Friday, 11 September 2015

Healthy Weekday Meal #14.........{Miso Salmon with Stir Fry Veg}

This is one of those great meals that takes next to no time to throw together and cooks really quickly as well. Inspired by a meal that my friend Paul ate when we met up for a drink the other day (non-alcoholic for me). Do what I do and buy some of the pouches of microwavable brown rice (50p in Sainsburys) and save yourself even more time!

I'm training hard at the moment and the amount I am exercising has increased beyond recognition. Healthy eating supports all that I am doing and so this meal I have found to be perfect when coming in from a run or a swim - gets to your plate fast and fills you up nicely whilst being extremely good for you! Play around with the veg in this, Paul's one had red peppers in it which as H hates them I didn't bother with but they would work well! The Sriracha adds the heat so add more or less depending on how spicy you want it, this had a nice kick! 

Miso Salmon with Stir Fry Vegetables

2 salmon fillets
for the marinade:
4 tbsp. teriyaki sauce
2 tbsp. low sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp. Sriracha
1 1/2 tsp. miso paste
1 tbsp. coconut oil
4 spring onions, sliced on the diagonal
4 large shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 carrot, sliced into ribbons (I used a peeler to do this)
1/2 head of broccoli, sliced into florets
fresh ginger, thumb sized piece finely grated
leaves of 2 pak choi
to serve - brown rice (or whatever rice you like or noodles)!
place all the ingredients of the marinade in a bowl and whisk together. place the salmon into a oven proof dish and cover with half of the marinade. cover the dish with foil and bake in the oven at about 200oC for about 20mins until the salmon is cooked (I uncovered it for the last 5 mins so the marinade went nice and glazed). In the mean time warm the coconut oil in a wok and then add all of the vegetables apart from the pak choi and cook for a few minutes. add the remaining marinade and the pak choi and cook for a further 4 minutes or so until the vegetables are cooked to your liking. serve over brown rice with the salmon on top.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

A Splash of Purple on your Plate

I am a sauce kind of girl. I love sauces - tomato, mayo, mustard, tartar. BBQ whichever, whatever, I love a sauce! It's always a struggle on a Sunday morning when I have to think about what sauce to have in my sausage or bacon sandwich - should I go tomato or BBQ, red or brown. Well, Premier Inn have gone and thrown another colour into the mix - Purple Sauce! Yes, purple - my favourite colour when I was a teenager (yes I know, very unoriginal).  
Purple food stuff may not sound like the most attractive offering but when I received my bottle from the lovely people at Premier Inn I was very pleasantly surprised at how "naturally" purple it was - naturally purple, what a phrase!
It probably looks natural because it is made from natural ingredients, the main one being blackberries (yay for a sauce using such a traditional British fruit). It also contains spices such as black pepper, chillies and cumin. It is also pleasing to see that it contains no artificial colours or flavourings which makes me pretty happy!
I tried this sauce on my favourite breakfast treat - a sausage sandwich. And it was the perfect compliment to the juicy, fat Cumberland sausages I picked up from our local butcher. As a side note I like to griddle toast my bread for a sausage good.
Back to the sauce, I really enjoyed it. To me it was a really interesting mix of the smokiness of a BBQ, the fruitiness of brown sauce and the tangy-ness of a tomato sauce - it was like the perfect combination of all my favourite breakfast sauces. I usually like mustard on my sausage sandwich but the slight heat from all the spices meant I didn't need to add that either!
I'm very lucky that I was sent a bottle of the sauce so this can make a regular appearance at my breakfast (and lunch and dinner) and if you want to give this a try then you'll find sachets of Purple Sauce on the breakfast table in Premier Inn restaurants across the country from 20th July – get there quick, it’s only available for a limited time.  Although I personally think that they should be selling it on the supermarket shelves - a sauce this good needs to be available to all!
Disclaimer: The lovely people at Premier Inn sent me the sauce to try. All thoughts and ideas are my own

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Healthy Weekday Meal #13........{Chicken and Sweet Potato Chilli}

For  a while now I have been seeing lots various posts for turkey and sweet potato chilli - and for a while I have been intending to give it a go. When I got in from work yesterday I was going for a run so I wanted to make something that was quick and healthy so I could devour it when I got back form said run. I didn't have any turkey mince but I did have some chicken so I just ground that up in my food processor and it worked just as well. You can do what I did and blend up all the sweet potato for quite a thick chili or you can keep half as chunks and just blend the other half. Both seem to work.  

