recipes for a healthy life

Pork Chops with Salsa Verde & Red Pepper Jelly

Pork Chops Background

posk chops

I have been Cableless for the last 3 weeks having done a big tidy up and in the process lost my cable to connect camera to computer. Another big tidy of the original tidy didn’t result in me finding it although I did get my head nice and clear. I think I have said how I love a good clean, it’s a more productive form of meditation… Yes weird I know, I think it’s a girl thing.

Anyway this recipe has been dying to get out, It was such a simple dish to put together, really quick to prepare and as a bonus the pork chops have been really good value lately.
I was out for dinner during the week and as a coincidence, someone mentioned that they bought Tuna steaks for dinner and told their kids it was pork chops to make them eat them. So while tuna is a a bit more higher end than pork it occurred to me that this recipe would work equally well with any kind of meaty fish.

Pork Chops with Red Pepper Salsa Verde
4 Pork chops
2 tbsp chargrilled Red Pepper Jelly (From Harty’s – I got from viking direct)
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 small handful capers
6 anchovy fillets
2 large handfuls flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked
1 bunch fresh basil, leaves picked
1 handful fresh mint, leaves picked
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
8 tablespoons really good extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Chop the garlic, capers, anchovies and herbs and put them into a bowl. Add the mustard and vinegar, then slowly stir in the olive oil. Whisk in the red pepper jelly then check seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed.
Marinade the pork chops in half the salsa verde for about 4 hours in the fridge.
Heat the oven to 180C
Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a pan until good and hot.
Take the chops out of the salse verde, scrape off the excess and place the chops in the pan.
Cook on a high heat until one nice and brown, about 3 minutes. Flip over and place the pan into the oven and finish cooking which will be about 7 to 10 minutes depending on thickness.
Serve with some more Salsa Verde, green salad and your choice of potato.

Lemon Butter milk Cake with Balsamic Glazed Fruit


Early Saturday morning is when I do most of my baking, no one is up and about so little chance of a disturbance. This weekend was slightly different as we had a doggie visitor on a stay over who was very curious while I was making it – his little puppy legs couldn’t get him up high enough to see though. Im told I am on a slippery slope and it is only a matter of time but I think I will still have to hold firm! A bird maybe??

So, This is an easy cake with a lovely flavour, sharp lemon tang, topped with the last of summer fruit, go for Autumn plums when it is gone from the shops. The fact that it works equally well made gluten free flour is a great bonus as not all recipes are interchangeable. Lots of sugar though so go easy, get the exercise in to justify and as always, dont eat the whole thing!

Lemon Buttermilk Cake with Balsamic Glazed Fruit
250gr butter, softened
250gr caster sugar
Finely grated rind of 1 lemon and its juice
2 tbsp preserved lemon syrup (If you can get it, if not add the juice of an extra lemon)
5 eggs
400gr gluten free plain flour
1 tsp xantham gum
150ml buttermilk
150gr sour cream

500gr strawberries and 250gr raspberries
2 tbsp icing sugar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
250gr lemon curd

Oven at 170C
Beat butter, sugar and lemon rind in an electric mixer until pale and fluffy (3-4 minutes). Add eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition. Beat in half the flour and the xantham gum to just combine.
Whisk butter milk, lemon juice and sour cream in a separate bowl until smooth, then beat into batter. Beat in remaining flour until just combined. Divide between two 22cm-diameter cake tins that have been buttered and lined with parchment, (or you can bake in a larger deep square tine like I did and I cut it in half when cooled) Level the tops with a palette knife.
Bake, until golden and it springs back when lightly pressed (30-35 minutes in my oven). Cool slightly in tins, turn onto wire racks and cool completely.
For the topping
Hull and half the strawberries, tip into a put with icing sugar and balsamic and heat gently for a minute or 2, Add the raspberries, turn once or twice in the syrup – leave for about 30 seconds, then remove the fruit and let it cool. Turn up the heat and reduce the syrup until it is has a thicker consistency.

If you made the cake in round tins, sandwich with the lemon curd, reserving a little for the top. Cover with the fruit and pour over the glaze and serve. If you made in a flat tin, cut in half vertically (reserve the other half by freezing), cover the top with all the curd followed by the fruit and glaze.


