Saag Aloo, I’m back to being healthy!

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So the plan was to take a cheeky break from our relatively healthy diet that both my husband and I are on. We did for a while…And I’m extremely happy to say I am back to eating healthy and even healthier! Yay!

The reason for the termination of the cheeky break was that I started to feel horrible physically. I felt bloated and guilty that I had to go back to the wonderful way it was!

I think anyone can tell you to eat healthy, but it’s only when you see what a difference it makes to you! It’s when you realise it’s the best thing for you. You feel better, not only physically but emotionally too!

So what better way to celebrate then to share my saag aloo recipe with you all. Fresh vivid green baby spinach draped over soft spiced new potatoes! It just couldn’t get better. Enjoy, much love D x

INGREDIENTS

500g new potatoes quartered and par boiled
200g baby spinach
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 green chilli finely sliced
½ tsp grated ginger
1 tbsp sunflower oil
¼ mustard seeds
¼ tsp cumin seeds
Pinch of dried red chilli flakes
⅓ tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp coriander & cumin powder
1 tsp garam masala
Salt to taste

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METHOD

• Heat up the oil in a large saucepan with the chilli flakes, mustard and cumin seeds. Once they start to pop, gently add in the garlic, ginger and par boiled potatoes, mix well and ensure the potatoes are coated in the oil

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• Throw in all the spices and seasoning, combine well, pour in a little water to aid the cooking process (½ cup)

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•Cover and simmer on a low heat for 10-15 minutes.

• Put in the whole bag of baby spinach and cover to allow it to wilt, stirring occasionally

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• Leave to cook for a further 10 minutes, ensuring that the potato is now soft and fluffy. You may like add a little single cream to make the curry a little richer (leave out if Vegan)

• Serve up with some naan bread or chapattis

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Coconut & Lime Green Thai Curry

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Thailand! One place I know I want to visit.  It’s as if it has been calling me to come over for a very long time!  I am extremely drawn to it and one day soon, I hope to go to this beautiful land with my family.

We are very lucky here in the UK as we have so many different types of restaurants and even more fortunate to have some gorgeous Thai restaurants too.  I love the culture, the ambience and the food.

So I wanted to share my green thai curry recipe with you all to enjoy.  I made it at the weekend as a belated Valentine’s meal for my husband and I.  For now this will keep me going until I get to Thailand!

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INGREDIENTS

1 large courgette sliced into half slices
1 red bell pepper diced
1 packet mange tout
1 packet baby sweetcorn
Frozen broccoli, cauliflower and carrots
1 tbsp sunflower oil
2½-3 tbsp green thai curry paste
Salt to taste
400ml coconut milk
1 tbsp cornflour if required
lime juice to taste
Lime to garnish
Dessicated coconut

METHOD

• Heat up the oil in a large saucepan.  Stir fry the courgette, pepper, mange tout and baby sweetcorn.  Cook for a few minutes on a medium heat

• Add the paste and stir through, season with salt and cook on a low heat for a further 5-7 minutes

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• Pour in the coconut milk,  combine well, if the curry sauce is too thin stir in some cornflour

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• Let the curry simmer slowly for 15-20 minutes until the veg has become tender and absorbed the flavours

• Squeeze in a little lime juice at the end and serve on a bed of white fluffy rice

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A Roasted Garlic & Lemon Dressing On A Super Salad

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My husband decided to go on a diet to lose a little weight which is good news for him and his health but not for my cooking passion!
All this food and he will only be sampling?!! So to accommodate this change I decided that I would cook him super healthy food and I too would join him. Though I’m not giving up my love of sweet things, everything in moderation for me! Lol 😉

No carbs, more protein, more fruit and vegetables! So I raided my fridge for all the fresh veg I had and teamed it up with chickpeas. I must say I was delighted by the result and though he had most of it, I secretly wish I had made more for myself too!

I roast vegetables occasionally for pasta and various curries but this was the first time where I made a salad. This inspiration has come from Elaine@Foodbod. I often see her colourful pictures of succulent roasted vegetables! Drenched in mouth watering dressings so I too couldn’t resist. The addition of chickpeas provides this dish with more nuttiness and makes it more satisfying.

