Pea & Mint Soup

This simple soup is my go to if I need to go food shopping or just need to eat something really comforting. I love homemade soups as I like to know exactly what is going into the food my family and I are eating. Also ideal for vegetarians, as a starter or chilled in warmer climates. Packed with absolute goodness, super easy to make and really quick, you can’t go wrong! As always you can add whatever you like as you go along, experimenting is all part of the fun, but this recipe is fool proof and tastes delicious. If you’re on a budget it’s really cost effective and incredibly filling. Served with some crusty bread and a little crème fraiche this super healthy meal will definitely become a firm favourite in your home as it has in ours. Download must Tove Lo Featuring Hippie Sabotage ‘Stay High’ Amazing! Enjoy!

What you will need: Two cloves of garlic, One onion, Olive oil, Half a bag of frozen peas, One vegetable stock cube, A handful of fresh mint and half a bag of spinach, Salt and pepper to taste, Crème fraiche or natural yoghurt (Optional of course)

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Step one; Heat the oil of your choice in a large pan, add the garlic, onions and slowly cook for around ten minutes on a low heat. Careful not to burn!

Step two; Add a litre of boiling water, pop in the vegetable stock, peas, mint and spinach, bring to a boil and then let it simmer for around thirty minutes.

Step three; Season with salt and pepper and blend! Easy peasy!

 

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The best wake up call

Recently there has been a massive awakening to the powers of juicing, which is fantastic to see, as the benefits to our health our simply wonderous. I have been juicing  for around ten years, It was actually my dad who bought me my first juicer and I found it the most effective way to give my then two year old daughter her daily intake (and much more) of nutrients. As a parent, I think, the main gift you can give your Children is, the most optimum nutrition you can, as a solid ground for their growth, development, energy and the prevention of disease to name a few! Also educating them on how important a good diet is puts them in good stead for when they’re out of your clutches and fly the nest…. (Although I can see myself as that scary stalker kind of mum who follows them to Uni and gate crashes night outs, no escaping little guys!) At the moment my preferred juicer is the Philips ‘Avance’ it’s super easy to use and clean, Which as any fellow juicer will tell you the cleaning is one pain in the ass! Also the ‘Juice Master’ Jason Vale, Who’s book I cannot recommend enough, uses the Philips line of juicers. The beauty of juicing is that anything goes, there are some really amazing recipes in Jason’s book, from combatting colds and flu, eczema, losing weight and (the most important) the hangover helper! Mostly I just try to pack as many veggies in as I can, adding fruit for some natural sweetness. I personally prefer juices to smoothie’s as I like the consistency of the juice as opposed to the thickness of a smoothie, of course you can combine the two a pineapple, mango, cucumber and apple juice whizzed up in the blender with some ice and almond milk is delicious. Since reading about the Japanese recommended daily intake of fruit and vegetables being 17 compared to the UK’s 5, I have been trying to aim for that, considering Japan has one of the healthiest nations and the longest life expectancy it is definitely worth taking heed. Buying a juicer and getting into the habit of making one for you and your family every morning is the best investment you will ever make, the life giving energy, pure and natural liquid that flows inside every fruit and vegetable is what needs to pass our lips every single day, beauty definitely comes from within and I can guarantee you will see a difference in your skin, hair, nails and over all well being from starting this juice discovery. Top your morning juice with some chia seeds and you will be a little ball of pure health 🙂

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Sensual Stuffed Peppers!

So this post has to have my favourite title ever, but these little fellas are pretty sensual, like a fiesta on your taste buds. I make these stuffed peppers all the time, sometimes just as a snack or as a side dish with some grilled fish or chicken. Super easy and cheap, cheap, cheap!! The main component of the stuffing is the wholegrain rice, the rest is up to you, But I find these ingredients really complement each other. They are really filling and nutritious. Last night my hubby was out with friends and my daughter was at my mums house, So it was just me and my little guy who had ate his favourite tomato and veggie penne for tea. I don’t really like just cooking for one so was on the verge of ordering a take away, but decided to do these instead, they only take 30 minutes and are so much nicer that having all that gross greasy food in your system. A lovely glass of white wine and Disney films with my date turned into a lovely perfect Friday night.

What you will need; Peppers (any colour) Wholegrain rice 1 small cup, Handful of olives, Few fresh coriander leaves, Half of a red chilli, A few spring onions, Handful of cherry tomatoes, Cheese (Whatever cheese you prefer, I used good old ched for these ones, but goats cheese works really well) Mango chutney (Optional)

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Step one; Bring to the boil your rice, with a little salt, cover and let it simmer for 20 mins, Meanwhile slice your pepper down the middle and remove seeds, drizzle with a little oil, season and let it soften in the oven for 20 mins at 180-200 degrees.

