Aubergine and Lentil Vindaloo

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (April 2019) and taken from Cooking on a Bootstrap by Jack Monroe.

If you don’t like aubergine, use mushrooms.  Lentils could also be kidney beans, baked beans, black beans, brown or green lentils, or yellow split peas – for protein.  The flavour speaks for itself, or rather shouts, sings and dances!IMG_1859

Serves: 2-4

Ingredients:
1 large aubergine or 2 small aubergines, diced
50g dried red lentils
3 onions, finely sliced
Oil, for frying
4 fat garlic cloves
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp cumin, seeds or ground
1/4 star anise, or 1/8 tsp fennel seeds
A good grind of black pepper
1-2 tsp chilli flakes
2 tblsp tomato puree
2 tblsp vinegar or lemon juice, fresh or bottled
A fistful of spinach

Step One : In a bowl, sprinkle the aubergine with a good pinch of salt, then set aside.

Step Two : Thoroughly rinse the lentils and place them in a pan.  Cover with water – no salt or they will take an age to cook – and bring to the boil.  When the water is boiling, reduce to a simmer for 12 minutes, until the lentils are soft.  Drain, rinse and set aside.

Step Three : Meanwhile, toss the onions into a large pan with a little oil and, over medium heat, soften for 10 minutes.  Add the garlic cloves, peeled but whole, and the aubergine, stirring to stop it sticking.  Cook for 15 minutes, adding more oil if needed.

Step Four : Add the cinnamon, cumin, star anise, or fennel, and pepper, but only half of your chosen quantity of chilli.  (It is easy to add, but difficult to temper down if you misjudge it, so I put in half the chilli to cook, and leave half to garnish.)  Stir well to combine, then add 200ml water to the pan, and crank up the heat to medium-high.

Step Five : Add the lentils, tomato puree and vinegar or lemon juice and stir.  Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover, stirring slowly now and again.  It should take around 30 minutes to meld into glossy, orange goodness, and the liquid should thicken to an unctuous sauce.  If it is too watery, bring it back to the boil, reduce the heat and cook a little more.  Stir through the spinach a few minutes before serving.  This vindaloo is delicious with boiled rice, which makes it go further.

Other great cookbooks that help you keep an eye on the pennies:-

Beetballs

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (April 2019) and taken from Cooking on a Bootstrap by Jack Monroe.

These are based on a beetroot burger recipe from Lee Watson’s vegan recipe book, Peace and Parsnips.  For a gluten-free version, replace the bread with a tablespoon or two of your preferred gluten-free flour.

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Makes : 20

Ingredients:
200g dried red lentils
1 small onion, finely sliced
2 fat garlic cloves, finely sliced
150g cooked beetroot (not the kind in vinegar; go for cheaper, vacuum-packed beets), finely diced
2 tblsp oil, plus extra for drizzling
1/2 tsp cumin or coriander, seeds or ground
1 slice of bread or a pitta
A pinch of salt
1 tblsp lemon juice, fresh or bottled

Step One : Thoroughly rinse the lentils under a cold tap, then pop into a pan. Cover with water and bring to the boil; do not add any salt at this stage or the lentils may ‘seize’ and never soften. Sad, but true. Reduce to a simmer and cook for around 15 minutes, until very soft, swollen and translucent.

Step Two : Meanwhile, put the oil, onion and garlic into a pan. Add the finely diced beetroot and the spice of your choice, and soften over a medium heat, stirring regularly to stop the ingredients from sticking and burning.

Step Three : Skim any scum from the top of the lentils using a spoon, then drain and rinse them thoroughly. Tip into a mixing bowl along with the onion, garlic and beetroot, and mash to a pulp. An ordinary jug blender, or any kind of food processor, will make this job easier, but it’s not essential; a fork or masher and a good dollop of elbow grease will yield a pretty satisfying result, too.

Step Four : When it’s rough pulp, grate the bread into crumbs and mix through, with a pinch of salt and a good squeeze of lemon juice. Cover the mixture and chill it in the fridge for half an hour to firm up.

Step Five : When firm to the touch, preheat the oven to 180oC / 350oF / Gas mark 4. Shape the mixture into small balls and place them on a lightly greased baking tray. Drizzle the top of the balls with a little extra oil, or brush each one if you can be bothered, and bake in the centre of the oven for 25 minutes, turning over halfway through. Serve immediately.

Other great cookbooks that help you keep an eye on the pennies:-

Self-love Stew

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (April 2019) and taken from Cooking on a Bootstrap by Jack Monroe.

Spoon it into a bowl. Sit in your favourite spot. Hug that bowl. Enjoy every mouthful. You made this for yourself out of love. You are nourishing yourself. You are smart. You are kind to yourself. You can wash up tomorrow.

