All the food tips of the week from all the previous blogs, all in one place. As you probably know by now, Nothing is complicated here. It’s all about simplifying. Simple instructions, simple ingredients, simple food, done well.
Sugar in cereal
Read the ingredients and nutrition list on packs of cereal. You’ll be horrified. Read more
Make your own soup
Seriously, it’s dead easy, so long as you have a blender*. The possibilities are endless, Read more
• Roast two packs of ready cubed mixed root veg (I used squash and sweet potato from Tesco). They’re normally around 300-400 grams per pack. I roast them with olive oil, a decent amount of seasoning and rosemary.
• Put in a pre-heated oven at 180°C for around 40 minutes (check them after 25 mins and give them a toss and another drizzle of oil if needed), or until they start to turn dark brown on the edges.
• Allow to cool and blend the whole lot with a pint of chicken/vegetable stock and store in the fridge. Use within 2 days.
It should make enough for 4 bowls of soup. You may have to add more water when you re-heat it if it’s too thick? My whole family love it. My 3 year old loves dipping toast in hers!
As variations, you can add a teaspoon of garlic puree and/or tomato puree when you blend it. You can also add a pinch of chilli flakes (if children aren’t eating it).
*I suppose tech tip of the week is: Get a blender! I’ve got a Kenwood ‘Kmix’ and it’s ace.
Avocado on toast
Mash the flesh of an avocado with Read more
Making a chicken do 12 meals
Hearing an over-weight parent say, “I can’t afford to eat healthy” as an excuse for Read more
I spent £12 at our local farm shop recently on the following:
One whole organic chicken, some spuds, a broccoli, some mushrooms, three carrots, two red onions, two parsnips and a swede.
I roasted the chicken, along with the spuds and parsnips and boiled some broccoli & two of the carrots to create a roast dinner for all four of us. For that roast dinner I used one side of breast to feed the four of us. With ‘All the trimmings’ it was plenty. 4 meals.
After the kids had gone to bed I then removed ALL the meat by hand. This ensures you waste nothing but also discard every single bit of fat, skin & gristle. There is so much meat on an organic, free range chicken it’s amazing. I emphasise organic, free range because if a bird sits on its arse all day, every day inside a crowded barn there simply will not be as much meat.
I use the other breast to make our sandwiches the next day. 4 meals
I then make a 4 adult portion curry with the rest of the meat, one of the onions, the mushrooms, the carrot and the swede. 4 meals
Even if you say you need another £4 to cover the few extra bits you need (bread, creamed coconut, curry powder, etc), it means you’ve eaten 12 meals of organic food for £1.33 per meal.
Here’s one that has about 3 mins prep time, is healthy, and Read more
Pre heat the oven to 160°C.
De-seed a pepper (I never use green ones. See Facts of the week as to why). I always slice them in half, top-to-bottom, then cut out the cluster of seeds, but just do it how it suits you.
Cut each half in half again, cross ways this time. Then cut those bits in to inch wide pieces. It should give you around 12 pieces.
Coat in your choice of oil. I use olive oil (basic olive oil. Save the expensive extra virgin stuff for other things). My tip for making sure things get a coating of oil without putting everything in a baking tray then pouring oil on them is; Put the bits of pepper in a bowl, pour a teaspoon or two of oil on them, give them a good stir, then put them in the baking tray. This avoids triple that amount needed to coat them by pouring over once they’re in the tray.
Season (I find they’re a bit ‘funky’ for my 11 month old, so I do add salt, but leave the salt if you have a toddler that’ll eat them).
I shake some rosemary over them too, but you don’t have to.
Bake for around 30 – 40 mins, or until they look done.
They’re lovely hot as a healthy addition to a dinner or as a healthy snack for you or the kids, but also great to save in the fridge until the next day to add to rice dishes, pasta ‘n pesto, wraps, sandwiches, salads, etc. My 3 year old loves them.
Making mince with veg for kids
If you make anything with mince such as bolognese, shepherd’s pie, cottage pie, etc, make a Read more
Then, boil up a mixture of veg – I normally do broccoli, carrots, peas and sweetcorn – drain the veg and mash it up a bit (doesn’t have to be mashed really well), then stir it in to the mince you’ve put by and hey presto, you’ve got a tasty, meaty, veg filled, saucy snack for the kids the next day. My one year old can’t get enough of it. Just warm it gently in the microwave and it’s a healthy, balanced meal.
