Day 4- Garlic and Broccoli Spaghetti Recipe

Gluten Free, Vegan Delights, Veggie Dishes

I haven’t exactly tried to hide my love of garlic, but this meal makes it the main attraction.

Following on from my salad at lunch I was craving some carbs, so I am glad that spaghetti was on my meal plan.

My salad was tasty, using my leftover veg and rice from last night to supplement the salad leaves, cucumber, avocado and spring onion. I do like salads but I am getting a bit bored of eating rabbit food, and as I knew I was going to the gym I wanted something substantial to look forward to.

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Salad

All of my recipes are simple but this one is probably the easiest. I remember having this at home in front of the TV after school with Mum too, so it is very comforting. My ingredients were:

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Ingredients!

  • Spaghetti
  • Broccoli
  • Garlic
  • Oil
  • Seasoning
  • Lemon (One squeeze)
  • (Plus a tiny bit of cheese to top it off)

The GF spaghetti I got from Aldi was very reasonably priced, and after being impressed with the penne, I was looking forward to cooking something new. Don’t get me wrong, gluten free pasta is nothing like the real thing, but I have to make the most of it. All you lucky gluten-eaters can obviously use the real deal.

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Pasta!

I followed the instructions on the pasta, cooking it for 8 minutes. This was also perfect for the broccoli, so I used the same pan to cook both simultaneously. I do like my broccoli maybe slightly overdone however, so cooking time is completely up to you. I added a drop of oil into the water to prevent the pasta from sticking together.

Once the veg and pasta were drained I heated up ½ minced clove of garlic in some oil and once it was golden, and added the spaghetti and broccoli. I ensured the garlic and drizzle of oil were mixed in with the other ingredients, and simple as that, it was ready to serve.

All in all, from chopping to plate, the meal took about 10 minutes and tasted delicious!

Cheap, easy, and very tasty.

Day 3- Tuna salad and Roasted Veggies and Rice Recipe

Fishy Friends, Gluten Free

This is only going to be a very short blog today, mainly because both my lunch and dinner were very simple. Delicious, but simple. I mostly just want to add a few pictures and a note here or there about my day.

My breakfasts haven’t been planned, but I have: gluten free porridge oats, fruit, eggs and bread so I’ve been trying to vary it each morning. I was really craving scrambled eggs this morning, so I had one slice of seedy GF bread and eggs- delicious. However, this did then alter my lunch choice, which was supposed to be a tuna salad sandwich. As much as I love bread, I thought a double whammy would be too much, and the fact that GF bread over hear costs about $7-$10 a loaf, I have to use it sparingly.

fullsizeoutput_21caInstead I opted for a tuna salad, quick and easy after uni. Oddly so, Mum sent me a picture of her lunch today and she too had a tuna salad… spooky stuff! Anyway, I chucked in everything I had in my fridge: mixed leaves, cucumber, spring onion, avocado, feta cheese and one small tin of tuna. I added a big squeeze of lemon, a drizzle of oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar on top to prevent it from being dry. Lemon and fish go perfectly together, and tuna is a great source of protein, low cost and easy to prepare.

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Tuna salad with balsamic dressing

I did stick to the plan for dinner, roasted veggies with brown rice. It sounds very boring, but, if done right, it is very tasty- and it was. The ingredients I used for the veg were:IMG_7260

  • Sweet potato*
  • Courgette
  • Red Pepper
  • Red Onion
  • Brocolli
  • Enoki mushrooms (new to me!)
  • Garlic (1 clove)
  • Paprika
  • Oil
  • Salt and Pepper

Roasted veg is great because you literally just chop it up and bung it in the oven. I added all of the chopped veg to my roasting tin, apart from the broccoli and mushrooms, and poured over a glug of oil and sprinkles paprika, salt and pepper. The oil acts as a binding agent to make sure the veg gets coated with the seasoning. If you’re not a fan of paprika you could use garlic salt, rosemary or even maybe some cayenne if you like it a little spicier.

