A small confession and Asian inspired chicken meatballs with cucumber and chilli dipping sauce

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Wow it’s been a stupidly long time since I last posted anything and I have been feeling incredibly guilty. My sister had been abusing me for months and friends hounding me for more recipes and stupid stories. So here I am, tail between my legs and boy oh boy has a lot happened!

Well firstly me and my man made the extremely adult move and bought a house! We are crazy happy despite moving into the cat hair infested home sporting walls from a bad acid trip, purple walls…wait, two tone purple walls, fluorescent greens, bright blues, strobe lighting, I think you probably get the picture! Now, well without blowing my own or Jase’s trumpet…wait that came out wrong, I’m blushing…. we are rocking this whole house renovation business. I have taken on the role as best painter in the world, Jase plays with a drill and I get distracted picturing Channing Tatum from the new Magic Mike film and end up dribbling paint all over the carpet. No big deal as the carpet smells like cats and the stuff that made it to the walls look fabulous. There is a lot of my handiwork that can’t be seen too as I decided to try my hand at electrics pulling off all the ugly lights from the walls and hacking at the wires with my kitchen scissors. Surprisingly I didn’t electrocute myself, Bravo!

I also travelled to South America to meet Jase after he finished a shoot for North Face doing silly things like skiing, hiking and growing a beard, all above 5000m, sometimes I think he’s mad. Anyway I intend to write some blurb on that soon so I’ll save you from thinking jeez this girl has got the verbal poops.

Oh wait there’s more …the actual coming out! Right the big reveal. Well it turns out I’ve been living a lie. Well not entirely – I did truly give the whole Vegetarian, Paleo, Vegan, every fad you can imagine a good shot over the last few years. But at the end of the day it turns out, I love bacon! And not just bacon but all meat…especially steak, bread, cheese, pasta, pizza…the lot. Gosh a giant weight has been lifted. There’s nothing like starting a healthy food blog trying to use alternatives for absolutely everything and then turning full circle. It was a gradual process since moving to New Zealand, not being helped by living with a boy who wants bacon, cheese and sriracha on bloody everything! Why does that stuff smell so damn good? However, the main thing is that my tummy (which was the reason I started all this) has decided to chill out. This has led me to behave more frivolously with my food choices, I have exciting mornings where I eat a croissant and then wait to see what happens, can you imagine the fun?! My tummy was the entire motivation to explore the wonderful vegan, gluten free world and it was a crazy discovery and I learnt stupid amounts from so many super cool blogs, and maybe that’s the reason my stomach no longer inflates like a giant balloon after everything I eat.

Just to be clear I’m still going to be posting healthy recipes to make at home, I’m not just vegging out on the sofa eating Mac n cheese, I will be spiralizing courgettes to go with my bolognaise and I haven’t turned to the mega dark side, I’m still not going to touch white sugar, I mean come on ewwww – that would be too far!

So welcome to the new blog, still healthy, just more normal and stuff!

Asian inspired chicken balls with cucumber and chilli dipping sauce

Thai chicken balls

asian chicken meatballs

Dipping sauce
 2 tbsp soy sauce
½ lime juiced
½ tsp finely chopped chilli
½ tsp finely grated ginger
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp organic unrefined brown sugar
5 tbsp rice wine vinegar
½ tsp fish sauce
2 tbsp finely chopped cucumber
 
Chicken meatballs
1 shallot
1 small fresh chilli, 
1 ½ tbsp minced ginger
2 cloves garlic
2 spring onions
4 lime leaves
 
2 chicken breasts
1 lime zested and half juiced
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp rice vinegar
 
Salad
1 carrot
½ cucumber
Handful of bean sprouts
half a lime to squeeze over

First make the dipping sauce. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Done!

For the meatballs, put the first lot of ingredients into a food processor…basically not the chicken and sauces. Whizz up until finely chopped then add the chicken, soy etc and a big pinch of salt. Pulse until all of it’s all mixed up.

