Comfort food

Hearty Beef Stew with Horseradish Dumplings

It has started to get a bit chilly and with Autumn in full swing, nothing beats a hearty stew. I did this in my slow cooker, it can be done in the oven too. Pour a large glass of red wine and get tucked in….food heaven!!

1kg Braising Beef
1 Large Onion, finely chopped
3 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
2 tbsp Plain Flour
400ml Good Red Wine
300ml Beef Stock
1 tbsp Tomato Purée
1 Sprig Thyme
3 Carrots, cut into chunks
2 Leeks, trimmed and finely sliced
3 Sticks Celery, trimmed and sliced
Maldon Sea Salt and Black Pepper

Horseradish Dumplings

150g Self Raising Flour
75g Shredded Suet
2 tsp Creamed Horseradish
3 Tbsp Chives, finely snipped
5-7 tbsp Water
Salt and Pepper

Prepare the slow cooker or a large casserole dish.

Heat oil in a casserole dish or frying pan and fry the beef, browning well a few pieces at a time.

Remove from the casserole, add the onion. Fry gently for 5 mins, then add the garlic for another few mins.

Put the beef back in and stir well, stir through the flour and cook gently for a minute or so.

Mix in the wine gradually then the stock and stir well.

Add the tomato Purée and stir again.

Add the thyme, bring to the boil and transfer to the slow cooker at this point if you are using and stir through the vegetables.

Cover and cook for 7-9 hours on low.

Meanwhile make the dumplings. Mix the flour, suet, horseradish, chives, salt and pepper. Stir in enough water to make a soft but not sticky dough. Using floured hands, shape into eight balls.

Add to the slow cooker and cook on high for another hour or until the dumplings are fluffy and light.

If you are not using a slow cooker, transfer to an oven heated to 170c for 3-4 hours. Add the dumplings after one hour.

Enjoy!!

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Tuscan White Beans

TUSCAN WHITE BEANS


I totally adore beans (except for baked beans!!😂) they are so versatile and can be made super tasty in minutes! Full of protein too (roughly 11g per serving!!)they make the perfect accompaniment to many meals.

I had mine with a fillet steak and my little birdies had theirs with sausages!!
2 Garlic Cloves, crushed

Pinch Chilli Flakes

1 Plum Tomato, chopped

1 Sprig Fresh Rosemary

2 Cans Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed

1 Handful Parmesan Cheese

1 tbsp Chopped Fresh Parsley

50ml Water

Olive Oil

Malden Sea Salt and Black Pepper
Begin by heating a dash of olive oil in a frying pan.
Add the garlic and chilli flakes, gently fry for a minute, taking care not to burn the garlic.
Add the chopped plum tomato and rosemary and cook gently for a couple of mins.
Add the cannellini beans and cook for around 5 mins, crush them up a little as you cook them.
Remove the rosemary, add the water and Parmesan and thoroughly combine.
It should be nice and creamy and not too dry. If too dry, add a dash of water. If too wet, keep cooking for another few mins.
Stir through the parsley and serve! Yumsters 😋

#beans #tuscan #protein

Cream of Cauliflower Soup with Bacon Croutons and Truffle Oil

img_0038CREAM OF CAULIFLOWER SOUP WITH BACON CROUTONS AND TRUFFLE OIL
This is a very versatile soup. It can be as healthy or as decadent as you choose. I made it on Saturday and instead of 500ml milk, I added 250ml milk and 250ml double cream! 👌🏻

Cauliflower is a low carb vegetable which combines wonderfully with the bacon and truffle oil.

Amazingly my kids hate cauliflower but loved this soup! So even if you are not a fan of cauliflower, don’t let that put you off!!
Serves 6-8
2 Medium Sized Heads of Cauliflower broken into florets

Light Olive Oil

Tbsp Butter

2 Garlic Cloves, crushed

2 Leeks, trimmed and finely chopped

1 litre Stock (chicken or vegetable)

500ml Milk (preferably full cream but semi skimmed will do!)

Malden Sea Salt and Black Pepper
To serve

Bacon Lardons fried until crispy

Good Quality Truffle Oil to drizzle
In a pot large enough to hold the mountain of cauliflower, add the butter and when it has melted add the leeks and soften for 5 mins.
Add the crushed garlic and cook for another few mins.
Add the stock, milks and cauliflower florets.
Season with salt and pepper.
Cook for around 10 mins or until the cauliflower is nice and soft.
(If you decide on using the double cream, add it now and stir through.)
Using a hand blender, whizz until nice and smooth and creamy.
Serve topped with the bacon croutons and truffle oil! Divine!!!

Skinny Pizza

Skinny Pizza Night

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If you are craving pizza but don’t want the calories and fat, this is a very satisfying alternative that doesn’t leave you feeling sluggish.

I actually bought (shame on me!!) pizza bases and this kids used the pizza sauce to make their own pizzas too!

