Friday 9 November 2012

Simple Hot Artichoke Spinach Dip

Everyone knows that this dip is really indulgent. I never knew how to make it until I made it before my bachelorette party. I never made it again, until recently because I had a craving and found some great corn chips! Although when I compared my recipe to traditional recipes, I found mine a bit lighter! It was such a nice treat and I thought I'd share it because it was just as good as that epic night. It serves about 4-6, and a great appetizer for sharing. Enjoy!

1 400g can artichokes drained (you can use frozen if that’s what you can find)
400g frozen spinach (thawed and squeezed out all the water)
100g light Philadelphia cream cheese
½ c. Mozzarella cheese
¼ c. parmesan cheese
½ c. ricotta cheese
¼ c. light mayonnaise
1 garlic clove
Salt and pepper to taste
Dash of Cholula (or any hot sauce)
Corn chips for dipping

To Start:
Place all the ingredients except a few pinches of mozzarella into a food processor and blitz up.
If it’s a bit stiff try adding a little lemon juice to get it moving (tiny squeeze).
Taste the mixture for seasoning.

To Cook:
Place the mixture in an oven safe dish or ramekins.
Top with leftover mozzarella cheese
Bake at 350F or 170C for about 20 minutes or until bubbly.
Serve with corn chips and enjoy hot!

Note: If you do not have a food processor just chop everything as finely as possible and combine. Enjoy!

Wednesday 17 October 2012

Sea Bass with Moroccan Style Couscous

I love Moroccan food; it’s one of my favourite types of food to cook. I love the sweet and the savoury aspect of the ingredients and the robust spices. I make my own spice blend but for the fish here I used Ras El Hanout spice blend you can buy at most stores. It’s a simple evening meal and very healthy! Enjoy!

2 sea bass fillets
½ c. whole wheat couscous (you can use regular)
¾ c. vegetable stock (boiling)
½ c. frozen or fresh broad beans
Small handful of dried apricots
Small handful of pistachios
Small handful of dates
½ small onion
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp. ras el hanout rub

To start:
Prepare the couscous: put the dry couscous in a bowl, and add your boiling vegetable stock and let sit and ignore it until ready to use.
Dice onion, garlic, dates, apricots and pistachios.
In a small pan heat some oil, when hot add the onions and garlic until fragrant turn temperature down.
When onion is softened add the apricots, dates, and broad beans.
Mix around until the broad beans are warmed through. Stirring frequently.

For the Fish:
Take your fillets and sprinkle ras el hanout and salt on them.
Grill in a shallow pan for 4 minutes per side.
When firm to the touch take them out and set aside.

To Finish:
Add the warm onion, fruit and broad bean mixture to the couscous and stir to combine.
Add the pistachios.
Place the couscous on the plate for serving and top with the fish fillet

Super simple evening dinner and very tasty as well! Enjoy!

Friday 12 October 2012

Cauliflower Fried Rice

I love this recipe and am so happy to finally share it! It’s such a great alternative to heavy fried rice! It’s great along with stir-fry but it’s especially good on its own. It’s great for those watching their carb intake, since you use cauliflower instead of rice you get zero of the carbs from the rice. I never thought this would be as tasty as it is but it’s a definite re-occurrence at our house for dinner! This can serve 2-4 depending on if you’re serving it as a main dish or a side dish.

1 Large head of cauliflower, florets separated
200g cooked cold water prawns (use any size you like but I use the baby ones)
½ c. frozen peas
3-4 green onions
1 egg slightly beaten
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 clove garlic minced
2 tbsp oil

To Start:
Mince the garlic.
Slice the green onions.
Shred the cauliflower- I suggest a food processor but by hand is fine.

To Cook:
Heat oil in a skillet.
When hot add green onions, and garlic, sautee for a few minutes until fragrant.
Add the cauliflower and mix to combine. One minute.
Next turn up the heat add the prawns, and peas and sauté for a further 2 minutes.
Add soy sauce and mix.
Move everything to one side and add the egg and stir it until set, when set incorporate with the rest of the mixture.
Serve immediately!

Wednesday 10 October 2012

Delicious Moist Vegan Carrot Cake

I went searching for a specific type of carrot cake after tasting my local coffee shop’s delicious eggless butterless cake. I found a recipe and have adapted it perfectly for me and I think it should be shared. It’s utterly delicious and extremely easy! You can absolutely make this cake with milk and butter, but I kept it as close to the original recipe as I could and added my own flare.

¼ c. applesauce or fruit puree
½ c. softened vegan or vegetarian spread
1 ¼ c. Flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp grated ginger
1 c. white sugar
¼ c. almond milk (soy or regular milk will be fine)
1 c. grated carrots (I prefer the thicker shred)
1 c. chopped pecans
½ raisins or sultanas (soaked in rum or brandy if you’re naughty)

To Mix:
Cream together softened margarine, sugar, vanilla and applesauce until creamy.
Sift into that flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Stir to completely combine.
Lastly add the grated carrots and chopped pecans.

To Bake:
Preheat oven to 160C or (~325F).
Grease a loaf tin and add the mixture.
Bake for about 45 minutes.

Note: It’s going to make a thin loaf and will be rich. I do not suggest doubling the recipe as it doesn’t cook right. Enjoy!

