Chef & Friend To The Stars, Gizzi Erskine Shares Delicious (And Balanced) Recipes From Her Latest Cookbook

Hungry? Gizzi Erskine has got healthy, delicious and balanced recipes which won't have you reaching for the emergency stash of chocolate after...

Gizzi Erskine Instagram Takeover Gizzi is our kind of girl. As well as having an enviously perfect beehive going on, she champions the thinking that good food cooked well can be healthy and not to mention delicious. With fans in the shape of Millie Mackintosh and Diana Vickers (who both have fantastic bods, we may say), her new book, Gizzi’s Healthy Appetite: Food to Nourish the Body and Feed the Soul is a must for all those who want to enjoy a balanced diet without depriving themselves of the foods they love.

We helped Gizzi celebrate the launch of her fourth cookbook with an Instagram takeover yesterday and here are some of the super tasty recipes that you were treated to…

Superfood Salad

This salad has everything you could possibly want for health; oily fish for brain development and building a good heart, and a variety of green vegetables for balancing alkalinity in the blood. Kale is a winner in salads but you need to give it a really quick blanch first or it’s like eating tickly autumn leaves. The avocado is full of vitamin E and good oils that will help you burn fat, and it’s the same deal with the seeds. There’s quinoa for carbs and more protain and ew’re toasting it to give it a more nutty flavour. The Japanese dressing with shallots and ginger will cleanse your blood and give it some spunk.

SERVES 4
PREPARATION TIME 20 minutes
COOKING TIME 15 minutes

100g quinoa
320ml water
100g kale, blanched for 30 seconds and refreshed in iced water
100g fresh or frozen edamame beans
½ head of broccoli, cut into small florets
1 avocado, peeled, stoned and chopped
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
10 radishes, thinly sliced
300g perfectly cooked or hot-smoked salmon, skin removed and flesh flaked
1 tablespoon toasted black and/ or white sesame seeds

For the Japanese salad dressing
1 banana shallot, very finely chopped
3cm piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and grated
6 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
6 tablespoons soy sauce
6 tablespoons sesame oil
sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper

Pop the quinoa in a dry frying pan and toast over a medium heat, keeping the quinoa moving the whole time, until it’s lightly golden and nutty. Transfer to a small saucepan and add a good pinch of salt and the water. Cover, bring to the boil and cook for 10 minutes.

Remove from the heat and, keeping the lid on, let the quinoa steam for 5 minutes to soak up the remaining liquid and get fluffy.

To make the dressing, place all the ingredients in a clean jam jar and season with salt and pepper. Screw the lid on tightly and shake it like crazy.

Drain the kale and dry it on kitchen paper, then roughly chop. Place the kale in a large salad bowl along with the edamame beans, broccoli, avocado, spring onions, radishes and quinoa. Dress with two-thirds of the salad dressing, give a swift mix so as not to let the avocado break up too much, then plate up between 4 plates.

Top with the salmon and the remaining dressing and finish with a scattering of the sesame seeds.

Wet and Wild Garlic Chicken Kievs

Chicken Kievs are utterly delicious – I am squealing inside while I write this recipe and wait for them to cook. Garlic butter makes everything taste good and so does frying anything in breadcrumbs, so here we have a double whammy of deliciousness. Chicken kievs are a little complicated ot make (they must be sealed well, the butter needs to be frozen and you have to make sure you slit the chicken evenly so that the butter can’t seep out) but it’s a fun process and a good one to get your hands dirty with. I’ve pimped up my recipe by roasting fresh wild garlic and then adding this, plus some grated garlic AND some wild garlic, to the butter and then wrapping it in wild garlic leaves. And these chicken Kievs are – I can say this because I’ve just tasted them – possibly the best thing I’ve ever eaten. You can quote me on that.

SERVES 4
PREPARATION TIME 20 minutes, plus chilling
COOKING TIME 1 hour

16 wild garlic leaves
2 large free-range eggs, beaten with a little milk
100g plain flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
300g panko breadcrumbs
4 large free-range chicken breasts with fillets attached (I like using supremes, which you can get from your butcher, as they still have the wing tip attached) oil, for deep-frying

Garlic Butter:
SERVES 4
1 bulb of wet garlic
2 wet or dried garlic cloves, grated
200g unsalted butter, at room temperature 2 wild garlic leaves, finely sliced, and garlic flowers (if you can find them)
2–3 tablespoons chopped parsley
sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oven to 200°C/ Gas Mark 6.

