Roasted Vegetable Couscous with Goats Cheese & Harissa

Vegetable Couscous with Goats Cheese & Harissa

Why I thought it was a good idea to roast vegetables on the hottest day of the year, in my tiny 2 bedroom flat is beyond me but I’ve never claimed to be the smartest tool in the box… Hang on that doesn’t sound right. Why would a tool need to be smart? Hang on, let’s check Google…
Right so it’s the ‘sharpest’ tool in the box. Think I’ve literally just proved my point.
Anyway, my mum used to make a Delia Smith recipe similar to this one, she even managed to dig the book out for me to look at but the recipe was so long I got bored and walked off. I mean it’s hardly rocket science is it? Make some couscous, roast some veg, top with cheese, BOOM! Come on Delia sort it out, I don’t have 9 hours to make my dinner. Actually I should be nice to Delia, she launched Sainsbury’s Magazine back in 1993 who currently employ me so I should stop talking now. Love you Delia, you da best!

Roasted Vegetable Couscous with Goats Cheese & Harissa Dressing

Serves 4 / Prep time 25 mins / Total time 1 hour 10 mins
Ingredients:
250g couscous
270ml vegetable stock
Half a red onion, peeled and roughly sliced
1 medium Aubergine, cut into chunks
5 Baby leeks (or 1 regular roughly chopped)
Handful cherry tomatoes (roughly 10)
200g Butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed and cut into chunks (I buy mine ready peeled and chopped)
1 Red pepper, sliced
3 fat garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
Spray oil
150g Firm goats cheese
Handful for basil, chopped (optional)
Harrissa dressing: 
Juice of a lemon
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp honey
2 tsp harrissa paste
Salt and pepper

Method:
1. Preheat your oven to 220°C/200°C fan.
2. Measure out your couscous and pour into a large bowl. Pour over the 270ml of vegetable stock making sure all the couscous is moist. (It won’t look like much but trust me, it’s enough). If some couscous still looks fry then give it a stir to coat it and pat it down. Cover the bowl well with cling film and put to one side.
3. Roughly chop the aubergine, red onion, red pepper and butternut squash and put into a large roasting tray. Scatter with a handful of cherry tomatoes, whole baby leeks and the peeled and bashed garlic cloves. Spray well with spray oil, give it a good mix and then spray well again. Season with salt and pepper and pop in the oven for 30 minutes.

4. While your veg is roasting make your dressing by combining the juice of a lemon, 2 tsp of harrissa paste, 2 tsp honey, 1 tbs of extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

5. By now your couscous should be nice and soft. Uncover the bowl and using a fork, scrape across the top to start loosening the couscous. Keep the pressure light and keep scraping until you get to the bottom of the bowl and your couscous looks light and fluffy. (Don’t worry if you still have a few lumps). Put to one side.
6. After half an hour, take out your roasted veg, give it a bit of a shake and a turn and pop back in for another 10 minutes. Meanwhile, roughly chop a handful of basil leaves and cut your goats cheese into chunks and put both to one side.

7. Once your veg is roasted, remove from the oven but leave the oven on. Carefully scoop out the veg and pop it onto a plate. Then in the same baking tray, spread out the couscous and top evenly with the roasted veg. Scatter with goats cheese and put back in the oven for a further 10 minutes.
8. Finally remove from the oven and spoon onto plates. Top with the chopped fresh basil and good drizzle of the Harissa dressing.

