Apricot & Feta Couscous

Happy weekend you lovely people! It’s a beautiful day, a fantastic time to be out and enjoy the glorious weather. This weeks recipe is just what you need for a light and refreshing meal or even side dish, full of flavour and perfect if you are going for a picnic or having some friends over for lunch in the garden.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 100g couscous
  • 100ml boiling water
  • 70g dried soft apricots, cut into small pieces
  • 100g feta cheese, cut into small chunks
  • 2 tbsp seed mix (the one I used included: sunflower, pumpkin, hemp seeds and golden linseed)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • Crushed black pepper

Method:

  1. Start by placing the couscous in a heatproof bowl. Pour in the boiling water, cover with cling film and leave for 5-10 minutes.
  2. In the meantime make the dressing by mixing the olive oil, maple syrup and lemon together in a another bowl.
  3. Fluff the couscous with a fork (and move to the dish or bowl you desire), add the apricots, feta and seeds and season with crushed black pepper.
  4. Drizzle over the dressing and give it a good mix.

Enjoy 🙂

Herby White Beans

Fantastic as a lunch meal for this absolutely glorious weather at the moment; finally some real good weather. Perfectly delicious straight off the stove or can be eaten later when chilled. A little cheeky tip, when you have removed the pan from the heat, smash some of the beans with the back of a spoon, as it provides an added texture and I find that it absorbs the juice for those bonus flavour bombs in every bite.

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (400g) white or cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 small handful fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 200ml vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Method:

  1. Start by frying the garlic in the olive oil for a minute.
  2. Add the beans and cook for a further minute.
  3. Season with black pepper, pour in the stock, mix thoroughly and leave to simmer for 3-4 minutes on medium-high heat.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and add the basil, parsley and lemon.
  5. Serve in a dish and drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil on top.

Enjoy 🙂

Choc Ice Milkshake

Now that it is becoming warmer and brighter outside I am starting to feel those ‘summer’ vibes. I cannot wait for it to get really warm so that we can say goodbye to the coats and scarves for a few months. This Choc Ice Milkshake sorted me right out the other day when the day was looking so glorious. I really wanted a cheeky cold drink but didn’t want to venture out to Starbucks or Costa Coffee. Luckily I have Choc Ice ice creams stashed in the freezer and thought I’d jazz it up a little with a couple of extra components to make a really simple chocolatey milkshake.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 choc ice ice creams
  • 2 tsp chocolate drinking powder (I used Cadbury’s)
  • 400ml milk

Method:

  1. Put all the ingredients to a blender and blitz until smooth. Pour the mixture out evenly into two tumbler glasses.

Enjoy 🙂

Kidney Bean Salad

Let’s just keep it real, keep it simple and keeping it delicious with this recipe. Unreal how quick and simple this is to prepare and just so flavourful, definitely one that I will be going back to a fair few times as we draw closer to summer.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (400g) red kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 handful of flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 spring onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp dried mint
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp garlic granules
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Method:

  1. Start of by making the marinade by adding the lemon, mint, olive oil, garlic granules, salt and pepper in a bowl and give it a good mix.
  2. In a separate bowl put the beans, parsley and spring onion.
  3. Drizzle the marinade over the bean mixture and give it another thorough mix.

Enjoy 🙂

Green Pepper Bulgur

Fresh, vibrant and flavourful is how I would describe this easy to make green pepper bulgur. Bulgur, a staple in my kitchen cupboard and a go-to for something quick to prepare, you’ll be eating your dinner before you know it. It is a fantastic way to get you into more lighter meals and to mix it up with different vegetables, keeping it healthy and adding different textures.

Serves 1-2

Ingredients:

  • 80g fine bulgur wheat
  • 1 green pepper, cut into chunks
  • 1 spring onion, finely chopped
  • A handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp dried mint
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Method:

  1. Start by preparing the bulgur according to the instructions on the packet.
  2. Once the bulgur is prepared, fluff with a fork and add all the remaining ingredients, season with salt and pepper, mix well and serve.

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!