Superfood Cereal

Jamie Oliver recently published his ’10 recipes to save your life’ – if you can master these simple recipes, you can feed yourself and your family for the rest of your life. We’re bringing you easy twists on each of these recipes to extend your repertoire.

My twist on Jamie’s DIY Oaty Fruity Cereal is to guild it with delectable flourishes that are both stunningly beautiful, and wonderfully nutritious.

The basic cereal is ridiculously easy:

  • 100g dried fruit, such as sultanas, raisins, dried apricots
  • 50g mixed unsalted nuts, such as almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts
  • 50g mixed seeds, such as pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, poppy
  • 400g porridge oats
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Just roughly chop the nuts and dried fruit, give it all a mix, and serve with milk or natural yoghurt.

Now here’s my list of nutrient rich tweaks that you can pick and choose from to elevate this simple breakfast bowl. The health benefits of superfoods are much debated – above anything, these little treats are both interesting and tasty:

  1. Goldenberries – these are dried Physalis (Physalis peruviana) or as they’re also known, Cape Gooseberries, Ground Cherry or Capuli. High in iron and fibre, they’re both tart and sweet.
  2. Bee Pollen – tiny little pollen pellets that have been packed by worker honeybees!
  3. White Mulberries – (Moras alba) – Delicious dried fruits and a good source of protein, fibre, iron, vitamin C and K.
  4. Blueberries – or ‘star berries’ as the Native Americans called them. Rich in antioxidants such as anthocyanins from their blue colour, they truly are a star of the fruit world.
  5. Cacao Nibs – the basis of chocolate without the dairy or sugar added, these are simply smashed up cacao beans. (Note that Cocoa has been processed further at a higher temperature).
  6. Coconut shavings – containing lauric and caprylic acids, the fruit of the ‘tree of life’ acts as a natural antibiotic.
  7. Goji Berries – also known as Wolfberries, they are dense in minerals and contain selenium, vitamin C, B2 and A, iron and polysaccharides (antioxidant). These berries have been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years.

Give it a mix, add your milk or yoghurt and enjoy the variety!

Winter, my 5-year-old daughter, thoroughly enjoys creating her own “bowl of deliciousness” as she calls it, raiding all the kilner jars and balancing her breakfast just how she likes it.

superfood cereal mix

Homemade Harissa

This Tunisian chilli paste is incredibly delicious and satisfyingly versatile. Akin to Sambal Oelek (Malaysian), Gochujang (Korean) and Sriracha (Thai), it adds an incredible depth of flavour and moreish heat to dishes. Chillies, garlic, spices and olive oil – that’s it. Feel free to embellish as you see fit; lemon juice, rose water, bell pepper, tomato puree and additional spices are all fairly common.

Ingredients:

  • 100g dried chillies – whichever variety or mix you like
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 75ml olive oil

Method:

Carefully remove the stems and seeds* from your chillies and soak them in hot water until softened. Drain, reserving some of the liquid.

soaking chilli peppers

Toast the cumin, coriander and caraway seeds briefly in a dry pan (watching them like a hawk) to release their natural oils and fragrant aroma. Once cooled, grind the spices to a powder with the salt.

Toasting spices

 

Place the chillies, garlic and a splash of the chilli water in a food processor and blend. Add the spices and blend further whilst drizzling in olive oil. Add more of the chilli water to loosen if required.

 

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Try it as a condiment or in a plethora of other dishes; it works wonderfully with meat, fish, eggs, mayonnaise, all sorts.

You can store your harissa in the fridge for a few weeks under a layer of oil or preserve it by sterilising and canning.

*If you leave the seeds in (as I have done..) it will turn out orange instead of the luxurious deep red, and all be literally hotter than the sun. 

