Mussels with garlic and parsley

A very healthy and satisfying supper with fresh crusty bread to mop up the tasty juices. You will need a large pan with a tightly fitting lid to contain the mussels.

INGREDIENTS

  • I bag fresh mussels
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 150ml/5¼fl oz white wine
  • 150ml/5¼fl oz double cream
  • small bunch flatleaf parsley, chopped

METHOD

1. First give your mussels a good clean. Wash in lots of cold water before tackling the ‘beards’. To remove the stringy bears, give them a good tug and wiggle from side to side until they come away from the mussel.

2. Discard any broken mussels or those which are open and won’t shut tight when you tap them.

3. When this has been done leave to one side while you heat the olive oil and gently sweat the onion in a large pan. When it is softened, add the garlic and cook for a further few minutes.

4. Add the white wine and allow it to come to the boil. As soon as this happens, throw in the mussels and turn down the heat.

5. Put a lid on the pan and let the mussels steam for 4-5 minutes until all the mussels are wide open. Stir from time to time to distribute the heat.

6. Add the cream and cook for another minute or so, then season with salt and pepper and scatter over the chopped parsley.

7. Serve immediately, discarding any mussels which haven’t opened.

Engery Boost Biscuits

Healthy Biscuits

healthy biscuits on slate plate with fruit

Perfect for breakfast on the go, mid-afternoon energy boost with a nice cup of tea or at any time of day. These are no-cook easily put together biscuits to keep in the biscuit tin for a healthy refuel. I keep all the ingredients for this in a separate airtight storage tub make up a batch quickly. These are also ideal for those of us students in need of a sweet distraction from staring at books.

 

 

 

 

Healthy Energy Boost Biscuits

Recipe

50g each of dried dates & dried apricots & 20g dried cranberries

100g porridge oats

30g wheat germ or oat bran

20g desiccated coconut

20g linseeds juice zest of one unwaxed lemon

1 Tablespoon of maple syrup or honey

2 Tablespoons cold-pressed flax oil

 

Lightly oil a small baking tin ( I use a square 8 ½ inch/22cm size)

Finely chop the dried fruits and add to the rest of the ingredients

Mix all the ingredients in a food processor until firm dough is formed. Press the mixture evenly into your tin to a thickness of about 2cm.

Chill in the fridge for about an hour, then cut into squares ready to eat. Can be stored in the fridge or in an airtight container in the cupboard.

IMG_3188

 

 

HOMEMADE PEA AND HAM SOUP

A very quick and tasty soup to make for lunch. You can also use up bacon if you have a couple of rashers in the fridge, rather than the ham which makes it a cheaper option for students.

Serves 2 as main course or 4 as a starter

 INGREDIENTS

1 Tablespoon mild olive oil (or butter if you prefer)

1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped

1 large potato, peeled and cut into cubes

400g frozen peas

400ml chicken stock (made from 1 x Knorr gel stock pot)

200ml milk

100g packet ham hock (cooked, diced ham)

 

METHOD

  1. Heat the oil or butter in a large saucepan on low or medium heat, then add the onion and potato, season with salt and pepper, then stir to coat the vegetables in the oil.
  2. Put a lid on the pan, cook on a low heat for 8-10 minutes, until the potatoes are tender and the onions are soft and translucent.
  3. Make up the stock by adding 1 x gel stock pot to 400ml of boiling water. Add the peas and stock to the pan, then bring to the boil. Cook for a couple of minutes until all of the peas have floated to the top of the stock and are tender and bright.
  4. Take the pan off the heat. Using a stick blender, process the peas until very smooth. Add the milk and process again.
  5. Bring the soup back to a simmer, then season to taste with freshly ground black pepper. Both the ham and the stock are fairly salty, so you may not need to add salt.
  6. Stir the ham through the soup and serve.

Approx. cost = £4.50 (this pea soup without ham would be £2.50, so you could consider using up some rashers of bacon. Simply cook off and add at the end in place of the ham)

Easiest Pizza Recipe

You’ll never buy a pizza again after trying this fantastically easy recipe. If you have never made your own pizza, it doesn’t get easier than this. The only thing to remember is to have a really hot, pre-heated oven, and strong bread flour rather than normal flour. I have also taught pizza making in coeliac cooking classes which were very popular. We used Dove’s Farm Gluten Free Bread Flour http://www.dovesfarm.co.uk/biscuits-and-cookies/gluten-free/gluten-free-white-bread-flour-x-1kg/

You can use a flat baking sheet, but I use these pizza bases from Lakeland. They are a good investment if you want to make pizza on a regular basis.<

Both my sons agree that this is a very tasty pizza and well worth the small amount of effort!

For 2 x 33cm/13 inch  diameter pizzas

IMG_1941For the base

  • 300g strong white bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 200ml warm water

Basic margherita topping

  • 4 Tablespoons of tomato puree
  • 125g mozzarella
  • 3-4 Tablespoons grated Parmesan
  • 2-3 Tablespoons grated cheddar (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 240C/220C for fan or Gas 8. Make sure you do this well in advance so that oven is really hot when you are ready to bake
  2. Place the flour in a bowl with the yeast and salt and mix well
  3. Add the oil and warm water and mix to a sticky ball
  4. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for five minutes
  5. Divide the dough in two and roll and stretch each out into a 33cm/13 inch or so round shape. You will find the dough quite tough to work with so exercise patience and a bit of elbow grease and you’ll get there.
  6. Place the rounds onto baking sheets or pizza crispers
  7. Spread the tomato puree evenly over both bases
  8. Drain and pat the mozzarella with kitchen towel to dry as much as possible. Tear into little pieces and scatter evenly over the pizza bases.
  9. Sprinkle over the cheddar and Parmesan and cook for 8-10 minutes until base is crispy

TIPS:

From this base you can add any toppings you like, such as extra grated cheddar, pepperoni, fresh tomatoes etc. If you only want to cook one pizza you can store the other rolled out pizza in the fridge for a day until ready to use, or you can wrap the dough before it is rolled and freeze until ready to use. It will defrost in an hour, so ready to use when you need it.

NOTE: If you have a bit more time, you can leave the dough to rise for an hour before knocking back and rolling out. This will give a lighter base.