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 🙂
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
In a pan, fry the garlic, shallot and sage in the oil for 2 minutes; season with salt and pepper (medium heat).
Add the potato and asparagus and fry for a further 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Pour in the vegetable stock, mix well and leave to cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through.
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).
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.
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
Start by frying the onion in a pan with the oil on medium-high heat.
When the onion starts to become translucent, add the tomato puree; mix and fry for a minute.
Pour in 4 tablespoons of water and mix thoroughly.
Add the stock, salt, pepper and a sprinkling of the allspice and cayenne pepper before dropping the temperature to low.
Add parsley and the bulgur and give it another good mix.
Turn off the heat, cover and leave to infuse for 10 minutes. After, fluff with a fork and serve.
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?
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
On medium heat, start by frying the garlic in the olive spread until lightly softened.
Pour in the wine and the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and cook until the wine has reduced.
Add the prawns and cook for 4-6 minutes or until cooked through and piping hot.
Sprinkle over the chopped basil and mix.
Serve immediately with some bread or a portion of rice.
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.
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
Preheat the oven to 180°C or gas mark 4.
Place the sea bass in the centre of a large sheet of foil and season with salt and pepper.
Then add all remaining ingredients to the foil and seal it up tightly.
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.
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.
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
On medium heat, fry the celery, carrot, courgette garlic and bayleaves in oil together for 4-5 minutes.
Season with pepper, add the spinach and the stock and mix well. Cover and leave to cook for 10 minutes.
I feel like I am on a roll with the sweet things recently, which, is really so unlike me but hey, embrace it before all those savoury recipes start kicking back in. I wanted to concoct something that means using up some of the goodies that are left in your pantry. At home, not many of us really ‘fight’ for the digestive biscuits and I knew that if I left them they would just sit there until the end of time. By mixing these biscuits with just a few other components we can create a little indulgent pick me up; perfect for after dinner or a cheeky afternoon snack.
220g digestive biscuits
200g milk chocolate, roughly chopped
165g unsalted butter
20cm square sandwich baking tin
Start off by lining your baking tin with greaseproof paper.
Melt 100g of butter on low heat. While this is happening, use a large sandwich bag to crush the biscuits into very small pieces and dust. When this is done and the butter has melted mix together and tip into the baking tin and form your biscuit base. Leave in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to set and firm.
Put the chocolate pieces and the rest of the butter (65g) in a heatproof bowl and place above a saucepan that is filled with a small amount of water. Gently simmer and occasionally stir the chocolate mixture until smooth and silky. (Be sure that the water is not touching the bottom of the bowl and that no water touches the chocolate as this will cause it to seize up.
Once the chocolate has melted pour over the biscuit base and spread it out evenly.
Take your walnut halves and distribute them however you fancy on the chocolate. Place back in the fridge and leave to firm up again for at least 1 hour. Upon serving, cut into either small squares or slices to your liking.
Fava beans or “Foul Mudames” have been a staple in my family household for as long as I can remember. They are so delicious and can be used in a multitude of ways. This time is an easy, vegan dip. A fantastic accompaniment to a scrumptious kebab, tabouli or just some bread to dip it into.
400g tin fava beans
2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp paprika
3 tbsp olive oil
Put all ingredients into a blender and blitz until smooth. In the dish of your choice drizzle a little extra oil on top along with a gentle sprinkling of paprika.
I’d be lying if I said that I had a sweet tooth. I’m definitely more of a savoury flavour kinda gal. Having said that, when I fancy something sweet I devour it and satisfy those delicious cravings. With this particular recipe, as they are mini they are like little treats if you just need a quick sugar fix and they take hardly any time to bake; I know right, winning recipe right here! To make my tartlets I used the rim of one of my mugs, I know, we have to work with what we’ve got but trust me it worked just as well as using a cookie cutter. Depending on the size of your cutter of choice you may need to bake your tartlets either slightly less or more than I have suggested, keep a cheeky eye on the oven so that they don’t under or over bake.
Makes 6 tartlets
1/2 sheet ready rolled puff pastry
1 handful pecans
1/2 tsp golden syrup
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.
Using your cutter, cut out your tartlets, remove any off cuts and place on a baking tray. (Use the baking paper the pastry comes packed in.)
In a bowl, mush the banana using the back of a fork, crush the pecans into small pieces. Combine in the same bowl along with the golden syrup.
Scoop out (approximately) a teaspoon worth of the mixture and place into the centre of the pastry leaving a small border. Repeat on all pieces of pastry.
Take a little milk and brush the borders of the pastry gently. Finally, sprinkle a little granulated sugar on top of the milk.
Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the borders have risen and are golden.
A combination of sweet, nutty, almost ‘caramelly’ flavours are just the way to go if you’re feeling a morning or after lunch sweet ‘pick me up’. An easy way of getting your sweet kick without having to spend a lot of time in the kitchen.
250ml almond milk
5 pitted dates
1 tbsp golden syrup
In a blender add all the ingredients, including a light sprinkling of the cinnamon and blitz until smooth. Serve immediately in your favourite tumbler glass.
Artichokes are just the absolute best vegetables! Definitely one in my top 5 and truly wish that it was more accessible. Having said that, finding tinned artichoke hearts aren’t as difficult to find and not too extortionately priced; another delicious staple to add to your pantry. This soup is just, next level easy, tasty and suitable for vegetarians and vegans too! Personally, I prefer the chicken stock and cream as it just makes the soup taste that little bit more indulgent but it is equally delicious using the vegetable stock.
400g can artichoke hearts, drained
3 garlic cloves
1 small shallot, peeled and roughly chopped
400 ml chicken or vegetable stock
1 tbsp olive oil
Single cream (optional)
On medium heat, fry the shallot and garlic together until blistered and lightly coloured.
Add the artichoke, season with salt and pepper and fry for 3-4 minutes.
Pour in the stock and leave to cook gently for 10-15 minutes.
Transfer the mixture to a food processor and blend until smooth. Upon serving drizzle over some extra virgin olive oil or some single cream for added indulgence (optional).