Aubergine, Red Pepper & Olive Pasta Sauce

For those of you who have read some of my previous posts, you will know that I am allergic to a zillion different foods and have had to cut out the majority of these from my diet. That unfortunately means that I have slipped into the habit of creating recipes based on the foods I am allowed eat. But have no fear! When creating my plan for 2017 for this little blog, I vowed to try and incorporate some of my forbidden foods into my recipes again so that you don’t have to miss out like I do. Even thinking about what I can’t have anymore is making me pine for them! I actually miss yogurt so much. And eggs…and mushrooms…and tomatoes 

So this little creation sticks mostly to my list of allowed foods but I have also used some tomato puree from concentrate in the recipe so you guys are not deprived. This is a great recipe for a really rich and filling Pasta Sauce using chunky vegetables with intense flavours to create a very indulgent meal without most of the naughty additions.

The key to this sauce is to keep the vegetables whole and not to pulverise them down during the process. You can make this sauce ahead of time and store it in a jar in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze it either. Whatever you decide to do, decide to make a batch either way – it’s just gorgeous! This sauce is full of flavour and healthy vegetables and will leave you feeling super satisfied. I used Spaghetti as it was all I had in the pantry but I would also recommend Penne as this always goes well with Pasta Sauce. I also added a sprinkle of chilli flakes to the mix as I can hardly have any meal without them these days but this is up to you if you want to add them. The same goes for any other of your favourite seasonings you might want to add.

As always, this meal is cheap to prepare, quick to cook and so comforting to eat so go ahead and give it a try! Thanks for staying tuned xXx

Ingredients (Serves 4)

1 medium sized Aubergine AKA Eggplant
2 large Red Peppers
½ cup Black or Green Olives, halved
1 Clove Garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp. concentrated Tomato Puree
1 cup Vegetable Stock
Salt & Pepper to taste
½ Tsp. Chilli Flakes (if desired, optional)
2-3 Tbsp. Olive Oil (maybe a little more)
Enough Pasta of your choice to serve

Method

Finely dice the Aubergine and Peppers – about 1cm cubes.
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot and add the crushed garlic.
Stir the garlic until it has browned and then add the diced vegetables to the pot.
Add another tablespoon of olive oil and stir it in to coat the vegetables.
Continue to stir the mix until the vegetables start to soften and cook through.
Add the seasoning and tomato puree and stir through the mixture.
Pour approximately half of the stock into the pot and bring it to the boil.
Once bubbling, reduce the heat to a low-medium temperature and stir the mixture occasionally.
Put the pasta of your choice on to cook as per the packet instructions.
While the pasta is cooking, continue to stir the sauce mixture every now and then.
About half way through the pasta’s cooking time (approx. 6-7 minutes), blitz the sauce quickly with a hand blender to break up the vegetables and combine the sauce to make it thicker.
*Do not fully blend the sauce as you would if you were making a soup – only blitz for about 30 seconds – you want the sauce to remain chunky.
Return the pot to the heat on a simmer with the lid off to reduce the excess moisture.
Slowly pour in small tipples of the remaining stock, stirring it through and letting it absorb.
You may be left with some excess stock but it’s better to have made a bit extra than not have enough.
By the time you have cooked and strained your pasta, your sauce should be just about ready.
Add the cooked pasta to the pot of sauce and  stir it all through so that the pasta is fully coated.
Serve piping hot.

 

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Almond and Red Pepper Sauce

No matter how healthy I eat, there is nothing that can stop my hankering for pasta when I’m feeling the effects of an alcohol-filled Saturday night with my girls. This weekend we celebrated the first girl of our group’s Hen Weekend, it’s hard to believe one of us will be walking down the aisle in a few weeks and oh did we celebrate!

So pasta was on the brain for most of today and as usual, I caved and fired up that fusilli. To ease the guilt somewhat, I decided to team it up with a healthy, homemade pasta sauce and I must say, I was pretty impressed with the end result. Adding almonds to the mix gave this sauce a really creamy finish and gave me the feeling I was seriously indulging in a cream-based pasta sauce when really it was nothing of the sort.

