Tag Archives: healthy

zesty and tangy summer chicken

4 Aug

From THE worst blogger in the world! I never seem to have enough time to do posts every day, not even once a week! Especially since summers in London are so short, I tend to say away from all technology, and I’m hoping this will pose as an excuse for my #noblognessdisease

asparagus

It has definitely caught up with me, since I’ve started to become a bit “low”, which is what happens when I’ve not been creative for some time.

I do hope this post will lift my spirits, and encourage your appetite!

 

mushroom

Zesty & tangy summer chicken

2 x teaspoons olive oil

season with Schwartz season all / chicken spice to taste

1 x pack of chicken thigh fillets

2 x tablespoons of capers

2 x handfuls of sliced button mushrooms

juice of a lemon

2  x handfuls of fresh oregano

2 x bunches of fresh, green asparagus

1 x red onion, finely chopped

2 x teaspoons of butter

30ml dry white wine

sprinkle of grana padano / freshly grated parmesan

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

mushroom onion

Heat the olive oil in the pan. While its heating up, season your chicken thighs with the season all / chicken spice.

mushroom asparagus

Cook the thighs about 7-10 minutes on each side, depending on their thickness. You want it to become crispy on each side.

Meanwhile, while your chicken is cooking, take another pan and melt the butter in it. Add your mushrooms and gently fry them. While you’re frying them, check your chicken thighs. As soon as it has cooked crispy on both sides, add your browned mushrooms to the chicken.

asparagus and oregano

Mix through and add half of the lemon juice. Allow to simmer for a minute or two and then add the capers and white wine.

Take the remaining butter and add to the pan the mushrooms were cooked in.

asparagus and onion

Cook the asparagus with the freshly picked leaves of the oregano in the butter, season with salt and pepper and allow to grill in the pan for a few minutes. Now add the finely chopped red onion and mix.

oregano

mushroom and asparagus

After frying slightly,  add the remaining lemon juice and white wine. Allow it to simmer away slightly, but make sure the asparagus doesn’t overcook, or it will be soggy. You want it to stay firm. Sprinkle over a little bit of freshly grated parmesan, and you’ll sing!

assembled chicken

All you do now is dish it up!

assembled chicken

If you feel like it, you can always lean over to the posh side and add a cheeky poached egg on top, either one is really tasty!

assembled chicken

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Buttering up with a butternut soup

18 Jan

butternut

London is in its typical winter mood. Icy cold, a bite in the wind that you cant shake off and that ongoing darkness. This will be something that our friends happily forgot when they moved back from Spain to London. True to my style, I wasn’t too happy to go outside today, seeing its weekend and all and its freezing!!!

butternut pieces

Glancing at my little vegetable stand, I had two butternuts peeking at me. Butternut soup? When last did we have that?! Well, needless to say, I just had to mention “butternut”t to the big old lion and he was sold!  I can’t say the same for my friend Franco. When I mentioned it, he half-heartedly pulled a face and mentioned that it is not really one of his favourites. I can tell you one thing, he ended up asking for seconds. I didn’t even manage to photograph the soup, it was finished before I got the chance to do so. New things DO happen daily in London! Just ask my new soup fan!

whole vegetables

Butternut, orange and coconut soup

2 butternuts, peeled and roughly chopped

Teaspoon olive oil

2 red onions, roughly chopped

1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin

250ml coconut cream or coconut milk

500ml chicken stock

juice of half an orange

1 teaspoon chopped garlic

salt & pepper to taste

red onion, vegetables, butternut soup

Gently fry the onions in the olive oil until soft and sweet. Add the butternut, salt, pepper and cumin. Mix through for about 5 minutes while it cooks and infuses with the onions.

chopped vegetables

Add the chicken stock. Allow to boil until the butternut is nice and soft.

coconut cream and stock

Now, add your coconut cream and mix through.

crushed garlic

Finally, add your orange juice, mix through. Blend till smooth with stick blender or blender.

cumin

soup

Serve with a squiggle of fresh cream drizzled in the soup and some warm, crusty bread.

