Monthly Archives: January 2013

Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Tiger Prawns with Cauliflower Couscous

prawns and cauliflower couscous

If, like me, you’re keen to clean up your diet a bit, following on from a cake-filled Christmas holiday (!), you might like The S Factor Diet, by Lowri Turner. You probably know Lowri from TV but she’s also a nutritionist who writes for, among others Grazia, Now Diet and Mother & Baby. According to Lowri, this is “a diet that can put a smile on your face!”. Apparently certain hormones, such as serotonin, dopamine, leptin and adrenals, can increase your appetite, send cravings sky-high, make you feel depressed and demotivated, and cause your body’s natural fat-burning process to dwindle. You can rebalance those hormones in your body easily with certain foods like chicken, avocados, bananas, fish, nuts and seeds, and dark green and brightly coloured veggies. And Lowri’s book shows you how to work out which hormones are out of kilter, and which foods you need to eat to rebalance them – and gives you lovely recipes, too.

I tried this recipe yesterday for lunch. And, although Zoë insisted on a version without chopped herbs (“yuk, green bits”), it was really good. I have been wanting to try cauliflower ‘couscous’ for a while and it was great. Super-easy to make (you just whizz cauliflower florets in a food processor) and, with the lemon juice, sweet paprika and herbs, it had a lovely taste. And the prawns were gorgeous – really tender, with loads of garlic.

Prawns are a good source of lean protein, which is great for all your S Factor hormones, especially dopamine. And, by swapping normal wheat couscous for cauliflower ‘couscous’ you immediately reduce the starch and calorie content, which helps rebalance all of these hormones – and, of course, it’s gluten-free!

gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, soya-free, egg-free, nut-free, seed-free

Preparation time 15 minutes, plus 3 hours marinating     Cooking time 6 minutes     Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 400g/14oz raw tiger prawns, peeled and deveined
  • fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • lemon wedges, to serve (optional)

For the marinade:

  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbsp chopped tarragon leaves
  • 1 tbsp chopped dill
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

For the couscous:

  • 1 head of cauliflower, broken into florets
  • 1 handful of finely chopped mint leaves
  • 1 handful of finely chopped parsley leaves, plus extra to serve
  • ½ red onion, finely sliced
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 large handful of cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  1. If using wooden skewers, soak them in cold water for at least 30 minutes before grilling. To make the marinade, put all of the ingredients in a non-metallic bowl, season with salt and pepper and mix well. Add the prawns to the marinade and toss well, making sure the prawns are covered in the marinade. Cover and chill in the fridge for 3 hours.
  2. Meanwhile, make the “couscous”. Put the cauliflower in a food processor and pulse until it resembles couscous grains. Transfer to a bowl, stir in all of the remaining ingredients and season with salt and pepper. Leave to one side.
  3. Use a slotted spoon to remove the prawns from the marinade, reserving the marinade. Thread about 6 prawns onto each of 4 skewers. Heat a griddle pan over a medium-high heat and cook the prawns, brushing with the reserved marinade, for about 2–3 minutes on each side until they are pink and cooked through. Remove the skewers and divide the prawns and “couscous” into 4 equal portions. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with lemon wedges for squeezing over, if you like.

Nutritional analysis per serving: Calories 148kcal  Protein 21.3g  Carbohydrates 4.3g  Fat 5.6g

Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Superfood Omelette

Sprouts

Sprout omelette

My birthday falls at the beginning of January, and I find that Christmas, New Year and my birthday tends to roll into one long celebratory period! We generally eat lots of chocolate from Santa, indulge in delicious, rich meals and, of course, eat our way through the ubiquitous Christmas and birthday cakes… It’s lovely to breathe a deep sigh of delight when the festivities are over, and then focus on cleaning up our diet a fair bit afterwards!

Omelettes make great healthy, fresh meals. They work brilliantly any time of the day, whether it’s breakfast time, lunchtime or even dinner time. And you can literally pack them with nutrient-dense ingredients. Here I’ve used red pepper, sprouted seeds and and alfalfa sprouts. Sprouted nuts and seeds are fantastic. The sprouting process increases digestibility and greatly enhances the nutritional content. They become powerhouses of vitamins, antioxidants and other nutrients, and packed with energizing and health-promoting enzymes. Besides this, alfalfa sprouts also contains amino acids and phytochemicals that can balance hormones and protect against disease.

