All posts by Genevieve

Asian bean sprout and Chervil salad

The delivery of Chervil In this weeks Organic food basket delivery has led to us experimenting with what to do with it. Dinner tonight was a simple pan fried salmon with this delicious, but very easy to make salad. The Chervil has a lovely aniseed flavor that really adds to the freshness of the dish.

Ingredients

Dressing

  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp coconut aminos (or light soya sauce)
  • 1 Tbsp orange juice
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 Tbsp (not too hot) chili sauce

Salad

  • 150-200g bean sprouts (tauge)
  • 1/2 red capsicum (pepper), julienned
  • 1 orange, peeled and cut into segments, cut segments in half
  • large handful of fresh chervil, roughly chopped
  • Handful of chopped cashews, pan fried

Directions

  1. Finely slice (julienne) the capsicum
  2. Peel the orange and cut it into segment. Cut the segments in half to get chunks of orange approximately 1cm cubed
  3. Chop the fresh chervil roughly
  4. Chop a handful of cashews roughly and dry pan fry (without oil) them until they are golden brown.
  5. Place all the salad ingredients together in a salad bowl
  6. Combine all of the dressing ingredients together in a cup and stir well to combine
  7. Pour the dressing over the salad ingredients and toss to combine
  8. Allow the salad to come up to nearly room temperature by leaving it on the bench top for around 30 minutes. This also give the dressing ingredients time to  intensify in flavour
  9. Serve almost room temperature

 

Gluten Free Gingerbread cookies

These cookies use only 3 ingredients and depending on your preference (and how long you cook them) can be soft and moorish, or crunchy gingerbreads. This recipe makes about 12 cookies, and while they seldom last longer than a couple of days, they could be stored longer in an air tight container if you can resist them that long.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cashews or almonds
  • 1 cup dates (cheap dried dates is fine)
  • 1 Tbsp ginger powder

Directions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius
  2. Place the nuts in a food processor with the knife attachment. Blend until the nuts are finely chopped
  3. Add the dates and ginger powder to the food processor and blend until the mixture balls up. If it doesn’t ball up then add a little water. I usually don’t have to add any more than 30-50ml of water, so add a really small amount at a time – you don’t want it too wet, you just want to add enough that it combines the ingredients and balls up the mixture.
  4. Grease a baking tray or the base of a metal oven dish.
  5. Roll the mixture into balls 20-30mm in diameter. Flatten the balls into cookie shapes with your fingers
  6. Cook the cookies in the oven for 10-15 minutes (length of time depends on how wet the mixture is) until the cookies start to harden and go golden (they will also give off a delicious smell). Cool on a wire rack.

Almond Bread

This bread takes just minutes to prepare, and is delicious either as it is with a poached egg, or toasted with hummus or avocado. It keeps for up to a week in an air tight container, or slice it and then freeze it for later (if you manage not to eat it all)

Ingredients

  • 200g almond meal or ground almonds
  • 60g tapioca flour or tapioca starch
  • 3 large free range eggs
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup or honey
  • 80ml olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp coconut cream or coconut yoghurt
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • pinch of salt
  • 30g sunflower seeds, toasted

For the topping

  • 2 tsp sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp sunflower seed

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees celsius (315 degrees fahrenheit)
  2. Line a 22cm x 12cm bread (loaf) tin with baking paper on the bottom, and grease the sides with olive oil
  3. Combine all the ingredients except the sunflower seeds in a bowl or mixer and stir to combine
  4. Toast the sunflower seeds in a dry pan until golden and then fold into the batter
  5. Spoon the batter into the bread tin.
  6. Top with 2 tsp of sesame seeds and 2 tsp of sunflower seeds (not toasted)
  7. Bake on the middle rack of your oven for 45 minutes or until a skewer or fork inserted into the middle of your loaf comes out clean
  8. Remove from the oven and tip out of the bread tin onto a rack to cool.
  9. Slice and serve as is or toasted.

