Category Archives: Healty Eating

Recipe for Roast Butternut Squash Salad with Goat’s Cheese

Recipe for Roast Butternut Squash Salad with Goat's Cheese

Recipe for Roast Butternut Squash Salad with Goat’s Cheese

Phew!  After all that delicious (but a little bit full on) food in France, it’s great to get back home and back into the kitchen to make something that I really love.

This recipe for roast butternut squash salad with goat’s cheese has some classic combinations.  It’s not revolutionary, I’m not re-inventing the wheel here, just getting back to some basics.

You’ll have to forgive me for showing off the herbs I’ve been growing on my balcony – I’ve put loads of them into this recipe.

Preparation Time: Under 10 minutes
Cooking Time: About 15 to 20 minutes to roast the squash

Serves 4

For the Salad
4 x baby gem lettuce shredded or chopped finely
50gr / 1.7 oz. toasted pumpkin seeds
50gr / 1.7 oz. toasted pine nuts
100gr / 3.5 oz. mange tout, chopped finely
250gr / 8.8 oz. soft goat’s cheese

To Roast the Butternut Squash
1 x medium butternut squash with the seeds removed and cut into roughly thumb sized pieces (keep the skin on).
2 x tbsps of olive oil
1 x tbsp of honey
2 x tsps of fresh thyme leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Dressing
4 x tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Juice of a lemon
1 x tbsp honey
8 to 10 basil leaves chopped finely
1 x tbsp finely chopped chives
1 x tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano
Salt and Black Pepper to taste

Method

  1. To roast the squash, pre-heat your oven to 200°C / 400°C. Place the squash in a roasting tin, drizzle over the honey and oil, sprinkle over the thyme and a few grinds of black pepper and mix everything through until covered. Roast in the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes or until it has softened and taken on some colour. When cooked, add a little salt.
  2. Whilst the squash is roasting (or you can roast it in advance), prepare the dressing by whisking the oil, lemon juice and honey in a bowl, then stir through the herbs. Add seasoning, tasting as you go.
  3. Place the ingredients for the salad in your serving bowl, keeping back a little of the squash, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts and cheese to dress.
  4. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss it through until everything is covered evenly. Place some of the squash, nuts and seeds and cheese over the top decoratively and drizzle with a little extra oil if you wish.

Roast Butternut Squash Salad with Goat's Cheese

White Asparagus with Tomato Dressing

White Asparagus with Tomato Dressing

White Asparagus with Tomato Dressing

Probably the simplest of all my white asparagus recipes.  Really fresh and healthy

Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 7 minutes

 Serves 4 

12 large white asparagus, peeled and the bottom 1.5 cm removed
50gr of toasted pine nuts (you can toast them in a non-stick pan – be careful to keep an eye on them)
2 x spring onions chopped finely.
4 medium tomatoes, chopped into little cubes (make sure they are ripe)
6 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp of white balsamic vinegar
Salt and black pepper to taste

Method 

  1. To cook the asparagus, place them in a large pan of boiling water for about 7 minutes. Make sure they have plenty of water in which to cook. To check they are ready, just pierce the thickest part with a sharp knife, there should be a slight resistance.
  2. Whilst the asparagus is cooking, mix the olive oil, vinegar, tomato, onion and a little salt and pepper in a bowl to make a dressing. Just mix together with a fork. If you do this before you start to cook the asparagus, the ingredients will give more flavour into the oil.
  3. To serve, drain the asparagus, share out on plates, drizzle over the dressing and sprinkle with the pine nuts.

Tips and Variations

  • This is a great light alternative to the usual heavy version with Hollandaise sauce or with melted butter and ham.
  • This can also be served as a side dish to salmon.
  • Try serving on a bed of seasonal leaves, just lightly dressed with a little extra virgin oil and white balsamic.
  • If you don’t have white balsamic vinegar, you can use white wine vinegar (add a tsp of honey to this version) or normal dark coloured balsamic vinegar, if you don’t mind the colour.
  • Works well with green asparagus as well, although you will need more spears per portion. I love to dress this version with some shards of parmesan or a sprinkling of crumbled soft goat’s cheese.

Simple Salmon with Spinach Recipe

Simple Salmon with Rice Recipe

Simple Salmon with Spinach Recipe

This has to be one of my simple of all my ‘Keep it Simple’ recipes.  Not only is it super easy, but it’s super quick, tasty and healthy too.

Preparation Time: Less than 10 minutes
Cooking Time: Less than 10 minutes

 Serves 4
2 x tbsps olive oil (or, use the oil in which your anchovies are stored)
600gr / 1.3 lb. salmon filets, sliced into bite sized pieces
6 x spring onions (scallions) chopped finely
2 x large cloves of garlic chopped finely
5 or 6 anchovy filets chopped finely
5 x medium tomatoes chopped roughly
½ tsp of dried chili flakes (more if you want more of a kick)
800gr / 1.7 lb. spinach (the frozen kind, defrosted)

Method 

  1. Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan.
  2. When the oil is hot, add the spring onions (scallions), garlic, anchovies and chili. Stir and fry off for just under a minute. Let the ingredients brown but not burn.
  3. Add the salmon and allow to cook, turning it over once or twice, but resist the temptation to stir around too much, you will just break up the fish and make it mushy. Get a nice brown colour, so watch your heat – hot enough to brown but turn it down or move around just a little if you notice it is burning.
  4. Add the tomatoes, stir through, then add the spinach. If any water has accumulated whilst you have been defrosting the spinach, just use that too.
  5. Stir through and add some salt.
  6. Cook the spinach for about 3 or 4 minutes, it should bubble a little.
  7. Check for seasoning before serving.