soup

She’s always a “hearty” woman to me…

11 Jul

Today’s post was inspired by my beautiful mother, which includes the song -“She’s always a woman to me” from Billy Joel. There was a recent add on tv from John Lewis and the way that they portrayed this woman, with the song, was almost a replica of my mother. It depicts how she met her husband, got married, worked, started and fed a family and how her life turned out… tune in, I will attach the video to my blog, just so all of you will know what I am talking about. This is the wikipedia explanation for Billy Joel’s song: “She’s Always a Woman” is a song from Billy Joel‘s 1977 album The Stranger. It is a love song about a modern woman, with whom he falls in love for her quirks as well as her flaws. Now, just to clarify this, my mother has NO flaws! She is the most perfect woman, and oh how I am blessed to have such a mother!

Ever heard of having your heart connected to another with a long string? That is what it feels like to me, with my mother in another country. Till this day, it amazes the hubby how my mother and I are connected. One example? I asked my mother one afternoon in a email what she was cooking that night and it turns out we were cooking the exact same dish, without even speaking to each other. We share everything, from cleaning tips to “calming down after the toilet seat was left up again” and how to make a wilting, dying plant grow again and flourish! So, this brings me to the rest of the inspiration for today, “harvest diaries”, a book I am reading about the daily chores on a organic wine and fruit farm. The way the writer describes her day is so similar to my mother. From when I was little, everything my mother grew, always flourished. She would tend to the garden, make fresh delicious food, be a shoulder to cry on, be a career woman,wife, mother, sister, a friend and make all of it seem so simple and easy. She puts her heart in everything, and that is why this blog is titled “hearty” woman to me.

In winter, we would come home and you could hear the fire crackling, which she lit earlier and smell a lovely waft of homemade lentil soup and fresh bread and when entering the kitchen be embraced by her in a warm hug. This is beauty to me. She can enjoy anything and everything, mend anything, cook anything and it is all a picture of love and contentment. Of course, I could never be close to this, but, I now live for planting flowers, herbs and vegetables, making our house a home, to cook something simple and turn it into a feast, and all the while,not thinking about not being a stick and embracing my curves, pale skin and loud personality, because this is who I am, and all of this came from my mother ( and of course I have to say my father ;-p) She showed me what is important in life. So, in her words, when I am not particularly feeling like the beauty prom queen I am ( wink wink) look at yourself in the mirror and say “hello you drop dead gorgeous, beautiful thing!”

Well, I don’t need that anymore, because I know that certain things aren’t worth fussing about. I would rather fuss about my Lentil soup and try and figure out what I would add to make it taste like something magical happened in my kitchen ;-p So on the menu today, Red split lentil soup and home made bread 🙂 This one is for you mom, still know I won’t be able to top your lentil soup, but I might come close!

Homemade bread

125ml warm water

15g instant yeast

250g strong white bread flour

1 teaspoon of salt

3 tablespoons olive oil

twig of rosemary

3 sundried tomatoes

Mix your yeast into your warm water. Set aside and allow it to stand for about 10 minutes, until it starts creating a thick froth. Sieve your flour and salt into a bowl.  Mix together with the yeast and olive oil and put it in your mixing bowl with a kneading hook. Put the machine on low and keep it going for about 10 minutes, adding flour and warm water if neccesary. The dough is correct if you touch it and it springs back immediately. Now, rub a bowl with olive oil and rub the dough ball around it. Cover with a cloth and blanket and keep in a warm place for about 1 1/2 hours. Punch it back about 7 times and knead again for 4 minutes. Cover again and allow to rise double the size. Preheat your oven to 230 degrees celcius. Rub your loaftin with olive oil. Now place your dough in the tin. Push some rosemary sprigs in your bread, and put the sundried tomatoes on top. Grind some salt over. Now allow it to bake. It is done when it has a hollow sound when you tap it.

