Monday, 6 July 2015

Shakshuka

So there I was, shuffling about the house after the school run after just four hours of sleep. 

I know. It's terrible. 

I felt groggy and tired. I had a 'To Do' list that covered two sheets of A4 paper. And I knew that only one thing was going to make me feel better. 





Shakshuka. 

This is really a lifesaver. I don't know if it's the eggs, which give you all sorts of vitamins and other good things to get you going. Or if it's the garlic, which give a mellow 'hum' to the whole thing. Or the rich tomatoes. Whatever it is, it just works. 




You'll only need four ingredients (not including salt or oil) to make this Shakshuka, and you're likely to have them knocking about the kitchen on any given day. Which is just as well, because I was in no mood to go shopping for anything else. 




Serves one, eaten out of the frying pan you cooked it in. 

Quick note:
This recipe is suitable for paleo, primal, gluten-free, grain-free and nut-free diets. If you're following the autoimmune protocol (AIP) then it's good for you too, only if you've successfully reintroduced nightshades and eggs. If you've introduced nightshades and egg yolks, but not the whites, then I see no reason why you couldn't just drop a couple of egg yolks into the simmering tomatoes instead of the whole eggs. And I don't normally eat tomatoes, as I find it can aggravate my psoriasis, but somehow I can eat the odd cooked, tinned ones with no problem. I know, it's weird. 

Shakshuka
Serves 1
Ingredients
1 tbsp mild, unflavoured coconut oil, or your choice of fat/oil
1 large garlic clove, peeled and roughly chopped
1 x 400g can plum tomatoes
pinch of salt
2 free-range eggs (I love Clarence Court's Burford Brown eggs - they have richer, oily yolks)
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped finely

Method
First, melt the oil or fat in a small saucepan - the size you'd normally fry just a couple of eggs. Add the garlic and stirfry for just a few seconds until it turns soft and aromatic. Pour in the tin of tomatoes, breaking them up as you go. Add a pinch of salt and bring it to a gentle simmer. 

Once it's simmering gently, crack in the eggs and leave to cook, without stirring, for another 3 minutes or so, until you can see that the white of the egg is starting to set. Quickly turn off the heat and then slide the pan under a medium-hot grill, to finish cooking the eggs. Keep an eye on the eggs, and once they're set on the top but still have jiggly soft yolks underneath, sprinkle with the fresh parsley and take to the table, eating it on a trivet or wooden board. 




Friday, 3 July 2015

Beef and Rice Breakfast Bowl

You know what my ten-year old's favourite breakfast is?

Nope, not Cheerios.

Or Coco Pops.

Or toast.

It's this.

Beef mince, fried and then stirred together with greens, cooked white rice, garlic and onions. Oh and a mugful of broth poured in for it to get all juicy. 

She loves it.

It might look a bit of a faff to put together first thing in the morning, but it isn't. I promise. If I can do it, bleary-eyed and puffy at seven in the morning then you can, too. And it'll set you up for the day nicely. But be warned, lovely readers: I once made this for her without the rice and the broth and got a RIGHT ticking off. And incidentally, this is great for breakfast but it's also perfect for those days when you need a bit of extra comfort - something warm and healing that you can sip with the spoon from a big bowl. 

I hope you love it as much as we do. 




Beef and Rice Breakfast Bowl
Serves 4
Ingredients
400g beef mince
1 large leek, trimmed and washed thoroughly and sliced
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
half a cup of white Basmati rice
400ml beef bone broth or stock
2-3 handfuls of raw spinach
salt, to taste

Method
First, fry the beef mince until it's browned, breaking it up in the pan once it's done. Once it's pretty much cooked through and browned all over, add the chopped onion and the leek. Stir everything together and then turn don the heat so the vegetables soften. 

Next, cook the rice in a large pan of boiling water until cooked through and tender - about 10-15 minutes. Drain. 

Tip the drained rice into the pan with the beef and the veggies and stir to combine thoroughly. Pour in the stock and then stir in the spinach and allow it to wilt in the pan. Season to taste with salt and serve straight away. 

Monday, 29 June 2015

Roast Chicken Breasts with Leeks, Garlic and Thyme

I'll be honest with you. 

This recipe was the result of a fridge raid on the night before the weekly shop when I had not very much in the fridge. I had chicken portions already defrosted and rummaged around in the fridge looking for something to cook with them. 

Leeks. They go with chicken. Great. Carry on looking. 

Then I find a papery bulb of garlic. 

And an old bundle of thyme sprigs stuffed into the top shelf of the fridge door. I also had the last glug from a bottle of white wine (I only cook with it, I don't drink it as it is, so it lasts a while in our house). Dinner was sorted. 




The meal was actually so good that I had to share it with you. 

It's also one of those one-pot dishes that limits time, preparation and washing up. 




Brilliant, right?

Roast Chicken Breasts with Leek, Garlic and Thyme
Serves 4
Ingredients
4 chicken portions, skin-on, boneless
2 large leeks, trimmed and cleaned well
3 cloves of garlic, unpeeled and left whole
a dash of white wine
pinch of salt
1 tbsp avocado or mild coconut oil (stick with avocado oil if you don't do well with coconut)
small bunch of fresh thyme sprigs

Method
Preheat the oven to gas mark 6/200ºC/400ºF. Get out a fairly shallow roasting dish and chop up the leeks into fairly big chunks - they're going to act as a trivet for the chicken as well as provide great flavour. 

Arrange the chicken pieces over the leeks, skin side facing up and then scatter the garlic cloves and let them fall randomly onto the dish. Pour in a little of the white wine - about half a mugful would be about right - and then sprinkle a good pinch of salt over the skin of the chicken. Chuck over the thyme springs. 

Slide the dish into the oven and cook for around 35 minutes, or until the leeks have softened and are full of wine and chicken flavour, and the chicken is cooked all the way through and there's no pinkness left. 

Once the chicken is fully cooked, serve it with the whole cloves of garlic and spoon out the leeks. 




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