Turkish eggs on pita

Turkish eggs with pita

This is an oldie but a goodie, and a recipe I’ve been making most weekends for the past four years. Partly because it’s my boyfriend favourite and partly because it’s cheap as chips – which is good, as I seem to have misplaced all my money. Either that, or I’ve spent it on simply breathing in this overpriced town… and Celine Dion tickets. I mean, what’s the point in living in London if you can’t afford a Friday night Deliveroo? #middleclassproblems. Oh well, at least I’ll get nice and thin, especially if we get a no-deal Brexit. Come on Boris, do it for halloumi!


Turkish eggs on pita
Serves 1 / Hands on time 10 mins / Total time 10 mins /
You’ll  need:
Non-stick frying pan preferably with a lid 
Spray rapeseed oil
2 eggs
1 brown pita bread
3 tbs Greek yogurt
Small handful fresh mint, chopped
Small handful of fresh dill, chopped
¼ tsp smoked paprika
Pinch of chilli flakes
1 tsp garlic extra virgin olive oil (if you don’t have garlic oil simply grate half a garlic clove into the yogurt and use regular extra virgin olive oil)
3 pickled chillies, stalks removed (optional) 


TIP: This is a great way to use up Greek yogurt you have left over from another recipe. 


Method
1. Roughly chop the mint and the dill and put to one side. In a small bowl, add the yogurt and season with salt. If not using garlic oil, stir the grated garlic straight into the yogurt.
2. Spray a small non-stick frying pan with rapeseed oil and place over a medium heat and allow the oil to heat up for a couple of minutes. Crack in the eggs and fry until you have set whites and runny yolks – to make sure my eggs are perfectly set, I like to put the lid on the pan for the last minute to allow the steam to cook the top part of the eggs.
3. Meanwhile toast the pitta and using a knife, butterfly open on a plate. Add the yogurt to the centre of the bread and spread it out using the back of a spoon. Top with the fried eggs and liberally sprinkle over the herbs, smoked paprika and the chilli flakes. Remove the stalks from the pickled chillies, arrange them on top and drizzle over the garlic or extra virgin olive oil.

Turkish eggs with pita

If you’ve had a go at making any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.


V – Vegetarian


Teriyaki tofu steaks with broccoli

Baked teriyaki tofu with broccoli

I know I should be spending my Sunday writing up this week’s blog, but I’ve fallen into a Backstreet Boys hole and now I can’t climb out of it. I went to see them last week and it has ignited my teenage obsession. I literally can’t stop Wikipedia-ing, YouTubing, Googling and general ogling my ’90s teenage obsession. After two hours of back-to-back hits and two pints of cheap wine (yes, pints), I was transported back to my 16-year-old self’s bedroom, where my Purple Ronnie wallpaper and blow-up chairs witnessed some truly shocking choreography. Without warning, I busted into my old dance routines in the O2 Arena – much to the horror of my male companion and those around me. I waved my arms, thrust my hips and flicked my hair like a deranged Britney Spears tribute act – I don’t get out much.
That being said, I had a blast and have been writing ‘I heart BSB’ on my pencil case ever since – I’m freelance now, thus the need to carry stationary around with me at all times.
Anyhoo, enough about my youth, let’s all just go away and download the Backstreet’s Back album and listen to it as we slice up some fat tofu steaks and whip up my version of this Japanese classic.


