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

A little Feastival Magic

It really doesn’t have to be a difficult process, something you have to really think about or a struggle. Healthy eating can become a natural part of your everyday life. Gain the knowledge of what foods you need to eat to maintain that perfect body health and the rest will fall in to place.
I’ve always fought back when I haven’t needed to and slipped into bad habits many times. I now know this is because I have never bothered to educate myself enough. Since starting a nutrition short course, I have become much more confident in living a healthy lifestyle. There is so much information out there on diets, what foods you should/shouldn’t be eating and a constant shower of celebrity figures trying to educate you in their way of life.

Not one size fits all. You need to find what suits you best, and what you think you’re most likely to maintain as a lifestyle. No FAD diets allowed!

 

I found myself camping under the stars bank holiday August eagerly awaiting the delights Jamie Oliver & Alex James’ Feastival had to offer. If you’re a big foodie like me, it’s not to be missed! This year there was a bigger focus on healthy foods and living (which I absolutely loved!) Some of the workshops really gave me a boost and a positive feeling about my health journey ahead. Natasha Corrett (who I have already blogged about) gave a talk and demonstration towards the end of the weekend and I think I may be an even bigger fan now! She’s realistic and doesn’t believe in denying yourself of delicious food as long as you have the right balance.

 

‘Eat healthily 70% of the time, then the other 30% of the time, you can eat what the hell you want’

That was a line that I was happy to hear. And one that I stand by too. You don’t need to be extremely strict with yourself. This can lead to you not enjoying food anymore and it having a negative impact on your daily life.

I will definitely be doing some more research into Natasha’s way of thinking and trying out more recipes. I’ve bought her new book and can’t wait to get stuck in! I can guarantee you’ll be seeing more of her recipes adapted in here soon 😊

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As well as Natasha, the Helmsley sister’s did a demonstration which I unfortunately missed but I recommend trying out some of their delicious recipes!

It seems as though my blog post has deviated from the original subject of chicken skewers to inspirational people influencing and encouraging my journey to better health.

So, whilst I’m on the topic, Deliciously Ella has played a big part in changing my view and introducing me to alternative recipes for everyday living. I first came across her when I first started looking into setting up a Gluten Free Bakery. My love for her developed passed this and I now look forward to seeing new recipes and the enthusiasm she shows for what she believes in. If you haven’t already, I recommend reading Ella’s book as it gives some wonderful recipes! Just flicking through the pages makes you feel nourished! I’ve already got the next book on pre-order!


During the Feastival weekend, I sadly missed Gizzie Erskine’s demonstration and didn’t manage to see her walking around.  Healthy Appetite is her latest book and really does teach you that the right food choices is exciting and delicious; most definitely not boring!

My cookbook shelf is looking a lot different to what it used to! It’s gone from pies and cakes to health and nutrition. This is way I would like it to stay permanently now. I like the look of the bright covers with glamorous ladies photographed on the front helping me to believe it is all possible!

Between all of these, I cannot forget about my ultimate guru Jamie Oliver (and the reason I first started going to Feastival). Jamie is one of the reasons I started cooking and his views on health are agreed with wholly. As you can imagine, I jumped for joy when I heard of his latest project; Superfood! Accessible food! Healthy food! There is no excuse to grab those frozen meals or phoning the local takeaway. Have you bought the book? No?! Why not?! Don’t forget to watch the TV series that goes alongside the book. Need a bit of motivation or encouragement? Need the reassurance that it’s easier than you think? You’re in the right place 😊

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Weekend helped me really focus and gave me faith that a healthy lifestyle is achievable and a great adventure too because healthy food is delicious. I have always known this and loved healthy food, but seeing people who inspire me has spurred me to take everything to the next level. Whilst writing this I’m tucking into avocado, spinach and cottage cheese on a piece of rye bread.

I can’t wait for the rest of my journey to begin. There are so many foods waiting to be discovered and many combinations to thoroughly nourish me from head to foot.

