Tag Archives: food blogger

Spicy Chicken, Coconut & Split Green Pea Soup

Earlier this week the boy P was keen on cooking a soup recipe for dinner from the Sainsburys magazine (of all things!) – in the end as i was home first i made it and it was such a delicious surprise – easy, tasty, warmings and healthy. I wanted to share the recipe here so I have it as a quick go to as we will definitely be having it again.

The below makes 2 very generous portions or 3 starter size portions.

4 Chicken Thighs (i used boneless)

Salt & Pepper

Vegetable/Rapeseed/Coconut Oil

1 red onion – diced

2 Garlic Cloves – diced

1 Red Chilli – diced

1.5tsp Ginger (paste or fresh diced)

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp ground turmeric

200g Green Split Peas

600ml Chicken Stock

100g Spinach

50g Creamed Coconut (dissolved in 100ml boiling water)

2 Spring Onions – sliced

Handful fresh coriander – chopped

70g Blanched Almonds – sliced

Start by frying the chicken in some oil in a large saucepan until sealed and browned. Remove and leave to one side. Add a little more oil to the pan and fry the onion until softened then mix the spices and stir through. Add the chilli, ginger and garlic for 2 more minutes before popping the green split lentils into the pan and covering with the stock.

Leave to simmer for 30minutes or until the green split peas have softened. Stir through the coconut cream and water and also the spinach until all combined. Leave to simmer for a further 15minutes. If you would like the soup thicker, leave it for longer, if you would like it thinner then add a little more water.

As you are serving, sprinkle with fresh spring onions, coriander and almonds!

Enjoy!

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Risotto for Autumn

Autumn is here in London, we have been super lucky with the weather this week, it has been sunny and crisp cold – perfect for me to find an Autumnal dinner for us. I chose a Jamie Oliver recipe from his Jamie’s Kitchen book which my Mum has. Roast Squash, Pancetta and Chestnut Risotto. It is a little faffy to cook but well worth it – I have simplified the recipe a little here to make it easier to write down and follow.

Serves 4

1 Squash – cut into chunks, save the seeds

2 dried chillies – diced (1tbsp dried chilli will also work)

1tbsp crushed coriander seeds

Salt & Pepper

12 slices pancetta

100g Chestnuts – diced

1 handful Sage leaves – sliced

1 Onion – diced

2 Cloves Garlic – diced

300g Risotto Rice

2 tbsp butter

1l Vegetable Stock –keep heated

60g Parmesan

Coat the squash chunks in the coriander seeds and chilli with some olive oil and pop into the oven at 200 degrees to roast for 30 minutes. You can keep the skin on as everything gets mushed up at the end. Meanwhile start to make the risotto by slowly frying the onion and garlic in some butter until softened (usually takes 10 minutes or so). Add the rice and stir, when the rice begins to turn translucent add in a little of the stock with some salt and pepper. Gradually top up the stock each time the liquid starts to be absorbed. 

Whilst multi-tasking and keeping an eye on the squash and the risotto, layer the pancetta on a baking tray and scatter over the chestnuts, sage, seeds and a little olive oil. Pop these in the oven until the pancetta is cooked through and crispy – this shouldn’t take any more than 15 minutes.

After 30 minutes the rice should be cooked through at which point stir the parmesan through and reduce the heat.

Ok – so now to assemble everything. Take the squash out of the oven and chop up so its chunky and mushy – add this to the risotto and stir through – season to taste. Spoon this into a lovely bowl and then top with the crispy, fragrant pancetta, chestnut and sage mix.

Enjoy!

Trullo Pastas

Peter bought me the Trullo cookbook as a pre-Christmas gift and we decided to celebrate the New Year with an Italian themed dinner.

Trullo is a very popular Italian restaurant in Highbury – North London – its always busy, gets great reviews and serves delicious unfussy Italian food.

Our starter was Burrata with anchovy paste and broad beans – this is the sort of dish i always order when im out for dinner and it was surprisingly easy to make – blitzing anchovies, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice in the nutri-bullet, and simply topping with the burrata and scattering broad beans on top.

Anyway – on to the main courses which i will write up here – both very simple and tasty and again, the sorts of dishes I would always order in an Italian restaurant.

Firstly for the Orecchiette with Broccoli, Anchovy and Chilli

Serves 2
500g Tenderstem or Purple Sprouting Broccoli
2 Garlic Cloves – finely diced
Sprinkle of dried Chilli flakes
1/2 tin Anchovies
200g Orecchiette Pasta (Farfalle is recommended if you cant source the “little ears”)
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
Parmesan – for seasoning at the end

Boil the broccoli for 7 minutes and leave to one side.
Boil the pasta according to instructions – ours took around 10minutes which is exactly how long the sauce took to cook!
In a shallow frying pan gently fry the garlic and chilli in some olive oil until the garlic starts to colour. Add the anchovies to melt for 3 minutes. Add the broccoli and a dash of water and pop a lid on the pan for 8-10 minutes. Remove the lid, season and add more olive oil for a little extra richness. Mix together with the pasta and serve with parmesan shavings on top.

The second dish was Linguine with Crab – this used both white and brown crab meat and was a completely new but easy and super tasty way of cooking a crab and pasta dish.

Serves 2
1 tin White crab meat
80g Brown crab meat
200g Linguine
1/2 Red Chilli – diced
20g Butter
Olive Oil
Lemon Juice
Salt & Pepper
1tbsp Parsley – chopped

Cook the linguine in boiling water for 10 minutes – again this is roughly how long the crab takes to prepare.
In a bowl, mix together the brown and white crab, chilli, parsley, lemon juice, salt and pepper and leave to one side.
In a large shallow frying pan, gently fry the butter and add the crab mixture – mix well, adding a splash of pasta water to seperate if needed. Once the pasta is cooked and drained – add this to the crab and mix thoroughly – adding more pasta water if needed. The sauce will emulsify as it coats the linguine.
Serve with a little extra black pepper to taste.

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!