The ultimate superfood salad with feta and mint

Photography by Jonathan Gregson

Freekeh, quinoa and chia, the three wonder grains, are combined with broccoli and chickpeas to make a powerhouse of a salad And, what’s more, it tastes delicious too! To reduce nutrient loss, don’t steam the broccoli and sugar snaps for too long, and cook the freekeh and quinoa in the vegetable cooking water rather than stock or plain water. Add the dressing to the grains while still hot, so that they absorb all the lovely flavours.

Serves 3–4
Ingredients:
75g bulgar wheat, cracked wheat or freekah
350ml chicken or vegetable stock, or water
50g quinoa
200g broccoli 100g sugar snap peas
1⁄2 x 400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon toasted pumpkin seeds
1–2 tablespoons chia seeds, preferably ground in a mill or blender
100g feta, crumbled
A handful of alfalfa sprouts
A couple of good handfuls of mixed leaves
For the dressing:
2–3 tablespoons lemon juice
11⁄2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
11⁄2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon honey, preferably manuka
2 tablespoons chopped mint

Directions:
1. Wash grains separately in two to three changes of water or until the water runs clear.
2. If you are using freekeh, put it into a pan and cover with the boiling hot stock or water. Bring to the boil and simmer, lid on, for 25 minutes, adding the quinoa for the final 10–12 minutes.
3. If you are using cracked or bulgur wheat, place it in a pan with the quinoa, cover with the boiling hot stock or water, and gently boil for 12–15 minutes.
4. When the grains are tender, drain thoroughly in a sieve to remove as much moisture as possible.
5. Meanwhile, steam the broccoli for about 3 minutes and the sugar snaps for 1 minute or until they are tender but still have a crunch.
6. In a bowl, combine the dressing ingredients with plenty of salt and pepper, taste and add extra lemon juice if needed.
7. Mix with the still-warm grains and chickpeas.
8. Then add the vegetables, seeds, feta, alfalfa sprouts and mixed leaves.
9. Toss and serve straight away.

Alternative grains: cooked bulgar wheat instead of the cooked freekeh or cracked wheat; cooked couscous or amaranth instead of the cooked quinoa.

Variations: – Omit the feta and add some shredded chicken. – Add some sliced cooked beetroot or cherry tomatoes for colour. – Roast some butternut squash or pumpkin, then add to the salad. – Use lentils or cannellini beans instead of chickpeas. – Add sunflower, linseed or sesame seeds, too.

This recipe can be found in Amazing Grains.


Polenta and Ricotta Berry Torte

Photography by Jonathan Gregson

Fine-ground Italian polenta, or ground cornmeal as it is also known, is a fabulous addition to sweet puddings and baking recipes, adding texture and soaking up all the wonderful flavours that you might choose to add. Serve this summer fruit torte either warm from the oven or cold from the fridge. It can be eaten as a cake or a pudding and needs only some cold cream and a few extra berries scattered around.

Serves 6–8
Ingredients:
175g soft butter
225g golden caster sugar
100g ricotta or natural yogurt
zest of 2 lemons
3 medium free-range eggs
175g fine-ground polenta
100g ground almonds
2 teaspoons baking powder
150g blueberries
150g raspberries

To serve:
100g raspberries
100g blueberries
icing sugar, for dusting

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 160°C/140°C fan/gas mark 3.
2. Grease and line a 23cm loose-bottomed, deep cake tin.
3. Cream the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy.
4. Add the ricotta or yogurt, the lemon zest and 1 egg and whisk, then whisk in a second egg and then a third.
5. Fold in the polenta, almonds and baking powder, followed by the berries.
6. Turn into the cake tin and smooth over, then bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cake.
7. Leave for 10 minutes before turning out of the tin.
8. Top with the extra berries and a dusting of icing sugar and serve warm or cool with a dollop of cream.

This recipe can be found in Amazing Grains.


Healthier Anzac Cookies

Photography by Jonathan Gregson

A slightly altered recipe from the original sweet oat biscuits which were sent overseas from Australia to the serving Anzacs in World War I. I reckon the troops would have been happy with the added almonds and chia seeds though, as they add nutrients and a delicious texture to these slightly chewy, treacly cookies. The chocolate is optional, but is a delicious addition if you have some in the cupboard.

Makes 26
Ingredients:
125g unsalted butter
2 tablespoons golden syrup
150g plain flour
100g quick-cook oats
50g desiccated coconut
2 heaped tablespoons flaked or slivered almonds (optional)
11⁄2 tablespoons chia seeds (optional)
100g soft light brown sugar
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
For dipping: 150g dark chocolate

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 160°C/140°C fan/gas mark 3.
2. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.
3. Put the butter and golden syrup into a saucepan and gently melt.
4. Meanwhile, combine the flour, oats, coconut, almonds and chia seeds, if using, in a bowl.
5. Stir the brown sugar into the butter, turn off the heat and add 2 tablespoonfuls of water and the bicarbonate of soda.
6. Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in the melted butter mixture, then stir to combine.
7. Take small tablespoon-sized amounts and roll into 26 balls. Space them 6cm apart on the tray and then press down lightly about two-thirds with a fork to semi-flatten.
8. Bake for 15–20 minutes or until brown.
9. Remove from the oven, leave for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool.
10. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over barely simmering water, then dip the biscuits halfway into the chocolate and place them carefully on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
11. Leave to dry in the fridge or somewhere cold.

This recipe can be found in Amazing Grains.


