Friday, 20 March 2015

Healthy Weekday Meal #8 ...........{ham & mushroom coodles/zoodles!}

Spiralizing - it's a craze that you just can't get away from at the moment - it's everywhere. And my oh my I'm jumping on the bandwagon with gusto! I'm pretty focused on changing my diet for the better and I love the fact that by making "coodles" (because I'm English not American) I can make my favourite pasta dishes but they are so much healthier and low carb. This is a old favourite for me and it works really well with the courgette noodles. If you don't have a spiralizer then you can use a peeler to make ribbons, and if you did want to have pasta, add in the courgettes to the sauce and then serve over pasta.

Ham and Mushroom Coodles

1 onion, sliced
75g chestnut mushrooms sliced
3 courgettes, spiralized into noodles / or sliced using peeler (If you are serving this with pasta you only need 1 courgette)
2 good handfuls sliced ham, or you could use pancetta or parma ham
4 tbsp low fat creme fraiche
grated Parmesan

sweat of the onion in a tbsp of olive oil until soft. add in the mushrooms and courgette noodles and cook for five mins or so - the mushrooms should absorb the moisture released by the noodles. stir in the creme fraiche, ham and a couple of tbsp of Parmesan cheese and cook of a few minutes before seasoning and then serving.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Healthy Weekday Meal #7.........{my copy of Pret's Chicken, Edamame & Ginger Soup}

I have got really lazy the past couple of weeks - I had my birthday and then a couple of busy and tense weeks at work. This all led to me not having time to run and to eat well and to nourish (and of course no time to blog). I think when things like this happen you have to let it go a bit. Take a deep breath and just start it up again. The more I beat myself up about it the more I'm admitting defeat.
Working in London it's really easy to pop out and get lunch and we have a pret a manger around the corner from the office (like most offices in London I guess). I love pret especially their soups - my favourite is the Chicken, endame bean and ginger soup. But dang it gets expensive and I'm enjoying spending my earnings on clothes the size smaller. So I did what any self respecting wannabe blogger would do. I looked online, found the list of ingredients and then just kind of figured out what sort of amounts I wanted of each ingredients.

And so soup was made and now I have healthy soup everyday. The ginger makes it really healing too, so this is great if you have a cold. And it tastes good.Next to figure out their Asian Pepper.... 

(Forgive my really loose measures, I really did just throw this together)

Chicken, edamame and ginger soup 

1 large Spanish onion, diced  
couple of handfuls of cooked chicken, shredded 
a large piece of ginger (size of an egg, or a banana shallot), peeled and then half grated and half finely sliced 
2 large or 4 small tomatoes, diced
small handful uncooked brown rice 
2 pints chicken stock 
couple of handfuls frozen edamame (soya) beans 

in a bit of coconut oil cook off the onion until softened. Add in the ginger and cook until fragrant. Add in the chicken, tomatoes and rice and let them all get coated in the flavours. Pour over the stock, bring to the boil then turn down to simmer. After 20 minutes add in the edamame and simmer for another 5 minutes or so. Then its ready. Just keep in the fridge and dip into it as and when you fancy! 

Friday, 13 March 2015

When you find a brilliant curry recipe ....... {Dan Toomb's (The Curry Guy) Chicken Chasni}

I'm a big fan of spicy food and I love a curry, I'm not a big fan of the calories from an Indian takeaway. I love making my own curries and my "go to" blogs for curry recipes is The Curry Guy. I love his recipes and when I saw this one I had to give it a go myself. It was a great recipe that H and I shared on a Friday night whilst watching a film and congratulating ourselves on resisting the temptation to go out! I pretty much followed the recipe to a T and I really wouldn't change much about it - I just used coconut oil instead of oil so its a tad healthier, although at the end of the day a homemade curry is always a better option over a takeaway or even a jar of sauce!

Chicken Chasni

recipe can be found here
3 chicken breasts – skinned and sliced
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 onions – finely chopped
4 cloves garlic - finely chopped
1 x 2cm piece of ginger - finely chopped
2 x green chillies - finely chopped
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp turmeric
400ml chopped tomatoes
3 tbsp mango chutney
2 tbsp mint sauce
3 tbsp ketchup
200ml milk
200ml double cream
 juice of one lime and one lemon
 4 tablespoons fresh chopped coriander
place the chicken pieces in a large bowl and stir in the turmeric and the lemon juice. marinate for about 20 minutes while you make your sauce. heat the oil in a pan over medium high heat. when the oil begins to bubble, throw in the chopped onions and fry for about five minutes until translucent and soft. add the chopped garlic, ginger and chilli and allow to sizzle before adding the cumin and paprika and fry for a further minute. pour in the chopped tomatoes and the fresh coriander. place the onion mixture in a blender with the mango chutney, mint sauce, ketchup and the coconut milk. blend for about a minute until very smooth. wipe the pan clean and add a drop more oil into it if needed.
add the chicken pieces and brown them for a couple of minutes. add the blended sauce and simmer until the chicken is cooked through. then add the double cream and simmer for a further few minutes.
 to taste, squeeze the lime juice over the top and garnish with coriander.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