Serves 1

Heat oven to 200c

1 Wholegrain or White Tortilla
500g Passata
1 Garlic Clove, crushed
1 Small Onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp Dried Oregano
Olive Oil
Maldon Sea Salt and Black Pepper
1/2 Red Onion, finely sliced
2 Slices Parma Ham
Soft Goats Cheese
Rocket

Start by making your pizza sauce. Add a dash of oil to a saucepan and heat. Soften the onion for about 7 mins, add the garlic and cook for a further 3 mins.

Throw in the Passata into the saucepan along with the oregano. Cook on a low heat for about 10 mins to infuse.

Assembly time!

Place the tortilla on a pizza tray. Smooth over the pizza sauce.

Then add the Parma ham (rip it up a bit), goats cheese and red onion.

Stick it in the oven for 7-10 mins, keep an eye on it to ensure it doesn’t burn!

Take it out, place on a plate and top with rocket.

Easy, tasty, healthy…x

#skinnypizza #healthy #goatscheese #healthytakeaway

Slow Cooked Beef Cheeks in Red Wine

SLOW COOKED BEEF CHEEKS IN RED WINE

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This cut of meat is total luxury when it comes to slow cooked beef! It transforms from one of the lesser attractive cuts of beef to the most amazing velvety soft beef you will ever taste.

It is unique in its richness and a top notch dinner party option for both taste and ease.

Serve with greens and champ for sheer perfection!

Serves 5

Heat oven to 140c.

2 Large Carrots, finely chopped
2 Large Sticks Celery, finely chopped
1 Onion, finely chopped
4 Cloves Garlic, crushed
3 Beef Cheeks, trimmed and cut into nice large chunks
3/4 Bottle of Red Wine, full bodied (Rioja, Barolo, Shiraz)
Plain Flour for dusting
300ml Beef Stock
Rapeseed Oil
A Couple Sprigs Fresh Thyme
Maldon Salt and Black Pepper

In a large casserole dish, add a dash of oil and really brown the beef cheeks all over. Do this a few at a time.
Remove and set aside.
Add a dash more oil if needed and throw in the onion, celery, carrot and garlic and soften for 5-7 mins.

Dust the beef cheeks with roughly a tablespoon of seasoned flour.

Return the the casserole. Cook for another couple of minutes, then add the red wine, thyme and stock.

Stir well and bring to the boil, turn down to a simmer and then transfer to the oven.

Cook for 3 1/2 hours.

Serve with spinach and lashings of luscious champ!! (Spring onion mash!!)

CREAMY MUSHROOM PASTA

CREAMY MUSHROOM PASTA

Ok, I have to be honest here, this is not super low fat but it is super gorgeous!! Save it for your cheat/treat meal at the weekend!! As always everything in it is totally natural.
Another super bonus…my kids totally love it!

Serves 6

500g Pasta of your choice
Olive Oil
2 Shallots (1/2 Onion would do!)
2 Cloves Garlic Crushed
600g Chestnut Mushrooms Sliced(if you are lucky to have them, throw a few wild ones in!!)
100ml White Wine
100ml Chicken or Veg stock
100g Parmesan Cheese grated
300g Mascarpone Cheese
Handful of Chopped Parsley

Cook pasta according to instructions.

In a large frying pan, on a medium heat, add olive oil and sauté shallots and garlic for 2 – 3mins. Ensure you do not burn the garlic!

Add the mushrooms and cook until tender.

Turn up the heat and add the wine, stir until the wine has nearly all evaporated.

Add the stock and allow to reduce slightly.

Stir through the mascarpone.

Site through a large handful of Parmesan.

Add the pasta to the sauce and stir to coat it well.

Top with some parsley and Parmesan and serve!image

PAUPERS STEW

PAUPERS STEW

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Serves 8

Ok, it’s January we are all recovering from December! So, out comes the mince!!😂

You can make this stretch for miles, chuck a variety of whatever root veg you fancy in and eat it for a couple of days! Another big advantage for me is my kids prefer the mince to big chunks of beef.

1kg Mince Beef
3 Large Carrots, finely chopped
2 Onions, finely chopped
3 Cloves Garlic, crushed
3 Sticks Celery, chopped in pieces
2kg Potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
2 litres Beef Stock
Big Splash Red Wine
1 Bouquet Garni
Splash of Olive or Rapeseed Oil
Maldon Salt and Black Pepper
Worcestershire Sauce

In a large pot, heat up high and add your mince. Fry on a high heat until well browned all over and periodically drain out any fat (keeps it super healthy).

Remove beef from the pot, add a splash of oil and then add the onion, fry over a medium heat for five mins.

Add the carrots, celery and garlic and continue to cook for another five minutes.

Return meat to pot, add the wine, potatoes, stock and bouquet garni and stir.

To season add salt, pepper and a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce…adjust to your taste.

Cook gently for an hour stirring from time to time. You might want to use a fork to break up the potato if it has not already broken up.

