Summer Salads

Healthy Eating

We all love eating al fresco, whether it be a formal meal, in the garden or seated on the sun drenched terrace of that little Greek Taverna. Out door eating, brings out the best – or worst – in us all. It takes just a few golden rays pushing through the grey English gloom and POW! we go into lunatic mode and out comes the Barbeque. Of course, that means a frenzied rush to the Supermarket to gather the lurid red, synthetic coated, chicken wings, pork chops and gristly burgers, made from more animal derivatives than you would find in your average tin of dog food. In the bread aisle we grab a couple of packs of cotton wool textured baps – I can’t even call them bread. – Next you head for the chiller cabinets to pick up some salads? Why? OK, I can hear you crying “I don’t have the time”. Of course you do, with a little bit of organisation and less time on Social Media, you can make the time.

Freshly prepared, homemade salads, grains, beans, fruits, veg, dressings
Home made and healthy

Recently, through the media, we have been made aware of the dangers of obesity and various medical conditions, emanating from our consumption of unhealthy foods. Processed, fast food is all about flavour enhancing sugar, salt, fats, chemical additives and preservatives. The craving for these foods, have little to do with the food itself, but more to the added synthetic textures & flavours, giving you a sensory overload, to get you hooked. – Think nicotine. – Why do we want to eat these and feed them to our children, encouraging them to develop a taste for over sweet, salty, synthetic foods. Give them a taste of real homemade food & they won’t like it. You, have fed them these unnatural foodstuffs and denied them the fresh natural taste of homemade, unadulterated food. Processed foods and ready prepared, chopped fruits and veg, apart from being more expensive, have less nutritional value than their home made, freshly prepared counterparts. Pre-packed fruits and veg, once chopped quickly leak their Vitamin content and many have sugar, salt & preservatives added to them to preserve there colour. How long does it take to chop carrots or shred a lettuce?

Next time you visit the Supermarket, take a look at the labels on the foods you are purchasing. Out of interest, I looked at a pack of pre-cooked chicken breasts. You will be aware that foods have to be labeled with the ingredients in decreasing order. These chicken breasts contained, chicken, sugar, salt and various preservatives! Why do cooked chicken breasts need sugar?? I will leave it for you to work out.

chillis, chutneys, harissa paste, home cooking, peppers
Chop yourself some chillis

Prepacked, processed, convenience foods are not in the shops to provide you with healthy options, despite what the labeling might say. They are convenience foods which have been designed by marketing agencies. With their smart packaging and snappy slogans they fool you into believing you are providing yourself and family with fresh, healthy, natural food. In reality they are convenience foods, placed on the shelves to play on your insecurities. Forget it. These products are there to make money for the Supermarket and food manufacturing companies, they have no thought for your health.

Don’t give in, make the time, to prepare your own food from scratch. What have you got to loose? you will save money, eat healthier and once you become aware of the taste of real food, probably lose weight and certainly not expose yourself to the plethora of illness associated with unhealthy eating. Go on, you owe it to yourself and your family.

In my blog next week, I will be giving you some simple recipes, for salad dressings and salads. All will take you under 30 mins to prepare. If you make up a large amount of the basic dressing recipe, you can use you imagination to add different ingredients to create other dressings and salads of your choice. You can find some of my previous recipes by following the links below: https://truffleicious.blog/2018/02/10/warm-butternut-squash-black-kale-salad/ https://truffleicious.blog/2019/03/22/harissa-chutney/

Until next week. Happy healthy eating.

Freshly prepared fruits & veg salads & dressings

Merry Christmas

Christmas Countdown 22 Recipes for a Merry Christmas

If you have been. Thank you for reading. This concludes the 22 recipe Christmas Countdown. All thats left for me to say is “I hope you have found these recipes useful & you have enjoyed, reading these blogs.

Click the photos below to take you to the individual recipes. OR the blue link below will take you to all the recipes, mentioned below in the drop down menu of Christmas Countdown.