Step two; Mix the rest of your ingredients into a bowl, with some chunks of the cheese also (Make sure there is some left to grate over the peppers)

Step three; When your rice is ready mix into the bowl and stuff into the peppers, grate over the remaining cheese and pop back into the oven for a further ten minutes until it is all lovely and gooey.

Step four; Pour yourself a glass of wine, put a little dollop of mango chutney on the side and enjoy!!

P’s Sorry for lack of pictures, It was only when I’d finished cooking these little beauties I decided to blog about them.

Beef & Prune Tagine

I made this scrumptious tagine Saturday as it is the perfect dish that doesn’t involve a lot of preparation, the beauty of this dish is that the longer and slower it is cooked for makes it more delicious, leaving you free to enjoy your weekend. There isn’t a huge amount of effort involved at all and it can be cooked in a slow cooker or pressure cooker. Tagines are a great way to experiment and you can add a little something extra each time you make one, there is no certain way. One thing I am certain of is that this one will go down a treat with all the family. Tagines are hearty stews typically found in the North African cuisines of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya, I first fell in love with them when I visited Marrakech, the spices in the souks piled high and the strong smell of tagines cooking throughout the city are just gorgeous. You can make it with meat, poultry, fish or vegetarian. The tagine is the special earthenware pot it is cooked in, the traditional way to serve the tagine is to take the pot to the table and help yourself. I serve simply with some couscous, crusty bread and a good glass of red wine. The perfect dish for those autumn cosy nights.

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What you will need to serve four; 2 red onions chopped finely, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon cinnamon, pinch of saffron, 1 tablespoon of ground cumin, 1 tablespoon of ground coriander, 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger, diced beef or steak, 50g of butter, 1 can of chopped tomatoes, 2 tablespoons of white sugar, 1 small cup of chopped almonds, 1 small cup of prunes, 1 tablespoon of grated lemon rind, 1 cup of water, fresh coriander leaves, salt & pepper

Step 1; Combine the onion, oil, saffron, cinnamon, ginger, cumin, ground coriander, salt & pepper into a large bowl, add the beef and coat evenly.

Step 2; Place beef into your tagine pot/saucepan with butter, a few fresh coriander leaves, tomatoes, prunes, the sugar, half of the nuts and water. Leave to simmer on the lowest heat, covered, for at least 2/3 hours, stirring frequently.

Step 4; Add the fresh coriander, remaining almond nuts and lemon rind before serving.

Enjoy!

 

The perfect Sunday breakfast

This breakfast is perfect for lazy weekend mornings or even for a light lunch, My coconuts love helping me make them and they are a firm favourite with my mini food critics. Super easy to make, all you need is bread, butter, ham, cheese and eggs, they look pretty impressive and are a nice change from the usual bacon sarnie scene. They are basically ‘Croque Monsieur’ the famous French sandwich but with a slight (better) twist and called ‘Croque Madame’ The sandwich has a gender swap when an egg is thrown into the mix…. really! Inspired by the lovely Rachel Khoo, I have been making these little beauties for a few years now. Although they are typically cooked with béchamel sauce, I prefer to leave it out as I find them to rich with it and my kids don’t like it at all. I love a good dollop of mustard on the side, a sprinkle of salt and pepper and a lovely milky cappuccino. Perfection!

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Step 1; Preheat your oven to 180 degrees, take your bread and roll it out until it’s quite thin, butter both sides and place in a muffin tin, pinching the sides so it is sturdy.

Step 2; Place the ham in the bottom (Smoked salmon is also good) and a dollop of mustard if you like.

Step 3; Crack your egg and place the egg yolk back and forth between the two shells so most of the egg white falls out. Place the yolk on top of the ham.

Step 4; Grate over some of your favourite cheese, season to your liking and put in the oven for ten minutes.

Enjoy!

