Mains, Make-ahead

Cauliflower & Chickpea Malaysian Curry

I realised recently that I use a lot of coconut these days. Whether it’s coconut flakes in muesli or porridge, coconut oil in place of vegetable oils, or coconut milk in a whole variety of dishes, usually paired with lime, coriander or chilli (or all of them!). A little time ago I posted a recipe for sweet potato with coconut, pomegranate and lime, which only needs a teensy bit of coconut milk, and I found this recipe so as not to waste the rest of the tin!

I stumbled across a recipe by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall for a Malaysian-style baked chicken curry, and, meat aside, it sounded really delicious!
When choosing the vegetables to substitute the chicken with, I didn’t want it too complicated, like I’d just thrown a bag of frozen mixed veg in there. Too many times now I’ve been out to a restaurant for what would have been a really lovely curry, only for that pleasure to be dampened by a rubbish mix of lank veg.
I’m not too picky when it comes to this, really! I chose cauliflower because I love the chunkiness in there, and chickpeas because, well, who doesn’t love a chickpea? It sounds more like the veg you might put in an Indian curry, but they really work great in this coconut-y curry too.

When we make meals in our house, 90% of the time we make sure there is enough for at least 6 portions so we can freeze the rest and save us a whole load of time in the future. This curry is another great one for that, as it makes 6-8 portions! We definitely need a bigger freezer! 
Another thing I like about this curry is that, because I make a big curry to give us more portions, I can put in a whole cauliflower and a whole can of chickpeas (or more if you want!). There is no wasted veg that will sit in the back of your fridge, rotting away, because you didn’t know what yo do with the rest, or you hadn’t incorporated an extra half a cauliflower into your meal plans. No waste = happy times!

Unlike Hugh’s curry, this one doesn’t require any browning or baking. Phew! Just one pot on the hob – perfect.

I just wanted to say – I had no idea how to photograph this! I like the first image, but it isn’t like any of my others. It was frustrating! Meals like curries, soups, stews and chillis aren’t very photogenic. Annoying! I tried my best. It tastes good, anyway!

Ingredients:

2 heaped tsp cumin seeds

2 heaped tsp coriander seeds

1 heaped tsp fennel seeds

2 tsp ground turmeric

2 tsp ground fenugreek

1 large (or 2 smaller) onion(s), peeled and roughly chopped

3 large garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped

1 large chilli, roughly chopped

1 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped

2 tbsp rapeseed oil

400g tin chopped tomatoes

400ml tin coconut milk

1 cauliflower head, cut into florets

1 tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Basmati rice, to serve

Directions:

1. If you want, dry roast the cumin, coriander and fennel seeds in a pan for a few minutes, until fragrant. Pop them in a pestle and mortar and grind into a powder, then mix them with the turmeric and fenugreek.

2. Add the chopped onion, chilli, ginger and garlic to a food processor, and blend to a coarse paste. You will probably need to scrape the sides down a couple of times to get it all blended nicely.

3. Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the spices and cook for a minute or so, then add the onion paste and cook for about 5 minutes, until the paste has softened, stirring constantly.

4. Add the chopped tomatoes, coconut milk, cauliflower florets and chickpeas to the pan, season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Simmer with the lid on for about 25 minutes, until the cauliflower is cooked but not too soft. Stir frequently to stop it sticking to the bottom, and add a bit more water if needed.

5. Top with coriander leaves and serve with basmati rice.

 

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Mains

Garden Pea & Sweetcorn Fritters

Forget fritters in their traditional sense: deep fried, unhealthy, batter-covered ‘things’. Eeugh! These are light, delicate fritters that won’t leave you feeling greasy. Also, another staple from the Royal-Smith household! To be specific, these are our Tuesday night regulars. Creatures of habit, I guess!

Other regulars in our house are ‘Soup Monday’, ‘Bean Burger Wednesday’ and ‘Bean Fajita Friday’. Thank god for ‘Try Something New Thursday’, otherwise I would obviously run out of recipes after ‘Treat Yourself Sunday’.
I tend to try new recipes on Thursdays, then if I want to make something for the blog, I will shift around meal plans etc etc to fit it in some time on a weekend. So far that has worked out quite well, and I don’t see why it won’t carry on like that. I’m sure other people probably have a better system, but, not me!

This Thursday I will be trying some new food, but not at home! Liam and I are going to a gig in Camden at the Green Note, a cosy little jazz/blues venue that sells vegetarian food. We first went this year, when I took Liam on his birthday after his afternoon tea treat! Since then, we haven’t stopped listening to the band we saw, so we are looking forward to going back. We also know now how amazing the food looks, so we are saving our stomachs for that instead of pigging ourselves on posh sandwiches, cakes and scones  like last time.

