Kumat Salad

Kumat Salad

Kamut (pronounced ka-moot) is a trademarked name given to khorasan wheat, thought to be the cousin of durum wheat as they both belong to the Triticum turgidum family. Kamut has a rich and buttery flavor, it’s easy for the body to digest, and very similar to bulgar wheat as it has more proteins, lipids, vitamins, minerals and amino acids than common wheat. It also has a clear advantage compared to modern wheat because it contains up to 40 percent more protein, is richer in zinc, magnesium and selenium as well as many polyphenols and fatty acids. You could say it’s a superfood, easy to cook and cheap and full of nutrition. To be honest I use kamut 2 to 3 times a week instead of brown rice or whole wheat pasta, I just love the mouth feel of this great product, so add some strawberries infused with balsamic and brown sugar, freshly chopped herbs and top with creamy goat cheese and crispy leeks. It’s a wonderful recipe my dear – and its healthy!!!!

Additional information – Kamut is an excellent crop for organic farming because it produces high-quality wheat without the need for artificial fertilizers or pesticides — this is because the crop has a high tolerance for diverse organic conditions, and similar to other cereals, it yields well.

Kumat salad

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 cups kamut

4 cups low in sodium vegetable stock

2 cups strawberries, hauled and cut into quarters

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 leek, washed and cut into thin strips (optional)

1 tablespoon freshly chopped basil

1 tablespoon freshly chopped mint

3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

¼ cup goats cheese, crumbled

How to cook:

Place a large saucepan over a medium heat on the stove, add kamut and stock, bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer, cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until all the stock has been absorbed and the kamut is tender. Remove the pan from the stove, and allow the kamut to cool.

Place the strawberries in a small bowl, pour over the balsamic vinegar, sprinkle with brown sugar, and allow to macerate for at least 15 minutes while the kamut cools.

Take a frying pan and place on a medium to high heat, pour in the oil, when hot cook the strips of leek in batches until crispy, remove and place on dish paper to absorb the oil.

To assemble, take a large salad bowl, spoon in the cold kamut, stir in the chopped herbs, oil, and cheese, scatter over the strawberries and top with the crispy leeks.

 

Shaved Radish, pomegranate, pistachio nuts and mint

Shaved Radish, pomegranate, pistachio nuts and mint

Serves 4

You can always find these little gems of goodness year round in your local food store, so why not make a simple yet delightful salad out of them. The common radish dates back to pre-Roman times, is part of the Brassicaceae family (The family contains 372 genera and 4060 accepted spices). With a beautiful red outer color and round ball like shape this edible root vegetable has only 16 calories to a ½ cup with a moderate amount of vitamin C (18% of your Daily Value) but is busting with flavor. The radish normally takes a side role in a dish, just like a garnish, but today let’s gives it center stage and show off its talents. Supporting actors in this dish are a little extra virgin olive oil, a squeeze of fresh lime juice, chopped mint, 1 cup of pomegranate seeds and an appearance from our crispy pistachio nuts to finish the lineup. Easy to make, with few ingredients, little time to prepare and tastes fabulous, always my type of FOOD.

Go on give it a try – you know you want too!!!!

Ingredients:

½ cup pistachio nuts

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice

2 cups radishes, thinly sliced

1 cup pomegranate seeds

1 tablespoon freshly chopped mint

Pre-heat 350’F

How to make:

Place the pistachio nuts on a sheet pan and toast in the oven for 6 to 8 minutes, tossing once to brown evenly (be careful not to burn) remove from the oven and allow to cool. Then lightly crush.

Whisk together the oil and lime juice and add the mint.

Take a large platter or salad bowl toss in the radishes, sprinkle over the pomegranate seeds, season with salt and pepper if needed, pour over the dressing and serve.

 

Easy to make Vegan Eggless Mayo & Ranch Dressing

Easy to make Vegan Eggless Mayo & Ranch Dressing

This homemade egg-free vegan mayonnaise recipe is made with chickpea water, Dijon mustard, sea salt, white wine vinegar and vegetable oil with a splash of extra virgin olive oil. Blending them all together gives you a delectable thick and creamy mayonnaise condiment to use on all your salads, sandwiches and homemade slaw dishes. Add a few more ingredients and turn it into an eggless ranch dressing that the whole family will enjoy and love.

