Put Some Music In Your Food – Pulled Chicken Reggae Stew

Your Monday morning alarm pulls you away from that warm beach with the waves gently washing over your feet. A quick glance out of the window brings you back to reality as it’s raining and you can see the wind making the trees sway. There’s nothing quite like a miserable cold day in England to get you geared up for a week at work!

There are always ways to cheer up dull days like this, and food is one of them! Give yourself something to look forward to when you get home; Something that doesn’t need lots of preparation. Guess what… I’ve got just the ticket! Pulled Chicken Reggae Stew. Oh yes! Thank you Mr Levi Roots 🙂 A prepare-ahead, easy, warming bowl of comforting goodness! You’ll have your feet up in no-time and ready to take on the rest of the week.

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I don’t have any specific rules to follow when making this dish. It’s great for using up leftover veg in the fridge and it doesn’t have to be chicken either. Mix it up a bit! Pork, Fish, Beef… Experiment! That’s the beauty of Reggae Reggae sauce, it goes well with almost everything. If you are using fish, there is no need to dig the slow cooker out as it will only need 20 minutes when you get in from work. Otherwise, chuck in as much veg as you can, whatever meat you have decided to use, pour over a bottle of Reggae Reggae, turn the slow-cooker to medium and leave your worries at the door. When you get home, the wonderful smell of spices will fill your nostrils and your mouth will water in anticipation! Choose your accompaniments, and tuck in! On this occasion I boiled brown rice with water and truffle oil and served with a generous helping of fresh spinach. Another favourite of mine is to have the stew with sweet potato wedges. The natural sugars in the potatoes fit perfectly with the heat from the sauce. Absolutely delicious!

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What are you waiting for? Go and buy yourself a bottle of Levi’s magical sauce and get adventurous in the kitchen!

Serves 2 (With Leftovers)

Ingredients –
– x2 Skinless Chicken Breasts (Can use thighs too)
– 1 Carrot, roughly chopped
– 1 White Onion, roughly chopped
– 1 cup of Frozen Peas
– 1/2 Fennel Bulb, diced
– 1 jar of Reggae Reggae sauce
– Salt and Pepper to season
– 1/2 tsp of Dried Chilli Flakes (optional if you like it HOT)
– 1 packet of Chestnut Mushrooms, roughly chopped
– 1 cup of Brown Rice w/ Truffle oil (optional)
– x2 handfuls of Spinach
– Few sprigs of Basil to garnish (optional)

Place the chicken breasts in the slow-cooker along with the chopped carrot, onion, peas, fennel, chilli flakes, salt and pepper. Turn dial to ‘Medium’

Pour the Reggae sauce over the top and swill the remaining sauce left in the bottle with a little water. Pour this over the chicken too and mix all ingredients together. Place the lid on the dish and leave to cook until you get home from work. Mix in the chopped mushrooms and leave for another half hour whilst cooking the rice.

Once the rice is cooked, thicken the reggae sauce with a little cornflour and water if it’s showing a loose consistency and leave for a couple of minutes whilst you plate up the rice and spinach.

Pull the meat apart with 2 forks and ladle the beautiful stew over the rice. Garnish with a few basil leaves and tuck in!

If it’s a little too spicy, you can always accompany with a spoonful of natural yoghurt to cool the tastebuds.

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Delicious! Next time, I’m going to be using king prawns with chopped pineapple and flatbreads. In fact… it won’t hurt to put some music in my food 2 days in a row… Why wait!

As always, please let me know what you think 🙂 or if you have any ideas/improvements.

Love and Lemons xxx

Bombay Chicken w/ Roasted Cauliflower, Spinach and Brown Rice.

Whoever said Indian delights are purely for weekend indulgences? I’m just going to get straight to the point with this recipe and keep it short.

Forget ringing the local takeaway or turning to the reserve jar of Masala stored at the back of the cupboard. This recipe is going to introduce you to beautifully juicy chicken encased in a wonderful explosion of flavours. If that hasn’t got you listening, then this will… It’s not only delicious; it’s healthy! Yes you heard me. Bombay style chicken that tastes naughty, but is far from it!

I must have been living in a bubble the last 26 years of my life because I have only just found out that you can microwave uncooked popadoms instead of frying them! Why has this only now been brought to my attention?! A big crispy disc to scoop up the leftovers, without the oil or fat. WIN! It doesn’t get much better than that.

