So you know if you’ve put on a few pounds (I refer you back to my earlier ‘cruise baby’ remarks), and you say ‘oh, if only I was a celeb and I had someone to cook me delicious, healthy meals, it would be soooo easy to be healthy…’. Well, I’ve kind of been doing that with Mindful Chef – and do you know what? It’s fab.
Are you a fan of keema? If you haven’t discovered it yet, think shepherd’s pie filling, but with a delicious, warm, spicy kick. We adore it. I first started making a similar version as a party nibble, stuffed into little lettuce cups, but we also just have it with rice. It’s a really easy, yummy way to spice up lamb mince (if you’re only using it in your shepherd’s pies, you’re missing a trick), and it’s a great, affordable way to feed the whole family. We don’t seem to eat at the same time as much on weekdays, so I sometimes knock up a big pan of keema, then Mr E and I will eat ours with rice, and the boys will heat theirs up later, which I think is where the whole stuffed chapatis/quesadilla idea came about (I’ve got to be honest, I was going to call these quesadillas, but y’know, it almost seems a fusion dish too far, plus since I decided to write this recipe up, we’ve started buying chapatis and they’re delicious).
This last week before we head off on our long-awaited cruise has been a bit strange. We’ve barely seen the boys as they’ve been spending time making the most of their last few days of freedom before education beckons again, and I feel a bit like I’m in limbo: like I know that this really is the last of our English summer and that when I come home it will properly be autumn. Already, as we’re walking the dog, the blackberries are ripe and ready to pick, and even on a really hot day, there’s that little nip in the air when the sun goes in. I’m still loving quick, healthy eating and we’ve been packing away easy summer dinners of warm salads, fish and stir fries. Read more
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: it’s SO much easier to eat healthily in the summer isn’t it? We’re such lazy eaters and it really suits us – I’ll bake a load of chicken breasts and we’ll have them hot with the yummy easy rice dish above (you might have seen it if you follow me on Instagram), and when the boys come in they just slice them and stuff them into baguettes with a load of salad. Easy peasy. Here, then, for your viewing pleasure is the latest instalment of ‘this week, I have been mostly eating…’
It’s a chill out day here at English Towers. We had a fab party last night (more of this very soon!), so today is all about lazing in the garden (isn’t the weather divine? I never want it to end) and easy, tasty food. This summer, Sainsbury’s launch the latest in its Little Twist recipes: each one giving an unexpectedly clever and yummy new twist on classic summer recipes. Since we’re lazing, I decided to give the rice pop chicken tenders a go. Here’s how we got on:
Those lovely bags of fries. They’re the nation’s favourite, aren’t they? A staple for any classic British meal. Quick, easy and tasty, the faithful oven chip has never let us down. It’s simplicity is its strength, because it goes so well with so much. Steak and chips, egg and chips, fish and chips, and so on.
However, chips are still far from reaching their full potential, and there are, it seems, plenty of quick, easy and mouthwatering ways of preparing a bag of McCain fries that we need to try. Some of these may seem unexpected, but they may just be your new favourite way of eating Britain’s favourite side dish. Here’s how I got on with my research:
Well hello, hello! Sorry for the radio silence but I’ve been gallivanting around the outer reaches of Newfoundland on assignment for Cruise International magazine. I’ve had the most incredible time and can’t wait to tell you all about it, but the first thing I did (after getting massive cuddles from my boys and having a quick kip) was to get straight into my garden and have a look around. It seems like summer has truly arrived while I’ve been away, shivering under raingear, so it was time to whip up some fresh flavour in the shape of delicious steak sandwiches with basil chimichurri sauce!
There’s just no decent way to give this dish (I hesitate to say recipe) a decent title. If you go for ‘mozzarella stuffed, Parma ham-wrapped chicken breast with basil’, it’s about a gazillion miles long, but ‘mozzarella stuffed chicken’ leaves out the tastiest bits, and ‘chicken breast stuffed with chicken and basil and wrapped in Parma ham’ isn’t exactly catchy either. Anyway, I digress. This easy baked chicken is one of our favourite dinners.
So if you’re a regular reader (or you’ve just stopped by in search of pie recipes – in which case, welcome!), you’ll know that I’ve already published a step by step ‘how to make a pie‘ recipe. Do have a look at that one as it will give you invaluable tips on how to make pastry. This recipe kind of skips the basics, just because I don’t want to blab on and on about pastry (hey, it’s just pastry) and also because we’re now moving on to bigger, better, MORE EXCITING PIES!
So my #livepeasant week has come to an end and it’s been really good fun. If you didn’t see my post on Monday, we’ve been creating some delicious, rustic one-pot dishes this week with Simpy Beef and Lamb. We’ve dined pretty well, starting with the delicious Moroccan lamb dish on Monday, a big pot of chilli, a curry, a shepherd’s pie with slow-cooked mince, and I even revisited my spring braised beef with red wine and borlotti beans.
There’s been a shift recently back towards simpler food, don’t you think? I’ve read endless articles about embracing a more uncomplicated, rustic approach to cooking, and I love the concept. I’ve been enjoying baking my own bread, leaving it to rise slowly, rather than scoffing quickly risen supermarket bread. The recipe makes two loaves at a time and it keeps really well, so we’ve always got some on the go.
Ages ago when I was on Nick Coffer’s Weekend Kitchen at BBC Three Counties radio, a lovely lady called Polly had this delicious recipe for this fresh and crunchy winter slaw made with shredded sprouts that was such a lovely mix of textures and flavours: fresh and crunchy, spicy and sweet.
You’ll probably remember that back in the summer, The Organic Trade Board challenged us to take the #thriftyorganic challenge and switch our usual weekly shop for a 100% organic one, all for £83, the average grocery shopping budget for a UK family of four. We ate really well AND stayed on budget, and it made me really think about what we eat, and made me plan our meals properly as well. Eating organic on a budget really is possible!
I promised you a while ago that I’d give you an update on my favourite lentil curry recipe. This is our absolute fave – a really simple, healthy one pot dinner. I’m always messing with it – adding leftover roast chicken, or a tin of chickpeas, or some veg that’s a bit past its best: sweet potato, cauliflower, etc. I’ve always listed the ingredients separately before, but now I actually make the spice mix up in bigger quantities and it’s much easier to spoon into the curry.
How do you cook pasta? For us, it’s generally quick suppers, or large bakes that can be popped into the fridge to be heated up when people get home at various times. A new Australian brand of pasta called Vetta High Fibre is just launching in the UK. It’s huge in Australia and I think it’s going to be really popular here. It tastes and looks the same as other pastas but has loads more fibre, so it’s really good for you. Vetta asked me to share my five favourite pasta recipes using their new high fibre products, so here, without further waffle, are my top five:
This chilly weather calls for warming, comfort food, and what better than toad in the hole? I love to serve it with these herby, roast potatoes. I also like to experiment with different sausages (herby Cumberland are a favourite).
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