A Simple Sweet Tooth......{cheesecake sandwiches}

When wining and dining friends pudding is always my last thought. I think about flavors and cheese and meats way before I think about what's going to finish of the food. This is probably because we are not sweet eaters in my house - I'd rather have cheese. Cheesecake is a good choice for me because it contains cheese (did i mention I love cheese?) an usually a citrus fruit. These are great, they are the easiest pudding in the world and they taste fab, your guests really won't mind that you have gone to so little trouble because the taste is there and you have more time to talk.... and that my friends is the rally reason for gathering around the table to taste and to talk
I have made these with lemons but you can just as easily substitute this for limes and call them key lime pie sandwiches. Just make sure you leave them for those 20 minutes so the biscuits soften slightly - it makes the whole affair a lot less messy!

Cheesecake sandwiches

one pack ginger nuts, or other ginger biscuit of your choice
250g full fat cream cheese
2 - 3 tbsp icing sugar
zest one lemon
juice 1/2 lemon

soften the cream cheese in a bowl, add the icing sugar zest and juice and mix, taste and add more sugar/ lemon juice if needed. if its a bit loose put in fridge to thicken for 30mins or so. take a biscuit and add a dollop of the cream cheese mixture. sandwich another biscuit on top. repeat until all biscuits are used. leave for around 20 minutes so that the biscuits soften slightly and they are easier to eat. devour them.  

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

A taste of Italy from Whitstable.......{Spaghetti alla Vongole}

I wax lyrical about Whitstable so much on this blog but then I love it so much. Last Saturday we wondered down to the fish market and I decided against mussels and instead opted for some fresh clams - a bit pricier but then you need less to make a rather wonderful Italian meal. This took me right back to summer holidays in Italy although it was March on the Kentish coast. I don't eat pasta very much at all these days but when I do, it has to be worth it - full of flavour and not to heavy. Don't be scared of shellfish when you are cooking clams they tell you when they are ready to eat as their shells open - makes it so simple!

Spaghetti alla Vongole

750g fresh clams (approx)
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 red chilli, finely chopped
20g butter
olive oil
150ml white wine
zest and juice 1/2 lemon
handful fresh parsley, roughly chopped
enough spaghetti / linguine for 2 people
cook the spaghetti according to instructions, you want it slightly al-dente. warm the butter and olive oil in a pan and add the garlic and chilli. once it has softened add in the wine, when it starts to simmer, ramp up the heat, add in the clams and put the lid on the pan. shake a few times as it cooks. the clams will take around 4-5 minutes, once the shells have opened. discard all clams that haven't opened. add in the pasta, parsley, lemon juice and zest and toss them all together. season and serve. It's really that simple but tastes a million dollars!

Linking up with Vicky at Honest Mum

Tasty Tuesdays on

Monday, 9 March 2015

When fish is this fresh........{Grilled Prawns)

We spent my birthday weekend in one of my favourite places - Whitstable. One of the things I love about it is the fresh seafood market. Often one of the evenings of the weekend we will forgo the many places to eat and just buy some fresh fish from the market and go home and cook it.

We were spoilt for choice at the market this week and after a lot of umming and ahhing I picked up some lovely fresh large prawns. You could do so much with these BUT I can't help thinking when fish is this fresh you are best keeping it really simple. I went for a really simple but fragrant butter made with juicy garlic and lots of fresh parsley which soaked into the prawns under the grill. We lingered over them with a fresh glass of prosecco and some fresh baked bread from one of the deli's. There's nothing better in life really.  

Grilled Prawns with Garlic & Parsley Butter

10 large raw prawns 
50g good quality butter
1/2 shallot, finely chopped 
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped 
handful parsley, finely chopped 
1 tbsp olive oil

if you wish take the heads of the prawns and then de-vein them and then butterfly them so they lie flat on the grill. mix all of the other ingredients together and then dollop it in the prawns. place under the grill for around 10-15 minutes until the prawns are nice and pink and cooked through. How easy is that?!