*When roasting sweet potato, it can take a lot longer than other veggies, the smaller you chop it, the easier it is to keep it in time with the other ingredients!

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Ready for roasting!

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Enoki Mushrooms!

After 20 minutes I added the broccoli, giving everything a good mix again, and after another 5 I added the enoki mushrooms. I was unsure how was best to cook these, and although I have read that they’re great for stir-fries I thought I would take a risk and them to the roasting tray. I didn’t mix them in with the other veggies, instead I just kept them to one side, and after 5 minutes I removed the tray from the oven. They had softened, and they actually looked yummy. I am only a new mushroom eater, so it is exciting finding new types that I enjoy and that are versatile. I’m not sure where you can buy these from at home, but I purchased these from an Asian veg stall in the market, they’re worth hunting down. The whole pack only cost me $3 and I’ve barely made a dent in the pack after today.

The brown rice took about 30 minutes to cook so it tied in well with the veg. Once it was all finished, I plated up. I have some leftover rice and veg which is good because I will add it to my salad tomorrow lunch time for a bit of variety. The paprika-y oil from the veg acted as a great sauce, but I also added a drop more oil and some mayo before I gobbled it down.

Although this isn’t a really quick dinner it is hassle free and when the components are cooking you can fanny around doing whatever you please. The veggies can be changed depending on what is in season and it is a great way to cook up food before it goes past its best. Also, roasted veg can be cooked and frozen too, so nothing goes to waste.

Very easy and very tasty!

Barramundi and Veggie Rice with Homemade Lemon Aioli Sauce Recipe

Fishy Friends, Gluten Free

All the elements of tonight’s dinner were not only simple, but also low cost. I had already purchased the barramundi- a white, meaty fish- from Aldi. The fillets are sold skin-on, frozen in bags of 1kg. It’s really rubbish of me but I can’t remember an exact price, as it was last week that I bought them, but I think they were around the $16 mark, which is about £9. In the bag I bought, there were 7 fillets, making it great value.

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Ingredients

As I said, todays cooking was simple, but the star of the show was my lemon aioli sauce. The ingredients I used for the whole dish were:

  • 1 Barramundi fillet (defrosted)
  • Brown rice
  • ½ Courgette
  • Handful frozen peas
  • Tbsp Mayo
  • ¼ Lemon
  • ½ Garlic clove (more can be added to taste)
  • Oil
  • Salt and Pepper

The rice is very self-explanatory, taking around 35 minutes to cook, which is great if you have other jobs to be getting on with. The veggies are also simple. In a frying pan I added a drop of oil and pan-fried ½ courgette until it was beginning to brown. Once my rice was cooked I added the courgette and a handful of frozen peas. Instead of boiling the peas, I re-heated the rice and courgette over a medium heat until the peas had cooked through.

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Prepping for my sauce

Whilst the veggie rice was cooking, I began on the delicious sauce. I must add a slight warning, I currently have very garlicy breath so maybe this isn’t the best meal for a romantic dinner, or if you have plans in the evening. However, if you are like me: you love garlic and you also love sitting in and watching Netflix, it’s a great choice.

Into a small bowl I spooned 2tbsp of Hellmann’s mayo (A very expensive, but necessary, purchase out here!!) and added a glug of oil. I don’t really want to add a specific measurement in for the oil, mainly because I added the liquid elements slowly, creating the consistency I wanted. If you want it to be more solid like a mayo only add a little oil. Alongside the oil I also squeezed in ¼ lemon juice which gave It a great acidity.

Once my sauce was at the perfect runniness, I added salt and pepper to taste- I would go easy on the salt!

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Skin down!

Cooking the fish was also simple, as it is with most fillets that you buy frozen. In Aldi at home I buy the tuna steaks, but I have also heard great things about the salmon fillets. There are clear instructions on the packet too, if you are unsure, and many can be cooked from frozen- the barramundi must be defrosted.  In the same pan as I had cooked my courgettes, I poured in a little oil and once this was piping hot, I placed the barramundi skin down into the pan. Placing the fish skin down means it will crisp up, making it tasty.

