Thai turkey meatball soup

This Thai-inspired soup has a bit of an east meets west situation going on, as it contains some typical Thai flavours and my tempting turkey meatballs! I usually use coconut milk powder rather than tinned coconut milk/coconut cream in order to control the amount of saturated fat, while adding a hint of a coconutty taste to this light dish inspired by my most favourite cuisine. A sure win-win for your body and your taste buds!

Ingredients
White cabbage − 1, small, leaves roughly torn
Mushrooms − a large handful, roughly chopped (I used shiitake mushrooms, but any type will do)
Shallots − 4, finely diced
Ginger − 4 cm, minced
Mild red chilli − 1, minced
White wine − a large splash
Kaffir lime leaves − 3-4
Stock cube − I used 2 Maggi stock cubes in 500 ml boiling water; if using any other brand of stock cube, only use 1 cube
Maggi coconut milk powder − 1.5 tablespoons (if using tinned light coconut milk, use only 2-3 tablespoons)
Unsweetened roasted almond milk − 200 ml (I use Alpro)
Erythritol Gold − 2 tablespoons (or substitute with Agave nectar/Maple syrup if not too worried about the carbs)
Spring onions − 2, thinly sliced into rings
Tempting turkey meatballs

Protocol
1. Add 1 spray of oil to a wok and sauté the shallots, ginger, and chilli for 2 minutes, then add the cabbage leaves and mushrooms with a pinch of salt and sauté, adding splashes of water if necessary.
2. Add a large splash of white wine and simmer on low heat for 3 minutes.
3. Crumble stock cube(s) into 500 ml boiling water, and mix well. Add to wok.
4. Turn up the heat to a medium flame. Now add in the almond milk, coconut milk powder, kaffir lime leaves and erythritol. Simmer for 10 minutes. 
5. Then lower in the freshly baked tempting turkey meatballs into the simmering broth, and allow to simmer for another 5 minutes. 
6. Garnish with fresh spring onions to serve.

SaveSave

Tempting turkey meatballs

Juicy juicy turkey meatballls!  Cooking with lean (containing a mere 2% fat) turkey mince can often result in rather dry meatball/burger situations. However, this nifty little trick of using kiwi fruit solves that problem, as it deliciously tenderises the meat, and produces succulent, moreish, juicy meatballs!

Ingredients
Lean turkey mince − 500 g (I used turkey mince containing 2% fat)
Kiwi fruit − 1, mashed
Salt − ¼ teaspoon
Almond flour/ground almonds − 1 tablespoon
Arrowroot powder  − 1 tablespoon
White of 1 egg
Juice of 1 lime
Pinch of chilli powder (optional)

Protocol
1. 
Combine turkey mince, mashed kiwi fruit (this softens the meat), salt, almond flour/ground almonds, arrowroot powder, egg white and lime juice. Mix well.
2. Mould the turkey into meatball shapes and place on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper (tin foil won’t work; it will just make the meat stick!).
3. Bake in a preheated oven at 190°C for 25 minutes, on the bottom shelf, turning the meatballs over after 12 mins.  

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. 😀

Ingredients
Spinach leaves − a handful
Wild rocket − a handful
Pea shoots − a handful
Alpro soya simply plain yoghurt − 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 − as much as you want! 
Fresh figs  − 1-2 per serving, sliced 
Pine nuts − 1-2 teaspoons per serving

Protocol
1. 
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. 

 

SaveSave

SaveSaveSaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSaveSaveSave

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!

Ingredients
Pickled beetroot − 4, roughly chopped
Butter beans − ½ tin (120 g) 
Cauliflower florets − a small handful
Salt − ⅓ teaspoon (I used pink Himalayan salt)
Dried mint leaves (or even better, finely chopped fresh mint leaves) − 1.5 tablespoons
Dried coriander leaves − 1.5 tablespoons
Pine nuts − 1 tablespoon
Erythritol Gold − 2 tablespoons
Juice of 1 lime
Crushed black pepper to serve

Protocol
1.
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.)

SaveSave

Salmon and sweet potato fishcakes

Fishcakes are mostly fried and often contain breadcrumbs − 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.

