Food: Chickpea, avocado, quinoa and halloumi salad

It’s been a while since I’ve posted what I’ve been eating, I got hellishly busy at one point and as always the ol’ blog takes a back seat.

I spotted a recipe on Twitter recently by Sasha Wilkins of Liberty London Girl, she shared an image of a chickpea, avocado and halloumi salad from her new recipe book called Friends, Food, Family. Obviously I didn’t have the book to hand but thought it would be quite fun to recreate the salad from what she shared.

So main ingredients are of course chickpeas, avocado and halloumi. I’ve baked my chickpeas before on advice from Girl Next Door Fashion so thought I’d do the same here with a sprinkle of paprika, I also added halloumi chunks on too half way through. They really don’t need that long roughly ten minutes if that.

I thought that just those ingredients along with the avocado wouldn’t be enough for my lunch so I decided to bulk it up with quinoa. A super easy grain to cook with, but for some reason I always end up with it super sloppy and watery..

Anyway in the morning when packing my lunch I put all the prepared elements together and added some seed mix that had pumpkins, pine nuts, sesame seeds and other numerous unidentifiable bits.

I think I added way too many seeds as it ended up being quite crunchy. But I certainly enjoyed the splash of lime juice as an extra twist.

Overally I think my version was a success, I’m not a fan of pomegranate seeds which I think is a tad odd in a savoury dish but the different elements that made up the salad are something I always have in my cupboard so no extra effort went into making it.

Lunch avo chick peas hallloumi_Fotor

Food: Courgette pizza boats

I’m not quite sick of courgettes just yet, so I was looking forward to trying out this pizza boat recipe I found on Damn Delicious.

It called for turkey mince which I must admit I’ve never tried before. I’m not a lover of turkey meat preferring to have either duck or ham for the traditional Christmas dinner, but I’ve heard good things about mince so I thought I’d give it a go.

The recipe did say to use marinara sauce but never the one to follow something strictly I used tinned tomatoes and added the basil, oregano and seasoning when cooking the mince.

courgette pizza boatsI went for sweet potato wedges for my side drizzled in olive oil, seasoning and smoked paprika. It was so simple to put together just halve the courgette lengthways and scoop out some of the middle.

Pile on the mince mixture and then grate some cheese on top. Again, it says to use mozzarella which is obviously more pizza-like but I only had parmesan in my fridge so that shall do for me!

Now really the wedges take longer so should probably have put those in first but  I stuck them both in at the same time and left them for 15 minutes. The courgettes seem to cook on the outside but probably would have been better if I’d roasted them before hand to soften them up and then put the topping on because I felt they were still a bit hard in the middle.

courgette pizza boats before

Also I’m not sure if I’m sold on the turkey mince, with normal beef mince the tomato always seems to complement the meet but this didn’t seem to mix well in my opinion. And cheese always makes everything better but this time I wasn’t entirely convinced!

If anyone else tries out this recipe let me know how you find it, I think I’d probably like to try it with beef next time!

courgette pizza boats after

Food: Cinnamon baked oatmeal with berries and banana

When you get sick of eating the same cereal day in day out it’s nice to find a new breakfast recipe.

I’ve been occasionally eating overnight oats which is fairly easy to put together it just requires a little bit of cooking apples and waiting, yep, overnight for the chia seeds to puff up.

The baked oatmeal recipe which I saw on Deliciously Ella’s Youtube channel and is also on her app and blog, is what I was most looking forward to making.

I bought a massive bag of Scottish rolled oats about a month ago and find it really handy to have in the cupboard as it just last for ages and only cost me a few pounds.

baked porridge mix

For this recipe you only need one cup of oats soaked in hot water for about 10 minutes, then chop up your ripe banana, throw in your blueberries and a handful of raisins and mix together.

What makes this dish all cosy is the two teaspoons of cinnamon and honey mixed in, you just know that as soon as it’s baked the cinnamon will really pull it all together.

As the original recipe is vegan and gluten free, it calls for almond milk (and actually gluten free oats which mine are not) I cannot tell you how much I hate nuts so I went for skimmed milk which in my opinion does the same job.

On a side note I find it really frustrating as a hater of nuts how many clean eating recipes use nuts as a base, gah. I can only imagine how annoying a nut allergy would be if you wanted to be vegan..

baked porridge ready

Anyway so I had some raspberries in the fridge that I’d forgotten about and because I’m a complete Instagram addict I thought by adding them on top it would make the picture I would take much prettier.

Very shallow yes but glad I did it because the tang of the raspberries made the baked oatmeal even better! I definitely recommend adding some on top along with sliced bananas as they just make it so tasty.

I’d imagine not everyone has half an hour to prepare and bake this in the morning and I only did because I was working from home and had the time to work and wait for it to cook.

Definitely worth baking it the night before and reheating, maybe even with a dollop of Greek yoghurt too and an extra drizzle of honey if you’re feeling it!

baked porridge cooked

Food: Vogue’s blueberry crumble muffins

Normally I have to wait a good few weeks before I get to bake for the office again, but today was a special group bake sale as we were raising money for Jean for Genes, so eight of us put our skills to the test and came up with quite the selection!

My contribution were Blueberry Crumble Muffins, something certainly different to what I have baked before and they went down a treat.

I spotted the recipe on a Vogue blog a while back Pocketed it and found it this week when I was looking for inspiration. What better way to celebrate London Fashion Week than with Blueberry for Burberry muffins?!

I have to admit I did not think the recipe through at all, and because it doesn’t actually state how many portions it makes I just assumed the 540g of plain flour was normal.

As I started to make the wet part of the recipe and measured out the flour I realised this was going to create quite a lot of mixture.