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Rub your chicken and cauliflower with the spices, then slide in the oven. Boil your rice, make the mint yoghurt dressing, and pile your plate full of fresh spinach. You’re all set to go!

When the chicken is 5 minutes away from coming out of the oven, prepare your poppadoms and scoop the rice onto your spinach. Stand for a minute to take in the smells drifting their way to your nose from the wonderful Bombay surprise; letting your mouth water in anticipation.

Cut the chicken into strips and lie on the rice along with the roasted cauliflower. Drizzle the yoghurt in an artistic fashion around the plate and dig in!

I cannot wait to cook this again. It can be a struggle some days to stay healthy and motivated during the week, but with recipes like this, there is no excuse. It’s so simple and quick. I guarantee all the family will love it!

Delicious and nutritious! Squeezing some lemon juice onto the spinach will help your body to soak up all the essential nutrients more effectively and the sneaky roasted cauliflower can almost be disguised for those non-believers, as it is covered in gorgeous flavour. Cauliflower is usually at the bottom of my veggie list, but rubbed with the spice and roasted until just cooked (still crunchy), has converted me slightly. I dare you to give it a go 🙂

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Once again, Jamie Oliver has surpassed himself and converted a much loved Saturday night takeaway dish into a guilt-free dish for any time of the week. Put down the Local Indian Restaurant’s menu and get in the kitchen! You won’t regret it 🙂

It makes a great sharer for when you’ve got friends or family over! Lay it all out in the middle of the table and let people help themselves. What a conversation starter! It looks impressive and you’ll wow everybody in the room.

For the recipe, please check out Jamie’s Everyday Superfood. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Everyday-Super-Food-Jamie-Oliver/dp/0718181239/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1444217622&sr=8-1&keywords=jamie%27s+everyday+superfood

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I’m slowly working my way through the recipes and I have not been disappointed yet.

I truly believe that a healthy lifestyle and food is the key to being happier inside and out J I automatically reach for foods that will nourish me from head to foot. Healthy does not have to be boring, and Jamie certainly proves this.

Don’t eat healthily because you have to. Eat healthily because it’s delicious.’ – Jamie Oliver

http://www.jamieoliver.com/healthier-happier-you/

Love and Lemons xxx

Honestly Healthy 3 Day Cleanse

You will have seen in a previous blog that I have become a huge fan of Natasha Corrett and her way of thinking about food. She has inspired me to research into the Alkaline Diet and the lifestyle that comes with it. There is a link further down from the Telegraph about the Cleanse 🙂

I can’t claim that you’ll be a convert and live a beautifully healthy life with ease, but I know for me, Natasha has encouraged me and helped me tackle my relationship with food.

For a couple of years now, feeling bloated and in pain has become a regular occurrence after eating. I’m left feeling tired and drained of energy. Because of this though, I have read up a lot on different ‘diets’ and lifestyles, tested many recipes and developed my love of food. I am even doing short courses in diet and nutrition, and sports nutrition. I’ve adapted my lifestyle and eat a lot healthier, as well as exercise regularly. I have felt an improvement in my energy levels and the way I generally feel but my bloating and occasional pain has stayed to haunt me.

Keeping a food diary was my wake up call. It’s clear that I have a sensitive stomach and I needed to see what foods I consumed frequently. I knew that most of the things I ate were healthy, but I didn’t quite realise that the majority of my intake was carb and dairy related. The obvious conclusion was to eat more plant based food! Everything I make is from scratch using fresh ingredients, but half of my plate would be full of white rice, pasta or potatoes. Just being aware of this and reducing the portion sizes of these has made a massive difference. I feel much better now that white bread/pasta/rice has been swapped to wholemeal and takes up less space on my plate. And I LOVE sweet potato! Why had I not been eating this before!

When I came across Natasha Corrett, I bought her book straight away. The recipes were accessible, easy and delicious! She showed me that it doesn’t have to be a challenge to get more plant based produce into my daily life. I didn’t have to eliminate anything from my diet. I just had to swap the ratios around. For those that know me, you’ve seen the amount I can stack away sometimes! Never ending pit…

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This brings me onto the reason for this blog in the first place… The Honestly Healthy Cleanse.

