Sweetcorn fritters with couscous and cottage cheese.

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Sweet, juicy, golden sweetcorn. It not only tastes great but it’s full of nutrients including fibre and protein as well as being a great source of vitamin C. It also contains thiamin which helps to produce energy for the heart, muscles and nervous system! So it’s not a bad thing having this little whole grain in your diet.These fritters are more like little pancakes, light and delicious without the grease. Perfect for a weekday dinner as they are relatively easy to make and you can mix it up by adding other veg and spices, whatever takes your fancy.

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Serves 4

Ingredients

FOR THE FRITTERS:

300g tin sweetcorn
2 medium free range eggs
75g flour
50g feta cheese, cubed
2 spring onions, Finley sliced
1 tbsp Piri Piri seasoning or chilli flakes to taste.
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
Cottage cheese, to serve

FOR THE COUSCOUS:

200g couscous
A large handful or rocket
50g feta cheese, cubed
1 large tomato, de-seeded and diced
Zest of 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp hemp oil
Salt & pepper

Method

Drain the sweetcorn and place 3/4 of it in a large bowl with the flour, baking soda, eggs, feta, spring onions and piri piri seasoning. Mix until thoroughly combined then place half of the mixture in a food processor and blend until relatively smooth.

Put a kettle on to boil and heat a large non stick sauce pan on a medium heat with 1 tbsp olive oil.

Empty the contents of the food processor back into the bowl with the other batter then add the remaining sweetcorn and combine.

Add the dried couscous to a clean, empty bowl and cover with boiling water so it’s roughly an inch above the surface then cover with cling film.

Now spoon the batter onto the pan to make the fritters. Two tbsp of batter each is enough the lightly fry for 1-2 minutes on each side.

Once your on your last batch take the cling film off the couscous and fluff it with a fork. Add the feta, tomatoes,rocket and lemon zest the season to taste.

Serve the sweetcorn fritters with the couscous with a dollop of cottage cheese on top and a drizzle of hemp oil. Enjoy!

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Super sweet potato muffins

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These delicious savoury muffins are from Jamie Oliver’s new Super Food book. I really fancied making them after watching his programme which is all about eating healthy and thinking a bit more about what we are putting in our bodies.
The whole holiday season was filled with indulgence for us in both food and wine and it really does begin to take it’s toll. Apart from the odd jiggle in places that never used to jiggle there’s the lack of energy and that horrible bloated feeling. There’s really no better motivation to start eating better than when your body is telling you so.
It’s also made me think about what nutritional value foods have and I think that Jamie’s super food programme has really opened my eyes to how powerful food is! I mean who would’ve thought a sweet potato is packed full of vitamin C which helps protect our cells in damage against stress?! Which for me I believe is the cause of many horrible diseases and illnesses in this world and unfortunately is a part of everyday life for a lot of people.
It really has inspired me to eat, cook and think much healthier! I do still believe everything in moderation and I’m not going to ignore my intense craving I get for nachos from time to time or not bake a lovely sticky toffee pudding at the weekend. I just will be making an effort to really think about what I’m eating and how I feel.
So I urge you to give these muffins a go just because they are so utterly delicious.

Ingredients

600g sweet potato or butternut squash
4 spring onions
1-2 fresh red chillies
6 large free range eggs
3 tbsp cottage cheese
250g wholewheat self raising flour ( I didn’t have self raising so added 1/2 tsp of baking soda )
50g freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp chopped almonds ( Jamie used poppy seeds and sunflower seeds but I used what I already had )

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases or 15cm folded squares of greaseproof paper, then lightly wipe each one with oiled kitchen paper. I used a non stick mini loaf instead and it worked beautifully. Peel the sweet potatoes or squash and coarsely grate into a large bowl. You can also use a food processor for this step. Trim the spring onions, then finely slice with the chilli and add to the bowl, reserving half the chilli to one side. Crack in the eggs, add the cottage cheese and flour, then finely grate in most of the Parmesan and season with sea salt and black pepper. Mix until nicely combined.

Evenly divide the muffin mixture between the cases. Sprinkle over the sunflower and poppy seeds, then dot over the reserved slices of chilli. Use the remaining Parmesan to give a light dusting of cheese over each one, then bake at the bottom of the oven for 45 to 50 minutes (if using squash, it’ll be a bit quicker – check after 35 minutes), or until golden and set.

These are amazing served warm 5 minutes after taking them out of the oven, and good kept in the fridge for a couple of days. Enjoy 2 muffins per portion.

For the original recipe Click here

 

 

Simple beans on toast

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We made this on our way back from a nice long walk and we needed something warming and filling, fast! This was so easy to make and inexpensive which we like. By using some store cupboard staples and some stale bread you can create a delicious, hearty lunch in no time. We also had some courgetti left over from a previous dinner and decided to chuck that in as well but really you can do this without if you don’t have any or throw in whatever you have left over.

