Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Competition: Almond Breeze + Foodies 100's Smoothie Competition

Hey everyone! So a company called Almond Breeze (who make scrummy different types of almond milk, something that you drink if you're vegan, or if your'e lactose intollerant- or if you just like the flavour!) and blogging company Foodies 100 are running a competition to find the best Breakfast Smoothie recipe, including the Almond Breeze almond milk products. I've made this smoothie more than once, and as well as tasting really good, i know it's doing me good- from all the antioxidants from the pomegranate juice to the calcium and protein from the Almond Breeze milk. It works as a great breakfast, and i've found it very slimming too, with the banana giving you enough energy until lunch-time, and the Almond Breeze almond milk being 60% less calories than normal skimmed milk. If you fancy finding out more about Almond milk, or to find any more scrummy breakfast inspirred recipes, check out their website at http://www.almondbreeze.co.uk/

Superfood Smoothie (makes 400ml- 1 large or 2 small glasses)

100ml pomegranate juice
200ml unsweetened Almond Breeze almond milk
1 banana, peeled and diced
40g grapes

1. Blitz all the ingredients together in a liquidiser or food processor. Pour into a glass and enjoy!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Recipe: Perfect Chilli


Everyone has their preferred "perfect" chilli recipe, and this one is mine! Sometimes I alternate it a bit, depending on what i have in the fridge, I might also chuck a rasher of bacon in there, some mushrooms, or have a mix of different coloured peppers- but the spices and herbs I use in the chilli is really what gives it it's lovely flavour. A lot of people put a bit of dark chocolate into their chillis, but I started putting hot chocolate drinking powder in it, as I don't really like or eat chocolate much- but always have hot chocolate drinking powder in the house. Sounds like an odd ingredient but it sweetens as well as thickens the chilli. If making this in a larger batch for a crowd or a party, I find it's nice to serve it with rice, tortilla wraps, nachos, sour cream, salsa and guacemole on the side for people to grab a spoonfull of chilli and garnish with whatever they fancy.

Perfect Chilli (serves 4)

2 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 green chilli, finely chopped
Big handful fresh coriander, freshly chopped (plus extra for garnish)
500g lean steak mince
1 tsp tomato puree
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp paprika
100g tinned chopped tomatoes
400ml beef stock
1 tin kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 red pepper, seeded and diced
1 tbsp chocolate drinking powder
Salt, sugar and pepper to taste

1. Fry the onions, garlic, chilli and coriander in the olive oil on a medium heat for 5 minutes. Increase the temperature and fry the mince for about 5 minutes, or until beginning to brown.
2. Add the tomato puree and spices, and cook in for a couple more minutes. Add all the other ingredients and cook on a slow heat, for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
3. Season to taste and serve, with extra fresh coriander on top.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Competition: Morphy Richards Healthy Recipe competition

Hey guys. Morphy Richards is doing another fab recipe competition, to win an Intellisteam Compact! Their theme is healthy recipes or "recipes with a healthy twist". If you fancy giving it a go yourselves, you have until the 22nd February to go in for it by posting a healthy recipe on your blogs (along with the pic and link of course!). Check it out here:

My recipe with a healthy twist is my "Healthy Beef Stir Fry"- we all know how many calories and how much fat can be in our cheeky saturday night chinese takeaways, so how about making something with just as much flavour- that's a fair bit more kinder to our waistlines! This recipe uses lean beef and plenty of veggies, and keeps flavours high but calories low using ginger, fresh coriander, and a sticky soy based sauce. Serve with steamed jasmine rice.

Healthy Beef Stir Fry (serves 2)

2 tbsp oil
½ white onion, sliced
2 spring onions, sliced
1 red chilli, seeded and finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp minced fresh ginger
300g sliced beef steak (rump is fine)
½ red pepper, sliced
100g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
1 carrot, peeled and finely sliced
1 celery stick, sliced
80g asparagus, diced
Handful chopped fresh coriander (plus extra for garnish)
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp normal soy sauce
1 tbsp honey
½ tsp toasted sesame oil
Pinch of white pepper
1 tsp corn flour, mixed with 100ml water
Salt, sugar and pepper to taste

1. Stir fry the onion, spring onion, garlic, chilli and ginger for 2 minutes. Add the beef and cook for a further 2 minutes.
2. Add the vegetables and coriander, and fry for 4 minutes. Meanwhile, mix together the soy sauces, honey, sesame oil and pepper. Add this sauce, and the corn flour mixture to the pan/wok and cook for a further 3 minutes.
3. Season to taste, garnish with a load more fresh coriander, and serve!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Recipe: Custard Buttons

I don't tend to do many "cover recipes"- from books, magazines or celebrity chefs, but with these little morsels I have made an exception. These are an adapted version (I added vanilla, changed amounts around a bit, and increased cooking time) of "Abbie's Custard buttons"- published in "Take a Break My Favourite Recipes" magazine, created by Abigail Smith. What's great about this recipe is it is so incredibly quick to make, yummy- and this batch was actually made with "Pure dairy free soya spread" instead of butter. So this recipe can be turned vegan if so desired!! People at work enjoyed them. I find a nice addition if you have time for it is pink icing and a sprinkling of dessicated coconut on top.

