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Along my journey to find better health I am always looking out for sweet treat recipes to try out.
I am acutely aware that I have this tiny person who is soon to embark on her own eating adventure and whilst I’m hopeful she won’t grow up on tons of processed crap I do want her to feel vaguely normal when it comes to things like having a cake for her birthday.
So I am doing my homework now trying to find recipes that taste as good as cakes made with standard ingredients such as white flour and white sugar, but contain more wholesome less bad ingredients such as coconut flour and honey or maple syrup for sweetness.
Do you ever eat a meal you’ve cooked numerous times and think, “perhaps this is my favourite meal ever”? I do. I always seem to be wondering what my favourite food or meal is, that if I had one last dinner to enjoy what would I choose?
I’ve decided that this is perhaps mine.
Someone on Instagram mentioned they’d love a recipe for my tomato pasta after I shared a picture on our Wales holiday. And although I almost don’t think it’s worthy of being called a ‘recipe’ or for me to tell anyone how to make something so simple, here it is.
It is basically pasta with a tomato sauce made from fresh tomatoes, cooked very quickly. I’m sure that I was inspired to first make this after watching a TV programme where an Italian chef on the Amalfi coast in a very posh hotel was making a tomato sauce for pasta this way.
I’m pretty sure that the quality of your tomatoes matters in this dish, after all you’re hardly adding any other flavours and if you use out-of-season-wishy-washy pale looking tomatoes I think it would taste pretty miserable. So finding good quality tomatoes, preferably in the summer months when they are at their ripest and in-season is essential.
I have used all kinds of tomatoes to make this sauce – larger ones cut up, cherry tomatoes left whole, cherry tomatoes cut in half, cherry tomatoes cut into quarters, multi-coloured tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, or a mixture of whatever I have to hand.
All you want to ensure is that they are roughly the same size so that they cook at the same rate.
Doesn’t food taste better when it looks pretty? I certainly believe so. I completely wrecked my fried egg the other day, had a complete tantrum about it and ended up literally flinging everything onto the plate – I was so mad about it looking crappy that I’m convinced I didn’t enjoy it as much.
This homemade gazpacho is one of my favourite pretty looking dishes I’ve made in recent weeks – the colours are just so summery and inviting. Plus it’s very tasty and with this current heat wave I could eat bowlfuls of this chilled soup. There was some interest on my Instagram about the recipe for it, so here it is.
Sometimes it takes the simplest of meals to remind you what real, good food actually is. I had this revelation last night as I tucked into my dinner for one of scrambled eggs on toast.
Mr Rigg was away for the night and my dinner choice was based on the fact that I really couldn’t be arsed to make anything more just for myself. We have a lovely farm up the road who produce organic eggs, so I always have a large tray of their eggs on hand for quick meals.
This time I had treated myself to some of their white Leghorn eggs, which I scrambled in my own sweet fashion – melt a healthy amount of raw butter in a saucepan, crack the eggs directly into the hot butter without whisking prior (I had two whole eggs and an extra yolk). Next I turn the heat down and let the eggs cook a little in the butter without touching them, then I use a spoon to break them up. This way you end up a mixture of quite distinct ‘white’ and ‘yolk’ but also some standard pale yellow scramble as well.
I considered skimming some cream off the top of our raw milk to add to the pan of eggs, cream in scrambled eggs is divine – don’t bother with milk! Anyway, that seemed like too much effort, so I just seasoned with salt and pepper and added generous amounts of snipped mint and chives from the garden, plus some pretty purple chive flowers.
Recently I’ve been trying to wean us off cereals – by wean, I mean I’ve just stopped buying it, which for poor Mr Rigg has meant going cold turkey on cereals at breakfast.
If you’re interested why I’m keen to steer away from cereals it’s because I’ve come to realise that there isn’t much good in them, despite what they like to tell us on their TV adverts.
We had this lovely recipe for granola that we used to make, which was delicious both with milk and yoghurt. The only problem is that I’ve also developed an interest in how grains were traditionally prepared, and how they used to be soaked before drying.
