Tag Archives: spring onions

Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Pad Thai

Pad Thai

One of the most well-known Thai dishes, Pad Thai is a wonderful street food meal. It’s incredibly simple to make and can be whizzed up in minutes. But it’s easy to get it wrong. Too much sugar, too little lime juice, or lacklustre prawns are a commonplace failing. Here I’ve added just a small amount of sweetness, along with a good amount of spiciness and saltiness. And I’ve used spring onions and beansprouts but then also added sprouted seeds, including mung beans, chickpea sprouts and lentil sprouts – for added munchiness and a good dollop of nutrients. Fast food doesn’t need to be junk food – and this dish proves it in one fell scoop.

Serves 4     Preparation time 5 minutes     Cooking time 8 minutes

Ingredients:

500g/1lb 2oz rice noodles
1 red chilli, deseeded and roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves
3cm/1¼in piece of root ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tsp shrimp paste
3 tbsp olive oil
8 spring onions, white part only, finely sliced
4 tbsp fish sauce
1½ tbsp fruit sugar or caster sugar
200g/7oz/2 cups beansprouts
200g/7oz sprouted seeds, such as mung bean, chickpea and lentil
400g/14oz cooked large prawns
2 eggs, beaten
juice 2 limes
banana leaves, to serve (optional)
100g/3½oz/⅔ cup peanuts, to serve
2 large handfuls of coriander leaves, chopped, to serve
tamari soy sauce, to serve

1. Put the noodles in a large heatproof bowl, cover with boiling water and leave to stand for 5 minutes or until soft. Drain well.
2. Meanwhile, put the chilli, garlic, ginger and shrimp paste in a mini food processor or spice mill and blend until finely chopped.
3. Heat the oil in a large wok over a medium-high heat until hot. Add the chilli mixture and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the spring onions and stir-fry for a further minute until they soften. Pour the fish sauce in and sprinkle the sugar over. Add the beansprouts, sprouted seeds and prawns and stir-fry for 2–3 minutes until cooked through but the vegetables are still slightly crunchy.
4. Push the ingredients to one side of the pan, add the egg to the other side and stir-fry the egg until cooked. Mix the egg into the other ingredients and add the cooked noodles and stir thoroughly to mix everything in. Add the lime juice and stir through. Serve immediately (on banana leaves if you like) with the peanuts and coriander scattered over, and with tamari sauce on the side.

Gluten-free & Dairy-Free Chia Seed Super Salad

Chia seed salad

The sun is streaming into the kitchen and it feels great to be making hot-weather food. Step forward salads – with zingy, fresh ingredients and clean, clear tastes. Making food in this heat becomes as simple as putting some ingredients in a bowl. And when it’s this simple, it’s supereasy to make healthy, nutrient-packed meals.

This salad is full of antioxidant-rich veggies. But the stars of the bowl are the chia seeds. They are literally bursting with vitamins, minerals and the highest amount of omega-3 in any fruit or vegetable. You can use chia seeds to thicken stews, soups, juices and smoothies, to bind flour mixtures together as a substitute for eggs when baking, but also very simply to sprinkle into stir-frys and salads. Ahhh, sunshine and superfoods – a wonderful combination!

gluten-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, egg-free, nut-free

Serves 4     Preparation time 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 150g/5½oz mixed salad leaves
  • ½ cucumber, peeled and halved lengthways
  • 2 carrots, cut into thin matchsticks
  • ½ red, orange or yellow pepper, deseeded and sliced into thin matchsticks
  • 2 spring onions, white part finely sliced
  • 1 small handful of mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 handful of coriander leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds

Dressing:

  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp tamari soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  1. To make the dressing, mix together the ingredients in a small jug.
  2. Using a teaspoon, deseed the cucumber by running the spoon down the centre of the cucumber. Discard the seeds and cut the cucumber into thin matchsticks. Put the cucumber and the remaining vegetables into a serving bowl and mix thoroughly. Add the dressing and the herbs and mix in gently. Sprinkle the seeds over the top and serve.

Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Roasted Aubergine with Amaranth & Harissa

Stuffed aubergine

I’ve had a bag of amaranth sitting in my kitchen cupboard for a while now, so I thought it was time to use it. Like quinoa, amaranth is a true superfood, but unlike quinoa, it hasn’t started to become mainstream – people generally haven’t heard of it and don’t know how to use it. Amaranth dates back about 8,000 years and was a staple part of the diet for the Aztecs in Mexico. Although it’s a grain, it’s a fantastic source of non-meat, complete protein (it is about 15% protein), along with complex carbs and fibre. Packed with nutrients, too, especially calcium and iron, as well as vitamins A, B6, C, folate and riboflavin, and phytochemicals that are great for boosting the immune system and reducing blood pressure and high cholesterol.

