Posts Tagged ‘healthy’

Paella-Style Cauliflower

cauliflowerThere’s nothing I will not eat (as long as it’s food, of course). I have a healthy appetite and an adventurous palate. One of my favorite things growing up was my mother’s tripe soup. The whole house reeked when she made it, but the taste was sublime. I would greedily slurp up a bowl and ask for seconds without hesitation. One time, when I was about eight or nine, I invited a friend over while my mother was making the soup. Either she was very polite or there was something wrong with her sense of smell because she didn’t so much as wince disapprovingly. In fact, when my mother offered her a bowl, she nodded her head in agreement and we both slurped together. And asked for seconds together.
I suppose it’s much like French andouillette, a sausage made from pig intestines (aka ‘chitterlings’). You either love it (if you can get past the smell)… or loathe it.
One of the things I was never too fond of, however, was caulifower. No matter how I prepared the curdy-looking white vegetable, it tasted insipidly unpleasant. Like hospital food. No amount of salt would make it better.
Until I put on my hipster hat and learned to use it as a replacement for potatoes, rice and other types of refined carbs, that is. The first time I tried it instead of mashed potatoes, I was sold. Yesterday I whipped up a batch paella-style (sans seafood and meat) and it was delicious. To think that you can wolf this down in large quantities without ever having to experience an ounce of guilt. After all, it’s just vegetables! I will be adding some shrimp the next time, though.
Here’s the recipe:

Paella-Style Cauliflower
Serves 4

  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • 600g cauliflower, trimmed into florets and blitzed in a food processor
  • 2 tsps turmeric
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika powder
  • sea salt and freshly-cracked pepper
  • 150g green peas
  • 2 roasted sweet peppers (from a jar), chopped
  • squeeze of lemon
  • optional: shrimp, mussels, cooked chicken

Heat the olive oil in a large casserole. Add the cauliflower and cook for a minute before stirring in the turmeric, smoked paprika and salt and pepper. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the peas and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Stir in the red peppers shortly before the end of the cooking time and squeeze in a bit of lemon. If you want you can add shrimp, mussels or cooked chicken toward the end of the cooking time. A scattering of flat-leaf parsley is also lovely, though I didn’t have any on hand.

Herbed Spelt Couscous with Grilled Asparagus & Halloumi

couscous

Every once in a while I decide to put my prejudices aside and try out a recipe from a magazine. Well, to some extent…
I know this may sound a little arrogant, but good recipe writing is a rarity these days. Even well-known food writers are increasingly publishing books (written by ghost writers, may I add) with recipes that simply do not work. As a recipe writer myself, I question whether or not the recipes are tested before publication. I know how disappointing it is when a poorly written recipe ends up in failure and a waste of ingredients, so my recipes are always tested before being submitted to an editor or published on this blog. I want people to gain confidence in the kitchen, not be turned off by disasters that are a result of crappy recipe writing.
Anyhow, to get back to my point…
This past weekend I picked up a copy of the newest Allerhande, a magazine published by Dutch supermarket Albert Heijn. While I prefer to shop at exclusively organic supermarkets and markets (geez that also sounds snobby!), I regularly visit the supermarket for their organic line. I usually leaf through their magazine quickly, but rarely make one of the recipes. This issue, however, featured a really tempting couscous dish I knew I would have to make. It was really my intention to follow the recipe, yet as I was cooking I decided to give it my own twist. The original version (found on page 64 of the April issue) also looks very appealing, though if you’re making it, use 480ml of water to cook the couscous and broccoli rice. The specified 350ml simply isn’t enough!
Here’s my variation, to what already looks like a great recipe:

Herbed Spelt Couscous with Grilled Asparagus & Halloumi
Serves 4

  • 300g spelt couscous
  • 400g broccoli rice
  • 1 tbsp ras el hanout
  • freshly cracked pepper
  • 480ml boiling water
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 tbsps olive oil
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • fleur de sel
  • 15g mint, leaves chopped
  • 15g chives, chopped
  • 15g parsley, chopped
  • 350g green asparagus, ends trimmed
  • 400g halloumi, in 8 slices
  • handful of almonds, chopped