Teriyaki tofu steaks with broccoli **new & improved recipe**
Serves 2 / Hands on time 10 mins / Total time 40 mins / V Df
You’ll need: 20cm oven-proof dish
280g firm tofu, drained
200g tender-stem broccoli
4 whole spring onions, outer layer removed and ends trimmed
Black sesame seeds to serve (optional)
Serve with rice or noodles
For the marinade
2 tbs light soy sauce
1 tbs sweet chilli sauce
1 tbs maple syrup
1 tbs mirin
1 tsp sesame oil
1 garlic cloves, crushed
1 knob of ginger, grated


Method
1. Pre-heat an oven to 220°C/200°C fan/425°F/gas mark 7.
2. Drain the tofu and cut into thick steaks and place in the oven-proof dish before putting to one side.
3. In a bowl, combine the marinade ingredients together and pour evenly over the tofu steaks. Bake in an oven for 25-30 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, use this time to cook the rice or noodles. Steam the broccoli and the spring onions together 10 mins before the tofu is due to come out.
5. Remove the tofu from the oven, lift the steaks out and place on top either rice or noodles and drizzle with the remaining juices. Serve with the steamed greens and a sprinkling of black sesame seeds.

Baked teriyaki tofu with broccoli

If you’ve had a go at making any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.


V – Vegetarian    Df – Dairy free



Braised tofu & kale bulgur bowl

Braised tofu & kale bulgur bowl
Braised tofu with kale & bulgur wheat

Being vegetarian for thirty-four-years, I’ve certainly eaten my fair share of tofu, aka, bean curd. Much like cheese, tofu is made from curdled soy milk and compressed into blocks – mmm tasty. Speaking of taste, tofu literally has none. Eaten raw it tastes wet, soft and tasteless – much like my ex boyfriend. However, cooked correctly, tofu becomes juicy, flavourful and sassy – much like Beyoncé.
To make Beyoncé tofu you need to make a bootylicious broth for your tofu sponges to soak up and I have just the recipe.


Braised tofu & kale bulgur bowl
Serves 4 / Hands on time 45 mins / Total time 45 mins / V Vn Df 
300ml cold water
120g bulgar wheat
Knorr vegetable stock pot or stock cube
1 tsp sesame oil
1 medium onion, roughly sliced
½ tsp sea salt flakes
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
1 tbs light soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
300ml boiling water
125g Shiitake or chestnut mushrooms, sliced
280g firm tofu, cut into thick slices
4 handfuls chopped kale
2 spring onions, chopped to serve (optional)


Method
1. Measure out the bulgur wheat and pour into a small saucepan along with 300ml of cold water and half a vegetable stock pot/cube. Place over a medium to high heat until boiling before turning down and simmering for 8 mins. Once the water has absorbed, remove from the heat, give it a quick stir and cover with a lid. Put to one side.
2. Meanwhile, warm 1 tsp of sesame oil in a large pot with a lid over a medium heat. Add the chopped onions, ½ tsp sea salt flakes and 1 tbs of balsamic vinegar. Give it a good stir and pop the lid on. Turn down the heat slightly and allow to soften for 10 minutes – stirring occasionally.
3. Once the onions have softened, add the garlic and cook for a further 3 mins before adding 1 tbs soy sauce, 300ml vegetable stock (use the other half of the stock pot/cube) and add the roughly sliced mushrooms. Up the heat and bring to the boil.
4. Once boiling, reduce the heat and carefully submerge the tofu slices into the broth before covering with a lid and cooking for 10 minutes. Once the tofu is cooked, add 4 handfuls of kale directly on top the tofu and cover again for a further 5 minutes.
5. Loosen up the bulgur wheat by stirring with a spoon and divide into bowls. Top with the braised tofu and sprinkle with chopped spring onions.

Braised tofu & kale bulgur bowl
Braised tofu & kale bulgur bowl

If you’ve had a go at making any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.


– Vegetarian     Vn – Vegan    Df – Dairy free



Gnocchi with pea pesto, asparagus & watercress 

Gnocchi with pea pesto and watercress
Gnocchi with pea pesto and watercress
Gnocchi with pea pesto and watercress

I haven’t really had much time for gnocchi in the past, as it tends to be one of those dishes that gets thrust upon me in restaurants. Squidgy gummy potatoes laden with blue cheese sauce? Er, no thank you, Mr Carluccio.
But perhaps I’m being a bit judgemental. After all, what’s not to like about a little potato dumpling? Perhaps my beef was never with the dumpling at all, but with the heavy cheese sauce – it was simply too rich and bad-dream-inducing.
However, I decided to push aside my reservations and give gnocchi another chance, so off I trotted to Tesco to buy a lovely fresh packet – please don’t expect me to make it from scratch, I’ve tried and it was a messy, unmitigated disaster. I did however make this rather springy pea pesto to go with it which was very tasty and can be in your belly within fifteen minutes. It’s official, gnocchi and I are friends again.


