Chorizo, Tomato and Egg 

So I have been away for a while. The reason being we have lapsed into some old habits. Eating habits. Long story short I am now on a health kick. I need to lose a good couple of stone, at least. So, now I am eating good, healthy, fresh food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This lunch surprised me it was super tasty and actually filled me up till dinner. Which is surprising considering it is basically a tin of tomatoes and a couple of eggs.

The main reason this works and tastes amazing is it has chorizo in it. Not a lot (I am being healthy after all) but enough to flavour the tomatoes and give that rich flavour that comes from cooking it down and getting all those lovely juices. I cooked the eggs in the tomatoes and they were amazing I broke open the yolk in the bowl and it was still runny which added a whole new flavour. I think next time I will add some fresh herbs. Probably basil or parsley. Maybe a bit of Worcester sauce. The chilli powder gave enough heat to warm everything but I think I will add some more next time.

This, I worked out was around 500 – 550 calories. I know that sounds a lot but I am over 17 stone now so I have given myself 1800 calories a day. All of which will hopefully be good wholesome food. I had a home made fruit smoothie for breakfast that was only around 350 calories so that still left me 900 calories for dinner and milk for my coffee.


Ingredients (serves 1)

1 Tin chopped tomatoes

50g Chorizo chopped (I used the cured sausage not the sliced sandwich chorizo)

1 Shallot finely chopped

1 handful of spinach

2 Eggs

30g Parmesan Cheese grated 

Half a tsp of Chilli powder


How to Cook

Cook your shallot and chorizo in a small pan with a small amount of olive oil for a few minutes. Long enough for the chorizo to release all the fat and oil. Add your chilli powder and mix it in for a minute.

Then add the tin of chopped tomatoes, careful it may splash up at you as it hits the hot oils in the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Heat it all through. then add your spinach until it has all wilted. You may need to do this in a couple of batches.

Now try and make a small indent in the tomatoes with a spoon and then crack an egg into it. Now do the same with the other egg. Sprinkle the Parmesan on top and then put a lid on the pan. Cook until all the egg whites have cooked but the yolks still runny.

Carfully transfer it all to a bowl.

Sprinkle with some Basil or Parsley if you have any.

 

Minted Lamb and Feta Burgers With a Crunchy Salad

Normally when I want a burger I want cheddar cheese, blue cheese, bacon, black pudding, burger sauce, mayo, ketchup, mustard, cooked onion, raw onion, onion rings,  lettuce, rocket and any other accompaniment you could think of, not all at once obviously although I wouldn’t say no to trying that. So when I looked at this recipe I wasn’t expecting much. A burger with no sauce! How wrong I could be.

Firstly, the peripherals. The wedges, you can’t go wrong with home made wedges, a little oil and salt and pepper and you are golden. Keep the skins on for that extra crispiness. The salad was light and refreshing. Lettuce, radish, spring onion and mint with a little olive oil. I used my good olive oil here that I got from our trip to France. The better the oil the better the flavour so therefor the better the salad.

So, onto the burger. The two most important parts of a good burger. The burger patty itself and the bun. Here we have a brioche bun which for me is the best bun you can get. I am partial to a nice soft white roll at a BBQ but where ever possible its brioche all the way. The burger here is lamb mince which apart from tasting different to your usual beef burger is also filled with a lot more fat which really, really helps. I am all for healthy eating and lean meat but I cannot sit here and lie and say that a lean piece of meat tastes as good as a fatty piece of meat. Obviously moderation is the key. Or in the wise words of Oscar Wilde “Everything in moderation, including moderation”

Along with that lovely sweet lamb that has mint, spring onion and feta all mixed in to the patty itself. You have an onion relish, this is literally onion that is stewed in a pan with some salt and a little sugar. These sweet caramelised onions really combine well with the lamb. These amazing flavour combinations make this a great burger. I didn’t miss any of my usual “must have fillings.. this time. I don’t think anything will beat my usual combination but this has opened up my eyes to other possibilities.

What

2x Large Potatoes

1 Onion

2x Baby Gem Lettuce

1x Pack Radish

3x Spring Onion

1 Bunch Mint

375g Minced Lamb

1 Block Feta Cheese

3x Brioche Buns

How

Pre heat your oven to 200 degrees. while its warming up Chop the potatoes into wedges, you don’t have to peel them the skins will go nice and crispy. Toss the wedges in a splash of olive oil, season with some salt and pepper and pop them in the oven to roast for about 25 minutes.

Onion, slice it into thin half moons

Baby Gem, roughly chop it.

Radish, finely slice it

Spring onion, finely chop it.

Mint, roughly chop it.

Heat up a dash of olive oil in a small pan, add your onion with a pinch of salt and sugar. Put a lid on the pan and leave it on a low heat for around 15 minutes.

Next, mix your lamb with half the chopped mint and three quarters of your spring onion. crumble in half the feta cheese and then add a little flour, salt and pepper. mix it all together with your hands. Divide the mixture into one burger each.

Heat some oil in a pan and add the burgers. cook for around 4 – 5 minutes on each side. If you find they are cooking to quickly on the outside before the center is cooked you can turn down the heat or transfer them to the oven until cooked through.

