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Spring Zucchini Fritters

11 Mar

zucchini fritters

Can you see the daffodils popping out all over.. this is a sure sign of spring! One of my favourite,most beautiful seasons! Everything is new again and then I just want to start cooking light, fresh, good-for- you meals!

It sounds a little bit different, and for those that aren’t big fans of tuna, I’ll tell you, its a whole load of protein – you wont even taste the tuna, and the best of all,its gluten free! Sometimes you just have to take a different route with vegetables and it can be very refreshing!

Zucchini, feta & tuna fritters

zucchini

Ingredients

2 x fresh chives, finely chopped

2 x medium sized zucchinis, grated

150g of greek feta, crumbled

1 x tin tuna

2 x eggs

4 x strips of bacon

salt & pepper to taste

1 x tablespoon olive oil

handful of marinated artichokes

2 x teaspoons of red pepper pesto

2 x poached eggs

zucchini

When you have grated your zucchini, flavour it with salt and black pepper and mix through. The salt will draw the water from zucchini.

zucchini

Make sure you squeeze all the water out from the zucchini, or it won’t bind properly with the remaining ingredients. While you wait for this, in the meantime, you can fry your bacon in a pan.

zucchini

When you have squeezed the water out, place the zucchini in the bowl. Add all the ingredients to the zucchini, besides the bacon, pesto & olive oil and poached eggs.

chives

Mix together thoroughly, to allow the egg to bind properly with the other ingredients. Heat your olive oil in a pan and scoop the mixture in the pan with a tablespoon.

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Cook the fritters on medium heat. These should go for about 4 minutes on each side before you turn them over.

eggs

Make sure to fully scoop them, covering the whole spatula, or they will break when you flip them over. In the meantime, cooke your poached eggs.

zucchini

To plate up, place 2 strips of bacon on each plate. Place the fritters on top of the bacon and top each fritter stack with a poached egg.

eggs

Drizzle with a little pesto, grind some black pepper and add artichokes to the side (optional)

zucchini fritters

Hope you enjoy these fresh little fritters as much as I did!

zucchini fritters

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Tuna Melt Casserole

1 Feb

You know what they say: A good marriage is like a casserole, only those responsible for it really know what goes in it. Where in this case, I know everyone has their little special touch for their casserole. Mine? Two things, wine & cheese! Best combination, whether you use them together in food or just as is, from where I come from in SA, it is definitely a winning pair!

This was last weekend’s indulgent Sunday coach potato food. As you know, its pretty cold in London at the moment, so no one is going out. Best thing to do is have a proper lie in, coffee in hand and then when you get up start cooking a heart warming casserole! My big guy tends to have the best ideas when I ask him on a Sunday morning what he’ll like for lunch. Even if it is a very straight forward dish, I strive to make it extra yummy and extra indulgent! Lets just say there’s no shortage of cheese in this dis. It can be gluten free by using gluten free pasta, and corn flour for the béchamel sauce ( if not using cream).

For those that choose to make the béchamel sauce, you can click on this link for a step by step guide. Just before I turn off the heat, for the béchamel sauce, I add a handful of grated cheese and mix it through until melted.

onion

http://www.wikihow.com/Make-B%C3%A9chamel-Sauce

Tuna Melt Casserole

Ingredients

Rigatoni pasta ( cooked to packet instructions)

1 x onion roughly chopped

1 x handful of chopped mushrooms

1 x teaspoon of butter

1 x teaspoon of olive oil

1 x cup bacon lardons / pieces

2 x tins of chunky tuna

1 teaspoon of chopped garlic

Salt & pepper to taste

1 x cup of cream ( if not making béchamel sauce)

2x cups of mature cheddar, grated

pinch of nutmeg

2 x tomatoes, finely sliced

1 x cup of chicken soup sachet

1 x teaspoon of Italian herbs

1 x white wine

chopped mushrooms

Add the butter and olive oil to the pan. Fry your onion in the pan for about 5-8 minutes and add the bacon lardons with the mushroom. Add the garlic and mix through.

