broccoli stir fry with red rice and oriental sauce

Again old recipe inspired by Tesco magazine I used to collect when I was shopping there. I rarely buy from Tesco nowadays but this stir fry was very good. And because at the moment we are in a stage of trying different things I went back to this recipe. We eat less meat now so we’ve decided to incorporate rice and some grains into our diet. And soon we’re planing to make our own bread, so if it will be somehow successful I will post you about that.

We try not to label foods as good – keto and not good – carbs. Rather – nutritious or not nutritious. The one that actually serving us and not serving. And because recently we don’t eat so much meat as before, we need to replace it with other foods. And will see, in couple months we might come back to keto if we won’t be entirely happy with this meal plan. And as we both work full time, I try to make our diet as flexible as possible, so it meet the needs of both of us. And I would rather call it a lifestyle than a diet, because the word “diet” is associated with some kind of restrictions. And it’s more a matter of our own choice, not something imposed in advance by someone else. It seems to me that it’s just a healthier approach, that gives more freedom and does not make us feel guilty if for some reason we “go off the road”.

Our chosen type of rice is either brown, red, black or wild.

White rice is the most popular variety of rice, but the least nutritious. In the production of white rice grains, the top layers are removed along with the most valuable vitamins, minerals and fiber. As with most of the grains, the husk contains the most nutritional value, if we remove the husk, we will have pure carbohydrates. Brown rice is rich in numerous nutrients, as it is only deprived of inedible husk. Its grains remain “unclean”, and therefore contain fiber, magnesium, iron and B vitamins. They also have high fiber content. Red and black rice is paddy, medium grain, very similar to brown but with a red or black husk. It contains many valuable nutrients. Of course, it all depends on where (on what soil) the rice is grown, as the nutrient content also depends on it. And whether pesticides or other chemicals have been used in its cultivation. Unfortunately, we are not always able to check this. Most of the times we can only trust that we buy a healthy product.

If you like oriental flavours this recipe will be perfect for you – mix of sweet, spicy tangy and salty taste with amazing aroma of sesame seed oil. Sesame seed oil so flavoursome, makes the whole kitchen smell like in a oriental restaurant.

I used red bell pepper to make this stir fry, but if you’re a fan of really spicy flavours you can add chilli peppers instead. Or simply add both. Red rice was my choice, but you can either use brown or wild rice – they both will work perfectly. All of them are very aromatic with a nice nutty flavour.


broccoli stir fry with red rice and oriental sauce


NOTE: my cup is regular 250ml glass

INGREDIENTS for stir fry:

  • 1 broccoli
  • 1 red sweet pepper (you can use chilli pepper instead of sweet)
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • bunch of spring onions
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup of red rice
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds

INGREDIENTS for sauce:

  • 1 tbsp of miso paste
  • 1 inch (2.5cm) fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped or pressed through a press
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp of rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce

DIRECTIONS

Boil the rice in salted water until tender. In a bowl, combine all the sauce ingredients and let it sit for a while.

Wash your broccoli, divide it into florets. Chop spring onions, cut the pepper into thin strips, ginger in very thin slices. Heat the olive oil in a wok and add broccoli. Season with salt and fry over a large heat until golden and semi-soft, add pepper and half of spring onions. Fry for a while, then add garlic and ginger chopped into thin slices.

Mix fried vegetables with cooked rice, pour over prepared sauce, sprinkle with sesame seeds and the rest of spring onions.