Mix the remaining spring onion with the radish and lettuce and the rest of the mint. drizzle over some olive oil and salt and pepper and mix together.

Lastly split your buns in half and pop under the grill for around a minute each side. Keep an eye on them they burn fast.

Pop a burger in the bun with a spoonful of your onion relish. put it on the plate with some crispy wedges and a handful of salad.

 

“After Nicholas hung up the phone, he watched his mother carry buckets and garden tools across the couch grass toward a bed that would, come spring, be brightly ablaze as tropical coral with colorful arctotis, impatiens, and petunias. Katherine dug with hard chopping strokes, pulling out wandering jew and oxalis, tossing the uprooted weeds into a black pot beside her.
The garden will be beautiful, he thought. But how do the weeds feel about it? Sacrifices must be made.”
― Stephen M. Irwin – The Dead Path

Another drawing

Wanted to try something different, other than animals. Am pleased with the result.

“I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden.”
― Ruth Stout

Beef Meatball Goulash With Rice

Originating from medieval Hungary, Goulash is a deep, rich, belter of a dish. Back in the 9th century goulash was eaten by Hungarian shepherds. They would take cooked, seasoned meat and dry it in the sun to preserve it. Then they would store it in bags made from sheep stomachs. When they wanted to eat it all they would have to do was add water to the bag and they had a meal.

In terms of ingredients I can’t say how close this was to the traditional dish. For sure it would have used paprika (Hungarian paprika is renowned to be some of the best in the world). Not only does it give lots of flavour, it adds that deep red colour that makes it so appealing.

The use of fresh herbs really kick this one up a notch. Those rich flavours are contrasted with the freshness of the parsley. 

Red Onion, chop it into thin half moons

Green pepper, slice it as thin as you can

Garlic, grate it

Parsley, roughly chop it

Cook the onion and pepper till soft in a pan with some oil. Season with salt and pepper. Once soft add half of the garlic, dried thyme and ground coriander. Also add all of the paprika.

Cook this mix for a couple more minutes and add the tomato purée and chopped tomatoes. Bring to the boil and then add the stock pot and water. Mix it all up, lower the heat to simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes.

While that is simmering, put the basmati rice in a pot and add 500ml water. Bring to the boil and then pop a lid on the pan, lower the heat to medium and leave for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes remove the pan from the heat and leave the lid on till you are ready to serve.

While the rice is cooking, put the mince into a bowl with some salt and pepper, then add the remaining garlic, dried thyme and coriander. Mix in the panko breadcrumbs. Make into enough balls for 3 each. (Don’t compact them too much, just enough to keep them together. Half submerge the meatballs into the sauce. Pop a lid on the pan and cook for 10-12 minutes, turning halfway through. 

Once the meatballs have cooked add the spinach to the pan and put the lid back on for a couple of minutes until it has wilted. Season if you need to and then remove from the heat and stir in two thirds of the sour cream.

Fluff up the rice and serve as a bed for your sauce and meatballs sprinkle over your parsleyand a dollop of sour cream.

Grilled Chicken With Saffron Spiced Freekeh and Zahtar Dressing

This dish received a lot of hype before I cooked it, it looks and sounds like it was going to be packed with flavour. However, it wasn’t the case. I really enjoyed it and would happily recommend it. My wife and brother on the other hand were left underwhelmed.

By the time I plated this up I was practically dribbling into the bowl (I gave that one to my brother). The dish looked amazing and smelt delicious. The flavour on the other hand was.. different to what we were expecting. Now I really liked it, it was very citrusy and spicy. There were some issues, I didn’t see the need for the saffron, I can’t say I really tasted it. Also the Freekeh wasn’t as flavourful as it has been before in other meals. I will try this one again one day. I am sure it was my cooking that let the end result down. It is hard to look at that ingredients list and not get a fantastic tasting meal. 

Firstly get your grill on medium high, prep the chicken by putting it on a tray with a bit of salt and pepper mix up some olive oil and lemon zest and massage this into the chicken. Put it to one side while you carry on prepping.

Shallot, c it into thin half moons

Garlic, peel it, grate it.

Red pepper, slice into strips.

Add your shallot to a pan with some oil and cook for 5 minutes to soften. Then add your pepper and cook for another 5 minutes. Next add your garlic and saffron and cook for 1 minute. When ready add 750ml of water and bring to the boil. Once boiling add the Freekeh with salt and pepper and reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 15 minutes.

While the Freekeh is cooking, whack your chicken under the grill, probably for around 10 minutes each side depending on the size of your breasts.

Parsley, chop it

Mint, chop it

Red chilli, finely chop it. 

In a bowl mix up the Zahtar spice, a squeeze of lemon juice, a quarter of the parsley, all the mint, and some olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and then add as much of the chilli as you fancy.

When the Freekeh is cooked drain any excess fluid. Mix in the rest of the parsely and some lemon juice.

Slice the chicken and lay it on a Freekeh bed. Top with the Zahtar dressing and sprinkle any leftover herbs and chilli.