ORANGE, MINT, FENNEL AND CANDIED WALNUT SALAD

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Yesterday felt like a summer’s day, I was craving a summery salad and simple pasta for dinner. I love this salad as a side at a barbecue (such as with the Middle Eastern inspired bbq chicken), or with pizza or pasta. It’s light and has a great balance of flavour, texture and nutrients – and that’s pretty much what my approach to eating is all about. And just check out those colours…

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SPICY SWEET POTATO CRISPS

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I clearly had no idea what to call these. They are sweet and tangy and crispy and fresh. And spicy. Well as spicy as you want them I guess! It’s also sort of a salad. Or a nibble. Or a side dish. Or even a bar snack, along with popcorn cauliflower florets of course! The crisps themselves are baked rather than fried and placed on a mixture of sauces (green thai curry, molasses, black vinegar). They are then topped with a light and fragrant salad of fresh herbs and spices. It’s all a bit magical and crazy really, thus the trouble with the name.

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CAULIFLOWER SAUCE

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Sometime beige on beige tastes anything but. The main ingredient in this sauce is cauliflower and it can be used on pasta instead of bechamel sauce, it also works well as a substitute for mashed potatoes! I’m a little addicted…

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CHICKEN AND VEGETABLE PIE WITH A SPELT CRUST

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Pie. I love all kinds of pie, but I’ve been looking for a way to make it a little bit healthier. It’s actually a great vehicle for all kinds of vegetables and fillings but the traditional crust doesn’t add a lot of nutritional value! I’ve used a super simple spelt and olive oil pastry here. I find it’s best if you pre cook the crust, it doesn’t rise much so there is no need to weigh it down. You don’t have to pre cook it but it tends to disintegrate a bit if you don’t! This filling is also great with mushrooms instead of potato if you want to cut down on the starch, but I love potatoes and my boyfriend hates mushrooms (he’s pathological about it, crazy man) so this is the version i went with. The kabana sausage is also completely optional, it adds a lovely smoky flavour.

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MUSHROOM, PEA AND SPINACH RISOTTO

Risotto is severely under rated, I promise it is more than ‘wet rice’ or ‘savoury porridge’ (although The Katering Show‘s episode about this is a hilarious must watch for any foodie, as are all their episodes ). Once you’ve made it a few times it also becomes pretty easy and you can totally multitask and don’t need to spend the whole time laboriously stirring the pot! The other thing they have going for them is that you can make an impressive meal for very little money. And I’m a teacher so being frugal is kind of important haha. The below recipe is for a basic mushroom risotto with spinach and peas. I’ve added thyme and sage as these are lovely with mushrooms, and lemon as this is so good with the peas. You could add chicken as well! Get stirring…

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‘POPCORN’ CAULIFLOWER FLORETS WITH YOGHURT, FETA AND BASIL SAUCE

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WARNING: these are very addictive, I almost ate a whole head of cauliflower by myself and that amount of cauli would do bad bad things to me… a narrow escape… Very narrow, I kept moving them further and further away from me and eating more each time I moved them. Idiot.

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ZUCCHINI, PEA AND MINT SALAD

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This salad tastes like summer. Eat it by itself. Eat it with a vegetable gallette. Eat it with barbecued lamb or chicken or fish or steak. Mix it with pasta. Just do yourself a favour and eat it. It’s super quick and simple to make, tastes great and looks pretty. It’s also full of stuff that’s good for you. Green stuff, good fats, great things. So stop reading these words and skip down to the recipe.

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KALE, LENTIL AND POMEGRANATE SALAD

For me, summer means salad and BBQs and this salad is delicious with barbecued anything! It has great flavours and textures and is full of a variety of nutrient dense ingredients. I think kale has such fantastic flavour and texture when it’s treated correctly… but sometimes big undressed pieces of it can seem grassy or have a bit too much bite. Whenever I use it raw in a salad I like to roughly shred it and allow it to soak up flavour, it keeps its great texture still but doesn’t over power other ingredients. The lentils and quinoa keep mean that it works as a whole meal as well as in smaller portions as a side.

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MIDDLE EASTERN INSPIRED BBQ CHICKEN

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I am by no means claiming that this is a traditional middle eastern dish but it was those flavours I was thinking of when I came up with this. This is super easy to do, and full of flavour. You can get your butcher to butterfly the chicken for you or do it yourself (it’s really easy to do and you can always find a tutorial online!). I have also cooked this in the oven and it works just fine, but you don’t get the smoky char of course! Delicious served with the KALE, LENTIL AND POMEGRANATE SALAD 😉

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ZUCCHINI NOODLES (COURGETTI) THREE WAYS

Mushroom and Kale Stir fried Zucchini noodles
Mushroom and Kale Stir fried Zucchini noodles

I love pasta and stir fry. I also love vegetables and try to get as many of them in my diet as possible and a vegetable spiralizer is a fabulous way of doing this. The below recipes are some of my favourite ways to eat ‘zucchini noodles’ or ‘courgetti’ or spiralized zucchini if we’re going to be all honest about what food really is 😉

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