Gluten Free Apple Crumble

A little winter warmer for nights we need a little extra after dinner.

Ingredients

  • 4 apples
  • 1 Tbsp Honey
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • Handful of Almonds
  • Handful of Cashew Nuts
  • 50g butter
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon

Directions

  1. Heat an oven to 180 degrees celsius.
  2. Peel, core and slice the apples.
  3. Add the sliced apples, honey and 1 tsp of cinnamon to a saucepan. Add 75ml water. Cover and allow the water to boil over a moderate heat. Cook for around 10 minutes until the apples are soft but not yet mushy.
  4. Place the almonds, cashews and 1 tsp of the cinnamon in a food processor. Process until the nuts are finely chopped and almost powdery – there should be still some pieces that are not fully powdered yet.
  5. Slice the butter into small pieces and add to the nut mixture. Process further. As the butter warms up from the processing the mixture will ball up.
  6. Place the apples in a pie dish. Crumble the nut mixture over the top. Cook in the oven for 15 minutes until the crumble is golden brown
  7. Serve with coconut or other yoghurt and if you like it a little sweeter, a little maple syrup.

 

SaveSave

Lamb shanks with kumara garlic mash

Lamb shanks with red onion reduction and kumara garlic mash

We have had a great time finding butchers since our move to Auckland and while we are lucky to have a really nice one just around the corner from our house, a trip to Hamilton gave us a reason to stop off at the Pokeno Bacon shop and explore the butchery there. These lamb shanks were one of the delicious cuts of meat that we bought there. Looking forward to the next trip south, and the next excuse to stop off there!

This is a hearty dish that really fits with colder weather. The lamb falls off the bone of the lamb shanks, and the red onion reduction gives a nice hearty sauce that goes well with the lamb shanks, but also the kumara (sweet potato) mash. 

Ingredients

  • 2 lamb shanks
  • 2 Tbsp rice flour
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • 1 tomato (ripe)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
  • 2 Tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 5 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 stalks of rosemary
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 large kumara (sweet potato) (500g)
  • 1 whole garlic bulb, cut in half across the bulbs
  • 3 Tbsp of coconut or other milk of your choice

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius
  2. Heat a pot of water. Cut an X in the top of the tomato. Dip the tomato into the boiling water until the skin starts to peel off. Remove from the water and peel the tomato. Cut the tomato into small pieces.
  3. Heat a pan to a medium heat. Add the olive oil and 2 cloves of the sliced garlic. Cook until the garlic is golden. Add the tomato pieces and stir. Break the tomato up using a wooden spoon as it slowly cooks. Turn the heat down and allow the tomato to reduce to 1/3 of the starting amount (about 2 Tbsp). Remove from the heat and set aside.
  4. Put the rice flour into a plastic bag and season well with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the lamb shanks to the bag and shake the bag to coat the lamb shanks with the flour.
  5. Heat a frying pan with some olive oil in it to a medium heat. Add the lamb shanks to the pan and brown the lamb shanks on all sides. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  6. In the same pan, add the onion. Cook for around 5 minutes until the onion is cooked through and lightly browned. Add the other 2 cloves of chopped garlic and stir for 1 minute more. Add the balsamic vinegar and rosemary stalks and turn up the heat. Allow the balsamic vinegar to reduce for 2 minutes.
  7. Add the reduced tomato paste, and 1 cup of water to the pan. Allow to boil on a moderate heat for 3 minutes until the sauce has reduced and thickened.
  8. Remove the pan from the heat and add the lamb shanks to the pan. Cover the pan and place it in the oven. Cook covered at 180 degrees celsius for 90 minutes.
  9. Remove the pan from the oven and baste the lamb shanks by spooning the sauce over them. Cover the pan again and return it to the oven. Cook for another 45-60 minutes until the lamb is tender and falling off the bone.
  10. Cut the clove of garlic in half through the middle so that all of the garlic cloves have been cut in half. Add them to a roasting dish and place in the same oven as the lamb shanks are cooking in. Cook for around 30 minutes until they are roasted golden. Remove from the oven and set aside
  11. Meanwhile, cut the kumara into large pieces (do not peel it). Boil a pot of water and add the kumara with a little salt to the pot. Boil until the kumara is softened through.
  12. Remove the kumara from the pot and carefully peel the pieces. Add the peeled kumara to a foodprocessor. Remove the garlic from the garlic peel and add it to the foodprocessor. Add around 3 Tbsp of coconut milk and puree the kumara and garlic to a smooth paste. Add a little more coconut milk if required to get it to the desired consistency.
  13. Place the garlic kumara mash in the middle of the plate. Top with the lamb shank and some of the onion sauce.
  14. Serve with greens (we served it with pan fried asparagus with sesame seeds, but green beans or a salad would also be nice).

