Food: How to make cauliflower pizza

I’m always on the lookout for ways to enjoy my favourite food at a fraction of the calories and it’s not always to do with weight gain it’s more to do with that uncomfortable bloated feeling after having so much dough with pizza, or bread with a burger.

So if there’s a way to have neither I am all for it!

I’ve seen quite a few recipes mentioning cauliflower as a replacement for a pizza base and after my flatmate tried it out successfully I was eager to get a slice of the action (sorry couldn’t resist!).

Both Helmsley+Helmsley and Deliciously Ella have cauliflower pizza recipes which I read over and then found another version online by Brunchtimebaker which had no flour.

It’s totally up to you what you prefer and for me I think next time I’d like to try adding buckwheat flour, which is a gluten-free, just to dry out the ‘dough’ a bit more.
cauliflower pizza doughFirst off you need to blend the cauliflower, I bought I whole fresh one and stuck it in my Nutribullet but it was a bit of a faff so if you have a food processor I would obviously recommend you blend it in there to get the right flour-like consistency.

Next up Brunchtimebaker says to microwave the cauliflower for four minutes and then leave to cool for five before squeezing out the water. But both H+H and Deliciously Ella just squeeze out the excess water without heating it up.

Now I’ve never squeezed water out of food before, usually avoiding it when I spot it in recipes and it’s probably a sticking point with others who can’t be bothered to do it either! I had some spare new dishcloths that I hadn’t used yet so thought this would be the best, even though all the recipes recommend a tea towel. And there’s a reason for the tea towel because the dishcloth just retained the water and didn’t drain enough water out.

I think it’s important to get the cauliflower as dry as possible which is why as I mentioned earlier that I would like to add flour to the mix next time. After adding the egg, herbs and a touch of parmesan I rolled it out to about just a little more than half a centimetre thick.

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Baked in the oven for roughly 15 minutes as it started to brown on the edges but could definitely have stayed in for five minutes longer. And looking back could probably have done with been rolled thinner to get it more crispy.

I baked it on baking paper as recommended and added the toppings on after, choosing passata with a touch of spice and basil, aubergine slices, onions and cheddar cheese. I also added avocado and jalapenos on after it was finished cooking for extra flavour.

The only one major problem with this pizza is that all of my toppings and the softness of the ‘dough’ meant that it was too heavy to remove from the baking paper without breaking apart! I ended up eating the pizza from the baking paper but it was so delicious I didn’t even care.

I had my pizza with sweet potato wedges of course, sprinkled with paprika, salt and pepper. You could probably serve this with some spinach or kale to be super healthy but in keeping with the pizza and chips theme wedges are the only option!

I would certainly recommend trying this out, it’s a little faffy if you haven’t got the right blender, you could potentially grate the cauliflower but that might not get the right consistency.

Try it out with whatever toppings you fancy there are so many different ways to eat this pizza and when you’re enjoying it after all your hard work you’ll have forgotten you are actually eating cauliflower!

Food: Nutribullet Five Day 180 Cleanse

Of course the first week in January means detox time and while there are plenty of diets, regimes and plans to follow I decided to make use of my Nutribullet and do the 5-day 180 cleanse they posted on their blog.

I bought a Nutribullet last summer after a friend’s recommendation and went juicing mad for a few weeks then admittedly got a little bored of my new toy so it was good to get in the habit of using it again.

For something like a cleanse the most important thing you need to do is absolutely plan ahead. It’s pretty hard to just breeze along without juicing and meal-planning so you will be thankful in the long run when you prep your ingredients ahead of time and don’t get disheartened half way through.

Before you start prepping a big food shop is necessary, be prepared to spend more than you expect. I buy a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables anyway but found the extra ingredients required for the juices bumped up the cost.

food shopping
Next up I wrote down my juices and meals for the week, the cleanse requires you to replace your breakfast with a Nutriblast drink and then choose a clean meal for lunch and then a choice of different levels for your dinner.

I went for a mix of level one and two for my dinner which consisted of meals of protein and vegetables and stews or soups. Level three is the most hardcore replacing your evening meals with another Nutriblast.

For me this cleanse was about getting into the mindset of healthy eating and planning rather than a diet, so choosing a Nutriblast for dinner was far from an option for me but if you want a big kick to losing weight I would imagine this might be the way to go.

Before your Nutriblast in the morning you are recommended to drink a cup of hot water and lemon, which is a nice habit to get into and means less tea drinking for me!