Bon Appetit!

green peas, bacon and cheese fritatta

As I start my days quite early right now, I no longer have time for proper breakfast. So weekend is the time for me to have nice, decent and more time consuming breakfast. Today I would like you to have a look at this colourful, delicious fritatta. Usually this way of preparing eggs is not my favourite – I prefer fried or scrambled eggs with lots of fresh salad on a side, but this fritatta really surprised me. I only regret that I didn’t add more green peas (I love green peas by the way) because they added lots of freshness to this meal. Addition of feta cheese was also a good idea – it gives a mediterranean vibe and lots of lightness, a contrary to bacon and cheddar. In general great option for a hearty breakfast or lunch. Perfect as a low carb meal, even though green peas are not a ketogenic vegetable – you still keep your carbs low, obviously if you won’t have a slice of bread or toast with it. And it’s absolutely not needed here. If you place your fritatta on a bunch of fresh rocket leaves and garnish with fresh chopped herbs, you’ll get a delicious Summer dinner.

To make this fritatta it’s good to have a non stick pan, with quite thick bottom, so you won’t burn the eggs easily, covering the pan with lid will help to melt the cheese faster, without burning the bottom of the fritatta.

Choose delicious, juicy and sweet cherry tomatoes, preferably from your local supplier. If you choose tomatoes that had to travel thousands miles to finish on your plate, you can be sure that they didn’t managed to ripe on the bush, but during the long journey. So they didn’t managed to develop all the nutritional components as they should. In the ideal world we would have tomatoes that grow happily in the sun, not in the greenhouse. Hydroponic cultivation is gaining more and more popularity. In a small area, in a controlled atmosphere and irrigated with a mixture of chemicals, they grow huge bushes. That’s why in stores tomatoes are cheap even in winter. One bush, grown in this way, can bear up to 25 kilos of fruit. This kind of tomatoes don’t see any sun and most of them don’t even grow in the soil. Why don’t they smell and don’t taste like tomatoes? – that is why.

If we think that we eat healthy because we eat vegetables, we can often be very wrong. If the only source of our vegetables will be those from the supermarket packed in plastic, imported from distant countries, we can almost be sure that their nutritional values will be very poor. If you look for fruit and vegetables from a local grower, you can be more sure that what you get your body will have more value. Such vegetables will sometimes be more expensive than in the supermarket, less diverse, but isn’t it better to eat something that has some value and will nourish our body than something that will give us only a illusory sense of health and, as a result, malnutrition and disease?

There’s one more thing about small local growers – they usually grow their crops not for lust of earning as much money as possible. Lots of them are truly passionate about what they grow, they are often small family run buisnesses so they also eat what they grow. And if they are honest they will be happy to answer all your questions and tell you how their veggies and fruits are grown. Like Mhairi that I spoke with some time ago – you can read our conversation here.


green peas, bacon and cheese fritatta


INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 large eggs
  • couple slices smoked streaky bacon
  • 1 brown onion
  • slice of butter
  • 2 handfuls of green peas (I had frozen peas)
  • handful of grated mature cheddar cheese
  • handful of crumbled feta cheese
  • couple cherry tomatoes
  • natural rock salt and black coarse pepper to taste
  • dried or fresh parsley for garnish

DIRECTIONS

Chop onion and bacon. On a large pan melt slice of butter and add bacon. Fry until golden, add onion and sprinkle with a little bit of salt and black pepper. Fry for about 5 minutes. Add green peas and lower the heat. Fry for another 2 minutes stirring from time to time. Whisk 3 eggs, pour all over the pan.

Sprinkle with grated cheddar and crumbled feta, add cherry tomatoes. Cover the pan with lid and fry on a very low heat until cheese will be melted. Garnish with dried or fresh chopped parsley and serve.

Enjoy!

Indian style vegetable curry

This Indian style veggie curry recently became one of our favourite meals. What’s great about it is that it’s extremely easy and quick to make. Perfect when you don’t have much time to cook, but you still want something nourishing and hearty. It’s full of flavour one pot meal you can prepare, using different veggies you have in your fridge. Mushrooms are the most important though. You can swap cauliflower with broccoli, courgettes and aubergine with other veggies (root veg for example). I chose the one that are most low carb.

Choose closed cup baby mushrooms – they are the best for this recipe. They are small, so there’s no need to chop them, they won’t become soggy while cooking. Baby mushrooms will remain firm and juicy, perfect for one bite. There’s no need to add any meat to this curry.

