Spinach-ricotta gnocchi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, I was going to write another quick post soon after the last one but… – who would have thought that having twins means not only, to employ the well worn but nevertheless true cliché, double the joy but also double the work, double no time & double no sleep. Lucky the people who have grandparents, aunts & uncles and the whole extended family around to alleviate the daily grind and provide small pockets of breathing space. We don’t, so it has been a hard year with fantastic experiences, precious moments coupled with absolutely back (& spirit) breaking times. I thought we had it covered. Continue reading

Pea, spinach & mint frittata with ricotta salata

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Brunch or lunch. An egg frittata makes a superb lunch or light supper – together with a crisp salad of bitter leaves and a few slices of bread. It is the Italian cousin of a Spanish omelette minus the potatoes. The classic combination of mint & peas is especially nice for spring and summer dish. Add some baby spinach for extra greenness and another flavour component and finish with the crumbled ricotta salata. Feta would make a fitting substitute if you can’t get the firm salted ricotta.

In comparison to the mighty Spanish omelette, a frittata rather veers toward a thinner pancake-type of omelette, which in this case furthermore underlines its lightness & fresh character; plus, it cooks much faster than a tortilla. Adjust the cooking times to your chosen skillet size and the intended level of doneness.

As it does not really matter at what temperature you eat this (it is great hot, warm or at room temperature), a frittata is a great brunch dish that can be prepared in advance.

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tofu lunch salad

tofu lunch salad by the james kitchen
tofu lunch salad, a photo by the james kitchen on Flickr.

 

For a little experiment I need to eat a lot of tofu in the coming weeks and frankly I never felt the need to cook it myself since I am not very good at it and since it is not necessarily needed as a replacement, I never really bothered. I do not mind the taste, especially if it is cooked in an interesting way though I have never been able to do it myself without it turning to a complete shambles or rather scrambles: firm tofu starts to crumble immediately & sticks to the pan as soon as it hits the wok, the soft silken tofu never keeps its shape in my miso soup, yes, I might have boiled it just a little or not dried it properly, who knows? Inarizushi is better bought and what does one do with smoked tofu? I am really grateful for ideas, people.

So, to get an easy launch with my tofu consumption increase experiment, I imagined Friday’s lunch salad of silken tofu blobs on baby spinach & carrot as an Asian version of a salad with burrata mozzarella. Doused in a simple lemon-soy-sesame oil dressing and covered with sesame seeds, I have to say, it was not half bad, in fact, I quite liked the juxtapostion of soft tofu & crunchy carrot, lemon & salty soy, mellow tofu & sharp spring onion.

If you have great tofu recipes and cooking tricks & tips, I would really like to know.

 

Tofu lunch salad
for one

3 handfuls of baby spinach
one big carrot, cut into discs
one spring onion, chopped into fine rings
100g (3.5 oz) of silken tofu, patted dry on kitchen roll paper
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice
2 teaspoons of sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice wine
a pinch of sugar

½ small flatbread, piadina or wheat tortilla, toasted and cut into triangles

Arrange spinach, carrot discs & spring onion on a plate, dot with blobs (or neat dice) of silken tofu and sprinkle artfully with the toasted sesame seeds. Mix a dressing out of the other ingredients and serve with the flatbread.

 

 

lentil, leaf & labneh lunch salad

This is my new favourite lunch salad: red and bitter Italian salad leaves like dark red radicchio and treviso, purple radish sprouts and pinks radishes, leftover red lentil tikka masala and the whole dish is finally crowned with some of the labneh you might have made the week before. This cool and creamy yoghurt cheese provides a nice balance to the quite spicy lentil dish and frankly, the colour combinations are amazing. Why is this a superfood salad? Red salad leaves are high in phytonutrients (Splendid table podcast: Wild food), red, orange & yellow foods come with their own backpack of extra benefits, just as pulses are good to add to anyone’s diet.Most of my lunch salads contain some kind of seed, grain or pulse. I absolutely adore the texture and taste that is added hereby to any salad and makes me feel even more virtuous, healthy and smug. You can prepare red or puy lentils, chickpeas, couscous, pumpkin seeds, wild rice or the nutty tasting Grünkern (half ripe & kilned spelt, a speciality of Baden, southern Germany) on the weekend or cook some more for dinner and stow away the rest in the fridge for lunch.To actually find red lentil tikka masala leftovers in your fridge, I took the liberty of adding the recipe below. It is a version of something one might eat on a 5:2 day. As a full dinner, we add steamed brokkoli, snow peas or some baby spinach. Perfect with or without rice, naan, roti.

Orange-red superfood salad with labneh & the night before’s lentil tikka masala
Lunch for one

Radicchio or treviso salad leaves
radish sprouts
radishes, sliced
¼ red onion, chopped
about 3 tablespoons leftover lentil tikka masala
1 ball of labneh or a small round of goats cheese
dijon mustard & nut oil vinaigrette

Make a vinaigrette out of 1 teaspoon coarse Dijon and 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, add salt & pepper, 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar, 6 tablespoons of nut (hazelnut/walnut) oil. You can keep the rest for the next days in the fridge.

Arrange salad ingredients on your plate, spoon the leftover tikka over the top and crown with a ball of labneh or goats cheese. Drizzle vinaigrette over the salad.

Quick red lentil tikka masala
makes about 2 portions, 4 if you add the extra vegetables
2 teaspoons sunflower or groundnut oil
2 red onion, chopped
1 red pepper, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely minced
3 carrots, finely chopped chopped
2 tablespoons masala paste (bought or homemade)
1 tin chopped tomatoes (400g)
250ml (1 cup) vegetable stock
200g (1 cup or 7 oz) red lentils, washed
3 carrots, cut in discs
1 red paprika, finely chopped

Fry the onions and pepper in the oil for about 4 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and carrot and cook for another minute. Spoon in the masala paste and fry until fragrant, then add the tomatoes and stock and bring to the boil. Add the red lentils and cook for about 10 minutes testing regularly – there should be still a little bite in them.

Masala paste

2 teaspoons garam masala
2 teaspoons chilli flakes
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted & ground
1 teaspoon coriander seed, toasted & ground
3 cm ginger, finely chopped or grated
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
3 tablespoons tomato puree
salt & pepper
one handful of fresh coriander

Blend all ingredients in a food processor to a fragrant & spicy paste. Keep the rest in a jar in the fridge for further use, ours was fine for about 1 or 2 weeks.

superfood lunch salad

Something fast for Monday. Lunch for us is a salad, soup or something small since we have our main meal together in the evening. One of my favourite salads is this simple & quick dish which only counts a few ingredients but everyone is a winner: lots of omega 3 healthy fats, vitamin D, potassium, folic acid, vitamin K, fibre… & the long list of nutrition credentials which spinach offers. And above all do I like the taste – a lot.
This is an easy option to take to the office, a picnic or anywhere, if you store it in a small cooling bag, spritz the avocado slices with a little lemon or lime juice to prevent it from oxidizing and keep the vinaigrette separate until you are going to eat lunch.

Superfood lunch salad
for one

3 handful (baby) spinach
½ avocado, cut
3 small slices smoked wild salmon (MSC approved)
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
1 small shallot, chopped
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
salt & pepper
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons lemon olive oil, this time I used golden rapeseed oil from Devon

crispbread, brown rice, spelt, Grünkern, grains & anything you have got leftover

Arrange all ingredients on a plate and make a vinaigrette whisking together mustard, salt & pepper and vinegar before adding the oil. Pour over the salad and enjoy with any bread or grains you’ll have.