Recipe: Sweetcorn Fritters

Sweetcorn Fritters

I have to tell you before we start that these are delicious. Yes, I say that about a number of things that I post here, but these really are lovely, and I had a difficult job not scoffing them all myself the evening I made them. They’re not quite as ‘fritter-like’ as you might guess they would be, I think that would require deep frying them, but I suppose this just means that these ones are healthier, and a little more like mini pancakes – yum! This recipe has been adapted from this Tapas book.

Ingredients

  • 75g red pepper
  • 1 medium egg
  • 125ml milk
  • 50g red onion, chopped finely
  • 160g corn kernels
  • 75g self-raising flour
  • Pinch of bicarbonate of soda
  • Olive oil, for frying
  1. Roast the pepper on a baking tray under a medium grill, until the skin blackens. Remove from under the grill, cover the baking tray with foil and leave to cool. Once it’s cool, you should easily be able to remove the skin and chop finely.
  2. Whisk the egg and milk in a large bowl, before stirring in the vegetables. Season to taste. Sift in the flour and bicarbonate of soda and stir until fully combined.
  3. Heat some olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and add as many teaspoonfuls of the vegetable mixture as you can, leaving space to turn them over. Heat for approximately 2 minutes each side, until browned.
  4. Serve.

Sweetcorn Fritters 2

Sweetcorn Fritters 3

Sweetcorn Fritters 4

Photo Credit: Lucy

Recipe: Beef Empanadas

Beef Empanadas

Finding food that my boy enjoys can sometimes be a challenge – he’s not the most keen on trying new things, and he would much rather stick with dishes he knows and likes than stray to something different. So when I find a recipe I think he will enjoy then I’m quick to give it a try and hope that he enjoys it. Luckily, if it features meat and vegetables, then we’re pretty safe, so I was happy to find these beef empanadas and give this slightly adjusted dish a go. This recipe makes 12 empanadas.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 white onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 250g lean beef mince
  • 1/2 green pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon mild chili powder
  • 1 sheet ready rolled shortcrust pastry
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  1. Heat the oil over a medium heat in a large frying pan. Add the onion and cook for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  2. Add the beef mince and cook until browned, approximately 8 minutes.
  3. Add the pepper and the spices and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  5. Unroll the shortcrust pastry and use a 9cm round cutter to cut out 12 discs of pastry.
  6. Put 1 tablespoon of the cooled filling on 1 half of each pastry circle. Brush the edge of each circle with egg and seal shut.
  7. Place on baking trays, brush with egg and bake for 15 minutes, until golden brown.

Beef Empanadas 2

Beef Empanadas 3

Beef Empanadas 4

Beef Empanadas 5

Photo Credit: Lucy

Packed lunch ideas

When you work full-time it can be difficult to find time to prepare a proper lunch to take with you, so then you’re left buying something in work, where they may not have the best choice available. Below I’ve put together some quick, easy and yummy selections that will mean you can eat healthily without spending ages in the kitchen. Why not try a simple salad stuffed into a pitta or accompanied with crackers and cheese. And for dessert? Take a selection of fruit such as strawberries, blueberries, grapes and blackberries.

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My 5 Favourite Healthy Foods

Favourite Healthy Foods

Many of us try to eat healthily on a daily basis, especially at this time of the year, when a ton of fruits and vegetables are in season and we’re all being a little more active when the weather is good. However, not all healthy food is necessarily tasty and doesn’t really get us excited for low-fat or low-calorie meals, so it’s important to find the things that you really enjoy. There are quite a few ‘healthy’ foods which I love, but there are some which I absolutely adore and try to eat as much as possible, especially knowing that they make me feel good.

1. Coconut Water

Something I’ve only discovered in the past few months, coconut water is my new absolute favourite drink and I try and have one small carton per day. It’s low in calories, naturally fat and cholesterol free and has a ton of potassium (more than bananas), as well as being incredibly hydrating, so I’m a big fan of this tasty beverage. My only issue is the high price, so it’s not always practical to keep it stocked in the house, but I do try and pick it up as much as possible. My favourite added flavour when I don’t drink it plain is pineapple, but I’m pretty much on board with any of it!

Recipes: Coconut Water Smoothie with Mango, Banana and Strawberries; Coconut Water Rice; Coconut Water Gelatin.

2. Sweet Potatoes

Roasted sweet potatoes is one of my absolute favourite dishes these days, especially in a Summer salad with all of my other favourite vegetables. They’re packed with potassium, helping to lower blood pressure and reducing stroke risk. If you eat the skin, which I’m afraid to say I don’t most of the time, you get a great dose of fibre too. I also love them mashed, with just a touch of salted butter, but I would like to add a few more recipes involving this delicious vegetable to my repetoire, as I think I’ll be able to find a ton more to do with it.

