Veggie Quinoa “Fried Rice”

Why hello there! Its been a while 🙂 I guess all my posts should start with this. I’m sorry I’ve been gone for so long. Life gets in the way. Today though, is different. My lovely babysitter is picking the boys up from school and I am having an afternoon to do as I please… and it just so happens that I am spending some of it writing up this recipe for you. Even though I haven’t updated in a while, I am still cooking up a storm. Check out my instagram to see what I’ve been making lately.

This is a take on my veggie fried rice recipe. I have been following a almost grain free diet and quinoa is my go-to rice substitute. Actually it’s not a diet, but a lifestyle change. That’s why its a “almost grain free” 🙂 I do find that my general health and well being is much better with limited gluten and grains but I also don’t want to deprive myself of the occasional special treat. An added bonus of this new lifestyle is that I lost 10lbs in the process!  I have also reduced my overall sugar intake and really try to avoid all refined sugars (except of course for those special treats). It’s amazing how much your palette for sugar will change with just a few weeks after going off it.  You can really start to recognise the body/mind addiction for sugar and after a few weeks without, you can really taste how sweet something is. Sugar is in everything these days!

Veggie Quinoa

Veggie Quinoa

I do make almost everything from scratch, but somethings I don’t, and this recipe does feature Oyster Sauce – one of those ingredients that I buy and of course it has sugar in it. Because of this, I try to use it sparingly. If you are following a sugar free diet, you can make your own sauce with soy, ginger, garlic, lime juice and rice vinegar. If you feel its missing some sweetness, add orange juice!

Veggie Quinoa “Fried Rice”

Veggie Quinoa “Fried Rice”

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of Quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cup of chicken stock (or water with a bouillon cube)
  • 1/4 red pepper
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1/4 of a small broccoli
  • 1 small carrot
  • 2 large stalks of kale (stems removed)
  • 1 tablespoon Oyster sauce
  • 2 free range eggs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions

  1. Start by cooking your quinoa. Follow the instructions on the package and sub in the chicken stock for water. Once cooked, drain and put to the side.
  2. Finely chop all your veggies. I always use a food processor for this and just throw everything in and pulse a couple of times. (A side note, if you don't own a food processor, I can promise you that it's worth the investment! It makes so many annoying kitchen tasks easy).
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a frying pan or wok and saute your veggies until soft.
  4. When soft, add in your quinoa and the other tablespoon of oil and cook until the quinoa starts to get a little crunchy around the edges. About 5 minutes.
  5. Add in your oyster sauce and mix to combine.
  6. Now make two holes in your mixture and crack an egg into each one. Turn up the heat a bit and fry the egg until the whites are set.
  7. Remove from heat and scoop the quinoa onto a plate and place the fried egg on top.

Just remember you can use any type of veggies in this recipe - anything you have to hand in your refrigerator. I've used some many different combinations and it always tastes good!

Quinoa works even better than rice because it doesn't get soggy like just cooked rice will. So you can use it straight after cooking. I always make extra that I can toss into salads or use in substitution for bread crumbs. Quinoa will get nice and crunchy if baked!

http://www.alotofyum.com/veggie-quinoa-fried-rice/

Spring Vegetable & Chicken Hand Pies

So first off, I’m sorry.  I’m sorry for not posting for so long.  I really do enjoy doing this, but sometimes I get caught in this crazy life and I forget to do those things that are for me, that I enjoy. So I’m going to try harder to make that time, and really to find the energy to dedicate to myself.  Why is that so hard??!! Well we know why, I just wish it wasn’t so hard.