3 days of soups, smoothies, and juices. When I saw this, I instantly told myself that it wouldn’t happen. There’s no way I could live off liquid for 3 days! My desire to constantly eat would take over and I wouldn’t get to the end. But after reading a little more on the reasons for doing a ‘cleanse’ and the benefits, I decided to give it a go. The boost of nutrients nourishing my body would help improve my skin, my hair, give me a glow, help get rid of water retention, reduce bloating, increase my energy… oh the list goes on. There wasn’t a reason I could think of not to do it! It’s only 3 days… how hard can that be! I drink a smoothie for my breakfast every morning already. I eat soup as well (might be accompanied by a big slab of buttered bread… but that’s not the point ha!)

I did have to make sure I prepared everything a day in advance because there wasn’t enough time first thing in the morning before work to start chopping veg for a smoothie. They tasted just as good kept in the fridge overnight until ready to drink.

Give this a read and see what you think 🙂 There are recipes attached too! http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/11307754/Cleanse-your-body-with-the-alkaline-diet.html

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If I said it’s been plain sailing, I’d be lying. I found it tough at first. Not because I was hungry, but because I felt as though I needed to physically chew something. I haven’t felt hungry once! That was my biggest fear. I’ve even had to skip a few of the mid-afternoon snacks because I just couldn’t manage anymore liquid! Everything I’ve tasted has been delicious too! In the day, I never gave my soups and smoothies a second thought, but when it came to the evenings, I struggled. The other half would make himself dinner and sit next to me whilst I was slurping my soup. The smell from his food would send me insane! But I got through it because I knew how proud I’d feel that I had accomplished the Cleanse and I was looking forward to seeing what a difference it made. In all honesty, I never craved junk food once. What I really looked forward to was the act of chewing and a variety of flavours in one meal instead of your whole meal tasting the same.

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On the first day I felt a little irritable because I was battling with myself. Half of me wanted to give up and admit defeat. I tried to tell myself that I didn’t need to do it and it was pointless. But the other half of me was really intrigued as to whether there would be any benefits. My curiosity won! Thankfully!

It became a little easier on the second day as I was trying soups I’d never had before. Discovering new flavour combinations is wonderful! I was also very surprised at how full I felt! I had to skip the mid-morning juice and ended up having the mid-afternoon smoothie for my evening meal instead of the soup I’d planned to have originally. I can normally consume a fair amount of food! So this was a shock because I didn’t actually want or need anything else. Sitting and watching cookery programmes and reading through my new cookery books was a breeze too! I may have starred longingly at a few of the photos (particularly Jamie’s Everyday Superfood Mushroom Curry *drools*), but it never once made me feel like faltering. I went to bed tired and with a headache but feeling good.

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As I never managed to finish all of the allocated soups and smoothies the previous day, I skipped making the mid-afternoon smoothie as I knew I wouldn’t need it. I was correct. Thick blended soups really do keep you full! Good job really! I’d be making claw marks on my desk with my fingernails by now if not! I couldn’t get hold of any gluten-free oats for my breakfast smoothie, so I unfortunately had to use regular ones (does this mean I failed?). As mushrooms are one of my favourite foods, I was actually really looking forward to tucking into a big bowl of mushroom soup for my dinner and curling up on the sofa to watch the Great British Bake Off final! Not to mention the excitement at being able to eat solid food the day after! The mushroom soup isn’t on the Cleanse but I stuck to the Alkaline way of eating and created it to replace some of the suggestions Natasha makes. I can’t say I’m a fan of Cauliflower, although mixed with Pink Peppercorns, it does sound delicious (Page 38). Maybe I’ll give it a try next time!

Because I’m a glutton for punishment, I made the decision to carry on with the soups and smoothies for breakfast and lunch Thursday and Friday. Each soup I cooked made 2 portions so I wanted to make sure they didn’t go to waste J And as I already drink smoothies for my breakfast, I just chose some more from the Honestly Healthy Cleanse book. The 1 of the solid evening meals I chose was adapted from from the Cleanse. I savoured every single mouthful! Nutritious and delicious!

