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Pistou

This recipe of pistou from the book Top 100 Low-Carb Recipes by Nicola Graimes is a new take on the traditional soupe au pistou which is a specialty from the south of France, Provence to be exact and eaten in the summer months.

Low Carb Recipe 1

Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil

1 leek, sliced

1 small carrot, finely chopped

1 stick celery, finely chopped

3 green beans, thinly sliced

700ml/11⁄4 pints/3 cups vegetable stock

150ml/5fl oz/2⁄3 cup pasta

1 bay leaf

30g/1oz/1⁄2 cup whole-wheat conchigliette (small shells) pasta

30g/1oz/1⁄2 cup canned cannellini beans, rinsed

sprig of fresh rosemary

salt and freshly ground black pepper

a few shavings of Parmesan, to serve

1 tbsp pesto, to serve

Method:

  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the leek. Cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender. Add the carrot, celery and green beans and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  • Pour in the stock and pasta and add the bay leaf, stir well. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, half-covered, for 15 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and using a hand-blender or food processor, semi-purée the vegetables.
  • Return the bay leaf to the soup, add the pasta, cannellini beans, and rosemary and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat slightly and cook for 10 minutes or until the pasta is tender. You may need to add some extra stock or water if the soup seems too thick. Remove the bay leaf and rosemary and season to taste.
  • Divide between 2 bowls. Serve with the Parmesan shavings and a spoonful of pesto.

Top 100 Low-Carb Recipes

Nicola Graimes

Top 100 Low-Carb Recipes

£5.99, available from Nourish Books

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Slow Road to Success

goats cheese and honey maslin main(1)

This article is adapted from Slow Dough by Chris Young.

In the words of my father in law and dad, respectively: slow down and get real.

Industrial bakeries have a tendency to throw all sorts of artificial additives into their doughs, some in an attempt to reduce that very important natural ingredient: time.

Even some domestic baking recipe writers and teachers seem to be in a race to the finish line, instructing their readers to use fast action yeast, added sugar and warm proving, declaring with glee how little time the loaf will take.

They suggest that dough must be kept somewhere warm to rise, or that yeast left anywhere cooler than their fevered brows will DIE! What they overlook is the fact that fresh yeast is generally stored in the fridge (at a far-from-balmy 1–3°C) and that a standard piece of professional bakery kit is a retarder, which is basically a big dough fridge.

Another trick up the speed freak’s sleeve is the addition of sugar, be that refined or in another form, such as honey or agave syrup. This puts yeast cells on a ‘high’, and into a CO2-producing overdrive. There is, however, more than enough energy contained in the flour, which the yeast is eminently capable of obtaining for itself. In fact, beyond a certain level of added sugar, the yeast struggles to cope.

So, what’s wrong with speeding things up? Why would you want to delay the opportunity to tear into a freshly baked loaf, slather it with butter and tuck in?

Thankfully, more and more people seem to be heeding Real Bread bakers’ reminder that long and slow tends to be far more satisfying than a quick finish. A long-proved dough has more time to develop flavour, tends to produce a less crumbly loaf and, in the case of genuine sourdough, might be easier to digest.

For many people, what allowing their dough time to ‘do what a dough’s gotta do’ is simply a matter of good taste. Yes, you can bang out a loaf using warm water and a sachet of instant yeast in an hour or so, but you might be short changing yourself. Real Bread is a natural product and, just as with a whole range of food and drink, from ripening fruit to maturing beef, whisky, wine or cheese, time is essential in getting the very best product.

During this time, all sorts of biochemical alchemy goes on that, ultimately, will result in a texture, depth and complexity of flavour and aroma that can’t be rushed or synthesised, whatever the pedlars of ‘bread flavour’ (I kid you not) to big industry or ‘artisan sourdough’ packet mixes to unsuspecting home bakers might say.  You might also find that a long fermented loaf is less crumbly and stales more slowly.

Time is on your side
Happily, this extra time need not eat into your time: it can in fact buy you time while the dough gets on with it. Perhaps counter-intuitively, using a recipe with less yeast and letting dough rise slowly somewhere cooler, in some cases all day or even overnight, allows you to go off and do something else.

You may think that great flavour and a relaxed baking schedule are reason enough to slow things down, but when it comes to sourdough, there might be more benefits…

Chris Young is Campaign Co-ordinator for The Real Bread Campaign, a charity project with a mission to promote additive-free bread. In addition to compiling this book, Chris edits the quarterly magazine True Loaf, and wrote Knead to Know, the campaign’s first book. His work has appeared in publications including Spear’s Magazine, The Real Food Cookbook and the London ethical food magazine, The Jellied Eel, which he also edits.

