Tag Archives: food blogger

Elix had a Blinder!

Last week, after a tough few days, Elix treated me to a dish which I had seen on the Delicious instagram site. Watercress, Bacon and Goats Cheese Risotto. It was AMAZING! Fresh, comforting, tasty and with an entire bag of watercress used was packed with Vitamin K which helps healing, it also contains Vitamin C good helping maintain healthy cells, skin and bones and also Vitamin A which we need for a strong immune system.

According to Elix, the recipe was also easy to follow (always a good thing!) so here we go!

Serves 4
100g Watercress (plus a handful left reserved)
2 Garlic Cloves
Grated Zest & Juice of one Lemon
Olive Oil
200g Pancetta Cubes
2 Shallots – diced
300g Arborio Rice
1.2l Chicken Stock
2tbsp Grated Parmesan
30g Soft Goats Cheese
20g Pistachios – toasted in a dry pan

To start, make a pesto by whizzing the watercress, garlic and lemon zest and juice in a processor to a paste consistency. Add 1 tbsp olive oil with some salt and pepper and whizz again. Hey Presto – watercress pesto! Next in a large frying pan, fry the pancetta until crisp and remove to one side. In the same pan, add the shallots with a little olive oil until translucent and then add the rice. Mix together for a few minutes and then begin to add the stock a ladel-ful at a time when all the liquid has been absorbed. After around 20 minutes or so all the rice should be fluffy and cooked through and the liquid will have been absorbed. Now stir in the pesto, the parmesan and pancetta – the risotto will turn a lovely rich green colour with flecks of pink pancetta throughout. Stir through the reserved watercress for that fresh, peppery kick. Finally add the goats cheese in small chunks and sprinkle the pistachios on top.


This really was the best risotto i’ve ever eaten – I think I’ll be asking Elix to make this one again!

My last meal in my first Flat

I’m about to move house and leave my lovely huge kitchen for the delights of a “do-er upper”. I am not moving far but will have a whole house – i’ll be knocking some walls down and building some new rooms so will have a lovely new kitchen in no time but tonight – as the last time i’ll cook here it was quite emotional.

So my last meal was a vegetable curry and it was delicious. It ticks all the gluten free, dairy free, low fat, no salt, no sugar boxes and was packed with nutritious vegetables.

Serves 4
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
Coconut Oil
1 onion – blitzed to form a paste
1 carrot – diced
1 potato – diced
1 tin plum tomatoes
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2tsp ground coriander
1tsp turmeric
1/2 cauliflower – chopped to florets
1 red pepper – diced
1 courgette – sliced
1/2 tsp Garam masala

For the Masala – blitz the below:
1 red chilli
2 cloves garlic
4cm Ginger

In a large pan heat some oil, once hot add the cumin seeds until they start to pop. At this point when fragrant, add the onion and gently cook until caramelised and dark. Add the carrot and potato along with the spices, mix in the tinned tomatoes and then half fill the can with water and add this too. Leave on a high heat, covered for 10 minutes.

As the vegetables begin to soften, add the cauliflower, courgette and pepper and a little water if needed. Mix together and add the chilli masala paste. Leave covered on the hob, bubbling away for another 15 minutes. For the final 5 minutes uncover to allow the sauce to thicken a little. The curry will be ready when the veggies are soft and the sauce is thick and punchy!

Serve with cauliflower rice and a sprinkle of fresh coriander.


And with that il say a fond farewell to my lovely flat in Toots and sign off….next time I blog it will be from my new house!

My Gut Makeover

Now that I completed my Nutrition diploma I thought it about time to put some of my learnings into practise and trial out some new eating habits.

I think I generally eat pretty healthily – the vast majority of what I eat is unprocessed, homemade and nutritious however I am prone to bloating, bad skin, lack of energy and catching every cold around so after reading Jeanette Hyde’s “The Gut Makeover” I decided to give it a go.

I have completed week one of the cleanse and thought I would share my thoughts and a couple of recipe ideas with you.

Firstly, the theory behind the book centre on the gut being central to our weight and health so it sets out a 4 week cleanse plan to help repair the gut, re-populate with good bacteria and have us feeling better, happier, more energetic and healthier.

Our guts are filled with trillions of bacteria, processed foods, dairy, gluten and sugar are some key foods which act as irritants to the gut lining and cause an inbalance in the levels of bacteria in the gut. By removing these foods from our daily diet we are giving our guts a chance to recover, rebuild and rebalance. Good bacteria will flourish and we will hopefully end up feeling rejuvinated and glowing. 

The author of this book makes it clear that this isnt a diet – it is more a makeover and whilst you dont need to follow the daily plans forever this cleanse will help form better food and eating habits and can be revisited periodically to routinely give yourself a bit of an MOT!

Essentially week one has involved cutting out caffeine, alcohol, dairy, gluten, sugar, salt and processed foods. Every time I have told my friends about this they have been horrified asking what I am able to eat but, being honest, the only thing I have really missed is cappuccinos! I have followed the advice in the book by snacking on fruit, nuts and vegetables. The plan recommends trying to eat a wide variety of all fruit and vegetables – 20 a week and I think I have achieved this!

This isn’t about calorie counting, it is about 3 healthy, nutritious meals a day with healthy snacks, plenty of water and herbal tea.

When I am at work I have followed the following plan: 

Breakfast – Grapefruit with a Smoothie made with 3/4 fruits and vegetables – usually banana, kiwi, spinach and pear.

