Crispy marinated tofu & ho fun stir-fry

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This is a simple, full of flavour dish that will satisfy both vegans and meat-eaters. The stir-fries are a great way to use up any veg that might be going off; they provide a variety of textures as well as bulking up your plate in a colourful and healthy way! Don’t worry too much about the veg we’ve used, use what you have and in the quantities you want. The same goes for spices, we use Japanese curry cubes and chilli bean paste, but if you don’t have them just add whatever you fancy, they shouldn’t be too hard to find though.

You will need (serves two):

  • 125 grams of dried Ho fun (flat rice noodles)
  • 1 onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 spring onion (chopped)
  • 1 chilli (finely chopped)
  • 2 garlic cloves (crushed)
  • 1 carrot (grated)
  • A chunk of red cabbage, grated
  • A very large handful of peas, or a small glass full
  • Soy sauce
  • Chilli bean paste
  • About an inch squares of Japanese curry cubes
  • Fresh coriander (roughly chopped)
  • Lime

For the tofu:

  • 250g tofu
  • 2 tsp Sweet Chilli Sauce
  • 2 tsp Soy Sauce
  • 1 tsp English mustard
  • 1 tsp Tomato Ketchup
  • Chilli – to taste
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 garlic gloves, minced

Method

Preheat your oven to about 180 degrees celcius, then the first thing to do is to get your noodles soaking in water, this will make them less starchy and cook faster. Simply cover them in water until it’s time to cook, but for at least 20 minutes.
Next pat your tofu dry, just with kitchen paper or a clean tea towel, but until it’s all dry. Then mix all the ingredients for the marinade and taste it. Adjust it to your preference, add more of whatever you fancy and then pour it over the tofu, rubbing it all over before placing it in the fridge.
Now prepare all your veg. Chinese food is so aesthetically pleasing but also incredibly versatile in how it looks – you may want long strips of spring onion or you may want them in small rings, simply chop up whatever vegetables you’ve chosen, however you like them to look.

Place the tofu in the oven for 30 minutes. After about 15 minutes however, turn the tofu over and leave, whilst you heat up your wok on the hob. Once it is heated, gently fry off your chilli, garlic and onion, stirring over a medium heat so that they don’t burn. Stir-fries are so versatile, I like most of my veg to go in right at the last minute for texture and that extra crunch, but if you like them softer add them before the noodles.
We added the noodles next, followed by the chilli bean paste, curry and a splash of water; the water helps make a sauce as well as stopping your ingredients sticking without using too much oil, it also cooks the noodles nicely. Add the noodles and continue to stir over a medium low heat. If you need to add more water, add a little at a time, we’re not making broth so we don’t want it too wet!

You need to taste constantly, you might want to add more spices – ginger is great, but add whatever you like, really. After the tofu has been in the oven for about 25-30 minutes, turn it to grill setting and grill for a further couple of minutes, or so, on either side so that it goes nice and crispy. Once you are satisfied with its crispiness, cut it in half, put your noodles into a couple of hot bowls, and place a piece of tofu on top of each (alternatively you can mix it in with the stir fry). Then add a squeeze of lime juice and a nice handful of coriander over both bowls and you’re ready to go.

You can also add toasted nuts, cashews or peanuts are recommended. Chopsticks, knife and fork, spoon, slurp and suck, however you eat it, this is a really satisfying meal. It’s also almost always difficult to replicate exactly, all we’ve tried to give you here is a blue print for your own stir-fry. Experiment, test and most importantly – taste. This can be a great meal to impress someone with, or it can become your new favourite fast, comforting meal in the cold winter months. It’s brilliant all year round!

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Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet potato fries

Sweet potato fries are a healthy and delicious alternative to normal fries and add a little sweetness to accompany whatever main you decide to go for.
For this meal we enjoyed ours Mediterranean style, coated in zaa’tar, paprika, garlic, chilli, salt and pepper and served with spring green wraps.

You will need (serves two):

  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • Oil (we like the spray one for chips as it distributes much more evenly)
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Chilli powder
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • Garlic powder, paprika, zaa’tar and any other spices if you so wish!

