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Cover: Gluten free cooking

Recipes with garlic

27Apr 12

Oven-Baked Cauliflower and Garlic

Oven-baked Cauliflower and GarlicWe all know what cauliflower tastes like, don’t we?  I know I used to think it was just one of those stinky vegetables that is prepared by boiling the heck out of it until it turns mushy and pretty much flavourless.

However, it turns out that cauliflower can actually taste incredibly good, as long as you avoid overcooking it – a typical beginner’s mistake.  This quick and easy oven-baked cauliflower and garlic recipe brings the lowly cauliflower to a whole new level and is so simple to prepare that even the greenest of cooks will have no problem getting it right the first time.

The real secret behind the recipe is, as usual, the garlic and herbs.  The rosemary and thyme give the cauliflower a wonderful aromatic touch and the roasted garlic – well, let’s just say it’s almost too good to describe.  I use oven-roasted garlic in a lot of my recipes, mostly because I really love the taste of garlic, but my poor stomach has a hard time digesting it raw or even fried.  However, when you roast it, the flavour is actually enhanced, while at the same time the “bite” is lessened, so you can eat lots and lots of it with none of the typical side-effects.

Fresh rosemary and thyme are the best of option if you can get them, but if you can’t, then the dried variety will do just fine.   As always, the better quality the ingredients you use, the better the results will be.

As an option, try sprinkling some Parmesan cheese on top after stirring the mix in step 6. This version is a big favourite with my kids.

You need:

  • 1 large head of cauliflower
  • 16 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) olive oil

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 200ºC.
  2. Wash the cauliflower and cut into small, bite-sized pieces.
  3. Peel the garlic, but leave the cloves whole.
  4. Place the cauliflower, garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt, pepper and oil in a deep baking dish and toss well, making sure all the cauliflower is coated in oil and herbs.
  5. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
  6. Stir the mix well and bake for another 15 minutes.
  7. Serve immediately.

Ready In: 30 minutes

Serves: 2

Difficulty: Out of 5, it’s a 1!

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24Apr 12

Turkey and Sun-Dried Tomato Loaf

Turkey and Sun-dred Tomato LoafThis turkey and sun-dried tomato loaf with onion gravy makes for a great Sunday afternoon roast replacement, like this lamb roast with garlic and rosemary.  I like to use turkey mince, but it should work fine with whatever mince you prefer, or even textured vegetable protein if you want to make it vegetarian-friendly.

You Need:

For the loaf:

  • 250g sun-dried tomatoes
  • 500ml boiling water
  • 65g cornflakes, crushed
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • ½  medium-size green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2tbsps mushroom or vegetable broth
  • 2 large eggs
  • 125g creamy Havarti cheese, shredded
  • 2tsps dried basil
  • 1tsp dried parsley
  • 1tsp dried oregano
  • ½tsp dried thyme
  • ½tsp freshly ground pepper
  • ½tsp salt
  • 700g  turkey mince
  • Vegetable oil spray

For the gravy:

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 stock cube (vegetable or chicken)
  • 2tsps thyme
  • 500ml water
  • 4tbsp cornflour + 2tbsp water, mixed together to form a thick paste 

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 175ºC.
  2. Submerge the sun-dried tomatoes in the boiling water for a few minutes to soften and then drain. Chop into small pieces and place in a large bowl.
  3. Add the crushed cereal and mix to coat. Set aside.
  4. Over medium heat, sauté the onion and green pepper in the olive oil until soft, about 5 to 6 minutes.
  5. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute.
  6. Add to the sun-dried tomato and cereal mixture.
  7. Next pour in the broth and mix well.
  8. Beat the eggs and then add them to the mixture,  jumbling it all together.
  9. Add the cheese, herbs, seasonings and meat and stir until well-blended.
  10. Lightly coat a 23cm x 13cm loaf pan with the vegetable oil spray and then press the mixture firmly down into the pan.
  11. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour, or until the temperature of the loaf, when measured with a roasting thermometer, reaches 80ºC.
  12. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 to10 minutes before removing from the loaf pan.
  13. While the loaf is baking, prepare the gravy:
  • Sauté the onions in the vegetable oil until translucent, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the stock cube, thyme and 500ml of water and bring to the boil.
  • Add the cornflour paste a little at a time until desired thickness is reached.