Slow-roast lamb and bulgar wheat pilaf with saffron yogurt

Photography by Jonathan Gregson

A slightly altered recipe from the original sweet oat biscuits which were sent overseas from Australia to the serving Anzacs in World War I. I reckon the troops would have been happy with the added almonds and chia seeds though, as they add nutrients and a delicious texture to these slightly chewy, treacly cookies. The chocolate is optional, but is a delicious addition if you have some in the cupboard.

Serves 6–8
Ingredients:
1 large shoulder of lamb, weighing approx 3.5kg
3 garlic cloves, cut into thick slices
1⁄2 heaped teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons sumac
5 tablespoons pomegranate molasses or syrup
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
200ml glass white wine seeds from 1 pomegranate
a handful of mint leaves, torn
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the pilaf:
1 large aubergine, cut into 5cm chunks
3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons olive oil
a knob of butter 3 red onions
sliced 1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon
1⁄2 teaspoon cumin
400g bulgar wheat*
675ml weak chicken or vegetable stock
a handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped

For the rocket salad:
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
150g rocket leaves, or watercress broken into sprigs
3⁄4 cucumber, peeled, halved lengthways and sliced
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the yogurt dressing:
2 pinches of saffron
5 tablespoons Greek yogurt
a good squeeze of lemon juice
1⁄2 garlic clove, crushed
1 tablespoon oil

*Alternative to bulgar wheat: cracked wheat, freekeh or long-grain rice

Directions:
1, Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/gas mark 8.
2. First, make a start on the pilaf. Put the aubergine chunks and the garlic cloves into a roasting tin, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
3. Roast in the oven for 20–30 minutes or until softened and beginning to brown. Remove, cool and set to one side.
4. Leave the oven on for the lamb. Meanwhile, place the lamb in a roasting dish and pierce all over with the pointy end of a knife.
5. Press the garlic pieces into the holes. In a bowl, mix together the cumin, sumac, molasses, 2 teaspoonfuls of olive oil and a good grinding of salt and pepper.
6. Rub the mixture all over the lamb then place in the oven. After 20 minutes take the lamb out of the oven and reduce the heat to 160°C/140°C fan/gas mark 3.
7. Pour the wine around the lamb and cover with foil.
8. Bake at the lower temperature for 31⁄2 hours, then remove the foil and finish cooking for a further 20 minutes.
9. Towards the end of the lamb’s cooking time, mix the lemon juice, olive oil and seasoning in a salad bowl.
10. Top with the rocket or watercress leaves and cucumber, but don’t toss, just leave in a cool place.
11. Remove the bulgar from the heat, stir in the parsley and taste for seasoning.
12. Continue with the pilaf. Put the butter and the 2 remaining teaspoonfuls of oil in a large saucepan and fry the onions slowly for about 10 minutes until soft and tinged with brown.
13. Add the cinnamon, cumin and bulgar wheat and stir together for a minute.
14. Pour in the hot stock (you will need to season with some salt if your stock is home-made), cover and cook gently for 10 minutes or until tender.
15. Add the roasted aubergine for the final 3 minutes.
16. Once the lamb is cooked, remove to a board and leave to rest loosely covered with foil for 15 minutes. Spoon off any fat on top of the lamb and keep the juices warm in a small pan.
17. Once the lamb has rested, shred onto a warm plate and keep warm in the now cooling oven, covered with foil.
18. Pour 1 tablespoonful of boiling water over the saffron threads and leave for 5 minutes, then stir into the yogurt with the lemon juice, garlic and oil, plus some salt and pepper.
19. Spoon the bulgar pilaf onto a warm platter and top with the shredded lamb and any juices.
20. Sprinkle with the mint and pomegranate seeds and serve with the yogurt dressing and the salad, tossed with its dressing.

This recipe can be found in Amazing Grains.


Nasi goreng

Photography by Jonathan Gregson

One of Indonesia’s national dishes, Nasi Goreng actually hails from China, but was introduced when the Chinese traded with Indonesia from about 2000 BC. The dish varies from place to place, sometimes using prawns and chicken, sometimes using just vegetables, but is unified by the fact that it always features fried rice and is served with a fried egg on top. This version was taught to me at an Indonesian hawker stall – it’s super quick to make and is made all in one wok. I love a handful or two of beansprouts added at the end, but I’m not sure that’s done in Indonesia! You can use wholegrain rice for added nutrients. It’s best to have all your ingredients prepped and ready to add to the wok for speedy stir-frying.

Serves 2
Ingredients:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 free-range eggs
1 onion, sliced
350g skinless and boneless chicken thighs, cut into small chunks
2 garlic cloves, chopped 200g greens, such as kai lan, spring greens or cabbage, shredded
300g cooked white long-grain rice, cooled
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
11⁄2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil

Directions:
1. First, heat half the oil in a wok and fry the eggs until nearly cooked. Transfer to a plate. Keep warm in a low oven.
2. Add the onion to the wok with a little extra oil if needed and fry until beginning to soften.
3. Throw in the chicken, turn the heat to high and brown all over.
4. Reduce the heat to medium, add the garlic and shredded greens and stir-fry for 1–2 minutes or until cooked but still crunchy.
5. Add the rice, oyster sauce, soy sauce and sesame oil.
6. Season and stir together to heat through.
7. Serve topped with the fried eggs.

Alternative to cooked white long-grain rice: cooked brown Basmati rice

This recipe can be found in Amazing Grains.