Za’atar Houmous

Another staple in my pantry: Za’atar, a go to for delicious salads or just mixed with some olive oil and devoured with flat bread. This houmous is a scrumptious accompaniment to some grilled vegetables or meaty kebabs.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can chickpeas, including 1/2 the water in the can
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp za’atar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp tahini

Method:

  1. Place all the ingredients in a blender and blitz until smooth. Serve with a little drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of za’atar.

Enjoy 🙂

Aubergine and Pepper Salad

With the weather being so temperamental at the moment I feel a bit lost with what to prepare in the kitchen. It’s been raining like mad which makes me feel cool and cosy feeling the need for a warmer meal. On the other hand it’s just so humid so something really light just feels like the right way to go. I’ve concocted this cheeky little number which is really light and healthy, but also nice and warm as it’s served fresh from the grill.

Ingredients:

  • 1 aubergine, sliced
  • 1 sweet pointed red pepper, sliced
  • 1 tbsp Tahini
  • Lemon
  • 1 dsp pine nuts
  • Crushed black pepper
  • Salt

Method:

  1. Place the aubergine and pepper onto a baking tray. Season with salt and generously with the crushed black pepper.
  2. Drizzle over olive oil and grill on medium-high or 200 in an electric grill.
  3. Grill for 10 minutes, then flip the vegetables over and put back in the grill for an additional 10 minutes or remove the tray when the vegetables have charred and have softened.
  4. Place the aubergine and pepper on to the serving dish of choice. Drizzle over the tahini and lemon juice and scatter over the pine nuts and serve.

Enjoy 🙂

Baked Maple & Chilli Halloumi

A delicious accompaniment to a cheeky summer salad, a perfect balance of sticky and gooey with so much flavour that the chilli just finishes off with a spicy kick.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 225g halloumi, drained and patted dry
  • 1 fresh chilli, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 sprig of thyme- leaves only

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 190°.
  2. Slice the halloumi into equal slices and place into a baking tray.
  3. In a bowl, put the chilli, oil, maple, lemon and thyme and mix together.
  4. Pour the marinade over the halloumi and place in the oven. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. (Baste the cheese every 5 minutes or so with the maple juices.)

Serve immediately.

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 🙂

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 🙂

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.

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.