14. Cut into slices, cover with gravy and serve.

Ready In:  90 minutes

Serves:  8

Difficulty:   3 out of 5

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17Apr 12

Hot and Spicy Chicken with Almonds

Hot and spicy chicken with almondsThe Chinese takeaway just down the road from me serves a great spicy almond chicken which I can never seem to get enough of, so this week I decided to try and make my own.  This hot and spicy chicken with almonds recipe is the result, and while I have to admit it’s almost nothing like the original, it is definitely very tasty!

Make sure you buy the best chicken breasts and almonds you can (preferably organic), as this really does make all the difference. (Feeling nutty this week? I also recommend this chicken stir-fry with ginger and cashews.)

You Need:

For the chicken:

  • 650g skinless and boneless chicken breasts, cut into 2.5cm cubes
  • 2tbsps olive oil
  • 250g water chestnuts
  • 125g  unsalted almonds

For the marinade:

  • 1tsp sesame oil
  • 1tsp arrowroot
  • 2tbsps wheat-free tamari sauce
  • 2tbsps sherry or red wine

For the vegetables:

  • 4–5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1tbsp peeled and  grated fresh ginger
  • 3 green onions, chopped

For the sauce:

  • 125ml chicken broth
  • 1tbsp brown rice syrup
  • 2tbsps wheat-free tamari sauce
  • 2tbsps Worcestershire sauce
  • 1.5tsps arrowroot

Steps:

  1. Begin by making the marinade. Combine the sesame oil, arrowroot, wheat-free tamari and sherry/red wine and place in a re-sealable plastic bag or a large bowl with a lid.
  2. Submerge the chicken in the liquid and marinate in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
  3. While the chicken is marinating, prepare the veggies. Mix together the garlic, ginger and green onions. Set aside.
  4. Combine all the ingredients for the chicken sauce in a separate bowl and mix very well. Set aside.
  5. Take the chicken out of the marinade and place it in a medium-size frying pan that has been heated over medium-high heat.
  6. Sauté, turning often, for about 5 minutes, or until cooked through. Set aside.
  7. In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil, add the vegetables, and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the chicken sauce and cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until the mixture is thick. Keep stirring to avoid burning.
  8. Add the cooked chicken and toss to cover well.
  9. Add the water chestnuts and the almonds.
  10. Heat through and serve over rice or rice noodles.

 

Ready In:  90 minutes

Serves:  6

Difficulty:   3 out of 5

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31Mar 12

Pesto-Filled Cherry Tomatoes

Pesto-filled TomatoesWhether you’re having a few friends over for drinks, or throwing an all-out party with lots of guests, these pesto-filled cherry tomatoes are a great bite-sized appetiser that are quick and easy to prepare and sure to be a hit with your guests. I’m a big fan of pesto myself ever since I first tried pesto linguine at a local Italian restaurant years ago.

I love tomato stuffed peppers, but they fill me up. The size of these cherry tomatoes make them delicious and perfect as an appetiser or snack.

The taste is so sublime that it’s hard to believe how simple it is to make.  Some recipes call for leaving some of the pine nuts whole, but I prefer to grind them all up.  In any case, for this recipes that’s definitely the best idea, since there’s not very much room inside the tiny cherry tomatoes and the whole nuts would just get in the way.  Also, the best thing about this appetiser is the way you can just pop them in your mouth and swallow almost without even having to chew.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you could try sprinkling a little Parmesan cheese on top and sticking them in the oven or under the grill for a few minutes for an au gratin effect.  Whatever you do, make sure you have more ingredients at hand because these tend to disappear quite fast and your guests will soon be clamouring for more.

You Need:

  • 50 cherry tomatoes, washed
  • 500ml fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 250ml grated Parmesan cheese
  • 60ml pine nuts
  • 125ml olive oil
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Steps:

  1. Combine the garlic, pine nuts and basil and mix for a few seconds with a food processor or blender.
  2. Add the olive oil and blend for a few more seconds.
  3. Add the Parmesan cheese and blend again.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Set aside the mixture.
  6. Cut the tops off the cherry tomatoes and remove about two-thirds of the pulp.
  7. Fill the hollowed out tomatoes with the pesto.
  8. Serve on a serving platter as an hors d’oeuvre.