Chicken and Sweet Potato Chilli

400 - 500g chicken breasts, blended until small chunks / or just use turkey mince
1 onion, sliced 
3 cloves garlic, finely diced 
2 dsp chilli powder (i used hot but you can use medium if preferred)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried red chilli flakes (optional)
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
2 medium sweet potatoes , diced (i kept the skins on but you can peel if you want)
400g tinned chopped tomatoes 
2 fresh tomatoes, diced
200g black beans, drained (alternatively use kidney beans)
300ml chicken stock
Greek yoghurt to serve 

in a tbsp of olive oil cook the chicken, onion, garlic and spices until chicken is browned and onions are soft, make sure you season well. I added a bit of water at this stage to keep the mixture moist. remove from pan. add the sweet potatoes to the pan and cover with the stock (add some extra water if you need to) then let boil until soft. blend the potatoes and stock until smooth. Add back in the pan with the chicken and onions and the tin of tomatoes and fresh tomatoes. simmer and add some water until you have the desired consistency. after 10 minutes add the beans  and cook for a further 10 minutes, season. Serve with a dollop of greek yoghurt. You can serve it with rice or a salad and avocado but I found it filling enough on its own! 

Thursday, 27 August 2015

It's Caribbean Food Week!......{Jerk Chicken Wraps}

Did you know that this week is Caribbean food week? That's right, it runs 24-31 August culminating in the world-famous Notting Hill Carnival. When Grace Foods offered me the chance top create some yummy recipes using their wide selection of Caribbean products I couldn't wait to get involved. Caribbean food is something I have tried on a few occasions but don't really cook myself so I was up for the challenge. 

For my first recipe I decided to create a really healthy but incredibly tasty chicken dish using the Dunns River Jerk Season that I was sent. I love Jerk Chicken and when the chicken was cooked on my grill plate it went all smoky and delicious - the marinade would work so well on chicken legs and wings for a BBQ. The spiciness of the chicken is cooled down by the mango and lime juice and you basically just have a taste sensation in your mouth! H absolutely loved these and if you marinade your chicken overnight they literally take 10-15 minutes to cook and get onto the plate so they are great as an after work quick and easy dinner!

Jerk Chicken Wraps with Mango Salsa  

300g chicken (breast of thigh), sliced into large strips 

for the marinade:
1 tbsp Dunns River Jerk Seasoning 
3 spring onions roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled 
inch of fresh ginger, peeled
1 dried ancho chilli or one fresh red chilli
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp coconut sugar (or brown sugar will work)
1 tbsp algarve syrup (treacle would also work)
juice of 1 lime 

For mango salsa:
1 mango, peeled and cubed 
handful coriander, chopped 
juice of 1 lime 

to serve:
iceberg lettuce, shredded 

place all of the ingredients for the marinade in a blender and blend until smooth. pour over the chicken and mix until coated. cover and place in fridge - ideally overnight. to make the salsa combine the mango with the coriander and lime juice. warm a grill pan and cook off the chicken - let it get a bit charred as it tastes even better this way. in a separate pan warm up the tortilla. to serve place a bed of lettuce, add on the chicken and top with the salsa. 
Simple but full of  flavours of the Caribbean sunshine!   

Why not follow along all the Caribbean fun and check out more recipes via @caribbeanfoodwk on Twitter and on Facebook

Disclaimer: The lovely people at Grace foods sent me some of the ingredients to create this recipe. All thoughts and ideas are my own. 

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

SOmetimes good food isn't pretty...........{tomato zoodles}

As a (sorta) food blogger I sometimes find myself stuck on whether or not to post a recipe as the photos don't make it look the best or its just not a "pretty" recipe and sometimes food just isn't that pretty. But then I didn't start this blog to be popular, or pretty. I just wanted to make tasty food, share my love of flavours and perhaps inspire a few people in their kitchens. So these zoodles are quick easy and really tasty. Like all my zoodle recipes the sauce would taste just as good if it went over some spaghetti or pasta.

Cherry Tomato Zoodles

2 tbsp. olive oil
120g cherry tomatoes - I used red and yellow, cut into halves and quarters
2 tbsp. red onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and squashed down but kept whole
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. tomato puree
1 tbsp. parmesan, grated
2 courgettes (zucchini), spiralized to make noodles

warm olive oil in the pan and add in the onion, cook until softened and then add in the garlic clove. when fragrant add in the tomatoes and balsamic vinegar and cook through for 10 minutes. Add in the tomato puree to thicken the sauce. season. add in the zoodles and cook through for a few minutes. sprinkle over and serve. 

