Tag Archives: healthy recipe

Parsnip And Pear Soup With Crispy Sage And Brown Butter

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The humble parsnip, in all its creamy-white glory, benefits immensely from being cooked with something naturally sweet. I think of parsnips roasted with honey, yes please! Parsnips grated and baked into a cake, sure why not? Even this parsnip soup benefits from a little sweet kick.

This addition of a natural sweetener to parsnips makes perfect sense to me. Apparently if parsnips are picked before they receive a night or two of a cold frost the natural sugars don’t develop properly and then the parsnips lack the sweetness they deserve. I can only assume the parsnips I bought fell to this fate. But that’s where a little kitchen intuition and a piece of fruit – in this case pear – can come to the rescue.

Now! Enter the burnt butter with crispy sage.

Are you familiar with that moment when fresh sage hits foaming butter in a hot pan and it begins to froth and splatter, the sage crisping in front of your eyes? Or when the butter begins to turn to a shade of golden nuttiness and you just know it’s time to add a squeeze of lemon juice? Sigh! I love those moments. They don’t happen too often in my kitchen but for this soup it was the crowning glory, the finishing touch, the necessary addition. I imagine you’ll think so too.

 

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Parsnip and pear soup with sage and brown butter

Serves 4

2 tbsp olive oil

1 brown onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, chopped

3 sticks celery, diced

2 tbsp chopped fresh sage

600g parsnips, peeled and sliced into rounds

1/2 cup white wine

1 large pear, peeled and cut into large pieces

1.5 litres chicken or vegetable stock

1/2 cup Greek style yoghurt

For the burnt sage butter

75g salted butter

handful of picked fresh sage leaves

squeeze lemon juice

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan; add the onion, garlic, celery, parsnip and chopped sage, season with salt and pepper and cook gently for 5 minutes.

Turn the heat up, add the white wine and cook for 1 minute. Add the chopped pear and chicken stock, bring to the boil then cook on a medium heat for 25 minutes.

Remove the soup from the heat, add the yoghurt and blitz the soup with a stick blender or food processor till smooth. Check the seasoning.

For the burnt butter, place a fry pan on a high heat, once heated add the diced butter, swirl the pan. As the butter melts and starts to froth throw in the sage leaves, swirl the pan as they crisp. Right at the moment the butter looks like it can’t froth any more, and before it turns too dark, remove the pan from the heat, squeeze in the lemon juice and swirl a final time.

Ladle the parsnip soup into 4 bowls and drizzle the crispy sage and burnt butter over the top.

 

Baked Rhubarb With Orange And Cloves

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Although rhubarb is readily available through autumn it’s often not till early winter that I get round to baking my first tray.

I keep it on hand in the fridge mainly to eat with breakfast, be it with porridge, yoghurt, or muesli. But it would be a crime against rhubarb to stop there. It’s such an interesting fruit to use in baking, that when I do have cooked rhubarb in the fridge, I often feel compelled to bake.

Sometimes I arrange batons of rhubarb across a butter milk cake – before it goes in the oven – or I fold it through and on top of muffins, and have even been known to layer it in the bottom of creme brûlées.

 

 

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The tartness of rhubarb is its defining appeal. And that tartness requires a certain amount of sweetness to tame its sour taste and soften its flavour. I use orange juice, brown sugar and cloves to do this.

As the rhubarb slowly cooks, covered in the oven, it half steams half poaches itself to tender pieces. When cooked just right rhubarb should hold its shape easily, yet still fall apart at the touch of a spoon.

So next time you’re out shopping and you see rhubarbs bright red stalks staring back at you, reach out, grab a bunch, come home, flick the oven on, and you too can discover the many possibilities with baked rhubarb.

 

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Baked rhubarb with orange and cloves

Ingredients 

1 bunch thick stemmed rhubarb

zest 1/2 an orange

1 orange juiced

1/4 cup brown sugar

8 cloves

Pre heat oven to 160C.

Trim the rhubarb of all its leaves, wash and cut into 6 cm lengths.

Lay the rhubarb neatly in a small baking tray.

Place the orange juice, orange zest, brown sugar and cloves in a small pan, stir over a medium heat till sugar dissolves, then pour the liquid over the rhubarb. Cover the tray tightly with foil and bake in the oven for about 35 minutes for thicker stalked rhubarb, less for thinner rhubarb.

Cool completely in the tray before transferring the rhubarb to a container, cover and store the rhubarb in the cooking syrup in the fridge for up to five days.