Monday 8 October 2012

Phở Bò (Beef Pho)

This is one of my favourite Vietnamese dishes, and I decided that I had to make it, I used a recipe and edited it to my liking. This is a very tedious dish that can take hours, but the results are completely worth it! It is a heart-warming Vietnamese soup that will sooth your soul. Enjoy!

2kg beef bones
2 large pots for boiling water
2 large onions – skin on
1-2 large pieces of ginger –split in half
1 tsp. cloves
4 cardamom pods
2 4 inch cinnamon sticks
Handful star anise
50mls fish sauce (2/3 cup)
3-4 tbsp palm sugar
2 tsp salt
300-500g sirloin steak (or adjust per servings)
Rice vermicelli noodles

Bean sprouts
Thinly sliced red onion soaked in water
Hoisin sauce
Siracha sauce

To Start:
Bring to a boil two large pots full of water.
Once one pot is boiling, put the bones in and boil for 10-15 minutes to par boil or clean them.
While the bones are boiling split the onions in half along with the ginger (very rough) Put them under the grill in the oven until they get a nice char.
Once your bones have boiled for 10-15 minutes drain the water and rinse them off.

To continue to cook:
Add the rinsed bones to the second boiling pot of water (you can skip this two pot part but it’s better to have a pot of water ready boiling once the bones are clean)
Add the charred onions, and ginger.
Add the rest of the spices, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, fish sauce, cardamom pods. (save salt for last).
Simmer at a low heat for 8-10 hrs. (Overnight works best, but I would wake up and add more water and check on it if needed)

To finish:
Strain the mixture into the second pot over a cheese cloth. Until you have a nice clear broth.
Bring the broth back to a boil and immediately pour over thinly sliced steak pieces, cover with cooked rice noodle and garnish with desired garnishes.

Tuesday 25 September 2012

Be Inspired By My Veggie Box

In my effort to rekindle my passion for fruit and vegetables I have taken a short break from blogging to get more in touch with food and get inspired by different vegetables.

A lot of my interest on this expedition has gone into vegetarian cooking along with fish. I've spent many years of my young life as a vegetarian and some of my adult life. Getting away from that has really limited the potential in the vegetable department.

Of course I'm not going to go completely vegetarian but I wanted to expand my recipe collection. Also, having a good knowledge of vegetables can come in handy in lowering cholesterol, blood pressure and weight. As I'm not experienced in actively lowering any of the before mentioned things, I am just going at my own pace, trying out different grains and miscellaneous veg box items.

I'd also like to extend the invitation for anyone to share with me their favorite vegetarian or fish dishes so that I can recreate them my way or share any useful techniques I might be able to add to it. Maybe it's just something you'd like to make but don't know an easy way....let me know via comment or email. So, with that I leave and keep an eye out for all my new recipes and please send me some ideas!!

Monday 16 July 2012

Fish Curry

This is a delicious alternative to the standard take away. It takes a few extra steps and some extra lovn', and the results will be worth it. It's a delicious delicate fish curry unlike some of the standard sauces you get at local takeaways. I adapted this recipe from a 'do it yourself' curry box, and I think it came out even better. By the way I think chicken or turkey would work perfect with the flavors as well as fish. Enjoy.

300g firm fish (Salmon, cod, etc..)
1 400g can chopped tomatoes
2 chillies –or as hot as you’d like it
1 onion
50g creamed coconut (3 tbsp.)
1 cinnamon stick
½ tsp peppercorns
½ tsp. cumin seeds
1 thumb size nob fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves
4 cardamom pods
2 whole cloves
1 tbsp. coriander dried
1 tbsp. ground cumin
1 tbsp. garam masala
½ tsp. turmeric
½ tsp. chili powder
10 curry leaves
2 tbsp. olive oil

To start:
Toast the spices, cinnamon, peppercorns, cumin seeds, cardamom, cloves, coriander, ground cumin, turmeric, chili powder on a low heat until they become fragrant.
Immediately take off heat and place in a bowl.
Next in a food processor puree the onion, ginger, and garlic. Set Aside.
Grate the creamed coconut and set aside

To cook:
Add oil back into the pan that you toasted the spices, when hot add the puree and cook stirring constantly for 5 minutes.
Next add the toasted spices, stirring and cooking for a further couple minutes.
Next goes in the creamed coconut shavings, until melted.
Then add the tomatoes and curry leaves bring up to a boil until everything is combined.
Simmer the sauce for about 30-45minutes, stirring occasionally.

To finish:
Make sure there is no skin on your fish.
Cut in chunks about 1-2 inches.
Gently lay the fish in the sauce and move around until covered by the sauce.
Turn the sauce down to low, and simmer for 5 more minutes or until the fish is firm and cooked.
Once finished serve over rice, or for low-carb alternative cauliflower rice, enjoy!

Monday 9 July 2012

Whole Wheat Turkey Lasagna

This can be a bit of a long recipe, but the benefits will definitely make up for it! You can certainly buy a store bought tomato sauce for Spaghetti if you don’t have time but I went a few extra steps and incorporated a store bought sauce with an extra bit of extra veggies. Adapt it any way you’d like and the point is you learn how to make lasagne the American way, or at least how I learned to make it growing up. This was made in an 8x8 baking dish, so my ingredients will reflect that size.


