Here’s our next recipe from expert cook and food writer Claire Davies, aka The Greedy Wordsmith.
To discover more about Claire, her workshops, and her food and copy writing services hop on over to www.greedywordsmith.com
Almonds are a common ingredient in medieval cookery. With three days a week
classed as fast days, cooks needed a regular replacement for milk and cream. This
is one recipe where I am thankful for the use of a blender; the traditional process
was of course a longer and more physically demanding task.
All of the spices in this recipe were available to cooks in the medieval era. Within medicinal recipes we can find reference to ginger as an anti-emetic, useful for stomach and gout pains.
Of course many spices were only accessible to the very rich so they were also an excellent way of showing off ones wealth.
Cocoa didn’t arrive in England until the late 1600’s but the addition of raw cacao nibs offers a subtle, malty flavour and a beneficial hit of useful antioxidants. Please note – pure cacao is quite high in caffeine so feel free to leave them out if you are a
sensitive to the effects.
150g whole almonds
50g raw cacao nibs
400 ml of filtered water
1 tbsp of ground ginger
½ tsp of ground cinnamon
A pinch of ground mace
A pinch of ground clove (optional)
A pinch of salt
Cold pressed honey or agave syrup to taste
Place the almonds in a bowl and cover with cold water. Leave to soak for at least six
hours. When you are ready to go, strain the almonds and rinse well.
Place the soaked almonds in your blender along with the cacao nibs and filtered
water. You may need to do this in two batches depending on the size of your
Line your sieve with a piece of muslin. Sit this over a saucepan before straining the
almond milk through the muslin. Press the nut pulp to remove as much of the liquid
as possible before setting it to one side.
Bring the almond milk to the boil before reducing to a gentle simmer. At this point
add the spices, salt, 2 tbsps of your chosen sweetener and a tablespoonful of the
leftover almond pulp. Simmer for a couple of minutes, stirring regularly.
Strain one last time and check for sweetness before serving. Keep any remaining
almond milk in the fridge for a day or two.
Here we have the second in this series of recipes from expert cook and food writer Claire Davies, aka The Greedy Wordsmith.
To discover more about Claire, her workshops, and her food and copy writing services hop on over to www.greedywordsmith.com
As is often the case with modern favourites, the roots of Paella lie with farmers and workhands of the past. The name refers to the pan itself but has come to be known as a dish of rice flavoured with tomatoes, saffron and paprika. The addition of seafood, chicken or meat changes with each region of Spain so feel free to
experiment in your own kitchen. I also love mine topped with squid or mussels.
Soaking the saffron ahead of time allows for the true flavour of this luxurious spice to really shine. The resulting liquor always fills me with excitement and gives a beautiful ochre colour to the final dish. The stamens of the saffron crocus have a long culinary history due to the belief that they could imbue miraculous healing properties. In medieval England traders could be put to death if they were found doctoring their produce. Today the stamens are still picked carefully by hand and – weight for weight – demand a price more expensive than gold.
Pinch of good quality saffron
2 fillets of salmon (around 200g)
1 lemon, cut into quarters.
A large onion
1 medium carrot
2 cloves of garlic
200g of paella rice
1tsp of sweet paprika
½ tsp of smoked paprika
1 tbsp. of gluten-free vegetable bouillon powder
300ml of hot water
Half a can of chopped tomatoes
2 – 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
8 – 10 green Spanish olives
A handful of frozen peas
A handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
You will need a large, deep frying pan for this dish.
Place the saffron in a bowl and cover with around 20ml of warm water. Leave to
infuse for at least 4 hours. Squeeze a quarter of the lemon over each salmon fillet and wrap loosely in greaseproof paper. Set aside.
Peel and finely dice the onion and carrot. Peel and slice the garlic cloves. Fry these
gently with a little coconut oil or ghee until the vegetables are soft and translucent.
Add the paella rice and stir well.
Make a flavoured stock by combining the paprika, vegetable bouillon and hot water.
Pour this into your pan along with the chopped tomatoes and saffron liquor. Mix well before tucking the fresh thyme sprigs under the rice. Bring to the boil then reduce and simmer for fifteen minutes. If the rice appears dry pour over another 100ml of hot water. Add the peas and arrange the olives on the top of the rice. Cover with a lid or foil and cook for a further ten minutes. You are seeking sticky textured rice.
