Watercress, Pea & Courgette Soup

Watercress is where it’s at this month. A beautiful green, packed with delicious flavour and delectable pepperiness that is in this bowl of goodness. Watercress is also fantastic with salad, however considering the ‘delightful’ rain that has blessed us with its presence, I thought that a soup is the better way to go for this weeks recipe; I hope you all enjoy!

Serves 1-2

Ingredients:

  • 1 handful of watercress, thoroughly washed
  • 1 courgette, roughly chopped
  • 1 small white onion, roughly chopped
  • 90g peas
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Method:

  1. Start by frying the onion and garlic in the olive oil for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add the courgette and peas and cook together for a couple of minutes.
  3. Season with the oregano, add the watercress and pour in the vegetable stock; mix well and leave to cook for 10-15 minutes (or until the courgettes are cooked through).
  4. Remove from the heat and using a food processor or hand blender blitz the soup until smooth. Give it a taste and season with salt and pepper to your liking.

Best served hot

Lemon, Chicken & Pea Barley

Pearl Barley, a versatile delicous grain that can be used in a multitude of ways: soups, stews and salads. It can be the ingredient that almost ‘pads out’ your meal or can be the showcase; either way, it’s a win win situation. With this particular recipe, I love how the chicken remains so moist and juicy, absorbing the lemon and all those delicious seasonings.

Serves 2-3

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into small chunks
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 100g frozen peas
  • 100g pearl barley, rinsed
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 1 celery, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp onion granules
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Method:

  1. In a pan, fry the garlic and celery in the oil for 2-3 minutes.
  2. On medium heat, add the chicken, lemon, onion granules, oregano and season with salt and pepper; cook for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add the barley and cook for a further 4 minutes.
  4. Pour in the chicken stock, add the peas, mix and bring to a gentle boil.
  5. Cover and leave to simmer on low for 40 minutes (stirring occasionally) or until the barley has softened but still has a bite to it.

Enjoy 🙂

Basa Soupy Stew

A delicious bowl of wonderful flavours, ready to awaken those tastebuds and transport you to a party on your palate. It’s refreshingly light, fantastic as an evening meal if you don’t fancy something heavy. You can also make the stew without the fish if you are feeling a fish free or vegan meal, this is just as yum without the basa.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (400ml) coconut milk
  • 1 can peeled plum tomatoes
  • 200g baby button mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1 chilli, roughly chopped
  • 2 basa fillets
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • Zest of 1/2 lime
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Lime juice (optional)

Method:

  1. In a pan, start by frying the garlic in the olive oil for a couple of minutes.
  2. On medium heat, add the mushrooms and cook with the garlic for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the tomatoes, chilli, all seasonings and lime zest and cook together for 3-4 minutes.
  4. Place the fish fillets in the pan and pour in the coconut milk. Give it a thorough mix.
  5. Cover and leave to cook for 10-15 minutes. Upon serving squeeze a little fresh lime juice (optional) and grate a little more zest for added tanginess.

Best served hot.

One Pan Pork Belly & Chickpea Stew

Recently I have cut down a lot on how much meat I have been eating. I have definitely been having a lot more fish and vegetarian options in my diet as opposed to having meat. With a good bit of discipline I have been having meat only once a week and have actually really enjoyed not having as much as I used to. When my meat day comes along I really do think long and hard about what I would like to devour; I see it as a real treat. This time I made a pork belly and chickpea concoction, made in one pan which is just amazing cooking as there are less dishes to wash up. A succulent meal where the pork is so tender from the stock and its own deliciously rendered juices; a dish I believe will be revisited time and time again.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 4 pork belly slices, cut into bitesize chunks
  • 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 100ml white wine
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Method:

  1. On medium-high heat drizzle a small amount of olive oil in a pan, (not too much as the pork belly will produce a lot of its own oil as it cooks) add the meat, season with salt and fry. When the pork starts to brown and crispen pour in the wine and add the garlic.
  2. Cook until the wine evaporates and the pork is crispy.
  3. Add the oregano and chickpeas, fry together for a couple of minutes.
  4. Drop the heat to medium, pour in the stock and cook for 20-25 minutes. The juices will have reduced and thickened.

Best served hot.

Asparagus Soup

So… we had a couple of days of pure heat, proper warm weather and then BAM we’re back to freezing our butts off! Standard British weather if you ask me. Thinking that the little snippet of more spring-like weather would take us nicely into those lighter meals completely turned tables when it started snowing on Monday. Taking advantage of the produce of this time of the month I decided to make a good, hearty soup; something to keep you nice and warm for the wintery weather we are having. I hope you all enjoy it 🙂

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 125g asparagus tips, roughly chopped
  • 1 large potato, peeled and chopped
  • 400ml vegetable stock
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 2 sage leaves
  • 2 small garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Method:

  1. In a pan, fry the garlic, shallot and sage in the oil for 2 minutes; season with salt and pepper (medium heat).
  2. Add the potato and asparagus and fry for a further 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Pour in the vegetable stock, mix well and leave to cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through.
  4. In a food processor or using a hand blender blitz the soup until smooth, add more water if the consistency is too thick for your liking. Drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil when serving (optional).

Enjoy!

Jo Jo’s Peri Peri. Richmond

Has been a cheeky go to during the odd, random day that I have been having meat. There’s just something about Jo Jo’s that is just so delicious that when I think of a take away my thoughts go straight to this tasty joint.

