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

 

 

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.

 

Spicy carrot and angel hair pasta salad with roasted chicken drumsticks.

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I like this dish because it’s tasty, hot and very fresh tasting. I feel over the summer I have totally over indulged. Some people feel the sun makes them want to get fit and healthy and pig out in the winter, I kinda do both. The sun makes me want to eat nice food outside with friends and have a few glasses of vino and the cold weather in the winter makes me want to snuggle up with some cheese or carb related food. Of course I am still sensible and I’m not over weight at all but I seem to get to a point at this time of the year that I feel I’ve over done it especially because both our birthdays are in the same month and we seem to go all out with food and drink.
I don’t believe in diets because I don’t think they work on the long term. I much prefer to eat in moderation and exercise which when you’ve stopped for a while ( like me over the summer ) it’s hard to get back into it but once I’m past the hardest hurdle of getting out of bed and I have started I actually really enjoy exercise and you feel great after it. So here is my fresh and healthy spicy salad on a budget of course.

Serves 2/3

Salad:
2 carrots cut into fine strips with a peeler
1/2 small radicchio, finely chopped
1/4 small ice berg lettuce, roughly chopped
100g angel hair pasta or noodles
4 chicken drumsticks
2 tbsp Piri Piri seasoning
1tbsp olive oil

Dressing:
Zest 1 lemon & juice of 1/2
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 small fresh red chilli, finely chopped
1 tbsp Piri Piri seasoning
Salt to season

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. In a small baking tray mix 1tbsp of olive oil and 2 tbsp Piri Piri seasoning with a pinch of salt. Cut three little slices on the top of the chicken drumsticks and place them in the baking tray rubbing the seasoning all over. Roast for around 25-30 minutes turning occasionally until thoroughly cooked through. Meanwhile bring a small pot of water to the boil and cook your pasta until al dente around 5 minutes, drain, place in a bowl and add a dash of olive oil to stop it sticking together. Put all veg in a large bowl. In a small bowl add all the dressing ingredients and pour 3/4 over the pasta and stir until thoroughly combined. Once the chicken is ready pour the remaining dressing over the veg and stir them add the pasta and combine everything together before placing on plates with the chicken drumsticks on top. Lovely.

Healthy courgette and pea soup

imageFirst of all I should apologise for the lack of posts over the past week. I really do aim to post everyday or every second day to keep things interesting but I’ve spent the last week in bonny Scotland. It was so nice to see everyone and to see Edinburgh again, it’s such a beautiful city and I have to say I appreciate it much more that I’m not living there now, I think I kind of took it for granted before. So after my indulgent week in Scotland I felt like making something fresh and healthy when I got back. 

Serves 4

1 small leek
4 medium courgettes, grated
1.5 litres chicken stock
2 large garlic cloves
200g frozen peas
Salt and pepper, to season
Greek yogurt, to garnish

Finely chop the leek and sauté in a deep saucepan until soft, add the garlic and sauté for another minute. Add the courgettes and stir for a few seconds before adding the stock. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes. Add the peas a pinch of salt and pepper and simmer for another 5 minutes. Using a had blender blitz it all until smooth, serve in a bowl with a dollop of Greek yogurt and a little pepper.
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Breaded chicken cutlets with squash mash and pesto dressed spinach.

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This is such a comforting dinner whilst still being relatively healthy. Pesto again…have you noticed we love pesto? Sorry we seem to go through fazes of eating it a lot then not for a while. But this is a blog about what we love to eat, so there you are. It’s especially nice coated on spinach, just lovely raw spinach, so flavoursome and so healthy! I also love squash and it’s coming into season for it, so why not. It’s funny back in Scotland we were used to seeing most things in the supermarkets all year long whereas here in Italy if it’s not in season, it won’t be in the supermarkets. It’s a good thing I suppose, your eating what you should be at the right time of year and it’s going to taste the best it can be too.

Serves 2-3

2 free range chicken breasts
300g squash, cut into cubes
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
2 large handfuls or spinach, washed
60g plain flour, on a plate
1 egg, beaten in a bowl
80g fine breadcrumbs, on a plate
Knob of butter

For the pesto:
25g Basil
1/2 garlic clove
Small handful of pine nuts
Squeeze lemon juice
30g finely grated parmesan
4 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Place your chicken breasts one at a time in between two sheets of cling film and beat with a rolling pin until they are roughly 1/4 inch thick. Cut them into decent sized strips then dip them into the flour. After they are covered in flour, give them a shake so they are just dusted in flour and dip them into the egg then the breadcrumbs. Make sure they are thoroughly covered in breadcrumbs and set aside. Now put a large pot of water under a high heat and bring to the boil. Meanwhile make your pesto by adding all ingredients into a bowl and blitz with a hand blender, set aside. Add your potato and squash to the water and boil for 20 minutes until soft. Meanwhile fry your chicken cutlets in a little olive oil until crispy and golden on each side, because they are so thin they don’t need very long to cook through. Around 2-3 minutes on each side. Once your potato and squash is ready, drain and then place back into the pot. Add a knob of butter, salt and pepper to taste and roughly mash with a fork. Place your spinach in a large bowl and add the pesto, toss until totally covered. Serve a couple chicken cutlets on a plate with a large spoon of mash and your spinach, Enjoy.