Roasted Brussel Sprout And Chickpea Salad With Garlic Yoghurt

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A dear friends Aunty who I lived with for six months in Brighton, the UK, (20 odd years ago now), would steam her brussels for hours on end.

On a Sunday morning (it was always a Sunday) she would begin the day by steaming the vegetables for the evening meal (gulp). The poor overcooked brussel sprouts would then sit all day on the stove top sweating in their pot till we all came home from the pub and she’d proceeded to heat them again before serving our Sunday roast with something I can only refer to as muck.

It was a crime against the vegetables and one that brussel sprouts never made a recovery from. That is till this year, when I pushed aside those horrid memories and took to roasting them.

 

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Suddenly there was reason to love this misrepresented vegetable. To write a recipe for it. To post it here on this food blog.

I urge anyone who has a brussel sprout phobia to fight back. To say ‘No’ to hating brussel sprouts, and ‘Yes’ to roasting them.

This quick and easy way of preparing them with za’atar, garlic, chickpeas and extra virgin olive oil is so delicious, and so simple, that it is side dish you will be sure to fall back on time-and-time-again.

It’s a side dish to serve with a roast, or a good steak, or any number of other vegetable dishes like creamy potatoes and baked pumpkin.

And what I really love about this dish is the whole cloves of garlic, roasted with the sprouts then skinned and chopped and folded through Greek yoghurt with mint if you fancy, the taste is strong yet subtle, creamy and rounded.

 

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Roasted brussel sprout and chickpea salad with garlic yoghurt 

600g brussel sprouts, washed and halved

400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 tbsp za’atar

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to drizzle at the end

4 cloves garlic, smashed but kept in their skin

Sea salt

Cracked black pepper

1/2 cup Greek natural yoghurt

1 tbsp chopped mint

1tbsp lemon juice

Pre heat oven to 200C.

Cut the washed brussel sprouts in half and place in a large bowl. Add the drained chickpeas, za’atar, 2tbsp extra virgin olive oil, garlic, and sea salt and cracked pepper, toss till well coated.

Line a large tray with baking paper and spread the brussels over the tray. Roast for 30 minutes, or till roasted and caramalised looking.  Half way through cooking sprinkle the sprouts with 1 tbsp water to add moisture during the roasting process.

Set the sprouts aside and pick out the garlic, remove the skin and chop it to a fine paste, combine the garlic with the yoghurt, mint, lemon juice, 1 tbsp water, and season with sea salt and pepper.

Dollop the garlic yoghurt all over the brussel sprouts and serve warm.

Kale And Pickled Carrot Slaw With Green Tahini

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I have about half a dozen fantastic salads I’ve been eating over the summer that have all been on high rotation. There’s barely been a sandwich in sight!

And why not? Salads have become the staple that make me happy. They lessen the guilt of chocolate… cheese… and wine… The simpler the salad the better. Like this kale and quick pickled carrot salad.

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To be honest, a lot of the salads I make use tahini in the dressing (just quietly, I think I’m addicted!). I truly can’t stop eating tahini. I love that there’s always a jar in my pantry. I love that it’s a great source of calcium (among other nutritional benefits). I love that it goes so brilliantly with lemon, let alone when you blend it with lots of parsley too.

Oh, and I only buy the un-hulled tahini. The hull is left on during the processing leaving the nutrients in the tahini.  Basically it’s the wholegrain version.

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This fabulous kale coleslaw is simple and easy but does require a little preparation the day before. The quick pickled carrots may not be as quick as some would prefer. They need a day to pickle. But in comparison to the several weeks that my other pickled vegetables are left to mature, I think they can retain their title of ‘Quick’. Everything else is raw and can be shredded right before eating.

For those who like to dabble in leftovers, this green tahini coleslaw keeps in the fridge far better than one that’s dressed with mayonnaise. It’s fabulous the next day piled in a fresh piece of Lebanese bread, drizzled with chilli oil and lightly grilled.

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Kale and quick pickled carrot coleslaw with green tahini 

 

For the quick pickled carrots – start the day before – makes 750ml jar

3 cups thinly sliced (peeled) carrots – 2mm thick, use a mandoline if you have one

1 1/2 cups white vinegar

1/2 cup sugar

1 tbsp salt

1 tsp cumin seeds

10 whole black pepper corns

2cm piece fresh turmeric sliced, or substitute 1/2 tsp ground dried turmeric

  • Rinse a 750ml jar with boiling water. Place the sliced carrots in the jar.
  • Place the vinegar, sugar, salt, cumin seeds, black peppercorns, turmeric and 125ml water in a pot and bring to the boil. Cook on a rapid heat for 3 minutes.
  • Whilst hot, pour the pickling liquid into the jar over the carrots. Seal the lid, and leave to pickle on the bench for 24 hours. After 24 hours store the carrots in the fridge.

