Rice and Beans

Having encouraged my other half to adopt meat free Monday I’m having to keep on my toes to ensure I have him hooked.  This isn’t because I can’t cook vegetarian food but because he doesn’t like anything he classes as mushy i.e. lentils or spicy i.e. curry (unless it’s tikka masala). A spicy lentil dahl is one of my favourite vegetarian meals so this makes things a little tricky. Step in rice and beans. It may not be the most beautiful dish but it’s deliciously  filling and bursting with flavour (and not spicy).

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I am so in love with this dish I can’t even tell you. I made it as an experiment and it turned out so good I just had to share. It’s perfect served with some steamed greens or a big green salad to make a fairly well balanced, plant based, satisfying meal in less than 30 minutes.

Rice and Beans

Ingredients

1 tablespoon of Coconut Oil (You can use any oil but I’m just keeping the theme going)

1 Medium White Onion, finely chopped

2 cloves of Garlic, crushed

1 cup of Brown Basmatti Rice

2 cups of Cooked Black Beans*

3-4 sprigs of Fresh Thyme

1 Bay Leaf

1 teaspoon of Salt

½ teaspoon of Black Pepper

½ teaspoon of Ground All Spice

1 can of Coconut Milk (I use this one from Biona)

1 cup of Water

*If you’re cooking the black beans from scratch add 1 cup of dried Black Beans into 3 cups of cold water. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer for approximately 2 hours. Just check the individual packet instructions in case this differs.

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Method

  • Place a heavy based pot over a medium heat. Add the coconut oil and allow to melt and heat through. Then add in the onion and salt and cook for 5 minutes or so until soft.
  • Add in the garlic and cook for a further 2-3 minutes, don’t let it burn.
  • The next step is hard, add in all the remaining ingredients. Give it a good stir, place the lid on the pot and bring to simmer, the lower the heat so that it just gently bubbles away.
  • Cook for approximately 20 minutes or until all of the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is nice and tender. Just check  every now and then to make sure the mixture doesn’t go dry. Then remove from the heat, keep the lid on and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
  • After 5 minutes fluff the rice up and serve with your side of choice, I recommend greens!

Enjoy! x x

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Ratatouille

One of my all time favourite summer dishes is ratatouille. Simple, delicious and bursting with the flavours of summer. When  I lived in France (many moons ago it seems) I would head down to the Saturday market and grab all of the ingredients, amongst other things, to make a big batch of this for the week ahead. There I would use fresh tomatoes  as they were so juicy and perfectly ripe. I use passata in the recipe as good quality ripe tomatoes aren’t always so easy to come by. If you can find some ripe and juicy tomatoes substitute them in for the passata.

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Served hot or cold it makes for a delicious side dish or served alone with some cous cous (my personal favourite) to soak up all the juice.

 

Ratatouille

Ingredients

1 large Red Onion, peeled and sliced

2 cloves of Garlic, crushed

1 medium Aubergine, diced into 1cm cubes

1 large Courgette, sliced into 1 cm thick rounds

1 Red Pepper, cut into thick slices

1 Green Pepper, cut into thick slices

250 ml Passata

1 tablespoon of Olive Oil

1  Bay Leaf

2-3 sprigs of Fresh Thyme

½ teaspoon Salt

½ teaspoon Black Pepper

Handful of Fresh Basil

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Method

  • Place a large heavy based saucepan over a medium heat. Add in the olive oil.
  • Once the oil is heated add in the onion and cook until the onion has softened and starts to take some colour.
  • Now add in the garlic, stir about until it turns golden brown.
  • Add in the aubergine, red pepper, green pepper and courgette. Fry these off for a few minute to give them some colour.
  • Add in the passata, salt, pepper, thyme and bay leaf, stir everything together.
  • Lower the heat to a low flame and leave to simmer for 20-25 minutes, until all the vegetables are cooked.
  • Place in a serving dish and sprinkle over some fresh basil.

 

Enjoy! X x

Miso Ginger Slaw

 

When the weather is hot like it is now I crave light but delicious food. This salad fits the bill. Perfect as a side to a summer BBQ or piled onto a burger, it’s just delicious.No only does this dressing taste great in this slaw (if I do say so myself), it tastes great tossed in with a simple green salad or used as a dip for crudites. If you’ve never had miso, or only know it as a soup, then you need to try this.

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White miso is a little bit trickier to get your hands on than brown miso but trust me, it’s worth every effort. I actually buy mine off amazon (in bulk!) which saves some time and effort.  