I’m really chuffed with this one actually and I’m sure you will be too if you give it a try. Very simple and really yum – here is my Almond and Red Pepper Sauce.

Ingredients

2 Red Peppers, deseeded and chopped
1 clove Garlic, crushed
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
60 grams Almonds
Salt & Pepper to taste

Method

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on a frying pan.
Once hot, add garlic and peppers to the pan and coo for about 2-3 minutes.
Remove from the heat and let the peppers cool for about 10 minutes.
Add all of your ingredients including the garlic and peppers to a food blender, Nutribullet or you can use a hand blender and puree the entire mix until smooth and creamy.
Cook your pasta according to the packet instructions and drain.
Put cooked pasta back into the pot it was cooked in and pour in your pepper sauce.
Heat the sauce through until piping hot and serve.

This sauce can also be served as a dip too. I chopped up some carrots and had a dip and it was pretty delish!

Saucy Spinach & Artichoke

If I’m honest, I actually created this sauce with absolutely no thought process at all. I came home from work last week and just pulled whatever I had in the fridge out and somehow this was the end result.
So when a colleague of mine asked me what it was the next day for lunch, I actually had to think about it and remember how I made it.
It just shows how robotic the daily grind can be I guess!

When I was trying to remember the thought process behind it, I remember thinking that I couldn’t face another bowl of wilted spinach – as much as I love a good bowl of spinach with my protein of the day, I have been eating copious amounts of the stuff these past few weeks to build up my immune system and overall greenness now that we are heading into Autumn.

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So instead of pouring the usual boiling water over my pot of spinach, I emptied a jar of artichoke hearts in olive oil in instead and sprinkled with some seasoning and crushed garlic.
I whipped out the hand blender and before I knew it, I was heating up a fabulous fusion of greens and garlic to pour over steamed salmon and new potatoes.
All I can say is that this meal did not last long on the plate and luckily I had used lots of spinach so there was enough sauce leftover for another two portions. This made me very happy.

The sauce keeps well in the fridge and can be reheated either in the microwave at work or on the hob at home, whatever you’ve got time for.
It goes ridiculously well with salmon but I also lashed it through some penne pasta (like a pesto almost) and it was uber delish!

It’s a really tasty way to get your greens in if you’re not their biggest fan but want to up your game.

If you do give it a go, let me know what you teamed it with for some inspo of my own!

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Ingredients

100 grams Fresh Baby Spinach
1 jar Artichoke Hearts in Olive Oil
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil from the jar
1 Clove Garlic
Salt & Pepper to taste

Method

Strain the jar of Artichoke Hearts but save the oil as it can be reused.
Add all of the ingredients listed above into a large bowl.
Using a hand blender, blend all of your ingredients until it reaches the desired consistency,  I like to leave mine a bit pulpy or unblended for extra texture but of course, it’s up to yourself how far you want to go with it.
When you’re happy with the consistency, transfer the sauce from the bowl to a hot, oiled frying pan and stir quickly for a few minutes until it has been cooked through.
Pour this over cooked salmon or chicken or whatever way you like and enjoy a healthy serve of green goodness that tastes incredible and makes those run-of-the-mill dinners taste a whole lot better

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Butternut Beauty Soup

This bowl of butternut goodness is one of my all-time favourites when it comes to soup.
It’s cheap and easy to make, tastes delicious and is very kind to those trying to shift a few pounds.
Weight Watchers have been singing the Butternut’s praises for years and I must say I have to agree.

I’m already leaning very close to the autumn and winter dishes as the steaming hot and comforting meals associated with the season are some of the best out there! Stews, soups, slow cooker Sundays and one-pot wonders are some of my favourite kind of foods so I thought I’d start early to give you all some inspiration for the cold evenings to come.

It doesn’t take much to whip together a bowl of Squash Soup you’ll be glad to know. The only elbow grease required is the peeling and deseeding of the butternut itself but once that’s out of the way, you’re on the home stretch!