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Serves : 1

Ingredients:
Oil, for frying
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 onion, roughly chopped
A few handfuls of finely chopped or grated root veg (such as carrot, parsnip, spud or sweet potato – any root will do)
1 tsp paprika
150g tofu or 2 white fish fillets
1 x 400g tin of beans (baked, kidney, butter, cannellini, chickpeas – any beans) drained
1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
A fistful of kale or spinach
Squeeze of lemon juice
A pinch of salt and a sprinkle of cracked black pepper

Step One : Warm a little oil in a pan over low heat and cook the garlic and onion, to soften. Stir, stir; slow and cathartic.

Step Two : Add the finely chopped or grated root veg and stir some more, then add the paprika and mix in. Stirring is key; it is soothing.

Step Three : Chuck in the chunks of tofu if you’re veggie or vegan, or white fish if you aren’t. Tip in the beans; whatever beans – add them for goodness. For laziness. For filling comfort. For making the dish stretch into an extra meal that you won’t have to cook. Pour over the tomatoes. The cheaper ones are sloppy and excellent for soups and stews.

Step Four : Shred some kale with your hands. Rip it the heck up with all the stress-busting physicality you can muster. Go on! Tear it to shreds. Drop it in. Stir it through, breathe and stir, and breathe.

Step Five : Bring to the boil – like your fury, heat it up and watch it roar … then, reduce to a simmer. Douse in lemon juice to brighten, and add some salt and pepper to amplify the flavours. Serve that stew, just for you.

Other great cookbooks that help you keep an eye on the pennies:-
 

Coconut Wow Cookies

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (April 2019) and taken from Recipes for Your Perfectly Imperfect Life by Kimberly Snyder.

Coconut oil increases metabolism and provides sustained energy. Here, flakes accentuate earthy coconuttiness.

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Makes 16 cookies

Ingredients:
2 cups Gluten-free Flour Mix
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp guar gum
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup coconut nectar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup almond milk
1 cup coconut flakes

Step One : Preheat the oven to 160oc / 325oF / Gas mark 3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Step Two : In a large bowl, whisk together the Gluten-Free flour mix, baking soda, guar gam, coconut sugar and sea salt. Make a well in the middle.

Step Three : In a separate bowl, combine the melted coconut oil, coconut nectar, vanilla extract and almond milk, and stir well. Pour the liquid into the well in the flour mixture. Stir in the coconut flakes.

Step Four : Shape about 1 tablespoon of the mixture into a ball and place it on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Gently flatten it with the palm of your hand so it pushes outward into a flat cookie shape. Continue until all the dough is formed into cookies, being sure to space them out.

Step Five : Bake the cookies for 13-14 minutes, until they are golden brown. Transfer them from the baking sheet to a wire rack and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Trends & Facts : Crazy for Coconut

A health trend fact article taken from Psychologies Magazine (April 2015).
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The Hype
Enticed by the promise that coconut oil can boost body and brain wellbeing, we’ve bestowed it with a health halo that has us scooping it into smoothies and spreading it on our toast. Ad the craze also goes beyond the kitchen. Aside from it’s moisturising properties, we’re also swishing coconut oil around our mouths in honour of the Ayurvedic ‘oil pulling’ method, which is said to detox the body and whiten teeth. The coconut water market alone is now worth £22 million in the UK. (according to Nielsen Statistics cited by PepsiCo).

Food forecasters predict that coconut sugar will take centre stage in the future, as it has a lower glycaemic index than its refined white counterpart. Yet with an overabundance of discombobulated information, separating facts from fad can prove somewhat challenging.

The Facts
* Over 200 students highlight coconut oil’s ability to settle malabsorption syndrome (a disorder affecting nutrient absorption), hinder tumour growth, fight viruses and protect cortical neurons in mice, which may have implications for Alzheimer’s disease in humans.

* It is high in healthy saturated fat which binds unhealthy saturated fat (LDL or low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol) and carries it away from the arteries to the liver, where it’s broken down and passed from the body. This lowers cholesterol, which is thought to protect against stroke and heart disease.

* It has a high smoking point for cooking, so it’s less likely to denature and form dangerous free radicals (linked to cancer) in the body.

* Coconut milk is high in medium chain fatty acids and lauric acid, which the body converts to help it fight infection.

The Verdict
1. Coconut oil is a great oil to cook with and consume regularly. But cooking with butter, ghee or avocado oil is fine, too.

2. Coconut water, high in potassium, has been touted as more hydrating than water – not true. But it is a better option post-workout, as it helps replace lost nutrients.

3. Coconut flour is packed with fibre and protein, so it’s a good alternative if you have glucose allergies. However, it must be blended with other flours (try rye or rice flour) to get the desired effect for baking.