I served this alongside a stuffed mushroom and it was lovely

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

The Man Made Food.........{Greek Style Lemon Chicken & Rice}

You know how it is, you're late leaving work, the man calls and asks what time you will be home. When you tell them that you've only just left you can hear his brain whirring as he realises that it will be a long while before dinner is made, so he actually offers to cook. To be fair to H, if I wasn't such a little chef I'm sure he would do more cooking but when I love it so much he kind of just lets me get on with it.... what can I say, he irons my creased shirts - it works for us. It was a lovely meal, all cooked in one pot (bonus) and pretty healthy as we are trying  to eat more healthily and I am trying to loose quite a bit of weight. We ate this out in the garden which was just lovely. He is lovely. How lucky I am.

 This recipe is adapted from RecipeTin Eats which is fast becoming a favourite blog of mine!

Greek Style Lemon Chicken and Rice

for the marinade:
5 - 7 chicken thighs / legs
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp dried oregano
1tsp salt

for the rice:
1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup long grain rice
500ml chicken stock
200ml water
1 tbsp. dried oregano
lemon quarters

take the chicken and marinade ingredients and combine them in a bowl. cover and refrigerate - H left it for a couple of hours but the original recipe suggests overnight. heat 1/2 tablespoon olive oil in a heavy based pan and place the chicken in skin down. brown both sides of the meat and then remove from pan and set aside. add a tbsp. of olive oil to the pan and cook the onions until translucent then add the garlic. after a minute add in the rice, reserved marinade from the chicken, the oregano and the stock and water. bring the pan to a simmer , season and then place the chicken on top of the rice. put lid on the pan and then cook covered for 40 minutes (180oC)  then take the lid of and cook for a further 15 minutes. serve - we served with some broccoli which was lovely.

Linking up with Honest Mum for #tastytuesdays

Tasty Tuesdays on

Monday, 3 August 2015

My type of comfort food........{Spicy Lentils}

I'm really getting back into healthy eating thing - I've found that using My Fitness Pal and Instagram to record my progress really does make a difference and helps keep my on track - I do well with accountability! Last night I was feeling hungry but really just wanted something quite light but I was also tired and when I'm tired I crave all the comfort foods! So in lieu of a steaming bowl of mash potato I went for I nice healthy bowl of lentils. This can be served as a side dish but last night we let it be the star of the show and served it with a warmed pitta and a bit of Greek yoghurt. They are also great the next day - I had mine for lunch!

Spicy Lentils 

1 onion, diced
1 carrot, diced 
1 red chilli, finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
approx. 350g green lentils (this would work well for red lentils too, although you may have to amend quantities)
1 tin plum tomatoes
250ml water
1 fresh tomato, diced  

in a little olive oil add the onions, carrot and chilli to a pan, once softened add the garlic for a minute or so before adding in the lentils. stir and make sure the lentils are coated in the vegetable juices and then add the tomatoes and water. simmer for 20-30 minutes until lentils are softened. and yes, its that easy 

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Healthy Weekday Meal #12.........Coconut Salmon Zoodles

My how I love spiralizing! So quick, so easy and so healthy!

Rewinding a bit, the past few months I feel that I have definitely lost my path on the whole healthy eating journey. I blame Italy, and Ice cream and pasta. I'd be lying if I told you I wasn't totally frustrated with myself. I hate that I can be a bit of a quitter. So I decided that it's time to stop and start again. No fads, no gimmicks just healthy eating and exercise. I believe in me.

Back to spiralizing. It's great and no doubt in the coming months there will be many more zoodles and coodles and all the other things.......

Coconut Salmon Zoodles 

2 fillets salmon
1 tin coconut milk
3 tbsp Thai green curry paste 
200g prawns (optional)
1 tbsp coconut oil 
2 leeks finely sliced
3 courgettes, spiralized (or use a peeler to make ribbons if no spiralizer)
handful of soya beans 

season the salmon fillets. in a ovenproof dish mix the coconut milk and the curry paste and add in the salmon fillets and the prawns. put in moderately heated oven for approx 20 mins until the salmon is cooked (if your prawns are already cooked then add them in the last 5 minutes rather than at the beginning). in a pan heat the coconut oil and add the leeks, once they have softened add the courgette and soya beans. take the pan from the oven and add about half of the Thai sauce to the noodles and cook off for a few minutes. serve the salmon and prawns on a bed of the courgette noodles, leeks and soya beans. 

Linking up with Honest Mum for #tastytuesdays

Tasty Tuesdays on

Thursday, 16 July 2015

For when you've missed your kitchen......{Roasted Chicken Legs in White Wine Sauce}

My friends, its been a little while,. I have no excuse except maybe this little fellow

World meet Augustus Oberon affectionately known to all as Gus. He is a little monster but the most affectionate and lovely kitten ever. He rules the roost in our household already. I love him. 

