Tuesday, 20 January 2015

green ribbons

It was about a year ago that I first posted about courgetti. Since then, the healthy foodie world has really embraced these little green ribbons, with them even gracing the pages of Vogue this week! The reason I wanted to re-blog this little recipe is two fold; first, because I wanted to report that a year later I am still loving them. Not a fad, but a genuinely tasty alternative to those pesky carbs. The second reason is that most recipes suggest you buy a spiralizer. Now at £30 give or take, this seems a little steep for something that is totally unnecessary to make courgetti! I just use a julienne peeler - I picked one up from TK Maxx for about three quid. 

How to? Wash your courgettes and dry using kitchen towel. Using your julienne peeler, simply peel off the first layer, and then one layer further. You don't want to do much more than that or it'll be soggy and tasteless. In a non-stick pan, melt a little butter (if you can spare the calories, otherwise a spray of fry-light) and throw in a couple of finely chopped/pressed garlic cloves, before adding the courgetti. Fry for just a couple of minutes max - you want it to keep some bite. Serve with anything that you'd usually have spaghetti with! We love it with meatballs and sauce or spaghetti bolognese. Yum!


Wednesday, 14 January 2015

bookworm #32

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty

I finished this book way back at the start of December and completely forgot about it... oops! Now that hasn't really painted it in the best light has it - I actually really enjoyed this book. Set in Australia this is a story about, you guessed it, a husband and his secret. The story actually follows the lives of a handful of women and their lives, loves, and secrets. I loved how all the characters had very separate lives and stories but also subtly linked together throughout the book, hinting at that small-town life where everyone's lives connect in some way. I have to say I was always having to remind myself which character was which and what their story was, but this is probably an indication of my poor memory than anything else! 

There is of course a big old revelation in this book, accompanied by a couple of further twists and turns within the plot that left me completely hooked right up until the last chapter. I love a whodunit-type stories and this really doesn't disappoint.

After this I tried to read Life After Life by Kate Atkinson but just couldn't, so have instead got stuck into Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami which I'm really enjoying. Review to come soon!

Friday, 9 January 2015

theory of everything

On Wednesday we went to see The Theory of Everything at the cinema. I can safely say it was the best film I have seen in a long time - the trailer alone left me a crying mess, so I thought I knew what to expect when I went to see the real thing. Little did I know I'd be crying almost the whole way through the film! Filled with touching, heartbreaking, joyful, beautiful, tender and crushing moments, this really is a roller coaster of a film. Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones are incredible - we were just blown away with Mr Redmayne's portrayal of Hawking. Much of story itself is obviously incredibly sad, but it also fills you with hope and optimism. It certainly leaves you thinking about life, the universe and destiny slightly differently

My advice to you? Get down to that cinema, stat!

Thursday, 8 January 2015

that quick fix

If you follow me on instagram you may have seen me obsessively posting my dinners over the past couple of months. This has all been for good reason - I wanted to share with you my go to weekday meals. All very tasty, satisfying, easy to make and most can be adapted to meet your January diet needs (!). As you can see our portion size is rather inconsistent - my 'healthy' phases are often short lived!

1. Courgetti with meatballs - we have this every week when I'm working as its super easy and quick to throw together... even Rich can do it! I love courgetti and have it as an alternative to pasta or spaghetti whenever I want something a little lighter. Of course, there are those times when I just crave carbs and on those occasions I don't deny myself a plate of pasta, but courgetti is so tasty it doesn't feel like a sacrifice. You can see how I do courgetti here - no fancy/expensive spiralizer needed! The meatballs we buy from Sainsburys and usually use a Loyd Grossman sauce for convenience. 

2. Jerk salmon with rice and veg - again, we love this as its super quick and tasty. We spread about a teaspoon of Sainsbury's Jerk Paste onto the uncooked salmon, wrap loosely in foil and bake in the oven for 20-ish minutes. Served with Tilda roasted weg wholegrain rice (its gluten free!) and steamed tenderstem brocolli, it's a mid-week lifesaver. 

3. Bangers and mash - needs no explanation! Served with gravy and veg - satisfying and inexpensive. 

4. Chilli with jacket potatoes - I have mine with a small sweet potato, salad and dollop of creme fraiche. We make a big batch of this and freeze in portions. You could also serve this with rice and tortilla chips if you fancy changing it up from time to time. 

5. Fish pie - you can see my time-saving recipe here. No need to make a rich cheese sauce or source fancy fish, this is a really easy recipe which tastes oh-so-good. We always say we should have this more often when we forget about it for a while!

6. Coriander chicken - one of our absolute favourites. Not particularly diet-friendly as I like to use the fattier cuts of chicken, namely chicken thighs, as they are just so much tastier. I do go for filleted chicken thighs though, which are skinless and boneless - I also cut off any excess fat before cooking. You can see my recipe here. Again, we either have this with spaghetti or courgetti. It may not look particularly insta-appealing, but it really packs a punch flavour-wise and is just so yum. 

7. Hungarian beef goulash - another all-time favourite. This is best cooked over a long period of time in the oven; I often cook double (sometime triple!) quantities on a Sunday and freeze in portions. It's even better second time round as the flavours intensify when re-heating. And the best news is the recipe is adapted from the Hairy Bikers diet collection - hurrah! See the how-to here

8. Beef casserole - a winner in the winter months. I follow this recipe, loosely, but cut down on the wine and bacon when I'm counting the calories. Butter beans work really well in beef casserole/stew - add 15 minutes before the end to avoid them disintegrating! Either plonk some dumplings on top (I cheat and use this dumpling mix) or serve with mash - you don't need both. Again, make at the weekend and freeze in portions. 

9. Roast chicken with sweet potato wedges - we love this as it's something a little different with a roast. You need about 1.5 hours to cook a small/medium chicken so it's not the quickest of meals, but you'll have leftovers to make a risotto with the next day. Having your chicken with salad and wedges makes it a whole lot lighter and less hassle. Cook it with loads of lemon for a gorgeous summery taste. 

Of course, there are so many other recipes I could include which we love but these are particularly good for a quick weekday meal. You can see all the recipes I've posted over on my recipe tab above - do let me know if you have a go at any, and how they turn out!

Friday, 2 January 2015

twenty fifteen

New year, new start? How many times have I heard that already! Don't worry, I'm not going to list a load of unachievable resolutions for you to mull over, instead I just wanted to share my new blog design with you. As they say, change is as good as a rest and I thought I would inject a little life into my blog with a snazzy new design to (hopefully) get my juices flowing. Props to pipdig for making the whole process as easy as pie - I'd recommend without reservation.  

You may have noticed over the past few months blueoctober has showcased more recipe and food posts than previously, and that's something I'm hoping to further develop this year. As ever, the struggle between real life and virtual life continues, but keep your eyes peeled for yet more recipe, lifestyle and bookworm posts coming your way in the coming weeks. 

And if you were interested in my 2015 resolution? To bring back the word snazzy. 
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