In a large bowl mix the couscous, broccoli rice, ras el hanout and pepper. Pour in the boiling water and close with either a lid or plastic wrap. Allow this to ‘cook’ for 10 minutes. Make a dressing by whisking the lemon juice, olive oil, honey, Dijon mustard and salt and pepper. Pour this over the cooked couscous, add the chopped herbs and stir well. Divide the couscous over 4 plates. Grill the asparagus for approximately 4-6 minutes in a lightly oiled grilled pan. Season them with salt at the very end. Divide the asparagus over the couscous. Grill the halloumi for 1-2 minutes per side and divide the slices over each plate. Garnish each plate with chopped almonds and finish with a drizzle of olive oil.

Quinoa Bowl with Butternut Squash and Kale

quinoaOne of the best things about working from home is allowing myself the time to have a proper lunch. After walking my dog at noon, I return home energized and head to the kitchen to feed him and make myself a salad with lots of leafy greens, good proteins and my standard dressing which consists of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, turmeric, fleur de sel and cracked pepper. This afternoon break is essential for me and keeps me alert and focused the rest of the day.
On days when I have a little more time (like today), I like to make soups and warm salads, especially with quinoa. Today I made a gorgeous quinoa bowl with roasted butternut squash and kale. So healthy and vibrant! I even ate it outdoors as is was a ‘balmy’ 15C in my garden. Though I’m not so sure that’s a good thing.
The lunch, on the other hand, was a VERY good thing!
Here’s the recipe:

Quinoa Bowl with Butternut Squash and Kale
Serves 2

  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp dried garlic
  • fleur de sel
  • cracked pepper
  • 120g quinoa
  • handful of finely chopped kale
  • 1 small red onion, halved and finely sliced
  • 1/2 pomegranate

Preheat oven to 190C and line a baking sheet with baking paper. In a bowl, mix the butternut squash with the olive oil, turmeric, cumin, garlic and salt and pepper. Spread the squash over the baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes. In the meantime, cook the quinoa according to package directions, adding the finely chopped kale during the last 5 minutes of cooking time. Stir the butternut squash and red onion through the quinoa and kale and divide over two bowls. Garnish each bowl with the pomegranate seeds, a drizzle of olive oil and fresh pepper.

 

My Greek Salad

greek salad 1I’m spending a rare, quiet Sunday at home, allowing myself the luxury of not working. We started the morning with freshly baked croissants and then headed to Ekoplaza, my neighborhood organic supermarket (PS: Not sponspored). I’ve written about my love for organic food many times on this blog, for example here, so let it suffice to say once again that organic eating feels right for my family and we find the food much tastier, Not to mention that it’s also a pleasure to shop at Ekoplaza.
During our shop, we discussed what to have for lunch, and quickly decided on a Greek salad. Crisp, seasonal flavors and fresh as can be! Everyone has their version of this classic summer salad. The following recipe is the one I like most. Enjoy!

Greek Salad
Serves 3

  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsps peppery olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp dried garlic
  • fleur de sel
  • freshly cracked pepper
  • a few handfuls of mixed salad leaves
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4-5 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cucumber, deseeded and thinly sliced
  • 3 tomatoes, cut into eighths
  • 100g mixed olives (I used green and kalamata)
  • 50g feta cheese, crumbled
  • microgreens

Make the vinaigrette by whisking the red wine vinegar, olive oil, oregano, garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Divide the salad leaves over three plates. Top with red onion, radishes and cucumber. Spoon half of the vinaigrette over the salad. Place the tomatoes around the salad. Top the salad with the olives and feta and drizzle with the rest of the vinaigrette. Sprinkle with the microgreens and serve with a cool rosé.

 

 

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