Mrs. Jackson Cooks

Life through food

Easter dinner: Juniper & garlic lamb

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I had a leg of lamb in the freezer from our lovely lady who brings us eggs. She has a small farm and also rears pigs, ducks, geese and sheep. I try to get meat from her when I can as it’s always so much more delicious than anything from the supermarket – much like her wonderful deep yellow yolk eggs.

As it was Easter I thought I’d make the lamb. I found a simple recipe on the bbcgoodfood website, here http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/251631/roast-leg-of-lamb-with-juniper-and-rosemary and didn’t alter very much from it. The only thing was my leg was smaller, at about 1.5kg so I altered the times accordingly.

The recipe suggests Welsh onion cake to go with it, and that was very simple and delicious too, recipe is here http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/251633/welsh-onion-cake and I did some sweet and sour Italian style carrots from my Italian Comfort Food cookbook.

I found this pretty easy for a roast and didn’t take that long either. All done within about 1.5-2 hours from the start. And the meat was delicious, so tender, cooked perfectly and the onion cake went with it really well.

There’s plenty of meat leftover too, which I’ll make into curry or tagine I think.

Juniper and garlic lamb with Welsh onion cake

Serves 4

  • Small leg of lamb – approx 1.5kg (if larger adjust times accordingly)
  • 6 juniper berries
  • 1/2 tsp whole peppercorns
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • handful of sage leaves, chopped (or use rosemary if you have it)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil.
  • 800g potatoes, peeled
  • 400g onions (2 large ones approx), finely sliced.
  • 70g butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 120ml white wine
  1. Bring the lamb leg up to room temperature
  2. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees celsius.
  3. Crush the juniper berries and peppercorns in a pestle and mortar, then add the garlic, sage or rosemary and olive oil to make a paste.
  4. Cover the lamb in the paste and roast in the middle of the oven for approximately 1 hour for meat which is cooked but still pink in the middle. If you’d like it more well done, add an extra 10 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven, cover in foil and tea towels and leave to rest for 30 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, put half the melted butter in a pan with the onions and a little salt and cook covered over a low heat until melted and golden – about 20 minutes. Stir them occasionally to make sure they don’t stick and cook evenly.
  7. Slice the potatoes thinly on the long side, and place straight into a bowl with the remaining melted butter. Coat the potatoes in it.
  8. Line a medium sized frying pan with greaseproof paper
  9. Arrange half the potatoes on the bottom of the pan in neat patterns from the outside to the middle, overlapping slightly. Place the onions on top of them and spread them out.
  10. Layer the remaining potatoes over the top of the onions in the same way as before and place on a medium heat on the hob to brown the bottom of the cake, for about 5 minutes.
  11. Then place in the oven with the lamb for about 45-50 minutes or until cooked through and golden.
  12. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before inverting onto a plate.
  13. Whilst the lamb is resting, add a tablespoon of flour to the juices in the roasting pan and mix well to combine. Place directly on a medium heat and allow to cook out for a minute or two. Then gradually add the wine mixing well to combine, scraping up any bits from the bottom and not allowing the flour to go lumpy. Bring to the boil, add extra water if it’s too thick, add salt and pepper as needed and simmer until you have a nice gravy.
  14. Carve your meat and serve with the Welsh cake and gravy. Enjoy!

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Hangover breakfast pie

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This is the other recipe I wanted to share from the Hairy Bikers Perfect Pies cookbook. I do adapt it quite a bit though – but what I put in depends on what’s in the fridge and how hungover I am. This is great if you’ve had lots of people on a night out and they’re staying over and you need to feed them but are too hungover to do much. It also works if there’s just 2 of you – just reduce the quantities.

This really does help hangovers, although I can’t promise a total cure – if you’ve had a large one, nothing beats a day on the sofa, but this makes that sofa day more bearable.

This is another no pastry pie. It’s got potatoes in it instead. And this is my version, my favourite one, not the Hairy Bikers one.