This is the simplest method, so start by preheating your oven to 200 degrees celcius.
Now roughly slice your sweet potatoes, however thick or thin you like them. We went for a bit of a mixture, some were more wedge-like, others were more like small fries that went extra crispy.
Once all are chopped, place them in a baking tray and sprinkle on your chosen spices, salt and pepper. Spritz on some oil and then with you hands, toss the fries to ensure that all are as evenly coated as possible.
Place into the oven and bake for around thirty-five minutes, checking on them every ten minutes or so and flipping them. For the last five minutes, switch your oven onto the grill setting, as this will help them go even crispier just before you take them out the oven.

If they are as crispy as you like, take them out, serve and enjoy!

Rice-noodle Ramen Broth

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The winter’s almost on its way out, but there still seems to be time to catch a vicious cold before Spring creeps in – and if you couldn’t guess, unfortunately we were two of the victims. We made this delicious, soothing ramen for brunch, to cure our throats and to kick our colds. It definitely helped blow the cobwebs away and is light, healthy, yet surprisingly filling too.
Please feel free to adjust the spices and ingredients according to what you have in the fridge; lemongrass would work perfectly in this broth, as would some water chestnuts.

You will need, (serves two):

  • 200g Ho fun noodles (we go for the wider ones over the thinner)
  • 1 ½ pints of water
  • 1 tblsp Miso paste
  • 2 spring onions
  • A small handful of coriander, finely chopped
  • 1 Small carrot, grated
  • A small amount of red cabbage, finely chopped
  • 2 trees off a head of broccoli, roughly chopped
  • 2 inches wide of tofu, cut in half (this is entirely up to you though – if it’s for supper rather than lunch then you may need more!)
  • 2 radishes, finely sliced
  • Sweet chilli sauce – enough to drizzle over and cover the tofu
  • A handful of rocket
  • 1 red chilli
  • An inch of ginger, grated (powdered will do too)
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, crushed and finely chopped
  • A handful of flakes almonds, crushed and toasted
  • A squeeze of lime
  • Soy sauce

Method:

This dish takes hardly anytime at all and is very simple to put together. First, soak your noodles in warm water whilst you prep your other ingredients.
Cover your tofu in the sweet chilli sauce so that it has a chance to sink in and then crush and finely chop your garlic cloves, chilli and grate your ginger. Set these aside as these will be the base to your broth along with the miso paste.

Now prep the rest of your vegetables; grate your carrot, finely chop your coriander, red cabbage and radishes and set aside. These will be added at the very end so that you get crunch, colour and texture!
In a large saucepan, tip in your ginger, garlic and chilli with a splash of oil and let this cook slightly, for a few minutes. Put in your miso paste and then add your water, bringing it to the boil. Let this boil for a couple more minutes, then add your spring onions and noodles and reduce the mixture to a simmer (cook this mixture for about 10minutes). Keep trying and tasting the broth – you may need a dash of soy or some miso if there is too much water!

Heat up a frying pan and once it is hot, place your tofu onto the pan. Keep it on the heat for a couple of minutes and then turn onto the other side. Ensure each side is slightly crispy before removing from the heat, but of course, the level of crispiness is up to you!
We prefer it to have a really crispy outside then a softer middle, otherwise Tofu can sometimes be a bit too slimy. If you have a bit more time, baking your marinated tofu for 25 minutes (turning after 12 or so mins) then grilling for 5 minutes creates the ideal texture in our eyes…mmm delicious.

Once your tofu is cooked, chuck your broccoli into your noodle mixture, then in a separate pan, heat up your almonds for around 4 minutes. Toss the pan occasionally, until the almonds are golden brown and a nutty aroma has filled your kitchen.

Now you are pretty much ready to serve up! Divide the mixture into two separate bowls then place some carrot, rocket and coriander on top. Place a piece of tofu onto each, squeeze on some lime, sprinkle on your nuts and some salt and pepper and serve – enjoy!

