Thursday, 5 July 2018

Body Chief Review

I'm back on the blogging game after my laptop has finally gone to laptop heaven (after 9.5 years) and I have a number of posts to share with you. First up is a review of Body Chief meal prepping company. Covering Birmingham, Coventry and Rugby this company is one of the leading meal prep companies in the West Midlands. Body Chief allows you to chose a diet either the Standard Diet, Sports Diet, Vegetarian Diet, a Veggie and Fish Diet or a Gluten Free Diet.  The Standard Diet consists of daily meals available for 1000, 1500 and 2000 calories. Body Chief website allows you to see today's menu and tomorrow's menu which is handy. I sampled the 1500 calorie menu for two days and was surprised with how much food I ate throughout the day. On both days, I ended up sampling a number of mealswhich really kept me full throughout the day.
All the meals are prepped with clear calorie amount displayed.
Day 1 meals.

The first breakfast was Choco pancakes with natural cheese and grapes (375 calories) which was very filling. The yogurt and grapes complimented the chocolate pancakes. The second breakfast that I sampled was corn and egg paste sandwich with nigella seeds and veg (225 calories). For lunch I had chicken breast in chive sauce with young spinach leaves salad which was well seasoned and delicious. The evening meal was low in calories (300) but the Spring salad with buckwheat , cottage cheese, cucumber and radish was delightful. For dessert I had a refreshing watermelon cooler.


Add caption

Lunch

Lunch


Day 2 the first meal for the day was Fish paste with pepper and sundried tomatoes (375). I queried how good the fish paste was but it was surprisingly good.

Lunch was a gorgeous and colourful Turkey with Chickpeas and Veg in a cumin sauce (300 calories) This was actually supposed to be for the evening meal but was so colourful and light I had it for lunch.

For dinner (supposed to be lunch) was Pearl Barley Risotto with Beef , Young Cabbage and String Beans (450 calories ). This was incredibly filling.

 
The afternoon snack was Fresh Fruit Salad with Desiccated Coconut (150 calories )

For dessert was a divine brownie,

I also sampled a watermelon cooler which was refreshing. I thoroughly enjoyed sampling all the meals as they were delicious.

Positives :
* The meals were well flavoured and seasoned.
* There are several meals that you can eat throughout the day.
* All the meals are delivered to your home or work from 5:30am onwards
* All the meals are calorie controlled and can be adaptable to your dietary needs.
* The service takes the stress out of preparing daily meals.

Negatives:
* The cost per day for the meals is £18 per pay day which is expensive.

Disclaimer : Thank you to Body Chief.
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Friday, 11 May 2018

Date Crunch

Baking and healthy eating are not words that are normally associated with each other. It is possible to enjoy delicious baked sweet treats with some clever twists and baking methods. My latest cookery book purchase, Weight Watchers Seriously Satisfying has two chapters dedicated to sweet treats. I made the chocolate flapjacks a few weeks ago, but my new favourite is the date crunch. The crunch reminds me of a shortbread and the gooeyness from the dates reminds me of the cornflake tart I baked a few weeks prior.





Ingredients
Low fat cooking spray
150g pitted dates
finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
125 g self raising flour
125g semolina or cornmeal
75g low fat spread
75g light brown sugar
3 teaspoon of strawberry jam (optional).

Method
Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 5/190C/Fan Oven 170C. Spray the baking tin with the cooking spray. Place the dates in a small pan with the lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of water. Simmer gently for 5 minutes until soft and mushy. Beat or mash to a smooth paste and set aside to cool.
Sift the flour into a mixing bowl and stir in the semolina. Place the low fat spread and sugar in a small pan over a low heat and gently, then stir in the lemon zest. Pour over a low heat and melt gently, then stir in the lemon zest. Pour over the flour and mix to a stiff dough. Press half of the dough into the tin. If using the strawberry jam, spread this over the dough mixture. Spread the date mixture over the dough, then top with the remaining dough, passing down gently. Bake for 30 minutes until golden.
Remove from the oven.  Cut into squares. Leave to cool in the tin for about 30 minutes. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

