Avocado & Feta Cous Cous with Creme Fraiche Dressing

I’m not much of a lunch person. I never have the time to plan it properly and when the only thing you have access to at work is a sandwich toaster and a microwave.

I like lunch when there is time to plan, or when lunch is really just an early dinner.

I made this cous cous last week, and it was something that came together so easily, lots of little treats in the fridge all waiting to be eaten, and all going together so well.

This feels like it is healthy (you know because its green and it cous cous) but I think the health benefits are questionable. But its light, delicious and just about one of your 5 a day (not that I’m ever counting).

Avocado & Feta Cous Cous with a Creme Fraiche dressing
feeds one, easily doubled

50g cous cous
boiling water
olive oil
1/2 avocado sliced
feta cheese

for the dressing:
2 tbs creme fraiche
half a lime
chili flakes or tabasco sauce
black pepper

First of all make up your cous cous. Use enough boiling water to just cover the cous cous in a bowl, add in a drop of olive oil, stir and cover with a plate whilst you prepare the other ingredients.

Mix all the dressing ingredients together so you have a dressing about the consistency of double cream. Add lime and chili to your taste.

Once the cous cous is done, season with salt and pepper, fluffy with a fork.
Crumble in your feta, stir in your avocado gently and then top with the dressing and a little black pepper.

I had this warm and I thought it was just lovely, if you were to serve it cold I would suggest waiting for the cous cous to completely cool before adding in the rest of the ingredients. Add extra lime to keep your avocado green!

Serve with a wedge of lime.
I think this would be a great side dish with some grilled fish or chicken too.

Valentines Giveaway Winner!

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The Poppy Earrings go to Kirsty Ware.

Congratulations 🙂
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Chorizo Meatballs & Black Bean Stew

This is definitely something that is going to become a staple in my house. It is wonderful when the weather is cold and one of those recipes that is very easy to put together after a long day.

I have used proper chorizo in the past and this works well although I find fresh sausages flavoured with smoked paprika and chili makes for a lovely chorizo-y flavour, and I find the meat much more tender than normal chorizo. If you can find them some supermarkets and good butchers sell chorizo style spiced fresh sausages which save you a bit of time.

I have recently discovered the merits of black beans too, I much prefer them to the floury old kidney bean that is normally used. I used canned beans, very easy to find something to do with them in a fix. They are lovely spiced & stuffed into tortillas for enchiladas and added to chili or any kind of stew that needs bulking up.

Chorizo Meatball & Black Bean Stew – Serves 2

4 fresh pork sausages
smoked paprika – 2 tsp

clove of garlic – finely chopped or minced
1/2 onion – finely sliced
generous glass of red wine
about half can of chopped or plum tomatoes
tomato puree
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
dash of cayenne
dash of chili flakes or chili powder – to your own taste
1/2 tbsp worcester sauce
fresh thyme
fresh coriander
1 can of black beans, drained

First of all you need to make your sausage meatballs.
Meatballs made from sausage meat are great when you are in a hurry, you can use fresh mince and add seasoning, breadcrumbs, eggs etc but I find fresh sausages are great because they are already well seasoned, with a good amount of fat for tenderness and hold their shape very well.

Remove your sausages from the casings into a bowl. Add in your smoked paprika, don’t be afraid to add it all, you want your sausages to have that deep chorizo flavour from the paprika. If you have found fresh chorizo style sausages then you don’t need to do this.
Shape into meatballs and set aside.

Heat up a large saucepan and add olive oil. Fry the onion in olive oil until soft, add the garlic after a few minutes and fry for a minute or so before adding your sausage meatballs. Brown your meatballs for a few minutes. Make sure the heat is up high and everything is sizzling away nicely – add in your wine- be generous, the red wine makes for a beautiful rich sauce.

Simmer away the alcohol for about 3-5 minutes, then add in a squirt of tomato puree, your spices, herbs and worcester sauce. Blitz up your chopped or plum tomatoes until they are smooth and add to the pan.

Simmer slowly for about 15-20minutes, making sure the sauce doesn’t get too thick – if it does before the meatballs are cooked through then add a little bit of water to keep it going until it is done.

Serve with a little grated mature cheddar or soured cream on top and with a nice chunk of fresh bread.

Sticky Toffee Pudding

I crave things often and suddenly, but normally they go away fairly quickly to be replaced by another craving. Sometimes I crave something for days and this is when I have to make it at all costs.

This time it was sticky toffee pudding. I’ve never made it myself before but it was only going to be a matter of time. I searched around and found this recipe by David Lebowitz and also this version of his recipe on Ginger Tablet which was happily in grams rather than cups too.

This is just the kind of food you need when the roads are covered in ice and the house just won’t heat up, it really does feel like it sticks to your ribs (and your arteries).

Sticky Toffee Pudding – adapted from David Lebowitz & Ginger Tablet
I roughly halved the Ginger Tablet recipe, made a couple of variations and we got four very generous helpings.

for the cake:

250g dried dates, chopped
100g self-raising flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 egg
vanilla extract – 1/2 tsp
50g butter, softened
80g granulated sugar
1 tbsp golden syrup
50ml milk

for the toffee sauce:

100g muscovado sugar
25g butter, diced
100ml double, heavy cream
1tbsp golden syrup

Put your chopped dates in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave for about 10-15 minutes whilst you make the cake mixture and sauce.

For toffee sauce add all the ingredients to a non stick saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring all the time so it doesn’t boil away. After about 5 minutes take off the heat. I added a bit of cream towards the end as the recipe said this would help the sauce to remain thin, it still thickened anyway! Reheating it will bring it back to sauce stage later on.

Line a loaf tin with well buttered greaseproof paper (both sides) – add half of the toffee sauce to the bottom of the loaf in.

Cream butter and sugar in a bowl.Add egg, then vanilla then your syrup. Sift in flour & baking soda slowly and mix in carefully. Add in milk and mix. Then drain your dates and add to the cake mixture, mixing carefully, take care not to overmix.
Then add your cake mixture to the loaf tin, on top of the toffee sauce.
The layer of toffee sauce really makes this pud stand out!

Bake for 20 -25 minutes at Gas mark 4 (I think 180c?). My oven is old and decripid and so took a lot longer but anyone with a normal oven should have this ready in less time.

Reheat the rest of the sauce on the hob when the cake is done, slice cake, pour on sauce, add ice cream/cream/custard, die of pleasure.

Any remaining sauce will keep in the fridge for a couple of days, but if you use it all up the first sitting (don’t blame you!) its fairly easy to make a small batch with the same recipe above.


White Christmas?

Certainly looks promising. I went mad and took many many pictures of the snow today, I expect to be entertaining you with many more if this lovely weather continues.

I am certainly making the most of the macro function too!

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