Perfect poached eggs
I’ll try not to sound like Delia Smith here and teach you how to boil eggs, but, I believe I have cracked it (get it!?) with regards to doing the perfect poached egg. Read more
1. Always use fresh eggs because they don’t fall apart in the water.
2. Get the pan of water boiling as rapidly as you can.
3. Make a whirlpool in the middle and gently drop the egg in to the middle from close above the water.
4. Do not add vinegar. It’s a myth and it makes the egg taste vinegary!
5. Set the timer for 3 mins exactly, then turn the hob down to the lowest setting (remember we’re poaching, not boiling)
6. When the timer goes off, gently get the egg out straight away. In other words, don’t just turn the heat off but leave the egg in there for another minute while you butter your toast or pick your nose, because it’ll be over done.
There you go, perfect amount of runny yoke! I use large chicken eggs. If using big duck eggs, add 20 seconds, if using small chicken eggs, knock 20 seconds off.
Mustard egg mayo
Put a little bit of mustard in your egg mayo when you make it. It turns it from Read more
I put my eggs in cold water, bring to the boil, then boil them for 5 mins. I seem to turn out perfect hard boiled eggs every time this way.
If you like honey but just buy the basic runny honey, try Read more
Porridge for breakfast
In a previous blog I highlighted how full of sugar breakfast cereals are. So, one alternative is porridge. It’s full of energy and healthy, but not Read more
Homemade fruit compote
Put 150g’s of blueberries in a non-stick saucepan with 1 tbsn of water and 1 tsp of honey. Heat through until soft and sticky.
This can be done with raspberries or strawberries too.
Greek yoghurt with fruit and seeds
Chia seeds are flavourless but very high in protein. Also use sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds.
Add pieces of sweet fruit like mango, pineapple, plums, banana, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, etc.
If you have a sweet tooth, add a small drizzle of manuka honey.
Slice a banana, lightly sprinkle some brown sugar over the slices. Grill under a high heat for a couple of minutes, then serve on top of the porridge.
Eating fresh peas, raw
Fresh peas are in season and absolutely delicious. Don’t cook them, just Read more
Super healthy, easy (& fancy) dinner for two
Here is a very easy, very healthy, very fancy looking meal that will wow your partner/dinner date and can be Read more
- Ix bundle of spring onions
- 1x Avocado
- 2x red/yellow/orange peppers
- 1x Mozzarella ball
- 1x good handful of small tomatoes
- Optional: Strips of beef, pork or chicken, or, prawns or even white fish.
- Heat the oven to 200°C.
- Coat the pieces of pepper (see food tip here for how best to prepare them for roasting), tomatoes and spring onions in olive oil and chuck them all in to a roasting tray.
- Sprinkle on some salt, pepper & rosemary (thyme or mixed herbs would work too) and roast them for about 15 mins, or until they look done. If the tomatoes and onions aren’t very small, slice them in half, long ways first.
- Once done, tip the lot on to the two plates your serving them in, tear the mozzarella in to small pieces and add to the plates.
- Scoop the avocado in to teaspoon sized bits and add to the plates.
- If you’re having meat or fish add that now too.
Voila! Here’s one I made earlier (last week in fact), without any meat.
Great tip for getting the kids eating good food
It’s a really obvious one, but if you serve baby versions of food to small children, they’re likely to be enthused by it more than Read more
Chantenay carrots. Could I get my boy to eat normal carrots, no matter how I cut them up? No. But baby carrots: Straight down!
Chipolatas. Way more interesting to let them much through a whole sausage, all be it a baby one, rather than eat bits of a grown up one. My local farm shop does packs of 9 farmhouse chipolatas for approximately £1.40. The only reason I mention this is, like with all sausages, it’s so important to get decent ones.
Broccoli. Cut them in to smaller florets. They cook quicker and serve them as ‘Baby trees’. Job’s a good’un!
Baby corn. As with the chipolatas, maybe it’s because they can see what it is they’re eating rather than just bits of something? Either way, it seems to work.
Mini babybell. Yes, not the cheapest option, but with the cute little packaging, more likely to be eaten than a slice of cheese? Absolutely!
Pimped up cheese on toast
How about pimping up your standard cheese on toast! Here’s some tips and options to try:Read more
- Only lightly toast the bread before adding the cheese and sticking it back under the grill. Burnt bread = Urgh!
- Splash some Worcester sauce on it once it’s done.
- Spread some wholegrain mustard on the toast, then add the cheese on top.
- Cover the toast with very thin slices of mushroom and/or red onion before putting the cheese on top.
- Toast, mustard, slice of ham, mushrooms, then cheese on the top. Awesome filling snack!
- Add some sliced tomatoes, or even drizzle a bit of the oil from sun dried tomatoes on it!?
- Cut a garlic clove in half and rub it all over the toast before anything goes on top.
- Go mad. Do all of the above!