Vegetable Couscous with Goats Cheese & Harissa

If you’ve had a go at making my couscous or any of my recipes, I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale corrie.heale@gmail.com

Veggie Salad Niçoise

Veggie Salad Niçoise

I’ve been eating out quite a lot recently and something really annoying has started to happen on menus across the land.
Warm asparagus salad with poached hens egg… Spiced aubergine pilaf with poached hens egg… Sweet potato and harrissa hash topped with a poached HENS EGG… “Oooh a poached hens egg, how exotic, I’ll have that please.” AGHHHHHH!
A hens egg is surely just an egg. News flash, chickens are hens, well female ones are and as we all know, only female chickens (i.e. hens) can lay eggs. Silently and pretentiously, the hens egg seems to have swept onto menus across the capital without anyone even noticing. Where have we all been?!
So next time you see it on the menu, ask for just a regular egg and see what happens. “Oh, is a hens egg just a regular egg? Then why doesn’t it just say that?” You utter politely before picking up your table and throwing it across the room. On that note lets move swiftly on to my salad Niçoise with boiled ‘hens’ egg (okay I’ll stop it now).
Salad Niçoise originated in the French city of Nice and is traditionally made up of a mixture of Niçoise olives, anchovies, tomatoes and hard boiled eggs. I was surprised to learn that a traditional Niçoise salad doesn’t include tuna, french beans or even potatoes but I guess every recipes it subject to interpretation. However, I’ve included french beans and potatoes in mine because it’s just not a Niçoise salad without them in my opinion. I’ve also substituted the anchovies for a tangy black olive and lemon dressing to give it the salty zing without the fish. Bon appétit. 

Veggie Salad Niçoise
Serves a generous 2 / Takes 30 – 35 mins total
You’ll need:
A pestle and mortar
Ingredients:
3 eggs
1 cos lettuce
1 handful of pitted black olives
100g French beans
300g new potatoes/Jersey royals
4 ripe tomatoes cut into eights
1/4 cucumber, peeled and chopped
Handful of basil torn
Juice of half a lemon
Salt and pepper
Dressing:
Small handful of basil leaves
60g black olives
Juice of half a lemon
1 medium garlic clove, peeled
1 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper

Method: 
1. Start by putting 3 eggs in a small saucepan and cover with boiling water. Boil for seven minutes. Once boiled drain and cover in cold water and put to one side.
2. Cut the larger new potatoes in half but leave the small ones whole. Put in a large saucepan and cover with boiling water and season the water with salt. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, make your dressing by putting 60g of pitted black olives in your pestle and mortar along with a peeled garlic clove, a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, a teaspoon of red wine vinegar, small handful of basil leaves, the juice of half a lemon and season with salt and pepper. Being careful not to splash yourself too much, bash it all together until you have a rough paste.
4. Cut your tomatoes into eights and peel and chop your cucumber. Put in a large bowl along with a handful of torn basil, a handful of pitted black olives and season with salt and pepper.

5. By now your potatoes should be cooked but don’t remove them from the heat just yet. Add the trimmed french beans to the pan and cook for a further 5 minutes. Drain the potatoes and beans and cover in a stream of cold water to prevent them from cooking further. Leave to drain.
6. Line a large salad bowl with cos lettuce and peel your eggs. Slice into quarters and put to one side. Tip the warm potatoes and the beans into the bowl along with the rest of the salad mixture and top with the dressing. Give it a good stir and tip the whole lot on top of the lettuce.
7. Place the sliced eggs on top, squeeze over the other half of the lemon, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Veggie Salad Niçoise

If you’ve had a go at making my salad or any of my recipes, I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale corrie.heale@gmail.com

Dark Horse Sauvignon Blanc

Dark Horse Sauvignon Blanc… I always judge a book by it’s cover (I’m a designer, that’s what we do) so generally I’m drawn to wine with the prettiest label. Not normally a white wine drinker, I was extra bamboozled to say the least, I mean what’s the difference between a Sancerre and Riesling, a Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc? Oh sod it, I know it’s warm out but maybe I’ll just get red, better the devil you know. I put the joke bottle of Lambrini down I’d picked up to scare Jamie and an interesting label caught my eye. A sleek label with a clever logo that incorporated a wine glass into the silhouette of a horse. SOLD!
“I often find Sauvignon Blanc a bit too floral” said Jamie as he carefully inspected the bottle. “Willing to give it a got though”. So we bought it, drank it and loved it.
It was light, zesty and smooth which ticked a lot of boxes and was most importantly very easy drinking. So much so in fact, we finished the bottle and had to go and buy another. Well it was Saturday night (see pictures below Jamie took of me, they’re appallingly bad but we had drunk 2 bottles of wine.)
So if you’re off to a barbecue this summer and need of a bit of crowd pleaser, then Dark Horse is your man… Or horse. Dark Horse Sauvignon Blanc 75cl, £8.50 available at Sainsbury’s and Ocado.
Oh and please always drink responsibly (unlike me).