Spicy chorizo, chicken and vegetable bake with pesto dressing.

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Spicy, paprika oil coated over beautifully cooked vegetables and juicy chicken. It’s delicious. It’s very easy to assemble and there’s not much cooking involved so you can chop everything up put it in the oven and it’s ready. I love this when I have had a busy day or I’m tired and want something that’s easy but tastes so good. The pesto dressing and feta give a burst of flavour so although it’s so easy to make it’s really delicious. You can also use chicken thighs in this and put them in to the tray along with the potatoes and veg. There’s no need to brown them first and they are so tender when they are ready. I have to say I usually use chicken thighs when I make this as they are so cheap and much more succulent but we had chicken breasts in the fridge so we used them. This dish is all about using up what you have. The main ingredients I would always use in this is the chorizo, feta and pesto. Other than that you can chop and change your veg to what suits you.

Serves 4

1/2 chorizo picante sausage
2 chicken breasts
2 large potatoes
1 large yellow pepper
1 large red pepper<a
1 fennel bulb
8 cloves of garlic
1 red onion
4 large mushrooms
100g Feta

For the pesto:
Small handful of basil
2 tbsp olive oil
Small pinch of pine nuts, around 6 or 7
1/2 garlic clove
Small handful of grated parmesan

Set the oven to 200 degrees C. Roughly chop the peppers, red onion, fennel and potatoes and place in a large baking tray. Add the garlic, unpeeled into the tray and tuck away behind the veg so it’s hidden. Season with plenty salt and pepper and drench in plenty olive oil. Place this in the oven for 20 minutes. Meanwhile roughly chop your chicken breasts and cook them in a small frying pan for 2 minutes just to brown but not cooked through. Set aside. Roughly chop your chorizo and slice your mushrooms. After 20 minutes add the chicken, chorizo and mushrooms to the tray with a little olive oil and bake for 10 minutes. Now add all the pesto ingredients into a bowl and blitz with a hand blender until smooth, season with salt and pepper. Add the feta then cook for a further 5 minutes. Let it cool for 5 minutes drizzle with the pesto then serve. Delicious and easy.

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Spicy chorizo, chicken and vegetable bake with pesto dressing.

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Spicy, paprika oil coated over beautifully cooked vegetables and juicy chicken. It’s delicious. It’s very easy to assemble and there’s not much cooking involved so you can chop everything up put it in the oven and it’s ready. I love this when I have had a busy day or I’m tired and want something that’s easy but tastes so good. The pesto dressing and feta give a burst of flavour so although it’s so easy to make it’s really delicious. You can also use chicken thighs in this and put them in to the tray along with the potatoes and veg. There’s no need to brown them first and they are so tender when they are ready. I have to say I usually use chicken thighs when I make this as they are so cheap and much more succulent but we had chicken breasts in the fridge so we used them. This dish is all about using up what you have. The main ingredients I would always use in this is the chorizo, feta and pesto. Other than that you can chop and change your veg to what suits you.

Serves 4

1/2 chorizo picante sausage
2 chicken breasts
2 large potatoes
1 large yellow pepper
1 large red pepper<a
1 fennel bulb
8 cloves of garlic
1 red onion
4 large mushrooms
100g Feta

For the pesto:
Small handful of basil
2 tbsp olive oil
Small pinch of pine nuts, around 6 or 7
1/2 garlic clove
Small handful of grated parmesan

Set the oven to 200 degrees C. Roughly chop the peppers, red onion, fennel and potatoes and place in a large baking tray. Add the garlic, unpeeled into the tray and tuck away behind the veg so it’s hidden. Season with plenty salt and pepper and drench in plenty olive oil. Place this in the oven for 20 minutes. Meanwhile roughly chop your chicken breasts and cook them in a small frying pan for 2 minutes just to brown but not cooked through. Set aside. Roughly chop your chorizo and slice your mushrooms. After 20 minutes add the chicken, chorizo and mushrooms to the tray with a little olive oil and bake for 10 minutes. Now add all the pesto ingredients into a bowl and blitz with a hand blender until smooth, season with salt and pepper. Add the feta then cook for a further 5 minutes. Let it cool for 5 minutes drizzle with the pesto then serve. Delicious and easy.

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