Tip: If you like a bit of spice like myself or want to help your metabolism, add a little extra chili to the mix, chili and squash go hand in hand in terms of flavour combinations! Sweet and spicy 😉

Ingredients

1 medium – large Butternut Squash
2 Carrots (optional)
750 ml – 1 ltr Water (depending on how thin/thick you like your soup)
1 Chicken or Vegetable Stock cube (whatever you prefer, both work great!)
1 medium Brown Onion
1 Clove Garlic
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 Tbsp. Toasted Pumpkin Seeds – you can use the ones from the Butternut when you deseed.

For Spicy Squash Soup:
½ Tsp. Cayenne Pepper
½ Tsp. Smoked Paprika
½ – 1 Tsp. Chili Flakes (personal preference here)

For Sweet Squash Soup:
½ Tsp. Smoked Paprika
½ cup fresh Parsley
½ 330 ml tin of Coconut Milk*

And for the best of both, add all of the above to the mix! Each option is just as fab as the other!

Method

Put the water for your stock onto boil in a large pot on the hob.
Heat olive oil on a pan on the hob also.
Chop the onion and garlic coarsely and add to the pan.
Cook until brown and aromatic and remove from heat.
When your water is boiled, add the stock cube and mix until fully dissolved/combined.
Peel, deseed and dice the Butternut Squash into small – medium cubes.
If you’re adding carrots, chop them at this stage too.
Add cooked garlic and onion to the pot of stock and then add the diced Butternut (and carrots).
Reduce the pot to a low heat and stir occasionally until the Butternut is half–way cooked.
Gradually add and stir in your seasoning.
*If you are adding coconut milk, do not add it until later on.
Continue to simmer your soup mix until your Butternut is fully cooked through – this usually takes about twenty minutes from adding it to the pot depending on how big you have diced the Butternut pieces.
When you are happy that the vegetables have been thoroughly cooked, remove the pot from the heat and whip out your hand blender!
Blend your soup mix to the consistency you like – I love my soup very thick so I don’t blend for too long.
Return the pot to the low heated hob and do a taste test.
Add any extra seasoning or water as desired until you reach the flavour and texture that you’re looking for.
*If you are adding coconut milk, you can stir it in at this stage, nice and gradually.
Leave to simmer for another couple of minutes, remove from the heat and pour into a warm soup bowl.
Sprinkle the toasted pumpkin seeds on top for some extra crunch.

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Sprinkle some extra smoked paprika along with toasted pumpkin seeds to serve

Spiralized Squash Spaghetti

I have had this recipe in my head for months now and I have finally gotten around to trying it out! I did give it a go a good while back but the way in which I cooked the squash did not turn out so good and I really didn’t like the end result. I had boiled the spiralized squash and then added it to the pan to sauté with the seasoning but it just didn’t work and the squash tasted mushy and yawk! So I dumped it and left this one on the side line for a while.

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So I picked up some squash last week as I was in the mood for squash soup (post coming soon) and thought I would give my squash spaghetti another go before I whizz it into a soulful bowlful of squashy goodness. I thought about my favourite way to eat squash usually and it was of course, roasted with some oil and garlic so I thought I would apply the same concept to my spaghetti. Let me tell you the result was simply gorgeous! I absolutely devoured the full bowl of squash spaghetti and had to go out and buy more for my soup! This is a really great way to substitute regular pasta and is so filling. As this is only the basic spaghetti recipe, you can vary the seasoning and other meal components to this once you have mastered the spaghetti part! I have visions of roast pepper pesto with chicken and sundried tomatoes tossed through the spaghetti or a rich mince Bolognese piled on top.

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I strongly urge you to give this one a go if you’ve got the Spiralizer or any other kitchen appliance that does a similar job like a Julien. If you do try it and put your own spin on it, I’d love to hear what you teamed it with and how you got on. Leave any comments or suggestions you like below.

