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 πŸ™‚

Tomato, Pesto & Burrata Tart

Pesto, tomato and burrata, I’m sorry but you really can’t get much better than that?!?! Gosh my mouth is watering so much. All I can really say is just give this a go, believe me, you won’t be disappointed!

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 250g sweet mixed baby tomatoes- halved
  • Basil Pesto (can use store bought or you can make your own)
  • 150g Burrata cheese
  • 320g ready rolled puff pastry

For the Pesto:

  • 4 tbsp pine nuts
  • 8 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large handful of fresh basil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt (only if needed)
  • Pepper

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200Β°. Remove the puff pastry from the fridge at least half an hour before use. Unroll it onto the baking tray of choice and score a border around the pastry.
  2. To make the pesto: place all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse gently. For this particular dish I didn’t blitz the pesto until smooth as having small pieces in the pine nuts bring added bite and texture. Taste the pesto before use and only salt if it is needed as I find that the parmesan brings saltiness itself.
  3. Spread an even layer of pesto inside the pastry border, making sure every corner and area is covered.
  4. Evenly distribute the tomatoes, with the flat side facing upwards.
  5. Season the tomatoes with black pepper from a grinder to add extra bite and flavour. Drizzle a little olive oil on the tomatoes and place in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the pastry has risen, is gold in colour and the tomatoes are looking blistered and juicy.
  6. Using your hands, tear apart the burrata and place around the tart.

Delicious served both hot and cold!

Enjoy πŸ™‚

Chickpea Salad

A simple recipe this week, one to keep if you’re not feeling much prep or time in the kitchen, we’ve all been there.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (400g) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, cut into small chunks
  • 1/4 cucumber, roughly chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp dried mint
  • Chilli flakes
  • Salt

Method:

  1. In a bowl, mix all the ingredients together thoroughly. Upon serving sprinkle chilli flakes on top.

Enjoy πŸ™‚

Strawberry Soya Shake

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.

Serves 2

  • 200g fresh strawberries, green stems removed
  • 200ml soya milk, sweetened
  • 1tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 heaped tbsp greek yogurt

Method:

  1. In a blender add all ingredients and blitz until smooth. Distribute the shake between two glasses.

Enjoy πŸ™‚

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 190Β°.
  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 πŸ™‚

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.

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 πŸ™‚

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.

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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!