(This is not an advert. All products featured in the section are products I genuinely use and like. No money has exchanged hands (unfortunately).

Easy Overnight Oats

Easy Overnight Oats

Lets all pretend to be Deliciously Ella for a day and make some overnight oats shall we? Now I know Ella didn’t invent overnight oats but I can picture her making them more than anyone else in the world. I can see her now, pouring oats, seeds and nuts out of individual Kilner jars and covering them with homemade almond milk, before gliding upstairs to bed in her silk pyjamas and White Company socks. She closes her bedroom door before quietly sobbing over the fact she can’t have a Domino’s. I mean she literally can’t, there isn’t a single thing on that menu that poor girl can eat. This in turn, has made me a lot more humble about eating pizza ‘I’m doing this for you Ella’ I think, as I stuff a large slice into my face. Delicious.
But we’re not having pizza today folks, although I did last week, thus the need for a healthy breakfast. So lets totes eat some oats (see what I did there) and save up all our delicious calories for pizza, cakes, pies and Percy Pigs (veggie ones of course).

This post is dedicated to all those who lost their lives last Saturday night in the London Bridge terror attack. My heart goes out to their friends and families.

Easy Overnight Oats

Serves 1 / Takes 5 minutes + soaking overnight / Vegan
Ingredients:
50g oats
1 tbs cashews
1 tbs pumpkin seeds
1 tbs flaxseed mill (optional)
175ml coconut milk
1/4 tsp vanilla essence
1 tbs maple syrup
1 passion fruit, seeds scraped out
Handful of fresh berries
Lemon wedge

Method:
1. Measure out 50g of oats and add the to an airtight Tupperware container with a lid. Add 1 tablespoon of flaxseed mill, cashews and pumpkin seeds and give a quick stir.
2. In a measuring jug, measure out the coconut milk and add a tablespoon of maple syrup and a quarter teaspoon of vanilla essence. Give it a quick stir and then pour over the oats. Give it a good stir with a spoon making sure all the oats are covered and then pop the lid on and refrigerate overnight.
3. Spoon into a bowl and top with the passion fruit, berries and a squeeze of lemon. Lovely jubbly.

Easy Overnight Oats

If you’ve had a go at making my overnight oats or any of my recipes, I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale corrie.heale@gmail.com

Blueberry & Lemon Drizzle Cake

Bueberry Lemon Cake Drizzle

Good job I managed to take this picture before I dropped this cake all over the floor. Don’t worry, I managed to scoop most of it up within three seconds, only two slices were covered in dog hair. I really should clean my kitchen.
Anyway, dropping a cake doesn’t really matter when the person you’re making it for is no longer around to eat it. This week my dear old dad, who died seven years ago in a motorbike accident, would have turned 64. Crikey seven years, what the hell have I been doing for seven years? I got a new job and bought a  hoover but right now that’s all I can think of. I really should use that hoover. Still can’t believe he’s gone.
So I’m going to go and have a cry now so will keep this brief. Happy birthday for Thursday dad, I’ll be sure to scoff this cake I made for you on your behalf, dog hairs and all.

