California Girl living in London, working model, practicing wife to a Pie Loving Husband, trying not to eat myself out of the day job. 

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Thursday
Aug282014

Tarte aux Pommes Fines… that’s an Apple Pie, peeps.

Simply beautiful food. That’s all us cooking enthusiast wish to produce. Dishes what make you look like a pro and taste equally as good, our goal being to wow our loved ones and full their happy bellies. So, it was only a matter of time before I tried Harry Eastwood’s Tarte aux Pommes Fines.
 
Apple Pie is a cornerstone of home cooking and this one only has 4 ingredients. Just look at it. What’s not to like.
Tarte aux Pommes Fines:

Serves 6
149 calories per serving
Ingredients:
Juice of one freshly squeezed lemon
2 to 3 apples (Braeburn or Boskoop work best)
200g all-butter puff pastry
4 heaped tbsp apricot jam
And a little milk for brushing pastry edges
Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4 and put a baking sheet inside the oven to warm up.
2. Squeeze the lemon juice into a large, shallow dish. 
3. Prepare the apples one at a time to prevent them from going brown. Cut the first into halves, without peeling, and remove the middle pip section. A melon-baller works well for a uniformed shape. Slice the apple as thinly as possible, then toss the slices in the lemon juice. 
4. Roll out the pastry thinly onto baking paper and cut a 30cm circle. Discard the left over pastry. Using a sharp knife, gently score the circle with a criss-cross pattern. Try not to cut all the way through the pastry. This will help the apples stay in place during cooking.
5. Arrange the apples as neatly as you can, starting from the outside and working inwards. Leave about an inch of pasty edge to make the outer crust later. Continuing arranging the apples with an inner circle until you reach the centre. 
6. Fold up the out edge of pasty, pinching the pastry together ever few centimetres. Then brush the edges with milk. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and quickly slide the tart safely on baking paper to the baking sheet. 
7. Cook immediately in the middle of the oven for 25 minutes or until the edges are golden brown and the apples are soft to the touch. Leave to cool for 10 minutes.
8. Meanwhile, heat the apricot jam in a small saucepan, bush the glaze over the cooled tart. Be careful not to tug the apples out of place.
Serve with vanilla ice cream or thick cream. 

 

Thursday
Aug212014

Blueberry Pancakes, why not!

This morning I woke up just fancying a large stack of blueberry pancakes. Do you ever have those days? There are very few things that make a happier sight on the plate than pancakes and with a few Model Foodie substitution, they can be enjoyed gilt free. Here is the simply delicious recipe.
Blueberry Pancakes

Makes 8-10 pancakes
Ingredients:
• 1 cup rice flour
• 1 ripe banana
• 2 tsp baking powder 
• ½ tsp salt
• 1 egg 
• 1 cup milk 
• 2 tsp rapeseed oil
• 1 cup blueberries
Method:
1. Blend all the ingredients, except for the blueberries, in a food processor blending ingredients until you have a smooth consistent batter. 
2. Over a medium heat, melt a little butter in a frying pan. Spoon ¼ cup of batter into the pan, sprinkle a few blueberries into the pancake batter and wait for little air bubble to come through the batter. Then flip and cook for another 30 second or until the pancake goes golden brown. Only flip once. 
Repeat until all the batter is gone. Keep pancakes in a warm oven until ready to eat. Serve with butter and organic maple syrup.

 

Thursday
Aug142014

Perfect Roast Chicken

Back to basics. Everyone should know how to roast a chicken perfectly. Roast chicken is delicious and so simple to make, but often friends complain that their chickens tend to be dry or the skin never crisps up. Well, here is my recipe for a roast chicken that is as good as it is easy. You’ll never roast a chicken any other way. 

I can’t stress enough the importance of buy a free-range organic bird. The alternatives are not only treated terribly but the meat is pumped up with water and additives after butchering to make the bird seem bigger and juicer. I recognize that organic is more expensive, but we only have one body and what we feed it directly effects its functionality. Surely, we should strive to feed our bodies the best. I’d rather eat quality meat and poultry less, than stuff that is pumped full or hormones and other additives daily. Not only are free-range organic bird better for us, they taste far superiors, more gamie. Okay, soap box moment over, here’s how you do it:
Perfect Roast Chicken

Serves 4-6 depending on the size of your bird
Prep time 10 minutes / cook time 1hour 20min roughly
Ingredients:
Organic Free Range Chicken
Lemon
Onion
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Method:

1. Preheat your oven to 200°C/400°F.

2. For the perfect roast chicken, place the bird in a roasting tray on top of four thick lemon slices. Grate lemon zest over the skin. Stuff the cavity with roughly chopped lemon slices and half the onion. Rub the bird down with olive oil and then generously grate salt and pepper.

3. Pop the prepped chicken into the oven and turn the temperature down to 175°C/350°F. Roast for 20 minutes per 500g (1 lb) plus an extra 10 minutes. To stop it from drying out every 30 minutes take the chicken out and baste. This will give it a nice crispy skin and leave the meat moist.

4. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for ten minutes before carving.

Thursday
Jul312014

Gousto Review and 50% Discount Code! Wowzers.

Are you pressed for time, but want to be come a better cook? Are you concerned about buying organic and local? Want to come home after a long day and be able to sit down to a delicious balanced meal in 30 minutes (yes, a real 30 minutes). Do you find, like me, grocery shopping sucks the joy and life out of clean eating?  Do you scroll through Pinterest pinning food inspiration that will never really be tested? 

Well, I may have just found your solution. Really! This is for you: Gousto  

A few weeks ago the Gousto team got in touch asking if I would be willing to review one of their boxes. Now, I’m already a fan of the organic delivery box and have veggie boxes delivered already, but this promised something different. Customers pick 3 meals from the Gousto Cookbook and then the team measure out all the ingredients and send you a box packaged with everything you need to make the meals with super simple recipe cards. How easy is that! It totally cuts out meal planning and the dreaded food shopping. 