I chose mild curry powder – feel like mild flavour goes better with veggies, but I you like more spicy curry, try adding hot curry powder or sprinkle your curry with chilli flakes. Also I wouldn’t be myself if I wouldn’t add garlic for even more delicious flavour. But if you don’t like smell or taste of garlic you can skip it in the recipe.

Also choose good quality coconut milk. There’s plenty of choices, but various coconut milk can differ a lot. Look for the simplest list of ingredients: coconut extract and water. If you can, try to stay away from the ones that contains emulgators, stabilisers, starches and emulsifiers. Also look what’s the percentage of coconut extract it contains – the more the better.

You can serve your curry with multiple additions like rice, quinoa, bulgur wheat or on its own, or with piece of naan bread.


vegetable curry


INGREDIENTS:

  • 500 g baby mushrooms
  • 1 small cauliflower
  • 1 small courgette
  • 1 small aubergine
  • handful of cherry tomatoes
  • spring onion for garnish
  • 450 ml coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • about 2 tsp mild curry powder (or hot curry powder if you like)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • salt to taste

DIRECTIONS

Thoroughly wash all veggies. Divide cauliflower in small florets. Chop courgette and aubergine. Heat large, deep frying pan (or wok) adding one tablespoon of coconut oil. Fry cauliflower first, on high heat, until slightly golden, then add baby mushrooms. Fry for couple minutes, then add courgette, aubergine, curry powder, turmeric, chopped garlic and sprinkle with salt.

Add coconut milk and lower the heat, let it simmer for couple minutes – mushroom should be still firm and juicy. At the end of cooking add halves of cherry tomatoes. Garnish with spring onions before serving.

Serve on its own, it will also taste great with rice, couscous, bulgur wheat or quinoa.

Store in the fridge for about 2-3 days.

Enjoy!

one pot cabbage rolls (keto unstuffed lazy version)

I’m all about easy one pot meals, and I love cabbage rolls. So when I stepped upon this unstuffed lazy version I knew i have to make it. You know these days when you absolutely cannot be bothered spending more time in the kitchen than it’s absolutely necessary. Or you simply don’t have enough time to properly cook, but you still like to eat something homemade?

This lazy one pot unstuffed cabbage roll are perfect for these kind of days. What’s even better – it’s low carb, because we swap rice with cauliflower. All preparations will take you less than 30 minutes, than you just leave it on a small heat stirring it occasionally. Or you can pop all ingredients to a slow cooker (although it’s nice to fry the onion and meat first) and let it cook slowly without your attention.

This one pot unstuffed cabbage roll is full of flavour, aromatic, if you like it more on a spicy side, you can add some cayenne pepper or couple splashes of sriracha – Thai sauce made of mashed chilli peppers with garlic, vinegar, sugar and salt. Warm and hearty meal you can make even on a busy day and have for your lunch or dinner.

one pot cabbage rolls

(keto unstuffed lazy version)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 small white cabbage
  • 500 g pork (or beef) mince
  • 1 large white onion
  • 1 small cauliflower
  • about 500 ml tomato passata
  • salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika powder
  • 1-2 chopped garlic cloves
  • dried or fresh parsley for garnish
  • 1 tbsp butter

DIRECTIONS

Finely chop onion, heat a large frying pan adding 1 tablespoon of butter. Fry onion until gold, than add minced meat, salt pepper and sweet paprika powder. Fry on a medium to high heat until meat becomes greyish – brown and won’t be raw any more.

In the meantime, chop your cabbage, it doesn’t need to be chopped in any particular way – should be quick and easy though. Also finely chop a cauliflower, you can also use a food processor if you have it on hand. I just chopped it in small pieces using a large knife.

