Sunday, 20 April 2014

Asian Inspired Pork Casserole

I had it all planned out - I was going to make this lovely Thai sweet and sour casseole, but then, riiiiight before I started cooking, I discovered that I had forgotten to buy to main ingredients - cucumber and pineapple, oh no! I quickly got my thoughts together, looked at the original recipe, did a tiny bit of tweaking, and this lovely casserole was invented!

To serve alongside it, I cooked up some quinoa in chicken stock, but I reckon this pork casserole calls for noodles! It just seems like that kind of dish. I hope you like it!

You can also use other sweet vegetables in this dish should you have any, like baby corn, asparagus, carrots (just slice them thinly with a peeler towards the end of the cooking time), cauliflower or red bell peppers. I just went for what I had in the fridge really, the onion is essential though!

Asian Inspired Pork Casserole
(Serves 2)

1 tsp sunflower oil
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
200-250g pork fillet, cut into strips
1 onion, roughly chopped
3 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 cup strong chicken stock (I used 1 cube)
150-200g broccoli, cut into florets
100g mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp sambal oelek OR 1/2 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Rice, or preferably noodles to serve

- Start by heating up the oil in a medium casserole, once hot pour in the soy sauce and the oyster sauce, and tip in the pork. Once browned all over, add the onion.

- Wait until the onion has softerned, about 5 minutes, before adding the ketchup, chicken stock, sambal oelek (or chilli). Cover and cook for a further 5 minutes, before adding the mushroom and broccoli. Place the lid back over the casserole and cook for 10 minutes, stirring once halfway through.

- Cook up noodles to serve. Once the pork casserole is done, squeeze in the lemon juice, give it a quick stir, and serve up!

How has your weekend been?
I myself was at a birthday pot-luck dinner last night, and today some friends and I went to a basketball game to see the Glasgow Rocks play the final game of the season, and they won! Now, I'm just going to take it easy, working home from tomorrow despite it being a bank holiday! Aint no rest for the wicked *winks*

Recipe by yours truly,

- Jules

Friday, 18 April 2014

Dark Creamy Coconut Hearts

So I was going to keep this recipe from you for at least another day, thinking that posting something savoury between the Nutty Date Marbles and these would be better. But you know what? It's Easter! There shouldn't be a shortage of sweets, especially not when you can make them as healthy as this!

Originally, this was a recipe for a healthier version of the Kinder Maxi chocolate. I however, didn't have any white sugar-free chocolate, so I used coconut oil instead!

Dark Creamy Coconut Hearts
(Makes 5)

...all that was left was a broken heart, and a happy stomach!

40g dark (sugar free) chocolate, chopped
1 heaped tbsp coconut oil (if solid, 2-3 tbsp if liquid) (or swap for 20-30g white chocolate)
2 soft cheese triangles (about 30-40g)
1 1/2 tsp sukrin icing sugar
3 drops stevia vanilla (creme)

- Start by melting the dark chocolate by boiling up a little water in a small casserole. Place a heat-proof, smaller bowl in, and add the chopped chocolate into the dry bowl. Stir occasionally and allow to melt fully.

- Now, get your silicone mould out! Spoon 2/3 of the chocolate between 5 moulds, and use the backside of the spoon (the part you hold) and make sure it covers all the way up to the edge of the little moulds. Place in the freezer for 5 minutes until set (I left them in the fridge for a bit longer).

- Towards the end of the waiting, heat the coconut oil the way you did with the chocolate, once liquified, take it off the heat and mix in the soft cream cheese and sweetners. As you are doing this, return the remaining hot chocolate to melt the way you did at first.

- In the moulds, divide the coconut cheese filling, then...Top with the remaining chocolate and freeze until set. I currently don't have a freezer, so I popped them in the fridge for about an hour. Carefully take them out of the moulds and refrigerate until serving, if you can actually wait that is!

Not perfect...but you have to make sure they look home made, right?

Ah, the sun was shining here today, I sorted out a new flat and will be moving in there in two weeks, and I got to spend some time in the lovely weather with two lovely girls, pancakes, sunshine and card games - bliss! Not to mention the questionable 90s hits we were listening to, hah!

Original source:

- Jules

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Nutty Date Marbles

Simple, healthy, packed full of energy, and only THREE ingredients! (Or two...really)
No way? O-hoh-oh yes way! Come follow me.....

