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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).

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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.

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

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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!!

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

 

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Catch a “falling” chicken… put it in your “pocket”

31 Mar

save it for a rainy day.. because all us have a day like that sometimes – tired, no time, you have to cook supper, but you have no idea and you dont even know where to start. Start with the recipe in your “imaginary pocket” and make some chicken pockets 🙂

I thought of this last night, because Conan made supper, because this eager beaver went to the gym.. returning in pain.. AGAIN. So I noticed he purchased little coriander & garlic pita pocket breads… naturally I have to use them tonight.  So cute don’t you think.. pocket breads 🙂

Literally, I suppose if you wrap them in foil, they will fit perfectly into your pocket and it really is saving for a rainy day, when you need to take lunch to work, unless it is all finished in one evening, which happens almost every night in our household.

This is a recipe that really is easy, believe me, especially if I thought it up trying to think of no effort tonight ;-p

Feeling the effects of a slight flu today, I want to cook something tasty, AND different, because there is a certain someone that says he is so spoiled, he doesn’t know what to answer when I ask him what he feels like for supper. His usual answer : ” I dont know, I’ve had everything, I dont feel like anything” . SO – in a way, this is  motivation really… I have to think of something different to make everytime… until Conan, big man of the household yearns for his favourite dishes again and I can rely on my memory.

Well… that day is not today, so for everyone that has a rainy day – today or any other day when you need inspiration, or you have to make something quick… take this chicken recipe from your “pocket”

Mediteranean chicken pockets

2  1/2  tablespoons of houmous  per pita/ naan bread

2 avo’s cut into bite sized pieces

2 handfuls of broccoli, steamed

1 cup of roasted peppers

1/2 hanful of feta cheese per pocket 

1 teaspoon of crushed garlic

1 teaspoon of chicken spice

salt & pepper for seasoning

2 handfuls of mushrooms, roughly chopped

1 red onion / brown onion, roughly chopped

1/2 cup of sundried tomatoes, roughly chopped

1 teaspoon of fresh mint, finely chopped

1 pack of chicken breast fillets, cut into bite sized pieces

 1 handful of watercress

Garlic & Coriander Naan/ Pita breads or plain pita breads

Olive oil for drizzling

Add your olive oil and garlic to a heated pan. Add your onions and fry gently for 10 minutes. While this is frying, preaheat your oven to 160 C . Place your pita breads in the oven to warm… but keep an eye om them, they can burn easily.

Now, after the onions have cooked for 10 minutes, add your mushrooms to the pan and fy for about 7 minutes. Add your chicken and chicken spice. Cook the chicken until almost done, and add your sundried tomatoes and mix through. Now add the roasted peppers and the broccoli and mix through gently. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cut your pita pockets open halfway, allowing enough space to place your filling inside.

Drizzle with a little bit of olive oil.

Take half of the houmous and put it in the pita.

Now, add your filling – chicken, mushrooms and onion.

Take the other half of the humus and layer it over the chicken filling.

Top off with the avo, watercress, feta and some of the mint. Season with black pepper and salt.

You can serve it with a plain and simple side salad. How quick was that… and almost no washing up  🙂

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!

Green with envy… and chicken

24 Jan

Why you might ask? Maybe because I look worse than a fully stuffed cumberland sausage! I went on holiday and believe me, I did it properly! So properly that I can barely fit into my clothes! Sun, friends, wine, barbecues, champagne, late night snacking… wine… crisps… you name it! So I am envious of all the perfect people out there that seem like they can eat anything and either look fabulous or even drop a dress size! Fair to say, I might have overdone it a little bit…. but hey, I’m back in London, needless to say, VERY inspired for things to come.. and its going to be good!

This Van Der Merwe is ready for anything that comes my way! I will show the world what’s coming and I will give it my all!! Speaking of that… while so inspired and focused, my trusty 17-85mm lens has decided that its taking its own little holiday as it doesn’t want to work anymore.. so these are the last photo’s for a while on my blog as this little monster has to go in for repairs….. however, as my post states, everything is green…. I am not allowed to have chicken anymore… I know.. Kill me now!!!

So as a good bye gesture, I made this dish for the hubby… and boy did he love it!! Especially after not seeing me for 2 weeks… he was very happy to have a home cooked meal..!!! So here we go, all things green, fresh and happy!!

1 pack of skinless chicken fillets, diced

1 teaspoon of chopped garlic

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 courgette, roughly chopped

3 tablespoons of green pesto

4 teaspoons of capers

2 red onions, roughly chopped

1 handful of mangetout

2 handfulls / blocks of chinese noodles

1 teaspoon of lemon juice

2 handfuls of roughly chopped iceberg lettuce

3 tablespoons of cream/ soya cream

Heat your frying pan with the olive oil and garlic. Add your onion, courgettes and mangetout. Fry for about 5 minutes until soft.