It seems to be a while since I've got myself into my little kitchen. Then yesterday I used some of my flexi-time and left work early so I could go home and cook. And this is what I made. Very french in it's style and whilst its quite rich it actually is quite light in texture. It reminds me of the days when my friend Kate would make chicken in white wine for me and it was literally my favourite meal ever! 

Chicken Legs in White Wine and Mushroom Sauce 

4 chicken legs 
olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped 
100g mushrooms, sliced
200ml white wine 
250ml chicken stock 
couple of handfuls of frozen peas
75ml double cream
brown rice, to serve 

rub a little butter and olive oil onto each of the legs and season. place in a cast iron pan and roast in oven. once they are golden brown, remove from the pan leaving the juices and oils and then put the legs on a baking sheet and put them in an oven at a low heat to keep warm and finish cooking. with the pan with the juices, put on the heat and throw in the onions. cook until soft and translucent then add in the mushrooms. after a couple of minutes add in the wine, allow to cook of a bit and then add the stock. simmer for 10 minutes until its reduced by about half. add in the peas and cream and cook for another 10 minutes or so and then return the chicken legs to the pan for the final couple of minutes. serve with whatever you like! i went for brown rice.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Tapas Thursday ......{Chorizo in Red Wine}

A selection of tapas was the first dish that I made for H when we first started dating - way back when..... What he didn't realise at the time is that they are so easy and simple to make. I'm sharing you my recipe for Chorizo in Red Wine because it is H's favourite and some things in life you should just share!

Chorizo in Red Wine 

ring of chorizo, sliced 
red onion, finely sliced 
1 clove garlic, finely chopped 
250ml - 3000ml red wine 
pinch of dried red chilli flakes

heat the chorizo in a pan until it gets a bit crispy, remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. In the remaining oil (add in a bit extra if you need) and add the onions and red chilli into the pan and allow to soften. add the garlic and cook for a couple more minutes. add the chorizo back into the pan with the red wine and mix them all together. you can either place in an oven proof dish and cook in the oven for 20 mins or you can leave to simmer in the pan for about 20 mins. serve with some lovely crusty, fresh bread.  

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Sandwich Loaf.........{Its National Picnic Week}

It's national picnic week - I absolutely love enjoying food al fresco and picnics are just the perfect way to do this. One of my favourite things to make for picnics is my Sandwich loaf, because I love me a sandwich! This loaf is a kind of sandwich but looks much fancier. Transporting it whole is very easy and you can just cut it in slices or quarters when you get to your destination. Feel free to play around with the fillings as well; I’ve made one previous ones with tuna, rocket, hard boiled eggs and anchovies which was pretty lush....


Picnic Sandwich Loaf

1 cottage loaf, size of you choice
Olive oil
6 slices Parma ham
15 slices salami milano
5 tomatoes, sliced
2 balls mozzarella, sliced
Basil leaves
1 aubergine sliced and then grilled and allowed to cool
1 courgette, sliced, then grilled and allowed to cool
75g, sundried tomatoes

Slice the top of the bread and then scoop out the inside of the bread. Brush the insides with olive oil and leave uncovered overnight. Take your other ingredients and then layer them inside the bread. My layers went as such: Parma ham; tomatoes; basil; mozzarella; aubergine; salami; courgette; sundried tomatoes; mozzarella; tomatoes; basil; and finally more salami. Make sure you press down every time you finish a layer so you are packing it down firmly. Once you have filled your loaf, put the top back on and cover the whole thing in foil and then weigh the top down (a tin of duck fat works well here!). You want to leave it for at least 2 hours but the longer the better. When you are ready, either slice or cut into quarters and serve.

This recipe can be found in my recipe pages in the July/August edition of Families First

Linking up with Honest Mum for #tastytuesdays

Tasty Tuesdays on

Thursday, 4 June 2015

A summer soup........{Watercress Soup}

I get so into soups in the summer - so fresh and light and easy! My favourite kind of summer soup is watercress! British watercress is just wonderful and I like to use it as much as possible whilst it is in season. This soup is a really simple and tasty way to highlight the peppery tones of this versatile salad leaf. I’ve kept this one a little bit chunky but you can always blend it until it’s really smooth (and bright green in colour)! Parmesan crisps are so simple but look great – your guests are bound to be impressed when you serve them! You can also serve this hot or cold - its up to you!

