recipes for a healthy life

Baked Rice with Lamb

I am feeling slightly surreal this week – I have stopped work after almost 28 years of very early starts, some long days, lots of fun, chaos, good clients, other types of clients and good friends. My mind is still in the office so I guess it will take some time to switch off and get used to the fact that my time is completely my own now. To my good friend in the office who shall remain nameless (you know who you are) who wondered out loud if I would be slobbing around in a tracksuit or still wearing high heels at home…… I’m still in the heels. :-)

The upside is lots of time for cooking and inspired by memories of great paella’s in spain and looking at some delicious Irish lamb this is what I came up with for dinner. It cooks really quickly in the oven so it works really well if you still are putting in hours at the office!.

lamp paella

Baked Rice with Lamb – Serves 4
Oven at 180C
8 lamb chops
500g sausages (Pork, Chorizo, Merguez works very well)
2 tbsp dried oregano
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion finely diced
2 garlic cloves peeled chopped and mashed
2 tbsp tomato puree
2 red peppers cooked and peeled, and sliced (I use the jarred variety, omit if you dont have)
1/4 tsp saffron strands added to 600ml hot chicken stock
200gr bomba calasparra or arborio rice for paella or risotto
1/2 glass white wine
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint

Season the chops, rub a little rape or olice oil and the oregano into each front and back and set aside for 30 minutes if you can.
Remove the skin from the sausages and divide into 12 pieces and roll into balls

Heat the oil and brown the lamb chops on both sides and remove to a tray
Brown the sausage balls on all sides and remove to a tray
Add a little more oil to the pan and add the garlic and onion and fry gently until soft
Add the sliced red peppers, tomato puree and cook out for a minute
add the rice and stir well to coat for cook gently for a minute
Add the wine if using and bubble off for 30 seconds then add the stock
Bring to the boil and reduce the heat and cook for 5 minutes
Stir in the mint
Pour into one large oven proof dish or divide into 4 oven proof dishes, press the lamb chops and sausage
balls into the rice and cook in the oven for about 18 minutes until the rice is cooked.
If you wish your lamb to be rarer then put into the oven for about 10 minutes without the lamb then
simply add the lamb for the last 8-10 minutes.
Top up with a little hot water if needed.
Serve as is – delicious,

Bistro Style Marinated Goats Cheese Salad with Green Beans

Having just come back from a weekend in Paris and eaten so well, I was inspired by the simplicity of the food we ate, great ingredients, simply presented and well dressed. I could have spent the day (if I had the budget) in Astier de Villatte, home of the most out of this world pottery and painted plates. Also home to typical Parisian Hauteur…..

So inspired by our trip, this is a take on a goats cheese salad with more substance with the addition of croutons made from toasted home made gluten free bread. I spotted loads of beautiful looking salads when we had lunch at Relais Sant-Germaine on our last day which was great food and the dessert was one of the most beautiful plates of food I have ever seen.

Marinated Goats Cheese Salad
Serves 4
2 100gr goat’s cheese logs
100ml extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp walnut oil
1 shallot chopped very finely
1 garlic clove chopped and mashed
1 tsp fresh thyme picked and chopped
1 tsp sweet paprika

4 large handfuls of mixed leaves
250 gr green beans washed, topped & tailed
2 slices rustic bread preferably gluten free
Olive oil and raspberry vinaigrette

Combine the olive oil, walnut oil,shallot, garlic and thyme, season well.
Cut the goats cheese into slices and lay on a flat plate and pour over the marinade.
Cover and place in the fridge – preferably overnight but at least for a few hours.
when ready to assemble, blanch the beans in boiling water for 3 minutes and drain.
Toast the bread and cut into croutons.
Dress the salad leaves with some olive oil and a splash of raspberry vinaigrette.
Drain some of the marinade onto the beans.
Arrange the leaves and beans across 4 plates.
Place the goats cheese onto a foil lined baking tray and place under the grill for about 2 minutes until
just melting. Arrange on top of the salad, top with the croutons and spoon over any remaining marinade.


Chargrilled flat iron beef with Tossed Asian Style Vegetables

grilled flatiron and asian greens II

chargrilled flatiron and asian greens

This cut of beef is becoming very popular and I love it, make sure to trim it if there is a membrane on the outside of it but once cooked and cut across the grain is a delicious piece of meat and easy and quick to prepare. This was a real crown pleaser so I hope the cut doesnt get too expensive as it’s popularity grows!

