Soy Sauce & Honey Roasted Sprouts

wp-1482144441301.jpgSprouts. The most hated vegetable on earth. Though, really they’re actually pretty delicious- you just have to know how to cook them.

When I was preparing this recipe my dad was watching in a kind of bemused amazement that you could actually do something other than just boil sprouts (he should’ve checked out my November Seasonal Salad). Thank god I inherited my culinary prowess from my mum, who saw nothing too unusual in this recipe.

Sprouts can be a little bitter if cooked in certain ways, but by tossing them in honey, chilli flakes, and soy sauce you’re guaranteed some great flavour. The method of cooking here means that the sprouts first steam, removing the bitterness, and then the honey caramelises when they’re uncovered. So with only 4 ingredients and a good method you can create a delicious side dish.

You can also use these sprouts in a few different ways:

  • Serve with spicy salmon fillets and rice (my choice in the above picture), or you can swap the salmon for tofu or chicken…
  • Add to an egg fried rice, or foo yung recipe…
  • They would even be wonderful as part of a massive salad…
  • Or in a bowl of cous cous with pomegranate seeds and orange chunks…
  • Or in a pile of noodles with some ginger and prawns…
  • They also taste amazing cold, so throw them into a tub for lunch the next day

Sound good? Thought so. Let’s get going…. Continue reading “Soy Sauce & Honey Roasted Sprouts”

Spicy Sweetcorn Fritters (healthy & easy!)

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Recently I have been wanting to switch up my meal accompaniments- because much as I love pasta, rice, bulgur wheat, sweet potato, and bread, its always fun to try something new. Particularly something new and easy. And cheap to make.

This recipe is all of the above, using primarily store-cupboard ingredients, and its also healthy. Because fritters don’t have to be deep fried. Also, although these are “spicy” you can omit the cayenne pepper if you’re a spice-wuss. Or use fresh chilli if you’re feeling extra hot.

You can serve these with anything you want, but I opted for smoked salmon (love it when decent stuff is in the Sunday bargain bin of the supermarket), spinach, and then some frozen peas I boiled and mashed with mustard and a little frommage frais. I took some of the leftovers for lunch the next day with eggs, broccoli, spinach, and pomegranate seeds- and still had three fritters left to freeze (because somehow I ended up with seven instead of eight or six). I feel like you could use these to dip into soup pretty successfully too.

Let’s get started…

 

Ingredients (makes 6-8 fritters, serving 3-4 people)

  • 100g self raising wholemeal flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 240g canned sweetcorn (weight given is the amount once drained- just check the can. If you have leftovers then use them in this simple chopped salad)
  • 1/4-1/2tsp cayenne pepper
  • salt, pepper- to taste
  • 1 egg
  • 100ml almond milk (or whatever you have)
  • cooking spray

Continue reading “Spicy Sweetcorn Fritters (healthy & easy!)”

Mustard & Maple Chickpea Mash

Okay everyone, summer is around the corner (we hope), and so cold sides are a must. Quick and easy sides are always a must. And so I give you a simple “mash” recipe, which can be whipped up in seconds, and eaten in even less time. Its smooth and creamy, but also fresh and light. It’s also cheap to make, and will keep in the fridge for a couple of days. This means you may want to scale the quantities up, using a whole can of chickpeas, before chucking it into a tub for later in the week.

The quantities given below for the mustard and maple are entirely adjustable- I personally like more mustard than maple, but play around and find out what works for you. Serve it up alongside some salmon and veggies (as pictured), pair it with tofu, Quorn, or chicken, spread it in a sandwich, onto toast, or throw it into a lunch box to go. Whatever you do with it, enjoy minimal time and effort going into it!


