I read somewhere that you should have one signature dish that you can always whip up.

Writing this I think Hannah Gale wrote in one of her very fab blog posts. The idea being that on a Saturday at midnight, when you’ve missed the last train home, you can still make this recipe. You can perfectly create it every damn time. You don’t need to weigh out 59603059220 different ingredients. You’ve made it so many times it’s inscribed on the cookery book you keep inside your noggin.

For me that did is homemade pizza. It started last year when I oddly had all the ingredients in the cupboard. I then lived off homemade pizza for six months. (Almost.) T and I recently celebrated two years together and I suggested making pizza. T pulled a face thinking it would take 98 hours. But, I whipped it up in half hour or so. So I’m sharing how you can do the same.

The Ultimate Homemade Pizza Recipe (from scratch.)

Put in your trolley (For the dough.)

200g strong white flour

50ml of lukewarm water (Give or take.)

1tbsp of olive oil

For Toppings

Tomato and basil passata

Sweetcorn

Deli Chicken (We used chicken tikka, T had quorn.)

An egg

Mozzerella

Anything else you fancy topping your masterpiece with.

You may have noticed there is not yeast in this recipe. I like very, very thin and crispy pizza bases so I don’t wait for the dough to rise. I’ve done it before and (with yeast and proving,) and found it unsuccessful. (If you were wondering.)

Step One

Measure out the flour into a bowl, spoon in the oil. Make a well in the middle and pour in the water bit by bit. I add very little amounts at a time – you don’t want it too sticky. Stir with a spoon until it comes together and then use your hands.

Step Two

Put the oven on to pre-heat at 200C.

Take the dough from the bowl and knead. Youtube helps if you’re struggling with the motion. Knead until it resembles mashed potato. Then roll out using a rolling pin. (Or a bottle of tomato sauce.) It will spring back, so keep rolling until it’s circular(ish) and the thickness of a pound coin. Liberally sprinkle a baking tray with flour and place the dough on-top.

Step Three

Top with the passata (quite a lot) and then add your toppings (minus the egg.) We added a mixture of the toppings featured but just use your favourites. Mushrooms, olives, artichoke – whatever you fancy. Pop in the oven and cook for 7 minutes.

Step Four

Once the base is cooked – give it a prod, crack the egg on top and then whip back in the oven. T likes his quite cooked so he put his on a couple of minutes earlier. Once egg is cooked take out, slice and devour.

Numbers (if you’re bothered.)

Depending on how many toppings you use this comes to between 450 – 500 calories which is higher than a lot of the recipes I’ve been posting. But compared to ordering a large dominos you’re onto a winner. It’s a brilliant way to treat yourself without ruining your healthy eating mission.

Recommended Reading

I’m not going to suggest reading for this one. Pop on Project Runway with a glass of diet coke and while the evening away. Perfection.

The Ultimate Homemade Pizza Recipe (from scratch.)

The Ultimate Homemade Pizza Recipe (from scratch.)

The Ultimate Homemade Pizza Recipe (from scratch.)

If you haven’t got a spiralizer you need to.

Maybe need is too strong.

I would recommend it.

They’ve been around a little while now so you can pick them up for pennies from Amazon and the like. I’ve been experimenting the past few weeks with different recipes and vegetables. I’m currently on a toning up mission and one of the big wobbles has been a reliance on carbs. Carbs are good for you, there’s no doubt about it. But, I was VERY reliant. Breakfast, lunch and all my snacks, and it was making losing weight tougher. Cutting pasta from evening meals and replacing with carrot spaghetti has been, eye opening. Here’s one of my favourites from the past month.

Carrot Tomato Spaghetti

Put in your trolley

Serves two people

200g of carrot peeled and spiralised. (Use a potato peeler if you don’t have one.)

50g of red onion

140g of sweetcorn

200g of bacon (I used Campbell’s from my box that I’m still getting through.)

120g of chopped tomatoes

20g of feta cheese

1 heaped tbsp of jerk seasoning

You might have noticed that a lot of recipes contain the same types of ingredients. It’s because everything I make is something I eat regularly which means a lot of the recipes rely on the same types of things. Hope this is cool with you all.

Step One 

Chop up the bacon into small bits and fry with the onion until caramalised around the edges. If you wanted you could save a couple of bits to really crisp up and sprinkle on the top. I don’t actually like crispy bacon (sorry) but you could. Chuck in the sweetcorn and jerk seasoning and cook for a minute

 

Step Two

Spiralize the carrots and add to the pan. Cook for a good 5 minutes. Carrots are a lot tougher than courgette which takes about 2 seconds to cook. You don’t want the carrot to be tough. Slop the chopped tomatoes into the pan and let bubble for a good couple of minutes. You want this to thicken nicely and coat everything.

Step Three

Once everything has come together and it’s bubbling nicely put into a lovely looking bowl and sprinkle with the feta to add contrast. Add some cracked black pepper and you’re good to go. So, DEMOLISH.