For the kale coleslaw 

2 cups of shredded kale

2 cups shredded white cabbage

1 large celery stick washed and sliced thinly on an angle

1/2 cup sliced pickled carrots, sliced into thin match sticks

Sesame seeds and chopped mint to garnish

For the dressing

1/3 cup un-hulled tahini

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 cup picked parsley leaves

1/4 cup water

Sea salt and white pepper

  • Combine the shredded kale, cabbage, celery and carrot.
  • Place all the ingredients for the green tahini dressing in a blender. Blitz for 45 seconds till well combined.
  • Pour the dressing over the kale and cabbage and toss to combine. Serve sprinkled with sesame seeds and roughly chopped mint.

 

(C) Copy right 2016 – Kale and quick pickled carrot coleslaw with green tahini

Creamy Black Rice With Ginger, Coconut And Mango

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I wouldn’t for a minute want you to think that this is a breakfast dish I eat regularly. It’s not. Most mornings it’s homemade muesli with yoghurt and fruit, or my latest obsession a green smoothie with chia seeds. But every now and then, when time and circumstances permit, I turn to this slightly exotic, utterly creamy, black rice.

In my kitchen black rice would usually find its way into salads, be used in a vegetable fritter, or be served under a spicy beef curry. So I admire it for finding it’s way to my breakfast table. The nutty wholesome flavour agrees with my tastebuds and funnily enough, unlike white rice, it’s rather soothing on the digestive system. Probably because it’s gluten free. 

I’ve used fresh ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves to delicately impart their flavours, and honey to sweeten at the end. On other occasions I have instead used vanilla bean and pure maple syrup (also delicious). And always coconut milk.

Slices of mango, now that they are in season, are sweet and tropical but not essential. The berries are though! These add a crucial sour taste and of course essential vitamins and antioxidants. And with all the antioxidants already contained within this gorgeously coloured black rice (which actually turns purple after cooking) you’ll be super charged with goodness for what ever the day ahead may bring. 

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Creamy black rice with ginger, coconut and mango

Ingredients

1/2 cup black rice

500ml water

400ml can organic coconut milk 

4 cardamon pods

2cm piece ginger, sliced

4 cloves

1/2 cinnamon stick, broken into smaller pieces

1 1/2 tbsp honey or pure maple syrup

To serve:

Sliced fresh mango

Blueberries

Toasted coconut chips – optional 

Place the rice in a medium-small saucepan, cover with 500ml water, bring to the boil, turn down the heat and cook for 25 minutes. By this stage nearly all the water will have evaporated but don’t drain or rinse the rice. Add the coconut milk and bring back to the boil.

Meanwhile, place the sliced ginger and cardamon pods in a small mortar and pestle and bruise lightly for the flavours to release. Add these to the rice along with the cloves and cinnamon. I don’t bother tying up my spices in muslin cloth as I don’t have a problem picking out the spices at the end. If this bothers you, maybe you might. Continue cooking the black rice on a gentle simmer for a further 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Once rice is cooked, remove what spices you can find and stir through the honey. Set aside to cool slightly before serving. In fact in hotter weather it’s nice when it’s served almost cold.

Divide the rice between bowls, top with blueberries (or any other fresh berry), sliced mango and toasted coconut chips. 

(C) Copy right 2016 – Creamy black rice with ginger, coconut and mango

Turmeric Potato Salad With Red Quinoa And Yoghurt

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This is far from the conventional mayonnaise based potato salad that most people have in their repertoire. This little beauty uses fresh turmeric added to the potatoes before boiling so the colour leaches out and stains the potatoes a vibrant yellow.

It’s flavoured with coriander seeds, cumin seeds and nigella seeds, which are all roasted off in a pan first to best release their flavour.

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Each time I make this salad my head starts to nod of it’s own accord. I cheer the brilliance of turmerics soft gentle flavour and what roasted spices can do here, and that just right flavour that slow cooked onions adds to this dish.

And there’s the yoghurt. Spices and yoghurt could go with just about anything. Wouldn’t you agree?

This extraordinary tasting salad can be eaten warm or cold. As a side to a steak, chicken or fish. As part of a buffet of salads, or even served in a wholemeal wrap with extra yoghurt and coriander. The possibilities are endless. So spice it up.