Put a large non-stick frying pan on medium heat and drizzle a little sesame oil in. Now get your hands all covered in raw chicken and make some small balls to cook in the frying pan. When frying wait until they are nice and caramelised before turning. Check they are cooked by chopping one in half and if your nervous or eating them later just sear them in the pan on high heat and pop them in the oven for 10 minutes.

For the salad using a potato peeler make ribbons from the carrot and cucumber and mix with the sprouts. Serve with half a lime to squeeze over.

Serving ideas, either scrap the salad and serve them like extremely fancy nibbles at one of your raving parties, or serve all together and pour the dipping sauce over the salad. OR if your feeding a gang add some coconut rice to the mix and you’ve got yourself a pretty mean spread.

Photos by me

Cauliflower rice salad with mango, red pepper, herbs and The Fat Radish curry sauce

IMG_2956It’s my last week in the UK before I fly home to beautiful Wanaka and my handsome Mr who I won’t have seen for over 6 weeks! I am getting super excited but then I have had to say quick hello’s and goodbyes to lots of people which of course sucks, although showing my best pictures and describing my life in an extremely positive light has hopefully tempted a few to come visit.

I’ve been hiding out in Dorset for most of my trip, London is far too scary and stressful and there are a lot of pretty odd people there who don’t walk past and say hello which is a change from extremely chirpy Wanaka. So I have been wellied up, walking dogs, cooking lots for my Mum and apparently todays task is clearing out all my stuff. My room is most definitely about to become a guest room….sad face!

This recipe was inspired from THE FAT RADISH Kitchen Diaries cookbook which I just bought a load of to give out as presents. I would have got one for myself but books take up way too much valuable weight in a strict long haul suitcase. Anyhoo, when I ran off to live in New York for 2 months about 4 years ago I got put in touch with the crazy clever English boys Ben and Phil who started up The Fat Radish and boy oh boy have they done a sweet job. The restaurant is just ridiculously cool, and the food is so fantastically fresh, colourful and homely. They have a real farm to table vibe with vegetables being the star of the show (FYI they were totally the creaters of the Kale trend). I worked in the kitchen for their events company Silkstone which meant I got to cater at some incredible venues and I was over the moon inspired but what they were up to. Oh just thinking about it is making me want to jump back on a plane to that crazy city! If you ever travel to NYC it’s a must visit in the Lower East Side and the book has a gazillion delicious looking recipes that will make you want host a party and pretend your cool like them living in New York.

cauliflower rice salad

cauliflower rice salad
cauliflower rice
Serves a crowd…probably around 6 
 
1 cauliflower, cut in florets
1 red pepper, diced into small squares
2 small spring onion, finely sliced
handful coriander, roughly chopped
handful parsley, roughly chopped
2 handfuls rocket, roughly chopped
½ mango, cut into small squares
4 tbsp of The Fat Radish curry sauce

First off make the curry sauce recipe from below. Then steam the cauliflower florets until tender, around 10 minutes then leave aside to cool in a colander so they dry off.

While it’s cooling prep the veg to go into the salad.

Pulse the cauliflower in a food processor until it resembles rice, don’t go crazy or it will go too smooth. Chuck it all into a big bowl, mixing through all the chopped herbs and vegetables and about 4 big spoonfuls of the curry sauce. It will take some seasoning so don’t be shy with some crunchy sea salt and pepper.

Serve at room temperature along with a green salad.

THE FAT RADISH curry sauce
makes 2 ½ cups (too much sauce for the recipe but it’s amazing added to just about anything!)
 
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 green apple, peeled cored and thinly sliced
1 (2 inch) knob of ginger, peeled and minced
1 kaffir lime leaf  (or 1 lime zested and juiced)
1 ½ tbsp curry powder
2 tsp turmeric
1 can coconut milk
salt, pepper
 
Place the oil in a saucepan set over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion, apple, ginger, lime leaf, curry powder and turmeric and cook until softened, about 10 mins. Add the coconut milk and simmer for another 10 mins. Remove to cool and blend till smooth and season. 