Blueberry & Lemon Drizzle Cake
Makes 1 loaf / 25 minutes prep / 50 minutes to cook + cooling time

You’ll need: A 9 inch loaf tin, baking paper and a food mixer.
Ingredients:
210g unsalted butter
130g plain flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
Zest of a lemon
3 medium eggs
2 medium egg yolks
210g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
85g fresh blueberries
For the drizzle:
Juice of 1 lemon
30g caster sugar

Method:
1. Preheat your oven to 160°C/140°C fan.
2. Grease your loaf tin well with butter, line the bottom with a piece of baking paper and put to one side. In a small saucepan melt the butter on a low heat. Once half the butter has melted, take off the heat and leave to one side, it will continue to melt while it cools.
3. Zest and juice your lemon but keep them separate as you’ll need the zest for the cake but the juice for the drizzle. Put both to one side.
4. Weigh out your flour and sieve into a bowl along with the baking powder and salt. Place near your mixer. Crack 3 eggs into your mixing bowl followed by 2 egg yolks and add the caster sugar and vanilla essence. Beat on a medium high speed until thick and pale (this should take about 5 minutes). Reduce the speed to low and add the lemon zest and half the flour. Mix until only a few streaks remain and then add the rest. Once combined increase the speed to a low medium and slowly pour in the melted butter.

5. Ladle half the mixture into your loaf tin and top with the fresh blueberries. Add the rest of the mixture on top. It’s important to line your loaf tin with baking paper as the blueberries will sink to the bottom during baking. Without baking paper most of your blueberries will stay in your loaf tin when you turn it out and we don’t want that (I’ve already made this mistake).
6. Bake for 50-55 minutes until risen and golden in colour. To check the cake is cooked, insert a skewer into the middle, if it comes out clean, the cake is ready. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes. Meanwhile make the drizzle by mixing together 30g of sugar and the juice of a lemon.

7. While your cake is still warm, prick it with a skewer or fork and pour over the drizzle. Leave to cool completely before turning out (the bottom of the cake will be quite soft because of the blueberries so avoid putting it on a cooling rack, it will only seep through the holes). Cut into thick slices and serve with tea.

Bueberry Lemon Cake Drizzle

If you’ve had a go at making my cake or any of my recipes, I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale corrie.heale@gmail.com


Parisian Gratin for two

Parisian Gratin for two

Okay so what’s the difference between a gratin and potato dauphinoise? Basically nothing, although I’ve always identified dauphinoise as a side dish and gratin as a main but essentially, they’re the same. Layers of finely sliced potato cooked in lashings of double cream and cheese, err yes please. And who do we have to thank for this? The French of course. I wish I was French, I’d love to eat cheese, drink wine and wear black clothes draped over my slender bird like body… Not quite sure where that came from.
Anyway, unfortunately I’m not French so literally can’t bring myself to pour a whole pint of double cream over my dinner so decided to make a slightly healthier version, based on a gratin I ate in Paris back in February.

The original gratin

I was a bit sceptical about going to Paris at first because any pleasant memories I had, had been marred by me picking ham out of every meal on a school trip once. However, it appeared Paris was no longer the veggie-phobic city it once was.
I ordered the only meat-free option available which was a kind of mixed vegetable gratin. I didn’t like the sound of this, a bowl of vegetables covered in cheese, ‘great’ (said in an unenthusiastic tone) but as usual, I was wrong. A handful of diced vegetables formed the base and was topped with gooey, cheesy, buttery potatoes, yum! We scooped, scoffed and quaffed the night away before waddling back to our hotel feeling like we were going to die (in a good way). Bon appetite!

Parisian Gratin for two
Serves a generous 2 or 4 as a side / Takes 1 hour 10 mins
You’ll need:
A casserole dish roughly 11 inches by 8 inches
Ingredients:
Spray oil or tsp of olive oil
2 garlic cloves crushed
Half a courgette, finely diced
1 tomato, de-seeded and finely chopped
1 tsp Herbs de Provence
Pinch of ground nutmeg
300ml semi skimmed milk
200g Crème fraîche
750g Potatoes thinly sliced (skins on)
80g Gruyere cheese, finely grated
Salt and pepper
French bread and salad leaves to serve

