Cauliflower Crust Pizza

I’ve been dabbling with alternatives to the usual bread pizza base, mainly because I have been cutting down on the amount of bread type products I eat and although I am not gluten intolerant, food allergy tests flagged up yeast as a potential allergen for me.

The Cauliflower Crust has been around for a while, I’m not a huge fan of Cauliflower and in my list of favourite vegetables it comes way down, but we do try to include it in curries or with broccoli when making a Cauliflower cheese type side dish.

I have been using the most popular recipe, this one is from Eat Drink Smile, but just google Cauliflower Crust and pages of similar recipes will come up.  But I have seen other recipes out there and wanted to try a couple more for comparison.

They all start with ricing raw Cauliflower in a blender.

cauliflower riced

This one is our usual Cauliflower Crust for a pizza base.

cooked cauli pizza

The second is from a  recipe here from Anna Jones whose book A Modern Way to Eat is crammed full of deliciously healthy vegetarian recipes.

cauli crust 2

The third one is from Hemsley and Hemsley, the recipe can be found here.

cauliflower 3

First one:  As this has cheese in the base and is usually smothered with cheese on top, it’s not the low calorie choice, but it was firm enough to pick up a slice, very tasty and eaten by the 4 year old!

pizza side

The second:  this Cauliflower Crust recipe is a little different to the first, this one doesn’t require pre-cooking the Cauliflower (I checked the recipe at least 3 times!) or add any cheeses and has oats and ground almonds included too which I found appealing.  It was less firm and more difficult to pick up but no less tasty.

The third: again with this recipe the Cauliflower doesn’t require pre-cooking, it has the addition of buckwheat flour which gave a lovely nutty flavour along with addition of ground almonds.  This one was firm enough to flip over in the oven to cook the underside and also to pick up by hand when eating.

Which do we prefer??  We actually enjoyed all 3, I think I will meld the recipes a little to make my own version.  I prefer to pre-steam the Cauliflower but I loved the addition of oats, buckwheat flour and almonds and we do like the cheese in the first which did firm the base up and for the girl the attraction of Pizza is eating it with her fingers!

Slosh on some homemade tomato sauce, a generous topping of grated Mozzarella, Mushrooms marinated in olive oil and whatever else takes your fancy and pop back in the oven for another 10 minutes until the cheese has melted.  Rustic and delicious too!

cauli pizza

cauli pizza 3

I will definitely be making a Cauliflower crust when making other dishes too, anything I would use as a bread base, even something simple like Mushrooms on “toast”, I can see this would work well.

Making these non-bread pizza crusts/bases has given me the impetus to try using other vegetables in place of cauliflower, I’m thinking sweet potato for one.  If you’ve tried any alternatives. do let me know!

Buon Appetito!

 

 

Curry Leaf Cafe Lunch

The Curry Leaf Cafe has been on the list for a foodie visit for a while and on Monday we finally treated ourselves to lunch there.  Recently named one of the top ten places to drink in the city by the Guardian Newspaper, and a silver award winner in the ‘Best Newcomer’ category of the 2014 Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Awards, the Curry Leaf Cafe serves up South Indian street food in the heart of Brighton’s Lanes.

curry leaf sign The first thing that comes across when you walk in the door, apart from the vibrant decor, is the friendly welcome and relaxed atmosphere.  We were seated towards the back where the light from glass greenhouse-like ceiling poured in, I was just imagining doing a photo shoot there, the light was amazing! We started with a Mixed Nibbles Platter, Masala roasted peanuts tossed in chopped onion, tomatoes, coriander and chilli with mini flavoured poppadoms to dip in Tamarind and Date, Mango with a touch of chilli and Beetroot and garlic chutney’s, all amazingly aromatic and tasty! curry leaf nibbles Then came the problem, there was so much I wanted to sample from the lunch menu! I chose the Open Naan Wrap served on a bed of Laccha salad, pickled red onions and Curry Leaf Cafe signature drizzles with deliciously tender Tandoori Chicken Tikka.

curry leaf food My dining companions aka the girls both chose the Dosai, crisp, folded rice-flour crêpes, served with bucket sambar – a spiced vegetable stew, accompanied by coconut and ginger chutney’s.   One of the Dosa was stuffed with Potatoes and green pea mash, tempered with mustard seeds, the other stuffed with sautéed onions tossed in cumin seeds.  I really must try these next time.

curry leaf dosa Taking a look at the dinner menu , we will definitely have to return to sample more dishes, just writing about them is making my mouth water! The Curry Leaf Cafe certainly delivers nutritious deliciousness. You can find the Curry Leaf Cafe at 60 Ship Street, Brighton. a stone’s throw from the seafront.

curry leaf front .