Chargrilled flat iron beef with Tossed Asian Greens
Serves 4
4 flat iron beef steaks
2 cloves of garlic peeled chopped and mashed
salt and pepper
rapeseed oil

Trim the flat irons
Chop and mash the garlic, add salt and pepper with few glugs of rapeseed oil
Cover the beef with the marinade and leave for a few hours for the flavour to develop

Stir Fryed Asian Style Greens
1 Pak Choi cleaned and trimmed,
2 handfuls of Tender stem broccoli blanched for 3 minutes
1 handful baby corn blanched for 3 minutes
2 handful mangetout cleaned and trimmed
1 red pepper de-seeded and julienned
2 tbsp black sesame seed
4 tbsp rapeseed oil
1″ fresh ginger peeled and finely chopped
1 clove garlic

Dressing – Mix the following:-
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp soy sauce

Wipe off the heavy excess and cook the steaks on a hot griddle pan for few minutes each side – ideally this should be cooked rare at most medium rare.
Set aside to rest, meanwhile stir fry the vegetables by adding the oil to the hot wok and add the ginger and garlic and stir fry for a few minutes, toss in veg in the following order pepper, corn, broccoli mangetout and then the cabbage greens stir frying between each addition for a few minutes.
Pour over the dressing ingredients, toss over the sesame seeds, season and pour on to serving platter.
Carve the steaks and serve with the vegetables. Delicious :-)

Greek Style Lamb with Redcurrant glaze

I have piles and piles of cook books as well as notebooks filled with written recipes or ones I have cut out from newspapers over the years. I usually write notes in the margins about when I first cooked it, for who and occasionally the date. This means I usually get immersed in my note books on trips down memory lane as I remember what the occasion was and totally forget the time. This lamb recipe has a note in the margin that I first cooked this for my dad and that he loved it. So I can assure you it has been road tested by someone with quite high standards (read fussy) :-)

Greek Style Lamb with Redcurrant Glaze
Serves 4

8 lamb chops (2 per person, more if you have hungry males!)
few sprigs of fresh rosemary and thyme
2 lemons sliced
2 cloves garlic chopped and mashed

Season the lamb chops and brown well on both sides
Line an oven proof dish with sliced lemons, herbs, and chopped garlic
Lie lamb chops on top and into the oven at 180C until done to choice (about 10 minutes for medium)

Meanwhile make redcurrant glaze
150ml red wine
125gr red currant jelly
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
150 ml water
2 tsp cornflour

Add everything bar cornflour and water to a pot and heat gently until the jelly has melted and is smooth
Blend the corn flour and water and add to the pot, bring to the boil and stir and simmer until thickened

Serve the lamb with the redcurrant glaze with tossed salad and some roasted or new potatoes if in season.

Lemon Pistachio Cake with Yoghurt & Fruit Compote

We are just back from 2 weeks in beautiful Croatia, we spent it in Istria, which feels very Italian and is therefore close to my heart. From stunning old squares and shaded alleyways to beautiful Venetian style houses there is plenty to enjoy and sampling the wine, olive oil and cheese was part of the fun. Cafe culture is also a strong part of the lifestyle and I loved having some timeout drinking an espresso and people watching….. and sure you would have to have something to go with it, wouldn’t you?. This cake is inspired by the tastes and flavours of the area, filled with lemon zest and with a beautiful colour courtesy of the pistachios. I always say, if you are going to have some cake, make it a good one, no sense in wasting the calories on processed refined baked goods. Make it yourself and you control the quality of ingredients going in to it. This one has not too much sugar and as it is made with gluten free flour perfect if you don’t work well on wheat. I make the pistachio flour by blending pistachios and sieving to remove any bigger pieces of nuts.

Then as I have said before bring the cake into work and you won’t be able to eat too much of it! :-)
pistachio lemon cake

Lemon Pistachio Cake with Yoghurt Fruit Compote

8oz unsalted butter
zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup pistachio meal
3/4 cup gluten free plain flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp GF baking flour
4 eggs

Oven at 150C
Mix the flour and pistachio meal together.
Grease spring-form tin well and line base with parchment paper.
Beat butter and sugar until really smooth.
Add vanilla and zest and beat to combine.
Alternately add eggs and pistachio meal and flour mix.
Add the baking powder and give a final beat to combine but don’t over beat.
Pour into greased lined spring-form tin and bake at 160C for 40 minutes until a skewer comes out clean
Serve with some yoghurt and fruit.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 404 other followers

%d bloggers like this: