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
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 ;)

 

Thursday
Jul172014

To continue the party theme - Summer Canapés


There is nothing like a gorgeous party on a warm summer night, full of twinkle lights, floaty dresses, light chilled cocktails and yummy canapés to inspire.  With just a little bit of creativity and effort, you’ll be amazing at what gorgeous bites can come out of your kitchen. I hope this post will inspire you to try something different at your next soirée. 
Though if you’d rather just leave it to the pros, Lime Venue Portfolio are expert that can help find your perfect venue and are there to help with all you party needs. 
Lemon-Garlic Prawn Skewers

Serves 6-8
Cook time 20 minutes
 
These lemon-garlic prawn skewers are so simple to make and pop them in the fridge to marinate and then onto the grill as your guest arrive. They’ll be ready in moments to make a sizzling party canapé.
Ingredients:
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp honey
225g to 250g large king prawns, peeled, deveined, rinsed and drained
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup chopped parsley
Grated lemon peel of 1 lemon
2 or 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
½ tsp fresh-ground pepper
Lemon wedges to serve

Method:
1. In a bowl, mix salt, honey, olive oil, parsley, lemon, garlic and pepper. Add shrimp and stir gently to coat. Cover and chill for a minimum of 20 minutes. 
2. Thread shrimp on metal or soaked wooden skewers. 
3. Lay shrimp skewers on an oiled barbecue grill over hot coals or high heat on a gas grill. Cook, turning once, until shrimp are bright pink and opaque but still moist-looking in center. This should ready to much in 5 to 6 minutes. 
Serve with lemon wedges to squeeze over shrimp.
Bite-sized frittatas

Makes 12 small frittatas
Cook time 25 minutes
 
Packed with fibre, these little mouthfuls make a nice clean change from bread rolls. They’re full of flavor and dipped into tomatoes sauce, delicious. Prefect pre dinner nibbles.
Ingredients:
1 tbsp olive oil
2 large spring onions
1 carrot
1 courgette
3 organic eggs
½ cup cheddar
1 tbsp fresh thyme
½ tbsp. biocarbonate
2 tbsp almond flour
Method:
1. Heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Cook spring onions, thinly sliced, for 3 minutes or until soft. Add grated carrot and courgette. Cook for 2 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly. 
2. In a separate bowl, add lightly whisked eggs, grated cheddar, thyme, bicarbonate and almond flour. Mix in the cooled vegetables. 
3. Spoon the mixture into greased mini muffin pans and bake at 180°C for 12-15 minutes or until cooked through.
Japanese-style rare beef roll-ups

Serves 8-10
Cook time 15 minutes 
At only 55 calories each and full of fresh bright ingredients, makes these mouthfuls a brilliant diet-friendly canapé that tastes as gorgeous as it looks.
Ingredients:
10 slices of raw beef, from the butcher
8 radishes
4 spring onions
Bunch watercress
Soy Sauce Dip:
2cm root ginger
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp wasabi paste
Black sesame seeds, to sprinkle on top for extra flush. 

Method:
If you’re feeling ambitious, you could prepare the beef yourself by searing a fillet as explained in my Beef Takai but in this recipe, it might be easier just to get a few rare slices from your local butcher. 
1. Thinly chop each radish, wash the watercress and slice the spring onions lengthways into thin slivers.
2. Make your sauce by finely grate the ginger and combine with the sesame oil, soy and wasabi paste.
3. Slice the beef in half and place a few pieces of radish and spring onion along with a sprig or two of watercress at one end of a slice and roll it up like a burrito. Repeat this until all of the beef and vegetables are used up.
Arrange the beef rolls on a plate and sprinkle with the sesame seeds, serve with the soy sauce.
Recipe inspired by loveradish.co.uk


 

Thursday
Jul032014

Summer Party Dips:

Whether it’s just a little backyard barbecue or a picnic to celebrate the tennis or a full fledged weekend smash-up in honour of the World Cup or perhaps for Independence day (for us Yanks)... Whatever the occasion, having a few tasty dips at the ready will keep your guest happily munching and give you precious time to finished off the mains and have a glass of something cold.
 
These three dips offer great healthy alternatives to the classic guacamole, hummus, or salsa. Straight from Healthy Every Day, healthy grazing never tasted so good.
Health-Healthy Read Bean Smooth:

Ingredients:
1 400g tin tin aduki beans, drained
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Juice of ½ lemon
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp of paprika (I added the spice… I can’t help it, I like things a bit hot)
Baba Ganoush:

Ingredients:
1 large aubergine, cut into 2 cm chunks and roasted for 25min at 200c.
Olive oil, drizzled
1 large garlic clove, crushed
Juice of one lemon
Mediterranean Melatonin Hummus

Ingredients:
1 400g tin chickpeas, drained
Juice of ½ lemon
4 tbsp olive oil
1 bunch of basil, leaves torn
Method:
Which ever dip appeals to you most, just place all it's ingredients into a food processor, season with salt and pepper and blend into a thick, luscious dip. 
Serve with cut vegetable into thin batons. I like baby carrots, peppers, sweet peas, and cucumber.