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What you really want to know is whether I felt a benefit to all of this…. And the answer is yes! I feel great! I’ve had a few comments on how good my skin looks and that I have an added bounce in my step. The few spots I had form being run down have faded and I’ve even lost a few inches! What’s not to like! But the main reason for the Cleanse was to give my stomach a rest from constantly digesting solid food and it has really helped. I haven’t felt bloated once and haven’t needed to undo that top button of my trousers after every meal! Just consuming liquid isn’t something I can do on a regular basis (and I don’t suggest anybody else does either), but every couple of months, I believe this is a great way to ‘Cleanse’ and put yourself back on the right track; with your mind as well as your body. Natasha recommends this cleanse of a weekend so you are relaxed and can focus your energy into really looking after yourself. It’s a great idea! I went to work every day and this made it harder because sometimes when you are having a stressful day at work, you don’t want liquidised kale! It just doesn’t cut it! My will power and determination stuck with me though and I’m glad 🙂

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There were certain ingredients that I couldn’t get hold of, so these were either substituted or left out altogether. Unfortunately, living in Stoke doesn’t lend itself to ‘exotic’ powders and ingredients! *dreams of big city life* They can all be ordered online with forward planning though! I did however take a sachet of pro-biotic everyday alongside the Cleanse. You’ll often see yoghurts with this as an added ingredient. It is a good bacteria that helps give the digestive system a boost and aids a healthy gut. I found it to really help and will continue to take every couple of months to make sure everything is working the way it should. If you’ve got IBS, taking this could really help reduce your symptoms (alongside a healthy diet of course).

Let me know if you decide to give any of the Cleanses in the book a go! I would love to hear from you! I’ll be following these as a guide throughout my food journey and discovery and I hope they help many others just like me to realise how easy it can be to really look after yourself no matter what your circumstance, budget, reason, lifestyle.

Love and Lemons xxx

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My Week – No Caffine/Solid Food (3days)/Alcohol/Dairy/Wheat or Gluten/Meat/Sugar/Processed Food

Day 1:

– Breakfast: Green Smoothie (Page 31)
– Mid-Morning: Red Juice (I don’t own a juicer so bought a pure red juice from supermarket)
– Lunch: Carrot + Coriander Soup (Adapted from Page 41 Carrot + Lime Soup)
– Mid-Afternoon: Avocado Smoothie (Page 57)
– Dinner: Spicy Butternut Squash Soup (My own, message me for recipe)

Day 2:

– Breakfast: Carrot + Tumeric Smoothie (Page 31, Acquired taste!)
– Lunch: Yesterdays leftover Butternut Squash Soup
– Dinner: Chia Green Smoothie (Page 33, Really good!)

Day 3:

– Breakfast: Kale & Oat Smoothie (Page 56, Swapped Spirulina for Matcha Powder)
– Mid-Morning: Green Juice (Shop Bought, pure)
– Lunch: Broccoli, Celery & Dill Soup (Page 42, Delicious! Chop Dill up finely unless you want it wrapped around your blender!)
– Mid-Afternoon: Fig & Almond Milk Smoothie (My own, message me for recipe)
– Dinner: Mushroom & Hazelnut Soup (My own, message me for the recipe)

Day 4:

– Breakfast: Beetroot & Blueberry Smoothie (Page 56, used shop bought red juice instead of beetroot)
– Lunch: Yesterdays leftover Mushroom Soup
– Dinner: Garlic, Kale & Spinach w/ Poached Eggs (My own, message me for the recipe)

Day 5:

– Breakfast: Beetroot & Blueberry Smoothie (Page 56)
– Mid-Afternoon: Peppermint Tea
– Lunch: Leftover Broccoli, Celery & Dill Soup (Piece of seeded toast w/ coconut oil)
– Dinner: Sweet Potato & Fennel Seed Rosti w/ Baked Eggs (Adapted from Page 110)

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RESTAURANT REVIEW – BIRMINGHAM – The Village, Moseley

    thevillagemoseley.co.uk

 It’s a Sunday afternoon and you’re sick of going to the same self-service carvery your parents used to take you too. All those sad shrivelled vegetables and large cardboard ‘yorkies’ filled with lumpy gravy. A quick scan of Google produces a multitude of choice, and purely for location to begin with, I clicked onto ‘The Village’.

The website is smart and instantly gives the impression that they offer much more than your standard meat and two veg dinner usually on the Sunday menu. To make life easier, you can book online straight from the website. There was only one slot left when I booked so this gave me another confidence boost in choosing the right place. Busy = Popular. Popular = Good (hopefully!)

After a quick glance at the electronic menu, I was sold! There are alternative menus specifically for those with intolerances. Top-marks so far!