xxx
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Saturday, 7 April 2018

Vegetable Pilau

I love a good curry feast, but attempting to eat healthy and eating curries isn't associated with each other. My favourite curries Butter Chicken and Chicken Tikka Masala are ladled with calories and fat, so when I order or make this at home it really has to be for a special treat. With a few clever tricks, such as the use of fry light and using lots of vegetables, you can eat an Indian feast whilst following a healthy eating regime. I made Parsee Chicken curry (recipe from 50 Great Curries of India) a little while back and decided to serve this with a healthier version of pilau rice. Packed with a number of vegetables, a handful of sultanas, the rice was full of flavour, vibrant colour and nutritiously good for you. The recipe is from Weight Watchers mini series: Classic Curries and is an incredibly easy side dish to make. 








295 calories per serving
Serves 4
250g dried basmati rice
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2.5cm fresh root ginger, peeled and grated
4 cardamom pods, crushed slightly
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 heaped tablespoons frozen peas
calorie controlled cooking spray
400g mixed vegetables, diced or sliced finely, e.g red and green peppers, cauliflower florets, small brown mushrooms
2 heaped tablespoons sultanas
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method
Put the rice, garlic, ginger and all the spices into a pan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and continue to cook for 10 minutes. Add the peas after 7 minutes.
Heat a non-stick pan ad spray with the cooking spray. Stir-fry the mixed vegetables for 3-4 minutes.
When the rice is cooked, rinse and drain it, and tender to a serving dish. Cover the dish with a clean, dry tea towel and leave for 3-4 minutes.
Stir the vegetables and sultanas into the rice mixture , season too taste and serve.
xxx
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Saturday, 31 March 2018

Spanish Tortilla

An ideal lunch or light evening meal, Spanish tortilla is a lovely and wholesome omelette. You can add additional ingredients such as chorizo, prawns or smoked salmon but I prefer to make to keep this simple and use a red onion instead of a white onion. This makes a lovely luscious lunch or a light evening meal. 






Serves 4
Ingredients
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium potatoes, peeled and very thinly sliced.
1 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced
8 large eggs
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method 

Heat the oil in a deep non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Throw the potatoes and gently fry for 5 minutes. Add the onion and cook, stirring the whole time, until soft and slightly browned. Whisk the eggs, season with salt and pepper and pour into the frying pan. Cook over a medium heat for a couple of minutes and then, using a palette knife, draw the cooked egg into the middle and let the liquid egg run into the gaps. When the egg is set, put a plate over the pan and flip the omelette onto it. Slide the omelette back into the pan to cook to your taste on the other side. 
This tortilla is delicious to or cold with a crisp salad.

xxx
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Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Chicken and Pineapple Stir Fry

I've been trying to have a healthier 2018 as we all know eating well is good for your body and soul. Now, I'll never be one of those radical clean eating peeps, I love chocolate and carbs too much, but I'm trying to eat at least one vegetarian and a Weight Watchers recipe once a week. Having followed the Weight Watchers programme on and off for a number of years, I have amassed quite a few of their cookbooks. This recipe for chicken and pineapple stir fry is adapted from an old Weight Watchers Nice and Spicy cookbook, the recipe was actually chicken and mango stir fry. I struggled to find fresh mango and as tinned pineapple is widely available in supermarkets, I thought I'd try this.  The dish is on the table within 30 minutes which makes it a perfect mid week treat.