Kris is away this week in Sweden.  Even when he is traveling, I do try to still cook for myself.  I can’t eat toast every night for a week… well I can but I’m trying to be better.  So on Monday during nap time, I made up a big batch of pot pie mix using all sorts of vegetables that are in season now and and have been making myself and the boys hand pies for dinner all week.  This has been one of the most successful things I have ever made my toddlers.  They loved it, fed themselves and told me after each bite that it was “delicious” and that they “liked it”.  If you have ever (or never have) had two 2 year olds say this about their dinner than you know what a big deal it is!  But mostly its so good because we all enjoy it.  After 3 nights (and one day where I had the “soup” for lunch also) I’m making up the rest and freezing the individual hand pies for easy weeknight dinners when Kris is away next week. 🙂

Spring Vegetable & Chicken Hand Pies

Spring Vegetable & Chicken Hand Pies

Ingredients

    For the filling:
  • 2 small chicken breasts
  • 4 medium carrots peeled and chopped
  • 2 medium potatoes peeled and chopped
  • 1 large leek cut in half and sliced thinly
  • 1/2 bunch of asparagus chopped
  • 1 cup of peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 75 grams of unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup of flour
  • 1 1/2 -2 cups of chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon of dried tarragon
  • 1 tablespoon of dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning
  • For the pie crust:
  • 2 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of cold butter
  • 6 tablespoons of ice cold water
  • 1 egg yolk

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and add the bay leaf, whole chicken breasts, chopped carrots and potatoes and poach for 10 minutes. Add the asparagus into the pot with 2-3 minutes remaining. Remove from the water and put all the vegetables in a bowl. Let the chicken cool and then shred and add the bowl of veggies.
  3. Put the leeks and butter into a separate pot and saute over medium heat until the leeks are soft. Add the tarragon and thyme and cook for another minute. Add in the flour and mix well. Cook for 1 minute stirring constantly. Turn your heat up and slowly pour in your chicken stock a little bit at a time until you reach a glue like texture. (Sorry but its the only thing I could think of to describe the texture). If your mixture is too loose, let it boil for a little but keep stirring! When ready, remove it from the heat and pour into the bowl with the chicken and veggies. Mix together and season with salt and pepper to your liking. You pot pie mix is done! At this point you can use it right away or put it in the fridge or even freeze it for future meals.
  4. Pie Crust: Place the flour and salt into a food processor equipped with the blade attachment. Mix together than add your butter and pulse until its a breadcrumb texture. With the processor on low, add your water and egg and the mix until a dough forms. Turn out onto your counter top and sprinkle with flour and kneed it until it all comes together. Then roll it out into a rectangle shape. At this point you can cut your rectangle shapes to form your pies or you can really use any shape you want - even cookie cutters!
  5. Assembly: Take two same sized pieces of pastry, place a few heaped spoonfuls of the filling in the centre of one of the rectangles and then spread it evenly leaving a couple mm edge around. Place the other piece of pastry on top and then fold over the edges, making sure that they are sealed. Place on a lined baking sheet and place in the oven for 15-20 minutes or wrap in parchment paper and then foil and place in the freezer.

Nice fresh chicken stock is hard to come by in the stores here so usually I make my own, but If I don't have any to hand or not enough, I use the poaching liquid with a cube of bouillon to make my sauce. Tastes great!

http://www.alotofyum.com/spring-vegetable-chicken-hand-pies/

Blue Cheese Burgers and Crispy Kale

So by now you might have noticed that I am a big fan of comfort food. I love to cook comforting meals and thinking up ways to reinvent classic combinations is always fun.  This week its burgers!

Blue Cheese Burgers with Crispy Kale

 

I serve these bun-free… you know… to make it healthy 🙂 I top mine off with blue cheese but you can use any kind you like.  This combination is so tasty you don’t need the usual burger staple sauces like ketchup or mayo.

Blue Cheese Burgers with Crispy Kale

My secret to keeping the burgers really moist is adding grainy mustard into the burger mix.  It helps to bind them and keep them moist.  The little mustardy zing goes great with the blue cheese and kale too.

Sweet Potato Fries

You can’t have a burger without fries… in my opinion. So I serve mine with crispy sweet potato fries and a sriracha dipping sauce. Getting your sweet potatoes actually crispy in the oven may have been tough before, but I guarantee if you follow my recipe they’ll turn out every time! (These ones may have been left a little too long…but they were still tasty!)