Gnocchi with pea pesto, asparagus & watercress 
Serves 2 / Hands on time 20 mins / Total time 20 mins / V Vn*
You’ll need: A food processor or blender
Handful fresh mint leaves
2 tbs pine nuts
½ a lemon
200g frozen garden peas
30g vegetarian Italian hard cheese or Parmesan* grated plus extra for serving (optional)
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 tbs Pomora lemon extra virgin olive oil
¼ tsp sea salt flakes
300g fresh gnocchi 
125g asparagus, woody ends removed and cut into thirds
Handful cherry tomatoes, halved
2 handfuls watercress


*Make it vegan: Vegan gnocchi is relatively easy to find but always check the label just in case. The pesto is tastes just as delicious without Parmesan so simply leave it out.


Tip: This recipe makes enough pesto for 4 servings. Any remaining pesto can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze on the day of making.
Tip: This pesto also works well with pasta if you’re not a gnocchi fan.


Method
1. ​Start by boiling a kettle and put your frozen peas in a sieve. Pour the boiling water over the frozen peas to thaw them a bit and put to one side. Fill the kettle again and boil – you’ll need this for the gnocchi and asparagus later.
2. To make the pesto pour the peas into a food processor along with the chopped garlic, lemon juice, pine nuts, grated cheese, mint leaves and salt. Blitz for about a minute before adding the extra virgin olive oil and blitzing again until you have a smooth paste.
3. Pour the boiled kettle into a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the chopped asparagus spears and cook for 2 minutes before adding the gnocchi and cooking for 2-3 mins (check packet instructions). Drain and pour back into the saucepan and stir in half of the pesto and the tomato halves. Serve immediately on a bed of watercress topped with a sprinkle of cheese, a drizzle of olive oil and a crack of black pepper.

Gnocchi with pea pesto and watercress
Gnocchi with pea pesto and watercress

If you’ve had a go at making any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.


V– Vegetarian     Vn – Forgo the Parmesan and use vegan gnocchi
❄ The pesto is suitable for home freezing in an airtight container. Consume within 3 months.
*Parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiani) is always made using animal rennet, therefore it is not vegetarian. Substitute for Italian hard cheese if applicable.



Green spaghetti carbonara

Spaghetti carbonara
Spaghetti carbonara
Spaghetti carbonara

Admittedly I’ve never tried spaghetti carbonara, so I have no comparison, but from what I’ve heard it’s the bacon that gives this dish the smoky, salty hit that it’s so famous for. Take the bacon away and all you’re left with is eggy spaghetti… Scrummy. So I’ve added some greens and a rather questionable ingredient – smoked tofu. Believe me, I was as unconvinced as you undoubtedly are, but a small diced amount brings the subtle smoky flavour this dish requires. Failing that, I have a packet of Frazzles on standby.


Green spaghetti carbonara
Serves 2 / Hands on time 20 mins / Total time 25 mins 
1 tsp rapeseed oil
150g spaghetti
1 courgette, grated
80g smoked tofu, diced
½ tsp smoked paprika + extra for sprinkling
100g baby spinach
3 tbs Greek yogurt
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tsp horseradish sauce
40g vegetarian Italian hard cheese or *Parmesan, grated
2 eggs
140g dried spaghetti
Chopped parsley to serve (optional)
Drizzle Pomora extra virgin olive oil (optional)