Easy to make Vegan Eggless Mayo & Ranch Dressing

Yields 1 ¼ cups

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons chickpea water

2 teaspoons Dijon

¼ teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons white vinegar

1 cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

How to make:

Blend all the ingredients together

 

Eggless Ranch Dressing

Ingredients:

1 clove garlic, minced

1 ¼ cups eggless mayo

1 tablespoon freshly chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley leaves

1 tablespoon freshly chopped dill

1 tablespoon freshly chopped chives

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon paprika

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Dash hot sauce

Salt to taste

How to make:

In a bowl, combine the garlic, eggless mayonnaise, parsley, dill, chives, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper, paprika, cayenne and hot sauce, mix to combine, tasting frequently and adjusting seasonings as needed, chill before serving.

Chickpea Bread

Chickpea Bread

Believe me this is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO easy and as an added bonus very little clean-up and no waste guaranteed, I promise you. Healthy, fabulously delicious, vegan, gluten-free & addictive (in a healthy way) Need I say more? I mean, really? Enjoy!!!!

Chickpea Bread

One 8inch pie

Ingredients:

1 cup chickpea flour

1 cup water

Cooking spray

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon thyme leaves

1 teaspoons chopped rosemary leaves

Ground black pepper to taste

1 pinch sea salt to taste (optional)

Pre-heat oven to 450’F, spray an 8 inch pan with oil

How to make:

Whisk chickpea flour, water, oil, thyme and rosemary together in a bowl until smooth. Pour mixture into the prepared pan. Pop into the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown and crispy on top. Remove from the oven and turn out onto a clean chopping board, sprinkle over black pepper and sea salt, then cut into 8 portions and serve while still warm.

The “Red Blazer” Sashimi of Salmon with Ginger and Sesame Oil

The “Red Blazer” Sashimi of Salmon with Ginger and Sesame Oil

Serves 4

If you’re looking for something so simple to make tonight try this recipe! You’ll be amazed how easy and delicious it is to make and taste.

I’m very fortunate as one of my very best friend’s lives six months of his life in Florida and the other six months in Alaska, so he’s always bringing us wild Alaskan salmon, and I’m always trying to come up with new and exciting dishes to make with it. We met in Alaska 20 years ago while I was teaching at the Martin Luther King Jr. King Career Center in Anchorage, on a one year’s Fullbright teacher exchange program back in 1998. Jim Hollis is one of the most amazing guys I have ever met in my life and I have the privilege of calling him my friend. I could tell you loads of stories of this amazing gentleman but I’m going to tell you just three. This is why Jim is so special to me and my family.

1) We arrived in Anchorage late August to start school in September, if you’ve ever been to Alaska the summers days are long with usually 22 hours of daylight. People are cutting their grass at 2am in the morning, trying to do as much as they can before the short fall and winter days arrive, when you only get 5 hours of daylight. Jim was a teacher at the same school that I would be teaching at, he turned up with a box full of goodies for the boys the day we arrived in town. The boys loved him from that day on, my wife Alison always had a soft spot for him (if you know Jim-he’s a ladies man) but for me it was like meeting a brother, he was kind, generous to a fault, always willing to help out at the drop of a hat, I knew then we would be lifelong friends.

I started work, enjoyed each and every day working with the culinary students. The only problem I had was the fact we only had one car, so when I left for work, my wife Alison was left stranded in the house for 8 to 10 hours each day. At the time we only had Jonathan (2yrs) and Matthew (14 months) and James was just a twinkle in my eye back then. The house was 10 miles outside of Anchorage and since only five other houses were in our neighborhood, brown bear would often wander down the street, meaning all the kids were locked inside. A family of moose lived in our back yard, so even venturing just outside your own home at time could be dangerous.

2) You can imagine my wife was pulling her hair out most days, new country, two small boys to look after and no transport until I got home from work each day. Jim turns up one day with a bright red Ford Blazer, he hands me the keys, tells me he’s insured the truck in my name, it has a full tank of gas and its mine until I leave Alaska, what a guy!!!! I’d only just met him a month earlier.

3) In April that following year my youngest son Matthew became ill, we were told by the doctor he had a bad case of flu and would be better in a few days, well a week later and we were really worried as he was getting worse not better. It turn out he was a type 1 diabetic, he was so close to going into a coma because his blood sugar was through the roof when he was finally diagnosed that he was immediately rushed into intensive care and stayed there for the next 7 days until his blood sugar dropped back down to some what normal. Again Jim steps in, he taught horticulture looking after all the green houses at the school and working with the most demanding of students. He would have his class covered, put on my chefs jacket and takes my role as chef instructor, running the culinary class while I’m visiting Matthew each day in hospital and looking after Jonathan while my wife stayed with Matthew the entire time he was there.

