Friday, 23 March 2012

Sunshine, frolics and best-o the Pest-o!

Wow what a B-E-A-utiful day today!!!! 18degrees in Cardiff....a welcome relief from the cold! I love Britain when the sun comes out! It's like we've never seen it before....we emerge from our dens all bleary eyed and pale skinned, yawning as we look in the sky astonished at what's before us....What is this round yellow disc thing in the sky? Why am I blinking more? And why do I suddenly feel roasting in all my layers? Oh yes that's right its only bloody sunshine! Woop! And thus the madness ensues. We all flock to the beach with barely anything on, rubbing factor 30 into our skins (the old school among us still do the horrific baby oil/vegetable oil trick. WRONG!) ferociously and still praying for a tan!
I am afraid one of those people (not a veg oil rubber!) but rather someone who goes crazy once the sunshine comes out! I'm glad I have a daughter because if I didn't I'm not sure I could be accountable for my actions!.....I just want to frolic and play! (sounds so basically means I want to spend the day in a beer garden in the country getting tipsy!)
As soon as I saw the weather report this morning I went straight into my bathroom, doused myself in fake tan (and my entire bathroom too.....i'm so glad I don't have a partner because if I did I could imagine them kicking off at our new 'orange' decor!! ;p), then donned a dress and some big ass sunglasses, got my daughter ready and spent a hedonistic (not really) 6 hours in the sunshine!
This is me in my dads back garden today, soaking up even more sunshine  after cycling around probably half of Cardiff and visiting a few play parks with the kiddo!

GLORIOUS! I don't know why but the sunshine absolutely knocks me out so tonight I wanted a nice simple easy dinner. I had lots of coriander in my fridge so I thought i'd knock up a nice coriander pesto as a change from the usual basil. I must admit I've never tried coriander pesto before...I was a bit dubious as Coriander is such a strong herb. But I needn't have worried. It was gorgeous. I cannot wait to make this again and use it in different recipes. SOOOOO yummy!
The actual recipe is an adaptation of a BBC food one I saw. I added a couple of ingredients and also omitted some of theirs to make it healthier and the result was an amazingly fragrant zesty beautiful sauce that I could've just eaten on its own, in fact mine and Seren's fingers kept 'accidently' dipping in the yumminess.
Anyways... enough of me salivating over it AGAIN here is the result and the recipe follows :)

Coriander Pesto Pasta served with balsamic roasted cherry tomatoes

2cm piece of ginger grated
1 garlic clove crushed
1 red chilli de-seeded and finely chopped (I used a few tsps of chilli flakes as had no fresh in)
20g Fresh Coriander Leaves 
Zest and juice of one lime (I used bottled lime juice...again no fresh in!)
2tbsps of Soy Sauce
1tbsp of Olive oil
1tbsp of grated parmesan
1/2tsp Caster Sugar
Cherry Tomatoes
Balsamic Glaze
Olive Oil for drizzling....oooo drizzle!

Preheat oven to 200degrees
- Place all pesto ingredients (that's everything bar the cherry toms and balsamic glaze) into a food processor and blitz up! (I have a hand held blender and that worked fine)
- Place cherry toms on a baking tray, drizzle on olive oil and balsamic glaze and pop into the oven
- Put your pasta onto boil and cook until al-dente, I used wholewheat fusilli which took about 15mins
- When the pasta is done, drain and mix up with your pesto.
- Take the toms out of the oven and serve on top. I also made up a big side salad and drizzled on even more balsamic glaze (I'm addicted to the stuff!)

And that's it... Simples and done in less than 30mins!!!! ENJOY :)

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

I am NOT a bean eating veggie hippy.....ok maybe a little!

As part of my healthier lifestyle and of course to get little monster (daughter) to eat veggies I try to have a few meatless meals per week.....I am a big fan of beans and peas. Love em and not just talking about the Heinz variety (as lovely as they are!) I love any kind, butterbeans, kidney, cannellini etc etc. Ok lets face it, I just love food! (except Fennel....that's the devils vegetable...I'll come to that another time)