You walk through the door and instantly feel at ease. The décor has a vintage twist and there’s character popping from every corner. The only things missing were waiting staff in braces and barmen in bowler hats. Maybe there’s an idea…

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A quick glance around the room gave me a good indication of the clientele. The room was full of all types of people. It’s suitable for families, friends, and couples… There are sections for large groups, seating at the bar, café area and intimate tables. Depending on the day and the time, the atmosphere changes and the purpose of the restaurant changes too I imagine. Friday night drinks after work, first stop on a bar crawl, Sunday lunch stop with the family. It seems to cover all ground.

Once seated, a cheerful member of staff handed us clipboard menus and took a drinks order. Hot chocolate in jam-jars and tea in cute patterned cups. Great touch! Even a piece of homemade cake on the saucers to start off the feast.

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Unfortunately, there were a couple of choices we picked off the menu that the kitchen didn’t have; roast beef lunches and the steamed mussels. Apologies were given and we changed the order. To begin, the homemade chunky hummus w/ balsamic glaze and fresh pitta was by far the most delicious starter. Each dish was well presented with generous portions. I ordered the whitebait along with 2 others in my party. They were perfectly cooked and beautifully crispy. The pate was velvety with just enough to satisfy until the main course. We didn’t have to wait too long either as it came promptly considering how busy they were.

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During the wait, I found myself raising my voice to be heard over the music. Saturday night before heading for drinks, or a quiet Sunday lunch with family? Hmm. We all gathered around one side of the table like campers huddling for warmth. It made dinner more intimate but the noise levels weren’t very appropriate for a lazy Sunday afternoon lunch.

A second lot of drinks were ordered and the main attraction arrived. 3 waiting staff served a table of 6, but not once during the meal were we approached asked if everything was ok. The steaks came first piled high with delicious looking huge onion rings. I’d order the steak just for those! Both meals were requested to be cooked ‘medium’ but came out ‘rare’. Not an issue for the people eating them, but they were not cooked how asked.

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I chose The Village because of the Sunday Lunch option and sadly I was left disappointed. As were the other 2 people in my group who ordered them. A great selection of vegetables were served in bowls for the middle of the table, which I cannot fault. It was the meat that let the meal down. The chicken was completely dry and overcooked. My partner had to leave over half of it. Even the gravy couldn’t save it. The pork was a slight improvement but still chewy and flavourless. A member of staff who we assumed to be the floor manager was flagged down and my partner gave some feedback on his meal. A quick uninterested sorry was given before she scurried off to carry on what she was doing. This left my rather annoyed at the service after such a good start.

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It seems as though the regular everyday menu is much more practiced and I advise meals to be chosen from that. The goats cheese tart was full of flavour and received high praise.

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Overall, I believe top marks could be rewarded if a little more attention was paid to small details.

I will visit again as I think a second chance is deserved and I can see the potential. Next time, I’ll visit on a Friday or Saturday evening for dessert (they looked simply delicious) and drinks as I think this will be when the bar thrives.

Price – Reasonable (Roughly £110 for 6 people – Starters and mains)

Service – 6 out of 10

Atmosphere – 7 out of 10

Food – 7/8 out of 10


TOTAL – 20/21 out of 30

Chicken Skewers w/ Yellow Pepper Sauce & Quinoa

Most of us have been in that situation where we’ve come home after a session at the gym, or stumbled through the front door after that long run, but then make the wrong food choice for dinner; such as cheddar cheese on toast (because oh! I really can’t be bothered to cook, just give me something quick!). I used to fall foul of this a lot, especially in the mornings after my workout before heading to the office. I’d grab some toast on the way to work or tuck into a huge bowl of pasta for my dinner!

Doing a little research and following my nutritional studies, I began to realise how important these post-workout meals were. I now make sure I have the right choices in the house whether I am rushing to work or spending the evening preparing a feast. Keep a stock of homemade or good quality oat, seed and nut bars for breakfast! Think ahead and make smoothies to store in the fridge. They are a great on-the-go breakfast asked full of protein, vitamins and minerals to help repair those aching muscles.

The blog isn’t all about this way of thinking though so I won’t bore you anymore! But I will post a Blog somewhere along the line about good and bad food choices, so stay tuned if you’re interested! Or drop me a message if you’d like to discuss more.

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What did I come here for today? CHICKEN SKEWERS… That’s what! A brilliant quick and easy meal jam packed with nutrients to help heal muscles and refuel your body full of energy. Just look at some of those ingredients above. Can you feel the health?!

