Taste of the Spice Isles - Chicken with Banana Leaves

Banana leaves are the organic and original version of aluminium foil. Not only that, they infuse the food you cook them with to give it clean and woody taste.

Everyone will be eager to see what you have put in their well-wrapped and seasoned parcels. Why not deviate from the norm and try out this delicious dish?

Ingredients

  • 4 single chicken breast fillets (680g)

  • 5 cloves garlic, crushed

  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh lemon grass

  • 2 red Thai chillies, chopped finely

  • ½ cup loosely packed, coarsely chopped fresh coriander

  • 1/3 cup (80ml) lime juice

  • 1 ½ tablespoon peanut oil

  • 1 large banana leaf

  • 300g snow peas, trimmed

  • ¼ cup (40g) roasted pine nuts

Dressing

  • 1 tablespoons lime juice

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon rice wine

  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce

  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil

  • ½ teaspoon grated fresh ginger

  • 1 clove garlic, crushed

  • 2 teaspoons of thai sweet chilli sauce

Method

Using sharp knife, make three shallow cuts on smooth side of each fillet.

Combine garlic, ginger, lemon grass, chilli, coriander, juice and oil in large bowl. Press spice mixture all over chicken, pressing firmly but gently into cuts. Cover; refrigerate while preparing banana leaf.

Cut banana leaf into four 30cm squares. Using tongs dip one square at a time into large saucepan of boiling water; remove immediately. Rinse under cold water; pat dry with absorbent paper. Leaves should be soft and pliable.

Centre each fillet on a banana leaf square. Fold leaf over fillet to enclose; secure each parcel with kitchen string. Place parcels in bamboo steamer over wok or large saucepan of boiling water; steam, covered, about 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Meanwhile, boil steam or microwave snow peas in medium bowl with pine nuts; add dressing. Toss to combine; serve snow peas with chicken.

Dressing: combine ingredients in glass screw-top jar; shake well.

chicken-in-banana-leaf.jpg

Taste of the Gods - Barbecued Asparagus

As the sun is set to shine this week, we are preparing for a guaranteed barbecue and our recipe is a corker.

When the coals are out, so are the meat eaters and if you are a vegetarian you become easily forgotten. Next time you're invited to a barbecue remember to take some asparagus spears and this recipe!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

  • 1-2 garlic cloves, crushed

  • 375g (12 oz) tomatoes, skinned, deseeded and chopped

  • 7 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 500g (1 lb) young asparagus spears

  • 50g (2 oz) pine nuts, toasted

  • 25g (1 oz) parmesan cheese, shaved into thin slivers

  • Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper

  • Warm bread to serve

Method

Place the vinegar, garlic, chopped tomatoes and 5 tablespoons of the olive oil in a small bowl. Mix well to combine.

Trim the asparagus spears to remove any tough, fibrous stems. Brush the asparagus with the remaining olive oil and cook on an oiled barbecue grill over medium coals 5-6 minutes until tender.

Divide the asparagus between 4 warmed serving plates. Spoon over the balsamic vinegar and tomato dressing, top with the pine nuts and parmesan slivers and sprinkle with the sea salt flakes and pepper. Serve at once with plenty of warm bread to mop up the juices.

barbacued-asparagus.jpg

Taste of the Wild - Pumpkin Tagine

We don't want to wish away the summer but we are entering the fruitful months for harvesting and an abundance of fresh and easily sourced produce!

We've given the humble British pumpkin a spice infusion for the coming cold winter months.

Ingredients

20g butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 medium brown onions (300g), chopped coarsely

2 cloves garlic, crushed

4 cm piece fresh ginger (20g), grated

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground coriander

2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind

1kg pumpkin, chopped coarsely

400g can chopped tomatoes

2 cups (500ml) vegetable stock

400g green beans, cut into 5cm lengths

1/3 cup (55g) sultanas

1 tablespoon honey

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint

Method

Heat butter and oil in large saucepan; cook onion and garlic, stirring, 5 minutes.

