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

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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

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

Meat Free Week (It’s a long one!)

Meat-Free Week passed a lot of people by without any acknowledgement of its existence. This makes me sad, but at the same time determined to be a voice for the cause.

I am a little late with this blog as this ‘event’ was the 23rd-29th March. I do apologise for this. Life has a way of rudely getting in the way sometimes! Not to mention a bank holiday weekend spent poorly on the sofa. A 4 day weekend you say? An extended weekend of nausea and headaches?… Yeh bring it on! I definitely know how to live the adventurous life.

I do hope this is a topic you will take interest in and continue to read to the end of the page. I will be including links, recipes and photos along the way so stay with me! I would also love to hear your opinion on the subject; please do send me a message.

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I chose to take part in this event for many reasons. Firstly to prove to myself and to my partner that every meal doesn’t have to revolve around meat and food can be delicious without it.  A lot of my meals are vegetarian already but convincing the boy was a tougher challenge! At the end of the week, he agreed that he didn’t miss meat in any of the meals I made. That is an amazing achievement all by itself!

Secondly, for health reasons and to cram my diet full of more fruit and veg, which I find hard sometimes because, I’m not a meat and veg kind of girl. I love experimenting and often overlook the plant based ingredients I should be including. This is slowly starting to change, but taking out meat altogether really helped me showcase the often disregarded veg on offer. At the end of the week, I felt great and my body could feel the benefits of the amazing nourishment I had given it. Since this week, if I am eating out, my eye automatically scans for the vegetarian options before any meat based. I did miss eating fish though!

And thirdly, because I am a strong believer in a sustainable lifestyle and I think more people should be aware of what they are eating, how often they are eating it, where it is coming from, and the health benefits/risks of their diet. The UKs meat consumption is double the world average. Cutting down on meat can benefit our health, the environment, and animal welfare.

I support this crucial campaign and hope that I can raise awareness to at least a couple of people reading my blog. It’s easier than you may think to make a difference to yourself and the world around you. I aim to have at least 2 meat free days a week. I’m not suggesting anybody should give up eating meat, I never will because I eat it as part of a healthy balanced diet. But I always make sure my meat is sustainable, fresh and the best quality I can afford.

EAT LESS, CARE MORE, FEEL GOOD.

If you would like to read more about this campaign and any of the issues, please visit https://uk.meatfreeweek.org/home

If you’ve stayed with me so far, you’re in for a treat!

I do have to admit now that I only lasted until Friday night because I forgot to let my sister-in-law know that I was doing the challenge, so we were greeted with a cottage pie upon arrival at her house. And I did have a fish finger sandwich on the Saturday for lunch, but this was completely justified because the only vegetarian option on the pub menu was goats cheese (I’d rather go hungry as it’s food of the devil!). And, one more… I ate half a sausage sandwich on the Sunday morning as we were still at the sister-in-laws. I felt guilty though so I gave the other half away!

Now that I’ve got the confessions out of the way… Let’s get on to the wonderful vegetarian adventure of food I did eat!

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I won’t go into detail about all the meals I ate, but for breakfast all week I had variations of Weetabix with almond milk, honey and either sunflower seeds, strawberries, blueberries or cherries. This is my go-to breakfast during my working week. Fills me up all morning so I don’t get tempted to reach for those 11am office biscuits!

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Lunch was a spicy couscous salad with beetroot, coriander and rice crackers. I haven’t photographed any of my lunches so if you like the sound of them, drop me a message and I’ll give you the recipe!

Now to the best part… Dinner! From the moment I get up, I am already planning what’s for dinner. In fact, it’s not often that anything other than putting food in my belly goes through my head. Yes, I’m the kind of person that plans my day around eating!

I am a halloumi addict so it seemed right to base my first meat free meal around this wonderful cheese. Grilled and placed on a bed of rocket and iceberg lettuce. Next comes the lightly toasted pine nuts, freshly popped pomegranate seeds, lemon marinated olives, crushed cheddar crisps as a crust and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Finally served with a slice of wholemeal bread. Absolute heaven. I made sure there was enough left over for lunch the next day.