WISHING YOU ALL A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS & A HEALTHY & HAPPY NEW YEAR

Veg & Leftovers

Vegetarian Recipes

Afternoon foodies from a gloomy, wet, Wiltshire. Veg & leftovers are the topic for day 16 of Christmas Countdown. From a warming Cauliflower dish with a twist, to what to do with those leftovers.

We are all familiar with cauliflower cheese, but have you thought about using different cheeses & turning it into a soup? Below you will find my, lighter,  adaptation of that classic french soup Creme Dubarry. (Creme of Cauliflower Soup). Experiment away with different cheeses, use up those leftover bits of mousetrap from the Christmas Cheese board & if cauliflower is not your thing, substitue it for broccoli.

Cauliflower & Blue Cheese Soup.

Serves 4. Time taken 45mins.         G/F. Vegetarian.  Allergens: Milk. Nuts.

Ingredients:

Large Cauliflower, broken into florets.

Large potato, peeled & chopped into chunks.

2 Bay leaves

2 cloves garlic, peeled & crushed

600ml Vegetable or Chicken Stock

175g Blue Cheese, crumbled

150ml Milk

White pepper & a little grated nutmeg 

200g Walnuts, Toasted & chopped.

METHOD:

In a large saucepan, place the cauliflower, potato, stock, bayleaves & garlic. Bring to the boil & simmer for 30mins, until tender.

Take off the heat, remove the bay leaves & using a stick blender, blend until smooth.

Add the crumbled cheese & stir over a low heat, until the cheese has melted.

Season with pepper & grated nutmeg

If you prefer a thinner, soup add the milk.

Serve, sprinkled with the toasted, chopped walnuts.

Thats the left over cheese & some nuts dealt with.

You will find another vegetarian recipe using cauliflower in a previous blog:  Cauliflower & Canellonni Burgers

Veg, burgers, beans, cheese, healthy eating,
Veggie Burgers

Left overs

If you have left over roast potatoes & bacon wrapped sausages, make yourself a breakfast fritatta.

Slice the left over potatoes & fry over a medium heat until golden, add the bacon & sausages & fry for a few minutes longer.  Turn up the heat.

Preheat the grill on high.

Beat together, 6 large eggs with seasoning & quickly pour over the potatoes, bacon & sausages in the pan. Lifting the edges, to let the egg run under the veg & set.   While the top is still slightly runny. Sprinke with some more of that leftover cheese & place under the grill, until the cheese is melted. Serve with those soft leftover tomatoes.

leftovers, fritatta, roast potatoes, cheese, pigs in blankets
Left overs. Breakfast Frittata

Thats all for today foodies.  Any comments or requests will be answered tomorrow. Enjoy your evening.

The Christmas Starter

Smoked Trout & Avocado recipe

There’s a touch of vintage to day ten of the Christmas Countdown. 

If you want a nod to the 70’s you could fill the centre of this ring -when you have turned it out-. with good old Prawn Cocktail. This would make a substantial starter, or a fishy addition to the Boxing day Buffet. You could even serve Melba toast as an accompaniment.

For myself, I would fill the centre with some fresh leafy shoots & herbs, in a light lemon dressing.

This recipe can be make a couple of days ahead & kept, covered in the fridge. When the time comes to serve,  dip the mould in hot watet for a few seconds, place a plate on the mould & quickly turn over, to release. Place back in the fridge, until ready to decorate & serve.

avocado, smoked trout, greek yoghurt, mascapone, dill
Smoked Trout & Avocado

Smoked Trout & Avocado ring.

Serves 6.  G/F, V.  Allergens:  Dairy, Fish      Equipment: 800ml ring mould

Time taken:  45 mins + chilling time 

INGREDIENTS 

200g Pack Smoked Trout         

2. Ready to eat Avocado’s  Peeled & chopped 

Fresh Dill to decorate

225g Mascapone Cheese

225g Greek Yoghurt

1/2 level tspn salt

White pepper

1 Tbspn Creamed Horseradish

150ml Cold Water

15g powdered gelatine (Vegetarian)

METHOD

Measure the cold water into a small saucepan, add the salt & sprinkle over the gelatine. Allow to soak for 5mins, & heat gently, stiring, until the gelatine has dissolved. DO NOT ALLOW TO BOIL Remove from the heat & allow to cool.

