Category Archives: Healthy

Mini pizzas

I haven’t blogged for a while and was keen to get one out there before the year end!  So this one is a recipe/recipes that I have used a lot over recent months.  Partly because they are so quick, partly because they are relatively healthy, as you control the ingredients, and mainly because I have never been disappointed whatever combination of ingredients I have decided upon!

The main ingredient in this dish is the Buitoni mini pizza bases.  You get 8 in a pack so good for 4 people (2 pizzas each) or a good party size if you halve them after cooking.

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From there I’ve used a base topping of either creme fraiche or tinned tomatoes.  The creme fraiche topping was inspired by a trip to France earlier in the year and I have to say it is my favourite.

I usually spread some herbs on the main sauce (basil, oregano, pesto, parsley, etc).  Well some combination of these, not all!

Then on top of that I’ve added chicken or chorizo as my meat of choice (I always pre-cook the chicken to be on the safe side).  And then some vegetables from mushrooms, onions, peppers, courgette (which I usually pre-cook if I’m doing it with chicken although it’s not really necessary).

From then I might add cherry tomatoes before the cheese (I usually choose between feta or cheddar or parmesan).

I bake them in the oven for 10 mins on 220 and enjoy a great dish afterwards.  Recently we made them with our niece so they are child friendly and can be quite a good interactive cooking dish with kids.  Also I made a few for our house warming so great party food also.  I’ve tested them on various guests that came to visit and no disappointment yet even amongst foodies.  Alternatively I have a couple with salad for my dinner.  They are an easy thing to make quickly from whatever you have in the fridge so definitely my recommendation from 2014, even if they are not the most advanced dish!  Sometimes the most simple are the best 🙂

Here you have a picture of one of my favourites:

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Happy New Year to anyone reading!!!

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Filed under Cheese, Chicken, French, Healthy, Italian, Pizza

Assorted tapas

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This blog post is one I’ve been meaning to do for a while, using a few recipes from a great book I won at work!  With a few colleagues we had a really nice picnic in the park and all brought different dishes.  There was a prize for the most creative/colourful dish and my spicy couscous recipe won!!!

I had some free time today, so randomly selected 3 recipes as well as using some leftovers from a dish I cooked last night 🙂  I prepared them pretty much all at the same time but I will try and put some separation in here so it’s easier to follow and to group the many pictures in this veritable feast!

Broad beans with cheese and prawns

To start this recipe off I boiled 6 large shell-on prawns for 8 minutes and in the meantime chopped half a block of edam cheese (the recipe said gruyere but I went with edam) and boiled the broad beans (whole pods with the edges trimmed and then chopped into large pieces) with some dried thyme in the water for 7 minutes.

Once they were both done I let them cool before peeling and deheading the prawns and adding to a bowl with the cheese.

I then added a bit more thyme to a bowl and mixed with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 4 tablespoons of olive oil and some salt and pepper.  I then poured this sauce over the prawn, bean and cheese mixture and served.

 

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Aubergine and pepper dip

Luckily I got an array of aubergines in my organic veg box this week so this recipe was perfect to make some headway into them!

I pricked two aubergines with a fork, along with a red pepper, drizzled in olive and oil and baked in the oven for 45 minutes.  You will see the picture below also shows roasting garlic which is for the next recipe!

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Once they were cooked, I let them cool a little and then peeled the aubergines and chopped the flesh into large pieces.  I removed the seeds from the pepper and also cut this into large strips before cooking in some oil with the aubergine for 5 minutes.

I then added them to a blender along with 1 tablespoon of coriander, half the juice and rind of a lemon, half a teaspoon of paprika and some salt and pepper and mixed to a puree.  I served the puree on bread but I do think this dip would be better with tortilla chips or something similar.

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Potato wedges with roasted garlic dip

For the final dish here (although I did start this first as the potatoes took the longest to cook!), I halved potatoes and then cut the halves into three.  I drizzled over some olive oil, some salt and also one crushed clove of garlic.  Then I put them on a baking tray and cooked for 1 hr 15 mins.

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While the potatoes were cooking, I used the cloves of garlic I had roasted from before (1 garlic bulb, separated into cloves, drizzled with olive oil on 200 degrees for 25 mins) now they were cool.  I removed the skin and mashed until relatively smooth.  I added them in a bowl with 1 pot of natural yoghurt and 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise and seasoned with salt and paprika.  Then I covered the bowl with clingfilm and put in the fridge to chill while the potatoes continued cooking.

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I did reduce most of the ingredients with the intention of being able to serve 2 but we have plenty of leftovers for tomorrow so I would say all of the above would serve 3-4 people.