Sweet potato & spinach quesadillas

Quesadillas

Quesadillas are a favourite and can be enjoyed at breakfast, lunch or supper. For breakfast or brunch, I like to have them with spinach, tomatoes, tobasco and sometimes some vegan cheese.
This time however, we had them in the evening and made a mexican spread with all our favourites; refried beans (recipe coming soon), guacamole and salsa. As you can probably tell, leisurely evenings with hours to cook are the ones we like best, so even though these quesadillas can be done in a short space of time, we slowed the process down a bit by creating a sweet potato and spinach filling and made a few dishes to make a feast out of it. They are a delicious, comforting and healthy meal and we’re sure they’re great to have with friends for a supper party too.

For the quesadillas, you will need (serves two):

  • 4 corn tortillas
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 medium-large red onion, finely chopped or finely sliced
  • 4 large tomatoes, cut into quarters (you can use chopped it you prefer a runnier and more saucey consistency!)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed and cut into small pieces
  • Half a chilli (we find green more aesthetically pleasing with this dish!)
  • 1/2 tsp of paprika
  • 1/4 tsp of chilli powder
  • 1/4 tsp of cumin
  • The juice of half a lime
  • A handful of coriander, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp of coconut oil (any oil will do of course but we the taste of coconut oil complement
  • Salt and pepper
  • Half a small glass of water
  • 3 large handfuls of fresh spinach
  • Optional: Cheddar cheese (grated), feta cheese or a vegan alternative

Method:

First you want to cut your sweet potato into relatively small chunks and then par boil them in a sauce pan roughly for 8-10 minutes – (it may take even less time than this if your chunks are particularly small)!
Once soft to touch and so that they almost slip off a knife, remove from the heat and drain, then warm up a frying pan with the tablespoon of coconut oil. Once it has all melted, add your onion, garlic, chilli and potato and let the onions soften slightly and turn more translucent in colour.
Now tip in your quartered tomatoes and pour in a splash of the water to stop the mixture from drying out and burning. The water will also help the tomatoes reduce slightly so that eventually a sauce is created, which has been infused with the spices, veg and coconut oil.
After you have added the water, tip in the rest of your spices, the salt and pepper and let it cook for a few minutes. If you think it looks a little dry add a bit more water, and keep adding until it is at a consistency you like. We like a bit of sauce coating the potatoes but not too much so that it makes the quesadillas soggy!
Lower the heat slightly and throw in your chopped coriander, along with the juice of half a lime and your handfuls of spinach. Add a tiny bit more water and then leave the spinach to wilt whilst you warm up another medium sized frying pan.
Once hot, put one corn tortilla flat in the pan and allow to warm up slightly. Once it has done so add the potato and spinach mixture (and the cheese/vegan cheese on top of this if you are using any) to one half of the tortilla. Fold over the over half so you have a half moon shape and after 1 minute, flip it over so it heats up on the other side (also for 1 minutes) -this ensures that the corn is stuck on both sides to the potato. Keep doing this until all 4 are cooked with their filling inside! (If using a cheese of some sort, a good way to tell whether they are done is once the cheese has melted).
Your quesadillas should now be warm, cooked through and stuck together. Remove all pans from the heat, cut each quesadillas in half, plate up and serve!

We like ours with chunky guacamole (recipe here!), a spicy fresh tomato salsa and refried beans. Enjoy!

The “Perfect” Pizza

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Makes 2 Pizzas, can be easily multiplied for more

Pizzas are like people, we come in all shapes and sizes, we all have different dietary requirements, some people prefer fat and squishy and some people prefer thin, some people find solace in cheese, cheese and more, melting oozing cheese, dripping down your fingers, some people like their pizzas like their partners – meaty. So, before we wipe away the drool that is making it’s way from our chins to the floor, the search for the perfect pizza is impossible and completely down to the taster. This is, what we believe, slightly better though not too different to our ‘New York’ style pizza recipe. We had a look at many different recipes for pizza dough and, after a few changes here and there, this is our favourite.

You Will Need:

  • 250g strong white bread flour or tipo 00 flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3.5g or 1/2 7g sachet dried yeast
  • semolina dusting, for dusting

Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Add the years to about 162 ml of lukewarm water and stir until it dissolves. Mix the flour gradually until you get a rough dough, shape it into a ball and set aside, covered with a tea towel for 5 minutes.