Hangover breakfast pie

Serves 4

  • 850g potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 8 sausages
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 10 mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 green chilli (optional)
  • 2 cans baked beans
  • handful of chopped fresh parsley
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius
  2. Grill the sausages until browned on all sides. Remove from the grill and set aside.
  3. Boil the potatoes with a little salt until cooked through – about 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, heat 1 tsp of oil in a large frying pan, on a medium heat and fry the onion until is starts to cook, then add the garlic, mushrooms and chilli if using. Fry gently until the mushrooms release their juices and hte onions are starting to brown.
  5. Tip them into a deep sided baking dish and top with the sausages.
  6. Pour the cans of baked beans over the sausages and sprinkle over the parsley.
  7. Put the remaining oil in the frying pan and fry the potatoes until they get brown spots and burnt bits on them.
  8. Tip the potatoes over the top of the beans and bake in the oven for about 20-30 minutes, or until hot all the way through the potatoes are crispy.
  9. Serve immediately with your favourite sauces and feel the hangover receed.
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Very simple, comforting mince and dumplings

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I’ve been a bit busy and distracted the past week or so, but I’ve wanted to post this recipe for a while.  It’s super simple and its a lower fat version of a full blown pie and a lot simpler to make.  And as the weather can’t decide if it’s spring or not, it’s really warming and comforting on the days it decides to snow.  

I got the recipe from the Hairy Bikers.  I do love their cookbooks.  This is from their Perfect Pies cookbook, which you can find here http://www.hairybikers.com/books/perfect-pies/1323.  Mr J bought it for me because he wanted me to make more pies and I complained that I’m not good at them, which really meant, I’m not very confident with them.  This book has helped me get more confident, although I do prefer the non-pastry ones!

I’ve another recipe I love from this book that I made recently and want to share, so that’ll be coming next.

The mince mixture is very similar to making a bolognaise sauce but instead of spaghetti, it’s topped with lovely doughy crispy dumplings, very similar to savoury scones.  And they’re very simple to make.  

You can make the full thing for friends or family, or I like to make it and then heat the leftovers up the next day.  Or you can halve it if there’s just a couple of you.  

Hairy Biker’s mince and dumplings

Serves 4-6

  • 1 tsp oil (olive, sunflower, vegetable etc)
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 500g lean mince (lamb, beef, chicken, pork, quorn – whatever you like.  I used lean steak beef mince, but have used lamb in the past)
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes (or use plum and chop them with a wooden spoon)
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 350ml beef stock
  • 150ml red wine (or use extra stock)
  • pinch of sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt & pepper

For the dumplings:

  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 75g frozen or hard butter, grated (or use 125g beef suet instead)
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 200ml cold water
  • salt & pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pan and on a low-medium heat cook the onion, garlic, celery and carrots until softened and the onion translucent, but they’ve not browned.  
  3. Add the mince and cook until it’s browned, breaking it up with the spatula or spoon.
  4. Then add the tomatoes, puree, stock (wine if using), sugar, bay leaf and season.  Bring to the boil, then reduce to a low simmer for about 20 minutes or until the sauce is thickened and the meat and vege cooked through.  Stir occasionally to prevent it sticking to the bottom.
  5. Whilst that’s simmering, make the dumplings.  Put the flour, butter or suet, salt, pepper and parsley into a bowl and stir well.
  6. Make a well in the middle and pour 3/4 of the water into it.  
  7. Mix to make a dough – you don’t want it too sticky, but if its not coming together into a ball, add the extra water.  If it’s too sticky, add a spoonful of flour.
  8. Lightly flour your hands.  Divide the dough into 12 and roll into balls before flattening slightly.  
  9. Place the mince mixture in a deep baking dish and cover with the dumplings, leaving space between them to allow them to expand.
  10. Cover with tin foil, and tent is so there’s space for the dumplings to rise.
  11. Place in the oven for 15 minutes.  Then remove the foil and return to the oven for another 5-10 minutes or until the dumplings are golden brown and everything is piping hot.
  12. Serve immediately and enjoy the comforting goodness.

 

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Mother’s day pineapple upside down cake

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My parents came over to see us today, as it’s mother’s day, and so I cooked us lunch.  We had mussels for starters with bacon and leeks, tenderloin of pork stuffed with basil and pecorino cheese and pineapple and mango upside down cake for dessert.

