Return of the Mac and Cheese.

mac-and-cheese

Nothing is more satisfying than Mac and Cheese, well hold on tight, because if you add broccoli and bacon then you have a dream come true. This loving dish can be on the table in 15 minutes flat, and really 15 minutes, not Jamie Oliver 15 minute meals, that really take 45 minutes. I did use cauliflower, for a take on cauliflower cheese, but it looked too beige, even my 4 year old asked “why is it all the same colour’. So a bit of broccoli and bacon spruces it up.

I’ve gone on a bit about cheese sauce on this blog, which I didn’t realise until now. So I’ll be lazy, due to being in a Mac and Cheese coma,  and just post the link for the cheese sauce from a previous recipe. The secret ingredient is again, nutmeg.

Also if you fancy another take on Cauliflower cheese, then you can visit the archives for this delicious and equally as satisfying recipe. It’s made with coconut milk , if you’re looking for a healthier option.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

Floret of broccoli, cut up very small

100g macaroni pasta

Cheese Sauce:

1.2 litres (2 pints) whole fat milk

50g (2oz) butter

50g  (20z) plain flour

250g (8oz) mature cheddar cheese, grated

Salt and pepper

Teaspoon of nutmeg

Method:

Put the cut up broccoli and pasta in a pan together and boil for 7-8 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a frying pan, follow the link for the cheese sauce directions, and add nutmeg instead of paprika at the end.

Stir it all together, then in the frying pan you used for the cheese sauce, cut up 3 thick strips of smoked bacon and fry until crispy. I use scissors to do this.

Add the bacon sprinkled on top to the dishes of mac and cheese.

 

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Peanut Butter, Noodle, Soulful Soup

This little bowl of comfort will make all the wrongs in the world right. Its super healthy and cleansing, as its packed with vegetables, and the dollop of peanut butter makes it creamy and soothing. I am currently sneezing and coughing whilst writing this. And I love to make this when I’m feeling run down, ill or in need of some warmth and self love. It’s satisfyingly filling, and I think that’s because there is so much goodness in one bowl. I’m currently up to my eye balls in antibiotics and ibuprofen so I’m not sure any of this makes sense, it does to me in my ill world.

This is so easy as well, as after you’ve prepared the veg, then you basically chuck it all in the pan. If your a ninja veg cutter, you can have this on the table in 15 minutes.

Try with some shavings of cheese or some salmon flakes.

Also just to note I had a  courgette already in the fridge, as due to a wet winter and snow in unexpected places in Europe, there is a shortage of courgettes, I went to buy one and it was £2.30. So they are worth their weight in gold at the moment. So maybe use a spiralized parsnip instead. Or if you don’t care, then sprinkle some gold on at the end. Live a little!

Serves: 3

Ingredients:

Handful of kale ripped up

1 large carrot spiralized

1 courgette spiralized

1 red onion, chopped finely

Tablespoon of peanut butter

Dried wholemeal noodles, enough for 1 person

Chicken stock  (or vegetable stock if you’re veggie) in 750ml of boiling water

Thumb size piece of ginger, finely chopped up

Method:

Prepare all the vegetables, as stated above, shove in a pan and heat gently, and stir continuously for 5 minutes.

Add the chicken stock and dollop of peanut butter, then stir throughout until the peanut butter is evenly distributed.

Warm until its starting to boil, about another 5 minutes, add a shake of pepper, then serve immediately.

Coco Nuts for this Curry 

I love this curry, and tend to add veg willy nilly, depending on what’s in the fridge. So feel free to add carrots, green beans, broccoli, baby sweetcorn, sweet potatoe, and what ever you have, that’s the beauty of a good curry recipe. The spices amount sound over the top, but once you have all of these spices they do go in lots of other curries.

This is good for a group of people, or as a family favourite, as it is so tasty and easy to whip up, it can be on the table in 30 minutes. In my house, we love this as a Friday night feast, with some halloumi, or chicken thighs. It freezes well, so keep any left overs, and its a fact, that curry is always better a few days later. You can make it a bit fancy by adding toasted pine nuts on top to serve. Or for extra goodness add a couple of handfuls of spinach 5 minutes before serving. Veggies and carnivores love this.

If you’re making it for your kids, then just leave out the chilli. Mine yum this up, as it’s lovely and creamy. Even one of my children, who is the fussiest eater known to man, will have the sauce, on some rice. Which trust me, means its a winner.

Serves: 4
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Ingredients:
Dollop of coconut oil, or any oil really
1 onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed or finely chopped
Thumb size piece of ginger, chopped finely
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Half teaspoon ground cumin
Half teaspoon ground turmeric
Half teaspoon ground cinnamon
1-2 chillis, chopped finely
Dollop of tomato puree
Can of coconut milk
200g green lentils (if using fresh cook first, I’m lazy and use a tin of ready cooked)
250g button mushrooms
Cauliflower, half of a small one
Pine nuts, cashews, pistachios, if you want to be fancy pants.
Method:
Heat a little of the coconut oil in a pan and brown the mushrooms. Set them aside to add later.
Then add the rest of the oil, onions, ginger, garlic and all the spices and seasoning. Coat the onions in all the scrumptiousness, this bit smells so good. Stir occasionally on a medium heat for 5 minutes until the onion starts to soften.
Add the coconut milk, lentils and cauliflower, cook on a low heat for 10 minutes. Add the mushrooms.
Cook for a further 15 minutes, have it simmering on a low heat as you don’t want to over boil the coconut milk.
Toast some pine nuts (or nuts of your choice) 5 minutes before the end, and/or add spinach if your heart desires.