5-8 sheets whole wheat lasagne pasta
500g ricotta cheese
300g mozzarella cheese (half fat)
2 whole eggs
1 c grated parmesan cheese divided in half
400g turkey mince (you can use any mince)
2-3 small carrots
1 large onion
3 cloves garlic
½ green pepper
½ red pepper
1 glass of wine
½ tsp. each dried basil, oregano, rosemary
1 bay leaf
1 jar of light tomato pasta sauce 500g
2 tbsp. oil

For the sauce:
Dice carrot, onion, pepper, garlic, and peppers.
Heat oil in a large stock pot, when hot, add the mince and brown for 5 minutes, then add diced veggies and sauté until they begin to soften and become fragrant.
Add 1 glass of wine and reduce down at a high boil.
After the wine has reduced into the vegetables, add your jar of pasta sauce, dried seasonings, bay leaf, and bring to a small boil, stirring frequently. Cook about 20 minutes.

While the sauce is cooking prepare your filling by mixing the ricotta cheese, eggs and half the parmesan cheese.
Add salt and pepper.

To finish:
When the vegetables in your sauce are finished ladle a scoop in the bottom of your baking dish and spread it around. (enough to just prevent the pasta from sticking)
Take pieces of lasagne noodles and arrange to fit as many on the bottom that will cover a layer almost completely (break into several pieces if you have to)
Next ladle another scoop of sauce on top of the pasta.
Next put a few spoonfuls of the ricotta on top of the pasta sauce, carefully spreading it out over the sauce and to cover it as a layer.
Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and mozzarella.
Next repeat these steps, pasta sauce, pasta, ricotta cheese, parmesan and mozzarella.
Make sure you save enough to put a good topping of mozzarella on the top, that’s what you always want on the top so try to eye your layers to make sure it won’t over flow in your casserole dish.

This can be a tedious dish or it could be very simple, depending on how you want to work with it, but it will definitely not stay in your fridge for long! Freeze any leftovers after 3 days, and they will keep for up to a month.

Wednesday 20 June 2012

Satay Noodles With Grilled Pork Loin

I love satay noodles; I can eat them cold or hot, for lunch or for dinner! It’s really a versatile menu item, and can be as easy or as interestingly difficult as you’d like it. I tend to keep it simple, but sometimes I jazz it up. This recipe I jazzed it up a bit but you can feel free to add in or omit any items depending on what you have and how you like it. Serves 4-6 (Leftovers are awesome!)

For the Sauce:
1 tbsp. sesame oil (toasted kind not the clear kind)
1-2 tbsp. honey
1 tsp. red chili flakes
1 tsp. dried ginger
1 tbsp. soy sauce (light)
2 tbsp. crunchy peanut butter (Use creamy if that’s what you have)
1 juice of a lime

For the dish:

400-500g (~1lb) pork loin
Pak choi (can substitute snow peas or any green crunchy veg)
Carrots (sliced)
Onion (sliced)
Red/green/yellow peppers (sliced)
250g fettuccine noodles

To Start:
Make the sauce by incorporating all the ingredients until smooth, if too thick add a little bit of water and thin it out. Set Aside.
Slice all vegetables if you need to at this point.

For the Pasta:
Heat a large pan of water and cook pasta as directed.

For the pork:
Salt and pepper.
Heat a grill pan with oil until near smoking.
Set the pork on it and let sit grilling for at least 6-8 minutes on each side.

Meanwhile the veg:
If your grill pan is big enough add the sliced pak choi, carrots, peppers and onion.
If it’s not add in another pan and cook separately.

To Finish:
Drain the pasta, immediately mix with the sauce and toss completely.
Add in the cooked vegetables.
When the pork loin is done, let rest for 5-10 minutes, then slice on the diagonal and serve accordingly. Enjoy!

Monday 18 June 2012

Fabulous-Fresh-Fennel Salad

Normally I roast fennel with things like chicken, but this time I had a bulb and I thought I would try something fresh for summer. It turned out simply delicious even though I wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy the fennel-y, anise-y taste of fennel coming through. Regardless of my pre-conceived notions of what it might be, it was amazing! My next plan of attack was to serve it to my husband and get him to enjoy fennel again as I had burned him out on the roasted fennel thing, I was hoping to spark his interest in the salad and it worked! It will be served often on our table.

1 large fennel bulb (or two small ones)
1-2 cups salad leaves for serving
½ red onion
6 radishes
Handful mint, basil, oregano (all fresh)
1 rib celery
1 tbsp. honey
Juice of one lemon
2 tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper
Fresh Parmesan cheese
2 fresh vine tomatoes
½ avocado

To Start:
Slice thinly with a sharp knife the top ends of the bulb of fennel off, and the root end on the other side.
Continue to slice as thin as possible, you can use a mandolin or a very sharp knife, add to bowl.
Slice thinly the red onion, radishes and celery.
Chop up all the herbs together to a fine dice and add to the bowl.

Mix up the dressing by combining honey and lemon in the bowl until combined.
Slowly add the oil and mix into a vinaigrette.
Salt and pepper.
Pour over fennel salad in the bowl and mix to combine.