Miso Ginger Slaw

Ingredients

½  small head Red Cabbage

½  small head White Cabbage

2 large Carrots

Dressing:

3 tablespoons White Miso

3 tablespoons Lemon Juice

1 tablespoon Maple Syrup

1 teaspoon freshly grated Ginger

1 Garlic clove, crushed

Few drops of Sesame Oil

½ teaspoon of Black Pepper

½ tablespoon Sesame Seeds, to garnish

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Method

  • Slice the cabbage and carrots into very thin slices. You can use a food processor for this stage but I personally prefer a crunchier texture so stick with slicing by hand.
  • Place all the vegetables in a bowl and get on with the salad dressing.
  • In a separate bowl  add in all of the dressing ingredients  and stir together until smooth. Taste and season to your own preference.
  • Toss the dressing in on top of the vegetables and get your hands it there and mix it around until all the vegetables are coated.
  • Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle over the  sesame seeds.

Serve and enjoy!  x

Roasted Cauliflower Salad

Cauliflower is having a revival, and boy did it need it. I don’t think there is anything worse than being served boiled cauliflower? Possibly boiled cabbage, it’s a close call. As much as I am enjoying cauliflowers increasing popularity there are places where I will draw the line. These include using it in baking of any kind, adding it to breakfast oats and making into cauliflower “pizza”. I’m all about making healthier options but the cauliflower pizza thing is just nonsense, just go have an actual pizza and enjoy it. Anyway enough of what I don’t like and onto what I do like. Roasted Cauliflower.

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Seasoning and roasting the cauliflower just takes it to next level deliciousness. You could of course just have the cauliflower roasted as it is but I like to make it into a salad, if anything just so that I can have leftovers. There’s nothing too overly fancy here. If you can’t get your hands on a decent pomegranate use raisins or chopped dried apricots, something sweet to contrast the savouriness of the cauliflower. I wouldn’t have this as a stand alone salad but served out with a few other favourites to make a salad lovers buffet heaven.

Roasted Cauliflower Salad

Ingredients:

800g Cauliflower (approximately 2 x heads), cut into bite size florets.

2 tablespoons of Olive Oil

1 Garlic Clove, crushed

1 teaspoon of Turmeric

½ teaspoon of Cumin Seeds

¼ teaspoon of Sea Salt

¼ cup Pomegranate Seeds

2 tablespoons of Lemon Juice

2 tablespoons of Parsley, chopped

1 Tablespoon of Mint, chopped

¼ Cup of Flaked Almonds

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Method:

  • Preheat the oven 200 ℃
  • Place the cauliflower florets into a large baking sheet.
  • In a bowl mix the oil, garlic, turmeric cumin seeds and salt together. The pour this mixture over the cauliflower. Get your hands in there and give everything a good mix until all the florets are coated with the golden dressing.
  • Place the cauliflower in the oven for 20-30 minutes, tossing halfway through the cooking,  until it is golden and cooked through.
  • Once ready remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  • While the cauliflower is cooling toast the almonds. I do this by putting them in a  frying pan over low flame, stirring every couple of minute until they become lightly golden around the edges.
  • Once cooled tip the cauliflower into a mixing bowl adding in the remainder of the ingredients. Give everything a good mix until everything is mixed through evenly.
  • Place onto a serving dish, sprinkle with a bit more parsley and tuck in.

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I like to eat this at room temperature though sometimes I’ll admit I haven’t the patience. As always I would love to know if you make this and of course welcome any feedback!

Miso Aubergine

Miso. What can I say other than this stuff is nectar. I jumped on the band wagon for this one way too late, I genuinely don’t know how I have gotten through 28 years on this earth without it. I bought some barley miso quite a while ago having seen it in a recipe and never actually ended up making said recipe.  It was starting to gather dust so  I decided to finally put it to good use this past weekend.

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I’d never tasted  other than in miso soup, I had my preconceived ideas of that it would taste like. I ate some straight out of the packet and it was not what I expected at all,  it’s quite like soya sauce, savoury, tangy, salty and totally delicious.

So what to use it in? I’m always trying to create veggie dishes that are going to give me the “meatiness” I need from  a main meal. Let’s be honest here are only so many chickpeas and lentils a girl can eat. Aubergine provide just that and this tangy miso sauce makes them utterly delicious and a great addition to my mid week meals.

