Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Pesto / Feta / Chicken Pasta

Here's a really quick and easy pasta dish for when you want to eat healthy but can't really be bothered! (that's how I feel tonight)
It took longer than necessary, only because I decided to oven cook the chicken so I didn't have to stand over it. Instead, I played with the kids for 15 minutes.
I threw 2 plain chicken breasts in the oven, no dressing, and cooked for about 35 - 40 minutes.
While the chicken was baking (and after play time) I put some wholewheat pasta on to boil (I'm cooking for 2 btw, so all portions are relative).
When cooked, I drained the pasta and here's the secret ingredient: supermarkets sell pots of feta cheese in herb oil. I love these pots. They make brilliantly easy delicious salads. Some have olives, some have garlic, some have both. This one as it happens had neither of these extra ingredients, just Feta, oil and herbs. I mixed this with the pasta, added a spoon of green pesto and some halves of cherry tomatoes.
I sliced the chicken and placed on top and served with garlic bread and a pot of Parmesan.
If the chicken had've been ready to eat, the whole dish would take 10 mins tops.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Fish Pie

This is a favourite of mine from Jamie Oliver. I had to make it from memory because I've lost my copy of The Return of The Naked Chef from whence it came, so it's not exactly as Jamie intended, but turned out really well considering it was a last minute made with whatever I could find in the cupboards.

Fish Pie Mix
Lemon Juice 
Mixed Herbs
Fish Pie Mix
First, put the oven on!
- Boil the eggs (1 per person)
- Cut the potato into small pieces and put to boil in a large pan. Rule of thumb, I allocate 1 large potato per person. Boil for 10 mins then drain, mash and put to one side
While potatoes are boiling:
- Chop the onion and carrot and fry in some hot oil
- Pour over milk (Jamie uses cream but I'm all out)
- Sprinkle grated cheese to thicken (on this occasion it was pre-grated cheddar)
- Add a teaspoon of mustard
- Splash a little lemon juice (I had no fresh lemon in stock, so used the bottled stuff left over from pancake day!)
- Crush in a couple cloves of garlic
- Stir in finely chopped basil and parsley (I added extra dried mixed herbs for the fun of it)
- Pinch of salt and pepper if you like
I like to reduce this down so it's not runny
- In a large oven dish lay out a bed of spinach
- Peel and half the eggs and place on top of spinach, equally spaced
- Lay the fish in the dish with the eggs
- Pour the sauce over the fish & eggs
- Lay on mashed potato gently
- Sprinkle extra cheese over top
Put this in the oven for about 30 mins until potato goes lovely and crunchy

What I love about this dish is it's so versatile. There's some stuff in here not in Jamie's original recipe and some stuff that's supposed to be in here (like prawns and chilli) but it doesn't matter, it still tasted great. Kate had a second helping! All you have to remember is it's fish and potato with a creamy sauce, that's the basics, I fill in the blanks as I go.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Falling off the Wagon...spectacularly!

Well I can safely say that I am utterly ashamed of myself!

The healthy eating has all but ceased - I have consumed white bread every day, I have eaten chocolate every day, I have ceased to exercise, I have had take away, I have stopped drinking water!!

BUT so this post isn't completely pointless let me tell you - I feel terrible!!  My energy levels have dropped so much - I feel tired and lethargic.  I feel bloated and heavy and - I'm not entirely sure if this is the right way to describe this - greasy.

Let me tell you how this all began.

I was dieting to fit a nice dress for the CIM awards, that I was going to with work.  I dieted, I exercised, I was a machine for about 15 days.  I exercised every day, I ate really healthily after our 1 week detox.  I drank 2 litres of water a day, I was having herbal tea ( for me that's a real achievement!)

I got a nice dress! I went to the CIM awards - I felt good in my dress.  We didn't win (it's the taking part-right?)  We had a really really good night though! 5 course delicious meal accompanied by a LOT of wine.  That night I am not disappointed about though - I believe that you should enjoy occassions with out holding back!

After an evening of vast white wine consumption you don't feel great the next day - I had 2 cheese rolls for breakfast, I had a McDonalds for tea.

I didn't exercise that day, or the next, or the next.  I had a 2 day hangover so I ate hangover food for 2 days.  I just continued on the slippery path. I ate what I felt like, I got huge sandwiches for lunch at work, I ate pizza, we went out to Pizza Hut on Mothers Day, we ate out at Frankie's on the Saturday...where I also again drank a fair few Prosecco's - there's the hangover slippery slope again!

BUT whilst a Frankie's on Saturday Matt asked me to marry him! So I feel celebrations were well deserved!

So now on to healthy eating and exercising again - not only to make me feel better again but because I have a wedding dress to buy!!!

I have made us Change For Life fish pie for tea - it's good comfort food - it's not healthy eating in the way that we have been, but it's a start on our way again!

Here's a link to the recipe

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Hangover Cure

We had guests yesterday; Kate's family came round. Her mum & dad just returned from Tenerife, so we all got together for a few drinks.

I get bad hangovers, seriously debilitating type hangovers. And I haven't had a drink for weeks, and not a 'real' drink for months, so when that first glass of bubbly touched my lips I knew I'd feel bad today, but sometimes you just wanna have a good time, right!

So the corks kept popping and the prosecco kept flowing and after a few glasses I wasn't counting anymore.

And this morning the most unusual thing happened - no hangover. I mean, I felt a bit sluggish, but not the usual headache, nausea, dizziness and other general feelings of shitiness associated with the morning after.

Which leaves me to come to only one logical explanation which is this: my newly adopted healthy diet and fluid intake is a hangover cure!

Can anyone corroborate this?

Chick Pea Curry

I was searching around online for a vegetable curry and I found this great recipe using chick peas and quinoa at Julia's Album.

It's really really easy to make; start with a tin of coconut milk and add the ingredients as you go.


The finished dish was tasty and filling. I've never made quinoa before, so I learned something today. I think I cooked it in too much water because it ended up a bit watery and not all the water was absorbed, so I'll try a little less next time and see if I can get it a fluffier.


What I like best about this recipe is it will be easy to improvise and diversify from the original; replace coconut milk with yoghurt, basil with coriander, chick peas with butternut squash, etc, etc... I'm looking forward to seeing what variations I come up with in the future.

Poached Egg Breakfast

Today's breakfast is a pretty dish. Poached egg, cherry tomatoes and Ryvita.

I've heard different stories how to cook a poached egg and have had many disasters in the past. Some people say add salt to the water, others (my mum) insist vinegar (the white kind) is necessary, although she can't explain why.
I used neither. All I did was bring the water to the boil, swirl it with a wooden spoon and crack the egg in. The swirling water keeps the egg in shape. Guess what? It turned out perfect!
Another successful breakfast. And a healthy one to boot.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

2 Litres of Water Each Day

It's recommended we drink 2 litres of water / fluids per day. It doesn't seem like a lot, but the discipline of it is something I'm finding really difficult.

When I was at home last week, I filled up a bottle each day and used to gauge my water intake. Even this wasn't as easy as it sounds. For example, for a cup of tea (caffeine free), I pour out a cup full of water, empty this down the drain, then re-fill the cup from the kettle.

Now I'm back at work, the system has gone to pot and I have no idea how much I'm drinking.

Does anyone have a solution for this?