"Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what’s for lunch."

Category: Recipes

Sweet Potato – Hot Potato

Baked Sweet Potato with Tuna

I wasn’t convinced when I first spotted this recipe on GoodFood, tuna and sweet potato? I’m not the biggest fan of tuna and standard potato but something told me to give it a go (probably the fact that I had a sweet potato in the house and I couldn’t summon the energy to go to the shop). Long story, actually pretty short story, it’s a incredible combination paired with the slightly south american influences of chilli, lime and yoghurt. It also helps that it is quite a bit better for you than the traditional white potato and mayo. I recommend adding a quick sprinkling of chilli salt too.

Full recipe here.

Brunch for One

Strawberry and Banana Smoothie

I’m home alone this weekend (a matter my friends now know very well) so I couldn’t quite be bothered to go through my usual fanfare of Sunday brunch. Cooking eggs and bacon, mashing avocado, slicing, toasting etc it all seemed a bit much. Instead I went for a liquid brunch and made a smoothie. I love how little mess is involved and it brings my little used Kitchenaid back to life.

To make Strawberry and Banana smoothie: 200g strawberries, 1 medium well ripened banana, 1 cup of natural yoghurt, 2 cups of semi-skimmed milk, little squeeze of fresh orange. Blend and serve.

Chicken Tagine

Sophie Conran For Portmeirion Tagine �50 (1)I saw this Sophie Conran Tagine for Portmeirion and I just had to throw my hand to morrocan dining. Failing to find a recipe I liked the look of online (not enough ingredients that I had in my cupboards) I mocked up my own tagine. I then force fed it to a friend and she smiled and made all the right noises so I guess it wasn’t too bad?

4 chicken thigh fillets, 1, onion, 3 small sweet potatoes cut into chunks, 1 tin chickpeas, 1 carton passata, 1 chopped pepper, 12 dried apricots halved, 3 cloves crushed garlic, 1tbsp fresh chopped coriander, half a lemon juice, half tsp cinnamon, 1 tbsp rose harissa paste, 1 cup of cous cous, natural yoghurt

Chop the onion into wedges and fry gentle with a little olive oil, the garlic, lemon juice and the chicken thigh fillets. Add the passata, sweet potato, pepper, apricots, half the coriander, the harissa and around a 100ml of water. Cover and let simmer gently for 40 mins stirring occasionally to ensure nothing is stuck to the bottom. You may need to add a little more water to ensure it doesn’t become too dry. Lots of people cook tagines for hours, this way the meat becomes tender and flavoursome, however I don’t have time for that so I just hashed it up.

To cook the cous cous add 1 cup of water to 1 cup of cous cous gently heat for a few seconds and then leave for a minute. Add seasoning and a generous knob of butter then fluff up with fork.

Serve with yoghurt and coriander for garnish.

Let’s have a pillow fight and eat something with Oreo’s in it..

I’m 23 and I like sleepovers. Yes, obviously that sort, you filthy minded creature but here I’m on about the pillow fighting, movie watching, carb loading kind you have with your female friends. I’m having one tonight actually, so Martha took this Americana-throw-it-all-together treat recipe and we knocked it up in about 5 minutes. There were girlish giggles and finger licking – we love a cliché. It’s a brilliant marriage of Rice Krispy Squares and the US favourite: Oreos. You melt 75g of butter and 150g of white marshmallows till it’s a horrid looking gooey paste. Tip in 6 handfuls of rice crispies and a pack of bashed up Oreos. Stir until combined and your straining arm can take no more. Crack it into a baking paper lined tray and spread out. Do not, at this point, use a palette knife as Gill did, the concrete like substance will bend it. RIP fave kitchen tool. Then smother it in swirls, dollops and lines of melted white chocolate. If you can bare it wait till it’s cooled and slice up for midnight snacking in pjs.
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Galette de Rois

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My French is coming on leaps and bounds with the help of my new colleague. By this, i mean she seems to have learnt to humour my “Cute” interpretation of her mother tongue.

Last week she treated the office to a typical French dessert, the history buff in me took to wikipedia to find its traditionally a twelfth night treat, called Galette de Rois. Usually a surprise can be found in the centre and the procurer of said surprise gets the honour of wearing a gold crown for the remainder of the day.

For our first galette we had no surprise and no crown; we are all adults after all and that would be foolish. I sulked silently.

Anyways its a puff pastry pie filled with frangipane and apricot jam. It looked beautiful with its herringbone scoring and egg wash glaze.

I wanted to recreate it at home as Celine insisted it was barely cooking. Hmm, well as you can tell my attempt was no where near your average French patissieres perfection. Saying this i have pretty much demolished it so… bon appetit. You can see the recipe i used (from good food) here.

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Puy Lentil bake

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125g puy lentils 200ml coconut milk 80g roasted butternut squash 1 medium pepper 2 tbsp oil 1  chilli 2 cloves garlic 100g goats cheddar to serve: avocado and tomato salad with basil

Simple, Vegetarian friendly, low fat, Gluten free; basically its bloody tasty and pretty healthy but doesn’t look quite so pretty. I originally saw this recipe on Hello Magazines website (I have no idea what procrastination led me there) but have amended it ever so slightly.

Chop the butternut squash into bite friendly squares and roast in the oven for 20 mins with a sprinkling of salt, pepper and oil. Whilst that bakes add the lentils to a pan of water and bring to the boil, turn to a low heat and simmer for 10 mins. Throw the oil into a large frying/wok thingy and add the crushed/finely chopped garlic and the sliced chilli. Then add in the pepper (this needs to be about the same size bites as the squash) and fry until it all starts to soften and smell gooood. When the lentils have cooked, drain and add to the garlic, pepper mix. Pour in 80ml of the coconut milk and simmer gently for 5-10mins.