What a guy, over the last 20 years I could tell you more stories of the amazing man. Jim used to wrestle and was also a wrestling coach to hundreds of students from Alaska, he’s a fighter. He now faces his biggest battle and I’m glad to stay this time I’m here to help him in any way I can, like brothers we’ll face this together.

BWT the red blazer was a wreck of a car and Jim would be the first to tell you that, the windscreen was smashed in numerus places, the heater didn’t work, I had to dress like the Michelin man each day to keep warm, and wear the thickest gloves I could get on my fingers to keep warm and from sticking to the steering wheel, while still managing to drive the damn thing. It used to skid all over the icy roads and it stunk of gasoline, Jim actually told me a year after we left Alaska, that he was afraid it might blow up on me, but he reassured me I would not have felt anything if it had. “BOOM!” he said, “You would have felt nothing, and I would have looked after Alison and the boys for you”. One thing in its favor, it did stand outside all winter, yet it always started first time without fail and always got me to work and back.

That gift from Jim saved our year in Alaska, (probably my marriage as well) as my wife was ready to return home, back to Swansea her home town, back to a normal life (without bears and moose) to family and friends to help out with the boys, to a more normal life and who would have blamed her. So thank you Jim, In return this dish has been name the “Red Blazer” because of the red color of the wild Alaskan salmon, I hope you enjoy!!!!

The “Red Blazer” Sashimi of Salmon with Ginger and Sesame Oil

Serves 4

For the dressing;

¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce

2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

2 teaspoons sesame oil

1 fresh pink grapefruit, segments and juice of

1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into very fine strips

1 teaspoon pickled ginger, minced

To serve:

12oz of wild salmon, cut into 12 medium to thin slices

2 tablespoons cilantro leaves

A twist of black pepper

How to Make:

In a small bowl, stir all the dressing ingredients, arrange 3 pieces of salmon on each plate and pour over equal amounts of the dressing, sprinkle over the cilantro leaves along with a twist of black pepper and serve.

Mango, yuzu juice, chives, cilantro & jalapeño marinated red snapper

Mango, yuzu juice, chives, cilantro & jalapeño marinated red snapper

Have you ever eaten a great fish dish that’s been cooked to perfection? That’s truly a sign you have eaten in a great restaurant. Fish is one of the great tests of a chef’s skill because preparation and timing have to be just right. A minute or two off the perfect time could render it under cooked and raw or over cooked and dried out. This can scare people from cooking fish at home but, like any skill, it needs to be practiced over and over to get it right. Learning from mistakes is the best way to learn any skill so just practice – the more you try, the better you become. Remember cooking should be FUN, plus you get to eat your mistakes…

To me, cooking is a life skill that should be taught in every school from elementary to university. Cooking at home is the only way to eliminate the obesity crisis and a lot of the health problems we have in this country at the moment. Only by buying good quality food and preparing it yourself will you feel better, lose weight and be able to concentrate more on the good things in life. Processed foods contain too much fat, sugar, salt, colorants, preservatives and other additives that are making the nation fat, miserable and unhealthy!!!

OK, now that my moan for today is out of the way, back to what’s important – FOOD. The texture, smell and taste of this dish will have you coming back for more. I love preparing fish and seafood for dinner. It always brings me back to times by the beach with my parents or times when I’ve worked near the coast in a fine dining seafood restaurant or even the wonderful vacations I have traveled with my family. There is nothing like stepping into the culture of another country, even if it’s only for a few days. It’s so educational, made even better if it involves trying a local seafood platter of some sort or a freshly made traditional dish. With the popular sushi craze and Poke craze going on at the moment, it’s wonderful to create new and interesting flavors to go with different kinds of fish other than the normal tuna or salmon.

With this recipe, I’m using fresh red snapper, just make sure it’s really fresh, buy and prepare on the same day. Please don’t not buy and leave in the fridge until the weekend – use it on the same day! The best thing about this dish…there is no “cooking”.  If you measure everything out, it should turn out perfect just like a star chef would make it – enjoy!!!

Mango, yuzu juice, chives, cilantro & jalapeño marinated red snapper

Serves 4 to six

Ingredients:

1 cup mango, peeled and diced

1 tablespoon sesame oil

4 tablespoons yuzu juice

4 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons red yuzu kosho

1 tablespoon chives, finely chopped

1 tablespoon cilantro, minced

1 small jalapeño, cut into rounds

12oz red snapper flesh cut into ½ inch dice (but you can substitute salmon or tuna)

How to make:

Take the first eight ingredients and mix together in a medium size bowl.

