Mini Cucumber and Borlotti Bean Salad

A simple salad to balance out all the excesses of Easter. Does anyone find mini cucumbers more of a novelty? I must get out more ha ha!

Love adding different beans to salads to change them up and pack in a bit of protein.

Serves 4

Ingredients

8 mini cucumbers

Bag of lambs lettuce and beetroot shards

2 cups of borlotti beans

Handful of vine cherry tomatoes

Dressing

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 garlic clove minced

Salt and cracked black pepper to season

Squeeze of lemon juice

Method

Simply chop and arrange your salad on your chosen plate. Mix up your dressing and dress the salad. Serve immediately with your accompaniment of choice.

Tip: Grilled halloumi works well with this dish with a tzatziki dip.


Rainbow Bulgur Wheat

I must admit I am quite a newcomer to bulgur wheat. Introduced to me by my sister and I’m now totally converted and it’s number one fan. My mum used to put me off by calling it vulgar wheat but the thing is she’d only ever had it made very plain with boiled water so to be honest I would have been inclined to agree with her. However, it’s just how it is with vegetables. If you just boil things in hot water they are not going to be the most flavoursome thing to eat.

I’ve added some vegetable stock, good quality extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, honey, garlic, a squeeze of fresh lemon, sea salt and cracked black pepper along with cucumber, pomegranate and parsley and it really is a wonderful explosion of flavour that will brighten up any salad or meat dish. Also lovely served with feta or halloumi for a delicious veggie option. I hope you try it.

Ingredients

100g bulgur wheat

400ml hot vegetable stock – I used one vegetable oxo cube

Half a cucumber – diced

100g pomegranate seeds

Hand full of parsley – finely chopped

Dressing

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon runny honey

Salt and cracked black pepper to season

1 clove garlic – minced

Squeeze of lemon juice

Method

Measure out your bulgur wheat on the scales and rinse thoroughly in a sieve.

Add to a pan and pour over your vegetable stock. Add a lid and boil over a high heat for approximately 10 minutes until the bulgur wheat soaks up the stock. Stir gently with a fork.

Transfer the light and fluffy bulgar wheat to your serving dish along with your pomegranate seeds, cucumber and parsley.

Mix up your dressing and pour over the bulgur wheat stirring thoroughly to combine.


Feta and Oregano Little Potatoes

I love these little potatoes as a side to chicken and salad, salmon and roasted vegetables or anything remotely mediterranean. Best eaten red hot and crispy from the oven with the feta scattered over upon serving. I hope you’ll make them part of your cooking repertoire.

Serves 2

Ingredients

10 little potatoes

Tablespoon dried oregano

70g feta cheese

3 cloves garlic

Salt and cracked black pepper to season

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.

Method

Pre heat oven to 200c / 180c fan

Chop your new potatoes in half or even quarters if they are the larger type of new potato.

Heat your oil in an oven proof dish that you are going to cook your potatoes in. Meanwhile, boil your potatoes for approximately 10 minutes while your oil is heating.

Drain your potatoes and transfer to your dish of hot oil being careful not to splash any.

Shake over your oregano, salt and cracked black pepper. Add in your cloves of garlic. I bruise them with a garlic press so they release more flavour.

Spoon over the hot oil and return to the oven for approximately 40 minutes basting every 10 minutes or so to crisp them up.

When your potatoes are ready to come out of the oven drain off any excess oil, scatter over your crumbled feta and serve immediately.


Leek and Asparagus Soup

I don’t know about you but when the weather starts to turn colder I always think of soup for lunch. It’s so comforting with a slice of fresh bread and butter to dip in. To be honest I couldn’t contemplate it without it.

This delicious leek and asparagus soup is healthy and low fat and it’s a great soup to make on repeat. Feel free to add a bit of cream to make it a bit more luxurious but that’s your call.

Serves 2

Ingredients

2 leeks – chopped

4 large asparagus spears

500ml vegetable stock

Salt and cracked black pepper to season

1 knob of butter

100ml cream optional

Method

Chop your leeks into discs and your asparagus spears into inch long pieces.

Transfer to a large saucepan and pour over your vegetable stock.

Simmer for approximately 15 minutes until the veg is tender.

Season with salt and cracked black pepper and stir through your knob of butter until it has melted.

Blend to a smooth consistency.

Up to you if you want to add a little dash of cream at this point.

Serve piping hot with a chunk of fresh sour dough and butter for dipping.


Filo Vegetable Samosas

I’ve added a recipe for all my friends doing Veganuary. These little samosas make the best lunch. They’re made using filo pastry so delightfully delicate and light. Just add a crisp salad with them full of red onion, tomato and a side of mango chutney for dipping. Fabulous when you have lots of left over veg you need to use up. Even better for lunch boxes the next day.

Makes 12

Ingredients

2 carrots

1 large potato

1 cup frozen peas

1 large clove garlic – minced

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon garam masala

3 sheets filo pastry

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 table spoon poppy seeds

Method

Pre heat oven to 220c / 200c fan and take your filo out the fridge at least 15 mins before you intend to use it.

Start by boiling your potato and carrot in a pan of salted water until tender.

Meanwhile, sauté your diced onions in a frying pan until they start to soften along with the minced garlic.

Add your spices and the frozen peas.