chopped garlic

Add tuna and fry together for 5 minutes. In the meantime, add your pasta to boiling water and cook according to cooking instructions.

chopped mushrooms

Now add the soup sachet and mix through. Increase the heat and add the white wine. Mix through and lower the heat again. Keep mixing, as the wine will thicken due to the soup powder.

butter

If you’re using cream instead of béchamel, add it now and mix through. Add the pinch of nutmeg and mix through. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Flavour with salt and black pepper to taste.

grated cheese

If you’re using béchamel, mix the tuna, mushroom & bacon mixture into the sauce and mix through. Add this to your cooked pasta and mix through. Transfer the mixture to a casserole dish.

bechamel

Sprinkle the cheese over the pasta, distributing it evenly.

cooking wine

Place all the tomato slices evenly over the pasta. Sprinkle with the Italian herbs, season with salt and black pepper.

pasta

Cook in the oven under the grill until the cheese is super crispy!

pasta

To add a little extra indulgence, I’ve sliced over a little avocado for extra creaminess!

pasta

Shrimpin business

18 Jan

AvocadosaladOr should I say “shrinking. No REAL new year’s resolution. I’m mentioning this because I’ve been reading and hearing a lot about the “I joined the gym, I’m going to lose weight”, ” I’m on a diet, I’m going to lose weight” style of conversations every year. This is just not going to work. In everything, consistency and being serious about your health is key. No crash exercises or diets.

My new year resolutions – 2 things. One is to try my utter best NOT to eat gluten. Unlike most people, I get physically ill when eating wheat, gluten or too much fibre. Its not that I don’t want to eat it, believe me, I’d just stuff my face with it all if I could, but the after effects are so bad that I have vowed to focus and just not give in. The second resolution is not to moan about how bad I feel AFTER I’ve given in. Yes. They’re naughtily tied together.

This means less carbs.. and I REFUSE to buy gluten free products, because I believe these are actually worse for you than eating gluten. Have you seen the expiry dates on those? Most of them are almost a year. You know what they say, the longer it keeps, the worse it is for you. Only fresh and healthy, that is the route.

Luckily I love seafood, and the carnivore lion man does too!! Unfortunately I always have to give him a little piece of toasted bread with some olive oil etc. to make sure that tummy of his is all filled up!!

I love having frozen seafood in the freezer. It never stays in there for too long though. In this case, I just had a pack of cooked shrimp. Many ways to make a yummy salad with those buggers, but in this case I went for a bit of retro shrimp cocktail style salad. Why did we stop making these, they’re awesome, a real classic! This is my take on shrimp cocktail.

Zesty Shrimp Cocktail

salad

Ingredients

500g frozen shrimp

handful of baby radishes

2-3 gherkins / pickles

1 curly leaf lettuce ( or your favourite lettuce)

1 pack of asparagus

1 tablespoon of butter

juice of half a lemon + 1 tablespoon of lemon juice ( for asparagus)

1 ripe avocado

1 tablespoon of tomato sauce

3 tablespoons of mayonnaise to your preference

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Melt the butter in a frying pan. Add the asparagus to the pan and toss it around in the butter. Flavour with salt and black pepper. Now add the tablespoon of lemon juice. Keep on tossing the asparagus in the pan until cooked but firm ( al dente).

salad

In the meantime, boil your kettle. Place the shrimp in a colander in your basin and pour over the shrimp.

Finely chop the gherkins/pickles. Mix it in with the mayonnaise, tomato sauce and lemon juice. Flavour with salt and freshly ground pepper.

salad

Roughly chop the lettuce and slice the radishes. Cut your avocado into squares.

salad

Arrange the lettuce in your favourite salad bowl.

Now place the asparagus on top of this and sprinkle the radishes over and around. Finally top it with your shrimp mixture and avocado and voila!!

salad

If you’re like my man, you can enjoy it with a fresh crusty bread or some toast soldiers.