To Finish:
On a plate lay a bed of salad leaves (arugula, baby salad leaves..etc.)
Mix up the fennel salad more and lay a large mound on top of the salad leaves.
Top with shaved parmesan cheese and pepper.
Garnish with tomatoes and avocado.

Monday 11 June 2012

Lobster Macaroni and Cheese

First of all, sorry for my absence,although I do have a myriad of recipes to catch up on, I will be posting more often now. For now this dish is for special occasions. I’ve been wanting to do something with lobster for a really long time, and this dish always appealed to me even though I’m not a big pasta person. I wanted to give it a go when I found out where I could get lobster where I didn’t have to kill it myself! This recipe is super simple, and you can omit the lobster if you want or replace it with shrimp or scallops, whatever you like. Serves 4 with leftovers!

What you’ll need:
1 large lobster (1-2kg I had my fish monger cut it up into pieces so it was easy to dismantle when cooked)
250-300g pasta – macaroni, elbow, spiral, something firm
2 c shredded gruyere cheese
1 c shredded cheddar cheese
¼ flour
4 tbsp. butter divided
2-3 cups milk
½ small onion
Freshly ground nutmeg
2 garlic cloves minced
Salt and pepper
½ bread crumbs

To Start:
In a large pot of boiling salted water cook the lobster for 12-13 minutes per 1.5kg.
Drain, cool and peel out the meat dice in large chunks. Set aside.
(If using any other shellfish, I'd suggest not cooking it prior to cooking it in the casserole)

Boil another large pot of water, cook pasta according to package, drain and set aside.

For the sauce:
Dice the onions very small, crush the garlic as well.
Have cheese prepared and ready.
In a large sauce pan, melt 3 tbsp. butter. When melted add onions and garlic until fragrant.
Add flour and stir around until all the butter is absorbed.
Cook out the flour taste for about two minutes constantly stirring.
Slowly add one cup of milk at a time until thick and creamy. (Note: You can always add more milk if too thick)
Take off heat when it coats the back of a spoon. Add the cheese and nutmeg.
Taste then add salt and pepper to taste.
Add the pasta and the lobster mix well and put in a baking dish.

To finish:
Melt the remaining 1 tbsp. butter, and add the breadcrumbs to it.
Sprinkle on top of the casserole.
Bake at 180C or 350F for about 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown!!

Thursday 12 April 2012

Crustless Low-Carb Lemony Cheesecake

I'm trying to find new ways to add healthy options to my dessert menu. I'm really not a dessert person myself but I really enjoy making things for other people. But if I am making it for myself I like to cut out the sugar, and try new things. If you don’t want to make it so lemony cut back on the lemon but it’s important to use at least 1 tsp. lemon juice. I used a small 7 inch spring form pan, and it made a 1 inch pie. If you want to serve more people just double the recipe! The best part is, it's EASY!! Enjoy.

What you'll need:
400g extralight/light/regular philidelphia cream cheese (room temperature)
3 medium eggs
1 c. sugar or sugar substitute
½ tsp good vanilla extract
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

To Start, and End:
Mix together softened cream cheese with the eggs until completely incorporated.
Next add the sugar, vanilla, and lemon juice.
Mix together well and pour into a greased (very important to use spray oil) spring form pan.
Bake at 160C or 325F for 40-50 minutes depending on your oven.
Cool completely before serving! Serve with fruit.
Check the doneness by the golden color.

Monday 2 April 2012

Ovenized Pork BBQ Ribs

I’ve made this recipe several times in hopes to get my BBQ fix from back home. I’ve come up with something that satisfies my craving. This time I came across some really juicy meaty pork ribs, and it really was delicious. It was hard to get a perfect shot of the ribs considering that they just completely fell apart when I took them out of the oven. So that was a good sign….tender, juicy and delicious. I created my own dry rub spice seasoning for it as well so feel free to mix it up, it’s great on so many other meats as well. Or a simple salt and pepper coating will work just as well. To finish these ribs off I made my own homemade BBQ sauce, while maybe not as good as the best BBQ houses in Texas, it was good enough for this house. Enjoy! 2-3 people depending on quantity of ribs.

What you’ll need:
800g-1kg of pork ribs (baby back work too, or beef!)
4 tbsp. spice rub (recipe follows)
BBQ Sauce (recipe follows)

For the spice rub:
2 tbsp. paprika
2 tbsp. salt
2 tbsp. black pepper
1 tbsp. onion powder
1 tbsp. white pepper
1 ½ tbsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. cumin seeds (optional)
1 tsp. fennel seeds (optional)
½ tsp. cayenne
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. chili powder

Combine spices in a tight seal container and shake to combine thoroughly.

BBQ Sauce:
1 c. ketchup
3 tbsp. liquid smoke
3 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp. onion powder
½ tsp. cayenne
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. dark brown sugar
1 tbsp. white vinegar or apple cider vinegar
Pinch mustard powder
Small squeeze of honey

In a small saucepan combine all ingredients and cook down for about 30 minutes or until all the spices have cooked down. Cool and keep extra in an airtight container.

