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Grow your own

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This is something I have always wanted to do but never got round to it, so this year I decided to give myself a kick up the ass and get it sorted….lol!

Off to the garden centre I went, so much to choose from but I had to consider our weather climate too, after all I do live in Scotland where we’re not known for our sunny warm weather….lol!

To start me off I went with potatoes in a grow bag and some Tumbling tomatoes in a hanging basket. My garden is small and covered with slabs and stones so this was the easiest option for me.

These grow bags are brilliant idea for potatoes, especially as I’m just starting out. I went with Charlotte potatoes as these are one of my favourites.

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Above was mine all finished, just a few months to wait and I hope it ends up looking like this…….                                                                          download1

 

I have to admit, I really hope my tomatoes grow, I decided to go with red and yellow tumbling toms for extra colour in my garden. I also planted some basil with them, perfect partner for tomatoes. I’m so excited about these. Fingers crossed.

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Think I’d like to plant some spinach and lettuce leaves next………..oh the list is endless.

Happy planting.!

ALL · dinners · Healthy Eating Ideas · One Pot Wonders · superfoods

Pesto Potatoes

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If you have read my last few posts, you will know I got a massive 2.5kg bag of potatoes for 29p last week……I know right….so cheap!  So my task this week was to use them all…lol!  Today I had to use up some leftover vegetables so I decided on pesto Potatoes……this was so delicious, nutritious and a filling meal.

 

Serves 2

4 Maris piper potatoes – cut into bite size pieces (I left skin on, more flavour)

Handful or Broccoli

Baby Spinach

Salt & pepper

Green Pesto – 3 tbsps (see recipe below)

 

Pesto Recipe

clove of garlic crushed

Fresh Basil – large bunch

handful of pine nuts – about 100g

Parmesan Cheese – grated

Olive oil

Lemon juice

  1. Place garlic and basil leaves in a blender and pulse until chopped
  2. Add in the pine nuts (toasted) and parmesan and pulse to blend
  3. Slowly add in some olive oil, just enough to bring it all together, then squeeze in the lemon juice. Serve.

 

Potatoes

  1. Cook potatoes through until soft, you can either boil or steam cook, 4 minutes before you think they are ready, pour in some peas to the potatoes and simmer.
  2. Meanwhile, Steam cook your broccoli and spinach for 3 minutes.
  3. Drain potatoes and put into a large bowl, add in the spinach and broccoli
  4. Spoon 3 heaped tbsp of pesto and mix through, season
  5. Serve into a bowl or plate and top with some pine nuts for extra crunch.

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ALL · Bread

Tomato & Basil Focaccia

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Inspired by a post I seen on KitchenAid London’s Facebook and having recently invested in my own KitchenAid Stand Mixer it was a must that I had to bake. I adjusted some of the ingredients to my liking but I was so pleased with how it turned out.

 

Makes 1 loaf

1 packet of 7g dried active yeast

200ml lukewarm water

pinch of sugar

400g strong white bread flour

1/2 tsp salt

50ml olive oil

1 tbsp honey

1/2 bunch of basil – finely chopped

1-12 Cherry tomatoes (of your choice) I used piccolo and sunblush

1 tbsp Tomato puree

Sea Salt flakes to garnish

 

  1. Empty the yeast into the lukewarm water with the pinch of sugar and leave for about 10 minutes until foamy.
  2. Stir in the olive oil to the yeast
  3. Mix the flour and salt in a bowl, gradually add in the yeast mixture and tomato puree, using the dough hook, knead until a soft dough. Speed 1 for about 5 minutes.
  4. Select proving on your oven (if you have one), if not, cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1.5 hours.                                                                                       20170401_114602
  5. Knock back the dough and knead on speed 1 mixing in the basil for about 2 mins.
  6. Roll out the dough on a floured surface about 1.5-2cm thick
  7. Place on a greased baking sheet on a tray and make 12 indentations with a damp fingertip, push your cherry tomatoes into each hole, prove again for about 30 mins. 20170401_131727       20170401_141814
  8. Preheat your oven to 200deg, drizzle a little oil over bread and garnish with sea salt. Bake in the oven for about 25 mins or until bread sounds hollow on bottom.

I served with some balsamic vinegar and olive oil dip, but it is also really nice on its own.

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ALL · chicken · dinners · Healthy Eating Ideas · Meat Dishes · One Pot Wonders

Pesto Chicken Spaghetti

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Always wanted to make my own pesto sauce, so today was that day! Decided to pair with some chicken and pasta for dinner, very tasty if I do say so myself! lol!

