INGREDIENTS – makes 8 big cookies 150g plain flour 100g softened butter 50g brown sugar 2tbsp peanut butter 100g chocolate chips (I use white and milk) METHOD 1. Pre-heat your oven to 180oc 2. Combine all ingredients together in a bowl and mix until it comes together in a ball 3. Separate into 8 even sized portions 4. Bake for 15 mins*** if you like them gooey and 18 if you like them crunchier.
Enjoy : ) ***the cookies will come out soft but harden as they cool so don’t be tempted to put them back in
Brunch and dinners : ) My favourite kind of sunday is a lazy one! Every now and then JB and I have a rare weekend with zero commitments and it’s an absolute treat. Don’t get me wrong, we love our friends and family to pieces but sometimes you just want to hunker down in your bubble and just BE… right?
So what does my perfect sunday look like? Gotta say there’s a lot of protein and carbs so if that isn’t your bag… look away now HAHA.
Our house is full of all the coffee paraphernalia imaginable ever since we saw and bought a macchinetta in Verona 2 years ago. During the week with getting ready for work there is definitely not enough time to sit and savour our morning blend so we save it for the weekend.
Sundays literally start with a cup of Taylor’s lazy Sunday coffee. If you haven’t tried it yet you definitely need to. It’s an easy drinker with a great aroma and definitely a perfect start to the day after a lie in.
Then comes the first meal of the day… on a Sunday there is no umming and ahing about it now that I’m back on my egg obsession. Eggs are such a quick and easy fix when you don’t know what to eat and you can make them as exciting as you want (round of applause for resisting the urge to make a cringey pun).
I love a good omelette and make sure it is always jam packed with colourful veg and cured Italian meats, it does make it seem too good to eat though… almost!
Now after a lateish brunch of eggs in some form I like to hold off until dinner, albeit an earlier dinner than normal. I want to talk you through a couple of my favourite lazy sunday meals.
First up is a not so classic roast. The idea of making a roast dinner for just the two of us is sometimes a hassle I totally can’t be bothered with so I’m always looking for ways to make just as good a roast but with no waste. With my minted lamb I think I totally nailed it. I serve it up with a parsley mash, broccoli, a heap of garden peas and of course a good glug of gravy. Next up and one of my favourite comfort food meals is a lasagne. As I’m a cheese-a-phobe I leave out the cheese when baking it. I make my white sauce with skimmed milk to reduce the fat content and also use wholegrain lasagne sheets to up the fibre. Lasagne is one of those meals that I struggle to make small portions of but the great news is it freezes really well so is great for back up dinners when either of us is home alone. As this can be prepped in advance it’s perfect for lazy Sundays. Pre-make and freeze or chill so it is ready to go straight in the oven. Serve it up with roasted beets and a mixed leaf salad and you have a winning dinner combination. Last but not least a lighter one pot roast chicken dish. This one is an easy win and can be prepped far in advance too. When we buy chicken I tend to marinade it before freezing it to save a little time on days like today. Chicken on the bone tends to take longer to cook but also has a better flavour in my opinion. I give the chicken a 20 minute head start then throw in a range of veg with different flavours, colours and textures to liven up the dish. Hope that’s given you some ideas to help make the most of a lazy Sunday… enjoy : )
INGREDIENTS – serves 2 2 lamb leg steaks 2 tbsp mint sauce 2 tbsp olive oil 2 cloves of garlic 1 tsp ground coriander 1/2 tsp mild chilli powder salt and pepper to season METHOD 1. Crush the garlic in a pestle and mortar with a pinch of salt until it is a smooth paste 2. Mix the garlic with olive oil, coriander, chilli powder and mint sauce until fully combined 3. Coat the lamb in the marinade to tenderise for 20 mins 4. Grill for 3 mins on a pre-heated George Foreman or 3 mins either side in a hot dry pan. Enjoy : ) x