Perfect after a day out…

Creamy Madeira Mushrooms on Sourdough toast

OO&L Creamy Mushrooms

Mushrooms on toast were one of my mum’s favourite snacks and I inherited her love of them. If I was ever lucky enough to be at home with her during the day (like if I pulled a sickie), when she asked what I wanted for lunch, I would either ask for these or scrambled eggs on toast.
I know they are not everyone’s cup of tea but for me this is a perfect lunch dish and they are great with a steak. Try them flavoured with Madeira if you have it as it works so well with mushrooms then a splash of cream and a sprinkle of thyme together with some cherry tomatoes piled onto a thick slice of sourdough toast.
This would definitely be on the lunch menu if I owned a little coffee shop – Tasty, quick and easy, filling and nutritious.

Creamy Madeira Mushrooms on Sourdough
serves 1
2 Slices of rustic bread such as sourdough
350g mixed mushrooms
Handful of cherry tomatoes cut in half
100 ml single cream
30g butter
Splash of olive oil
Splash of Madeira
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp fresh chopped thyme

Pop your bread into the toaster on a low setting – you just want it lightly toasted
Clean the mushrooms by wiping gently with a tea towel and brushing any dirt off them
Put the butter and oil into a large hot pan and as soon as it starts to melt tip in the mushrooms. Reduce the heat to medium high and cook for a few minutes tossing over gently. Only when the mushrooms start to brown add the salt and pepper.
Add the cherry tomatoes and cook gently until they start to give.
Pour over the Madeira and let it bubble to cook off the alcohol.
Add the cream and stir gently to mix then cook for a few more minutes until the cream bubbles slightly, then turn down the heat, add the thyme and a final taste for seasoning.
Take your bread out of the toaster drizzle over a little more olive oil then ladle over the mushroom mix and enjoy!

Lunchbox Snacks – No Bake Fruit & Oat trail bars


Lara bar or Nakd bar anyone? If you are a fan of these as a handy healthy snack on the go, but like me, not to fond of the price then try this recipe below for a quick and easy home made version and much better value. There are endless variations possible to this recipe – any nuts or seeds of choice, any dried fruits. Just remember to chop them small so that you can cut the bars easily when they are set and make sure your mixture is quite wet. If you think it is a bit dry then melt another spoon or so of coconut oil and add to the mix. These would also be great covered with melted chocolate. Just remember not to eat them all on the same day !

No Bake Fruit and Oat Trail Bars

2.5oz butter
8oz nut butter
2large tbsp coconut oil
2oz honey
10oz oats
2oz each cranberries and nuts of choice chopped quite small but not obliterated!

Melt the butter, nut butter, coconut oil and honey together over a gently heat.
Put oats, nuts and berries into a big bowl.
Add the melted ingredients and mix well.
Tip into flat baking tray about 10 by 10 lined with parchment
Press down well and chill overnight in the fridge.
Tip out and cut into bars – That’s it, super easy and great to pop in the bag or a school lunchbox.

Pan Fried Salmon, Confit Potatoes and Pickled Peppers


‘Those were the most amazing potatoes’ I was told. Yes, well if you were gently simmered under a load of olive oil with garlic and thyme….. Not low calorie for sure , extravagant and absolutely delicious, just the right about of give, salty, infused with a hint of garlic and thyme and perfect with salmon and peppers peppers which add the right about of sharpness to cut through the oil. Full of goodness from the salmon and perfect for an easy impressive looking dinner.

Pan Fried Salmon with Confit Potatoes and Peppers
Serves 2
2 Salmon Darnes about 250gr each seasoned really well on both sides
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 tbsp butter

Pickled Red Pepper
2 Cooked Red Peppers thinly sliced
1 spring onion
2 tbsp white wine vinegar – I use Forum
Salt and Pepper
1 tbsp chopped coriander

4 medium waxy potatoes peeled and thinly sliced
Olive oil to cover

Pour the oil into a pot
Add the potatoes and bring to a gently boil
When bubbles are just rising to the surface, reduce the heat low
and cook for about 10 minutes
Test with a knife – they will just give and you know they are done
Set aside still under the oil

Combine all the Escabeche ingredients and set aside until needed

Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a hot pan
Place the fish in the pan skin side down and leave to cook without moving it
It will get golden and crispy after about 3 minutes
Add the butter, turn the pan down a bit and baste your salmon until it is cooked to your liking about 5 minutes more

Remove the potatoes with a slotted spoon and place on to serving plate, place salmon over the top and add the pepper escabeche and serve.


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