Category Archives: Sugar Free

Fresh herbs and quinoa salad..

In this bowl is a salad I made recently topped with a newly created dip/sauce and sprinkled with some dried barberries and za’atar.

For the salad, I chopped fresh coriander and parsley with garlic and sunblush semi dried tomatoes. I stirred in some olive oil and seasoning as well as some ground roasted cumin seeds, before mixing it with quinoa cooked my way.

To make the sauce/dip, I blended soft white cooked beans with buttermilk, tahini, lemon juice and garlic until I got a consistency and flavour that I liked.

Sorry for the lack of weights and measures but I do tend to just throw things together!

Have fun in your kitchen!

Roasted cashew and marmite nut butter..

Having recently fallen in love with marmite peanut butter and used it in some recipes, I decided to see what I could create of my own version.

Please note: Making nut butters requires a sturdy food processor as it can take some time for the nuts to ‘give’ and become a paste. It’s easy for motors to get burnt out!

For this concoction, I roasted some cashew nuts myself, then kept a portion back to be able to add them later and keep some crunch in the mixture. I also needed to add some oil to loosen the mix so I used a relatively flavourless rapeseed oil.

Be warned if you do make this, it’s very tasty!!! And very easy to eat 😄😄😄😄

Ingredients

400g roasted cashew nuts

Marmite

Rapeseed oil

Method

In a blender, start blending 300g of the nuts. It will take quite a while before it starts to become a paste, 5-10 minutes. Add 2-3 teaspoons of marmite once then nuts do become a paste, the amount will depend on your tastes.

You may find that the added marmite stiffens the mixture, so this is when to drizzle in some oil to loosen it again.

Next add the remaining nuts and blend briefly to create a crunchy finish.

If you prefer a smooth paste, add all of the nuts at the beginning.

Use as you would marmite peanut butter, or any nut butter or spread.

I did the same with some roasted hazelnuts…which worked equally well!

Enjoy!

Lots of lovely food! Dips and salads…

I’ve been washing and chopping and blending and tasting today and thought it was way beyond time that I share some of my recent concoctions…

This morning I was very excited to discover wild garlic leaves coming up in the secret place that I found it growing locally last year. I came home from walking Bob with some fresh leaves and added them to some of today’s creations.

I didn’t weigh and measure things but I can tell you what went into them..

Roasted butternut squash and sweet potato with chopped fresh leaf parsley and coriander, baby spinach leaves, garlic cloves, chopped spring onions, ground roasted cumin, salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon juice

Peas, chopped fresh leaf parsley and coriander, wild garlic leaves, garlic clove, ground cumin, coriander and caraway seeds, sumac, Aleppo chilli flakes, salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon juice. Lovely eaten with some grains and tahini & buttermilk sauce 🙂

A huge bag of baby spinach leaves, a couple of garlic cloves, ground roasted cumin, seasoning, olive oil and pomegranate molasses. I sometimes add spring onions this mix, and various spices

Roasted butternut squash flesh, homemade harissa, tahini and lemon juice

Peas, wild garlic leaves, tahini and lemon juice

Homemade harissa, buttermilk and tahini

All to be eaten with some lovely sourdough of course!

Have a great week 🙂

My sourdough buttermilk scones/biscuits…

I’ve just published a recipe that I devised for these sourdough biscuits/scones on my sourdough blog, and I think some of you would like them too, so I thought I’d share the link here for you…

Sourdough buttermilk scones/biscuits

They come with a warning: they’re very moreish!!!

Introducing foodbod Sourdough…

As I mentioned in my previous post, there’s been a lot of sourdough action in my kitchen recently. I’ve been baking and drying and reviving and noting…and it’s all been for this…

I’m very happy to share with you that I have launched a brand new website this week, dedicated to sourdough. I have decanted every bit of my knowledge onto the site, including how to look after your starter, my master recipe, and my dried starter available to buy. I’ve included as much detail as possible, lots of photos, and links to my videos of me in action. I’ve already had great feedback from people using my recipe which makes me so very happy!

So, if you want to know how I make this happen…

…then visit my new website…

www.foodbodsourdough.com

Please do have a look around and let me know what you think.

This new site and my sourdough journey would never have happened without this blog, I have so many of you to thank for all of your kind words and support, especially Celia and Selma x

This blog will continue, but I will be sharing more of my sourdough experiments on the blog attached to my new site, so please do visit and follow xx

Happy baking!

I will be sharing my news with everyone at this week’s Fiesta Friday, so many of whom have been so kind about my sourdough offerings in the past 🙂

Wild garlic flower oat cakes…

I fancied some oat cakes recently, I have no idea why, I haven’t had an oat cake for years, but sometimes something just takes your fancy doesn’t it?