Add ginger, spices and rind; cook about 1 minute or until fragrant.

Add pumpkin, undrained tomatoes and stock; bring to boil.

Simmer, covered for about 15 minutes or until pumpkin is just tender.

Add beans to tagine mixture; cook, stirring, 5 minutes. Just before serving stir sultanas, honey and chopped herbs through.

pumpkin-bean-tagine.jpg

Taste of the the Wild - Rhubarb and Tomato Chutney

This chutney is not for the impatient, eager beavers or keen cooks as you’ll need to leave it in cool, dry storage place for about a year for the best tasting results. However you could be super prepared for Christmas and make enough so that all your friends and family can enjoy your efforts, either as a gift or as posh dinner condiment.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 and ½ tablespoons black mustard seeds

  • 1 and ½ tablespoons ground cumin

  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves

  • 11/2 tablespoons ground coriander

  • 11 medium (2kg) tomatoes, chopped

  • 2 large (400g) onions, chopped

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed

  • 2 cups (340g) raisins

  • 1 cup (200g) firmly packed brown sugar

  • 1 cup (250ml) brown vinegar

  • 1 bunch (700g) 4 cups chopped fresh rhubarb stems

Method

Heat oil in large pan, add seeds and spices, cook, stirring, until fragrant.

Add tomatoes, onions, salt, garlic, raisins, sugar and vinegar.

Stir over heat, without boiling until sugar is dissolved.

Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, about 35 minutes or until mixture is thick.

Stir in rhubarb, simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes until rhubarb is tender.

Spoon hot chutney into hot sterilised jars; seal immediately.

rhubarb-tomato-chutney.jpg

Taste of the Spice Isles - Crab with Papaya

Can't wait to be in Zanzibar for our chefs to serve up some delicious fresh papaya and coconut, then we have given you a recipe to devour the flavours of the spice isles from your own dining table... if the scenery lacks beach vibes you can always watch a video on youtube of the waves lapping a delightful beach and dream of joining us on a retreat.

Serves 2-4 (appetite dependent)

Ingredients

  • 400g cooked crab meat, shredded

  • 1 medium green papaya (350g), grated coarsely

  • ½ cup (50g) coarsely grated fresh coconut

  • ½ cup coarsely chopped fresh mint

  • 1 fresh small red Thai chilli, chopped finely

  • 18 large betel leaves

For the Coconut dressing

  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil

  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

  • 2 tablespoon coconut cream

  • 2 teaspoon fish sauce

Method

To open fresh coconut, pierce one of the eyes then roast coconut briefly until cracks appear in the shell.

Cool the coconut, then break it apart and grate the flesh.

Make coconut dressing - combine ingredients in screw-top jar; shake well.

Combine crab, papaya, coconut, mint, chilli and dressing in medium bowl.

Divide crab mixture among betel leaves.

crab-papaya-salad.jpg

Taste of the Gods - Seared Beef and White Bean Mash

Craving a winter roast... well we have the ideal alternative that is a lighter summer special. A warming family meal reminiscent of the classic Roast, we have replaced the beloved roasties for a healthy white bean aka cannelini mash flavoured with horseradish. If you are trying to cut down on your daily intake of net carbs this substitution will revolutionise all of your meals. Give it a go and click on the title to see the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 tbsp chopped Fresh rosemary

  • 1 tbsp chopped Fresh thyme

  • 280g/9.5oz piece beef fillet, trimmed

  • 50g/2.5oz unsalted butter

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped

  • 2 crushed garlic cloves

  • 410g can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

  • 200g/8oz Savoy cabbage, cored and shredded

  • 3 tbsp chicken stock or water

  • 1 tbsp finely grated horseradish (from a jar is fine!)

  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

  • 2 tbsp basil/olive oil or drizzling.

Method

Mix 2 tablespoons of the oil with rosemary, thyme and some pepper in a shallow dish.

Coat the beef in it, cover and chill for 2 hours (or overnight). Let the beef come to room temperature.

