Chilled Cucumber Soup

Delicious, chilled and cucumber perfectly sums up this weeks recipe. Even though the rainy wet weather has returned it has been incredibly humid and still rather warm. The feeling of having a warm hot meal still doesn’t tickle my taste buds and so this cucumber concoction is the way to go. Personally I think that cucumbers are underrated and can be so versatile and refreshing. An ingredient that is readily available all year round and can make such a simple dish so tasty.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cucumber, deseeded and roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 shallot, roughly chopped
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1tsp dried mint
  • 1tbsp lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp yogurt
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil (for serving)

Method:

  1. Put all ingredients into a blender and blitz until smooth.
  2. Leave in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.
  3. Upon serving drizzle a little extra olive oil.

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 🙂

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

Basa Soupy Stew

A delicious bowl of wonderful flavours, ready to awaken those tastebuds and transport you to a party on your palate. It’s refreshingly light, fantastic as an evening meal if you don’t fancy something heavy. You can also make the stew without the fish if you are feeling a fish free or vegan meal, this is just as yum without the basa.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (400ml) coconut milk
  • 1 can peeled plum tomatoes
  • 200g baby button mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1 chilli, roughly chopped
  • 2 basa fillets
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • Zest of 1/2 lime
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Lime juice (optional)

Method:

  1. In a pan, start by frying the garlic in the olive oil for a couple of minutes.
  2. On medium heat, add the mushrooms and cook with the garlic for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the tomatoes, chilli, all seasonings and lime zest and cook together for 3-4 minutes.
  4. Place the fish fillets in the pan and pour in the coconut milk. Give it a thorough mix.
  5. Cover and leave to cook for 10-15 minutes. Upon serving squeeze a little fresh lime juice (optional) and grate a little more zest for added tanginess.

Best served hot.

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.

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.

Fava Bean Dip

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.

Ingredients:

  • 400g tin fava beans
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 oregano
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Method:

  1. 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.

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.