For the Ribs:
Start by preheating the oven to about 160-170C or 325F.
Lay foil down on a baking sheet.
I like to oil the bottom just a little bit so the ribs don’t stick.
Place the ribs on the foil and dust both sides with the spice rub.
Cover the ribs with another layer of foil and crimp all the edges so that no steam can escape and it’s a tightly sealed package.
Ovenize for ideally 2-2.5hrs.
Serve with BBQ Sauce!

Thursday 29 March 2012

Low-Carb Mustard Herb Crusted Pork Loin with Butternut Squash

I’ve always thought that mustard was a great pairing with pork. I’ve also tried this recipe a few times and it ended up getting too salty, even without adding any salt. So I changed it up a bit. You can also roast any vegetable you like with it, I happen to think that butternut squash has such a nice flavour when roasted with the loin. You can also change the herbs, I used rosemary but thyme, sage or even fennel will work. Make it your own, it’s all about making this your own and using what you have. This can serve 2-4 depending on the size of the loin and squash. Enjoy!

What You’ll Need:
600-700g Pork fillet (roughly 1.5lbs)
1 small to medium butternut squash
1 large onion
1 sprig fresh rosemary (1 tbsp. chopped or 1 tsp. dry)
¼ c. Dijon mustard (I only use Maille)
3 tbsp. light mayo
1 tbsp. freshly ground pepper
3 tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

To Start:
Preheat the oven at 190C or 375F
Line a large pan with foil.
Peel and dice the butternut squash and lay on the pan with a space for the pork loin to go in the middle.
Peel and dice the onion and lay on top of the squash.
Drizzle the oil over the vegetables, salt and pepper them and mix to combine.

For the Pork:
In a bowl mix the mustard, mayo, half the fresh pepper, and rosemary.
Slather on top of the loin, not too thick or it will burn.
Place on the baking sheet with the squash.
Sprinkle with the remaining pepper.
Ovenize for about 30-45 minutes depending on your oven. Or alternatively check that the temperature is between 160-170. Enjoy!

Monday 26 March 2012

Low-Carb Shepherd's Pie

This is a traditional shepherd’s pie recipe with a twist. It has a cauliflower mash topping instead of the potato. If you don’t want to do the low carb version that’s completely ok too. You can just make the mash the exact same way you prepare the cauliflower. I know the peas aren't low-carb but a must have with shepherd's pie! This is a play on a Gordon Ramsay recipe which I’ve always found one of the best recipe’s I’ve tasted. It’s really simple to make and provides such tasty leftovers!

What you’ll need:
1 extra-large head of cauliflower
2 egg yolks
25g butter (2 tbsp.)
¼ c freshly grated parmesan cheese (save a few pinches for the top)
1lb (500g) lamb mince
1 large carrot
1 large onion
2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp. tomato puree
250ml red wine (large glass)
300ml chicken stock (1 c.)
Handful thyme leaves
1 sprig rosemary
1-2 tbsp. oil

For the Cauliflower (or Potatoes):
Chop the cauliflower into small pieces and steam until mush.
Blend in a food processor, food mill, or mash by hand until it’s creamy.
Add egg yolks, butter and ¾ths of the parmesan.
Salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

To start the Mince:
In a food processor (you can also do this manually), shred the carrot onion and garlic.
Prepare your chicken stock if using a bouillon.
Chop the herbs.
In a large sauce pan, heat the oil and add the ground lamb; season with salt and pepper.
When browned, add the shredded carrot, onion, and garlic; continuously stirring.
Next add the Worcestershire sauce, herbs, and tomato puree and mix thoroughly. Cook about 5 minutes.
Add the wine and turn the heat up so it reduces quickly. Reduce until there is barely any liquid left.
When the wine is reduced add the chicken stock and reduce in the same fashion.
When it’s done you want the consistency of a thick sauce, not watery or liquidy.

To finish:

Place the lamb mixture a small-medium casserole dish (make the pan is small enough so the meat mixture goes up half way) and spread out evenly.
Dollop the cauliflower on top of the meat and spread out completely covering the meat mixture.
Run the fork across the top of the cauliflower, creating small ridges.
Sprinkle with the remaining parmesan cheese.
Bake at 190C or 375F for 20-30 minutes until slightly golden. Enjoy!

Tuesday 20 March 2012

Turkey Tacos!

For the most part here in the UK tacos are a fun dinner idea and not a staple, but it lends for things such as Old El Paso crunchy taco shells, and some semi edible tortillas. Along with that the line makes some good canned refried beans, and salsa to mimic Pace. Overall I’m not too deprived, except I like to blend my own spices and come up with something unique that’s not just out of a packet. This dinner was part of my craving for crunchy tacos. But since I wanted my healthier flare I opted for turkey breast instead of beef. I realise that making tacos is not a new experience for a lot of my Texan friends, but in this recipe it’s all about the spices. Try it if you want and give that 'ol packet seasoning a rest.

What you’ll need:
½ - 1 tbsp. cumin powder
½ - 1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 ½ tsp. onion powder
Pinch Mexican oregano (optional)
Pinch cayenne
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. finely ground pepper
½ onion
2 cloves fresh garlic
Taco shells – crunchy or soft tortillas
Lettuce and tomato
Grated cheddar cheese
Sour cream
Canned refried beans
1 tbsp. vegetable oil

To Start:
Heat the oil in a pan.
Add the onions and garlic to soften.
Next add the meat and brown, spreading it around so it doesn’t clump.
Add all the spices and mix thoroughly.
Cook through until meat is fully cooked.

