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

 

 

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.

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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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.

 

Creamy tomato and courgette risotto.

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I really love risotto, I prefer to have it as a main course so I can have a big bowl although it’s great in small portions as a starter especially if you have lots of people round.
I don’t normally add tomato to my risottos but this was delicious and I will definitely be exploring different tomato based risottos from now on.

I hope you enjoy this one!

Serves 4

400g arborio rice
1 litre chicken stock
1 white onion, finely chopped
4 tbsp tomato purée
1 tbsp mascarpone
2 tsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 large or 2 small courgettes.
Salt and pepper, to season
Parmesan, to season

In a large deep saucepan under a medium heat add 2 tsp of olive oil and sauté the onion for 2-3 minutes. Meanwhile cut your courgette in half lengthways then cut into slices. Add the courgette to the pan and fry for 1 minute. Add the rice and garlic and stir to stop it sticking just for a few seconds.

Add a few ladles of chicken stock and continue to stir until the rice starts to absorb the stock. Add he tomato purée and continue adding the stock a ladle at a time, allowing the rice to absorb the stock each time whilst constantly stirring.

When there is just a couple ladles of stock left add the mascarpone, salt and pepper to taste, then the remaining ladles of stock as before and stir until it reaches a nice creamy consistency but not too sticky. Try your rice to make sure it’s al dente and the seasoning is right.

I like to add 2 tbsp of parmesan at that point too and stir it in before serving.
Serve in nice big bowls with a good grating of parmesan.
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Guacamole poached eggs with crispy speck

 

I love this as a brunch it’s really packed with flavour and the chilli gives it a nice kick..great if you’ve had one too many the night before. This really satisfies my cravings when I feel like something really delicious but  when I’m trying to be good at the same time. Summer is fast approaching after all.

Ingredients, serves 2
2 large eggs
1 avocado
1/2 fresh red chilli
1/4 small red onion
1 small garlic clove, grated
1/2 lime
2 slices crusty bread, toasted
3-4 strips of cured speck
Salt and pepper, to season
Method
Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Meanwhile scoop the avocado flesh into a bowl. Finley chop the chilli and red onion and add to the bowl along with the lime juice and the garlic. Add salt and pepper to taste and mash to a rough consistency.
Put a small pan on a medium heat with a tsp olive oil. Fry the speck until crispy then set aside.
Once your water is boiling, turn it right down to the low-medium setting. Crack the eggs on at a time into small ramekins then place carefully into the water. Leave the eggs in the water without touching them for 3-4 minutes then remove with a slotted spoon. Place the eggs on kitchen roll to drain.
Spread each slice of bread generously with the guacamole, top with an egg and crispy speck. Season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!
   

Sun dried tomato and oozy cheese French toast.

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So on a lazy Sunday afternoon, we really couldn’t be bothered going to the supermarket before 1pm when it closes and it doesn’t reopen  ( annoying when you have no car ). So we decided to make something with what we had. We love our sun dried tomato pesto and we had the ingredients to make that but we wanted something different, so we created this and trust me it’s BEAU-tiful.

Serves 2

1/2 portion of sun dried tomato pesto
4 slices white bread
100g tilsiter cheese or any good melting cheese like mozzarella or fontina
2 eggs, beaten & seasoned

Spread the slices of bread generously with the pesto and place a few slices of cheese on one slice and close to make a sandwich. Dip the sandwiches into the beaten egg on both sides. Fry in a lightly oiled pan until golden brown on both sides. Serve with some garlic mayonnaise or dip of your choice & enjoy.

Smoked salmon patè with black pepper crackers.

 

 
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I absolutely love smoked salmon and especially at Christmas time. This recipe is perfect for parties, entertaining, new year or even on Christmas Day as finger food. After craving smoked salmon for a few days, this really hit the spot and it’s so easy to make.

Ingredients

For the patè:
100g Scottish smoked salmon
125g good quality soft cream cheese
Lemon, squeeze
Salt and pepper, to season

For the crackers:
200g plain flour
50g cold butter, cubed
5 tbsp water
Salt and pepper

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degreesC. To make the patè, put the smoked salmon and cream cheese in a bowl and blend together with a hand blender until it is a nice, smooth consistency. Add a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of salt and pepper, set aside. Now to make the crackers, place the flour,butter, pinch of salt and large grating of pepper in a bowl. Using your fingers mix the butter through the flour. Now add 3-4tbsp of water and bring the dough together. It’s important not to get it too wet. Once you’ve formed it in a ball add another tbsp of water so it all comes together nicely but not wet or sticky. Now roll out on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle as thin as possible. Pick all over with a fork and lightly brush with water. Cut into squares and place on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack and serve with patè.
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