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Turmeric potato salad with quinoa and yoghurt

Ingredients

900g desiree potatoes

35-40g fresh turmeric

1/4 cup red quinoa

1 tbsp coriander seeds

1 tbsp cumin seeds

2 tsp nigella seeds

1 brown onion, sliced thinly

2 tbsp chopped coriander stem, plus coriander leaves for garnish

Rice bran oil

Greek style yoghurt

1/2 lemon juiced

Sea salt

Cracked black pepper

Leave the skin on the potatoes and cut them into 4cm dice. Place in a medium pot and cover with cold water. Add the grated turmeric and a large pinch of salt. Bring to the boil and cook for 8 – 10 minutes or till potatoes are just soft. Drain and leave to steam in the colander for 5 or more minutes.

Meanwhile, place the quinoa in a small pot, cover with water bring to the boil and cook for about 15 minutes, drain and set aside.

Place the coriander seed, cumin seed and nigella seed in a separate small pan. Toast the spices till they start to pop. Cool slightly them ground roughly using a mortar and pestle.

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large frypan. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper and cook on a low heat for about 8 minutes, till caramalised. Set the onion aside.

Wipe out the fry pan and add 1 tbsp oil, add the cooked potatoes and fry lightly in the pan for about 5 minutes.

Add the chopped coriander stem, cooked onion, roasted ground spices and cooked quinoa. Toss to combine. Season with lemon juice and taste for extra salt and pepper.

Serve the potatoes on a large platter, garnish with dollops of yoghurt and picked coriander leaves.

(C) Copy right 2016 : Food From Michelle’s Kitchen Turmeric potato salad with red quinoa and yoghurt

Zucchini, Tuna And Borlotti Bean Salad With Chilli And Lemon

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Not even I can deny the convenience of opening a can of pulses, rinsing them under water, and having them ready to use. It’s what I call fast food. The type we should all be eating.

Whether it’s Borlotti beans, cannellini beans or chickpeas (which by the way, the later two make a great substitute to the borlotti in this salad) the fast access to a pulse that would usually need to be soaked over night and cooked for 30 minutes or longer just can’t be denied.  So I’m happy to use this short cut when I need fast feeding.

This recipe proves that fast food can be healthy. The spirals of zucchini (which look like pasta in this shot) are my favourite element to the salad. I’m grateful for my spirelli cutter, which makes quick work (and beautiful spirals of zucchini). If you aren’t a convert yet, you can use a peeler, a mandolin, do the old fashioned way and use a knife, or – though it’s not as pretty – as a last resort, just grate the zucchini.

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A large glug of extra virgin olive oil (don’t be shy here, it’s so good for you) is heated lightly for the garlic and chilli to gently cook in. In goes the zucchini, a quick swizzle in the pan before turning off the heat and adding the drained tuna, lemon zest (wax-free if you can), juice and rinsed borlotti beans.

If you’re in the middle of winter (like I am) you’d eat it warm, but if you’re beating the heat of summer, let it cool and eat it cold – either way, it’s just so good!

Each time I walk past my bowl of organic homegrown lemons, sitting by the window sill, I think of how lucky I am to have wax-free lemons picked from my own tree. I wonder why all store-bought lemons can’t be wax-free. Surely everyone deserves wax-free lemons. If you don’t have a lemon tree, find someone who does, or, buy organic wax-free lemons, you will benefit immensely.

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I’ll never tire of the classic combination of garlic, chilli, lemon and tuna. I don’t think you will either. It’s so Italian. It’s so simplistic. It’s just right.

And really, any food this delicious that can be made in ten minutes deserves a little attention.

Zucchini, tuna and borlotii bean salad with chilli and lemon 

Serves 1

Ingredients

50ml extra virgin olive oil

1 clove garlic, sliced thinly

1/2 long red chilli, deseeded and sliced

2 small-medium zucchini

95g can tuna, drained (I use Sirena, Italian style)

3/4 cup borlotti beans, drained and rinsed

1 wax-free lemon

Sea salt 

Cracked black pepper

Scattering of picked parsley 

Prepare the zucchini into thin long strips by your preferred method of a spirelli cutter, mandolin, knife or grater.

Zest the lemon and juice half of it.

Warm the extra virgin olive oil in a medium fry pan, add the garlic and chilli, and cook gently for 2 minutes. Add the zucchini, sea salt and cracked pepper, cook gently for 1-2 minutes.

Turn off the heat, add the drained tuna, drained borlotti beans, lemon zest and juice, toss lightly to combine. Serve warm scattered with parsley and if so desired grilled bread.