Healthy Start to the New Year!

The New Year will see me up the ante with my fitness regime and this includes the food I eat! In a nutshell you will see a lot of healthy alternatives this year.

What I do promise is no compromise on taste.  Bland steamed chicken and veg does not do it for me, but simple tweaks and boom, you can have you cake and eat it…so to speak!!

Tonight I was tight for time and this is what I rustled up….

Fillet Steak, Stir Fry Veg and Brown Rice

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serves 1

I feel guilty putting down an ingredient list it is sooo simple!

1 Top Quality Fillet Steak

1 Bag of M&S Peashoot Stir Fry

1 Red Chilli Finely Sliced

1/2 tbsp Fish Sauce

1/2 tbsp Dark Soy Sauce

Juice 1/2 Lime

1/4 Pack of Microwave Brown Rice

Dash Rapeseed Oil

Simply add a dash of oil to a frying pan, heat until super hot, add the steak and cook both sides to your preference, in my case, rare.

Set aside, add a dash of oil to the frying  pan and heat.  Throw in the stir fry and the chilli, after a couple of mins, chuck in the soy, fish sauce and lime juice.

Serve with the rice!

Boom, too simple, full of flavour and beyond healthy!

 

 

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Christmas Countdown

Last year I Shared with you my get ahead of the game plan for Christmas and I feel a sense of duty to do the same this year!!

so yesterday I started off by making my Christmas stuffing.

Christmas Herb Stuffing

Herby Stuffing

First part to my stress free Christmas….stuffing! 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.  You could add other herbs, pork, bacon or cranberries.

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.
175 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.

Spicy Italian Sausages with Mixed Wild Mushrooms

Spicy Italian Sausages with Mixed Wild Mushrooms 🍄

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I first made this when I was living in London and wonderful spicy Italian sausages were readily available at super little Italian deli’s. I came back to Belfast and never found those bad boys ever again! I have built up great wee relationship with my local butcher and after a chat Neil agreed to make the sausages for me if I could write the recipe. A bit of research later, one recipe was produced and Neil came up with the goods….and it was perfect! I have lots of lush uses for my new found Belfast Italian Sausage, but first up the pasta!

Serves 4

1 Onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 Garlic Clove, peeled and crushed
260g Top Quality Spicy Italian Sausages, meat removed from the skin
2 Handfuls of Thyme Leaves (picked)
1 Small Dried Chilli, crumbled
400g Mixed Wild Mushrooms, torn. If you can’t get wild mushrooms just use Chestnut Mushrooms
3 Knobs of Butter
2 Handfuls Parmesan Cheese
Pappardelle pasta for four

Fry the onion and sausage meat in a little oil until nicely golden.

Throw in the Thyme, Chilli and Mushrooms.

Cook until all of the moisture has disappeared.

Cook the pasta and reserve a little of the cooking liquid.

Remove mushrooms and sausage mixture from the heat, season and loosen with the butter and some of the pasta cooking liquid .

Toss in the drained pasta and combine really well.

Serve sprinkled with parsley and Parmesan and a huge glass of Shiraz!!

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!!

PEA RISOTTO

Pea Risotto

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Risotto…difficulty rating is nearly zero! However it requires constant attention so, pour yourself a large vino and get your spoon ready for a lot of stirring!
Serves 4
50g Butter

2 Shallots, finely chopped

300g Fresh or Frozen Peas (If frozen, defrosted)

1.7l Vegetable or Chicken Stock

350g Risotto Rice

200ml White Wine

40g Parmesan Cheese, grated

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Maldon Sea Salt and Pepper

Melt the butter in a pan and gently fry the finely chopped shallots.
Add 100g of the peas to a food processor along with a dash or two of stock, and purée.
At this point, add the rice and increase the heat a little and cook for one minute.
Pour in the wine and let it bubble until absorbed. Turn down the heat a little as you do not want it bubbling vigorously.
Add a ladle full of stock and stir really well until completely absorbed.
Keep ladling the stock one at a time and stirring until it is lovely and creamy and all the stock absorbed.
Now add the pea purée and the remaining peas, stir well.
Add the Parmesan and season.
Now add a little knob of butter and give it a good vigorous stir.
Leave to stand for a few mins, stir and serve in some shallow bowls topped with a few Parmesan shavings.
This can be eaten like this alone or if you have someone in your house that craves meat, a nice pan fried chicken breast would go beautifully with it!

