Smoky Paprika Cauliflower Hummus

Cauliflower has become one of my favourite vegetables. Low carb and so versatile. Roasted in salads, whizzed up into cauliflower rice, mashed up into mash – all delicious!

I absolutely love fresh raw veggies and home-made healthy dips in summer. Many people find legumes like chickpeas and lentils hard on their digestive system, so I thought, if cauliflower make a delicious mash, surely it would work as a hummus!

I would recommend using this recipe as a base or starting point, and playing around with it to suit your tastes and preferences. For example, I flavoured mine with garlic, smoked paprika and lemon, but you could just as easily add cooked pumpkin, or curry powder or basil! I also still added chickpeas to this batch as they give me some good carbs! But you could leave those out. Also adding Tahini would be a fabulous flavour and texture!

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What I did…

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 large cauliflower
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tin chickpeas (drained)
  • 1-2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • A splash apple cider vinegar
  • Good quality olive oil (I used a mix of lemon-infused avo oil and olive oil)
  • Splash of soy sauce
  • Juice of 1 large lemon
  • Salt to taste

METHOD

  1. Place cauliflower and garlic cloves on baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and cover with foil. Roast at 150 until it is cooked through and soft.
  2. Once cooked, place cauliflower and garlic in the food processor and blend until fine grains
  3. If using chickpeas, now add these into the food processor and blend
  4. Now add the spices and lemon juice. Blend and while blending begin to add olive oil. Continue to add olive oil – stopping intermittently to check and scrape mixture from side of food processor – until the hummus becomes a smooth hummus texture. (If in doubt, add more oil rather than less, as mixture always thicken in the fridge).
  5. Taste to check seasoning and add more if needed.

Spoon into a glass jar or two and seal & refrigerate or … enjoy straight away!

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Chicken Liver & Mushroom Pâté

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There are some great health benefits that can result from regularly adding a bit of (grass-fed and ideally organic) liver to your diet … a quick google search should reinforce this.

Personally though, I have had to overcome a couple of obstacles …

  1. The taste of liver and Pâté  has never appealed to me, and mentally I struggle with offal. However, it has come to a point where I cannot deny the ecological and health benefits of eating “nose to tail”. So I decided I would like it and start by training my taste-buds to enjoy liver Pâté … and to be honest, it only took a couple of meals. I am really enjoying it! 
  2.  My second obstacle was that when I looked at the ingredients of most of the off-the-shelf brands, they had a maximum of 35% liver and a whole lot of other filler ingredients that I’d rather not consume (including canola oil!) … so I decided to source some chicken livers and have a go at making my own recipe. 

The following has turned out delicious. I used the basic method from a Jamie Oliver recipe as a starting point and then added a few ingredients to suit my taste preference (and provide some extra nutritional bang for buck!)

Ingredients

  • 150g soft grass-fed butter 
  • 2 Tablespoons Ghee
  • olive oil
  • 2  peeled and finely chopped shallots 
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled and finely chopped 
  • 100-200 grams mushrooms
  • 400 g  chicken livers (trimmed and ideally free range and organic)
  • a few sprigs fresh sage leaves 
  • ¼ cup brandy (or wine)
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1 pinch of ground or fresh turmeric
  • 1 pinch cumin

 

Method

  1. Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan. Slowly fry the shallots and garlic for 10 minutes, until soft and tender, then remove to a plate.
  2. Wipe the pan clean with a handy towel, turn up the heat then throw in the livers, mushrooms and most of the sage (add some ghee for some extra sizzle).
  3. Cook mushrooms and chicken livers for a couple of minutes on each side, until lightly coloured b(careful not to overcook)
  4. Pour in the brandy and simmer for a couple of minutes until the alcohol cooks off,
  5. Tip the the livers  and mushroom into a food processor, adding the shallots and garlic mixture. Blend until smooth.
  6. Once smooth, add the 150 grams of soft butter and seasoning and blend again (taste and adjust seasoning to suit).
  7. Use a spatula to tip pate into storage container or bowl. Optional – at this stage you can add some extra sage on top and some clarified butter or ghee as a seal (this will help it keep longer also)

 

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Beetroot & Sunflower Pesto

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This is a very simple, natural, wholesome , paleo friendly dip that makes a beautiful accompaniment to any salad or nibbles platter.