Method:
1. Preheat your oven to 200°C/ 160°C fan.
2. Finely slice your potatoes as thin as you can. Use a mandoline if you have one, although I don’t. I also don’t bother to peel my potatoes but you can if you like. Put to one side.
3. In a large pot with a lid, add your oil and on a medium heat cook the crushed garlic, courgette and tomato for a few minutes and then allow to cool slightly (around 5 minutes). Add the 300ml of milk, 1 tsp of herbs de Provence as well as a pinch nutmeg, stir and bring to the boil. Turn the heat right down and carefully submerge the potatoes into the milk (don’t worry if you can’t submerge all the potatoes, they’ll steam when you put the lid on). Cover with a lid and simmer for 5 minutes. Uncover, and roughly turn the potatoes over with a spoon being carful not to break them up. Cover again and simmer for a further 5 minutes.
4. Give the potatoes another turn and take off the heat. Using a large slotted spoon, lift roughly half the potatoes out of the sauce and spread them evenly on the bottom of the casserole dish. (Try and leave as much of the sauce in the pot as you can as you will need to mix the crème fraîche into soon). Season well with salt and pepper and cover with half the grated gruyere.

5. Lift out the rest of the potatoes and spread evenly on top of the cheese. Now turn your attention back to the pot of sauce. Add the crème fraîche and vigorously beat with a whisk (this helps prevent the sauce from splitting).  Pour the sauce over the potatoes. Sprinkle with the rest of the gruyere and season well with salt and pepper.
6. Cover with foil and put in the oven for 30 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and cook for a further 10 minutes or until the top is nice and brown. Serve with French bread, lightly dressed leaves and good bottle of red wine. Well it’s not Parisian without wine silly!

Parisian Gratin for two

If you’ve had a go at making my gratin or any of my recipes, I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale corrie.heale@gmail.com

Homemade Salad Boxes

Homemade Salad Boxes

I spend a fortune on salad boxes. At least twice a week, I find myself at a salad buffet, filling up a teeny-tiny plastic tupperware box that I could frankly make myself for half the price.
“That will be £6.50 please” says a skinny girl with dreadlocks.
“£6.50? But I only got a small box?!” I blurt out.
“Yeah but you pay by weight” she says, looking me up and down. What the hell did she mean by that? She snatches my tenner our of my hand and replaces it with a few pound coins.
Have I just been robbed and insulted? When did we start paying for things by weight? No salad should ever cost more than a fiver, no matter how much it weighs or how much halloumi you manage to cram in it.
I look down disappointedly at my little box, for something so small, it really is rather heavy (the girl may have had a point). It looks visibly stressed, all angry and shmooshed pressed up against the plastic. Sorry salad, I feel like I’ve killed you.
Anyway I tip it out onto a plate and scoff the lot at my desk and as usual, it’s under seasoned, underwhelming and disappointing.
Well no more! I’ve decided to take matters into my own hands and make my own buffet style salad, minus the disappointment.
I find the key to building a good salad box is to keep it simple but a bit exotic. Treat yourself to a few of your deli favourites, add a bit of roasted veg, a sprinkle of seeds and you’re good to go. Take that dreadlock girl! You’re not getting you’re hands on my £6.50 this week.

How to build your salad:
2 handfuls of leaves: If buying a bag of salad I would stick to either rocket, watercress or spinach, they last longer than the mixed varieties. I tend to buy baby gem or just a regular lettuce and chop it up as I need it. It’s cheaper and can last up to a week.

1 handful of vegetables: Here are a few ideas I like that are quick and easy to make yourself. You only need to pick one of these… Baked sweet potato/butternut squash, minted new potatoes, roasted carrots with dill and lemon (see recipe) mixed roasted vegetables, tomato and onion salad (see recipe), roasted peppers. Feeling lazy? Then shop bought deli artichokes or even jarred peppers such as Karats Roasted Red Peppers are delicious and a great substitute.