Rainbow Summery Lunch

The Summer may have gone but the weather still remains (on and off) warmer than usual for October and I don’t really feel like warming comfort foods just yet.

rainbow lunch

My fridge usually has all the components to hand needed for a fresh, light, summery lunch even in October.  Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Radishes, grated Carrot, Red & White Quinoa (love it as a protein source and had some leftover from another dish).  Add in some Avocado and a sprinkling of Pomegranate seeds laid on a bed of hidden Watercress (almost a prop for the rest of the ingredients, a superfood prop!).

One of many combinations of a light lunch on the go that can be put together in moments.

Nutritious and so Delicious!

 

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Watercress Green Smoothie

I make a green smoothie a couple of times a week, I basically just chuck in whatever is to hand, sometimes the main green element is Kale, other times it’s Watercress.  I love Watercress, it’s the peppery kick that has me munching on it or including it in salads or sandwiches, but in a smoothie it’s even better!

watercress green smoothie

Watercress has high levels of Calcium  Vitamin A, C, E, K beta-carotene and Iron.  Also contains vitamin B1, B2. folic acid, potassium and phosphorus.   It has more calcium than milk and more iron than spinach!

Today, my green smoothie contained:

1 bag of Watercress
1 medium carrot
around 5 inches of cucumber
3 small tomatoes
1 baby avocado
half a banana
small handful of blueberries
3 raspberries, yes 3, all I had left!
about 1 inch of Ginger
Flax seeds
Chia seeds
Water to the perfect consistency for you
Ice, optional.

plus my Green blend which today was Wheatgrass, Spirulina, and Green Barley,   I have a few others and change or add to the blend, I’m always coming across new things to try too!

Blend all and serve immediately.

All measurements are approximate, I usually just sprinkle in some Flax and Chia seeds, make it your own and enjoy the benefits.  This amount serves 2 generously!

 

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Roasted Beetroot and Butterbean Soup

Following on from my previous post of the wonders of the superfood Beetroot, I’ve started with Roasted Beetroot and Butterbean Soup.

Honestly, I’ve never taken to Beetroots, I don’t mind them cooked with a salad or raw grated in a sandwich or salad.  But they aren’t on top of my list of vegetables I really savour and enjoy.

So, in an effort to broaden my taste buds and nutrient levels I decided to attempt my first Beetroot based soup.  I’ve added Potato to thicken it and Butterbeans for protein, along with the Pistachio garnish.

beetroot soup

 

Butter beans are a very good low-fat source of protein  as well as a good source of iron, zinc and magnesium.

Roasted Beetroot and Butterbean Soup

This recipe serves 3-4 depending on bowl size.

Preparation time is around 1½ hours.

Ingredients

400g raw beetroot
150g potato, cubed
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
750 ml vegetable stock
1 x 400g tin Butterbeans
1 lemon, juiced
1 orange, juiced plus zest
Black Pepper (to taste)
4-6 tablespoons coconut milk (to taste)

To garnish:  Total Greek Yogurt and chopped Pistachios

Method

Place the beetroot and potato in separate oven trays and roast for around an hour at 180C, the potatoes were ready after about 40 minutes.

Place onion and garlic into a pan and steam fry for around 3-4 minutes until softened.
Add the stock to the pan with the Butterbeans and cook for around 10 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Take the cooled Beetroots and peel the skin off, chop and place in a blender with the potatoes, Butterbean stock mix, lemon juice, orange juice plus zest, coconut milk, salt (I don’t use as the stock has salt in) and black pepper to taste.

Blend until smooth.

At this point you can either place in a saucepan and heat through again and serve immediately with a yogurt garnish sprinkled with roughly chopped Pistachio nuts for texture and bread of your choice, we enjoy toasted Sunflower Rye bread spread with coconut oil.