Blue Cheese Burgers with Crispy Kale

Blue Cheese Burgers with Crispy Kale

Ingredients

    Burgers
  • 300g of high quality ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon of onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of grainy mustard
  • Salt and Pepper for seasoning
  • 50 grams of blue cheese
  • Crispy Kale
  • 1 big handful per person of chopped kale
  • 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • Crispy Sweet Potato Fries & Sauce
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons of arrowroot powder or cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup of greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup of creme fresh
  • *1 teaspoon of sriracha (more or less to taste)

Instructions

    Sweet Potatoes & Sauce: (they take the longest so start these first!)
  1. Preheat your oven to 225C
  2. Take your peeled and sliced potatoes into a big bowl and cover with cold water. Let sit for at least an hour but you can also do this the night before and place in the fridge.
  3. Drain your potatoes and pat dry with a clean towel.
  4. Toss the potatoes in the arrowroot or cornstarch and then drizzle olive oil overtop. Sprinkle with a little salt.
  5. Place the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and line up so there is space in between each piece. Don't crowd or they will steam.
  6. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes and then flip and continue cooking for another 10-15 minutes until crispy.
  7. Meanwhile make your sauce by combining all the ingredients and mix well together.
  8. Burgers:
  9. Mix all your burger ingredients (save the cheese) in a bowl and form into patties. Put the patties in the fridge. You can make these a day in advance if you prefer.
  10. When ready, cook your burgers for 4 minutes on each side in a grill pan or frying pan over medium high heat.
  11. When you flip your burgers, place the cheese on the cooked side.
  12. Once cooked, let the burgers rest on the plate for about 5-8 minutes before serving.
  13. Crispy Kale:
  14. Place your kale on a baking sheet and "massage" the olive oil into the leaves.
  15. Sprinkle with salt.
  16. Place in the oven and cook for approx 10-15 minutes. Keep an eye on it. It doesn't take long for it to go from perfect to burnt!

To Serve: Pile the kale on top of the burgers. I like to serve mine with roasted cherry tomatoes on the side.

*If you don't like sriracha you can substitute with chipotle powder or a minced whole chipotle in adobo sauce.

http://www.alotofyum.com/blue-cheese-burgers-and-crispy-kale/

Corn, Bacon & Shrimp Bisque

Hello All!  Sorry its been so long since I’ve posted.  I don’t really know why its been so long.  I think I was hit with a two week low motivation streak.  But the good news is I’m back!

Corn, Bacon & Shrimp Bisque

My parents have been here visiting and helping me with the boys so I’ve been repaying them with lots of good food.  If you follow me on Instagram, you can see some of the yummy things I’ve been making. After a pretty heavy weekend, I thought I would make something light.  I know – shrimp bisque isn’t really something you consider to be light.  But this one is!  It uses only a little cream and no butter… I know…  unusual for my cooking 🙂

Bacon, Corn & Shrimp Bisque

This bisque actually started out as a chowder, but somehow the texture was way off and so to remedy that I blended the soup and then strained it – turning it into a shrimp bisque. And this is one time I’m actually thankful for whatever mistake I made because it turned out soooo good.  One of the key steps to this recipe is making the shrimp broth.  It seems like a bit of a hassle, but really its easy to do and adds such a nice sweet shrimpy flavor to the bisque. The end result is what I am confidently calling my best soup ever!  I served this with warm cheddar biscuits – bonus recipe included.