Pick your star: Mine is nearly always cheese, 50g of either feta, mozzarella, goats cheese or halloumi. For a more substation lunch though, I like to also include either a boiled eggs (hard boiled these can last up to a week in the fridge), half an avocado or even quorn. (If you eat meat this is your chance to add a bit of cooked chicken or fish).

Make it hearty with 2 tablespoons of… Couscous, brown rice, five bean salad (see recipe) quinoa, pasta salad (see recipe). You don’t need to make much of this, 100g should be enough for the week.

A sprinkle of crunch: This is optional but I always like to sprinkle my salads with either pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, croutons or pomegranate seeds to give it some bite.

Carbs: I literally can’t eat a salad without at least a little bit of bread. I like a mini pitta, a small brown flat bread or even a couple of oat cakes.

Dress is up: 1 tablespoon of either homemade dressing (see recipe) shop bought dressing, humous, zatziki or even a good drizzle of chilli sauce.

Extra acidity: Again this is optional but I always think a salad is greatly improved by acidity, tang and bit of heat. I always include a few olives, a sprinkle of chilli flakes and some sort of pickle, whether is be a couple of pickled onions, gherkins, pickled chillies or jalapeños. 

So there you have it! The building blocks to make your very own buffet salad without the buffet. Here are a few of my favourite staples to get you started…

Roasted carrots with dill and lemon dressing:
Preheat an oven to 220°C (200°C fan). Peel and chop two large carrots and pop them on a baking tray. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and spray them with spray oil. Pop them in the oven for 10 minutes before giving them a quick turn with a spatular. Continue to cook for a further 10 minutes. Meanwhile chop a small handful of dill and make the dressing by combining 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Once the carrots are roasted leave to cool fully. Once cool, tip the carrots into a bowl and stir in the dressing and the chopped dill. Put in an airtight container and keep for up to 3 days in the fridge.


Five been salad:

I literally buy a can Napolina Five Beans, strain them and give them a quick rinse (not too much or you’ll lose the flavour as they are slightly spiced). I then add a finely chopped stick of celery and that’s it! Pop in an air tight container and use within 3 days.

 

Cucumber, feta and olive salad:
Peel and chop half a cucumber and pop it into a bowl with a sprinkle of salt. Roughly chop a large handful of black pitted olives (roughly 80g) and add this to the cucumber. Crumble over half a pack of feta cheese (around 100g) and give it all a good mix. Finish with a  drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Tomato and onion salad:
Slice 2 tomatoes along with a few slices of peeled red onion. Season well with salt and black pepper and finish with a  drizzle of olive oil. Keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days. (This is so easy that you don’t even really need to pre-prepare it, you could just chop them up in the morning if you have time before work.)

 

Whole baked sweet potato: Preheat an oven to 220°C (200°C fan). Carefully score a sweet potato with a sharp knife along the skin and insert into the centre. Withdraw the knife and pop in the oven for 40 minutes turning half way through. Leave to cool before cutting up and adding to salads. Wrap in foil and keep in the fridge for up to 4 days.

 

Pesto pasta salad: Cook 50g wholewheat pasta according to instructions. Once cooked, drain and cool with a stream of cold water before returning it back into the saucepan. Cover with cold water and leave to cool. Drain again. Stir through a tablespoon of your favourite pesto (I like Sacla’s Chargrilled Aubergine). Transfer to an air tight container and refrigerate for 3 days.

Dressing: I like to keep it simple when it comes to salad dressing so I tend to stick to honey and mustard, I find it also goes with almost any salad. For a single salad I would use 1 tsp of extra virgin olive oil, 1 tsp of balsamic vinegar and mix together in a small ramekin. Add a quarter teaspoon of Dijon mustard and a drizzle of honey. Season with salt and pepper and stir again until combined. Sometimes I even add a teaspoon of humous to make a creamier more indulgent dressing.