I enjoyed making all the recipes and was certainly good to make some headway into my tapas cooking experience.  I guess I’m still a bit of a whole dish kind of person so it’s good to extend my repertoire a little further!

And as for the favourite dish… it was probably the potato wedges with the roasted garlic dip!  Really tasty, quite easy to prepare, really enjoyed the crunch of the potatoes with the freshness of the dip!  All were good though and definitely will be repeated.

A big thanks to my work colleagues for letting me win and to Noa for choosing this great prize 🙂

Finally, I wanted to make a brief mention of the fourth dish as although it wasn’t from the book, it did accompany this tapas lunch as well as making a tasty dinner last night!  It was vegetable and salmon bake; another recipe from the BBC.  Really creamy and tasty and a definite recommendation!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/vegetableandsalmonch_84182

The one lonely picture from today (it wasn’t intended to be a blog post but was too delicious not to mention!):

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Filed under Cheese, Fish, Food, Food blogging, Healthy, Herbs, Recipes, Salad, Spanish, Starter, Tapas, Uncategorized, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Pork with spinach and cabbage towers with a mushroom cream sauce

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I’ve been away for most of Easter at my in-laws being cooked for 🙂  We brought back some leftover pork (escalopes and sausage) from the farm and with some of the last veggie box contents still left in the fridge, it seemed a good chance to create something from these ingredients and get back in the kitchen!

First I boiled some green cabbage and steamed the spinach over the top.  Meanwhile I cooked some mushrooms and chopped onion in butter for about 3 minutes before adding some chopped garlic and cooking for a further 2 minutes.  I took some of the water from the cabbage and mixed with a chicken stock cube in a small bowl.  I added a couple of tablespoons of creme fraiche, freshly ground black pepper and oregano and stirred.  Then I added it to the mushroom and onions and cooked on a high heat for about 3 minutes to thicken.

Once the cabbage had softened (after about 10 minutes boiling) I added slowly to a ring on plate to start creating the tower.  I put the cabbage first and topped it with the spinach

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I heated the leftover pork in the microwave for a couple of minutes and added to the plates with the stacked cabbage and spinach.

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I poured the mushroom, onion, garlic and cream sauce into a serving jug to serve separately at the table.  As the pork was breaded, I wanted to use the sauce slowly and as needed with the dish so as not to end up with soggy escalopes.

The end result was good!  I guess a cheat’s recipe with my mother-in-law doing half of the work already preparing the meat (although I do have to add that most likely, I helped make this sausage a while ago on the farm!) but the veggie stacks looked and tasted good and the sauce added something extra to the dish.  All in all, pretty fast and a nice looking dish.  A good example of clean food as well with the pork coming directly from the farm, the veggies from the organic vegetable box with just a bit of cream to balance the dish 🙂

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Filed under Food, Food blogging, Healthy, Herbs, Pork, Recipes, Sausage, Uncategorized, Vegetables

Spinach, spinach and more spinach!

Following the veg box delivery last week, I had a lot of spinach in my fridge so this weekend has been dominated by recipes including this green vegetable!!!

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It started Saturday morning with Eggs and Spinach en cocotte.  I had done a cocotte before:

https://creationsfromlacuineta.wordpress.com/2013/12/21/oeufs-en-cocotte-eggs-in-pots/

They are really tasty, a real treat for a weekend breakfast so a good way to use the spinach.  Again it was really tasty and you can find the recipe I used here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/eggsandspinachencoco_88059

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Next up was Saturday dinner 🙂  I really fancied a curry, so I did this Chicken and Spinach Balti recipe:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/chickenandspinachbal_86977

Really nice flavours from the yoghurt marinade and the spinach gave it something extra for sure.  I usually don’t have spinach in my curries and I’ve eaten a lot of curries over the course of my life so quite a turning point!

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And now this brings us to Sunday night!  As I’m writing this, I’ve been cooking a Ghanaian Beef and Spinach Stew for about 2 hours by now!

http://www.girlcooksworld.com/2011/03/shoko-ghanaian-beef-and-spinach-stew.html

It comes from a really nice blog which features gluten free recipes.  I didn’t have all the ingredients (serrano peppers for example) but I have suitable substitutes and also was able to add a couple of my organic carrots and some leeks.  You can see what it looks like below!  I just need to add the spinach and it will soon be ready to eat!

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For anyone who has not yet had enough of spinach while reading this post, you can find all the health benefits of spinach here:

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/ingredient-focus-spinach

I should definitely be feeling stronger and ready to tackle Monday!!!

Thanks to the BBC for providing a lot of inspiration this weekend!