Corn, Bacon & Shrimp Bisque

Corn, Bacon & Shrimp Bisque

Ingredients

    For the Bisque
  • 100g of bacon diced
  • 1 lb or 500g medium/large shrimp, peeled, deveined and shells put to the side
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika, or more, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups fresh corn kernels - I prefer to use fresh but you can use frozen or canned
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon of dry sherry
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • Cheddar Biscuits
  • 2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup cold butter chopped
  • 1/3 cup cheddar cheese chopped
  • 1 cup milk

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 200C. Place your shrimp shells in a roasting dish and toss with a tablespoon of olive oil. Roast for 20 minutes then transfer to a pot on the stove, cover with water, bring to a boil and simmer until shells are soft. Approx 30 mins. Once softened, blend in a blender until smooth. Strain through a fine strainer or cheesecloth and put the broth aside.
  2. Heat a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
  3. Add shrimp to the stockpot, and cook, stirring occasionally, until pink, about 2-3 minutes; set aside.
  4. Add garlic and onion to the stockpot, and cook, stirring frequently, until onions have become translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in paprika, oregano and red pepper flakes until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  5. Whisk in chicken stock, corn and bay leaf. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about 12-15 minutes; discard bay leaf. Puree with an immersion blender.
  6. Once pureed, strain through a fine strainer or cheesecloth. Take the remains and blend in a blender then strain again into the soup. This may seem like a lot of work, and it is, but the results are worth it. Its building layers of flavor.
  7. Add in your sherry, heavy cream and shrimp broth and bring the soup up to a simmer. Remove from heat.
  8. Serve immediately with shrimp, garnished with bacon, basil leaves and loads of fresh ground pepper
  9. Cheddar Biscuits
  10. Mix your flour and baking powder together then place in a food processor.
  11. Add your cheddar cheese and pulse until the mixture resembles a fine breadcrumb.
  12. Add in the butter and pulse 3-4 times to break butter up into pea size pieces.
  13. Pour in your milk and mix until a dough forms.
  14. Remove the dough and roll out on a flour surface. Cut out your biscuits and place on a lined baking sheet.
  15. Bake for 12-13 minutes.
  16. Serve warm.
http://www.alotofyum.com/corn-bacon-shrimp-bisque/

This recipe was adapted from Damn Delicious

 

 

 

Ricotta Stuffed Zucchini Blossom

We are 5 days into our holiday and have only eaten in a restaurant twice! Everyday we shop the local markets and then head home to make dinner ourselves.  It has been so nice to cook, each evening, without the usual time pressures and with just a few simple ingredients.  What I love about Italian cooking is that it is so simple and that they use everything.  Nothing goes to waste.  One of the most popular dishes throughout Italy is the fried zucchini blossom.  This is a flower that grows at the top of the zucchini (or courgette) and is usually discarded – but in Italy it is a favorite appetizer! The flavor and texture is very delicate which complements the crispness of the friend batter really nicely.Edit

I am stuffing mine with a fresh ricotta.  If you have never had fresh ricotta, I implore you to go out and seek a Italian deli and ask for it immediately.  It is so light in flavor and in texture and so creamy.  You will never go back to that mass produced, supermarket stuff.  It’s a totally different cheese.

These were so good that I’ve made them 2 nights in a row! P.S The lighting in my country kitchen isn’t the best…

Ricotta Stuffed Zucchini Flowers

  • 4 zucchini flowers
  • 50g of ricotta
  • 1/2 lemon zested
  • 1 cup flour
  • 125ml soda water
  • oil for frying
  • salt and pepper for seasoning

Start by heating your oil in a heavy bottom pot.  You want to have about 2inches depth for ideal frying.  For your batter, combine your flour and soda water, salt and pepper in a small bowl and whisk until there are no lumps.  You should have a consistency of a thinner pancake batter.  If yours is too thick, add more water, if too thin add a little more flour.

Mix your ricotta and lemon zest in a bowl and spoon the mixture into your blossoms.  Coat each blossom in the batter and then fry in the hot oil.

They only take a minute or two to cook.  Make sure to turn them while frying to ensure its evenly cooked.  Remove and drain excess oil on a paper towel.  Season with a little salt. Serve while still hot and cheese will just ooze out. Bon appetito!