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Ingredients

1 medium – large Butternut Squash
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 clove Garlic
Salt & Pepper to taste
Additional Seasoning if desired

Method

Preheat the oven to 190 Degrees Celcius.
Line an oven tray with parchment paper and grease with some oil.
Top and tail the butternut, cut in half from top to bottom, peel off the skin and de-seed.
Using your Spiralizer or Julien or whatever appliance you opt for, create your spaghetti.
In a bowl big enough to fit all the spaghetti, toss this through with the olive oil and seasoning.

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Spread the squash spirals out on the oven tray and pop in the oven to roast for about 15 minutes or until the squash starts to brown.
Give the tray a shake to turn the squash half way through yto ensure even cooking.
Once the squash is cooked to your satisfaction, serve it as you would regular spaghetti.
If you want to add any more ingredients like a protein, more veg or a sauce, you can do so at this point.
Serve and enjoy.

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Innocent Ice Cream

I know this post is a bit late to the party as the weather has already begun to change on us but ice cream is nice no matter what time of year, let’s be honest!
I am a big ice cream fan, it’s one of the only deserts I actually considering ordering if I’m out for dinner and have any room left.
I have also been trying to brainstorm fun ways to get my 5 a day and to also adhere to my restricted food allowance.
As most dairy is now off limits for me, I thought I would use almond milk and banana as an alternative to yoghurt and regular ice cream and I was pretty chuffed with the results.
I am presently obsessed with pineapple and find myself buying a fresh one almost every week to snack on.

Pineapple is virtually fat free with 1mg of fat per 100 grams of pineapple and only 50 calories.
It is also high in fibre and Vitamin C which makes it an all-round good fruit to have.
When you combine it with banana and almond milk, you’re creating a pretty healthy and guilt free treat that tastes like it should be far naughtier.

So if you have 5 minutes to spare, why not give it a crack?

Ingredients

½ Sliced Banana, frozen
2 cups chopped Pineapple, frozen
½ cup Unsweetened Almond Milk

Method

Take banana and pineapple out of the freezer and let it soften slightly for about 20 – 30 minutes
Pop all 3 ingredients into the food blender, Nutribullet or use your hand blender (a recent phenomenon for me).
Combine all the ingredients until smooth and creamy – or until it resembles ice cream.
Scoop into a desert bowl and enjoy.

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Simple, quick and tastes amazing!!

The Slow Cooker Series – Parmesan Chicken

This dish can be made in the Slow Cooker if you’re lucky enough to have one on the Countertop or can also be done on the hob or even in the oven.
I will outline the alternative cooking instructions at the bottom of the post but the main method will be for the Slow Cooker.
Parmesan Chicken is a wholesome, comforting meal that will keep you feeling full for hours and satisfied.
Its healthy ingredients also ensure that you’re not straying far from your goals but also help you feel like you’re not eating too strictly either.
This dish is full of flavour and can be served with so many different sides that you can really make it your own.
It’s a great weekend dish and I made a huge portion so I was able to get a few lunches out of it too. All the ingredients came to less than €10 so you’re looking at about €2.50 a serve which is a serious bargain for such a wholesome meal.
Enjoy!

 

Ingredients

500 grams / 4 skinless, boneless Chicken Fillets
1 large Brown Onion, chopped
1 Clove Garlic, chopped
1 tin Chopped Tomatoes
500 gram Tomato Passata
1 cup Grated Parmesan
¼ cup plain flour/brown flour/almond flour/buckwheat (whatever you fancy)
1 Egg, beaten
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
6-8 Frozen Spinach cubes (optional)
Salt & Pepper to taste

Method

Turn on the Slow Cooker to the Low Heat setting.
Cover the base of the Slow Cooker with Olive Oil.
Spread out the onion and garlic on the base of the Slow Cooker.
In a bowl, mix the flour and parmesan together.
In another bowl, dip the whole chicken fillets in the egg and then dip the fillet into the parmesan and flour mix.
Place the coated chicken fillets on top of onion and garlic layer.
Pour the passata and chopped tomatoes over the chicken and throughout the Slow Cooker until empty.
Add some salt and pepper to taste.
Pop the lid on and leave to cook for about 4 hours, stirring occasionally.
At the last half an hour, add the frozen spinach and stir through.
Serve piping hot with your desired side dish (I had mine with whole-wheat spaghetti and it was insane!)

