Steak, Bulgur Wheat & Pine Nut Salad

IMG_0071This is a quick and easy dinner that’s packed with protein and perfect for post-workout.

Red meat is a great source of protein as it contains all of the 9 essential amino acids your body needs. Protein is essential in your diet for muscle repair, healthy nails and healthy hair, which is why it’s so important as part of your diet. Bulgur wheat is high in fibre and protein and pretty low in calories, and it’s a great salad filler.

Team with a bit of greenery and some cucumber and roasted butternut squash, and this is a delicious healthy meal.

STEAK TIP: Before you cook your steak, add a drizzle of Worcester sauce and leave to sit for 10-15 minutes. This makes it extra succulent and gives it a great flavour.

Ingredients:

Rump Steak

Bulgur Wheat

Salad – I love ASDAs Spinach, Kale and Pak Choi mix

Cucumber

1/2 Pepper

1 Butternut Squash

Olive Oil 

1tbsp Lemon Juice

Handful Pine Nuts

Worcester Sauce

Method:

1. Firstly, soak your bulgur wheat. Place in a bowl and cover with boiling water and leave to sit for 20-30 minutes (There will be more detailed instructions on the packet).

2. In the meantime, prepare your steak. Gently pierce the meat with a knife and drizzle a bit of olive oil and Worcester sauce. Season with salt and pepper, and leave to sit. (I prefer to use sea-salt for steak, but fine salt is fine) 

3. Heat the oven to 180 C and chop the butternut squash and red pepper into small cubes. Place onto an oven-proof tray, drizzle a bit of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and grill for 20 minutes until soft.

3. Prepare the salad in a large bowl. Add the leaves, cucumber and pine nuts.

4. Heat a saucepan in preparation for frying the steak. Depending on how rare you want your steak, you may want to wait until the other ingredients have cooked until you fry, as a typical medium-rare steak takes only a few minutes. If you want to make sure your steak is as dead as can be, you’ll need to allocate a bit more frying time.

5. When the bulgur wheat, butternut squash and red pepper are all cooked, add to the salad mix. Mix in the lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil (Walnut oil works really well too)  a sprinkle of herbs of your choice and some pepper.

6. When the steak is cooked, leave it to sit for 1-2 minutes before serving.

Banana Cupcakes with Chocolate Peanut Butter Ganache

This sweet treat is perfect for when your fruit bowl is full of browning bananas that you have no idea what to do with. IMG_0069_2I absolutely hate wasting food, so I decided to seek out a simple yet delicious banana-based recipe to kill time on my lazy Sunday afternoon.

The ganache is made from Dark Chocolate and Peanut Butter, however when buying, make sure your dark chocolate isn’t over 70% – I made the mistake of using a fine Green & Blacks 85%, and it was just too bitter (This didn’t stop me eating them, though).

With most cupcakes, I much prefer to take them out of the cases – purely because it looks that bit more presentable. You can also invest in silicone cupcake moulds, which are absolutely great.

The beauty with any type of banana bread is the spices that you can add – cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg all work really well. Banana cake goes so nicely with vanilla, toffee, caramel, chocolate or coffee frosting too, so really once you’ve mastered the bread recipe, your ganache possibilities are endless.

INGREDIENTS:

Banana Cupcakes:

200g plain flour

225g granulated sugar

1tsp baking soda

2 eggs

100ml vegetable oil

2 medium bananas, over-ripe

pinch salt

1tsp vanilla essence

1tsp ground cinnamon – optional

1tsp nutmeg – optional

Chocolate & Peanut Butter Ganache :

100g dark chocolate, 70% or less

2-3 tbsp peanut butter – add more or less depending on how peanut buttery you want the ganache to be

100ml double cream

90g unsalted butter

METHOD:

Banana Cupcakes:

1. Preheat the oven to 180C. When hot, place the bananas in the oven (with the skin on) for 15 minutes. Allow them to cool, peel, and cut into small pieces. Set aside.

2. Whilst the bananas are heating, line two cupcake trays with cases.

3. In a medium-sized bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, spices (cinnamon, clove, nutmeg etc) and salt. Set aside.

4. In a separate large bowl, beat the sugar and oil until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time and mix well.

5. Beat in the vanilla, and then mash in the banana pieces until smooth. Gradually beat in the flour mixture.

6. Fill the cupcake cases half-full with the mixture. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until they have browned. If you’re unsure whether the cupcakes are cooked, insert a knife into the top and if it comes out clean, the middle is cooked. Allow to cool.

Chocolate & Peanut Butter Ganache:

1. In a large bowl, melt the dark chocolate and peanut butter. When melting large amounts of chocolate, I much prefer to use the traditional bowl-over-saucepan method than the microwave (you often risk burning the chocolate)

2. At the same time, in another bowl heat the cream until just boiling. Allow to sit for a couple of minutes, and then add to the chocolate mixture. Mix well.

3. Allow to cool for around 1 hour (don’t put it in the fridge, as the frosting will lose its shiny glaze). The frosting will slowly harden, so be patient.

