Spicy Tomato Zoodles!

#MeatfreeMonday, exercise, fitness, food, free from, Gluten Free, Healthy, Herbs, Italian, plant based, quick, raw, recipes, salad

zoodles

Preparation & cooking time: 25 minutes
Makes: 2 large portions

First off I will tell you what a zoodle is! The other week I bought a spiralizer, which has completely changed the way I have been eating at home and has really increased the amount of vegetables that I eat. They are pretty cheap to buy as well; I got mine from Amazon for around £25. They are so fun to use! The word zoodle comes from zucchini and noodle (also called courgetti (courgette spaghetti)). The spiralizer is a great tool to make amazing colourful salads full of lots of different vegetables. For this recipe I made a spicy tomato sauce to top the raw zoodles! Zoodles are a great healthy alternative to spaghetti. I definitely recommend buying a spiralizer, they are easy to use and would also be a great way of getting kids to eat a lot more vegetables. Alternatively, if you do not have a spiralizer you can get julienne graters for very cheap which will do the job perfectly as well. I hope you like it. 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 2 courgettes
  • 1 tin of tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, roughly sliced
  • 1 red onion, roughly chopped
  • A pinch of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon of chilli powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper
  • Small bunch of parsley, roughly chopped (leaves and stalks separated)

Method:

1.   Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the onion and parsley stalks and fry for 5 minutes until softened. Add the garlic, sugar, chilli powder, cumin, paprika, a pinch of salt and pepper and tomato puree and cook together for a few minutes. Then add the tin of tomatoes. Bring to the boil and then turn the heat down to low and leave the sauce to simmer and thicken for 10 minutes.

2.   Whilst the sauce is reducing you can prepare your zoodles. Using the spiralizer or julienne peeler create your zoodles and place one courgette worth of zoodles into each bowl. So easy and quick!!!!

3.   The recipe is now done! All you have to do is top the zoodles with the lovely sauce. You can blend the sauce to make it smooth before you do this (like I have in the photo) but you don’t have to at all. Once you have poured on the sauce, sprinkle some of the parsley leaves on top and enjoy!

 

Pizza!

Italian, Specials, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

010 (2)Makes: Enough pizza dough for eight 30cm pizzas.
Preparation & cooking time: 1hr 1/2 (including time to let the dough rise)

Pizza is one of the most enjoyed foods everywhere in the world and it is one of the most common food that is ordered as a take-away. Personally, I just don’t understand the fuss about a take away pizza as more often than not it will arrive covered in grease, with a horrible doughy crust and with layer of cheese literally an inch thick on the top! Another reason why I don’t understand the whole pizza take-away fad is that it is so easy to make your own pizza at home; you will get a perfectly thin & crisp crust, no grease, fresh toppings and you will also save quite a few pennies in the process! Trust me, once you have tasted how good a homemade pizza is and how easy it is to make, you will never want to order another take-away pizza again! I always split the dough into eight portions, wrap them into cling film and freeze them until I want to use them. The dough defrosts really quickly and from that point it takes about 10 minutes to make a delicious pizza!

Ingredients:

Basic Pizza Dough

  •  1kg tipo ’00’ flour (or strong white bread flour)
  • A good pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon golden caster sugar
  • 4 tablespoons extra vrgin olive oil
  • 650ml tepid water
  • 14g dry yeast (if you can, use two 7g sachets)

Toppings

There are so many options when it comes to pizza toppings that I don’t really know where to begin! The recipes that I am posting use garlic oil as the base instead of the traditional tomato sauce, but you could use a muschroom sauce, a roasted vegetable sauce etc. I have used only vegetables to top my pizza but you can use your favourite pizza toppings!

  • Garlic oil (or tomato passata)
  • A handful of green beans, sliced in half
  • A few cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • A few mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • A few asparagus, sliced diagonally
  • Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • Dried chilli flakes
  • A few parsley leaves, roughly chopped
  • Avocado pesto

Method:

1.   Sieve the flour and the salt onto a large clean work surface and make a large well in the middle of the flour. In a jug, mix together the water, olive oil, sugar and yeast and then leave to rest for a few minutes. After a few minutes resting, pour the mixture into the well of flour. With a fork, gradually bring the flour in from the sides and swirl it into liquid. Make sure you do this gently because you could break the walls of flour leaving you with a right mess (I have had first hand experience of this!). Keep swirling and bringing in larger amounts of flour until all of the mixture starts coming together, then work the rest with your flour dusted hands until you have a nice springy, smooth ball of dough. Place the ball of dough into a large flour dusted bowl and cover the bowl with a damp cloth. Put the bowl in a warm room (the airing cuoboard is always a good place, or next to the cooker) and leave to rise for an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.

2.   Once the dough has doubled in size, pour it onto a flour dusted surface and knead the dough to push out all of the air in it, in baking terms this is called ‘knocking back the dough’. Slice the dough into 8 portions and keep out as many as you need and with the rest, wrap them in cling film and put them into the freezer. The dough keeps really well, so just take a portion out as and when you need it. 

