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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

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HEALTHY DUCK AND NOODLES

HEALTHY DUCK WITH NOODLES

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This wee baby is super delish, super healthy and super quick. Love this, it is a total tastebud tickler!

Serves 2

2 Duck Breasts, skin removed and cut into strips
1 tsp Five Spice Powder
1 Garlic Clove Grated
3cm Ginger, peeled and finely grated
3tbsp Oyster Sauce
1tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
1/2tsp Cornflour mixed with 2tbsp Water
140g Egg Noodles
Sesame Oil
Olive Oil
1 Long Red Chilli, sliced on the diagonal
1 Pack Asparagus, cut into chunks
1 Pack Tenderstem Broccoli, trimmed and cut into chunks
3 Spring Onions, trimmed and chopped
Grated Zest and juice of 1 lime

Mix the grated ginger, garlic, five spice and then add the duck, ensure the duck is thoroughly covered.

Combine the oyster sauce, soy and cornflour mix in a bowl.

In a large pan of boiling water, add the noodles, once boiling, cook for three mins. Drain and drizzle with sesame oil, toss them around to mix well.
Heat a wok, add a dash of olive oil, add the duck and fry for 2-3 mins over a high heat. When golden brown at the edges, transfer to a plate and set aside.

Add a touch more oil and add the vegetables and chilli, stirfry for a few mins, I try to keep oil to a minimum so if it dries up a bit I add a dash of water.

Return duck to the pan and pour in the sauce mixture. Stir thoroughly and quickly as you can and add a dash or two of water if it is too thick.

Add the noodles and spring onions until warmed through, sprinkle with lime zest and squeeze over the juice and serve. A super wee mid week supper or even a relaxed dinner party delight.

Post Workout Healthy Chicken Fried Rice

Post Work Out Refuel – Healthy Chicken Fried Rice

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I was thinking about a way to use up my leftover roast chicken from yesterday… I wanted healthy but not boring! I came up with this and threw it together really quickly. Feel free to throw whatever you fancy in….this was a bit of all I had in the fridge.

A couple of large handfuls of Shredded Chicken
1 Small Onion finely chopped
1 Garlic Clove Crushed
1 Red Pepper cut into matchsticks
Handful of Tenderstem Broccoli cut into pieces
1 Carrot either spiralized or grated
1/2 tbsp Mild Curry Powder
1/2 tbsp Medium Curry Powder
Maldon Salt and Black Pepper to taste
2 tsp Coconut Oil

Heat the oil and then add the onion, soften for around 5-7 mins.

Add the garlic and fry for a further couple of mins.

Add the chicken and the curry powder and stir well.

Add the rest of the veggies and a dash or two of water to prevent sticking. Stir continuously for another few mins.

Add the rice and combine thoroughly.

Season and serve. Lush!!

WARM CAJUN SWEET POTATO SALAD WITH LOW FAT SPICY YOGHURT DRESSING

Warm Cajun Sweet Potato Salad with Low Fat Spicy Yoghurt Dressing

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New Year, New start! You can rustle this up in a matter of minutes and I made double so I had some for my lunch next day! It will make no difference if you use ready cooked quinoa or cook it yourself!
The combination of the feta with the sweetness of the potatoes is lush…good carbs only!

Serves 1

75g Quinoa (cooked)
1 Sweet Potato cut into small cubes
Handful of Baby Spinach Leaves
Feta Cheese
Cajun Seasoning
Dash of olive oil
Maldon Sea Salt and Pepper

Dressing
75ml Low Fat Natural Yoghurt
Juice 1/2 Lemon
1/2 tsp Baharat Seasoning

Heat oven to 180c

Throw the sweet potato into a freezer bag, add a dash of oil and Cajun seasoning to taste and mix it up well.

Place the sweet potato on a heated non-stick baking tray and cook for 20-30 mins until soft.

Meanwhile make the dressing by simply using a small whisk to combine the yoghurt, lemon and Baharat.

In a big bowl, add the quinoa, put a large handful of baby spinach leaves on top.

Sprinkle with the sweet potato and feta and drizzle with the dressing.

Taste and health combined…boom!

MAKE AHEAD ROASTIES

MAKE AHEAD ROASTIES

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Soooo busy today!! Just a wee quickie to give you the heads up on make ahead roasties!

Peel the potatoes and ensure they are of even size.

Place the potatoes in a large pot of salted boiling water.

Parboil for 8 mins.

Pour potatoes into a colander let them drain thoroughly then shake to fluff up.

Lay them in a single layer in a large roasting tin.

In a separate pot, heat up your chosen type of fat.  I used goose fat for super crisp roasties!

Pour over all the roasties ensuring that they are all evenly covered.

Cool then put in the bottom of the fridge until tomorrow.

Tomorrow, simply heat oven to 190c and cook for 50 mins or until nice and evenly crisp and golden!

Happy Christmas my lovelies! Xo 🎅🏼🎅🏼🎅🏼💨⛄️☃🍷🍗🍾

 

 

LUSH MAKE AHEAD CHRISTM

Lush Make ahead Christmas Gravy

Yes, you can sit with your flour and scrape bottoms of pans etc on Christmas Day……I would prefer more family time than being a slave to the roasting pan!!

I will not lie to you, this is not a quickie! However, once it is done, throw it in the freezer and on Christmas Day you will be counting your blessings!

Make this gravy a few days, or even weeks before Christmas then finish it on Christmas Day.