When meat is ready add chopped garlic, cabbage and cauliflower. I used a large non stick pot to fry meat and onion, so I just added veggies to it. If you don’t have a pot like that transfer fried meat to a regular pot and add veggies. You need to be able to cover it with lid, to simmer gently. Also add passata, give it a good stir and cover the pot with lid lowering the heat so it will simmer slowly. Stir every now and then, keeping an eye it not burning on the bottom of the pot.

Cook until cabbage will become as tender as you like it. You can make it almost overcooked, or firm and crunchy. Add some more salt and pepper if needed, at the end garnish with parsley.

You can easily prepare this meal also using a slow cooker.

SLOW COOKER DIRECTIONS

Finely chop onion, heat a large frying pan adding 1 tablespoon of butter. Fry onion until gold, than add minced meat, salt pepper and sweet paprika powder. Fry on a medium to high heat until meat becomes greyish – brown and won’t be raw any more.

In the meantime, chop your cabbage, it doesn’t need to be chopped in any particular way – should be quick and easy though. Also finely chop a cauliflower, you can also use a food processor if you have it on hand. I just chopped it in small pieces using a large knife.

When meat is ready, transfer it to a slow cooker, add chopped garlic, cauliflower and cabbage sprinkle with some more salt and pepper, pour over tomato passata and about 100ml of water. Give it a good stir and set up your slow cooker on “low” for about 4 hours. After 2 hours give it a good stir and check if it needs any additional seasoning.

Serve hot garnished with some parsley.

Enjoy!

cheesy spinach stuffed pork meatloaf

I got this recipe from a friend and it’s absolutely amazing. Everything that contains spinach, cheese and garlic is my favourite. There’s absolutely no need to ask me twice to try it. If you’re also a fan of this three – you won’t be disappointed. This meatloaf will be absolute star of every family gathering or a party, and you can make it effortlessly in 20-30 minutes.

It’s also a perfect ketogenic recipe (if you skip the breadcrumbs) if you’re in a hunt for new ideas. Deliciously creamy spinach with lots of garlic, combined with smoky bacon gives amazing flavour and aroma (if you love smell of garlic 🙂 )

I use frozen spinach – it’s the easiest and quickest to prepare (if you remember to defrost it in advance). You will need quite a lot of it, so frozen is the best choice. If you don’t have mozzarella cheese, any other cheese will be also great: cheddar, ricotta, even feta will work. Feel free to experiment – spinach tastes great with every cheese I think.

From this amount of ingredients you will get quite a big meatloaf – perfect for 6-8 people or for 4 with plenty of leftovers. Simply use half of the ingredients for smaller size meatloaf.

cheesy spinach stuffed pork meatloaf

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 kg pork mince
  • 1 egg
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp breadcrumbs (skip for keto option)
  • 3-4 tbsp milk (I used almond milk)
  • about 700g frozen spinach
  • slice of butter
  • 2-3 handfuls of grated mozzarella
  • 1-2 tbsp cream cheese
  • 15 streaky smoked bacon rashers

DIRECTIONS

Defrost spinach, squeeze from excess water. On a large pan melt slice of butter and add spinach, simmer on a low heat until most of the water evaporates. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Finely chop all garlic or use garlic press. Add 2/3 to spinach and leave the rest – to add to meat. Simmer spinach with garlic for another 3 to 5 minutes, then remove from the heat and let it cool down.

In the meantime prepare the meat. Combine pork mince with one egg, some breadcrumbs, milk and spices: some salt, pepper and remaining garlic. Prepare large piece of baking paper and form pork mince to a rectangular shape. Not too thin, not too thick.

Add cream cheese and mozzarella to spinach and combine. spread it evenly on the meat, then roll it helping yourself with using baking paper. Leave it on the one end of paper and on the other end place bacon rashers, they should slightly overlap each other to wrap nicely your pork roast. Now gently roll the meat back, so it wraps in bacon slices. It seems complicated when I explain it, but it’s actually really easy.

When meat is nicely wrapped, place it on the same piece of baking paper and put to a roasting pan. Heat the oven to 190° C and bake for about 60 minutes – until bacon becomes golden brown and crispy.