So I decided to look up some recipes and see how to make them myself. There’s many recipes if you search for them, all with their slight variations; I read a few, got the basic idea, and devised my own plan.

I have continued foraging for wild garlic this week, in particular for the flowers; the plants are now flowering like mad and I think they’re so very pretty, as well as being tasty. I’ve collected them to use raw in and over dishes, and I’ve dried some in the oven for other experiments, so when I was pondering oat cakes, wild garlic was still very much on my mind.

For the first batch I made, above and below, I added crumbled, dried wild garlic flowers to the oat dough, as well as pressing dried flowers into some of them.

In the second batch, below, I added some dried and crumbled wild garlic leaves and added some non dried flowers instead to see how they would fare..

I also made a version with added sesame and pumpkins seeds, which worked well too, just not as pretty 😉

So whether you fancy some plain or pimped, here’s the recipe I used:

Ingredients

200g oats (I’ve used thick Scottish oats)

1/2 – 1 tsp salt to taste

50ml olive/rapeseed oil

A few tablespoons of boiling water

Method

Preheat your oven to 160C fan, 180C.

Line 1 large or 2 medium baking trays with baking parchment.

Put 100g of the oats into a mixing bowl, and the other 100g into a blender and run it to make a fine oat flour.

Add the oat flour & salt to the whole oats and add any extra ingredients that you want to add: a handful of seeds, some herbs, spices, chopped nuts…the possibilities are endless.

Drizzle over the oil.

Add 2-3 tablespoons of hot water and start to mix it all into a dough, add extra water as necessary to bring it into a usable dough.

Generously flour your work surface and roll the dough out to about 3mm thick.

*This is the point at which I pressed the flowers into the oat cakes.

Cut out the oat cakes with cookie cutters, I used 6cm and 8cm diameter ones.

Use a palette knife or fish slice to lift the cut rounds onto the parchment paper.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, turning once halfway through.

*The time required to bake them may change depending on how much water you’ve added and what additional ingredients you’ve included.

Assess the oat cakes yourself to ensure they are as cooked and crunchy as you want them to be.

Allow them to cool to harden further.

Enjoy them on their own or adorned with whatever topping you like.

Store them in an airtight container. Mine softened after a couple of days but they were still good and the wild garlic flavour worked well.

My weekend brunch.

I hope you have fun with some oats cakes!

Toasted rice green tea…

I drink a lot of green tea, and I’ve tried many many types and flavours, and my favourite is definitely ‘genmaicha’, a Japanese green tea with ‘genmai’ or roasted rice. The smell when you make the tea is gorgeous, and the rice adds a wonderful flavour to it. Some makes call it popcorn green tea because of how good it smells, a bit like popcorn.

As happens, a lot, I wondered about roasting the rice myself and making my own version of the tea so that I can control the amount of rice and the flavour – added to which, genmaicha tea is never the cheapest green tea to buy so why not attempt my own??

I had some roasted leaf green tea in my cupboard and thought that the toasted rice would be a nice addition to it, so I set about the Internet to see if anyone else had made their own too. I found one site with some useful information and I made my own assessment of what they’d done and made my own plan…

In a perfect world you’d use proper Japanese rice, but failing that, I used what I had: weirdly, I used Spanish paella rice. The rice is white and plump and looks a bit like a Japanese rice so why not?

I soaked the rice in lots of water for 24 hours then drained and dried it.

I then toasted it in a wide non stick pan over a medium to high heat for about 20 mins, moving it constantly. As it started to brown, I kept a really keen eye on it and didn’t leave it alone at all to ensure none of it burnt.

I then poured it into a large piece of grease proof paper to cool before testing it in my tea.

And hey presto! It works!!! It tastes great! It’s so cool!

So, if you’ve never tried it before, how about making your own genmaicha?

I’m taking my tea along to this week’s Fiesta Friday, co hosted this week by Diann and Antonia, and hope that everyone enjoys a refreshing cup of my homemade genmaicha…

UPDATE: I have now also soaked and toasted brown basmati rice which I added to loose sencha green tea – this works REALLY well. The rice smells so good and adds great flavour, and some even pop in the pan. And the sencha is a lovely smooth refreshing green tea…

Roasted persimmons…

I don’t have much imagery for this post, in fact, I can only offer you one photo; but I can elaborate verbally about this dish and hope that I capture your imagination…

Back in December, I came home from Costco with a box of persimmons, like you do, then realised that I was never going to be able to eat them all myself. I rarely eat fruit as it is, so 6 huge persimmons seemed like a mountain of fruit to me. Plus when I tried one, it wasn’t wholly ripe, or tasty. So I tried roasting some; why not, it works for vegetables, I thought it might perk up my persimmons.

