I have to admit to being a bit obsessed with avocados. There is something so delicious about their cool, creamy flavour and I chuck them into all kinds of different meals. When i found this recipe that mixed salmon (which I also love) with a tasty salsa I was intrigued and had to try it out. What I ended up with was a very tasty, very healthy dinner that I will definitely be making again.
I made this salad in an attempt to try out some new grains. I loved the nutty flavour of the freekeh, which is apparently a type of green wheat but Mr O was not a fan at all and refused to finish his.I didn’t mind much though since I got to have it for my lunch a couple of days running and it was both tasty and filling.
So I have a new kitchen toy. It’s called a spiralizer and you can use it to turn firm vegetables like courgettes into thin strands that resemble spaghetti and then eat that in place of pasta to up the veg in your meals (and cut carbs if you’re into that kind of thing). I love courgettes so I started my experiments with the spiralizer with them, which turned out to be delicious.
Since coconut oil became the new big thing in both cooking and health I have been quite keen to try it out for cooking and baking. The one thing that has put me off though is the exorbitant price of a jar in my local supermarket or heath shop. However last week I discovered that the ethnic food section of my local Sainsbury’s now sells coconut oil for £2 a jar. This particular aisle in Sainsbury’s has been one of my top finds. It sells tinned tomatoes that are inexplicably cheaper than the Basics range along with super cheap pulses like chickpeas. With that in mind I bought a jar and used it for this recipe with great results. If your super market doesn’t have a cheap ethnic food aisle and you don’t want to shell out for pricey ingredients you can definitely substitute the coconut oil in these tasty but healthy cookies with melted butter.
Summer has finally arrived in London and over the past couple of weeks it’s actually been quite hot. When the temperature goes up all I crave is salads, which is pretty handy when it comes to trying to lose weight. I got this spicy salad recipe from the Weight Watchers website and while it’s not exactly a substitute for a curry it does help to deal with any cravings for those kinds of flavours.
Recently Mr O and I have been trying to eat more healthily as I gained back a little of the weight I lost and we’d both been indulging everyone of our food whims… which never ends well. This is recipe I put together by adapting a much more unhealthy one. It’s very tasty but also super healthy and I would highly recommend it if you’re trying to cut calories but not flavour. Read more…
With spring finally making an appearance, I feel like it’s time to celebrate barbeque season. All South Africans are born with an in-built “braai” switch that flicks the minute there is a hint of sun sending us clamouring for coals, chops and a fireside brew. Unlike British barbeques, which seem to the uninitiated eye to be a somewhat haphazard affair that involves incinerating a bunch of low quality sausages over an open flame before it starts raining, a South African braai is an art form which requires creating the perfect mix of proteins, sides and libations. With this in mind I have been subtly converting my husband to my sub-Saharan way of thinking and turning him into a real man. In South Africa, you are not a real man unless you can handle a pair of braai tongs.
While I do know women who take charge of their own braais and it was me who taught Paul how to make a cooking fire, the woman’s braai role is traditionally in the kitchen, doing the much more challenging job of creating delicious side dishes. One of the most popular standards is of course, potato salad, which I love… but I don’t love the lashings of mayo that always seem to come with it. With that in mind, I present to you a twist of the classic potato salad that you might want to try at your next braai – all the flavour with much less fat.
Italian style potato salad
1kg new potatoes, halved or quartered if large
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
3 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh basil
¼ red onion, finely chopped
Put the potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water by an inch. Season well with salt. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 15 minutes, or until you can easily push a fork into the potato.
In the meantime, whisk together the oil, vinegar, basil, garlic and salt and pepper to taste.
Drain the potatoes and run a little cold water over them to bring the temperature down. When the potatoes have cooled down a little add the onions and toss in the olive oil mixture.
The flavours intensify as the salad is stored and it keeps well so you could easily make it the day before and pop it in the fridge in anticipation of your braai.
Serves 4 -6 as a side dish
This is an easy, cheap and very healthy veggie recipe that packs a real flavour punch. It also keeps really well so it’s great for making a big batch and then bringing in to work for lunch.
1 onion, chopped
1 courgette, sliced
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 red or yellow pepper, roughly chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small can sweet corn (or equivalent frozen)
200g baby tomatoes, cut in half
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 standard size can mixed pulses (or chickpeas or kidney beans)
500ml vegetable stock
500ml tomato passata
2/3 cup bulghar wheat
Heat a little olive oil in a large saucepan. Add onion, courgette, carrot, pepper and garlic and sauté over a medium heat for 7 – 8 minutes. Add the corn, baby tomatoes and spices and cook for 3 more minutes. This makes a pretty spicy chilli but if you want your head blown off you can add more chilli powder.
Add the pulses, stock, passata and bulghar wheat and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 minutes (or however long it tells you your bulghar wheat will take to cook on the packet. It can vary).
Allow to cool and thicken a little before serving.
Serves 4 – 6.
I made this for Emma a few weeks ago and we both cleaned our plates. It’s a great way to eat loads of veg in one meal and tasty to boot.
Cod with cabbage stew
Knob of butter
80g bacon lardons
1 onion finely chopped
2 carrots, diced
2 celery sticks, diced
1 small bunch thyme, leaves removed
1 savoy cabbage, hard outer leaves removed, base cut off and shredded
300ml chicken stock
1 410g tin of flageolet beans
4 cod fillets
A little flour
Heat the butter in a large saucepan until starting to sizzle. Add the bacon and cook for a couple of minutes. Then add the onions, carrots and celery and cook for about 10 minutes until softened. Add in the cabbage and thyme and cook for a few minutes until the cabbage starts to wilt. Add in the flageolet beans, stock and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cover the pan and simmer for 10 minutes.
In the meantime, dust the fish with a little flour, salt and pepper. Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan and place the fish in the plan skin side down. Cook for about 4 minutes and then flip over and finish on the other side until the fish is just done – probably a couple of minutes depending on the thickness of the fillets.
Put a pile of the cabbage on each plate and then top with fish.
My husband is aubergine mad so when I found this recipe that combines the joys of pizza and aubergine without all the bread, I was sold. It’s also a super quick and pretty healthy. Yum!
2 large aubergines
1 ball of low fat mozzarella
About half a cup of tomato passata
Pizza toppings of your choice – I used sliced baby tomatoes and olives but the sky’s the limit
Heat the oven to 180 C. Slice the aubergines into 2cm slices. Brush with olive oil and griddle. I did this on the George Foreman grill but you could easily use a griddle pan on the stove top. You want them to be showing grill lines but still firm. Probably a couple of minutes per side, max. But it’s easy to tell then they’re done.
Lay your griddled aubergine slices on a baking tray (I put some baking parchment on mine to stop it from sticking) and spread a couple of tablespoons of passata on each slice. Then top with torn up bits of mozzarella, followed by your toppings. Bake in the oven for 10 – 14 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and serve.
Serves 2 – 4. Paul and I ate all of this between us but if you are less greedy or serve with a side salad and garlic bread it would go a lot further.