Well that was an unexpected ramble, but one I feel I needed to share. If you only take one little point, I’ve helped start a journey you will never regret.

Love and Lemons xxx

Green Veg Soba Noodle Bowl

I’ve had a few weeks away from blogging, from work (sitting behind a desk), and from the rain (well mostly!). It was just what I needed. Mountain air, active days, food lovingly prepared by somebody else, and best of all… stuffing my face with no washing up to do afterwards! That’s definitely a lifestyle I could get used to. Living a slow-paced life in the Italian Dolomites with not a care in the world. Cooking and baking all day for the villagers and exploring every corner of the mountains *floats of into a dream*

I came back feeling refreshed and ready to take on the world. Slightly achy legs from all the climbs and hikes, but being able to see the views I witnessed is well worth the burning muscles! And of course, a great excuse to eat lots of food… You need the energy when being so active all day!

I ate a lot on holiday, but I ate sensibly and watched the kind of foods I was consuming. My intake was high but that was because I was very active and needed the volume in order to sustain my energy levels. Fruit, yoghurt and eggs for breakfast. A great way to start the day!

This doesn’t mean I didn’t indulge and treat myself! Of course I did! But I made sure this wasn’t excessive. I work too hard to throw all my hard work away, but I also know a little of what you love doesn’t hurt you. And I do not believe in denying yourself; but I do believe in keeping everything balanced.

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We all need to come back down to earth though… and this is how I kick started my healthy daily routine again; A big bowl of Green Veg Soba Noodles. Absolutely delicious and thoroughly nutritious!

Ultimate clean eating comfort food. You can feel as though you’re being naughty whilst giving your body a squeeze of pure goodness. Get in the kitchen and rustle this up in 15 minutes (great for lazy evenings after work), then wrap yourself in that blanket and curl up on the sofa watching your favourite TV programme. That’s exactly what I did! Night in on my own, warming noodles, and Penny Dreadful on TV. Perfection!

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This time… I can’t tempt you in with a glamorous Pinterest image because the recipe is my own straight from the Lemon’s Kitchen Gourmet 15 minute meals journal. Step aside Jamie Oliver!

The great thing about this recipe is that you can add any veg you like to the noodles. I love green veg because it makes the dish so vibrant and earthy. Grab whatever you can find and chuck it in! Perfect recipe for that lonely veg lying at the back fridge crying out to be eaten. There is no need to be precious about quantities or weighing anything out either! There’s no excuse no to make this!

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Serves 2

15 minutes

2 big bowls and 2 sets of chopsticks (or forks)

2 hungry mouths and the latest box set on record

Ingredients:

x2 ties of soba noodles (they usually come in serving portions)

Glug of rapeseed oil or garlic oil

x8 asparagus spears

x8 chestnut mushrooms, roughly chopped

x2 generous handfuls of spinach

x2 large eggs, hard boiled and sliced

Low Sodium Soy Sauce

Truffle Oil/Honey (Optional)

Pistachio Nuts to sprinkle (Optional)

Sunflower Seeds to sprinkle (Optional)

To Make:

Boil the kettle, and add water to pan with noodles. Cook until nearly soft and drain (about 5 minutes)

Whilst the kettle is boiling and the noodles are cooking, heat the rapeseed/garlic oil in a large pan and add the asparagus and mushrooms. Once slightly softened, add the spinach and soy sauce. Toss together and continue cooking for another few minutes until spinach has wilted. At this point, add the drained noodles and stir ingredients together until noodles are heated through again.

Grab your bowl and spoon the noodles in, lay the sliced egg on top (one each), sprinkle on the nuts and seeds and then drizzle over the wonderful truffle oil to finish!

You’ll be eating it before you’ve even sat down!

Delicious, quick and so easy to make!

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To give an example of how you can swap the ingredients around… If I was to make this dish today… After looking in the fridge, my vegetables of choice would be kale lightly stir-fried in garlic oil before adding to the noodles and freshly shelled peas. Mmmmm!