Slow-Dough-300x386

Chris Young
Slow Dough: Real Bread
£20.00, available from Nourish Books

 

 

 

 

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Kefir Lime Colada

Water kefir from The Supercharged Green Juice & Smoothie Diet by Christine Bailey is simple to make and an effective way to support your gut health and give your immune system a boost as well. By blending in fruit and supercharged foods you create an amazing, healthy, fizzy smoothie.

Supercharged Diet 2

 

Ingredients:

zest and juice of 1 lime

80g/2 ¾ oz fresh or frozen pineapple, chopped

1 tbsp lucuma powder

250ml/9fl oz/1 cup water kefir

1 tsp tocotrienols or oil of 1 vitamin

E capsule, plus the squeezed capsule

1 tsp probiotic powder

1 tsp manuka or raw honey, or coconut sugar

4 ice cubes

Method:

  • Put all the ingredients, except the ice, into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth and creamy.
  • Add the ice and blend to create a slushy drink.
  • Serve immediately.

Supercharged Green Juice & Smoothie Diet

Christine Bailey

The Supercharged Green Juice & Smoothie Diet

£10.99, available from Nourish Books

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Meet Bethany Kehdy, Today’s Guest Instagrammer!

Happy publishing day to Bethany Kehdy’s The Jewelled Kitchen! Take a look at our Instagram account, Bethany will be our guest Instagrammer for the day.

Bethany Kehdy is an unrivalled chef of today’s new Middle Eastern generation. Bethany works as a recipe developer, freelance food and travel writer and food photographer. She also leads culinary tours across Lebanon and organizes Food Blogger Connect, a conference for food bloggers. Bethany is a Lebanese-American born in Houston, Texas and brought up in Lebanon, she spent countless hours learning to cook with her perfectionist teta (grandmother), her vivacious dad and her spirited aunts. Her recipes are a harmonious balance of classic and contemporary, as she draws upon her childhood roots while adding her own personal twist to these iconic recipes.Bethany-Khedy

 

Nourish: Where does your passion for cooking come from?
Bethany: I grew up in a family that enjoys food and feasts. My father loved to cook and had and still has a big appetite. We also grew up on the ancestral farm in the mountains for a period of time during the civil war and at the end of summer my grandmother would begin preserving the harvests of the land as part of the Lebanese mouneh or pantry. These experiences are a big part of my memory.

N: How did the idea of writing Jewelled Kitchen come about? How did you enjoy the process of writing?
B: I was approached with an idea to write an introductory book on the cuisines of the Middle East and I had been at the time toying with a similar idea for a book. It was both enjoyable and agonising. I really didn’t know what to expect and it was a huge learning curve. I do love the process of writing cookbooks and the creative journey as agonising as it still feels.

N: Can you describe your book? What should the reader expect from it?
B: The Jewelled Kitchen focuses on the cuisine of the region; it’s an introductory book on the cuisine of the Middle East, covering the more famous and lesser known classics. The dishes are introduced in a way that makes them modern and accessible yet still authentic and maintaining the integrity of the dish.

N: What are your cooking inspirations?
B: I am inspired by beautiful produce in its season- when you look at an ingredient which is at its prime, it instigates this childlike excitement of wanting to take it home and all the excitement of exploring the ways in which you can present it as a meal. I also love reading old, scholarly cookbooks and delving into ancient culinary repertoires which often spur ideas in my mind. And of course, I get a lot of inspiration from visiting our Taste Lebanon producers and driving around Lebanon to see what’s cooking. My dad and I often vibe of each other too.

N: What was the first dish you mastered?
B; I guess it was that pasta dish I would make almost everyday when I was 14 for anyone that would consider trying it. I would make this sauce that was heavy on the garlic and olives. I seemed to think it was the best thing in the world- I don’t think I would if I was to try it now.

N: What is your favourite Middle Eastern dish?
B: Gosh too many! I’m into tabeekh or the stews and one-pots- so it’s mjadara, fassolia, mloukhieh, bamieh, loubieh b zeit.

N: What are the ingredients you must have to prepare a perfect Middle Eastern dish?
B: Garlic, onions, olive oil and spices- a well stocked pantry really.

The Jewelled Kitchen

Bethany Kehdy
The Jewelled Kitchen
£14.99, available from Nourish Books

 

 

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Heavy Metal Detox

Rich with coriander and watercress, and with fruity highlights, this intensely green smoothie from the book The Supercharged Green Juice & Smoothie Diet by Christine Bailey packs quite a punch. It will keep your body clean and help to remove toxins and waste material – a great smoothie to include in a detox or cleansing programme. Freezing the banana keeps the taste fresh and light.