 

Just roll with it…

29 Feb

Which is what I have been doing the last few days. Sometimes you just have to sit back and let life take you where it wants to 🙂 I have found that it actually makes you much less stressed and more energized…. which added to my GREAT decision of joining the gym, FULL on! Obviously, this is the reason why my posts have had no ” meat” on them…. Go to work, go to gym, come home, cook, wash, clean, shower and go to sleep… and the next day all over again.

I have to say, all those crazy, gym-bunny freaks really have quite a good addiction going, it is a great routine…. if you stick to it long enough to become a routine ;-p Yes, yes… I PROMISE, mine will become a routine.. a happy (driving everyone crazy with my energy) routine…   So this dish came up in my mind while I was in a “all level” “all body workout”. What I think about this description… the gym barbie-doll lied!!!! Yes, she did!!!! “All level” means you have to at least have gone to the gym for more than 6 months and weigh less than one of my thighs! Maybe the “All body workout” was true.. because even my face was working out from frowning from all the pain…. yeah, you heard it.. pain… and a LOT of it!

Needless to say, this pain forced me to go to my happy place… and what happy place would this be? Food… food… food!!

I went down the healthy route as my new found happiness is watercress 🙂 Yes, watercress… and what looks pretty with watercress.. Salmon 🙂 Green and pink. Pink was the colour Iof my face halfway into my excercise class… and green was the colour when I walked out of that deep, torturing, dark place… but hey, I got a recipe out of it!! 🙂 Quite simple really, but my Johnny Bravo loved it!!!!

Salmon & Watercress Tart

1 pack of watercress – mine was about 3 handfuls

1 tin of artichokes.. roughly torn

2 pieces of Salmon – baked in the oven for 15 min

2 eggs

250 ml cream / soya cream

1 big red onion, roughly chopped

2 teaspoons of wholegrain mustard

1 teaspoon of crushed garlic

half a holder of goats cheese

parmesan to grate

salt & pepper to taste

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 pack of puff pastry ( I only used half)

Preheat your oven to 180 C.

Heat a frying pan and add your olive oil and onion.

Fry your onion over high heat for about 10 minutes.

While this is frying, you can roll out your pastry and place it in the dish you will use for the tart.  Now, after the onion has fried for 10 minutes, add the garlic and the artichokes. Flavour with salt and pepper. Fry for another 5 minutes.

Place the watercress in the dish, lined with your puff pastry.

Now, gently break the salmon and spread it out over the watercress. Layer with the onion and artichokes.

Crumble over the goats cheese.

Take your cream, eggs & mustard and whisk together. Flavour with a pinch of black pepper.

Pour it over the filling in the puff pastry lined oven dish. Grate over a bit of parmesan and grind over some black pepper.

Place in the oven for 30-45 minutes or until the pastry is puffy, crisp and light brown. Serve up with a lovely, fresh salad!

In a thyme tuna pickle

26 Oct

As almost every other day, when I left the house in the (pitch black) dark this morning, I forgot to take out some meat from the freezer. Yet again, this home is plagued by the flu… As I was sitting at work, very much looking like I swallowed 2 golfballs, I realised that the kitchen is “meatless”.

Heavily doped by boredom, I allowed my thoughts to move to our fridge and cupboard… tada!! No surprises there, tuna, bacon, garden tomatoes and capers. Capers are little buggers that go surprisingly well with quite a number of dishes. Particularly tuna and salmon.

I’ve never really known what plant capers come from or how they actually end up in the little jar that I buy them in.. so I went to investigate, after all, I am soooo very busy at work. Logically its like a type of pod from a plant and not too pleasant to eat as is.

Very much like olives. Put some love in it, give it some time and its tasty and very happy!! Pickled… .. ironic as I was not in the best of moods and I might well have been compared to a caper that has been lying in vinegar.. with very sour look on my face…. but when you combine it with its favourite friends, you wont get better!! So enough of all the blah blah blah… lets get cooking!