Or place in the fridge to consume within the next couple of days.  This recipe will also freeze well for up to 2 months.

beetroot soup 2

Nutritious and delicious!

For Beetroot nutritional info, see Superfood Beetroot

 

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Superfood Beetroot

Beetroot has always been around but in the past it was more usual to find it in a jar soaking in vinegar.   Now more and more people are using it raw, cooking or juicing it for extreme health benefits.

beetroot

Beetroot is a powerful detoxifier and blood purifier.  A great cleanser especially for the liver, kidneys, intestines and gall bladder.  Beetroot’s lush ruby red colour comes from beta-cyanin which has anti-viral and anti-oxidant properties which protect the cells against free radical damage.

Beetroot  is a rich source of natural sugars and contains a high amount of fibre that improves digestion, aiding the absorption of food but also slowing down the absorption of digestible carbohydrates into the blood, supplying a steady stream of energy.   It also stimulates the circulatory system, speeding up metabolism.

Beetroot is high in assimilable iron, contains manganese and silica which is vital for healthy skin, hair, nails and bones.  Other nutrients include vitamins B3, B5, C, Folic Acid, Beta-carotene, calcium, copper, iodine, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc.

It certainly deserves the title of Superfood!

So now to find more ways of including Beetroot in our diet apart from the usual pickled or raw grated into salads.  I’ll be starting with soup, Roasted Beetroot and Butterbean, but I really want to experiment with different ways to cook it, it does have an earthy taste which has not really appealed to me but with all the massive health benefits I want to include it more regularly on our menu.

Beetroots are in season here in the UK, now is the best time to give them a try!

Here are some fun facts from Love Beetroot.

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Gazpacho Soup

With the end of summer approaching, and the (mostly) warm summer days still gracing us with their presence, we enjoyed this antioxidant rich Gazpacho soup for lunch over the weekend.  Quick and easy to pull together and so refreshing.  No cooking required!

tomatoes pepper

There are a few variations of the Gazpacho recipe, I prefer mine with a little texture to it, but you can pass it through a sieve if you prefer a much smoother soup.

Gazpacho Soup

Ingredients

1 kg of ripe, large vine ripened tomatoes
1 red pepper, deseeded and diced
½ large cucumber
small red onion
clove of garlic, crushed
1 tblspn cider vinegar (or vinegar of your choice)
1 tblspn extra virgin olive oil
Seasoning to taste

Method:

Score the tomatoes at both ends and place in boiling water to remove skins, cut into quarters and then remove seeds and core.  Put all the juicy insides from the tomatoes into a sieve over a bowl to catch all the liquid and use the liquid in the soup.

Place the tomatoes and all the extra liquid, red pepper, cucumber, onion, garlic, olive oil and vinegar into a food processor and process to the texture of your choice.

Put the blended soup into the fridge and chill for a couple of hours, once chilled add seasoning to your own taste.  Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and extra diced cucumber and tomato.

Serve with crusty French bread.

 

Gazpacho Soup

Nutritional Info:

Tomato – Vitamins A, B3, B5, B6, C, E, K, Beta-carotene, Biotin, Folic Acid, Lycopene, Calcium, Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Molybdenum, Phosphorus, Potassium, Zinc, Fibre.

Red Pepper – Vitamins B3, B6, C, E, K, Beta-carotene, Biotin, Folic Acid, Lycopene, Calcium, Iodine, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Potassium, Zinc, Fibre.

Cucumber – Vitamins A, B3, B5, C, K, Beta-carotene, Biotin, Folic Acid, Calcium, Iodine, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Molybdenum, Phosphorus, Potassium, Silica, Sulphur, Zinc, Fibre.

Onion – Vitamins B2, B6, C, Folic Acid, Chromium, Copper, Manganese, Molybdenum, Phosphorus, Potassium, Selenium, Sulphur Compounds, Quercitin, Flavonoids, Fibre.

Garlic – Vitamins B2, B3, B5, B6, C, Biotin, Folic Acid, Calcium, Copper, Germanium, Iodine, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Potassium, Selenium, Sulphur, Zinc, Amino acids, Fibre.

Olive oil – Vitamins E, K, iron, Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids.

