easy

Summer Salads

Preparing food to take to work is so much easier in the summer time. I could probably prepare a different salad combination every day, although I tend to make a batch to eat two or three days in a row.

This week I got my hands on some lovely beetroot at the local market and was very pleased with the resulting salad. Really simple, really fresh and really tasty. This was made particularly easy by the grating function on my food processor…I really love my food processor!

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1 x Beetroot: topped, tailed & grated

3 or 4 large carrots (I alway buy organic when I can, as they taste so much better) – topped, tailed & grated

About 2 cm of root ginger – peeled & grated

2 sticks of celery – cut in 3 lengthways and finely sliced

Black olives to taste

About 1/4 Pack of Feta Cheese

Lightly mix all of these ingredients together (if you mix it too much the whole lot will end up pink!)

Then add:

Juice of 1 lime

1 tbsp of sesame seeds

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This gave me two large portions. I ate it for lunch two days in a row, accompanied with some rice-cakes. Would also work really well as a side dish (like a healthier coleslaw perhaps).

Another variation of this is to omit the beetroot, use a couple more carrots and add a tin of cooked (drained & rinsed) chickpeas.

Easy!

Roast Dinner – a simple pleasure

My Mum makes the most incredible Roast Dinners. I think it is probably why it took me so long to really try and do it myself. I think I was afraid of serving up soggy roast potatoes and over cooked carrots while I tried to get my timings right.

In the past couple of years, I’ve overcome my fear and now am very happy to serve up a roast dinner – if only for me and my boyfriend so far!

Chicken goes in first (thank goodness the timing is always on the packet – Thank you Sainsbury’s!) – usually 85-90 minutes. I tend to rub a small amount of olive oil on the skin and add some salt and pepper.

Potatoes next – I’ve started using new-potatoes…you don’t get the same crunchy coating, but you don’t need to par-boil them & they take just under an hour. Heat a couple of table spoons of olive oil ready to coat them (just stick the pan in the oven) and put them in when there’s about 50minutes left on the timer for the chicken.

Prepare the veg (today carrots, leek and kale) once the chicken and potatoes are in the oven, I put them in the steamer and leave them to one side. Baste the chicken roughly every half an hour and shake the potatoes at the same time.

Once the chicken is done – leave it out to rest while the potatoes finish cooking. Put on the veg to steam for about 5 minutes.

Done! If the potatoes are done more quickly – I stick them under the grill to stay warm.

Since the standard Bisto gravy granules have been out since going gluten free, I usually have just mixed half a teaspoon of bullion in with the juices from the chicken and some of the water from the vegetables. In reality, this hasn’t been great, but it sort of looked right and I was never a massive fan of gravy anyway.

We tried the Illumi Chicken Gravy, but it tasted too much like chicken soup to me – was better when it was watered down a bit, but not to my taste (unlike most of the other Illumi world food – I really recommend you take a look at their meals!)

Today, I brought the Kallo Organic Chicken Gravy Granules – it was a pound for a sachet, and the instructions said to use the whole lot with half a pint of water. I used half the packet, mixed with the vegetable water and some of the fat from the chicken and it was great. Would be better if they were available in a tub, as a pound a packet is a bit steep, but it was nice to have some proper gravy!

Warm Lentil Salad

I keep finding lots of recipes for amazing gluten free cakes and deserts, but I’m also challenging myself to eat less sugar, so I’m going to aim to post as many savoury recipes as I do sweet.

While travelling home from London on the train this afternoon, I spotted a shout out from @FeastAndGlory looking for recipes using green lentils. One of my most often cooked recipes is inspired by an Alkaline Cookbook that my Mum gave me. It’s easy, quick, fresh and delicious.

Although my version is scribbled down on a scrap of paper and never really followed properly, the original is available online via the Energise for Life website. This version is slightly different and just based on what I have in the fridge today – the important thing is to have a whole heap of fresh, crunch veg… use whatever you’ve got!


 

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150g green lentils

1 level teaspoon of vegetable bouillon dissolved in 400ml of hot water.

Juice of 1/2 Lemon

1 tablespoon of coconut or other cooking oil

1 Pepper (I used 1/2 red & 1/2 orange)

2 small courgettes

Small head of broccoli

2 Cloves of Garlic

1 Green Chilli (mild)

A handful of cherry tomatoes (a couple of regular tomatoes would work just as well!)

3cm (ish) of fresh root ginger (peeled and chopped small)

A large handful of baby leaf spinach per person (or other green leafy salad)

(Serves two hungry people as a main meal – would also work as a side with grilled chicken or some tofu steaks)


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Boil the lentils in the bouillon/stock for 30 minutes or until tender. Add more liquid if it starts getting dry.

Add the lemon juice, stir and set to one side.

Finely cut or crush the garlic. Chop the vegetables (other than the spinach) into small pieces.

Gently heat the oil.

Add the vegetables in order of their firmness – I went for: Garlic, Peppers, Courgettes, broccoli, chilli. Let soften slightly (you still want them a bit crunchy) 2 or 3 minutes and then add the tomatoes and ginger.

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Let this heat through (1 or 2 minutes).

Serve over a bed of Spinach.

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That’s it! I sprinkled some seeds over mine too – delicious!

I’ll eat what’s left over, cold for my lunch tomorrow too….

 

 

Slow-cooker Chilli

Most recipes I’ve ever found for Chilli con (o sin) Carne have been Gluten Free & in fact most Mexican food seems to be Gluten Free too – especially if made with traditional with Corn Tortillas (flour or wheat tortillas clearly aren’t & shop bought ‘corn’ tortillas tend to have wheat flour in, so beware).

Anyway – this is a quick recipe that I have almost literally thrown together from what I have left in the fridge. What with the bank-holiday weekend and having a very laid-back (lazy) few days, I haven’t been shopping, or this recipe would also include onion and a red pepper at the very least!


 

Ingredients:

1 packet of lean minced beef (could easily be substituted for 150g red split lentils if going for a vege version, but you’ll need to add more liquid)

3 Cloves of Garlic (crushed or chopped finely)

1 Green Chilli (chopped small)

1/2 Red Chilli (chopped small)

3 heaped teaspoons of Cumin

1 teaspoon of dried oregano

1 heaped teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper (or other Chilli Powder – use more or less to taste)

1 level teaspoon of bouillon

1 tablespoon of tomato ketchup

1 tin chopped tomatoes

1 tin chick peas (drained)

1 tin of kidney beans (drained & rinsed)


 

Brown the mince over a medium heat until there is no pink showing. (The crock from my slow cooker goes on the hob, which minimises washing up!)

Take off the heat, add the garlic, chilli, cumin and oregano – stir well.

Add the chopped tomatoes & kidney beans.

Add the bouillon & ketchup to the bottom of the empty tomato tin – half fill with hot water, stir and add to the mix.

Stir again and put in the slow cooker.

I’m short on time today, so I’ve put the cooker on high for an hour to get it started and then will turn to low for another 5 hours.

About an hour before it’s ready, I will add the kidney beans and give it another quick stir.

That’s it! Easy, inexpensive and tasty!

Serve with rice, or a jacket potato or a big pile of tortilla chips! photo 2-2photo 1-2(Will add to the recipes tab once I work out how to do it!)