Baked Pork Belly, Asparagus & Butter Beans

Those winter warmer meals are definitely the way forward now. Those colder wintery nights just invite juicy, hearty meals with simple and delicious flavours. The added butter beans brings a deeper and more enhanced flavour as it absorbs all the meaty flavours making it more delectable. A real treat for dinner packed with simple flavours providing maximum satisfaction.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 4 pork belly slices
  • 1 leek, finely sliced
  • 125 asparagus tip, cut into chunks
  • 215g butter beans, drained
  • 7 garlic cloves, peeled and kept whole.
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 300ml chicken stock
  • 1 tsp olive oil

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°.
  2. On the stove, start by frying the leeks and garlic together with the olive oil in the baking tray until lightly browned.
  3. Add the beans and fry for a minute. Sprinkle over the the oregano and evenly distribute the the asparagus chunks.
  4. Pour in the chicken stock and place the pork belly on top. Season generously with black pepper. (The meat should not be submerged in the stock. Around half should be covered in the stock so the meat remains juicy and the other half exposed allowing the pork to become browned and crispy).
  5. Bake for 45 minutes or until the pork is crispy.

Best served hot.

Baked Plums with Feta

An ideal autumn starter for two or a light lunch for one. Bringing a mouth watering balance of both sweet and savoury to your taste buds. The crisp and bitter lettuce and the soft plums provide a really tasty contrast; a treat if you have some friends over for dinner.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 4 plums, halved and deseeded
  • 80g feta, crumbled with a fork
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 6-8 little gem lettuce leaves
  • Crushed black pepper

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°
  2. Place the plums on a baking tray and bake for 10-12 minutes or until blistered and juicy.
  3. In the meantime, take the dish of your choices and distribute the lettuce evenly on the plate.
  4. Now make the dressing by getting a small bowl. Mix the thyme, olive oil and golden syrup thoroughly and keep to one side.
  5. Remove the plums and place on the plate, scatter over the feta, drizzle over the dressing and generously crush black pepper on top.

Best served immediately.

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 🙂

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 200°. 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 🙂

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 🙂

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 🙂

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 🙂

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 🙂

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.