Girls just wanna have fun….

Today I spent some time with my Daughter.

She has lived with her boyfriend for 2 years now, and we don’t see each other enough due to work and life in general – the last meaningful time we spent together was on her birthday back in June…

IMG_4902

We caught up on gossip, chose some gifts for her boyfriends birthday at the end of the month then at lunchtime, met one of her friends and we went for lunch.

Her friend is having a hard time at the moment, so needs a bit of time out of her day to day life…

IMG_4897

We went to a local pub that looks out over the Solent. I had a Cajun salmon fillet with salad, Daughter has her favourite Moules with crusty bread and her friend had a Steak Baguette – all delicious 😋

IMG_4896

The green is where my children spent most of their summers, bombing in and out of the sea and playing various games on the grass. Picnics and Icecream on tap

IMG_4898

We are very lucky to live here, I once took them away and passed Birmingham, I stopped at the base of one of the tower blocks there and asked them to think about the children that lived here, on the upper floors and how lucky we are to have the life we do, at the time I think it went over their heads – but they do remember it, so it must have struck a cord. I am in no way saying living in a tower block is bad, just different from the life style we have.

IMG_4895

 

Anyway, after a pleasant lunch, we headed home and Grace and her friend got ready for their girls night out, meeting a big group of their friends.

IMG_4899

They will join us for a drink at the pub, we meet our friends most Friday night, catch up on gossip before going our separate ways. All of our grown up children join us at some point or other when they are around – or skint 🤣🤣

Although my nest isn’t as empty as I feared when I started this blog, I do miss the kids company but am pleased they still find time for us ‘olds’

Happy Friday everyone x

 

Chicken, Broccoli and Cashew Stir fry Healthy Low Carb Fakeaway

Chicken, Broccoli and Cashew Stirfry – I have been hungry all day, so dinner needs to be a good one.

IMG_4745

It’s a healthier Low Carb version of the favourite Chicken and Broccoli

IMG_4746

I start with th dressing. 4 tablespoons of dark Soy sauce, 3 tablespoons of peanut butter, a good squeeze of Honey, a thumb size piece of grated ginger and a tablespoon of water to loosen the mix – stir thoroughly and set aside.

IMG_4752

I defrosted 4 chicken breast in the fridge overnight, these are cut into bite sized pieces.

IMG_4750

chop 2 fat cloves of garlic.

IMG_4748

Finely slice a red bell pepper and a yellow pepper, A bunch of Spring Onions. Break up a head of Broccoli into small florets and slice the stalk.

IMG_4753

In a tablespoon of Veg oil, cook the chicken over a medium heat, add the garlic

IMG_4754

add the onions, peppers

IMG_4755

and the Broccoli.

IMG_4756

Toss together and cook for a few minutes then add the cashews and the dressing

IMG_4757

Stir through, season to taste

IMG_4758

Serve…. Fakeaway in less time than it would take to order a takeaway 😊

Over noodles for the men

 

 

Vietnamese Beef Stew – Slow Cook Sunday Low Carb with 80 Acres Cabernet Shiraz Merlot

Vietnamese Beef Stew – a delicious cross between a curry and a stew, rich and spicy Beef slow cooked in the oven or slow cooker.

IMG_4710

The weather is cooler, so I thought a more substantial meal was needed, I bought 700g of stewing steak at Aldi this week, and had intended to cook a beef curry, however, whilst flicking through Pinterest I can across This recipe for a Vietnamese one pot Beef Stew – had to give it a go 🤗 Adapted, of course to what I have in.

IMG_4709

The Beef needs to be marinated for at least an hour in a mixture of a table spoon of flour (I am using Coconut flour), a teaspoon of 5 spice powder, 2 finely diced pieces of lemon grass, 3 crushed cloves of garlic, salt, pepper, 2 tablespoons of dark soy sauce and a tablespoon of dark brown sugar

IMG_4716

I peel and chop the lemon grass and garlic in my Bamix mini chopper,

IMG_4714

then mix together with the other ingredients

IMG_4715

and coat the Beef, cover and set aside to marinate.

