Camping eggs

May was a particularly sunny and surprisingly warm month in the UK. To capitalise on the sunshine, I moved the “office” (basically just my laptop) to Devon for a long weekend, camping at a beautiful site near Hope Cove.

To save from eating out 3x a day, breakfast materials were sourced from a local store, the only shop for miles.

This high protein combination of eggs, mushrooms, spinach and tomato was really easy to cook in a single pan on a camping stove and was duly named “the camping breakfast”. It remains one of my favourite ways to start the day.

Ingredients for 2

6 eggs

a punnet of cherry tomatoes, halved

a punnet of chestnut mushrooms, sliced

Two handfuls of spinach

Butter

Sea salt and black pepper

Parmesan (optional)


Method

Crack the eggs into a bowl and whisk lightly.

Put the pan on a medium high heat and melt a good knob of butter. Throw in the mushrooms, season with sea salt and black pepper and cook for a couple of minutes.

Add the cherry tomatoes and spinach to the same pan, cook for another couple of minutes, season again with salt & pepper.

Push the veggies to one side of the pan, add a slice of butter to the empty side and pour in the eggs. Let it cook for a minute then scramble lightly. When the eggs are cooked to your liking, move some of the vegetables across so to mix the eggs and veg.

Divide between two plates, season with a pinch of sea salt and some black pepper and finish with a sprinkling of freshly grated parmesan cheese.

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Butternut squash and goat's cheese risotto with crispy sage

Few foods shout comfort quite like a creamy risotto.
It’s super easy to make and equally easy to bulk out with nutrients by simply adding a few extra veggies.
For me, risotto is something I enjoy making for friends, or having as a Friday night treat after a busy week. The addition of crispy sage leaves upgrades this dish to more of a crowd pleaser, adding crunch and extra flavour.

Hopefully you won’t be on the “too many carbs” bandwagon but in case it’s a concern, let me reassure you, the evening is actually the best time to eat things like rice & pasta. Carbohydrates are far easier to digest than protein so they allow you to sleep better.

 
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Ingredients to feed 2
1 small butternut peeled & cubed (350g)
sprig or rosemary finely chopped
2 unpeeled cloves of garlic
sea salt & freshly cracked black pepper to season
rapeseed oil for roasting

25g butter
200g risotto rice
1 finely chopped onion
1 bay leaf
750ml (approximately) of good quality vegetable or chicken stock
60g of goat’s cheese

leaves from a bunch of sage
1 tbsp coconut oil

Method:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
Put the cubed butternut squash on roasting tray, scatter over the chopped rosemary, drizzle with rapeseed oil, season with sea salt and black pepper and add the unpeeled garlic cloves.
Roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes until soft. Pay attention that the garlic doesn’t burn, removing it from the roasting pan a few minutes earlier if required.
Whilst the squash is roasting, make the risotto.
Put a pan on a medium heat, melt the butter and add the onion. Cook with a lid on for 5-10 minutes until the onion softens. Season with a generous pinch of sea salt and black pepper, turn the heat up to medium high and stir in the rice. Cook for a minute, stirring to prevent the rice from sticking. Add a good splash of stock and the bay leaf and reduce the heat to low.
Keep adding stock little by little until the rice is fully cooked (taste it to test it). Add a little bit more salt and pepper if required.
Remove the butternut squash from the oven and mash half of it with a fork. Stir into the risotto.
Squeeze the garlic from the skin and roughly chop if not separated. Stir this into the risotto too.
Take the risotto off the heat and stir through the goat’s cheese.
To make the crispy sage, put a piece of kitchen towel on a plate and heat the coconut oil in a frying pan on a medium high heat. Drop in the sage leaves and allow to cook for a minute or too until the leaves stiffen up. Take them out immediately and drain on the kitchen towel. The sage leaves should remain green but be crispy.
Divide the risotto between two bowls and scatter over the crispy sage leaves.

Chicken mole

Every now and then, I have a Sunday with not much to do apart from home related chores and general life admin. Although a slow Sunday is a rarity, I like to use the time efficiently, batch cooking a few dishes that don’t need much attention then freezing them for use as a “ready meal” for when I’m too busy to cook.
This tasty chicken mole recipe fits the bill so well, requiring time (2 hrs) but little effort to make.
Mole is a Mexican stew-like dish with mild chilli and a hint of dark chocolate to give it richness. I usually serve it with cauliflower or ordinary rice, a lime wedge and some fresh coriander.