My meal plan for the week looked like this, recipes with a * can be found here:

Day One

  • Nuts Seeds and Green Blast*
  • Roasted aubergine bowl with rice
  • Moroccan Chickpea Stew*
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Nuts Seeds and Green Blast: Broccoli, spinach, blueberries, banana, pumpkins seeds and chia seeds

Day Two

  • Winter Warrior Blast*
  • Roasted aubergine bowl with quinoa
  • Moroccan Chickpea Stew*
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Winter Warrior: Cooked sweet potato, spinach, apple, avocado, banana, chia seeds and lime juice

Day Three

  • Berry Beet Blast*
  • Sweet potato, broccoli, avocado and quinoa salad
  • Salmon and veg kebabs with cous cous*
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Berry Beet Blast: Spinach, beetroot, mixed berries, chia seeds and lime juice

Day Four

  • Berry Beet Blast*
  • Avocado, grated carrot, spinach and broccoli salad
  • Salmon and veg kebabs with cous cous*
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Dinner: Salmon, mushrooms, peppers, onions, courgettes, aubergine with paprika and lemon juice

Day Five

  • Berry Beet Blast*
  • Roasted aubergine, roasted sweet potato, broccoli, cous cous salad
  • Slimming World Sticky 5-spice pork stir fry (see recipe below)
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Dinner: Slimming World Sticky 5-spice pork stir fry

I prefer to make my juices fresh in the morning but I found time was getting a bit tight, so from the third day I started to prepare them in the evening along with my lunches because I faff a lot in the morning.

It was handy to take my juices to drink at work, but I’m a very slow drinker and they were quite thick so the first couple of juices took me around three hours to drink.

The Nuts, Seeds and Green Blast and the Berry Beet Blast are both highly recommended. Each had combinations of veg and fruit that I hadn’t tried before, such as beetroot, and were definitely refreshing and filling to keep me going until lunch.

I definitely do not recommend the Winter Warrior. If I were ever to make that juice again I would probably steam/boil the sweet potato rather than roast it, there were no specific instructions apart from that it be cooked and I think this made it too savoury when combined with the avocado and apple. I struggled to drink it and in fact don’t think I finished it in time for lunch.

Lunches were the easiest part for me as the recipes I used are pretty much what I eat anyway. A salad for me barely ever contains lettuce leaves, so I never understand people who reduce themselves to boring the so-called ‘rabbit food’ with barely any flavour when they are trying to diet.

Cooked veg is certainly the way to go to add some excitement, things like sweet potatoes, aubergines, chick peas, mushrooms, and butternut squash alongside chicken and salmon are all ways to keep you full until the evening.

The Moroccan Chickpeas Stew was super nice, and I made enough to still have a portion for another time after putting loads in the freezer. I also made the salmon and veg kebabs in advance and froze them, you just need to remember in the morning to get your dinner out of the freezer to defrost either through the night or during the day!

Snacks

Of course those going on a cleanse/detox/diet will need snacks. It’s hard especially in an office job not to reach for things easy and within reach so once again preparing ahead is vital.

I tend to always have a stash of raisins in my bag, they’re a simple way to ease any sweet cravings. Greek yoghurt is another good thing to have in your fridge, pop some honey in and even a tablespoon of chia seeds to make a refreshing dessert.

For savoury I love houmous it’s so good, but it can be a drain on the purse strings to keep buying it so make your own!

The easiest houmous recipe ever (thanks Slimming World)

  • 400g can of chickpeas drained
  • 1 garlic clove peeled
  • 1 juice and zest of lemon
  • 1 tsp of ground cumin
  • 1 tsp of coriander
  • A dash (or more) of cayenne pepper or paprika
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • 2 tablespoons of water (if needed add a tblsp at a time, you can’t take water away remember!)

This is a zillion times easier if you have a Nutribullet as you can put all these ingredients in all at once and blend (if you don’t a normal food blender will do!). At least three minute blending time to get rid of the chickpea chunks scoop out and you’re done. Make sure to cut up some crudites to dip in such as cucumber, peppers, carrots, celery or you can get some ryvitas to eat it with instead.

I continued the cleanse for an extra two days just because I had so much veg and stuff left over and just keeps me in the mindset. To make sure this cleanse was most effective I did cut out any sugar, including chocolate, cakes, sweets, and cheese. In the evening to curb any sweet feelings I just had a cup of tea with a sweetener in.