Recipe for Chicken and Pineapple Stir Fry
Around 311 calories per serving, takes 30 minutes
Serves 2
Calorie controlled cooking spray
225g skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 red chili de-seeded and chopped finely
2.5cm (1 inch) fresh root ginger, grated
175g broccoli
125g mange tout
125g sweetcorn, halved
100g canned bamboo shoots, drained
230g tinned pineapple chunks
4 tablespoons ginger wine
2 tablespoons tomato puree
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornflour

Method 
Heat a large non stick frying pan or wok and spray it with the cooking spray. Add the chicken strips an stir fry for 5 minutes until the chicken has browned evenly.
Add the garlic, chili, ginger, broccoli, mange tout and baby sweetcorn and stir fry for a further 5 minutes.
Add the bamboo shoots and pineapple chunks and heat through for 2 minutes.
Mix together the ginger wine, tomato puree, soy sauce and corn flour and add this to the pan. Cook, stirring until the sauce thickens. Spoon on to the warmed plates and serve.

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Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Quick Fruit Crumble

I'm having a bit of a cookbook cull, sorting through the books I rarely use and treasuring the ones which I use all the time. Weight Watchers Cook Smart Family Food is one of the oldest cookbooks I  own and one of the bookmarked diet cookbooks that I use. A few lazy Sundays ago, I fancied a warming crumble, but without the calories. It would be impossible to make a pudding with 0 calories, but this crumble is actually very fruity and only contains 240 calories per serving. This crumble is incredibly quick as it uses tinned peaches as the main fruit, but you can swap this for tinned fruit cocktail if you wish. From start to finish this crumble will be ready in around 30 minutes and as it's lighter on the waistline, you could treat yourself to a second helping. 





Ingredients
1 x 420g can peaches in natural juice drained
1 ripe banana, sliced thinly
50g low fat polyunsaturated margarine
100g plain white flour
1 tablespoon light brown soft sugar
2 tablespoons porridge oats
freshly grated nutmeg

Method
Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 5/ 190C/ Fan Oven 170C
Tip the canned fruit into a medium size baking dish - chop the fruit if necessary. Mix in the banana sliced.
Place the margarine, flour and sugar in a food processor and whizz until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the porridge oats. Spoon this topping over the fruit and sprinkle over nutmeg.
Place the dish on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 20 minutes until the topping is lightly browned.


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Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Green Burgers by Martin Nordin Review

When I think of burgers I automatically think of juicy, succulent beef burgers, full of fat and flavour. I occasionally think of chicken burgers, although they are not as superior as beef burgers, but cooked and seasoned right, a chicken burger  can be a wonderful thing. But green burgers? In all honesty healthy nutritious burgers was not the forefront of my mind, but when I saw the press release for Green Burgers, I knew I had to check it out. The cookery book by Martin Nordin showcases the art of
the ultimate veggie burger, creating original and interesting combinations of a vegetarian burger.
As there is a growing movement to eat more vegetarian food there are a number of inspiring recipes such as pulled sweet potato burger with feta cheese, marjoram and black vinegar mix , baba ganoush and barlotti burger with burrata and fried tomatoes. Green Burgers is currently available from Amazon for £10.22 and with so many innovative recipes it is definitely worth the cost. 



There is a range of stunning accompanying pictures for many of the burger recipes. 

Burgers: There are many interesting recipes to check out: Deep fried Mushroom and Quinoa Burger with Purple Sauerkraut and Garlic Mayonnaise, Black Bean Burger with Cheddar and Caramelised Onions, Black Bean Burger with Baba Ghanoush, Grilled Spring Onions and Roasted Pine Nuts, Twirled Aubergine Burger with Homemade Tomato Ketchup and Caramelised Onions, Chickpea and Grilled Pepper Burger with Dill-Dunked Cucumber Salad
Burger Buns: Recipe to try include: Sweet Potato Buns, Poolish-Based Burger Buns and Brioche Buns.
Side Orders: Stand out recipes to try include: Deep-Fried Sweet Potato Crisps, Double Deep-Fried Chips Dunked in Cheese and Fresh Herbs and Barbecued Corn on the Cob with Garlic Butter. 
Pickles, condiments and other accompaniment: Recipes to try include: Garlic Mayonnaise, Pickled Gherkins and Pickled Red Onions.

