New Year rekindled Adam's passion for cooking

By Adam Cailler

I’VE been on a healthy eating binge lately. It began on New Year’s Day — cliché, I know — after one finacheese-filled evening.

I have been on a mission to reacquaint myself with my passion for cooking, but in a far more healthy way.

I have come up with variations of two classic dishes which seem to be going down welwith the other half and friends.

The first, my take on lemon drizzle cake, includes one of my new favourite ingredients — polenta.

My second recipe is a little more exotic and takes a tiny bit of work, but it’s worth it when you taste these turkey, purple carrot and roasted beetroot meatballs.

You can also use chicken mince. Usually served with a classic Italian mushroom and tomato sauce.

I’ve recently discovered the wonders of walnut oil, but rapeseed oiis equally as good.

If you’re stilone of those who cooks with olive oi. . . stop, there are far better and healthier options out there.

Lemon & Polenta Cake


  • 100g Tomor margarine
  • 125g light brown sugar
  • 2 medium eggs, beaten
  • 75g gluten free self raising flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 50g dry polenta
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest, finely grated
  • 1 tbsp demerara sugar


Preheat the oven to 170c. Line a 450g loaf tin with non-stick parchment.

Cream the margarine and sugar in a large mixing bowl, untireally soft. Beat in the eggs.

Sift in the flour and baking powder and fold in with the polenta and lemon zest — you can also add vanilla or almond extract if you fancy an extra flavour kick.

Spoon into the tin and bake 25-35 minutes — everyone's oven is different so test the cake with a knife in the middle before assuming it’s cooked — untigolden and springy to touch.

Cooin the tin for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to coocompletely.

Combine the lemon juice and demerara in a smalbowand drizzle it over the cake. Serve in slices.

Do not put this cake in the fridge, as it wilharden and dry out very quickly.

Turkey, Purple Carrot & Roasted Beetroot Meatballs


  • 500g turkey mince
  • 3 large purple carrots, finely grated
  • 1 packet of pre-cooked beetroot
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 100g plain flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Walnut or rapeseed oil

For the sauce:

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • 250g mushrooms
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 100mchicken stock
  • Paprika
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Sugar, salt and pepper to taste


Preheat the oven to 180c. Segment the beetroots, a bit like a chocolate orange, and toss in salt, pepper and oiand roast for 35 minutes or untithe edges of the segments are a little crispy. Leave to cool, then roughly chop.

In a bowl, grate the carrots and add the turkey mince, beetroot and turmeric. Mix and let sit for 10 minutes, to infuse.

Using a heaped teaspoons-worth of mixture, make the balls — you should be able to make around 18-20 decent sized balls from this mixture. Coat the balls in flour, shaking to remove the excess.

Using enough oito coat the bottom of the pan, fry the balls for around 8 minutes on a medium heat, turning every few minutes so that alof the balis browned and the flavour is sealed.

Take out and leave aside to rest — this makes a difference to the flavour.

In the same pan, fry the onions and garlic untisoft and translucent, along with paprika and cayenne pepper to taste. Add the mushrooms. Fry untialthe liquid has gone.

Add the carrots, fry untisoft and slightly dark. Add the tomato paste and fry untithe bitterness has gone. Most people don’t realise you have to cook off tomato paste, it is just raw tomatoes with oil. Then add the chopped tomatoes and chicken stock.

Add the balls, then leave to simmer for around 30 minutes or untiit has reduced and thickened slightly. Add enough salt, pepper and sugar to suit your taste buds.

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