Rome

Traveling Through Umbria

Day 1 – A few yummy hours in Rome

This is my 6th trip to Italy and my 3rd to Rome.  Rome is a city you could visit a 1000 times and never tire of it.  At least that’s how I feel.  It is a city so rich in culture it grabs hold of you and never lets go.  Its beauty and intrigue stays with you long after you’ve left and calls to you from afar.  Of course the history and the architecture are second to none but a great way to visit Rome is to just stroll the narrow alleys, sit in a piazza and take in the local scenery…and this is just what we did. We only had a few hours in Rome and my main focus was to spend the day with a dear friend and to eat what my husband assured me was the best Pasta Carbonara he’s ever had.  Not a bad way to spend the day.

My friend Lori recently relocated to Rome from Cairo and was lucky enough to find an amazing apartment right in the heart of Rome’s best food neighborhood – Testaccio. So we started our day just a few doors down from her flat with a cappuccino from Barberini Caffetteria. Coffee culture in Rome – or Italy in general – is so different from anywhere else.  There is no coffee to go. You walk up to the coffee bar, order your drink and stand there to drink it.  There is also protocol on what is drunk and when – cappuccino or latte before 11am and espresso or macchiatto (espresso with a little milk) anytime after that. So after our cappuccinos we headed next door to Volpetti – or better known as a foodie paradise.

Volpetti

Inside Volpetti

Olives & Blood Oranges

New Flavor Combinations: Olives & Blood Oranges at Volpetti

I was in heaven and our short “stop and see” turned into a personal food tour around the shop from one of the friendly old men behind the counter.  We started with different kinds of goat cheese – tasted 3 or 4 – and ended up buying two.  Then we moved on to meats and this kind, and very persuasive salesman, introduced me to a whole ham baked inside a bread shell – called Prosciutto cotto in crosta.  I am not a ham fan, but this was the moistest ham I have ever tasted.  The marbled fat just melted in my mouth.  Yum…Ill take some of that too! Then on to olives.  Black olives with blood oranges, something I’ve never had before and was intrigued to try.  We finished off our order with a pound of Burrata (a silky, creamier version of its cousin buffalo mozzerella), a loaf of bread studded with dried figs and couple slices of polenta cake.  There was dinner sorted… Now on to lunch.

With our bellies full from samples we walked and walked…with a little detour to the Forum…leading to our next destination – Da Enzo in Trastevere.  

Kris had been here in November and raved about their Carbonara – he even dared to say it beat out the one we had on our last trip!  Needless to say, I had to try it for myself.  We were the first to arrive at the restaurant.  They don’t take reservations and the 30 seats fill up fast.  We had perfect timing as it was flooded with hungry tourists and locals just minutes after we sat down.  Luckily the weather was sunny and warm-ish so we took our seats at one of the tiny outside tables.  Since Kris and I already knew were what we were ordering, Lori decided on her favorite – bucatini all’Amatriciana – a very traditional Roman pasta dish made with tomatoes, pork belly and pork jowl.  We also chose a deep fried artichoke starter and a 1/2 litre of the house red.

Deep Fried Artichoke

I never had an Artichoke done like this before and it ended up tasting like Artichoke chips. Delicious!

Pasta Carbonara

Very rich and creamy and bright yellow. This is worth the indulgence… although I needed a nap after mine 🙂

bucatini all'Amatriciana

Lori’s bucatini all’Amatriciana. My new favorite!…can’t beat anything made with that much pork.

Final results – everything was absolutely delicious – but I’m still holding out that the best carbonara I ever had was that random find years ago.  The hunt for the best Carbonara continues (for me anyway!).

Ciao from Roma!

Next up on the blog – a rainy day in Spoletto, a 3 hour lunch and a simple recipe inspired by my Italian adventure so far.

Mini Fish Pies

The weather has turned here and in Amsterdam and we’ve been enjoy clear sunny days. So needed after months of dark, damp and cold! The boys have started using their balance bikes and we have spent our mornings (and afternoons) out riding and enjoying the sun.  Which means, we’re usually back later…and tired…and hungry.  So I’ve been making these yummy fish pies that I prepare in advance and just throw into the oven while having a little down time in front of the TV with the boys.