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Ingredients

2 medium Aubergines

Sauce:

2 tablespoons of Brown Miso

1 teaspoon of Honey

1 tablespoon of Lime Juice

1 small Red Chilli, finely chopped

½ teaspoon of  Freshly Grated Ginger

1 clove of Garlic, crushedMethod

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180℃
  • Mix all of the ingredients for the sauce together in a  bowl and set aside.
  • Take the aubergine and split in half  lengthways.
  • Place the aubergine halves on a baking tray and cover each half with a ¼ of the sauce mixture.
  • Pop the aubergine into the preheated oven for about 40 minutes until they are soft and slightly caramelised. You may need to cover with foil part way through the cooking to stop them from burning.
  • Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly.

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I prefer to eat these at room temperature rather than piping hot, but that’s a personal preference. Make an extra few and keep them into fridge for an easy lunch or dinner through the week. Perfection. x x

Radish Soup

I never really got the point of radishes. I mean they were always there but I would never choose to buy them. I guess I never  grew up eating them so they weren’t on my palate. I never really avoided them either more bypassed them without a second thought. That was all until I moved to France. I was served fresh radish, whole, with crusty bread, butter and salt, an absolute winning combination. They’re so peppery and almost spicy but in a completely satisfying way. Anyone like me who quite enjoys the burning sensation of mustard?

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Radish are extremely easy to grow and super cheap to buy. As great as they are in a salad or served as above I wanted to do something different with them, so I embarked on this soup. It’s so easy to make it’s almost embarrassing but it tastes delicious and looks even better with it’s pale pink hue. I’m all for easy mid week cooking and this tasty little number can be whipped up in 25 minutes start to finish.

Radish Soup

Ingredients:

1 small or ½ large Red Onion, finely chopped

400g of Fresh Radish

1 Medium Potato

¾ tablespoon of Olive Oil

1 litre of Vegetable Stock

½ teaspoon of Black Pepper

To serve: olive oil and/or creme fraiche

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Method:

  • Take your radish and chop each one into 6 pieces, chop lengthways and then chop each half into three. Set aside.
  • I don’t bother peeling my potato so just wash it and chop into small pieces, similar in size to the radish.
  • Heat the olive oil in a medium size pot over a medium heat.
  • Add in the onion and fry until the onion starts to become soft and translucent.
  • Add in the radish and onion and fry for a couple of minutes until the start to soften and take a bit of colour.
  • Now add in the sock and pepper, stir and leave to simmer for 15-20 minutes until both the radish and the potato are soft.
  • Once everything is cooked remove from the heat, leave to cool for a few minutes and then blend into a velvety soup

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Serve with a drizzle of peppery extra virgin olive oil or a dollop of crème fraiche. 

Just a side note: I use a stick blender for my soups. I’ve tried using the nutribullet before and find the potato goes a bit gluey and unpleasant.
I hope you enjoy. I always like to hear if you make any of my recipes so please comment on here or on my social media and let me know. Have a great weekend x x

Apricot Turkey Burgers

I’ve eaten more than my fair share of  cake (and Reeses peanut butter cups) in the last week than I care to admit. Recipe testing has it’s downfalls. In great need of something a little more savoury I looked to the food cupboard for some  inspiration. I had a heap of ready to eat apricots left over from experimenting with my apricot and blueberry cake (so many failed attempts let me tell you), which were getting a little dry. A quick rummage through the fridge gave me a few more ingredients to start getting creative.

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Turkey mince makes a great alternative to beef mince, particularly useful  if you’re trying to reduce the quantity of red meat in your diet. If you get turkey breast mince it’s even better, it’s really lean (only about 2% fat) and a great source of protein.  It’s great in lots of dishes but best of all used for these burgers(of course I would say that). Sweet, spicy  and gloriously aromatic these tick all the boxes for me. I like to cook mine on the bbq. If, unlike me, haven’t been barbecuing all through the winter then you can use a griddle pan or pop them under the grill.

The cucumber pickle isn’t essential but it really takes these to the next level of deliciousness. Get you cucumber pickle going a couple of hours before you plan on serving to really get the best flavour out of it.

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Apricot Turkey Burgers (Makes 6)

Ingredients

Cucumber pickle

1 Cucumber

¼ cup of Rice Wine Vinegar

½  teaspoon of freshly grated Ginger

½ teaspoon of finely chopped Red Chilli

2 teaspoons of Honey

¼ teaspoon of Salt

Burgers

500g of Turkey Breast Mince

4 Spring Onions, roughly chopped

1 clove of Garlic, crushed

1 tablespoon of freshly grated Ginger

½-1 medium Red Chilli

½  a packet of Fresh Coriander, stalk and all, approximately  ½ cup or 15g.