Nutty Date Marbles
(Makes 6)

1 1/2 handful mixed nuts
1 handful pitted dates
1 tbsp water (optional)

- What next? Have the ingredients in a blender and process roughly until you have a sticky mixture. I only used my stick blender, and it sort of went all over the place for the first few seconds. The only reason I used a bit of water was so as the stick blender would go a little easier on me, but it is by no means necessary!

- Once you have a sticky paste, and it's as rough or smooth as you like it: simply roll into a sausage and divide into six pieces. Roll into nutty date marbles, and enjoy!

Optionally, you can decorate with dried goji berries, cacao nibs, roll in dessicated coconut, chopped nuts, or cocoa powder!

You could add a little unsweetened cocoa to the nut- and date mixture for some extra chocolatey goodness. Or why not go all out and covered them in rich, dark melted chocolate?

Happy Easter!

The other day on the way home from the town in the evening, I got this given to me *bigsmileonherface*

I don't see how these happy, yellow flowers wouldn't put a smile on anyone's face!

What are your plans for the coming days? And do you have a favourite recipe where you use dates?

Original source:

- Jules

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Tandoori Mince & Tatties

I figured that I would put an Asian twist on the ever so popular British dish "mince and tatties" (potatoes that is!) by adding some tandoori flavours.

The recipe is simple, and it shouldn't take you more than 20 minutes from start to finish. After I had taken the photos, I realised I had forgotten something - chutney! And so I added some immediately, and it went soooo well with the meal!

Tandoori Mince & Tatties
(Serves 2)

400-500g potatoes, diced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, sliced
250g lean beef mince (you can of course use any other type of mince instead!)
1-2 tbsp tandoori paste
A pinch of nutmeg
Salt and pepper
Tomato- or mango chutney and yogurt to serve
Fresh parsley for garnish (optional)

- Simply start by boiling up water and cover the potatoes, add a sprinkle of salt and let it boil until tender (about 10-15 minutes).

- Now, prepare the onion, heat oil in the pan and soften the onion for 5-10 minutes. As you are waiting, mix tandoori paste into the mince, making sure it is well incorporated.

- Add the mince to the frying pan with the onion and add a splash of water so it doesn't go dry. For for about 5-7 minutes until cooked. When it's close to done, drain the potatoes, but leave about 100ml of the water, mash with salt, pepper and a pinch of nutmeg. You can add a knob of butter if you want it a little creamier.

- Serve the mince and onion mixture on a bed of mash, top with a good dollop of both yogurt, chutney and garnish with a little parsley.

Recipe by yours truly,

- Jules

Monday, 14 April 2014

Snickers Cupcakes

Can you believe I forgot to add the cocoa in this recipe?!

....Don't answer that, because I am sure you can believe that. BUT thankfully for me, the recipe still turned out chocolatey and peanutty, which is exactly what I was hoping for! Should you want s lightly more decadent chocolate flavour though, I would suggest adding cocoa powder!

Top these with whatever you like, be it chocolate, peanut butter (both?!), chopped nuts, cream cheese frosting. There are so many options, and I am sure you already have something in mind by now!

The original recipe called for lots of eggs, but I decided just to opt for one, and I got four lovely little cupcakes out of it. I tweaked the recipe quite a bit, used what I had and this is the result!

Snickers Cupcakes
(Makes 4)

1 egg
2 tbsp low-fat (Greek) yogurt
100ml semi-skimmed milk
3-4 drops stevia (optional, but if you use it, then chocolate or vanilla will do the trick!)
1 tsp coconut flour (optional)
20g chocolate protein powder
20g peanut flour
20g sukrin icing sugar (or xylitol, you can of course use normal icing sugar too)
1 tsp xanthan gum (optional)
1 tsp unsweetened cocoa
Chocolate, sprinkles, chopped nuts for topping

- Start by pre-heating the oven to 180°C.

- In a small bowl, mix all the dry ingredients. Make a well in the middle and pour in the egg, yogurt, stevia and milk. Stir well to combine, you should end up with a thick waffle-like batter. If you need more milk, then I am sure 50ml will do the trick. The 100ml did it for me.