To Assemble:
Warm up the refried beans.
Spread on the bottom of the taco shell of your choosing, next fill with the meat, cheese, lettuce tomato, and sour cream.

Serve with my Spanish rice! (You can make it with white rice instead of brown).

Friday 16 March 2012

Perfect Pesto Quiche

I had never made a quiche worth eating, but I was determined to throw one together with the leftovers I had in the house. I even made the crust! It was so much easier than I thought and even more delicious than I could have ever imagined! I suggest everyone try it, because of its simplicity. It’s so much better to eat a homemade quiche than a processed store bought one. Remember that this recipe was made on what I had available at the time, use what you have, even a pre-made crust, but I’d make sure to pick up the pesto! Serves 4!

What you’ll need (as a guide):

1 small chard (or 250g of leafy greens like spinach)
1 courgette (zucchini)
1 small head broccoli
½ red onion
3 cloves garlic
½ c. pesto
3 eggs
1 ½ c. milk
Garlic powder
Parmesan shavings for the top
1 tomato sliced
1 tbsp. olive oil

For the crust:
1 c. + 2 tbsp. flour (125g)
½ tsp. salt
¼ c. butter about 50g
2-3 tbsp. milk

Start the crust:
Get the crust started by mixing the cold butter into 1 c. flour and salt until forms small pebble sizes.
Slowly add milk until dough comes together. (You might not need all the milk).
When the dough turns stiff roll out on a very floury surface and lay in a 9inch pie tin. Set this aside and star the filling.

For the filling:
Dice chard, courgette, broccoli, onion and garlic.
Heat in a pan olive oil, and stir-fry all the diced vegetables until soft.
Turn off the heat and add the pesto and stir to combine.

To Finish:
Mix together eggs and milk and whip until well combined.
Add the cooled cooked vegetables to the milk and egg mixture.
Pour the mixture into the pie dish.
Top with parmesan shavings and tomato slices.
Bake at 190C or 375F for about 40-50 minutes or when it looks golden.
*To test that done stick a spoon in the middle and look for firmness.

Tuesday 6 March 2012

Polish-Style Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

This is an excellent way to use up a head of cabbage, and ground beef. I have always thought of cabbage rolls as being Polish, but for anyone on a low-carb diet it would work as an excellent main dish served with a salad. That’s how I served it! It’s also versatile in that you can use beef, pork, turkey or whatever ground meat you wish. Even make it with vegetables, or just bring your own ideas to it. This recipe serves 4. Enjoy!

What you’ll need:
500g or 1lb ground beef, turkey, or pork
1 small onion
1 head of cabbage; about 10 large outer leaves
1 tbsp. garlic puree or 3-4 cloves garlic
1 stalk celery
1 400g can chopped tomatoes
¼ green pepper
2 tbsp. tomato puree
1 tbsp. dill
1 tbsp. thyme
1 tbsp. vegetable granules (bouillon cubes will work)
1 tbsp. olive oil

To start the sauce:
Dice the onion, celery and mince garlic.
In a small sauce pan, heat the oil. Once heated add the onion celery and garlic until softened.
Next add the tomatoes and stew down for about 20 minutes while you gather the rest of your ingredients.


Tear the outer leaves of the cabbage and wash them thoroughly and steam them until soft enough to roll. You could alternatively lightly boil these too.

To make the filling:

Dice the onions and peppers finely.
Mix the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl, beef, onion, peppers, garlic, tomato puree, dill, thyme, salt, pepper, vegetable granules until well incorporated.

To finish:
Take a cabbage leaf and place a small ball inside and spread it out length-wise, wrap it up on the ends and roll it.
Place it in the pan opening side down, and repeat until the meat is gone.
Pour the sauce over the top, trying to cover as much as you can.
Cover tightly with foil and bake at 190C or 350F for about 45 minutes.

*For an added treat, mix garlic and mint with Greek yogurt for a special topping (sour cream would also work good here)

Wednesday 29 February 2012

Eggplant Parmesan (Aubergine Parmesan)

This is a delicious lower calorie alternative to high fat lasagne or moussaka. I make my own marinara sauce (recipe follows), but you can definitely use a store bought sauce. The only tedious part is breading the eggplant (aubergine), but the end result is definitely worth it! This recipe serves 2, with 2 portions of leftovers. Enjoy!

What you’ll need:
1 large eggplant (aubergine)
2-3 eggs
1c bread crumbs
Seasoning for bread crumbs (salt pepper garlic powder)
2 c. low fat mozzarella
½ c. shredded parmesan
½ c milk
2 cans chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp. tomato puree
1 medium onion
½ red pepper
3 garlic cloves
3 fresh basil leaves
½ tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. dried basil
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar (if really tart)
1 tbsp. olive oil

First Start the Marinara:

Dice onion, red pepper and garlic.
Then sauté in olive oil, when soft add all the remaining ingredients except the basil and sugar, stew down for about 20-30 minutes.

