Zucchetti Puttanesca

When you feel like pasta but don’t want the calories…

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The food scene today is all about healthy eating, losing weight and looking good. Fad diets such as Paleo, Ducan, GM, etc…etc…seem to guarantee weight loss by becoming a part of our everyday lifestyle. Despite these claims few of us are able to see these diets through to the end. The burning question is why do so many diets fail?

I am no expert on diets or the causes for their failure. My theory is simple and twofold: If you feel like it you should eat it – but in moderation! If you know its bad for you – find a healthy substitute!

Its amazing what a world of difference staying away from processed foods and eating in moderation can make to your life. Today’s recipe is all about fresh healthy ingredients, it steers clear from any processed food and you can eat it to your heart’s content. Its Zucchetti!! Yep you heard that right, its like spaghetti but made from zucchini.

The sauce is a fiery and full of flavour Puttanesca! This is the perfect choice of sauce for the Indian palate, which loves hot, sour, sweet and spicy flavours. The sauce is flavoured with rosemary and accented with capers and olives. Perfect with a chilled, crisp Pinot Grigio on a hot summers day and just by itself on a bed of Zucchetti on a cold winters night!

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Ingredients: 14      Cooking time: 15 minutes

Serves: 4

  • Four to five zucchini
  • One onion, finely sliced
  • Five to six garlic pods, chopped
  • Five to six red chillies, chopped
  • One can of crushed tomatoes 
  • 10 to 12 pitted kalamata olives, chopped
  • Two teaspoons of capers
  • One teaspoon of dried rosemary leaves
  • 1.5 teaspoon cracked pepper
  • One teaspoon sugar
  • Salt to season
  • Three tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • Two tablespoons of goats cheese, crumbled  (optional)
  • Handful of fresh baby rocket (optional)

To make Zucchetti – wash the zucchini and cut the ends. Using a serrated peeler, peel the zucchini lengthwise. If you have any fancy gadgets that help you achieve the same result, please use them. When using the peeler, you may not be able to peel all of the zucchini. Don’t stress, simply chop the leftover zucchini as I did and use it in the sauce. This gives the dish another textural twist and of course no wastage!

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To make the Puttanesca – Heat three tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a pan. Add sliced onions and cook until translucent. Now add chilli and garlic, cook for two minutes.

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Once the onion mix is cooked, add capers, olives and leftover chopped zucchini. Give all the ingredients a good stir so the spicy garlicky flavour coats them all. Cook for five minutes on a medium heat.

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Now add crushed tomatoes, followed by rosemary leaves and cracked pepper. Season the sauce with salt and a teaspoon of sugar (the sugar balances the acidity in the tomatoes). Cover the pan with a lid and let the sauce simmer on a medium heat for seven to ten minutes.

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Add Zuccheti and using a pair of tongs gently toss it in the sauce. Cook for two to three minutes until slightly soft.

Zuccheti Puttanesca is ready to serve! Garnish with crumbled goats cheese and baby rocket. Enjoy this lip smackingly delicious dish guilt free!!!

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Spicy Vegetable Noodle Soup

Winter is coming…bring out your stock pots…

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My favourite season is here, yes you heard that right – I love winter! I mean let’s be honest what’s not to love – you can eat what you want, sit in front of the fire snuggled up in your favourite blanket all day (yes on a cold winter day it is totally ok!) and winter fashion, seriously how can you not fall in love with those beautifully tailored woolen pants or that perfect trench coat?

Another thing that is great about winter – it’s the perfect season to enjoy delicious soups. Creamy soups, chunky soups, dumpling soups or noodle soups, the variety is truly endless!  This season I will be posting a lot of soups for you to try, but for starters here’s a spicy noodle soup recipe. To be honest this noodle soup is so delicious, it can be enjoyed all year round.

Don’t let the list of ingredients bring you down, most of these are pantry staples and as for the others you will be using them a lot if you intend on cooking some of my lip smackingly delicious recipes.