Chicken is a great source of protein and a brilliantly lean meat if you are looking to keep the calories down. It’s so versatile and can be used in virtually every recipe! In this particular instance, I chose to grill the skewers for quickness (and because my skillet isn’t long enough!), but if it’s a lovely summer’s evening… Get in the garden and fire up the BBQ, invite some friends around and have a feast fit for a king!

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As you can see, my creation doesn’t quite look like Jamie’s in the book above, but that doesn’t matter! Adaptation and variation are what lead to new creations and wonderful adventures in the kitchen! I do have to admit though, I’m not sure how Jamie managed to get his sauce so yellow! That’s impressive! Don’t let your pepper char….

In my last Blog, I mentioned Jamie Oliver’s new book ‘Everyday Superfood’, and this is a recipe plucked straight from there. First one I’ve made and I cannot wait to make some more! Fear not Vegetarians! There are some amazing meat-free options to choose from. The Mighty Mushroom Curry with Red Lentils, Brown Rice and Poppadoms will be on my dinner table next week without fail! I’ve only just eaten and my stomach is grumbling for more.

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If you have never eaten quinoa before, let me just tell you how good it is for your body! It has all the essential amino acids that we need making it very high in protein. Naturally gluten-free. Magnesium. Good for your metabolic health. Bursting with antioxidants… Do I need to go on? Even if you don’t fully understand what all of these do, you can just tell they are working wonders with every mouthful.

It can taste quite bland if just eaten on its own, so mixing it in a salad or accompanying it with other flavour packed ingredients is recommended. In this instance, I rubbed the mould (ramekin) in truffle rapeseed oil and then pressed in the quinoa. The tiny seeds/grains soaked up the oil and scented the plate beautifully. This little addition took the dish to a whole new level. I went from amateur cook to gourmet chef in seconds!

Are you ready to nourish that body and get those tastebuds tickled?

RECIPE (Exclusive!)
Serves 2
40 mins

  • 150g regular,  black or red quinoa (I used regular as it’s more widely available)
  • 1 fresh yellow or red chilli (I used red)
  • 2 yellow peppers (I used 3 small)
  • 4 spring onions
  • 1 glove of garlic
  • 2 tbsps cider vinegar
  • olive oil (I used rapeseed)
  • 2 skinless chicken breasts
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1/2 ripe avocado
  • 2 sprigs of fresh coriander
  • natural yoghurt; optional (I didn’t use)
  • truffle oil (my optional extra)

Cook the quinoa according to the packet instructions, then drain.

Dressed the chilli and peppers, quarter the peppers, and put both into a shallow 25cm pan on a medium heat.

Trim the spring onions and add the whites to the pan (reserving the green tops). Peel, slice and add the garlic, along with the vinegar, 1 tablespoon of oil and a good splash of water.

Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or until soft and sweet, stirring occasionally. Decant the contents of the pan into a blender, blitz until smooth, then season to perfection.

You can cook your skewers in a hot non-stick frying pan, griddle pan or even under the grill at full whack. Slice the chicken lengthways into 2cm strips, and chop the greens of the spring onions into 2cm chunks.

Checking that your skewers will fit inside your frying, griddle or grill pan, divide up the chicken and spring onions, weaving the chicken around the onions.

Strip the thyme leaves over the skewers, lightly season, drizzle with 1 teaspoon of oil and rub all over, then cook for around 8 minutes, or until the chicken is golden, charred and cooked through.

Meanwhile, peal and slice the avocado.

Pack half the quinoa into a small oil-rubbed bowl (this is where I used my truffle oil), the turn out onto a plate and repeat.

Divide the yellow pepper sauce, sliced avocado, coriander leaves and chicken between your plates, then tuck in.

This is delicious with a dollop of yoghurt on the side too, if you like.

CALORIES – 549kcal
FAT – 19.8g
SAT FAT – 3.3g
PROTEIN – 42.4g (Yes… Check that out! 46g per day is recommended for the average women)
CARBS – 53.5g
SUGAR – 14.6g
FIBRE – 4.3g

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Now you’ve had a sneak peak into Jamie Oliver’s Everyday Superfood, get  purchasing. You won’t regret it if you’re looking to maintain a healthier lifestyle.

