Lamb and halloumi kebabs

IMG_5718I was at a friend’s house for dinner just last week, and she served me this dish. Upon complimenting her on it she reminded me it was one of mine! I’d completely forgotten about it, but I decided to take a quick snap of it, and thought I’d share the recipe once more.

A favourite from my detoxes, this delicious lamb dish is just great for lunches, and dinners. Cook under the grill or in the summer on the bbq, it’s clean, lean, and filling (and has a squeaky cheese treat!)

Ingredients (serves 4)

Kebab:
1/2kg lean boneless lamb leg or shoulder, cut into 2.5cm/1inch cubes
2 tbsp freshly chopped mint or oregano
Salt and freshly milled black pepper
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil
100g halloumi cheese, cut into small cubes

Salad:
1 bag local salad leaves
1/2 cucumber, peeled and sliced
Handful coriander / thyme
1/2 mango, cubed
Balsamic vinegar to dress the salad

Place all the kebab ingredients into a large, shallow dish, toss gently, cover and leave to marinate for up to 2 hours in the refrigerator.

Thread the lamb and cheese on to 8 short or 4 long wooden (previously soaked in water) or metal skewers.

Cook the kebabs on a prepared barbecue or preheated grill for 12-16 minutes, turning occasionally until any meat juices run clear.

Assemble the salad. Serve kebabs with the salad and enjoy!

All-new wake-up chocolate cup

photo-32I love chocolate. The food of the gods, indeed. This is a recipe I’ve played with a lot over the last few years and have adapted in recent times.

It used to feature agave nectar, but I wanted to find a version that tasted great without any sugars that weren’t naturally occurring so that I can enjoy a guilt-free chocolate hit any time of day.

With a little trial and error, here it is.

It’s full of good fats & protein from the avocado, mood-boosting cacao (the unprocessed version of cocoa powder), vitamin-rich strawberries and banana. I have included Maca powder *(see note below) in this recipe.

I admit, I have had a hard time convincing the kids to love it. At five and seven, they are no longer easily duped into eating new flavours without a full briefing and warning beforehand! I have more success with the fruit smoothies and milkshakes. They tried this chocoolate cup and apparently the result doesn’t taste like chocolate.

I beg to differ – it’s rich, creamy, and chocolatey. So in this case, I’m happy with it didn’t pass the taste test – all the more for me!

Ingredients (serves 2 in small cups)
1/2 Large banana
1/2 Avocado
1 Dessert spoon raw cacao powerd
1 Dessert spoon maca powder
6 Strawberries (2, sliced, to serve)
Splash Almond milk
Splash water
Sprinkle of cacao nibs

You may like to add a handful of spinach for a vitamin boost. It turns it a more muddy brown but the taste remains the same!

Method
Put everything but the strawberries for serving and cacao nibs into your blender, blend until smooth. Serve in a cup, topped with strawberries & a sprinkling of cacao nibs.

I’ve enjoyed this as protein-rich start to the day, but it would be just as good as a delicious fatburning, nutritious dessert.

Til next time,
Sophie x

* Maca powder is derived from Peru – from a root vegetable belonging to the radish family. It is said to have benefits such as improving sexual function and helping to maintain a healthy hormone balance – with claims that it can even help with PMS. It appears that there have been some studies about it – but nothing concrete. I’m giving it a whirl to see whether it makes any difference to me, but I would recommend research and drawing your own conclusions as to whether you’d like to include it in your daily nutriton.

Warm early Spring quinoa salad

IMG_5722Spring keeps showing it’s tells – the flashes of colour from flowers, warm sun in sheltered spots, and yet, and yet – it’s still teasing us.

When it comes to eating healthful meals, I know I’m not quite ready for salad season to begin. I still need some bone-warming comfort foods to see me through the day.

The other day I happened upon winter purslane and wow! It’s a slightly strange beast, but utterly delicious. Kind of spinachy, yet not as tough. Kind of watercress-like but with a curious mild flavour. Watery, yet firm. Juicy.

I thought I’d investigate further and then create a recipe that’s quick, clean, lean, and packs a nutritional punch.

Winter Purslane, miners lettuce, or Claytonia Perfoliata (spring beauty, miner’s lettuce, winter purslane, or Indian lettuce; syn. Montia perfoliata) can be grown before the sun warms the soil – in fact, it can be grown all year round. Used raw in salads, (or it can be steamed – personally that seems like a waste to me, so delicious is it raw) it is rich in vitamin C, essential for growth and repair in your body.

To grow, you sew the seeds in August for harvest November to March, so it’s one I’ve noted for my winter sowing this year!

To eat, you could pair it with so much, it’s a truly versatile leaf. In this case, I wanted to create a comforting, quick-to-prepare quinoa ‘stew’ flavoured with garlic and the greener part of the leek. With jewel-like gratings of sweet potato to add depth, and pumpkin seeds to add a crunch and omega-3 boost, Here’s my recipe (pictured)

Warm early spring quinoa salad (serves 2)

Ingredients

Salad:
Large portion of winter purslane, washed carefully and dried

Dressing:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 dessert spoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon mustard (I prefer french)

Quinoa:
2/3 mug quinoa
1 teaspoon vegetable bouillon (or cook with homemade vegetable stock if you have some)
Half sweet potato, grated
1 clove garlic, crushed
3″ green part of leek, finely chopped
Teaspoon coconut oil
Generous sprinkling pumpkin seeds

Method

Carefully wash the winter purslane, and divide between two bowls. Whisk up the dressing ingredients, and coat the purslane in it.

Rinse the quinoa, and then place in a pan with double the amount of water. Bring to the boil on a medium heat, then add the grated sweet potato simmer gently until the water has boiled away (about 10-15 mins).

While this is cooking, in a frying pan, gently fry the leek in some coconut oil, adding the garlic 5 minutes into cooking. You’re looking for the leek to be softened, rather than browned.

Once they’re both cooked, mix the quinoa and the garlic leeks together, and throw in a handful of pumpkin seeds.

Sit, savour the flavours and enjoy, knowing that warmer weather is on the way.