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.

Harissa roasted carrots

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Autumn has abruptly arrived in London with a thick cloudy grey sky proudly announcing the first day of October. Rain coats on and hoods pulled up, Neil headed to his favourite meat seller at the market and I dashed over to the veg stall. I'm always enticed by the colour, but also on this occasion, the large tarpaulin providing shelter from the rain. Rummaging among the squashes, beetroot and carrots, I talked with the stall owner about how we were both looking forward to the new seasons vegetables filling our roasting trays.

These sweet orange and purple carrots are given a kick from being roasted in Harissa, a hot chilli pepper paste and topped with a creamy tahini dressing and a scattering of dukkah and pomegranate seeds.

This recipe can be a wonderful side or turned into a main meal when served with puy lentils or roasted chickpeas.

Ingredients
6-8 carrots
1 tbsp Harissa
A few lemon slices
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp honey
2 tbsp water (more if needed)
Dukkah
Pomegranate seeds
Pinch of salt and pepper
A few mint leaves

Method
Preheat the oven to 200C. Put the coconut oil in a roasting tin and melt in the oven. Scrub and wash the carrots and cut in half length ways. Place the carrots in the roasting tin and coat in the oil. Add the Harissa and rub over the carrots. Throw in a few slices of lemon and a couple of garlic cloves and cook for 25-30 minutes.

To make the dressing put the tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, honey, water, salt and pepper into a bowl and mix well. Squeeze out the soft garlic from the roasted cloves and add to the dressing. Mix well and add a little more water if the dressing is too thick.

Serve the dressing with the carrots and top with dukkah, pomegranate seeds and chopped mint leaves.

Coconut, cranberry & orange cookies

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I'm bursting with Team GB pride, but sadly what has been a wonderful and all consuming Olympic Games is now over. So with the time I would have spent glued to the TV, I instead set out to create a short video for one of my favourite cookie recipes - I hope you like it.

These coconut cookies are super simple to make and very adaptable. In the past I have made them with chocolate chips or sultanas - but this cranberry and orange combo always comes out on top.

Ingredients, makes nine cookies
2/3 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup unsweetened desiccated coconut + a little extra to sprinkle (optional)
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup of dried apricots, roughly chopped
1 tbsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
3 large (or 4 small) eggs
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
Zest of one orange

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C. Place the coconut flour, desiccated coconut and dried fruit in a bowl and roughly combine. Add the eggs, vanilla extract, salt, maple syrup, coconut oil and orange zest and mix well. The mixture will appear quite wet at first but quickly thickens into a dough.

Roll the mixture into balls then press slightly to flatten into cookies. Place the cookies on a lined baking sheet and scatter a little extra desiccated coconut on top if desired.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the cookies are golden at the edges. Leave to cool and store in an airtight container.

Note: The cookies also freeze well. I often pop half the batch in the freezer - mainly to stop myself eating them all within a couple of days. Recipe easily doubles for a bigger batch.

Chicken & kale salad with peanut dressing

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When visiting San Francisco last month, I had one hell of a kale salad that was served with roast chicken and a peanut dressing. Maybe it’s because I'd spent all day walking around the city and my then tired and hungry state would have had me appreciating any chair in any restaurant with anything edible in front of me, but… I have to admit this simple salad was one of the best meals I had during our four week trip to America. 

Now I’m home and eager to recreate the recipe adding a few extras like the carrot ribbons for sweetness, red cabbage for crunch and ginger to the dressing for more heat. I can see this raw salad becoming a new lunchtime favourite and as it’s made with hardy vegetables, easily keeps in the fridge for a few days.

Ingredients, serves two

For the salad
8-10 stems kale with stems removed and leaves roughly torn
1 large carrot, shredded into ribbons using a potato peeler
1/4 red cabbage, finely sliced
2 spring onions, finely sliced
Handful of fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped
Juice of half a lemon
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1/4 cup unsalted peanuts, skins removed
1 free range organic chicken breast
1 tbsp coconut oil
Salt and pepper

For the dressing:
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp lime juice
Thumb size piece of fresh ginger, grated
1 garlic clove, grated
Pinch of red pepper flakes, optional
1/3 cup of water

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C. Use the melted coconut oil to grease a baking dish and also to coat the chicken. Season with salt and pepper then cover the chicken with baking parchment tucking the edges into the sides of the pan so it's snug around the chicken. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Place the kale in a large bowl and pour over the lemon juice. Using your hands, massage the kale for a few minutes so it becomes more tender. Add the carrot ribbons, sliced cabbage and spring onions to the bowl - gently mix with the kale.

Once the chicken is cooked leave it to cool slightly before slicing into thin strips, then add to the salad bowl.

To make the dressing simply place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blitz until smooth.

Drizzle the dressing over the salad and top with fresh coriander, peanuts and sesame seeds.

The recipe makes a good amount of dressing which keeps well in the fridge for up to a week if not all used on the salad.