4. Coconut butter is a nutritious spread that contains all the benefits of the oil and is also packed with fibre.

5. Coconut syrup (try Bali Nutra Coconut Syrup) is a good sweetener, it contains mineral nutrients and is 70-79 per cent sucrose, so it’s low in harmful fructose.

6. While the coconut has a multitude of benefits, it’s not a magic ingredient. It’s important to incorporate the right remedies to suit your lifestyle so they work in symmetry for greater health and vitality.

See this book for other Ayurvedic recipes …

Macaccino torte with toasted pecan and chocolate crumb

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (October 2015) and taken from The Virtuous Tart by Susan Jane White.

Maca is the Lucozade of the granola-crunching, wheatgrass-swilling community. This golden fairy dust is supposed to strengthen stamina and virility too. If you’re curious, this mystical maca comes in powdered form resembling a sort of butterscotch flour. It’s fun to use, and if it does indeed boost libido, then it’s even more fun than expected. Good luck!IMG_1822

Makes 20 servings

For the base:
1 cup (110g) pecans
5 Medjool dates or pre-soaked regular dates, pitted and chopped
2 tablespoons cacao or cocoa powder
sprinkle of seat salt flakes

For the cream filling:
1 1/2 cups (170g) cashew nut butter
6 tblsp maple syrup or coconut blossom nectar
5 tblsp hot, strong coffee
3 tblsp maca powder
2 tblsp lucuma powder or 1 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 teaspoons tamari soya sauce
4 tblsp melted cacao butter
4-5 squares of dark chocolate, melted, to decorate
Coffee beans, to decorate (optional)

Step One : To make the base, put all the base ingredients in a food processor and whizz together until they begin to clump into a ball. You might need a tiny trickle of cold water or coffee to bring it all together, depending on how soft the dates are. You can post pecans first, but it’s not necessary.

Step Two : Press the mixture firmly into a non-stock 18cm springform tin, or whatever torte flan you have. Set in the freezer while you get going on the cream filling.

Step Three : To make the filling, give the cashew butter, maple syrup, hot coffee, maca, lucuma and tamari a good pelt in a high-speed blender or food processor. You don’t need to buy lucuma especially for this recipe – a dash of vanilla works just as well, but the lucuma will give buttery, caramel tones to the flavour.

Step Four : Slowly add the melted cacao butter to the mix while the motor is still running. You should have a glossy maca-fuelled ganache by now. Spread the filling over your base and refrigerate until set. You can happily keep this macaccino torte in the freezer too, for unexpected dates. To decorate, go mad with melted dark chocolate and a spoon, and parachute some coffee beans on top.

Chocolate Seed Soldiers

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (October 2015) and taken from The Virtuous Tart by Susan Jane White.

These seed soldiers are excellent allies in the war against afternoon slumps. Practically jumming with energy, they will deliver a cargo of essential minerals to service your mojo alongside battery-boosting B vitamins. Goji berries are rich in iron, protein and vitamins C, E and A.

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Makes 20 generous servings

Ingredients:
1 cup (100g) pitted dates, chopped
1 cup (105g) milled sunflower and pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup (180g) cashew nut butter
1/2 cup (80g) raisins
1/2 cup (65g) coconut flour
1/2 cup (125ml) maple syrup (not honey)
3 tblsp raw Cacao Nibs
2 tblsp goji berries , plus extra to decorate
Up to 1 tblsp Tamari or raw coconut aminos
130g dark chocolate (75% cocoa solids)

Step One : In a food processor (a fork and a temper will also work), combine everything except the dark chocolate and decorative goji berries. Spread it out over a parchment-lined shallow tin – the perfect size is 20 x 25cm, a little larger than the usual 20 x 20 cm square brownie tin. Place another piece of parchment on top of the base mixture, pressing down firmly with your fingers. Once the base is smooth, you can ditch the top parchment. Chill in the fridge.

Step Two : Meanwhile, slowly melt the chocolate in a bain-marie – a pot of simmering water, 2 1/2 cm in depth, with a heatproof bowl sitting on top where a lid might otherwise be. The contents of the bowl will gently melt from the steam of the water underneath. The trick is not to let the water boil or let the bottom of the bowl touch the water.

Step Three : Smother the chilled base in melted chocolate and parachute a couple of goji berries on top for colour. Refrigerate overnight. I doubt you’ll need an alarm clock to wake you in the morning.

Strawberry and Basil Cheesecake

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (October 2015) and taken from The Virtuous Tart by Susan Jane White.

By loading more fresh veg and nuts into us ladies, we’ll arm our bodies against The Ageing Process. This cake should help. Avocados and almonds are drenched with helpful fats and nourishing minerals needed to keep our toes tapping and skin flowing. Remember, the skin is your largest excretory organ. If you’re eating garbage, you’ll end up wearing it on your face.