Serve hot or cold, store in the fridge for about 2-3 days. You can reheat leftovers or slice it into your sandwich.

Enjoy!

creamy cabbage (ketogenic friendly)

I wouldn’t share with you this recipe, because it’s so simple and not revealing, but… This kind of cabbage side dish is very popular in my country, and as with all the very common dishes you can find hundreds of versions of the same recipe depending of the region and people’s own tastes. So when I tried my friend’s version of it I decided to copy it and post here as it’s a great keto meal on its own, or if you skip the sausage it can become great side dish when you serve a roast or other piece of meat. I think it’s a great recipe for cool, rainy Autumn days that’s definitely coming closer.

What’s so special and different from the version of this recipe that I know? Double cream takes it to another level. It gets nicely creamy and soft. Also addition of couple fresh tomatoes gives a bit of sour taste. I really encourage you to add a fresh dill, which will make it smell wonderful and adds an hint of Summer to this meal. I also add some marjoram to help with digestion.

All that makes a really good keto meal, so if you’re for a hunt of the keto meal ideas that’s the one that stands out for me. You should definitely add it to your keto recipe book. Apart from that it’s easy and quick to prepare, which makes it even better. For all of us who are rushing through the day but trying to eat homemade and a little bit more healthy.

I think this recipe could also be easily done in a slow cooker, especially if you want to make a bigger batch. Although I encourage you to fry onion and sausage first – it gives a lot of flavour to this dish. And add cream, tomatoes and marjoram (marjoram becomes bitter if cooked for too long) at the end of cooking.

Creamy Cabbage

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 small white cabbage
  • 1 large brown onion
  • thick slice of butter
  • bunch of fresh dill
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • 1 large or couple small tomatoes
  • couple tablespoons of double cream
  • optionally: smoked sausage or any king of sausage you like
  • natural rock salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp marjoram

DIRECTIONS

Finely chop white cabbage, also chop onion and sausage if you decide to add it.

In a large non stick pan melt thick slice of butter and add sausage and onion, or only onion. Fry until starts getting golden. Then add chopped cabbage and some salt and pepper. Don’t be to generous with salt – even though it looks a lot, cabbage will get shrink while cooking. Add a splash of water and cover the pan with a lid. Lower the heat and let the cabbage simmer until tender.

Finely chop a bunch of fresh dill, mince the garlic, also cut tomatoes in smaller pieces. Add them to a pan, also add some marjoram, couple tablespoons of double cream and give it a good stir so all ingredients combine. Let it simmer for 3-5 minutes, then add some more salt and pepper if needed. Serve hot.

With addition of sausage it can be a perfect keto meal on its own. If you skip the sausage it can become a warm side dish you can serve with a roast or other piece of meat.

quick summer black soya bean spaghetti (vegan, gluten free)

When the sun is shining in Scotland and temperatures goes up it’s not the time to sit indoors. This weather is not going to last for long, so the best you can do is to try to enjoy it as much as you can. If your work allows you to take advantage of the sun and spend time on the beach or hiking – good for you. To take the most of the Summer and do not die starving you definitely need a quick, healthy and delicious meal you can prepare effortlessly in your kitchen in less than 30 minutes.

So here comes fresh and colourful veggie pasta. But it’s not an ordinary spaghetti. It’s black soya bean spaghetti – gluten free, dairy free, wheat free. Free of almost everything 😉 If it would be carbohydrates free it would be ideal 😉 But it contains 15g of carbs per 100g, so it’s half less than in regular pasta.

Veggie season is officially opened – I started receiving my organic and local veggie delivery and it always inspire me to prepare something new, fresh and delicious. I love having plenty of veg in my fridge because it’s so easy to cook with them – you can easily prepare something yummy, good looking almost from nothing. I keep on learning new things about veggies, about their edible parts we usually put to rubbish (to learn more about this click here) and it gives even more opportunities to make the most of each vegetable.