Supercharged Diet 1

 

Ingredients:

1 small banana

¼ tsp chlorella powder

¼ tsp wheatgrass powder

1 tsp ground flaxseed

1 small handful of coriander leaves

1 small handful of watercress leaves

¼ mango, peeled and chopped

100ml/3½fl oz/generous

1/3 cup coconut water or water

Method:

  • Chop the banana and put it into a freezer bag.
  • Exclude all the air, then seal and freeze overnight or until solid.
  • Put the banana into a blender or food processor and add the remaining ingredients.
  • Blend until smooth and creamy.
  • Serve immediately.

Supercharged Green

Christine Bailey

The Supercharged Green Juice & Smoothie Diet

£10.99, available from Nourish Books

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Sea Bass With Spiced Caramelized Onion Rice

Our Associate Publicist Jillian reviews the Sea Bass With Spiced Caramelized Onion Rice’s recipe, taken from Bethany Kehdy’s The Jewelled Kitchen. This fragrant dish called seeyadeeyeh is a family favourite. It was handed down to Bethany’s  Aunt Amale by her grandmother, finally making its way into Bethany’s repertoire. The author’s grandmother grew up along the coast of Batroun where her family’s picturesque restaurant, Jammal, still stands overlooking the water grottos where she once swam. This recipe is a homage to her sea-loving soul.

Sarka Babicka

 

Serves: 4

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 50 minutes

Ingredients:

whole sea bass, about 500g/1lb 2oz, cleaned and scaled

120ml/4 floz/½ cup sunflower oil

4 onions, thinly sliced

2 tbsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground allspice

200g/7oz/1 cup medium-grain rice

2 tbsp pine nuts

2 tbsp olive oil

3 tbsp finely chopped parsley leaves (optional)

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

lemon wedges, to serve

Tarator (see page 220), to serve

Method:

  • Cut off the fish head and season it with salt. Set aside the remaining fish. Heat the sunflower oil in a heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat. When the oil begins to sizzle, add the fish head and fry for about 5 minutes on each side. Remove the fish head and set aside.

JK Blog post prep

  • Add the onions to the pan and fry for about 5 minutes until golden, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and transfer the onions to a plate lined with paper towels. Spread three-quarters of the drained onions evenly across the base of a heavy-based saucepan. Place the pan over a low heat, add the fish head and cover with 500ml/17fl oz/ generous 2 cups water. Add the cumin, cinnamon and allspice, and season to taste with salt. Cover, increase the heat to medium-high and bring to the boil, then remove the fish head and reserve.
  • Add the rice to the pan, reduce the heat to low and cook, covered, for about 30 minutes or until the rice is tender and the water has been absorbed.
  • Preheat the oven to 200˚C/400˚F/Gas 6. Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts in a heavy-based pan over a medium heat for 1–2 minutes until golden and fragrant, shaking the pan often.
  • Put the uncooked fish in a baking dish, season to taste with salt and pepper and drizzle with the olive oil. Bake for 20 minutes or until the fish flakes easily when pushed with a fork. Divide the fish into four equal portions.
  • Transfer the cooked rice to a dish, stand the fish head in the centre, if you like, and arrange the fish portions on top of the rice. Add the remaining caramelized onions and the toasted pine nuts to the dish.
  • Sprinkle with parsley and serve the dish with the lemon wedges and Tarator.

Our Associate Publicist Jillian reviews this delicious recipe:

JK blog final

In my excitement at this week’s publication of The Jewelled Kitchen, I wanted to celebrate by making one of Bethany’s delightful dishes for a dinner party.

To complement the hot summer weather in London right now I decided to go for something light and fresh, and this fish dish felt the like perfect match. I especially liked that Bethany describes it as an ‘homage to her [grandmother’s] sea-loving soul’- thoughts of the sea, breezy and refreshing, felt like the right thing to channel on a sticky summer night!

Unfortunately I was unable to source a whole sea bass at my local Co-Op across from the tube station, so I settled for salmon instead, and made it alongside the moreish caramelized onion rice.

The rice took no time to cook, and was easily made at the same time as the fish. While both were cooking away I got to work on caramelizing the onions and toasting the pine nuts. The two ingredients go together perfectly- the nuts all toasty with their depth of flavour, and the onions sweet and rich. The golden brown colour that both reach when cooked match each other perfectly in this sumptuous dish. I mixed the onions and pine nuts into the rice, and sprinkled with chopped parsley to add a pop of freshness and colour to the dish, and the colours and flavours mingled beautifully- deep brown and bright green, and rich flavours offset by bursts of brightness.