IMG_8627Fish skin is also very good for you, containing lots of omega-3, however it can also be easily removed if you prefer not to eat it. After 4 minutes, I flipped the fish to ensure both sides were cooked evenly. This then cooked for another 3 mins.

When I went to The River Cottage for my cooking course we learnt a lot about fish, but one thing I found interesting was to not add salt to the pan when cooking. Salt acts in a way that extracts the liquid from the fish, leaving it dry. If you do require salt it should be added after cooking.

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Finished!

The only problem with this dish is that I didn’t present it beautifully, however by the time it was cooked I was pretty hungry- I tried my best!

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Saucy

Rice can be bought in large quantities for little cost, as can frozen peas, my peas today cost $2 from the supermarket and they will last for ages. Creating my own sauce made me feel like I had made the dish a lot more exciting and, despite the garlic breath, it was all delicious. To save money you could use unbranded mayo, I am just fussy and like Hellmans.

For a quick, simple supper look no further!

 

My weekly shop at Adelaide Central Market

Adelaide Eats

Food shopping since I have been in Australia has mainly consisted of constantly trying to work out the exchange rate, desperately remembering ingredients and figuring out how to carry everything home on the bus. I decided I had to make a change, become more organised with both my time and money, and stop eating like a pig. My morning today began with a lovely trip to Adelaide Central Market to buy my ingredients for the week (and a bit more) ahead.

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Creating a meal plan not only allows you to be precise with your shopping list, but it reduces food waste and also saves money. My budget here has to be slightly higher than at home, but I will include the AUD as well as the GBP conversion.

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Meal Plan

I found it surprising here how expensive veg and fresh produce was in supermarkets as Australia is very self-sufficient in terms of production, however, to my surprise, I found much better deals at the central market.

The Central Market has over 70 traders ranging from fruit, to nuts, to seafood and bakery items, along with lovely cafes and eateries. The market also has a mission to operate sustainably whilst producing a cultural shopping experience- which I think is better than a huge supermarket. Also, the market had free tastes… winner winner chicken dinner. I purchased quite a few items from Chinese stalls as well as Australian; I feel I had a good mix of culture.

Going to the market was great because I was able to chop and change some of my ingredients depending on what was in season, and on offer. I swapped my normal chestnut mushrooms for enoki mushrooms, which will be great for stir-fries. Also, one of the stalls was selling curry dhal mix which you make by just adding water- really easy and perfect for these chilly Australian evenings, but not something I had thought of purchasing before.

I must add I did have to go to a supermarket for a few bits after my market haul, mainly for tinned tomatoes, tuna and GF bread rolls. Below you can see the extent of my purchases. Although I didn’t keep track exactly of how much I was spending, the overall trip cost around $55, equivalent to just over £30, which is not too bad for over a week’s shopping I don’t think.

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Food Haul!

fullsizeoutput_217e.jpegMy meal plan started yesterday with leftover sausage bake for lunch, and chicken pasta after lacrosse (I got back quite late, so I needed something quick and filling). For today’s lunch I also had my feta salad, and this evening after the gym I will make barramundi, peas and rice with a garlic, lemon mayo.

Throughout the rest of the week I will be uploading short recipes of the meals I make.  I have to keep everything quite simple here because I don’t have a selection of amazing utensils, dishes and cooking equipment like I had in Brighton. However, this is good because all of the meals I make will be easy and quick- perfect after work, Uni or school.

Watch this space x

 

 

Mexican Bean Chilli Recipe

Gluten Free, Vegan Delights, Veggie Dishes

It appears I am sticking with the theme of sauces for the moment as today I made spicy Mexican bean chilli to go alongside chicken fajitas. This bean chilli is so easy, needing minimal effort and only a few ingredients. It is great to have with rice or as a meat-substitute for burritos/fajitas or with couscous and in salads. There appears to be loads of Mexican food in Adelaide and its inspired me to try new recipes!