Zaalouk ~ Moroccan Aubergine salad

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I am absolutely loving my trip home, especially last week when my Mum, sister and I jetted off for Ladies on tour in Marrakech!! Wow it’s a cool city. I thought it was a bit like “The Lion the witch and the wardrobe”, your’ll be wandering along a street that smells like wee and not look like anything exciting is down it, then you go through a Riad door and boom, your suddenly in the most incredibly beautiful moroccan courtyard. It’s insane!

I’m going to put lots of photos and restaurant tips up soon so I won’t go into massive detail now. However, I will say that the food is pretty tasty. We did two nights of Moroccan feasts, and they really are feasts. You start with salads…not salads like we know, not many greens. Instead there are about 9 plates of different dips and veggies. The one I have made was my favourite, probably because I have a slight obsession with aubergines. With the plates you get a basket of flat breads and just dig in. Then after that it becomes a meat feast. Chicken tagine followed by lamb and cous cous, then sometimes even two desserts..pfff I had to walk around the block a few times before bed.

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Serves about 5-6 as a starter mezze plate
 
2 medium sized Aubergines
2 tbsp olive oil
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 heaped tsp paprika
1 heaped tsp ground cumin
1 pinch cinnamon
sprinkle of dried chilli
5 medium tomatoes, skinned and seeds removed
1-2 tbsp lemon juice
glug extra virgin good olive oil
½ tsp pomegranate molasses or balsamic vinegar
small handful of fresh coriander and parsley finely chopped

Firstly cook your aubergines. Preheat your oven to 200˚C and put the whole aubergine on a baking tray covered with some foil and bake for around an hour, turning over halfway through. The flesh should be soft all the way through, you can check by poking or stick a skewer in. Once cooked take out and leave to cool

To skin the tomatoes, score a cross on them and pour boiling water over the top. After about 10-20 seconds the skin should split and then just take them out and it’s super easy to peel off the skin. Then de-seed them and chop them up into small squares.

Add the olive oil to a medium sized saucepan and gently fry the sliced garlic until almost golden. Then add the spices for a minute giving them a good stir then add the tomatoes. Cook the tomatoes down for about 20 minutes until they fall apart and become a yummy thick sauce. Season the sauce and put aside.

Grab your aubergines and cut them in half lengthways and spoon out the flesh from the skin into the tomato sauce. Using a spoon poke the aubergine around a bit so it breaks up.

Stir in the lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, herbs and seasoning, with a glug of good olive oil. Give it a taste and adjust the amount of lemon, herbs etc to your taste.

Serve up with some moroccan flat breads or sourdough with a mezze plate…I served it with some manchego cheese which was darn tasty.

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Behind the scenes shooting in my Mum’s greenhouse

Crunchy raw sprout salad with thai peanut, ginger and coconut dressing

 

0L9A64310L9A6403It’s a beautiful day here in Wanaka, the sun is shining and I managed to get my ass out of bed at 6am to go to my early boxing class. I love to beat up our padded instructor before breakfast, it makes me feel badass!

I wanted to make a asian style salad today with a kickass creamy ,nutty dressing full of vitamin C, superfoods and other goodies. Something for all you lucky people that are having summer could take to the beach or serve along side a bbq, and my fellow winter pals can also take lakeside on this surprisingly warm day. It turns out Kiwi winters are much warmer than the swiss ones…phew!

The views in Wanaka are absolutely ridiculous and I have not been taking advantage of the crazy scenery for my posts so from now on I will get more creative and take my creations to beautiful locations and give you more food with a view!

Talking of beautiful locations…on Sunday Jase took us on a 4×4 mission to Mace town, an old gold mining town from the 1800’s where they mined for gold in the Arrow river. It has been a ghost town since the 1930’s with just rubble left and a couple of little cottages. The trip there was epic, we had to cross the Arrow river 22 times each way on a 4WD track, it’s a good thing we have a meaty truck, although with all the smashing about with water over the bonnet and over rocks the bumper almost fell off. There were a few poop your pants moments, mainly when we were on a muddy track on the side of a mountain with a death drop into the valley and I was having backseat driver trust issues.

