Spinach, rocket and beetroot salad

A heavenly salad that tantalises the tastebuds, and takes but a few minutes to concoct! Plus, it makes excellent use of the bewitching beetroot spread. πŸ˜€

Spinach leaves βˆ’ a handful
Wild rocket βˆ’ a handful
Pea shoots βˆ’ a handful
0% fat Greek yoghurt βˆ’ 1-2 tablespoons per serving
A pinch of dried mint leaves 
A pinch ground black pepper
A pinch of salt
A pinch of dried chilli flakes
Bewitching beetroot spread βˆ’ as much as you want! 
Fresh figs  βˆ’ 1-2 per serving, sliced 
Pine nuts βˆ’ 1-2 teaspoons per serving

Combine spinach, rocket and pea shoots, and spread on a plate.
2. Whisk the yoghurt (you can use a fork) with dried mint, black pepper, salt, chilli flakes, and place a few small dollops on top of the leaves.
3. Now add large dollops of the bewitching beetroot spread on top of the leaves.  
4. Add the fresh fig slices to the salad, and sprinkle on some pine nuts to serve. 






Bewitching beetroot spread

This creation came into being when the ‘Beast from the East’ was being especially beastly; I was supposed to go to Germany that weekend to join my husband who was working on a project there, but the flights got cancelled, and I was snowed in with hardly any supplies.

I did, however, have some pickled beetroots, a couple of limes and a can of butter beans. And so, behold the bewitching beetroot spread that was borne out of this situation!

Pickled beetroot βˆ’ 4, roughly chopped
Butter beans βˆ’ Β½ tin (120 g) 
Cauliflower florets βˆ’ a small handful
Salt βˆ’ β…“ teaspoon (I used pink Himalayan salt)
Dried mint leaves (or even better, finely chopped fresh mint leaves) βˆ’ 1.5 tablespoons
Dried coriander leaves βˆ’ 1.5 tablespoons
Pine nuts βˆ’ 1 tablespoon
Sukrin gold βˆ’ 2 tablespoons
Juice of 1 lime
Crushed black pepper to serve

Boil the cauliflower with a bit of salt for 7 minutes.
2. Add all ingredients to a blender minus the lime juice and black pepper, and blend with a little water.
3. Mix in the freshly squeezed lime juice, black pepper, and serve with veggies, oatcakes, in a salad, with fish or even with meatballs! (Basically, it goes wonderfully well with almost anything.)


Salmon and sweet potato fishcakes

Fishcakes are mostly fried and often contain breadcrumbs βˆ’ not ideal in the least. I fancied a lighter fishcake, with a bit of a kick. So, I created this hot, sweet and zesty version, which is baked and does not have refined carbs; and is all the more pleasing! These fishcakes also make a wonderful combination with the nutty roasted vegetables.

Sweet potato βˆ’ 1, large
Wild Pacific red salmon βˆ’ 1 tin (213 g)
Pickled beetroot βˆ’ 1, large, minced into 3-mm cubes
Spring onion βˆ’ 1, large, very thinly sliced
Chilli paste βˆ’ Β½ teaspoon (optional; I have used Sambal Udang Bercili Ranggup, which can be found in Chinese/Asian supermarkets)
Sukrin gold βˆ’ 1 tablespoon
Salt βˆ’ β…“ teaspoon (I have used pink Himalayan salt)
Fine almond flour βˆ’ 1 tablespoon
White of 1 egg
Juice of 1 lime
Crushed black pepper to serve

Roast the sweet potato whole, with the skin on, in the oven until soft (without oil, approximately 30 minutes at 200Β°C).
2. Remove the skin from the sweet potato, and mash together with the red salmon, salt, chilli paste, egg white and almond flour. 
3. Add in the beetroot and spring onion, and mix well. Squeeze the lime juice over the mixture.
4. Make the mixture into 4-cm patties, and place onto a baking tray lined with grease-proof paper, and the paper sprayed with a tiny bit of oil to ensure that the fichcakes don’t stick to the paper (do not use tin foil, as the patties will stick).
5. Place into a preheated oven and bake at 180Β°C for 12 minutes, and then turn fishcakes over and bake for a further 12 minutes.  
6. Sprinkle with crushed black pepper to serve.