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I think I will have to go and buy some more exciting fruit and vegetables to explore and create new recipes with! Have a fantastic day! Much love D x

INGREDIENTS

1 medium aubergine sliced finely and then quartered
1 red bell pepper chopped into chunks
1 large fresh tomato in segments
3 garlic cloves in skin
1 tin of chickpeas
3-4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/3 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp dried coriander leaves
Salt to taste
Pinch of sugar

METHOD

• Preheat oven to 180°c, place all the prepared veg into a lined roasting tin. Drizzle a little olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and massage the oil into the vegetables

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• Roast for 25-35 minutes until everything is tender and soft. Peel the roasted garlic cloves and set aside in a small bowl

• With a fork smash the roasted garlic, add salt to taste. Pour in the olive oil and lemon juice and then mix in the paparika, dried coriander and sugar. Combine well

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• Serve up the roasted vegetables in a large bowl, rinse the chickpeas and throw in. Drench the salad with the dressing and coat all the ingredients well

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The Optigrill, My New Toy!

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I am absolutely ecstatic to write about Tefal’s new “Optigrill” I have had it sitting in my kitchen just waiting to be turned on and yesterday was the BIG day! We fancied something Summery but without the hassle of setting up the barbecue, especially with the two boys running around in the garden. Wow what a result and we were treated to instant tasting grilled and charred vegetables and halloumi in a flat bread wrap!

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The Optigrill is so versatile and self explanatory. It has different modes for various food types and I know I will be using it all the time now that it’s sitting on my kitchen work top just shouting out at me, “I’m here, use me!” Even this morning it made me a chilli cheese toasted sandwich for breakfast yummmmy!

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You can use a griddle also to cook the vegetables but I found that I hardly used any oil with the Optigrill! So you get extremely tasty food, prepared easily and less oil! Triple bonus in my books!

I hope you enjoy this recipe and also get to sample barbecued food without the barbecue! Have an exciting day and I’ll see you all tomorrow my friends with a fudgy chocolate brownie recipe. Much love D x

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INGREDIENTS

1 large aubergine, thinly sliced
2 courgettes, thinly sliced
1 large onion halved
2 tomatoes sliced
1 block halloumi cheese (reduced fat)
15/20 button mushrooms
2 garlic cloves minced
Smoked paprika
Salt to taste
1 tsp cumin powder

6 tbsp natural yoghurt
Handful of fresh coriander
Pinch of salt
1/3 tsp garlic granules
Squeeze of lemon juice

Ready made flat breads warmed

Time to grill baby!

Courgettes ~ massage a tiny amount of olive oil into the sliced courgette and place on the grill. I set it on a constant medium heat as my vegetables were thinly sliced. This way I pressed the lid down and was able to check the veg as it cooked

The courgette was cooked within 4 minutes or less. Put aside to cool

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Aubergine~ sprinkle a little salt and add the cumin powder to the sliced aubergine. Massage a little oil also and place onto the Optigrill. Close lid and cook until charred with golden tan grill lines!

Onion ~ Peel segments away and grill for 6 to 8 minutes, until the onion produces a sweet aroma and is softened

Tomatoes ~ place slices onto the grill and don’t close, once charred set aside for the addition of mushrooms

Halloumi cheese ~ cut into thin slices and place directly onto the grill, close the lid and keep on the medium setting. Should be nicely warmed and charred within 3 to 4 minutes. No oil!
How cool!

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For the mushrooms ~ warm a teaspoon of olive oil, sauté the grilled tomatoes and garlic. Season with paprika and salt. Throw in the mushrooms, coat them in the sauce, cover and simmer on low for 10 minutes. The mushroom will release its own water adding to the sauce. Set aside to cool

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For the yoghurt dressing ~ place all ingredients into a food processor, give it a good blitz and it’s ready!

Assemble the wrap…if the wrap is large, slice into half. Take two slices of grilled halloumi and then a little of all the grilled vegetables. Drizzle over with the coriander yoghurt dressing and roll it over

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Ready to munch! Enjoy!