Music to go with it…
Listen on Spotify: Blur – The Magic Whip

Coriander Tahini Dip

Coriander Tahini Dip

Tahini is a wonderful base ingredient for dips. We have been enjoying making many different combinations including this Coriander Tahini Dip. It is great as a dip with sweet potato chips (which we cook in the Air Fryer for a low fat snack) or with raw vegetables.

Ingredients

  • 1 clove garlic, chopped roughly
  • small handful of pinenuts
  • 2 spring onions
  • little pinch of chilli flakes
  • large bunch of fresh coriander
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp tahini
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • olive oil
  • handful of pomegranate seeds for garnish (optional)

Directions

  1. Add the garlic, pinenuts, spring onions, chilli flakes, coriander, salt, pepper, tahini, lemon juice, and cumin powder to a blender.
  2. Add 4 Tbsp of olive oil.
  3. Blend to a smooth paste. Add a little more olive oil if it is too thick or not blending well.
  4. Serve garnished with pomegranate seeds.
  5. Delicious as a dip with sweet potato chips or fresh vegetable sticks (eg cucumber or carrot).

Music to go with it…
Listen on Spotify: The Decemberists – Five Songs EP

Safe Travel for Women in India

Ambassador car on Raisina Hill, New Delhi, India (January 2013)
We lived for 2 years in India. To begin with I felt very safe. I didn’t mind traveling alone for work, I went up to the local mall in the evening, and I caught a taxi by myself on arrival in another city. But I got a lot of reactions from locals when I did that. My boss wanted me to SMS him on arrival at the airport and hotel when I traveled. Another colleague insisted on driving me to the airport himself. Women recounted their stories of “eve teasing” (sexual harassment) on buses throughout their teenage years, but still I felt safe.
I was under the illusion that because people were friendly and hospitable, because there was normally other people around, that I was safe. And try as they might, my colleagues couldn’t really convince me otherwise.
The first year went off incident free (well apart from that guy who liked staring at me rather than the road in Chennai, and the bunch of guys at the local mall who wouldn’t leave me alone, and the rickshaw drivers who looked like they were going to eat me with their eyes…)
But, ever since Nirbhaya (Jyoti Singh) was raped in a moving bus and dumped from it in Delhi (not far from our house) India has gotten its fair share of bad press for the safety of women. I have to admit, that Nirbhaya also altered my feeling of safety, and the way I conducted myself. Up until then I felt very safe, and was even a bit lax on my personal safety. After Nirbhaya I was very vigilant. After Nirbhaya I started listening to some of the advice I was given.
The succession of tourists who were raped while traveling, not just in Delhi but also in other parts of the country did not help. As a result the safety of women in particular has become a cause of concern for many people when considering a trip to India.
But it doesn’t need to be. Like traveling in any big city, it pays to take some precautions. Here are some tips, including ones we were given by locals, for traveling safely in India as a woman.
Taxi driving through Vasant Vihar, New Delhi, India (February 20
Get a local SIM card
Pre-paid local SIM cards are readily available at major airports. This not only means that you can more cost effectively call people in India, but you have an Indian number with which to book taxis. You can’t book with local cab companies without an Indian phone number, and this leaves you with less reputable cab companies and flagging down cars and rickshaws. If you get the attention I did in a cab, you can also pull out your phone and pretend to call someone waiting for you.
Take a reputable cab company
In major cities, Easy Cabs (+91-11-43434343) and Meru Cabs (+91-11-44224422) are a good choice, although the drivers will rarely speak very good English. You will need to get someone at your hotel (the doorman can normally do this for you) to tell them where you need to go, and give them directions on how to get there. Do expect that they will turn up a bit late (getting stuck in Delhi, Mumbai or Chennai traffic is a fact of life) so make sure you order them for half an hour earlier than you actually need them.
Or take a daily car rental
