Instagram Email me!
I wrote a book! If you've ever wanted to learn a bit more about creating recipes, this series is designed for you. The first book focuses on cookies, because who doesn't love cookies?
Available now on Kindle.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Avocado & Sweetcorn Summer Salad



Summer salad with avocado & sweetcorn

Like everyone, I struggle a bit to eat as healthily as I might like. There are always so many tempting dishes, and my tastebuds can't be relied upon to pick out the option that's actually best for me in the long run. Every now and then, though, you stumble upon something that hits exactly the right balance of moreishly delicious and utterly virtuous.

This salad is made from just five ingredients, so it's simple and really quick to put together. The flavours and textures are in perfect balance: creamy avocado and crunchy peppers, sweet corn and spicy rocket.

And because the flavours are so bright, you really don't need to add any dressing.

5:2 Intermittent Fasting button5:2 Diet
At under 230 calories, this is a perfect 5:2 lunch option. Almost all of the calories come from the avocado and sweetcorn; you could add more of the other ingredients without significantly affecting the calorie count.

Summer salad with avocado & sweetcorn

Avocado & Sweetcorn Summer Salad
Serves 2

1 avocado
½ red pepper
10 cherry plum tomatoes
1 cup (100g) sweetcorn
2 large handfuls rocket
  1. Cut the avocado into small cubes, slice the pepper, and cut the tomatoes in half.
  2. Toss the chopped vegetables together with the sweetcorn.
  3. Arrange the rocket on two plates, and top with the vegetable mixture.
  4. Serve with an optional twist of black pepper.


Monday, 14 July 2014

Spinach & Artichoke Cheesey Pasta (Secret Recipe Club)



Spinach & Artichoke Pasta

Secret Recipe Club

My assignment for the Secret Recipe Club this month was to make something from Mostly Food and Crafts. Danielle's blog has dozens of gorgeous recipes, including a whole section just for beans, and some really tempting desserts. I'm trying to be just a little bit more healthy this month, though, so in the end I tore myself away from the cakes and went back to the savoury options.

One of the dishes I've repeatedly fallen in love with on recent trips to the US is a spinach and artichoke dip. Hot dips were a bit of a novelty to me the first time I tried it, and this one contains a few of my favourite ingredients. I'd even been thinking, a couple of weeks ago, that such a dip would make a great pasta sauce to try when I got home.

So when I saw that Danielle had a recipe for cheesey baked penne with spinach and artichokes, I knew what I was making for SRC this month. This was a really easy recipe, and brought back a lot of happy memories.

I've adapted the recipe slightly, adding a little cream cheese to make the whole thing more creamy. I used fresh spinach rather than frozen, but I can't imagine that would make much difference: it just happens to be in season (and in my garden!). I also converted the recipe into metric units, and I'm feeding two rather than a family.

Spinach & Artichoke Pasta

Spinach & Artichoke Cheesey Pasta
Serves 2

200g (8oz) dried pasta
135g (½ cup) cream cheese
150g (1 cup) grated mozzarella cheese
8 artichoke hearts (1 tin, 240g)
2 large handfuls of spinach
fresh ground black pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (390°F).
  2. Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions.
  3. Mince the artichokes and cut the spinach into strips.
  4. Drain the pasta and return to the saucepan.
  5. Stir the cream cheese and mozzarella into the pasta, along with the vegetables.
  6. Warm over a low heat until the cheese melts.
  7. Season to taste with black pepper.
  8. Decant into an oven-proof dish and bake for 5-10 minutes until the top begins to brown.




Sunday, 6 July 2014

Ships & Trains in Baltimore



Baltimore Ship Museum

I've been to the US a few times now, but until I went there for a conference last month, I have to admit that all I knew of Baltimore was from The Wire. Which wasn't exactly encouraging me to visit. (Equally troubling was the note in the conference program, on running routes around town, with its simple injunction: "Don't run north.")

However, there's actually a surprising amount to do, and I didn't struggle at all to fill my spare weekends. Two museums that appealed to my wanderlust and love of history were the Historic Ships in the Inner Harbor, and the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum.

I went round the lighthouse and two of the four ships, of which my favourite was the submarine, USS Torsk. I've been in a submarine before, and each time, it makes me just a little bit envious of the minimalism that such confined living quarters must require of the inhabitants. Each bunk lifts up to reveal just enough storage space for neatly-rolled shirts and a few personal effects. Trying to cater for the whole crew, in a kitchen the size of a postage stamp, would also be a significant challenge.

Baltimore Ship Museum

Baltimore Ship Museum

Baltimore Ship Museum

Baltimore Ship Museum

Baltimore Ship Museum

Baltimore Ship Museum

Baltimore Ship Museum

Going rather further backwards in time, the USS Constellation is a three-masted wooden frigate that dates to the 18th century. As well as the complex rigging, highlights included an impressive gun deck full of cannon, and sleeping accommodation that really highlighted the difference in status between officers and crew.

Baltimore Ship Museum

Baltimore Ship Museum

Baltimore Ship Museum

Baltimore Ship Museum

Baltimore Ship Museum

Baltimore Ship Museum

Baltimore Ship Museum

Baltimore Ship Museum

A little further out of town (it felt a lot further in the sweltering heat and high humidity of summer), the B&O Railroad Museum is a collection of trains dating from the beginning of the American railroads through to the end of the Age of Steam. The exhibits celebrate the route which used to run from Baltimore all the way to Columbus, Ohio. As well as a number of imposing engines with wheels taller than I am, highlights for me included the very old carriages styled after a horse-drawn carriage, the specialised trains used as post sorting offices and mobile laboratories, and the 'Gratitude Train' sent as a gift from France to the state of Maryland after the Second World War.

Baltimore Railroad Museum

Baltimore Railroad Museum

Baltimore Railroad Museum

Baltimore Railroad Museum

Baltimore Railroad Museum

Baltimore Railroad Museum


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...