One of the most used things in my kitchen is a vegetable sharpener.

I mean you could call it a spiralizer but to me it looks like a pencil sharpener. But, you use it on courgette/carrot/sweet-potato, not crayons.

Recently I bought a meat hamper from Campbell’s. It was stuffed with sausages, black pudding, haggis and bacon. Due to buying it through Wowcher it cost me only £10. I told myself I would revert from my tried and tested bangers n’ mash and make something different. This is my Tomatoey Courgette Spaghetti and Vegetable Medley.

Tomato and Herby Sausage Courgetti Spaghetti

Put in your trolley

Serves 4 hangry people 

400g of sausages (I used Campbell’s haggis sausages but a good herby sausage will do.)

A couple of spritzs of low Cal cooking spray

400g of Chestnut mushrooms cut into slices

1 tbsp of Paprika

2 Birdseye chilies chopped finely (adjust to your taste.)

Salt and Pepper 

600g of courgette

280g of sweetcorn

700g of chopped tomatoes (with basil/garlic/chilli.)

Step One

Take the sausages out of their casings and roughly chop. Fry in a small pan with the low Cal cooking spray till browned. Add the mushrooms and cover the pan with a lid to create moisture. Cook for a minute. Add the paprika, chillies, and a sprinkle of salt and cracked black pepper. (Lots of it.) Cook for another minute.

 

Step Two

Spiralise the courgettes. Just pop them in the end and then twist until you get pasta like ribbons. If you don’t have a spiralizer, use a potato peeler (works just as well.) Set aside ready for cooking.

Step Three

 

Add the sweetcorn to the pan and cook for a minute then tip in the chopped tomatoes and heat until bubbly hot. Then add the courgette spirals and toss in the mixture. Cook for a two minutes. You don’t want them to go too soft but you don’t want them crunchy.

Step Four

Take off the heat and pile high in gorgeous bowls.

Tomato and Herby Sausage Courgetti Spaghetti

Tomato and Herby Sausage Courgetti Spaghetti

Numbers if you’re bothered!

This works out to around 500 cals a portion (depending on the sausages. But this is the perfect dinner that’s filling but not full of carbohydrates. Using the courgette instead of pasta allows you eat a lot more (which is always good non?)

Recommended Reading

I recommend reading Angela Carter’s book of dark fairy-tales. I saw a gorgeous copy featured on Katy’s blog and it reminded me it’s been forever since I dived into that rollercoaster of a book! PERFECT MATCH. 

If you don’t like the F word maybe don’t read on.

See, the Thug Kitchen book is like nothing I’ve read before. Vegan recipe with bite might be the best description.

Thug Kitchen recipe book

Blurb

Thug Kitchen started their wildly popular website to inspire people to eat some Goddamn vegetables and adopt a healthier lifestyle. Beloved by Gwyneth Paltrow (‘This might be my favorite thing ever’) and with half a million Facebook fans and counting, Thug Kitchen wants to show everyone how to take charge of their plates and cook up some real f*cking food.

Yeah, plenty of blogs and cookbooks preach about how to eat more kale, why ginger fights inflammation, and how to cook with microgreens and nettles. But they are dull or pretentious as hell -and most people can’t afford the hype.

Thug Kitchen lives in the real world. In their first cookbook, they’re throwing down more than 100 recipes for their best-loved meals, snacks and sides for beginning cooks to home chefs. (Roasted Beer and Lime Cauliflower Tacos? Pumpkin Chili? Grilled Peach Salsa? Believe that sh*t.) Plus they’re going to arm you with all the info and techniques you need to shop on a budget and go and kick a bunch of ass on your own.

This book is an invitation to everyone who wants to do better to elevate their kitchen game. No more ketchup and pizza counting as vegetables. No more avoiding the produce corner of the supermarket. Sh*t is about to get real.

My Review

This book really took me by surprise. The extreme profanity is woven throughout out the book. It’s a big concept  and it’s a lot of fun. It’s definitely found a niche in the market. Yes it might turn some people off, but I liked the contrast because this is a vegan cookbook. I think veganism has a bad rep for being a little, nice? But this takes it to another level. Love it.

The recipes are split into six sections, each with an equally rude name. But basically, we have breakfasts, lunches (salads and sandwiches,) stews, munchies (salsa, snacks) mains, and motherfucking desserts. Yes, it’s actually called that. The recipes are fantastic. Favourites include baked spanish rice, pozole rojo, and creamy ravioli with house marinara.

They are in American cup sizes which can be confusing but a quick google will help.

I love the bowl recipes. The idea is you pick a grain or starch, then add vegetables, a protein, and a sauce or dressing. The book then lists combos from the book, from different sections to help you out (with helpful page numbers and whether it’s a veggie, protein etc.) It’s a wonderful way of making the book more versatile. Yes you could make quick pickled vegetables and serve it with your own recipe, or helpfully you could mix it with sweet citrus baked tofu and make a bowl. The book becomes a lot more personal.

The book doesn’t just do recipes it also breaks down different ways of cooking an ingredient. Tofu is something T and I have struggled to cook at times. The book has two pages that give different marinades, and different ways of baking the tofu. It’s really helpful. There’s also a page on how to make a vegetable broth which is used in numerous recipes. Which again was V helpful .

Additionally any confusing ingredients have a *, (****) depending on how many confusing ingredients there are. It might link to another recipe or explain other ingredients you could use. It’s brilliant. So instead of teaspoon oil you could use coconut/grape seed/olive oil. Wonderful.

Final Thoughts

It’s a bloody brilliant book. If you’re vegan definitely buy it. If you want to try cut out a little meat definitely buy it. It’s a wonderful book for mixing up what you make in the kitchen!

Thug Kitchen recipe book

Thug Kitchen recipe book

 

 

 

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 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.