I promised my mum I’d share the recipe for the dessert, and so here it is.  And it was quite delicious and pretty easy to make, especially if you have helpers in the kitchen!  It’s great for a dinner party or something special (Friday night perhaps?!).  I’ve no idea about the calories and I’m not sure I want to know.  This is for celebrating, not dieting.

 

It’s an Asian take on the traditional pineapple upside down cake, so it’s a bit different from what you’d expect, but still just as delicious.  You can find the original recipe here.  I think the only change I made was to add maple syrup to the caramel instead of molasses.  It’s in cups, but I’ve translated to grams for those without cup measurements (most of us).

http://thaifood.about.com/od/thaidesserts/r/pineapplemangoupsidedowncake.htm

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Pineapple and Mango upside down cake

  • 4-5 slices of fresh or canned pineapple (dry the canned pineapple with kitchen towel)
  • 1 mango, peeled, de-seeded and sliced

For the caramel:

  • 110g brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 25g butter

For the cake:

  • 3 eggs
  • 100g granulated sugar
  • 80g butter
  • pinch of salt
  • 130g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 170ml thick coconut milk (or whole milk)
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.  Grease a large round cake tin (about 9 inches)
  2. Place the pineapple rings in the bottom of the cake tin and use the mango to fill in the gaps. 
  3. Put the brown sugar and water in a pan and heat until boiling.  Stir well and reduce slightly for a few minutes.  Then reduce the heat, add the butter and simmer until the butter melts. Turn off and set aside.
  4. Separate the eggs with the whites in a medium bowl and the yolks in a large mixing bowl.  Whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks and set aside.
  5. Add the white sugar and butter to the yolks and beat until smooth.  
  6. Add the flour, baking powder, coconut milk and vanilla essence to the egg, sugar and butter mix and beat until well combined.  It should be quite thick.  
  7. Either gently fold in the egg whites with a wooden spoon or use electric beaters on a low setting until just combined.  
  8. Pour caramel over the fruit.  Then pour the cake mix on top.
  9. Place in the middle of the oven for about 35 minutes or until a skewer comes out of the middle clean (don’t go down to the bottom or you’ll hit caramel and fruit).
  10. Leave in the tin until cooled.  Then place a plate on top of it and turn upside down onto the plate.
  11. Serve with ice cream, cream or custard and enjoy the delicious fruity caramelly flavours.  
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Skinny banana & chocolate muffins

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It’s been a while.  And a lot has happened.  I’ve been wanting to start this blog again, but not really sure how or where to start. But then I made these muffins and they’re so delicious, it just seemed perfect.  

The great thing about these muffins is the taste amazing, but they are very low fat and low calorie, so you can eat them and not worry about having to spend 3 hours in the  gym to make up for it.  They’re 139 calories each – less if you use sweetener instead of sugar, which I did but the calorie converter thing objected to.  But they don’t taste like they’re a low fat option at all.   I’ve tried these out on several people who came to a party and there was general approval all round.  

So here goes, something to cheer a Monday up, without expanding your waistline.  I found this recipe on another blog, which looks like a pretty cool blog to me.  You can be sure I’ll be reproducing more of her recipes.  http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2012/11/11/skinny-chocolate-banana-fudge-muffins/ 

I changed it slightly, using half sugar and half sweetener and replacing the applesauce with low fat yoghurt.  But as you can see – no butter or oil is used.  I have now got myself some cup measurement thingys, so this recipe was pretty simple with them, but in case you don’t have them, I’ve converted it to grams for you.

Banana & chocolate muffins

  • 3 bananas, really mashed up.  The more ripe the bananas the better.
  • 65g granulated sugar
  • 65g sweetener (or double up the sugar)
  • 1 egg
  • 80ml low fat yoghurt
  • 60g plain flour
  • 60g wholemeal flour (or double up the plain flour)
  • 60g unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 100g chocolate drops or pieces (I bashed up a bar of dark chocolate)
  • Sprinkles or more chocolate drops to go on top (optional)
  1. Heat the oven to 200 degrees celsius, and line a muffin tin with muffin cases
  2. Put the mashed banana in a bowl and beat it together with the sugar, sweetener, egg and yoghurt.  
  3. Add the dried ingredients to the banana mixture and mix quickly and sparingly.  Chuck in the chocolate drops and mix 1 more time.  
  4. Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases, filling all the way to the top.  Sprinkle more chocolate drops or sprinkles over the top of the muffins.  
  5. Bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean from the middle of the muffins.
  6. Cool for a few minutes in a tin and then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.  
  7. Enjoy with a lovely cup of tea, and feel that today has just got a little better.
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92 calorie individual apple pies