Rinse out the rind mould with cold water & line,  with the smoked trout slices.

Place the Mascapone, 1/2 the yoghurt, horseradish & pepper to taste into a bowl & mix well to blend.

Stir in the cold gelatine & chopped avocado & gently fold in the remaining yoghurt.

Spoon the mixture into the fish lined mould. Cover with cling film & place in the fridge until set.

When ready to serve, turn out, see above. Decorate & serve.

Variations: 

Substitute the trout, for thinly sliced parma ham, & the avocado for diced sundried tomatoes & olives.  Fill the centre with rocket leaves, dressed in olive oil & shaved parmesan.

For a vegan option. Line the mould with thinly sliced cucumber. Replace the cheese & yoghurt with vegan substitutes.

I am sure you can all get your creative caps on & experiment with many different variations on the above recipe.

That all for today. As always, if you have any questions about your festive cookery. Please ask, by leaving a comment in the box below. I will answer tomorrow.

Have a great evening.

Spiced Potato & Carrot Bahji

Spiced Potato & Carrot Bahji’s

I love a nice spicy, crispy Bahji, served with a nice fresh crunchy salad & a big bowl of chilli & cucumber ratia, for dipping. The only thing I don’t like is the fat content. Traditionally, Bahji’s are deep fried, which gives them that gorgeous, crunchy texture, it also gives them a high fat content. Well foodies after playing around a bit with my ingredients & cooking methods, I have come up with these little low fat, gluten free, dairy free vegan & vegetarian Bahji balls.

Carrots, Potatoes, Bahji's, Oven baked, low fat
Hot from the oven

INGREDIENTS: SERVES 4. GLUTEN FREE, DAIRY FREE, VEGETARIAN, VEGAN, Oven temp 200c 400f Gas MK 6.

500g Potatoes, grated. Put in a tea towel & squeeze to remove excess water.

2 medium red onions, grated ( I find red onions more digestible for lowfodmap diets)

200g Carrots, grated

5cm, Fresh Ginger, peeled & grated

2. Fresh red chillies, finely chopped

1tspn Turmeric powder

3 tspns Cumin Seeds

1 tspn Salt

5 Tbspns Gram Flour

Juice of 1 Fresh Lime

2 tbspns Rapeseed Oil

Fresh chillis & Corriander to serve.

es, bahji's, vegetables, low fat, oven baked
Assembling the spicy Veg mix

METHOD:

Place the drained potatoes, carrots, onions, chillis, ginger, spices and salt in a large bowl, & mix together well. (get you hands in).

Add the gram flour & mix well again.

Add the lime juice & oil & mix well again, adding a little more oil if necessary to produce a sticky mix.

Line a baking tray with non stick parchment, roll the mix into small ball, & place a little apart on the tray.

Bake for 25-30mins, checking half way through & turning if necessary.

Remove from the oven & sprinkle with fresh corriander & finely chopped chilli’s

Serve with a grated carrot, spring onion & red pepper salad, a bowl of corriander & chilli yoghurt & mango chutney.

Enjoy.

Another little tip, for low fat nibbles. 15mins before the Bahji’s are ready, Sprinkle some pumpkin seeds in a single layer on baking parchement. Sprinkle with a little salt & some spice of your liking & bake.  Beats peanuts anytime.

pumkin seeds, low fat, nibbles with drinks, vegetarian, gluten free
Spicy, low fat nibbles

Halloween Butternut Squash

Autumn is finally upon us. Apart from the cold mornings the weather continues to be glorious. Walking my furry friend across the fields, the early morning mist creates an eerie atmosphere & evokes memories of smoky bonfires, leaves rustling underfoot and of course Halloween.