Watercress Soup with Parmesan Crisps

1 tbsp unsalted butter
300g watercress, chopped (make sure the stalks are finely chopped and the leaves just roughly chopped)
2 leeks, finely chopped
3 Cyprus potatoes (or other baby potatoes) finely chopped
 500ml chicken or vegetable stock 
Double cream 

75g Parmigiano Reggiano, grated 

For the parmesan crisps – line a baking tray with grease proof paper. Take the grated cheese and make rounded mounds (they don’t spread too much so you can make the circles quite close together). Pop in the oven (200°C) for 10 minutes or until they are nicely golden. Allow to cool before serving. 
For the soup - Melt the butter and add in the leek and potatoes, cook until soft and the leeks are going translucent. Add in the watercress and stock and simmer for around 10 minutes. Take off the heat and then blend until you have the consistency you like. Add in a splash of cream and season. Serve with a swirl of cream and with the parmesan crisps on the side.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

#CaptureTheSunshine......{Tipsy Paprika Chicken}

How wonderful is it that the sun has been shining so much recently? Makes me really happy and one the best things about the warm weather is the opportunity to eat alfresco - nothing like it! I swear food tastes better when it's eaten outside in the fresh air.  And what better to accompany your alfresco meal then a nice glass of Lindeman's wine? I love the variety in the wine my favourites being the Chardonnay and if I'm in the red wine mood I'll go for the Shiraz - Perfect!

So thinking about your alfresco dining this is my suggestion for a perfect Spring menu, and hey if it rains (we are in England after all, not sunny Hunterland in Australia where the folks at Lindeman produce their lovely wine) just #CaptureTheSunshine in the comfort of you warm dining room!

My Spring Menu

(perfect for nibbling on with a glass of wine)
Tipsy Paprika Chicken
(See recipe below)


The perfect combination for the perfect meal in my humble opinion! And here is the very simple but very tasty White Wine Paprika Chicken. Lets face it no one wants to spend hours slaving over a stove when it's a beautiful day which is why I've kept the menu pretty easy but full of flavours - you can also make a lot of it in advance - Enjoy!

Tipsy Paprika Chicken

3-4 chicken breasts
11/2 tsp paprika
salt & pepper

2tbsp olive oil
3tbsp butter
2tbsp fresh thyme leaves
3 large garlic cloves, finely diced

2 handfuls chestnut mushrooms finely sliced
300ml Lindeman's Bin 65 Chardonnay white wine
2 handfuls spinach

4 tbsp double cream

season the chicken breasts with the paprika, salt and pepper rubbing it evenly over both sides. melt 1 tbsp butter and the olive oil in a large pan over a medium heat. add the chicken breasts and cook on one side for three minutes, until golden brown and then turn over. turn the heat down and after 3mins add the rest of the butter, the thyme, mushrooms and garlic. cook continuously stirring the thyme, mushrooms and garlic around, for approx 2 mins before adding the wine. bring to a gentle simmer and let cook for 20 minutes - you may need to add wine if it dries up to much (but adding wine is never a bad thing!). add the spinach and cream in and season with S&P make sure chicken is done and serve with new potatoes, salad, cous cous, rice - whatever takes your fancy! Great accompanied with another glass of wine!

Disclosure: I’m entering this recipe into the #CaptureTheSunshine competition run by Foodies100 in conjunction with Lindeman’s wines.

For that Special Occassion.....{Chilli Crab Linguine}

I love eating crab and it really comes into season in May and June so this is the time when I really start to use it in my cooking. I’ve found sourcing crab meat from an online fishmonger is the easiest way to get hold of really fresh produce and it works out a lot cheaper, often I'll do a job lot and get some yummy clams as well. I use Fish for Thought and have found their service to be wonderful, cannot fault them and their fish is delcicious!  So on to the food - many crab linguine’s use just the white meat but I find that the brown meat is full of flavour and so I use both for this dish. The quanities I have given serves around 6 people.  

Chilli Crab Linguine

600g linguine (I use dried but feel free to use fresh!)
2 TBSP Olive oil
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 red chilli, finely chopped
2 banana shallots, finely chopped
White wine, just a splash!
300g brown crab meat
250g white crab meat
1 lemon – zest of half and juice of whole

Parsley, finely chopped

cook the pasta according to instructions (I like mine slightly al dente), drain the cooking water but reserve a few spoonfuls for the sauce. meanwhile heat the olive oil in a pan and fry off the garlic, shallots and chilli until softened but not browned. add in a splash of white wine, lemon juice and lemon zest and then stir in the brown crab meat.  let it warm through and add in the reserved pasta water if it looks a bit too thick. stir the white crab meat in gently and then toss in the pasta. season and add the parsley. serve!