Until next time foodie lovers!

Love and Lemons xxx

Truffled Gnocchi w/ Mushroom Ragu

This is a recipe you’ll either love or hate… a little like Marmite. And I love both! I’ve finally found the perfect vegetarian comfort food. Rich, creamy, filling, full of flavour, with a real ‘meaty’ bite. And not to mention, absolutely delicious! It can be easily made vegan too. Double WIN!

I’ve been saving this recipe for when the boy has gone to play so I can savour it curled up on my own. He also isn’t a big fan of gnocchi, whereas I on the other hand think it is amazing!

If it’s right up your street as well and you’re also a lover of mushrooms, you NEED to be in the kitchen right now lovingly preparing this dish!

And what’s more… being able to take leftovers to work easily makes lunchtime the best part of the following day! *dreams of silky mushrooms encased in truffle oil*

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When taking inspiration from recipes, I always check the ingredients list and then read through the instructions a couple of times to assess technique and method. Unless it is a complicated one, this is as far as I go in terms of following the steps. I swap around ingredients depending on what I have available, or what I fancy at the time. If I can make it healthier, I will always strive too. It lessens the guilt and makes my body thankful for the kindness shown to it.

In this case, the recipe shows you how to make your own truffled gnocchi. As this was a meal being prepared on a weekday after work just for myself, I didn’t want to spend all night cooking, so I bought good quality ready-made gnocchi from the supermarket and tossed it in a little truffle oil to coat after boiling. It tastes as wonderful and is less hassle. If you have never made your own before though, I suggest giving it a go when you have time to do so. It’s worth it, and you can make all sorts of variations! But… Cheating is ok! I do it ALL the time if it means cutting cooking time down after a long day at work.

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The mushroom ragu is divine! I don’t like to use packet mixes when it comes to spice rubs if I have all the ingredients to hand. This is because I can tailor it to suit my own tastebuds. For the rub in this recipe I used chilli flakes, smoked paprika, oregano and cumin seeds; and then ground them to a powder. If you have read any of my other blog posts, you know I like it hot, so it’s a given that extra chilli is added J

For this recipe to work, you need sturdy, nutty mushrooms. I used forestiere mushrooms, which you can get easily at the supermarket. When I can get hold of them, I also love Chinese mushrooms as they add an extra depth. Mix both varieties for a heavenly ragu. To keep the dish vegetarian, mix a vegetable stock cube with marmite. Or if you are a meat eater, you can swap the marmite for Bovril. Both are delicious! The recipe doesn’t actually include this, but I highly recommend if you’re not using a beef stock cube.

And once more, just to keep it healthier, half fat crème fraiche to finish it off really adds that luxurious touch to make it truly decadent.

Follow this link for the original recipe http://simply-delicious-food.com/2013/06/04/truffled-gnocchi-with-mushroom-ragu/ The blog is simple and down to earth. Not to mention the wonderful photography.

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If you do try this recipe, as its one of my favourites, please do let me know! I would love to hear from you.

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Right, now I’m off to stuff my face with the leftovers!

Enjoy the weekend fellow foodies.

Eat, laugh and feel good.

Love and Lemons xxx

Curried Thai Noodles

What do you make when you’re late getting home on a weekday evening and don’t want to slave away in the kitchen till 10pm?… You make quick and delicious curried Thai noodles! They are ready in 10-15 minutes and satisfy the taste buds after a long day. Not to mention it being packed to the brim with nutrients after a session at the gym.

What I love most about this dish is that you can create many different meals based around the basic broth; so make use of what you have fresh in the garden or leftovers in the fridge.

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On this occasion, I wanted some protein and a bit of flesh to chew, so I poached some frozen white fish fillets in the coconut milk before adding it to the rest of the broth liquid. I also threw in asparagus spears for more colour and crunch. It was delicious! Make sure you’re generous with the herbs thrown on top. They add an amazing depth to the soup and give your body a great health boost.