I also must apologise for my lack of pictures, when I started cooking I was planning on blogging, but it was so yummy decided I wanted to share it.

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Ingredients!

This recipe is similar to one I created before (shown in my Big Fat Mexican Meal blog), my ingredients are:

  • 1 Tin mixed beans (I specifically used Mexican beans)
  • 1 Tin diced tomatoes
  • ½ Red onion
  • 2 Garlic cloves
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Oil
  • Salt and pepper

This recipe is so simple like I said, and the first step began by me finely chopping the garlic and red onion. I heated a drizzle of oil in a saucepan and added the onion and garlic. Once the onion started turning golden and softening I added the tin of Mexican beans. You must make sure they are drained and rinsed thoroughly as the juice in the tin can alter the flavour.

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Beans alongside the brown rice and chicken for the fajitas!

After about 5 minutes, when the beans were heated through and mixed with the onion and garlic I added the tin of diced tomatoes. Similarly to the pasta sauce yesterday, I filled ¼ of the empty tin with water, and poured this in too, to use all of the tomato juice.

Now all that was left to do was wait for the sauce to thicken and to add the seasoning. Once everything had combined together I added a dusting of cayenne pepper. This should be to taste; it’s always better to start with small amounts as it can be very spicy! Along with the cayenne pepper I also used salt and pepper, tasting each time as well.

The thickening of the bean chilli took around 20 minutes. You shouldn’t put a lid on the saucepan to ensure the liquid evaporates as it is cooking, allowing the sauce to thicken, giving it a more chilli-like texture. Once it is at the desired consistency your veggie bean chilli is finished!

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GF Fajita Bowl!

Tins of beans and tomatoes can be purchased cheaply and seasoning like cayenne pepper can be bought from all supermarkets, including Aldi/Lidl etc. I bought my garlic today from Adelaide Central Market so I like to think that made it taste even better, however I’m sure it was just the same as the shop bought alternative!

My first Aussie blog- Homemade pasta sauce!

Gluten Free, Vegan Delights, Veggie Dishes

Since being in Australia one thing I have found out is that everything is very pricey. Food and drink especially, generally because their wages are far higher than ours in the UK, but this means I am having to be even thriftier. One thing that I always find cheap and easy to make is homemade pasta sauce. By making it at home you are also able to control the amounts of salt and sugar, which so many pre-made pasta sauces are full of.

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Veggies!

My ingredients were:

  • 1 White onion
  • 1 Garlic clove
  • ½ Red chilli
  • 2 Mushrooms
  • ¼ Red pepper (not in pic- I forgot)
  • 400g Diced tomatoes (1 tin)
  • Italian seasoning
  • Oil
  • Salt and Pepper

The steps for this sauce are especially easy. First, I finely chopped the onion, garlic and chilli and diced the pepper and mushroom. I chose to use ¼ red pepper last minute as I had some leftover in my fridge. I drizzled oil into my frying pan and ensured it was piping hot before I added all of the chopped veggies.

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Ready for cooking

On a medium heat I stirred the ingredients until the mushroom softened and the onion became golden. At this point I added the tin of diced tomatoes and an extra 1/2 tin of water to ensure all of the juices were used. Adding water helps to prevent the sauce from becoming too thick as it reduces.

To taste, I added the salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. The mixed herbs give the sauce a great Italian smell and add another layer of flavour.

After around 5/10 minutes more, the sauce had thickened and was bubbling away nicely. In the meantime, I cooked my delicious gluten free pasta, which I bought in Aldi (in Aus they have a great GF selection), and once this was finished cooking I began to plate up.

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Veggie Sauce!

I haven’t yet bought any cheese, mainly because it’s a bit above my student budget, but some grated cheese over the top would be perfect. I served the dish with another sprinkle of black pepper.

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Ready to eat- straight from Italy

If you don’t necessarily like the lumps of tomato in the sauce you can choose finely chopped tomatoes. I also noticed that Coles sell cans of tomatoes with Italian herbs which would also be great if you don’t have the seasoning in your cupboard- I’m sure UK supermarkets do too.