 

Lunch boxes:
If you ever needed an excuse to buy some snazzy Tupperware then surely this is it. I have a bit of an unhealthy obsession with Tupperware but this is my current favourite by Box Appetit, I have two of the same box, one in pink and one in green and I use them all the time. Happy lunching everyone!

Homemade Salad Boxes

If you’ve had a go at making my salad or any of my recipes, I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale corrie.heale@gmail.com

Spicy Thai Salad

Spicy Thai Salad

Have I mentioned that I once booked a month long trip to Thailand drunk? Well I did. Feeling sick and like I’d swallowed an ash tray, I remember my eyes squinting at about 8 confirmation emails about my trip. Trip? What trip?… Oh dear.
I scroll down one of the emails confused and dizzy, where the hell am I supposed to be going? Thailand it seems. To do what? Work with turtles. Okay, well that doesn’t sound too bad, now what’s that number? Is that a reference number? Oh wait, there’s a symbol in front of it, is that a pound sign?… £2,800… TWO THOUSAND EIGHT HUNDRED POUNDS!!!
After I’d finished being sick, I came to the conclusion that it could have been a lot worse. A ‘turtle’ project, could very easily have been a ‘lion’ project and I’m the kind of person who would totally get mauled by a lion.
So anyway, eight months later, off I went to Thailand to save the turtles. Not sure how many I actually saved, only saw a couple but I did get a very nice tan and ate lots of lovely Thai food. I was lucky enough to have all my meals cooked for me by an elderly Thai woman called Pah Nii. Most days, she’d make me a papaya salad that consisted of shredded unripe papaya, chilli, garlic, peanuts and lime. Finding an unripe papaya in London though was always going to be tricky, so instead, I’ve substituted it for raw courgette, which has a similar texture. It’s not quite as good as Pah-Nii’s, but it’s close. Enjoy!

Spicy Thai Salad
Serves 2 / Takes 15 minutes / Vegan
You’ll need: A pestle and mortar
For the salad:
2 medium courgettes, grated (or an unripe papaya or mango)
Handful of green beans (around 15 cut into quarters)
3 medium tomatoes chopped
2 Tbs dry roasted peanuts
1 lime cut into quarters
For the dressing: 
2 garlic cloves
Pinch of salt
Half a medium red chilli, seeds in (this salad is pretty hot so if you don’t like too much heat, I suggest using a quarter of a chilli and remove the seeds)
1 Tbs dry roasted peanuts
2 Tbs lime juice
1 Tbs soy sauce
1 tsp light brown sugar

Method: 
1. Grate the two courgettes and put then in a large bowl along with the chopped tomatoes and the green beans. Mix and put to one side.
2. In a pestle and mortar, start by mashing together the chilli and the garlic with a good pinch of salt (no need to pre-chop either of these, as the mashing will break them up and combine them into a paste). Keep mashing and bashing for a few minutes until you have a paste. Add a tablespoon of peanuts and continue to mash for another minute (it’s okay if the paste is a bit grainy).
3. Now add the sugar, a tablespoon of soy sauce and 2 tablespoons of lime juice to the paste and continue to mash until incorporated.

4. On a chopping board, roughly chop the dry roasted peanuts and add them to the courgettes and give the salad a stir. Pour over the dressing and stir again until well dressed. Pour out onto plates and serve with the limes wedges.

Spicy Thai Salad

If you’ve had a go at making my salad or any of my recipes, I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale corrie.heale@gmail.com

Hotel Chocolate Spice Cacao Tea

Hotel Chocolate Spice Cacao Tea £5… Sounds a bit wrong doesn’t it but trust me, it’s so very right. Every time I get a chocolate craving (which is a lot) I reach for one of these bad boys. They’re chocolatey without being sweet, they’re oddly refreshing and my god, they smell so good! With every mouthful I stick my nose deeper into my mug and inhale all the warm spicy notes of India, it’s truly intoxicating. Don’t forget though, it is just a tea, not a giant Toblerone, so if you’re having serious chocolate cavings, then this ain’t gonna cut the mustard. However, if you’re a bit like me and you like a fruit tea situation, then this will certainly excite you… Perhaps not as much as a Toblerone but then what does in life?
Teaolat Spice Cacao, Chai and Chilli, £5
(This is not an advert. All products featured in the section are products I genuinely use and like. No money has exchanged hands (unfortunately).

