Claud’s Cauliflower Couscous

It’s August and I am back in the Hamptons, living with my “second family” – a family whose 3 children I have tutored for the last 2 and a half years. Going away on a tutoring job abroad is always an odd experience. Even when tutoring at home, there is an odd dynamic – you are invited into a family’s home and become a fly on the wall; you are trusted and embraced, and yet you are still an employee and so there is a divide. When you go abroad on such a job, the lines are even more blurred – There are times when life is incredibly stressful, and times when I am insanely bored! Generally though, the trip is a wonderful experience and with a family like this one, who I care about so much, the pros definitely outway the cons.

One of the best things I remember from last summer, and which I anticipated with great relish in the lead-up to my trip this year, was the absolutely delicious food. Two chefs, Claudia and Jack, take over the kitchen for the duration of the summer and prepare all meals for the inhabitants of the house. These guys are seriously talented makers of scrumptious food and the quantities I consume can hit a rather extreme level, even for me.

So for the remainder of the month, my blog entries will be “guest recipes” of Claudia and Jack’s. They cook such a wonderful array of very fresh, healthy meals and I think they deserve to be shared with you. The recipe today reminded me of my Cauliflower Egg-Fried Rice, and is a great summer version of that. It’s a perfect side-dish for a bbq, and is astoundingly filling, despite being comprised of just raw vegetables!

 

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Claudia’s Cauliflower Couscous Salad

1 cauliflower head (grated)

Cherry tomatos

Red onion

Chick peas

Fresh coriander

Fresh mint

Olive Oil

Lemon

Cayenne pepper

Cumin powder

 

I haven’t added amounts to the above ingredients list, just because it’s up to you! Who am I to tell you how many cherry tomatoes are enough, or whether the salad is minty enough. Add or remove ingredients as you wish.

Firstly douse the chickpeas in olive oil, cumin powder and cayenne pepper and roast them until they are a nice brown colour. Then mix the grated cauliflower, chopped cherry toms, chopped red onion, chick-peas and chopped herbs in a big bowl. Dress it with olive oil and lemon (again adding sufficient amounts to please your palate).

Serve and enjoy. And think of us enjoying it over here!20140811_122957 20140811_123021

 

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Sweet Potato Fries

I have returned from the other side of the world!

Japan was absolutely amazing, and certainly changed my mind regarding Japanese cuisine – I used to think I wasn’t really a fan, but my mind has thoroughly been changed. I will definitely do a post on Japanese food and recommendations, but don’t want to delve into that until I’ve got all my photographs uploaded. So in the mean-time, I have a new healthy snack recipe: This is my method for making delicious but highly nutritious oven-baked sweet potato fries.

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Lucy’s Exotic Oven-baked Sweet Potato Fries

1 sweet potato (or more… depends how many fries you want)

Coconut Oil

Paprika

Salt

Pepper

1. Chop up your sweet potato into thin sticks. Leave the skin on – the skin adds a lovely texture to the fries and also includes wonderful fibre.

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2. Pre-heat the oven to about 200 degrees C. Pop a dollop of coconut oil onto a baking tray and place it into the oven while it pre-heats (this will melt the coconut oil, so it is liquid).

3. Once the oil is liquid, bring the baking tray out and lay the sweet potato sticks onto it. Using your hands, toss the sweet potato around in the oil and sprinkle a healthy amount of paprika, salt and pepper on top. Scoop the sticks around a bit more (your hands are going to get very greasy and salty doing this, but that’s all part of the fun!)

4. Pop the tray back in the oven and cook for about 15-20 minutes (or as long as it takes for the fries cook all the way through – test by prodding with a fork and ensuring they are soft).

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I had my sweet potato fries with an epic Lucy Salad, whilst watching episodes and episodes of Revenge. A good evening was had by all.

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Wet Salad

I’m off to Japan tomorrow morning! My family love travelling and this has been on our list for years, so we are so excited to finally be visiting. I’m quite overwhelmed by it all actually – I just can’t wait. I’m fascinated to see what it’s like, although a little nervous about the food, as I’m not a sushi fan…

I’m sure a post will follow. But for now I wanted to share my recipe for getting rid of all the leftovers in my fridge! A classic pre-holiday activity.