Next While the Marinara is simmering start the eggplant:

Slice lengthwise in long thin slices. Salt and lay in a colander to drain. Leave about 15 minutes, then rinse and pat dry.
In a shallow dish, mix bread crumbs with seasonings.
In another shallow dish whip eggs and milk.
Alternate dipping the eggplant slices in the breadcrumbs then the egg, and then the bread crumbs again. Repeat with every slice until finished.

At this point tear in the basil and stir in some sugar to cut the bitter taste of the tomatoes, and season to taste.


To assemble place a small amount of sauce on the bottom of the baking dish.
Next place two slices of the breaded eggplant on top of the sauce.
Top the eggplant with another couple spoonful’s of sauce, enough to cover the eggplant.
Sprinkle a small amount of mozzarella and parmesan on top.
Next more eggplant, sauce and cheese, and repeat until ingredients are finished.
Make sure to save some mozzarella for the top.

Bake at 190C or 350F for about 40-50 minutes until golden. Serve with whole wheat pasta and salad. Bon appetite!

Thursday 23 February 2012

Easy Peasy Chocolate Mousse

I went looking for a recipe that I could make for a romantic dinner that would be easy and something I could adapt to my own style of cooking. It took 20 minutes to make and a few hours to set in the fridge and it was complete. It’s luscious and delicious, and definitely something I recommend trying on that special occasion. My recipe is for two large martini glasses, but you could easily stretch to four small.

1 100g Lindt 90% cocoa bar
300ml double cream (I used Elmlea double light cream, with less calories/fat)
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp. caster sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tbsp. Baily’s liquor or liquor of your choice (optional)
Couple handful of raspberries or berries of your choice.

To Start:
On a clean cutting board shave all of the cocoa and place in a bowl.
In another bowl beat half of the cream until stiff peaks.

Heat remaining cream until ALMOST simmering – DO NOT BOIL/BURN.
In another bowl mix egg yolks and sugar until fluffy.
Pour some of the hot cream into the egg yolks to temper.
Next pour all of the tempered egg yolks and sugar back into the remaining heated cream to create custard.
Cook for about 2 minutes on very low heat.
Next pour the custard through a sieve onto the shaved cocoa and stir until completely melted and creamy.

To finish:
Fold the whipped cream in.
Add some berries to the bottom of the martini glass.
Pour half the mousse on top of the berries and then top with berries.
Place in the refrigerator for a couple hours to set. Enjoy!

Tuesday 21 February 2012

Homestyle Potato Salad

One of the classic recipes that is found all over the world, but can be made so regional specific just based on a few ingredients! I was in the mood for good old fashioned potato salad, the kind I grew up on and decided to share the recipe. It really is a variable recipe, these ingredients and measurements are just a guideline. I might use more or less of a certain item. For example, the mayonnaise guide is only based on preference. I usually try to put less in so it might be drier than you prefer. Make it how you like it!

400-600g washed potatoes of any variety
2 eggs
½ -1 whole onion (red/white)
½ - 1 whole green pepper
2 stalks celery
Gherkins (dill pickles)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
½ c – 1c light mayonnaise (sounds like a lot but use what you like)

To start:
In a large pan, fill with water, potatoes, and eggs and bring to a boil for about 40 minutes until potatoes are well soft. When done let cool completely.

While the potatoes are boiling, dice onion, celery, pepper, gherkins and place in a bowl.

To Finish:
When the potatoes have cooled, use a dull knife and peel off the skins and discard.
Peel eggs.
Mash eggs and potatoes into fairly large chunks (don’t be precise).
Mix with the diced veggies, and mayo.
Season to taste, and enjoy!
Best served with BBQ!!!

Thursday 16 February 2012

Mom's Peach Pudding

This is one of my favorite dishes that my mom makes. Most importantly this is the only dish she makes that I can replicate with complete confidence that it will taste like the real thing. It’s very simple to make and can feed up to 6 people but I guarantee you they’ll want more! Try it out, it’s fool proof and you won’t regret it.

What you’ll need In Two Parts:
¾ c. sugar
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. cinnamon
1 c. flour
4 tbsp. butter melted
½ c. milk
3 cans sliced peaches drained or equivalent fresh peaches or frozen (be approx.)

To start:
Drain the peaches and spread out on the bottom of a baking dish.
Mix the butter with the sugar until well incorporated.
Next add the flour, cinnamon, salt, baking powder and milk; mix until well combined.
Spread this mixture on top of the peaches. As evenly as you can but it doesn’t have to be perfect.

Next you’ll need:
1 c sugar
1 tbsp. corn starch (corn flour)
¼. Tsp. salt
1 c. boiling water

To combine:
Mix the sugar, salt, corn starch together in a bowl and sprinkle on top of the peaches and batter. (You don’t have to use all this mixture, but a generous amount).
Next pour 1 c. boiling water over the top of the whole pan. (If 1 c. looks like too much water cut it down according to your pan size).
Bake in the oven at 160C (325F) for about 50 minutes until bubbly and golden brown!
Serve HOT with vanilla ice cream!!

Wednesday 8 February 2012

Onion Bhaji

If you’ve had Indian takeaway then you’ve probably tried this tasty accompaniment to many dishes, as an appetizer or a side. This is one of our favorite starters but I’m always off put by the amount of grease that’s usually dripping off them! Sometimes it’s a fun to have the good takeaway kind, but I wanted to make my own that weren’t swimming in oil, and just lightly pan fried. These onion fritters will make an exceptional homemade touch to your Indian cook up, not to mention impress your guests. Makes about 6 fritters.