Pull the squash out of the oven and add your lentil mix to it. Pour over the remaining coconut milk and place back into the oven for 15 mins.

Add the grated goats cheddar to it and place back in the oven for 5 mins until it’s all melted. Serve it up with salad (I was making use of an overly ripe avocado) but I have had steamed pak choi with it too which went really well.

Clean and Lean Detox

So, January, the month of abstinence, cold weather and dwindling funds. The frivolity of the season is a distant memory and the one prominent reminder seems to be laying around our thickening middles. Name your weakness: boxed truffles, champagnes, brandy cream or stuffed meats we all have a tendency to ignore our basic limits when it come to this time of year.

New Year, New You, Etc...

Well it’s now we decide to counteract the indulgence by cutting off everything we love, kinda. I’m not really into depriving myself so, I’m attempting James Duigans Clean and Lean detox (NOT a diet) with the faint acceptance that I will never make it through to the end of January.

The basic principles are to only eat things as nature intended, vegetables and lean meat are your go to’s, whilst leaving sugar, simple carbohydrates, alcohol and processed foods behind.

I have no problems with the meals and think forcing myself to drink more water can only be a good thing, but no cake.. we’ll see.

Recipe suggestions:

Banana loaf Hemsley and Hemsley for when a banana itself just won’t do the trick.

Butter bean mash Nigella a hearty alternative to mash potatoes.

Vegetarian shepherds pie from Good Food just generally one of my favourite meals.

James Duigans suggested Poached eggs and asparagus. If it’s good enough for Hugh Grant…

Try cutting courgette into pappardelle/spaghetti shapes to make a good alternative to pasta. It works so well with Bolognese.

Gingerbread Cookies

It’s December and that means out come the but-once-a-year treats. You know After Eights, Baileys, Quality  Street, Stollen, marizpan everything, the list goes on. But one of my favourites is gingerbread and it’s mild hangover killing properties!

Gingerbread Cookies

I knocked these up in just an hour including preparation, chilling and cooking, so it’s a super simple recipe.

350g plain flour 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda 2 tsp ground ginger 1 tsp cinnamon 125g butter 175g demerara sugar 1 egg 4 tbsp honey to decorate: coloured icing handful of sugarcraft stars

Sift the flour, soda, ginger and cinnamon into the mixers bowl (I always use an electric mixer as I have no upper body strength whatsoever). Add the butter and mix on a low setting until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Continue to mix and add the sugar.

Beat the egg and honey together and add to the mixture. Mix until it begins to clump together. Tip out the dough and need until smooth, then wrap in clingfilm (or if your out like I was use baking paper and a ribbon to tie). Place the dough into the fridge for 15 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to 180c and line a baking tray with paper. Roll the dough out to half a centimetre thick and cut out your desired shapes, be it men, cookies or free hand some snowmen, gifts and trees. Place onto the tray and bake for around 12 mins or until golden. Let them cool on the tray for 10 minutes and then transfer to a cooling wire. Once completely cool you can decorate with icing and stars.

Chocolate Orange Cookies

On Sunday I was chomping at the bit for the latest installment of Homeland, I had done nothing but laze all day and was thankful for the hour long tv programme as a guarantee of raising my heart rate for a brief period (who needs exercise?). Anyway ten minutes before the start I had an overwhelming (and infuriating for house mate) desire to bake cookies. Stupid I know but with Carrie paused and ready for action I whipped these up. They take max 20 mins.

Image courtesy of @fabricofmylife

225g caster sugar 225g butter 200g self raising flour 1 medium egg 1 tbsp cocoa powder 1 tsp orange extract to decorate: 300g candy coating in orange handful of dark chocolate shavings

Preheat the oven to 180c and line a large baking tray with baking paper. Cream the butter and sugar together until it becomes light and fluffy. It’s easier if the butter is room temperature but if, like me, you forget it’s no biggy you will just have to work it for a bit longer. Add the egg and orange extract to the mixture and stir it in well. Then slowly sift in the flour and the cocoa until a firm cookie dough is created.

Pinch palm sized amounts of the dough, roll into a ball and gently squash it flat and pop it on the baking tray. To be on the safe side and not have your cookies grow into one giant connected monster biscuit, space them apart well maybe 3 cms inbetween. Place them in the oven and bake for just seven minutes. They will come out looking severly wobbly but do not fear, this will just ensure a chewy soft centre.  Leave to cool on the tray for a good few minutes and then further cool on a wire.

To decorate I melted the candy coating and then covered half of some of the cookies and sprinkled on chocolate shavings. The other lot I simple drizzled on the candy in zigzag patterns. The coating is really vibrant so there’s no need to add jazzy extras really.

Fake Away Take Away

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Prawn Tom Yum Soup with noodles

50ml tom yum paste 350ml stock 100ml coconut milk 250g chesnut mushrooms
handful chopped coriander handful chopped spring onions 2 nests dried noodles precooked

Mix Tom Yum paste with 350ml of vegetable/chicken stock bring to a gently bubble.

Add 100ml of coconut milk and mix. Throw in the mushrooms and prawns.

Cook till the prawns are pink. Take off the heat.

Throw in the noodles, stir in some chopped coriander and sprinkle with spring onion.

If you are feeling particularly greedy (as I was) serve with a side of blanched Pak Choi and lashings of fish sauce.