Would you judge me if I told you that I ate half a stuffed crust pizza, a tube of Smarties and three Percy Pigs for breakfast? Perhaps let’s not go there then, but suffice to say, I feel disgusting – diet starts tomorrow.
So in a bid to absolve myself, I made this hearty vegetable stock that I could drink to cleanse my junk-food-laden soul – or simply to make a delicious soup that I will share with you next week. I’m sure you’re on tenterhooks.
Homemade vegetable stock Makes 1 litres / Hands on time 15 / Total time 1 hr 30 mins /V VnGfDf❄ You’ll need: A large pot with a lid
1 tbs rapeseed oil
3 garlic cloves, bashed
3 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
3 onions, peeled and roughly chopped
5 sticks of celery, roughly chopped
1 large leek, roughly chopped
4 sprigs rosemary
1 small bunch of thyme
1 Bay leaf
2 tsp salt flakes
1 tsp black peppercorns
2 litres boiling water
Tip: Bear in mind that you will be left with half the amount of stock than water you put in. If you wish to make more than one litre consider doubling the recipe.
1. Peel and roughly chop the carrots, onions, celery and leek. Using the flat part of a knife, apply pressure to the garlic cloves until they split open (no need to chop them). Add a tbs of rapeseed oil to a large pot with a lid and set over a medium heat. Add the chopped vegetables along with the salt before giving a stir and covering with the lid. Leave to sweat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Once softened, add 2 litres of boiling water straight from a kettle, turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to a simmer and add the rosemary, thyme, peppercorns and bayleaf. Simmer away for one hour.
3. Carefully strain the stock through a sieve into a large bowl and use immediately or allow to cool and freeze to use another day.
If you’ve had a go at making my vegetable stock or any of my other recipes, I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale email@example.com
V– Vegetarian Vn– Vegan Gf– Gluten free Df– Dairy free
❄ Suitable for home freezing once cooled. Consume within 3 months.
When it comes to making things like cheese and bread, I have to admit that I have a bit of a bad attitude. I mean, why would I bother when I can buy a lovely loaf of bread from the shop made by someone who actually knows what they’re doing? I know that’s not the point, but sometimes I find it hard to snap out of my stubborn, convenience-obsessed self.
So, after accidentally adding two pots of Greek yoghurt to my online shopping basket, I decided to roll up my sleeves and have a go at making labeh* – I mean, there’s only so much yoghurt a girl can eat.
I dug out the muslin cloth I used to make cheese three years ago and draped it over an inadequately sized sieve, balanced over an inadequately sized bowl. I added salt to my yoghurt and poured it straight into the muslin and tied it in a knot. Okay, what next? Oh, is that it? Well, that was easy. So I walked off and enjoyed an afternoon watching Blake Lively almost get eaten by a very big shark in The Shallows.
*For those of you that don’t know, labneh is literally strained yogurt. It has the texture of cream cheese but the flavour of Greek yoghurt and is utterly delicious. Serve with salads, roasted vegetables, on toast or check out what I decided to make with it next week. Oh, I bet you’re on tenterhooks.
Homemade labneh Makes 350g / Hands on time 10 mins / Total time 10 mins + 20-24 hours draining /VGf You’ll need: Roughly a metre of fine muslin
500g full-fat Greek style yogurt
1 heaped tsp of sea salt flakes
1. Place a sieve over a large bowl and cover with a muslin cloth folded in half (you need to fold the muslin to prevent yogurt seeping through, you only want to remove the liquid).
2. Add the salt directly to the tub of yogurt and stir well with a butter knife (you can use a spoon but the surface area of a butter knife is smaller so you’re less likely to spill the yogurt).
3. Once combined, spoon the yogurt straight into the muslin cloth. Gather up the edges and tie in a tight knot (the liquid draining out of the yogurt should be relatively clear). Keep in a cool dry place for 20-24 hours covered with a tea-towel (the longer you leave the labneh the thicker it will become).
4. When you’re ready, give the labneh a final squeeze to get rid of any excess water before untying the knot. Tip the labneh into an air-tight container and store in the fridge. Consume within 3 days.
If you’ve had a go at making my labneh or any of my other recipes, I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale firstname.lastname@example.org
Just in case you didn’t know, drinking numerous Smirnoff Ices through a straw containing shots of sambuca is not a good idea past the age of 30. This goes without saying, but if you’re as a dumb as me and choose to ignore this advice, then a two-day hangover is winging it’s way to you. Brace yourself, it’s gonna hurt.
Why do I do this to myself? I can hardly manage a large glass of wine these days, let alone alco-pops followed by shots. I mean, who do I think I am, Keith Richards? No, just give me a nice cup of tea, a sit down, and a lovely bowl of hummus topped with roasted vegetables, please. It won’t cure your hangover (only Lucozade and salt-and-vinegar crisps can do that), but it’s darn good, and will have you feeling all nourished and smug – you can pretend you’re a Hemsley sister.
