Sarah’s Creative Concoctions

Butternut Squash Falafels and Homemade Tortillas

Ingredients

  • Half a butternut squash
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tin chickpeas
  • 2 garlic gloves
  • Salt, pepper and other flavourings such as garam masala, coriander, cumin, mixed herbs.

Method

  • Cut the squash into cubes and slice the onion
  • Preheat the oven to 180
  • Cut the squash into cubes and slice the onion
  • Drizzle with a little oil and bake in the oven for 20 mins
  • All the ingredients need to be mixed together so either place in a food processor, mix with a hand blender, mix with a potato masher or a fork
  • Don’t worry if the mixture does not go very smooth. This will give the falafels more texture
  • Roll into balls and if they are a little wet coat them in a little flour. Otherwise, they are fine as they are
  • I bake mine in an air fryer but they can be baked in the oven.  Usually, they are deep-fried, but this is really unhealthy!
  • Cooking time around 20 mins. Turn them over halfway through cooking.

Tortillas

Ingredients

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 cup of water
  • A pinch of salt and a dash of oil

I used American cups, but you can use any cups, it is the ratio that you are after

Method

  • Mix the flour, water, salt and oil together and knead
  • If there is too much water add some more flour, and if the mixture is too dry, add more water
  • The thinner the tortillas the better, so try and roll out as thinly as possible. Remember to put some flour on the workshop to stop the mixture sticking
  • Get the frying pan very hot  – no oil is needed!
  • Place the tortilla in the pan and fry for around 1 minute on each side

Dressing

  • Olive oil
  •  ¼ tub of oat creme fraiche
  • 1 tsp lemongrass ( I use a tub that I keep in the fridge)
  • A pinch of olive oil

Adaptations that you might like to make

Falafels can be made with anything. Try sweet potato, spinach, carrots or just chickpeas!

The onion can be added raw, just cut it up small.

If using spinach take a couple of handfuls of frozen spinach and defrost in the microwave and squeeze well!

Dried chickpeas can be great to use but they need to be soaked for 24 hours. If you don’t have time use tinned ones.

A little baking powder might make the falafels fluffier.

For the dressing

Try yoghurt instead of the oat creme fraiche, use cucumber to make a tzatziki or chilli paste to make it hotter. Experiment!

 


Toad in the Hole

I wouldn’t normally make this kind of meal but some people on one of my courses asked for it. Naturally, I decided to make it healthier!

Ingredients

  • Sausages. Buy some decent sausages! This might mean going to the butchers.

For the batter 

  • 175ml milk (cow or plant-based)
  • 140g plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • A selection of vegetables. I used 1 courgette and 1 carrot.
  • Seasoning
  • 1 stock cube
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • Mixed herbs
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds

Method

  • Get the oven hot! Place the sausages in an ovenproof dish and put in the oven. You might need to add a tiny bit of oil depending on the sort bought, but some sausages produce enough of their own!
  • Grate the vegetables.
  • Put a little oil in the frying pan and fry the vegetables until soft.
  • Make the batter by mixing together the eggs, flour and milk. Use a hand blender or liquidiser ideally to get the mixture smooth and avoid lumps. A fork will work fine if you don’t have one. 
  • Add the seasoning and stock cube as well as the cooked veggies.
  • The sausages will be cooked by now and gone a beautiful golden brown.  Pour the batter over and cook for another 30 mins,  The batter should be a beautiful brown and slightly risen. The batter might not rise as much with the veggies, but the taste makes up for this!

 


Carrot Risotto

Ingredients

  • 8 – 10 carrots
  • 2 tsp butter or oil
  • 1 leek
  •  2 garlic cloves, or a squeeze from a tube
  • Risotto rice
  • Thyme (fresh or dried)
  • 1tsp fennel seeds
  • 1tsp mixed herbs
  • Stock cube
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • A little wine – optional

Method

  • Cut the carrots into small slices. There’s no need to peel if they are nice ones, just give them a quick wash. (you’ll get added fibre with the skin left on!)
  • Melt the butter and fry the carrots until coated. Add the stock cube and water, and simmer until cooked – around 20 minutes.
  • If you are grating the carrots grate them before adding to the stock and there is no need to cook them first.
  • Using a hand blender or liquidiser blend the carrots until smooth (If you haven’t got a blender no worries – just cut the carrots very small or grate them).
  • Cut the leek up into small pieces and fry until soft.
  • Add the garlic and the seasonings to the pan.
  • Add the rice and stir until coated  with the oil and seasonings
  • Add a glug of wine if using and give a big stir.
  • Add the carrot mixture little bit at a time, as the rice absorbs the liquid.
  • Leave the mixture simmering until the rice is cooked, adding more water if necessary. 