Mélange Salad

This recipe fills me with joy. Simple and rustic, yet so beautifully elegant, filling, nutritious and satisfying at the same time. It has its roots in France and brings out the best of ‘whatever you have available’. You could call it a spin on the classic Salade Niçoise or Provençal, or even a Mesclun.. it all depends what you have at your fingertips and how you’re feeling. I call it a Melange, a beautiful medley; an array of colours and a variety of shapes and textures.

Jamie brought us a simple green salad with lemon dressing, and this is my twist for the Food Revolution.

These are the basic ingredients that never fail to put a smile on my face:

  • Green beans, blanched
  • Egg, boiled and halved
  • Grated anything: carrot, turnip, beetroot, cheese
  • Leaves – I like baby gem, lambs lettuce or romaine
  • Finely sliced onion, red or white
  • Radish, sliced
  • Fresh herbs
  • Cucumber, sliced
  • Tomato, sliced
  • Why not pop a few croutons on – you can’t be perfect all the time..

It’s all about variety. Now plate up and dress just before serving.

Dressing

Three parts oil to one part acid is perfect. Try this one on for size:

(for 1 person)

  • 60ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tsp Dijon Mustard
  • 20ml White Wine Vinegar
  • Salt & Pepper

My preferred method is to pop it all in a jam jar and give it a good old shake.

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Spaghetti alla Puttanesca

So. How to politely describe this dish then? Let’s say that the name links this quick, tangy, salty and robust dish, to ladies of the night.. Whether it’s purely in name, or factually linked to the stories passed down over the decades, this dish certainly gets the blood pumping.

It’s my chosen twist on Jamie Oliver’s Classic Tomato Spaghetti – if you can master that one, this is merely a minor deviation that will boost your repertoire and get your taste buds dancing to a new tune.

Essentially, it’s a tomato spaghetti which is elevated to the next level with black olives, anchovies and capers. I also like to add a touch of chilli for good measure.

 

Ingredients:

(serves 4)

  • 400g spaghetti
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 4 anchovies, chopped
  • 2 tbsp capers, rinsed
  • 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 100g black olives, pitted & torn
  • 1 x 400g tin tomatoes or  large handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Parmesan
  • Olive Oil

For me, this is a dish I like to throw together when I come in late and the fridge is bare; it’s a classic ‘store-cupboard dinner’. To be terribly honest, I can’t say I’ve ever actually measured the ingredients out before now. Recipes are after all, merely guides.

ingredients for store cupboard puttanesca

Method:

Bring a large pan of water to the boil and season with salt. Cook the pasta as per the packet instructions.

About 5 minutes before the pasta is ready, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan and add the garlic, anchovies and chilli flakes. As the garlic begins to turn golden and the anchovies start to melt away, add the capers and olives, followed by the tomatoes. If you’re using fresh tomatoes, a dash of passata can help. Cook for a few minutes and then add the drained pasta together with a dash of the starchy cooking water to bring it all together.

Serve topped with fresh basil leaves and a little parmesan cheese.

Enjoy!

Whore's Pasta

Omelette Twist

As Jamie launches his ‘10 recipes to save your life’ for this year’s Food Revolution, here’s my twist on the basic omelette for you: Baked Mini Omelettes!

Super-simple fayre, these little treats are a fun take on the humble and nutritious egg, and can be served hot or cold.

The fillings are up to you – I like to have a bit of variation so here’s some ideas:

Fresh chives, chillies, bell peppers, ham, tomato, cheese, smoked salmon; perhaps some pre-cooked ingredients: bacon, mushrooms, black pudding, sausage, broccoli.. the list goes on, so feel free to experiment.

The most important factor is to use the freshest and highest quality eggs you can find – the hens deserve it, and it’ll make such a difference to your cooking.

You’ll need roughly 1 egg for each omelette.

 

Method:

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C degrees (160°C fan).

Grease a muffin/cupcake tray with butter or a drop of oil.

Beat the eggs and season them with salt and pepper.

Pour the egg mixture into the muffin tray and sprinkle in your choice of ingredients.

Bake for 12 minutes.

It’s as easy as that.

Enjoy!

mini omelettes