All of the ingredients used are low price and if you buy multipacks of tinned tomatoes it means you can save even more. I got mine for around $0.60, which is roughly about 40p, pretty much the same as in UK, if you want you could splash out on more expensive tinned tomatoes too.

For a quick evening meal this is perfect, and after I took my pictures I added ½ tin of tuna to add protein to the dish. This would also work perfectly with mince, like a Bolognese, or with chicken or even more veggies. Enjoy J

Raspberry and White Chocolate Gluten Free Cheesecake

Gluten Free, Sweet Treats

I have taken a little break from cooking and blogging over the past couple of months, mainly because of exams, but also because I have recently become gluten free, due to my IBS. As someone who loves bread, cake, pasta and basically all things gluten, this has been hard, and I have found it challenging to get inspired and cook new things. Before I move to Australia I have been working my way through meals and dishes I must eat before I go. I have already been treated to sausage, rice and peas and a lovely GF orange polenta cake courtesy of Mum- now it is my turn to treat myself.

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Ingredients

Today, in the midst of packing, I chose to take some time to make a white chocolate and raspberry cheesecake. As usual, I partially followed a recipe which I will link below, my ingredients were:

  • 200g GF biscuits (I chose hobnobs and Tesco finest dark chocolate and ginger)
  • 50g Unsalted butter
  • 200g White chocolate
  • 200ml Double cream
  • 200g Soft cheese (full fat)
  • 150g Mascarpone
  • 1 Handful raspberries

(I didn’t end up using the icing sugar, see how it is used as a topping in the link below. Also non gluten free biscuits can be used too)

I started off by preparing the biscuits. Sealing the biscuits in a freezer bag I used a big rolling pin to crush them into crumbs. I kept some of the pieces slightly chunkier just to add another texture when its ready to be eaten, rather than a really fine base. The use of dark chocolate biscuits works well as a bitter touch to the sweet white chocolate and cream cheese filling. Once the biscuits were crumbled I added them, along with 50g of melted butter, into a bowl and gave it a good mix. The butter acts as a binding agent so it needs to be mixed in really well.

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Crumbled GF biscuits

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Base!

I pressed the biscuit mix into a non-stick springform tin, using a spoon and my hands. It’s useful to get your hands a bit messy just to ensure there’s an even layer pressed firmly down into the bottom of the tin. It was then time to work on the creamy filling, so I put the tin in the fridge to chill.

I started off by melting the white chocolate in the microwave. I was very lucky as my lovely Mum bought me the ingredients yesterday, so I was able to use Green and Blacks chocolate. It is so creamy and rich and perfect as a sweet touch in the sour cream cheese. I gave it bursts in the microwave for about 5 minutes, keeping a careful eye on it. Melting choc in a microwave can be a bit risky; if it catches, or burns, the chocolate will be bitter and ruined. An alternative method is placing the bowl of chocolate over a saucepan of boiling water.

Whilst the white choc was melting I began making the cheese mixture. This was really easy, like the rest of the recipe actually. With a wooden spoon I mixed the cream cheese, mascarpone and double cream. It is important not to beat the mixture too much as it will become too stiff and mixing in the chocolate will be a challenge. Once the chocolate was melted it was combined into the cream cheese mixture. At this point the cheese did become slightly lumpy but I used the wooden spoon to smooth it out- easy.

I removed the tin from the fridge and began spooning in the chocolate cream cheese mixture, slowly, ensuring it was even. In between spoonful’s I dropped in a few raspberries and ensured that the mixture was once again smooth. Once I had used all of the mixture I halved a few more raspberries to decorate the cheesecake.

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Not perfect- but tasty!

Finally, the cheesecake was ready to be chilled again. The only issue I had is that I couldn’t eat it straight away! It is supposed to take between 3-4 hours in total to chill the mixture, however the recipe does recommend leaving it overnight- I knew I wouldn’t be able to wait this long! I waited around 4 hours, and as the pic shows, my slice was a little messy, just because it needed a bit more chilling. So, once again, it is back in the fridge. The slither I had was delicious! I really recommend GF Hobnobs too for people who can’t eat gluten/wheat!

