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.)

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 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.

 

Lots of sandwiches recently. Apologies. I’ve been craving carbs the past few weeks. I’ve been trying to hit 15,000 steps a day during the week and it’s been really easy. But, the extra calorie void has left me peckish. Peckish for sandwiches if I’m honest. Today I’m sharing my recipe for Firecracker chicken.

You could also use this recipe for a Nando’s style meal. Just serve with potato wedges and peas/sweetcorn. Or like me you could shred it and made a stylish sarnie. Up to you.

Firecracker Chicken

Put in your trolley

120ml of Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo sauce (you can buy this in most big supermarkets – we always have a bottle rolling around in the cupboard.)

Splash of Worcestershire sauce

four chicken breasts

2 tablespoons of honey

2 tablespoons cider vinegar (or use balsamic vinegar if that’s what you have at home!)

pinch of salt and pepper

2 garlic cloves, minced

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

100g of peppers. Red and Green work best.

To serve

Pitta bread

An egg

Step One

Turn on the oven to 200C. Put the chicken, the Worcestershire sauce in a bowl and tumble around. Meanwhile, heat the buffalo sauce, honey, garlic and vinegar in a small pan till just gently boiling. Then simmer until it thickens a little.

Step Two

Pop your chicken breasts on a greaseproof tray and brush all over the sauce you’ve just thickened. Make sure you cover the entire breast. Cook for 15 minutes, then take the chicken out and brush with more of the sauce. Then leave to cook completely. If you’re not going to shred this for sandwiches I suggest grilling for a couple of minutes to make sure it’s properly sticky. (Then serve with sides ie peas, chips etc.

Step Three

Chop the peppers and fry in a small pan. Once the chicken has cooked, shred with a fork and transfer to bowl. Add the peppers. Now you’re ready to construct your sandwich.

I once again toasted the pitta and boiled an egg because that’s what I fancied but you could add tomato/ red onion/spring onion. I had this for lunch all week, so I made a lot but you could easily half it.

Numbers (if you’re bothered.)

For the sandwich this comes in at 350 ish calories which is fabby because it’s really delicious and filling. You could also add extra vegetables. I’ve added sweetcorn and mushroom too before. Depending on how many chips you serve with this, (if making the nandos dinner.) It should still come in way under the 400 cal mark. Perfect.

Recommended Reading

I recommend reading The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger. Then go and watch the film with a sharing pack of malteasers. I dare you.

Firecracker Chicken

Firecracker Chicken

 

 

 

I love Tzatziki.

With eggs, with vegetables for dipping, slopped onto soup. I find it’s a great way of creating flavour contrasts. I wanted to make a Tzatziki chicken recipe that was healthy(ish,) and could be eaten for breakfast/brunch. Or just as easily stacked in lunch boxes for a satisfying afternoon meal. This is what I came up with.

Tzatziki Chicken Pittas

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

To Serve

Pitta Bread (I chose a seeded one from Sainsburys and they are delicious.)

An egg

Hot Sauce (Franks is good.)

2 Chicken Thighs, sliced and warmed (seasoned with salt and pepper.)

Step One

Pre-heat the oven to 200C and pop in the thighs. Bake for 20 minutes then check if cooked. Slice open one of the thighs, or poke with a cooking skewer. Take the chicken out of the oven, chill and shred. You could use deli meat instead or pre-cooked chicken but I had these hanging around.

Step Two

I haven’t added the exactly measurements for the Greek yogurt/mayo because you could make a massive bowl of this and store it in the fridge all week. Or you could just make one serving. But this is basically a good 50 g of each. But you do you.

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

Fill a saucepan with water and boil the water. Add the egg and cook for the desired time. I think hard-boiled works better here. So 7ish minutes. Once the egg has cooked, drain the saucepan and refill with cold water. Peel and slice.

Step Four

Toast the pitta bread, mix the chicken and the tzatziki and stuff. Pop the egg on top and then drizzle with hot sauce. Oh my – delicious.

Numbers if you’re bothered

You could add lots of extras to this. Advocado, onion and tomato if you wish. I kept it the recipe here and it came to 350ish calories. Add some hula hoops, a tangerine or two and it’s the perfect lunchtime option.

Recommended Reading

I recommend reading Charlie Breaker book number one. It’s a hard, smashing, book with a gritty main character and a great sense of storytelling. You can read my review here.

Tzatziki Chicken Pittas

Tzatziki Chicken Pittas

Tzatziki Chicken Pittas