My only criticism is that they could make some simple healthy switches, which would make these ‘balanced’ recipes into healthy recipes. Simple substitutions like brown rice instead of Basmati or plain yogurt over crème fraîche or quinoa for couscous. These are the kind of easy changes which will make a huge difference to a households overall health with out sacrificing the taste of the dish. That said, if you already have a well stocked pantry, most of these items will be at hand and does not take away from the convenience this offers in weeks when life runs away from you.

I was sent ‘Moroccan Spiced Lamb with Apricots & Cocouscous,’ ‘Crunchy Chicken Cashew Stir-Fry with Basmati Rice,’ and ‘Creamy Pork Steaks with Apple, Thyme & Leek’. What I enjoyed most about these recipes was the different flavours that don’t normally come out of my kitchen. These where not dishes I normally would be drawn to. In fact, I don’t really like pork, but the Creamy Pork Steaks where my favourite of the three. The sauce was delicious and the cooked apples paired perfectly. I rediscovered a love of mustard and will try to reincorporating in more of my dishes going forward. I'm definitely making that one again.

So here is that pork recipe for you to try: 

‘Pork is never better than when it is paired with apple or thyme, so why not have all three together? Crème Fraîche and sharp mustard combined with the fruity, herby sauce lend unique textures and flavours to this dish.’

Creamy Pork Steaks with Apple, Thyme & Leeks:

Serves 2

Prep Time: 30min

 

Ingredients:
2 pork loin steaks
1 apple
200g crème fraîche (I switched with plain yogurt)
300g potatoes
1 leek
5g fresh thyme
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Method:
1. Boil a kettle. Peel the potatoes and cut them all to roughly equal size (approx. 5 cm chucks). Add the potatoes and salt (optional) to a pot of boiling water and boil for 15min or until you can pierce them easily with a fork.
2. Season the pork Steaks to your taste on both sides with salt and pepper. Set aside. 
3. Cut the leek in half lengthwise and wash carefully to remove any dirt from between the leaves. Chop the apple into eighths and remove their cores. Cut the leek into slices (approx. 1 cm thick), Crush the garlic with the side of a knife, peel it and finely chop.
4. Add 1/2 tbsp of olive oil to a pan on a medium heat. Once the oil is hot, hold the pork upright in the pan, frying the fatty edge of the steak for 3 minutes or until brown and crisp. Cook the pork steaks flat for 3 minutes on each side. Remove from the pan, cover will and leave to rest.
5. Add the apple, leek, and garlic to the empty pork pan still over a medium heat. Cook for 3 minutes or until everything is golden brown. Remove the thyme’s leaves and add to the pan, discarding the stems. Add 150ml of cold water to the pan; stir well to dissolve anything that is stuck to the bottom.
6. Once the potatoes are done, drain and mash with 3 tbsp of crème fraîche. Season to your taste with salt and pepper. 
7. Add any juices the steaks have released to the pan. Reduce the heat to low and add the mustard and remaining crème fraîche.
Serve the potato with the pork and creamy apple, thyme and leek sauce on top. Yum.
50% off your first box with this discount code: MODEL1 

 

Thursday
Jul242014

Looking at the Full Clean Breakfast

The Full English Breakfast. A weekend stable, the hangover cure of the English. Whether with black pudding, poached or scrambled, fried toast or extra mushrooms, no decent breakfast spot in England would dare not have it on the menu. It’s as about English as cider and a pork pie. The husband would roll his eyes immediately if he can’t find it on the menu, but at nearly 1200 calories a plate it’s a huge chunk of your ‘balanced’ daily intake and a lot of fried food.

I love breakfast and despite the English love of their cooked breakfast tradition, for me the Americans do breakfast best. I have yet to find a decent omelette in this city and if you see a breakfast burrito on the menu, don’t be fooled, they haven’t figured out this delicious marvel yet. But again, the yanks classics are often far from clean and can easily throw off your healthy eating habits.

So, can I suggest this Full Clean Breakfast;

Our household's Sunday stable!

Serves 2
Prep Time: 15 min
Ingredients:
4 free range eggs
4 bacon
2 Portobello Mushrooms
2 Vines of cherry tomatoes
2 slices rye bread, toasted
1 tbsp butter
Method:
1. Pop your grill on high. Line a grill tray. Place your bacon rashers on raised grill tray and slide under the grill for 2-3 minutes on each side on until crispy. This is a much heathier way of cooking bacon as the fat drips away and besides, the bacon becomes nice and crispy. 
2. At the same time, brush the Portobello mushrooms and cherry tomatoes with a little bit of olive oil and place directly under the grill. They should take roughly as long to cook as your bacon. Once the tomates begin to burst they're done. This is a good time to toast your rye bread.
3. Once the veg and bacon is well on their way, boil the kettle and fill a small pan three-quarters with the water. Add some salt and bring the water to the boil on the stovetop. Crack each egg into the boiling water and leave for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat immediately (3 minutes for runny middles). With a draining spoon, remove the eggs from the pan and place onto buttered toast. 
Arrange the bacon, tomato and mushrooms on plates with the toast and poached eggs. Season with salt and pepper and serve. The husband still has his with brown sauce… I can’t convince him over wise.

 

If you’re calorie counting, here is the breakdown:

1 Poached egg: 74kcal
1 Grilled bacon: 43kcal
1 slice Rye bread (Biona Organic) 176kcal
1 Portobello mushroom: 16kcal
6 vine cherry tomatoes 18kcal
1 tbsp butter: 102kcal
Not bad, hey ;)