Mini Fish Pies

Yup, you heard me right.  Fish pie.  I had never tasted or even heard of a fish pie before moving to London.  Having grown up in Nova Scotia where fish is a mainstay, I thought I had tried it every which way…but a pie?  I have to admit, I was a little leary…but it’s delicious.  There are so many ways to prepare it that its hard to fault a dish that has so many possibilities.

Mini Fish Pies

I went pretty simple with leeks, peas and salmon for my toddlers but when I’m preparing it for myself, I always add a smoked salmon. It gives the whole flavor a real smokey boost – kind of like what bacon does to a really good fish chowder. If you don’t like smoked salmon, don’t worry, it’s not the strong flavor you are thinking of.  I guarantee you won’t mind it in a fish pie!

Mini Fish Pies

Mini Fish Pies

4 single servings

Mini Fish Pies

Ingredients

  • 300 grams of your favorite fish cut into small cubes (salmon, cod, mini shrimps etc)
  • 2-3 medium potatoes, boiled and mashed
  • 1 leek finely sliced
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1/4 flour
  • 400ml milk
  • 1/4 cup grated cheese of your liking
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • salt and pepper for seasoning

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 200C.
  2. Place your leeks and butter in a medium sauce pot and cook until soft.
  3. Sprinkle in the flour and cook for another minute.
  4. Then add your milk slowly, whisking continuously to avoid clumps.
  5. Bring the mixture to a boil and let simmer until it thickens.
  6. Once thickened, remove from heat and add your fish, cheese and peas and mustard powder. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Pour into individual ramekins, top with the mash potatoes.
  8. Place the ramekins on a baking tray and bake in the oven until the potatoes start to brown and the pie is bubbling.
  9. Remove and let cool before serving.
  10. These are great for preparing ahead and freezing. Instead of baking, wrap in aluminum foil and place in the freezer. To reheat, place frozen pies in a cool oven and bring up to temperature and cook until bubbling. Alternatively, let the pies defrost in the fridge overnight and then cook in a hot oven.
http://www.alotofyum.com/mini-fish-pies/

 

 

 

Quick Pickle

Adding pickled vegetables to a dish is a great way to enhance the flavor. The sour notes play nicely with sweet and spicy – like topping spicy tacos with pickled radishes/onions and pomegranate seeds. They also lighten up heavier dishes – think of how good that pickle tastes on a juicy burger. I like to make a big batch of different vegetables to keep it in the fridge to add to a variety of dishes. The pickling liquid also makes a great dip for spring rolls to fried chicken – you name it! Once you get into using sour flavors it will really teach you how to balance a dish. A lot of south Asian cooking plays off the sweet, spicy, sour, bitter flavor combination and you can get really creative with this profile in western dishes too! 

I like to use Asian ingredients in my pickles rather than the traditional white vinegar, salt and sugar. I think they add a nice depth of flavor and make the liquid itself taste even better!

Watch this space for some of my sour “experiments”!



Quick Pickled Vegetables 

Use this base and add whatever vegetables you like!

  • 100ml rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 1 red chili finely chopped

Mix all the ingredients together then add finely sliced vegetables like cucumber, radish, beets or red onion. Place in the fridge and let sit for 30 mins to an hour before using. Keep in a airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks. 

Caramelized Beetroot & Red Onion Tarte Tatin

Yesterday was a rough one.  My boys have just started pre-school which means 2 hours of freedom for moi 4 mornings a week – yay! Yesterday, however, the youngest twin terror had a fall at school and ended up having a breath holding spell.  He’s suffered from these since he was 6 months old but hasn’t had one in almost a 9 months, so we thought we were through them. When he suffers a sharp pain, he ends up getting so upset that he holds his breath until he passes out.  Then his body takes over and starts breathing for him, but its a scary minute or so and he comes out quite confused and upset – who would blame him!  So this was the first one he has had without me.  The teachers were amazing and did just what they were supposed to but still… I wasn’t there.  I know this is the first of many many many of these types of things.  But it was the first.  So I’m allowed to wallow in the guilt.