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Day 2 dinner was a beautiful smoked mushroom risotto on a bed of rocket and iceberg lettuce, drizzled with smoked truffle oil. It was so creamy and delicious. I challenge you not to go back for seconds!

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I didn’t use a recipe for this, but I learnt to make risotto by following Martha Stewart’s fool proof dish! Once you know the basics, you can make all sorts of wonderful variations! I love to use pearl barley instead of risotto rice, for a nuttier, more nutritious meal.

http://www.marthastewart.com/343419/mushroom-risotto

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Just as with the Halloumi salad, I made sure there was some risotto left over for lunch the next day. Gourmet meals at my desk whilst everybody else chews on a sandwich from the shop next door. Life is great! Ha.

My after dinner snack was a microwaved bag of lightly salted popcorn from the wonderful company Graze. They are always there in my hour of need!

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Wednesday was the day I was most concerned about because I had arranged to meet a friend for dinner. From my experiences, vegetarian options when eating out are rubbish! If you don’t like goats cheese or mushrooms, you’re pretty much stuffed. As you have already gathered; I. Do. Not. Like. Goats Cheese *shudders* I do however love mushrooms, but the meals always use a mushroom as a meat substitute, which isn’t my idea of fun!

We went to the Old Hall in Sandbach, http://www.brunningandprice.co.uk/oldhall/ and I was pleasantly surprised at their vegetarian options! There were still only 3 choices for main courses but at least they were offering something different. It had to be the tandoori halloumi salad for me though, as soon as I saw it; there was no other choice to be made.

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It was full of watercress, salad leaves, coconut, lime, mint and fresh pineapple. I loved every mouthful and the only downside for me was the preference of liking my halloumi grilled and not raw.

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I was naughty and had a Rhubarb and Blood Orange Pavolva. This looked like the best option for a low calorie dessert to take away the craving for something sweet. Meringue is always a great choice if you’re looking for that little something. It ended up being pure cream and sugary fruit, which tasted lovely but was perhaps a little to indulgent for me that evening!

Lunch Thursday was a jacket potato with cheese, beans and rocket lettuce. Can’t really go wrong with this staple!

My Veggie Lasagne definitely came out on top this week. The boy loved it and went back for more. That’s a result! Once again, I made the recipe up myself but I am more than happy to share it with you 🙂 Packed with butternut squash, mushrooms, sprinkle of cinnamon, mozzarella, carrots, ‘cheat cheese sauce’ and lots more! Really easy to make and it’s on the table in no time at all!

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I can’t eat lasagne without some crunchy salad to go with it and a slice of naughty garlic bread!

I’ll let you in on a little secret… my cheese sauce is just semi-skimmed milk with a little grated cheese, wholegrain mustard and then thickened up with cornflour. You can’t tell the difference between this and it’s full-fat counterpart! You feel like you’re eating something truly indulgent but it’s not going to stick to those hips!

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You’ve probably guessed the trend here… There was more than enough left over for a couple of lunches the next day. So we both had something delicious to heat up and tuck into.

And then this is where I failed… although I did have cheddar and broccoli soup which was delicious! I am planning on getting the recipe for this and making it over and over again! So once more, if you would like the recipe, please let me know. I sadly didn’t take a photo, so I can’t show you how wonderful it was!

Snack was cottage cheese and crackers.

Saturday was another halloumi day! I do like other cheeses! And there are other meals that I love too. It just so happened to be the only vegetarian choice on the comedy club menu. But it was a great combination of ingredients and flavours. Grilled halloumi, avocado, pomegranate, asparagus, mixed leaves, tomatoes and gherkins. You must try! I’ll be recreating this at home and will show you all the finished product. It was too dark for me to photograph the meal that evening! I followed it up by a naughty piece of chocolate cake. It was a birthday celebration after all… Would have been rude not to right?

