Helpful, healthy food

So it’s that time of year again, when everyone goes on a health kick in prep for the warmer weather coming.

It’s not just about losing weight, eating healthy and exercising just makes me feel better in general. I’ve been doing quite well in the healthy eating department; however, it can get a little boring, so I thought I’d share with you all a couple of recipes that I’ve found on the way.

The first recipe is from the Philadelphia iPad app, which I’d definitely recommend! It has loads on there and breaks recipes down into the type of dish, for example pasta, chicken etc. So anyway, I decided to make Salmon with Philadelphia and Chive Topping.

It’s a super easy dish and is literally made by spreading garlic and herb Philadelphia on salmon, then mixing bread crumbs, lemon zest and chives together and adding them on top. It is then baked in the oven.

Salmon can be served with whatever really, for a healthy option I’ve tried new potatoes and salad, and also once with a baked potato.

20130314-202821.jpg

20130314-204902.jpg

Anyone that knows me or reads my blog, will probably know that I’m a Jamie Oliver fan! Therefore, my second healthy recipe is from his 15 Minute Meals, of which I have the book and app – both fantastic.

The meal is Grilled Steak, Ratatouille and Rice – it is a little more complex than the Philadelphia dish, but it’s still fairly straight forward. The steak is cooked on a griddle pan, the recipe states saffron rice, although I just used standard rice and then the ratatouille is basically all put together in one pan.

Ratatouille would be zero pro points on a weight watchers diet (I left out the anchovy), which is awesome because it really is where the flavour of the dish is! I definitely recommend you check it out!

20130314-204846.jpg

Healthy eating can be boring and dull, so these offer a bit of an alternative. I also wanted to share them because they’re quick to make and use proper ingredients.

What do you think to these recipes, are they something you’d try?

Advertisements

Steels – a local gem

I’ve been meaning to do a blog about Steels, the fish and chip restaurant in Cleethorpes, for a while now.

20130218-195743.jpg

When people think of the seaside they think of fish and chips, and Steels is definitely one of the best in this area. If you’re local, you’ll probably know how fab it is – if not, it’s certainly worth a visit if you ever find yourself this way on.

Today, we went for a family stroll across the seafront and couldn’t resist going there for some tea. It’s everything you expect from a fish and chip restaurant – yummy and traditional. They offer plenty of other things on the menu; however, I have to admit because the haddock and chips is so delicious, I usually stick to that! What I like best about the food, is that it’s good quality and not too greasy! The portion sizes are huge and the essential extras are included, such as lovely bread and butter as well as a pot of tea.

20130218-200411.jpg

20130218-200254.jpg

It’s a whole family pleaser and my daughter is a fan of the chicken nuggets and chips, followed by the ice cream that comes with a children’s meal. I also have to mention how helpful the staff are; the lady who served us today was so friendly, and spoke to our five year old as much as she did us! Today wasn’t a one off, every time we’ve visited the staff have been really nice.

20130218-200029.jpg

I wanted to write a post because people are always quick to moan about the area, and never highlight the good parts. We had a lovely day together and the restaurant is definitely a local gem!

Flip a pancake

Forget Valentine’s day, well at least for a moment, and show some appreciation for Shrove Tuesday!

This day was originally a time when people would use up all of their ingredients before they give up foods for lent; however, for most of us now, it’s about having an excuse to scoff yummy pancakes and not feel guilty about it!

20130212-173707.jpg

I adore pancake day, there’s something really nostalgic about it! I get taken right back to being in my kitchen as a child, standing and admiring my mum flip them up in the air. And now, I’m lucky enough to be able to re-live this with my daughter!

For me they have to be made from scratch! I really feel that if you use pre bought batter or even worse, a ready made pancake, then you’re really missing the beauty of the day. This year my daughter was bought a frog shaped pan, which made them extra interesting when cooking 🙂

I love all different toppings but I must have at least one traditional, with lemon and sugar or syrup.

Here are a few pics of our pancake day..

20130212-173801.jpg

20130212-173934.jpg

20130212-173959.jpg

20130212-174100.jpg

20130212-174242.jpg

20130212-174115.jpg

20130212-174138.jpg

20130212-174152.jpg

20130212-174216.jpg

Hope you’re all enjoying pancake day 🙂

15 minute meal

Those of you who follow me on Instagram will know that last week I attempted my first recipe from Jamie Oliver’s 15 minute meals.

I received the book for Christmas and couldn’t wait to give it a try – I made Golden Chicken with braised greens and potato gratin.

Here’s the pic from the book.

20130121-121107.jpg

The ingredients are fairly simple for this recipe, which is why I thought it would be a great starting point ( and because it looks delicious). Now I have to be honest on reading the book alone I was a little confused – there are points when it’s not clear how you get from one stage to the next. However, I downloaded the 15 minute app to double check the recipe and I was away. The app works well with the book; it has a photo scan feature which enables you to take a photo of any page and it comes up with a recipe card, which has extra tips on it.