So far, I've made the BBQ Portobello Burger which was very fill in and flavoursome. 



Recipe for BBQ Portobello Burger with Caramelised Onions and Saint Agur Cheese.

For the 6 burgers
4 grilled and steamed spring onions.
600g portobello mushrooms
2 finely chopped garlic cloves
1 tbsp butter
100g sourdough bread
300ml BBQ sauce
2 eggs

Caramelised onions
2 onions
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp red wine vinegar

To serve
120g Saint Agur or other creamy blue cheese
6 burger buns
butter for buns
finely chopped fresh chives

Method
Grill and steam the spring onions. Cut the mushrooms into 5mm (1/4 inch) cubes. Heat the oil in a frying pan over a high heat until it starts to smoke. Add the mushrooms and fry them so that they take on colour, for 10-15 minutes.
Chop the steamed spring onions and add them and the garlic to the mushrooms in the pan. Add the butter, reduce the heat to medium and cook for a few minutes, stirring. Remove the frying pan from the heat and allow it to cool a little. Then add the bread, BBQ sauce and eggs. Stir so that everything is well combined.
Take a handful of mixture at a time and shape into 6 round patties, either by hand or using a food ring. Put the patties in the fridge for at least an hour preferably longer, then they will hold together better when you fry them.
Peel and chop the onions for the caramelised onion mix. Put the chopped the onions and the butter into a cold saucepan. Cook over a medium heat and put the lid on.
The onions will soon start to release liquid, and the flavours will be concentrated a a result of their cooking in their own juices. Stir with a wooden spoon about once every 5 minutes for 30-40 minutes, and check that they are not burning (If you notice they're starting to get too dry you can add the vinegar earlier).
Pour on the vinegar, increase the heat and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring until considerably reduced. Put to one side.
Preheat the oven to 180C (350F/GAS mark 4) using the grill function.
Heat up a few tablespoons of oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Fry the patties for a few minutes on both sides, until they develop a nice colour and a crispy surface. Transfer to an ovenproof dish and grill in the oven for 5-10 minutes.
Put little cheese on each patty and cook for a little longer in the oven, until the cheese has melter. This won't take long, so keep an eye on them.
Butter the buns on the cut surface and fry them quickly in a frying pan or grill them in the oven.
Place a patty on bottom of each bun. Splash on a heaped spoonful of he onion mix and top with chives.

Disclaimer, I received a copy of Green Burgers for review purposes. 
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Sunday, 11 February 2018

Lettuce and Pea Soup

I can't wait for the slightly warmer Spring months to arrive so I can eat lighter and refreshing dishes. But  as it's freezing outside, I'll settle on eating hearty and filling soups. When it's cold and crisp outside, I really need something to warm me up, especially at lunch time. 
I regularly look for inspiration when making soup as I find eating the same flavour soups on a regular basis can become boring. I found a recipe for lettuce soup from one of the first cookbooks I brought around 10 years ago, BBC Good Food Low Fat Feasts. I did not know that lettuce could be used to cook with or to use as an ingredient in a soup, but the lettuce flavour added a warmth  and mellow flavour to the soup. I added peas as well as I wanted to add another vegetable serving. The recipe serves 8, but as I made this for myself, I froze half the soup in containers and was perfect for lunch a few weeks later.



