Cooking for Mel C, Stephen Merchant and Aisling Bea!

I’ve just had one of the most busiest and fun weekends! With my hubby’s hotel opening in Kingston, we spent the entire Saturday tasting the restaurant’s new menu (yum).  Then it was onto Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch on Sunday starting with hair and makeup at 6am then cooking for singer Mel C  and comedians Stephen Merchant and Aisling Bea.  For Sunday Bunch, Jodi, our Head Chef and I presented 4 delicious gluten-free pulse dishes to celebrate the International Year of Pulses as declared by the United Nations.

sundaybrunch_pulses_blogWe love pulses because they are so many ways to enjoy them, but also because they are an inexpensive, low-fat source of fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals which will contribute towards long term food security around the globe.  They can even contribute towards 1 of your 5 of day.

Pulses are seeds in a pod and includes beans, lentils and dried peas and are all gluten-free.  You can purchase them dried which you would need to soak overnight then cook, or for a quick fix, you can buy them pre-cooked from a can. The delicious recipes I presented on the show are below and please message me @adria_wu if you have any questions and tag us @mapleandfitz with your homemade versions. I look forward to hearing from you.

You can also download a printable PDF version here. maplebuttons_pulses-01

Black Dahl Shakshuka


Serves 6

250g black lentils (soaked min 12 hours)
4L cold water
1 tbsp cooking salt

2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp sweet paprika
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 tsp ground cardamom

2 tbsp olive oil
220g onion (1 med onion), diced
1 large red pepper, diced
24g garlic (6 cloves), diced
65g ginger, peeled, grated
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick (or 1/4 tsp powder)

1200g canned chopped tomatoes (3 cans)
200-400ml water

1 tsp of flaked sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

6 eggs

fresh parsley to garnish

1. Soak lentils in cold water overnight. Rinse and drain. In a large pot add lentils, salt and cover with water. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer, stirring occasionally, until lentils are very soft but still hold their shape, about (40 minutes to 1 hour). If needed, top up with water so covered. Drain and set aside.
2. Toast spices on high heat for 30 secs, take off heat and set aside.
3. Heat olive oil on medium high heat and sautee onions & red pepper for 5 minutes, then add garlic, ginger, bay leaf and cinnamon and cook for another 2 mins. Add tomatoes and cook for 1 hour until thick and creamy. Add water as needed to resemble a salsa consistency. Season with sea salt and pepper.
4. Add lentils and cook for another 30 mins. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180F.
5. Use a spoon to make wells in tomatoes, crack in eggs them and bake in oven for another 20-30 mins or until the whites are cooked.
6. Garnish with parsley.


Chickpea Flour Tacos

Serves 4

600g pumpkin, cubed, roasted
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp flaked sea salt

200g red bean (soaked for min 12 hours)
4L cold water
1 tsp cooking salt

1 tsp olive oil
140g red onion (1 small onion), chopped
10g garlic (3 cloves)
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp chili powder
(or more if you like some heat!)
140g tomato paste
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp flaked sea salt
1 tbsp or more water

100g white cabbage, sliced
100g red cabbage, sliced
5g fresh coriander, chopped
40ml rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp lime juice, zest
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp flaked sea salt

300g chickpea flour
3 tbsp activated yeast flakes
500-550ml water
1/4 tsp cooking salt
olive oil for cooking

Garnish (optional)
1 small tub sprouted lentils (or see below to sprout your own pulses)

1. Preheat oven to 220F. Roast cubed pumpkin with olive oil and sea salt for 25-35 mins until cooked and some browning.
2. Soak the beans in cold water overnight then rinse and drain. In a large pot add beans, salt and cover with water. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer, stirring occasionally, until cooked about (40 minutes to 1 hour). If needed, top up with water so covered. Drain and set aside.
3. Heat olive oil in pan, sautee onion, garlic and spices for 5 minutes, then add tomato paste and cook or another 2 mins. Allow to cool for 10 mins then blend in food processor into dip-like consistency (add 1 tbsp of water at a time as needed). Mix with beans.
4. Mix rice wine, honey, lime zest and juice. Toss cabbage and coriander in pickle marinade. Do a quick pickle for 20 mins or refrigerate overnight.
5. Sift flour into a bowl, add yeast and whisk water until consistency like pancake batter.
6. Heat a non-stick pan with oil. Ladle mixture onto pan to form tortillas about the size of your palm for mini tortillas, or full pan for regular size.
7. Assemble tortilla with beans, pumpkin, slaw, and garnish with sprouted lentils.

