I used to do loads of cooking but since we had Little O most of the food preparation in our household falls to Mr O as I tend to be trying to wrangle the little fella into bed at prime dinner making time. I decided I was definitely going to make at least one meal this week, even if it was a quick one. Enter this easy salad. Of course just as I finished making it Little O woke up and refused to go to bed for another two hours so I didn’t get to eat any until 10pm but it I enjoyed it none the less.
Last week it was really warm so I got very excited and decided it was spring. I was so excited that I decided to buy a whole lot of ingredients to make salads. It turned out it was not spring. It was basically spring teasing us and then deciding to hold off until a yet to be named date. Fortunately even though it was cold and windy when I made this, it was still delicious so we didn’t feel too sad that we had to eat it wearing jumpers.
A couple of weeks ago I bought some spinach and feta rolls from the bakery stall in the food market that pops up in the centre of town on Fridays and Saturdays. They were delicious but a little pricey so I decided to have a go at making my own. They were so tasty we’ve ended up having them as a quick meal on several occasions since. They’re particularly good for when Mr O is working in the evening as he can just pop one in the oven for 5 minutes to reheat and have a fresh, hot snack when he gets home.
Spinach and feta pies
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
200g frozen chopped spinach
200g feta cheese, crumbled
150g ricotta cheese
2 sheets pre-rolled puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
Preheat your oven to 200 C.
Saute the onion and garlic in olive oil over a low heat for 5 minutes in a saucepan with a lid. Add the spinach and put on the lid. Cook until the spinach is completely defrosted and hot through (about 5 minutes). Remove from the heat and stir in the feta and ricotta and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Unroll the pastry sheets and cut each one into six (in half lengthwise and then into thirds). Place some of the spinach mixture in the centre of half the pastry rectangles. Don’t put it too close to the edges because you need room to seal. Brush all four of the edges around the spinach mixture of each rectangle with egg and then cover with another rectangle and press down the edges to close. Take a fork and press down all around the edges to make a nice pattern. Then use a sharp knife to make a few slashes across the top of each pie. Brush with more egg.
Place on a baking tray in the oven and bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.
Makes 6 pies
What’s the smartest way to use up leftover ricotta cheese, you ask? I decided it was by making pancakes. Usually in this house we make more crepe style pancakes because Mr O isn’t really a fan of the American ones… and I have managed to cock them up royally each time I have tried to make them. These however were very easy and very delicious and definitely a good use of leftover ricotta. Plus if no one else will eat them and you can manage your greed, the batter keeps well.
About a week ago when I was in Tesco buying essentials (nappies, bread, milk), I also came across a packet of salted caramel pretzel tiffin squares. These, of course, also counted as essential so I brought them home for Mr O and I to enjoy and they were glorious. I decided to make a sort of attempt to recreate them and although my version doesn’t have a caramel element they’re still pretty tasty… and very easy.
Since Little O was born I have had a lot less time to bake. It can be tricky enough to put up essential meals without finding the time for any extra bits. However recently he’s a lot more able to play on his own for periods of time or under Mr O’s supervision so when the urge struck me on Sunday I decided to go for it. I picked this recipe because Mr O particularly likes raspberries and coconut and he’s been raving about them ever since.
Just after Little O was born my friend, Alex, her husband J and their little boy M came around to visit us. M is almost 18 months old so throughout my pregnancy (and still now) Alex is my “is this normal” go to person.
Knowing how full on the beginning weeks of parenthood are Alex kindly brought us a quiche which was not only delicious but also served as a healthy lunch for us for days! I liked it so much that I asked for the recipe. A few days ago Little O actually let Mr O hold him long enough to let me make it… with a few modifications of my own.
I decided to make this Spanish omelette because we had some leftover over new potatoes that I had boiled the night before and I didn’t want them to go to waste. Plus eggs are great for gestational diabetes and let’s face it, I love chorizo so I put it with everything. I had this for my lunch but it’s one of those meals you could have at any time of the day. It’s also delicious both hot and cold and keeps really well.
I have already made this tray bake twice because it was so easy and delicious, once for Mr O and I and then once for a pot luck Sunday lunch at N’s new house now that he has moved out of our flat. While it does take a little bit of time to make, actually throwing it together is really quick and the flavour is completely worth the wait.