20130121-121617.jpg

The meal probably took me around 30 minutes, although I wasn’t rushing and can see how after cooking this dish a couple of times it would become quicker! Besides I think even 30 minutes for a nutritious, tasty dish is good.

This was my finished result and it has to be said it was a family pleaser, with my boyfriend and daughter both claiming how yummy it was! The chicken has plenty of flavour, while the greens make you feel healthy and the gratin is a real treat – perfect combo!

20130121-122533.jpg

My top tip would be not to tackle this without a food processor, otherwise it would be more like an hour than half! Also when I make it again I’d definitely flatten the chicken a bit more. I wanted to serve it up on a board, as Jamie does but with a five year old I imagine I’d be finding peas for weeks!

20130121-123110.jpg

20130121-123139.jpg

The ingredients are below but if you’d like further details on how to create this recipe, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

20130121-123455.jpg

My Coca-Cola Christmas Truck Win

So the time has come for me to share with you my absolutely amazing weekend.

20121211-144700.jpg

20121211-141648.jpg

If you saw my last post, you’ll know that I received an exciting phone call informing me that I’d won a competition to ride around London in the Coca-Cola Christmas truck. Plus much, much more! Only finding out a week previous it all seems to have happened like a whirlwind.

One thing I can tell you is that it was one of the best weekends of my life, it was just fabulous! Me and my Mum set off on Friday on a first class train to London, and was greeted at Kings Cross by a driver who drove us to the fabulous Sheraton Park Lane Hotel (all paid for by Coca-Cola).

20121211-144806.jpg

After a quick freshen up we was taken to a secret location, where the famous Coca-Cola Christmas truck was hiding. Upon our arrival the lights were glowing and the famous holidays are coming song was playing, which really kicked in the excitement. At this stage we also met the team and the driver, who were all lovely and really looked after us. A professional photographer took some photos of us outside and inside the truck, which I can’t wait to see!

As we set off on our journey it was fabulous, everyone was taking pictures and was so happy to see the truck; particularly at Piccadilly, where the crowds got really excited – it was quite overwhelming. You realise how much everyone loves the Christmas truck and how iconic it is, upon seeing peoples’ reactions. The famous landmarks of London also looked beautiful all lit up at night. It was truly a once in a lifetime experience and I feel so privileged to of had the opportunity.

20121211-203717.jpg

20121211-203822.jpg

As if that wasn’t enough we were then dropped off at the OXO Tower Brassiere, which is situated upon the Thames, where we had our meal paid for. It has a lovely atmosphere; nice with beautiful food but without being pretentious. We enjoyed a couple of cocktails before the meal and was greeted with a table in the window, which had a lovely view. We then had a car to drive us back to the hotel.

20121211-203923.jpg

20121211-204003.jpg

20121211-204059.jpg

Once the morning came we went for breakfast in the hotel, after pinching ourselves to make sure Friday night actually happened of course. Literally across the road from where we were staying was green park, we went for a stroll and within a five minute walk there was Buckingham Palace. Me and my Mum couldn’t believe how nearby we were! The weather was nice so from there we decided to take a walk over Westminster Bridge and have a ride on the London Eye. It was a really nice, chilled out morning, which seems a strange thing to say about our busy capital.

After the London Eye we walked back passed Big Ben and Westminster Abbey, in order to reach Victoria Street. As this is were the west end show, Wicked, is situated which was also part of the prize. The production was absolutely amazing and we had fantastic seats; I now feel like I know the true story of Oz. It was a brilliant end to a brilliant weekend, and to end the trip we had a car pick us up with our cases to drop us back at Kings Cross station.

20121211-204201.jpg

Me and my Mum both thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and we can’t thank Coca-Cola and Lucy, who was looking after us, enough. I’d definitely recommend entering these types of competitions, it was such a lovely treat to share with my Mum!

20121211-204406.jpg

Pizza and entertaining kids

Those of you who are parents, will know how difficult it can be getting kids to enjoy their tea!

If I’d known how much Olivia, my daughter, would enjoy making pizza’s we’d have definitely made them sooner!

20121001-202134.jpg

20121001-202611.jpg

I cheated a little with shop bought bases, mainly because it was a work/school night, and it would be quite timely making the dough from scratch. However, on a weekend we are going to have a go at that too!

I bought a tomato and garlic purée for the base then prepared some toppings for us to load them up with. We had pepperoni, olives, red onion, red pepper, tomatoes, sweet corn, cheddar cheese and goats cheese.

20121001-202920.jpg

The great thing for kids is that they have the freedom to put whatever they want on their pizza, and can make fun shapes like smiley faces 😀

They only take 10 minutes to cook in the oven too, so there’s not much waiting around for little, hungry bellies.