So without further ado here’s presenting my…Spicy Vegetable Noodle Soup

Ingredients:  19    Cooking time: 1 hr 15 mins

Serves: 2

For the broth

  • One large brown onion, coarsely chopped
  • Four celery sticks, coarsely chopped
  • Five pods of smashed garlic
  • Two inch piece of smashed ginger
  • Five to six pieces of sliced shiitake mushrooms
  • Two kaffir lime leaves
  • Half a lime, deseeded
  • Three to four red chillies chopped
  • Coriander root, coarsely chopped
  • Two tablespoons of soy sauce
  • Two tablespoons of chinese rice wine
  •  Two tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • Salt to season
  • Five cups of water

Noodles

  • You can use flat rice noodles, Singapore noodles or udon noodles (I used udon noodles)

Toppings

  • Bunch of Asian greens
  • One cup of carrots, sliced
  • One cup tofu, cubed
  • One cup of broccolini, florets and stems sliced

We will start by making the broth, which is the centrepiece of a good noodle soup

To make the broth – heat two tablespoons of vegetable oil, add the coarsely chopped onion, smashed ginger and garlic, cook until the onion is translucent and you can smell those beautiful aromas.

Now add the chopped coriander root, celery, red chillies, shiitake mushrooms and give all the ingredients a good stir.

Add water, followed by soy sauce, chinese rice wine, sliced lime and kaffir lime leaves. Bring the broth to a boil on a medium heat and the cover the pan with a lid, letting the stock simmer for one hour on a low heat.

Strain the broth and keep hot until ready to serve.

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While the broth is simmering, cook the noodles as per packet instructions and keep warm until ready to serve.

For the toppings, lightly blanch the greens and carrots. In a wok add a tablespoon of vegetable oil and quickly stir fry the vegetables and tofu with some finely chopped ginger and a tablespoon of vegetable oil (Please note: stir frying the toppings is optional).

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To serve – divide noodles between two bowls, arrange toppings over noodles and finally ladle about 2 cups of broth into each bowl. Garnish with extra chopped red chillies for that extra fiery zing! Enjoy!

Egg Curry

What an EGGCELLENT idea…

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Midweek dinners can be quite daunting, especially when you have had a manic day at work. On such days all I want is a big bowl of comfort food, which is easy to make and finger licking good. This egg curry recipe is all that and more!

There a few variations of this curry, my recipe has a Punjabi influence. Its spicy, its tangy, its velvety smooth and lip smackingly delicious. This curry can be enjoyed with chapattis or naan or on bed of steamed basmati rice. Don’t get overwhelmed by the list of ingredients, most of these spices are staples that you should have in your kitchen if you love Indian food.

I assure you this will become your go to curry, especially during the week when the cooking motivation is next to none.

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Ingredients: 16   Cooking time: 15 minutes

Serves: 4

  • Six boiled and peeled free range eggs
  • One sliced onion
  • One can of tinned tomatoes
  • Three to four pods of smashed garlic
  • One thumb sized piece of ginger
  • Two chopped green chillies
  • Four cloves
  • One cinnamon stick
  • 3/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • One teaspoon dried mango powder
  • One teaspoon garam masala
  • One teaspoon coriander powder
  • One teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1.5 teaspoons sugar
  • One tablespoon ghee
  • Salt to taste

Heat ghee in a pan, add cumin seeds and wait for them to splutter. Now add the sliced onion, cook for three to four minutes. Then add cloves, cinnamon stick, smashed garlic, grated ginger and chopped green chillies (I used two, you can use more if you like your curry really spicy). Cook the mix for another two to three minutes.

Add tomato paste followed by all other spices, salt and sugar. Give it all a good stir and let the tomatoes cook on a medium heat for five to seven minutes. Then add 1.5 cups of water, cover the pan and let the curry simmer for another five minutes. Take the pan off the heat and with a stick blender blend the curry into a smooth, velvety gravy.

Transfer the curry to a serving dish, cut the eggs in half and add them to the curry, garnish with fresh coriander. I served this lip smackingly delicious egg curry on a bed of basmati rice with a side of cucumber raita and devoured it in a matter of minutes.

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