1 medium egg
½ c flour
1 tbsp. curry powder
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. salt
1/2 c. water
3 tbsp. vegetable, or rapeseed oil

To start:
Slice the onion, length wise, then cut in half again (Basically doesn’t matter as long as it’s not too small and it’s big enough to hold on to batter)

To Combine:
In a medium bowl, mix the flour with the egg, water, and spices. (You want a thick pancake consistency, if too lose add more flour).
Add the onion and use your hand to combine and coat all the onions.

To cook:
Heat the oil in a pan.
When hot pick up a small ball about a half a handful and lay in the hot oil, and continue until the onion mixture is finished.
Brown on each side, about 3-4 minutes.

Serve with mango chutney, lime pickle, or your favorite raita.

Monday 6 February 2012

Goat's Cheese Stuffed Figs Wrapped in Prosciutto

I had this as a starter to a holiday meal. I thought it would be a special thing to share seeing as how Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. It’s a very special little treat to share with that special someone, and super easy to make! You could try all kinds of variations on it, change the fruit to pears, and change the cheese to something more like Brie. It’s all up to you!! This can serve 4.

What you’ll need:
4 fresh ripened figs
100g soft goat’s cheese
6-8 slices of prosciutto
Rocket (baby arugula) to serve on
Balsamic glaze for dressing
Pepper to serve

To Start:
Heat oven to 200C or ~400F
Slice an X in the top of the figs but do not cut all the way through the fruit. You want wedges that aren’t completely detached.
Stuff the inside with goats cheese (however much you’d like).
Next wrap at least two pieces of prosciutto around each one so it’s protected.
Place in the oven until the prosciutto is crispy. About 15 minutes.

To Finish:
Serve on top a bed of arugula and drizzle sweet aged balsamic on top.

Friday 3 February 2012

Crispy Pork Joint with Apple Sauce

This was something I tried to make over a holiday break and I succeeded so well I wanted to try it again with a different cut of meat. First I tried with a pork loin joint, and the second time with a pork belly. It’s not something I would ever suggest as everyday food and fast low fat food but it’s so delicious and succulent I suggest it to anyone for a special occasion meal. The pork loin joint definitely gave off little to no fat drain and is one I will use in the future. Serves 4 or 2 for 2 nights! Enjoy!

What You’ll Need:
1-1.5kg (2.5-3lb) rolled pork loin joint (it doesn’t have to be rolled but make sure you have a piece with thick crackling [that is the point])
1 tbsp. sea salt
Seasoning for the Pork: (optional)
1 tbsp. ground toasted fennel seeds
1 tbsp. ground toasted cumin seeds
1 tbsp. sea salt

What You'll Need For the Apple Sauce:
4 medium apples
½ tsp. sugar (maybe more depending on tart the apples are)
½ bouillon cube
1 tbsp. flour
1 c water

For the pork:
Preheat your oven to the temperature of hell! 240C or ~450F
Prepare the pork, score in diagonal lines cutting almost to the meat. You want all the fat to render from the skin.
Next shove the salt or seasoning blend into all the cracks of the meat.
When the oven is preheated put the roast in the oven for 25 minutes.
Next reduce the heat to 190C or ~375F.
Calculate cooking time 35 minutes per pound. In this case it would continue to cook for about 2 hours.
Don’t touch it, don’t open the oven…resist the urge to poke it!

For the Apple Sauce:

Peel, core, and dice the apples.
Place in a cold pan and coat with the flour, sugar and bullion.
Add the water and mix until the lumps are gone.
Bring to a boil and simmer until the apples are soft.
Puree if you wish.
Serve on top of the pork and enjoy!

Monday 30 January 2012

Greek Style Whole Roasted Sea Bream

My friends, husband and I have a favorite Greek restaurant in North London that serves the most delicious authentic Greek food. One of my favorite things is the roasted whole sea bream. It’s absolutely delicious and so easy to prepare, with little to no ingredients. You could make this with any type of whole fish, and if you don’t like the head on just ask your fish monger to remove it.

What you’ll need:
1 300-500g Sea Bream (Ask the fish monger to remove scales, or you can easily do it yourself with a knife)
¼ c Greek olives (kalamata, green… etc)
1 lemon
2 tbsp. Olive oil + extra for drizzling
Handful Parsley
3 cloves garlic
100g cherry tomatoes
Salt and Pepper

To Start:

Line a flat baking sheet with foil, and preheat the oven to 200C or ~400F.

Next Prep:
Half the cherry tomatoes
Dice the garlic.
Mince the parsley
Add all three and combine and mash in a bowl.
Add the olives and olive oil and mix to combine.
Squeeze half the lemon juice and incorporate.

To cook:
Slice the fish with 4 inch lines on the side of the fish, not cutting all the way through.
Season with salt and pepper
Stuff the inside cavity with the tomato/olive/garlic/parsley mixture.
Rub all over the body of the fish.
Place a lemon wedge inside the body as well.
Bake for about 30 minutes at 190C or 375F or until golden brown!