Method
1. Start by putting a kettle on to boil and grating the courgette and chopping the tofu into small pieces. Once boiled, pour the water into a medium sized saucepan and place over a medium heat, bring to a simmer but don’t add the spaghetti just yet.
2. In a separate large saucepan or cooking pot, add the oil and place over a medium to high heat. Once hot, add the courgette along with a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper. Add the tofu pieces, half a teaspoon of smoked paprika and give it a stir. Turn the heat down to medium and gently cook, stirring occationally. Now is a good time to add the spaghetti to the simmering water (follow the packet instructions and cook to your desired level of al dente).
3. Meanwhile, combine the yogurt, horseradish and crushed garlic in a small mixing bowl. Grate in the cheese, add the eggs and a generous pinch of pepper. Stir well and put to one side.
4. Add the spinach to the courgette mixture a handful at a time until wilted. Once the pasta is cooked, drain and add straight into the pot. Pour over the carbonara sauce and stir carefully to coat the pasta. Season well with salt and pepper before turning up the heat and cook for a few more minutes.
5. Divide into bowls and finish with a sprinkling of chopped parsley, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a crack of black pepper.

Spaghetti carbonara
Spaghetti carbonara


If you’ve had a go at making any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.


*Parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiani) is always made using animal rennet, therefore it is not vegetarian. Substitute for Italian hard cheese if applicable.



Saag paneer with kale

Saag paneer
Saag paneer
Saag paneer

This is what I order every time I eat in an Indian restaurant. I always have the intention of trying something new, but I don’t like change. So, when the waiter looks at me, pen poised, I always utter the same words. “…And I’ll have a saag paneer, taka dhal and a chapati, please. Oh and I’ll just share Jamie’s rice.” (Jamie scowls.)

This isn’t the first time I’ve had a go at making saag paneer, though – I’ve made it once before the more traditional way, using a ton of fresh wilted spinach, drained and squeezed by hand – but I ain’t got time for that these days, far too hungry. So I came up with this quicker, less labour-intensive version (#storyofmylife).


Saag paneer with kale 
Serves 4 / Hands on time 50 mins / Total time 50 min / V ❄ 
You’ll need: A hand blender or food processor
1 tbs rapeseed oil
500g paneer, cut into chunks
1 white onion, peeled and chopped
½ tsp salt
Knob of ginger (1 inch), grated
5 garlic cloves, peeled roughly chopped
1 green chilli, de-seeded
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp ground fenugreek
½ tsp garam masala
500ml vegetable stock, I use 1 Knorr vegetable stock pot
150g spinach leaves
150g kale, roughly chopped
Handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
To serve
Lime wedges, chapatis, brown basmati rice

Method
1. Slice the paneer into chunks and fry in batches in the rapeseed oil over a medium to high heat in a casserole dish with a lid (the paneer can spit a bit so you may need to cover with a lid). Once the paneer is browned on all sides, remove from the pan and leave to drain on kitchen paper. Put to one side.
2. In the same casserole dish, add the chopped onion and a bit more oil and a sprinkle of salt. Give it a mix before covering with a lid and cook on a medium heat until soft (you may need to add a dash of water to help the onions steam).
3. Add the garlic, fresh ginger and the chopped green chilli. Cook for a further few minutes before adding the all the spices. Add a dash of water to help loosen the spices a bit and to stop them from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Cook for a further 5 minutes.

4. Add the stock and give it a good stir before adding the spinach in batches. Once wilted, add the kale and continue to cook until the kale has softened. Remove from the heat and blend with a hand blender until smooth.
5. Return the sauce to a medium to high heat and add the paneer. Bring to the boil and cook for 5 minutes or until the paneer has softened. Serve immediately with boiled brown basmati rice and chapatis. 

Saag paneer
Saag paneer

If you’ve had a go at making any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.


V– Vegetarian   ❄ Freeze the fried paneer and curry sauce separately. Defrost before combing and heating through until piping hot. Consume within 3 months.