Regular Pot Instructions

Heat some olive oil in a large pot and add onions and garlic.
When the onions and garlic start to brown, add passata and chopped tomatoes, salt and pepper and stir.
Prepare the chicken fillets as directed in the above instructions without the egg.
Reduce the heat to a very low heat and add chicken fillets.
Cover the pot and leave to simmer for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Check your fillets to ensure they have been cooked through and return to the pot to cook further if they still need a bit more time.
Add the frozen spinach with about 5-10 minutes to go and stir through.
Once you’re happy the chicken is thoroughly cooked, serve and enjoy!

Oven Instructions

Preheat the oven to 180 Degrees Celsius.
Drizzle some olive oil on the base of a medium – large casserole or lasagne dish.
Cover the base of the dish with the chopped onions and garlic.
Prepare the chicken fillets as directed in the above instructions without the egg.
Place the fillets on top of the onions and garlic.
In a separate bowl, mix together your passata, chopped tomatoes and seasoning and then pour over the chicken fillets.
Place the dish on the middle shelf of the oven and leave to bubble away for about 30-45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
Add the frozen spinach with about 5-10 minutes to go and stir through.
Once ready, spoon out your delicious chicken bake from the dish with your side of choice.

 

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7 Electric Essentials for the Healthy Cook’s Countertop

The Kitchen of an On-The-Go Cook is never short of a few toys to have some foodie fun with.
While some may be absolutely essential, others can be to make life that little bit easier and help you prepare delicious, healthy meals super quick.
I am quite the collector as you will see from the list below but because I spend most of my free time in the kitchen, I find it pretty easy to get plenty of use out of them all.

The Hand Blender

The soup lovers best friend. The trusty hand blender is a must for anyone who loves fresh, homemade soup and even for the adventurous curry creator.
You can buy these guys pretty much anywhere that sells the basic kitchen appliances like the local supermarket or the likes of Argos and Harvey Norman.
They assemble easily and can be kept neatly in one of the kitchen drawers so that they’re always on hand.
Soup is a great way to add more vegetables in to your diet and it’s also a good meal prep dish as you can make a couple of litres of it and freeze it off.
I find homemade soup is also a really good way to use up any vegetables you have that are about to reach their Best Before Date so this way you won’t be throwing anything out.
You can pretty much add any vegetable to your soup pot and with the right seasoning it will always taste great, head over to my Recipes page for some inspiration!

The Salter Spiralizer ™

This is, without a doubt, one of the best gifts I have ever received! EVER! I am literally obsessed with my Spiralizer. Who knew such a simple contraption could make such a difference to my life.
Since being gifted with this by my very wise and wonderful mother, I use this bad boy religiously during the week for my evening meals. Since I have started using this, I have almost entirely ended my relationship with pasta, rice and noodles.
They now live in my cupboard for emergencies and hangovers and for my not-so-green eating dinner guests.
It’s fun to use, easy to clean and makes dinner a quick a painless experience while adding so much more vegetables to your diet. .
I dropped around 10 lbs in January and I firmly believe that was solely down to the Spiralizer.
At only €21.99 in Argos, I would highly recommend picking one up.
Check out my Recipes page for some great ideas on how to create some beautiful looking and great tasting Spiralizer dishes.

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The Air Fryer

Again this is not an absolute must but I’ve certainly gotten great use out of this guy since it took up lodging on the kitchen counter.
When looking to make healthier choices with the food you really love and cannot live without, something like the air fryer is a great help.
I use this every time I make sweet potato fries and it’s also great for cooking regular fries, carrots, pumpkin or any other root veg you might bake in the oven usually.
The appeal of the air fryer is you only require 1 tablespoon of oil to cook with thus reducing the amount of fats you may use when cooking.
Our house has the Tefal model but there are plenty of different brands and models available from all regular stockists.