Next on a flour dusted surface or knead the dough for about 8-10 minutes. Alternatively if you have a space-age machine that will do it for you, that works just as well. Split the dough into two even-sized pieces before kneading each one for a further 2 minutes. After this you should have a smooth, elastic dough which should just rise back gently if you dip your finger lightly into it.

cover a clean tray with semolina and place each ball onto it before covering with a damp tea towel and leave it for about 2 hours in a warm place, until it’s doubled in size.

The sauce is the same as our previous post but for ease we’ll put it here as well –

You will need:

  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes (or six whole fresh tomatoes, chopped)
  • 1 red onion diced (white would work too)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 chilli
  • a couple of sprinkles of oregano
  • a dash of balsamic vinegar (optional)
  • a pinch of salt and pepper

Method

Heat up a splash of oil in a small saucepan whilst you chop the onion, garlic and chilli. Gently fry for 3-5 minutes, until onions are translucent, then add your chopped tomatoes. If you’re using fresh tomatoes you may need a splash of water, and leave to simmer, stirring every couple of minutes.Season with oregano, salt, pepper and if you fancy the balsamic then go for it! We also like to use a little fennel or basil occasionally to mix it up.

Once all the tomatoes are softened nicely and your sauce has been simmering for about 10 minutes we like to blend everything. It’s optional but we find it makes for a nice texture, as well as spreading the flavours evenly throughout the sauce.

As far as cooking goes, heat your oven up as much as possible, placing a pizza stone in it straight away if you have one. If you don’t make sure whatever flat surface you’re using gets nice and hot. Then, just before you put the pizzas in, turn it to grill so that the heat comes directly onto it from above. Watch your pizza because it’ll cook in about 6 minutes but you might want it crunchier or softer. Remember it’s up to you!

But a word from the wise – don’t put too much topping on your pizza, remember, you have to get it from the table to the oven. Another piece of advice here is, if you don’t have a paddle to move your pizza make one using a cardboard box, flattened and sprinkle with plenty of semolina. roll your dough on the box, assemble the pizza and then slide it (you may need a bit of force) onto your heated up surface and then under the grill.

Simple Courgetti with an Avocado Sauce

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This dish is perfect if you fancy a light and quick lunch as well as something warm. The courgetti can either be warmed up in a pan just before you’re ready to eat, or you can serve it cold and more as a salad if you prefer maximum crunch. We wanted it somewhere in the middle so warmed it up in a pan for a couple of minutes, before removing and mixing in the sauce.

There are many variations with this dish, all dependent on what you have in your cupboard and what you’re in the mood for. You can top it the same as you would do with any pasta or noodle dish, for a lighter alternative, or you can treat it as the base to a salad. We mixed it with our avocado sauce and then topped it off with raisins, toasted walnuts, grilled artichoke hearts and grilled tomatoes, – delicious!

For the sauce, you will need (serves two):

  • Half an avocado
  • A squeeze of lemon
  • A splash of water
  • 3 cloves of garlic, roughly crushed/chopped
  • Half a green chilli, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp of dried, mixed herbs
  • Salt and pepper

For the courgetti (serves two):

  • 1 courgette
  • 1 red onion
  • A small handful of walnuts, crushed and toasted
  • A small handful of raisins
  • 4 grilled cherry tomatoes
  • A whole artichoke heart, cut into quarters and grilled (we go for the ones that are in a jar, rather than fresh)
  • A couple of handfuls of rocket or other fresh leaves
  • 4 whole garlic cloves, grilled

Method:

Start by turning the grill onto 180 degrees celsius and place your tomatoes, artichoke hearts and whole garlic cloves under it in an ovenproof dish.

You then want to prep the rest of your veg so that once the sauce is completed everything is pretty much ready to go. Spiralize your courgette, slice the onion finely and set these aside (if you don’t have a spiralizer then either grate it to a rice-like consistency, or cut it into fine and thin strips. Even slicing the courgette into discs will still be delicious!).

Next, crush your walnuts and toast in a frying pan for about 2 minutes, tossing the pan every now and then. Once these have coloured on each side and a nutty aroma has filled the air then turn off the hob and start your sauce.

Place all the ingredients for the sauce together and blend until it is a smooth consistency. Feel free to add a little more lemon or a few more herbs once you have tasted it as really depends on what you fancy!