Healthy sweet potato & chickpea korma

Healthy sweet potato & chickpea korma final
Sweet potato & chickpea korma final
Sweet potato & chickpea korma final

I woke up this morning and ordered a McDonald’s from my hungover bed to be delivered to my door. What a glorious time to be alive. Two hash browns and an egg McMuffin later, I was still hungry, so dragged myself out of bed and into my kitchen to make a big old vat of vegetable korma – bit random, but that’s what I fancied, and I couldn’t afford another Uber Eats.

Light, fragrant and with only three tablespoons of cream, this healthier korma makes the perfect Saturday night fake-away or a Sunday morning hangover cure. Serve with rice and, if you’re feeling frisky, a garlic and coriander naan.

Healthy sweet potato & chickpea korma
Serves 4 / Hands on time 30 mins / Total time 55 mins / V 
You’ll need: A stick blender or a food processor. Pestle and mortar
1 tbs rapeseed oil
2 onions, finely chopped
4 large garlic cloves, sliced
Knob of ginger, grated
½ tsp salt
8 cardamon pods, shelled and crushed
1 tbs ground cumin
1 tbs ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
Pinch of chilli flakes
1 bay leaf
Pinch of saffron (optional)
2 tsp caster sugar
1 tbs plain flour
400ml cold water
3 tbs double cream
1 large sweet potato (around 300g), peeled and cubed
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
Handful frozen peas
Handful fresh coriander, chopped
Boiled brown basmati rice to serve (optional)


Method
1. In a large casserole dish with a lid, sweat the chopped onions, garlic and ginger together in the oil. Add the salt and cover with a lid. Cook on a medium to low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Meanwhile, bash the cardamon pods in a pestle and mortar, spilling out the seeds. Discard the shells and grind.
2. Once the onions are soft, add the cardamon, cumin, coriander, chilli flakes, turmeric and the bay leaf and give it a good stir. Cook for a further 5 minutes, adding a dash of water to the mix if needed to prevent burning.
3. Add the saffron, sugar and the plain flour and stir. Add the water slowly in a steady stream bit by bit stirring continuously until incorporated. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes. Take off the heat, remove the bay leaf and add the double cream. Blend the curry sauce with a hand blender or food processor until you have a smooth consistancy.
4. Return the pot to a medium heat and add the sweet potato chunks. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for a further 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Add the drained chickpeas, stir and cook uncovered for 5 more minutes before finally adding the frozen peas. Cook for couple more minutes before spooning into bowls and topping with chopped coriander. Serve with brown basmati rice or bulgar wheat.

Sweet potato & chickpea korma final
Sweet potato & chickpea korma final

If you’ve had a go at making any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.


V– Vegetarian     Suitable for home freezing once cooled. Consume within 3 months.



Leek & cheese muffins

Leek and cheese muffins
Leek and cheese muffins
Leek and cheese muffins

Muffins seemed like a good idea until I realised I’d have to turn the oven on in my already stiflingly-hot flat. What the hell was I thinking? It’s 30°c in London today, I should be lying under a tree somewhere, sucking on a Calippo and reading a sonnet. But no, instead, I’m angrily chopping leeks and grating cheese in a bid to jazz up my breakfasts. Was it worth it? Well, it was for Jamie. I’d only eaten one before he got to them – they never had a chance.


Leek & cheese muffins
Makes 6 large or 12 regular muffins / Hands on time 20 mins / Total time 45 mins + cooling /
Dry: 
2 leeks (150g) finely diced
100g vegetarian Italian hard cheese or *Parmesan, grated
Few sprigs of Thyme, leaves picked
¼ tsp Nutmeg
½ tsp dried parsley
½ tsp herbs de Provence
1 tbs pumpkin seeds (extra for sprinkling)
200g spelt or wholemeal flour
50g oats
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
Wet:
2 large eggs
250g semi-skimmed milk
4 tbs rapeseed oil
1 tsp Dijon mustard


