Lentil peppers and caper leaves salad

I don’t normally get so impressed with a salad but this is really something different!

1 cup brown or green lentils boiled and drained

1/2 cup chopped sun dried tomatos

1/2 cup grilled peppers

1 red onion

10 caper leaves

10 almonds

 

Firstly you need to give flavour to the lentils so mix them with 3 tablespoons olive oil and, 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and a generous  pinch of salt. Leave them aside for as long as possible (as long as you prepare the rest of the ingredients) or for a few hours if you are not in a rush.

Chop thinly the rest of the ingredients, red onions, sun dried tomatoes, grilled peppers and almonds. For the peppers you use the ready made ones as well they work fine.

The caper leaves are a rare ingredient which comes from a Greek island, Santorini.  In London you can find them at the Isle of Olive otherwise swap for capers of olives or even both if you like the flavour.

In this salad you can increase the ingredients you like for example the roasted peppers.

Mix everything together toss with almonds and enjoy!

 

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Butternut squash, feta and rosemary fritters

So this is an everyday very quick and easy recipe.  My fussy 15 month old eater loved it and if you add a nice little salad or steamed broccoli it’s a solid weekday dinner.

 

Ingredients

1/2 baked butternut squash

1 egg

2 tablespoons buckwheat flour

100g feta

2 springs of rosemary (only leaves)

salt(very little because feta is salty),  cayenne pepper to taste

Cut the butternut squash in medium pieces and bake in a preheated oven 180C for 45 minutes.  Let it cool down.

Cut very thinly the rosemary leaves, mix all the ingredients together without breaking the ingredients too much.

Heat a pan and add enough olive oil to allow deep fry.  Of course you can use sunflower oil but I am Greek and I can’t do that!

 

Once the oil is hot, not smoking, take tablespoons of your mix and place it gently in the oil. Don’t put too many at the same time. Fry for 2 minutes turn them the  other way and fry them for another 2 minutes.

 

 

Gluten free Mousakas

This is really not a quick recipe but my mousakas is everybody’s favourite, “magnificent” is one of the comments I have received over the years whenever I am making this version. I would dare to say it’s a great Greek food but we all know it’s Turkish! However this version belongs to me…!

Ingredients

2 aubergines

1 onion

2 garlic gloves

half a bunch of parsley

1/2 kg potatoes

1/2 kg free range beef mince meat

1 tin organic tomato sauce

2 tbs organic tomato paste

200ml vegetable or beef stock

1 tsp brown sugar

1 tsp paprika

a pinch or oregano, dried basil black pepper and cayenne

 

Bechamel sauce (gluten free)

1 Lt goat’s milk

100g manchego

100g parmezan

pinch of nutmeg

2 tbs butter

9 tbs cornflour

 

Method

-First make the mince meat sauce.  Finely chop the onion and garlic and saute them in low medium heat. After 5 min add the mince meat, increase the heat and try to give it a bit of colour. After 10 min add the rest of the ingredients, 1 tin organic tomato sauce , 2 tbs organic tomato paste, 200ml vegetable or beef stock, 1 tsp brown sugar, 1 tsp paprika, a pinch or oregano, dried basil black pepper and cayenne. Let it simmer in gentle heat for 1 hour. Taste and add a pinch of salt.

In the meantime you have a lot of things to do.

-Slice thinly the potatoes and the aubergines and fry them in medium heat. For the potatoes I use a lot of olive oil – deep frying. For the aubergines pan fry the aubergines in plenty of olive oil.

-Bechamel.  Whisk all the ingredients apart from the cheese. Pour the mixture in  a saucepan and keep whisking over high heat. It only takes 5 or 7 min of whisking and you will see the sauce start thickening. If you stop whisking you should also see a few bubbles. Reduce the heat and keep stirring for a couple more minutes. Turn off the heat and add the cheese and a pinch of salt. Manchego is the cheese closest in taste and texture that we would use in Greece.

-Assemble. Layer potatoes, a bit of mince meat sauce, aubergines, the rest of the meat sauce and finish off with the bechamel sauce.

 

 

My Food Journey – Making Small Changes

by Lucy Montague

I have always been a ‘good eater’ which basically means I eat everything and anything, I love food and I had no will power when it came to a diet and indulged in anything when I felt like it, muffin? Sure! Chocolate pudding? Sure! Roast chicken and stuffing triple sandwich? Sure!!! I did also exercise which kept my BMI at a decent figure, but I was always quite proud that I was never a ‘fussy’ eater.

After having treatment for a serious condition I decided to make some changes to my diet and lifestyle. I started by cutting out processed meats…. Bacon, sausages, cured meats, ham, etc. This was because they have a high fat, sugar and sodium content but also because of the connection with possible cancer risks, and as I am more susceptive to this I wanted to decrease my chances as much as I could. This was a challenge, but surprisingly I quickly got over it! I prepare chicken breasts, eat pork and beef and I always make sure the meat is unprocessed (you will be surprised how much of the meat we eat is) I even cut out pigs in blankets at Christmas time, however I did cheat when I went to Italy as the cured meats were to die for (one off treat) forgive me?!

I then also naturally started to cut out white bread and started to eat brown bread, then seeded bread then no bread at all.  I started then to consider gluten free options, I just assumed it would be better but they really do benefit a healthy diet. I found that after eating gluten free bread, I was less tired, less bloated and had more energy. This i realised over some time and I started to get other gluten free options like pizza and snacks.