Add the red snapper to the marinade, stir to combine, cover with plastic wrap and leave in the fridge to infuse for 30 minutes.

Remove the bowl from the fridge, remove plastic wrap and give one final stir and serve.

Serve with romaine lettuce leaves, flat bread, cooked brown rice, noodles or crackers.

 

Chickpea burgers with Avocado Cream

Chickpea burgers with Avocado Cream

Chickpeas or garbanzos beans have a delicious nutlike taste and a texture that is buttery, yet somewhat starchy and creamy. They are the main ingredient in many Middle Eastern and Indian dishes such as hummus, falafels and curries. The normal color of the chickpea is beige in color, but if you look around Middle Eastern stores you can find other varieties such as black, green, red and even brown.

Chickpeas are rich in both soluble and insoluble fiber, we all know how important fiber is to the diet, even more so if you’re a diabetic this rich source of fiber can help stabilize blood sugar levels and control appetite. Chickpeas also contain a rich source of plant protein; 1 cup also provides over 80% you’re your daily requirement of manganese which is an essential cofactor in a number of enzymes important in energy production and antioxidant defense of the body. The chickpea is truly a wonder bean, as regular intake can help lower LDL (bad) and total cholesterol in the body as they contain significant amounts of folate. Folate lowers the levels of amino acid homocysteine and strengthens blood vessels, which can potentially lower the risks of heart disease. Finally they contain the all-important phytochemical called saponins, which could lower the risk of breast cancer, protect against osteoporosis and reduce hot flushes in post-menopausal women.

Chickpea burgers

Makes 8 patties

1x can low sodium chickpea, rinsed and drained

½ medium size onion, peeled and roughly chopped

2 cloves garlic clove, peeled and minced

2 tablespoon cilantro, washed, dried and chopped

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 teaspoon chili powder

2 tablespoons whole wheat flour

2 tablespoons olive oil

How to make:

Make sure the chickpeas are completely dry, and then tip into a food processor along with the onion, garlic, cilantro, spices and flour. Blend until roughly chopped, but not to smooth, place into the fridge for 15 minutes to firm up, then shape into eight even size patties with your hands.

Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan, add the patties and cook for 3 minutes each side or until lightly golden in color and warm all the way through.

Serve with lightly toasted pittas, homemade tomato salsa, homemade avocado cream and a green salad.

Avocado Cream

1 avocado, stone removed, flesh mashed

1 lime, juice of

2 Tablespoons cilantro, chopped

2 Tablespoons chives, chopped

½ cup Greek yogurt

1/8 teaspoon sea salt (optional)

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (optional)

How to Make:

Combine ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.

 

 

 

Peaches & Cream

Peaches & Cream 

With all my recipes, I try to pair simple ingredients and simple steps to put everything together. This gives a beautiful tasting dish that I’m sure everyone will enjoy. For this recipe I take North Carolina peaches, home grown tomatoes and creamy burrata. The original word ‘burrata’ in Italian means “Buttered” like whipped butter or cream, and has the outside texture of firm mozzarella but the inside texture of heavy cream. Delicious!

While I was teaching at Neath Port Talbot College, South Wales in the 90’s I was lucky enough to travel to Udine in northeastern Italy, in the middle of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region, between the Adriatic Sea and the Alps. I worked there for a while as the town had been twined with Neath, I had to go with the Mayor and do a lot of presentations, demonstrations and private dinner parties. The people were fabulous; the historic city amazing, and the center of Udine is dominated by a Castle, built by the Venetians in the 1500’s over a Lombard fortification ruined by an earthquake in 1511. The current Renaissance dates from the intervention of Giovanni da Udine, who finished the works that started in 1547. The castle houses one of the most ancient Parliament Halls of Europe. To this day I still remember walking through the arches of Via Mercatovecchio, on cool evenings while artists played music in the streets. Buying freshly made food from local vendors, stopping at a bar or café for a glass of local wine or freshly brewed coffee, taking time out, just to sit, admire the scenery, take in the atmosphere and people watch, GOOD TIMES indeed.

Amazing the memories we have that revolve around food and travel. That’s why I love what I do, can’t think of a better job, in fact my job never stops as I get the pleasure to bring the world into my kitchen every time I cook at home.

So try this amazing recipe and bring a little of North Carolina and a touch of Italy into your home tonight – enjoy!!!