4. When cool, beat the butter into the chocolate mixture. Don’t melt the butter, but leave it out at room temperature so that it’s soft and easy to mix in. Mix well.

5. Pipe the frosting on top of your cupcakes, or if you don’t have a piper (I didn’t use one), spoon the frosting on top.

 

Healthy Peanut Butter & Apple Snack

So I’ve always been a lover of Peanut Butter, but yesterday I felt like I made an amazing food-related discovery.

Peanut Butter + Apple + A splash of Honey = a taste of heaven.Peanut Butter & Apple

This is a delicious, protein-rich, low-carb snack that will keep you full throughout the day. It’s a great, healthy afternoon snack that won’t cause your sugar levels to spike but will still keep you satisfied when you hunger pains start to twang. Also, opt for chunky, organic peanut butter and avoid the non-natural kind, as these often contain additional artificial ingredients.

Substitute the Apple for Banana, Peach, Plum, Grapes….the list is endless!!

The Perfect Sunday Roast Chicken Dinner

Mastering the perfect English sunday roast dinner is something that every kitchen-lover should be capable of. To say that it creates such a homely, delicious meal with only a few ingredients, it’s really hard to go wrong once you master the art and get to grips with the timings. It should only take around 1h30 to get it all cooked, but the key is being organised and working your timings so that all the ingredients coincide.

A Sunday Roast is a relatively cheap eat as well, and it’s a great meal to feed  friends or family. Now the portion in the photo serves 6 people, and as you can see it’s fairly large. Obviously you need to cater your quantities to the number of people that you’re feeding. For potatoes, if they’re large you can go with 1/2 large potatoes per person. Equally, 1 carrot per person, and so on.IMG_0004

You will need:

  • Roast Chicken – If you want to serve fewer people, use a small chicken or thigh or breast meat. Meat on the bone gives off lovely juices so I generally prefer it.
  • Vegetables – Butternut squash, parsnips, carrots, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage etc…
  • Potatoes – White or sweet
  • Yorkshire puddings – Home made or shop bought (I haven’t yet attempted to make my own puddings, so I go with Aunt Bessie’s)
  • Gravy – I personally prefer Beef Gravy even with Chicken, but either works well
  • Stuffing – Whatever flavour you prefer. I love Sage and Apple.

Method:

  1. Put the chicken in the oven at 180 C. It should say on the packaging how long is recommended in the oven, however a large chicken of this size takes around 1h 30.
  2. Season the chicken with some olive oil, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper. Sun-dried tomato paste also works really nicely and gives a lovely crispy coating.
  3. If you can, prepare the vegetables and potatoes at once so that you can get the mess out of the way. I prefer to peel the potatoes and cut them into large pieces, and par-boil them before roasting so they’re much fluffier. The ideal is to have the potatoes roasting in the oven for around 40 minutes (If you work backwards from this, you should put the potatoes on to boil 20 mins after you’ve put the chicken in the oven).
  4. The potatoes should take around 30 minutes to par-boil, and when they’re done and your knife can easily slide in, pop them into the roasting tray with the chicken. Season with some rosemary, salt and pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil.
  5. If you want to roast your vegetables (turnips, parsnips, carrots) these will take around 30-40 mins (the chunkier you cut them, the longer they’ll take). Ideally you want to put the veg in with the potatoes, and season them in the same way. This way you can leave it all to roast, and the juices from the chicken will soak into everything else. 
  6. Any vegetables that you want to boil or steam (carrots, broccoli, peas, cabbage etc) should only take around 15 minutes.
  7. Stuffing can be bought in the packets so you just need to add water. This takes around 30 minutes in the oven.
  8. Occasionally stir the vegetables, being careful not to break the potatoes.
  9. Serve with gravy (make this right at the end) and Yorkshire puddings.

Alternatives:

Beef, lamb, pork or hog roast instead of chicken

Different types of potatoes, sweet or white

Different types of vegetables, depending on season

Different types of gravy, depending on your preferences and kind of meat

Different sauces, for eg, apple sauce, mint sauce, cranberry sauce

Super Healthy Sunday Breakfast – Poached Egg, Smoked Salmon, Grilled Tomatoes, Spinach & Pine Nuts

What a great way to start the day with this super healthy sunday brekkie. It beats boring oats any day, and although it takes a little longer Super breakfastto prepare, it’s truly delicious.

I’m a huge fan of Poached Eggs, but I must admit, it’s been a bumpy ride learning how to make them! I’ve realised that the key to great poached eggs is the pan you use. I find that a small saucepan with boiling water works best. When the water is boiling, crack in the eggs ,  allow to cook and remove with a slotted spoon to drain the water. Poached eggs are great as they only take a couple of minutes, and obviously they’re much healthier than the fried alternative.

Ingredients (Serves 1):

2 Eggs

1 Tomato, chopped

Handful pine nuts / pumpkin seeds

Smoked salmon slice

Salt & peper

Handful spinach

Step 1: Chop the tomatoes & grill for 5-7 minutes. In the meantime, heat a small saucepan with a small amount of water (for the spinach – saucepan #1)

Step 2: Using another small saucepan (saucepan #2, half-filled with water), heat water until boiling.