Recipes: Roasted Sweet Potato Risotto; Sweet Potato, Spring Onion & Feta Salad; Root Vegetable Rostis.

3. Almonds

Almonds are my go-to healthy snack if I need to have something extra in between lunch and dinner. They are a rich source of protein, are high in calcium and monounsaturated fat (the heart-healthy kind) and a handful a day could help lower your bad LDL cholesterol and risk of heart disease. I have also substituted quite a bit of the semi-skimmed regular milk I drink for almond milk, just to get some extra benefits.

Recipes: Simple Summer Smoothie; Granola; Gluten-free Apple and Almond Cake.

4. Blueberries

One of my favourite fruits and a famous ‘superfood’ blueberries are high in antioxidants, especially in heart-protective carotenoids and flavonoids, and they also encourage heart, memory and urinary-tract health. As well as that, they also contain high levels of vitamins C and E, so there really is no excuse not to add this amazing fruit to your diet right now. They can be eaten as they are, which is best, but also added to baking recipes for something a bit different and even more tasty if you would like it. Whatever way you eat them, you need to give them a go.

Recipes: Lemon Curd & Blueberry Loaf Cake; Blueberry & Oat Muffins; Blueberry & Greek Yoghurt Popsicles.

5. Beetroot

I’m a huge fan of beetroot, especially when paired with something like goat’s cheese, so I try to get it into every salad I make over the Summer months. An excellent source of folic acid and a very good source of fibre, manganese and potassium, beetroot is a great health food, and is super versatile in what you can do with it, which is good in my book!

Recipes: Beetroot, Goat’s Cheese and Hazelnut Tart; Beetroot Risotto; Honey-Roast Beetroot.

Healthy Breakfast Recipes

Kiwi fruit, ginger & banana smoothie

Ingredients

Serves 4

  • 3 kiwi fruit
  • 4 tablespoons organic porridge oats
  • 1 banana
  • 8 ice cubes
  • 200 ml organic milk
  • 250 g organic fat-free natural yoghurt
  • ½ cm piece fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 2-3 teaspoons honey, to taste
  1. Top and tail the kiwi fruit and stand them on their ends. Slice the skin off in vertical strips with a sharp knife. Whiz the kiwi fruit with the remaining ingredients, apart from the honey, in a blender for 30 seconds and pour into 4 tall glasses. Sweeten with honey, if you like.

Recipe from Jamie Oliver.

Cinnamon porridge with banana & berries

Ingredients

Serves 4

  • 100g porridge oats
  • ½ tsp cinnamon, plus extra to serve
  • 4 tsp demerara sugar
  • 450ml skimmed milk
  • 3 bananas, sliced
  • 400g punnet strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 150g pot fat-free natural yogurt
  1. In a medium-sized saucepan, mix the oats, cinnamon, sugar, milk and half the sliced bananas. Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally. Turn down the heat and cook for 4-5 mins, stirring all the time.
  2. Remove and divide between 4 bowls, top with the remaining banana, strawberries, a dollop of yogurt and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Recipe from BBC Good Food.

Breakfast energy bars

Ingredients

Makes 12 bars

  • 100g butter
  • 200g clear honey
  • 200g rolled oats
  • 150g mixed seeds
  • 100g toasted flaked almonds
  • 100g sultanas
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 2tsp sesame seeds
  1. Preheat the oven to 180oC, gas mark 4.
  2. Heat the butter and honey in a saucepan until the butter has melted.  Stir in the remaining ingredients except sesame seeds and press into a 22cm square baking tin. Sprinkle over the sesame seeds.
  3. Bake for 15 minutes until golden.  Allow to cool slightly before cutting into 12 bars.  Leave in the tin to cool completely before removing.

Recipe from Tesco Real Food.

Baked Spinach Eggs

Ingredients

Serves 4

  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 20g butter
  • 2 leeks, trimmed and sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 300g (10oz) spinach
  • 90ml (3fl oz) single cream
  • Pinch grated nutmeg
  • 4 eggs
  • Sourdough bread, to serve
  1. Heat the oven to 180˚C (gas mark 4). Heat the oil and butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the leeks and garlic, and cook for 5 mins or until very soft. Add the spinach and cook until wilted, then drain. Blend in a food processor with 2tbsp cream. Season and add the nutmeg.
  2. Divide the spinach mix among four 250ml (8fl oz) ramekins. Crack an egg into each one, divide the rest of the cream between them and season.
  3. Place the ramekins in a baking dish and pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up their sides. Bake for 12-15 mins. Serve with toasted slices of sourdough.