A few years ago an actor friend of mine came to crash with me for a few days. He was a very healthy man, in body and mind. He was very zen, and we had a lot of big deep and meaningful conversations while he was here. Of all my memories though, the residing image in my brain from his brief stay was the “wet salads” he always made, as he called them. These involved grating up very moist vegetables, to create a very soggy pile of raw goodness. Sound grim? It definitely isn’t.

Here is my Avocado and Chilli Wet Salad, as the beautiful and calm Vyelle would have called it. Enjoy your upcoming week, and I’ll see you all on the other side…


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Ingredients

1 large grated carrot

1/2 grated courgette

1 grated cooked beetroot

1 avocado

1/4 red chilli, chopped

Olive oil

Lemon juice

Black pepper

Mix it all together, and what have you got…? Delicious fridge-emptying goodness, that’s what. Happy holidays!

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Jazzed up Greek Salad

ImageLast week I felt dehydrated. I was drained, and woke up every day with a headache. Obviously my body was lacking water, but I felt like I was drinking loads.

Time to bring in the back-up… water in food. I decided to make a mammoth-sized salad, greek style – but with added bits, vegetables that are known for being high in water content. I added mushrooms and beetroot, so the ingredients were as follows:

 

Lucy’s Jazzed up Hydrating Greek Salad Bowl

Leaves – kale and rocket (half a mixing bowl full!)

Tomato

Cucumber

Red Onion

Mushrooms (briefly cooked in a teaspoon of coconut oil)

Beetroot

Feta

Plenty of dry oregano, olive oil and lemon juice to dress it

 

It was absolutely delicious and incredibly filling. Remember, a lot of the time you feel hungry, your body is actually just thirsty. You’re dehydrated. Our bodies are about 60% water! And I know I’m not the first blogger to point that out! This is not me saying that every time you’re craving something to eat, you should just drink water. You need to know your own body and judge every feeling individually. I know when I’m occasionally feeling faint and my body actually really needs fuel, and I also know when I’m just restless and a bit dehydrated, so I’m reaching for the peanut butter and the teaspoon!

But this salad did just the trick. It filled me to the brim, and I was peeing non-stop for the rest of the day (now we’ve discussed going to the toilet, we’re all very good friends).

Try it yourself and notice how good you feel. It’s not just the water in all those vegetables, but the nutrients in so much raw food.  Enjoy!

 

See my post on Lucy Salads for other suggestions for mammoth-sized salad bowls to fill you up, and see my post on greek food for breaking down the various advantages of such a salad. And finally, read here why kale is such a fantastic way to bulk up your salad.

 

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Spinach Cake

There’s a recipe I’ve been wanting to make for a long time. It’s been printed off the internet and sat on my desk for a few months, and I just haven’t got round to it, which is silly, because it is very simple.

After a heavy Saturday night drinking this weekend, I felt like I needed something last night which would do me a lot of good, so I finally made this Spinach Cake. As a pre-cursor to the recipe, it is meant to be put in a loaf tin, or something of the sort, so it ends up as a long flat slab which can be cut up. I couldn’t find my loaf tin, or a suitable baking dish, so I put the mixture into muffin cases!! This worked quite well.

Ingredients:

200g Spinach

1/2 tbsp olive oil

Handful of pine nuts

1 clove garlic

1 egg, whisked

Handful of raisins or currants

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1. Wilt the spinach in a large covered saucepan over low hear for about 5 minutes (until all is cooked lightly). Then drain it and allow it to cool for a bit.

2. Meanwhile, in a separate pan, saute the pine nuts in the olive oil and garlic until they are just brown. Careful with your timings here, as pine nuts burn very easily. Better to have them a little on the paler side than the darker side at this point.

3. In a bowl, combine the pine nuts mixture, spinach, whisked egg and raisins. Add a sprinkling of salt.

4. Bake in greased muffin cases or loaf dish for about 15 minutes at 180 degrees Celcius.

5. Enjoy!

I then finished my night off with some lemon-drizzled Kale chips. (Obviously, I was a little hungover, and there were lots of rice cakes and popcorn around all this health… I wouldn’t want to lie to you.)