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Since getting back from Ibiza I’ve really been trying to be good and get back into being healthy. The problem is, I’ve been depressed and craving sugar, and so I’ve ended up in front of the vending machine far too many times. In an attempt to rectify that, whilst not going totally cold turkey I found these fantastic pies.

They fill the craving hole whilst not ruining your good intentions and they are delicious, and super simple to make. You literally need an oven and that’s about it.

Our neighbour has an apple tree and many of his apples have ended up in our garden, some a bit worse for wear but still edible. So I thought it better to cook them down with a bit of sugar (I actually used sweetener, you can’t taste the difference). Then I added some strawberries that were very cheap in the supermarket but also a bit worse for wear and needed cooking. Both the apples and strawberries were very sweet so didn’t need much sweetener, just a bit to bring out the juices. I added a squeeze of lemon too.

And filo pastry is the best for pastry if you’re watching your weight, it’s a lot lighter than other pastries. I used olive oil spray instead of melted butter between the sheets. I honestly couldn’t tell any difference.

I made about 15 triangles. They’ll easily keep in a box for a few days and are great for taking to work for lunch or a snack.

Apple and strawberry pies

Makes about 15

  • 5-6 eating apples or 2 baking apples, cored and chopped
  • 125g strawberries, hulled and halved (or use strawberry jam)
  • 2 tbsp splenda or other sweetener
  • 4 sheets filo pastry
  • oil spray
  • 1 egg beaten
  1. Heat the oven to 200 degrees celsius
  2. Place the apple and strawberries with the sweetener in a saucepan on a medium heat, stiring occassionally until they break down and release their juices. Add a bit of water if its too dry. This takes about 10-15 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  3. Carefully remove the filo pastry sheets from the package onto a clean, dry surface, one at a time. Spray the top of each one with 3-4 sprays of oil spray before placing the next sheet on top of it. Spray the top of the 4th sheet.
  4. Cut into thirds, lengthwise.
  5. Place a tablespoon of the apple and strawberry mix in the middle of the top third of pastry, towards the left end. Fold the corner of the pastry diagonally across to make a triangle and cover the mix. Cut along the edge which meets the pastry and press along the edges to seal. Place on a baking tray sprayed with oil spray. Brush with the beaten egg, pressing down the edges as you go. Repeat until all the pastry and mixture is used up.
  6. Bake for about 20 minutes until cooked through and golden on top.
  7. Remove from the oven, allow to cool, and then eat with a nice cup of tea, feeling your cravings subside.
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I’m back! And I’m cheating – easy cheats meatball pasta

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I know, I’ve been away, you’ve been wondering what to eat. I’ve got a new super exciting job at British Cycling (don’t you just love how I manage to jump on every bandwagon going?!) which is very demanding. So I have been cooking – that wouldn’t change…I’ve not had the time for blogging and I keep forgetting to take photos.

But I’ve just got back from Ibiza (totally fab, amazing holiday, what a beautiful mesmerising place…don’t ever go all inclusive there, you miss the point of it) where I ate lots of gorgeous Spanish food and found perhaps the best place I have ever tasted tapas, drank lots of great (and cheap!) wine, danced my socks off (not that I was wearing any) and got a tan. Here are my top 5 things I learnt in Ibiza:

  1. A hot tub is the best after party – EVER! Get one, now – your life isn’t complete without it. Mr J and I are actually going to move so we can have one.
  2. Benirras beach is an amazing sunset party on Sundays. Get there early – they have police just for the parking.
  3. Random nights are the best
  4. There’s nothing funnier than driving around San Ant in your red fiat 500 convertible, roof all the way down, Guetta blaring from the stereo whilst you dance out the roof, and people wonder who you are
  5. Destino in San Jozep (between San ant and ibiza town) does the best tapas in the world.
  6. (I know, it’s 6 not 5) Drunk Connie is so much fun. Just give her 2 jaegerbombs and you’ll laugh all night.