Takes 40 minutes, serves 8 

25g butter
1 onion, chopped
2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 garlic clove
450ml vegetable stock
100g frozen peas
2 fresh lettuces, finely sliced
225ml milk
a little nutmeg
double and snipped chives, to serve

Method
Melt the butter in a large casserole with a lid, then stir in the onion, potato and garlic. Add the stock,  frozen peas, season and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the potato is tender.
Add the lettuce and cook, covered or 3-4 minutes until the stock returns to the boil and the lettuces are semi-wiltered.
Liquidise, then return to the pan with the milk. Season, add a pinch of nutmeg and serve with a swirl of cream and a sprinkling of chives.

xxx
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Thursday, 7 September 2017

Made in Vietnam Review

I only very recently discovered the delights of Far Eastern cooking. This was by chance, during a trip to New York in April this year. I was tired of all the heavy carb based dishes and fancied a light Thai meal. After eating a fiery, light and flavoursome Thai dish in New York, I made it my mission to explore this cuisine and other cuisines in the Far East. I know very little about Vietnam or Vietnamese cuisine, but as a hungry foodie, I am always eager to learn.

This cookery book Made In Vietnam enables me to go on a culinary cooking tour for Vietnamese cooking virgin, such as me, the authors Tracey Lister and Andreas Pohl, give a short introduction to Vietnamese Cuisine and the cornerstones to the cuisine: rice, fish and herbs. Also, the authors share the influences to this cuisine such as Chinese and French influences. The recipes in this book are dishes the authors have collected over the years and been living and travelling in this country. There are some harder to find ingredients in the cookery book, however if you live near a city featuring a Far Eastern community, you will be able to easily access such ingredients, or use substitutes. 
Made In Vietnam is currently on sale for £14.99, many recipes have photos, recipes are in English and Vietnamese which offers another unusual touch.




The chapters in this book are:
  • Rice and Bread - lots of luscious side dishes including: Broken Rice, Fried Sticky Rice and Vietnamese Baguette.
  • Vegetables and Salads - recipes to try include: Cabbage and Chicken Salad with Vietnamese Mint, Choko and Barbecued Pork Salad, Crispy Noodle Cake, With Sauteed Prawns and Vegetables and Green Mango and Sun Dried Squid Salad and Squid Pomelo Salad. 
  • Barbecued Prawns with Lemongrass, Fish Cakes in Young Green Rice, Prawn Tails Cooked in Coconut Milk and Salted Fish and Fried Rice.
  • Poultry - standout recipes include: Baby Chicken with Char grilled with Kaffir Lime Leaves, Crispy Chicken Wings with Fish Sauce, Soy Poached Chicken and Hoi An Chicken and Rice.
  • Pork, Beef and Goat: standout recipes include: Sticky Rice From The Countryside with Pork and Mung Beans, Pork Ribs Braised with Peanut and Lemongrass and Goat Curry.
  • Condiments: recipes include: Hoisin Dipping Sauce and Lime Chili Dipping Salt.
  • Sweets: standout recipes include: Coconut Ice-cream, Sticky Rice with Red Beans, Coconut and Sesame Seeds and Salty Peanut and Sesame Cookies. 

Recipe for Cabbage and Chicken Salad with Vietnamese Mint
Serves 6
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cabbage, thinly sliced
2 carrots, cut into long thin strips
3 red Asian shallots, thinly sliced
1 handful Vietnamese mint
1 long chilli, cut into rings
2 tablespoon roasted unsalted peanuts, roughly chopped, plus 1 teaspoon extra, to serve

Dressing
120g sugar
100ml lime juice
60ml fish sauce
2 garlic cloves, chopped

Method
Bring a small saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add the chicken, reduce the heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes, or until just cooked through. Transfer the chicken to a chopping board, leave to cool, then cut or shred the chicken into thin strips. Place in a large bowl.
To make the dressing, whisk together the sugar and lime juice until the sugar has completely dissolved. Stir in the fish sauce and garlic.
Add the vegetables, min, chili and peanuts to the chicken. Pour the dressing over the salad and gently toss to combine. 
Serve on a large platter, sprinkled with the remaining peanuts. 

xxx
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Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Cauliflower, Pumpkin and Bean soup

A hearty and soothing bowl of goodness. This really is the season for comforting bowl of soup, one which i'm enjoying. This recipe hails from my BBC Good Food: More Low Fat Feasts and I suggest you make a large batch and pop half in the freezer. If you don't have all the ingredients, feel free to swap, amend and change as I did. I liked the texture of the soup and the flavours, well, they tasted earthy and warmth.