Increasing my fruit and vegetable intake was my next step and i manage to really enjoy soups and salads now, whereas before it would have been my last resort. My attitude was – I’m on a lunch break, I’ve worked hard, I deserve a big lunch! Now, I know that I deserve a healthy nutritious lunch with beautiful tasty and healthy ingredients!

My health has improved along with my skin and hair, I feel proud that I have made these changes and feel passionate about benefiting your lifestyle and health. Of course I still have a treat, I just ate a chocolate yogurt! But I hope to inspire more people to break away from natural food traditions and embrace small changes which can have a big impact on your health and life.

 

 

 

Gluten free Spanakopita

By Katerina Kazantza

This is by far my most popular pie from the days I used to operate my home baking business.  And although I thought I perfected this recipe a long time ago it’s still a work in progress.  So in the future I might post my other perfect recipe but for today this is how it goes:

Crust (with a Greek traditional feel)

100g self-rising gluten free flour (I used Doves farm)

150g gluten free buckwheat flour

(if you don’t like the taste of buckwheat or you can’t find any use only self-rising gluten free only you will need 250g in this case)

50g plain organic yoghurt

60g butter

1 organic egg

pinch of salt

 

Filling

500g spinach

2-3 leeks

4 spring onions

100g organic feta

100g goats cheese

pinch of salt pinch of black pepper (if you like it)

dill ( a fresh bunch or dried one if you don’t have any)

 

Method

-Firstly make the filo: Melt the butter and let it cool slightly, and mix with the egg and yogurt.  Add the flours and knead for a couple of minutes until you have a nice dough which doesn’t stick to your fingers. You might need to add extra flour ( a few tablespoons) to achieve the right consistency. Put the dough aside

-Make the filling: Cut the leeks and the onions in small pieces and wash them thoroughly in a sieve. In a big saucepan add some olive oil the leeks and the onions and saute for about 10 minutes. In the meantime prepare the spinach, wash it in case it needs washing. Add the spinach and cook everything together for another 5 minutes. It really doesn’t take long for the spinach to be soft.

-Preheat your oven at 180C with fan if you have.

-Take the saucepan to you window or balcony and let it cool down (That’s what I do – no wonder why the neighbours think I am a weirdo! ) If you have a good half an hour you can also leave it in room temperature.

_Cut the dough in half and make two filo’s the same size of your tray.  Use a large piece of baking paper and extra flour on top to roll the dough. The result should be thin but not to the point that it start making wholes. (If it doesn’t work the first time don’t get disappointed do it again – or send me an email and we’ll figure it out. Stay tuned in the future there will be some cooking classes!) With this amount of filo I am only using a small tray but of course if you double the recipe you can use you big oven trays.

The most important step of the recipe Once the filling has cooled down squeeze out as much water as possible, this will give your pita a nice crispy bottom  (otherwise it will go watery stodgy doughy etc )

-Add the feta, goat’s cheese and dill in the filling (you can skip the dill if you don’t like it)

-Almost there!  Take one filo with the baking paper and transfer it to your tray. Spread the filling on top evenly so you don’t have gaps. Transfer your second filo with the assistance of the baking paper , once you are on top of the pita flip the filo on top.

-Bake for 25min or until filo looks golden crispy.

 

11 Ways to Use Flaxseed Crackers

                                                     By Lucy Montague

  1. These rounds were made for dipping! No dip can break them which makes them easy to eat with guacamole, salsa, houmous, chive, tzaiki coleslaw, taramousalata, tahini any dip you like! Especially our smoked paprika crackers with houmous!
  2. Gluten free Mexicano – If you have a gluten free guest and need to rustle up something nice, or fancy a healthy change, try flaxseed rounds with grated cheese, 2 minutes in the oven to melt and top with guacamole, salsa and chive dip! Nachos ala gluten free!
  3. Bored of granola? Try our flaxseed rounds whole or broken up on greek yogurt and fruit for a simple, tasty, healthy and lean breakfast! We also love to put chia seeds on ours
  4. Combine with fruit – having trouble getting in your five a day? Combining different textures with fruit which keeps the palette interested and helps to finish off every bite, its also delicious
  5. Cheeseboard frenzy – Doesn’t have to be at Christmas, cheeseboards should be celebrated all year round, they are perfect for gluten free guests and go smashingly with all types of cheeses, pickle, chutneys and spreads.
  6. Canapes – Perfect pre made canapes for an event, party, gathering, any occasion. The classic being smoked salmon with cream cheese. Or parma ham with mozzarella, or for those veggies try cucumber with tomato and herb salsa. Just place on top and voila!
  7. Lunchbox – A great snack for kids at school instead of crisps, our rounds are more filling, healthier and a great energy boost for midday
  8. Preventing snaccidents! – We have all been guilty of finishing off an entire helping of something which was supposed to last us all week, however since having flaxseed rounds in our lives my snacking game is on point! I will combine them with carrots, cucumber, sweet peppers or even some cheese to stay healthy and consistent, and more importantly portion appropriate!
  9. Croutons are so last year – like some crunch in your salad, then toss them in. Place them on top of your favourite salad. We have combined ours with mozzarella, pesto, salad leaves and pomegranates
  10. A soups friend – These hearty crackers are wonderful with any soup especially thick as you can scoop and enjoy every bite! We love homemade or soups which are low in sugar

 

Enjoy!