For daily car rentals, Swift has reliable drivers, and you can ask them for a driver who speaks English. (+91-11-48055555). Swift is not only available  in 17 cities of India. I used them in Delhi and Chennai, but I can’t guarantee English speaking drivers in all the other cities.
While the English of the drivers won’t be perfect, it was always good enough to be able to explain to them (in simple language) where we wanted to go, and when they should be back to pick us up. If you do take this option, then make sure you have a local SIM card, and take the number of the driver. They will go away while you have your lunch, and you will need to be able to call them to come back and get you.
An "auto" in Vasant Vihar, New Delhi, India (February 2012)
Take a photo of the number plate 
This is something I had never considered before moving to India, but it was advice that many people were very insistent on. In fact my boss insisted that I SMS him the number plate each time I was collected from the airport when I traveled. Taking the photograph means that he is aware that you are vigilant, and probably also that you know someone else to send it to. There is even an app for Indian Women’s safety that collects this up and tracks them. You are unlikely to use this as a tourist, but they will think you are using it.
Listen to your instincts, but don’t go overboard
If you feel uncomfortable in the car, then pull out your cellphone and make a call – even if it is only to the hotel you are traveling to – so that it appears that you know people and are being looked after. I was once in a car in Chennai and the driver had his rear view mirror trained on me. He spent more time looking at me than at the road. I started giving him instructions on how to drive, and called one of the guys where I was going to inform him that we were not far away so that the driver knew I was being expected. It was enough to get his eyes back on the road.
Driving down Raisina Hill, New Delhi, India (January 2013)
Don’t take a cab on your own at night
Unless you hire a multi-day driver from Swift and are confident in your driver, it is best to avoid traveling at night on your own. Get someone to drop you off at your hotel, accompany you to your hotel before traveling on to their own, or take dinner in your hotel. I created a lot of concern by driving myself in India, but I preferred to drive myself or use my own driver at night rather than take a cab. (I don’t recommend you drive yourself on a visit, the traffic is a real experience…)
If you are traveling from city to city, book a car to collect you
The craziest part of travel in India is often the rugby scrum for a rickshaw or taxi as you step out of the train station or the airport. You can save a lot of hassle by booking a car in advance to collect you – they will hold up a name board – and having a destination hotel for your city of arrival. This saves you getting caught by touts (who earn a commission on the hotel they take you to) and ending up with a driver you don’t feel comfortable with. Often the hotel will send a driver for you (for a fee) if you ask them to.
Take the ladies section
The Delhi Metro is rightly the pride of Delhi, but “eve teasing” (sexual harassment) as it is known in India is a little too prevalent. Avoid this by taking the ladies only carriage. Avoid the buses. The safety record of the green buses is appalling (they run over too many pedestrians) and you are unlikely to be helped if “eve teasing” starts on the buses. In Delhi, stick to the metro and taxis. In other cities, stick to taxis. They are anyway very cheap.
Take a sense of humour with you
Travel in India is an adventure, in so many senses of the word. So many things are not as you expect, and approaching it with a healthy sense of humour will get you through so many situations. Don’t mention that you are just visiting, fake being an expat, say “challo” if you want someone to go away, and enjoy the ride of wonderful, crazy, magical India!
I loved living there. I love visiting there still. I became more cautious about traveling on my own as a result of living in India and Jyoti Singh, but I wouldn’t avoid going out of concern. A lot of people will genuinely offer you help and hospitality too. India is a wonderful place with wonderfully warm people. Enjoy!
Two men on a bus, Nataraj temple, Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu, India