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mmmmmm!

Unlike my normal cooking this wasn’t something I tried to make on a student budget, 1) because I am treating myself 2) my mum bought me the ingredients. On the website I used it states you can buy all of the ingredients from around £1 per serving (10 portions). I have added the link below give it a go…

https://www.olivemagazine.com/recipes/baking-and-desserts/eton-mess-cheesecake/

Asian-Inspired Grilled Mackerel

Fishy Friends, Gluten Free

Mackerel is an oily fish that’s also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, the kind of fats we want in our diet. As well as being beneficial health wise, mackerel is also a very affordable fish and I managed to get mine on sale in Sainsburys for next to nothing.

I have never cooked mackerel before and I was a bit nervous about doing so. But after a bit of research and a flick through the BBC Goodfood recipes I came across an Asian-inspired mackerel dish that I decided to give a little tweak and make it my own. I have had a couple of mackerel fillets in the freezer for a while, so I am glad I have found a recipe that inspired me to use them up.

I apologise for the lack of pictures on this one, I changed my mine half way through cooking so some of the first pics became redundant!

The ingredients I used were:

  • 1 Mackerel fillet
  • White Cabbage
  • ½ Leek
  • ½ Green chilli
  • Mustard seeds

For the marinade:

  • 1tbsp Soy sauce
  • 1tbsp Lime juice
  • Fresh ginger (A small piece)
  • 1 Clove garlic
  • 1tbsp Honey

After my mackerel fillet had been defrosting all day it was ready to be marinated in the Asian sauce. In a small bowl I combined all of the marinade ingredients. I crushed and finely chopped the clove of garlic, and thinly sliced the ginger. My honey had set so as I added it to the soy sauce I used the back of my spoon to break it up, allowing it to dissolve. The sauce should be sticky, sweet and a little sour.

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Ready for marinating!

After pouring the marinade over the fish* I covered the Tupperware with cling film and left this to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. Marinades help keep the flesh of both fish and meat moist and prevent them drying out, as well as coating the outside with the mix of flavours used, creating a deeper flavour.

  *Keep back the bowl you make the marinade in to use a bit later.

Whilst my fish was chilling in the fridge I began on the second component of the meal, my stir-fried veggies.

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Veggies!

My Mum makes an amazing white cabbage and leek stir fry which I pinched to use in this dish. I began thinly slicing the white cabbage, keeping the pieces long, as well as chopping up ½ leek. To add a little heat, I also finely chopped ½ fresh green chilli.

After the fish had been in the fridge for 20 minutes, I began cooking the veg. I heated oil in a wok and added a sprinkle of mustard seeds. One thing about mustard seeds is that when they heat up they begin to pop and can end up flying everywhere- I know this from experience. To prevent this from happening, I used a plate and covered the pan for the first couple of minutes. After most of the popping had subsided I added all of the veggies.

If I hadn’t marinated the fish I would’ve added some soy sauce or sesame oil to the wok, however, I knew there would be enough flavour from the fish itself.

Stirring regularly the vegetables began to soften, shrink down and become golden. Once they had finished cooking I set them aside in the marinade bowl (mentioned earlier) so the cabbage and leeks could absorb any sauce or spices left over.

After the fish was done marinating, I carefully placed the fillet skin side up on a baking tray covered in tin foil. Under a high heat I grilled the fish for around 4 minutes, until the skin began to crisp and bubble a little. After the 4 minutes were up I removed the fish and turned it over, so it was skin side down on the foil. Onto the fish I poured the remaining sauce left over from the tupperware.

I returned the mackerel back under the grill and, once again, cooked for a remaining 3-4 minutes. I feel like I must put a little warning in here that mackerel is very stinky to cook, but please don’t let this put you off. I did give my housemates a warning and made sure I had all of the windows open. I know that really fishy-fish isn’t always popular, but the end product tastes SO good, it’s worth it.