Love and Lemons xxx

Cinnamon Fruit & Nut Granola

Have you often walked around the supermarket and stood in the breakfast isle a little too long trying to decide what to buy? If you’re health conscious and understand food labels, you’ll be staying away from the artificial cereals that contain sugar and salt. You’ll be trying to look for something satisfying that won’t hinder either weight loss or a healthy lifestyle. This can be difficult! Especially when there are so many tempting alternatives trying to draw you in.

My problem was sticking to the same breakfast each morning. I got bored with what I was eating. It’s good to constantly change the flavours you are consuming and to keep your tastebuds interested. Have a smoothie one morning, a bagel the next, delicious granola the day after that. The best thing about this… you can make them all at home! You know exactly what is going in to the food you are eating; nothing artificial. If you’re brave enough, you can even make your own bagels! (If you saw my post a couple of months ago, you will know that this is not something I am very good at…)

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Granola… Now this is something I can make! And I believe it tastes 100% better homemade than the shop bought variety! Each time you make it, it will taste different and that’s the beauty of it! No bowl is ever the same 🙂

Once you’ve given it a whirl, you’ll be making many variations and storing them ready for the breakfast on the go pots, the lazy weekend mornings in bed, the early morning office meetings… you get the picture.

Here’s a simple recipe to get you started if you’re a newbie, and if you’re already a pro, this granola is particularly good (if I do say so myself).

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Makes 1 large jar

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups of oats
  • 1 cup of chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup flaked almonds (or whole, chopped)
  • 1/2 cup flax seed (optional)
  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup of chopped dried dates
  • 1 cup of chopped dried figs
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp agave or maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Method:

  • Add all dry ingredients to a large bowl. Mix well.
  • Melt coconut oil, syrup, cinnamon and ginger. Add to dry ingredients. Mix well.
  • Spread evenly on a baking sheet and place in a pre-heated oven for 30-40 minutes at 180C.
  • Keep turning the granola so it toasts evenly and does burn!
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  • Stir in dried dates and figs.
  • Store in an air-tight container to keep fresh.

SERVING SUGGESTION (My favourite way to eat Granola) – Yoghurt of choice in a bowl, fresh fruit chopped up, a sprinkling of chia seeds and a big tablespoon or 2 of granola on top. Delicious! And keeps you going until lunch! (Most of the time…)

You can try many different variations depending on what dried fruit and nuts you have in at the time.

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There is so much goodness to be soaked up when eating homemade granola. You can add ingredients depending on what your desired outcome is. Need an energy boost in the morning? Post-Workout granola? Feeling fruity? In need of an injection of iron? Or vitamins? Or protein? You can tailor your granola to serve a particular purpose as well as leave your tastebuds tingling and your tummy satisfied.

If you have a requirement but aren’t sure what ingredients fulfil this, please get in touch. I would be happy to help. Would love to help in-fact 🙂

With my next batch of granola, I will post my variation. At the moment, I am swaying towards dried apricots, pistachios, and vanilla. My mouth is already watering at the thought! I haven’t even tucked into this jar yet! You’ll never be able to call breakfast dull again!

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Love and Lemons xxx

Homegrown Produce & A Weekend of Jam Making

Sitting in the garden on a summer’s evening, the sun glistens on the cherry tree’s dew from the recent downpour. You can count on the beautiful UK weather to keep the plants refreshed. It’s almost possible hear the small berries soaking up the water and turning into a beautiful red ball of deliciousness ready to be picked. These are to the left of me, and to the right, green bean stalks are slowly crawling up bamboo shoots. If you look closely enough, you can see the first signs of bean life. One of my favourite things is to pick the pods straight out of the garden and eat the peas inside raw. The crunch and flavour they hold is delicious.

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Amongst these in my garden there is a mixture of delights being nurtured; including strawberries, blueberries, broccoli, tomatoes, pak choi, salad, asparagus, spinach, onions, basil, lemon balm, oregano, thyme, chives, mint, rosemary, parsley, sage, and fennel. Some of these are growing wonderfully, ad others not so much. Have you ever tried to grow asparagus? We definitely haven’t had an edible crop yet, but this is the fun of homemade produce! Sometimes it works, and sometimes it’s a disaster!