You can cook amaranth exactly like quinoa (simmer in boiling water or stock until tender and the water has been absorbed, or toast the grains and then simmer). And, just like quinoa, it’s incredibly easy to incorporate into your diet – use it instead of couscous or rice and add fruit, nuts, herbs or spices to flavour it. Here I’ve used it to make the stuffing for the aubergines – and I’ve made a dish with layers of flavours. You can take it back by leaving out the fruity bit (the sultanas) and/or the cheesy bit, leaving just the harissa, lemon and herbs, or you can add the whole caboodle. Either way, it’s delicious!

gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, seed-free

Serves 4     Preparation time 15 minutes     Cooking time 50 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 aubergines, halved lengthways
  • 2 tbsp harissa paste
  • 300g/10½oz/1½ cups amaranth
  • 100g/3½oz/heaped ¾ cup sultanas (optional)
  • 600ml/21fl oz/scant 2½ cups gluten-free and dairy-free vegetable stock
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 handfuls finely chopped mint leaves
  • 2 large handfuls finely chopped coriander leaves
  • 8 spring onions, white part finely sliced
  • 200g/7oz dairy-free cheese, crumbled or grated (optional)
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • salad, to serve
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Using a sharp knife, score the flesh of the aubergines with a diagonal crisscross pattern, making sure not to pierce the skin. Put the aubergine halves on baking trays and spread the harissa paste evenly over. Bake for 40 minutes until tender.
  2. Meanwhile, put the amaranth in a fine sieve and rinse well under cold running water. Transfer to a saucepan, add the sultanas, if using, and pour over the stock. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down, cover with a lid and leave to simmer for 15–20 minutes until the amaranth is tender and the water has been absorbed.
  3. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and add the lemon juice, herbs, spring onions, and add the dairy-free cheese, if using. Mix together thoroughly and season lightly with salt and pepper.
  4. When the aubergines have cooked, remove from the oven and carefully scoop most of the flesh out of the aubergines, leaving a layer of flesh next to the skins. Mash the flesh, then add to the amaranth mixture, and mix in thoroughly. Spoon the mixture into the aubergine cases and bake for a further 10 minutes. Serve hot with salad, if you like.

Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Asian-Style Poached Chicken & Pak Choi – in a Slow Cooker

Bev's Slow Cooker chicken

Recently I worked with Beverly le Blanc on her brilliant new book, I Love My Slow Cooker, which was published last month. She very kindly gave me one of the slow cookers she’d bought to do all the testing and didn’t need any longer (many thanks, Bev!!) so I’ve been having a lovely time trying out lots of the recipes from her book. My mother didn’t have a slow cooker, and I’d never tried one before, so it was all new to me. But oh wow, are slow cookers great!

The back of I Love My Slow Cooker says “Discover how your slow cooker can transform your life in the kitchen from a frantic, stressful time into a wonderfully calm one”. Sounds like a big claim, doesn’t it? Well I wrote that so now I need to back up my words! Trust me, though, it’s true! I work full-time and my husband stays at home (doing cartoons for The Guardian), so he collects Zoё from school and makes her evening meal for her. For me, one of the fantastic things about the slow cooker is that I can quickly put a recipe together in the cooker before I leave the house in the morning, and by dinner time it can be ready and waiting for Peter to dish up for her. It’s easy to make stews and casseroles that are healthy and full of delicious flavours, that warm Zoё up in this cold weather and give her a lovely comforting meal. The slow cooker can then keep the meal warm until I get home from work and Peter and I tuck in. Great. Truly great. But then you’ve probably heard that sort of story from lots of people…

What you probably haven’t heard is how slow cookers are wonderful for making a whole variety of dishes. Yes, of course, soups, stews and sauces. They’re great, too, for cheap cuts of meat (which you can cook for numerous hours until meltingly tender) and dried beans (which you can leave to bubble away without worrying about them going mushy). But they’re also brilliant for cooking fish. Whether you’re cooking a fish stew fairly quickly, or cooking something like squid on a low heat over several hours, you’ll find that the fish cooks perfectly and doesn’t overcook. And what’s more, the slow, gentle, steam cooking can create superb puddings, too. No need to mess about doing a bain-marie method – you can just put it in a slow cooker.