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Serves : 8

Ingredients for the base:
1 1/2 cups (180g) walnuts
6 Medjool or other sticky dates, stones removed
touch of sea salt flakes

For the creamy centre:
3 ripe avocados, stones and skin removed (240g)
25g packet of fresh basil, leaves only
juice of 3-4 limes
4-6 tblsp raw honey
3 tblsp unscented coconut oil, melted

For the topping:
1 punnet of fresh strawberries

Step One : To make the base, blend the walnuts, dates and sea salt in a food processor (not a blender) with a splash of water. When it starts clumping together into a cookie dough ball, you’re good to go. Press into a 20 x 25 cm loaf tin. Bring the dough up the sides like a posh flan, making sure you support the elbow of the base – the part where the base meets the sides. Freeze.

Step Two : Meanwhile, get going on your ‘cheesecake’ filling. Puree the avocado flesh, basil, lime juice, honey, melted coconut oil and some Frank Sinatra at full speed until savagely smooth. A blender can be used for this bit.

Step Three : Taste. If it needs more zing or kick, add another squeeze of lime juice to the mix. If you prefer more sweetness to rock your taste buds, then add an extra bit of honey. Spoon the filling over the frozen base and chill in the fridge for 1 hour. It will last for three days in the fridge like this.

Step Four : Just before serving, slice a handful of fresh strawberries and scatter them over the top along with any stray basil leaves you find loitering in your kitchen.

Gluten-free Marmalade Loaf with Cardamom Glaze

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (April 2014) and taken from The Ginger & White Cookbook by Tonia George, Emma Scott & Nicholas Scott.

Marmalade has the perfect balance of sweet and tart flavours and, unlike a lot of gluten-free cooking, this cake doesn’t have a ground almond in sight, so it’s suitable for those with nut allergies too. A tawny Seville orange marmalade is the best to use.IMG_1835

Serves: 9

Ingredients:
175g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
120g caster sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
125g tawny Seville orange marmalade
3 free-range eggs, beaten
175g gluten-free self-raising flour

For the Glaze:
100g tawny Seville orange marmalade
Juice of 1 orange
Seeds from 6 cardamom pods

For the Icing:
150g icing sugar
Orange juice

Step One : Preheat the oven to 180oC / fan 160oC / Gas mark 4. Grease a 900g loaf tin and line the base with non-stick baking paper.

Step Two : To make the glaze, place all the ingredients in a pan and bring to the boil, then set aside the liquid to infuse.

Step Three : Meanwhile, cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until pale and fluffy. Beat in the orange zest, then the marmalade. Gradually beat in the eggs a little at a time, then fold in the flour.

Step Four : Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 40-55 minutes, or until the loaf is pale golden and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven, allow to cool in the tin for 15 minutes. When cold, lift out using a blunt knife and transfer to a wire rack.

Step Five : Mix the icing sugar with a drop of orange juice – stir quickly until smooth. Add more juice if it’s too thick.

Step Six : Using a spoon or a plastic bag that’s been snipped at a corner, zigzag the icing over the loaf. Then drizzle with the glaze, and slice to serve.

Portobello Mushrooms with Roasted Garlic Mayo on Potato Sourdough

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (April 2014) and taken from The Ginger & White Cookbook by Tonia George, Emma Scott & Nicholas Scott.

Roasting mushrooms brings out their earthy flavour, providing a satisfying alternative to meat. If you haven’t time to make garlic mayo, crush a quarter of a garlic clove and stir it into some mayo, or even easier, rub the toast with a cut garlic clove instead.

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Serves: 2

Ingredients:
4 Portobello mushrooms
1 tblsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for dressing
Salt and pepper
4 thick slices of potato sourdough
4 tblsp roasted garlic mayonnaise (see below for recipe)
A handful of rocket leaves

Step One : Preheat the oven to 200oC / fan 180oC / gas mark 6. Clean the mushrooms, discarding the stalks. Place them in a roasting tin, drizzle with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Step Two : Roast the mushrooms for 15 minutes, until softened. Turn them over and roast for a further 10 minutes.

Step Three : Toast the sourdough on both sides, then spread the garlic mayo on the toast and divide it between two plates. Top each slice with a mushroom.

Step Four : Dress the rocket in olive oil with a little salt and pepper. Pile on top of the mushrooms and serve.

How to make your own roasted garlic mayonnaise
Preheat your oven to 200oC / fan 180oC / gas mark 6. Wrap one garlic bulb in foil and bake for 40-50 minutes, until it is really soft when squeezed. Allow to cool. When it is cool enough to handle, separate all the cloves and squeeze all the soft flesh into a bowl. Mash with a pinch of salt, then stir in 400ml good-quality mayonnaise.