The Original Crockpot Slow Cooker ™

I bought this as a welcome home present to myself last Summer and it was honestly the best €40 I’ve ever spent. I am head over heels in love with my Crockpot and get a serious amount of entertainment cooking with it.
From a curry recipe I picked up in Nepal to a slow roasted Sunday – dinner chicken, I use the slow cooker for such a variety of meals.
The beauty of the slow cooker is that you can prepare your meal first thing in the morning or last thing at night and head off to work or get a full night sleep and your meal will be cooking away without you having to worry.
There are hundreds of recipes available online for the slow cooker and you’ll find all of mine throughout the recipes page.
It’s also great for meal prep as you can throw 10 chicken fillets in and head away for the day only to come back to seriously tender and perfectly cooked chicken to use during the week as part of your healthy diet.
I bought a 6.5 litre slow cooker which is probably too big when cooking for one but they are available in a number of different sizes and can be found at almost all electrical appliance stockists nationwide.

If you have the counter space and love to cook and experiment as much as me, it’s well worth the investment.

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The Nutribullet ™

Another gift to myself when I came back home and again, money well spent.
The Nutribullet is a great addition to any healthy living kitchen and especially for those who are on the go.
You can throw any bits of fruit and veg you have lying around, add some ice, yoghurt, honey or whatever your preference and you have a delicious and filling smoothie ready to take with you wherever you’re going.
Check out my list of smoothie recipes for some great combination ideas!

I also use the Nutribullet for other creations such as my fresh pesto, hummus, milled nuts and seeds, bread crumbs and also for soups and curries and anything that needs processing.
It’s such a versatile appliance and is so easy to clean.

I can really say that my vegetable intake sky rocketed with using the Nutribullet with my energy levels and skin condition especially really improving.
I would absolutely recommend the Nutribullet to anyone looking to up their vegetable intake and decrease the amount of time spent preparing it in the kitchen.

Another Electric Appliance that is good to have is the everyday food processor which can save you lots of time in the kitchen for everyday tasks such as grating cheese, chopping onions, slicing vegetables and so on.
I don’t have one myself as I have a combination of other appliances to do these tasks forme but they’re are good to have if you have the space on the countertop and can be bought at all stockists.

The Mandolin Food Slicer

Although it’s not electric, the mandolin is a compact vegetable slicer that neatly chops and slices all your veg without creating any mess and saves the Cook lots of time during prep.
I find it super handy for the dreaded onion – no more tears and its done in seconds.
The Julien blade is also a great alternative to the spiralizer and I also find it most convenient for slicing courgettes quickly and evenly for my courgette lasagne (see Recipes for full method).
Not an essential but it’s certainly handy to have in the cupboard.
Again you’re looking at about €20.00 and if you like to prep and cook efficiently like me, it’s handy to have.

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The George Foreman Lean Mean Fat Grilling Machine (TM)

I recently purchased one of these bad boys when they were on sale for an outrageous €26.99, down from €75.00! To put it simply, it does exactly what is says on the tin. A convenient countertop grill that cooks up to 4 portions and drains any excess fat from whatever it is you’re cooking. It’s great for meat such as turkey burgers, bacon or chicken fillets. It cooks them efficiently and healthily leaving little to be cleaned up after and food tasting great. The George Foreman can be bought in most electrical retailers and vary in price depending on what size grill you want to get your hands on. Two thumbs up for this electric essential.

Other Kitchen Essentials that I simply cannot cook without are listed below. These days, you can pick up these items pretty much anywhere; Ikea, Deals, Dunnes, Argos, anywhere! They are cost effective and will stand by you while you work to create healthy meals from fresh, whole foods from the comfort of your own kitchen.

Weighing Scales
Measuring Jug
Wooden Chopping Board
The World’s Sharpest Knife ™
Good Quality Frying Pan
Muffin Tray
Lunchboxes
Recycled Jars
Ziplock Bags

Homemade Hummus

When making small changes to your diet to become healthier, another ideal food to add to the menu is Hummus. Hummus is mainly made from Chick Peas that are packed with protein, fibre and omega 3.
You can use it as a trusty condiment for snacks or as an alternative dip or side sauce for more substantial meals. One of the most well known ways to have hummus is with carrot batons but I also like to use it as an alternative to mayonnaise or butter on (porridge) bread, crackers, wraps. My favourite way to have it is with Falafel as a side sauce. The two are a match made in heaven.