Instant Chilli Cheese Garlic Bread!

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All of you by now will know that, when I get a craving for something, there is no stopping me. I listen to my body when wanting certain foods. But have to control the naughty cravings! 😉 For example I find that if I’m craving oranges or something orange flavoured, I’m lacking in Vitamin C or a cold could be pending. I got in tune with my body a lot at the time I was pregnant. You feel free to eat almost whatever you want and I felt my body was literally communicating with me via cravings.

I would picture, say a passion fruit and could already yearn for it on my palette, and that actually did happen. My husband and I were driving back from my friends place and I was about 7 months pregnant. I told him to stop the car at the parade of shops and see if he could buy me some passion fruit from the green grocers. The best he could do was a sour hitting can of sparkling passion fruit juice. He had bought me a six pack knowing that I would want more! He knows me too well! Lol!

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Here I am sharing with you all, some cheesy chilli garlic bread that was the result of a craving I was having for garlic bread and how it worked wonders..always simple but extremely satisfying…give it a go!

INGREDIENTS

Plain mini pitta breads
Garlic granules
Butter
Cheddar or mozzarella cheese grated
Red chilli flakes or fresh green chilli chopped finely

METHOD

~ Warm up the pitta bread in a toaster of grill, both sides

~ Spread lashings of butter on the pitta and sprinkle with fine garlic granules according to taste, I love garlic! Top off with a whole lot of cheese and melt under the grill

~ Final touch add chilli flakes or green chilli. Now tuck in! I’m going to make myself some more!

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A Fusion of Raita & Tzatziki

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Yesterday evening we had a chickpea masala curry and naan bread. I craved something tangy and spicy to go with it. I peered into our fridge, found an interesting set of ingredients to fulfill this craving.

This combination resulted in an Indian raita and Greek tzatziki fusion. One that cools down the palette yet warms the senses. By that I mean, the yoghurt and cucumber cools and the garam masala warms you up. The lime cuts right through the creaminess of the yoghurt. And is oh so refreshing!

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Another twist to the fusion is the addition of baby spinach leaves instead of coriander in a raita or mint in a tzatziki. The yoghurt dresses the shredded crisp leaves in the most delicate fashion and as it is not a herb does not overpower the whole dish.

Give it a go and let me know how you like it! Much love D x

INGREDIENTS

½ large cucumber finely grated
2 large handfuls of baby spinach shredded
1 clove garlic crushed
300g natural yoghurt
⅓ tsp garam masala
Pinch of dried red chilli flakes
Salt to taste
A squeeze of fresh lime 1 tsp or so
Drizzle of olive oil

METHOD

• Put all the ingredients into a medium sized serving bowl, apart from the lime and olive oil

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• Combine well, making sure the yoghurt is smooth and coats all the cucumber and spinach

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• Lastly stir in the lime juice and drizzle with a little olive oil

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• Ready to serve with an Indian meal or Greek! Enjoy!

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Marrow Masala

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When I first got married, I would make really quick and easy meals for dinner and one that I came up with, was Marrow Masala.  Which I would serve up with some rice or khichdi.  A tasty and hydrating vegetable with onion and in a spicy tomato base has always been a winner in our home. 

I’m known for just eating it with some natural yoghurt, so healthy and so good for you!  It cooks extremely quickly and you have an incredible light curry in a matter of minutes!

Hope you all have a lovely week, see you tomorrow.  Much love D x

INGREDIENTS

1 medium marrow peeled & grated
1 small white onion grated
½ tsp sunflower oil
¼ tsp cumin seeds
2 cloves
Pinch of asafoetida
3 tbsp crushed tomato passata
½ tsp salt or to taste
Pinch of sugar
¼ tsp turmeric powder
¼ tsp chilli powder
1 tsp coriander & cumin powder
½ tsp garam masala
Chopped fresh coriander to garnish

METHOD

• In a medium saucepan heat up the oil, asafoetida, cloves and cumin seeds.  Once the seeds start to sizzle, throw in the grated onion and marrow

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• Sauté for 5-7 minutes on a low heat until soft.  Sprinkle all the seasoning and spices plus the crushed tomato, mix gently

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• Cover and simmer for a further 8-10 minutes and then garnish with some chopped coriander

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Mini Mature Cheddar & Cayenne Scones

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Sharing a chilli and cheese snack sensation! Warning! These mini scones are very moreish! Enjoy! Much love D x

Shivaay Delights

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I love cheese and I love chilli! I’m always craving that combination! So I thought as it goes extremely well together, that I can make up a recipe for these two ingredients as a traditional savoury scone.