I served the rice alongside my salmon substitute, as well as some asparagus sautéed in butter, garlic, and lemon. With a glass of crisp white wine on the side, this made for a delectable summer soiree meal.

Jewelled Kitchen

Bethany Kehdy
The Jewelled Kitchen
£14.99, available from Nourish Books

 

 

 

 

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Quinoa, Courgette and Herb Cakes

These little cakes from the book Healthy Speedy Suppers by Katriona MacGregor are free of gluten and dairy if you’re sensitive to either. The quinoa gives them a firm, nutty texture, which is delicious with the fresh herbs and courgette/zucchini. Dipped in a little garlic mayonnaise, chilli jam or tomato chutney, they’re wonderful.

Healthy Speedy Recipe 2

 

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

140g/5oz/1 cup quinoa

300g/10 ½ oz courgette/zucchini, grated

3 spring onions/scallions, sliced

1 garlic clove, crushed handful of mint leaves, shredded handful of parsley leaves, chopped

10 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped juice of ½ lemon

55g/2oz/ ½ cup cornflour/cornstarch

1 egg

rapeseed/canola oil, for frying

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

garlic mayonnaise, chilli jam or tomato chutney, to serve

green salad, to serve

Method:

  • Tip the quinoa into a small saucepan and cover with 300ml/10 ½ fl oz/ 1 ¼ cups of cold water. Bring to the boil, cover with a lid and cook for about 5 minutes until all the water has been absorbed and the quinoa is cooked. Turn out into a bowl and leave to one side to cool.
  • Meanwhile, place the grated courgette/zucchini in the bowl of a food processor with the spring onions/scallions, garlic, mint, parsley, sun-dried tomatoes, lemon juice and cornflour/cornstarch. Crack the egg straight into the mixture, add the quinoa, and season with salt and pepper. Blend for about 30 seconds to mix the ingredients thoroughly and to form a thick paste. Tip the mixture out into a bowl and taste to check the seasoning.
  • Heat about 5mm/1/4 in rapeseed/canola oil in a large frying pan until the oil is hot enough to sizzle loudly when you drop in a tiny bit of the courgette/ zucchini mixture.
  • Drop a heaped tablespoon of the mixture into the hot oil, flattening slightly with the back of the spoon to form round patties. Repeat until you have 3–4 cakes in the pan at the same time, or as many as your pan will fit comfortably, with room to turn.
  • After 3–4 minutes the underside of the cakes should be nicely golden and holding their shape. Gently flip them over and cook until the second side is golden. Lift the cakes out of the oil onto some paper towels and keep warm. Repeat until all of the mixture has been used; you should end up with 12–14 cakes.
  • Serve the cakes warm with green salad and your choice of dip.

Part-time variation:

  • To make a very quick garlic mayonnaise or aioli, add 2 crushed garlic cloves to 4 tbsp good-quality mayonnaise along with a squeeze of lemon juice. Season with freshly ground black pepper and, if needed, a little sea salt.

Healthy Speedy Suppers

Katriona MacGregor

Healthy Speedy Suppers

£16.99, available from Nourish Books

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Bethany Kehdy’s Favourite Summer Recipes

Summer and the Mediterranean go together like eggs and bacon (or just butter and eggs if you’re vegetarian) and here I’ve selected 6 of my favourite sun-soaked recipes that are light, vibrant and delicious. Bring them and friends together to make for a memorable lazy Eastern Mediterranean inspired lunch or late-evening alfresco gathering. Pop the arak open and enjoy.

Spinach & Labneh Dip
Booranis are a variety of yogurt-based dishes that are served as sides in Iran. They are cousins of mutabal, where yogurt is used instead of tahini. You can use any kind of green or vegetable instead of the spinach.

Serves: 4
Preparation time: 25 minutes, plus draining and chilling the yogurt and making the advieh, and the saffron liquid (optional)
Cooking time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:
2 tbsp sunflower oil
2 small shallots, finely chopped
1 onion, thinly sliced (optional)
300g/10 oz spinach leaves
a pinch of Advieh 1
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
200ml/7fl oz/heaped  cup Greek yogurt or Labneh Dip (see page 221) a squeeze of lemon juice
1 tsp Saffron Liquid (optional)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
warm Thin Flatbread or Toasted Triangles, to serve

Method:

1- Heat half the oil in a heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat. Add the shallots and fry for 8–10 minutes until soft and lightly golden. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Add the remaining oil to the pan and cook the sliced onion, if using, until golden and crispy. Set aside.