#risotto #vegetarian #peas #lovefood #arestaurantinmykitchen

Fabulous Fish Curry

Fabulous Fish Curry

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I didn’t really know what to call this as I did not want to niche it! This white fish curry would appeal to those watching what they eat (clean/healthy eaters) as much as those who just love a really tasty curry.
The key here is the wondrous paste, fresh and bursting with flavour!
Serves 2 (double up if you want and use for lunch the next day!!)
300g Cod Loin

25g Unsweetened Desiccated Coconut

2 Garlic Cloves, Chopped

1 Large Onion, peeled and chopped

1/4 tbsp Coriander Seeds, crushed in a pestle and mortar

1 tsp Turmeric

1 tsp Cumin powder

1 Fresh Red Chilli, finely Chopped

Fresh Red Chilli and Coriander leaves to serve
Serve with cooked brown rice.
Place the garlic, onion, Coriander seeds, Turmeric, Cumin and Chilli in a food processor and blend to a super fine, smooth paste.
Add the mixture to a heated frying pan. Cook for a couple of minutes.
Add around 225ml water and bring to the boil.
Add the fish and if necessary too up with a splash more water to ensure that the fish is covered.
Give it a bit of a stir and be very careful not to break up the fish.
Cook until fish is cooked through and serve with brown rice.
You could throw in some spinach or cauliflower..whatever you fancy towards the end of the cooking.
Enjoy your guilt free loveliness 😇

 

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!!!

Traditional Griddle Pan Irish Soda Farls

TRADITIONAL GRIDDLE PAN IRISH SODA FARLS


With all the craziness during the week, I love to take the time to cook my family a nice lazy weekend breakfast.

I love a nice soda farl, whether part of a fry or even just with bacon. I have never made them before…well, this was a game changer!! Freshly made on a griddle pan brought it to a entire new level. The kids were hooked and it was gone in minutes!!
I doubled the quantities here but this will make enough for four.
250g Plain Flour

1/2 tsp Salt

1 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

250ml Buttermilk

(If you want get buttermilk you can sour some milk by adding a tablespoon of lemon juice or white wine vinegar to 250ml milk – leave to stand for 5)
Preheat a really heavy flat griddle pan or a frying pan on medium to low heat.
In a bowl, tip in the flour and salt, sift in the Bicarbonate of soda.
Make a well in the middle and add the buttermilk.
Be warned it is a sticky wee number!!
Work quickly to mix it to form a dough, begin the knead on a well floured surface.
You can either form it into a large circle and cut into four or form four even sized balls and flatten to about 1.5cm thick.
Cook for about 6-8 mins each side, they should go nice and golden brown.
Remove the pan from the heat and leave them to cool in the pan for around 15 mins.
Totally addictive!!😋

Slow Cooker Lamb and Potato Curry

SLOW COOKER LAMB AND POTATO CURRY

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With kids back to school and lots of after school activities going on, a good one pot wonder that can be made ahead is golden! This a super tasty and mild curry!

800g Lean Lamb, fat removed and cubed
Coconut Oil
2 Onions, peeled and cut into wedges
2-3 Garlic Cloves, sliced
3 Celery Sticks, sliced
5cm Root Ginger, peeled and grated
2 Green Chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
4 Curry Leaves
1 tsp Ground Cumin
1 tsp Ground Coriander
1 tsp Turmeric
1 tbsp Tomato Purée
150 ml Water
200ml Coconut Milk
225g Tomatoes, chopped
500g New Potatoes, scrubbed and cut into small chunks
2 Carrots, peeled and sliced

In a frying pan, heat the oil, add the onions, garlic and celery and fry gently for 5 mins or until softened.

Add the ginger, chillies and curry leaves, cook for a further 3 mins stirring constantly.

Add the lamb, ensure it is well coated in the spices and lightly browned.

Stir in the tomato purée, water, coconut milk and tomatoes and stir well.

Add the potatoes and carrots, stir well.

At this point you could let it cool and put it in the fridge until ready for the slow cooker. I made it to this point the night before then put it in the slow cooker the next morning for dinner that evening.

When ready put in the slow cooker on low for 6-8 hours.

If you have no slow cooker, never fear, just use a large casserole, bring to the boil then transfer to the oven heated to 150c and cook for 3-4 hours or until tender.

Serve with Indian Breads for a lush hassle free midweek dinner.