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Gorging on Winter Side-Dishes

I’ve eaten a lot this evening. It’s been a binge day. But thanks to my rule of not buying any bread/potatoes/sweets/crisps for my own flat, the worst I could binge on was buttered rice cakes… and I certainly did that, after my celery dipped in salsa, oatcakes dipped in pesto and corn thins dipped in almond butter. However, the most delicious thing I ate were these wonderful bowls of vegetables, otherwise known as the “winter side-dishes” (even though they played the role of protagonist in my mealtimes today).

Firstly the spinach:

 

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I got the idea for this from my favourite food porn website. Firstly I fried a small handful of pine-nuts and a small handful of raisins in about a teaspoon of coconut oil. Then I steamed a whole 240g bag of spinach, drained it, chopped it up and added it to the pan. All the ingredients were sizzled around a little, salt and pepper was added, and voila. Delicious and nutritious.

 

The second dish was the hot mushroom and carrot dish:

ImageA large carrot was grated, and a box of mushroom were sliced. An onion was fried in a small dash of olive oil, and a chopped chilli pepper was added. Then the mushroom and carrot was added, along with a handful of cranberries (keeping it festive, and adding a bit of tang to the dish). A dash of worcester sauce and a slop of teriaki sauce joined the party, and finally a generous teaspoon of paprika was thrown on top. The bowl was garnished with some chopped coriander, and I was ready to go.

 

Festive Cosy Health

Whenever December hits I get incredibly excited. I know a lot of people get excited by Christmas, but I am particularly strict about festivities not seeping into November or, god forbid, October. So when December 1st hits, I go at christmas full throttle. Everything must have a christmasy twist to it, and appropriate music should be continually playing in the background. Right now, Frank Sinatra is singing “I’ll be home for christmas” to me with his dulcit tones.

Yesterday my very good friend Tom came for dinner. You haven’t met him yet, but he’s very important and deserves a mention. In January he is getting married! And I am reading at the wedding. I have written a poem for the event and I’m hoping it goes down well.

Tom is an ex-rugby playing, proper lad’s lad of a man when it comes to food. It was his stag doo a couple of weekends ago, and one of his primary requests was that they dine at one of these brazilian all-you-can-eat meat feasts. That gives you an idea. So I wanted to cook him something suitably full-on (would I ever do anything different?) but also healthy, and now also festive. This is what I came up with:

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Large lamb meatballs

served with tumeric cauliflower egg-fried rice

and cranberry brussell sprouts

The large lamb meatballs were basically just lamb burgers, but cooked in delicious tomatoey juices. I fried up an onion and a handful or 2 of cranberries (festive – boo ya!) in a splash of good old olive oil, then added garlic (as much as you wish) and half a tin of chopped tomatoes. When this mixture had begun to thicken, I added the burgers, turning occasionally. Once they seemed brown on both sides I placed the dish in the oven at 200 degrees C for about 15/20 minutes while I prepared the sides.

The cauliflower egg-fried rice I served with the lamb was a much simpler version than that which I wrote about earlier in the year, because this was a side rather than a full meal. I just grated up a whole head of cauliflower and then fried it in a little sesame oil, before adding a tsp of tumeric, a tsp of cumin seeds, a tsp of paprika and half a tsp of black onion seeds (I love these little fellas). Be sure not to cook the cauliflower gratings for too long – it is nicest when still a little crunchy.

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For the cranberry sprouts, I took a very little bit of advice from the notoriously un-healthy american holiday of Thanksgiving. I haveheard tales of brussell sprouts dripping in oil, and sweetened. This sort of sounds fantastic, but slightly defeats the object of serving this incredibly nutritious vegetable! So I didn’t go quite so far. I steamed my brussell sprouts, then tossed them around in a pan with about a tablespoon of olive oil and another handful or 2 of cranberries. Cranberries are a beautiful and nutritious festive addition to any meal. Read all about them here.

It certainly created a very colourful plateful, which Tom subsequently cleared away. Must have been alright then!

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