I don’t normally eat out so much but this week happened to fall on our London trip! I will add some extra tried and tested recipes at the end of this blog for those of you looking to eat less meat J

Sunday dinner/lunch was a beautiful beetroot and sweet potato veggie burger with sweet potato fries. Usually, I would stay well away from the veggie burgers in restaurants and pubs because they tend to be deep fried and full of stodgy potato. On this occasion, I was starving after a long day spent walking, so I wanted something that would fill me up ready for the long journey back home from London. It was delicious. Baked and not greasy at all. There were so many flavours and the beetroot really came through. If you’re in Guildford, drop by the Britannia http://www.shepherdneame.co.uk/pubs/guildford/britannia#_=_ for some tasty pub grub.

After this week, I have a new found appreciation for vegetarians and vegans. Eating at home is amazing and there are so many choices. I cannot wait to try out some of the other recipes I discovered! But if you are out and about, the options are sparse or really boring. No I would not like a mushroom instead of the meat. I will just have a plate of vegetables then! And no, grating cheese on top of my vegetables does not count as a meal.

But if done correctly, some of the best food you will ever eat has no trace of meat. I’m not saying give it up. As I said before, I never will. But please consider your health, the health of the environment and animal welfare. Everybody can make a difference but just changing one little thing in their lives, or having one meat free day a week.

Love to you all! And if you’ve actually got this far, thank you for listening to my ramble!

I have a whole board dedicated to the wonderful fresh produce on offer to us. Go check it out J https://www.pinterest.com/lemonskitchen/meatless-wonders/

Some of the recipes I was going to make but never got round to doing so:

Red Lentils & Spinach in Masala Sauce

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Roasted Butternut Squash w/ Kale, Almond, Pecan & Parmesan

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Butternut Squash & Feta Falafel

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Enjoy J

Love and Lemons xxx

Basil Pesto

What do you do when you realise your windowsill has been taken over by Basil. You make PESTO! *big smiles*

An easy and beautifully flavoursome way of putting basil to good use. Its a very versatile herb and has great health benefits such as being an antioxidant as well as helping to fight cancer.

I have to say though, if you want to make a jar of it, you better plant a whole farm! I used 2 whole plants and managed to make a ramekin full! There are a few types of Basil, so it might be worth testing the strengths, and also, you can judge on your preference of taste. Some like it cheesy, others like it thick and spreadable. You decide.

I used Jamie Oliver’s Pesto recipe found on his website: http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/vegetables-recipes/pesto

(The recipe is also at the end of this Blog).

You will soon come to realise if you read choose to follow my Blog, is that I idolise Jamie Oliver. He is a major influence in my love of food.

Don’t forget to write down the quantities of everything you have used, so next time you can adapt and change the recipe to make it even better if you feel it can be improved. You end up with your own personal recipe, and not somebody elses.

I used my Pesto this time around mixed with wheatberries, chicken and veg. Delicious! But good combinations include stuffed chicken, hardy fish and the most popular, pasta.

Recipe:

  • ½ clove garlic, chopped
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 good handfuls fresh basil, leaves picked and chopped
  • 1 handful pine nuts, very lightly toasted
  • 1 good handful Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small squeeze lemon juice, optional

Pound the garlic with a little pinch of salt and the basil leaves in a pestle and mortar, or pulse in a food processor. Add a bit more garlic if you like, but I usually stick to ½ a clove. Add the pine nuts to the mixture and pound again. Turn out into a bowl and add half the Parmesan. Stir gently and add olive oil – you need just enough to bind the sauce and get it to an oozy consistency.

Season to taste, then add most of the remaining cheese. Pour in some more oil and taste again. Keep adding a bit more cheese or oil until you are happy with the taste and consistency. You may like to add a squeeze of lemon juice at the end to give it a little twang, but it’s not essential. Try it with and without and see which you prefer.

Love and Basil xxx