When we got home, we ended up staying in and cuddling on the couch all afternoon, which meant no trip to grocery store, leaving me without a whole lot of options for dinner.

Beetroot Tarte Tatin

Scanning my fridge, I found beetroot and puff pastry and some yummy blue cheese leftover from my Tartiflette last week.  I make a mean apple tarte tatin and I’ve been meaning to test out a beetroot one for a while, so last night was the night.  To be fair, I had never made this recipe before last night.  It was all an experiment!  I wanted to add some balsamic into the tarte but ended up forgetting to put it in.  But, I fixed it by creating a nice reduction to drizzle over which was just as delicious!

Beetroot Tarte Tatin

Caramelized Beetroot & Red Onion Tarte Tatin w/ Blue Cheese Crema

4 servings

Caramelized Beetroot & Red Onion Tarte Tatin w/ Blue Cheese Crema

Ingredients

    For the Tarte
  • 3-4 large cooked and peeled beetroots cut into quarters
  • 2 red onions finely sliced
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 roll of puff pastry rolled and cut to fit your oven proof pan
  • 2 handfuls of arugula for serving
  • For The Crema
  • 80g Blue Cheese
  • 100g Creme Fraiche
  • For the Balsamic Reduction
  • 1 cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup honey

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 190C
  2. Cook your butter, sugar, beets and onions in a oven proof pan on the stove over medium heat until the beets and onions are nicely caramelized.
  3. Remove from the heat and place your puff pastry directly on top of the beets and fold under the edges.
  4. Put in the oven and cook until crisp and brown at the edges - around 40 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes before turning out onto a plate.
  6. Meanwhile, place balsamic vinegar and honey in a sauce pot and bring to a boil, then reduce to low and let simmer until it has reduces to 1/3 cup. About 10 minutes.
  7. Combine the cheese and creme fraiche in a bowl and mix with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy.
  8. To serve, top with crema and arugula and drizzle with balsamic reduction.
  9. Store leftovers (if there are any!) in an airtight container and reheat in the oven.
http://www.alotofyum.com/caramelized-beetroot-red-onion-recipe/

 

Grain Free Carrot & Orange Muffins

So the boys slept for 2.5 hours today!  And what did I do? I’d love to say I cleaned all the things that need cleaning or maybe acknowledged the massive pile of laundry that is permanently installed in my hallway, but no.  Instead I binged watched Shameless, had a cup of tea and ate two of these delicious muffins. Sorry not sorry.

Grain Free Carrot & Orange Muffins

As a stay-at-home-mom I make a lot of muffins.  They are easy to make and travel well and something a toddler (and who are we kidding – everyone) always wants to eat.  So when we were following a grain free diet I still wanted to make sure we had some of our favorites to keep us motivated.  Learning to bake with almond and coconut flour has been a bit of a learning curve (ongoing!) but I absolutely love the taste and texture these ingredients give to the finished product.

Grain Free Carrot & Orange MuffinsThis recipe produces a moist and fluffy – almost cake like – muffin.  I love the flavor of orange and carrot together.  Its a classic combination and the added cinnamon really brings out the flavor of the orange.  You can add nuts and/or raisins to this as well for a more traditional carrot cake feel.  If you’re looking for a grain free cupcake recipe, these are a great option as well – just add your favorite frosting.

Grain Free Carrot & Orange Muffins

Grain Free Carrot & Orange Muffins

A new way to enjoy a old favorite.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp flaked sea salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • zest and juice of one large orange
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup grated carrots

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F (175C) and grease or line your muffin tin.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (almond flour through nutmeg). Set this aside. In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, oil, honey, vanilla, orange juice and orange zest.
  3. Add the dry mix to the wet mix just until combined and then gently fold in the grated carrots.
  4. Divide the batter evenly among the liners and bake for 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  5. Let the muffins cool for 5 minutes in the pan and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. This are best stored in the fridge up to 3 days.
http://www.alotofyum.com/grain-free-carrot-orange-muffins/