- Divide the mixture into four cupcake cases, and pop them into the oven, leave to bake for about 20 minutes. Tap them gently to check that they are cooked.

- Leave to cool on a wire-rack, whilst deciding on which topping you want to use! I simply melted two squares of dark chocolate. To do this, simply break up the chocolate into small pieces, place them in a small bowl (I used a small, Chinese tea cup), pour some hot water in a bigger bowl, and place the small bowl with the chocolate into it, allowing for the chocolate to melt. I also placed the big bowl in the oven after I had switched it off, using the last of the heat to hurry the process along a little.

Once cooled, frosted and decorated - it's ready to serve!

Original Source:
Sunn & Sterk med Protein, p. 149

- Jules

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Being Vegan in 1, 2, 3!

I thought that with Meat-free Monday becoming more and more popular, I would make a three day plan of healthy, vegan meals!

I myself am an omnivore and can eat most things, but sometimes... I just feel that vegetarian and particular vegan dishes don't get the acknowledgement and appreciation they deserve. So I guess that is why I decided to make this.

Each of the three days have five meals, and so there are a lot of varied, lovely meals and treats for anyone. I am sure even the carnivores could be convinced that eating dishes without meat can actually be quite delicious! You can also of course swap any of the breakfasts, lunches, dinners and other meals with one from the other days, it's all down to what you feel like having really!

Day 1

My Date with Mr Oat Porridge
Vegan Yogurt, Nuts and Banana
Funky Spring Bulghur Salad
Edamame Sloppy Joe's
Evening Snack:
Healthier Chocolate Pudding

Day 2

Chia Pudding with Piña Colada Granola
Apricot Shake
Tomato Barley Risotto (no Blue cheese)
Sweet Potato & Peanut Stew
Evening Snack:
Zingy Avocado Hummous (with salsa and nacho chips)

Day 3

Porridge 8) Poached Plum Punch
Pea & Artichoke Spread (with rice crackers)
Mushroom & Barley Soup
Vegan Smokey Burgers

Evening Snack:
Soy Yogurt and Small fruit Salad

And that's about it! I hope you find some inspiration here, whether it be just to try something different for dinner, or some other meal of the day. If there's one thing that's for sure though - it's that vegan food can be delicious!

Bon apetit!

- Jules

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Wannabe Congee with Poached Egg & Peanuts

From sweet rice - to savoury rice!

Now, congee to me - after having googled a little - looks like a dish that is basically made from a base of "overcooked" rice, kind of the way you would with a risotto to make it lovely and creamy.
Basically, I have called it "wannabe" because I used 10 minute rice to speed up the process a little, and I never had any Spring onions, so I had to use a little chopped red onion instead. Also, in the other recipe, they used about twice as much water as I did.

I was a bit sceptical I must say, only boiling the rice with no salt or anything, but you know what? The sauce you serve with it has a lovely sweet and spicyness to it that makes it very easy to like!

Wannabe Congee with Poached Egg & Peanuts
(Serves 2)

I am definitely going to poach an egg the proper way next time the recipe calls for one!

For the rice:
50g rice (I used bornw 10-minute rice)
1 1/2 cup boiling water

For the sauce:
1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sriracha
1 tsp mirin
1 tsp honey

1 chopped Spring onion
A poached egg
1 tbsp roughly chopped peanuts )or you can use some leftover pulled pork if serving carnivores)

- Start by boiling up the rice. In the original recipe, a rice-steamer was used and it was boiling for one and a half hours! I however, decided to just cook it for 20 minutes, allowing the rice to puff up properly and almost breaking apart.

- 10 minutes in, make the sauce, simply by combining all the ingredients in a small bowl. Five minutes later, get some water boiled and poach the egg! I didn't want it to fail as I haven't practised my poaching skills enough, so I used a poach-mould. My egg got a little overdone as I only found out on a late stage that covering with a lid hurried up the process big time and allowed for the egg to cook more evenly from top to bottom - go figure!

- Once the rice is done (make sure there is a little water left), top with the sauce, Spring onion, chopped peanuts/pulled pork and finally the poached egg!

To end this post, I will add a photo of how I decided that the egg-poach-pouch should be used, aftraid that if I let it float on it's own, the egg would end up drowning...

Have you ever tried congee, or something similar before?

Original source:

- Jules