Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Sweet Potato Chips with an Avocado, Basil & Chickpea Dip

If you could eat only one carbohydrate for the rest of your life, what would it be? Mine would definitely be bread. In every shape and form I cannot get enough. Potatoes I can take or leave, apart from a crunchy French fry – the potato’s naughtiest guise. For a healthier alternative I wanted to make sweet potato ‘fries’ which are baked rather than fried (as SP behave very differently than their quasi-cousin, and dissolve in a fryer). It is also very hard to get a good, crispy exterior. Out and about I’ve eaten SP chips cooked in a tempura batter or coated in breadcrumbs which are both deliciously crunchy but I wanted to find a more nutritious coating. Enter the humble almond. Tossed in coconut oil and ground almonds the SP ‘fries’ are almost as crunchy as their namesake and have a lovely nutty taste, which is incredibly moreish. Instead of the obligatory mayonnaise or ketchup dip I whipped up a sort of avocado and basil-rich hummus that really complements them.

Serves 1-2 as a side

For the ‘fries’
  • Preheat the over to 190C. Wash 1 large Sweet Potato and cut lengthways into even-sized chips. Melt 2 tbsp Coconut Oil and coat the chips. Next toss the chips in 100g Ground Almonds until well coated.
  • Arrange on a baking tray in one layer and roast for 20-30 minutes until cooked through and golden. N.b. They will become more crispy when slightly cooled.

For the Avocado and Basil Hummus

  • In a food processor whizz together 200g cooked Chickpeas, 1 Tbsp Tahini Paste, 1 Garlic clove and the juice of ½ Lemon. Loosen with a little boiling water until a smooth puree has formed. 
  • Mash ½ and Avocado and fold into the hummus along with 1 tbsp Basil, chopped. Season to taste.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Maple & Soy Salmon with Spinach & Chipotle Brown Rice

I have been eating this a lot recently as it is the healthiest comfort food I know. I like to eat it from a big bowl and it benefits from a large dollop of humus (slightly left of field but it works). The maple and soy marinade gives the salmon a wonderful caramelised edge and the fish should be slightly undercooked for the perfect flaking texture. I found Chipotle paste at my local Waitrose and have become addicted to its unique smoky, spicy flavour. Delicious stirred through the nutty brown rice and wilted spinach.

Serves 2
  • For the marinate mix together 1 tbsp Soy Sauce, 2 tbsp Maple Syrup, 1 tbsp Coconut Oil, 1 chopped Garlic clove, ½ Red Chilli sliced and 1cm Ginger peeled and chopped. Spoon over 2 Salmon Fillets and leave for 20 minutes. Preheat the over to 200C.
  • Cook 150g Brown Rice. Drain and stir through a few handfuls of Spinach and 2 tbsp Chipotle paste.
  • Roast the fish for 8-10 minutes until just opaque. Flake into pieces and sit atop the rice. Drizzle over the remaining marinade. 

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Spring asparagus and broccoli with proscuitto, a soft boiled egg and pesto

This recipe is a delicious way to take advantage of the new season asparagus and sprouting broccoli. Originally I was going to make a hollandaise sauce but the weather was so gorgeous and hot today that I made a basil pesto instead. Salty ham, unctuous eggs and a garlicky pesto only add to the fresh crunch of the veg.

Serves 2
  • For the pesto whizz in a processor 1 bunch Basil, 1 Garlic Clove, 1 handful grated Parmesan, a pinch of Salt and 2 tbsp toasted Pine nuts. Trickle in about 100ml of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or Rapeseed which is delicious but gives a much darker colour).
  • Have a bowl of iced water ready. Trim 1 bunch Asparagus and 1 bunch Broccoli of their woody ends on the diagonal. Boil in salted water for 3-4 minutes until soft but still crunchy. Lift out the veg with a slotted spoon (save the water for poaching), plunge into the iced water and then drain.
  • Poach 2 eggs in the vegetable water. Arrange the vegetables crisscrossed on 2 plates. Tear 6 pieces of Prosciutto into strips and drape on top. Add the eggs and then a drizzle of pesto, fresh basil and extra Parmesan.