I tipped the veg back into the wok on the hob just to heat back through and then it was ready to plate up! The veggies were sticky and crunchy with the mustard seeds adding a little extra bite. The fish was really tender, and not at all dry- which can be a common issue with mackerel. I topped the dish off with a few slices of spring onion and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

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Finished!

Overall, I am really happy with how this Asian-inspired dish came out, I think it might be one of my best dinners yet!

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Even without finding them in the reduced section, you can purchase a couple of mackerel fillets for £2 or so from most supermarkets, and along with the low cost of white cabbage and leeks, this recipe really won’t break the bank! For one portion this ends up costing below £1.70- with the most expensive bits being the soy sauce and honey, and even these don’t add up to a lot!

If you fancy trying the original recipe here it is below:

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1755645/grilled-mackerel-with-soy-lime-and-ginger(P.s it’s not as good as mine!)

Spicy Turkey Bolognese

Gluten Free, Meat Eater

Once again, I found myself sifting through my freezer, before I finish Uni for the year, and I came across a pack of lean turkey mince. Not only is turkey mince far cheaper than beef or lamb mince it is also far healthier. I really enjoy treating myself, but it is great finding healthier recipes that taste just as good!

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Ingredients!

I have made turkey burgers before which were delicious, but I fancied making something a bit different, so this time I chose turkey Bolognese. As turkey mince is less calorific, less fatty and higher in protein it was a great choice after a busy few days in the gym, whilst also delivering that comfort food feeling with the rich tomato sauce and pasta.  I found a great recipe by The Kitchen Alchemist and was excited to give it a go.

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Onion, Chilli and Pepper!

My ingredients were

  • 450g Turkey mince
  • 450g Passata
  • 1 White onion
  • 1 Red pepper
  • 1 Red chilli
  • 2 Small cloves of garlic (or 1 large)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1tbsp Sugar
  • 1tsp Chilli flakes
  • 2tbsp Mixed herbs
  • Salt and Pepper (heavy on the pepper)

 

I started off by heating a big drizzle of oil in my casserole dish over a high heat on the hob. Once the oil had become piping hot I added the diced onion, red pepper and the finely chopped red chilli. I used a little water to ensure the ingredients didn’t stick to the pan as they browned.

After about 5/10 minutes I introduced the turkey mince; breaking it up with my wooden spoon so that it began to cook all over. Once the turkey mince had coloured I then added the minced garlic and continued to cook for a few more minutes.

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Turkey!

The next ingredients I needed to add were the 450g passata- you could use chunky chopped tomatoes instead- chilli, sugar, salt and pepper. At this point I also added 1tbsp of dried basil and another of dried oregano. These herbs give the dish a more Italian feel and make the sauce smell, and taste, amazing.

Once everything was combined and mixed together I turned the hob down to a low/medium heat and covered the pan with the lid. I then left this to simmer for around 25 minutes. In this time all of the amazing spices, herbs and flavours marinated into the turkey mince and passata giving it a rich flavour.

Whilst the Bolognese was still simmering I cooked up a big portion of whole-wheat pasta. I was making enough for one portion for myself and another to take to work, however, I managed to cook enough for a small family?!

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Bubbling and Ready!

After the 25 minutes were up I added two ladles of pasta water- just as the pasta was nearing the end- and the juice of one lemon. The recipe calls for one juicy lemon and I was in luck. Once the lemon and pasta water had been added to the Bolognese I gave it a big stir, ensuring all the liquid had soaked in.

I drained off the pasta once it had cooked and got ready to plate up. At this point it would be the perfect time to add fresh parsley or basil and a hearty helping of parmesan cheese, however I am trying to save money and reduce food waste, so I didn’t add these ingredients to my shopping list. Instead, once my Bolognese was piled onto my pasta, I added another sprinkle of pepper and it was ready to eat.

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All Finished!