I made mini scones so didn’t feel guilty having one! You get the strong taste of the mature cheddar with a delicate hint of chilli which hits your taste buds right at the end. They nicely spiced up my palette after all the yummy sweetness I enjoyed over Christmas! Hope you enjoy them!

INGREDIENTS

200 g self raising flour
50g butter
60 g mature cheese
150 ml milk
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
A little milk to brush the scones

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METHOD

• Pre heat oven 220c/425f/gas mark 7
Mix flour,pepper and salt. Rub in the butter

• Add cheese and bind with milk to form a soft dough

• Lightly flour…

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Cream of garlic soup

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I love, love Garlic! And so does my husband!!!   Phew! Thank God! Or we would have a problem! Lol 😉

This is the first time I have made a soup predominantly using garlic as a base.  I was extremely surprised how even though, I used up to six cloves of garlic, it was not overpowering at all.  I think once the garlic stews in the vegetable stock it becomes incredibly gentle and sweet.  Not pungent at all!

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The rest of the vegetables especially the carrot and potato really make it into a hearty filling and nutritious soup! One that is on our Favourite soups list for sure!
Make yourself a hot bowl, sit down and relax…Happy Monday! Much love D x

INGREDIENTS

6 garlic cloves
2 medium red potatoes peeled & quartered
1 large carrot, peeled & chopped
1 small white onion chopped
1 litre hot vegetable stock
1 tbsp olive oil
½ cup milk
Water if needed
Salt & Pepper to season
Red dried chilli flakes optional

METHOD

• In a large saucepan, heat up the oil, throw in all the garlic/vegetables and sauté for a few minutes

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• Pour in the hot vegetable stock into the saucepan and bring all to a boil

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• Then simmer on a low to medium heat until all the vegetables are tender.  You may need to add a little water to assist the cooking

• Using an electric hand blender, whizz all the veg into a soup, stir in the milk

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• Finally season with salt and pepper

• Serve with some fresh crusty buttered bread

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Cherry Tomato & Onion Poha

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A light lunch, so quick and easy to prepare.  Something a little different from your normal Indian rice dish.  The poha ~ flaked rice is less heavier when eaten.  Traditionally made with potatoes for breakfast in India or a snack, I cut out the extra carbs and added my favourite, the succulent cherry tomato.

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Along with the onion and the spices, the tomato places a sweetness to go with the saltiness from the seasoning and sour notes from the lemon.  I’ve run out of flaked rice now , I better go out and buy some more!

Have a delightful day, much love D x

INGREDIENTS

2 cups flaked rice rinsed
10-12 cherry tomatoes halved
1 white onion diced
2 tbsp sunflower oil
½ tsp mustard seeds
Pinch of asafoetida
2 cloves
¼ tsp red chilli flakes
⅓ tsp salt or to taste
⅓ tsp turmeric powder
1 heaped tsp coriander & cumin powder
1 tsp garam masala
Lemon juice

METHOD

• Heat the oil in a medium non stick saucepan, with the mustard seeds, cloves, chilli flakes and asafoetida, on a medium heat

• Once the seeds start to sizzle and pop, carefully add the onion and sauté until translucent

• Throw in the tomatoes plus all seasoning and spices.  Mix well and cook on a slow to medium heat for 5-8 minutes.  Stirring occasionally

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• Next scatter in the flakes of rice and fold gently into the onion and tomato.  The oil with the spices will turn the flakes yellow.  Combine so that all the rice is covered and becomes all yellow, squeeze in a little lemon juice to taste

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• Reduce to a slow heat and cover, cook for 10-15 minutes. 

• Serve with a heaped tablespoon of fresh natural yoghurt

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