Heat a cast iron griddle pan until very hot. Wipe the beef and cook for 4 – 6 minutes on each side for rare. Rest for 15 minutes.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil and half the butter in a pan. Gently cook the onion and garlic for 8 – 10 minutes until soft, not brown. Add beans and cook for 1 – 2 minutes.

Heat a wok or large pan. Add remaining oil and butter. Stir fry the cabbage for 1 – 2 minutes. Add stock. Cook for a few more minutes to evaporate most of the liquid. Stir horseradish into the beans and mash. Stir in the parsley.

Carve the beef into 4 slices. Serve with beans, cabbage and drizzled with oil.

seared-beef-with-bean-mash.jpg

Taste of the Spice Isles - Citrus and Avocado Salad

This week's recipe will impress the likes of the A-listers and they don't even know how easy it is to make. It is a perfect post diner refreshment when the salt you have taken in needs to find its equilibrium with sugar again which makes the taste sensation all the more poignant.

A refreshing and attractive citrus and avocado salad, ideal with grilled oily fish.

Ingredients

Mixed red and green lettuce or other salad leaves

2 sweet pink grapefruits

1 large or 2 small avocados, peeled, stoned (pitted) and sliced

For the dressing

90ml/6 tablespoons extra-virgin oil

30ml/ 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 garlic clove, crushed

5ml/ 1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard

Salt and ground black pepper

For the caramelised peel

4 oranges and the juice of one

50g/2oz/ ¼ cup caster (superfine) sugar

60ml/4 tablespoons cold water

Method

To make the caramelised peel, using a vegetable peeler, carefully remove the rind from the oranges in thin strips and reserve the fruit. Scrape away the white pith from the underside of the rind with a small, sharp knife, and cut the rind into fine shreds.

Put the sugar and water in a small pan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Add the shreds of orange rind, increase the heat and boil steadily for 5 minutes, or until the rind is tender. Using two forks, remove the orange rind from the syrup and spread it out on a wire rack to dry. Reserve the cooking syrup to add to the dressing.

Wash and dry the lettuce or other salad leaves and tear or chop them into bite size pieces. Using a sharp knife, remove the pith from the oranges and the pith and peel from the grapefruit. Hold the citrus fruits over a bowl and cut out each segment leaving the membrane behind. Squeezing the remaining juice from the membrane in the bowl.

Put all the dressing ingredients into as screw-top jar and shake well. Add the reserved syrup and adjust the seasoning to taste. Arrange the salad ingredients on plates with the sliced avocado. Spoon over the dressing and sprinkle with the caramelised peel. Serve immediately.

citrus-avocado-salad.jpg

Taste of the Gods - Gingered Carrot Salad

Here we have combined the sweetness of carrots with ginger that can lift off any meal and make it one to remember.

Ginger has many healing qualities, so if you can introduce this ingredient into your daily life you should quickly reap the benefits.

Ingredients

305g/12oz carrots

30ml/ 2 tablespoons olive oil

3 cloves of garlic crushed and finely chopped

Thumbnail piece size of fresh root ginger peeled and grated

Half a bunch of fresh coriander finely chopped

Juice of half a lime

Salt and ground black pepper

Method

Peel the carrots and cut them into fine matchsticks. Put them in a bowl and stir in the oil and grated ginger.

Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes, to allow the flavours to develop fully.

Season the salad with salt and pepper to taste and garnish with coriander for a refreshing kick.

*Variation*

To make a parsnip and sesame seed salad, replace the carrots with parsnip and blanch in boiling salted water for 1 minute before combining with the oil and ginger. Replace the poppy seeds with the same quantity of sesame seeds.

gingered-carrot-salad.jpg

Taste of the Gods - Bulgar Wheat and Tomato Salad

Let us start of your weekend with a summer dish, perfect to accompany the charred goodness from the barbecue whether it be large sweet peppers or a well garnished kebab. This dish can compliment almost any meal, turn a mediterranean dish into a mezze platter by adding hummus on the side with a few small falafels, full of goodness.