Tuna & Caper Spaghetti

2 teaspoons of garlic

1/4 cup of dry white wine

juice of 1/2 lemon

handful of cherry tomatoes, halved

1 tablespoon of capers / 3 teaspoons if the spoon doesn’t fit through the jar

1/2 pack of bacon, cut into medium bitesized slices with scissors

2 tins of chunky tuna with water

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 tablespoon of freshly grated parmesan

Bunch of fresh thyme

Spaghetti ( your choice of serving, follow instructions on packet)

Heat a pan with olive oil. Toss in your bacon and cook for about 7 minutes. Add the tuna. Toss in the pan to allow it to be coated with the bacon juices. Add the tomatoes and garlic and toss about. Now add your white wine and lemon juice. Add parmesan cheese and mix through.

Add your thyme and cover with lid and allow to simmer for 15 minutes. Lastly, add your capers and toss about. Reserve some of the pasta water, literally 2 tablespoons.

Add your tuna ingredients all to your pasta saucepan ( with the pasta in) and toss lightly. Cover with the lid and allow to stand for about 5 – 7 minutes. Dish up and grate over some freshly grated parmesan…. subtle flavours, but one of my favourites… njum!!!!!!

Super food for my superman!

10 Oct

We all know superman has a weakness… kryptonite! Well MY superman’s weakness is flu. Over here, it is almost impossible to avoid it! When he gets it, I get it! I really want him to stay my superman and be my hero ;-p

So he mentioned to me today that he is not feeling well and he is definitely getting the flu. Hearing the feared words.. it kicked me into overdrive!! Most of the time, he loses his appetite, so I have to think of something that is tasty, really healthy and light, because I have found that this, and of course, chicken soup, makes him feel much better!! And of course the extra pampering & love and care he is receiving ;-p  So, I sat thinking about vitamin C, good fats, protein and crunchy and fresh greens!!Don’t forget some lovely, fluffy RED rooster potatoes!!

Yup, they’ll get you back on track just like a rooster wakes you up in the morning! ;-p  Ahhh, salmon my old friend!! Salmon has taken a bit of a back seat for a while, because I think I overdid it a while with my pink friend… but, if there ever was a comeback… it’s now!! Maybe it is also because salmon is easy to make, a lovely, oily and healthy fish and it feels like comfort food…. yes, comfort food to me!!! So for everyone out there feeling weak, under the weather and in need of a little comfort food… let us all hope your loved one cooks this for you too!!

 

300 g fresh salmon

2 potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

Salt & pepper according to your taste

1 tablespoon of lemon juice

2 small radishes, finely sliced

1 teaspoon of wholegrain mustard

50ml of milk / soya milk

4 twigs of chives, finely chopped

1 teaspoon of grated parmesan

2 handfuls of watercress & rocket salad mixture

 

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Season your salmon with salt & pepper and the lemon juice. Place in the oven. Boil some water and put some salt in it.  Now add your potatoes and boil them until soft, but still firm.

Heat the milk in a small saucepan and add your mustard. Mix through gently and add your chives. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes and add your parmesan. Flavour with black pepper. Now, dish up!!

 

Place your radish on a plate, with your salmon ( I broke mine roughly into piecies) on top of that.

Place the potato around the salmon and sprinkle over the watercress & rocket. Drizzle over the sauce and enjoy!!!

 

Mashed like a fishcake

5 Aug

…..is what I feel like today. Yesterday’s blog didn’t happen – I blame it on the buses that never arrived, which caused me to walk home. I also have to add that I was wearing tights, a VERY short dress and shoes that I won’t say won the award for most comfortable walk. As I took my long and lonely walk home, I became irritated. I just want to get off the train, get on the bus and get home. Imagine my facial expression when someone whistled at me! In that split second that it took to think about the face I was going to make and what I was going to say, I saw an extremely dashing and handsome young man across the street.