2- Meanwhile, put the spinach in a large saucepan and pour in 1l/35fl oz/4¹⁄³ cups boiling water. Cover and cook over a high heat for
1–2 minutes until it wilts. Rinse under cold running water, then drain well and squeeze firmly with the back of a spoon to extract as much liquid as you can.

3- Chop the spinach finely and add to the shallots. Add the advieh and garlic and season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix well and return the pan to a medium heat. Stir well, cooking for a further 2 minutes, then remove from the heat and leave to cool.

4- Position a colander over a bowl, and line the colander with two fine muslin cloths. Tip the yogurt in, join the sides of the cloth to create a pouch, and close by creating a tight knot. Squeeze the pouch and then leave it to sit in the colander as the whey drains for 10–15 minutes while the spinach cools. Discard the whey. Alternatively, if you have Labneh Dip on hand, you can use that.

5- Once the spinach mixture has cooled, transfer to a serving dish and mix in the yogurt. Add a squeeze of lemon juice, then taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Put in the refrigerator for 1 hour to chill. Drizzle with saffron liquid and sprinkle with caramelized onion, if using. Serve extremely cold with warm Thin Flatbread.
Fattoush saladSarka Babicka
Fattoush is a bread salad that has become synonymous with the Middle East. It’s a good choice when you want to use up some soon-to-expire vegetables and stale bread. Bread holds a symbolic, almost revered, status in the Middle East. Growing up, I learnt that if I found a piece on the floor I should pick it up, kiss it and place it somewhere it would be appreciated. “Bread and penny never wasted”: the idea is to make use of what is available and in season. Here is one of the many versions I’ve made over time.

Serves: 4
Preparation time: 10 minutes, plus making the toasted triangles

Ingredients:
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving
juice of 1  lemons
200g/7oz mixed green leaves
2 tomatoes, cut into thin wedges
2 small red onions, thinly sliced
100g/3 oz/1 cup radishes, thinly sliced
100g/3 oz/1 cup cucumber, halved lengthways and thinly sliced
2 tbsp finely chopped dill leaves
a small handful of parsley leaves
4 tsp sumac
75g/2 oz/5 tbsp pomegranate seeds (see page 216)
115g/4oz/⁄ cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 recipe quantity Toasted Triangles (see page 49)
1 ripe avocado
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
lemon wedges, to serve

Method:
1- To make the dressing, put the olive oil and most of the lemon juice in a mixing bowl and whisk together well. Adjust the sourness by adding  more lemon juice, if you like. (Note that the sumac will add a tang to the salad, so it’s best to err on the side of caution first and adjust the zing of the salad once it has all been dressed.) Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

2-Put the mixed leaves, tomatoes, red onions, radishes, cucumber, dill and parsley in a serving bowl and drizzle over the dressing. Toss well, then sprinkle with the sumac, pomegranate seeds, feta and toasted triangles.

3-Cut the avocado in half, remove the pit and scoop out and dice the flesh, then add to the salad and gently toss again. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Divide among four bowls and serve with lemon wedges and some extra olive oil.

Mussels in ArakSarka Babicka
Arak, very much the national drink in Lebanon, is nicknamed the “milk of lions”, most probably because when mixed with water to serve, it turns a milky white, but also because it was drunk by men, sometimes in the mornings, to show off their strength and masculinity. Arak is not traditionally used for cooking, but it works wonderfully in this dish, which has a double hit of anise from the Arak (use Pernod if you prefer) and tarragon. The flavour mellows nicely, leaving behind only the slightest hint of anise.

Serves: 4
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 12 minutes

Ingredients:
2kg/4lb 8oz fresh mussels
45g/1 oz/3 tablespoons salted butter
2 shallots, very finely chopped
200ml/7fl oz/scant 1 cup Arak or Pernod
200ml/7fl oz/scant 1 cup
dry white wine
2 tomatoes, very finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
juice of 1lemons
3 tbsp tarragon leaves, finely chopped, plus extra for sprinkling
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
warm Arabic Bread (see page 217) or Potato Matchsticks (see page 218), to serve

Method:

1- Wash the mussels under cold running water, pulling off any beards from the shells (this should be done with a gentle pull in the direction of the “hinge”). Only do this just before cooking as this process can injure/kill the mussel, which is why some may not open after cooking. Scrape off any barnacles using the back of a sharp knife and discard any open mussels that don’t close when given a tap on the work surface.

