Monday 26 May 2014

Hot and sour noodle soup

It was such a beautiful day today. The sun was out and it was nice and warm. At night however the temperature dropped and it was quite chilly, making it perfect weather to have this brothy soup. You've got to try it yourself to believe how lovely it was - the flavours came together very well, the vegetables and prawns gave it a nice texture and the broth was perfect to slurp on (I know you do it too! Slurping is allowed at home :) ) 

I wanted to use rice noodles in the soup but forgot to buy them so used egg noodles instead, which tasted great too. 


100 gms egg noodles
100 gms cooked and peeled prawns
150 gm fresh shiitake mushrooms
60 gms (about 4-5) baby corn cut into pieces
4 spring onions chopped
20 gms ginger peeled and sliced thinly
3 cloves of garlic sliced thinly
2 red chillies de-seeded and thinly sliced (adjust as per taste)
1 tsp dried chilli flakes (optional)
5 cm piece of lemon grass roughly crushed
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tsp light soy sauce
1.5 litre of water
1 veg or chicken stock cube
A handful of coriander 


In a large pan, add the water and stock cube. Add the sliced ginger, sliced garlic, sliced chillies, baby corn, lemon grass, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and fish sauce. Cook for 15 minutes.

Add the mushrooms, chilli flakes and noodles and cook for a further 5-7 minutes (until noodles are cooked). Then add the cooked prawns and warm through for a minute. Stir in the coriander (leave some for garnishing) and spring onions.

Garnish with the remaining coriander and serve hot.

Sunday 25 May 2014

Healthy pasta bake

I could eat macaroni and cheese every day - it's one of the most comforting foods ever. Unfortunately, actually eating this every day wouldn't really be ideal. 

However, using low fat and low calorie substitutes and adding some healthy bits here and there you could actually have a pasta which is almost as creamy but actually good for you!

For instance have whole wheat pasta or one which has high fibre content. Use quark cheese, a sort of a curd cheese which is creamy and low in fat, or low calorie cheese triangles. Addition of vegetables like broccoli, carrots, celery etc. add to the quantity, make you feel fuller and obviously make it healthier too! Using these substitutions I made a nice creamy pasta bake for lunch today. 

You don't have to bake it; you could just combine everything with the pasta and have it as it is

Serves 2-3


200 gms uncooked pasta
200 gms broccoli florets
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
2 spring onions chopped
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
4 heaped tbsp Quark 
1 tsp of chopped chives
50 gms grated cheddar cheese
Pepper for seasoning


Boil the pasta in water. Add the broccoli about 2-3 minutes before draining the pasta.

In a bowl add the cooked pasta and broccoli florets, chopped garlic, chopped spring onions, chilli flakes, Quark, chives and cheddar. Season with pepper. Mix well.

You can eat this as it is or bake it for 15-20 minutes at 180 C. If you are baking it, cook the pasta al dente. On baking, some of the pasta had a nice crunch to them which I really liked. :)

Thursday 22 May 2014

Skinny yoghurt Panna Cotta

Panna Cotta is an Italian desert made from double cream and milk. I've made this using fat free yoghurt and light single cream, making it much lighter. Hence the name skinny panna cotta. :)

The texture of this panna cotta is not as firm as the usual panna cotta (made from cream and milk). However it tastes just as creamy. 

I used regular gelatin but there are vegetarian options which are easily available in super markets.


250 gms fat free Greek Yoghurt
200 ml single cream
50 gm sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract or essence
2 & 1/2 gelatin leaves
(Check the gelatin packet for usage instructions)


Soak the gelatin in some cold water until soft.

Heat the cream in a saucepan, add the sugar and bring to a gentle boil, stirring occasionally. Squeeze the gelatin leaves and add them to the cream. Whisk until the gelatin dissolves.

Strain the cream, sugar and gelatin mixture to remove any lumps. Let it cool for about 5 minutes. Add the yoghurt and vanilla. Mix well.

Pour the mixture into ramekins/serving bowls.

Chill in the refrigerator for 5-6 hours until set.