Now add your chicken and lettuce. Season with salt and black pepper.  Brown it until it is just cooked and now add your capers and lemon juice. After two minutes, add your pesto, mix through and add your cream.

Boil some water and cook your noodles to the packet’s instructions and dish your chicken mix on top of your noodles… njammieee!!!! Green goddess!! 🙂

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!!!

 

spinach & chicken salad contradiction

3 Oct

To slim & trim!! Or maybe, I had a whim…. after all the birthday celebrations! I have been contradicting myself…. All those thin people that aren’t happy and smiling, well, right now, I wish I was one of them!! After celebrating my birthday, it felt like I was not just celebrating an extra year on this body, but maybe also some extra weight!! So bye bye.. happy food, hello salads and house of pain… also known as “The Gym”. Yup, magically, my hips went from firm and small, to a lovely, perfect muffin top silhoette!! So, after much disgust, I have finally given in…  Just a heads up that you might not want to read my blog for the next few weeks… as they will consist of salads, soups and salads and soups…. for dessert…. water and aspirin for the pain in the muscles!! ;-p

 

Leftover chicken, cut into bite size pieces

2 boiled eggs, halved

1 1/2 cup of raw baby spinach

4-5 pieces of artichokes

4 cherry tomatoes, halved

4 potatoes, boiled and cut in small pieces

1/2 red onion, finely sliced

Now, as all of us know, all you do is toss it all together and choose your salad dressing of choice. No happiness in preparing 😦 Maybe a little bit, but hey, this is going to be a few painful weeks…. 😦

 

On the healthy “chicken” wagon

26 Sep

And that is just because I am feeling so exhausted as if I might have been pushing one around! Also the very lame excuse as to the reason why there have been almost NO posts! Yes I know, but what can I do, I can’t be superwoman every day, I have tried to be like my inspiring mother, but alas, I really don’t know where she gets it from!! Even if you have a slight flu over here, it knocks you back for weeks!!

So, firstly today, I wanted to play chicken with with my “much more fitted” clothes this morning and this is the reason for a warm chicken salad. Something light, but still full of crunch and happiness!! Still thinking how I am going to run this past my very, oh so beautiful, muscled man! ;-p Yes he is, and he is all mine.He’s just going to have to deal with this chicken salad. Luckily there are still some of my dauphinois potatoes left from yesterday, so I know those little buggers will fill him right up!!

Nothing exciting really, all I can say is that it is quick, light and still colourful to lift us into happiness in these glum, dark days that are sneaking into our London home. Also, if you were as lazy and exhausted as I was this weekend, it gives you enough time to still properly clean your house and do the washing that is still looking at you with a VERY angry face. So, all in all everybody is smiling!

Warm chicken & vegetable salad

2 to 3 chicken breasts

2 teaspoons of season all spice

2 roasted red peppers, roughly chopped

1 pack of French green beans

1 teaspoon of cumin seeds

3 tablespoons of toasted pine nuts

1 courgette, grated in ribbons, roasted

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 handful of cherry tomatoes, halved and roasted

Salt & pepper to taste

1 tablespoon balsamic glaze

Put your oven on grill. Place your courgette ribbons on the tray, along with your cumin seeds sprinkled over and tomatoes, flavoured with salt and pepper, drizzled with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  Grill them for 10 minutes.

Watch them, as they can burn very quickly. As this is cooking in the oven, sprinkle the season all over the chicken and rub and pat it slightly.

Now heat a frying pan, add the remaining olive oil to the pan and fry your chicken until brown. Watch it so that you don’t overcook it and it is then to dry. Turn then halfway, the season all will create a lovely, thin crispy layer.

Meanwhile, while this is cooking, boil your french beans in water for about 7 minutes, just so that they go slightly soft, but are still firm. Drain them. Remove your courgette & tomatoes from the oven.

Now take your chicken breasts from the pan and slice them into medium sized slices. Place your french beans, along with the tomatoes, roasted pepper & chicken pieces back in the pan the chicken was cooked in. Add your teaspoon of balsamic glaze. Cook for 4 minutes. Take off the heat.

Now take your pine nuts and toast them for 5-7 minutes in a warm pan.

Voila!! Take your warm chicken salad and dish up onto a plate. Sprinkle your salad with the pine nuts.

Lastly, crumble over your feta cheese and sit back, relax and enjoy my friends!