The recipe on Heather Christo is vegetarian, so adapt to suit your preferences like I have by adding fish. I use this recipe as a base and starting point for many variations. The only difference to the main structure in my recipe today are the coconut and ginger quantities. I love the warmth of ginger so I add extra, but I decrease the coconut oil to 1 slightly heaped tbsp instead of 2. I don’t think it needs to be as oily considering a tin of coconut milk is added too. This is just my preference though, so you decide what you like 🙂

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For the dish you can see in my photographs, use Thai green curry paste instead of red paste. I like the red paste more, but green was what I happened to already have in my store cupboard. The red Thai paste has a stronger kick of heat if you like a bit more of a punch, whereas the green is a lot milder. Once again, this is up to you. They are both full of flavor.

Then of course, you come to the main attraction… Noodles. The Heather Christo Blog uses rice noodle, which are my choice also. They are delicious, and contain less starch. If you are wanting a dish that feels more substantial, then soba, udon and egg noodles are just as good!

Just look at that photo, can you see why I couldn’t wait to give this recipe a try!

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Mmm, just thinking about this soup is making my mouth water. I can’t wait for another late or lazy evening where there is an excuse to throw this recipe together and curl up on the sofa slurping up that broth.

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I urge you to give it a try. You’ll be bursting with all the goodness packed into one bowl. You’ll not be able to resist going back for more.

Love and Lemons xxx

Halloumi, Chorizo & Hummus Brioche Burgers

Heres a definite summer BBQ crowd pleaser. And can be adapted for meat eaters and vegetarians to enjoy. I love this burger both ways!

Buttery brioche bun with a generous smothering of hummus, fresh spinach, grilled juicy Halloumi, blistered red pepper and delicious crunchy pieces of toasted chorizo. If you’re a vegetarian, just leave out the chorizo and replace it with a few shakes of smoked paprika!

Now there’s a vision of summer in the garden… Feet up watching the sun go down with friends… Tucking into a mouthwatering burger of absolute perfection. Chicken Legs and Beef burgers are so last year.

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What first attracted me to this recipe wasn’t the ingredients, it was the photograph. I’m a sucker for composition and good lighting.

Just look at that… You want to eat it right? Obviously the image below… the one above was 2 seconds before I stuffed it in my mouth. Mmmm.

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This blog showcases some wonderful recipes and you can look through the magazine portfolios and shoots to see what they have been up to 🙂 So do have a scout if you go on to look at this recipe. *Dreams of soft moist Brioche smothered in hummus..*

http://borrowed-light.com/halloumi-hummous-brioche/

My adaptation – I sliced some chorizo and grilled it with the halloumi. This made it wonderfully crispy and you can see the surface starting to bubble, which I love to watch. The smell is totally irresistible! And the leftover liquid makes a great juice to mop up with brioche before warming. Yeh, I knew you’d be excited!

 If you are a vegetarian, then leave this off. If cooking for vegetarians, crisp the chorizo in a separate pan.

I started the peppers before anything else and put them under the grill. You can’t beat beautifully blistered skin. So they take a little longer than everything else. The softer the flesh, the sweeter it becomes and the flavor just sings harmonious tunes with the salty halloumi.

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My cheese of choice has added chili so there’s a wonderful kick with every bite. Tesco do a great one and I have sometimes purchased some from Aldi (UK based, so not sure about other countries!)

There is no right of wrong way to layer this bad boy up, as long as you apply a generous layer of hummus (experiment with all flavours!), and the spinach goes on first. The rest is up to you! And you will not be disappointed.

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As always, if you try this recipe, do let me know what you think. Either my adaptation or straight from the blog. I challenge anybody to dislike this! Unless of course you don’t like halloumi… but then we can’t be friends 😉

I’m currently testing a deliciously fresh and healthy king prawn dish so watch this space 🙂

Love and Lemons xxx

https://www.pinterest.com/lemonskitchen/