Zest of 1 Lime

½ teaspoon of Salt

1 cup of Dried Apricots (Ready to Eat)

1 tablespoon of Coconut Oil, melted

 

Method

  • Start with the pickle.  Take your cucumber and slice it in half lenghtways. Take a teaspoon and scrape  the seeds of each half. Take a knife and slice each half of the cucumber widthways into ½ cm thick pieces.
  • Take all the remaining ingredients for the pickle and mix together in a bowl.
  • Add in the cucumber and toss everything together. Cover with clingfilm and pop in the fridge for a couple of hours.

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  • Now for the burgers. Place the spring onions, garlic, ginger, ½ the chilli, coriander, lime zest and salt into the food processor. Blitz until a rough paste is formed. Taste Add in the apricots and coconut oil and blitz again until everything is combined and again a paste is formed. Taste the paste and if you want it a bit spicier add in some more red chilli.
  • Tip the apricot paste into a bowl and add in the turkey mince. Get your hand in there and mix everything together until the apricot paste is evenly combined with the turkey mince.
  • Divide the mixture into 6 portions and shape each portion into a  burger shape, 2-3 centimetres thick. Place on a plate, cover with clingfilm. Pop in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to allow them to firm up.
  • Preheat your burger, griddle pan or grill, the highest the grill will go. Remove the turkey burgers from the fridge and place on the barbeque( or whatever you are using). Cook for 5 minutes then flip and cook for another 5 minutes.

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  • Serve with the cucumber pickle , a side salad and some brown rice for a well balanced delicious meal.

These honestly are so good for adding to a packed lunch during the week. I’ve even had them in a wrap with some greek yoghurt which was delicious too. Don’t forget to leave a comment if you make these. I love getting feedback from you! Have a great rest of the weekend x x

Crispy Chicken Strips

This is my current favourite way to jazz up some chicken breasts. I don’t mind a bit of chicken but sometimes it just bores me. I wanted something different, something healthy and above all something quick. These take less than 30 minutes from start to finish. So, even if you think you have no time to prepare food you need to make the time (in general) and for these.

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Not only is this recipe great for adults it’s great for kids too! They get to enjoy eating them but best of all they can muck in and enjoy the process of making them too. I am all for kids getting involved in the kitchen young. Yeah they’ll make an almighty mess but the skills they get out of it are priceless.

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Cornflakes and cornflour naturally don’t contain gluten, so in theory these should be gluten free. However both products can be produced in factories that also handle /process gluten containing food so cross contamination can occur.  So, if you genuinely can’t have gluten in your diet please ensure you check the packet of both products to ensure they are in fact gluten free.

Crispy Chicken Strips (Serves 2)

Ingredients:

  • 2 large Chicken Breasts
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 2 cups of Cornflakes
  • ⅓  Cup of Cornflour
  • 1 tablespoon of Fresh Thyme Leaves, roughly chopped
  • Grated Zest of 1 Lemon
  • 1  teaspoon of Salt
  • 1 teaspoon of Black Pepper, ground

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Method:

  • Preheat your oven to 180℃.
  • Take your chicken breasts and cut them lengthways cutting each breast into about 4-5 pieces, each piece being roughly 2cm thick.  Set the strips aside whilst you get along with the rest.
  • Take a bowl and whisk your eggs together, just until they are combined, set aside.
  • Take a large plate and put the cornflour ½ teaspoon of salt and  ½ teaspoon of pepper on this. Mix together until combined and set aside.
  • Take a large plate and pour on your cornflakes. Crush the cornflakes with your hands until they form a medium size crumb. You don’t want them to become a dust, hence why I don’t use the food processor.
  • Add the thyme leaves, lemon zest  and remaining salt and pepper (½ teaspoon of each) to the cornflakes and mix through until everything is dispersed evenly through the cornflake crumbs.
  • Now the fun begins. Take a chicken strip  and toss it in the cornflour until it’s completely covered, then remove it and dust off any excess flour.
  • Now take the same strip and dip it in the beaten egg, again until completely covered.
  • Now dip the strip into the breadcrumbs and toss it about until it’s completely covered. You might need to press the crumbs on to get a good thick coating.
  • Follow this exact same process for the remaining chicken strips. Once each strip is covered in the cornflake layer place it on a baking sheet.
  • Place the strips into your preheated oven for 20 minutes.
  • You’ll know they are ready when the crumbs have gone golden and the strips are firm when you press them

Serve them with whatever condiments you fancy. I love to serve these with  just a squeeze of lemon, some sweet potato wedges and a side salad. Make extras and you have a balanced and tasty packed lunch on your hands.