Nutty roasted vegetables

It is about time for a new recipe, and I thought I would make it a simple one. This colourful vegetable medley is deeply satisfying and also archly versatile, as it goes well with chicken/fish (e.g. a perfect accompaniment for salmon and sweet potato fishcakes), or simply as a main feature! πŸ™‚

Carrots βˆ’ 3, peeled and cut into 7-cm lengths
Parsnips βˆ’ 2, peeled and cut into 7-cm lengths
Courgettes βˆ’ 1, large, cut into 7-cm lengths
Sweet chilli sauce βˆ’ 1 tablespoon
Sweet soy sauce βˆ’ 1 tablespoon (or Β½ tablespoon soy sauce + Β½ tablespoon Sukrin gold/Stevia/Agave/maple syrup)
Walnuts βˆ’ a handful
Black onion seeds (aka Nigella seeds) βˆ’ 2 teaspoons
Cumin seeds βˆ’ Β½ teaspoon
Mustard seeds βˆ’ Β½ teaspoon
Spray oil

Boil the carrots and parsnips with salt until soft.
2. Add 2 sprays of oil to a wok, add in the seeds and toast on low heat for 30 seconds.
3. Add in the courgettes with a pinch of salt and sautΓ© for 4 minutes.
4. Add in the carrots and parsnips, followed by the sweet chilli sauce and sweet soy sauce, and sautΓ© for a further 2 minutes.
5. Mix in the walnuts and turn off the heat.  
6. Transfer the contents of the wok onto a baking tray, and roast in a preheated oven for 10 minutes at 180Β°C. 


Spruced up sprouts

Sprout the halls! Just in time for Christmas, here is a tangy, spicy recipe for Brussels sprouts that even the strongest sprout-critics might be willing to try; huzzah! And as for all the sprout enthusiasts out there βˆ’ I do hope you will enjoy this tasty little dish… Merry Christmas to all! πŸ™‚

Brussels sprouts βˆ’ 500 g
Simon Howie haggis βˆ’ 1 (the meaty one or the veggie one, depending on your preference)
Sweet chilli sauce βˆ’ 1 tablespoon
Dried coriander leaf βˆ’ 2 tablespoons
Chickpeas βˆ’ 1 can, drained
Dried cranberries βˆ’ 150 g
Black onion seeds βˆ’ 3 teaspoons
Fennel seeds βˆ’ 1 teaspoon
Cumin seeds βˆ’ 1 teaspoon
Ground cinnamon βˆ’ Β½ teaspoon
Ground cumin βˆ’ 1 teaspoon
Ground paprika βˆ’ Β½ teaspoon
Ketchup βˆ’ 1 tablespoon
Sukrin gold (or Stevia) βˆ’ Β½ tablespoon
Spray oil
Salt to taste
Fresh ground balck pepper

 Pierce the haggis skin with a fork, and boil for 10 minutes, change the water, then boil for another 10 minutes. This gets rid of a lot of the fat.
2. Cool the boiled haggis with cold water, then cut the skin open to take the haggis out. Mix the haggis with the sweet chilli sauce and dried coriander leaf, and set aside.
3. Boil the sprouts with salt until soft.
4. Once soft; cut off stems and trim the sprouts. Then rub on a little salt, cinnamon, cumin and paprika powder. 
5. In a large wok, add 1 spray of oil, black onions seeds and cumin seeds. Then add in the chickpeas, some salt and the ketchup, with a splash of water.  
6. Add in the sprouts and Sukrin, and cook on low heat until the sprouts start to brown. 
7. Mix in the haggis, then turn off the heat.
8. Toss in the dried cranberries, and sprinkle on some fresh ground black pepper to serve.

Spinach and thyme potato salad

An atypical potato salad; with some greenery. Very pleasurable! Lighter than most potato salads due to the lack of oil or mayonnaise.


Baby potatoes βˆ’ 500 g
Onions βˆ’ 2, cut into rings
Mushrooms βˆ’ 1 handful, roughly chopped
Salt to taste 
Ground paprika βˆ’ Β½ teaspoon
Ground almonds βˆ’ 3 tablespoons
Ketchup βˆ’ 1 tablespoon
Sukrin (or Stevia) βˆ’ Β½ tablespoon
Fresh spinach leaves – 1 cup
Fresh sprigs of thyme β€“ 3-4
Fresh ground pepper

 Cut the baby potatoes in half and boil with salt until soft.
2. In a large pan/wok, add a bit (~3 tablespoons) of boiling water, onions and mushrooms with a bit of salt to taste, and fry in the water until the onions are translucent. Add more sprinkles of water if necessary. 
3. Add the cooked potatoes, ketchup, almond flour, paprika and Sukrin, making sure the potatoes are well coated. Again, add sprinkles of water if needed.
4. Turn off the heat, and mix in the spinach leaves and brush with thyme.
5. Mix in some fresh ground pepper to serve.