Roasted vegetable hummus bowl Serves 2 / Hands on time 30 mins / Total time 30 mins /VVnDf You’ll need: A hand blender or food processor
1 tsp rapeseed oil
3 sprigs of rosemary
1 aubergine, chopped into chunks
1 small red pepper, de-seeded and roughy chopped
1 red onion, peeled and roughly chopped
100g baby carrots
½ tsp smoked paprika Pomora extra virgin olive oil For the hummus
1 can of chickpeas, drained
1 garlic clove, crushed
1-3 tbs of water (start by adding 1 tbs but add more if you like a looser texture)
1 ½ tbs tahini
½ lemon, juice
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil To serve 2 wholemeal pita breads (optional)
TIP: This is a good way of using up the unwanted vegetables in the fridge so feel free to adapt the recipe to whatever you have.
1. Start by pre-heating your oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/400°F/gas mark 6. In a large roasting tin, add the whole baby carrots, chopped aubergine, red pepper, red onion and rosemary sprigs. Sprinkle the vegetables with smoked paprika, olive oil and a generous grind of salt and pepper and give it all a good stir. Once the veg is evenly coated in the oil and spices, roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes.
2. Meanwhile make your hummus by combining the chickpeas, crushed garlic, water, tahini, lemon and a good crack of salt and pepper in a bowl. Blitz until smooth with a hand blender. Stir in a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and season to taste.
3. Spoon your hummus evenly into bowls and using the back of a tablespoon, create a rough bed for your roasted vegetables. Once your veg is nicely roasted, remove from the oven, discard the rosemary sprigs and spoon into the centre of your hummus. Drizzle with a generous glug of regular or Pomora rosemary infused extra virgin olive oil and serve with warm pita breads.
If you’ve had a go at making my hummus bowl or any of my other recipes, I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale email@example.com
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 flakesand 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 (180°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.
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!
If you’ve had a go at making my salad or any of my recipes, I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale firstname.lastname@example.org
I started using Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm a couple of years ago and fell in love with it. Rubbing it over my make up felt very weird, but using a warm flannel to massage my face on top of the balm, was far more effective and gentle at removing my make up than my usual harsh face wipes. But as Clinique is now one of the products I’m trying to avoid, I need a cruelty free alternative.
As it happened, I actually already had one in my cupboard EVE LOM Cleanser.I started using it and found the results similar to the Clinique so was initially very happy, until I went to buy more and found out it was £85! Where did I even get this from? Must have been a present. Anyway, as lovely as it was, it’s a little too pricy for me so I thought I’d have a go at making my own, I mean, how hard can it be? Turns out it was easy, so I’ve been using my homemade balm for three months now with similar results to the above products, for a fraction of the price. So I’ve made some more and this time, I took some pictures for you and wrote down the recipe in case you fancy having a go yourself. I used lavender, lemon and forget me not to fragrance my cleanser but you can use any essential oils you like.
Lavender & Forget Me Not Cleanser
100ml Sunflower oil
2tsp Extra virgin olive oil
12g Unrefined Shea butter
12g Beas Wax (I recommend using pellets as they melt quicker)
12 drops of Lavender essential oil
8 drops of lemon essential oil
4 drops of forget me not essential oil
How to make: 1. In a bain-marie, heat all the ingredients apart from the essential oils until the wax has melted stirring occasionally with a teaspoon. This should take about 20 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, sterilise a jar by pouring boiling water carefully over it drying with a clean tea towel.
3. Once the mixture has melted take off the heat and add the essential oils as the mixture begins to cool. Pour into your jar and leave for 1-2 hours to set. Store in a cool dry place and keep up to three months. (It’s a good idea to stick a small label on the bottom of your jar with a use by date on, especially if you’re giving it to someone as a gift.)
How to use: 1. Scoop out a coin sized amount and rub in-between your fingers to loosen up a bit.
2. Apply to your face bare or on top of make up in small circular movements. Work the product into your skin for about a minute.
3. immerse a clean flannel into a basin of warm water, rinse and hold over your face for three deep breaths. Wash and rinse the flannel and then using circular motions, carefully remove the balm from your face. Rinsing the flannel as and when needed. Lovely.
I really should stop buying horrible cheap tomatoes, I mean they aren’t even red for starters, tomatoes should be red right? These were more of an orange colour. I’ve tried several times to ripen them in a fruit bowl but they stubbornly just stay the same – the little shits. I refuse to be out-smarted by a tomato.
Tasting literally of nothing and with a firm almost furry texture, these ghastly toms are franky not worth the 70p I paid for them… But that’s such a reasonable price I remember thinking, staring down at them on the supermarket shelf. Whatever, I’m sure they’ll taste fine so I chuck them in my basket. NOOOOOOOO! Why do I always make the same mistake?!
