Tag Archives: healthy

Butternut squash with garlic and chilli soup

As I’ve been under the weather for the past week with flu, this week looks like it might be a full week of: work, health and some ski fitness activities!
So to kick off my week I have created a soup that will keep all germs away, as well as help me get back to full strength. Well this was what was in my head when I created it, I just hope it works!

1 Butternut squash
4 cloves of garlic
1 onion
1 heaped tsp of ‘very lazy’ chilli
1.5pints of vegetable stock
Half a pint of orange juice
1 tbsp of Vegetable oil and a knob of butter
8 Anya potatoes chopped or 4 regular sized roasting potatoes. (You decide)

Heat your oil and butter in a large pan, chop your onion and garlic first, now add this to your hot pan. Lower the heat and allow to cook until your onions soften.
While your onion and garlic sizzle, peel and chop your butternut squash. Scoop out the seeds and discard them, or you could keep the seeds to grow some more in your garden, if that’s your thing! Chop your potatoes into similar sized chunks to your squash.
Add your: Squash; Potatoes; Heaped tsp of ‘very lazy’ chilli into the onion and garlic and make sure to mix this well.
Turn the heat up, to mid temp, leave this on the heat for about 5 mins.
Prepare your stock, once it’s ready pour this and the orange juice into your pan.
Leave the soup ingredients to simmer for 20-30mins and then allow to cool before blending.

This should keep me going for the working week, I hope the chilli and garlic combo will also boost my immune system up to full strength. And the orange juice if I’m honest just felt like a good addition, so you can take it or leave it when you make your soup.


The stir fry salad

This evening I got in and unloaded the shopping into the fridge. Monday nights meal was to be a stir fry, a fairly standard but tasty monday night dish in my house, including noodles, stir fry salad, prawns and ginger & teriyaki sauce. The temperature according to my car was 25C the idea of hot food did not appeal and by 7pm I wasn’t wanting to BBQ either. So I created a summer salad using my stir fry salad box I had bought earlier.

Meal for two
2 eggs
Stir fry salad I had: Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Asparagus with Ginger & Garlic
Rapeseed oil
4 tiger prawns
4 poppadoms

I made my eggs hard boiled, with the maximum time being 10mins. You could poach them, or soft boil them if you prefer a runny middle.
The poppadoms went under the grill once this was hot enough, this only takes a min or so. The poppadoms create your plate for your salad.
Once the poppadoms were done and taken out of the oven, I fired up the wok with a splash of rapeseed oil. I find this oil doesn’t spoil my stir frys.
I added the tiger prawns in first, which had been beheaded, de-veined and peeled. After 30 seconds the stir fry mix went in, I cooked this for about 4 mins, keeping the veg crunchy yet cooked. The key was to make sure the prawns weren’t over done and they weren’t.

The upside to this dish wasn’t just speed, the calorie count wasn’t bad either, according to my nutracheck diary approx 350kcal. If the weather keeps up then you could maybe try this one evening, it’s easily adaptable too.

bada boom pie – Pieminister

A few months ago I entered a bake off competition in Oxford, I went for the Pie category and made a Samosa Pie. My prize from the competition was the Pieminister book, addressed to me and signed! It’s a lovely Blue hardback, filled with lovely images and Pie recipes, here is a sneak peak and review of my first Pie from the book.

Pieminister. a pie for all seasons. Tristan Hogg and Jon Simon. BANTAM PRESS.
Pg 50. Spring.

Pie ingredients
4tbsp olive oil
2 Ramiro peppers, sliced into rings
2 red onions, cut into wedges
3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
6 small tomatoes, cut in halves or quarters
3 tbsp greek yoghurt
400g butter beans, or cannelini beans
small bunch of dill, chopped
small bunch of parsley,chopped
small bunch of mint, chopped
salt and pepper

1/2 ciabatta loaf, whizzed in a food processor
70g parmesan cheese, grated
3 tbsp olive oil

Add the ciabatta, parmesan and olive oil into your food processor, this combination will go on your pie mixture just before it hits the oven.

Pre heat oven to 180.
Heat the olive oil in a pan add the peppers and red onions and cook for 5 mins.
Add the garlic and cook for a further 5mins
At this point your onions and peppers should be lightly caramalized. Now tip the contents of your pan into a bowl, large enough to hold all the other ingredients, now stir in the other ingredients.

The book suggests that you spoon the mixture into ramekins, as the recipe is for 6 people, and that looks like the best idea for making multiple mini pies. As I had halved the recipe to serve just two people and made this into a one pot dish.


Now add your topping and put the pie into the oven for 25mins until the top is golden brown. I served this with raw courgette and raw broccoli with a drizzle of oil.

My thoughts on this pie: This pie gives you a good health kick, the beans and veg combo with the yoghurt instead of cream keep the dish light. next time I make it I would add a chilli into the process but that’s because I love a kick in my dishes. I will continue to work my way through the pie book, which has been put into seasonal chapters. I look forward to the next one!

Work soups – Lentil and citrus soup

So I suspect we’ve all had a lovely break over the long weekend, you’ve got back home from your travels and it’s back to work tomorrow. Maybe you’ve had a couple of large meals over the weekend and you don’t feel in tip-top shape?
Well if you make a bit of time this afternoon you could make this soup for your working week.  
I want to kick my week off to a good start, so I’ve made ‘Lucas Hollwegs’ Lentil and lemon soup, with a few alterations, dependant on what was in the fridge.

Time to make: 1 hour – 10mins chopping, 45mins simmering.
Calories: 724 / 181 per portion for four.

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 celery stick, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
salt and pepper
200g green lentils – should have been puy lentils
leaves from 2 sprigs of thyme
1 bay leaf
zest and juice of small lime, should have been a lemon
2  pints of vegetable stock
A splash of orange juice, this wasn’t included but as I didn’t use a large lemon I wanted some more citrus flavour.
2 handfuls of baby spinach leaves

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, stir in the chopped vegetables and a pinch of salt. keep this on a low heat, cover and sweat gently for 10 mins

Add the lentils, thyme, lemon juice & zest, orange juice and stock. Simmer over a gentle heat for 40-45 mins, or until the lentils are soft. Remove the bay leaf.

Liquidise half of the soup and add this back to the lentil mixture. Taste and season. Stir in the spinach leaves and leave to wilt.

When cooled pour your soup into your container and take to work.
This should serve approximately 4 portions, ideal for the short week.