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.
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
Start by frying the garlic in the olive oil for a minute.
Add the beans and cook for a further minute.
Season with black pepper, pour in the stock, mix thoroughly and leave to simmer for 3-4 minutes on medium-high heat.
Remove the pan from the heat and add the basil, parsley and lemon.
Serve in a dish and drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil on top.
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.
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
Start by preparing the bulgur according to the instructions on the packet.
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 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!
1 handful of watercress, thoroughly washed
1 courgette, roughly chopped
1 small white onion, roughly chopped
500ml vegetable stock
2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp oregano
Start by frying the onion and garlic in the olive oil for 2-3 minutes.
Add the courgette and peas and cook together for a couple of minutes.
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).
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.
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.
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
In a pan, fry the garlic and celery in the oil for 2-3 minutes.
On medium heat, add the chicken, lemon, onion granules, oregano and season with salt and pepper; cook for 3-4 minutes.
Add the barley and cook for a further 4 minutes.
Pour in the chicken stock, add the peas, mix and bring to a gentle boil.
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.
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.
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
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.
Cook until the wine evaporates and the pork is crispy.
Add the oregano and chickpeas, fry together for a couple of minutes.
Drop the heat to medium, pour in the stock and cook for 20-25 minutes. The juices will have reduced and thickened.
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!
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.
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.