How to Sprout Lentils
1. Rinse seeds. Soak 8-14 hours away from extreme heat/cold.
2. Rinse again with fresh cold water in strainer. Leave in strainer with bowl underneath to catch dripping water. Cover with cloth and store in dark environment (cupboard or oven). Sprout for 1-2 days (tail should be the same length as the pulse or longer).
3. When ready, rinse seeds and serve. Otherwise, store in refrigerator and rinse every 24 hours in refrigerator.


Rosemary Lentil Risotto

LENTIL RISOTTO (gf, df, ve)

Serves 6-8

200g white beans soaked overnight, rinsed and drained
4L water

650g lentils (green and/ or yellow), soaked overnight, rinsed and drained
6L water
1/2 tsp cooking salt

2 tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, chopped
200g white onion (1 med onion), chopped
1 sprig rosemary, leaves only, chopped
1/2 tsp flaked sea salt

50-100ml vegetable broth
50-100ml hazelnut milk (optional or use more broth)
black pepper to taste

Kale Pesto (optional)
100 g cavolo nero black kale, stems removed
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 lemons, juiced and zest
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil/ hazelnut oil
1/4 tsp flaked sea salt

Garnish (optional)
50g crushed hazelnuts

1. Soak lentils overnight. Wash lentils well, drain and rinse until water runs clear. Set aside. Repeat the same for white beans.
2. In a large pot, cover white beans with water and cook for 60 mins until very soft centre.
3. Cover lentils in cold water and add salt. Bring to boil and simmer for 20-25 mins until cooked through but not mushy. Drain and set aside when cooked.
4. Meanwhile heat the olive oil cook onion, garlic, salt for 5 minutes. In blender or food processor, blend white bean mix until smooth. Return mixture to sauté pan, add chopped rosemary; add hazelnut milk (or broth) 50ml at a time while stirring to achieve a creamy consistency. When reached a sauce consistency reheat cooked yellow and green lentils with the sauce.
5. Make pesto by blending all ingredients in a blender or food processor.
6. To serve, place bean trio on plate, drizzle with pesto, and garnish with crushed hazelnuts.

Salted Caramel Gluten Free Brownie

Makes 1 tray or 12 squares

400g black beans, cooked, drained and pureed
250 g avocado, puree
60-100ml water

2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
100g dates, pitted or raw sugar
200g dark chocolate (raw if desired)
100g milk chocolate (raw if desired)
5ml vanilla extract

4 medium eggs

170g ground almonds
170g raw cacao powder
1 tsp bicarbonate soda

Salted Date Caramel:
170g dates, pitted or raw sugar
50g almond butter
5ml vanilla extract
5g flaked sea salt
50g hot water

1. Preheat oven 180C. Line a 23cm square tin with parchment paper.
2. Blend all salted date ingredients in food processor until smooth and set aside.
3. Blend black bean and avocado in blender until smooth adding 60ml of water to start. Consistency should resemble a dip. If too dense, add more water 1 tbsp at a time.
4. Melt oil, sweetener, dark and milk chocolate over a water bath.
5. Remove from heat and let slightly cool before mixing in black bean and avocado mix and add vanilla extract
6. Whisk in one egg at a time.
7. Sift ground almond, raw cacao powder, and bicarbonate soda and mix evenly. Add wet mixture to dry.
8. Assemble the 600g brownie batter in lined pan. Swirl in the caramel and finish off with rest of brownie batter.

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