Wrap the bulb of wet garlic in foil and roast for 40 minutes, or until the cloves are soft and gooey when squished. Leave to cool a little.

Place the squeezed-out roasted garlic cloves in a small food processor with the grated garlic, butter, sliced wild garlic leaves, parsley and plenty of salt and pepper and blitz until smooth. If you have managed to get hold of wild garlic flowers, stir them into the garlic butter.

Take the whole wild garlic leaves and lay them out on a work surface, 4 leaves per chicken breast. Divide the butter between the 4 sets of leaves and roll them up to make 4 parcels about the size and shape of your thumb.

Wrap the parcels in cling film and then place them in the freezer for 20–30 minutes, or until they are very firm. (If I have any excess butter, I melt it and serve it poured over the cooked chicken Kievs).

When the butter is hard, take 3 bowls and fill one with the seasoned flour, one with the beaten eggs and one with the breadcrumbs. Using a sharp knife, make a deep cut lengthways along each chicken breast to make a pocket in the chicken. Stick your finger in the pocket and root around a bit to make the hole a little bit larger.

Unwrap the cling film from the frozen butter parcels and stuff each breast with one of the parcels. Plug up the hole in each chicken breast with the false fillet, or a bit of the false fillet, and pinch the end of the chicken shut.

Lower the oven temperature to 190°C/Gas Mark 5. Heat the oil in either a deep-fat fryer or a deep saucepan to 190°C. Carefully dip each stuffed breast first in the seasoned flour, then in plenty of the egg, and then in the breadcrumbs, coating them thoroughly and paying particular attention to the end where they’ve been sealed. I would double-coat the end with more egg and breadcrumbs.

Carefully place each chicken Kiev into the hot oil and cook for 4–5 minutes, or until the Kievs turn a light golden colour.

Transfer to a baking tray and bake for 12–15 minutes, until cooked through and nicely crisp and brown. Some of the butter will have leaked out, so be sure to pour that back over the chicken when you serve it.

Serve the chicken Kievs with mashed potatoes, peas and any excess butter poured over.

Apricot Kernel & Almond Milk Ice Cream with Baked Rose Apricots

This dessert is so beautiful and elegant; the almond milk is infused with the scent of apricot kernels and some of the kernels are blended into the ice cream. It was a hard recipe to develop and my friend Alex Fubini at the Ice Cream Union helped me to get the quantities just right. You see, there’s not much fat in almond milk, or apricot kernels for that matter, and I wanted to try using unrefined rapadura sugar instead of caster sugar, all of which affect the balance of the recipe, but we got there in the end. This ice cream is just heavenly when served alongside Baked Rosé Apricots.

MAKES 1 LITRE
PREPARATION TIME 10 minutes, plus infusing and freezing
COOKING TIME 15 minutes

1 litre best-quality pressed almond milk (I use The Pressery brand)
1½ tablespoons sweet almond oil
100g apricot kernels (you can now buy these from health food shops – yippee!)
½ teaspoon salt
8 free-range egg yolks
130g rapadura sugar or 110g caster sugar
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
Baked Rosé Apricots, to serve
Amaretti biscuits, crushed, to serve
You will also need an ice cream Machine

Place the almond milk, almond oil and kernels in a saucepan and heat until just starting to steam – do not let the milk boil or it will split.

Leave to infuse for 2 hours – the infused milk should have a much more rounded apricot and almond tinge to it.

Using a slotted spoon, remove half the kernels from the milk and discard. Pour the infused milk and remaining kernels into a food processor and blend until smooth, and then add the salt.

Now, return the mixture to the pan and heat again until it is steaming but not boiling. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and xanthan gum until fluffy. Whisk in the hot infused milk and kernels mixture and then pour it all back into the pan.

There is now enough fat and sugar to stabilize the mixture so place the pan over a low heat and whisk until the mixture comes up to the boil and thickens to a rich custard.

Remove from the heat, cover the surface of the custard with a layer of cling film and leave to cool. Once cool, pour the custard into an ice cream machine and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions until it’s frozen.

Transfer to a 1-litre sealable plastic container and freeze for a minimum of 5 hours. Serve with Baked Rosé Apricots and sprinkled with crushed Amaretti biscuits.

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