A Simple Spring ‘Pasta’

Sometimes you find yourself home alone for dinner and all you want is a comforting, creamy bowl of pasta. On a grain-free diet it’s not that straight forward, but inspiration hit me the other day and I think I managed to create a dish that really hits the spot.

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Jamie Oliver, in his 30 Minute Meals book and programme really inspired me to create freshly made quick meals and some of the methods he uses really come through in this recipes, just because I think they are so cleaver and useful.

You can make this recipe with almost any veg you have lying around in your fridge and create flavour combinations that suit your pallet. Add chilli flakes for a kick of heat or butter for a richer flavour.

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A Simple Spring ‘Pasta’

Serves 1

Ingredients:
3-4 Garlic cloves, thinly sliced (I like using lots of garlic)
Half a punet Mushrooms (chestnut, oyster or button), cleaned and sliced
1 small bunch Asparagus, chopped as you like it
1 large courgette, outer flesh shaved into strips using a peeler (making your ‘pasta’) and the core cut into cubes
3 heaped Tbsp SCD yogurt (or any other yogurt you like, I used sheep’s milk yogurt)
2 Tbsp good quality olive oil
a few sprigs of fresh herbs such as rosemary, basil, chives, oregano or thyme, roughly chopped
40gr Parmesan
a handful or pine nuts
Nutmeg to taste
Salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Heat one tbsp of the olive oil in a frying pan on a medium to high heat and add a quantity of two garlic cloves to the pan.
  2. When the garlic has infused the oil but before it burns add the mushrooms and toss in the oil.
  3. When the mushrooms have stated colouring, add the asparagus and courgette core.
  4. Whilst the vegetables are frying, and keeping an eye that they don’t burn, prepare the yogurt sauce: Place the yogurt in the bowl you are planning to eat from, dress with the rest of the olive oil, grate in most of the the parmesan and the nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Give it a good mix and taste. Amend seasoning and set aside.
  5. Give the vegetables a mix and add in the courgette ‘pasta’ strips, the rest of the garlic and the herbs. Toss gently, making sure not to tear the strips. Cook for a few minutes until the courgette goes a bit translucent but not over cooked.
  6. Pour the veg into the bowl with the yogurt sauce and mix quickly. Leave the hob on.
  7. Return the pan to the hob and put the pine nuts on to roast. In the mean while grate the rest of the parmesan on your dish. When the nuts started taking colour sprinkle them over the ‘pasta’ and drizzle with a bit more olive oil.

Enjoy!

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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!

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)

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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.

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.

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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

Picnic under the oak tree

It’s been a year since my now husband J popped the question. A whole year has passed, since one of the happiest days of my life and a start of this great journey we are taking together.

A few good months into our engagement, in the midst of our wedding perp, on a sunny day in March, our photographer Blake Ezra came over to our house (which was also the wedding venue) to take some pre-shoot photos of us and the of the venue. I’d highly recommend doing this, as it get’s you used to having someone with a camera following you around and also gets you great professional photos that aren’t in a white dress and all dressed up.

We took Blake for a lovely walk in the woods, past the spot where we got engaged, and had some fun re-enacting the moment.

Shira and Jon Engagement shoot Shira and Jon Engagement shoot Shira and Jon Engagement shoot Shira and Jon Engagement shoot

So a year later, we thought it would be fun to go back to that beautiful spot where we got engaged  and have a nice afternoon picnic (all SCD friendly of course).

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An SCD friendly Picnic

The picnic included: Roasted veg with Tahini, Beetroot Carpaccio with Manchego, a green salad, SCD bread (coming soon, an improved recipe) and carrot and courgette cupcakes for dessert.

Quantities for the recipes depend on how many people you are serving. Also, use any veg you like and are available to you.

Roasted Vegetables with Tahini (served cold):

Ingredients:
Courgettes
Cauliflower
Sweet Peppers (I used mini sweet peppers but use any red/yellow/orange you can find)
Garlic, chopped
Olive Oil
Oregano or Thyme
Salt and Pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Line a baking sheet (or two) with aluminium foil and heat your oven to 190˚c.
  2. Slice the vegetables into a large mixing bowl (you can mix them together, but if you are using beetroot, make sure you dress it separately so you don’t stain all your veg)
  3. Add the garlic, a good glugg of olive oil, herbs and seasoning and toss the veg until they are well coated in the oil and herbs.
  4. Arrange the veg on the baking sheet (I like to arrange them neatly but you also tip the contents of your bowl and scatter the veg).
  5. Roast in the oven for aprox 40min, or until nicely golden on top with slightly charred edges, then remove from the oven, let cool and enjoy with a dollop of tahini dressing (equal parts of Tahini paste and water, garlic and salt to taste, chopped parsley and lemon juice. Mix together to a runny consistency, adding more water and seasoning if needed).

Beetroot Carpaccio with Manchego 

Serves 2-4

Ingredients:
2 Fresh Beets, washed and peeled (I only had red beets, but by all means, use a variety of colours if you can)
2tbs Olive Oil
Juice of half a lemon
1 sprig Mint
Salt and pepper to taste
Manchego, Parmesan or even Blue cheese

Method:

  1. If you have a mandolin, use it to slice the beets on thickness 1. If no, slice the beets very thinly with a very sharp knife.
  2. Place the sliced beets in a bowl (or even in the box you will be taking them to the picnic in), add the rest of the ingredients and mix very well, making sure all the beet ‘pages’ are smothered in the dressing.
  3. Leave in the fridge until ready to use.
  4. Wash the mandolin from the beetroot juices and slice the Manchego on the same setting. Keep the cheese separate from the beets and at the picnic. combine them on the plate or on a sandwich.

Note: On another occasion I served the beetroot carpaccio as an accompaniment to lemon and dill Salmon Gravad Lax with a herby pesto dressing and no mint. Yum!

Enjoy!