Savoy dim sum rolls

This is my take on a fresh, warming and satisfying prawn dim sum. With cabbage. And pumpkin – yum!

Savoy cabbage βˆ’ 1, roughly torn and steamed
Pumpkinβˆ’ 1, small, roasted whole
Small coldwater prawns β€“ 250 g
Green chilli β€“ β…“, deseeded and minced
Ginger β€“ 3 cm, minced
Chinese rice wine vinegar – Β½ teaspoon
Mirin – 2 tablespoons
White cabbage – 1,  grated
Cumin powder – 1 teaspoon
Black onion seeds β€“ 1 teaspoon
Mustard seeds – Β½ teaspoon
Coriander seeds β€“ Β½ teaspoon
Maggi coconut milk powder β€“ 1 tablespoon
Spring onion – 2, chopped diagonally into thin discs
Fresh coriander – a handful

 Roast the pumpkin (whole, without oil, of course) in the oven until very soft, for around 40 minutes at 200Β°C . Then remove skin and seeds, and mash with a bit of salt.
2. Steam the savoy cabbage leaves with a bit of salt until very soft.
3. Combine the ginger, chilli, prawns, mirin and rice wine vinegar in a small bowl, and set aside.
4. In a large wok, add 1 spray of rapeseed or sunflower oil,  black onion seeds, mustard seeds and coriander seeds and toast on low heat.
5. Add the grated white cabbage, bit of salt, cumin powder and splashes of water until the cabbage is cooked.
6. Add in the prawn mixture, and cook until the prawns are pink (this should not take more than a couple of minutes).
7. Add in the mashed pumpkin, coconut milk powder and mix well. Cook on low heat for a further 5 minutes.
8. Turn off the heat and mix in the spring onion and coriander
9. Roll up the mixture in the steamed savoy leaves and serve with a sweet soy sauce dip.

Lemon thyme leg of goat slow-roasted with beetroot, red onion and pear

How a chicken became a goat in a far away car park…

Just in time for the winter season, I was thinking of making a delicious dish of chicken, beetroot and pear, the perfect Sunday roast. However, a rather peculiar incident interfered with my plans. I received a message through an email-list at work, not about cell culture or antibodies, but from someone who had started a goat farm and was selling goat meat βˆ’ either half a goat or a full goat at a time. Being rather curious, I emailed back to ask [a] if the meat was lean (it is!), and [b] whether it would be possible to buy just 1 kg, as I wasn’t planning on buying a new freezer with triple capacity! It was too complicated to sell less than half a goat, and so it was suggested that I could find others to share a goat with. Given that I had no intentions of becoming a goat meat re-seller, I decided to politely leave it at that.

A couple of weeks later, much to my bewilderment, I started receiving emails with pictures of half a goat, and people (that I didn’t know) comparing a leg of goat to a leg of deer/discussing the fact that they didn’t know how to cook with chops and legs/asking how many people a leg would feed. And about collecting bits of a male goat (?) from one of the car parks at work. This caused much hilarity, not to mention that I was somewhat confused! Anyway, I figured that I had been included in a group to split half a male goat; and I did end up collecting the goat leg I cooked for this recipe (in exchange for money of course) from a far away car park at work, which I then carried away in a white box usually used for carrying reagents/samples from the lab. Could have easily been mistaken for illegal activities/exchanges taking place in the car park! 