Potatoes, Bacon and Peas on Earth Stew 

This recipe is earthy, hearty and healthy. I always feel really good eating this, and it has all the things that I need to kick start chilly Autumn nights, plus bacon, mmm delicious bacon. The butter beans add a creamy, loveliness to it, plus they are packed with protein and goodness to ‘kapow’ the onset of any colds. It will be on the table, to warm your insides, in under half an hour. Don’t bother peeling the potatoes as this is where all the goodness is, plus peeling isn’t very appealing (I’m so sorry).

As you should know by now, I LOVE BACON, but for those that have better will power and respect for pigs, just use a shake of paprika instead on the bacon, and, as I mentioned, veggies will get a dose of protein from the butter beans.

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

1 onion, finely chopped

4 rashers of bacon

10-12 new potatoes, unpeeled and cut into quarters, or use 3 baking potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces

Handful of frozen peas

2-3 teaspoons of dried mint

400ml chicken stock

Can of butter beans

Method:

Fry the finely sliced onion, and chopped bacon in a pan, in a little oil.

When the bacon and onion is cooked, but not browned, add the cut up potatoes and mint, and stir through.

Add the chicken stock, and add a lid to the pan. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the butter beans and peas, and simmer for another 5 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked.

 

Fun-guy, Chicken Pie 

Ahh pie and mash, what better way to celebrate Autumn than with a lovely, wholesome pie. Ok, ok this isn’t that healthy, but, my god, it’s delicious. Mushrooms are Autumn’s seasonal veg, so give it a try as just a mushroom pie aswell, if you want to leave the meat out. I am not ashamed, ok maybe a little bit, to say that I buy the ready made, and rolled, puff pastry. Which makes this a ninja fast pie to prepare and cook. It’s also an ‘open pie’ as I just put the pastry on the top. Give it a whirl…

Serves: 3-4

Ingredients:

Puff pastry (ready made and rolled)

1 small onion 

300g mushrooms, washed and cut randomly

Handful of peas

4 rashers of bacon, cut up with scissors

2 skinless and boneless chicken thighs

150ml cream

200ml chicken stock

Dollop of wholegrain mustard

Sprig of rosemary

Shake of paprika

Method:

Cut the mushrooms randomly. Finely dice the onions.

Again randomly cut the chicken thighs and bacon into small bite sized pieces, with scissors. Add the finely chopped rosemary. Then fry until the chicken and bacon are cooked. Usually about 10-15 mins. I always cut the meat pieces quite small so that they cook quicker. 

Add the chicken stock and wholegrain mustard and shake of paprika, then stir well. Add the frozen peas. Then add the cream. Take off the heat so as not to over cook the cream.

Transfer the dreamy mixture into an oven proof baking tray and cover with ready made pastry. Make two cuts in the middle with a knife.

Cook on 200 deg C for about 15-20 mins. Or until the pastry is golden and crunchy. 

Serve with sweet potato mash. Yum.

Autumnal Tomato Super Soup


I love Autumn, it conjures up the thoughts of rosey cheeks, crunchy leaves, warm coats and wooly bobbly hats. The smell of the leaves, the colours of oranges, yellows and browns and, of course, conker fights. In my house we collect autumnal stuff like pine cones, leaves, sticks, and making it into a kick arse hat…totally normal.


So, to mark this change in season, I thought I’d share these warming recipes that are perfect for this season.

I forgot Bonfire Night, how on earth did I forget that, it is only overtaken by Christmas as my favourite time of the year. I can’t help but feel nostalgic and wondering about what me and my family will be doing this time next year. Plus I love bloody love the zip, wizz and booms, and the compulsory oohs and aahs that fill me with exclaim, wonder and admiration. So I’ve included a bonfire night recipe for you all to ooh and ahh over.

I’m kicking it off with a tomato soup. To me this is Autumn, after a long walk, whip up a bowl of this and pop with some cheese on toast. it makes me sigh with delight. Plus it’s way more nutritious than a can on tomato soup, and uses things that you probably already have in your cupboard. This also keeps for about 3 days in the fridge and you can use it on pasta, or take it for lunch.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 cans of chopped tomatoes

2 carrots

1 onion

2 sweet potatoes

800ml boiling water,  2 chicken or veg stock cubes dissolved into the water

Method:

Chop all the onion, carrot and sweet potato, and fry in a little oil for a few minutes.

Cover with stock, you can use whatever flavour stock you prefer or have here, my favourite is chicken or vegetable. Add the can of chopped tomatoes and bring to the boil.

Then leave to simmer until the veg is all soft, about 15- 20 minutes. 5 minutes before the end, add a handful of herbs, basil is the obvious choice and so nice.

Then pop in a blender until smooth.

If you want some extra goodness then add a can of white beans, and return the blended soup to the pan to cook the beans for a few minutes.

I also love a sprinkle of feta and black pepper.