2- Melt the butter in a large, deep, heavy-based pan over a medium–low heat, add the shallots and cover and sweat for about 3–4 minutes until soft and translucent. Pour in the Arak and wine and add the tomatoes, garlic, bay leaf, lemon juice, tarragon, and salt and pepper to taste, then stir and simmer for about 2 minutes until reduced by half. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

3- Add 120ml/4fl oz/½ cup water if you find the broth too reduced, then add the mussels. Cover and cook for 3–4 minutes, shaking the pan gently until all the mussels have opened. Don’t overcook mussels, as they turn dry and tough. Discard any mussels that have not opened. Sprinkle with extra tarragon and serve with warm Arabic Bread or Potato Matchsticks.

Veiled Sea Bass with a Spicy SurpriseSarka Babicka
The inspiration for “veiling” these sea bass came from chef Greg Malouf, who “veils” quails using vine leaves. As I had an excess of bottled vine leaves, and a few sea bass defrosting, it seemed appropriate to marry them. The vine leaves lock the moisture in as the fish is steamed and they also lend a very subtle sweetness. If using fresh vine leaves, blanch them in boiling water for a minute, or until pliable.

Serves: 4
Preparation time: 20 minutes, plus making the preserved lemon
Cooking time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:
1 handful of parsley leaves
1 handful of coriander/cilantro leaves
2 tbsp finely chopped dill leaves
1 tbsp peeled and roughly chopped root ginger
1 mild red chilli, deseeded and roughly chopped
1 wedge of Preserved Lemon (see page 212), rind rinsed and roughly chopped
8 garlic cloves, crushed with the blade of a knife
tsp ground cumin
6 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing
4 sea bass, about 1.3kg/3lb in total, scaled and gutted
12 large bottled vine leaves, rinsed
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Couscous, to serve
lemon wedges, to serve

Method:

1- Preheat the oven to 190˚C/375˚F/Gas 5 and lightly grease a baking sheet with oil. Put the parsley, coriander/cilantro, dill, ginger, chilli, preserved lemon, garlic and cumin in a blender and pulse several times until you’ve made a rough paste, stopping to scrape the sides down as needed. Pour in 4 tablespoons of the oil and pulse once more to combine. Spoon the mixture into the fish cavities.

2- Season the sea bass with salt and pepper and rub with the remaining oil. Wrap each sea bass with 3 vine leaves, starting at the head and working all the way down, but leaving the tail exposed. Put the fish, seam-side down, on the baking sheet and bake for 20–25 minutes, depending on the size of the fish (the general rule is 7 minutes cooking time per 2.5cm/1in measured at the thickest part of the fish), until the fish is tender and cooked through. Serve with Couscous and lemon wedges.

Teta’s Smokey Musaqa’aSarka Babicka
The word moussaka, applied to the famous Greek dish, doesn’t actually have any meaning in the Greek language. Instead, it’s thought the dish came to Greece by way of the Phoenicians and then took on French influences (hence the béchamel sauce). Meaning “cold” or “chilled” in Arabic, musaqa’a is a humble vegetarian stew that is best served at room temperature.

Serves: 4
Preparation time: 30 minutes, plus soaking the chickpeas (optional)
Cooking time: 1 hour 5 minutes, plus cooking the chickpeas until they are just tender (optional)

Ingredients:
1kg/2lb 4oz aubergines/eggplants
120ml/4fl oz/  cup olive oil
1kg/2lb 4oz beefsteak tomatoes
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 onion, thinly sliced into rings
3 garlic cloves, crushed with the blade of a knife
125g/4 z/heaped  up dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and cooked until tender (see page 215), or 250g/9oz/heaped 1 cups canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
tsp ground allspice
1 tbsp tomato purée/paste (optional)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve
Greek yogurt
mint leaves (optional)
Arabic Bread (optional, see page 217)
Vermicelli Rice (optional, see page 215)

Method:
1- Preheat the oven to 200˚C/400˚C/Gas 6. Partially skin the aubergines/eggplants, leaving strips of skin about 2.5cm/1in wide, then cut them lengthways into 2cm/¾in slices. Brush the slices on both sides with
6 tablespoons of the olive oil (or more or less, as preferred) and place in a 20 x 15cm/8 x 6in baking dish, overlapping as necessary. Sprinkle with a little salt and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until soft. Alternatively, preheat the grill/broiler to medium-high and grill/broil the prepared slices for about 5 minutes on each side or until softened and lightly browned. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

2- Core the tomatoes and score the bottoms with a sharp knife. Put them in a heatproof bowl. Pour over enough boiling water to cover and leave for 1 minute, or until the skins begin to peel. Drain the tomatoes and plunge into cold water to stop them cooking, then peel off the skins and discard. Cut the tomatoes in half, scoop out and discard the seeds, then slice the tomatoes into 5mm/¼in thick slices.