Tips and Variations

  •  Serve with rice or pasta.

Simple Salmon with Rice Recipe

Sweet and Spicy Cherry Tomato Spaghetti

Recipe for Sweet and Spicy Cherry Tomato Spaghetti.

Sweet and Spicy Cherry Tomato Spaghetti

I have this thing, I suppose you could call it a challenge.  It’s a personal challenge, kind of secret, until now.  It’s about pasta.  It’s also about cooking quickly.  The thing is I like to challenge myself to make a really tasty sauce in the time, or less than the time it takes to cook my pasta.  I have loads of these sauces – some of them are so simple I don’t dare to even call them a sauce.  This is the latest in that category.  And, like most of my recipes, it’s very forgiving – you can play with the flavours to suit your taste.  Give it a go, just don’t get caught up in my crazy challenges.

Preparation Time: 10 to 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients
2 x tbsp olive oil
2 x shallots chopped finely
3 or 4 cloves of garlic chopped finely
2 x red chili’s chopped finely
300gr / 6.5 oz. x bacon, chopped into small cubes
600gr / 1.3 lb. x cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 x ripe tomato chopped finely
2 x tsp of tomato purée
Juice of one lemon
2 x tbsp honey
A dash of good quality balsamic vinegar (optional)
A handful of flat parsley chopped finely
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Some freshly grated or shaved parmesan, fresh basil leaves and a drizzle of virgin olive oil to dress

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan.
  2. Set your spaghetti on to cook as per instructions on the packet.
  3. Add the shallots, garlic, chili to the hot oil in the frying pan and cook for just under a minute, add the bacon and cook for about two minutes or until it is cooked through.
  4. De-glaze with half of the lemon juice, stir through.
  5. Add the tomatoes, tomato purée, honey and a little salt (not too much as the bacon might be salty) and some pepper. Cook on a medium heat, letting everything simmer gently.
  6. Take about 4 to 6 tbsps of the water in which your pasta is cooking and add it to the sauce, stir through and cook until the tomatoes soften, this should take just over five minutes.
  7. Check for seasoning, add the rest of the lemon juice, the parsley. Add the balsamic vinegar if you think the sauce needs it or adjust the flavour in any other way. At this stage if I want more spice, I tend to add a few flakes of dried chili.
  8. Add the pasta when it is ready. I like to do this straight from the pan in which it is cooking by dragging it into the sauce with some tongs. This sauce can be a bit dry and can benefit from the extra moisture.
  9. Dress with the parmesan, basil and olive oil before serving.

Tips and Variations

  • If you don’t have any balsamic add extra lemon juice if you feel the sauce needs a little sharpness to balance out the flavour.
  • This is such a personal taste kind of recipe – you can add more spice or sweetness as you like it.
  • Try swapping the bacon for chorizo – be careful with the chili as chorizo normally contains some.

Sweet and Spicy Cherry Tomato Spaghetti

Recipe for Courgette Spaghetti

Recipe for Courgette Spaghetti

I’ve put off making this recipe for courgette spaghetti for some time.  Not because it’s difficult, but because it involves a gadget challenge for me – using the scariest of all kitchen gadgets – the mandolin.  OK, it might not be scary for everybody, but every time I see people using this I screw up my eyes and if I’m alone watching TV, I peer at it through my fingers as if I watching a horror film.  Why?  Well, I think it’s because I am waiting for them to slice their fingers on the razor sharp blade.  I could make this courgette (zuchinni) spaghetti without a mandolin, of course, you can use a potato peeler or a cheese slice to make the ultra thin strips, of, in this case a more linguine type shape, but I felt I should push through my fear and use the mandolin.  I have to say, I did it with complete focus and I still think that this particular gadget demands respect, but I have done it, and I know I can do it again.  The results?   Worth every slice of course.

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: Less than 15 minutes

Serves 4 as a side dish or light lunch
2 x tbsp olive oil
4 x spring onions (scallions) chopped finely
3 or 4 cloves of garlic chopped finely
4 x courgettes (zucchini) sliced very thinly spaghetti style with a mandolin or into linguine strips with a potato peeler or a cheese slice.
3 x large tomatoes chopped roughly
2 x tsp tomato purée
5 or 6 good quality anchovies chopped finely
2 x (400gr x ) tins of chopped tomatoes
2 x tbsp of capers
Juice of one lemon
1 x tbsp of honey
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
About 50gr to 75gr finely grated pecorino (or parmesan) and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil to dress.

Method

  1.  Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the garlic, spring onions and anchovies. Fry off on a high heat for about 30 seconds.
  2. Add the fresh tomatoes and tomato purée, stir through for and cook for another 30 seconds.
  3. De-glaze with the lemon juice.
  4. Once the lemon juice has evaporated add the tins of tomatoes, capers, honey and salt and pepper. Set the heat so that the sauce simmers gently and allow to cook for about 5 to 7 minutes.
  5. Add the courgette (zucchini), stir though to cover it in the sauce and it heat up. This takes only 2 to 3 minutes. Check for seasoning and serve with the cheese and extra virgin olive oil drizzled over the top.  

Tips and Variations

  •  To make this dish more hearty add a tin or perhaps two of puy lentils or chick peas. Or you can add a tin of tuna to your sauce.
  • If you are having a healthy day, this is an excellent lunch or dinner.