Ingredients

  • 350g/2 cups bulgur wheat

  • 250g frozen broad beans

  • 115g/1 cup frozen petits pois

  • 225g cherry tomatoes, halved

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 1 red (bell) pepper, seeded and diced

  • 50g mangetouts, chopped

  • 50g watercress

  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, basil and thyme

For the dressing

  • 5 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon mustard powder

  • Salt and ground black pepper

Method

Put the bulgur wheat into a large bowl. Add enough cold water to come 2.5cm/1 in above the level of the wheat. Leave to soak for approximately 30 minutes.

Turn the soaked bulgur wheat into a sieve (strainer) lined with a clean dish towel. Drain the wheat well and use the dish towel to squeeze out any excess water.

Cook the broad beans and petits pois in a pan of boiling water for about 3 minutes, until tender. Drain thoroughly and mix with the prepared bulgur wheat in a bowl.

Add the cherry tomatoes, onion, pepper, mangetouts and watercress to the bulgur wheat mixture and mix. Combine all the ingredients for the dressing, season and stir well.

Add the herbs to the salad, season and add enough dressing to taste. Toss the ingredients together.

Serve immediately or cover and chill in the refrigerator before serving.

bulgar-wheat-tomato-salad.jpg

Cool Green Juice Boost

Feeling hot, hot, hot? Enjoy a juice boost to cool you down.

A very refreshing and super energising juice to kick start your day. To steer clear of the coughs and colds going round recently, I have been having one of these juices every morning and immediately I can feel the vitamins having an effect on me. I may have gone overboard with the ginger in this recipe, but I love what it gives me; I'll have a spring in my step for the rest of the day!

Ingredients (Serves 2)

  • 1 apple, core discarded

  • 2 inches root ginger, peeled

  • 1 lemon, rind removed

  • 2 stalks celery

  • 1/2 cucumber

  • Dash of cayenne pepper

  • Ice cubes, optional

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend together for a minute or so.

Serve immediately and enjoy!

cool-juice-boost.jpg

Taste of the Gods - Mediterranean Chicken

This is a quick and easy recipe to transform your everyday dinners to make it that little bit more special or to impress any guests. I'm a bit of a fussy chicken eater - it has to be perfectly cooked and I can't cope when it's dry. By filling the breast with basil, sun-dried tomatoes and olives, it helps keep the chicken as tender as possible and infuse it with delicious Mediterranean flavours.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 4 chicken breasts, flattened to approx. 5mm thickness

  • Handful of sun-dried tomatoes, chopped roughly

  • Handful of fresh basil leaves, torn

  • Handful of olives, chopped roughly

Crust

  • 130g ground almonds

  • Seasoning

  • 1 whisked egg

Pesto

  • Handful of toasted pumpkin seeds

  • Handful of sun-dried tomatoes

  • 3 handfuls of fresh basil

  • 1 clove garlic

  • 200ml extra virgin olive oil

  • Juice of half a lemon

  • Seasoning

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 C.

Mix the basil, olives and sun-dried tomatoes together and spread evenly on to all four flattened chicken breasts. Roll each breast, the filling in the centre and leave to one side.

Prepare the crust. Mix the almonds with seasoning and put into a bowl. Put the whisked egg into another bowl. Cover each rolled breast in the whisked egg and then dip into the ground almonds, until they are lightly coated.

Place the coated breasts onto a baking tray and bake for 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.

Place all the pesto ingredients in a blender for a minute, or until combined.

Slice the chicken and place on top of some steamed veg of your choice (or salad) and top with a drizzle of pesto.

mediterranean-chicken.jpg

Taste of the Spice Isles - Coconut Prawns

We bring you the "Taste of the Spice Isles" with our deliciously healthy recipe for Coconut Prawns with a Spicy Mango and Ginger Salsa. Perfect starter for 2 people.