Towards the end place your salmon parcels in the microwave and cook for just a
couple of minutes. The salmon should still be slightly pink in the middle but not raw.
Leave to rest.
Taste your paella and season with salt and pepper accordingly. Stir through the chopped parsley before spooning a portion of the paella into a bowl, topped with one of the salmon fillets and a quarter of the lemon for squeezing.
Expert cook and food writer Claire Davies, aka The Greedy Wordsmith, has been writing a few recipes to share with you all. Claire is a whizz when it comes to food history and spends her time running cookery workshops (if you’ve ever wanted to learn how to make proper bread, go see Claire!) and writing blogs and copy for a wide range of food businesses.
Over to Claire…
Humanity has a long history with dried peas. For the Anglo Saxons, peas and beans acted as the main protein source between the rare occasions that meat was available. They still act as a vital food stuff on the Indian sub-continent where a large percentage of the population honour a vegetarian diet as part of their religious tenet.
The high levels of protein, dietary fibre and complex carbohydrates work hard to help you feel full for longer and ward off any snacking tendencies later in the day. Nutritional analysis also shows split peas to be a great source of thiamine (B1) and many of the minerals required for a healthy life.
This split pea dahl recipe makes a great lunch option with rice or flatbreads. It is a beautiful example of how we can create delicious meals with a few simple ingredients and only a little time.
Serves 3 (main) or 6 (side)
300g yellow split peas
A bay leaf
2 brown onions
2-3 cloves of garlic
Inch long piece of fresh root ginger
1 green chilli
1 ½ tbsp. of cumin seeds
1 tsp of turmeric
1 tsp of garam masala
Organic ghee (dairy-free or vegan? Opt for cold pressed rapeseed oil)
Salt and pepper to taste
Before making the dahl – place the split peas in a bowl and cover with water. Soak overnight or at least four hours.
Drain and rinse the peas. Place them and the bay leaf in a pan with one litre of cold water. Bring to the boil, reduce and simmer gently for around 35 minutes or until the peas are cooked through and can be squashed with a wooden spoon.
Prepare the remaining ingredients. Peel and finely slice the onions, garlic and fresh ginger. Dice the green chilli.
With a little ghee / rapeseed oil – fry the onion and cumin seeds before adding the garlic and ginger. Fry for a further five minutes or until golden brown.
Take a wooden spoon or potato masher and break down the split peas. Add a little hot water until it reaches the desired consistency. Return your dahl back to a gentle heat and stir in the turmeric, garam masala and onion mixture. Taste. Season with salt and pepper if required and drizzle over a little cold pressed rapeseed before serving.
egg & dairy free
This is a time-honoured recipe I learned from working at Tullivers in York. The ingredients of the menopause cake provide slow-releasing sugars, energy boosting B-vitamins and minerals, and natural phytoestrogens – plant compounds that have a balancing effect on female hormones. Enjoy a slice a day!
Ingredients (makes 2 loaves)
200g wholemeal flour (gluten-free plain flour or buckwheat flour could be substituted for a gluten-free alternative)
100g porridge oats
100g golden flaxseeds
50g sunflower seeds
50g sesame seeds
50g flaked almonds
2 pieces chopped stem ginger
750ml organic soya milk or almond milk
1 tbspn malt extract
1/2 teaspoon each of nutmeng, cinnamon and ground ginger.
Stir together all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add the milk and malt extract and leave to soak for 30mins. If the mixture is very stiff, add more soya or almond milk. Spoon the mixture into 2 lightly oiled and lined loaf tins and bake at 190*C/375F/gas mark 5 for about 75mins or until cooked through. Turn out and leave to cool.
egg, gluten, nut and dairy free
Ideal for summer picnics and lazy afternoon snacks in your garden, this is another great recipe from Alice Sherwood’s ‘Allergy-free Cookbook’. Serve with new potatoes, cherry tomatoes, oatcakes, rice cakes or crudites.
To serve 4 you will need:
200g plain, natural soya or coconut yoghurt
225g cream cheese or silken tofu for dairy-free option. Use 1 tbsp olive oil if using silken tofu.
1-2 tbsp olive oil
zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
1 small garlic clove, skinned & crushed
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh chervil
4 spring onions, finely chopped
ground black pepper to taste
Place all the ingredients in a food processer or blender and whizz until blended. Season to taste. The dip can be stored covered in a fridge for up to 24hrs.
egg, gluten, dairy and nut free
This colourful tasty dip is ideal for parties or make a smaller version for your own vibrant light lunch! The recipe is from Alice Sherwood’s ‘Allergy-free Cookbook’ which has a wealth of ideas for gluten, dairy, egg and nut free meals, snacks and desserts.
