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Archive for the ‘Healthy’ Category

Monastery Soup

The second Bulgarian recipe we’ve cooked from Black Sea by Caroline Eden and one of the best soups we’ve had in ages. We think it’s the combination of sweet peppers and parsnip with the spicy broth that makes it so good. Serve with a good slick of olive oil and a dollop of sour cream on top.

Monastery Soup – serves 4

  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 large red or yellow pepper, diced very finely
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 1 parsnip, finely diced
  • 2 carrots, sliced into thick rounds
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • a good pinch of chilli flakes
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 700ml veg stock
  • a tin of haricot beans, drained and rinsed
  • a tin of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • flat-leaf parsley & mint, chopped (to serve)
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (to serve)
  • 2 tbsp sour cream or crème fraîche (to serve, optional but good)

Warm the sunflower oil in a large pot, then add the pepper, onion, parsnip and carrot with some salt. Cook for about 7 minutes or until the onion is translucent.

Add the paprika, chilli flakes, garlic and some black pepper and continue to cook for another few minutes. Add the stock and beans and turn up the heat. When the soup starts to boil, turn the heat down and leave to simmer for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked through (try one of the carrots). Remove from the heat and divide between warm bowls. Sprinkle over the herbs and a drizzle of olive oil. A spoon of sour cream on top is also really good.

(Original recipe Black Sea by Caroline Eden, Quadrille, 2018)

 

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Spiced Crispy Egg & Lentil Curry

This is a great lentil curry but the star of the show is definitely the spiced crispy eggs. We’ll definitely be making these again with other dishes that could do with a crispy egg. Serve with steamed basmati rice.

Wine Suggestion: the spices in this dish will fight with tannins so we’d suggest pairing with a white wine. Our choice this evening was the Chayeau Pesquie Terrasses Blanc, a blend of Viognier, Roussanne, Clairette and Grenache Blanc – a real southern Rhône style blend with fresh stone fruit and citrus flavours.

Spiced crispy egg and lentil curry – serves 4

  • 100g red lentils
  • 2 onions, roughly chopped
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tbsp oil for frying
  • 1½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1½ tsp ground coriander
  • 4 cardamom pods, squashed
  • a thumb-sized piece of root ginger, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2-3 green chillies, sliced
  • 100g baby spinach, chopped
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • a small bunch of coriander, chopped

FOR THE CRISPY EGGS

  • 6 eggs
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric
  • ¼ tsp paprika

Put the lentils, onions and tomatoes in a pan with the turmeric and a teaspoon of salt. Add water to just cover, then simmer gently for 20 minutes or until the lentils are tender.

Drop the eggs into boiling water and cook for 7 minutes, then plunge them into iced water and leave to cool.

Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large pan, then stir in the cumin, coriander and cardamom. Cook for a couple of minutes before adding the cooked lentils and 100ml water. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, then add the spinach and cook for another 10 minutes.

Peel the eggs and heat the tbsp of oil in a frying pan. Add the eggs, turmeric, paprika and some salt. Cook the eggs until they start to blister and crisp.

Stir the garam masala and fresh coriander into the curry and serve with the halved eggs and some steamed basmati rice.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in BBC Olive Magazine, December 2017)

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Carrot & Ginger mash with pan fried codSo, this is a full-on diet dish, but the carrot and ginger mash is spectacular and we couldn’t recommend it highly enough for nights when you need some restraint. We are a greedy household and require restraint on a regular basis – no wine for us tonight!

Carrot & Ginger Mash with Pan-fried Cod – serves 2

  • 2 large carrots (about 300g), thickly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 15g fresh root ginger, peeled
  • 15g butter
  • ½ tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 thick, skinless cod fillets
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • dried chilli flakes

Put the carrots, garlic & ginger in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil then simmer for 15 minutes or until soft.

Take the pan off the heat, reserve a ladle of the cooking water, then drain. Return the carrot mixture to the pan and add 3 tbsp of the reserved cooking water, the butter, and the lemon juice. Whizz the carrots to a purée with a stick blender, adding a bit more of the water if needed. Season with salt and black pepper.

Season the cod with sea salt and black pepper. Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Fry the cod for about 4 minutes, then turn, sprinkle with a few chilli flakes, and cook on the other side for 3 to 5 minutes, depending on how thick they are.

Spoon the purée onto warm plates and serve with the fish on top and plenty of green veg.

(Original recipe from The Fast 800 Recipe Book by Dr Claire Bailey & Justine Pattison, Short Books, 2019.)

 

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Potato, Courgette, Chickpea and Rosemary soup

This is such a simple soup but it just tastes full of goodness. We loved it and we are loving Rachel Roddy’s cookbook – Two Kitchens – which is full of simple ideas that work perfectly.

