Isabel is a local mum, reflexologist and accountant. Isabel sells cards locally for Flamingo and can be contacted here..
I love this healthy mix of ingredients and it is so easy to prepare and looks fresh and tasty. The salad can be made in advance. It is great to serve when having guests.
1 tbsp olive oil or coconut oil
450g salmon fillet
1 tsp Cajun seasoning
For the salad
200g quinoa (or wholegrain rice)
1 x 400g tin chickpeas, rinsed and drained
100g mange tout, halved at an angle
100g sugarsnap peas, halved at an angle
1 x 110g pomegranate seeds
1 tbsp olive oil
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lime
Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 200 ‘C /180 ‘C fan
Cook quinoa/rice as per packet instructions, drain and refresh
Meanwhile prepare and combine the remaining salad ingredients in a large bowl, adding the quinoa/rice once cooked, drained and refreshed. Put to one side.
Brush the roasting pan with a little oil. Place fish on the roasting pan. Mix the remaining oil with the Cajun spices and brush over the fish. Bake uncovered for 15 mins or until the fish flakes with a fork.
Slice the salmon into 4 pieces and serve with spoonfuls of the salad.
Well, what I do is heat and cook food, but I don’t consider it as real cooking. I feel that there needs to be some passion or expression in creating real food, and I do admit I have a bit of fear.
I am lucky, my husband is all over it. Daddy’s kitchen is open most days. When I first met him, I was nursing a hangover and felt the kindness he showed me by coming to my flat and cooking me the most amazing healing food, made with love.
So I get it. However, once I’m home , my creativity has all been spent for the day.
But I do understand the value in what we are putting in our bodies as fuel and nutrition, and am more and more conscious as I get older that this has mental and physical effects on our overall wellbeing, so I feel I have to make it a priority for me and my loved ones. Even though its not my ‘thing.’
The most important lesson I have learnt on my personal journey, is that we must look after ourselves to look after others. So it not good enough to create healthy nutritious food for our children, we need to be eating it too.
So how do I try to re-connect with food when I just see it as practical fuel and a bit of a headache?
I’m starting by going back to my childhood and on a journey back to kind food. Food on our plates that has no suffering, ideally vegan, failing that vegetarian, or at the very least, meat from animals that are well cared for and that you don’t mind eating less of, but paying more for the privilege.
So, to honour some creativity from other fabulous people I know who have passion for their food, may I introduce you to AJ, ‘Keeping it Real Vegan and Shameless’ @life insatiable.com. This lady radiates gorgeousness inside and out! Her blog is great. I’m just hanging around all these wonderful people and hoping that some of it rubs off!
I’m trying the dairy free yogurt bark with my boys this weekend as it’s ridiculously easy! She has lots of other super simple great family meals on her site too.
Dairy Free Yoghurt Barks
You can use these Yogurt Barks as a pudding topper or chuck into your smoothies!
Get yourself a tub of dairy free Yogurt of your choice. I went for Koko Dairy Free Yogurt
Choice of fruits: we went with whatever we had left in our freezer.
In a flat dish of your choice, this could be a mini loaf tin or a cheese cake tin or even a little take away container with a flat surface.
Pour the desired amount of yogurt into the dish and flatten it out but make sure it is thick enough to become a solid piece
The fun part. DECORATE! Chuck all the fruits over it
Freeze for a couple of hours
How ridiculously simple is that?
MALIBU Bark:A bonus recipe for the adults that like a cheeky tipple.
2 Tablespoons of Malibu into the Yogurt Mixture. If it gets a bit too runny add in a but more yogurt to get it back to a gloopy consistency so it freezes beautifully.
These ‘Banoffee Tartlets’ are the perfect pud for any occasion and are super easy to make- even my kids can make them on their own, although a few hobnobs and flake seem to go missing!
230g Joe & Seph Salted Caramel Sauce
150g hobnobs (good news, there will be some left in the packet to have with a cuppa later)
90g salted butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla essence
250g double cream
1 banana, sliced
4 ramekin / small dishes
Preparation time: 30 mins
Other time: Chilling time: 60 minutes
First grease your ramekins with butter
To make the first layer, crush your hobnobs up either in a food processor or in a large bowl using the end of a rolling pin. Then add the melted butter and vanilla essence.
When the mixture is completely blended together, split the mixture between the ramekins. Chill for 10 minutes
Once chilled get your jar of Joe & Seph’s Salted Caramel and add a layer to your ramekins…be as generous as you like! Then chill for 1 hour
Once chilled, top each one with a few banana slices
In a separate mixing bowl, using a whisk (may have to help the kids with this bit or your kitchen could get VERY messy), add the double cream and beat until stiff peaks are formed. Top the rest of the ramekins with the cream
Take your flake and crumble it up then sprinkle evenly over the cream of each ramekin, saving a bit to taste obviously!