These are slightly adapted from the broad bean and sweetcorn fritters (you can guess the main adaptation) from my favourite recipe book at the minute: Honestly Healthy. I am craving the new book, Honestly Healthy For Life. Maybe I should stop being such a tight-arse and buy it, instead of wishing away the days until Christmas.

We love to serve these fritters with a salad of spinach, cucumber, avocado and feta, and they make a wonderfully scrumptious and healthy dinner.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

2 large eggs

100g frozen garden peas, thawed

100g frozen sweetcorn, thawed

50g (roughly 1/3 cup) rice flour (if you don’t have this, you can use plain flour)

1 chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

Handful of coriander, finely chopped

Juice of 1 lime

Pinch of sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Beat the egg in a large bowl. Add the thawed peas and sweetcorn and mix.

Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Season with the salt and pepper.

Heat the oil in a pan. Don’t heat it too hot though! A low-medium heat will be best, otherwise the outside will cook too fast and it won’t flip very easily at all! (That is what happened to the fritter in the top right of the picture above – oopsie!) 

Add a spoonful of the mixture to the pan and roughly flatten it out so you have 1 layer of peas/sweetcorn. Cook for a couple of minutes and then flip over and cook for another minute or so.

Enjoy with a salad and dress it with some balsamic vinegar (our default dressing – it is so easy!) Yummy!

 

Stay happy,

 

Alice x

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Breakfast, Snacks & Treats

Banana & Cherry ‘Nice Cream’

Apparently this ‘nice cream’ stuff has been going around for ages. By ages I mean years! I hate missing out on things, and I really hate the thought that I have been missing out on this for that long. I was clearly too busy stuffing my face with Haagen Dazs while churning out essay after essay at university a couple of years ago.

A fair few of your will know I also have an Instagram account, where I like to post pretty pictures of the yummy things I eat. It is there that I found a recipe for this healthy ‘ice cream’, or ‘nice cream’ as people like to call it. Who would have thought that frozen banana could make such a smooth and creamy dessert?! Not me, for sure. How wrong I was!

Since Liam and I have been eating this, we haven’t bought any ice cream or made any late night trips to the local shops for a mars bar ice cream (but damn, those things are good!). This, I have to say, is a pretty grand achievement. Pat on the back for me! To be honest, I haven’t even felt like I wanted any proper ice cream. Nice cream just feels so indulgent that I feel totally satisfied after I’ve eaten it (well, only after I’ve licked every last bit out of the bowl).

It has been a bit of a struggle since I moved house last week to get back into the routine of things. This past week in the lab I’ve had a total ‘can’t be bothered’ attitude, and I’ve not really felt like doing anything when I get home. That’s what a week off to move house will do to you! I really needed a holiday after all of that packing, lifting, knackering my knees, unpacking, cleaning, more cleaning, and more unpacking. Oh, and the final day of my time off (literally the Sunday) we found out the washing machine wasn’t working! More lifting (this time heavier than any piece of furniture we own, because the washing machine was full of water) and more knackering my knees.

Despite the washing machine being hard work though, it was nice learning something new. I will have to get used to this DIY business now we’re homeowners!

Anyway, I have finally got round to taking some snaps of this amazing dessert, and here it is. It is so easy to make, even my Mum said she made it when I told her about it a few weeks ago (and she is not one for making new things). I think she uses cow’s milk, but I like to use homemade almond milk. If you want to do this, it is SO easy. Here’s how!

For about 3/4 cup: Soak 1/2 cup almonds in some water for about 2 hours. Drain, then whizz them in a blender a little. Add 1 cup filtered water and blend until smooth. Add 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1 tsp agave nectar and blend slightly just to mix. Pour the mixture into a nut bag or a muslin cloth (I got mine from Steamer Trading Co for about £2.50) and then squeeze the liquid through into a jug/bowl. There you have it! You can save the almond meal that is left in the nut bag/cloth for baking with. I made these with my almond meal. YUM!

It is so simple, all you need for this delicious dessert is a bit of frozen fruit, a bit of milk, a hand blender and a bowl. My hand blender is such an old faithful. I’ve had it since I first moved out of home to go to university (6 years ago!) and it is still going strong even though it was a real cheapy.

This is what you need:

Serves 2

1 banana, sliced and frozen

1 cup frozen fruit (my favourites are mango, cherries or raspberries)

1/4 cup (60 ml) milk, which can be cow’s or nut milk. I love to use homemade almond milk! If you want to make your own almond milk, just follow my little ‘how to’ in the ramble above.

This is what you do:

Put all the ingredients in a sturdy bowl. I say sturdy because I broke through the bottom of a cheap and flimsy bowl from Poundland. Serves me right, I guess.

Let the frozen fruit thaw slightly, which should only take a few minutes.

Now blend! Blend it all up with a stick blender until smooth.

Enjoy! (I’m sure you will.)

You will be happy (but not goofy, like me) if you make the switch to nice cream!

Alice x

 

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