I highly encourage you to include more veggies into your diet, Summer is the best moment for that. Experiment with veggies you don’t know and never tried, prepare salads, smoothies, stir fry or grill veggies if you have a chance. Veggies are the easiest and quickest to prepare if you don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. But remember to buy locally, veggies that didn’t travel thousands of miles, but are locally grown with love are the best veggies.

So today we have easy-peasy and quick gluten free and vegan spaghetti with stir fry veggies and bunch of delicious spices. Although you don’t need to use these exact spice mix. If you have your own favourite mix – use it. If you want to try something new grab some fenugreek, nigella seeds, fennel, coriander seeds, black pepper and cloves. You can use a mortar to grind them together or simply pop them into the coffee grinder. Then add dried tomato flakes, chilli flakes, some dried parsley and chives, mix with some onion powder and voila!

quick summer black soya bean spaghetti

(vegan, gluten free)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pak choi cabage
  • handful of sugar snap peas
  • couple cherry tomatoes
  • small tin of chickpeas
  • 1 spring garlic (or couple garlic cloves plus spring onions)
  • 200g black soya bean spaghetti
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds oil
  • natural rock salt to taste and to cook spaghetti
  • mix of spices: onion powder, fenugreek, tomato flakes, nigella seeds, chilli flakes, fennel, coriander seeds, parsley, black pepper, chives and cloves

DIRECTIONS

Cut of the ends of sugar snap peas and boil in water for 4-5 minutes, then drain. Also cook black soya bean spaghetti in salted water for 2-3 minutes as describe on the packaging. Slice spring garlic, finely chop its green part. Also thoroughly rinse and chop pak choi. Cherry tomatoes cut in halves.

Heat a large pan adding 3 tbsp of olive oil, add snap peas and chickpeas, fry for 3-4 minutes and add all the spices. Then add sliced spring garlic, leaving the green part on the side. Add cooked spaghetti, tomatoes and pak choi cabbage. Give it 4-5 minutes so pasta can soak all the flavours. Add more spices if needed. At the end drizzle with a tablespoon of sesame seeds oil and sprinkle with green part of garlic.

Serve fresh and hot. Enjoy!

quick and easy chickpeas & tomato wholemeal pasta

Last couple weeks was pretty hectic, and it looks like it’s just a beginning. I struggle to accommodate working, sleeping eating with doing the things I like to do. To the disadvantage of the last ones. On my way back from work I always make plans what I’m going to do, but when I eventually get home it turns out my head is barely working and all I can do is eat and sleep. And that’s how I didn’t post any new recipe which is very disappointing for me, I guess none else doesn’t really care, but I had so many plans in my head and it’s so frustrating that I don’t have enough energy to pick up myself from the sofa and do something more creative than watching YouTube.

And our current diet doesn’t help us much. Because we’ve decided that during Spring and Summer we will stop with keto and start more plant and carb based diet also meant that we need to eat more often. Or at least I have to. Which is pretty annoying comparing to 2 meals that we have had on keto, I feel like I’m constantly hungry. Working in a restaurant doesn’t really help and turns out that my favourite trousers from last Summer can barely fit me. Well I tell to myself that this shall past as well.

In the meantime I would like to introduce one of the quick and easy meals that I serve right now. It’s my old recipe, but works on these days when cooking is the last thing I’d like to think of. Pasta – perfect base for all easy-peasy thoughtless meals. At least I try to choose a little bit more nutritious ones and buy wholemeal.

The idea for this casserole was taken from the accidentally discovered couple years ago culinary show “Lidia’s kitchen” or something like that . Lidia is an American of Italian origin, therefore many of the dishes she prepares have Italian character or somehow refer to Italian cuisine. I like cooking programs that focus the viewer’s attention on the dish being prepared, and not on the person of the cook. Where the various stages of the preparation of the dish are presented, along with the final landing on the plate, and where the chef explains not only what, but also why, he or she prepares the dish exactly the way it is. And so from the episode watched, the most memorable thing for me is the casserole of wholemeal pasta with chickpeas and tomato sauce. Simple, fast and nourishing. And tasty.