Ingredients (serves 1)

  • 100g chickpeas
  • 2 1/2-3tsp mustard
  • 2tsp maple syrup (I used the Meridian squeezy maple)
  • 1- 1 1/2 tbsp. plant based milk dependent on how loose a texture you want (I would usually say use whatever you fancy milk-wise, but plant based milk works best on this one for some reason; I used coconut-rice milk)


Method

  • Place everything into a blender, and pulse until smooth; serve either cold, or microwave for a few seconds before plating up…

Three New Year’s Side Salads (for salad virgins)…

I know that more than a few of you are probably aiming to lose a few pounds this year, which means that more than a few of you will be starting to consider the dreaded “S word”: salad. I have to put it out there, not many people make a proper salad. When people moan they’re bored of eating healthily, they usually haven’t been adventurous enough with their food. Salad is always cast as a few limp iceberg lettuce leaves, half a tomato, and maybe some cucumber if you’re lucky, with a few shreds of processed cold meat. That’s not on guys. Salads should contain leaves that have flavour, like kale, spinach, romaine lettuce, or some gem lettuces cut in half and whacked onto a griddle pan for a few minutes to get a charred barbeque taste. They can contain pomegranate seeds or oranges or mangoes for some sweetness. Beetroot, pepper, courgette and, yes, tomatoes. They can be warm or cold- roast your veg to have a warming winter salad in place of a cool summer-time one. Have grains like rice or quinoa in them- even cous cous. Some can have chopped up new potatoes, sweet potato, or root veg like parsnips or carrots according to what’s in the shops.  Roast them with some honey or maple syrup and herbs before assembling your dish. The great thing about salads is that you can change them up according to season: in winter throw on the root veg, pomegranate seeds, and kale. In summer change it up and use strawberries, watermelon, black pepper, broccoli, and balsamic with those gem lettuces. I have a friend who dismisses salads as “boring” or goes “I only eat them in summer- there isn’t enough you can do with them in winter”. And this pisses me off, because for an intelligent girl, that’s a highly ignorant comment.
Carnivores: you don’t have to go all out veggie or vegan. Throw on leftover chicken, pork, beef, or fish. Use canned fish if you cant be arsed cooking. If you fancy trying out a veggie alternative, then top it with boiled or poached eggs, cheeses like feta or mozzarella, baked tofu, lentils, chickpeas, or kidney beans
 
I’ll be giving you some great salad ideas according to the seasons as the months go by, but today we’re looking at simple side salads for all of you salad virgins out there. These are to go alongside a meal where you already have the carbohydrate aspect and protein aspect planned: I had them with brown rice and salmon. Feel free to swap this up for chicken in a sauce or just with seasoning, new potatoes, sweet potato or regular potato wedges, a hunk or wholemeal bread, a lean steak…whatever you’re feeling. Each one requires minimal prep, and only 3 or 4 ingredients. All three of the salads use some of the same ingredients and so are ideal to serve together alongside a meal, or you can use one of these salads as the base for a meal for one…
Beetroot, Orange & Feta Salad
  • 3 beetroots from a packet, drained (buy the cooked beetroot without any pickling, sugar, salt, or seasoning. The rest of the ingredients will provide plenty of flavour)
  • 1 large orange, peeled
  • Small handful of mint leaves
  • Spinach
  • 100g feta, or “Greek-style” if you shop at Asda like me, cheese.
Slice the beetroot and orange, chop the feta into chunks, shred the mint leaves, mix, and place onto a bed of spinach. Top with black pepper if desired. Done.

Tomato, Onion & Cucumber Salad
  • 3 large tomatoes
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 1 lime
  • Mint leaves to taste
Chop everything finely, mix, squeeze the lime over it, mix again. Done.
Simple Garlic, Herb, Mushroom & Spinach Salad
  • 25 button mushrooms, each chopped in half
  • 1 bag of spinach
  • 1-2tbsp pine-nuts
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 2tsp dried Italian herbs
Add the pine-nuts to the pan and over a medium heat toast for a minute or so, until golden. Add in the garlic and mushrooms on a low heat, and cook until golden. Add in the herbs, and then the spinach. Cook until the spinach has wilted, toss about, and then throw onto a plate.