IMG_4718

I start by browning the marinated Beef, a couple of minutes tossed in a little veg oil over a med/high heat.  Add 2 medium diced onions, and finely sliced Chilli or 2 (to your liking), Stir and lightly fry.  Then add a tin of chopped tomatoes, a good squirt of tomato purée, a teaspoon of cinnamon, 2 star anise, 600 ml Beef stock (2 x oxo)

IMG_4719

Mix this all together, then pop into a medium oven (160) for an hour.

IMG_4723After and hour add approx 500g of diced butternut squash,

IMG_4728

stir in and return the pot to the oven for another hour till the Beef is falling apart.

IMG_4730

 

I am having mine as it comes, the butternut squash is fairly carby, so I don’t need anything else.

Serve with whatever you fancy, rice, noodles, chunks of crusty bread.

This could be done in a slow cooker, marinate and brown the meat then put all of the ingredients into the slow cooker and cook for 4-6 hours depending on the slow cooker you have – you may want to reduce the quantity of fluid as it doesn’t evaporate as much.

IMG_4726

I have matched this to the 2nd bottle of wine that Aldi has kindly sent me to try, again Wakefields 80 Acres, the same environmental credentials but this time a Cabernet Shiraz Merlot – ripe cherries with a kick of black Pepper Amazing with this spiced Stew, one to drink with rich food or strong cheeses – I enjoy red wine, Hubby less so, but even he said this one was good with the meal somit must be true 🤣

Spanish Chicken and Chorizo Stew Simple Midweek Supper

After yesterday’s cookathon I wanted to make something much more simple today.

IMG_4434

I have some Chorizo to use up, so I pulled some Chicken out of the freezer and will make a ‘throw it all in’ chicken and Chorizo stew. It’s Low Carb for me, but can be bulked out with rice, pasta or chunky bread 😍

IMG_4435

I start by peeling and dicing a medium brown onion and a couple of fat cloves of garlic, this is gently fried in a large pan, add salt, pepper and a teaspoon of smoked paprika.

IMG_4437

Peel the skin from the chorizo and cut into bite size chunks, add to the pan and stir through, the lovely paprika oil will start to come out, I have added a good glug of Sherry as I think it adds a gorgeous depth to the dish.

IMG_4438

Chop the chicken into large chunks and fry off too.

IMG_4439

I have used up 2 red bell peppers and a yellow one (Spanish flag 💃), which are chopped into large chunks and added to the pan.

IMG_4440

Add a tin of chopped tomatoes, and fill the empty tin with water and add that too.

IMG_4441

Turn the heat right down and allow to simmer and thicken for 20-30 minutes.

 

IMG_4443

I am serving this by itself for me

Hubby with have his with flatbreads from yesterday

This is a lovely spicy warming dish full of flavour

 

Persian spiced Leg of Lamb with Fattoush, flatbreads and Homemade Lemon Curd Pavlova

We are having an (almost) Family meal, eldest can’t make it, being on the mainland. I wanted something, I could throw (not literally) in the middle of the table and everyone can tuck in.

IMG_4418

Using another one of my food heroes, Sabrina Ghayhor as inspiration, her book Persiana is one of my favourite reads, the photographs are stunning- this isn’t sponsored, just appreciation of a good book 😇 This recipe is based on her Recipe for Souk spiced Lamb.

IMG_4372

I started with a leg of lamb,

IMG_4370

covered in a Yoghurt based paste made with Ras el Hanout (a delicious mix of spices and rose petals, which is a different mix depending where you buy it) lemon zest, a little chilli, salt and pepper – 2 tablespoons of Ras el Hanout is mixed into a pot of Aldi whole fat Greek Yoghurt with the lemon zest and seasoning.

IMG_4373

Take the leg of lamb, and make deep cuts evenly all over it

IMG_4371

spread the Yoghurt mix liberally all over the lamb

IMG_4374

I have left this in the fridge overnight, to allow those amazing spices to filter through the lamb.

IMG_4426

When ready, this will be placed in an ovenproof tray, covered with foil, into a 160 oven for approx 4 hours – remove the foil for the last 30-40 minutes,  be prepared, as your house will smell amazing….

