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 🙂

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!

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.

Mini Banana & Pecan Tartlets

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

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 sheet ready rolled puff pastry
  • 1 banana
  • 1 handful pecans
  • 1/2 tsp golden syrup
  • Granulated sugar
  • Milk

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.
  2. 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.)
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Take a little milk and brush the borders of the pastry gently. Finally, sprinkle a little granulated sugar on top of the milk.
  6. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the borders have risen and are golden.

Best served warm with a cup of tea.

Mushroomy Bulgur Wheat

Mushrooms are one of my absolute favourite vegetables. I won’t go a week without having it in at least 3 of my meals. They are so juicy and so versatile which I love and can be used in so many things. I know, perhaps, the picture doesn’t do it justice but, boy, this recipe not only is deliciously creamy in flavour but its 100% vegan and makes the perfect side dish or main meal. What I find brilliant with grains like bulgur wheat too, is that you can prepare a bulk amount and just divide it up for yourself and your partner or family members for the week, knowing that there’s one less thing for you to worry about.

Serves 2-3

Ingredients:

  • 200g baby button mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 400ml vegetable stock
  • 130g fine bulgur wheat
  • 3 dried bayleaves
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 tbsp white wine
  • 200ml coconut milk
  • Black pepper

Method:

  1. Fry the garlic in the olive oil with the thyme and bayleaves on a medium heat for a 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add the mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Season with the black pepper and pour in the wine; cook until it evaporates.
  4. Pour in the stock and coconut milk and leave to simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Drop the heat to medium- low and add the bulger, mix well, cover and leave to cook for 10 minutes or until the wheat is fully cooked.
  6. Pour over the extra virgin olive oil and fluff with a fork.