When I cook I tend to just make it up as I go along, so when people ask me for recipes it’s not really as simple as that. I spend a lot of my time watching the Food Network and Come Dine With Me so I get inspiration from there. I throw shit together and hope for the best and luckily I’ve never really had that many disasters. I’m going to talk through a few of the really simple things I’ve created recently and where the inspiration came from. Hopefully someone else can be inspired by my creations and then I’ll get my own cooking show and I’ll get to hang out with Ina Garten in Napa Valley on vacation – only true Food Network fans will appreciate that joke.
This dish was inspired by the lady herself, my idol – The Barefoot Contessa AKA Ina Garten. Most people will never have heard of her but she is a dream. Her cooking skills are next level amazing and I could watch her all day. She basically spends her life cooking for her husband and friends and it’s weirdly entertaining to me. Her recipe was slightly different, she did a feta dip and served it on bruschetta but I improvised with slightly healthier carbs and goats cheese because its my favourite (and I have it in bulk in the fridge).
Ingredients for the dip: 150g goats cheese / 75 g light cream cheese / 2tbs light olive oil / salt, pepper, fresh basil (or whatever herbs you prefer) / 2tbs sweet chilli dip
Method: Drizzle wholemeal pitta with olive oil and season with salt, pepper and dried oregano, bake in the oven on 200° for 10 minutes, whilst the pitta is getting crispy in the oven whizz all the dip ingredients together in a food processor and slice some baby plum tomatoes in half. Take the pitta out the oven and spread on the dip, top it with the tomatoes, season and put it back into the oven to warm up. Once the tomatoes have cooked through take it out the oven and serve on a bed of mixed leaves. I tend to garnish everything I eat with crispy onions, pine nuts and balsamic glaze so I suggest you do the same.
Goats Cheese Courgetti // Carrots, Broccoli & Peas I’m sure you’re all more than aware by now that I have a spiralizer. I won’t bore you with more courgetti recipes as they’re all pretty much the same but for this dish I spiralized some carrots to give it a little bit of texture. For the sauce I heated 50g goats cheese and 50g cream cheese and mixed it in with the residue from the courgetti. I find that no matter how I cook it, the courgetti gains a lot of excess water so I have to drain it a few times before serving. If you save a little bit of this liquid it can be used as the base of the sauce – this way you won’t be pouring all the nutrients down the drain. I added cooked peas and broccoli to this and topped it with some crumbled goats cheese, sweet chilli and crispy onions. Can you see a theme occurring? Thai Coconut Broth Last week I made 4 different variations of this soup. I’ve never cooked anything remotely like it before but whilst shopping in Morrisons I came across low fat coconut milk and decided to experiment. I’d seen Jamie Oliver use it to make coconut rice and I’d had the urge to cook with it ever since. This was the 4th version of Thai coconut soup I made and it was definitely the best. Its a slight cheat because I use a ready made Thai red curry paste so don’t judge me but it’s really easy and REALLY impressive so its fine. Ingredients for the soup: 1 onion finely chopped / 1 crushed garlic clove / red thai curry paste / miso paste / chicken stock or chicken soup mix if you’re a cheat like me / 1 can of low fat coconut milk / coriander / lime Method: Fry the onions and garlic in olive oil until cooked through, add the curry paste and then the coconut milk and stir until combined. Add the miso paste to boiling water and stir, add this to the coconut milk mixture and stir. Do the same with the chicken soup mix/stock and add to the broth, stir well. Leave this to simmer whilst you prepare your vegetables. This can be made with any vegetables you like. I used bean sprouts, bok choi, peas, sweetcorn and courgetti but you can honestly use whatever you fancy or whatever you have in the house. I think the soup tastes better when its left in the fridge overnight so if you have time to do this then do so (without the vegetables in it or they tend to go soggy). All you need to do is add the vegetables to the soup and let them cook through. Some vegetables will need to be pre cooked – something like carrots or broccoli require a little more time than bean sprouts and peas so cook them first and then add them to the soup before serving. The soup should be garnished with lime and coriander and you can add extras like ramen eggs or prawns but really you can just do whatever the fuck you want because it’s that versatile. To make the ‘Ramen Eggs’ you’ll need to add room temperature eggs to boiling water for 6 minutes and then immerse into cold water immediately. These can then be peeled and put in a marinade of soy, Mirin and water overnight before adding to the soup. Pitta Chips I’ve been experimenting with dips recently, I know I don’t need to make them myself but it really is so much better. I got an £8 food processor from Morisson’s for and I’m obsessed with it. I usually roughly follow a recipe online and then add things in to change it up a bit. I’ve made things like caramelised onion humous, tomato & sweetcorn salsa and obviously the creamy goats cheese dip I talked about earlier. To go with these dips I’ve concocted the best pitta chips of all time and if you take one thing from this blog post, then let it be this. Ingredients: 1 pack of wholemeal pitta bread // olive oil // dried oregano // salt & pepper Method: it really doesn’t get much easier, it’s actually easier than finding pitta chips in a shop (trust me). Using a pair of scissors cut the pitta bread long ways down the middle and then into triangles. Then you need to carefully peel the triangles into two – this can sometimes be tricky but be gentle with it and you’ll get there. Lightly grease a baking tray covered in foil and spread the pitta out onto it – you may need to use two baking trays. Season generously with olive oil, salt, pepper and dried oregano and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, turning over a couple of times so they’re evenly crispy on both sides. Viola. Baked Avocado Eggs This is the breakfast of dreams and everyone hypes like crazy when I load photo’s of it to Insagram so I’ve decided to share the painfully easy recipe with you all. All you need is eggs, avocado and seasoning. it is really that simple. Method: Cut your avocado in half and de-stone it, depending on the size of your avocado you made need to scoop a bit out to create a bigger whole for the egg. This may take some practice but you’ll get there eventually. Separate the egg and drop the yolk and a little bit of white into the avocado. This can get a bit messy but you can use kitchen roll to tidy it up a bit. Season it well and pop it in the oven for about 15-20 minutes – just keep an eye on it and once the white is cooked take it out. You want the yolk to be slightly runny and you want the white to be cooked through so you’ll need to pay attention throughout the cooking process. Serve on it own or with some bread to mop up the yolk – it’s a dream. Pea & Mint soup with Courgetti This is the easiest of all the soups. Fry onion and garlic, add peas, fresh mint and chicken stock, throw in a dollop of cream cheese and whizz. Add seasoning and courgetti and cook through – serve with a bit of mint. It’s literally as easy as that.