You can also vary the flavours of hummus you have if you want to keep it interesting and enticing.
Flavours such as garlic & lemon, roast carrot, red pepper and my favourite, beetroot, are just some examples of how you can spice it up.

Here are the basic instructions to make it and I’ll include some tips on how to add the extra flavours further down.

Ingredients

1 tin Chick Peas, rinsed
2 cloves Garlic, peeled
Juice of 1 Lemon
2 Tbsp. Tahini
Pinch of Ground Cumin
1.5 Tbsp. Olive Oil
3 Tbsp. Water
Salt & Pepper to taste

Method

Simply combine all these ingredients into a food processor, blender or Nutribullet
and whizz until you reach the consistency you want.
You may need to add a tipple more of water or olive oil so keep going until you’re happy with how it looks.
Do a taste test and see if you want to add a bit more seasoning, its totes up to you how you want it to taste!

If you want to mix it up and make some beautifully coloured and flavoured hummus to show off, the recipe is easy to add to.

For roast carrot, pepper or beetroot hummus, simply chop up your chosen vegetable into small chunks, spread out on a baking tray and cook for 10-15 minutes.
After you have made your base hummus, add the roast veg to the mixer and whizz it through.

For lemon & garlic hummus or sundried tomato and basil, again just chop up your desired ingredients and add them to the base hummus to combine.

Once you’ve made the base recipe, its hard to go wrong with adding different flavours so have some fun with it and enjoy the end result!

The Slow Cooker Series – Nepalese Lentil Curry

This curry takes a bit more work than most of my recipes but its one I really want to share.
I went to Nepal in 2015 and as amazing as the views and the people and everything else that the country had to offer were,
the recipe for this dish is one of the best things I took away with me from that trip.
Known as Dahl Makhani in Nepal, this lentil curry is a staple dish to the people there and it just so happens its one of the most delicious dishes I have ever tasted.
I made it my mission when I came home last year to perfect this dish and create something special to keep with me from my short time spent there.
I use my Slow Cooker for this dish as I just think curries do so well when cooked over a long amount of time – slow and low.
If you don’t have a slow cooker don’t worry, I’ll put the regular temperatures and times at the bottom for your reference.
This dish really is so special and I really urge you to give it a go!

Remember this is a Sow Cooker recipe so you might want to make it in the morning or afternoon so that it’s ready in time for dinner (6-8 hours).

Ingredients

2 cups Black Lentils / Black Dahl
6 cups water
1/2 cup tinned kidney beans, rinsed and drained
150 grams tomato puree
2 Tsp. Cumin Seeds
1 Tsp. Coriander Seeds
1 Tsp. Black Pepper
1 Tsp. Garam Masala
1 Tsp. Fenugreek Seeds
2 Dried Red Chilis
3 cloves Garlic, crushed
4 thumb piece of Ginger
2 Tsp. Salt
2 fresh Green Chilis
30 gram Real Butter
100 ml Greek Yogurt

Method

IMPORTANT: You need to soak your lentils overnight. Rinse them until the water runs clear and leave to soak in a bowl overnight.
Add the soaked lentils along with 6 cups of water to the Slow Cooker and cook on low for 4 hours until soft.
Once soft, mash the lentils with a potato masher of give them a quick whizz with a hand blender to break them up until they give a creamy texture.
Using a pestle and mortar, food processor or coffee grinder (I use my Nutriullet milling blade), grind your cumin seeds, coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds, black pepper and dried red chillies into a finee powdery paste.
When you’re happy with that, add your spice mixture to the lentils and stir through.
Back in the food processor or pestle and mortar; add the garlic and ginger with about a teaspoon of water and combine to make a paste.
Pour in your rinsed kidney beans and your garlic and ginger paste to the slow cooker along with the tomato puree, salt, butter and fresh green chilis (cut in half).
When everything has been stirred together, add enough water so that there is about 1/2 an inch of water covering the mix.
Dont worry if it looks too watery, the curry mix will drink it up.
Leave the curry to cook away on low for about 2-4 hours depending on how much time you have, everything is pretty much cooked by now and you cant overcook a curry this way – the longer the better!
Check in on it maybe every 30 minutes to an hour for a quick stir.
Do a little taste test each time to determine if you need to add a little bt more of anything.
About 30 minutes before you’re ready to serve, stir through the Greek yogurt and maybe a little bit more butter if you like.
This dish goes really well with basmati rice or naan bread but serve it with whatever you fancy.
You should have enough for about 8 serves so it’s a great meal prep dish or else you can show off to your friends if they’re over for dinner.
I’ve made this for quite a few people now because I’m so eager to share it and it’s been empty bowls all ’round.