Remove from the refrigerator just before serving as it does start to melt if left outside for long. 

Top it with honey or summer berries or serve as it is. 

Sunday 18 May 2014

Lamb and mint burgers

We've been planning to have a barbecue for weeks now but just hadn't got around to it yet... until today! The weather was great, and there aren't many things better on a warm summer weekend than an impromptu, unplanned barbecue. 

Last time when we had hosted a barbecue, we had made lamb burgers amongst many other things like chicken kebabs, paneer kebabs, sausages, beef burgers etc. Out of everything, the lamb burgers were a super hit and won everyone's accolade. 

Since this time it was just the two of us, we decided to make just lamb burgers with some salad on the side. 

The barbecue enhances the flavour of the lamb, the mint and the cumin complement it perfectly and the patties stay so succulent and moist. Yum!

Try these the next time you have a barbecue - trust me, they're wonderful! 


400 gms lamb mince
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
1 tsp green chilli paste (adjust as per preference)
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp oil
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint leaves
2 tsp lemon juice
Salt to taste


Add the ginger paste, garlic paste, green chilli paste, cumin powder, garam masala, mint leaves, lemon juice, oil and salt to the lamb mince and combine well.

Leave it aside for at least 30 minutes.

Make equal sized burgers. Cook on the barbecue until done.

* Tip - Before making the patties, make a small patty and cook it. Check for seasoning and adjust as required. Then make the other patties and cook them.

We opted for wholemeal baps and served them with some nice wilted spinach, rainbow chard and tomato salad along with some light garlic mayonnaise. I prefer to keep my burger simple and let the lamb dominate the taste. 

For the garlic mayonnaise just add 1 minced garlic to 2 tbsp of light mayonnaise and season with salt and pepper. 

Have a fabulous summer! If you are in the UK, enjoy it till it lasts! :)


Monday 12 May 2014

Gluten-free no bake chocolate protein balls

Protein balls have become quite the trend lately. I tried my hand at making these and they are so easy to do. I love chocolate, I love peanut butter...perfect!

These gluten free protein balls are a great snacking option, perfect after a workout or as a mid morning or mid afternoon snack. I made these with peanut butter, protein powder, chocolate and some honey. I recently read an article saying that not all protein powders are gluten free, so check the labels carefully.

I reckon these can be stored in the fridge for 3-4 days in a container. You wouldn't really have to worry about this too much as they disappear quite fast. :)


1/2 cup natural peanut butter (I used the smooth one)
40 gms dark chocolate (at least 70%)
2 tbsp honey
3 tbsp whey protein (I used chocolate flavoured)
1 tsp powdered sugar for dusting (optional)


Melt the dark chocolate in a heat proof bowl in a microwave for about 30 seconds. Stir.

Add in the peanut butter, protein powder and honey and mix well into a dough.

If the dough is too soft to roll keep in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. From the dough (if you haven't eaten all of it already) make small bite size balls.

Dust over some powdered sugar to make them look pretty. 

Thursday 8 May 2014

Simple and light cornbread

I had some store bought buttermilk which had to be used before the 'best before' date. So I was trying to think of something which I could make using the buttermilk and also something which I hadn't made before. While looking at my cupboard ingredients, I spotted a packet of cornmeal and then it was decided; I was going attempt cornbread for the very first time. I have tried to keep it as light and simple as possible. I haven't used any butter, yes you heard it right. Instead I've used coconut oil, which made it healthier too.


200 gms cornmeal
100 gms plain flour
300 ml low fat buttermilk
1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs


Preheat the oven to 200 C. Grease a 20 cm tin (preferably springform) with some oil or butter.

In a bowl add the cornmeal, plain flour, salt and baking powder. In another bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar. Add the buttermilk and whisk again. 

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and combine well. Once the oven has preheated, add the baking soda to the mixture and combine well. Quickly transfer the mixture to the greased tin.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Let cool on a baking tray for 5 minutes

I enjoyed a slice with a cup of tea on my terrace, lounging in the sun with a book. Perfect! :)

Avocado, Banana and Coconut smoothie

Healthy smoothie making continues... I always have bananas at home and since I had an avocado, this recipe was created. I had this for breakfast and felt all geared up for the day. The Avocado gave the smoothie a nice thick texture and the banana and coconut water helped to make it naturally sweet. You could add some honey to it for extra sweetness.
I also like adding a tsp of coconut oil to my smoothies. Coconut oil adds to the taste and it also has many health benefits.