IMG_4416.JPG

To go with this main event, I have made loads of flatbreads, I have made these a lot before so here is a Linky

IMG_4430Along with this will be a Cous Cous Salad – soak 25g of Cous Cous in 100ml hot Veg stock, stir through and cover for 10 minutes – loosen the grains with a fork, add olive oil, lemon juice, sliced spring onion, diced red pepper, deseeded chopped cucumber, salt and pepper – lots of chopped fresh herbs, I have used coriander, mint and flat leaf parsley.

IMG_4432I bought a whole Pomegranate, this takes me back to being a kid, and my grandparents giving me one with a pin to pick out the ruby pearls  I am slightly more robust with them now, cutting it in half, and using the flat side of a wooden spoon ‘smack’ the skin side over a bowl and they pop out – any reluctant ones can be coaxed out by hand – this can get a bit messy, so watch out for low flying Pomegranate juice – it is worth it just look at these…..

 

 

IMG_4429A fatoush salad a mix of cucumber, tomato, spring onion, fresh coriander, fresh flat leaf parsley, Sumac, Lemon juice, salt, pepper and olive oil and pomegranate seeds – I have made this without the traditional toasted flatbread.

 

IMG_4417Hummus – into a food processor tip a rinsed can of chickpeas, olive oil, lemon juice, a clove of garlic and blitz till smooth- I top this with Dukkha a mix of spiced and crushed pistachio.

IMG_4404

With pickled red onion – finely sliced red onion covered in red wine vinegar with a touch of sugar, give it a good mix and leave in the fridge till ready, at least and hour, but if covered it will keep for a week in the fridge.

IMG_4427

I will be having all but the Cous Cous and flatbreads, so doing pretty well 😇

I am making Homemade meringue with Homemade Lemon curd, whipped cream and strawberries. I use a lemon skin to run around the inside of my Kitchen Aid bowl and the whisk attachment, this ensures any grease is got rid of.

IMG_4388I add 8 egg whites, whisking to firm peaks before adding a tablespoon of cider vinegar and 230g caster sugar (I blitzed granulated sugar in the Thermomix) Add the sugar bit by bit

IMG_4391the egg mix will start to look thick and glossy.

IMG_4392Into a baking paper lined oven tray, carefully add the egg mix, either into one large base, or 8-10 large individual ones – this is what I have gone for – making sure there are a good amount of ‘dips’ for the cream and toppings.

 

These go into a preheated oven (100 fan) for about an hour and a half – they should be crisp on the outside and have very little colour, if at all – I turn the oven off, and pop a handle of a wooden spoon into the oven door and leave them till fully cooled.

I whisk double cream to a thick dropping consistency which is blobbed onto each meringue,

IMG_4402

with a good drizzle of homemade Lemon Curd which I have made before so here’s the Link

IMG_4428

Sliced fresh strawberries finish it off 😇

I am having strawberries and cream to fit my Low Carbing.

Ultimate Fakeaway Fully Loaded Burger, Dirty Fries and Homemade Ginger Icecream

Bloomin famished today – nothing but a big old burger will do 😉 We ate our main meal at lunchtime today, as we are out later.  No bun, a a few sweet potato fries for me – Sometimes it’s good to be bad 😜

IMG_4234

Its a trendy thing the burger now, gone the flaccid White roll, anaemic burger with a squidge of ketchup

IMG_4237bring on the mega burgers and their partners the dirty fries…

IMG_2373

I have 100% Beef quarter pounder burgers, crispy smoked streaky bacon, cheese slices, Mayo, BBQ sauce along with lettuce, tomato and onion slices

IMG_3342

in a toasted Brioche bun for the men

IMG_3028

The burgers need to be flame Grilled to get the best taste in my opinion, but griddled or grilled is fine, I’ve griddled mine – CBA to light the BBQ 🙃

IMG_4242

The fries are thin cut French fries with a Cajun spice mix,

onion rings topped off with shredded Lettuce, spring onion, BBQ sauce, a sour cream dressing, crispy bacon bits and a defibrillator 😉

IMG_4248

My version was a burger (buried under the salad) no bun, a scant handful of sweet potato fries, 3 onion rings and loads of salad

IMG_4250

Sometimes it’s good to be bad 😇

IMG_1871

For dessert we are having homemade Ginger Icecream with optional

IMG_1281

dark chocolate sauce 😜 (I am forgoing this for the sake of my newly appearing waist 😭) I have made this before so here is a Link