This recipe was given to me by my friend Emilie Laura on Instagram as @cookinglondon.
It is super easy and delicious – ideal for when hosting a dinner party!
500g best quality ricotta
50g Parmesan cheese
fine semolina for dusting
1 bunch fresh sage
Pine nuts and rocket to serve (optional).
1. Mix ricotta with a pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Then finely grate the parmesan cheese and a pinch of nutmeg. Beat together and have a taste.
2. Cover a large tray with semolina and roll ricotta mixture into balls rolling them in the tray of semolina until well coated. Shake and cover well with semolina and leave overnight in the fridge (do not cover).
3. Cook truffles in boiling salted water for 3 minutes.
4. Melt butter in frying pan on a medium heat and pick in some sage leaves (around 10) to crisp up.
5. Remove the leaves and scoop the truffles directly from water into frying pan adding a spoonful of the cooking water. When the butter and water have emulsified, take off the heat and grate over a layer of Parmesan, add just a few drops of lemon juice, then toss together.
Serve in warm bowls straight away with an extra grating of nutmeg and parmesan and the crispy sage leaves.
This recipe is a firm favourite of ours. The Middle-Eastern influenced flavours are simple but impressive and this dish has always received many compliments. The long cooking time gives rise to beautifully tender meat which falls off the bone, not to mention generates amazing aromas from the kitchen! The original recipe uses a leg of lamb but we prefer a whole lamb shoulder which also works well so the choice is yours!
The lamb is wrapped in a parcel of baking parchment and foil and it is important that this is not too close to the meat but makes a ‘tent’ over the joint. The marinade is poured into the base of the parcel and generates steam around the lamb as it cooks. I sometimes add a little extra water or lemon juice to the base if it appears to be drying out. I have also on occasion added some potato wedges at the base of the parcel to cook with the meat. This makes the most delicious lemon potatoes to serve with it! You may need to cook them a little longer at the end to brown off.
1 leg or shoulder of lamb
Zest and juice of 1 lemon and 1 orange (keep separately)
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp clear honey
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp ground cumin
3 garlic cloves, crushed
Put the lamb into a large food freezer bag with all of the lemon and orange juice. Seal and marinade in the fridge overnight
The next day, take the lamb out of the fridge 1 hr before you want to cook it. Heat oven to 220C/200C(fan)/gas 7. Take the lamb out of the marinade (reserve the remaining marinade) and pat dry. Rub with half of the oil and roast for 15-20 mins until browned. Remove the lamb and reduce the oven to 160C/140C(fan)/gas 3.
Mix the zests, remaining oil, honey, spices and garlic into a paste, with plenty of seasoning
Line a baking dish (large enough to hold the lamb) with 2 large sheets of foil laid on top of each other in a cross shape. Take 2 large sheets of baking parchment and similarly lie on top of the foil cross. Sit the lamb on top of the parchment. Rub the paste all over the lamb. Pull up the sides of the foil/ parchment to make a parcel. Pour the remaining marinade into the base with a small amount of water (50 ml). Scrunch the foil together to seal and form a tent over the lamb.
Roast for 4-5 hours, until very tender (I find the timing varies with your oven – I tend to cook it at a lower temperature for 5-6 hours). Keep the parcel sealed to keep the juices and steam in. If you find the cooking is too slow you can open the parcel to brown off a little. If you do, keep checking so it doesn’t dry out.
Allow to rest, still wrapped, for up to 30 mins. Unwrap and serve with the juices.
This recipe comes from Kerala in south west India, which was a hub in the spice trade, creating a cosmopolitan mix culinary history. For this festive season, I thought I’d bring you a Christian based recipe. It is something easy and cosy to warm you up on the cold nights.
You can make it a vegetable stew by exchanging more vegetables for the meat. It will work with chicken and beef too, but I think lamb works best. Enjoy with fresh chunky bread, or rice.
2 tbsp Oil. Ordinary vegetable oil is okay. Use coconut oil for it to become extraordinary
1 tsp Ghee (clarified butter) if you have it
Curry leaves – 2 sprigs. Another item, if you have it, that adds a real authentic flavour to the dish
Stick Cinnamon – two-inch stick. This will release a much gentler, warming flavour than powder
Clove – 4
Green Cardamom – 4 crushed till they just split open to release their fragrance
Diced Lamb 450g
Potato – 2 medium, peeled & cut into cubes
1 large onion, finely sliced
1½ cups of cubed veg; carrots, beans, peas etc
Green chilli – 2 slit almost in half, not chopped (take out the seeds if you want to reduce the heat)
Ginger – 1 inch root, sliced into thin long strips known as julienne
Full fat Coconut milk – 1 can (~400ml or 1.5-2 cups)
Water – 100ml
Peppercorns – 5 crushed (not powdered)
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil in a heavy saucepan. Medium-high heat.