I used to make this kind of pasta very often. If you’d like to see more of these kind of recipes let me know I have quite a lot of it up my sleeve 🙂

quick and easy chickpeas & tomato wholemeal pasta

INGREDIENTS for 2 large portions with leftovers:

  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • about 300g wholemeal penne
  • 3-4 bay leaves
  • 3-4 tbsp olive oil
  • natural rock salt
  • pinch of chilli flakes
  • your favourite cheese (parmesan, cheddar, mozzarella)

DIRECTIONS

In a large non-stick pan (or a non-stick pot in my case) heat up some olive oil. Garlic is cut into slices and fry for literally 2 minutes, so that it does not burn and become bitter. Then add chopped tomatoes, bay leaves and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Simmer over low heat, boiling salted water for pasta in another pot.

Cook the pasta al dente – when baking it will absorb the liquid from the tomato sauce and soften it.

Add chickpeas and a pinch of chilli to the stewed tomatoes. Stir and finally add the cooked pasta. Mix thoroughly so that all the pasta is covered with sauce. Now either put it in a greased baking dish, sprinkle generously with cheese and bake in the oven (180 ° C, until the cheese melts), or, in my case, leave it on the plate for another 10 minutes, until the cheese melts. Which is also much faster.

Serve immediately, if left for a few hours, the pasta will drain all the liquid from the sauce and soften. Although, go ahead if you don’t mind. Enjoy your meal!


cinnamon sweet potato gnocchi

Gnocchi comes from Italy, but they are very popular in many European countries in a slightly different forms and with multiple ingredients. That gives basically endless variety of options of sizes, shapes and flavours. It’s a great meal idea if you’re on a budget, although maybe not extremely nutritious (depending if you use as a main course or just addition) but for sure delicious and filling.

It’s not something I would prepare as our everyday meal but from time to time it’s a great idea to prepare your own gnocchi – homemade, freshly cooked always taste better than the one from the supermarket.

I had three lonely sweet potatoes and some time, so I decided I will make some homemade gnocci as my carb treat 🙂 My partner wasn’t really fancy about them, but when he saw me frying them with butter and cinnamon he couldn’t resist and grabbed himself a portion. As I always say – butter makes everything better, in this case butter, cinnamon and a little sweetness made them even better 🙂 I sprinkled my portion with pumpkin seeds – I like adding seeds to everything.

I used plain wheat flour and spelt flour in proportion 1:1, but you can use only plain flour. Also if you have an option to steam sweet potatoes rather than cook them – it will be a great idea, as they soak up a lot of water during cooking. And less watery they become – less flour you’ll need to use to prepare dumplings.

Also you don’t need to fry them. If you want to keep them soft, just melt some butter and drizzle all over cooked portion of gnocchi, sprinkle with cinnamon and any type of sugar. Frying makes them a bit harder, but golden and crispy on the outside. So use a method that’s the best for you.

cinnamon sweet potato gnocchi

INGREDIENTS for 2 large portions:

  • 3 sweet potatoes
  • 1 egg
  • plain flour and spelt flour in proportion 2:1
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 -2 tsp xylitol, honey or other type of sugar
  • 1 tbsp butter

DIRECTIONS

Peel and cook sweet potatoes until tender, steaming will also be a great method, as they want soak up water. Drain and mash them with potato masher and set aside to cool down completely.

Add one egg and start adding flour, spoon by spoon and start kneading. Add flour until you get non sticky dough. Divide dough in couple pieces, using your hands make a thin roll, flatten it slightly with your hand and cut off small chunks using a knife.

Boil lots of salted water, boil gnocchi for about 4-5 minutes from the moment they start to float on the surface. Remove from the pot using slotted spoon.

