Monday, 29 July 2013

Mackerel Pate with a Twist - Dairy Free

I like to think the red pepper and rocket is a big enough twist. This pate is pure goodness, packed with healthy ingredients and flavour - perfect to impress your parents and friends.

Ingredients (makes a lot - roughly 12 people as a starter)

- 3 small packaged mackerel fillets (or 2 medium ones)
- 1/4 red pepper
- 1 handful rocket
- 3 tbsp whizzed up coriander
- juice of half a lemon
- salt and pepper

1. Put all the ingredients into a food processor and blend until and smooth paste forms. 

Serve with oatcakes, bread or pumpernickel. 

Coriander, Date and Almond Pesto

The thing I love about making pesto is that you can just whack everything in, whizz it up, and it's ready. No chopping or prepping necessary.

Ingredients (makes 2 ramekins)

- 4 tbsp whizzed up coriander
- 2 dates, pitted
- 1 handful of almonds
- 30g parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 clove of garlic
- 2 cherry tomatoes
- juice of half a lemon
- 5-8 tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper

1. Thoroughly mix all the ingredients in a food processor. 

Insanely Delicious Pavlova Berry Ice Cream

This is my mum's creation, what a gem!  It's the easiest and quickest ice cream you will ever make.

Ingredients (serves 6)

- 1 Coop Berry Pavlova (or a similar equivalent)
- 3 meringue nests
- 5 handfuls of frozen/fresh berries, currants, or summer fruits (I used black currents and damsons)

1. Start by whizzing up the pavlova for 10 seconds in a magimix.

2. Then add the fruit and extra meringue. Whizz up until a smooth mixture forms.

3. Add some more fruit if you feel it needs some. Either place the ice cream straight in the freezer, or keep it in the fridge until 4 hours before serving, then place in the freezer. This way, it will still be slightly soft and more like a sorbet. 

This ice cream is great served with my Chocolate and Amaretti Cake (see posts below for the recipe).

Gherkin, Date and Broad Bean Salad with Goji Berries and Seeds - Vegan and Dairy Free

Picking and podding broad beans is so satisfying. Although it takes a while, and you're left with very little; what you get is so delicious and precious, that you cherish every bite. I love them in salads.

Ingredients (serves 4)

for the salad -

 - 5 handfuls of chopped lettuce
- 3 gherkins, chopped
- 4 dates, pitted and chopped
- 1 handful of broad beans (cooked like peas for a few minutes and left to cool)
- 1 handful of goji berries
- pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, linseeds and sesame seeds to sprinkle

for the dressing -

- 170ml olive oil
- 50ml balsamic vinegar 
- 1 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
- a pinch of sugar
- 1 tsp worcester sauce
- salt and pepper

1. Shake all the ingredients for the dressing in a jam jar until fully mixed and pour it over the scrumptious salad. 

Friday, 19 July 2013

Hello Healthy Houmous - Vegan and Dairy Free

This is a super easy recipe. I have used peanut butter as an alternative to tahini, as I feel it gives a better, softer flavour. Plus, peanut butter lasts for ages and is always available.

Ingredients (makes two ramekins)

 - 400g tin of soft chickpeas (I like to use TRS Asia Boiled Chickpeas) with 1/3 chickpea juice
- 2 tsp smooth peanut butter
- 1 clove of garlic
- juice of 1/2 a lemon
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- linseeds or paprika to serve (optional)

1. Blend all the ingredients in a food processor or using a hand blender. 

If you've never tried paprika on houmous, you must! It is a great addition to add flavour and vibrant colour. The other alternative is to sprinkle the houmous with linseeds or sesame seeds.

Mega Moist Flourless Chocolate Amaretti Cake

Don't you love it when you find a recipe that you know you'll use time and time again. This is one such recipe, from It is absolutely delicious and slightly healthier than normal chocolate cake because it doesn't contain flour. 

Ingredients (serves 8-10)

- 1 1/4 cup of amaretti biscuits (about 25 small ones)
- 3/4 cup almonds
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 a cup of unsalted butter, softened (about 125g)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 4 eggs
- 8 ounces good quality chocolate, melted
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla essence

1. Start by preheating the oven to 180°c and greasing a 9" cake tin.

2. Place the amaretti biscuits and almonds in a food processor and whizz until a fine meal forms. A bit of crunch is good! Put this mixture into a bowl, stir in the cinnamon and set aside.

3. Heat a little water in a small saucepan. Put a bowl on top of the saucepan and make sure that it doesn't touch the water. Break the chocolate into the bowl and stir until it's melted. Leave this to cool while you finish the rest of the cake.

4. Cream the butter and sugar in a food processor for a couple of minutes. Slowly add the eggs one at a time (with the motor running), and scrape down the sides with a spatular. 

5. Finally add the almond mixture and melted chocolate to the food processor, and stir in the vanilla essence. 

6. Pour the cake mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. 

This cake is great with creme fraiche, yoghurt and fruit.

Pigeon Breast with Beetroot and Parsley Risotto

This is another of my own recipes, complete fluke, but it definitely paid off. The subtle flavours of the beetroot and parsley compliment the pigeon breast, and the meat juices add someone special to the dish. 

