Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Thai Style Pork Burgers with Avocado Cream

So once again, I've been a bad blogger, having not posted anything in 2 weeks. Where did the time go?! I have no idea. And I resolve to do better. I made these last night for some buddies and they went down well so I thought I'd stick them up here.

Pork mince isn't something I've cooked with very much in the past. I think I always assumed it to be a bit bland and uninspiring but these spicy little burgers are neither of those things.

I am all about convenience and, though I always buy free range chicken I don't always look for a higher welfare standard in terms of pork and other meat. If it's there, I will buy it but I'm not sure where apart from Marks and Spencer carries such a range?Eating non- welfare standard meat does play on my mind to some degree......but I guess not enough to make me stop buying it for the moment. In any case, this was just standard mince from Lidl and very nice it was too.

We ate these in iceberg lettuce leaf 'wraps' with some carrot and pepper salad, for a tasty,  quick weeknight dinner.



500g pork mince
2tbs chopped coriander
2tbs chopped parsley
2tbs thai red curry paste
3-4 spring onions, chopped
dash soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp black pepper
1tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chilli flakes
1tsp onion powder
150g mushrooms chopped
1tbs olive oil

Avocado cream

2 large ripe avocados
pinch salt
juice of 1 juicy lime

To make:

Fry the mushrooms in the oil until browned and any excess liquid is rendered out. Allow to cool.

Mix all other ingredients together until well combined using a fork if you're squeamish like me or your hands if not for a better mix. Mix in the cooled mushroom mixture.

Form into small patties(I used about 1tbs of mixture for each), flash fry in a pan to brown and cook through in a preheated oven.

To make the avocado cream, whizz the three ingredients in a blender just before serving (or it will go manky and brown).


Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Amazing Avocado Banana Chocolate Pudding

The word 'superfood ' seems a bit overused these days but I really think that avocados are worthy of that title. They're so tasty and versatile and you just know all that vitamin and mineral-rich oiliness is doing your body a world of good. I usually just eat them as they are with lime and salt or make them into guacamole and have it with fish but I am only beginning to discover the starring role that they can also play in sweet treats.


Avocados can also be a great source of frustration. It seems that one minute they are as hard as a bullet and hours later bruised black and inedible. But when you get lucky and cut into a perfectly ripe one like this it really is a beautiful thing. I think that chart below sums up the problem pretty well.

                                  Image result for avocado ripeness chart

I used to crave and eat something processed,fatty and sugary pretty much every day before I decided to overhaul my diet. Most of it was unsatisfying, leading me to crave more rubbish and overeat. So I haven't been eating many sweets in recent months. And I really haven't missed them much at all. But on one particularly grey evening recently, I realised that only something creamy and sweet and chocolatey would do so I decided to have a play with my blender and to make an avocado based chocolate pudding .


Having come across various healthy chocolate desserts online, I knew that many of them were based on blended avocados possibly with the addition of ripe bananas. I had both so I blended them up and added cocoa, cinnamon and a little bit of salt. I had also been prepared to add some sweetener but found that it actually didn't need it at all. However, this may be down to my heightened sweet tooth after eating so few processed sweets as my friend I fed it to enjoyed it but didn't find it to be particularly sweet.  A word of warning however and that is that the stage of ripeness of your banana and avocado can be game changers here. If either are under-ripe, this could quickly become a bland, lumpy mess. With cocoa powder. (Yum.)

But when these are right this really is surprisingly indulgent, creamy and chocolatey whilst also being incredibly nutritious. It also has plenty of scope for adaptation - I think that peanut butter would be great, and I also fancy trying out a coffee version.



1 ripe avocado
2 medium ripe bananas(skin lightly spotted)
2 heaped tbs cocoa powder (add gradually, you may need or more or less to taste)
2 tsp cinnamon
large pinch salt


Add avocado and bananas to blender and blend until smooth. Add the cocoa powder, cinnamon and salt gradually, tasting as you go. You may find it needs a little honey or maple syrup but so far I have been lucky with the sweetness of my bananas.

Eat immediately or, if you can wait, chill in the fridge for a couple of hours and it will be even nicer.

Serve with some roasted hazelnuts and raspberries for a really yummy guilt-free treat.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Cauliflower Crust Pizza - Round One

It is said that if something seems too good to be true then in all likelihood it probably is. There are many examples of this - San Tropez in-shower tan, a very famous and handsome American actor contacting you via a dating website, - I could go on. Based solely on my results to date, I should add cauliflower crust pizza to that list. But I'm not ready to just yet.

If you have an interest in food, you will no doubt be aware that the internet is currently abuzz with all things cauliflower which has been hailed as the new super healthy, low carb substitute for a whole host of dishes. People are using it as replacement 'rice' (which I tried with good success), chopped up and roasted with parmesan into a (questionable) bite sized popcorn alternative (which I haven't tried)  and, most thrillingly of all, as the main ingredient in a healthy, flourless pizza base.


I had been so excited to try this having seen some of the amazing results and reviews posted online. Pizza was my favourite food I (over) ate in my fat days so I wanted so badly to believe it was possible to eat it freely without an accompanying side of the dough-induced lethargy I am now glad to be without. After much research I chose this recipe which had received loads of amazing feedback.

To be fair it started (and ended) pretty badly as I think my cauliflower was gone off . As soon as I milled it up in the food processor it stank the apartment out to the point where I was embarrassed at the thought of passers by smelling it through the open window (and I live on the first floor). However, because I'm not a very regular cauliflower eater I foolishly overlooked this. It's only since I made some (nice) cauliflower 'rice' at the weekend with a non stinky one that I really realised it was probably off (ew).


These cauliflower crust recipes involve steaming or microwaving your ground up cauliflower for a few minutes and then (when cooled) squeezing it through a tea- towel until absolutely no moisture remains. This is, in effect, your 'flour' to which is added mozzarella cheese (I had none so subbed cheddar), parmesan (had none of that either so added more cheddar......), an egg and a few other bits. On reflection, having reread that last line, perhaps there were more factors affecting the outcome of this recipe than the dodgy cauliflower alone.


The above photo was taken after the base had cooked for 10 minutes in the oven (you have to do this before you add the toppings). At this point, it looked great and my flatmate and I were very excited at the thought of enjoying this amazing healthy pizza but it didn't quite work out like that.

I'm sorry I don't have photos but, you'll have to take my word for it that, despite my best efforts to squeeze all the water out of the cooked cauliflower,  it definitely didn't hold up as a slice in your hand(as promised). In fact, it was pretty soggy. And it definitely didn't taste very nice either, a bit 'earthy' for want of a better word. Still, we got to eat some melted cheese so all was not lost.

However, I definitely believe that if I make it again with a fresh, non-stinky cauliflower, somehow manage to squeeze even more water out of it,  and use the correct cheeses instead of lobbing in whatever I have to hand, it will be a thing of beauty. I believe it because I've imagined it now and it has to be.