Heat the large non stick pan with some butter, add gnocci and fry until golden on both sided, sprinkle with cinnamon and xylitol/honey and serve.

Enjoy!

vegan green lentil dumplings made with rice flour #glutenfree

This recipe is sponsored by my friend who was moving out from the UK and kindly gifted me some food items. There was couple items I never tried before, so I decided to make some experiments and prepare dumplings made of rice flour with green lentil filling.

I found a recipe for rice flour dough somewhere on the internet and it worked quite good, especially for the first attempt. Lots of this kind of recipes usually needs some practice, but this one came out surprisingly well.

Rice flour dough is much different than regular and it requires different method of preparation. But actually it was quite easy to make it. More complicated was trying to stick dumplings together without breaking gentle dough. Rice dough is much less elastic than regular wheat flour dough due to gluten that makes the dough more flexible and easy to work with. So the rice dough is more prone for breaking, what you can see on the photos. But surprisingly I lost only one or two dumplings in the process of cooking. The best thing is not to roll out the dough very thin, make it a bit thicker than regular – there’s less chance that it will break during cooking.

And now the taste. The dough has quite specific texture and taste, it’s not bad at all, but I prefer regular wheat flour dumplings. But if you absolutely cannot eat gluten, definitely you should try this recipe. It may need some practice to perfect it, but it’s definitely worth trying. The filling is really tasty, good enough that my partner wants me to make more green lentil dumplings. Next time also instead of adding sesame oil I will fry some onions and use it as a garnish, because sesame seeds oil was a little bit bitter in this case.

Final opinion: this recipe will stay in my menu for longer, although with wheat flour rather than rice flour dough. The more that green lentils are great source of protein and fibre, and will be a great replacement for meat. Lentils contain more complex carbohydrates and are great source of iron, which is essential for functions such as carrying oxygen to the body, generating energy and accelerating metabolism.

Have you tried rice flour dumplings? Do you have other dumpling dough recipe ideas that I could try?

vegan green lentil dumplings made with rice flour

NOTE: my measuring cup is 250ml regular glass

INGREDIENTS for dough:

  • 1 cup of rice flour plus some for dusting
  • couple tbsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp natural rock salt
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 425ml water

INGREDIENTS for filling:

  • about 450g precooked green lentils (I used precooked So Organic lentils from Sainsbury’s)
  • 1 small brown onion
  • pinch of natural rock salt
  • couple white mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp thai 7 spice (mix of: cumin, lemon pepper, chilli powder, garlic powder, ginger, mustard seed and cloves)

DIRECTIONS

Start with preparing the dough. It’s much different than regular wheat flour dough, also preparation is much different.

Boil water with salt and olive oil. When water is boiling, switch off the heat and add rice flour, stir it quickly – it will become thick in couple seconds. Sprinkle pastry board with couple tablespoons of cornflour and transfer dough on the board. Let it rest for a while, so you’re not going to burn yourself when kneading.

In the meantime prepare lentil filling. On a non stick pan heat a tablespoon of olive oil. Chop and fry onion until golden. Peel and chop white mushrooms also add to onion. At the end add precooked lentils (drained from water) and spices. Sprinkle with some salt if needed. Switch off the heat and let it completely cool down.

When dough cooled down start kneading. If necessary, add water or rice flour – the dough should be delicate and a bit sticky. Cover it with foil or kitchen towel and let it rest for about 15 minutes.

Divide the dough into 6 parts. Roll out each part previously dusting pastry board with some rice flour. Don’t roll out too thin, because dumplings may break during cooking. Rice flour dough is more delicate and much less elastic, so you have to be quite gentle. Cut out circles using a glass or cookie cutter. Place some filling on each circle and stick the sides together.

In a large pot boil some salted water, when it starts to boil gently put your dumplings, one by one. When they start floating on the top carefully cook for about 5 minutes on a low heat and gently remove using a slotted spoon.

Drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil or sesame oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds. The best are freshly cooked.