It was fate, we met across the street from each other, each one on the corner ;-p  What I wouldn’t do to get his phone number! As it turns out, I have it already! Along with this happiness, I saw a mischievous GLARE coming from the hubby’s face! He knew if it was anyone else whistling at me I would blow my top. This little surprise naturally improved my mood. How blessed I am to be so in love with my very handsome husband. “What a dashing young lad”, as my neighbour Ave (who has a huge crush on the hubby by the way) would often say.

Needless to say, I rustled up a very quick pasta, sorry guys, I will make it again and take photos and post. So last night I was “woman down”.  In better terms, exhausted. The life was sucked out of me and I still feel like this today. And so enters….. the mashed up fish cake! My mood, my brain and my body! So which better route to take than to eat some fish and hopefully you will have the speed and strength of a tuna to carry on ;-p

Of course, there are easier and quicker ways to enjoy a fish cake, but alas, the hubby wont even touch it. Home-made, however is a completely different story. Also, if you think how difficult it is to catch tuna, I suppose it shouldn’t be too easy to prepare and eat it:  “It’s hard to catch one, but it’s my favourite kind of fishing,” says Robby Coad of Edgartown, a commercial fisherman and charter captain. Tuna have incredible vision, Robby explains, and they’re fast. “They can swim over fifty miles an hour, so it’s easy to lose them, especially when they’re on the line and scared. It’s hard to do and you don’t get them every time you go.”

I also think it will give a different take on tinned tuna, using them for fishcakes. It tastes great, fresh, and healthy and it is affordable. How often does one enjoy fresh, home made fishcakes? As often as one finds fresh tuna in the shops and that is never! ;-p So, as they say, there is always a first. Let’s hope I don’t make it the last! I’m going to do a slightly different take on the tuna fishcakes than one normally would. I am going to use butter beans as a base. You can use mashed potato as well, but I think butter beans might add a lovely flavour. To make this easier, create a little station at your preparation area in a row. Start your row with a bowl of flour, then a bowl with 2 eggs, beaten and lastly, a bowl with breadcrumbs. From there you can just put your fishcakes in the frying pan.

Salsa style tuna fish cakes

½ can of butter beans, drained

1 1/2 tablespoons of mayonnaise

½ red onion, roughly chopped

handful of coriander, roughly chopped

1 teaspoon of cumin

1 teaspoon of olive oil

1 can of tuna (chunks)

Half a chilli, roughly chopped and deseeded

Clove of garlic

2 eggs, beaten

Breadcrumbs for dipping

Flour for dipping

Salt & pepper to taste

Sunflower oil for frying

Corn

2 sweetcorn cobs

1 tablespoon of butter

Asparagus 

bunch of asparagus

1 teaspoon of garlic

1 teaspoon of butter

1 teaspoon of lemon juice

1 tablespoon of dry white wine

Salsa

handful of roasted cherry tomatoes

1/2 red onion, finely chopped

1 teaspoon of capers

Handful of coriander, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon of red wine/malt vinegar

4 slices of cucumber, finely chopped

Take your butter beans, tuna, chilli,onion, cumin, olive oil,coriander, mayonnaise and garlic and mix until fine, but not complete mush, in a processor. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Make little “patties” with your hands and put them through your prepared station. Coat both sides with flour. Dip in the egg and now dip in the breadcrumbs. Do the same with the res of the mixture and place in the fridge.

Boil water and cook your corn for 8-10 minutes.While this is cooking, start with your asparagus.Melt your butter in a pan, add the garlic and fry cook your asparagus. Add your white wine and lemon juice. Flavour with salt and pepper. Take your cooked corn, drain, cut them from the cob, mix through with butter and season to taste.

For the salsa, mix everything together, season with salt and pepper and allow to stand. Now, heat a frying pan and add your sunflower oil. Fry each side of your tuna cakes till they are golden brown and place in a bowl with a paper towl.

Now dish up onto a plate and top with your salsa. Serve with sweetcorn and cous cous, or simply on it’s own 🙂