Enough about my adventures…here’s a yummy salad you can take on your own ones!0L9A64180L9A64240L9A64460L9A6474

Serves 4
 
Dressing
1½ cup coconut milk
1 red chilli with seeds
2 tbsp chopped ginger
1 cup roasted unsalted peanuts
5 tbsp chopped  coriander stalks
¼ tsp of turmeric
¼ tsp of curry powder
2 fresh kaffir lime leaf
2 tbsp sesame oil
½ cup of water
salt and pepper
 
Salad
2 cups bean sprouts
2 cups alfalfa sprouts, or any kind of  sprouts you like
1 carrots, shredded or grated
1 cup brussel sprouts or cabbage shredded
½ cup raw quinoa, cooked  or noodles
1 bunch fresh coriander, roughly chopped
 
2 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
 
To make the peanut dressing, put all the ingredients apart from the peanuts in your Vitamix or high speed blender and whizz until smooth. Season and add the peanuts and blend a bit more so the peanuts are still a bit chunky for some crunch.
 
For the salad cook the quinoa as instructed and leave to cool. Toast the seeds in a frying pan on a medium heat until golden. Put all the shredded veggies in a big bowl with the sprouts. To shred either finely slice or grate or if you have a magimix with all the cutting attachments that chops them crazy quickly.
 
Mix everything all together making sure the dressing is over all the salad, season away and serve either on it’s own or alongside some delicious fish or some bbq meat.
 
A cool idea for lunches is to pack it all into a jar with the dressing in the bottom, then all you do is mix it up and give it a shake when your ready to chow down.

photos Jase Hancox Colab Creative0L9A6481

Carrot and coriander ribbon salad

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Happy New Year!! I am a bit late on the well wishing after having a crazy busy Christmas and New Year with work and then I was swished off to Kenya for 2 weeks for my Mums 60th which was the best!! We rode horses on safari in the Masai Mara, swam with dolphins, got up for early morning yoga, wake boarded, attempted to learn to kite surf and we ate insanely good food while soaking up the sun!

I am now having serious holiday blues but loving going through all the photos which there are a LOT of! I treated myself to a camera this Christmas so I can finally attempt to tackle food photography instead of  bribing my nextdoor neighbour and boyfriend with food to do it for me. So my New Years resolution this year is to learn to take pretty pictures and post a recipe every week. I am obviously off to a bad start since it’s the 22nd, so I’m thinking I will go crazy and post a couple this week and the next to catch up…get excited!

These photos are from a super exciting shoot I did at my family home in Dorset with my clever photography friend Aneta Mak. We got together before Christmas when I was home and I cooked away while she got happy snappy. There are so many beautiful photos and recipes on the way to share from it and I am very excited to give you the first one.

This is a very simple salad, it’s healthy, crunchy, deliciously fresh and if you believe your parents it WILL make you see in the dark. If you can get hold of different coloured carrots it will turn your salad into a fun rainbow on a plate, and all your friends will ooh and aah and think that you are totally jazzy and cool!

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212-37380014Serves4

5 carrots, different colours if you can get them
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
2 tbsp roughly chopped coriander
juice of 1 small lime
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
maldon sea salt and pepper

Give your carotts a wash and then using and peeler, peel away the first layer of skin and then peel the rest into ribbons. Put you ribbons in a bowl and toss together with the other ingredients and seasoning. Pile high and serve as soon as possible. The quicker you serve it the crunchier it will be!

Photo credit Aneta Mak

Rainbow winter squash salad

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I just got home from a bit of a quirky birthday weekend in Copenhagen. The only reason I am describing it as quirky is because on our last night, walking back from seeing Hunger Games things got a bit weird!

First we had to dodge a girl barfing on the street as her friend was cooking up some (rhymes with whack). Then I saw some old man’s (rhymes with sock) while he took a very public wee, and then another old man snot rocketed narrowly missing my shoe. All this happened within 2 minutes of each other, I guess it served me right for renting a flat just a street away from the red light district. And can I just add that all those things did not even come close to what I saw a lady boy get up to in a bar at 4 in the morning…I can honestly say it was an eye opening trip!

