Beetroot Risotto

Ingredients

  • 1l home made vegetable stock
  • 250g arborio rice
  • 1/2 leek
  • 3 shallots
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 200ml dry white wine
  • 200 ml single cream
  • 2 small or 3 large raw beetroots
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 150g parmesan cheese
  • Handful of thyme
  • Generous pinch of sea salt and pepper

Follow this recipe to make the vegetable stock. As I’ve mentioned before making your own really makes all the difference and it doesn’t take long at all. Keep the stock simmering on the stove whilst making the risotto.

Add the olive oil to the pan and gently fry the leek, shallots and garlic until soft. Make sure it doesn’t burn. Add the rice to the pan and continue to fry gently for another 5 minutes.

Pour the wine over the rice and turn up the heat. Allow to boil whilst stirring until the majority of the liquid has dissolved. Now start ladling in the vegetable stock a little at a time whilst stirring regularly.

In the meantime peel and grate the beetroots and add to the rice. Continue to add vegetable stock to the pan whilst stirring until the rice is just about cooked al dente. At this point add the cream to mixture and allow to reduce until the risotto is at it’s perfect consistency.

Whilst cooking down the cream, season the risotto with vinegar and honey for some depth of flavour and add a generous amount of sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Add the parmesan and thyme last but save a bit of each for serving.

When the parmesan is melted add a little extra stock if the risotto is too dry. Serve in a large bowl topped with parmesan and fresh thyme.

 

Banana Loaf

Ingredients

  • 700ml almond flour / almond meal
  • 3 organic free-range eggs
  • 3 ripe organic bananas
  • 60ml virgin coconut oil
  • 100ml acacia honey
  • 1,5 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1tsp ground ginger (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • Handful of walnuts

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.

Slowly melt the coconut oil in a bain-marie (water bath) and leave to cool for a couple of minutes. Mash the three bananas with a fork and transfer to a bowl. Add the remaining wet ingredients – eggs, coconut oil, honey and vanilla extract, and mix well.

In another bowl combine the dry ingredients – almond flour, bicarbonate of soda, ground ginger, cinnamon and sea salt.

Add the wet mixture to the dry along with the walnuts and mix well. Grease a non-stick or silicon loaf tin with coconut oil and pour in the mixture.

Bake in the oven for 50-60 minutes. Before taking it out make sure it’s cooked through by piercing the cake with a metal skewer and make sure it comes out clean.

Baby Aubergines with Rice and Tomato Sauce

Ingredients
  • 200g organic black rice
  • 8 baby aubergines, halved
  • Vegetable oil to fry
For the Sauce
  • 2 tins of organic chopped tomatoes
  • 3 shallots
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 100ml red wine
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Handful of herbs of your choice
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • Small pinch of cayenne pepper

Start with the sauce by chopping the onions and garlic very finely. Add to a pot along with the olive oil and fry on a very low heat for about 10 minutes until transparent. Make sure not to let it burn as it will add a bitter taste to the sauce instead of a sweetness. When done add the red wine and let boil until reduced to half which usually takes 5 minutes or so. Add the tomatoes and and let simmer for roughly 30 minutes or until it reaches the texture you desire. Add the seasoning and herbs right at the end, basil is my favourite but thyme or parley works just as well.

Whilst the sauce is cooking put the rice on as it takes nearly 30 minutes to cook, follow the instructions on the packet. When it’s done, drain well it and return it to the pot to steam during the time it takes to fry the aubergines. (And don’t be scared by the colour of the water, it does turn completely black) Season if needed.

Pour a generous amount of vegetable oil into a pan, it should cover the whole base well. The majority of it will be left in the pan so don’t worry if it seems like a lot. Leave on full heat for a couple of minutes until steaming hot, then add your halved aubergines cut side down. Leave for 4 minutes or so or until dark golden brown, then turn and fry for another 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate with some kitchen towel to soak for a minute or so before serving. Sprinkle with some herbs.

Almond Milk

Ingredients
  • 1 cup of organic almonds (250ml)
  • 5 cups of water (1,25l)

You need quite a strong blender, such as a Vitamix or similar, in order to make good nut milk. It saves you a lot of money in the long run if you buy pre-packaged milk though so it’s well worth investing.

Simply add the nuts and water to the blender and blitz for a minute or two. Place your nut strainer bag in a colander and place above a bowl. Pour the milk mixture into the bag and tie up at the top. You’ll notice that the majority of milk will strain through on it’s own but the rest needs to be squeezed through by hand until you’re only left with a hard ‘lump’ of nut solids in the bag. Bottle the milk up and it’s ready to serve.

Make sure you don’t throw the nut solids away as they make a lovely dip or nut spread. Instead, return to the blender and add lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper and blend again. Add water until it reaches the texture you desire. It’s lovely on some crisp bread or as a dip with vegetables.

Almond Butter Flapjacks

Ingredients
  • 400ml organic almonds
  • 250ml old fashioned rolled oats (gluten free variety)
  • 5 tbsp acacia honey
  • 50ml coconut flakes
  • 50ml goji berries (roughly chopped)
  • 50ml organic almonds (roughly chopped)
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 80g dark chocolate (85%)

If you want to ensure these flapjacks are gluten free you might have to order gluten free oats online as they can be difficult to find.

Start by roasting the almonds in the oven for about 10 minutes on 200 degrees. Transfer them to a food processor and blitz for up to 10 minutes until smooth and butter like.

Pour into a bowl and work the salt and the honey into the butter with a spatchula. Then add the chopped goji berries, almonds and coconut flakes and work into a sticky paste. The quickest way of doing this is with your hands.

Line a tray with greaseproof paper onto which you transfer the almond mixture. Press down with your hands to make sure it’s as compact as possible as this will make it easier to cut later on. Leave the mixture in the fridge for a minimum of two hours until hard.

After two hours, temper the dark chocolate (I use 85% but anything above 70 is fine) by adding a third of it to a bain-marie until melted. Then take off the heat and add the remaining chocolate chopped into small bits and stir until fully melted. This will ensure your chocolate is hard in room temperature.

Take the tray out of the fridge and immediately cut into 6-8 pieces. Dip the bottom of the squares in the chocolate and place on a tray with greaseproof paper. When all flapjacks have been dipped, place in the fridge for another 30 minutes or until the chocolate is solid.

The flapjacks are now ready to serve.

Almond Butter

Ingredients
  • 400g organic almonds
  • Pinch of sea salt

Making your own nut butters is ridiculously easy if you have a good processor.

Start by roasting the almonds (or any other nut if you’d prefer) in the oven for about 10 minutes on 200 degrees Celsius whilst stirring occasionally. Transfer to your food processor and add a pinch of salt. Process until you’ve got a fairly smooth paste – you might have to stop and scrape down the sides of the processor half way through if necessary. If you’d like a sweet or chocolaty nut butter you can add a teaspoon of honey or cacao powder at this stage too.

Transfer to a jar and keep in the fridge for up to a week.