Monthly Archives: September 2013

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Tried & Tested #5: Red Lentil & Sweet Potato Pâté

I’m a big fan of humous. However, it can be a little heavy on the calories and fat content, so when I was browsing on the BBC GoodFood website the other day and came across this “healthy alternative to hummous”, I had to give it a go…
You can find the recipe here. The only change I made was replacing the thyme with a generous handful of Greek basil from my garden.
The Verdict…
It was so easy to make and seriously tasty! Delicious hot or cold and at only 200 calories for an extremely generous portion, easy on the waistline too. I had mine as part of a healthy dinner with lots of greens, cherry tomatoes, a wholemeal pitta, carrot sticks and a dollop of low-fat cottage cheese. It had a massive thumbs up from my fiance too so no doubt it will disappear pretty swiftly!

Change it up?
I think this dip would lend itself to many different spices to give it a different twist. Next time I might try an Indian version or a Moroccan one….hmmm decisions….
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Chicken, Leek and Cannellini Bean Broth

I’ve recently become a little addicted to instagram and it was here that I came across a new food trend called the “clean diet”. My boyfriend and I are keen to change our eating habits, as when life gets busy we are all too guilty of reaching for convenience foods. One of my bad habits is having cereal for dinner, which may not seem like the end of the world but it’s certainly not a balanced way of eating and will not set you up with all the nutrients you need for a healthy diet.
On paper, eating “clean” seems to make perfect sense – avoiding processed foods, eating plenty of fruit, vegetables and whole foods,  obtaining a good balance of protein and carbs, eliminating refined sugars and cooking your own meals from scratch rather than relying on pre-packaged products. If you delve a little deeper into the diet, you can also look into incorporating as many “superfoods” as possible, i.e. foods considered to have many health benefits.
I’ve just got back from a lovely holiday, only to return to work with a stinking cold, so what better reason to embark upon a new healthy eating plan. My Chicken, Leek & Cannellini Bean Broth is the perfect remedy for anyone suffering the effects of the sudden seasonal change. Give it a go and tell me what you think!
Ingredients

2 leeks, trimmed and finely sliced into half moons
8 sage leaves
small handful of flat-leaf parsley
2 large chicken breasts, sliced into thin strips
125g oyster mushrooms, torn in half with your fingers
175g (drained weight) tinned cannellini beans
800ml chicken stock, boiling
Method
  • Begin by placing a large saucepan on a medium heat.
  • Add a drizzle of olive oil followed by the sliced leeks.
  • Sweat the leeks for approximately 5 minutes until softened and translucent.
  • Meanwhile, finely slice the sage and the parsley stalks and add to the pan.
  • Roughly chop the remaining parsley leaves and put them aside for garnish.
  • Add the sliced chicken breasts to the pan and cook for a few minutes, whilst stirring until the outer flesh turns white.
  • Now add the torn oyster mushrooms and drained cannellini beans and cook for a further minute whilst stirring.
  • Add the boiling chicken stock, bring back to the boil and simmer gently for around 5 minutes. This cooking time could vary depending on how thinly you slice your chicken. To test if it is ready, remove one piece of chicken to a chopping board and slice it in half – if the chicken is white all the way through, then your broth is ready!
  • Give it a taste and add seasoning as required.
  • To serve, ladle the broth into bowls and top with the roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley.
Makes 2 generous portions or 3 as a light supper or lunch.
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Wedding Cupcake Tower

I made this cupcake tower for a wedding reception at The Malt Shovel, Dartford the other week.
The couple had 75 vanilla cupcakes with a mixture of cream, baby blue and pale pink buttercream and finished with white nonpareils and lace cupcake wrappers.
The cutting cake was a 6″ Victoria sponge filled with jam and vanilla buttercream topped with a cream rose and pink freesia sugar flowers to match their country garden feel.

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A Brighton Wedding Cake

I made this cake a few weeks ago for a young couple getting married just a stone’s throw from Brighton Pier. The evening reception was held at Latest Music Bar on Manchester Street. It was a fairly relaxed and informal party which was reflected in the cake.

Their colour scheme was red, cream and gold and so I covered the cake with cream sugarpaste and adorned it with red ribbon, piped red polka dots and a few gold sugar roses. The couple had birds on their invitation which I replicated on the cake by creating my own stencil to match. The finishing touch was handmade sugar bunting to match the decoration in the venue.

Each tier was a different flavour – the top was Victoria sponge layered with jam and buttercream, the middle was a double-height chocolate cake layered with chocolate ganache buttercream and the bottom was a lemon sponge layered with lemon curd and lemon buttercream.

The result: a fun cake for a young couple who wanted a break away from tradition.