Apart from all the nasties, Copenhagen really is one of the coolest places…I promise, just avoid one street! So many cool bars, restaurants, incredible shopping, pretty colourful houses and don’t even get me started on their food market which was pretty overwhelming and I could have spent all day there! I picked up some very weird and wonderful little things from Grød, a porridge restaurant which was like Willy Wonker’s factory and had amazing freeze dried berry goodies.
Also, I must say that Danish people are just about the friendliest people on the planet, and all speak perfect English which is extremely handy.

This recipe has absolutely nothing to do with my trip and isn’t the slightest bit Danish inspired apart from the fact that it’s colourful and wintery. Enjoy!rainbowbarleysalad2-2

Serves 4

1 butternut squash
2 red onions, peeled and quartered
1 tbsp coriander seeds, ground in a pestle and mortar
2 tbsp coconut oil or olive oil
2 cups pearl barley or brown rice
½ tsp turmeric
2 spring onions, washed an sliced
1 chilli finely chopped
small bunch or coriander, roughly chopped
half a pomegranate, seeded
 
Dressing
half a ripe avocado
juice of half a lime
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
mixed sesame seeds

Preheat your oven to 180˚C.

Peel the butternut squash, chop lengthways and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Then chop the squash into half moon pieces about 1 cm thick. Put in a bowl with the melted coconut oil, ground coriander, onions and some salt and pepper and give it a good mix. Roast in the oven for about 45 mins until the squash is golden and cooked.

To cook the pearl barley, follow the packet instructions and about 15 mins before its ready add half a teaspoon of turmeric to the water and then you barley will go all yellow and taste a bit more funky.
When it’s ready it might look a bit like risotto from absorbing all the water, just drain it and give it a rinse under the cold tap.

Chop up the spring onions, chilli, coriander and put in a bowl with the pomegranate seeds.

Scoop out the flesh of the avocado and pureé with the lime juice, olive oil and salt and pepper. You can just do this by mashing together with a fork or spoon until smooth.

Mix everything together and season to taste. Serve with some sesame seeds sprinkled on top.

Bon Appetit!

Rice noodle and cabbage salad with almond-coconut dressing and coriander-radish salad

The last week I have been working in the sunny Cote d’azur trying to squeeze in the last of summer. It turns out the french riviera makes for excellent people watching! As I basked in the sun my eyes were on stalks checking out all ze oiled up men in scarily tight budgie smugglers, sipping on chilled rosé and lunging in the direction of lots of uninterested glamourous ladies.

I have been trawling through the Denis Cotter book ‘For the love of food’ trying out recipes that I have wanted too for ages and this one is really really yummy! If you have any leftover make some summer rolls adding pickled ginger, rocket, spring onions and spicy prawns and wrapping up in rice paper rolls with a sprinkling of sesame seeds and dipped in soy sauce..mmmm.

Serves 4

1 tbsp coconut or rapeseed oil
2 small shallots, finely chopped
2 fresh green or red chillies, finely chopped
2 tbsp fresh grated ginger
400g savoy cabbage, finely sliced
200g rice noodles
 
Almond and coconut dressing
100g almond butter
100ml coconut milk
4 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp white wine or rice vinegar
 
Coriander and radish salsa
handful of radishes chopped chunkily
3 spring onions, sliced finely
small bunch of fresh coriander
juice of 1 lime

To make the dressing, whisk together the almond butter and coconut milk and the same amount of water to get a free pouring consistency. Stir in the soy sauce and vinegar.

Heat the coconut oil in a wide pan over medium heat and add the shallots, chillies, garlic and ginger and sauté for 1 minute. Add the cabbage and continue to cook for 3-4 mins, stirring until the cabbage is tender but still quite crisp. Tip this into a big mixing bowl and put aside.

For the noodles follow package instructions but normally, soak them in boiling water for 5-10 mins. Drain and cool them when ready by running them under cold water. Stir into the cabbage with the dressing and season.

For the radish salsa, mix the radishes, spring onions and coriander together in a bowl with the lime juice.

Serve the salad in a big pretty dish with the salsa on top. Bon Appetit!

Photo credit Harriet Brocket