Lightly warm up your courgetti and onion in a pan for about 2 minutes, or longer if you prefer it softer. Once it is how you like it, remove from the heat and tip into a mixing bowl with the avocado sauce. Mix both together well, tossing in your raisins and divide onto separate plates.
Sprinkle on your fresh leaves and remove the grilled veg from the other. Divide these into two and place them onto the plates, sprinkle on your nuts and an extra sprinkle of pepper and you’re ready to go!

Baked Falafel

Falafel

Falafels have become one of our weekly, regular meals. We love making an occasion out of them, because making falafel really just means making a whole Middle Eastern spread. We go a bit overboard making hummus, dolmades, halloumi, grilled artichokes and a Greek salad to accompany them…usually we have a flatbread and a few other dips too. Really, however you choose to eat your falafels, we’re sure that they will be delicious and see no possibility of them being a disappointment..!

If you’re feeling lazy, buy some pitta breads, make a quick hummus with the other half of your chickpeas (recipe can be found here), and enjoy them with some salad in the warm, lightly toasted pitta. If not, make a decadent spread like us and enjoy it over the course of the evening.

For two:

  •  150grams Chickpeas (roughly half a can or so, or more depending on your appetites and the accompaniments to your meal!)
  • Half a red onion, finely chopped
  • Spices of your choice – we usually like to use cumin, paprika, ginger, salt and pepper, but really any will be delicious. Coriander is always a nice addition, along with stronger chilli powder!
  • 1 ½ – 2 tsps of gram flour but normal flour will do
  • Half a teaspoon of baking powder
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • A generous handful of parsley
  • The juice of half a lemon
  • 2 Tblsp sesame seeds

Method:

First, preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius whilst you prep your ingredients.
Finely chop the onion, garlic and parsley and add to a mixing bowl, along with your chickpeas.
Put a dash of each of your chosen spices in the bowl and the rest of the ingredients and mix all of these together. You want to mash the mixture slightly before blending it for a minute or so (our ideal texture is for the herbs and spices to be blended in well but for the mixture to still retain some chunky texture, which the chickpeas will give it).
Once it has a taste and texture that you are happy with, roll the mixture into individual balls, which are roughly an inch ½ by an inch ½. You should get around 2-3 falafel balls each.
Pour some sesame seeds into a small dish and roll each ball in the seeds so that they are all lightly coated.
You are then ready to bake your falafel – it really was that simple. Put all falafels into an ovenproof dish and bake for around 40 minutes, turning them over after 20.

Enjoy!

Baked Sweet Potato with Pomegranite Seeds and an Avocado-drizzle

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Comfort food comes in different forms for everyone. To some people, a tub of ice cream with all the toppings is the ideal, others want the gooiest macaroni cheese possible and there are those who find solace in freshness.
We fall in to every category, depending on the situation. Looking out the window into the grey skies, skies that get darker earlier each day, to the pile of jumpers that litter our floor and the empty sachets of lemsip overflowing the bin, it’s impossible not to think one thing – the best part of winter is Christmas. Now that Christmas has come and gone we’re left with cold and dreary, dark evenings. So our comfort food has to have a little bit of everything at the moment; a little sweet, plenty of spice, texture and please, colour!

This is our recipe for a simple comfort food that will cook just long enough for you to, perhaps, have some of your last mulled wine left over from the festive season, get into your pj’s, turn on your telly and get ready to chow down.
This is a baked sweet potato topped with some of our favourite things: Prawns, avocado drizzle, pomegranite seeds, salsa, and avocado chunks.

You will need (serves two):

  • 2 x Sweet Potatoes
  • 1 x Ripe Avocado
  • 3 X Tomatoes
  • 6 x King Prawns
  • A bunch of fresh coriander
  • Half a pomegranate, de-seeded
  • 2 x Spring onions
  • Ground chipotle pepper or paprika
  • 1 inch or so of cucumber,
  • finely sliced jalapeños
  • 1 large red onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • The juice of 2 limes

Method:

The first thing to do is to turn the oven to 180 degrees celcius. Once this has heated up, stab a couple of holes in the sweet potato with a fork, rub in a little oil and salt and place it in the oven for about an hour, until the skin is crisp abut the middle is soft to the touch. Be careful when checking how soft the sweet potato is as it will be hot.