So tonight I was really looking forward to making chickpea burgers. I love chickpeas, they're such an unassuming food item, don't really look much but look at what they give us! Falafels, hummus etc! YUMMY.
So I started caramelizing my onions ready for the burger, I went to the cupboard to get the chickpeas out.... and what did I see. Bloody nothing. Forgotten them hadn't I?!?!?!!!.....I swear to god I am dippier than a bloody chicken dipper sometimes! Luckily lurking at the back of my cupboard like a troll under a bridge was a tin of butterbeans. WINNER. I love butterbeans just as much as chickpeas and luckily they'd work in this recipe just as well so job done!
I was also wanting something yummy that'll satisfy my 'why aren't you feeding me junk food witch!!!' cravings from the belfry. I saw something the other day that I wanted to try. Its a healthy adaptation of TGI Friday's Deep Fried Green Beans. You know the ridiculously moreish ones that come in a little bucket with an amazeballs dip and you just wanna dive right in there like Tom Daly at the olympics? Yea those ones. I can honestly say the healthy version is absolutely gorgeous. Don't just take my word for it....try em!
And of course I HAD to follow up with a sweet since it would be rude not too with all those veggies flying around. I can't be 100% good now can I...that would just be sick and wrong!!! (however dessert was actually quite low fat too! My aren't I good??) ;)

So here we go! Piccies and Recipes below!!

BBQ Butterbean Burgers with seasoned Sweet potato fries and Crispy Green Bean Oven Fries

Burger Ingredients:
(Makes 4)
One can of Butterbeans, drained, rinsed and mashed
1/2 chopped onion (red or decide i.e. whatever you've got in!)
1 medium carrot peeled and grated
1/2 clove garlic crushed (or more if you wanna keep minging Edward Cullen at bay...Team jacob! ;p)
1tsp Paprika
1-2 Tbsps BBQ sauce (Shop bought is just fine!)
- Fry off onions on a very low heat with a couple of pinches of sugar for around 10-20 mins until they're soft and getting wonderfully caramel in colour (I used fry light but you can use olive oil, butter, oil etc)
- at this point add the grated carrot and cook off for another few mins
- Take off the heat and combine all ingredients together, shape into burgers (Should make around 4) and then put on a plate to chill in the fridge for around 30 minutes so they firm up. (If yours are sloppy then add some flour to your mix)

Seasoned Sweet Potato Fries ingredints (this is enough for two....chop up more pots for more people)

One sweet potato sliced into chips/fries
1tsp chilli powder
2 tsps garlic granules/powder
1tbsp Paprika (smoked preferably)
1tsp oregano (mixed herbs if you don't have it)
2 tsps Olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2tsp Cumin

place all ingredients in a bowl...stir until combined and all potato fries are evenly coated...Simples!

Crispy Green Bean Oven Fries Ingredients
One pack of trimmed green beans (around 200g...I only used 100g though as there's two of us)
2 egg whites beaten
2 slices of wholemeal bread turned into breadcrumbs 
A couple of Tbsps of wholemeal flour (plain if you don't have any wholemeal)
1Tbsp Cornflour
1Tbsp Garlic powder
1Tbsp Paprika
2tsps salt
1tsp pepper
2tsps mixed herbs

- Blanch the beans (Boil for 3-5 mins until bright green and then drain and plunge straight into icy cold water to stop them cooking. Then drain again)
- Mix the breadcrumbs, cornflour, garlic, salt, pepper and herbs in a bowl and make sure evenly combined.
- Add the flour to a sandwich bag and chuck in the beans. Give them a good shake to  ensure they are all coated evenly.
- Take the beans out one at a time, shake off excess flour, dip in the egg whites and then put in the breadcrumb mixture, toss about a bit to make sure they have enough coating and then line up on a baking sheet. Continue this process for the rest of the beans.

Now to cook! 
- Preheat oven to 180degrees. When ready pop in the burgers and the seasoned fries. 
- After 10 minutes add the beans on the shelf below
- Cook everything for a further 15-20 minutes until everything is looking crisp and done!
- Serve up the burgers with whatever you want on them! We had Slices of cheese and loads of bbq sauce on top and salad.

- I also whizzed up a quick garlic mayo...Mayonnaise and a clove of crushed garlic and a splash of lemon juice. Was a perfect dipping sauce for the Green Beans and we wolfed it all down!!!

Now the best part...........Dessert!

Chocolate Philadelphia 'No Bake' Creme Brulee

Fruit...Chocolate....and sugar that makes the most amazing crack as you smash through it eagerly with your spoon. I think I died and went to heaven....I hope this isn't heaven as my house is still a tip!

