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.
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
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.
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.
1 aubergine, sliced
1 sweet pointed red pepper, sliced
1 tbsp Tahini
1 dsp pine nuts
Crushed black pepper
Place the aubergine and pepper onto a baking tray. Season with salt and generously with the crushed black pepper.
Drizzle over olive oil and grill on medium-high or 200 in an electric grill.
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.
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.
I know what you may be thinking, goji berry, really? Initially I thought I might be on something but I tell you what, don’t knock it until you try it. Peaches are one of my absolute favourite fruits, they are so delicious and juicy. The delectable addition of the goji berry is a real game changer. Not only does it bring an added texture to the crumble it also absorbs all the juices when it’s baked and becomes these little bursts of heaven with every mouthful.
70g Self-raising flour
30g light brown sugar (for crumble)
1 tbsp light brown sugar (for peaches)
2 tbsp dried goji berries
1 tsp cinnamon
4 peaches, sliced and cored
35g crushed walnuts
Preheat the oven to 170°.
In a bowl, add the sliced peaches, 1 tbsp of sugar and the goji berries and mix thoroughly.
Spread the goji and peach mix evenly on a baking tray.
In a separate bowl add the butter, sugar, cinnamon and flour and crumble together using your fingertips. Add the walnut pieces and thoroughly crumble together.
Sprinkle the crumble evenly over the peaches. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until nicely golden.
Best served hot and with a drizzle of single cream.
I love fruit shakes and smoothies this time of the year. It’s healthier and so much more inviting when the sun is shining. I’ve chosen soya milk for this concoction as I find that using whole milk can sometimes be quite heavy and even though it is more than flavourful and indulgent I find that when it gets quite hot I just want to keep it light on the stomach.
A side note: If you store your soya milk outside of the fridge add a few ice cubes to the blender just to chill everything through and make it that little bit more refreshing. Additionally, if you are a vegan give this recipe a go minus the greek yogurt, it’s just as sweet and delicious.
200g fresh strawberries, green stems removed
200ml soya milk, sweetened
1tbsp maple syrup
1 heaped tbsp greek yogurt
In a blender add all ingredients and blitz until smooth. Distribute the shake between two glasses.
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.
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.
2 choc ice ice creams
2 tsp chocolate drinking powder (I used Cadbury’s)
Put all the ingredients to a blender and blitz until smooth. Pour the mixture out evenly into two tumbler glasses.
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.
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).