 

Gazpacho Soup

Savoury Cheesy Lentil Muffins

With the Bake-Off back this week, I thought I’d get in the baking mood again, haven’t done any for a while, it just doesn’t appeal to have the oven for too long on in the very hot weather.  And with my quest to bake with less or no sugar, these Savoury Cheesy Lentil Muffins fit the bill exactly with no added sugar.

lentil muffins 3

These muffins contain 3 different cheeses and Lentils which belong to the same legume family as beans which means they share similar nutritional benefits being rich source of lean protein and fibre.

Lentils also have  a good mineral profile with generous amounts of iron, phosphorus, magnesium and calcium.

Savoury Cheesy Lentil Muffins

Prep Time: 15-20 minutes
Baking Time:  25 minutes
Makes:  12 large or 24 mini muffins

Ingredients

50g red lentils, cooked
300ml skimmed or semi-skimmed milk
150g Ricotta
2 medium sized eggs
50g tomato purée/paste
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
30g Parmesan, grated
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
225g wholemeal self-raising flour
70g white self-raising flour
50g Cheddar cheese, grated

Method

Pre-heat your oven to 180C, 160C fan, Gas 4.

In a large bowl whisk together the milk, Ricotta, eggs and tomato paste, once completely blended add the cooked red lentils, chopped red onion, Parmesan and parsley and stir in well.

Sift both white and wholemeal (include the husks after sifting) flours into the bowl and stir until combined.  Don’t over stir or the muffins will be heavy.

Spoon the batter into a greased muffin tin, I split the batter into a few full size muffins and some mini, bite-sized muffins for little fingers.  Sprinkle grated Cheddar cheese onto the muffins in the tin.

Bake for around 25 minutes until golden brown, do the cocktail stick test to make sure they are cooked through.

Serve warm or cold.  These muffins are moist and soft and are great halved and slathered with butter or tomato chilli chutney.

lentil muffins 2

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Tomato Chilli Relish

Is this a chutney or a relish?   Chutney’s and relishes are often used interchangeably as condiment terms.  I think of relishes as needing less cooking time and using little or no sugar, so I’ve called this recipe Tomato Chilli Relish.

Picture 155

My tomatoes are still green and growing on my tomato plants but we do have a lovely red, ripe Cayenne Pepper, the second to ripen on our plants, we used the first in a spicy pasta dish and boy was it good!  Fiery hot but fabulous too!

cayenne

I’ve used powdered Cayenne for this batch as I want the chilli pepper for a chilli, madness probably in this hot weather but I have 14 more chilli peppers ready to ripen in the next couple of weeks so will use a fresh, homegrown one to make more relishes and chutneys.

tom cay relish

Tomato Chilli Relish

Ingredients

1 medium red onion. finely chopped
½ teaspoon Paprika
½ teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
½ teaspoon ground Cumin
375g Tomatoes, finely chopped
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon demerara sugar (optional)
ground black pepper to taste

Method

Gently fry the red onion in olive oil for 2-3 minutes or until soft.

Add the Paprika, Cayenne Pepper & ground Cumin and cook out for a minute or so.

Add the tomatoes, I like to leave the skins on my tomatoes for chutney’s and relishes, balsamic vinegar and sugar to the pan with the onion and spices and simmer until it thickens up, around 20-25 minutes.  The sugar will bring out the flavour of the tomatoes.

tom relish

Serve with cold meats and cheeses, I pop some in chicken sandwiches, delicious and perfect for summer eating!

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From the Seed to the Pepper

I wrote about planting Cayenne Pepper seeds earlier this year, a handful germinated successfully and they are now nearly ready for picking!

cayenne

At the moment there are around 12 peppers of varying sizes on the plants, with more flowers still appearing so hopefully a steady supply over the summer.  I will dry a few too to extend their use over the Autumn months.

cayenne 1

So far only one of the peppers is turning red, I’ll be very interested to cook with it to see just how hot it really is!  I first read that it was the seeds that gave most of the heat to a dish when left in, but recently I heard a TV chef say that it was the white pithy membrane inside the pepper.  We like our chlli hot so whatever it is, it all goes in!

cayenne red

There is something so satisfying in planting seeds, watching them push their way through the soil and grow into strong plants that bear fruits or vegetables that are free from pesticides and could not have been grown in a more simpler way.

I am very proud of my herbs this year too, I have parsley, sage, thyme, basil and oregano all sunning themselves on my kitchen window.

Cayenne Pepper