Ingredients

Coconut prawns

150g king prawns (preferably uncooked but works with pre-cooked prawns too)

2tbsp buckwheat flour (you can also use other flours like rice, chickpea, quinoa, etc)

1 egg, whisked

3tbsp dessicated coconut

1 pinch sea salt

1 glug of coconut oil

Salsa

1/2 mango, diced

1/2 fresh lime juice

1/4 red onion, diced finely

1 inch root ginger, grated

2 sprigs of fresh mint leaves, shredded (coriander also works well)

2 pinches of red chilli flakes

2 pinches of sea salt

1 glug of extra virgin olive oil

Method

Begin by making the salsa. Mix all the ingredients together and leave aside while you prepare the prawns.

Pat the prawns dry with some kitchen roll. Put the flour, whisked egg and coconut in three different bowls and begin by dipping the prawns in the flour, then egg mixture and lastly the coconut. Make sure they are well coated in coconut.

Place a frying pan on medium to high heat and add the coconut oil. Once the pan is hot, add the prawns and leave to cook on one side for 5 minutes, until slightly golden. Flip them and cook for a further couple of minutes.

Serve immediately, with the mango salsa.

coconut-prawn-salsa.jpg

Taste of the Gods - Easter Surprise

Easter weekend is coming up. How about baking our not so naughty Orange, Almond and Date Cake? If you can get the dates and oranges prepared in advance, it's the easiest and quickest cake you'll probably ever make! So if you're like me and put off by long lists of ingredients and complicated methods, this one is for you!

It's a beautifully intense and moist cake, which goes perfectly with seasonal fruit. I like a slice for breakfast with a scoop of yoghurt and a few berries scattered on top

Ingredients

2 oranges

200 g dates

6 eggs

250 g almond meal (or grind whole almonds yourself)

1 tsp baking powder

drizzle of honey

sliced almonds

Method

  1. Cover the dates in water and leave aside for 2 hours.

  2. Wash the oranges and place them in a saucepan, covered in boiling water. Simmer for 2 hours. Allow them to cool, then roughly cut them in quarters (removing any pips) and puree in a blender.

  3. Preheat the oven to 200°C.

  4. Blend the dates in a food processor, discarding the water (or add it to a smoothie later - delicious!).

  5. Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Stir in the date and orange puree and mix thoroughly before adding the almond meal and baking powder.

  6. Pour into a greased and lined cake tin and bake for 50 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean. It might need a little longer if the oranges are extra juicy.

  7. Allow to cool in the tin before turning out.

  8. Once cool, drizzle a little honey over the top and scatter with sliced almonds.

orange-easter-cake.jpg

Taste of the Wild - Venison Stew

At Wildfitness we explore different movements, pushing comfort zones and shocking the body: everything to keep movement exciting and fun. I like to mimic this with the meals we serve. So my aim is to challenge taste buds and create a culinary adventure!

When it comes to experimenting with new tastes, venison does just that; it opens me up to a whole new world of flavours, ones that I am not used to. It is also a wonderfully distinct taste that surprises and excites with every mouthful. To top it off, venison is the wildest of meats (free of hormones and other additives) and naturally closer to what our ancestors would have eaten.

Try out this deliciously warming stew for these cold winter evenings. The sweet and spicy combination compliments the intensity of the venison and creates an exciting mix of flavours. It's delicious served with a heap of fresh green veg.

Ingredients

500g diced venison

2 onions, finely chopped

10 shallots, peeled

4cm fresh ginger, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, crushed

1 cinnamon stick

2 stems lemongrass, bashed

2 tbsp tamari sauce

1 tsp paprika

200g roughly chopped prunes

500ml beef stock

4 medium carrots, peeled & cut in 2cm slices

2 sweet potatoes, peeled & diced

Bunch of fresh thyme

Method

Fry the onion and whole shallots in a little butter in a large saucepan. Once they start to brown, add the ginger, garlic, cinnamon and lemongrass and give it a good stir.

After a few minutes, add the venison until the sides are golden.

Stir in the tamari sauce, paprika, stock, carrots, sweet potato and prunes.

Cover and simmer gently for 1½ hours, stirring from time to time, until everything is cooked. Discard the lemongrass and cinnamon before you serve.

Venison Stew.jpg