I swear this is the last Lean in 15 recipe coming up for a while. I have made this a few times because Mr O loves it and although the sauce is very simple it is delicious… it will also stink out your kitchen because that’s how fish sauce rolls!
This is yet another recipe from Lean in Fifteen. I think sooner or later Joe Wicks is going to sue me for copyright infringement but I I love his recipes and they have been so good for my gestational diabetes. I have to admit that before I made this I had never poached salmon before but I thought it gave the fish a lovely texture and made it easy to flake for this zingy salad.
One of the nice things about having gestational diabetes (look at me finding silver linings) is that you get to eat a LOT of cheese and I love cheese. All the cheese. All the time. Halloumi is one of my favourite cheeses and great for pairing and being the star of the show in GD friendly recipes. This was a big hit with both Mr O and N, who lives with us at the moment. It packs a real flavour wallop and is quick and easy to make.
So I know it might seem like I only make things from Lean in 15 now but I love the recipes and they’ve been so good for my gestational diabetes readings. Plus they’re really quick to get on the table, which helps with my goal of trying to finish my dinner by 7.30pm, which is a new one for me. I have always been quite a late eater. I have adapted this recipe a fair bit since I find Joe is a little bit more keen on loads of liquid than I am but it is super tasty and quick and when I made it for Neil and his mum everyone wanted seconds!
Recently a South London chap called Joe Wicks has become a bit of a diet and exercise sensation in the UK. He advocates a programme of easy, highly nutritious large portion recipes that you can make quickly along with high intensity workouts that you can do in fifteen minutes (he is also more than a little bit dishy). When Mr O put me onto him I was already most of the way through my weight loss programme, which was working for me but I really like his approach and was thinking about trying it out… but then I almost immediately got pregnant and the workouts were too high intensity for me.
Joe, also known as The Body Coach, released a recipe book called Lean in 15 in December and I bought a copy for Mr O as a gift. The book has two sections, one of low carb recipes for non-workout days and a higher carb section to fuel workout days.
With the diet I have to follow to keep my gestational diabetes under control the low carb recipes are perfect so I have been experimenting with this section of the book. This was the first recipe I tried, I did modify the recipe a bit to make enough for 4 people and of course I added my own secret ingredient but it was epic. Thanks, Joe!
Our flatmate calls this “cupboard pasta” because when I invented it it was based on whatever I could find lurking in our fridge and cupboards that needed using up. It turned out to really tasty so I have subsequently bought the ingredients and made it on purpose. Try it out and see what you think.
I am immediately going to put it out there that this “lasagne” is in no way authentic and it’s probably a bit cheeky to even call it lasagne but this is how I make it. What makes it virtuous compared to a traditional lasagne is that it is relatively low in fat and packed with secret vegetables that you won’t even know are there unless you want to… so if you have a child or a partner who won’t eat their veg, this is a great way to sneak in spades of them. It’s also a bit easier because you don’t have to make a white sauce, which is what all us lazy cooks love to hear. It does still take almost two hours to make though so start early.
As the weather gets colder and the wind blows harder, my craving for comfort food just keeps increasing… and what could be more comforting than cottage pie. I have added a bit of a twist by mixing the traditional mashed potato topping with some sweet potatoes. It gives it depth of flavour and an extra little healthy boost.
I decided to make this stew on a week night… which was a terrible mistake. This was not because of the stew itself but because I massively underestimated how long it was going to take me to make it (almost 2 hours) and we ended up eating at 10pm. So I am putting that out there as a warning. This is a Sunday lunch type of affair not a quick mid-week dinner. It is so incredibly worth ever minute of effort though. This stew is not only gloriously flavoursome, it’s also very wholesome. What are you waiting for?
Every now and then I throw random stuff together in the kitchen and then think, I really should write this down before I forget it! I have called this “kinda Thai” because I used a a few typical Thai flavours but I can’t imagine it’s in any way authentic but it was very tasty as well as being a light and healthy weeknight supper. Unfortunately the photography was a bit questionable because we were so ready to eat it!