Monnie’s Potato Dauphinoise

This is a simpler (slightly posher) version of the staple and hearty “Potato Bake” found at any self-respecting South African braai. My beautiful cousin Olivia makes a kick-ass one using mushrooms and brown onion powder and I miss it terribly. I am sure you all have your favourite versions, but this is my version and its a small twist on the French classic. There is no simplicity in its preparation, but the results are worth the effort. Firstly, mandolins are evil and I personally hate them. I get far thinner, more-even slices (with less blood) using my trusty, sharp knife. I get them paper thin – but it took years of practice. The key to this successful potato bake is the way the potatoes are treated PRIOR to cooking. Firstly, buy potatoes specifically suited to baking. Secondly, after peeling and slicing, rinse off as much of the starch as you possibly can. Thirdly – and the most important step – dry the slices from any excess water. You can do this by either: 1- Placing them in a salad spinner in batches; 2- Laying the slices flat out on a tray lined with kitchen paper; or 3 (my preferred method) – Wrap the slices in a clean dish towel or muslin cloth – and spin the shit out of it outside in the garden. Works like a charm and you will be surprised just how much water flings out of that dishtowel! Gruyere is the cheese of choice – and a key flavour so don’t use any other cheese. This is rich, decadent and completely naughty, so any dieters or low-carbers should look away now…

Continue Reading

Cauliflower-crust Pizza

I know Mud and Love is coming late to the cauliflower-pizza party, but its only because I have been trying to develop a low-carb recipe that not only works, but one that is not laden with huge amounts of cheese in the base. I have made plenty in my time, but found that so many still tasted like cauliflower (which I don’t mind … but let’s be real here) or they were crumbly, or just too high in fat. Follow my version below and your hips (and gut) will thank you. It’s not only high in fibre, but with the addition of regular toppings (which are your choice), you could fool yourself and your family that you are having The Real Thing. I won’t lie, it may too fragile to be eaten like a conventional pizza, but the effort will be worth it. Gluten-free, low-carb…. what’s not to love? I have marked this under the vegetarian category too, because the toppings are your choice. There is egg in the base, so this recipe as is it here is not suitable for vegans BUT I have checked the vegan category too – check my notes at the end for a fantastic replacement for eggs!

Continue Reading

Oozy Camembert with Fruit, Nuts & Maple Drizzle

Delight your guests with a sharing starter that is not only utterly delicious, but attractive too. Buy the best camembert you can afford for this dish and a variety of crackers to serve alongside. Any nuts will do (some ideas include pistachios and walnuts) – just be sure to toast them beforehand to accentuate the flavour. Dried or fresh fruit can also be used as toppings, so use your imagination and try this with grapes, fresh figs or even a chunky jam. This will satisfy 3-4 people as a starter, but Funnyman and I polished this one off in about 45 seconds, soooo

Continue Reading

Chocolate Brownies (gluten-free)

Chocolate Brownies = Happy Husband. Here is a fool-proof recipe for those who are gluten-intolerant. I used almond flour (available in most health stores) to replace regular plain flour. If you are super-sensitive, gluten-free baking powders are also available. Double the recipe for a larger batch and your family will love you for days. I topped mine with a dusting of icing sugar and a scatter of pomegranate seeds, once cooled. Alternatively, you could serve the brownies fresh from the oven with a scoop of ice-cream melted over. If 85% dark chocolate is too bitter for you, use 70%. Er… diet starts Monday..

Continue Reading

‘Creamy’ Low-fat Chicken and Spinach Pasta

After some research, I managed to find a way of making a creamy sauce using completely FAT-FREE yogurt! Those that have experimented doing this will know that any yogurt (full-fat or fat-free) splits into a disappointed, grainy mess when you heat it above 80°C – making it a no-no for most warm dishes, especially creamy pasta. I won’t go into the scientific reason (you can google it) – but all you need to know is that there is a solution – simply “stabilize” the yogurt beforehand in one small step. Full cream VS zero fat? Yes, please! (Save those calories for an extra glass of wine!) I won’t lie, its an additional step, but once you know how to do this, it will change the way you make any “creamy” dish from here on out. (And, it can be made in advance!).

The technique outlined in my post is not new to the food world – but it was new to me and it was a major revelation. Now I can make all those dreamy, creamy dishes and not worry about the calories.  I implemented this technique for the first time under a bit of pressure last month when I was private-cheffing for darling-of-the-tennis-world, Mr. Grigor Dimitrov. One night, I made him and his team a lovely pasta, but I had to stay away from too many unhealthy fats. I frantically spent the morning googling how I could make him a moreish, rich pasta that wasn’t laden in heavy cream. It was a winner! And now, I remember the technique almost as fondly as I remember what was The Greatest Gig Of My Life! I am not an athlete, but my hubby, the Funnyman and I steer clear of carbs as much as we can, so here I used one of my favorite pasta dishes (not the one I made for Grigor, but close) with this technique AND using Konjac Zero Noodles. If you don’t like konjac (also called shirataki) – you are probably prepping it wrong. It’s the bomb! Best invention ever! My tips for prep in the recipe…

Continue Reading

Grilled Polenta with Corn Salsa

Perfect for meat-free Mondays, this dish is packed with flavour and uses a rather under-appreciated ingredient, polenta. I cooked it, compacted it – then grilled it and topped it off with a fresh, delicious salsa. The recipe can be found on my client’s website. Click here to read about it and the great work Olly and his team do at Action Reaction Training in London.

Continue Reading

Apple, Fennel and Parmesan Chicken Salad

Tired of iceberg and tomatoes? This zingy salad combines the lovely subtle flavour of liquorice (courtesy of the fennel) with sweet apples, peppery rocket and salty Parmesan. A real treat – especially when topped with grilled chicken breasts. Give this one a try – I created the dish which you can find on my clients’ website. Click here to see the how to put it together and read about the great work Olly and his team do at Action Reaction Training in London.

Continue Reading

Granola Bars

It’s convenient to buy things off the shelf, but there really is no better feeling than making things at home. In that way you will know exactly what is in it. For me, I don’t personally like raisins and sultanas in food, and so I steer clear of most granola. But by making my own, I can decide exactly what I want it in. (In this case, I opted for sweet, beautiful dried cranberries.) I created this recipe for my client Lorna McCormack – a plant-based nutritional therapist who is passionate about sharing her knowledge about the overwhelming scientific evidence that supports the health-protecting power of using food as medicine. Click here to see the recipe on Lorna’s website and if you would like to learn more about a wholefood plant based diet by taking the free 5-day email, simply visit www.LornaMcCormack.com

Continue Reading

Apple Cinnamon Snack Balls

Post-workout vegan energy snacks? I created this recipe for my client Lorna McCormack – a plant-based nutritional therapist who is passionate about sharing her knowledge about the overwhelming scientific evidence that supports the health-protecting power of using food as medicine. Click here to see the recipe on Lorna’s website and if you would like to learn more about a wholefood plant based diet by taking the free 5-day email, simply visit www.LornaMcCormack.com

Continue Reading