I have some firm favourites already from this book. And one of them is this Asian-Style Poached Chicken & Pak Choi. I’ve adapted the recipe slightly so that it’s completely gluten-free and dairy-free. But basically, you put a whole chicken in the slow cooker, add the Asian-style ingredients, and 4 hours later it’s bubbling away, ready to be served. I serve it with coconut rice because Zoё loves that (I do equal parts coconut milk and water and a few coriander leaves in at the end) and often add more veggies to the pot. It’s a lovely family meal but it also gets lots of oohs and aahs when people come round.

gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, seed-free, citrus-free

Serves 4–6     Preparation time 10 minutes     Cooking time 4 hours

Ingredients:

  • a few coriander sprigs, with crushed stalks, plus extra leaves to serve
  • 2 onions, 1 halved and 1 sliced
  • 1 oven-ready chicken, about 1.5kg/3lb 5oz, any fat in the cavity removed
  • 600ml/21fl oz/scant 2½ cups gluten-free and dairy-free chicken stock, boiling, plus extra if needed
  • 125ml/4fl oz/½ cup tamari soy sauce, plus extra to taste
  • 4 tbsp rice wine
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2.5cm/1in piece of galangal or ginger, sliced
  • 1 dried red Thai chilli, deseeded if you like
  • 2 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 pak choi, quartered
  • ground Szechuan pepper or freshly ground black pepper
  • cooked long-grain rice, to serve
  1. Put an upturned heatproof saucer in the slow cooker. (Check that the chicken will be able to sit on top of the saucer with the cooker lid in place.) Preheat the covered cooker on HIGH.
  2. Put the coriander and halved onion in the chicken’s cavity and season with pepper. Secure the opening with wooden cocktail sticks. Put the chicken in the cooker, breast-side down, then pour over the stock, tamari  and rice wine. Add extra stock to fill the container, if necessary, leaving a 2.5cm/1in gap at the top of the pot. The chicken will not be completely covered with liquid. Push the sliced onion, garlic, galangal and chilli into the liquid.
  3. Cover the cooker with the lid. Cook on HIGH for 3¾ hours until the juices from the chicken run clear when the thickest part of the meat is pierced with the tip of a sharp knife or skewer. Remove the chicken from the cooker, wrap in foil and leave to rest for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, put the spring onions and pak choi in the cooker, re-cover and cook for a further 20 minutes until the pak choi is tender. Remove the pak choi from the cooker, and wrap in the foil with the chicken.
  4. Pour the cooking liquid into a saucepan and bring to the boil, then boil vigorously for at least 3 minutes until reduced. Add a little more tamari and pepper, if you like. Remove the skin from the chicken and carve. Strain the cooking liquid, discarding the solids. Sprinkle the chicken with coriander and serve with the cooking liquid, pak choi and rice.

Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Pak Choi-Wrapped Fish

Spring onions turned up in my veg box this week and it made me think of lighter, Asian-style food. I’ve been meaning to try this idea out for a while, but it’s felt too wintery recently. But as the blossom is now in full bloom on the trees and the weather has turned warmer, I thought it would be good to try this.

Spring onions are often combined with ginger and sesame oil, and these marry wonderfully well with the subtle tastes of pak choi and white fish. I’ve used pollack because the sauce makes the fish taste delicious, and I’ve added lots of the sea vegetable, arame, to maximise the healthy aspect of this dish. Arame, like all sea veg, contains high levels of iodine, which, as well as boosting your immune system, it helps to keep your metabolism working at an optimum level.

I bought some Chinese rice wine for this dish – and it was a revelation! I’m not sure what I was expecting but, to me, it tastes rather like sherry. The recipe uses 5 tablespoons of the wine and the bottle says that the wine will only keep for a week. So there was no choice, really – we had to drink the rest. (Yep, the detox is over!) I had bought Doragon Sake – and we drank it warm as the bottle suggested, slowly over the course of a couple of days. It’s opened my eyes to a whole new world of wine!

Preparation time 10 minutes     Cooking time 10 minutes     Serves 4

gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, citrus-free

Ingredients:

  • 2 pak choi
  • 6 spring onions, cut into strips
  • 1cm/½in piece root ginger, peeled and cut into strips
  • 4 skinless white fish fillets, such as pollack
  • ½ tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 5 tbsp Chinese rice wine
  • 3 tbsp tamari
  • 150ml/5fl oz/scant ⅔ cup miso soup
  • 1 handful of arame
  • steamed rice or cooked rice noodles, to serve
  1. Remove the 2 outer leaves from each pak choi and immerse in a bowl of boiled water for about 1 minute until the leaves have softened. Refresh under cold running water and leave to one side. Cut the remaining pak choi into quarters.
  2. Arrange the spring onion strips and ginger on the top of the fish and wrap the softened pak choi leaves around the fish, tucking each end under the fish.
  3. Heat the sesame and olive oils in a large wok over a medium heat until hot. Pour in the rice wine, tamari and miso soup and add the arame, making sure the arame is immersed in the liquid. Bring to the boil, then place the fish on the top and cover with a lid. (If your wok is too small for all the fish, cook in batches.) Cook for 5 minutes, then add the remaining pak choi quarters and cook, covered, for a further 3–5 minutes until the fish is cooked through. Serve immediately with steamed rice or rice noodles.