Naughty and nice Ok… so I may have mentioned once, twice or a few times that I have a sweet tooth and it has been an ongoing quest of mine to find replacements for all my favourite treats that are lower in calories but still hit the spot. A few months ago we bought in a yoghurt maker and it is up there with the most used appliances in this house. At least three times a week we knock up a batch of low fat yoghurty goodness for breakfasts or as an easy snack option and this got me to thinking… I like yoghurt, I like desserts, I like frozen yoghurt as dessert, so why have I not made any yet? Let the experimentation commence right? Batch one had disaster written all over it. I used a low fat unsweetened greek yoghurt I’d made, added some cherries that I’d stewed down with a little agave nectar and whacked it in the freezer. Job done. I happily overlooked two things though; 1: I don’t have an ice cream maker and 2: I wasn’t going to be around all day to give it a stir to prevent massive ice crystals forming. When I went back to my ‘froyo’ if you could even call it that, it resembled a brick and had an awful texture. Time for batch two. Now this batch was a whole other story. I re-thought my strategy. By freezing the yoghurt on a baking tray it cut the time down massively and meant I could pretty it up a bit. The result was immense I won’t lie, it was smooth and creamy with great texture and had all the sweetness needed thanks to a squirt of agave nectar. It encouraged me to try a host of other combinations but the berry and agave is a definite favourite closely followed by berry, seeds and @sweetfreedomuk choc shot. Now a decent sized portion of the berry, choc shot and mixed seed yoghurt slab only has 90 calories in and 3g fat. When compared to a bog standard vanilla ice cream that contains around 207 calories per 100g and 11g of fat it is definitely the better option for dessert and still feels like you’re having something naughty. The beauty of the yoghurt slab is it is so easy to customise. I usually have some form of frozen fruit stashed away at home so the topping varies according to what I have in. If the fruit is pre-frozen it also means there’s less time to wait until you can enjoy it : ) My next batch of post dinner goodness comes in the form of gooey chocolate brownies. There is no diet or lifestyle change I will ever make that forbids me from eating chocolate. This recipe makes a rich gooey bunch of brownies that are equally as good hot or cold. Another great thing about these is they are gluten and nut free so suitable for more people. Easy dinner party win if you ask me! You may think the brownies are a bit faffy to make but trust me, if you follow the recipe to a T it will be well worth it. I use a mixture of milk and dark chocolate because I love the bitter complexity a good dark chocolate adds but need the creamy balance the milk chocolate lends to the overall taste of the brownies. I don’t think these need anything but a glass of milk to wash them down but I have to admit when I made them for my family at our catch up dinner a week ago, the boys were quick to pull out the double cream and ice cream. Simple to make and sooo rich you only need one. Even better though… Each square only has 142 calories without the ice cream (120 less than a mars bar). Who says you can’t have chocolate when you change your diet hey?
*** GUSH ALERT ***
Last but definitely not least… I want to say a MAHOOSIVE thanks to all you guys and girls out there. I woke up this morning to an email telling me I’d hit 5000 views on my blog (cue happy dance). This is something I couldn’t have done without all of you out there. I started this blog as a way of sharing my love of food, travel and gin based beverages and it means so much that you keep coming back for more! Love you guys xx
4 medium eggs 100g unsalted butter 1tsp instant coffee granules 200g milk chocolate 200g dark chocolate 100g caster sugar METHOD 1. Pre-heat your oven to 180oc 2. Line a rectangular baking tin with greaseproof paper 3. In a bowl over a pan of hot water, stir together your chocolate, coffee granules and butter until melted 4. Take off the heat when mostly melted so it doesn’t get too hot 5. Separate your eggs putting the whites in a large bowl 6. Whisk the egg yolks until they start to lighten in colour and go creamy 7. Add the yolks to the chocolate gently 8. Whisk the egg whites in the large bowl then slowly add sugar until you have soft peaks 9. Add a third of the egg white to the chocolate mixture and mix vigorously to combine 10. Fold in the remaining egg white mixture a third at a time careful not to knowck the air out 11. Gently pour into your lined baking tin and even out with a spatula or the back of a spoon 12. Bake for 25-30mins 13. Test with a toothpick (it should come out slightly gooey) leave to cool in the baking tray out of the oven.
So the time has come for me to go back to school and like everyone else I get a stash of back to school essentials. Where my shop differs though is that it usually consists of a visit to the market, supermarket or Asian superstore across the road.
Now we all have a group of go to items that we use for every occasion right, whether it’s a go to outfit that you know looks immense and works or somewhere you go for lunch or dare I mention…. your go to takeaway options. What I want to talk about today is my store cupboard essentials and how they make up my go to quick and easy meals.