Ingredients (serves 4)

for the risotto -

- a dash of vegetable oil
- one red onion, sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 200g risotto rice
- 2 tbsp red or white wine
- 2 handfuls of chopped parsley
- 3 beets without skin, roughly chopped, and 200ml beetroot water
- 600ml vegetable stock
- salt and pepper

for the pigeon -

- a little oil
- 4 pigeon breasts

1. If you are using fresh beetroot rather than 'ready made' packeted beetroot, I like to cook them in a pressure cooker because it takes less time (around 25 minutes). Cut off the leaves of the beets and place them in a pressure cooker or pan with a lid on, half cover them with water, and cook for 20-40 minutes. (NB: when they are cooked, hold them under cold water to remove the skins easily...they should just peal away). 

2. You can begin making the risotto when the beets have been cooking for 15 minutes. Place a little vegetable oil in a large pan or wok and add the onion and garlic. Cook these on a medium heat for a few minutes and then add the risotto rice.

3. Stir the rice until coated in the oil and pour in the wine. Gradually add the beetroot water (to give it colour and a little flavour), stirring the risotto frequently. Then do the same with the vegetable stock for roughly 12 minutes. Add the beetroot (if it is ready), parsley, salt and pepper, and cook for a further 5 minutes.

4. Whilst the risotto is finishing off, start to fry your pigeon breasts in oil. Cover the pan with a lid, this will help to produced some delicious juices from the meat. The pigeon shouldn't take more than 6 minutes (if you like it slightly pink), by which time the risotto will be done. 

5. Plate the dish up and pour over the lovely pigeon juices.

Stewed Rhubarb, Orange and Mint Smoothie with Homemade Flaxseed

 Ingredients (makes two small glasses)

- 1 banana, chopped
- 1 orange, peeled and chopped
- 2 tbsp stewed rhubarb (in water and a little sugar)
- 1 heaped tbsp homemade goji berry flaxseed (see recipe a few posts below)
- 5 mint leaves
- 1 cup apple or orange juice (optional)
- linseeds and yoghurt to serve (optional)

1. Start by making the stewed rhubarb. Cut up the rhubarb and boil up some water in a saucepan. Add the rhubarb to the pan and simmer on a medium heat until the rhubarb is soft. Strain the rhubarb and sprinkle a little sugar on top. Leave it to cool. (If you make more than you need you can eat it with yoghurt for breakfast or as a pudding. 

2. Place the banana, orange and rhubarb in a tall mixer and whizz up for a few minutes.

3. Add the flaxseed and the mint and mix until a thick paste forms. The rhubarb might be stringy so make sure it is fully mixed. 

4. This smoothie is quite thick so you might want to add some orange or apple juice. I put the glasses of smoothie in the fridge before serving (without juice), and ate them as a cold mousse pudding using a spoon. I also topped the smoothies with linseeds and yoghurt swirls. 

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Strawberry Overnight Oats with Homemade Goji Berry Flaxseed

Ingredients (for one)

- 1/3 porridge oats, roughly 30g
- 1 tbsp homemade goji berry flaxseed (see post below for recipe)
- 2 tsp flaked almonds
- 1 tbsp plain (with 1 tsp honey or golden syrup) or fruit yoghurt, I used Cranberry Activia
- 5 strawberries, chopped
- milk

1. Add all the ingredients apart from the milk to a suitable jar or glass.

2. Pour in 2 tbsp milk and stir everything thoroughly. The consistency should resemble risotto.

3. Place the glass in the fridge covered with cling film and leave overnight or for a couple of hours.

3. Eat in the morning straight from the glass!

Succulent Strawberry, Grape and Banana Smoothie with Homemade Flaxseed

Ingredients (for two glasses)

 - 1 banana
- 8 strawberries
- 2 handfuls of grapes
- 1 tbsp plain homemade flaxseed (see previous post for recipe)

Simply blend all these ingredients together in a food processor to make a scrumptious, fresh and healthy smoothie.

Homemade Flaxseed Recipes - Vegan and Dairy Free

I have previously bought my flaxseed from Holland and Barratt, but it seems to be quite expensive when you can make it easily yourself. Flaxseed can be added to almost anything and is packed with omega 3 and nutrition. I like to add it to overnight oats and smoothies.

Plain Flaxseed


- 50g linseeds (golden or brown)

1. Blend the linseeds in a tall food processor or blender until they resemble ground almonds.

Goji Berry, Sunflower and Pumpkin Seed Flax


- 50g linseeds (golden or brown)
- 25g goji berries
- 25g sunflower seeds
- 25g pumpkin seeds

 1. Blend all the ingredients in a tall food processor or blender until they resemble ground almonds.

It's all about the French Dressing - Mushroom, Date and Roasted Seed Salad - Mackerel, Apricot and Walnut Salad

This is the easiest dressing and it never fails in taste. It also keeps well in the fridge for a long time.

Ingredients for the dressing

- 1 tbsp good quality Dijon mustard
- 3/4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- good quality olive oil

1. Start by mixing the mustard and the balsamic vinegar in a jam jar or suitable container with a fork. 

2. Add the olive oil very slowly while constantly beating with the fork. Continue this until the dressing is runny enough to pour. It's as easy as that!

Simply add some chopped mushrooms and dates to your salad and top with a handful of roasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Finish off with the french dressing for a quick and easy lunch.

Try this dressing on some mixed lettuce leaves with olives, dried apricots, walnuts and tinned mackerel. Extremely healthy, delicious, and packed with omega 3.