Recipe from House & Garden.

Raisin Bran Breakfast Muffins

Ingredients

Makes 8 muffins

  • 100 g bran-flake cereal
  • 250 ml milk, warmed
  • 60g wholemeal flour
  • 60g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 75 g raisins
  • 1 large egg
  • 100 g soft dark-brown sugar
  • 100ml sunflower oil
  • 2 tbsp demerara sugar
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas 6.
  2. Line a muffin tin with 8 paper cases. Put the cereal in a bowl with the milk and leave to stand for 5 minutes, until the cereal is soft (you can do this while you weigh out the other ingredients).
  3. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and spices into a large bowl. Reserve the bran left in the sieve. Stir in the raisins. Beat together the egg, dark-brown sugar and oil and add to the flour, along with the soaked cereal and any milk left in the bowl. Mix together.
  4. Spoon the batter into the muffin cases (fill to the top). Mix the reserved bran from the sieve with the demerara sugar and sprinkle over the muffins. Bake for 20–25 minutes until risen and firm to the touch. Cool for 5 minutes in the tin then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe from Annabel Karmel.

Gordon Ramsay’s healthy full English breakfast

Ingredients
Serves 4

  • olive oil, to brush and drizzle
  • 4 portabello mushrooms, cleaned
  • 300g vine-ripened cherry tomatoes
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • 16 rashers of smoked back bacon
  • 8 large eggs
  • dash of white wine vinegar
  • 8 slices of rye bread, toasted
  1. Preheat the grill to the highest setting. Half-fill a wide, shallow pan with water and bring to a simmer. Line a large (or two small) baking sheet(s) with foil, then brush over with a little olive oil.
  2. Trim the mushrooms, removing their stalks, then lay, cap side down, on the baking sheet. Place the vine tomatoes alongside. Drizzle over a little olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch each of salt and pepper. Lay the bacon rashers in a single layer on the baking sheet (the second one if using two). Place under the grill for 5 minutes until the mushrooms are tender and the bacon is golden brown around the edges.
  3. To poach the eggs, break each one into a cup or ramekin. Add a dash of vinegar to the pan of simmering water. Whisk the water in a circular motion to create a whirlpool effect. Gently slide the eggs into the centre of the whirlpool, one at a time, then reduce the heat to a low simmer. Poach for 1 1/2 minutes if the eggs were at room temperature, or 2 minutes if they were straight from the fridge. The whites will have set but the yolks should still be runny in the middle.
  4. Divide the bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes and rye toasts between warm serving plates. Carefully lift out each poached egg with a slotted spoon, dab the bottom of the spoon with kitchen paper to absorb any excess water and slide onto a rye toast. Grind some pepper over the eggs and serve at once.

Recipe from Good To Know.

Recipe: Pecan & Toffee Thumbprint Cookies

Pecan & Toffee Thumbprint Cookies

As much as I love the classics when it comes to baking cookies, sometimes I like to try something that’s a bit different, and I adore the flavour of toffee and nuts together. Today I’m bringing you a recipe for thumbprint cookies, the first ones I’ve tried and the first of many I hope to make over the next few months, as these ones are certainly delicious. Plus, they’re little, which means that they can easily be snacked on with a cup of tea or similar without feeling guilty (this recipe from Home Sweet Home makes about 18 cookies). I hope you enjoy them.

Ingredients

  • 110g full-fat cream cheese
  • 70g unsalted butter, softened
  • 80g icing sugar, sifted
  • Quarter tsp vanilla extract
  • 200g plain flour
  • Quarter tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 50g pecan nuts
  • 9 toffee sweets, halved
  1. Using a mixer, beat the cream cheese, butter, icing sugar and vanilla extract together on a medium speed until fluffy.
  2. Turn the mixer down to slow, sift in the flour and bicarbonate of soda, mixing well to incorporate all the ingredients.
  3. Put the pecan nuts in a food processor and blitz until they’re finely chopped. Add them to the mixture and thoroughly mix.
  4. Wrap clingfilm over the top of the bowl and put in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius and line two or three baking trays with baking parchment.
  6. Roll the chilled dough into 4cm sized balls, before placing them on the baking trays, spacing them evenly apart.
  7. Using your thumb, make a deep indent in the centre of each dough ball. Place half a toffee sweet in each indent and bake for 14-16 minutes, until they are golden brown.

Pecan & Toffee Thumbprint Cookies 2

Pecan & Toffee Thumbprint Cookies 3

Pecan & Toffee Thumbprint Cookies 4

Photo Credit: Lucy