Numbers (if you’re bothered.)

This is super low cal, but really filling because of the carrots and sweetcorn mix. It comes to around 370 cals depending how much feta you add. Really great for a lighter evening meal which I tend to prefer before bed. Breakfast like a king and all that.

Recommended Reading

I recommend reading The Graces by Laure Eve. The cover is sublime and the blurb sounds fabby.  

Everyone said the Graces were witches.

They moved through the corridors like sleek fish, ripples in their wake. Stares followed their backs and their hair.

They had friends, but they were just distractions. They were waiting for someone different.

All I had to do was show them that person was me.

Like everyone else in her town, River is obsessed with the Graces, attracted by their glamour and apparent ability to weave magic. But are they really what they seem? And are they more dangerous than they let on?

Carrot Tomato Spaghetti

Carrot Tomato Spaghetti

I’ve been using the Campbell’s Breakfast Box regularly over the last few weeks. It’s been a really great inspiration for me. During the week of pancake day I made herby haggis sausage pancakes. They were delectable. This week I was really, really craving them. So, guess what I made.

You can use any sausages that you have hanging around but I found that these herby haggis sausages worked perfectly. With the vegetables, you could use whatever you find in your fridge. I used mushrooms and peppers because they were on offer. You could also use vegetarian sausages (T asked me to write that.)

Herby Haggis Sausage Pancakes

Put in your trolley

100g plain flour

1 large egg

300ml Soy milk

Low Cal cooking spray 

300g Campbells Herby Haggis Sausages 

400g of courgettes 

100g of mushrooms 

100g Chopped tomatoes with garlic/chilli/basil 

2 birdseye chillis

1tbsp Jerk Seasoning 

Step One

Take off the sausage casing and roughly chop. Fry in a saucepan with the mushrooms. Once browned/soft add the chopped tomatoes and chilli. Keep on a low heat and although to cook through. Add in a tbsp of jerk seasoning to add extra seasoning. I cooked mine until it was quite thick, but I’ll leave the consistency up to you.

Step Two

Sift the flour and add the salt. Put in a nutri-bullet/blender and add the egg and milk. Heat the low cal spray in a frying pan, pour the batter into the pan until it thinly coats the base. Cook over a medium heat for 30 seconds to a minute. Then flip! I made two and then popped the mixture on top but make as many as you like. Oh, and remember, keep a few for sweet pancakes.

Step Three

Once cooked – fill the pancakes with the mixture and devour. Sprinkle on feta if you so wish.

Numbers (If you’re bothered.)

These ended up being super healthy. If you still to the above it comes to under 400 cals and will keep you full till the evening. Nothing worse than getting up at 2am to munch on Malteasers. You could also add lots more vegetables; sweetcorn, peppers, peas. Think of this as a great way to use up things in your vegetable draw.

Recommended Reading

I’m going to suggest The Fire Within by Chris D’Lacey. I love this book so much and I’ve found recently reading books that bring back childhood memories really help to get rid of reading blocks. You can see my review of The Fire Within here. 

Herby Haggis Sausage Pancakes

Herby Haggis Sausage Pancakes

I love Tzatziki,

Shit didn’t I say this two weeks ago.

MY insistence on eating the same thing. Or a tweak on something I like A LOT is becoming apparent on MLBB. I love to read food blogs, but some days I think HOW. How did you have the time to make 7 individual dishes that week.

I use My Fitness Pal most days and each of those days tends to be a take on the day before. Breakfast might have an egg included one day, the next I might hard boil it and have it with lunch. It’s good to mix it up.

This week I wanted tzatziki chicken for breakfast, but I wanted an egg also. So that’s what I did. Some days I might have pasta/pizza/cake for breakfast. That day I will share it with you. Today I used my tzatziki recipe to make a good bladdy breakfast and I’m going to share it with you. (Relatable AF.)

Tzatziki Chicken Scramble

Put in your trolley

50g Greek yogurt

50g  mayo

cucumber, grated (about 2 inches long)

lemon wedge (ready to be squeezed.)

3 sprigs fresh dill, chopped

garlic powder (if you have any hanging about.)

salt and black pepper, freshly cracked

Two Chicken Thighs         

To Serve

Two Eggs (Do I need to tell you – free range.)

Two slices of toast (I use weight watchers because two slices equals one regular slice. I can’t tell you what it will do to your insides though.)

20g of red onion

Birdseye chillies

Crushed Garlic

Hot Sauce

PRE RECIPE NOTE: I recommend making the tzatziki chicken before and keeping in the fridge and then using when you so fancy. IE the pitta’s I made or a breakfast recipe! The recipe above is a guesstimation of how much I make at a time for two but it might be wrong so don’t hate me!