Stir around the pan until the peas are cooked. This should only take 2-3 minutes.

Once your onions are cooked and your veg is tender, drain and chop it into pieces, then add it to your onion and spice mix stirring to combine.

Place your 3 sheets of filo flat on the work surface. You need to work quickly as it can dry out quick.

Cut each sheet into 4 rectangles. You may have a marginal amount left from each sheet in order to do this but you can just discard this.

Fold each rectangle into a triangle shape. Open and fill with approx 1 tablespoon of the filling. Fold over back into the triangle shape and brush with oil all over and to seal the edges. Feel free to trim any edges to get the perfect triangle shape.

Place each samosa on a lined baking tray and sprinkle over the poppy seeds. Bake in the centre of the oven for approx 20-25 minutes.

Serve with a side salad and compulsory mango chutney.


Spicy Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

I was delighted when my cousin gave me this recipe. For years I’ve been borderline severing a digit hacking up the butternut squash, little did I know you can halve it and roast it in the oven. It turns out even better and you still have fingers left. Bonus!

The butternut is infused with the delicious chilli and garlic and has all the winter feels. Best eaten on a lazy day watching films on the sofa all snug and warm.

Ingredients

1 butternut squash

4 garlic cloves

Glug of olive oil

Salt and cracked black pepper to season

1 whole red chilli – sliced

500ml vegetable stock

Teaspoon chilli flakes

Method

Pre heat oven to 200c / 180C

Cut your squash in half and deseed. Place cut side up on a foil lined baking tray, score and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and cracked black pepper. Add your garlic cloves kept whole on top of the squash along with your chopped fresh chilli.

Roast in the oven for 50 minutes.

Remove from oven and scoop out the flesh and blend adding as much or little chilli flakes as you desire. I found 1 teaspoon just right.


Passion Fruit and Honey Yoghurt Bowl

Such a delicious alternative to bread for breakfast when you want to keep things a little on the lighter side. Tropical passion fruit, a drizzle of honey and a sprinkling of crunchy granola. It feels like a holiday in a bowl. Hope you haven’t used all your passion fruits in your porn star martini’s!

Ingredients

Cup of fat free Greek yoghurt

Drizzle of honey

2 tablespoons granola of choice

1 passion fruit

Method

Pour your yoghurt into a bowl

Drizzle over your honey, sprinkle on your granola and finally cut your passion fruit in half and spoon over the seeds.


Cream of Leek and Sweetcorn Soup

This is such an amazing combination. Quick and simple to make and you’ve got lunch for a few days. This leek and sweetcorn soup tastes a lot more luxurious than it is. It’s surprisingly low in calories as it’s as it’s all veg and stock. The addition of a dash of cream would obviously up the calories but it does make it more silky and indulgent.

Serves 2

Ingredients

1 large leek sliced into rounds

500g frozen sweetcorn

Salt and cracked black pepper to season

500ml vegetable stock

100ml cream (optional)

Tablespoon butter

x2 garlic cloves (minced)

Method

Melt the butter in a large frying pan and add the chopped leek, minced garlic and sauté for 5 minutes or so to soften the leek.

Now add the sweetcorn and cook for another couple of minutes, moving it round the pan with a wooden spoon.

Add your stock and stir to combine.

Simmer for 10 minutes over a lowish heat.

Allow to cool and blend until smooth.

Finally season to your liking with salt and cracked black pepper and add a swirl of cream if you fancy it.


Tiddly Oggies

My Nan used to make these and call them tiddly oggies. Apparently, it’s the cornish word for pasty. Traditionally they are made with minced beef and potato but my Nan used to make them with cheese and onion.

I’ve added tomato, mango chutney and oregano. They’re wonderful and everyone will snap them up in a flash so make double the amount you need!

Makes 5

Ingredients

500g ready roll shortcrust pastry

A little flour to roll out pastry

180g mature cheese – diced

6 cherry tomatoes – cut into quarters

2 teaspoons oregano

Half a diced onion

Salt and cracked black pepper to season

2 tablespoons mango chutney

Beaten egg or milk to glaze.

Method

Pre heat oven to 200c / 180c

Firstly roll out your pastry on a floured work surface.

Now get a teacup and place it upside down to cut out your shapes for your tiddly oggies. You need 2 per tiddly oggie as one is going to be the base and one is going to be the lid.

I found that 500g of pastry makes 5 as you get 10 circles.

When you’ve cut them out place 5 of them on a foil lined baking tray and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl add all your ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon to combine thoroughly.

Spoon on the filling across the 5 pastry bases and press on the lids pressing around the sides to crimp the edges and make sure they are fully sealed.

Brush with beaten egg and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for approx 15-20 minutes. When they look golden take them out and watch them disappear before you even get a look in!


Fruit Smoothie

Getting the day off to a great start, this fruity smoothie is bursting with vitamins. Strawberry, pineapple, melon and orange.

Great for breakfast on the go when you’re short on time or a post work out energy boost.

Serves 2

Ingredients

5 strawberries

2 slices of pineapple (round)

1/4 small honeydew melon

Juice of an orange

A few cubes of ice

Method

Simply chop all your fruit except your orange and blitz with a few cubes of ice in your blender. Squeeze in your orange, stir and enjoy.