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

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.

15-minute pesto chicken & quinoa

A healthy dinner doesn’t need to take hours to prepare, especially when you get home starving.
This 15-minute pesto chicken & quinoa recipe ticks many nutrition boxes (low carb/ high protein, 3 portions of veg & lots of nutrients) but uses some shortcuts or “cheat” ingredients to get the job done quicker.
If you have an extra 10 minutes, it’s easy enough to cook your own quinoa and make your own pesto (recipe here). If you don’t, try and look for a pesto with no added sugar and use plain pre-cooked quinoa.

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Ingredients to feed 2:
2 chicken breasts (ideally organic), sliced into thin strips
1 pack of chestnut mushrooms (250g), sliced
1 pack of baby plum tomatoes or cherry tomatoes (250g), halved
250g packet of pre-cooked quinoa
2 handfuls of rocket
3 tablespoons of pesto
rapeseed oil to cook
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to season

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a frying pan on a high heat. Add the chicken and mushrooms, season well with sea salt and black pepper and cook until the chicken is fully cooked through, approximately 10 minutes.
Add the halved tomatoes & quinoa, season again with sea salt and black pepper and cook for a minute or two to heat through. Stir in the pesto, cook for another minute then divide between two plates, top with rocket and eat.

Chipolatas, lentils & tomato

Lentils and sausages are a great comforting combination, perfect for the colder evenings.
This version is completely fuss-free but still contains plenty of those all important nutrients.
The recipe also works with vegetarian sausages, just adjust the cooking times according to packet instructions.

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Ingredients to feed 2:
6 high welfare chipolata sausages
2 red onions, peeled and cut into wedges
150g dried green lentils cooked according to packet instructions or a 250g pouch of ready cooked puy lentils
500g tomatoes, I used a mix of cherry & ordinary tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
a heaped teaspoon each of fresh thyme and chopped rosemary
sea salt and black pepper to season
good quality rapeseed oil to cook
a handful of parsley to serve

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Put the sausages and onions in a roasting tray and roast for 15 minutes.
Whilst the sausages are roasting, cook the lentils if using dried ones. Pick the leaves from the thyme and rosemary and chop the rosemary leaves finely.
Chop any large tomatoes in wedges, leave cherry tomatoes whole.
Add the tomatoes, herbs and garlic to the pan, season well with sea salt and black pepper, drizzle with rapeseed oil, stir well and roast for a further 15-20 minutes until the chipolatas are completely cooked through.
Stir in the lentils, season again with sea salt and black pepper and return to the oven for 5 minutes.
To serve, divide the mixture between two plates and sprinkle over a small handful of parsley.

Sweet potato, turmeric & carlin pea soup

I haven’t been this excited to share a recipe in such a long time.
There is a really good reason: this particular one is incredibly tasty.
It’s also full of all those flu-fighting, immune boosting ingredients that come in super handy this time of the year.
If you can’t find carlin peas, most beans make a good substitute, however, if you can, they are worth hunting down since they add more bite and contribute a pleasant nutty flavour.

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Ingredients (to serve two but you may want to double it up)
120g carlin peas, cooked according to packet instructions
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 large sweet potato (440g), peeled & cubed
1 large carrot (200g), peeled & chopped
1” piece of ginger, peeled & roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 chilli, deseeded & roughly chopped
20g raw turmeric, roughly chopped or 1 tsp turmeric powder
200ml coconut milk
300ml of vegetable stock
1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
rapeseed or coconut oil to cook
coriander to garnish (optional)

Put a large saucepan on a medium heat.
Add a tablespoon of rapeseed oil and the chopped onion and cook for 5 minutes until the onion has softened.
Stir in the garlic, turmeric, chilli, ginger, sweet potato and carrot, season well with a couple of generous pinches of sea salt and a freshly ground black pepper. Stir well, cook for 2-3 minutes then pour in the coconut milk and enough stock to cover the ingredients, approximately 300ml.
Turn the heat down to medium low, put a lid on the pan and simmer for 15 minutes.
Allow the liquid to cool slightly, transfer to a blender and blend until smooth.
Return to the pan, stir in a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and the cooked carlin peas. Check for seasoning and season again if necessary.
To serve, divide the soup between two bowls and garnish with fresh coriander.

Aubergine and spinach dhal, roasted butternut, crispy garlic

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Perhaps it’s the influence of the recent influx of vegetarian clients but I seem to be going through a bit of a veggie phase.
Whilst I know fully plant-based doesn’t suit me, it’s nice to discover predominantly vegetarian dishes that are easy to adapt to most tastes. If you really can’t do without the extra protein, for example, then just put a grilled chicken breast on top of this dhal, or keep it as it is and embrace the vegan dinner.
Aside from being ridiculously tasty, this aubergine and spinach dhal also keeps well so make a big batch and you’ll have lunch for days.

Ingredients to feed 4 (or 2 plus 2 lunches)
250g red lentils, rinsed
1 medium aubergine, cubed, (350g approximately)
100g spinach, washed and roughly chopped
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeds scraped out, cut in half lengthways then sliced
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 tin of coconut milk
2 + 4 cloves of garlic, sliced
thumb sized piece of ginger (50g), peeled then grated
2 green chillies, pierced
1.5 tablespoons of medium curry powder
2 teaspoons of turmeric
a bunch of coriander, stalks finely chopped, leaves set aside
sea salt and black pepper to season
rapeseed oil to cook

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C, put the butternut squash slices on a roasting tray, drizzle with some oil, season with sea salt and black pepper and roast for 30-40 minutes until fully cooked.
Whilst the butternut is roasting, make the dhal.
Place a large saucepan on a medium heat with 2 tablespoons of rapeseed oil.
Add 2 cloves of sliced garlic, the grated ginger, the 2 pierced chillies, and cook for 3-4 minutes until fragrant. Add the curry powder, turmeric, coriander stalks and aubergine and stir well. Cook for a couple of minutes then stir in the lentils, chopped tomato, coconut milk and 200ml (half a tin) of water. Season with a couple of pinches of sea salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.
Bring to boil, turn the heat down to low and allow it to simmer gently for 20 minutes. Stir every now and then to ensure nothing sticks to the bottom.
The consistency should be similar to porridge and the lentils should be soft.
Stir in the spinach and season again with sea salt and black pepper.
To make the crispy garlic, heat a tablespoon of oil in a small saucepan on a medium-high heat. Add the 4 cloves of garlic and cook until golden in colour (a couple of minutes). Remove with a slotted spoon and put on a sheet of kitchen towel to remove the excess oil.
To serve, put a couple of ladles of the dhal in a bowl, top with roasted butternut squash slices, crispy garlic and a handful of fresh coriander leaves.