I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome as I am always very aware that no Bolognese will ever come close to my Mum’s! But, however, I think I did give it a good shot and I am happy I will have got a good helping of protein too.

IMG_9044As I said, turkey mince is really good value, I got mine in Aldi for about £1.40, and the Bolognese recipe has made enough for about 4/5 portions. To make the whole big batch the cost would be around £2.75 (inc. an estimation regarding the price of dried herbs), making it an amazing 70p per portion.

Not only can this be eaten with pasta, but the recipe also suggests using it as a side to a crispy jacket potato, or with rice, as an alternative to chilli. I would definitely recommend this easy yet tasty recipe. If you fancy it, follow the link below:

https://www.thekitchenalchemist.co.uk/recipes/2014/11/16/spicy-turkey-pasta

Summer Veg Couscous Stuffed Sweet Potato- Inspired by The Savvy Cook

Vegan Delights, Veggie Dishes

I have learnt over my past couple of years at uni that sweet potato is not only great value, but also really versatile, and as I don’t like normal potato it is a great source of carbs. One thing I had never tried however is baked sweet potato, mainly because I am too inpatient to wait for my dinner to cook for 1 hour. However, now that I am stuck at home revising almost every day, it is far easier for me to plan ahead with dinners.

My recipe today was inspired by The Savvy Cook, Izy Hossack, it is couscous stuffed sweet potato. I have written before about this cookbook and how much I love it. The colours and recipes inspire me, and this is why I gave this dish a little twist! My ingredients were:

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  • 1 Sweet potato
  • 2tbsp Couscous
  • 3tbsp Boiling water
  • ½ Yellow pepper
  • ½ White onion
  • A few slices of Courgette
  • ½ Fresh red chilli
  • Crème fraiche to serve

 

After a quick walk to co-op to buy some foil and stretch my legs, I prepped my sweet potato for the oven which I had preheated to 200 degrees. I pricked the potato with a fork all over and wrapped it in foil. As it was quite small I set the timer for 45 minutes, hoping this would be perfect (spoiler… it was perfect).

The beauty of this meant I was able to then go off and do some other bits and bobs, mainly procrastination but I am sure there was a little bit of revision involved too!

10 mins before my timer was due to sound I started on my couscous. Into a small mixing bowl, I poured the 2tbsp of couscous and 3tbsp of boiling water. Well, I was supposed to pour in boiling water, but instead I used normal tap water, and was somewhat surprised when 5 minutes later it hadn’t cooked at all. I have cooked couscous multiple times before so I’m unsure why on this occasion I made the silly error, but it was quickly resolved.

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Veggies!

Once the boiling water had been poured on my couscous grains I covered with a small plate to ensure it became light and fluffy- you can also use cling film.

In a small frying pan, I added 1tbsp of vegetable oil and the summer veggies I was using. I had diced ½ a yellow pepper, cut a few chunks of courgette and thinly sliced ½ a white onion and ½ fresh red chilli. I pan-fried these until they had started to golden and soften. Once this was done I incorporated them into my fluffy, perfectly cooked couscous. I also added a
squeeze of lemon juice and a good helping of both salt and pepper.

By this point it was time to remove my sweet potato from the oven, being very careful not to burn myself on the scorching tinfoil. 45 minutes ended up being perfect, with the skin of the potato lovely and crisp and the bright orange centre tender. There were also some syrupy sweet potato juices in the foil that I made sure I didn’t waste, pouring them back over the dish when I had finished plating.

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Cooked to PERFECTION!

Once my potato was filled with spicy veggie couscous I added a dollop of crème fraiche to serve, along with a drizzle of sweet chilli sauce which finished the dish off perfectly.

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Ready to go!

Everything in this dish was really low cost, with a big bag of sweet potatoes from Aldi costing about 70p and a whole packet of couscous costing just about the same. All together this single portion would have cost me less that £1! With the summer finally arriving, this dish would be perfect for garden parties and BBQs too, as you can cook the sweet potatoes in batches and make big bowls of couscous with minimal effort. Enjoy J