*If you dont have a Slow Cooker you can still create this dish on the hob in a large pot.
Cook on low (1 or 2) and just cook for half the time of the Slow Cooker e.g 4 hours on the Slow Cooker is 2 hours on the hob.
Instead of adding 6 cups of water to the lentils at the beginning, add just enough to cover the lentils by about an inch but be sure to keep an eye on them adding a tipple of water now and then when neccessary.
The same applies for after you add the spice mix and kidney beans until the last hour or so when you just add a trickle and the water is almost fully absorbed before you add the yogurt.
Make sure you dont let it get too watery but if you do, just take some of the water out with a ladle or something – get creative (I had to do it plenty of times until I perfected it so dont panic).

I’d love to know your feedback on this one if you do attempt it so make sure to leave a comment!

Smoothies Any Which Way

Smoothies and Juices are a wonderful way to up your 5-A-Day intake
and for the obsessive compulsive in me;
they’re quick, clean and are a great way to use up any bits of
fruit and veg that are on the way out.
The beauty of the smoothie is that you can pretty much combine any
ingredients you have available and it’s bound to taste delish!
The best formula to use when creating your own recipe
is as follows and this can be interpreted any way you like;

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1 Part Thickener + 1 Part Liquid + 1 Cup Fruit + 1 Part Veg + 1 Part Booster

Here are some examples of each component;

Thickener

Your Smoothie Thickener should fill about ¼ of your cup
Banana
Avocado
Natural or Greek Yoghurt
Mango
Ice Cubes

Liquid

Approx. 250ml
Filtered Water
Coconut Water
Aloe water
Almond Milk
Soy Milk
Coconut Milk

Fruit

About a handful
The list is endless here. You really can use any fruit you like.
My favourites are mixed frozen berries, apples, pears, blueberries, strawberries,
raspberries, mango, frozen or fresh pineapple.

Veg

A good handful
The best veg to use is definitely dark, leafy greens.
They are packed with nutrients and dont take up that much room in your smoothie cup.
My two staples are spinach and kale. You can buy them either fresh or frozen to use.
I will also try to use beetroot wherever I can as it’s such a super Superfood!

Boosters

1 Tablespoon
Almonds
Cashew Nuts
Walnuts
Peanut Butter
Almond Butter
Cashew Butter
Chia Seeds
Flax Seeds
Pumpkin Seeds
Sunflower Seeds
Goji Berries
Coconut Chips
Cacao Nibs
Ginger Root
Honey
Cinnamon Stick
Vanilla Pod
Protein Powder
Lemon Juice
Lime Juice

Green Juices

Green juices have become so popular the last couple of years but they really do have
the right to be the A-List celeb in the Smoothie and Juice community.
They make take a bit of getting used to but they are seriously worth it.
I am a self proclaimed green juice addict but only because
I have personally felt the beneficial effects.
My energy is through the roof (you can ask my poor housemates),
my skin glows more than ever and my (very poor) digestion is improving all the time.
Like smoothies, you can use whatever is lying around in the fridge or the fruit bowl, the greener the better!
1/3 a cup of liquid with 2/3 a cup of greens and an extra booster or two
will combine to make a delish and ridiculously healthy juice.

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