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Slimming World Sticky 5-Spice Pork Stir Fry

  • 2 tsp Chinese 5-spice powder
  • Pork/gammon/tuna steak
  • Red pepper
  • Mushrooms
  • Baby sweetcorn
  • 1 tsbp chilli flakes (or fresh chilli)
  • 1/2 juice and zest of an orange
  • 2 tbsp of honey
  • 100ml chicken/veg stock
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • Egg noodles to serve

Cover your selected meat in the 5-spice powder then fry in a bit of oil of Fry-light spray. Set aside.

Mix your sauce in a jug – veg/chicken stock, chilli flakes, soy sauce and orange juice and zest.

I like to add mushrooms, peppers and baby sweetcorn just to make it a bit more exciting and filling. Fry these for a few minutes until they begin to soften.

Add your sauce to the veg and then when in the pan add the honey. Cook for about seven minutes then add in the meat you cooked earlier. Whilst this is all going on whack on your noodles, I usually buy dried egg noodles that take about three minutes.

The timing usually works out that they both are done at the same time! And serve.

Food: Chickpea, avocado, quinoa and halloumi salad

It’s been a while since I’ve posted what I’ve been eating, I got hellishly busy at one point and as always the ol’ blog takes a back seat.

I spotted a recipe on Twitter recently by Sasha Wilkins of Liberty London Girl, she shared an image of a chickpea, avocado and halloumi salad from her new recipe book called Friends, Food, Family. Obviously I didn’t have the book to hand but thought it would be quite fun to recreate the salad from what she shared.

So main ingredients are of course chickpeas, avocado and halloumi. I’ve baked my chickpeas before on advice from Girl Next Door Fashion so thought I’d do the same here with a sprinkle of paprika, I also added halloumi chunks on too half way through. They really don’t need that long roughly ten minutes if that.

I thought that just those ingredients along with the avocado wouldn’t be enough for my lunch so I decided to bulk it up with quinoa. A super easy grain to cook with, but for some reason I always end up with it super sloppy and watery..

Anyway in the morning when packing my lunch I put all the prepared elements together and added some seed mix that had pumpkins, pine nuts, sesame seeds and other numerous unidentifiable bits.

I think I added way too many seeds as it ended up being quite crunchy. But I certainly enjoyed the splash of lime juice as an extra twist.

Overally I think my version was a success, I’m not a fan of pomegranate seeds which I think is a tad odd in a savoury dish but the different elements that made up the salad are something I always have in my cupboard so no extra effort went into making it.

Lunch avo chick peas hallloumi_Fotor

Food: Courgette pizza boats

I’m not quite sick of courgettes just yet, so I was looking forward to trying out this pizza boat recipe I found on Damn Delicious.

It called for turkey mince which I must admit I’ve never tried before. I’m not a lover of turkey meat preferring to have either duck or ham for the traditional Christmas dinner, but I’ve heard good things about mince so I thought I’d give it a go.

The recipe did say to use marinara sauce but never the one to follow something strictly I used tinned tomatoes and added the basil, oregano and seasoning when cooking the mince.

courgette pizza boatsI went for sweet potato wedges for my side drizzled in olive oil, seasoning and smoked paprika. It was so simple to put together just halve the courgette lengthways and scoop out some of the middle.

Pile on the mince mixture and then grate some cheese on top. Again, it says to use mozzarella which is obviously more pizza-like but I only had parmesan in my fridge so that shall do for me!

Now really the wedges take longer so should probably have put those in first but  I stuck them both in at the same time and left them for 15 minutes. The courgettes seem to cook on the outside but probably would have been better if I’d roasted them before hand to soften them up and then put the topping on because I felt they were still a bit hard in the middle.

courgette pizza boats before

Also I’m not sure if I’m sold on the turkey mince, with normal beef mince the tomato always seems to complement the meet but this didn’t seem to mix well in my opinion. And cheese always makes everything better but this time I wasn’t entirely convinced!

If anyone else tries out this recipe let me know how you find it, I think I’d probably like to try it with beef next time!

courgette pizza boats after

Food: Cinnamon baked oatmeal with berries and banana

When you get sick of eating the same cereal day in day out it’s nice to find a new breakfast recipe.

I’ve been occasionally eating overnight oats which is fairly easy to put together it just requires a little bit of cooking apples and waiting, yep, overnight for the chia seeds to puff up.