Makes for 2

For the chicken pan:-

1 1/2 large chicken breast – cut into small chunks

80g Spinach spaghetti pasta

Handful pancetta

10 cherry tomatoes

1 red & 1 yellow pepper – sliced finely

1 onion – chopped finely

Salt & pepper

Italian seasoning

1 tsp chilli flakes

For the pest sauce:- 

Large handfuls of basil

80-100g toasted pine nuts

1 garlic clove

Salt & pepper

Lemon Juice (1 lemon)

50g Parmesean cheese (Parmigiano-Reggiano)

Olive oil (very important to use a very good quality oil)

 

  1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan, add the chicken, season with salt & pepper & Italian seasoning, brown all over.
  2. Meanwhile bring a large pan of salted water to boil for your pasta, add pasta and reduce to simmer for 10 mins.
  3. Add onion, pancetta and peppers to pan with chicken and cook until soft and slightly browned.  20161008_174620
  4. Add cherry tomatoes and chilli flakes cook for a few mins, stir through
  5. To make the sauce, put everything into a food processor and blend until smooth, gently add the oil a little at a time until desired smoothness.                                                                                                        20161008_174630 20161008_180034
  6. Drain pasta and add to the chicken pan, mixing through with the other ingredients. Tip in the sauce, mix and heat through for about 1 min.                                                                          20161008_180027

Serve – Yummy!

 

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ALL · Bread · Healthy Eating Ideas · lunch/ light bites · Scottish Cuisine · Snacks and nibbles

Wee Italian toast snacks

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I purchased some Soya Based Mozzarella from Muckle Coo Ltd at my local Glasgow Food Assembly https://thefoodassembly.com/en/assemblies/7907 this week.  Jill (the owner) at Muckle Coo Ltd makes handmade Soya based Meltable Mozzarella style balls that are Dairy/Gluten free & Vegan friendly. The two day process uses 83% organic ingredients (however, as its not 95% I can’t list any of the components as organic).
They are: Soya beans, water extra virgin rapeseed oil, tapioca flour, Carrageenan, sea salt, bifidus & acidophilus.

It was absolutely delicious! I decided to melt them onto Olive bread topped with cherry tomatoes and fresh chopped basil, such a tasty wee snack.

 

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ALL · dinners · Healthy Eating Ideas · lunch/ light bites · superfoods

Potato, Spinach and Quinoa Bites

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Makes 6

2 Medium potatoes – peeled, chopped and cooked (boiled)

1/2 cup of quinoa – cooked (normally 20mins simmer and 10 mins rest)

1 large handful of Spinach – chopped very finely

4 basil leaves – chopped finely (or 1 tbsp dried)

1 tbsp Lemon Juice

1/2 tsp sesame seeds

1/2 tsp Thyme

Salt & Pepper to taste

2 tbsp Plain Flour

Spray oil

 

  1. Preheat oven to 200 deg.
  2. Mash up potatoes finely  DSC_0367.jpg (2).
  3. Mix up Spinach, Basil, Thyme, Sesame Seeds, Lemon Juice into a paste. DSC_0366.jpg (2)
  4. Then Mix in the potatoes and quinoa with 1 tbsp of plain flour and season, mix until you can form a ball shape with the mixture without sticking to your hands, add more flour if you need to.
  5. Roll the balls in some flour and place on an oiled baking sheet.  DSC_0370 (2)
  6. Bake for approx 30-40 mins. (You may need to turn over half way through cooking)
  7. They will be slightly crunchy on outside and soft in the middle….serve on a bed of Steamed Spinach for extra healthyness! Yum!
ALL · chicken · dinners · Healthy Eating Ideas · Meat Dishes

My Italian Spicy Chicken with Vermicelli

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I really fancied something Italian tonight, already had most of these Ingredients in my kitchen, so a little of this and a little of that, and voila a tasty and still healthy little Italian Dish.

Serves 2

2 x Chicken Breast cut into chunks

4 tbsp of Paprika

2 nests of Wholegrain Vermicelli

1 Red and 1 Green Pepper – chopped

1 white onion – chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

10-12 Piccolo Tomatoes – halved

250ml tomato passata

1 tbsp chilli

1 tbsp oregano

1 tbsp coriander

1 tbsp basil

1 tsp garlic

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

 

1. Coat the chicken chunks with the paprika and brown in a saucepan or wok with the olive oil

2. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside

3. Put onion, peppers and all spices in pan and cook under slightly tender

4. Add back to the pan the chicken and mix.

5. Then add the tomato passata and red wine vinegar, stir and reduce to a simmer for 5 mins.

6. Meanwhile place the vermicelli in a bowl and cover with boiling water for 4 mins, then add to the pan and stir through for 2 mins.

7. Serve. Yum! Goes well with a lovely glass of Chardonnay. You can also add some parmesan on top for extra flavour.