Step 3: Add the spinach to the saucepan #1. Prepare your plate with smoked salmon.

Step 4: When the water in saucepan #2 is boiling, crack in your eggs.

Step 5: Take your tomatoes out of the oven & place onto plate. Sprinkle nuts on top.

Step 6: By now your spinach should be soft and the poached eggs should be ready.

Step 7: Serve your spinach on top of the smoked salmon, remove your poached eggs with a slotted spoon and place on top. Season with salt & pepper.

Enjoy your super healthy sunday breakfast!!!

Related articles

Library or Work Lunch #1 – Yesterday’s Leftovers

Today is a library day, so I planned ahead to avoid the temptation of indulging in a Panini or wrap from the Library Café. It’s often hard when you’re at work or on the go to eat healthily, but all it takes is a little planning and you can still eat a delicious, healthy meal.

The key here (& a great time-saver) is using last night’s leftovers. Make a little extra the night before and it’ll be great for the next day. Here’s a step by step guide of how I made today’s leftover lunch! (Find the original recipe here)

Ingredients (Serves 1)Final

1 Chicken Breast, diced

Leftovers (quinoa, bulgur wheat and chickpeas)

1 tsp ‘The Lazy Garlic’ – this is garlic pre-crushed in a jar, and I love it as it’s so simple to cook with. Alternatively, you can use 1 clove crushed garlic.

Spinach/Rocket

Feta Cheese

Mixed Seeds

Olive Oil

Salt, Pepper, Paprika & Herbs de Provence

1 Tablespoon Philadelphia

————————————————————————————————————————-

Step 1

Step 1: Take last night’s leftovers. Here I have bulgur wheat, quinoa, chickpeas, tomatoes, herbs and some spinach.

Step 2: Fry the garlic in olive oil.

Step 3: Add the diced chicken, and fry. Continue reading

Chicken, Bulgur Wheat, Quinoa, Chickpea, Feta, Tomato & Spinach Superfood Salad

I made this salad last night and I must say….It was pretty impressive!! I combined inspiration from a couple of recipes i’ve seenFinished dish and tasted myself in restaurants and came up with this fantastic superfood salad. It’s filling, it’s nutritious, and it’s pretty cheap to make too! The best part is that I had tons of leftovers so I made sure not to waste anything and used it for my lunch salad today.

Let’s take a look at the key ingredients and work out why this salad is so good for you….

Bulgur Wheat: A healthy quick addition, high in fibre, protein and essential vitamin.

Chicken: High protein, low fat & a well-known metabolism booster.

Quinoa: Labelled a superfood of the future. Quinoa is one of the most protein-rich foods we can eat, and contains fibre, vitamins and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients. It’s cheap & easy to cook too!

Chickpeas: High in fibre, protein packed and low GI. A great accompaniment!

Feta: Contains protein, vitamins and riboflavin, and let’s face it…it tastes good!

Spinach: Nutrient dense, an excellent source of numerous vitamins, rich in omega 3 and packed with anti-oxidants.

Ingredients: (Serves 2) 

75g Quinoa

75g Bulgur wheat

1 tin Chickpeas

2 Chicken Breasts, diced

2 cups Spinach

2 Chopped Tomatoes

1/2 Red Pepper, chopped

1/4 Cucumber, chopped

1 Lemon / 2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tsp ‘Sun blush tomato, paprika and red pepper’ paste (bought from Asda)

Salt, pepper & Herbes de Provence

1 tsp ‘Very Lazy’ garlic

Handful pine nuts or soy nuts

Olive or Almond oil

Step 1

Step 1: In a saucepan, boil the quinoa. At the same time, follow the instructions for preparing the bulgur wheat. You don’t need to cook it, only rehydrate with boiling water for 30 minutes. Pour the tin of chickpeas into a saucepan and cook on a low heat for 8-10 minutes, or until soft.

Step 2: Heat the oil in a saucepan, fry the garlic and add the sun blush paste.

Step 3: Mix the contents of the saucepan, and add the chicken and red pepper. Season with salt, pepper and herbes de provence and mix.

Step 4: In the meantime, prepare the salad. Place the spinach into a bowl, along with the chopped tomatoes and cucumber.

Step 5

Step 5: Cook the chicken until golden brown, and the quinoa until the small spirals in the grain have broken and they become transparent (you’ll know when you see it). Drain the chickpeas and bulgur wheat of water using a colander or sieve (you may need a small sieve for the bulgur wheat and quinoa, as the grains are quite fine).

Step 6: Mix the bulgur wheat, quinoa and chickpeas and feta with the salad mix. Add the lemon, a drizzle of olive oil and a seasoning of salt and pepper and mix well.

 

Step 7: Serve up on a plate, add the chicken and peppers and the nuts and you’re ready to indulge! Enjoy!!

Related articles