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

jamiechicken-large(Photograph straight from book)

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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Chocolate, Cranberry and Port Bundt Cake

There didn’t seem a better way to introduce myself than with this flavoursome show stopper, but then I wasn’t satisfied with the outcome and had to try again… so another recipe introduced my blog! Practice makes perfect though, so get ready for something truly indulgent and delicious.

This might not look like a masterpiece sitting in the middle of the table, but you’ll never look back once you’ve had a mouthful of the rich, chocolatey goodness.

If you read my opening post, you will know that the purpose of this blog is to share with you my addiction to food on Pinterest and how my life revolves around trying new recipes… And well… Just eating. There will be a mixture of savoury and sweet with a focus around ‘healthier’ food choices (as I am currently studying nutrition/diet/fitness). All recipes will be a result of the hours and hours spent rummaging through boards on Pinterest drooling and pinning the possibilities that are presented to me. I never want to wait… I have an instant need to eat it there and then.

I said the majority of my posts will be showcasing healthier recipes, but why not start with a few things truly decadent.  A Chocolate, Cranberry and Port Bundt Cake, fits the bill perfectly. I came across this recipe whilst browsing during a break at work. I love Port, so the idea of putting it in a cake really appeals to me.

Note: Not all the recipes I test come out exactly how they are supposed to! But I post my version and the original recipe, so you can choose what to follow 🙂 My recipes follow UK baking guidelines and UK available ingredients. Some of the recipes I recreate are American, so little details can alter (like this recipe!)

Credit to Bakers Royale. Without this Blog, I would never have discovered this wonderful and indulgent cake. *floats of into another chocolate and port filled dream world* (Photo above as you have probably guessed, is what lured me into making this cake).

The iPhone photo above makes my cake look irresistible right?! Ha! *rolls eyes* I promise the photos will start to improve once I manage my time better! And have patience to wait till the syrup soaks into the sponge….

The taste was delicious and it went down a treat. The recipe did not fail to deliver as the flavour was incredible. I had to refrain from eating more than my fair share. And I was even requested to make another one for an occasion later in the year.

The issue…. Substituting ‘cake flour’ for ‘self-raising’. In the UK, some of you may or may not know that cake flour isn’t readily available because UK food standards have banned it due to the way it is produced (bleached and heat-treated). As a result of swapping the flours, the texture changed and made the cake crumbly. It was in no way dry because the port reduction made it light and moist, but cutting an even slice like the original recipe photo suggests, became a little impossible. After some research on how to solve this, I realised that I should have used plain flour and not self-raising because the extra agents added in the self-raising made the mixture too delicate. It did firm up the day after though, so if you can hold out (which I found incredibly hard!), you’ll get a firmer, less crumbly cake.

Note: If a recipe states a certain size of egg and/or a particular temperature, always listen because even swapping a large egg for a medium sized one will alter the final result.

On my second attempt, I used plain flour and the texture was perfect. The flavour was more intense too, which is never a bad thing! It is delicious!

The original recipe asks for vegetable oil, but I substituted it for 100% cold-pressed rapeseed oil. Both oils are essentially the same thing but vary in quality. I believe cold-pressed is a purer oil and therefore much better for your digestive system. If you are going to use an oil other than vegetable/rapeseed, I recommend you use something that doesn’t have a dominant flavour. So ideally not olive oil as this will leave a distinctive flavour behind in the cake when cooked.

Nutrition: Rapeseed oil is lower in saturated fat and high in mono and poly unsaturated fats, so a great choice over other fats and oils as it can result in lower cholesterol levels.

Apart from the issue with the flour, everything else was perfect. There isn’t any need to buy an expensive bottle of port as it’s the concentrated flavour you rely on once it’s been heated; and you can really taste it in the final product. There might be a few port related posts to follow…

If you would like this recipe converted in to grams and with my alterations, please let me know and I’d be happy to give it to you.