3.   Preheat your oven to the hottest temperature that it goes to (my oven goes to 270 C and this will cook the pizza in 5 minutes). On a flour dusted surface place a portion of the dough and roll it out with a flour dusted rolling pin (I use an empty bottle of wine and this works perfectly) until you have the size and thickness that you want. I like my pizzas to be very thin and crispy so I tend to roll the dough out until it is around 30cm across. Once the dough has been rolled out, put it onto a pizza tray (basically a round tray with holes in it; these work brilliantly and they are also very cheap to buy) so that it is ready for the toppings to be put onto it.

4.   Firstly, drizzle over a good amount of garlic oil onto the pizza base and then arrange the vegetables onto the base. Secondly, sprinkle over a good pinch of sea salt and pepper along with a pinch of the dried chilli flakes. The pizza is now ready to go into the oven; place it in the oven and depending on how hot your oven goes to, it should be ready in 5-7 minutes. Keep an eye on it as you do not want it to burn. After 5 minutes the pizza will have a lovely colour and the base will have bubbled up a bit. I like to leave the pizza in the oven until the vegetables char a little as I think it tastes amazing! Take the pizza out of the oven when it is ready and sprinkle over the parsley and spoon over some avocado pesto. Place the pizza onto a nice chopping board and slice into 8 slices and enjoy it 🙂

015 (2)

Here is another pizza that I made. It is so easy to make, just drizzle the garlic oil over the base, place some chopped sun dried tomatoes all over the pizza, add the sea salt & pepper and some chilli flakes. Cook it in exactly the same way as the pizza above. There are so many toppings for pizza, let me know what you love to have on your pizzas. I hope you like this recipe 🙂

005 (2)

006 (2)

 

 

 

Asparagus, pea & mint risotto!

Italian, Specials, Vegan, Vegetarian

187

Makes: 2 generous portions
Preparation & cooking time: 45 minutes

For me, risotto is one of the most comforting foods going! A good risotto is so easy to make and with a little love and attention you will have a base risotto recipe with endless options (it is a great meal to impress people with as well!)! A risotto should be smooth, creamy and oozy! When you shake the pan the risiotto should move like the waves, or ‘onde‘ as the Italians say, and should never be thick and stodgy like the ones I have been served so many times in numerous restaurants! Peas and asparagus are in season at the moment so it makes this recipe even better! You can use the base risotto recipe and you can add whatever ingredients you like, but seasonal vegetable (see what else is in season here) risottos really stand out in my opinion. I made this recipe for my girlfriend and myself so (as she is vegan) I have left out the butter and the parmesan cheese (which are used in traditional risotto recipes), but I will tell you when you will need to add it in if you would like to use these ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • I litre organic vegetable stock (homemade is the best!)
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 stick of celery, finely chopped
  • 1/2 a carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 150g risotto rice
  • 1 small glass of dry white wine/vermouth
  • 4 – 6 sticks of asparagus, sliced diagonally
  • 75g peas (fresh if possibl;e but frozen are excellent as well)
  • 4 – 5 mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Method:

1.   In one pan heat the stock; you need to make sure that it is hot when you add it to the rice so that it doesn’t slow down the cooking process, and in another large, thick based pan heat the olive and add the onions, celery and carrots and fry slow for around 10 minutes until all ot the vegetables have softened. When the vegetables have softened, add the rice to the pan and turn it up to a high heat. The toasting of the rice is a really important part of making a good risotto as the heat cracks open the rice and allows it to absorb lots of the awesome stock.

2.   The rice will carry on frying so keep stirring it and after a minute the rice will have turned slightly translucent. At this point add the in the wine/vermouth to the pan and continue to stir. The aroma you will get will be amazing and the harshness of the alcohol will all be cooked away and you will be left with the most amazing flavour!

3.   Once the wine/vermouth has been absorbed by the rice it is time to add in the first ladleful of stock. Turn the heat down a little now so that the rice doesn’t cook too quickly and add a pinch of sea salt and pepper. Now that you have added your first ladleful of stock, it is very important to keep stirring the risotto and massage all of the starch out of the rice to give the risotto its amazing texture. After the first ladleful is absorbed by the rice, keep adding ladlefuls of stock to keep it moist and keep stirring! Allow each ladleful to be absorbed before you add the next. This process should take around 15 – 18 minutes.

4.   After 8 minutes, add the peas and the asparagus to the stock pan and ladle in with the stock as you have been doing.  After 15 minutes taste the rice to see if it is cooked. The rice should be soft with a little bite. If it is not cooked then keep adding stock and stirring unitil it is cooked through.

5.   Once the rice has cooked, take the pan off of the heat, check the seasoning and add the mint. If you want to use butter and parmesan, add a knob of butter and a small handful of parmesan now and stir it in. Cover the pan with a lid and leave to rest for 3 minutes. This is a really important stage as it will allow of the ingredients to relax and allow all of the flavours to incorporate together! Serve and eat as soon as possible whilst the risotto has its amazing texture.

I hope you like this recipe everyone. Let me know what you think of it. 🙂

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