For a party sized dish you will need:
juice of 1 lemon or lime
450g can refried beans (or use a mixed bean salad and crush the mixture up)
500ml dairy-free soured cream or plain soya yoghurt
1/4 tsp chilli powder
2 green peppers, chopped
340g drained, pitted and halved black olives
8 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
750g dairy-free cheese, coarsely grated
chopped coriander and spring onions to garnish
Peel and mash the avocadoes with the lemon or lime juice. In a glass bowl, layer the ingredients starting with the beans as the base, then the avocadoes, soured cream or yoghurt, green peppers, olives, tomatoes and red onion. Top it all with cheese, coriander and spring onions.
gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan
You will need:
- 1 cup nuts of your choice – almonds, hazels and Brazil nuts make good milks (walnuts are too oily) OR grated creamed coconut for making coconut milk
- 4 cups of plain water
- Flavouring if desired; choose from 5-6 chopped dates / 1 teaspoon vanilla extract / 1 dessertspoon of agave syrup or 1 teaspoon good quality cocoa powder (for chocolate milk!)
- A nut milk bag or square of polyester voile fabric 50cm X 50cm for straining the mixture
- Large mason jar or container for the nut milk
As a guide to quantities, 1 cup of nuts to 4 cups of water will give you 2-3 cups of nut milk plus the leftover nut solids which you can use in baking or add to cereal or yoghurt.
Soak your nuts for 8-10 hours, (overnight ideally) then strain the soak water off and discard it. Grated creamed coconut does not need pre-soaking.
Place the nuts and 4 cups of plain water in a blender along with your chosen flavouring.
Blend the mixture for a couple of minutes.
Line your container with the fabric (or nut milk bag) so that the fabric dangles halfway down the inside of the container and overlaps the edges. Secure the fabric around the edge with string or an elastic band if you wish. Pour the mixture into the fabric and leave it to strain through.
Once the milk has stained, pop your jar of fresh nut milk into the fridge where it will keep for 2-4 days. Enjoy!
wheat-free, dairy-free, gluten-free option
This recipe works well with chicken, turkey or any firm white fish too.
450g skinless and boneless salmon fillets
80g gluten-free or regular oatcakes – crumbled up
60g dessicated coconut
2 eggs, beaten
40g rice flour
Dip of your choice; guacamole, houmous or a mix of avocado and mayonnaise
Slice the salmon into thick strips. Mix together the crumbled oatcakes, coconut and rice flour. Dip the salmon in the beaten egg then coat thoroughly in the dry mixture. Grill until cooked through. Serve with dips and vegetable crudites.
The spectrum of colours in this salad highlight the range of powerful antioxidant nutrients in the foods. Great for immune health and energy levels it makes a tasty accompaniment to grilled chicken, fish or lentil bake 🙂
In a large bowl mix together chopped cooked beetroot, sliced mango, pomegranate seeds, 2 handfuls of mixed leaves (rocket, watercress, lambs lettuce, pea shoots, spinach – any green leaves); sliced avocado and a tablespoon of pine nuts.
Dress with a blend of flax oil, wholegrain mustard and lemon juice.
These fantastic juice ideas are from the ‘Innocent Little Book of Drinks’. Simple, tasty and guaranteed to wake you up!
#1 – Spinach and Spice
2-3 big handfuls of fresh spinach
2 large apples (preferably Royal Gala if you can get them)
Remove the stalk from the spinach and put the leaves through the juicer. Put the juice in a jug. Cut the apples into wedges, juice and add to the jug. Add the lemon juice and grated nutmeg, stir well and serve.
#2 – Carrot & Pink Grapefruit
2 pink grapferuits
Top and tail the carrots, put through the juicer and pour into a jug. Squeeze the grapefruits and add the juice to the jug. Mix and drink.
#3 – Peach and Redcurrant
1 apple (Royal Gala if possible)
1 large juicy peach
2-3 handfuls of redcurrants or raspberries (fresh or frozen)
Cut the apple into wedges, put through the juicer and pour the juice into a blender. Halve the peach, remove the stone and place the halves in the blender. Squeeze the orange into the blender. Add the redcurrants/raspberries and whizz everything until smoth.