recipes for healthy living

Tag: garlic

Med style stuffed mushrooms

If I’m ever making a mushroom dish, I think of one of my great friends from school. We were both food mad and used to eat my brought to school packed lunch early in the morning and then I would go to her house at lunchtime where we often made mushrooms cooked in butter served with toast. I’m sure her mother was sick of the sight of me arriving most days but it was an arrangement which worked well for us both and we are still good friends to this day. This recipe is slightly more sophisticated than our lunchtime invention but is still simple to prepare and full of delicious flavour. The spinach and garlic give a great helping of vitamins, minerals as well as the antibac, anti inflammatory and antifungal properties of the garlic. The Mushrooms are a good source of nutrients as well as being known to boost immunity – they are good for taking on flavour an in this case the dish comes together very nicely i think.

Med Style Stuffed Mushrooms
1 white onion chopped finely
3 cloves of garlic peeled chopped and mashed
3” piece of chorizo cut into small matchsticks
75gr spinach, washed, wilted on a pan drained and chopped
3oz breadcrumbs (I used gluten free)
4 large mushrooms brushed clean
Salt and Pepper

Oven at 180C

Heat tablespoon of oil in frying pan and brown the large mushroom caps on the bottom flip over for a minute and set aside on a flat baking dish.
Heat another tablespoon of oil in a pan and fry the onion for a few minutes until it softens.
Add the garlic and continue to cook on a low medium heat. You don’t want the onion to brown.
Add the chorizo and fry for a few minutes until it starts to give off its lovely flavoured oil.
Tip into a bowl, add the breadcrumbs, drained and chopped spinach, mix to combine and season really (really!) well.
Pack onto the mushrooms and place a small pat of butter onto each and into the oven for 15 minutes
They are delicious as is but if you would like a sauce, heat 2oz of cream in a pan with 1/2tsp of wholegrain mustard, stir well until it just comes to a gentle boil. Spoon over the mushrooms just before serving. Delicious!

The Best Prawns I have ever tasted…. EVER!

Garlic Prawns
These are garlic prawns with a twist… smothered in a creamy sweet roasted garlic and tarragon butter, they are party perfect with very little effort. … The garlic butter keeps in the fridge for a day or so if you don’t use it all in one go although I doubt you will have any left over. You need to buy raw prawns, I bought Castletownbere prawns which were marked as oven ready but were far form it so watch out and devein etc if necessary. This little dish provides zinc, iodine and protein and the garlic provides cholesterol lowering and other healing benefits , but for me, this simple recipe made the best prawns I have ever tasted.

Prawns with Sweet Roasted Garlic and Tarragon butter
Serves 3 as a starter
1 head of Garlic, unpeeled
50g butter
2 tablespoons of chopped tarragon
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
Sea salt and cracked black pepper
A dozen prawns butterflied with tail intact if possible

Preheat oven to 180C
Roast the whole head of garlic on a tray for 30 minutes until soft
Increase the temperature of the oven to 220C
Squeeze the lovely sweet garlic from each clove into a bowl and mash it until it is smooth.
Add the butter, tarragon, chilli, salt and pepper and mix to combine.
Tip prawns into the butter and gently mix to get the butter on all the prawns.
Tip them onto on a baking tray and cook for 8 minutes or until cooked through.
Halfway through cooking it is a good idea to gently spoon over the melted butter on the prawns while they cook.
Serve with a few wedges of lemon to squeeze over and enjoy.

Garlic Roasted Prawns

Salad dressing


Salads are amazing as a meal in themselves or accompanying another dish. Done well – divine but I have so often been put off by a soggy dish of brown leaves with an overpowering vinegary salad dressing.

The ‘get right’ salad basics include choosing the crispest of greens and freshest of herbs and when bought get them home as soon as possible so that flavours wont drift away in the boot of your car. Wash if necessary and add some ice to the washing water if they have wilted a bit. Treat your leaves with love and dry flat in a tea towel or spinner.

Mild leaves include butterhead, lollo rosso, spinach, gem, lambs lettuce. Pepper can be found in rocket, mizuna, watercress. Bitterness from some radicchio and don’t forget about the less well known leaves and cabbages such as Savoy, Chinese Leaves and even Kale.

Oils and Vinegars
The simplest plate of leaves becomes a taste sensation with the right oil and vinegar. The shops are full of choices and I would advise buying a selection of them and tasting and experimenting until you have found the ones you love. Try and look for brands advertising proper aging and showing good colour as a cheap brand is exactly that and will generally sabotage all your work in getting your lovely leaves ready.  I use extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) for all my dressings and when a vegetable oil is called for I use a first press rapeseed or sunflower (especially for mayonnaises as 100% olive oil would be too strong). If I’m making mayonnaise I often infuse some of my EVOO with rosemary, thyme or even some chorizo oil. Nut oils are great for adding interest to dressings and combined with some of the vinegar suggested below.  Hazlenut is wonderful with a bit of orange zest, As with other oils it is best to store them in a cool dark place.

Balsamic vinegar is one of my favourite – intense, sweet and sour, very aromatic. Sherry Vinegar from Spain comes a close second and is also amazing in making a delicious jus or Madeira sauce. Red and White wine vinegars are also great and I use them loads when making savoury jams such red onion marmalade or fennel jam.

Anyway on to a recipe or two – try them and let me know what you think.

Pomegranate Dressing

This dressing is delicious, lemony sherbert, sweet, sour and great on north African salads or a mediterranean salad with a cheese in it such as mozzarella or feta.

4-5 Tbsp pomegranate molasses
Juice of half a lemon
1 garlic clove chopped and crushed to a pulp
4-5 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp sugar
Good pinch of ground cumin.

Salt and pepper – freshly pounded Maldon and ground black pepper – to taste. I like a good few twists of pepper and about 1/2 tsp of salt.

Put all these ingredients into a small deep bowl and using a fork or small whisk ensure all the ingredients are combined. To dress the leaves I like to add them into a big bowl and sprinkle the dressing over and toss them the leaves with my hand to ensure all they are glistening with the dressing.

Classic Vinaigrette

The classic vinaigrette is twice the oil to vinegar, chopped crushed garlic, Dijon mustard and seasoning including a pinch of sugar if needed. However there are loads of options, change the mustard type, add some fresh chopped herbs, perhaps some orange juice and drizzle of hazelnut oil … lots of options for variation.


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