Well that’s an easy question, I’m always skint, so spending £2 on Taste The Difference tomatoes (even though they look devine and juicy) makes me wince ever so slightly, especially when I know I could buy at least 4 Snickers bars for the same price. But as I chomp down on my sad, flavourless, sandwich, I realise my 70p tomatoes are duds. Perhaps tomatoes are just one of those foods you should spend the money on? I guess it wouldn’t kill me to eat a few less Snickers bars – cue sad face.
Anyway, so now I’m left with five, unripe, tomatoes so it’s either ruin my sandwiches for the rest of the week, or turn them into pasta sauce. Not only is this a great way to use up unwanted tomatoes but it makes enough sauce to jazz up your pasta dishes for the rest of the week. It’s easy, healthy and turns those rock hard tasteless toms into something rather splendid. Good times.
Tomato penne with greens & butter beans
Makes 1 jar of sauce / Serves 2 / Takes 30-40 minutes / V❄ You’ll need: Food processor or a hand blender Pasta Sauce ½ red onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tbs tomato puree
4 tbs vegetarian red wine
1 can plum tomatoes
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp olive oil To serve
140g wholewheat penne
3 handfuls kale
½ can butterbeans, rinsed and drained
Handful mature vegetarian cheddar, grated Pomora extra virgin olive oil
1. Roughly chop the onion and pop it in a large pot or saucepan with a tsp of olive oil, on a medium heat. Cook for about 5 mins until it starts to soften. Once soft, add the chopped garlic and cook for a further 2 mins (add a dash of water to help them steam if they start to sizzle).
2. Roughly chop the tomatoes and add them to the pan along with the tomato puree. Give it a good stir and cook for a further 5 mins, until the tomatoes start to break down a bit. Add the wine and the can of plum tomatoes. Break the plum tomatoes up with a spoon and give it another good stir. Up the heat until the sauce begins to boil, then reduce down to a simmer. Add the dried herbs and season with salt and pepper and cook for a further 10 mins, stirring frequently.
3. Meanwhile rinse and drain your butterbeans and put to one side (you’ll steam/boil them 5 minutes before you serving).
4. Weigh out your pasta and bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. When you’re sauce is 10 mins away from being cooked, add your pasta to the boiling water and season with salt (follow packet instructions). This is also a good time to get a smaller saucepan ready to steam/boil your kale and butter beans together (I tend to steam mine but it’s up to you, just remember to season them).
5. Whilst the pasta is boiling and your veg steaming take the tomato sauce off the heat and blitz with a hand blender or pop into a regular blender. Be careful not to over blend the sauce, you still want a bit of texture.
6. Finally drain your pasta and portion onto plates. Top with grated cheese, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Serve with the steamed butterbeans and kale. Good times.
If you’ve had a go at making my tomato pasta with greens and beans or any of my recipes, I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale email@example.com
❄– The pasta sauce is suitable for home freezing once cooled. Consume within 3 months.
Shall we have some more treats? Yes, I think we should. I only have a wedding in two weeks that I need to lose at least 4 stone for but that should be fine. Worse comes to the worst I can always chop my leg off, a leg surely must weigh about 4 stone, although that doesn’t help my fat face situation. Maybe I shouldn’t have made biscuits after all? Oh well, it’s too late for that, I’ve already eaten five.
I actually learnt to make these oaty biscuits at school but haven’t made them for about 10 years, I stumbled across the recipe the other day. I managed to make them out of ingredients I found in the back of my cupboard, nice and convenient. This has literally never happened to me before and probably never will again, I never have anything I need to make anything in this life.
Anyway, I love these biscuits because they’re short and buttery but not too sweet. If you have a sweet tooth though, feel free to dip them in melted chocolate for a more indulgent biscuit… Kind of wish I’d done that now. Enjoy!
Homemade Hobnobs Makes 12-14 biscuits / Takes 30 minutes Ingredients:
100g softened butter
100g demerara sugar
50g plain flour
half tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 egg yolks
A good crack of salt
1. Preheat your oven to 180c (fan 160c). Cream the butter and the sugar together, once combined beat in the 2 egg yolks.
2. Add the dry ingredients, a good crack of salt (the salt is important) and mix well.
3. Turn the mixture out onto a large piece of baking paper. Dust a rolling pin with flour and then roll out the mixture to around half a centimetre. Cut your biscuits out (I just use a small mug as I don’t own a cookie cutter) and pop them on to a greased baking tray. Sprinkle each biscuit with a pinch of demerara sugar and pop in the oven for 10-12 minutes.
4. Allow to cool for five minutes and then transfer the biscuits to a cooling rack. Enjoy with a nice cup of tea.
If you’ve had a go at making my hobnobs or any of my other recipes I’d love to hear about it. @corrieheale firstname.lastname@example.org