Add curry leaves and sauté till it becomes crispy (will only take a few seconds)
Add cinnamon, cloves and cardamom sauté for 2 minutes
Add the meat and brown off the outside for a minute or two.
Turn down the heat to medium if the pan is spitting out oil.
Add the potatoes, onion, ginger, garlic and green chillies sauté till onions are translucent
Add 100 ml of coconut milk together with 100 ml water to the pan. Cook for 5-10 minutes till potatoes are cooked (they give when you poke a fork into them).
Add the rest of coconut milk and let it just boil.
Switch of flame once bubbles start forming at the top.
Firstly, there are no ‘measurements’ to this! That’s why it works for me. It’s an “add according to your taste” number.
Secondly, I got this ‘recipe’ from Robin at Quaich. He rambled it off and I put together what I could remember … My kids and I love it even if it’s not his exact recipe!! It gets them eating spinach and lentils … Yeeeehaa!!
1 large onion
4 large chicken breasts (skinless, boneless) – of course the better way would be to use chicken breasts with bones and skin on to add flavour but I don’t have the time to pick out the bones and I don’t do soggy chicken skin … for anyone!!!
2 large garlic cloves*
1 tin of lentils – can leave out if you wish
1 tin of butter beans – can leave out if you wish
1 large fresh chicken stock (such as Waitrose chicken stock)
1 bag of baby spinach leaves
1 jar of green pesto sauce – if fresh, then even better!
pinch of salt
This should not take long at all!
Chop up the onion and fry it in real butter in a deep soup pot. Let the onions catch a little on the pot then add water … gives lovely flavour.
Add the chicken breasts and fry them until you can dice them up into sizes good for little mouths. Whilst they’re cooking, add the chopped garlic.*
I then add the butter beans and lentils and then all the pesto sauce. Pour in all the chicken stock (I also use some Bouillon stock sometimes instead of salt).
Add the baby spinach leaves bit by bit so they wilt down. Add water till it’s sort of covered the wilted spinach or you are happy with the taste. It looks green and awful really … but we love it!!
*From what I have read, to get the most health benefits from garlic, let it sit for a minimum of 5 minutes, optimally 10 minutes, after cutting and before eating or cooking. Waiting 5-10 minutes allows the health-promoting allicin to form. If you do not let it sit, allicin is never formed, so it is worth the wait. After your Garlic has sat for 5-10 minutes, you can cook it on low or medium heat for a short period of time (up to 15 minutes) without destroying the allicin.
This is one of my children’s favourites and is great for all the family. Plus it only uses a frying pan and casserole dish so less washing up for the hubby!!!
To keep the salt content low you can use a low salt chicken stock like the Gallo brand (found in most supermarkets).
Feeds: 2 adults and 2-3 children
Time to prepare: 20 mins
Time to cook: 25 mins
200g charlotte potatoes, or any waxy potatoes, skin on, thinly sliced
25g butter, plus extra for greasing
100g smoked lardons (I use smoked pancetta lardons but any will do)
2 garlic cloves, crushed (I use lazy garlic in a jar and it would be approx heaped tsp)
1 leek, sliced
5 fresh thyme sprigs, leaves picked, plus extra for sprinkling (or you can use approx 1 tsp dried thyme)
3 or 4 chicken breasts (depending on how hungry your children are!!) cut into small chunks. You could use thighs which have higher iron content, or a mixture of both
100ml chicken stock, hot
Grated Cheddar for the topping
Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6.
Put the sliced potatoes in a pan of boiling water and simmer for 3 minutes. Drain, then set aside to cool.
Melt half the butter in a frying pan over a gentle heat, add the garlic and fry for 1 minute (keep heat low so you don’t burn the garlic).
Turn the heat to medium and add the chicken and cook for a further 5 mins. Add the lardons and cook until beginning to crisp (2 or 3 mins). Stir in the rest of the butter, leek and thyme, season to taste, then sauté gently over a low heat for 10 minutes.
In a casserole dish, place the chicken and leek mixture and the sliced potatoes on top (should be 2 or 3 layers of potatoes)
Pour the hot stock over the potatoes, scatter over the cheese, then sprinkle with extra thyme (if you’re using fresh thyme).
Bake for 25 minutes until bubbling and cooked through