This is because things like grains and nuts and seeds have enzyme inhibitors in them, which unless soaked first, prevent us from absorbing all the goodness in them like vitamins and minerals.
I am a huge mushroom fan in all their shapes and sizes. I have found a way to cook them that I just love – I’ve had too many of those soggy watery mushrooms that I was determined to find a way to make them taste how I like them.
I cook them over a really high heat in a big knob of butter until they release all their juices. Then I continue to cook them until all the juices disappear, then they start to brown and caramelise a little around the edges. This is how I like my mushrooms. Once their like this they are delicious and you can then do all kinds of things to them (aside from eating them just like this) to make different meals.
Today I’m sharing this recipe for homemade hot chocolate ice cream sauce because my sister Izzy tweeted how much she wanted a bowl of ice cream with chocolate sauce (and we’ve been eating it this week), and because it’s rather scrummy.
We’ve tried a number of different ways of making chocolate sauce for ice cream, so this is probably a combination of a number of those, but for now in our house it will be known at Mr Rigg’s chocolate sauce, because he makes it. The other night I was tasked with making it whilst Mr Rigg washed up, so I got a lesson on how it’s made and decided to document it to share with you all too.
Hot Chocolate Ice Cream Sauce
First, take 50g of milk chocolate and break it into a saucepan.
Next, add 50g of dark chocolate (at least 70%) and add it to the milk chocolate. We used Green & Black’s organic chocolate.
Add a knob of butter to the pan (there is no specific weight measurement for this, sorry, we just to it by eye – it’s probably golf ball sized) and put it over a gentle heat.
It must be admitted that I am not a burger person. Before a few weeks ago I probably had only ever had two burgers ever in my whole life, and I’m not exaggerating. I grew up in a family who didn’t eat meat, and even when I did start eating meat I never liked burgers. I’ve had the odd bite of someone else’s to see whether I might like them, but no.
A couple of year’s ago we had a Uni reunion in Bath – a group of about 15 of us hired a house and spent the weekend there. Mr Rigg and I were nominated to cook dinner one night, and so decided to do burgers – probably because Jamie Oliver’s America cookbook had just come out, with a recipe for burgers (and everything that man makes seems to taste delicious) and in theory it seemed like a good thing for a large amount of people.
Obviously I ate a burger that night, and I actually really enjoyed it. They were really tasty burgers, and I love all the extras you stuff in a burger – in particular I love gerkins. Fast forward a few years and recently I just really had an urge to make those burgers again – they were one of those food moments that stick with you as being a really delicious meal.
Today we made bagels – our first attempt and after the results they won’t be our last. They were fun and easy to make, beautiful with their caramel sheen, and utterly scrumptious. I followed this bagel recipe and have included my thoughts on it below.
We started by making the dough – the recipe called for putting all the dry ingredients (bread flour, yeast, sugar and salt) into a food processor and briefly mixing, followed by the hot water. I used my lovely new Christmas present (the L’Equip 428 Mill Blender) and that worked ok enough, but I’m sure you could do it by hand if you don’t have a mixer.
Instead of covering in clingfilm, we used one of our trusty hotel shower caps (they work brilliantly!) and left it to rise for an hour – this is what it looked like 60 minutes later…
You turn the dough out onto your floured worktop and press it down ‘to expel any gases’. Next you cut the dough into 10 equal pieces – these will shortly become your bagels.
I’ve recently discovered that nuts comes with pesky enzyme inhibitors inside them, that can put a strain on your digestive system and makes it more difficult for your body to absorb all the good nutrients in them. You can overcome this by soaking the nuts overnight before slowly drying them out in an oven, then eating them as you wish.
This is something traditional cultures did and I’m all for learning from our ancestors and the knowledge they gleaned over many many generations.
After enjoying bowlfuls of Greek yoghurt topped with honey and a mixture of crumbled nuts on holiday, I thought I’d give it a go as I really wanted to recreate the mixed nuts ‘crumb’ for my own breakfasts.
Here’s said holiday breakfast…