And it did. The slices caramelised and sweetened. I tried some with some tahini sauce, a bit of yogurt and some toasted flaked almonds, and it made a perfect sweet treat…probably just a bit too sweet for me, so the yogurt and tahini were perfect ways to tone it down…

Following this experiment, over the festive period I decided to offer this as a dessert choice for my visiting family.

I cut the persimmons into segments, tossed them with a tiny amount of olive oil, then roasted them for 30-40 mins at 200C, moving them around the pan halfway through. Served with yoghurt, they provided a perfect alternative dessert.

The leftovers lasted a couple of days and were just as nice cold, again with yoghurt and another day with my porridge.

I highly recommend roasting your persimmons! I should imagine they are similar to roasted plums or peaches in consistency, and just provide something different 🙂

I shall be sharing this with everyone at this week’s Fiesta Friday, co hosted this week by Shinta and Diann….it’s been too long since I joined in!

Falafels cooked in a aebelskiver/poffertjes pan..

I’ve made falafels many times before, always oven baked because I could just never bring myself to fry them! I’ve also seen posts from people using a poffertjes pan to cook falafels, and other patties and Indian cutlets, and decided it was time for me to finally treat myself to one.

For me, I remember this type of pan from my childhood for making mini Dutch pancakes ‘poffertjes’, but to you it may be an aebelskiver pan, used for making similar Danish goodies. It makes total sense to use them for cooking falafels or patties on a hob/stove with minimal oil. You can see below the tiny drops of oil in each hollow which proved to be a perfect amount…

I used it for the first time today for falafels and I will definitely use it again for these and other concoctions. 

The recipe I’m sharing below is a pretty standard falafel recipe, it is simple to play with it and create your own versions however. Today I threw together chickpeas, spring onions, garlic, dried herbs, spices, chickpea flour and lemon juice and it worked a treat! I got in there with my hands and started making little balls of mix which I flattened slightly in preparation to cook them. 

I have to tell you – I didn’t weigh or measure anything and I produced the perfect number of patties for the pan by pure luck….or sheer fluke!!!

Ingredients

250g dried chickpeas, placed in a large bowl of water and soaked overnight
1 medium red onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled
1 bunch flat leaf parsley
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 cayenne pepper (optional)
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt to taste
Flour of your choice as needed – I used chickpea flour, but it can be any flour 
Some people also add half a teaspoon of baking powder, I didn’t this time


Method

Wash and drain the chickpeas
Put everything EXCEPT the flour in a blender and chop to a chunky crumb, then put it all into a large bowl
Add enough flour to bring the mixture together in your hands, then create small balls of the mix and flatten them slightly to make the falafel shape 
Put your poffertjes pan over a low/medium heat and place a small amount of oil in each dip and allow it to heat up briefly
Place a falafel in each dip and cook for about 15 minutes depending on the size and the heat your using, I kept checking mine and moving the pan around as it doesn’t sit evenly over the gas on the hob/stove 

I served mine on freshly made homous as is traditional, I highly recommend it! 

I’m taking my falafels to this week’s Fiesta Friday, co hosted this week by the lovely Jhuls and Antonia

Whole lemon dressings and experiments..

It all began with Sally’s post, in which she uses whole lemons in a marinade for pork; I couldn’t help thinking it would make an interesting dressing. Then up popped Mimis post: a whole lemon dressing, by which time I needed to give this a try…

…and so I did!

So, when I say ‘whole lemon’ I really mean the WHOLE lemon. All I did was give a couple of lemons a wash, cut them into quarters, then eighths, removed any pips, then put them in the blender with some olive oil, salt and pepper, and a splash of honey. The resulting dressing is really nice, not overwhelmingly lemony because you’re not actually using a massive amount of juice from 2 small lemons. You can taste the rind flavour, which is not as sour as the actual juice, just different. And you can tone it down with some honey if necessary. I added a very very small amount of honey, more just to see what it does to the taste. 

My blender left me with some texture to the dressing which I liked. 

To store the remainders, on the advice of the eminent scientist Sally, the self same Sally as named above, I stored the dressing in a jar in the fridge. This then really firmed up the mixtures so that when I went to use it again, the texture had changed again, but in a nice way as far as I was concerned. Plus the flavour had developed more after a few days.

You can see that it’s a bit grainier. 

Then up popped Laura’s post who had also been expirementing with whole lemons: this time making a spinach and whole lemon pesto. With this in mind, I whizzed up the remains of my whole lemon dressing with some spinach, walnuts and a tabil spice mix that I’d made (equal amounts of roasted cumin, coriander & caraway seeds) to create something new…

…which went nicely with grains, homous and roasted chickpeas. 

There will no doubt be more experiments with whole lemons to come in my kitchen, but I hope you find this interesting so far. I use so much lemon juice, and I try not to waste the skins (I have jars and jars of pickled lemon skins & preserved lemon skins), so using the whole fruit is really inviting. 

Fancy giving it a try?