This is a wonderful make ahead dish I use for swimming lesson nights, just come in, switch it on, cut up the crusty bread and enjoy!!

CRISPY TACOS WITH LUSH GUACAMOLE

Crispy Tacos with Lush Chilli and Guacamole

A while ago I shared with you my Chilli Con Carne and Guacamole, transform these both into something different by serving them in tacos rather than rice.

These went down a storm with my kids and don’t forget that the Chilli and Guacamole are super healthy and tasty enough to eat minus tacos!

Heat the tacos for about 3  mins in a hot oven.

Fill with chilli sauce and guacamole.

Top the tacos with a bit of freshly chopped chilli (bonus….chilli is known to speed up your metabolism!!)

A simple Saturday night sorted!

I will publish the chilli and guacamole recipes too 😉

LASAGNE

Lasagne

Following on from my recipe for my Ragu Bolognese, a few extra steps gets you a lasagne! Boom!

Grab, a Pack of Lasagne Sheets
Butter

So, you have made your Ragu Bolognese, now to convert your Ragu Bolognese into lasagne….

Heat the oven to 180c

Béchamel Sauce

This is the basic white sauce recipe for many dishes. In this instance, lasagne! The classic recipe has a blade of mace and nutmeg in it, I have left these out. Also, for a lasagne, you cannot have enough of the stuff, I have learnt through past attempts to double the quantity as it is better to have too much than run out!!

So for a large lasagne serving 6-8 people, double up the quantity stated here!

600ml Semi-skimmed milk
1 Onion, peeled and halved
1 Bay Leaf
6 Black Pepper Corns
55g Butter
55g Plain Flour
200g Cheddar Cheese
Maldon Sea Salt and Black Pepper

Pour the milk into a heavy based saucepan and add the onion, bay leaf and pepper corns.

Gently bring to the boil then remove from the heat. This ensures your milk does not burn.

Cover and set aside for 15 mins to infuse, then strain into a jug.

Clean the pan, then add the butter over a medium heat until melted.

Add the flour, cook gently stirring occasionally for around 1 minute. Take care not to burn the flour.

Now for the tricky bit…add the milk, gradually whisking with a balloon whisk after each addition. Don’t stop whisking or it could go lumpy.

Return the pan to the heat, whisking continuously and bring to the boil.

Reduce the heat and simmer really gently for 2 mins stirring from time to time. It should be smooth and thick.

Add the cheese and stir from time to time until melted. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Now to assemble the lasagne.

Melt a small amount of butter and using a pastry brush, coat the entire bottom and sides of your dish. This stops it from sticking.

Lay your first layer of lasagne sheet on the bottom of the dish, top with the ragu, keep it nice and neat and flatten it a bit, top with a drizzle of the Béchamel sauce.

When doing your layers of lasagne, keep them nice and neat with as little overlap as possible but no gaps for the sauce to fall through.

Now add another layer of lasagne, and again top with the ragu and some Béchamel.

Whilst adding your Béchamel just ensure you always keep the majority for a nice thick layer on the top.

Finally add the last layer of lasagne and top with lots of gorgeous Béchamel!

At this stage you are ready to pop it into the oven for around 40-50 mins, until cooked through and nice and golden on top.

Or if you prefer, you can finish at this stage and freeze for a later date.

A bit of work to get it all put together…once it is in the dish…reeelax!!

BOLOGNESE RAGU

BOLOGNESE RAGU

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An oldie but a goodie! I make a huge pot of this and get enough for Spag Bol and a Lasagna. The sauce is packed with secret veggies so it is perfect for fussy eaters! If you are doing both, double up on quantities.

Serves 6

1.2 kg Minced Beef
1 Large Carrot, whizzed in a food processor
2 Sticks Celery, whizzed in a food processor
1 Large Onion, whizzed in a food processor
2 Garlic Cloves, crushed
2 Tins Chopped Tomatoes
2 tbsp Tomato Purée
1 tsp Oregano (dried)
350g Mushrooms, sliced
200ml Beef Stock
150ml Red Wine(give or take a bit😂😂)
Dash of Olive Oil

Start by browning the mince in a large heavy pot. Keep the heat quite high, and break it up so it is nice and fine with a wooden spoon. I like to minimise the fat content in my cooking, so as I am going along, I pour a lot of the fat out of the mince, not all of it! Some may argue this compromises the taste, however I beg to differ.

Remove mince from the pan. Add a dash of olive oil and heat, throw in the onions. Soften for 5-7 mins.

Add the carrot, celery and garlic and continue to soften for another 3-4 mins.

Return the beef to the pot.

Chuck in the mushrooms.

Add the oregano and mix through.

Add the tomato purée and mix through.

Add the wine and cook for two mins.

Add the tins of tomatoes and the beef stock, bit by bit. Don’t add it all if it is looking too sloppy.

Cover and turn down the heat to a gentle simmer for 30-40 mins.

Serve with your pasta of choice and enjoy!