Sunday, 2 November 2014

Butternut squash, carrot and lentil soup with a little curry flavour

Soup is a great way to make very few cheap ingredients go a long way and for me, cheap and filling sounds like a very good idea indeed! Something that I tend to do on a Sunday is to make a big pot of soup ready for lunch everyday of the week so that I don't have to spend time cooking anything in the day, or even spend money on something at University.

This is a variation of a recipe I found recently but decided to add in a couple of things like the garlic clove and a can of plum tomatoes to give it a little more flavour. I've also found that plum tomatoes are considerably cheaper than chopped tomatoes, and also give more flavour; in Sainsbury's I buy the 40p for 400g can *, cheap as chips!

Once you've prepared all of the ingredients it should go from the pan to your bowl within 20 minutes, so it makes for an easy and cheap lunch every day of the week!


splash of olive oil
1 garlic clove sliced finely
1 butternut squash peeled and cut into small even chunks
3 large carrots cut into small even chunks
1 tbsp of mild curry powder (or hot curry powder if you like a bit of spice!)
1 tsp of turmeric

750 ml of vegetable stock
100 g of red lentils (rinsed)

1 can of plum tomatoes
a handful of spinach leaves (optional)


In a large pot, gently heat a good glug of olive oil and add the garlic clove, butternut squash and carrots. Fry for about 4 minutes until everything is beginning to soften.

Then add the curry powder and turmeric whilst continuing to fry for another minute.

Pour in the vegetable stock and red lentils.

Bring everything to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes, add the can of plum tomatoes and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes until everything is cooked through.

Take about a ladle-full and a half of the squash, carrots, lentils and tomatoes and set aside in a bowl.
Blend the soup until all lovely and smooth, adding a little water if too thick, and add back in the ladle-full of vegetables. You can divide this into 6 Tupperware boxes and refrigerate until ready to reheat and eat for lunch!

The final bowl of soup...

*The 40p can of plum tomatoes from Sainsbury's that I like to buy for recipes such as these

I hope you enjoy and please comment below if you try this recipe...

Monday, 27 October 2014

Wonderfully cheap but delicious stewed plums (to drizzle on porridge and pancakes)

The stewed plums drizzled over my banana, buckwheat and oat pancakes

Breakfast on the go...porridge with my cinnamon and ginger stewed plums, heavenly on an early morning train to work!

I'd say that I've always enjoyed the first meal of the day, whether it was on a rushed school morning or a lovely slow Sunday with the fresh morning air from outside chilling our kitchen. I now still love the routine of making my breakfast and leaving a good few minutes to sit and enjoy it before I begin my walk to University Campus on a normal weekday.

Pretty much every morning I make myself a bowl of porridge, summer or winter, topped with some kind of berries or stewed fruit and a scattering of all sorts of seeds to give me plenty of energy. A couple of weeks ago when in Sainsbury's on my weekly shop, I decided that I had to swap my usual blueberries for my morning porridge fruit for something a little cheaper...I would usually buy a 200g punnet costing £3.20 which is just a little too much for my budget, especially for something just for 7 breakfasts. I'd experimented with rhubarb the week before but was looking for a bargain, and this came in the form of plums! For double the weight, I found that I could buy plums for only £1!

I was so excited that I'd found something different I could stew and drizzle on my porridge. I decided to try out a new recipe I was making up, with a little cinnamon, ginger and honey. A deep purply syrup should be left in the bottom of the pan surrounding the delightfully soft plum halves if you give this a go...


1 x 400g punnet of plums (for me, it doesn't matter if they are ripe or not!) cut into quarters
3/4 tsp of ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp of ground ginger
4 tbsp of runny honey
a good splash of cold water

Stew these in a medium sized pan for about 12-15 minutes until the plums are soft but not completely disintegrated. Leave to cool and put in a tupaware box in the fridge for the week. Drizzle a couple of tablespoons of the stewed plums into your steaming bowl of porridge. I've also recently begun adding a teaspoon of maca powder as well as my usual sunflower, pumpkin and chia seeds which works quite nicely.

Leave any comments below telling me how you like your porridge in the mornings, or any time of the day really! I hope you all enjoy this new recipe!

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Buckwheat Sweet Potato Farls (with sweet potato mash, dairy-free, gluten- free, egg-free recipe)

In my home we always seem to have some potato bread knocking around in our bread bin. My Dad who is from Ireland has eaten it from a young age, and so quite often I'll find him frying it up for himself and my family on the weekends. So, one day the idea popped into my head when thinking what to do with some leftover sweet potato mash...buckwheat sweet potato farls! I believe that this is a brilliant way of making your leftover mashed potato go that little bit further than just one meal. I was so excited with my idea that I had a quick look at a couple of recipes for the basic potato farl and decided to experiment immediately, and this is how I made mine:


Sweet Potato Mash
Buckwheat Flour
Rice/Soy Milk or any milk of your choice
Sea Salt
Oil for frying


Firstly, heat a splash of milk in a saucepan.

