WWW. Spring Lamb, Nutty Bread, Ice-Cream.

Apologies for not being around as much! Due to exam-panic among GCSE students, I’ve been very busy so non-scheduled posts and comments sat on the back burner for a while.

I have now scheduled Wednesday and Friday afternoons as blog time, for working on the Wok, FitFriday, processing comments and working out next week’s posts.

This week, making the most of the good weather, the best meals were a light lamb stir-fry with fresh spring veggies, some nutty bread I made for Jon to have burgers in and apple and rhubarb ice-cream! Bonus recipe: Summer Fruit Punch.

Recipe 1. Apple and Rhubarb Ice-Cream.

Ice Cream-Apple And Rhubarb, Peach, Elderberry

Ingredients:

(Makes 1L.)

-500ml double cream

-1 large cooking apple

-1 small sweet apple

-2 cups rhubarb stems

-2 cups sugar

Utensils:

-chopping board and knife

-large pot and spoon

-heat-resistant and freezer-safe mold

Apple and Rhubarb Ice Cream Recipe2

Recipe:

1: Finely chop the apple flesh, removing the core and stem.

2: Peel the rhubarb.

3: Finely chop the rhubarb, careful to remove the leaves and, where no leaf is visible, the top of the stem.

4: Place in a pot without water at a low heat until they secrete fluid. Turn the heat up to medium.

5: Once the fruit is soft and losing shape, add the sugar. Stir continually from now.

Apple and Rhubarb Ice Cream Recipe

6: Cook until the fruit is a paste like applesauce.

7: Pour the mix into the mold. Add the cream and stir until combined. Freeze.

Recipe 2. Nutty Burger Buns.

Walnut Burger Bun Recipe

Ingredients:

(Makes 4.)

-300g flour and raising agents

-1 cup sunflower seeds, flax seeds and walnuts

-warm water

-1tsp salt

-1tsp pepper

Utensils:

-mixing bowl and spoon

-baking tray

Recipe:

1: Mix the dry ingredients well.

2: Slowly incorporate the water until the mix feels a bit too dry. Look for a single mass with some flour falling off and slight crustiness.

3: Work the dough until it feels smooth and elastic.

4: Form 4 flat, 1″ high discs. Leave to rise on the baking tray.

5: Bake at 140C until they bounce back when you poke them.

6: Turn upside down to cool.

Recipe 3. Spring Lamb Stir-Fry.

Spring Lamb Stir-Fry Recipe

Ingredients:

(Serves 3-5.)

-500g lamb mince

-2 cups cauliflower leaves

-1 yellow or red bell pepper

-400g bean sprouts

-200g cannelini beans

Utensils:

-chopping board and knife

-frying pan or wok and spatula

Recipe:

1: Pan-fry the lamb until browned. Its own fat should suffice.

2: Chop the peppers and leaves. Add, alongside the bean sprouts.

3: When the leaves start to wilt, add the beans and heat through.

Recipe 4. Summer Fruit Punch.

Ingredients:

-double shot of gin or brandy

-frozen fruit (do not defrost)

-lemonade

Recipe:

1: Place everything in the glass. The lemonade and alcohol will bring out the berry taste and the frozen berries will chill the drink.

2: Enjoy.

And those are our favourite recipes of the week!

What’s been cooking at your place?

How To… make a great salad.

At the moment I am living off salads. Love them. But too often people go wrong with salads, especially for weight loss. Either they’re just a pile of tasteless leaves or they’re so swimming in dressing, croutons, mayo, cheese or other calorific foods that they’re no better than any other lunch.

Personally, I primarily use salads to get some vitamins and minerals, some pickles, some fluid and other assorted things into my diet and only secondarily use them as a calorie-control method. Still, by using these techniques you should be able to make a largely raw, plant-based, low carb, low fat, low calorie salad that is also textured, flavourful and filling.

Step 1: Your base.

The first thing you need is a base of greens. Fill almost the entire bowl with greens. I like using lettuce, spinach and finely sliced cabbage, but all mild-tasting, leafy greens are good.

Step 2: First layer of texture and flavour.

Skip the croutons and crunchies. Leave the nuts and cheeses for now. What we need to add is around a fistful of onion, pickles, celery, carrots, etc per serving. Good quality tomatoes, radishes and watercress is also part of this category. The best bet is something crunchy and something strong, so a fistful of onion on its own, or half a fistful of carrots and half of pickles. Make sure these are all very finely diced.

Step 3: Booster texture and flavour.

This is literally a pinch of something. Maybe chopped chilies, sunflower seeds, fresh basil or pomegranate seeds. Not even enough to make a calorific impact, just for visual stimulus and a little variety of texture and flavour. Some things from the first layer can be added here in smaller quantities, but many boosters are just too rich, calorific or textured to use as the first layer.

Step 4: Topper. [Optional.]

You don’t need a topper. You can just have the salad as-is, or with the dressing. But, if you want to feel a little fuller for longer, then a topper may help. Pick something rich in protein and moderate to low in fat and carbs. Keep the portion fairly small. So a handful of walnuts, 20g of cheese, 50g of lean meat or a boiled egg. Increase if you need more calories or protein, decrease if you want a little bit but don’t want to eliminate it entirely.

Step 5: Dressing. [Optional.]

This is the bestest way to make a very low calorie dressing that helps you digest, adds lots of flavour and keep you healthy.

1 part (olive, coconut) oil to 3 parts (white, cider, balsamic, brown, rice) vinegar.

1-2tsp dry herbs (thyme, parsley, oregano, basil, rosemary, mint, etc) and spices (chilli, garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, anis, cumin, etc); any mix

1tsp mustard (fresh, raw, unsugared, unsalted if possible)

1-2tsp honey or sweetener (agave, stevia, coconut, sugar, cane, etc)

Put all the ingredients in an empty jar and shake until well mixed. Shake before pouring every time. Around 300ml makes enough for 6-8 well dressed salads or 8-12 lightly dressed salads.

And that’s how I make my salads. Some examples, to give you an idea.

Spicy surprise.

Base: lettuce and savoy cabbage.

Layer 1: onion.

Layer 2: chillies.

Topper: 50g cambozola cheese.

Dressing: brown vinegar, olive oil, smoked paprika, onion powder, dijon mustard, honey.

Pork salad.

Base: lettuce.

Layer 1: onion, pickles.

Layer 2: chillies.

Topper: 100g roast pork.

Dressing: brown vinegar, olive oil, onion powder, salt, dijon mustard, honey.

Light salad.

Base: lettuce, spring cabbage.

Layer 1: tomatoes.

Layer 2: onion.

Dressing: brown vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, american mustard, honey.

Egg salad.

Base: lettuce, spinach, cress.

Layer 1: tomatoes.

Layer 2: onion.

Topper: hard boiled egg.

Sweet salad.

Base: lettuce, spring cabbage, cress.

Layer 1: tomatoes.

Layer 2: pomegranate seeds and orange bits.

Dressing: balsamic vinegar, olive oil, onion powder, salt, palm sugar.

Hopefully that gave you some great ideas for light Spring and Summer salads!

What about you? What are your favourite salads? What is your biggest issue with salads? Do you prefer them sweet or spicy? Are you all about the greens, all about the fruit or all about the starch? Leave your thoughts, ideas and recipes in the comments.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!