20121001-203110.jpg

These are very filling, fun for kids and adults alike and leave empty plates.

With half term coming up, why not give them a try?

20121001-203159.jpg

Philadelphia – spaghetti carbonara for one

20120620-203205.jpg

It doesn’t happen often, but tonight I only had myself to cook for; I downloaded the philadelphia recipe app a while ago, so I decided to give the spaghetti carbonara a try!

20120620-203813.jpg

The recipe is for six people, therefore I simply reduced the amounts. Recently, at a Jamie Oliver party, I won a tool which measures spaghetti correctly for one, two or three people. It sounds simple but it really has come in useful, as I always end up cooking far too much, and it’s also great for sizing individual portions.

20120620-204636.jpg

Firstly, I put the spaghetti in a pan to boil – whilst this was bubbling away, I fried a little bacon in the pan. To be honest, I’m not really a fan of bacon, but I do appreciate that it adds flavour to the sauce so I added it anyway. I usually put courgettes in my carbonara, so I put these in the pan with the bacon. Once they had browned off a little, I added some vegetable stock as the recipe suggests.

20120620-210750.jpg

The sauce is really easy to make! You simply whisk the egg yolks with the light Philadelphia, because I was cooking for myself I only used 30g of Phili and one egg yolk. Once the pasta was cooked, I drained it, and added it to the pan with bacon, courgettes and veg stock. I then combined it all with the sauce.

20120620-211217.jpg

Now it is all coming together, I finish with a good sprinkle of parmesan, salt and pepper. The recipe suggests adding parsley, but I’m not keen on the flavour so I added a couple of basil leaves. This really is a tasty dish, and much nicer than I expected! It will definitely be cooked again as it’s perfect for one or the whole family!

20120620-211626.jpg

Jubilee Round Up

I hope you’ve all had a fab jubilee!

I’ve had a really busy one – if you have read my previous posts you will know that I had my little girls birthday party Saturday and a spa day on Sunday. This was followed by a lovely BBQ yesterday and chilling today watching the royal family with a buffet style tea.
I’m not usually one for posting my pictures from instagram but seen as I have a few in the spirit of the jubilee I thought it would be nice.

20120605-185347.jpg

20120605-185422.jpg

20120605-185445.jpg

20120605-185538.jpg

20120605-185600.jpg

20120605-185629.jpg

20120605-185654.jpg

20120605-185724.jpg

20120605-185747.jpg

20120605-190705.jpg

Hope you’ve all had a good time, it’s lovely how everyone has got into the spirit of it all!

Chicken and leek pie

20120516-195828.jpg

I have been making this pie for a couple of years now, it was a recipe I got from ITV’s This Morning but after a while it has just become second nature and a tea we have fairly regular.

After rave reviews, even from my four year old, I thought I’d share it with you all.

Ingredients – chicken, white wine, pouring cream, tarragon, chicken stock, leeks and pastry.

I’m not great with weights when I cook and just tend to throw things in until they look about right. I used left over chicken from a roast dinner I had the day before, so its great for using up leftovers!

Firstly, I sliced and washed the leeks then added them to a pan with chicken, once the leeks had sweated a bit I added the white wine. As a guide I buy one of the miniature bottles and use it all; when it comes to wine I only add it to food if I’d drink it, if it’s not nice to drink it won’t be nice in your food either. I leave this to simmer a little so the alcohol is reduced.

Next add the chicken stock, of course real chicken stock is best but I didn’t have any on hand so just added an oxo cube. This can be crumbled straight in or mixed with water, it depends how you prefer the texture of your pie.

To finish the filling I add the cream, tarragon and season.

20120516-195636.jpg

I place the filling in individual pie dishes then add pastry to the top. This time I have been naughty and used shop bought pastry; I think homemade is nice and gives you pride in the finished product but for a quicker tea, shop bought is fine and tastes just as good.

Finally I bake it for 30 minutes and serve with mash and veg.

20120516-200643.jpg

What do you think, what’s your favourite filling?

Free School Meals

Just a very quick post today;

Following the news that free school meals are being cut, I’m asking my lovely readers to sign this petition click here.

I don’t usually bring politics into my blog post but I have found this news to be completely shocking!

We all understand that we need to make cutbacks but this shouldn’t be at the cost of our children’s wellbeing. Free school meals mean the only hot meal of the day for some children in poverty, and taking that away is so morally wrong! For me it is that simple, hot nourishing meals make happy children and thought-provoking brains.

Some people do abuse the benefit system, but there are many that claim them through no fault of their own whether that be due to lack of jobs from the recession or suffering from an illness, the fact is their are plenty of people who rely on this money. And why should our children be the one’s to suffer?

I’d like to point out this is not something which affects me directly, just something I feel strongly about!

I have read a lot of controversial comments about this and difference in opinion which people are obviously entitled to, all I ask is if you support free school meals then please sign the petition.