Lunch – Sweet Potato, Squash, Carrott and Chilli Soup

Snacks – a handful of nuts, an apple, melon and pineapple

Dinners this week have included Courgetti with Fresh tomatoes, chilli, garlic and anchovy

Warm Thai beef salad with Cauliflower Rice

Seabass with Chilli Greens and Mushrooms and Cauliflower Rice

Almond Crusted Chicken with Apple and Walnut Salad and Kale

Genuinely I think I am now a cauliflower rice convert – coarsley grate a quarter of a cauliflower and warm in a dry pan – I couldnt tell the difference between that and rice when it was mixed with the warm thai salad!


Again, by using ground almonds and crushed pistachios or walnuts to coat chicken instead of breadcrumbs you still retain a crispy coating – perfect for with a salad.


Weekend breakfasts have also been a treat – poached eggs, homemade guacamole made by mashing avocado, grated ginger, diced chilli with lime juice with sauteed mushrooms and spinach or salmon.


I have been drinking plenty of water, peppermint tea androoibos tea. 

So it really hasnt been too difficult at all despite sitting in the pub with my friends on water whilst they enjoy beer and wine and walking to the market near work seeing the lovely falafal stall (which i love!) and being unable to eat it!

So far i have lost 1.5kg in weight and have not felt bloated at all. My skin and sleeping patterns arent great but I am putting that down to the stress of moving house and a restructure at work.

I will blog again once I have finished week 2 which I am excited about! I am making a vegetable curry today for Elix and I to have for dinner tomorrow in fact and look forward to sharing the recipe!

Before the Cleanse…..

As I am now a qualified nutritionist, it seemed only right that I put myself on a cleanse so that I am best placed to give advice to people as and when life takes me there. 

The cleanse that I have chosen aims to nourish the tummy by repairing and rejuvinating the gut – taking out foods which are harmful to the digestive system and replacing them with foods which rebalance, replenish and nourish. My aim is not to lose weight but its to get my body to the best possible place to be fit, healthy and glowing! Anyway – more about that next week – for now I am sharing the recipe for Jamie Oliver’s Bustrengo which is a Bolognese Apple and Polenta Cake. Before the cleanse I am going out with a bang!

We ate similar cake in Bologna – its not too sweet – similar to bread and  butter pudding I suppose. Best served warm with either custard or creme freche.

Serves 10/fills a 28cm loose bottomed cake tin
Butter
100g Fine Polenta
200g Plain Flour
100g Breadcrumbs
100g Caster Sugar
500ml Milk
3 Eggs – beaten
100g Runny Honey
55ml Olive Oil
100g Dried Figs – chopped
100g Sultanas
500g (approx 2) Apples – peeled and diced
1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
Zest of an Orange
Zest of a Lemon

Pre-heat oven to 180 degs and grease the cakes tin.
Mix together the polenta, flour, breadcrumbs and sugar in a large
mixing bowl. In a seperate bowl beat together the milk, eggs, honey and olive oil. Add this wet mixture to the dry mixture and mix together. Pop in the dried fruits, apples, zest and cinnamon and stir together.
Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake for 50 minutes to an
hour or until a skewer comes out clean when poked through.
As i said earlier – devour whilst still warm with creme freche or custard and a glass of Italian red wine.


See you next week when I’ll be a week into the cleanse and on my way to a new, healthier self!

A little Crackling

I want to share this recipe mainly as a reminder to myself of how to get great crackling! I finally achieved a deliciously golden crunchy crackle atop juicy, fragrant pork belly.

As a lighter, something different, as recommended by Ottelenghi in his Nopi cookbook I made a walnut and apple salsa to serve alongside the pork with some sauteed potatoes and kale and sprouts.

Serves 4
For the Pork

1kg Pork Belly
Half a Lemon
Coarse Sea Salt
12 Sprigs Thyme
10 Cloves Garlic – crushed, with skin on
10cm Ginger – sliced
4 tsp Lemongrass Paste
400ml Water
500ml White Wine

For the Salsa

1 Apple – diced
50g toasted walnuts – chopped
50g pickled walnuts – chopped
Small handful of chopped tarragon
2tbsp Lime Juice
1tbsp Rice Vinegar
2tbsp Mirin
2tbsp Olive Oil

Pre-heat oven to 200degs – it needs to be very hot to achieve good crackling. Get the pork and pork skin as dry as you can – I left mine out of the fridge at room temperature on a plate for an hour. Rub the lemon half all over the skin ensuring the juice covers the top – and leave for 10 minutes. Once 10 minutes had passed, rub the skin thoroughly with the salt.
Place the herbs and aromats in a roasting tray and pop the pork belly on top – skin side up. Pop in the oven for an hour.
After the hour, the skin should be hard, golden and cracked! Rub any excess salt off and shower again with a little more salt – pop back into the oven for another 30 minutes.
The next step involves carefully pouring the wine and water into the roasting tray ensuring none of it goes onto the top – we dont want to lose the crackle!
Back into the oven again (yes I know its a lot of in and out, opening and closing the oven door!) at a lower temperature of 175degs for 45 minutes.
Now its time to make the salsa – simply mix all the ingredients together. For the pickled walnuts, i warmed a mixture of white wine vinegar and sugar with some peppercorns and left the walnuts in it for 30 minutes. This little salsa is a refreshing, zingy accompanyment to the rich pork.
When the pork is ready you should be able to cut through the crackling and straight into a silky soft layer of fat on top of the moist meat. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for at least 15 minutes. Serve in beautiful slices with the salsa and some greens.
Good Luck – may the crackle be with you!