3-Heat the sunflower oil in a heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, then cover and sweat for 4–5 minutes, stirring often, until translucent. Add the tomato slices and chickpeas in layers, seasoning each layer with a pinch of allspice, salt and pepper. Cover with about 250ml/9fl oz/generous 1 cup water. If the tomatoes are not a rich red colour, then add the tomato purée/paste for more depth of flavour and colour. Cover the pan and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and leave to simmer for 20 minutes.

4- Add the cooked aubergine/eggplant slices on top of the stew in layers, overlapping if necessary. Gently press them down just enough so that they are lightly covered by the tomato broth. Cover and cook for another 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, uncover and leave to cool down to room temperature. Serve with the yogurt and with mint for sprinkling, Arabic Bread and Vermicelli Rice, if you like.

Wild Orchid Ice Cream in Filo cups
Salep flour, which gives this ice cream its light and elastic consistency, is milled from the dried tubers of a species of wild orchid found in the Anatolian plateau. These tubers apparently resemble the testicles of a fox, and this gave the flour its name! It’s widely thought to be an aphrodisiac.

Serves: 6
Preparation time: 40 minutes, plus freezing
Cooking time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:
700ml/24fl oz/2 cups whole milk
2 tsp salep flour or cornflour/cornstarch
tsp mastic powder or about
2 small mastic tears ground using
a pestle and mortar, or xanthan gum
175g/6oz/scant 1 cup caster/superfine sugar
1 tsp rosewater
2 tbsp roughly chopped shelled unsalted pistachios, plus extra for sprinkling
3 sheets of filo/phyllo pastry
40g/1 oz/3 tbsp butter
dried edible rose petals, to decorate (optional)

Method:
1- Pour 350ml/12fl oz/1½ cups of the milk into a small mixing bowl, add the salep flour and mastic powder and stir to dissolve.
2-Place a large pan over a medium heat, add the remaining milk and the sugar and whisk well to dissolve. Bring the mixture to the boil, then gradually pour the salep and milk mixture into the hot milk as you continue to whisk vigorously, gently simmering the mixture over a low heat for 5 minutes. Make sure the mixture does not rise up in the pan and then overflow.
3- Remove the pan from the heat and mix in the rosewater and pistachios. Transfer to a freezer-safe mixing bowl and leave to cool completely, then chill in the refrigerator.
4-Once the mixture has chilled, transfer to the freezer for 45 minutes, then remove and whisk well to break up all the ice crystals while incorporating as much air as possible to yield a creamier, fluffier end result. Return to the freezer for 30 minutes, then remove and repeat the process again, breaking up all the ice crystals that have developed. Repeat two or three more times until completely frozen. This should take about 8 hours. You may find that your whisk can no longer do the job as the ice cream hardens, in which case a spatula is a good substitute.
5-Preheat the oven to 180˚C/350˚F/Gas 4. Remove the sheets of pastry from their packaging and cover them with a damp dish towel.
6-Melt the butter in a small saucepan and lightly brush six cups of a muffin pan with some of it. Brush one pastry sheet with more melted butter, add another layer on top, brush that one with butter and then repeat with the final layer. Slice the stack into six 15 x 13cm/6 x 5in rectangles, then gently press these rectangles into the greased muffin pan so that they form cup shapes.
7-Bake in the oven for 6–8 minutes or until golden brown. Lift the pastry cups out of the pan and leave to cool. Fill each cup with a scoop of ice cream and sprinkle with pistachios and dried rose petals, if you like.

Jewelled Kitchen

Bethany Kehdy
The Jewelled Kitchen
£14.99, available from Nourish Books

 

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Fig, Prosciutto and Gorgonzola Croutes

This recipe from Healthy Speedy Suppers by Katriona MacGregor, was given to the author by her good friend and fellow cook, Bella Thomas-Ferrand, it sings of indulgent Italian eating, both with its classic flavours and ease of preparation. A friendly greengrocer will find you figs, but failing that, good supermarkets have them out of season. After a few days in the fruit bowl and the help of sticky balsamic caramel they will be delicious. If sourdough isn’t available then any good-quality crusty loaf will work, the chewier and more rustic the better.