Ready In: 15 minutes

Serves: 6-8

Difficulty: 2 out of 5

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27Mar 12

Asparagus Risotto

Asparagus RisottoSmooth and creamy, sticky and cheesy, what’s not to like about risotto?  This Asparagus Risotto is my take on the classic Italian dish which is traditionally made using Arborio or Carnaroli rice due to their high-starch content (that’s what makes it sticky and creamy).  However, if you can’t find these kinds of rice at your local supermarket, then any short-grained rice will work well.  I’ve personally had a lot of success with whole, short-grain organic rice, although this does add almost double the time to the cooking process.  Either way, don’t skimp on the cheese, or try to rush the cooking process, as these two points are key to prepare a delicious authentic-tasting risotto. If you decide that you like your rice with more vegetables, try a squash and garlic risotto. Simply delicious.

You need:

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 cups fresh asparagus cut into inch-long sticks
  • 1 large garlic, minced
  • 2 cups Arborio or Carnaroli rice
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 5 – 7 cups vegetable broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Steps:

  1. Heat up the broth in a saucepan and leave it on a back burner at the lowest setting in order to keep it warm.
  2. Heat the oil over a medium heat in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet.
  3. When the oil is hot, but before it starts to smoke, stir in the onion and sauté until translucent, but not browned.
  4. Stir in the garlic and asparagus and keep cooking until the onion is nice and tender, making sure it doesn’t brown.
  5. Stir in the rice and sauté for a minute or two, making sure that each grain of rice gets coated with oil and toasted.
  6. Add around ¾ of a cup of the broth to the rice and stir continuously until most of the liquid is absorbed.
  7. Continue adding the broth ¾ of a cup at a time, letting the liquid get absorbed each time.
  8. Continue cooking and adding broth until the rice is creamy and just slightly al dente, around 30 minutes.  There may be some broth left over.
  9. Remove from the heat and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  10. Stir in the parsley and parmesan cheese.
  11. Serve while it’s still hot, with a fresh bowl of Parmesan cheese on the side so your guests can add more as they desire.

Ready In:  45 minutes

Serves:  4-6

Difficulty:  Out of 5, it’s a 3!

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14Feb 12

Spinach and Lentil Soup

Spinach Lentil SoupThis easy-to-prepare Spinach and Lentil Soup makes a great starter or first course, and if you combine it with whole grain rice it provides a complete meal.  I find it is the perfect thing to warm me up when I come in from a run on a cold winter’s day, especially with the heat of the red chilli peppers.  In fact, I’ve toned down the spiciness of this version quite a lot as I know a lot of people don’t like it too spicy.  If you’re like me though, and you do like it hot, then I recommend increasing the quantity of red chili pepper significantly, anywhere from  ¾  of a teaspoon up to 1½ or even 2 teaspoons.

As always, the best results are obtained if you try and get the best possible quality fresh ingredients you can find – nobody likes wilted, damp spinach, not even in a soup!  So make sure it’s fresh, organic if possible, and be sure to wash it well under running cold water to clean off all the dirt.

For a bit of an exotic touch, try substituting the parsley for fresh coriander.  If you do this, add it just before serving so that it maintains its aroma.  Enjoy!

You need:

  • 2 cups of dried lentils
  • 9 cups of water
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 150g of tomato paste
  • 2 bunches of spinach, cleaned & chopped
  • ½ cup of fresh parsley
  • ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp. crushed red chili peppers
  • ¼ cup of fresh lemon juice

Steps:

  1. Put the water, bay leaf and salt in a large pot and bring to the boil.
  2. Add the lentils, cover, and cook for 30 minutes over a medium-low heat.
  3. Add the onion, tomato paste and garlic and cook for an additional 30 minutes.
  4. Add the spinach, parsley, ground pepper and red pepper.
  5. Mix well and cook for another 10 minutes.
  6. Add more salt to taste.
  7. Add the lemon juice, mix well and serve at once.
  8. Garnish with a bit of fresh ground nutmeg and a sprig of fresh parsley.

Ready In:  75 minutes

Serves:  3-4

Difficulty:  Out of 5 (most difficult), it’s a 2!

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