Then flour your surface with buckwheat flour.

Then weigh your leftover mash and then to that add half as much flour to create the dough, for example if you have around 200 grams of sweet potato mash, you would weigh out 100 grams of buckwheat flour.

You might need a little of the warm milk to help bind these together, although it is not always necessary.

Once you've formed a nice soft dough, begin to roll it out to about a 1cm thick rectangle, or thicker if you like!

Then divide this into about 8 farls by simply cutting with a knife; at this point I like to add a sprinkle of sea salt and pepper and finally a sprinkling of buckwheat flour.

You can then add a splash of olive oil to a frying pan on a medium- high heat. Simply add as many farls to your pan as you can and fry for about 1 minute and a half each side, or until a thin layer of browned skin is formed, and then flip and fry for the same amount of time on the other side.

Serve with baked beans, sausages, bacon, eggs, the works, on a lovely Sunday morning, or whatever you like with your sweet potato farls!

I hope you like this recipe, please leave any comments below!

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Cinnamon and Berry Pancakes and a Chocolate Smoothie

For me I love nothing more than a massive pile of pancakes for my breakfast on the weekend (or any day of the week really!). With a blender, these are a wonderfully quick and delicious treat to start off your day. The oats are a great source of energy and the buckwheat flour is full of protein and nutrients. The banana is key in adding sweetness, but I also like to add a squeeze of honey and of course a good sprinkling of cinnamon!  I use cups for pancakes just because I'm too lazy and hungry to get out my weighing scales and be precise with measurements!

So here is my recipe which has come from many a not-so-good pancake attempt, I hope you enjoy.

OB Pancakes Recipe: dairy- free, egg-free, wheat-free and sugar- free

makes about 8-10 pancakes

1/2 a cup of oats (can be gluten- free if you like)
1/2 a cup of buckwheat flour
pinch of salt
1 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon

1/2 a cup of dairy-free milk of your choice (add little splashes if the batter becomes slightly too thick- it needs to be pourable!)
1 banana
2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar/ lemon juice

1 tsp of coconut oil
AND a non-stick pan (I have learnt from too many stuck pancakes in a non non- stick pan!)

Things I like to pop into my pancakes (add only once you've poured the batter in the pan):
cacao nibs

First of all, blend the two flours, salt, baking powder and ground cinnamon til the oats have become a fine consistency too. Then add the milk, banana, lemon juice, vanilla extract and honey and blend until smooth.

Heat the non- stick frying pan with half a tbsp of coconut oil over a medium heat. Add however much pancake batter you like and now is the time to add whatever little things you like (blueberries/ cacao nibs). Allow the sides to bubble and flip!

A good tip from my Grannie to keep the pancakes warm is to place a plate over a saucepan of gently simmering hot water, and then a damp tea towel over the pancakes.

If you'd like to see how I make these pancakes, do click on the video below from my YouTube channel!

What better to have with pancakes, than a beautifully creamy chocolate smoothie...

For the cocoa avocado smoothie: this is my adaptation of Gwyneth Paltrow's 'Creamy Avocado + Cacao Smoothie' from 'It's All Good' just because I didn't have raw cacao powder!

makes 1 serving:

1/2 a ripe avocado
1/2 a cup of dairy- free milk
1/2 a cup of water/ coconut water
1 tbsp of cocoa powder (Gwyneth uses raw cacao powder so more cocoa powder is required here )
1/2 tbsp of honey
1 tbsp of flaxseed

You can also add a sprinkling of cacao nibs, if you like!

Before you blend all the ingredients, I like to put a glass in the freezer for a good couple of minutes so that you have a lovely cold glass for your smoothie!

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Courgetti Bolognese

One of my favourite meals is spaghetti bolognese so I thought I'd post my own version of this which has two possibilities in terms of meat: either beef mince or the leaner turkey mince.

Originally, pancetta would be used as well as the beef or if one were to follow the great Italian cook Gennaro Contaldo's recipe, he uses a combination of pork, veal and beef mince. However, I decided to try turkey mince not so long ago and was very pleased with the results. Since getting my spiralizer the first thing I tried was making courgetti, and I found that it works very well with this dish. Of course, you can always have normal spaghetti too!