Prior to the holiday me and Mr J thought we’d lose some weight so we went low carb, low fat. And whilst it’s totally unsustainable (and I ended up dreaming about pasta!) I learnt a couple of things – the cut of meat you choose can make all the difference. Always cut the fat off and remove the skin to reduce fat calories, and you don’t need as much oil as you think. So I’m incorporating these things into my cooking from now on. I’m also switching to low fat dairy exclusively. This was mostly the case already, but I’ve taken it further.

Anyway, holiday over. And I have the post-holiday blues, big time. But it got me to thinking about blogging again and I actually remembered to take a few photos. So I’m back for now, and here’s hoping it lasts for a bit in any case. And having the blues means I need comfort food, like now. So here’s a super quick, super easy, totally cheating pasta dish I actually got out of a magazine – More, I think. Ages ago I tore it out the magazine and stuck it in my binder where it was waiting for such a day as this.

I used frozen meatballs from Ikea as that’s what I had, but use ready made meatballs from the supermarket or just take sausages out their skins and roll them into balls. Whatever you have handy. I also used low fat creme fraiche and a bit of cream cheese, but use whatever you have to hand – fromage frais, cream, soured cream…whatever’s there.

I also added mushrooms as I’m really into mushrooms at the mo – they’re full of umami – what’s not to love?! Natural mood and taste boosters. But leave out if you want or add whatever you have in your fridge. Frozen peas would work quite well too I reckon.

So this can be done in about 20 mins – look at me, showing Jamie how it’s done. And kid friendly too.

Creamy meatball pasta

Serves 2

  • 150g pasta shapes
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 100g meatballs per person
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, mashed
  • 4-5 chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 150ml creme fraiche (or whatever)
  • handful of chopped fresh parsley
  • salt & pepper
  1. Boil the pasta according to the packet instructions (reserve some of the water)
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in the pan on a medium heat and add the meatballs. As the meatballs release their fat, you can turn it up high until they’re browned on all sides.
  3. Then turn back down and add the onion, garlic and mushrooms. Fry until the onion and mushrooms are softened and the mushrooms have released their juices.
  4. Then add the creme fraiche and a few tablespoons of the pasta water to make a sauce. Stir well and bubble until slightly thickened.
  5. Then add the parsley, salt & pepper to taste. Stir through the pasta and serve.
  6. Enjoy the creamy comforty-ness
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Cheap and healthy meals: lentil and mince enchiladas

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I do like enchiladas and they’re pretty healthy any way you do them, but I also love lentils, so the opportunity to add them to enchiladas couldn’t really be missed (I have made them the standard chicken or beef strips instead in the past). Lentils give you lots of great protein without the calories and make mince beef go further – which is why its cheap, because lentils cost virtually nothing.

I found the original recipe here, but more or less just made this up as I went along. And they were delicious. I think you can add more or less whatever you like to this recipe. Make it with just mince (combine the lentil and mince quantities), add peppers, add tomatoes, add whatever you like, or leave it all out. Use tinned tomatoes instead of passata – but add tomato puree too. Whatever. You can use flour or corn tortillas too. Get creative!

My recipe is 612 calories for 2 tortillas is 612 calories. So it’s still not super low in calories but is fine for dinner if you’ve been good in the day.