 

Rhubarb Breakfast Muffins

Healthy Rhubarb & Apple Muffins

Rhubarb is in season but I always struggle to know what to do with it. Apart from crumble I get a bit stuck. You can’t eat it raw (well you can but it’s very tart) and it doesn’t really lend itself to anything savoury, unless you pickle it, which I ain’t got time for. So what else can you do with it?
Well as you can see, I decided to make muffins but these are no ordinary muffins, these are my attempt at a ‘healthy’ breakfast muffin, (basically I’m bored of granola and want to eat cake for breakfast).
This was a bit of a challenge though, in my experience low calorie muffins taste like sweetened dog shit, so how do I make mine taste good with only half the sugar and no butter? To be honest I don’t know, I made this recipe up with a load of things I thought might work and to my astonishment, they actually did.
I’d heard apple sauce was a good substitute for butter so I started there and built the rest of the recipe around that. I added pecans for texture, lemon zest for freshness and a cheeky pinch of spice, before slopping it all together with a bit of rhubarb and hey presto! The healthy breakfast muffin was born. I like to eat mine in a bowl with yogurt but they’re also good for scoffing on the go, depends how late for work you are.

These muffins will last  3-4 days in an airtight container. If you want to keep them longer, wrap them individually in clingfilm and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost the night before and enjoy for breakfast the next morning.

Rhubarb Breakfast Muffins
Makes 12 / Takes 20 mins to prepare + 18 mins to bake
You’ll need:
Muffin cases and a 12 cup muffin tin
Ingredients:
150g Plain flour
115g caster sugar
50g pecans, roughly chopped
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
4 tsp mixed seeds (you can buy seeds pre-mixed in packets at most supermarkets)
1 and a 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Pinch of salt
Zest of a lemon
2 sticks of rhubarb (150g) halved lengthways and diced
2 medium eggs
200ml semi skimmed milk
50g apple sauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
Topping:
A pinch of mixed seeds, oats and sprinkle of sugar (optional)

Muffin Rules:
Rule 1. Don’t over mix, over mixing will produce tough muffins. 

Rule 2. Be quick! As soon as you combine the wet and dry ingredients, the chemicals in the raising agents will start to rise. Get the muffins in the oven as soon as possible to capture this rise. 
Rule 3. If using fruit, add to your dry ingredients. The flour coating will help stop the fruit from sinking.

Method: 
1. Preheat your oven to 210°C (190°C fan). Line your 12 case muffin tin with muffin cases.
2. Combine the flour, sugar, ginger, cinnamon, mixed seeds, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. On a chopping board, roughly chop the pecans and add them to the dry mixture along with the zest of a lemon. On the same chopping board, half the rhubarb lengthways and dice into roughy 1cm pieces. Add the to the dry mix and give it all a good stir.

3. Fill a measuring jug with 200ml of semi skimmed milk before adding two eggs, apple sauce and vanilla extract. Beat with a fork until combined.
4.Make a well in the dry mixture and pour the wet ingredients straight into it. Working quickly, mix together until just combined and spoon the thick batter evenly into the muffin cases (a heaped tablespoon per muffin should do it). Sprinkle each muffin with a pinch of mixed seeds and oats and pop in the oven for 15 – 18 minutes.

 5. Leave to cool and serve with a dollop of fat free yogurt or enjoy on the go.
(These muffins will last  3-4 days in an airtight container. If you want to keep them longer, wrap them individually in clingfilm and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost the night before and enjoy for breakfast the next morning.)


If you’ve had a go at making my muffins or any of my recipes, I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale corrie.heale@gmail.com