Method
1. Preheat an oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/gas mark 6. Line a tin with muffin cases and finely dice your leeks – put both to one side. Combine the dry ingredients together (excluding the leeks and a small handful of grated Italian hard cheese) in a large bowl and give it a good mix.
2. In a separate smaller bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients until fully incorporated.
3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir with a wooden spoon until roughly combined, being careful not to over-mix. Add the diced leeks and stir until evenly distributed.
4. Evenly spoon into the muffins cases and top with a sprinkling pumpkin seeds and a little parmesan. Bake in the oven for 20 mins for 12 muffins or 25-30 mins for 6 large muffins. The muffins are cooked when a toothpick is inserted and comes out clean. Leave to rest in the tin for 5 minuets before turning out onto a cooling rack. Serve warm with butter or leave to cool completely and enjoy on the go.
STORE: Either in an airtight container and gobble up within a couple of days or freeze and defrost on demand (that’s what I do).

Leek and cheese muffins
Leek and cheese muffins

If you’ve had a go at making any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.


❄ To freeze, cool fully before wrapping individually in a few layers of clingfilm and freeze for up to 3 months.
*Parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiani) is always made using animal rennet, therefore it is not vegetarian. Substitute for Italian hard cheese if applicable.



Herby chickpea salad

Chickpea salad
Chickpea salad
Chickpea salad

Is it sad that the most exciting thing to happen to me this month was managing to get a rather swanky pair of gardening gloves for a pound in Waitrose? Maybe it has something to do with turning 34 last week, or the fact I now have a roof terrace for the first time in three years. Whatever it is, my fingers have officially turned green, and I like it!
As we’ve all been huffing and puffing in this insufferable heatwave (myself included), my little garden has been thriving. My cherry tomato plant is heavy with fruit, my lavender has been attracting local bees and I now have enough mint to make one mojito #thegoodlife.
Of course, it hasn’t all been plain sailing. There have been a few unforseeen causalities – I starved my basil to death, crushed my dill under a pile of washing and neglected my Jasmine until it resembled dry hay, but all in all, it’s been a successful harvest.
So, inspired by my gardening success, I thought I’d attempt to use some of my homegrown herbs in a recipe. As you all know, I crushed my dill in a horrifying laundry accident, but I still had mint, rosemary and thyme to play with… RIP dill.


Herby chickpea salad
Serves 4 as a side, 2 as a main / Hands on time 20 mins / Total time 20 mins / V Gf
Hummus dressing
2 tsp Pomora extra virgin olive oil
3 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp honey
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tbs shop bought hummus
For the chickpeas
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Juice of half a lemon
Handful of fresh mixed herbs, finely chopped or 1 tsp dried mixed herbs
For the salad
4 handfuls of leave (I used a mixture of rocket and spinach)
Handful Pumpkin seeds
1 beef tomato, chopped
¼ of a cucumber, peeled and chopped
Pitted Kalamaka olives, halved
¼ red onion, finely sliced
1 avocado, peeled and sliced
100g vegetarian feta, crumbled (optional)


Method
1. Start by making the hummus dressing by mixing all of the ingredients in a small bowl with a spoon until fully combined. Put to one side.
2. Rinse and drain your chickpeas in a colander before squeezing over the lemon and seasoning well with salt and pepper. Mix in the fresh or dried herbs and put to one side.
3. In a large bowl, assemble your salad (you can use whatever salad bits you desire although I like to include feta and olives in mine to give it a Greek feel). Add the herby chickpeas and pour over the dressing before give it a good toss. 4. Serve as a side or as a meal with a bit of hummus and pita bread.

Chickpea salad
Chickpea salad

If you’ve had a go at making any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.