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Filed under Beef, Casserole, Food, Food blogging, French, Healthy, Herbs, Indian, Recipes, Rice, Slow cooking, Stew, Uncategorized, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Cream of Jerusalem Artichoke Soup

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It was a very exciting day today; I got my first veg box delivery!!!  I’ve wanted to do this for a long time but always struggled with the idea of where it could be delivered when working most of the hours in a day.  I discovered last week that some people at my work were organising a once a week delivery, so I snapped up the chance to be involved.

The first box contained spinach, lettuce, carrots, spring onions and artichokes.  Part of the reason I wanted to get a veg box was to encourage me to use ingredients I hadn’t before.  Artichokes was the only one in the box that I hadn’t used, so tonight I got to work with Artichoke Soup 🙂

I loosely followed this recipe:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/creamofjerusalemarti_84614

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Although I only had 4 artichokes and I used 4 spring onions rather than an onion.  I kept the remainder of the measurements more or less the same and it resulted in a very tasty and creamy soup.  I am a very happy cook right now!!!

One warning on this recipe; having never peeled and cut an artichoke before, I have to say it wasn’t the easiest process!  I watched a couple of youtube videos which helped me more or less.  Even though they mention the speed of oxidisation I was pretty shocked at just how fast this happens.  Therefore, definitely have a bowl of water and lemon ready to put the chopped artichokes straight into!  Also I wasn’t 100% sure that I got all the bits I should but the soup tasted good and didn’t have hard pieces in it so that was what I was hoping for at least 🙂

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Filed under Food, Food blogging, Healthy, Recipes, Soup, Uncategorized

Chickpea curry

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I’ve been ill for a few weeks now, with this week being particularly bad, so this recipe is an illness busting one!  I hope!  No meat or dairy which should be avoided with a cold and also containing chilli and turmeric which are good spices to help fight cold like symptoms.  I’ve been eating a lot of spicy food these days!

You can see the full chickpea curry recipe in the link below although I supplemented it with mushrooms, used dried ginger powder instead of root ginger and added some fresh coriander (which appears in the picture on the recipe below but not in the ingredients ;-)):

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/chickpeacurry_2213

It’s a really simple, fast, straightforward recipe but with a lot of taste!  I’m someone who is reluctant to cook vegetarian food but with the chickpeas in this, it had a good texture so I didn’t miss the meat too much (I did think “ah, this would be great with some chorizo in also” but it is much healthier without it and cheaper too!).

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All in all, I think it took me only 15 mins to cook (mainly because of the rice cooking time) and is a really easy dish to cook when your fridge may be looking sparse!  If you have a jar of chickpeas in your store cupboard then you are pretty much there!

The jury is still out on whether it got rid of the illness though… 😦

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Filed under curry, Food, Healthy, Herbs, Indian, Recipes, Rice, Uncategorized, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Coriander chicken with mushrooms and a red pepper egg!

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This post was inspired by an instagram account I follow called myhealthydish_ I really liked the look of it and it’s something different.  I wasn’t going to eat it on it’s own so had it with chicken and mushrooms to make, all in all, a healthy dish.  Usually with this kind of combination of chicken and mushrooms, I would have had potatoes or pasta so hoping an egg is an improvement health wise (another thing to google later to get the exact calorie comparison…)

I mixed some fresh chopped coriander with a teaspoon of lemon juice, a teaspoon of soy sauce, a splash or two of balsamic vinegar, half a teaspoon of coriander powder and some ground pepper.  I made a few slits in the chicken and rubbed the mixture on top.  I used one chicken breast between two people.  I cooked the chicken in the oven for 25 minutes on 190 degrees.

For the mushrooms, I heated a knob of butter and gently fried the mushrooms for about 5 mins before adding some fresh coriander and one clove of garlic.

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And for the main feature, I cut two round slices of pepper (fairly thick so the egg didn’t or shouldn’t (!) spill over too much.  I fried them in oil for about two mins on each side before cracking an egg into each of them and cooking for approx. 5 mins.  I used a spoon to put more oil over the yolks every minute or so to help the cooking process.  The key is to cut the peppers very straight so they sit well in the pan and no egg leaks out.  You will see from my pictures that some did leak out but overall I was still very happy with the dish.  It’s very nice to have fun with food and the egg in the pepper certainly gave this lunch a fun element 🙂  The chicken and mushrooms were really tasty too although I think I could eat pretty much anything with coriander!  Definitely my favourite herb!  But the combinations in this dish worked really well together, I was a very happy chef!

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Filed under Chicken, Food, Food blogging, Healthy, Herbs, Recipes, Uncategorized