 

Tiger wedges + Creamy Avocado Dip With Bite

I’ve fell in love with my griddle pan all over again when I returned home this summer. Along with my blender it is one of my most used pieces of kitchen equipment. I griddle veggies, prawns, salmon- and now sweet potato wedges. For those of you who have never used one it’s basically a heavy bottomed pan, with ridges in the pan surface, which replicate the appearance of food cooked on the BBQ…
This is less of a recipe, and more of a fun idea for you guys. It’s quick, and just looks pretty impressive really- you could (if you’re a parent) even whip up a load of these wedges for a jungle themed birthday party. So, here is your quick and simple recipe…

For the Wedges…
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • Low kcal cooking spray
Chop the ends off of the sweet potato, and stab it all over with a sharp knife to prevent any microwave explosions. Slice into wedges, and cook on full power until tender. Spray the griddle pan with the cooking spray, and bring to a high heat. Griddle the wedges, laying them down diagonally to create your tiger stripes. Remove from the griddle once you have the charred marks.
For the Dip…
  • 1/2 ripe avocado
  • 1-2tsp thick Greek yoghurt
  • 1tsp Dijon mustard
  • Chopped mint, a few leaves
  • Black pepper
  • Squeeze of lemon juice (bottled is fine)
In a dish mash up the avocado, before beating in the Greek yoghurt, mustard, lemon, mint, and black pepper to taste. Serve alongside your tiger wedges.

Houmous Dipping Board

Decent houmous is  something I have spent many an hour in the supermarket trying to track down. And the best I have found is actually a Tesco’s low fat red pepper houmous. What makes a good houmous? Well, a good punch of garlic, a smooth but not gloopy texture (this is an issue I have had when it comes to shop bought and some homemade houmous), and some interesting variations on the basic recipe too- if possible. Please.

But, what better way to get the houmous I wanted than to make it myself? It turns out to be extremely easy. And I don’t mean easy in a health food wielding goddess way. We all know the instagramers and chefs I’m talking about. Whose “easy” recipes involve buying something from Wholefoods that it would actually be cheaper to fly to the Amazon rainforest and collect for yourself than purchase from a guy in one of those golfing hats at the tills. No, the basic recipe is ridiculously easy. So easy, that I decided to make a tasting board for a family meal recently, with five different houmouses on. FIVE. All but one is vegan friendly (avoid the feta vegans), all are delicious, all take no time to whip up.

Below I am giving you the instructions to make the dipping board that I created. If you only fancy one of the flavour variations then simply multiply the ingredients by five, and make this one flavour. So, here goes….
The Basic Houmous…
  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1tbsp extra virgin olive oil (if you only have normal that’s fine, but extra virgin has a better flavour if you aren’t using it in cooking- which is why chefs use it in salad dressings)
  • 2tbsp lemon juice
  • 2-3 garlic cloves (depending how strong you want it/ how much social interaction you have planned tomorrow)
  • 1/3 cup tahini (this is a sesame paste- think peanut butter, but with sesame seeds. Pick it up on the world foods isle of your local supermarket)
Blend it all together. That’s it. Blend it until it has the desired consistency; I like a few chunks, so for me this was mostly smooth, with a few chunks.
Making Your Dipping Board….
Divide the houmous into five, each fifth weighs about 68g to the best of my recollection. Then, for each fifth blend in the following ingredients, scoop into a ramekin, and serve on a platter with some carrot sticks, celery, and pitta bread. Wipe your blender quickly in between each flavour to stop all of the different houmouses becoming muddled. To just make one of the flavours multiply the ingredients by five, and blend into the whole batch of houmous.
Basic
Add a sprinkle of smoked paprika to the top
Mint & Cucumber
1/3 cucumber (rind on is fine)
4-5 mint leaves
Beetroot & Basil
4-5 basil leaves
2 jarred baby beetroots (you don’t have to use fresh- avoids a lot of mess)
Olive & Oregano
10 olives (I used jarred, 5 black and 5 green)
The leaves of 2 sprigs of oregano
Feta & Chive
25g feta cheese
1 small handful chives
That’s it! Enjoy your houmous dipping board- it looks like you spent hours in the kitchen, when it really required minimal effort. You can now assume a smug smile, and dig in…