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Grilled pork loin with apple sauce

Late post of dinner from 2 weeks ago, prepared without planning or preparation. The result was pretty satisfying, the pork turned out very soft and tasty.

Ingredients:
2 pieces of pork loin
Fresh sage leaves (about 10) chopped (half for the apple sauce)
salt and pepper to taste
lemon zest from half a lemon

Apple sauce:
3 granny smith green apples, cored and cubed.
1 tablespoon of demerera sugar
cinnamon powder
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1 tablespoon of water

Method:
1. Place pork loin in baking tray, sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides. Sprinkle over 1/2 of chopped sage and the lemon zest.

2. Set oven temperature to 180deg C and place tray in the upper section of oven. Grill till the surface of the pork starts to brown lightly.
3. Remove from oven and turn the pork to the other side.
4. COntinue to grill until the pork is a light brown colour.

To make the apple sauce:
1. Place the chopped apples in a saucepan. Add the sugar and water and bring to a boil, giving the apples a good mix.
2. sprinkle cinnamon powder according to your taste and add the remaining chopped sage.
3. Let the apples simmer until soft, about 8 – 10 minutes.
4. Transfer to a food processor and pulse for a few times.

Serve the pork loin with the applesauce and preferred side vegetables!

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Chunky vegetables and cannellini beans soup

Part of my welcome home dinner for my bf. My original plan was to make Italian minestrone but I didn;t realise that in minestrone the vegetables are really really soft and the beans almost mashed. So I decided to call mine ‘chunky soup’ instead of minestrone.

Makes: 4 portions

Ingredients:

3 medium carrots – chopped
2 courgettes – chopped
a large handful of kale – remove the hard stalks, roughly chop
1 onion – chopped
2- 3 small stalks of fresh thyme
A can of cannellini beans – drained and rinsed 2 – 3 times with fresh water
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Method:
1. Heat about 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a big saucepan. Add the thyme and fry for a couple of minutes to release the fragrance.
2. Add the onions and fry over medium heat until the onions soften.
3. Add the carrots and stir to coat. Let the carrots and onions cook for 8 – 10 min.
4. Add the courgettes and enough water to cover the vegetables. Cook over low heat for 5 min.
5. Add the kale and continue to cook till the vegetables are soft. I reduced the heat to low heat and cooked for about 45min. Remove the stalks from the thyme now before the next step.
6. Blend half of the soup with a food processor and then add it back to the soup.
7. Add the beans.
8. Add salt and pepper to taste. Continue to cook at low heat for another 15 – 20min.

I served this with some homemade ciabatta. It was a very nourishing and warm late night dinner dish.

chunky vegetable cannellini bean soup

 

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Carrot and red lentils creamy soup

After having bright green soup for lunch and dinner over the past 2 days, it was time to change a colour. One of my favourite soup is carrot soup, and it is definitely a different colour to green, so, great!

Instead of the usual carrot coriander soup I make, I added some impromptu ingredients that made the soup creamier and with a bit more substance, not to mention higher nutritional value.

Makes: 4 regular portions

Ingredients:
3 shallots – roughly chopped
1 medium potato -peeled and diced into large cubes
3 medium carrots – peeled and roughly chopped
1 heaped Tbsp butter
4 – 5 Tbsp red lentils – rinsed
1 bowl of water
Juice of half orange
Large slice of ginger
Some fresh thyme leaves
salt to taste
Topping: coconut cream or coconut milk

Method:
1. Melt the butter in a saucepan.
2. Keep the stove on medium heat. Add onions and fry for 2 -3 minutes, add potatoes and fry for another 5 minutes.
3. Add carrots and thyme, and fry for 5 minutes.
4. Add water, orange and ginger slice
5. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
6. Add red lentils and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes.
7. Add salt to taste.
8. Transfer to a blender and blend till smooth.

Stir in a 1 tsp of coconut milk/cream and serve hot with buttered toast. Oh so tasty, filling and healthy.

Carrot and lentils soup.JPG

 

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Spinach and mint pea soup

Recipe adapted from ‘Delicious Soups’ by Belinda Williams.
Serves: 4 -6

Ingredients

2 Tbsp butter
1 onion, diced
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced to about 1 inch cubes
800ml homemade vegetable stock or water
300g (2 cups) frozen peas
260g fresh spinach – washed ( original recipe called for 400g)
small bunch of fresh mint leaves (about a tbsp)
2 Tbs chopped coriander / cilantro optional
optional – 2/3 cups double/heavy cream
sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
topped with grated parmigiano or pan-roasted cherry tomatoes

Method:
1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over low heat.
2. Add onions and potatoes and cook for a few minutes until the onions have softened.
3. Pour in the stock and simmer until the potatoes are soft.
4. Add the peas and simmer for another few minutes until the peas are just soft. – don’t overcook the peas
5. Add fresh spinach and immediately remove the pan from the heat.
6. Blend the soup till roughly smooth, then add fresh herbs and continue to blend until smooth.
7. Stir salt and pepper.
8. Top with grated parmigiana

Spinach and mint pea soup.JPG

Lovely healthy tasty green soup, full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients. Packed and ready for tomorrow’s lunch, matched with my homemade toast bread. For some information on the benefits of spinach, here’s the BBC good food link.

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Simple breakfast I – oats with banana

It is Saturday (yay) and I have violin lesson at 9am. This involves a 45min cycle and it is cold, grey and drizzling… The photo is a bit deceiving, the sky looks clear but actually its white and covered with clouds.

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I need some solid healthy breakfast! I have also run out of cold milk, bread and limited time, so!

Serves: 1
Time needed to prepare and cook: 5 min

Ingredients:
1/2 cup quick easy oats
1 cup water

Toppings:
Condensed milk
Nutella
Banana

Method:
1. Place oats and water in a saucepan
2. Bring to a boil
3. Reduce heat to simmer for 1.2 – 2 min
4. Transfer to a bowl, top with whatever you like. I had sliced banana, drizzled with just a teaspoon of condensed milk and a teaspoon of nutella (to keep the sugar low).

Variations: try with fresh or dried fruits, honey or maple syrup, chopped nuts!

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Tasty and healthy!