Here at TRUFFLEicious, we are preparing for the closure of Great Chalfield Manor for this year & concentrating on our winter activities.  Writing my recipe book  TRUFFLEicious, Nutritious, Nutrition is one of my projects for the winter months & continuing to retail my homemade Gluten free Cakes, Spelt & Rye Breads & of course, Chocolate Truffles (Full details on my website www.truffleicious.org) is another.

Right enough waffling back to Halloween with its Pumpkins & Gourds.  This month’s recipe is vegetarian, for the carnivores amongst you, some spicy sausages or chicken, would make a great addition. You can also make double the amount & serve one half hot & save the rest to have as a salad for the next day.

Oriental Butternut Squash, Black Kale & Spelt with Sesame & Pomegranate Dressing

Serves 6.  Low Fodmap. DF, V, Vegan.  Oven heat 180c, 350f, Gas 4

INGREDIENTS:

2 Medium Butternut Squash, Halved, seeds removed & chopped into large cubes.

1 Large Bag of fresh Black Kale. Shredded.

2 Red Onions, Peeled & quarted.

2 Red Peppers. Deseeded & cut into chunks.

Seasoning

4 Tbspns. Rape Seed Oil.

Sesame Oil to taste.

For the dressing:  Put all ingredients in a screw top jar. Shake to emulsify.  Adjust to taste.

100ml. Cider Vinegar.

tspns Lemon Grass Paste

2 Crushed Cloves Garlic

2 tspns Clear Honey.

50ml. Low Salt. Vegan Soy Sauce

Ground Black Pepper

200ml. Rape Seed Oil.

150g Brown Spelt. Cooked to packet instructions.

METHOD:

Preheat the oven.

Place the oil in a large roasting tray.  Add the Squash, onion, peppers, season well with salt & pepper.

Toss everything together to coat veg with the oil. Roast for 15 – 20 mins, until cooked but not mushy.

While the veg are roasting make the dressing & quickly stir fry the black kale in a large Wok.

Using a slotted spoon, place cooked veg in a large serving dish; add the drained spelt & kale.

Toss together, drizzle with Sesame Oil, to taste & serve either on its own with crusty bread or with grilled halloumi.

If you are having a Halloween or Bonfire party, this dish looks brilliant served in a pumpkin shell or individual halved, different coloured gourd shells.

Enjoy.

Chocolate & Peanut Butter

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Recipe

It’s been a busy few weeks in my Stable Kitchen. Dreaming about chocolate & peanut butter one night – there are worst dreams -, I have created this decadent dessert, just for you.

I have been developing new recipes for my home made breads, which are now available from my Kitchen. Half-term also means more visitors keen to try my home made Ice Cream.  If you have made any of my recipes over the past few months, it would be great to hear your comments www.truffleicious.org/visitors-book 

The recipe below is great for a summer party. No need to spend hours in the kitchen with this one. You could also utilise the best of our summer fruits, by replacing the bananas with fresh raspberries & for extra decadence serve with extra raspberries & dark chocolate sauce.

Food, Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Raspberries, Recipe
A decadent dessert

CHOCOLATE & PEANUT BUTTER PIE

Serves 12.  V. Contains nuts. Oven 180c/359f/Gas Mk 4. Prep:  15 mins, plus cooling & chilling Cooking 10 mins.  Equipment: 1.23cm Flan Dish.

For the Base:

250g Chocolate Biscuits, finely crushed.

70g Melted Butter

Mix the above ingredients together & press into the base & sides of the flan dish. Cook for  10 mins, until set & leave to cool.

For the filling:

2 Bananas, sliced

170g Cream Cheese

140g. Smooth Peanut Butter

200ml Greek Yoghurt.

Lay the sliced bananas over the base of the cooled base. Beat together the remaining ingredients & spoon over the bananas. Level the surface & chill in the fridge for 30mins.

For the topping:

115g Plain Chocolate, broken into pieces

25g Unsalted Butter

150ml Double Cream.

Melt the butter & chocolate together over a pan of simmering water. Remove from the heat, stir in the cream & beat until the mixture is smooth. Level to cool for 15-20 mins until the mixture thickens. Gently spread over the top of the filling. Chill for at least 1 hour before serving.