Spelt and Chickpeas with Sundried Tomato Pesto

This sundried tomato pesto is everything. A tub on standby in the fridge will perk up those sad mid week dinners when eggs on toast seems like the best thing you can muster up. Toss it through just about any grain, add in some protein, some greens and you have yourself a winning meal.  I use it as a sauce, dip, marinade and salad dressing. I’ll also great eaten off a spoon,  I try to reserve that for when I’m alone.

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Here I’ve mixed it with some ready cooked spelt, chickpeas and wilted spinach for the speediest mid week dinner. The leftovers make the perfect packed lunch too.

Spelt and Chickpeas with Sundried tomato Pesto

Ingredients

1 can of Chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 pack of ready cooked Spelt, I use Merchant Gourmet. If you cook your own it’s approximately 1.5 Cups

4 big handfuls of Baby Spinach

1/3 Cup of Sundried Tomato Pesto (recipe below)

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Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

1/4 Cup of Almonds

1 Cup of Sundried Tomatoes (I used the jared variety packed in oil, oil drained off)

1 Cup of Basil (1 small supermarket packet-25g)

2 Large Cloves of Garlic,crushed

1 Teaspoon of Chilli Flakes

1 tablespoon of Balsamic Vinegar

1/2 Cup of Olive Oil

1/3 cup of grated Parmesan Cheese (omit for a dairy free/ vegan version)

1/2 teaspoon of Salt

1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground Black Pepper

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Method

For the pesto:

  • Place the almonds in a food processor and blend until they form coarse powder
  • Place the rest of the ingredients into the processor and pulse until everything is smooth and combined. Taste and season as you like.

To assemble the dish:

  • Heat a small non stick frying pan.
  • Add in the spinach and cook until it is just wilted, remove from the heat and drain any excess water off.
  • To a saucepan add in your chickpeas, spelt and pesto. Heat through. If your pesto is quite dry at this point you can always add in an extra bit of olive oil to prevent everything sticking to the pan.
  • Add the reserved spinach into the saucepan and mix through.
  • Pop everything onto a serving plate and top with a little (or a lot) of extra grated parmesan.

What could be easier! Have a great week all x

Buckwheat Noodle Salad

This is one for all you fellow peanut butter lovers. Peanut butter makes a regular appearance in my breakfast bowl, putting it on my porridge was the ultimate game changer for me. I usually eat PB sweet but I decided to mix things up and give my beloved a savoury makeover.

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This peanut dressing is super creamy and packs a punch.The recipe can easily multiplied if you’re feeding a gang or if you just want  a little extra to have on standby.  Here I’ve paired it with buckwheat noodles and crunchy veg for a satisfying stand alone dish but it makes a great side dish. Any type of noodles would work here, you could even try “zoodles” which are all the rage these days.

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Buckwheat Noodle Salad with Peanut Dressing (Serves 2)

Ingredients:

2 sticks of Buckwheat Noodles (165g approximately)

1/2 Red Pepper, finely sliced

1/2 Yellow Pepper, finely sliced

1 Cup Sugarsnap Peas, finely sliced

2 Spring Onions, finely sliced

Handful of Unsalted Peanuts, chopped

For the dressing:

1/4 Cup of Crunchy Peanut Butter

1 teaspoon of Dark Soya Sauce

1 clove of Garlic, crushed

1 teaspoon  of  freshly grated Ginger

1 Chilli, finely chopped (My chillis were very mild so use less depending on the type of chilli you have)

Juice of 1 Lime

1/4 cup of Coconut Milk

Optional garnishes: unsalted peanuts, corriander, spring onions and chilli.

Method:

  • Cook you noodles as per packet instructions. Once cooked drain and run under cold water to stop the cooking process and cool the noodles down quickly.
  • Now get on with making the dressing.You could use a blender here but I like to just use a good old fashioned bowl and whisk.  Place all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk together until smoooth and everything is fully combined. Taste and adjust flavours to your taste.
  • Place the noddles and your chopped vegetables into a large bowl. Pour over the dressing and mix through with a fork until all of the noodles are coated with the dressing.
  • Put the salad onto a large serving plate and sprinkle with the chopped peanuts.

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I really hope you love this salad as much as I do. Have a great weekend x