Bacon and Mozzarella winter salad with roasted veg

Bacon and Mozzarella Yum!!

Bacon and Mozzarella winter salad with roasted veg and sundried tomato infused olive oil Yum!!

I just had to share a pic of this lunch because I am so proud that I made it. I asked the question a while back What can you make with a vegetable box? and this is another sweet surprise. Continue reading

Pate sandwich with marmalade and onions

Pate sandwich with marmalade and onions

Pate sandwich with marmalade and onions

Todays challenge was very simple. Combine shop bought ingredients and finish with a home made twist.

My attempt was pork pate and I wanted to make it even more special with no effort or expense. I used orange marmalade because it’s in the fridge and goes with pork and the onions and leeks I made earlier in the week.

No effort but gorgeous. I know, I know, the pic doesn’t really sell it but how do you make a pate sandwich look good?

Answers in a comment please :-)

What can you do with Cabbage?

Cabbage

Cabbage

With delivery of our veg box I now have the challenge of making meals with a vegetable I have never liked. All my memories are of the soggy tasteless variety or that bitter taste that makes you feel like you are being punished. Continue reading

How to make coleslaw in 5 minutes!!!

Home made coleslaw

Home made coleslaw

I’ll confess straight up, I have always wanted to make my own coleslaw but never done it. There are so many things about it I love and it is not just the taste. For example, have you ever considered how much it can contribute to your 5 a day? Continue reading

What can you make with a vegetable box?

vegetable box

vegetable box

A couple of evenings ago we got a vegetable box from fresh fields farm boxes and almost instantly I had to ask myself

What can you make with a veg box?

I don’t actually know. Continue reading

How can cream tea and fruit crumble for breakfast be healthy!!!

Blueberry scone and strawberry cream tea

Blueberry scone and strawberry cream tea

Cream tea to start!!

When it’s a blueberry scone with strawberries and creme fraiche with fresh mint for extra zing. It was so appetising my little one seconded it and wolfed down. What I did have was delicious.

This continues the experiment I ran before when I asked what is healthier for breakfast cereal or fruit pie?. The results might surprise you.

 

Cherry and Plum crumble with peaches

Cherry and Plum crumble with peaches

Fruit crumble to follow :-)

Followed by plum and cherry crumble with peaches and juice for sauce.

You wouldn’t believe how many essential nutrients you get with this meal and they’re delivered pretty much as nature intended.

My taste buds didn’t care. They just went into overdrive. :)

Try it yourself it’s indulgent but refreshing. I used juice for the crumble to make it different to the cream tea. I’m continually looking for new easy sauces because they often make or break a dish.

How can this be healthy?

The logic here is simple focusing on fantastic flavour I focus on quality over quantity and so I often eat less but smile more by using herbs, spices and natural juices for flavour.

When I want something substantial I explore substitutes like creme fraiche in place of cream. I now prefer creme fraiche in most situations but I always compare back to what I would have had for the same treat to remind myself that I am having essentially half the calories of the cream I would have had.

The same goes for using the juice from the fruit I’m having to replace cream or another high fat sauce. The juice has higher quality in terms of nutrients and automatically complements the dish as a sauce.

Though I don’t avoid cream, I just have more options, so I never say no to anything I like I just have so many more options than I used to that on average I automatically reduce my calories and increase the nutrients and flavour in my diet.

So this was an exploration of subsitutes for food that improve the flavour, nutrition and thus quality but reduce the calories.

Your ideas

Let me know if you have any ideas like this yourself. Let me know so I can try them.

make effortless roast vegetables in advance

Roasted veg in container

Roasted vegetables in container

The best part of cooking is when one simple ingredient takes a dish in a different and interesting direction. Knowing how to do this right comes from experience but when you do learn, it means you can keep your meals interesting with the bare minimum of effort and expense.

Personalise

For example last week I was bored with the takeaway that I had bought so I just threw in some roasted courgette and had a different experience. Another time I brought home a basic Mcdonalds meal, the burger with no frills and paired it with sweet potato chips and roasted onions for another personalised experience. Continue reading

Baked fish with Roast Butternut Squash and Crushed cashews

ok, I won’t always talk about food but since you get 3 chances a day to treat yourself I like to make sure that atleast once it feels like a treat.

This time the treat was in how quick and easy it was to make. The ingredients weren’t designed to match perfectly like a recipe. I do that a lot. I thought I’d try something out to see if it would work.

The dish is fish with roast butternut squash, sprouts and crushed cashews.

Not sure how that sounds to you but it was very nice. The main issue is that I have to take our collie Cali out for a walk when I get home. So cooking my dinner has to fit in aswell. With this meal I roasted the squash while I was walking Cali and had the fish ready to pop straight in the oven when I got back.

I had a halved squash in the fridge, I removed the seeds, scored the flesh, sprinkled with olive oil, thyme, rosemary and seasoned. Then got the fish (it’s wrong but I’m not sure exactly what fish it was. It wasn’t salmon, but I’ve bought a few different fish recently and it could be any one of them) out of the freezer. Unwrapped the clingfilm, put a nob of butter on it and seasoned it. Put in an oven dish and covered with baking paper (I’ve run out of foil).

With all that done I put the squash in the oven and took cali out. When I came back I took the squash out for 10 minutes and put the fish in the oven.

Then prepared the sprouts, slicing them and putting them in the squash centre where there was a puddle of oil. I added a little seasoning to taste.  Back in the oven. then I crushed the cashews and added right near the end. The fish took about 30 mins.

Then I just plated up and ate it. What I love about this is how little work I actually have to do. I’m beginning to love butternut squash cos when you roast it your really have no hassle. Roasting makes it so soft and juicy and sweet. And I love that you can use it’s skin as its own bowl. No peeling needed. I loved the fish too. I used to think it was really awkward to cook cos I used a frying pan, you have to defrost it overnight and you’ve got a bunch of washing up to do. But this way was almost effortless.

Now I’ve got some spare time to watch some snooker.

Roasting, my way

Another way of making meals full of taste but simple to make is to mix cooking methods. I’m being very liberally in my use of the term cooking method.

Tonight I used a roasted chicken breast that i’d frozen a few weeks ago from a freshly roasted chicken i’d bought from the supermarket. Rather than defrost it I tried a trick I copied from the fish I cooked last week. It was wrapped in tin foil with a little butter added and put in the oven. I had no foil so I used baking paper instead.

For the veg I opened a can of tinned carrots, yep I’m really being lazy and experimental at the same time, a bit of olive oil, sprinkling of thyme and rosemary. Salt and pepper the roast carrots are sorted. Then I peeled an onion sliced the top and wedged a little butter in. Put in tthe same tray. As the carrots.

Then, cos it’s christmas I’m trying out sprouts. I never liked them but feel like I might find a way. This time I’ve sliced 4 sprouts and mixed them with some tinned peas a little mint and sauteed them in a frying pan.

When it all came together I added some pinenuts to the sprouts and peas.

Anywho. The point is I loved it but I didn’t have to put so much effort into it. Sure I do it all properly when I have time and the energy but I wanted a roast without all the effort. My dinner hit all the right spots. I had a bunch of tasty veg so I feel real healthy and now I’m just putting my feet up and chilling