Serves 3/4 for lunch

Ingredients

1x400g Cannellini beans

Half 400g tin plum tomatoes

1 garlic clove, chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp Piri Piri seasoning

1 tsp dried oregano

Pinch of salt & pepper

1/2 stick of left over bread cut into round slices

Greek yogurt to serve

Method

Add a tbsp olive oil in a small saucepan over a medium heat and add chopped garlic, fry for a minute. Meanwhile drain and rinse the Cannellini beans and add the the saucepan. At this point I added a small handful of courgetti (courgettes cut into thin strips) if you have a small amount of left over veg add it at this point and fry for 2/3 minutes until softened.

Then add the juice and 1 plum tomato from the tin. You don’t want too much tomato sauce. Add the spices and salt and pepper to taste and let if simmer slightly for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile heat a griddle pan on a high heat and toast the bread for a minute or two on each side. Once the bread is ready, place onto plates and drizzle with a little olive oil and a sprinkle of salt on each side. Top with the beans and a dollop of Greek yogurt and enjoy!

Repost: salted peanut and marshmallow rocky road


This time of year always calls for some indulgence and what better than some salty sweet rocky road. It’s ridiculously easy to make and even more easier to devour, I just had to repost this one from last year. To get the recipe Click here.

Smoked swordfish patè

imageThis is absolutely divine! I love how indulgent this seems…or maybe is. It is always a favourite of mine at this time of year and it goes perfectly at any Christmas party. I see this everywhere in Italy at Christmas time and decided to use it instead of smoked salmon. The results were just amazing and I munched my way through it on a cold Christmas afternoon. It also only took about 2 seconds to make, perfect!

Ingredients:

100g smoked swordfish

1 tbsp lemon juice

6 tbsp single cream

1 big pinch of pepper
Method:

Put all ingredients except the cream in a bowl. Add 3 tbsp of cream and whizz with a hand mixer until combined. Add the rest of the cream until it is a smooth consistency. If you feel it is too thick you can continue to add a little cream a tbsp at a time. Serve on a small serving dish with some crackers.

Peperoncino & Fennel rounds.

imageThese little biscuits are so delicious and perfect at this time of year. I first tried these from a Nigella recipe which calls for only handfulls of parmesan in the dough resulting in a soft, crumbly cheesey shortbread. I loved them and couldn’t believe how easy they were! I added my own little twist here by adding chilli flakes and fennel seeds. I love the spicy kick it gives. Enjoy these on their own with a glass of prosecco in hand or with some nice cheeses and chutney.

Makes 35-40

Ingredients

150g plain flour

100g soft butter

1 free range egg yolk

1tbsp fennel seeds

1tbsp chilli flakes

2 tbsp freshly grated parmesan

 

Put all ingredients in a food processor and whizz until it forms a clump.

Turn it out and give it a kneed for only around 30 seconds, until smooth, then divide into two.

Take the first half and roll into a sausage shape about 3cm in diameter. Make sure ends are flat so the cylinder resembles a roll of coins. Roll this in in cling film so it resembles a christmas cracker and put in the fridge. Do the same with the other half and leave to rest in the fridge for 45mins.

Pre heat the oven to 180 degreesC. Cut the cylinders into pound coin rounds and arrange on lined baking tray.

Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until they are a soft golden colour around the edges. Leave to cool and enjoy!

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Courgetti bolognese 

   
So the craze of using a julienne peeler to make courgette spaghetti is upon us! We decided to give it ago and see what all the fuss is about. Although people say treat it like pasta, with any type of sauce you want you still can’t prepare it in the same way. Firstly I made the mistake of adding the courgette into a hot puttanesca sauce as you would pasta. The result was an ok tasting, watery bowl of veg.

So I decided to make a nice ragù and then cook the courgettes separately on a high heat for very little time. I then done the one thing you don’t do with pasta add the sauce on top of the noodles! However this worked out perfectly with the courgettes! I will say it doesn’t replace pasta in any way but it’s a much healthier alternative for me and it’s fun to make too! So here our version….enjoy.

Ingredients, serves 2-3

1/4 red onion, finely diced

1 large carrot, finely diced

3 large mushrooms, finely diced

250g beef mince

2 cloves garlic, finely diced

1 bay leaf 

1 Sprig Rosemary

5 tablespoons tomato purée

1 chicken stock cube

1 glass red wine

3 large courgettes

3 tbsp olive oil

Salt and pepper, to season

Boiling water

Parmesan, to garnish

Method

In a large pan on a medium heat add the olive oil and sauté the onion, carrot and mushrooms until soft. Add the diced garlic cloves and sauté for another 2 minutes. Add the mince until brown then add the tomato purée. Stir for a second then add the stock cube, wine and add enough boiling water until it’s just covered. Add the bay and Rosemary.

Let it simmer for 45-50 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile using a julienne peeler peel the courgettes into thin spaghetti strips. Place on a place and cover with kitchen paper to soak out some water for 15-20 minutes ( this is not necessary but helps with excess water ).