I folded the dry and wet together and added the blueberries and apples as described but because the only muffin cases I could find were pretty small (like the size of buns/cupcakes rather than large muffins) I estimated this was going to make about 30 individual muffins.

Blueberry crumble muffins process

For the first batch I was more than generous when filling the cases which meant that the finished muffins did have quite a large top on them. The second batch were a little neater and in total I ended up making  around 38!

The topping probably elevated the muffins from just normal blueberry as the crumble ended up sweet and crunchy. I think I expected the crumble to stay the way I added it but of course at the muffins baked they expanded and the crumble went with it but still looked good and the added touch of a blueberry for decoration gave it that extra fruity taste.

I highly recommend this recipe if you are wanting something to make for a large number of people, but for a home bake you might want to consider altering the amount of ingredients you need!

Blueberry Crumble Muffins

Food: One pot courgette mushroom pasta

Oh my I think I just died and went to heaven.

I spotted this dish on Damn Delicious whilst browsing for yet more courgette recipes. It appealed to me even more because of those magic words: one pot.

No need for cooking your veg and pasta in separate pans and then combining at the end, nope, this one pot pasta dish calls for you to put everything in one pan at the same time and cook.

I couldn’t think of anything more simple than cutting up courgettes into quarter pieces, slicing some mushrooms, chopping up garlic sprinkling some thyme and pouring boiling water over everything including the spaghetti.

one pot pastaThe recipe says to bring to boil and then simmer until the water is soaked up, I added slightly too much so had to drain some of those good juices away.

When my pasta was nice and thick (how I tell it’s cooked) I then added the quarter cup of cream, I plumped for single cream and added the parmesan. I did buy some natural Greek yoghurt but I was a bit worried the taste wouldn’t be as nice but if you try it let me know!

Final step season and serve! Couldn’t be more easy and only took 20 minutes from prep until serve, a really quick and super tasty meal for even the most terrible of chefs! And there’s loads more of Damn Delicious’ One Pot dishes here.

Next on the courgette list is these ‘pizza boats’.

one pot pasta dish

 

Food: Courgette parmesan crisps

What do you do with that last courgette in your pack and are bored of cutting them up into chunks or need a new pre-lunch snack?

Make crisps.

Those of you who are trying to lead a healthier lifestyle will probably be missing those luscious crunchy addictive treats that are the downfall of even the strongest willed dieter. But fear no more you can still have a crunchy treat without feeling so guilty.

Damn Delicious is my new favourite food blog, full of really simple recipes that you can adjust to your liking and inspire even more ideas.

I spotted the ‘Zucchini Parmesan Crisps‘ when I was cooking my aubergine pizzas and thought that they would be a perfect snack to have when I reach the dreaded elevenses everyday.

I’ve been making the most out of my Nutribullet, which for those of you that haven’t got one yet I implore you to invest it’s such a versatile gadget, and have been having smoothies everyday with spinach, strawberries, bananas, chia seeds, ground flax seeds and whatever else is in my fridge. But I needed a change.

Using a very chunky courgette I sliced them into discs about a quarter of a centimetre thick, and then grabbing a bowl cracked an egg in and another bowl with my coating mix.

courgette step one_Fotor

For the coating, the original recipe calls for Panko crumbs. I definitely read it wrong and decided I needed to get polenta. Well lucky for me polenta still works as a crumb and after a quick Google search I returned to the recipe to adapt it to my new ingredient!

I grated parmesan and mixed that with a bit of plain flour and the polenta and added some seasoning, you could probably add some Italian herbs to tart them up if you so wish.

courgette step two

Now I’m pretty sure I did the coating the wrong way round, in the recipe it is demonstrated you dip the courgette into flower then egg then the parmesan coating and this will be why the coating kept falling off, but no need to worry I’m the only one eating it!

I gave them about 15-20 minutes in the oven with a little flip half way through just to get the crunch on either side and you could definitely leave them in longer to get the cheese golden. The recipe does say to fry them but I went for the healthier baking option without using any oil because of the natural watery nature of the courgette, but if you’re feeling naughty get out that oil and fry away.

I’m pretty impressed with how well these tasted and had them for my snack today, highly recommended. Next up on my return from Paris (I’m going to see Beyonce and Jay Z), I shall probably try this One Pot Courgette Mushroom Pasta!

courgette crisps

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup Panko or polenta!
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 courgettes (or however many you want to make), thinly sliced to 1/4-inch thick rounds
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 2 large eggs, beaten

Instructions

  • Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
  • In a large bowl, combine Panko and Parmesan; set aside.
  • Working in batches, dredge courgett rounds in flour, dip into eggs, then dredge in Panko mixture, pressing to coat.
  • Add courgett rounds to the skillet, 5 or 6 at a time, and cook until evenly golden and crispy, about 1 minute on each side. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
  • Serve immediately.

Nail art of the week: Crazy eyes

After a little break from painting my nails I couldn’t pick what colour to paint them so I basically chose them all.

The usual Barry M nail varnishes mostly from the Gelly Hi Shine range which seems to be better quality than the normal colours, the original collection Bright Pink is really thick and the Ice Cream yellow needs a few coats to get the thick coverage.

I have previously done the crazy eyes look with actual googly eyes that I bought from my local haberdashery but found they were not that practical as they just kept falling off. 

This time after my nails had dried (cheating obvs using Seche Vite Fast Dry Top Coat) I used my white nail art pen to draw oval circles and then added the smaller black dots on top.

I feel like I repeat myself often when it comes to these easy designs, but it’s such a simple thing to do and so effective! You can even go crazier and give your nails a crossed eye look, because why the hell not?

Try it and show me yours!

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