Red Split Lentil Soup

2 onions roughly chopped

4 cloves of garlic

1 tablespoon of sunflower oil

2 teaspoons of cumin seeds

2 teaspoons of curry powder

juice of 1 lemon

75g of strong mature cheddar, grated

4 teaspoons of red pesto

1.5 litre of vegetable or chicken stock

Grated parmesan for garnish

salt & pepper to taste

Heat a casserole saucepan with the oil and add your onion and cumin seeds. Fry for about 5 minutes and now add your curry powder.

Add your lentils and stock and bring to the boil. Squash your garlic slightly and add to the soup. After this, simmer your soup for about 30 minutes. Then, add the lemon juice, cheese and pesto and mix through.

Flavour with salt and pepper. Dish up, grate over some parmesan and enjoy with your freshly baked bread! Happiness! 🙂

And for those that would like to watch the add that I think resembles my mother, here you go 🙂

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYOsWWKHZVw

Colour me beautiful…because I’m worth it… (on a budget)

6 Jul

Colour! I am one of those that wake up in the morning and think of what colour I am going to wear… note, colour, not clothes! I believe that colour plays a great role in our lives. Who wants to wear black everyday!? For goodness sake, you’re not mourning your life away!! Besides the point, but whenever I have been on a budget, I will go and buy cheap, BUT colourful clothes and they have made me feel like a beautiful, spring flower! ;-p  After being at home for quite a while, I have relied on my colourful thoughts and creativity to come up with different and lovely colourful recipes.

I dare to say that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to enjoy colourful, delicious and beautiful food in your own home and this is a budget meal to prove it. We all deserved to be pampered.. and we’re all worth it.. aren’t we 🙂 This is where the hubby comes in…. Before we got married, he ate tuna almost every day. This also had to do with the fact that he was saving and unlike me will not spend most of his money on food… this reminds me again, all is not well up in my head. Anyway, there are a lot of things you can do with tuna, however, he is not really one for chopping and fussing and thinking about food the whole day like I do. When that beautiful tummy of his is full, he is happy, no jokes! Easy to please isn’t he! However, the hungrier he gets, the grumpier he gets, so no fantasizing about new recipes in his head!

After this loooooonng explanation, it comes down to the fact that half of our food cupboard is stacked with Tuna. And not just ANY tuna, note the “Tesco Value” label on the tuna tin ;-p…. wait for it… BUDGET!  This (most of the time) hungry man of mine, thought it quite clever to point it out to me that he can’t remember the last time he had tuna, which would imply the last time was probably before we were married! tsssk tssssk! This was definitely a suggestion ( in his own language) that we should start eating all this tuna. After all, some idiotic female singer once called it “chicken from the sea”, not that it is, but basically stating that there is a lot of protein in this. Healthy!

When I was small, my mom – and I’m sure most parents,  told me to eat my veggies and fruit because I’ll get bright, sparkly eyes, beautiful skin and hair like an angel…. (Not THAT magical, I thought it was like a magic potion and will turn you into a beautiful princess with long hair!) and stupidly enough, I still believe one little bite of fresh veg or fruit will make me beautiful!     ;-p What you put in you get out, right…. right?!!??

So after painting again, I almost wanted to paint with my food too!! I worked on this recipe in my head the whole day already…. cheap, crunchy, fresh, colourful and most of all, like the hubby would say… “beaaaauuuuuuutiful”!  Most of these ingredients all of you have in your fridge… besides radish. Probably the only reason why this was included in my choppy and cheeky tuna salad is because it has a beautiful pinkish-red colour!! I think this is one of the few vegetables that don’t really have a lot of taste, but combine it with the other ingredients and the apple and your hubby might think you put a spell in this special little bugger of a salad! Everything fresh and healthy, so no guilt here.. only more beauty! Watch out for the curly hair and rosy cheeks! After all, you’re worth it!  ;-p

1 pack of back bacon

1 spring onion

handful of cherry tomatoes, halved and halved again

1 carrot grated with a vegetable peeler

1 baby gem lettuce or any salad leaves of your choice

5 small radishes, finely sliced

1 apple, finely sliced

1 tin of tuna chunks in brine

handful of crumbled feta

Dressing:

handful of mint, chopped

5 tablespoons of olive oil

3 tablespoons of vinegar

3 tablespoons of mayonaise

1 teaspoon of wholegrain mustard

juice of half a lemon

salt and pepper to taste

Put your bacon on a tray and grill in the oven until crispy. Put aside to cool. Wash your lettuce and shred it in a beautiful bowl. Add your cherry tomatoes, carrots, radishes and apple. If you’d like, drizzle your apple with a little bit of lemon juice, it will prevent it from going brown.

