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.

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Nutmeg, Nordic Cheese Curls 

The epitome of ‘hygge’ seems to be a bread of some sort. Especially  with a cinammon or nutmeg vibe to it. Therefore, these little darlings are so simple and tasty, and they keep for up to 3 days.

Try these with some tomato soup, you can’t get much wintery and ‘hygge’ than that.

Makes: 6

Ingredients:

For the pastry (or you can use ready made pastry)

200g self raising flour

50g butter

100ml whole milk

Filling:

2 teaspoons of nutmeg

50g cheddar cheese, grated

Sprinkle of sesame seeds

Method:

Preheat the oven 200 deg C.

In a bowl add the flour, butter and nutmeg and mix well with your fingers. Breaking up and mixing it all together. Then add the milk bit by bit until it is a doughy texture.

If it’s too dry, add milk, and if it’s too wet add so more flour.

Kneed the pastry for a few seconds and then try and get it into a rectangular shape. The role out to 0.5cm thickness.

Add the grated cheese to the middle, and then roll the longest side so that it’s like a large sausage.

Then cut into half, and then each half makes 3 rolls.

Push down the edges so that they seal well, and put the swirl side facing up.

Then sprinkle some sesame seeds on each one. Place in the top of the oven for 25 minutes until they are all gooey and brown.

 

A Hygge Cwtch, Hug Life

The Danish word ‘hygge’ is the Welsh equivalent of a cwtch, if a cwtch could be explained as a lifestyle. Think comfort, cosiness, candle light, warmth and love. It sounds amazing, especially with Christmas ending and spending too much, drinking too much, eating too much and Brexit. A sense of calm and warmth that ‘hygge’ or fluffy slippers brings, is a much needed addition to our lives. The Danes are so right, as they normally are, about this ‘hygge’ notion. It’s about being calm, present and connected with others, a sense of family and camaraderie, without the use of your phone.

There is a big focus on nature, and the massive benefits of being outdoors for your mental health and wellbeing. It’s also about bringing nature inside, a borderless unity between the outside and inside. Which is where the inspiration for my  kitchen ‘hygge’ wall of plants came from.

The Danes don’t hide inside sulking about winter like us Brits do, they embrace and celebrate the coldness and the wonder of winter.  It’s about loving everything that winter brings and not just waiting for summer. If we didn’t have the cold months we wouldn’t have Christmas, bonfire night, halloween and new years. Not to mention, crisp winter days, snow, tomato soup, knitwear and slippers. So, get out there in some unfashionable snow boots and a waterproof onsie and explore some woods.

In brief, throw some aloe vera on your window ledge, get enough candles for a seance, get fluffy and furry things, but mostly throws, cushions slippers etc, go out for winter walks and get off your phone.  Plus cook all of these recipes and you will be ‘hygging’ the shit out of life.

A lovely Hygge place in Cardiff, where you can get all cosy and eat amazing stuff is Brod, which you can reread my blog post on.

Good Old Spag Bol

Who doesn’t love a good old spag bol? It is a regular in most people’s homes. But, a few people have messaged me to ask what are the key ingredients to the perfect spag bol, as they often find it hit or miss. To share the love, I’ll share my 3 key ingredients to a fool proof spag bol. you guys won’t tell anyone right?!

Celery- cut it up really finely if you have any fussy eaters in the family, or even if you don’t like celery at all, I promise you it makes such a difference, and you won’t be running to be sick with an overwhelming celery taste.

Bacon- I’m sorry to all the veggies out there, but bacon makes a spag bol average to delicious. It revs up the scrumptious factor.

Nutmeg- This sweet, cheeky ingredient means that you get a sense of sweetness and warm through the bolognese. Lots of cooks add sugar to their sauce, so this has the same effect, but naturally sweetens the sauce.

My preference is to smother the sauce and pasta with a strong grated cheese. I steer clear of parmesan, as I think it smells like puke, but I know people love the ‘essence of vom’ cheese, so if I can get you to add celery, then who am I to judge, if you want to ruin it with parmesan.

Also the key is to simmer the sauce for 20-30minutes. However, if you dont have the time, then add a dollop of tomato puree, and add extra ingredients that will soak up and thicken the sauce. I always opt for a small tin of green lentils.

Serves 6:

Ingredients:

1 stick of celery

1/2 grated courgette

10 mushrooms, roughly cut up

1 onion

Small pack of mince, or quorn mince

2 garlic cloves, crushed

3 slices of chopped up bacon, or a teaspoon of paprika

1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes

1 teaspoon of nutmeg

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon oregano

Dollop of tomato puree

Method:

Cut up the onion and celery finely. Grate the courgette and chop the mushrooms. Crush the garlic, and roughly chop up the bacon with scissors into small pieces. Fry all of these for about 2 minutes.

Add the mince, nutmeg and oregano, and cook until the mince and bacon are cooked. Make sure you do this on a medium heat, so it doesn’t take all day, but also so it doesn’t burn.

Add the chopped tomatoes and reduce the heat and simmer for at least 20 minutes.

Keep giving it a stir every 5 mins, and make sure it is simmering on a low heat.

If after this it still looks a bit watery then add the dollop of tomato puree and simmer for another 10 mins.

Then cover in hurl scented cheese, or don’t.