Falafel Burgers

This is my mums recipe for home made falafel burgers, she is an amazing cook and everything I know has been taught from her. As a family we have always ate nutritious home cooked meals, even when I leave my Grandparents house I am laden with bags full of organic goodies from my Granddads allotment. Eating clean, fresh, good food is a way of life for me, without having to compromise on taste or spending all my life slaving in the kitchen. I don’t believe in fad diets, eating three good meals a day, knowing how to control your portion sizes, choosing the right snacks in between and having treats  in moderation is the way to not only look after your figure, but to also feel good, have great energy levels and know that you are taking care of your inner self. If you are on a budget this recipe is really cost effective too, for the kids toast a whole wheat burger bun, melt a little cheddar cheese and add some ketchup, they will go down a treat! The past year I have really cut down on my intake of red meat, I still enjoy the odd fillet steak or lamb dish, but I mostly eat white meat & fish. These burgers are super filling, incredibly tasty and so easy to make. Falafel is a traditional Arab food, mainly made of chickpeas, you can roll this mixture into balls and also eat in pitta breads, gorgeous warmed up with salad and houmous. Falafel is high in protein, complex carbohydrates and fibre. Chickpeas are also low in salt, fat and contain no cholesterol, key nutrients are calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese, vitamin C, thiamine and vitamin B. Wow! So you get the idea, a great alternative too meat and really good for you!

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What you will need to make four patties:

2 cans or 1 large jar of chickpeas, breadcrumbs, olive oil, 1 lime, half a red onion, half of a courgette, 1 carrot, a handful of cherry tomatoes, 1 spring onion, half a handful of fresh coriander, 1 tsp of ground cumin, 1 tsp of ground nutmeg, 1 tsp of paprika, If you like them spicy a few dried chilli flakes.

Preparation:

1. Drain the chickpeas, put into a large pan, mash, add the juice of half a lime and the spices, add salt and pepper to season.

2. In a separate frying pan heat the olive oil, finely slice the veggies and fry off over a medium heat for five minutes. After five minutes add the veggie mixture to the chickpeas, mix well.

3. Take the mixture, sprinkle breadcrumbs onto a cutting board, with your hands form into separate patties ensuring to coat well with the breadcrumbs (So it all sticks together) You can also use an egg to help the mixture stick, but I didn’t find it necessary.

4. Once the patties are formed, go back to your frying pan, heat some fresh oil and fry off for around 4-5 minutes each side, until they start to look nice and crispy.

5. Serve with a fresh rainbow salad and your choice of sauce on the side, we love them with some ali oli (garlic mayonnaise) Squeeze the other half of the lime over the burgers and salad to finish. As seen in the pics, they’re also tasty with a fried egg on top, which is how my brother takes his 😉

Super Smoothie’s

So on my last blog I promised to update more often… Well due to unforeseen circumstances that didn’t go to well. Unfortunately my daughter has been incredibly ill and has spent a lot of time in hospital being operated on, then had two weeks recovering at home. I won’t go into the personal details, but she is lot’s better and stronger now, back at School and feeling great. Safe to say it hasn’t been the best month! Thankfully with the help of my wonderful family we are all feeling like ourselves again, unbelievably appreciative at the support team we have had around us. Anyways on a brighter note, I have been nursing her back to health with my delicious (and nutritious ;p) smoothie’s. So I thought I would share my favourite with you guys. I always put Manuka honey into all my smoothies as the health benefits from it are amazing, studies show the medicinal properties of this kind of honey are very effective, it is also greatly used on cuts and wounds and has fantastic healing effects. I try to make this for my family most mornings as it is a brilliant boost for throughout the day, amazing for the immune system and just a generally great way to get your intake of daily goodness. Sonny is convinced his little (non existing) muscles increase after each glass, he also believes it makes him run faster. (Placebo effect at its best!) My skin and hair always feel great when I stick to having my smoothies religiously and as I want to avoid the aging process as much as possible in the most natural way this is best for me. I’m not really a fan of the botoxed look so hopefully (Never say never but..) I’ll be steering clear of that, by making the right choices now. These smoothies are super easy to make and are actually really filling, anything we have left over I make into lolly ices. The great thing is anything really goes, So you can work with what you have available in your fridge-fruit bowl. This is our family favourite. Hope you enjoy 🙂

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Incredibly simple and really beneficial, basically I just chop up whatever fruit I have at home, this one consists of Pineapple, Grapes (Seedless) Strawberries, Blueberries, Juice of a fresh lime, Manuka honey and a Omega3 fish oil tablet (Pierce a small hole and squeeze in the oil). Blend until it is nice and smooth, maybe pop in a few ice cubes and enjoy! To make into lolly ices, you can buy the moulds anywhere for really cheap, mine are from Ikea. You can also get some really fun shapes, let that set overnight and it’s a great way for the kids to have all that goodness and also have a treat too.