Now break the tuna slightly apart to toss in your salad.

For the dressing, add all the ingredients together in a shaker and shake it all about!! If your bacon is cooled down by now, break it up in little pieces and scatter in the salad.

Toss the salad around with your hands. Lastly, drizzle over your salad dressing and enjoy with some lovely freshly baked ciabatta! 🙂

I smell something fishy …

2 Jul

Absolutely!! I am sure most of you have been thinking this, as well as the hubby when he walked into our house, coming home from work. It has been a few busy weeks, including starting to work again, having quite a few guests at our little humble abode, no time or strength to even THINK about photographing my food or writing my blog. We had friends from SA that came to stay and I was spinning in the kitchen!! Of course, no time for anything else.

I made a number of dishes, rich and with love and abundance and many ingredients. So, it was time to go back to basics. I had to create something fresh, light and uber healthy after our guests left…which hereby my friends, I introduce to you the boring,white (and FROZEN, if I might add) budget meal! Much to the hubby’s disgust. For once, he didn’t look quite too excited with his meal 😉 It must have been the King of the world’s food that he had been fed the last week. I don’t blame him. After enjoying his favourite, risotto, many other meat and potato dishes that he probably dreams about at night in his sleep, I present to him, wait for it….. the extremely overrated cod. Plain, pale and boring… very much like the british ;-p

Now, my friends, if you are used to enjoying lovely sole, Kingklip, even yellowtail, this is basically something rubbery that has absolutely NO taste! Yes, I was the devil woman that decided to make cod and feed it to my husband!! There is more…. after whispering words of love and encouragement to these little frozen pieces of white “fillets”, they seemed to open up to me and decided to play along and give me their best 🙂 And, as it turned out, they did! Bravo for the boring cod, putting it’s best “fin” forward!! 🙂 Follow the recipe, and you shall find that  something so utterly boring, turned into a little squeak of delight! Hope you enjoy it 🙂

4 pieces of frozen cod ( if you dont have cod, you can use hake)
olive oil
juice of one fresh lemon
2 handfuls of fresh thyme
1 tin of butter beans
2 cups of frozen peas
1 handful of mint, finely chopped
4 basil leaves, finely chopped
1 handful of feta of haloumi cheese
1 red pepper, finely chopped
handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
3 tablespoons of malt vinegar ( this is a sweet vinegar.You can also use normal vinegar and add 2 teaspoons of sugar to it)
1 teaspoon of chopped garlic
salt and pepper to taste

Take your tin of butter beans, put them in a bowl. Add the garlic, flavour with salt and pepper and mix through. Place foil in a tray and toss your beans onto the foil. Place your fish on the beans. Pour over your lemon juice, drizzle with a little bit of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of malt vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Now, place your thyme on top of the fish and cover with foil. Put in a preheated oven of 180 degrees Celsius and cook for 20 – 25 minutes until the fish flakes.

While the fish is cooking, prepare your veggies. Drizzle a saucepan with a little bit of olive oil and make sure it is nice and hot. Add red pepper to the pan and fry for about 5 minutes. Now add your peas and the remaining malt vinegar.

Now, peas always need a bit of help to enhance their natural flavour and that is when I discovered mint, tomatoes and basil. Add your mint, basil and tomatoes. mix it through so that it can absorb the flavours. Flavour with salt to taste.

Now add two tablespoons of olive oil and mix through and walla!! Serve it all up and enjoy! The flavours are all light and mild, but combined it is very pleasant.