Potato, chickpea, courgette and rosemary soup – serves 4 – Zuppa di patate, ceci, zucchine e rosmarino

  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large sprig of rosemary
  • 1 large potato, diced
  • 2 medium courgettes, diced
  • a pinch of red chilli flakes
  • 800g tinned chickpeas, drained
  • grated pecorino, we used lots but as you please

Warm the olive oil and onion in a heavy-based pan over a medium-low heat and cook until the onion is soft. Add the rosemary and cook for another minute or two.

Add the courgettes and potatoes to the pan with the chilli flakes and stir until everything is coated in the oil.

Add the chickpeas,  1 litre of water and some seasoning.

Bring the soup to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are beginning to fall apart. Taste for seasoning and serve with the cheese.

(Original recipe from Two Kitchens – Family Recipes from Sicily and Rome by Rachel Roddy, HEADLINE HOME, 2017)

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Chicken with Mushrooms

This is a great one-pan dish for mid-week. Tasty, economical and good for you too. We’re all into healthy stuff now that we have a kitchen and no longer need to eat out so much. We served with buttery mash (not so healthy) but a salad or extra greens would also be appropriate.

Wine Suggestion: Given it’s mid-week, we’d suggest the Domaine Ventenac Cuvée Carole which is mostly Chardonnay, but has a touch of Gros Manseng to brilliant effect. Fresh and easy, and yet textured, savoury as well as full of joyful fruit.

Chicken with Mushrooms – serves 4

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 500g boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • flour, for dusting
  • 50g pancetta cubes
  • 300g small button mushrooms
  • 2 large shallots, chopped
  • 250ml chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 50g frozen peas
  • small handful of parsley, finely chopped

Heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil in a frying pan. Season and dust the chicken with flour, then brown on all sides. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

Fry the pancetta and mushrooms in the same pan until softened, then remove.

Add another tbsp of olive oil and cook the shallots for a few minutes until soft. Add the stock and vinegar then bubble for a couple of minutes before returning the chicken, pancetta and mushrooms to the pan. Cook for 15 minutes.

Add the peas and parsley and cook for 2 minutes more before serving with mash, salad or veg.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

 

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Orecchiette with Peppers, Raisins & Almonds

This is almost like a warm pasta salad. It’s delicious and really easy to put together.

Wine suggestion: if you feel like a glass of wine we’d suggest a Grüner Veltliner which compliments the sourness of vinegar, peppery rocket and other flavours in this dish.

Orecchiette with peppers, raisins & almonds – serves 2

  • 150g orecchiette
  • 100g roasted red peppers from a jar
  • 2 tbsp golden raisins/sultanas
  • 2 tbsp flaked almonds (toast them in a dry pan if you like)
  • 50g rocket

FOR THE DRESSING:

  • 2 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped

Whisk the dressing ingredients together and set aside.

Cook the pasta in loads of salty water according to the timings on the pack.

Drain the pasta and toss with the dressing, sultanas and peppers. Leave for 5 minutes then add the almonds and rocket  and toss together with a bit of seasoning if needed.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in BBC Olive Magazine, October 2012)

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Chinese Meatball Stir-fry

This is a diet dish but is packed with flavour and you get a decent bowl full to really fill you up. The recipe is by Tom Kerridge and the ingredient list is long, but it’s easy to put together and other than the fresh veg you probably have most of the ingredients in the cupboard.

Chinese Meatball Stir-fry – serves 4

  • vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, very finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 750g lean beef mince
  • 1 ½ tsp Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1 ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 large red onion, cut into thin wedges
  • 200g carrots, thinly sliced on an angle
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2.5cm piece of ginger, finely grated
  • 1 large red pepper, diced
  • 1 large yellow pepper, diced
  • 300ml fresh beef stock
  • 120g Asian mushrooms or chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 ½ tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 ½ tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 80g mangetout
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced on an angle

Heat the vegetable oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add the chopped onions and cook for 5 minutes or until softened. Remove the pan from the heat and add the soy sauce. Leave to cool.

Put the beef mince into a large bowl and add the cooled onions, Chinese five-spice, bicarbonate of soda and plenty of salt and pepper. Mix well with your hands, then divide into 16 equally sized meatballs. Chill in the fridge for 2 hours to firm up.

Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4.

Put a large non-stick wok/frying pan over a high heat. When hot, add a splash of vegetable oil. Add the meatballs and cook for 5-6 minutes, or until browned on all sides. Transfer to an oven tray and bake for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, return the wok/frying pan to a high heat. Add the sesame oil, red onion and carrots and cook for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 2 minutes stirring continually. Add the peppers and cook for 4 minutes, add a dash of the beef stock at any point if things start to stick.

Add the mushrooms, meatballs and half of the beef stock to the pan, then add the hoisin and oyster sauces and the rice wine vinegar. Stir well and bring to a simmer.

Mix the cornflour to a paste with 1 tbsp of the remaining beef stock and pout into the pan, along with the rest of the stock.

Add the mangetout and scallions and stir-fry for 4-5 minutes or until the mangetout are just cooked and the meatballs heated through.

(Original recipe from Lose Weight for Good by Tom Kerridge, Absolute Press, 2017.)

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