The baked oatmeal recipe which I saw on Deliciously Ella’s Youtube channel and is also on her app and blog, is what I was most looking forward to making.

I bought a massive bag of Scottish rolled oats about a month ago and find it really handy to have in the cupboard as it just last for ages and only cost me a few pounds.

baked porridge mix

For this recipe you only need one cup of oats soaked in hot water for about 10 minutes, then chop up your ripe banana, throw in your blueberries and a handful of raisins and mix together.

What makes this dish all cosy is the two teaspoons of cinnamon and honey mixed in, you just know that as soon as it’s baked the cinnamon will really pull it all together.

As the original recipe is vegan and gluten free, it calls for almond milk (and actually gluten free oats which mine are not) I cannot tell you how much I hate nuts so I went for skimmed milk which in my opinion does the same job.

On a side note I find it really frustrating as a hater of nuts how many clean eating recipes use nuts as a base, gah. I can only imagine how annoying a nut allergy would be if you wanted to be vegan..

baked porridge ready

Anyway so I had some raspberries in the fridge that I’d forgotten about and because I’m a complete Instagram addict I thought by adding them on top it would make the picture I would take much prettier.

Very shallow yes but glad I did it because the tang of the raspberries made the baked oatmeal even better! I definitely recommend adding some on top along with sliced bananas as they just make it so tasty.

I’d imagine not everyone has half an hour to prepare and bake this in the morning and I only did because I was working from home and had the time to work and wait for it to cook.

Definitely worth baking it the night before and reheating, maybe even with a dollop of Greek yoghurt too and an extra drizzle of honey if you’re feeling it!

baked porridge cooked

Food: Vogue’s blueberry crumble muffins

Normally I have to wait a good few weeks before I get to bake for the office again, but today was a special group bake sale as we were raising money for Jean for Genes, so eight of us put our skills to the test and came up with quite the selection!

My contribution were Blueberry Crumble Muffins, something certainly different to what I have baked before and they went down a treat.

I spotted the recipe on a Vogue blog a while back Pocketed it and found it this week when I was looking for inspiration. What better way to celebrate London Fashion Week than with Blueberry for Burberry muffins?!

I have to admit I did not think the recipe through at all, and because it doesn’t actually state how many portions it makes I just assumed the 540g of plain flour was normal.

As I started to make the wet part of the recipe and measured out the flour I realised this was going to create quite a lot of mixture.

I folded the dry and wet together and added the blueberries and apples as described but because the only muffin cases I could find were pretty small (like the size of buns/cupcakes rather than large muffins) I estimated this was going to make about 30 individual muffins.

Blueberry crumble muffins process

For the first batch I was more than generous when filling the cases which meant that the finished muffins did have quite a large top on them. The second batch were a little neater and in total I ended up making  around 38!

The topping probably elevated the muffins from just normal blueberry as the crumble ended up sweet and crunchy. I think I expected the crumble to stay the way I added it but of course at the muffins baked they expanded and the crumble went with it but still looked good and the added touch of a blueberry for decoration gave it that extra fruity taste.

I highly recommend this recipe if you are wanting something to make for a large number of people, but for a home bake you might want to consider altering the amount of ingredients you need!

Blueberry Crumble Muffins

Food: One pot courgette mushroom pasta

Oh my I think I just died and went to heaven.

I spotted this dish on Damn Delicious whilst browsing for yet more courgette recipes. It appealed to me even more because of those magic words: one pot.

No need for cooking your veg and pasta in separate pans and then combining at the end, nope, this one pot pasta dish calls for you to put everything in one pan at the same time and cook.

I couldn’t think of anything more simple than cutting up courgettes into quarter pieces, slicing some mushrooms, chopping up garlic sprinkling some thyme and pouring boiling water over everything including the spaghetti.

one pot pastaThe recipe says to bring to boil and then simmer until the water is soaked up, I added slightly too much so had to drain some of those good juices away.

When my pasta was nice and thick (how I tell it’s cooked) I then added the quarter cup of cream, I plumped for single cream and added the parmesan. I did buy some natural Greek yoghurt but I was a bit worried the taste wouldn’t be as nice but if you try it let me know!

Final step season and serve! Couldn’t be more easy and only took 20 minutes from prep until serve, a really quick and super tasty meal for even the most terrible of chefs! And there’s loads more of Damn Delicious’ One Pot dishes here.

Next on the courgette list is these ‘pizza boats’.

one pot pasta dish