Step One

Pre-heat the oven to 200C and pop in the thighs. Bake for 20 minutes then check by slicing open/slide in a skewer. You could use deli meat instead or pre-cooked chicken but I keep these in the freezer most of the time. Take out the oven, chill and shred.

Step Two

Once again I have included measurements for the Greek yogurt/mayo but I tend to double/triple the recipe and use it all week. But you could just make one serving. Today I’ve used a good 50g of each. Once you’ve added them together, grate the cucumber into the bowl and squeeze in a lemon wedge. Add the chopped dill and a sprinkling of the garlic powder, salt and pepper. Do this to your personal taste.

Step Three

So this is where we stray from my chicken pitta recipe. Mix the chicken and the tzatziki and set aside. Chop up the birdseye chilli, and the garlic and gently fry in a pan. Add onion and fry for another couple of minutes. Add  a big dollop of the tzatziki and chicken mix and keep the heat gentle.

 Step Four

Due to being V lazy I just cracked the egg straight into the pan and then stirred with a wooden spoon. If you’re not lazy you could mix in a cup and then add. Stir until the egg cooks into the mess in the sauce pan. Pop in the bread to toast. Whip of the eggs thirty seconds or so before they are done and dollop onto the toast and add hot sauce.

Numbers if you’re bothered

This comes to a perfect 270ish calories. If you’re looking for a hearty recipe you could double it and still be in line for a very healthy day. Or you could just add another egg. This recipe is quite protein heavy so it will definitely keep you full till lunch.

Recommended Reading

I recommend reading – The Big Sur by Jack Kerouach. I’m just getting through it and it’s brilliant. GO read, it’s classic.

 Tzatziki Chicken Scramble

Tzatziki Chicken Scramble

I love to cook. Like really like to cook.

But I also want to look after my weight/health, so tend to buy cookbooks that reflect this. I go home every couple of weeks and one trip back I unearthed this book. I don’t know a lot about Nadia Sawalha (I think she was once in Eastenders.) However, the book is wonderful and a brilliant tool for cooking delicious recipes that are healthier for you. Thumbs up.

Blurb

Nadia Sawalha has always loved cooking, but until recently rarely ate her own food. Like a lot of women, whilst her family tucked in to delicious dishes, she nibbled on diet food. Later, ravenously hungry, she binged, somehow convincing herself that the calories didn’t count if nobody saw her eating them. Two years ago, after decades of fluctuating weight, she decided enough was enough: She wasn’t going to start a new diet tomorrow. She wasn’t going to start a new diet ever again. She was going to eat normal meals with her family and, most importantly, she was going to do so for the rest of her life.

Since then, Nadia has lost and kept off 3 1/2 stone, by simply throwing away the diet books. Instead she shaved off the hidden calories, all without anyone noticing. A little less oil here, a different cut of meat there; brown rice instead of white, more herbs, spices and colour; and a dessert every day! The result is ‘The Greedy Girl’s Diet’, which is packed with more than 100 delicious recipes, and Nadia’s invaluable tips and advice on how to achieve a slim, fit and healthy body.

My Review

I was skeptical about this book to begin with. Celebrity diet books often tend to be suspect. But I really like Nadia’s approach. The book begins with a very down to earth explanation of how she’s lost and kept off the weight. Many of the feelings and habits she described hit home for me. I have been the lazy girl who lived of low cal ready meals or takeaways in front of the box. Yo-yoing between weight-loss and gain. This book encourages you to re-think your eating habits and re-align your goals with your personal life. No, we won’t lose 2 stone in two weeks – but you might in a year. The book focuses on giving us fuel through food but making it tasty. (And moving around too.)

It seems obvious but Nadia makes your foodie favourites better for you. Mac and cheese for 400 cals  portion just by upping the strength of the cheese and using semi-skimmed milk. Or creamy scrambled egg – just stir in light cream cheese instead of nobs of butter. Very few of the recipes have tens of ingredients making the recipes super easy to make. The book details breakfasts (Lazy Weekends, Breakfast on the run) lunches, (soup glorious soup, ladies who lunch, spectacular sandwiches) dinners, (yummy mummy, dinner for two) and desserts. Yes it’s a little tongue in cheek but Nadia’s down to earth, friendly descriptions of the recipes make it feel genuine.  Oh and all the nutritional information is listed, making it very accessible.

 

My favourite recipes include the creamy advocado soup, salad nicoise sandwiches and the tandori chicken. But, the desserts are also fantastic. Coffee and walnut cake, chocolate cheesecake and mousse pots all feature. Nadia doesn’t make you cut things out she just makes very simple but clever changes. Changes that you and your family won’t notice but your waitstline will.

Final Thoughts

In terms of delivery, the images are beautiful but there could be more of them. Secondly the recipe don’t have a complete cooking time (which would be helpful.) Saying this, the book is fantastic for those attempting lose a little weight but not lose their favourite recipes. I think it’s wonderful.