Next, marinade the prawns. Crush the garlic and mix it with a squeeze of lime juice, a little coriander, and a little teaspoon of chipotle, or paprika if using, and add some salt and pepper. Then cover it and place it in the fridge.

Now make your salsa; simply take the cucumber, spring onions, tomatoes and the red onion and chop as finely as you like. The measurements are what we like, so feel free to adapt as you see fit.
As far as spice goes this is also completely up to you – take your jar of jalapeños and use as many as you feel like, add some of the juice from the jar and the half a lime’s worth of juice to give it a saucy substance. Add some coriander, put it in a bowl then put it in the fridge, next to your prawns.

For the avocado drizzle, take half the avocado and scoop out the flesh, mix it with 1 clove garlic, a small handful of coriander, some of the jalapeño juice, salt and pepper and a squeeze of lime and blend, if its too chunky, just add a little water and it’ll go nice and silky.

Finally chop up the other half of the avocados into chunks. When your sweet potato is ready, take it out and let it cool for 2-5 minutes. Whilst this is cooling you can cook up the prawns, add a little oil to a pan and once this is nice and hot throw in your prawns until they’re lovely and pink.
Slice into the sweet potato, let out a little steam and assemble. We like to mix the avocado chunks with the salsa then a little salad (rocket is our favourite but whatever you have will do), then the avocado drizzle, the prawns and finally sprinkle with plenty of pomegranate seeds, coriander and a last squeeze of lime.

Baked sweet potatoes are great with whatever topping you decide to choose – the skin caremelises more than a normal baked potato and oozes a sweet but crispy taste and texture.
Even if you decide to go with a classic tuna and sweetcorn filling, we’re sure that it won’t disappoint, but this recipe in particular is a colourful, flavourful and wonderful dish that will warm the heart and the toes in the cold moths still to come!

 

Warm Lentil/Mung-Bean & Kale Salad

This salad had all the components for a delicious mid-week meal; it was bursting with flavours and textures, alongside being delicately spiced. The warmth of the lentils transformed it from a packed lunch to a light and tasty supper and it took hardly any effort or energy at all. There was still time to relax after work, make some mulled wine and prepare for the day ahead…No excuses!

Ingredients (serves 2):

  • Puy lentils, mung beans or any other lentils/beans you have in your cupboards
  • Shiitake Mushrooms
  • Half an Avocado
  • Half a Red Onion
  • A Large Handful of Kale (roughly chopped)
  • 1 Vegetable Stock Cube
  • Water (?)
  • 2 Poached Eggs
  • 2 Cherry Tomatoes (Grilled)
  • Half a Teaspoon of Ras el hanout
  • Half a Teaspoon of Cumin
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic (we love garlic)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • A Small bunch of chopped coriander

Method:

Depending on which type of mushrooms you’ve gone for (dried or fresh) your preparation will vary. If you have gone for the dried shiitake mushrooms (which have definitely won us over recently – they’re so packed with flavour!) then you will need to soak these for a good few hours. We say the longer the better; if you can soak them when you wake up, then they should be good and ready for your meal that evening.

Once soaked and therefore soft, chop these into slices and set aside. Then finely chop your garlic, red onion and coriander. Heat up a medium sized saucepan with whatever oil you choose (we went for coconut to infuse the vegetables a little more), and then add your onion, garlic and mushrooms.

Once these have browned and softened slightly, pour in the lentils/beans and stir for a minute or so whilst your water is boiling to make up your stock.

Pour in the stock slowly and ensure that the heat is kept low! Treat lentils similarly to risotto rice – it’s a slow and gradual process in which the flavours infuse gradually and the ingredients soften. It makes us wince watching people make risotto when the heat is up full blast and the entire dish is whipped up in 20 minutes or so…A slow and low heat is key for perfect taste and texture!