Peaches & Cream

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 cup fresh basil leaves, roughly chop ¾, reserve the rest for decoration

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 lemon, juice of

4 ripe peaches (North Carolina if you can), stone and slice

2 cups ripe tomatoes, half and slice

1 cup burrata, torn into pieces 

1 tablespoon toasted pine nut

How to make:

To make the dressing: place the basil, olive oil, half the lemon juice, 2 tablespoons water and a pinch each of sea salt and freshly ground pepper into a small bowl and whisk until blended.

Toss the peaches and tomatoes in the remaining lemon juice, then scatter over a large serving plate, add the burrata, sprinkle with pine nuts and reserved basil leaves, lightly season and drizzle over the dressing, serve with warm crusty artisan bread.

 

Marinated Zucchini

Marinated Zucchini

The first crop of the year from my garden – beautiful ripe zucchini –  I’m all into simplicity with my preparation and making of recipes and dishes, since  we all lead busy lives.  So even for me being a chef, when I cook at home I’m even conscious of the time I spend in my own kitchen. I’m looking for easy dishes that can be prepared and made in no time, better still the night before, then whipped out of the fridge, unwrap and serve. That are full of flavor, smell good and look attractive, so my boys will try something new, and hopefully enjoy what dad has prepared for tonight’s dinner!

Better still when you add home grown herbs, such as chives, tarragon, parsley and rosemary, even home grown garlic….  Ok I didn’t make the wholegrain mustard, press the olive oil, make the vinegar or mine the salt. But the majority of this recipe comes from my back garden, and still amazes me to be able to grow so much in the small garden that is dedicated to my wife. The plot is only 15 foot by 4ft, and throughout the year we are pulling something nutritious from that rich soil. My father was a very keen gardener in his time and cultivated a garden that was 70ft by 20ft back in my home town of Newcastle, and my mother a great cook would make fabulous meals from my dad’s freshly grown produce. I’ll forever be grateful to my inspirational parents who taught me to cook and grow my own fruits and vegetables.

This is so simple to use as a side with grilled fish or chicken or a plate of cold cuts of meat and cheese with some artisan bread. Enjoy

Ingredients

4 to 6 baby zucchini

Sprinkle of Maldon sea salt

For the herb vinaigrette:

1 clove garlic, peeled

¼ teaspoon Maldon sea salt

1 rounded teaspoon wholegrain mustard

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon chopped chives

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh tarragon

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves, bruised and finely chopped

How to make:

Trim the tough stalk off each zucchini and then slice them in two lengthways, place them in a microwave suitable contain, sprinkle with a little salt, add 1 tablespoon of water, then place on a lid.

Microwave for 4 to 5 minutes, you just what them tender not too soft.

While the zucchini is steaming, prepare the dressing by pounding the garlic with the salt in a pestle and mortar until it becomes a creamy paste. Then add in the mustard, followed by the vinegar and black pepper. Pour in the oil and whisk everything together, then stir in the fresh herbs, taste, season again if necessary.

Drain the zucchini and place into a new bowl, pour over the dressing and allow the zucchini to cool, cover with plastic and pop into the fridge and leave overnight, turning the zucchini two or three time, (when you remember), just to infuse all that dressing into them. Serve the next day or keep for up to 3 days. Enjoy!

 

Salmon, Orange, Pink Grapefruit, & Avocado Salad

Salmon, Orange, Pink Grapefruit, & Avocado Salad

This is one of those dishes that may spring to mind when you look into the fridge and decide to use up leftovers. Matthew loves smoked salmon so I always buy at least one packet a month as a treat for him. Oranges and grapefruits are always on hand as they make a great snack for the boys or added to my muesli or porridge in the morning by adding a nutritious citrus element to the dish. Kale/arugula are both non-negotiables in my house, as they are always in my fridge. Adding dark sesame oil instead of extra virgin olive oil creates an Asian floor profile that adds a tart spiciness that leaves your tongue tingling with anticipation for the next bite – Enjoy.

Salmon, Orange, Pink Grapefruit, & Avocado Salad

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 medium orange

1 medium grapefruit

2 teaspoons dark sesame oil

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

6 cups baby kale or arugula, washed and spun dry

2 ripe avocadoes, peeled, stone removed, and flesh sliced

4 to 8 very thin slices of smoked salmon (approx. 4oz)

How to make:

Peel the orange and grapefruit, then using a sharp knife cut out the segments of flesh over a medium size bowl. Set the segments to one side, and then squeeze out as much juice as you can from the left over membrane of both the orange and the grapefruit.

Whisk the oil, pepper and juice together, add the arugula leaves and gently toss together to evenly coat the dressing. Arrange the greens on four plates, scatter over the orange segments and avocado slices, then top with a slice or two of smoked salmon.