V– Vegetarian    Gf– Gluten free



Healthy-ish loaded nachos

Healthy-ish loaded nachos
Healthy-ish loaded nachos
Healthy-ish loaded nachos

There is a fine line between those of us who can wear denim hot pants and those of us who can’t. I’m sure you can guess which category I fall into.
So, there I was, bending over to tie up my shoelaces, when I catch sight of what looked like the back of a large rhino. No, there must be some mistake, that cannot be MY arse?! I bolt upright only to see the cellulite on my thighs dimple even harder. ARGH! I quickly bend back over and stare at myself upside down, then from all angles. Three mirrors?! Three f***ing mirrors!!!! No one needs see their arse from that many angles. But the blood has started rushing to my head, so I decide to stand up and face the music.
I’m wearing what can only be described as a giant adult nappy made of denim. It’s high-waisted, and so short you can see my bum cheeks. When did denim shorts become so short? With only two weeks to go until my holiday, I decided to whip off the hot pants and do what any self respecting thirty-something would do in this situation.
Angrily drink three gin and tonics in quick succession at the nearest Weatherspoon’s. So what if my hot pants days are numbered? I hear culottes are back in fashion – a rather snazzy combination of the skirt and a short… Yes, they are as awful as they sound.
Failing that, I could try and just eat a little healthier. So, instead of fully loading my nachos with mountains of refried beans, guacamole and sour cream, I created this rather tasty, lighter version. Swapping shop-bought salty tortillas chips with my homemade version was surprisingly easy and delicious. I’ve favoured fresh avocado slices over guacamole and low-fat yoghurt instead of sour cream. To be honest, it felt just as indulgent, and has given me a good chance of squeezing into my snazzy new culottes. Well, it’s got to be better than wearing a denim nappy, right?


Healthy-ish loaded nachos
Serves 2 or 4 as a starter / Hands on time 40 mins / Total time 40 mins / V 🌶
1 tsp rapeseed oil (preferably in a spray bottle)
4 soft tortillas cut into eighths
Smoked paprika, to sprinkle
½ red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp smoked paprika
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 sweetcorn, kernels removed (or 1 small, drained can)
8 cherry tomatoes, quarters
2 spring onions, chopped
100g vegetarian cheddar, grated
Handful fresh coriander, chopped
1 ripe avocado, sliced
1 lime
To serve
Natural plain yogurt
Handful of jalapeños (optional)

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/ 400°F/gas mark 6. Stack 4 tortillas on top of each other and cut them in half across the middle, then into quarters and then into eighths. Spread them out, onto 2 deep baking trays, trying to overlap them as little as possible.
2. Sprinkle with smoked paprika, season with salt and pepper and spray with oil (I bought an empty spray bottle and filled it with oil myself but don’t worry if you don’t have one, just drizzle with oil). Bake in the oven for 5 mins, before flipping them over and cooking for a further 5 mins. Remove and put to one side. Turn the oven off but turn the grill on a medium to high heat.

3. Sweat the red onion and the garlic in a little oil in a large pot. Add a bit of water to help the onions steam and to cook them faster. Once softened, add the cumin, smoked paprika, salt and pepper and cook for a further 2 mins. Add the drained black beans, the sweetcorn kernels*, a drop of water and give it a good stir. Season with salt and pepper and continue to cook for a further 5 minutes. *To remove the sweet corn kernels, simply stand the sweetcorn on it’s head and run a sharp knife carefully down the sides to remove them slowly (they tend to go everywhere so proceed with care).

4. Meanwhile, chop the spring onions, the tomatoes and grate the cheese ready for sprinkling.
5. Tip the tortilla chips into one baking tray and top with the cooked beans. Scatter with the tomatoes and spring onions and sprinkle with cheese.
6. Place under the grill for 3-5 minutes or until the cheese has melted. Meanwhile, roughly chop the coriander, slice the avocado and quarter the lime. Remove from the grill and top with the avocado, coriander, a good squeeze of lime. Serve scattered with jalapeños and with a side of yogurt.
Healthy-ish loaded nachos
Healthy-ish loaded nachos


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V– Vegetarian    🌶– Spicy