Below is what I did to make it – quantities are only estimates as I didn’t measure. I suggest you slowly add the seasoning and various liquids and test for taste and texture as you go.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup of sunflower seeds, soaked in water overnight
  • 1 medium beetroot – peeled, chopped into chunks and cooked until soft
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of Tahini
  • 1 dessertspoon soy sauce
  • 1 small clove of cooked garlic
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamon
  • 1/2-1 tsp curry powder
  • 1-2 tsp of Dijon or American Mustard (no added sugar or egg)
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper to season

METHOD

  • In a food processor, blend the soft sunflower seeds with the lemon juice
  • Add the cooked beetroot, Tahini, Soy Sauce, garlic and seasoning  and blend together
  • While the beetroot and sunflower seed mixture is blending, add olive oil slowly,  stopping to check the texture and taste. You shouldn’t need to add more than a couple of tablespoons. You are aiming for a smooth texture.
  • Check for seasoning and adjust if need

Chill and serve!

Of course you can add any other seasonings you think might taste nice – adapt and customize!

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Grilled eggplant rolls, with feta, mint & chilli

This is my absolute favourite way to eat eggplant! It is adapted from a Julie Biuso recipe and particularly great for summer BBQ’s. Works great as a meal accompaniment or a canapé . 

Grilled eggplant rolls

  • 2 large eggplants
  • High heat oil (I like to use the Olivado High Heat blend, mixed with Ghee and Coconut Oil)
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh mint
  • 200g creamy feta
  • Finely grated zest 1 lemon
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 red chilli (seeds removed), finely chopped (or 1 – 1/2 tsp of chilli from a jar)
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Cut eggplants into thin slices (width or length-wise).
  • Put a little oil on a large plate and dunk several eggplant slices in the oil one at a time (or use  a brush), then transfer them to a barbecue grill rack.
  • Cook quickly until golden on each side (the best is when they are slightly crispy on the outside, but creamy on the inside)
  • Transfer eggplant slices to a clean plate as they are done and season them with salt. Repeat with remaining eggplant slices.
  • Chop mint and put in a food processor with feta, lemon zest and 1 Tbsp lemon juice or mix in a bowl.
  • Spread a little of the feta mixture over each eggplant slice and roll up.
  • Optional: Mix some chilli,  olive oil lemon juice in a small bowl and spoon over the eggplant rolls before serving.

 

Eggplant rolls

Tim’s Pesto

Tim’s Pesto

This is a lovely little creation of my husband’s. If like us you have an abundance of basil in the garden at the moment, then why not whip up this delicious simple and healthy pesto.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups tightly packed basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts, walnuts or almonds
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cloves of garlic crushed
  • ¼ – ½ cup grated parmesan.
  • Add freshly ground pepper to taste.

Method:

  • Put  basil leaves into food processer and blend until broken down
  • Then add the rest of the ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth  

Roasted Beetroot, Feta and Walnut Tarts

So you are invited to an afternoon tea and you only have a couple of hours – these little tarts are pretty quick to whip up and hopefully will be a crowd-pleaser!

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Ingredients:

  • Two sheets of flaky pastry (home-made is better)
  • 1-2 beetroot, peeled and chopped into small-medium chunks
  • 1 brown onion, sliced into rings
  • Creamy Feta
  • Walnuts
  • Honey
  • Cumin, salt & pepper
  • Thyme

Method

  • Roast the beetroot in some coconut oil (or another healthy cooking oil), cumin, salt and pepper and you may also want to add a touch of balsamic vinegar and honey.

(if you are short of time, pre-cook the beetroot in the microwave and finish off in the oven)

  • While the beetroot is roasting, caramelize the onion in a hot pan with some honey.
  • Drizzle walnut pieces with a little bit of honey and lightly roast.
  • Cut the pastry into small squares or rectangles. You can use a knife to indent a border around the edge. Don’t roll or stretch the pastry or it will not puff up.
  • Brush the pastry with an egg wash and cook in the oven until it is golden.
  • Once the pastry is cooked, spread the caramelized onion on first (you can also add a little relish of your choosing if you so desire).
  • Position a couple of roasted beetroot pieces on each tart, along with some crumbled feta and walnut pieces.
  • Finish off with Thyme to garnish.

  Enjoy!

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