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Ingredients (to make a big batch enough for 4-6 dinners)

For the mole paste:
2 dried ancho chillies - seeds & stalks removed, steeped in boiling water for 15 mins
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
50g raisins
100ml of the water the chillies are soaked in

2 onions, finely chopped
3 tsp cumin seeds
1.5 tsp cinnamon
a small bunch of coriander, stalks finely chopped and leaves set aside to garnish
1 small aubergine, cubed
4 chicken breasts
2 tbsp peanut butter
2 tsp chipotle paste
1 can of chopped tomatoes
1 can of water
1 heaped tablespoon of good quality cocoa powder or raw cacao
sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper to season
oil to cook such as rapeseed or coconut
a small red onion, finely sliced
1 lime

Method:
Put the mole paste ingredients in a blender and blend until completely smooth.
Put a large flameproof casserole or saucepan on a medium heat. Add the onions and a tablespoon or two of oil, pop the lid on the pan and cook for 3-5 minutes until the onion is soft.
Add the coriander stalks, cumin and cinnamon and cook for another minute to toast the spices. Season with sea salt and black pepper.
Stir in the aubergine, chicken, peanut butter, chipotle paste, the mole paste, chopped tomatoes and water, give it a good stir and season again with two good pinches of sea salt and some freshly cracked black pepper.
Bring to boil, turn down the heat to low, pop a lid on the pan and cook an hour to an hour and a half, until the chicken is easy to shred. Remove the chicken from the sauce, shred with a fork, return to the pan, add the cocoa and cook for another half an hour until the sauce becomes thick.
Check the seasoning and season again if necessary.
Serve topped with fresh coriander, sliced red onion and the juice of a wedge of lime.

Gingerbread biscuits

I have so much love for these gingerbread biscuits.
The ginger is not overwhelming, rather it’s a sweet crunchy biscuit with a hint of spice.
Given the time of the year I made them, gingerbread men were a fitting shape, but they work just as well as round, non-festive biscuits.

 
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Ingredients:
50g oats
30g flax or linseeds
30g coconut oil
40ml maple syrup
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
small pinch of sea salt
1/4 tsp baking powder

Method:
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C and a line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
Whizz the oats and flax in a blender or food processor until it turns into a flour.
Melt the coconut oil.
Mix all of the ingredients together and leave in the fridge for 15 minutes or longer. (This helps the coconut oil solidify, making the mixture easier to handle.)
Take a teaspoon of the mix, roll it into a ball then press it down until it’s completely flat. Use a cookie cutter to achieve the desired shape.
Repeat until all the mixture is gone.
Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. The biscuits should be lightly golden and firm.
They keep well for a couple of weeks in an airtight container.

Creamy salmon pasta

Some days, only a giant bowl of creamy pasta will do the trick.
The good news is, it’s not hard to make a pasta dish healthy, just simply add veg. The sweet spot is 3 different types, which would provide a bunch of health promoting vitamins and minerals.
This balanced bowl brings together wild salmon, courgettes, mushrooms and spinach in a lemon & creme fraiche sauce.
It’s so tasty and completely comforting whilst still being super good for you. 
As an added benefit, this is a 15-minute recipe.

 
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Ingredients (serves 2):
200g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 medium courgette, halved lengthways then sliced
Tbsp fresh thyme leaves 
2 wild salmon fillets
1/2 lemon
2 heaped tbsp (100ml) Creme fraiche 
180g conchiglie or pene pasta
Large handful of spinach 
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to season
rapeseed oil for cooking

Method:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
Bring a medium pan of water to boil.
Put the salmon fillets on a small roasting tray, drizzle with a small amount of rapeseed oil, season with sea salt and black pepper and roast whilst the pasta cooks (approximately 12 minutes).
Put the pasta in the boiling water and cook according to packet instructions.
Put a frying pan on a medium high heat and drizzle some oil in it. Add the courgettes, mushrooms, thyme and garlic and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Season well with sea salt and black pepper.
Drain the pasta, add it to the frying pan and turn the heat down to low. Take the salmon fillets out of the oven and set aside to cool slightly.
Add the lemon juice, lemon zest and creme fraiche to the pasta and season well with sea salt and black pepper.
Add the spinach and stir to wilt it in. Check the seasoning (by tasting the pasta) and season again if needed.
Divide the pasta between two bowls. Flake the salmon on top and eat.