Ingredients
Sweet potato − 1, large
Wild Pacific red salmon − 1 tin (213 g)
Pickled beetroot − 1, large, minced into 3-mm cubes
Spring onion − 1, large, very thinly sliced
Chilli paste − ½ teaspoon (optional; I have used Sambal Udang Bercili Ranggup, which can be found in Chinese/Asian supermarkets)
Erythritol Gold − 1 tablespoon
Salt − ⅓ teaspoon (I have used pink Himalayan salt)
Fine almond flour − 1 tablespoon
White of 1 egg
Juice of 1 lime
Crushed black pepper to serve

Protocol
1.
Roast the sweet potato whole, with the skin on, in the oven until soft (without oil, approximately 30 minutes at 200°C).
2. Remove the skin from the sweet potato, and mash together with the red salmon, salt, chilli paste, erythritol, 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 180°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! 🙂

Ingredients
Carrots − 3, peeled and cut into 7-cm lengths
Parsnips − 2, peeled and cut into 7-cm lengths
Courgettes − 1, large, cut into 7-cm lengths
Sweet chilli sauce − 1 tablespoon
Sweet soy sauce − 1 tablespoon (or ½ tablespoon soy sauce + ½ tablespoon Sukrin gold/Stevia/Agave/maple syrup)
Walnuts − a handful
Black onion seeds (aka Nigella seeds) − 2 teaspoons
Cumin seeds − ½ teaspoon
Mustard seeds − ½ teaspoon
Spray oil

Protocol
1.
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 sauté for 4 minutes.
4. Add in the carrots and parsnips, followed by the sweet chilli sauce and sweet soy sauce, and sauté 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 180°C. 

SaveSave

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 − I do hope you will enjoy this tasty little dish… Merry Christmas to all! 🙂

Ingredients
Brussels sprouts − 500 g
Simon Howie haggis − 1 (the meaty one or the veggie one, depending on your preference)
Sweet chilli sauce − 1 tablespoon
Dried coriander leaf − 2 tablespoons
Chickpeas − 1 can, drained
Dried cranberries − 150 g
Black onion seeds − 3 teaspoons
Fennel seeds − 1 teaspoon
Cumin seeds − 1 teaspoon
Ground cinnamon − ½ teaspoon
Ground cumin − 1 teaspoon
Ground paprika − ½ teaspoon
Low-sugar low-salt ketchup − 1 tablespoon
Erythritol Gold (or Stevia) − ½ tablespoon
Spray oil
Salt to taste
Fresh ground balck pepper

Protocol
1.
 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 erythritol 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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ingredients
Baby potatoes − 500 g
Onions − 2, cut into rings
Mushrooms − 1 handful, roughly chopped
Salt to taste 
Ground paprika − ½ teaspoon
Ground almonds − 3 tablespoons
Ketchup − 1 tablespoon
Sukrin (or Stevia) − ½ tablespoon
Fresh spinach leaves – 1 cup
Fresh sprigs of thyme – 3-4
Fresh ground pepper

Protocol
1.
 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!

Ingredients
Savoy cabbage − 1, roughly torn and steamed
Pumpkin− 1, small, roasted whole
Small coldwater prawns – 250 g
Green chilli – ⅓, deseeded and minced
Ginger – 3 cm, minced
Chinese rice wine vinegar – ½ teaspoon
Mirin – 2 tablespoons
White cabbage – 1,  grated
Cumin powder – 1 teaspoon
Black onion seeds – 1 teaspoon
Mustard seeds – ½ teaspoon
Coriander seeds – ½ teaspoon
Maggi coconut milk powder – 1 tablespoon
Spring onion – 2, chopped diagonally into thin discs
Fresh coriander – a handful

Protocol
1.
 Roast the pumpkin (whole, without oil, of course) in the oven until very soft, for around 40 minutes at 200°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 − 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! 

Ingredients
Goat – part of leg, weighing approximately 1.6 kg (any fat removed)
Fresh beetroot – 4, peeled and cut into chunky slices
Red onion − 4, cut into chunky slices
Ginger − 4 cm, minced
Finger green chilli – ⅓ (more if you want it hot), deseeded and minced
Maggi stock cubes − 3, crumbled (or 2 stock cubes if using any other brand)
Cumin powder − 3 heaped teaspoons
Coriander powder − 3 heaped teaspoons
Sukrin − 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 − 4, cut into chunky slices
Lemon thyme – a few springs
Pear – 2, cut into chunky slices

Protocol
1.
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 150°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.