At this point taste your ragù, add salt and pepper if necessary. You can top up with more water or wine if it’s drying out a little. I like to cook my ragù for at least 50 minutes but the longer the better, it’ll only get richer in flavour.

Now when the sauce is ready. Put a large clean pan on a medium-high heat. Add a tbsp olive oil then add the courgetti. Fry for 2-3 minutes while stirring to make sure they all get slightly cooked. Now all that is left to do is plate up. Place the courgetti in bowls followed by a few lovely spoons of ragù. Top with Parmesan and enjoy! 

  

Tasty lunchtime chickpea & steak salad.

 

I really enjoyed making this salad. It’s simple, delicious and very satisfying as well as being good for you too. We’ve been thinking of new recipes, new ways of using veg and getting as much goodness into us as possible. This looks like a big list of ingredients but you can always adapt it to suit you. You can change the seasonings you what you have in your cupboard and use more spinach instead of rocket, I just like the peppery taste the rocket gives but it’s not essential.

1 400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 generous handful spinach, roughly chopped
1 handful rocket
1 tbsp feta, cubed
1/4 red onion, finely diced
1/2 small red chilli, deseeded
1/2 garlic clove, grated
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp piri-piri seasoning
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cayenne pepper
450g steak, I used a cheaper cut and cooked it to medium
5 tsp left over tomato sauce (or you can add a couple tbsp of tomato purée)
2 tbsp sour cream
Salt and pepper, to season

Firstly put a large pan or a griddle pan on the highest heat meanwhile season your steak with the paprika, piri-piri, cayenne, salt pepper and a tsp olive oil, rubbing it in all over. Cook the steak until medium or to how you prefer ( I cooked my steak to medium as I got a cheaper cut ) and rest on a plate.
In another large pan heat the remaining olive oil under a medium heat. Add the red onion and fry for a minute then add the chilli for another 1-2 minutes. Once the onion has softened add the chickpeas and tomato sauce and stir. Once heated through add the chopped spinach and cook until wilted and take off the heat.
On a large serving plate place a handful of rocket and spoon on the chickpeas. Thinly slice your steak and place that on top of the chickpeas. Crumble the feta on top followed by the sour cream mixed with the garlic. Add an additional sprinkle of paprika over the salad and serve.

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Ricotta and cherry cheesecake

 This cheesecake is perfect on a summer evening with a large scoop of good quality vanilla ice cream on the side. It’s delicious and light, not to mention very easy to make. You can add different types of berries if you can’t get cherries and it will be just as delicious. It’s also great for entertaining as it can be made well in advance.

Ingredients

200g good quality ricotta

200g sour cream

200g fresh cherries, deseeded & roughly chopped plus extra to garnish

175g caster sugar

3 large eggs

Zest of 1 lemon

1 vanilla pod

150g digestive biscuits

70g butter

1 tbsp, icing sugar

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degreesC. Place all the digestives into a sandwich/freezer bag and bash with a rolling pin until you have fine crumbs. In a pan, melt the butter and add the biscuits ( if too dry add more butter ) then press into a 9 inch cake tin to form the base. In a food processor mix together all the ingredients apart from the cherries until smooth. Pour the mixture into the cake tin and then add the cherries. Place in the oven and bake for 40-50 minutes until golden and very slightly wobbly. Place tin foil over the cheesecake and leave to cool. Remove from tin, place on a serving plate and garnish with cherries and a sprinkle of icing sugar. Enjoy!

Smoked salmon, spinach and chargrilled pepper open sandwich with garlic and herb cream cheese.

  

I’ve been making this sandwich for the last few days and I love it. I’m now determined to get fit for summer as it’s very scarily fast approaching and obviously as we all well know it’s not just exercise we need to think about.

Now that spring is well and truly here and the sun is shining, I find it a bit easier to get motivated to exercise and take care of myself (most of the time). So this sandwich idea is great for feeling full and satisfied as well as it being tasty and good for you too.

 

Serves 1

Ingredients

 70g Scottish smoked salmon

2 small slices wholegrain bread

1-2 tbsp garlic & herb cream cheese (you can pick a low fat version if counting calories)

4-5 chargrilled peppers (jarred in olive oil)

1 large handful of spinach

Tsp lemon juice

Salt & pepper to season

 

Method

 Firstly toast your slices of bread on both sides then spread with cream cheese. Add a generous helping of spinach followed by the smoked salmon and peppers. Finish with a small squeeze of lemon juice and pepper. Serve with your favourite herbal tea and Enjoy!

Some smoked salmon can be saltier than others so you may need a pinch of salt, I didn’t have too but judge for yourself and see what you think. You can also be more adventurous and add the garlic and herbs to a cream cheese of your choice and make the chargrilled peppers at home. I just opted for this quick version as a midweek lunch on the go.