Roasted Chorizo and sprouts with cod

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The sprouts are about! I'm thrilled as I love these little bombs of goodness - they taste great however you cook them - lightly steamed with a pinch of salt, pan fried with sage leaves or in this instance, oven roasted.

Tray bakes are the ultimate easy weekday dinner - so quick and versatile - pile it on, put it in the oven and enjoy. This sprout and chorizo combo is an absolute winner. Throw some other seasonal veggies on the tray alongside some white fish and you have a really flavourful and wholesome meal. Here I've used cod, but the recipe also works well with pollock or haddock.

My family and I are currently spending the week in Ireland, at my grandparents house in Waterford. We're on our fifth roast of the week, no kidding! My nan sticks to what she does best, not that I'll never complain about the abundance of brussels sprouts but I'll be happy not to see a roast potato again for a while.

Ingredients, serves two
1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
350g brussels sprouts
100g choritzo
1 large red onion
2-3 cloves of garlic
Few sprigs of fresh rosemary
Pinch of salt and pepper
Lemon wedges
Two fillets of white fish
Fresh spinach leaves

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C. Spoon the coconut oil on a large baking tray and pop in the oven for a minute or two to melt. Wash, peel and half the sprouts. Slice the onion and chorizo into rough chunks. Cut the garlic into thin slices. Place everything on the baking tray with some lemon wedges, rosemary, salt and pepper - tossing it all with the melted oil. Roast for 20 minutes. Lay two fillets of white fish on the tray, with some extra seasoning if needed - place back in the oven for another 8-10 minutes or until the fish is cooked. Serve with fresh spinach.

Enjoy.

Beet, berry + cacao smoothie

Yep, everyone has one - the default, garanteed to taste great, ingredients always to hand - absolute favourite smoothie. This is mine.

This week I took a smoothie to the cinema (to see Thor: Ragnarok - it was great) and felt pretty darn good about my food choice as I sat amongst popcorn and hotdog munching movie-goers.

To up the fat in this recipe throw in a heaped teaspoon of coconut oil and for some protein add a raw egg - these optional extras make this smoothie a really filling meal. I don't like things too sweet, but if you do then chuck a medjool date in there as well.

Ingredients, serves one
1 cup frozen mixed berries
1/2 a frozen banana
1 cooked beetroot
Handful of spinach
2 tbsp chia seeds
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp maca powder
1 heaped tbsp cacao powder
1 cup almond milk

Method
Place all the ingredients in a blender and blitz until smooth. Add more almond milk if needed. Enjoy.

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Vegetable soup with kale crisps

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After spending some time last weekend rotating my wardrobe (wow, that sounds far more glamorous than it actually is. What I mean is my summer clothes have been squeezed onto the top shelf and down have come the winter boots and cozy jumpers) I feel like I am now in full autumn mode.

I love the soft light and rustic colour seen at this time of year - crisp mornings, footpaths covered in orange leaves and the abundance of seasonal vegetables that are perfect for roasting, filling pies and making soup.

My Mum would make this recipe when I was a kid and the smell of it prompts a happy sense of nostalgia. Today, as the soup bubbles away on the cooker, I welcome the grey cloud and patter of rain on the window - it all adds to the affection I have for homemade comfort food.

Vegetable soup, as the name suggests, can be made with any vegetables you fancy. I tend to stick to hearty roots and the last of the herbs from my garden. But you really can play around with flavours - adding heat with ginger and chilli or depth with ground cumin and coriander.

Now even though I'd love to serve this soup with a huge chunk of crusty bread (and sometimes I do) my stomach will undoubtedly make me pay for it. So instead I opt for kale crisps and toasted seeds - they taste great and won't make you feel like you're missing out on bread, I promise.

Ingredients, serves 4-5:
2 leeks
1 large swede
4 large carrots
2 large parsnips
Sprig of fresh rosemary
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp tomato purée
1.5 litres chicken or vegetable stock
3-4 large kale leaves
Handful of sunflower and pumpkin seeds
2 heaped tsp coconut oil
Salt + pepper

Method:
Melt one heaped teaspoons of coconut oil in a deep saucepan on a medium heat. Wash and roughly chop the leeks adding them to the pan with the fennel and mustard seeds. Allow to cook for a few minutes whilst you peel the swede, carrots and parsnips, then cut them into chunks. Add the root veg to the pan.

Roughly chop the fresh rosemary and thyme and add these to the pan along with the dried basil and tomato purée. Pour over the stock and mix well.

Bring the pan to a boil then cover with a lid and reduce to a light simmer for 30-35 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked through.

I usually leave the soup to cool for around 30 minutes before blitzing with a hand blender (or you can use a regular blender, blitzing the soup in stages). Blitz until you are happy with the consistency then pop the soup back on the heat to warm through. Add a good sized pinch of salt and pepper to taste.

During this time preheat the oven to 180C and melt the remaining heaped tsp of coconut oil on a backing tray. Wash some large kale leaves and tear the greens off the stalk and into bitesize pieces. Place the kale on the baking tray and toss in the coconut oil. Cook in the oven for 5-8 minutes - keeping an eye on them as they crisp up pretty quickly.

Serve the soup topped with the kale chips and some sunflower and pumpkin seeds that have been toasted in a frying pan on a medium heat for a few minutes. Walnuts or pine nuts also work well here. Enjoy.

