Thai pumpkin and lentil soup

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I love this one because it is so easy to make, with just two cooking steps, but rich in taste.  Here goes:

Fry one chopped onion in 3 tbs sunflower oil until soft, then add:

  • one pumpkin, washed, not peeled and chopped in approx 2 or 3 cm cubes (after seeds are scooped out)
  • 600 ml chicken stock
  • one orange or tangerine, cut in 4 pieces
  • 2 or 3 carrots, sliced
  • 40g of your favourite curry paste, preferably yellow
  • one 400g coconut milk

Let cook gently for 25 mins until pumpkin and carrot are soft, then add one small tin of lentils and cook further for another 5 mins.

Once ready add a little cream (optional) and cream with a hand blender.  Add some water if required.

Add 20 g of chopped coriander.

 

Spicy quick chicken a’ l’arrabiata.

 

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Mix together:

  • 5 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs dried origano
  • 1 tsp hot paprika powder (to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp chicken spice (optional)
  • juice of one lemon
  • 150 ml white wine (optional)

pour the above over 4 chicken breasts or thighs and bake in a 230 oC oven for 45/50 mins.  Nothing could be easier or tastier!

Tip: serve with roasted pumpkin as in above.

 

Trouble free spelt lasagne

Lasagne

Lasagne does not need to mean unhealthy and lots of work.  Try this easy version:

Fry  2 red roughly chopped onions until soft in 2 tbs of olive/sunflower oil, then add the following and cook for around 6 mins, stirring often:

  • 400g lean mince meat – you can substitute with soya mince – follow the pack directions accordingly
  • one aubergines cut into small cubes
  • one courgette sliced in half and then 5 mm slices
  • 2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • some chilli to taste
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp cumin seed  and 1 heaped tsp coriander seed
  • 1 tbs dried mixed italian herbs
  • 1 tbs ground flaxseed (optional)

After the 6 mins, add:

  • 2 tinned tomato cubes
  • 500 ml beef stock (made from organic cubes)

and simmer for 35/40 mins.

Prepare and cook lasagne by following the instructions on the spelt lasagne packet (250g) – it usually does not require any pre-cooking and needs 35 mins at 200oC.  Top with a layer of grated cheese to taste before baking.

Quick and tasty broccoli muffins

Broccoli muffin

Mix the following in a blender, pour into paper cupcake cups and bake at 200oC for 40 mins or until beautifully golden brown.  I thought this would make a great healthy and fun variation on the broccoli patties by baking rather than frying them.

  • 2 boiled (or shh… microwaved) potatoes
  • 300g steamed broccoli
  • 100 g grated cheese of your choice
  • 2 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1.5 tsp sea salt
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 6 tbs ground flaxseed – for a great healthy twist

Serve with fresh green salad and a side mix of half ketchup, half mayo – although I found the muffins tasty enough not to require the latter.

Probably the easiest but tastiest salad dressing you could make

Put in a blender, or just cut into small pieces and mix thoroughly, the following:

8 tsp extra virgin olive oil

1.5 tsp sea salt

1 bunch fresh mint

1 bunch fresh coriander (you can also use parsley if coriander is not your thing)

some flaxseed (optional)

3 or 4 spring onions

juice of one lemon

You can spread the above on a normal green salad, or delicious on a bed of grilled aubergines or courgettes.

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Easy pesto, made even healthier with flaxseed

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Pesto is extremely easy to prepare, and I added ground flaxseed to this version for those extra health points.

Blend together in a food processor or a blender:

2 cloves garlic, peeled
50g ground (or let grind in the food processor with the rest) flaxseed
50g lightly roasted pine nuts
50g grated parmesan cheese
150ml extra virgin olive oil
3/4 tsp sea salt, to taste
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
large bunch fresh basil, leaves plucked
some lemon juice, optional and to taste

Easy summer quinoa and salmon salad

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Quinoa is all about what you mix it with, and this quick recipe blends the following healthy ingredients nicely.

You will need:

1 chopped cucumber

Half an iceberg lettuce, chopped

200g sugar snaps or any other similar crunchy vegetables, cooked 5 mins in lightly salty boiling water

150g quinoa – follow the pack for instructions on how to cook (I cooked for 8 mins and then added the sugar snaps and cooked for a further 5 mins, to save on time and effort)

300 g baked salmon at 210oC for 12 mins, sprinkled with ground sea salt and pepper

Mix the above, and sprinkle with some olive oil and serve with a side dressing very easily made from:

250g creme fraiche or yogurt

15g dill

 

 

 

Quick but delicious oven roasted asparagus

 

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Asparagus is healthy and easy to cook, but also easy to get wrong.  The following takes literally 5 minutes to prepare and is ideal as a starter or even a snack.

You will need:

  • 400-500g asparagus
  • generous amount of olive oil
  • 1 heaped tsp sea salt
  • 2 gloves garlic, finely chopped
  • bunch of fresh Melissa/lemon balm leaves
  • ground black pepper
  • balsamic vinegar

In a small bowl mix the oil, chopped Melissa, garlic, salt and black pepper.  Arrange the asparagus on a sheet of baking paper on a tray and cover with the oil mixture.  Spray or sprinkle some balsamic vinegar.

Bake at 220oC for around 20 minutes or until the asparagus is done and slightly golden.

If lemon balm is not available, use some lemon juice instead.

Delicious and quick onion soup

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I am not a big fan of onion soup, but his recipe did it for me.  The only work involved is peeling and slicing the onions in rough slices.

You will need:

  • 1 kg onions, peeled and slices
  • some olive oil and 30g butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 10g of fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1.5 litre boiling water and 2 vegetable cubes
  • 200g tortellini (not fresh)
  • ground pepper and salt

Fry until caramelised the onions, sugar and thyme in the oil and butter over medium heat.  After around 10-15 minutes the onions will start to caramelise and then add the water and cubes and cook for around half an hour.  Finally add the tortellini and cook for the amount of time indicated on packet.  Season with salt and pepper.

Makes around four servings, but will probably be enough for two if taken as a main.

Easy Lasagne Salad

ImageThis is one of my favourites, easy to make, looks great and can be eaten cold, so excellent if you have friends over and juggling time with other dishes.

  • packet of basil, lightly cut in pieces
  • approx. one garlic clove (pressed)
  • 8 tbls olive oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 6 tasty tomatoes cut in thin slices
  • 2 mozzarellas, also in thin slices
  • 1 packet lasagne pasta
  • 1 pack rucola or any other fresh small salad

Mix the basil, garlic, olive oil, salt and tomatoes and allow to stand.  Cook the pasta for around 8-9 mins in salty water.

Starting with a layer of pasta apply the basil mixture followed by the mozzarella and rucola.  Apply another layer of pasta and do the same.  Finish up with a pasta layer, seasoned and topped with cheese of your choice, preferably parmesan.

For those who are lactose intolerant, you can replace mozzarella with goat cheese and works just the same.

Serves 4, as a starter.