Serves 4
Ingredients
1 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped 
500g pumpkin or squash, peeled seeded and chopped 
1 potato, chopped 
several thyme sprigs, leaves stripped
1 litre 1 3/4 pints vegetable stock
500g cauliflower cut into small florets
400g can haricot beans, drained and rinsed
a handful of chopped parsley
crusty bread, to serve

Method
Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onions then fry for about 10 minutes until soft and lightly coloured. Stir in the garlic, pumpkin or squash, potato and thyme, then cook for 1 minute.
Pour the stock, then bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover, simmer for around 20 minutes, then add the cauliflower and beans, and cook for a further 10 minutia until all the vegetables are tender.
Remove about two ladles of soup and pour into a food processor, then add the parsley and process until smooth - taking good care not to splash yourself with the liquid. Return to the pan, then reheat an serve some crusty bread.

xx
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Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Persian Salad of Tomato, Pomegranate and Cucumber

Not exactly seasonal, but my local food market sells all sorts of fruits and vegetables even during the Winter months. This salad screams Summer to me, but I thoroughly enjoyed it a couple weeks back. So much so, that I've eaten it a couple of times this month alone. The juicy and plump tomatoes combined with the sweet pomegranate and the refreshing cucumber. The recipe hails from my favourite Salad cookbook (yes, I have a few), A Salad For A Seasons by Harry Eastwood. 




Serves 2
300g ripe cherry tomatoes on the vine, cut in quarters
1/2 medium cucumber, peeled and cut length ways
seeds from 1 medium pomegranate
a small bunch parsley, leaves
a small bunch of coriander
3 spring onions, very finely sliced
1tsp sumac

For the dressing
1 tbsp olive oil
2tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
plenty of salt and pepper.

Method
Rinse the tomatoes thoroughly under the tap and let them stand in a colander to drip off the excess water.
Next, core the cucumber by running a teaspoon down the middle and removing all the seeds. Chop into smallish dice of roughly the same size.
In a medium bowl, combine the drained tomatoes, pomegranate seeds, cucumber, parsley, coriander, spring onions and sumac. Mix the dressing ingredients together and season generously.
Toss the salad in the dressing and serve right away.

xxx
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Monday, 2 January 2017

Warming Butternut Squash & Sweet Potato Soup

Happy New Year. I've been eating a lot more soup recently. Not because I'm on some sort of weird health quick or diet plan, but this time of year, the cold winter months produce some of the best vegetables which are sublimely delicious in a soup. A steaming bowl of soup tends to fill me up much more than if I simply boiled the vegetables.  Also, I get a virtuous feeling as I'm consuming at least 1, possibly 2 out of my 5 (fruit and vegetable recommendations) day in one serving.
The soup I chose to share with you is, in my opinion, the best in root vegetables: butternut squash and sweet potatoes. What enhances a simple butternut squash and sweet potato soup is the addition of aromatic spices which provides a warmth, a depth and spice to a soothing bowl of goodness. This soup is ideal for a light lunch, a starter or dinner.



Recipe for Warming Butternut Squash & Sweet Potato Soup
Serves 4-6
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, skin removed and sliced
2 cloves of garlic, skin removed
2 cm ginger, skin removed and grated
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp salt
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of black pepper
1 small butternut squash, skin removed and roughly diced (around 500g once skin removed)
1 large sweet potato (around 300g), skin removed and diced. 
600ml chicken stock, made using 1 stock cube. 
Juice of 1/2 lime

Optional
4-6 tbsp full fat Greek yogurt for drizzling. I suggest 1 tbsp of Greek yogurt per bowl of soup.