 

From Lemon with Love ❤ 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

Stained Glass Wonders

I can’t think of a better recipe to represent food creativity in such a simple way. This is definitely a creation that kids can get involved in. I came across these biscuits whilst searching for something interesting and unusual to make. I knew as soon as I saw them that I had to give them a try. This is a variation from the magazine ‘Baked and Delicious’.

There wasn’t an occasion to make these so my work colleagues got lucky! And I can safely say that they went down a treat. The looks of amazement were great. Everybody now thinks that I am really clever and talented. Winner! *Wink* They were very easy to make! Just remember to warn people that the centre of the biscuit is hard before they bite in to it. You don’t want to be responsible for a trip to the dentist!

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As long as you have 2 similar cookie cutters of 2 different sizes, you can be as creative you want with the shapes produced. Or if consistency is your style, they they can all be the same. 

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A couple of weeks ago, I made these for the first time for a birthday party. They all came out perfectly. Within 5 minutes, I had an empty plate in my hand! This time round, I encountered some problems at the baking stage. I decided to try out some new ideas. Wine gums instead of boiled sweets being one of them. Not quite the result I had in mind. It didn’t melt very well…

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Next time, I am going to try again, but put the wine gum in the centre right at the beginning of the baking instead of after the biscuit has started to bake. The reason the wine gum didn’t melt could have been due to not having long enough in the oven. Only trial and error will help! Using a jelly baby was another thought as they are softer and may melt more evenly. I’ll keep you updated on that one. If anybody gives it a go, do let me know how it turned out.

Another issue I came across is the size of the biscuits I cut out. I started off making quite large biscuits. One boiled sweet isn’t enough for these because it doesn’t melt all the way to the edges of the mixture. I suggest using 1-2 sweets in each hole. Or… make the biscuits smaller, which is what I opted for.

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DO NOT POKE THE MELTED SWEET STRAIGHT AFTER TAKING IT OUT OF THE OVEN. IT’S LIKE MOLTON LAVA! I’m speaking from experience. It hurts! 😀 Wait until they are cooler before admiring your biscuity delights. And so save some for others to try. As hard as it is to resits. They will thank you for it and so will the scales!

 

Love and Sweets xxx

 

Recipe: Stained Glass Cookies

Makes about 20-30.
Preparation Time: 30 minutes. 
Cooking Time: 12 minutes.

Ingredients:

– 200g (7oz) plain flour
– 25g (1oz) cornflour
– 100g (3 1/2 oz) butter
– 1/2 lemon
– 50g (2oz) icing sugar
– Hard boiled sweets in assorted colours

1) Sift the flour and cornflour together in to a large bowl. Cut the butter in to cubes and rub in to the flour with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

2) Finely grate the zest from half a lemon and squeeze the juice. Stir the icing sugar, lemon zest and 2tbsp of the lemon juice in to the flour with a blunt knife.

3) Finish bringing the mixture together with your hands to form a soft dough. The mixture may seem dry to begin with, but the warmth from your hands will soften the butter and help to bind the dough together. It should be soft enough to have a smooth crack-free surface but firm enough to roll and cut out. If the dough is too firm add a little extra lemon juice and if it is too soft, chill for 15 minutes.

4) Preheat the oven to 180°c/350°f/Gas 4. Line the baking sheets with baking parchment. Roll the dough out to a thickness of 5mm (1/4in) on a lightly floured work surface.

5) Cut out the stars using any of the 3 largest cookie cutters. Place the stars onto the lined baking sheet. Use a palette knife to help move the cookies without distorting the shape.

6) Using the smaller cutters, cut out the centres from the stars and add to the pastry trimmings for re-rolling or bake as plain cookies.

7) Bake the cookies for 4 minutes. Remove them from the oven and place a sweet in the centre of each cookie. You may need to put 2 sweets in the cookies with the largest holes.

8) Return to the oven and bake for a further 6-7 minutes until the cookies are a very pale golden colour and the sweets have melted to fill the holes. Take care not to overcook them or the points will burn. Remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to cool completely on the baking sheet before peeling them away from the paper.