Goat – part of leg, weighing approximately 1.6 kg (any fat removed)
Fresh beetroot – 4, peeled and cut into chunky slices
Red onion βˆ’ 4, cut into chunky slices
Ginger βˆ’ 4 cm, minced
Finger green chilli – β…“ (more if you want it hot), deseeded and minced
Maggi stock cubes βˆ’ 3, crumbled (or 2 stock cubes if using any other brand)
Cumin powder βˆ’ 3 heaped teaspoons
Coriander powder βˆ’ 3 heaped teaspoons
Sukrin βˆ’ 4 tablespoons
Sweet sherry – 150 ml
Fennel seeds – 2 teaspoons
Caraway seeds – 1 teaspoon
Fresh beetroot – 4, peeled and cut into chunky slices
Red onions βˆ’ 4, cut into chunky slices
Lemon thyme – a few springs
Pear – 2, cut into chunky slices

Rub the leg of goat (with the fat removed), the beetroot and red onion with some salt and place in a large baking tray.
2. In a bowl, combine ginger, chilli, cumin powder, coriander powder, stock cubes, Sukrin, fennel seeds, caraway seeds and sherry in a bowl, and whisk together.
3. Pour the mixture onto the goat, beetroot and red onion, and sprinkle on some of the lemon thyme, making sure everything is well covered with the mixture. 
4. Cover the tray with tin foil and marinate overnight in the fridge (or for at least 30 minutes at room temperature if time is limited).
5. Preheat the oven to 150Β°C and transfer the tray to the oven when it is warm. Roast for 4 hours, intermittently pouring the juices over the meat.
6. After 4 hours, add the slices of pear and cover slices in the juice. Put the foil-cover back on and return to the oven, roasting for another 30 minutes.
7. Garnish with fresh lemon thyme to serve.

Zesty pistachio and cauliflower soup

Pistachio and cauliflower made into a soup? What a curious concoction! However, it does taste rather jolly! πŸ™‚

Cauliflower – 1 large, separated into florets
Pistachios- Β½ cup, ground in pestle and mortar
Sweet red pepper – ΒΌ, diced
Apples βˆ’ 3, peeled, cored and roughly diced
Ground cumin βˆ’ 1 teaspoon
Ground coriander βˆ’ 1 teaspoon
Maggi stock cubes βˆ’ 2, crumbled (or use 1 if using a different brand as Maggi stock cubes are very small!)
Kaffir limes leaves – 3-4
Juice of half a lime
Fresh ground pepper and ground pistachios to garnish

Steam the cauliflower with salt until soft.
2. Combine cauliflower, pistachios, red pepper and apples with stock cubes and water, and blend until smooth.
3. Add the blended mixture to a large saucepan, add cumin powder, coriander powder, Kaffir lime leaves, and a bit more water if necessary.
4. Simmer on low heat for 20 minutes.
5. Add lime juice for a refreshing zesty taste.
6. Serve topped with fresh ground pepper and ground pistachios.


Creamy carrot chicken

Carnivorous | 28th October 2017 | By

Another deceptively creamy recipe β€“ i.e. no butter, no oil, no cream, and one that can be achieved without great exertion! It is also a very versatile sauce; even though this one is made with chicken, it works well with vegetables (I would recommend courgette, broccoli, cauliflower, red onion and green beans) and even with fish.  

I must add that the pine nuts and the wee bit of green pepper are absolutely essential to get that deep, rich flavour.

Chicken breasts β€“ 4-5, diced 
Sweet soy sauce – 1 tablespoon 
Carrots – 4, peeled, sliced and steamed
Onions – 4, cut into rings
Garlic – 4 cloves, minced
Green pepper – β…“, diced
Juice of 1 lime
Balsamic vinegar – 1 tablespoon
Red wine β€“ 1 slosh
Almond milk – 300 ml
Pine nuts β€“ large handful 
Almond flour – 1 tablespoon
Sukrin – 1 tablespoon
Coarsely ground black pepper – 1-2 teaspoons

1. Steam the chicken with salt and sweet soy sauce and set aside.
 Steam the carrots with salt until soft.
3. Add onions and garlic to a non-stick pan and cook on medium heat with a little water (water being a substitute for oil to stop the garlic/onions from drying out), some salt and the lime juice.
4. When the garlic and onions start to brown, add the red wine and balsamic vinegar, and simmer for 2 minutes.
5. Then add the carrots, green pepper, almond milk and pine nuts, simmer for another 2 minutes.
6. Turn off the heat, place in a blender with the almond flour and blend until smooth.
7. Transfer the blended mixture to a large saucepan, add the Sukrin and coarsely ground black pepper, and simmer on low heat until the sauce starts to bubble.
8. Mix in the chicken to serve.