http://thirty-quid.blogspot.co.uk/2010/07/beef-and-lentil-enchiladas.html

Lentil and mince enchiladas

Serves 2

  • 50g lentils (I used red as these cook fastest)
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion
  • 150g beef mince (I used lean steak)
  • 1/2 tin sweetcorn
  • 200ml passata
  • 75ml beef stock
  • 2 tbsp fajita seasoning (or make your own)
  • 1 tbsp chopped jalapenos (or use fresh chillis instead)
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • salt & pepper
  • 4-5 tortillas (I used corn)
  • 4 tbsp herby soured cream
  • 50g cheddar cheese, grated
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius.
  2. Boil the lentils in water until soft and mushy. Drain and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a pan and add the onion. Cook on a medium heat until translucent but not browned.
  4. Add the mince, turning up the heat and frying until browned, breaking lumps up with the spatula.
  5. Add in the jalapenos, sweetcorn, fajita seasoning and tomatoes. Cook out for a couple of minutes.
  6. In a bowl combine the passata and beef stock.
  7. Add 2/3 of the passata mix to the pan, mixing well.
  8. Add in the lentils and 1/3 of the cheese and give it another stir.
  9. Remove from the heat. Take a tortilla and fill the middle with the mix (I find a couple of spoonfuls usually does it).
  10. Roll and place with seam downwards in a rectangular baking tray or dish. Repeat until all the tortillas are filled.
  11. Pour the rest of the passata mix over the rolled tortillas and then dollop the soured cream over. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
  12. Place in the oven for about 20 minutes until cooked through and the cheese is melted and golden.
  13. Carefully remove from the pan with a spatula and serve (with a green salad perhaps?)
  14. Enjoy 🙂
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Hug in a bowl: creamy chicken soup

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The title belies this soup – there isn’t actually any cream in this soup, and it’s relatively low in calories too for a chicken soup – 339. Of course there are soups with fewer calories, but when you want a nice hearty chicken soup, you’re not really thinking of calories. This one hits the spot and it pretty simple to make.

I had made the Italian lemon chicken recipe again with a whole chicken and so used the meat left on the bones when I chopped it up to make this soup. But left over roast chicken or even chicken breasts, pre cooked (grilled for example) would work just as well.

It’s pretty simple to make, doesn’t take long and if you don’t have a blender, leave it chunky. But a chunky soup will be clear rather than creamy.

The original recipe is on my go-to website here: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/9831/roast-chicken-soup

I didn’t bother with the yoghurt and I don’t think it needs it but you can add it if you like.

Creamy chicken soup

Serves 4

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 3 carrots, finely chopped
  • small handful of thyme leaves, chopped
  • 1.2 litres chicken stock (I made this from the chicken bones but you can use stock cubes)
  • 300g pre cooked boneless chicken, chopped into small pieces.
  • 100g peas
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • salt & pepper
  • heat the oil in a large saucepan, on a low heat, and fry the onions, carrots and thyme until softened but not browned – for about 10 minutes
  • Turn up the heat, add the chicken stock and chicken. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  • Blend half the soup until smooth, then mix it all together and add the peas, garlic and lemon juice. Season to taste. Give it a good stir and heat through and then serve with some crusty bread.
  • Enjoy the comforting warming soup 🙂
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Simple summer salad: Courgette and chickpea salad

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I got a vege box from one of the farm delivery places – they were doing an offer – and they sent it with a load of recipes, some of which look quite good. This particular company is called Riverford and are local to Manchester, in case you’re interested. So I thought I’d give one of the recipes a go. This salad is so simple and very tasty and can be put together in about 15 minutes. It’s about 400 calories too, so it’s great for a low fat, low carb lunch to keep you going til dinner.

The salad is just lovely, summer on a plate, and even better if you can enjoy in the garden – which we did. But even if you can’t the simple zesty flavours just conjure up summer.

The original recipe uses beans – haricot or borlotti – but I didn’t have any so I used chickpeas instead. It worked very well with chickpeas and I’m sure is tasty either way.

Courgette and chickpea salad

Serves 2 (as a main)

  • 2 courgettes, peeled into ribbons
  • 1 tin chickpeas, drained
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 100g lettuce, cut into ribbons
  • zest & juice of 1/2 lemon
  • small handful of basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • 50ml olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  1. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a griddle pan, or head the grill and griddle the courgettes until softened and browned in spots
  2. Put the chickpeas, lettuce and tomatoes into a bowl together.
  3. Blitz the lemon juice & zest, oil, basil and garlic in a blender or mash it in a pestle and mortar into a dressing. Season to taste.
  4. Add the courgettes to the chickpeas and tomatoes and pour over the dressing. Toss to combine and serve immediately
  5. Enjoy the lovely summer flavours 🙂
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