew nuts

(Or use any raw nut combination you like)

25g butter/ghee/coconut oil

2 tsp Honey

1tsp Chilly Flakes

1/2 tsp cooking or table salt

1/2 tsp Pink/Maldon/kosher salt (whichever you have)

Method:

  1. Heat the oven to 150°c and line a large baking tray with aluminium foil.
  2. In a small saucepan on a medium heat, gently melt the butter with the honey, chilli and cooking salt.
  3. Measure all the nuts into a large mixing bowl, pour the melted butter-honey mix ontop and mix thoroughly until all the Nuts are covered.  Sprinkle the pink salt and mix again, then tip the nuts onto the lined baking tray.
  4. Roasted for 7min, mix well and roast for another 5min. It’s important to keep your eye on the nuts as every oven is different and you don’t want them to burn.
  5. Remove from the oven and mix thoroughly again. Aa the nuts cool they might stick, so keep mixing them every few minutes.
  6. Serve warm or cold. Store in an air tight container and try to leave some for the gusts…

Enjoy!

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)

2014-03-01 09.40.34

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.
    2014-03-01 09.30.44
  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).
    2014-03-01 09.44.24 2014-03-01 09.41.46
  6. Continu making pancakes until the batter is all used up, then serve with fresh fruit and drizzle honey on top.
    2014-03-01 09.51.59

Enjoy.

Wintery Thoughts

The weather seamed to have gone crazy and reports on TV look a bit like the film ‘The Day After Tomorrow’. Here in the UK we have been waking up at night to the sound or rain trickling on the roof and the whistles of wind blowing in our window. No snow yet.

More dedicated bloggers than me dedicated their end of year posts to summarising and listing 10 of the best… But I’m afraid I just cook and post. I enjoy other’s dedication to photography, styling and creative writing.

Out New Year resolution is to stick to the SCD diet strictly, and hope that this will increase energy levels and decrease the chances of that horrid illness returning to haunt our lives. Lots of will power and creativity required.

There are so many recipes and information out there (like roost, SCD recipe and Hold The bread, Please) but sometimes I like to look at my baking drawer and see what I can come up with. This time cocoa butter, vanilla and cherries (unseasonal but reduced price in the supermarket) popped at me.

2014-01-09 17.59.46

White Forest Muffins

Basic muffin recipe inspired by roost
Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients:
4 cups Ground Almonds
1/2tsp Salt
3/4tsp Baking Soda
2tbsp Coconut oil
1/4 cup Cocoa Butter
1/2 cup  + 1 tbsp Honey
3 Eggs
250gr fresh cherries, pitted and halved
1/2 Vanilla pod (optional)

Method:

  1. Het the oven to 160˚c and line a muffin tin with 12 muffin or cupcake liners (I used a silicone muffin tray so didn’t use paper liners).
  2. In a small bowl, mix the pitted cherries with 1tbsp honey and some of the vanilla beans (if using), then scatter a few cherry halves on the bottom of each lined muffin cup.
  3. Melt the coconut oil and cocoa butter in a small pot on a low heat, then remove form the heat and add the 1/2 cup honey.
  4. Combine the dry ingredients in one bowl.
  5. Whisk the eggs and mix them into the other wet ingredients. Add the rest of the vanilla if using.
  6. Mix wet ingredients into dry until incorporated and pour the batter into each cup, covering the cherries.
  7. Bake for 20-25min until golden brown
  8. Cool completely and serve.

Enjoy

White gold – Cauliflower and Celeriac recipes

Cauliflower and Celeriac aren’t necessarily the sxiest of vegetables and here in Britain they seam to only be paired with cream and cheese, as if to mask their flavour. I must say, I was a little suspicious at the start too. I was never a huge fan of Cauliflower in my childhood and I never even hear of Celeriac until I was in my late twenties.

But, as we’ve already discovered, when you are on SCD you become creative and look at a vegetable’s potential beyond the obvious and traditional uses. I first discovered using cauliflower as a baking ingredient here (Keep reading for an SCD adjusted recipe) and after trying it I was hooked. I then started experimenting and discovered the unlimited options. After a celeriac spent too much time in my fridge and I decided to try making Risotto out of it and loved the result. Imagine my delight when I saw Jamie Oliver make cauliflower rice on his Saving With Jamie show!!

So, no need to miss out on great pizza rice, couscous and bulgar wheat dishes just because you are on the SCD diet. Here is a round up of easy recipes to try:

Note on processing the cauliflower and celeriac:
It’s pretty simple and pretty much the same in every recipe.

  1. Clean the cauliflower or peal and wash the celeriac and roughly chop up the whole veg (for the cauli, use both the florets and stem). Place the chopped veg into a food processor and blitz  until it resembles rice in size.
  2. Heat 1tbsp of olive oil a large frying pan and add all the ‘riced’ vegetable from the food processor; and gently heat through. You want the ‘rice’ to ‘steam’ and not colour. When it turns a little translucent, it’s ready for the next stage of the recipe.

1. SCD Pizza bites

Based on this recipe, by Healthy DAMY

Makes 12 muffin size mini pizzas

Ingredients:

1 large Cauliflower
2 Eggs
1cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 garlic clove
1tbsp fresh or dry oregano
2tbsp olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 cup of your favourite SCD friendly tomato sauce (we like the one in the Eat Well Feel Well book)
Pizza toppings to your taste (SCD friends ones)

Method:

  1. Follow the note above about processing the cauliflower, then let it cool in the pan  for a bit so the eggs don’t cook in the heat.
  2. Heat the oven to 180˚c. If you have a silicone cupcake or bun tray or moulds, there is no need to line them, it you don’t, line your cupcake tray with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the cooked and cooled cauliflower, eggs, 1/2 cup of the parmesan, oregano, remaining oil and season to taste.
  4. Divide the mixture into the muffin moulds and bake for 20-30min, until brown on the top and coming away from the side of the mould. Then top with the tomato sauce, pizza toppings and scatter the rest of the parmesan cheese. Bake for an extra 10min, then remove from the oven and let cool for 5-10min before enjoying them.
  5. Serve with a side salad or as finger food at a party.

2. SCD Couscous

I made this as part of a yummy CSD Moroccan feast and it was a great success. The dinner included spice roasted

Ingredients

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.

DSC_1908

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.

DSC_1913

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!

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.

DSC_1880

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!