 

Fully loaded broccoli & mackerel salad

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Got enough in those bowl!? Err, yeah, just about. Sometimes (actually most of the time) all I want is a heaping big bowl of salad bursting with colour and texture and hitting all the food spots that I know will fill me up for hours. This salad nails it with a mix of sweet, salty and fresh ingredients that give a healthy dose of protein, fat, and carbohydrates.

I’ve been making this salad an awful lot lately, mainly because it’s so easy to adapt. The mackerel can easily be replaced with salmon or chicken and the almonds for cashews toasted with fennel seeds rather than chilli - it’s defiantly a go with the flow, or rather what’s in your fridge kinda bowl.

Piled high with whatever fruit and vegetables are in season and smothered in a rich creamy dressing, this salad does feel rather indulgent, and I simply love it.

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Ingredients
For the salad

10-12 pieces of tenderstem broccoli
Two smoked mackerel fillets
1/4 cup almonds
Half or a whole red chili, depending on how hot you like it, finally chopped
A few sprigs of fresh oregano, leaves removed and finally chopped
1 tbsp avocado oil
Half a red onion, thinly sliced
1 apple, thinly sliced
1 avocado, sliced
A few tomatoes, halved
2 hard boiled eggs
Salad leaves
Salt and pepper

For the dressing
1 heaped tsp mustard
1 heaped tsp tahini
2-3 tbsp olive oil
Juice of half a lemon
Salt

Method
Bring a small saucepan of water to the boil and place in the eggs. Runny, soft or hard boiled eggs all work well, so go for your preference. I’ve boiled the eggs for 4 minutes, then removed them from the water and allowed them to cool whilst I make the rest of the salad.

Heat the avocado oil in a frying pan on a medium-high heat. Pan fry the broccoli for a few minutes on each side until it begins to colour. Season lightly with salt and pepper. You can do this in two batches if your frying pan isn't very big.

Place the broccoli to one side and add the almonds to the pan allowing them to toast for a few minutes. Throw in the finely chopped chili and oregano, cook for a further minute then take the pan off the heat.

For the dressing simply mix together the mustard, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil and a pinch of salt. Feel free to add a splash of water or more olive oil if the dressing is too thick.

To assemble put a handful of salad leaves in two bowls then lay the broccoli on top, Add the smoked mackerel fillets and top with the chili almonds, red onion, avocado, tomatoes and apple. Spoon the dressing over the salad or serve in a small separate bowl. Enjoy.

Celeriac and courgette tortilla

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We go through a lot of eggs in our house. It’s only the two of us, but we go through a lot of eggs. I love their versatility, their ease of use and the way they effortlessly take on other flavours.

In the past I've been guilty of mostly basing my weekday breakfasts around fruit, out of habit and convenience. But recently I’ve been using eggs as a perfectly portable breakfast in the style of veggie packed muffins or smoked salmon and avocado wraps.

Warm or cold (errr, more like room temperature), this Spanish style tortilla is ideal for breakfasts and lunches throughout the week - simply slice it into portions and serve it with a salad or vegetables. I’ve used celeriac rather than potato as it’s lower in carbohydrates, but mainly because I absolutely love the taste.

Ingredients
350g celeriac (about half a large celeriac)
1 white onion
1 courgette
6 eggs
6-8 sprigs of lemon thyme, leaves removed
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper

Method
Heat 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in a 24cm frying pan on a medium heat. Peel and slice the celeriac into thin wedges and add to the pan. Fry the celeriac for 8-10 minutes, then season with a pinch of salt and add a couple tablespoons of water to the pan. Cover the frying pan with a large saucepan lid and allow the celeriac to cook for another 5 minutes or until it is tender and slightly coloured.

Remove the celeriac from the pan and into a large bowl. Melt another tablespoon of coconut oil in the pan, keeping it on a medium heat. Dice the onion and courgette and add these to the pan, cooking for 8-10 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and golden. Add the onion and courgette to the bowl with the celeriac.

Turn on the grill.

In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs and season with a pinch of salt. Pour the eggs into the bowl with the celeriac, onion and courgette, and mix well to combine. Pour the eggs and vegetables into the frying pan (oil the pan again if needed) and cook for 3-4 minutes on a medium heat.

Scatter the lemon thyme leaves over the top of the eggs along with a good grinding of black pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and place the pan under the grill for 3-4 minutes until it’s golden and sizzling. Allow to cool slightly before slicing.

Autumn salad

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This week I've been rustling up a seasonal salad for lunch. It's warm, comforting and makes the most of fruit and vegetables that are at their best this time of year. Adaptable and simple to make - I couldn't resist taking a quick photo and sharing the recipe.

Ingredients, serves two
1 small squash
1/2 large cauliflower
1 large red onion
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
30g feta
1tsp fennel seeds
Fresh mint leaves
Pomegranate seeds
Coconut oil, melted
Juice of half a lemon
Salt and pepper

Method
Preheat the oven to 200C. Cut the squash into wedges and separate the cauliflower into small florets. Place both the squash and cauliflower on a baking tray, drizzle with coconut oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes.

Heat 1tsp of coconut oil in a frying pan on a low-medium heat. Cut the red onion in half then thinly slice and separate the layers. Add the onion to the pan and gently fry until soft and caramelised. Once the onions are caramelised add the chickpeas, fennel seeds, lemon juice and season with salt and pepper - mix with the onions and allow to fry for a few more minutes to warm the chickpeas.

Place the roasted squash and cauliflower in a salad bowl with the chickpeas and onions - gently combine. Crumble over the feta and scatter with some fresh mint leaves and pomegranate seeds.