Stir in your cumin, raz el hanout and a pinch of salt and pepper. Once the lentils are about five/ten minutes from being finished, throw in the roughly chopped kale and coriander and put your cherry tomatoes under your pre-heated grill to soften. Leave the lentils on an even lower heat for the last few minutes whilst you boil water and poach your eggs (if the mixture has reduced too much and is thicker than you would like, add in a couple of splashes of water and adjust the spices and seasoning to your taste).
When your eggs are a couple of minutes off, slice your avocado and start plating up. We put the lentils into the bowls first, followed by the eggs and then layered the sliced avocado delicately on top. We topped it all with a sprinkle of pepper, some fresh coriander and the grilled tomato – delicious!

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‘New York’ style Pizza

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Over the past year or so we’ve tried many different pizza dough recipes and this one’s our favourite so far. There are so many tiny details that make such a difference, and that’s before you start deciding on your toppings! This time we were lucky enough to use homegrown tomatoes for the sauce, which made it even better than normal. So here’s our dough and sauce recipes, a couple of ideas for toppings and a few tips:

Ingredients for the dough (makes 2 14inch pizzas):

  • 400 grams of all purpose or bread flour (3.25 cups)
  • 245 ml of warm/room temperature water (just over 1 cup)
  • 1.75 grams of instant dry yeast (half a teaspoon)
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of olive oil

Ingredients for the sauce: 

  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes (or six whole fresh tomatoes, chopped)
  • 1 red onion diced (white would work too)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 chilli
  • a couple of sprinkles of oregano
  • a dash of balsamic vinegar (optional)
  • a pinch of salt and pepper

Method:

First make the dough. Place the water in a mixing bowl and add the yeast, then set aside for at least five minutes.
In a separate bowl combine the salt and flour and mix well. Pour the flour into the water and mix until all of the flour is incorporated. Add the oil and knead for 5-10 minutes. The dough should be warm to touch but it is important not to over-knead it too!

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Kneading the dough

For the best results divide the dough into two equal parts and place in  oiled/greased ziplock bags, or a cling-filmed mixing bowl. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours and up to 72 and remove an hour before baking.

It’s pizza day! Heat up your oven to 250 degrees celsius and if you have a pizza stone place this in the oven at the same time.

Whilst this is heating up start making your sauce.
Heat up a splash of oil in a small saucepan whilst you chop the onion, garlic and chilli. Gently fry for 3-5 minutes, until onions are translucent, then add your chopped tomatoes. If you’re using fresh tomatoes you may need a splash of water, and leave to simmer, stirring every couple of minutes.Season with oregano, salt, pepper and if you fancy the balsamic then go for it! We also like to use a little fennel or basil occasionally to mix it up.

Once all the tomatoes are softened nicely and your sauce has been simmering for about 10 minutes we like to blend everything. It’s optional but we find it makes for a nice texture, as well as spreading the flavours evenly throughout the sauce.

Now for the hard part…rolling out your pizza dough:
We’ve tried many different rolling techniques, the rolling pin is the easiest but probably makes the worst crust. This guy has a really good video and what we recommend is to try and copy him..:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=33&v=WX2zm_Crxvk

Pizza dough rolled, sauce made, the only thing to do is to choose your toppings! (As a tip, go light on the sauce as you don’t want the dough to get too wet. Also, don’t go too close to the edge if you want a nice fluffy crust).

Here are some of our favourite toppings:

  • Black olives
  • Grilled artichoke hearts
  • Mushrooms
  • Spinach
  • Red onion slices
  • Capers always go well with anchovies or any fish you have at home (last night we tried out sardines and it was great!)
  • Rocket (add at the end)
  • A classic ‘new york’ pizza is a blend of mozzarella and parmesan and nowadays there are plenty of good vegan options available. It is not essential however, we like it for the texture but plain tomato with vegetable toppings are still delicious!

Once the pizza is topped, take care when moving it onto the hot pizza stone. We recently got a pizza paddle as a present and it works really well.
Two tips: The first is sprinkle a little semolina onto the base of your pizza. This makes it crisp up nicely and also helps prevent sticking. The second one is to make sure you can transfer your pizza onto the stone with ease, before going overboard on the toppings (we made that mistake so you don’t have to!).

IMG_6480
Our pizza’s are placed on a well used stone ready to go in the oven.

Bake your pizza until it is nice and brown. Roughly 10 minutes if you have a pizza stone, but it may take a little longer if not.

Enjoy!