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Growing your own fruit and vegetables is wonderful. You don’t have to have a big garden with lots of space to do it either! You don’t even have to have a garden! Think of how lovely a box full of scented herbs would look in your kitchen window. I’m lucky enough to have a ‘gardener’ i.e. The boyfriend, to sow seeds and tend to the produce living in our back garden. And… just a short walk down a path, leads to open land behind our house, and that leads to rows of bushes full of juicy blackberries screaming to be picked. It is this little walk that leads me to this blog post. What do you do with a basket full of the sweet berries… you make jam of course! That is exactly what I did.

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The rhubarb season has already been and gone so only the remains of this can be seen poking out through the freshly turned soil. It was a good crop this year, so I saved each stalk, cut it into bite size pieces and froze it for a rainy day. Today has been half rainy, half sunny, so I’ve used that as an excuse to defrost and turn the beautiful fruit into jam just like the freshly picked berries. If I’m doing one type of jam, I may as well go for it and do two. Seeing the finished product in jars and cooling on dining room table puts a big smile on my face. I can say that the jam has been lovingly created from homemade and handpicked fruit. It feels wonderful and I can’t wait to share it with friends and family.

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I have taken two traditional flavours and given them a little modern twist. That additional touch, I believe makes all the difference and sets the jams apart from any of the others currently half eaten in my kitchen cupboard.


Jar 1 – Blackberry & Vanilla

Jar 2 – Rhubarb and Ginger


There’s something quite therapeutic about watching berries burst when exposed to heat and the smell of rhubarb as it fills every room in the house with a wonderful scent.

Usually I would decorate the jar with a hessian cover and ribbon, which will happen at a later date… But I just couldn’t wait to share these with you, so you are seeing the bare product, fresh from the stove. I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t nearly drop the jars a few times due to the heat of the glass whilst trying to take photos! If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll see the decorated finished product soon enough! So keep your eyes peeled 🙂

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Recipe 1 – Blackberry & Vanilla Jam (Made x2 medium jars)

Adapted from ‘Grandma’s Special Recipes; Jams, Jellies & Preserves’

Ingredients:

– 450g Blackberries

– 450g granulated sugar (I used white)

– 2 tbsps lemon juice

– 1 tbsp vanilla extract (Needs to be good quality)

Method:

– Sterilise a couple of jars and leave to dry or place in oven on a very low heat.

– Put the berries into a pan (not aluminium) and place over a low heat until soft. Press fruit lightly with a wooden spoon during this stage so the juices are released.

– Add the sugar, lemon and vanilla and stir until all ingredients have dissolved.

– Turn up the heat and boil until setting point is reached. (It’s easy for the jam to burn if left so keep stirring regularly.)

(Note: the temperature at which jam sets is 104C/219F, so if you have a sugar thermometer, hook it to the side of the pan. If not, place a small plate in the fridge to cool whilst the jam boils. Drop a blob of jam on cold plate and place back in fridge for a minute. If jam wrinkles or doesn’t close back up when a finger is run through it, it’s done.)

– Spoon into jars and seal tightly. Leave in a safe place to cool before storing.


Recipe 2 – Rhubarb & Ginger Jam (Made x3 medium jars)

Adapted from Ruby Tandoh’s column in ‘The Guardian’

Ingredients:

– 600g rhubarb, chopped into 3-4cm chunks

– 600g granulated sugar (I used a mixture of white & golden)

– Juice of 2 small lemons

– Chunk of grated ginger (Amount depends on your preference. I used 2 tbsps.)

Method:

– Sterilise jars and leave to dry or put in a warmed oven.

– Mix rhubarb, sugar and lemon juice in a large pan (not aluminium) and put over a low heat.

– Mix in grated ginger and heat until mixture starts to soften.

– Let jam boil for roughly 10-15 minutes (stir regularly).

(Note: the temperature at which jam sets is 104C/219F, so if you have a sugar thermometer, hook it to the side of the pan. If not, place a small plate in the fridge to cool whilst the jam boils)

– After about 10 minutes, check the temperature or place a small blob of jam on the cool plate and put back in the fridge for a minute. Run your finger through the jam and if it wrinkles or doesn’t close the gap again, it’s ready to be jarred.

– Leave to cool for 15 minutes, the pour into sterilised jars. Leave to cool in a safe place before storing.


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In no time at all, you have a collection of jars cooling, ready to spread on the eagerly awaiting Monday morning toast, or stirred into creamy porridge. Brilliant pick-me-ups for a long day in the office.

Already started planting those seeds and walking the paths finding berries? Thought you might have 🙂

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Until next time…

Love and Lemons xxx