Custard Buttons (makes 18)

200g butter
100g icing sugar
200g flour
60g Bird’s custard powder
½ tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Cream the butter and icing sugar in a mixer until well mixed. Add the flour, custard powder and vanilla extract, and mix until well combined.
2. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Roll out small circles of the mix with your hands, and place on the baking sheet. Push down slightly, and then with a cocktail stick, make 4 little holes in the mix (so once baked they look like buttons!).
3. Bake in the oven for 22 minutes. Remove, and allow to cool- serve!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Recipe: Italian Cabbage Soup

Have any of you ever tried that "cabbage soup" diet? I have actually, it does work- I lost about 8 pounds in a week. I used to try all sorts of diets a few years, bit of a yoyo dieter. These days I don't really bother about diet plans/ calorie counting, I just try to not over-do it on the booze and portion size, and I exercise more (I have discovered Zumba recently and it is the best thing ever!!). Whilst I was on the cabbage soup diet, I didnt use the recipe that you are supposed to follow (as to be honest it was revolting) so instead I always used to cook it this way. Nowadays I just cook this soup if I fancy it- even a weeks worth of eating it twice a day hasn't put me off this dish- it's a classic, but I love it.

Italian Cabbage Soup (makes 2 servings)

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion
1 celery stick
1 carrot, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
½ tsp thyme
100g diced/shredded savoy cabbage
Handful fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
½ tin tomatoes
200ml vegetable stock
50g frozen peas or soy beans
Sugar, salt and pepper to taste

1. Fry the onion, celery, carrot and garlic in the olive oil for 5 minutes, covered, stirring occasionally. Add all other ingredients, except the peas (or soy beans), and cook covered for a further 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Add the peas and cook for a further 5 minutes. Season to taste and serve!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Recipe: Perfect Shepherd's Pie

Might not look like much, very simple I suppose, but this is my tried, tested, and perfected Shepherd's pie recipe and it is OUT OF THIS WORLD. May seem a bit weird, adding mayonnaise to the mash- but it actually works and gives the mash a really nice flavour and texture. If feeding a family this dish can of course be very easily multiplied. Also, if you wanted to make a veggie version (a "Shepherdess's Pie") then you can easily replace the lamb with quorn and the beef stock with veg stock. Probably wouldnt be as delicious though...lol!!

Perfect Shepherd’s Pie (serves 2)

1 tbsp olive oil
Knob of butter
1 white onion, diced finely
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 celery stick, diced finely
1 carrot, peeled and diced finely
250g minced lamb
4 chestnut mushrooms, finely diced
1 tsp sundried tomato paste
Splash white wine
Handful fresh parsley
300ml beef stock
1-2 tbsp bisto gravy granules
Salt and pepper to taste

700g maris piper potatoes, peeled and diced
Knob of butter
2 tbsp mayonnaise
Splash of milk
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Fry the onion, garlic and celery for 10 minutes, covered, stirring occasionally. Add the minced lamb, increase the heat, and cook for a further 10 minutes, or until the mince has been browned.
2. Add the mushrooms, tomato paste, and wine, and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the parsley, beef stock and bisto, and cook on a medium heat for about 20 minutes- or until the mixture has become thick and most of the liquid has evaporated. Season to taste and set aside.
3. Boil the potatoes in salted water. Drain, add the butter, milk, mayo and seasoning, and mash until smooth. Spoon the mince into two separate serving dishes, and top with the mashed potato (you may want to fork lines, or pipe the mash on, for decorative purposes).
4. Put under a hot grill for about 5 minutes, or until the top is beginning to brown. Serve!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Recipe: Mediterranean Potato Bake

Again, sorry for not posting for a while, but it's been a hectic few weeks. I promise from now on you will be inundated by many mant entries, and I will definitely be trying to get more entries and yummy recipes on the blog this year compared to other years. This is a really nice and simple bake i made for me and my boyfriend the other day- pretty tasty and fairly healthy for a potato dish. I served it as a side dish along side a pork loin chop, but it's hearty enough to be a main course in itself, if you so wish.

Mediterranean Potato Bake (serves 4 as a main course, 6 as a side dish)

2 kg potatoes, peeled and sliced thinly
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 white onion, sliced
1 tsp dried oregano
200ml vegetable stock
Salt and pepper
Fresh basil leaves (for garnish)

1. Preheat the oven to 200C. In a large baking dish, layer the sliced potatoes, and the diced red pepper. Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan and fry the sliced onions for about 5 minutes, or until browned.
2. Put fried onions on top of the potatoes with the oregano, vegetable stock, and plenty of seasonin. Cover with aluminium foil and bake in the oven for 50 minutes. Remove from the oven, remove the foil, garnish with fresh basil leaves and serve!