On numerous occasions when I have ventured through Richmond I have passed Jo Jo’s Peri Peri and there have been countless times when I have seen a queue of people outside waiting for food. This to me screams, ‘it’s got to be good’, and ‘I need to try this’. On the whole, I generally lean towards a good ol’ trusty Nandos when I’m in the mood for peri peri flavours but after having a cheeky scroll on Deliveroo and seeing its high ratings I thought… lets give this a cheeky go.

Since my first experience of Jo Jo’s, which has happened during lockdown round 3 I have placed a fair few orders with them and every time has been a real joy to indulge. So far, (I say so far because I’ll probably be ordering it again at some point soon) I have tried the hot, medium and lemon and herb sauces which are used when cooking the chicken. Out of these 3 my favourite is the medium, which I found tasted hotter than the hot and brought the most flavour to the ol’ palate. The lemon and herb was nice but didn’t quite hit those ‘tasty buds’ that I was looking for.

One thing I really liked with Jo Jo’s is that they package the chicken in these foil-lined food greaseproof paper bags which keeps in the heat of the chicken allowing it to stay moist and delicious. Additionally, they are generous with the peri peri sauce. I am here for the saucey sauciness, please don’t be handing out dry chicken, it’s just not the way forward.

Gosh… all this chicken talk, I think I know what I’m having for dinner. If you’re local, definitely try this place out!

Better Than Expected Bulgur

Sometimes some of the best things you create in the kitchen are the dishes you least expect to become something; hence the name ‘Better Than Expected’. This is basically what happened with this recipe; I basically got all experimental and whacked a few ingredients together and here we are…a really fast-paced recipe for you to enjoy. I’ve kept it real simple and with a few try-outs you can mix up your spice quantities, adding a little more cayenne if you fancy a stronger chilli kick. Something a little lighter that works fantastically with both fish and meat but holds its own by itself too. It’s a go to recipe when I want to take lunch to work that’s not too heavy and is just so tasty.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 125g fine bulgur wheat
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1 handful flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 heaped tsp tomato puree
  • 1/2 vegetable stock cube
  • 2 tbsp frying oil
  • Ground allspice
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Method:

  1. Start by frying the onion in a pan with the oil on medium-high heat.
  2. When the onion starts to become translucent, add the tomato puree; mix and fry for a minute.
  3. Pour in 4 tablespoons of water and mix thoroughly.
  4. Add the stock, salt, pepper and a sprinkling of the allspice and cayenne pepper before dropping the temperature to low.
  5. Add parsley and the bulgur and give it another good mix.
  6. Turn off the heat, cover and leave to infuse for 10 minutes. After, fluff with a fork and serve.

Simple Sautéed Prawns

British Summer Time kicks off from tomorrow getting us straight into those summer vibes, please believe…. I cannot wait for the longer summer days and hot weather. Like last week, here is another really simple, light and delicious recipe to get you into those more lighter meals. Additionally, as we are slowly getting out of lockdown and approaching freedom, many of us shall be returning to offices and places of work and so getting back to our cooking routines when we may have had more time at home makes this recipe even more special. A tasty meal in less than 15 minutes, what more could you ask for?

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 185g raw king prawns
  • 5-6 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 tbsp olive spread
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • Basil, a couple of leaves roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp white wine
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Method:

  1. On medium heat, start by frying the garlic in the olive spread until lightly softened.
  2. Pour in the wine and the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and cook until the wine has reduced.
  3. Add the prawns and cook for 4-6 minutes or until cooked through and piping hot.
  4. Sprinkle over the chopped basil and mix.

Serve immediately with some bread or a portion of rice.

Baked Sea Bass & Asparagus

Asparagus screams spring time to me. I love the preparations for spring time, seeing the new plants and flowers starting to bloom once again just gets me so excited for the warmer weather and the longer, sunnier days. Additionally we slowly start to move away from the heavier more richer foods and start having lighter meals. Starting with this: baked sea bass and asparagus is a deliciously light meal packed with such simple but tasty ingredients. I really enjoy baking fish in foil, it just keeps the meaty part so soft and moist. By tightening the foil it traps all the juices and the aromas inside so when you open it up after removing it from the oven it just awakens those tastebuds and other senses to the deliciousness you’re about to experience.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 sea bass fillets
  • 100g asparagus tips
  • 5 cloves of garlic, whole or chopped (depending on how intense you prefer the flavour to be)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C or gas mark 4.
  2. Place the sea bass in the centre of a large sheet of foil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Then add all remaining ingredients to the foil and seal it up tightly.
  4. Place the foil parcel onto a baking tray and put in the oven and leave to bake for 15-20 minutes.

Best served hot and with a side dish of boiled or roast potatoes.

Re-energising Soup

This week hasn’t been too great if I am quite honest. I haven’t been feeling all that well, my appetite completely disappeared and all I wanted to do was sleep. Drawing closer to the weekend I have managed to gain more energy and strength and so I thought I’d share the perfect recipe to give you that nutritional healthy boost you need after your body has had a rough few days. Personally for this soup I prefer my vegetables to have a bit of bite to them, do cook the soup for longer if you prefer them softer. Additionally, feel free to whiz this up in a food processor or hand blender if you fancy a smoother texture.

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 1 celery, finely chopped
  • 1 medium sized carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/2 courgette, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 handful spinach, rinsed and roughly chopped
  • 300ml vegetable stock
  • 2 dried bayleaves
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • Ground black pepper

Method:

  1. On medium heat, fry the celery, carrot, courgette garlic and bayleaves in oil together for 4-5 minutes.
  2. Season with pepper, add the spinach and the stock and mix well. Cover and leave to cook for 10 minutes.

Best served hot.