Method
Heat the oil in a saucepan and gently fry the the onion, 2 cloves of garlic and ginger for 2 minutes. Add the remaining spices, followed by the butternut squash and sweet potato and give this a good stir. Pour the chicken stock and lime and cook on a low heat, covered for 20 around minutes or until the butternut squash and sweet potato is cooked through . Pour the contents into a blender and liquidise until smooth. Serve the soups in bowl and drizzle with creme fraiche. 

xxx
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Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Panzanella

On my most recent trip to Italy, I did not get to sample the rustic Italian salad of Panzanella. I would have loved nothing more to sample panzanella, cooked lovingly by Italian nonna's and overlooking a beautiful scenic view. I first made this rustic salad way back in 2011 when I was just starting out my  cookery book collection and sampling new cuisines and flavours. Gosh, I feel old. Tomatoes are in season and if you head to your local market you can pick up some good fresh and succulent tomatoes.  One of my favourite salad cookbooks (yes I have a small collection of salad cookery books) is a Salad For All Seasons by Harry Eastwood. Whilst this panzanella is not unique (loads of Italians would have their own version and this is a salad covered by many well known chefs), I really like this version. Easy to make, lots of flavour and nothing too complicated. If you want to make this veggie, omit the capers, but keep them in, if you do like me which is to serve with a piece of chicken. Perfect for Summer nights.



Serves 6
1.5 kg ripe tomatoes on the vine, rinsed under the tap
1/2 tsp soft brown sugar
sea salt
300g stale sourdough bread, torn into roughly equal chunks
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
120ml extra virgin olive oil
1 small garlic clove, smashed and minced into a paste
2 tbsp capers, drained and rinsed under the tap (optional)
1 large red onion, very thinly slice
1 cucumber, peeled, de-seeded and cut into rough chunks
a large handful basil, roughly torn

Method
Roughly chop the tomatoes. Put in a bowl and sprinkle with the sugar as well as a good pinch of salt. Let the tomatoes stand for 20 minutes then add the bread. Stand for a further 10 minutes, so that all the tomato liquid at the bottom of bowl I absorbed by the bread.
Mix the vinegar with the lemon juice and olive oil. Toss the tomatoes and bread with this dressing, then add the remaining ingredients before serving.
Making this salad slightly ahead when you eat it means that the flavours will have extra time to infuse and mingle, which will only improve the flavour.
xxx
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Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Eggs in Purgatory

I'm sure you don't need a recipe for Eggs in Purgatory, also known as Shakshuka. But, not one for doing things in half, I will share with you this recipe. Many recipes for eggs in purgatory uses tinned chopped tomatoes but this recipe uses fresh tomatoes and the taste is so much better compared to all the shakshukas which I have made before. I've been cooking a lot from Olives, Lemon and Za'atar by Rawia Bishara over the last couplee of months. I've been enticed by the charming recipes, fantastic stories and easy to cook dishes. A real positive of this dish is that it is vegetarian so you can please meat free eaters. I served my eggs in purgatory with pitta bread and homemade hummus, it's perfect for serving for breakfast, lunch or dinner.



Serves 6
Ingredients
6 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 red pepper, cored and diced
1 green pepper, cored and diced
3 tablespoons tomato puree
3 tablespoons homemade hot sauce
1 tablespoon ground cumin, or to taste
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground caraway
6 ripe beefsteak tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 medium aubergine, about 500g, peeled, cut into 2.5cm dice and roasted or fried (optional)
juice of 1/2 lemon
6 medium eggs
Serve with Arabic or pitta bread.