My Courgetti Bolognese (dairy-free, gluten -free)

Serves 4

500 g of either beef or turkey mince

1 onion chopped
2 carrots
2 celery stalks
1 clove of garlic chopped finely

a good splash of red wine (if you don't have any wine, I sometimes use red wine vinegar or white wine vinegar to give the dish the acidic flavour)
salt and pepper
a can of chopped tomatoes
2 bay leaves
3 sprigs of fresh rosemary or 1 and a half tbsp of dried rosemary
2tbsp of tomato puree or tomato ketchup
500 ml of chicken stock

4 courgettes or 450 grams of spaghetti 

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (optional)

Start by browning your mince in a large frying pan- you do not need any oil for this because the fat will come from the meat itself.
At this stage it is important to break up the mince so that it doesn't form big clumps, so I like using either two metal egg flips or you can use a whisk to break it up.

Once it is browned, I drain most of the fat from the mince and then add (in this order) the wine, salt and pepper, the soffritto (onion, carrots, celery), the garlic and the chopped tomatoes. Then add the rosemary and bay leaves and tomato puree or ketchup. After this, add about 350 ml of chicken stock, the remainder can be used if the bolognese needs a little loosening up. 

Simmer on a low heat with a lid on for at least 40 minutes.

Meanwhile you can prepare the courgetti or spaghetti once the bolognese has been cooking for about 25 minutes. You can have the courgetti raw or I like to soften it for a couple of minutes in a frying pan with a little drizzle of olive oil.

If you don't have a spiralizer, a good way of making courgetti (actually more like parpadelle) is to use a peeler and peel long paper thin strips of courgette.

Once the bolognese has become a beautiful rich colour and consistency, either mix some with your courgetti or spaghetti and then top off with a good spoonful of sauce on top. I then always pour olive oil on top and add a little pepper. Of course you can also add cheese, but because I'm allergic I leave that out!

I hope you enjoy my recipe, leave any comments below to let me know what you think!

Monday, 16 June 2014

A breakfast jar: homemade muesli with cinnamon, soy yoghurt and a blueberry syrup

Instagram is a great place to find inspiration for breakfast. Recently, I've come across the idea of a breakfast jar which offers endless possibilities of delicious layers all combined in a jam jar! From chia pudding with fresh fruit to granola and yoghurt and much much more. Having made my own muesli, I decided to give this idea a go, and ended up with three delightful layers. I won't put quantities for this recipe as you might want more or less according to how hungry you are!

Cinnamon Blueberry Muesli Breakfast Jar:

Alpro Simply Plain Soy Yoghurt  (or any other yoghurt you like)
Muesli ( my homemade muesli recipe)
Blueberry syrup ( 1 tbsp of maple syrup heated with 3 tbsp of blueberries until it forms a jam- like consistency)
Top with flaxseeds and chia seeds and a sprinkling of cinnamon. 

I began with a layer of yoghurt, then added some of the blueberry syrup, then the muesli and continued until I had several layers. I then topped with 1tbsp of flaxseeds and 1tsp of chia seeds and a sprinkling of cinnamon, for one serving. 

My Homemade Muesli Recipe (dairy- free, nut- free and wheat- free)


For my first ever post on my new blog I thought that I should begin with a recipe for breakfast (or for anytime of the day if you're like me!). Recently I found a brand called Pertwood Organic Farm which makes delicious mueslis, including one which is dairy- free, nut- free and wheat- free.

Being allergic to nuts and several other things, I was very excited to try their 'Fruit and Seeds'. I loved it so much that I would go through one box quite quickly; as a student this was becoming expensive so I decided to try and make up my own recipe. I ended up with a delicious, healthy muesli with no added sugar which should last for a long time and save me a lot of money!

I buy a 1.5kg bag of porridge oats from Sainsbury's range for £1.60 which lasts me quite a while at a very good price. I will list the price for the rest of the ingredients below which I bought from Holland & Barrett.

My homemade dairy-free, nut-free and wheat- free muesli:

Makes enough for 1 jar or about 780 g

150 grams of oat flakes (£0.16)
150 grams of barley flakes (£0.38)
100 grams of sultanas (£0.60)
 50 grams of dried apricots (£0.30)
150 grams of rye flakes (£0.40)
50 grams of sunflower seeds (£0.50)
 30 grams of linseeds (£0.24)
 50 grams of pumpkin seeds (£0.80)
Optional: half a teaspoon of cinnamon 

Measure all of the ingredients and mix well. I also like to use a spirtle, or any wooden spoon would be fine, to break down some of the oats and seeds so that there's a mix of fine and whole flakes.

Serve with cold milk and enjoy!

I like to pour the milk and leave it for a few minutes so that the muesli soaks up some of the milk and becomes thicker.