A few thoughts

The idea of a risotto is that more liquid is added as the rice cooks. Remember that rice expands so keep that in mind when choosing the pan that you will cook with.

Risotto always takes slightly longer than you think!  Don’t be afraid of adding more liquid.

Remember to taste and alter seasonings.

We are a dairy-free household and have not found a vegan cheese that we like. However, yeast flakes work quite well to substitute the cheese flavour in risotto.

If you eat cheese then you could add some at the end – maybe mascarpone or parmesan?

 


Sea bass and lentils

Ingredients for the seabass marinade

  • 2 tbsp orange marmalade or honey
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp mustard

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180.
  • Mix all the ingredients for the marinade together.
  • Brush the marinade onto the sea bass.
  • Cover in foil, place on a baking tray and bake in the oven on foil for 15 mins.

Ingredients for the lentils

  • 1 leek finely sliced
  • 2 carrots, grated 
  • 1 yellow pepper 
  • 1 tin chickpeas
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tin green lentils
  • A squeeze of tomato puree
  • Stock cube
  • Mixed herbs

Method

  • Place a little oil in a pan and gently fry the veggies
  • When soft add the chickpeas, tomatoes and lentils
  • Make up some stock using a stock cube or bullion. Add a squeeze of tomato puree and some herbs or spices.
  • Pour the stock over the lentils to cover – but not too much to swamp them!
  • Simmer for around 20 mins until the veggies are cooked.

 


Chicken Risotto

This was made out of a few bits and pieces but tasted fab!

Ingredients

  • Frozen peas
  • Stock using either some bouillon or a stock cube
  • Leftover chicken. I happened to have some thighs that had been cooked in cider.
  • Risotto rice (long grain will work too)
  • Cider or wine (around 100ml)
  • Garlic
  • A leek or an onion

Method

  • Take a couple of handfuls of frozen peas and puree them in some stock.
  • Cut the chicken up small (if you are not using leftovers make sure you cook your chicken first).
  • In a pan add a little oil and gently fry the leeks until soft.
  • Add the garlic.
  • Add the rice and coat well in the oil and veggies.
  • Add a glug of cider (I used cider as my chicken was cooked in cider, but wine is fine or if you have not got any that fine too!).
  • Add a little of the pea and stock liquid and carry on adding until the rice is cooked around 20 mins.
  • You might like to add some cheese, I added some yeast flakes.

Thoughts

I pureed some peas as I was going to make a pea risotto but did not have enough peas!  I loved the way it gave a different twist to the meal and it was a simple way to include an extra vegetable into a meal!

 


Frittata

Dish

Frittata is an egg-based Italian dish similar to an omelette or crustless quiche or scrambled eggs, enriched with additional ingredients such as meats, cheeses or vegetables. The word frittata is Italian and roughly translates to “fried.”

I cooked this with my ELFT recovery college group – this was such a fun session, everybody added something different!

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs per person as a guide
  • A little milk
  • Seasonings: fennel seeds, mixed herbs, black pepper, a little salt, fresh herbs.
  • Vegetables (this can be a selection of whatever you have in the fridge, freezer) for example peppers, leeks, onions, spinach, mushrooms, courgette.
  • Any added extras: I added salmon as I had some to eat up, others added bacon or chorizo.
  • Cheese or yeast flakes

Method

  • Add a little oil to the frying pan.
  • Add the veggies you are using and fry until soft.
  • Add the garlic.
  • If you are adding bacon cook this on its own, either under the grill or in the oven.
  • Combine other ingredients such as chorizo, cooked bacon, salmon and cook for a minute with the vegetables to heat through.
  • Add the egg mixture. Try and let this set, it should ideally be a deep omelette.
  • To finish off the frittata place under the grill for 5 mins, so that the top cooks.