 

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

6 tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp brown sugar

8 ripe figs

2 tbsp pine nuts

8 slices of sourdough bread

2 garlic cloves, peeled

extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling

8 slices of prosciutto

100g/3 ½ oz Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

handful of rocket/arugula

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method:

  • Pour the vinegar into a small pan, add the brown sugar and heat gently. Once the sugar has dissolved, turn the heat up and simmer rapidly until the liquid is reduced and syrupy.
  • Slice the figs into quarters, vertically through their stalks, and place cut side down in the balsamic syrup. Cook over a medium heat, with the syrup bubbling, for 1–2 minutes, then turn the fig quarters, spooning the liquid over the figs. Remove the figs to a small plate, then boil the remaining syrup until reduced to a thick glaze.
  • Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts in a small frying pan for 1–2 minutes until lightly coloured, then leave to one side. Toast the sourdough on both sides using a griddle/grill pan or alternatively under a grill/broiler. Rub the garlic cloves over the toasted bread, then drizzle with olive oil.
  • While the bread is still warm, top each slice with 2 slices of prosciutto, followed by the caramelized figs, Gorgonzola and a drizzle of both the balsamic glaze and some more extra virgin olive oil. Scatter over the rocket/arugula and pine nuts and grind over some salt and pepper.

Healthy Speedy Suppers

Katriona MacGregor
Healthy Speedy Suppers
£16.99, available from Nourish Books

 

 

 

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Salmon & Courgette Frittata

This Salmon & Courgette Frittata from The Aussie Body Diet  is a high-protein start to your day and it is great for detoxing, with its combination of chelating agents, parsley and coriander. To get rid of excess water from the courgette, grate directly into a clean tea towel and twist until the courgette is completely dry. If courgette is not your thing, you can substitute any vegetable you prefer. Serve with a fresh garden salad.

Aussie Body Diet

 

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

80 ml extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing

1 large onion (220 g), roughly chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

10 small courgettes (1 kg), coarsely grated and excess water squeezed out

6 large eggs

2 x 85 g tins salmon in spring water or brine, drained; flesh, bones and skin mashed with a fork

1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves

1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 180 C. Grease base and sides of a large baking dish with oil.
  • Saute onion with olive oil in a large, deep saucepan or small frying pan over medium– high heat until brown (about 5 minutes). Add garlic and courgettes and cook over medium– high heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Turn off heat and leave to cool for 20 minutes.
  • In a mixing bowl, beat eggs lightly with a fork, then add salmon, coriander and parsley. Add courgette and onion mixture, season with salt and pepper and mix until thoroughly combined.
  • Pour egg mixture into prepared dish. Bake for 40–45 minutes or until golden brown on top and cooked when tested at centre with a skewer.
  • Take out of the oven, leave to cool for 10–15 minutes and cut into large slices.

Aussie Body Diet

Saimaa Miller

The Aussie Body Diet: A Happier, Healthier You in 14 Days

£14.99, available from Nourish Books

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Buckwheat Pancakes

For this recipe of buckwheat pancakes from The Aussie Body Diet: A Happier, Healthier You in 14 Days by Saimaa Miller, you do need a blender or food processor to break up the coconut into the desired consistency. If you don’t have one, you can substitute coconut cream. These pancakes are very versatile and can be served sweet or savoury – try sheeps’ yogurt, fresh fruit and almond butter, or avocado, wilted spinach and cherry tomatoes.

Aussie Body Diet

 

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

1 young coconut

80 g buckwheat flour

30 g flaxseed

1 teaspoon coconut butter, melted a pinch of sea salt or Himalayan rock salt

1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds

1 tablespoon sunflower seeds

olive oil, for frying

Method:

  • Blend 175 g of the flesh and 250 ml of the juice of the coconut until smooth.
  • Mix all ingredients except pumpkin and sunflower seeds in a large mixing bowl until you have a smooth batter. The mixture should be quite gelatinous and sticky.
  • Mix pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds together in a small bowl. Scoop out 11/2 tablespoons of mix and set aside in a small bowl. Add remainder of seed mix to buckwheat batter and mix together.
  • Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat and drop about 3–4 tablespoons of batter into the pan. Cook for 1 minute and then sprinkle 1 teaspoon of the seed mix on top. Cook for another 30 seconds and then flip the pancake over. Cook for a further 2–3 minutes until pancake is golden brown and repeat with the rest of the mixture.

Aussie Body Diet

Saimaa Miller

The Aussie Body Diet: A Happier, Healthier You in 14 Days

£14.99, available from Nourish Books

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