Method
Place the oil in a large frying pan, over a medium-high heat and sauté the garlic and shallots until they begin to take on colour, about 3 minutes. Add the red and green peppers and cook for a further 3 minutes. Stir in the tomato puree and hot sauce until incorporated, about 3 minutes, then add the cumin, coriander, salt and caraway, if using and stir for 1 minus. Add the tomatoes, reduce the heat and cook until the liquid is reduced and the sauce has thickened, 10 - 12 minutes.
Add the aubergine and lemon juice, raise the heat and bring to the boil. Break the eggs into the frying pan in a single layer, pushing the whites towards the yolk with a wooden spoon to keep hem intact. Cook until the whites are opaque and the middle of the yolk is still slightly runny. Scoop the eggs and tomato sauce into bowls and serve with the Arabic bread.

xxx
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Wednesday, 8 July 2015

New Vlog Post: Panzanella With a Tropical Twist

Enjoy this beautiful tropical twist on an Italian Classic Salad. My Panzanella with an Tropical Twist is light, vibrant and colourful, perfect for the Summer months. 





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Monday, 9 March 2015

Hotpoint Steam Blender Pt 2, Review.

I've had my Hotpoint Steam Blender for almost two months and I have thoroughly enjoyed testing this kitchen appliance. I have made a variety of dishes in my steam blender, mainly for my breakfast and lunch: I have to credit this applicant for my new love of healthier eating. My first review post I focused on my initial thoughts of using this product, but this post focuses more on my thoughts of the variety of recipes that can be made using this innovative appliance.
Hotpoint Steam Blender
Mixtures
After having this product for almost two months, I love stretching this machine to see what it can do. I've started marking pancake mixtures using the blending facility and found this such a hick way to make the batter for my plantain and coconut pancakes. I found the machines blending facility to be excellent and able to cut through a starchy ingredient such as plantain. I find that blending pancake and batter mixtures far easier now, as all you do is add the mixture in the blender, turn on setting 2 or 3 for around 2 minutes to discover a wonderfully blended mixture. 
Plantain and Coconut Pancakes. 
Steaming
 Many of us enjoy steaming vegetables to ensure that all the nutrients remain contained in the vegetables. This Steam Blender does so much more than steaming vegetables, there is a handy basket which can be used to steam meat and fish separately. This means you can make a delicious a chunky chicken and vegetable soup, for example and place all the ingredients in the steam blender, but separate the chicken from the vegetables. I decided to test the basket facility by making ta chickpea and 2 vegetable soup which surprisingly worked very well and as they say "was a doddle to make". I simply steamed the chickpeas, onions, coconut milk and seasoning and placed the vegetables in the handy basket whilst they steamed separately. Once everything was steamed, I removed the basket, blended the stock and served in a bowl. This method would work when including chicken breasts (thinly sliced and wrapped in foil) and prawns.
Here is my Chickpea and Two Vegetable Soup:
Chickpea and Two Vegetable Soup.

Sweet Potato and Broccoli Soup.

Juices
Another favourite when using this my steam blender is making juices; it's such a healthy way to the start the day. In fact, I'm sure making juices for my weekday breakfast has contributed to my 5 lbs weight loss. I like to in-cooperate a combination of vegetables and fruits, which is always blended thoroughly so you can't taste the vegetables.
Lemon, Ginger and Parsley Juice.

Melon and Grape Juice.

Shakes
For those who love indulgent drinks, the steam blender makes a fabulous milkshake. Although the ingredients for the milkshake is frozen (the ice-cream and ice cubes), blending these ingredients are no problem for this appliance. The results  of a milkshake in my steam blender is a glorious, indulgent and rich shake. 
Coffee and Banana Shake.

Recipe for Coffee Banana Shake, from 1000 Juices by Deborah Gray.
Ingredients
Banana
300ml coffee ice-cream (if you do not have coffee ice-cream, use vanilla and add 2 tbsp instant coffee powder)
2tbsp milk

Method
 Put all the ingredients into the steam blender and process on low for 30 seconds, stir and process on high until smooth and whipped. Pour into a glass and serve immediately.

Makes 1 glass

Disclaimer: I received a steam blender from Hotpoint, I was not required to write a positive review and as always, all opinions are my own. 

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