This is a vegan recipe and can be made in minutes!


200 ml pure coconut water
1 banana
1 ripe avocado
1 tsp honey (optional)
1 tsp pure coconut oil


Blend all the ingredients together. That's it! :)

Wednesday 7 May 2014

Pasta with quorn mince in tomato sauce

On weekdays, after a long day at work, it is so difficult to resist the temptation of just picking up the phone and ordering a takeaway! I do give in to the temptation now and then but most days I try to rustle up a healthy dinner with a key few ingredients which I keep in my kitchen cabinet and the freezer. Uncooked pasta packets, tomato cans and frozen quorn mince are a few such ingredients which combine to make an absolutely delicious and healthy meal. I am not a vegetarian but I absolutely love the quorn mince and the fact that it so convenient. So here is how I make my spicy vegetarian pasta bolognese :).


200 gms penne pasta
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion chopped
3 cloves of garlic finely chopped 
2 green chillies chopped (adjust as per taste)
1 400 gm can of chopped tomatoes
1/4 tsp chilli flakes
1/4 tsp pepper
salt to taste
180 gms frozen quorn mince
5-6 basil leaves 
Grated parmesan and extra virgin olive oil for garnishing


Bring a large pan of water, with some salt to a boil. Add the pasta and cook as per the instructions on the packet. (tip - add some oil to it so the pasta doesn't stick)

In another pan, heat a tbsp of olive oil. Add the garlic and toss for 30 seconds. Add the onion and green chillies and cook for a couple of minutes until the onions are softened.

Add the can of tomatoes, chilli powder, pepper and salt. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes. If the sauce has dried up add 1/4 cup of water and simmer for a minute. Add the frozen quorn mince and cover and cook as instructed on the quorn packet. About 10-12 minutes.

Place the basil leaves on top of each other on a chopping board, roll and thinly slice, and add to the sauce.

Toss in the cooked and drained pasta. Simmer for a minute or two.

Serve and garnish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and grated parmesan.


Sunday 4 May 2014

Paneer jalfrezi

I had a packet of paneer in the refrigerator and decided to make something different than the usual paneer bhurji (similar to my egg bhurji recipe, just using paneer instead of eggs) and palak (spinach) paneer. So I decided to give paneer jalfrezi a try. I find jalfrezi dishes from takeaways or supermarkets quite oily and the vegetables are often soggy. This dish turned out really nice and the veggies stayed nice and crisp. 


200 gms paneer (Indian cottage cheese) cut into 3cm x 1cm pieces
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tomato cut into strips
2 tomatoes (for purée)
1 large onion - 1/2 cut into strips and 1/2 for puree
1 pepper cut into strips (I used half a green and half a red pepper for some colour)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder 
1/4 tsp chilli powder
2 green chillies chopped
2 - 3 dried red (kashmiri) chillies
1 inch ginger cut into thin strips
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp sugar
1 & 1/2  tsp vinegar
A couple of sprigs of coriander for garnish
salt to taste


Roughly chop half an onion and 2 tomatoes. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a non stick pan. Add the onions and fry until lightly brown. 

Add the tomatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes until soft. Remove, let cool and blend to a purée in blender.

In the same pan heat 1 tbsp oil on medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and let them sputter. Add the kashmiri red chillies and the finely sliced ginger and fry for 30-45 seconds.

Add the turmeric powder followed by the onions, peppers, chilli powder, salt and two-thirds of the chopped green chillies and fry for 3-4 minutes. 

Add the paneer and cook on a low heat for 5 minutes. Add the tomato purée, garam masala and sugar and simmer for 2 minutes.

Then add the tomatoes (cut into strips) and toss. Stir in the vinegar and garnish with green chillies and coriander.  
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