Sprouts can be difficult to get, though, so you can make your own very easily. You can buy special seed sprouters, but a jam jar will do just as well. Simply take a small handful of seeds, wash them and place in the jar. Fill the jar with about three times the amount of water and soak for at least eight hours. Drain and rinse the seeds and leave in a warm, dark place. Rinse thoroughly every 12 hours for three days, then bring them out into sunlight and repeat the process for another two days until they’re ready to eat.

gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, soya-free, nut-free, citrus-free

Preparation time 5 minutes     Cooking time 5–6 minutes     Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ red pepper, deseeded and cut into strips
  • 50g/1¾oz sprouted seeds, such as mung bean, chickpea and lentil
  • 50g/1¾oz alfalfa sprouts
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Beat the eggs in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of water, then season lightly with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan over a medium-high heat, tilting the pan so that the base is covered with oil. Pour the egg mixture into the pan and sprinkle over the red pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes until the base of the omelette is golden and the egg is almost set, but still soft.
  2. Sprinkle the sprouted seeds and alfalfa sprouts over the top and serve immediately.

Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free in Rome

Rome bridge

We’re just back from a magical 3 days in Rome! Bella! We stayed in central Rome, just next to the Opera House and spent our days walking around, looking at the amazing sights that the city offers. We saw the majestic Colosseum, where gladiators fought to the death and prisoners were thrown in with lions and other wild beasts….

colisseum

We went to the Forum, an incredible sprawl of ruins dating back to 700 BC – which were once marble-covered temples, forums and other awe-inspiring buildings.

forum

Roman fragment

We also went to the Pantheon – the temple (now a church) built by Emperor Hadrian in 120AD. And then walked on to the beautiful Trevi Fountain. (Zoë has now been telling everyone at school, apparently, about the magic wishing well that we threw coins and wishes into!)

Trevi fountain

We popped into a couple of churches – the Chiesa di San Luigi dei Francesci and the Chiesa di Sant’Agostino – where there are famous Caravaggio paintings.

Caravaggio

And on our final day, we took the metro to the awe-inspiring St Peter’s Basilico, and the Vatican Museums. One of the great things about going in January (apart from the bargain price!) is the lack of crowds. We didn’t have to queue and we wandered around, soaking up the history, the opulence and the incredible store of treasures within. I knew that there were many paintings, statues and works of art within the Vatican but I was still astounded. The floors, walls and ceilings are literally covered. There are ancient Egyptian relics, ancient Greek and Roman pieces (including the famous statue, Laocoön), Renaissance masterpieces (including the iconic Sistine Chapel which was utterly beautiful) and many, many more – right up to works by Matisse, Chagall and Bacon.

st peters

Laocoon Vatican

me and Zoe

ceiling Vatican

Peter and Zoe Vatican

matisse

And throughout all of this, I tried to find gluten-free food. Buoyed by my success in finding gluten-free ingredients in Tuscany, I arrived in Rome thinking it would be easy. On the way to our hotel from the airport, we passed a restaurant advertising gluten-free pasta and I thought, ‘oh, great, there are going to be lots of restaurants like this’. But easy it certainly wasn’t! In fact, I found it very hard to track down anything gluten-free – and then the problem was compounded by the fact that there seemed to be cheese in everything! We were served cheese (in various shapes and sizes) for breakfast and, as I looked for something to eat for lunch and for dinner, I was overwhelmed by the frequency of cheese – it seemed to be a main staple of the Roman’s diet. As Peter and Zoë munched through pizzas and sandwiches all full of the stuff (and ice creams), I hunted and hunted for something I could eat. I saw a couple of cakes in one shop – but in the end, I resorted to the fail-safe thing to do in Italy – go to the Farmacia. Fantastico! There I found a brilliant selection of very good gluten-free goodies – by Schär – especially a really good Foccaccia.

farmacia

gluten-free Rome

gluten-free cakes

We went out for dinner in the evenings. Both the restaurants we went to on the first and second night had no gluten-free options, so I had the usual safe option of chicken and roast potatoes, and then lamb and the same old roast potatoes. By the third night, I’d given up trying. We tried to find a restaurant that had been recommended to us, but it was closed. So we wandered around and ended up in a bar/restaurant called Mimi & Coco, just because it looked so inviting. We had some drinks, including the wonderful green apple juice that they serve in Italy and then they came to take our food orders. I started to order another potato-orientated dish and they mentioned that they had gluten-free pasta. YAY!! They brought a delicious Penne alla Amatriciana and I sat drinking organic wine and savouring every mouthful of the pasta – with delicious crispy bacon and a lovely, slightly fiery tomato sauce. Finally I found what I had been looking for! You’ll find Mimi & Coco near to Piazza Navona on Via del Governo Vecchio, 72 00186 Roma, Italia.

Mimi g-f pasta

Us in Mimi