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

2 Celery Sticks, trimmed and roughly chopped
2 Carrots, roughly sliced
2 Onions, peeled and quartered
5 fresh Bay Leaves (if you can’t find them, just use dried)
5 fresh Sage Leaves
4 sprigs of Fresh Rosemary
2 Star Anise
3 Rashers of Smoked Streaky Bacon, the best quality you can afford.
12 Chicken Wings
Olive Oil
Malden Sea salt and freshly ground Black Pepper
4 tbsp Plain Flour
75ml Sherry or Port(optional)
Preheat the oven to 200ºC Put the veg, herbs and star anise into a sturdy bottomed roasting tray. Scatter the bacon on top.

Break the chicken wings open then put them onto a board and bash the bones up with the end of a rolling pin; this will release more of their flavour.

Put them in the pan, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle over a few pinches of salt and pepper then toss everything together and put the tray in the oven to cook for 1 hour, or until the meat is tender and falling off the bone.

Take the pan out of the oven, and put it on a hob over a low heat and use a potato masher to really mash everything up.

Keep mashing, moving and scraping all the goodness from the bottom of the pan as you go.

Gradually mix in the flour to thicken the mixture. Let everything fry for a while as this will make the gravy darker.

When your flour is well combined pour in 2 litres of hot water, turn the heat up and bring to the boil for 10 minutes, ensure it has thickened.

Turn down the heat and simmer for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

I can highly recommend at this point adding 60ml sherry or port for flavour.

When it’s reached the consistency you’re looking for, adjust seasoning then push it through a sieve into a large bowl or heavy pot.

Really push and mash everything through so you get as much flavour as possible.

Discard anything left behind. Once it has cooled down to room temperature put it into containers or freezer bags and stick it in your freezer. Phew!! Job done and a little less to do on Christmas Day!

Take it out of the freezer to defrost on Christmas Eve.

On Christmas Day, once the turkey is perfectly cooked, ensure you save all the lush juices from the turkey.

Spoon away as much of the fat as possible, then pour your pre-made gravy into the pan with the rest of the turkey juices. Bring it to the boil over the hob and scrape all those flavourful bits and pieces from the bottom of the pan.
Once your gravy is piping hot, strain it through a sieve and into a pan.

Leave it on the lowest heat until you’re ready to serve. Skim away any fat that rises to the top and add any extra resting juices from the turkey before serving.
This is a gravy you will never forget!

CHRISTMAS STUFFING

Christmas Herb Stuffing

Herby Stuffing

Stuffing made and in the freezer!! I actually prefer the stuffing to the turkey!! The one I have for you is a basic herb stuffing, feel free to change it around, add or take away! Get creative.

The most important thing is, once you are done, bung it in the freezer and forget about it until 23rd!

Pour yourself a large glass of wine to celebrate having one step of a stress free Christmas dinner completed!

You could add 1 tbsp sage, 500g pork sausage meat, apricots or thyme.
1 x 800g Loaf Plain Bread (Nutty Krust) preferably a bit stale, crusts removed and broken into pieces
1 Large Onion skin and roots removed and cut into four.
175g Butter
70g Parsley (remove all the stems. This is roughly 2 supermarket packs)
Sea Salt and Black Pepper

You will need a nice large bowl!

In a food processor add the bread and blitz in batches. Tip each lot into your bowl.

Put the butter in a pot and place on a gentle heat to melt.

Add the onion to the food processor and blitz.

Stir the onion through the bread crumbs.

At this point I would season the stuffing with a generous amount of salt and pepper to ensure it is thoroughly incorporated.

Now blitz the parsley until it is nice and fine and stir it through your mixture.

Finally add the butter bit by bit to bind it all together. You may not need it all but it should be moist but still quite crumby looking.

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!

Delicious Carrot Cake

Delicious Carrot Cake

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I, for some reason always felt a bit scared of making a carrot cake. As my sisters birthday approached, I asked her what her favourite cake was….she said ‘Carrot!’😱😱😱
Left with no option, I did a bit of research, and came up with this rather simple (as it turned out!!) yet delish cake!

4 Free Range Eggs
200ml Sunflower or Vegetable Oil
250g Carrots, coursely grated
100g Walnut Pieces (chopped whole walnuts) Keep a few whole for decoration.
Zest of One Orange
200g Self Raising Flour
2 tsp Mixed Spice
1 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
1/4 tsp Fine Salt
200g Light Muscovado Sugar

Frosting

150g Unsalted Butter at Room Temperature
45g Caster Sugar
300g Full Fat Cream Cheese

Pre-heat oven to 180c
Grease and Line a 20cm Round Cake Tin with grease proof paper.

Break eggs into a bowl and lightly whisk.

Add the oil and whisk again until combined.

Add the carrots, walnut pieces and orange zest and mix through.

In a separate bowl sift the flour, mixed spice, bicarbonate of soda and salt, then stir in the sugar.

Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients. Mix well to combine ensuring there are no pockets of flour.

Spoon into the lined tin and bake for 1-1 1/4 hours until nicely risen and golden all over.

Remove from the oven and set aside to cool inside the tin for 10-15 mins.

Now turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

For the frosting, place the butter and caster sugar in a bowl and beat well until light and creamy.

Add the cream cheese and beat until smooth.

Spread the frosting over the top and sides and decorate with walnuts.

N.B. Cake without frosting will keep for a week and can be frozen for a month. Once the frosting is on keep chilled.