Thursday, 31 July 2014

Miso, Garlic & Chilli Chicken with Quinoa & Spinach

This week I decided to quit sugar for a month to see what happens. By this I mean I am not eating refined sugars but am allowing natural sweeteners like maple syrup and honey. So far I’ve found it not that hard; it’s so much easier to say no to a slice of cake when you have a whole ingredient you’re avoiding rather than just ‘trying to be healthy’ in general. Plus I actually love using maple syrup and honey in my cooking as they have so much more flavor than the white stuff. Since starting I’ve had to crank up my cooking a notch so I don’t crave what I’m missing (i.e. my work’s infamous Malteser Munch, ahem). The Soy Maple Salmon I blogged about has been a life-saver and my supper tonight was so delicious, that I had to share the recipe. It’s more of a placing together a myriad of healthy ingredients than anything else, the lengthy title belies it’s simplicity and it is very open to adaptation.

Miso is one of those ingredients that makes everything taste better and actually has a sweetness that comes purely from the fermented soybeans, so far so healthy. Paired with chili, garlic and olive oil, it makes a dreamy chicken marinade. With this I did a simple quinoa and spinach mix with the amazing sauce the chicken produces. I ate it with guacamole, humous, China Rose spouts and black sesame seeds for taste and healthiness.

Miso, Garlic and Chilli Chicken with Spinach Quinoa, Guacamole, Humous and China Rose Sprouts
Serves 2

For the chicken:
Preheat the oven to 190C

  • Mix together 2tbsp Brown Rice Miso, 2 tbsp Coconut Oil, 1 tsp Fish Sauce and 1 sliced Red Chili. Add 4 Chicken Thighs and leave to marinade for 20 minutes.
  • Put 6 whole, unpeeled Garlic Cloves in a baking dish and place the chicken, skin side up on top, along with it’s marinade. Bake for 25 minutes.

For the Quinoa
  • Place 100g Brown and White Quinoa in a pan with double it’s volume in water. Cook until all it’s liquid is absorbed and then stir in a few handfuls of spinach with the juice from the cooked chicken.
  • Serve with homemade guacamole, humous, sprouts and black sesame seeds. 

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Smoky Chicken and Tempeh, Tomato Pesto, Herb Salad & Heritage Radishes

Cooking at this time of year calls for plenty of herbs, plenty of colourful summery vegetables and quick cooking. I picked up some beautiful organic radishes at the Parson Green farmers market today. Thinly shaved they are beautifully translucent but still pack a peppery punch (and crunch).  They were also selling huge bunches of herbs, so I picked flat-leaf parsley and mint to turn into a chopped herb salad.

Tempeh is something I’m new to and came across through Sarah Britten’s blog My New Roots. It’s basically a fermented soy ‘cake’ full of protein and with a low GI carbohydrate so a great alternative to meat or conventional carbs. The taste is quite earthy and is delicious when sliced thinly and baked with a marinade of maple and soy – especially alongside some tender chicken. I also made Britten’s sundried tomato pesto, a great healthy rift on basil/pine nut/parmesan which complements the tempeh perfectly with its toasted sunflower seeds mingling with garlic and the intense tomatoes.

Smoky Chicken and Tempeh, Tomato Pesto Herb salad and Heritage Radishes
Serve 2

Herby Salad:
  • Finely chop 1 large bunch of Parsley and a handful of Mint Leaves. Place in a bowl and add 4-5 chopped Cherry Tomatoes, 1 tsp Maldon Sea Salt, a squeeze of Lemon and lots of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Smoky tempeh and chicken, adapted from Sarah Britten
  • Preheat the oven to 180C. Take a 200g packet Tempeh and 200g Chicken Thigh. Slice the Tempeh lengthways into thin rectangles and place in a dish with the chicken. To this add, 2tbsp Soy, 2 tbsp Maple Syrup, 1 tbsp Coconut Oil and 1 tsp Paprika. Toss to coat and place in the over for 25 minutes.

Pesto adapted from Sarah Britten
  • Soak 6 sundried tomatoes in enough hot water to cover for half an hour. Meanwhile toast a handful of Sunflower Seeds. Drain the tomatoes (saving the water) and blitz in a food processor with the seeds, 1 Clove Garlic, salt to taste and enough of the tomato water to make a loose paste.

To assemble:
  • Spread the tempeh with the pesto and layer with the chicken and salad alternately. Finely slice some Heritage Radish over the top and finish with a drizzle of Olive Oil.