Tub of Chocolate Philadelphia (I only used around half as was just making the one....If I made anymore I would've been tempting (fat)e. 
2Tbsps of Greek Yogurt (You could use natural yogurt but due to the more liquid consistency the brulee wont be as 'set') many as you want! I had some frozen fruits of the forest in the freezer so just used a small handful of those and defrosted them!
2 Tsps granulated sugar

- put choc philly and greek yogurt in a bowl and heat gently to combine til you have a velvety smooth mixture (Please refrain from putting your face in at this tempting as it may be!)
- Layer your fruit at the bottom of your ramekins and pour on choc mixture
- Put into fridge for a good few hours for the mixture to harden up (note it won't be as set as a traditional creme brulee as you don't have the fat from the eggs to harden it...but it still goes quite firm)
- An hour before ready to serve, take out of the fridge and top with your sugar, use a blow torch to carmelise the sugar...If you don't have a blow torch; heat your grill on its highest setting and place the brulee's under there until its melted. Then pop them back in the fridge for around an hour before serving.

Et voila you have a low fat gorgeous creme brulee that really does hit the spot!! I swear to god I could've eaten ten of them....then i'd be moaning at you all about getting fat again! So glad I only made one! 

My favourite part!!! Getting your spoon and smashing through that thick sugar layer to reveal the creamy goodness underneath.... Small things :)



Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Oh what a falafel!

I cannot believe its been over a month and a half since my last post!! Life most certainly got in the way, but now things have settled down again i'm back on the proverbial blog horse and thrifty bandwagon!
This month is proving to be exceeeeedingly tight for me! I'm afraid too much of a good time celebrating the Six Nations (Go on wales!!! Woop!) has left Thrifty's purse emptier than a bankers heart!

I have a delicious supper recipe for you today, it really was scrummy....and even better than that its healthy and good for getting veg in the kiddies (or the fellas....whoever is worse!!).

So here is the recipe. Easy, quick and yums!

Sweet potato falafels served in pitta breads with houmous and homemade coleslaw

First up the coleslaw!
1/4 white cabbage shredded finely (If you want some more colour/flavour add 1/4 red cabbage too)
1 small onion sliced finely (I use a few spring onions as prefer the flavour...tis up to your preferences!)
2 Tbsps of Mayo - (I use extra light)
2 Tbsps Natural Yogurt - (I used fat free)
2 Tbsps Red Wine Vinegar
1 tsp sugar (I use splenda to keep the cals down again)
1-2 medium carrots grated
1 tsp Mustard (Dijon or Wholegrain work particularly well)

- Add the cabbage, onion and carrots in a bowl. Then add the mustard, sugar and vinegar and stir to combine.
- Leave to marinate for a while...could be 10mins could be 30 it all depends on how quick you want dins to be ready! ;) Tis at your discretion!
- Add the mayo and natural yogurt and stir, put in fridge until ready to serve.

Sweet Potato Falafels
1-2 medium sweet potatoes (If feeding more than four people use 3 at least)
2 Garlic Cloves crushed (I didnt have any in so used a few tsps of garlic powder instead...worked fine)
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsps ground coriander
1 handful of fresh coriander chopped
Juice of 1/2 lemon, again I had no fresh lemon but used a tbsp or so of bottled lemon juice
Flour....if you need it. My mixture wasn't too wet so I didn't add it but if it you need too then add away (Gram would be ideal....wholemeal if not).

- Preheat oven to 180degrees
- Cook Sweet potatoes in microwave (i'm alllll about the easy route!) for 6 odd all depends on size so keep checking on them.
- Once cooked leave to cool for a few mins and then peel off the skin, it comes off fairly easily no peeler needed!
- Add the potatoes to a bowl and mash, add all the other ingredients and stir to combine. At this point taste test, if you think it needs anything more then add it, also season with salt and pepper if you feel inclined.
- Shape the mixture into small balls and place on an oiled baking sheet (I only used one medium sized sweet potato and it made 10 falafels)
- Place in oven and cook for 15-20 mins until slightly golden brown all over
- You can either grill your pittas or put them in the toaster....again lazy girl option = toaster! When puffed up cut upon and smear on as much houmous as you like, then fill with salad or some of the coleslaw and top with your falafels. Serve with a big dollop of your coleslaw on the side and bobs your uncle. Healthy, nutritious and a yummy supper for the fam in less than 30mins!