Apricot, Almond, Date Snack Bars

Apricot, Almond and Date snack bars

Snack bars are great for filling a little gap between meals, or when you know that lunch is going to end up being a little late. However, Healthy Snack Bars are generally quite expensive, so we have been experimenting with different recipes to make our own. This is a classic combination inspired by the fruits of Kashmir – Almonds and Apricots. The dates give a natural sweetness, so no honey or sugar needs to be added to the mix.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 cup dried apricots
  • 1 cup dried dates
  • Little coconut or olive oil

Directions

  1. Place the almonds into a food processor using the metal knife blade. Chop the almonds until they are in small pieces
  2. Add the dates and apricots to the food processor. Mix until the mixture starts to form into a ball
  3. Grease a metal tray with a little coconut or olive oil
  4. Spread the mixture out onto the tray and press down with your hands to form a square or rectangle of an even thickness
  5. Place into the fridge for about an hour
  6. Cut into bars, and store in an air tight container in the fridge. We wrap the bars in baking paper to avoid using plastic wrap.

Music to go with it…
Listen on Spotify: The Kite Strings Tangle – Vessel

Black and White Sesame Seed Salmon

Salmon with black and white sesame seeds

This is a very easy, but visually interesting meal. You could pair it with a baby spinach or rocket salad, with fennel and grapefruit (to use up the grapefruit in the recipe) and Sweet Potato Fries with Garlic Aioli out of the Air Fryer.

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp black sesame seeds
  • 1 Tbsp white sesame seeds
  • 1 Tbsp grapefruit juice
  • 1 tsp honey
  • pinch of sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 salmon fillets
  • Coconut oil

Directions

  1. Season the salmon fillets with sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  2. Mix the black and white sesame seeds, grapefruit juice and honey together in a small bowl
  3. Spoon the sesame seed mix onto the top of the salmon fillets (skin side down, do not put the sesame seeds on top of the skin). Spread the sesame seeds out to form a crust on top of the salmon fillets
  4. Fry in a little coconut oil over a moderate to low heat until the salmon fillets are cooked half way through – skin side down first. Turn over and cook until cooked through. About 2 minutes on each side.

Music to go with it…
Listen on Spotify: Marisa Nadler – July

Healthy Veggie Omelette

Healthy Veggie OmeletteI normally think of an Omelette as something for  breakfast, but with the addition of more vegetables it can also be a great light meal or lunch. While this variation uses zucchini and spinach, you can pretty much use any vegetables you like to use up what you have left over in your fridge.

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 100ml coconut milk
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • handful of mushrooms, chopped
  • handful of cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 Tbsp dried Italian herbs (thyme, oregano, mix)
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • large pinch of ground paprika
  • 150gr baby spinach
  • handful of cashew nuts, roasted and chopped
  • large pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • coconut oil to cook
  • Pan that can be placed in the oven (no plastic handle)

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit)
  2. Beat the eggs and coconut milk together in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Add all of the chopped vegetables (mushrooms, tomatoes and carrot) to the pan, and fry on a medium heat for a couple of minutes until softened.
  4. Add salt and pepper, Italian herbs, oregano and paprika and stir well.
  5. Add the spinach and toss until slightly wilted.
  6. Sprinkle over the cashew nuts
  7. Add the egg mixture and sprinkle the chilli powder over the top. Fry until it starts to set.
  8. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 5-10 minutes until the egg is set through. You can check by inserting a fork into the Omelette, it should come out clean when it is cooked through.
  9. Serve with a simple lettuce salad.

Music to go with it…
Listen on Spotify: Hozier – Take me to Church