As you know I started meal prepping a few months ago and aside from being a time saver it also means I don’t go reaching for that bag of pick ‘n’ mix or crisps as soon as I get in because I’m starving.
I fully prep breakfast, snacks and lunches but only partially prep evening meals because it still lets me feel like I have a choice of meals in the evening. The way I partially prep is to pre marinade any protein so I can whack it in the oven or on the George Foreman as soon as I get in.
But what is a marinade? A marinade is a spiced liquid, often acidic that adds flavour but also makes your meat, fish or other protein more tender before cooking.
Most of my go to favourites are simple and easy to do. You can leave out the chilli if you don’t like it hot. I always have the ingredients shown in the house because they are so versatile and I use them in a lot of dishes. If you are leaving the marinade on for a while make sure you leave the lemon juice until just before you bake or grill otherwise it’ll start to cook any meat you use.
Dried herbs keep for longer so I feel it is well worth getting a bag in to add to dishes to balance the flavour. This marinade works just as well on chicken or fish, I use a pestle and mortar to smash up your chilli, garlic, mixed herbs and lemon zest then season before adding the juice of the lemon and a little olive oil to prevent it sticking.
I diced some chicken thighs and left in the marinade for 20mins before threading on skewers and baking. Serve it with sweet potato wedges, vegetable rice or a fresh green salad and you’ve got a quick and easy post work meal.
This next one uses some ingredients from my Chinese staples. Whenever I cook Chinese inspired dishes I usually start with my aromats, ginger, chilli and garlic. They work so well together and the flavour is immense, so why not use them as a marinade too?
I usually buy fresh ginger root and chop it into inch size pieces and freeze to preserve it but when I’m all out I use ground ginger. It works just as well but I find you need to use it sparingly or it can overpower everything.
This again is another simple marinade and as I use it for larger pieces of chicken or beef I smash or roughly chop the ingredients. Again I use oil to prevent sticking but this one doesn’t use lemon juice. That means it’s the perfect overnighter or freezer marinade.
Coat your meat of choice whack it in a food bag and freeze, when you defrost it the flavour just intensifies and you can whack it in the oven and go.
This time round I used it when we had friends round to dinner and simply used some butterflied chicken breasts. Roast at 200oc in a pre-heated oven and you are good to go.
To contrast the heat from the chilli I served it with some roasted beetroot that I’d seasoned with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice. Definitely a sharing dish That is easy to do and goes down a treat!
Last but not least, my take on a peri peri. Depending on how hot you like it, you can change the quantities of chilli. Now this may look like a lot of ingredients but again, I haven’t had to go out and buy anything new.
If you are a fan of peri peri then this is definitely the marinade for you! It’s hot and sweet due to the mixture of chilli I use and has bags of flavour because of the aromats. There are so many ways to combine this marinade but my favourite and the easiest is to blitz it.
Whack everything into a blender or food processor and blend until it is completely smooth, pour over your chosen ingredients and leave covered in the fridge.
I made a quick and easy stir fry with my marinated turkey steaks. I find turkey can be quite dry sometimes so the use of a marinade in this case improves the texture massively!
Any food I eat usually has to look good so I make sure I use a wide variety of vegetables to add colour as well as making sure some of them are cooked al dente to give a variety of textures.
This marinade also works well with a whole spatchcokked chicken or king prawns. Serve it with roasted veg, courgette fries or a chunky guac for an immense meal.
What I don’t want is for people to go out any specifically by things for my recipes that they’ll only use once. HUGE waste of time and money if you ask me! What I really wanted to uncover is those ingredients that I know you can use regularly without breaking the bank or wasting food. 700 million tonnes of food and drink* are wasted each year and we don’t want to add to that right.
If you follow me on instagram @beas_bites then you’ll see the ridiculous amount of sausage inspired posts I’ve been putting up. Since trying and loving heck sausages thanks to a recommendation from my bestie they now form an essential part of my weekly prep. I bought into the idea of meal prep primarily to save time and reduce the level of stress that comes with trying to sort out your lunch that morning. We’ve all been there right? Since doing my prep on a Sunday I know save myself a hell of a lot of time and am now stress free on route to work which is a bonus. Without fail I know include sausages in every round of prep I do. But who are heck? Heck is an independent British company that for 2 generations now produce high quality healthier sausages using fresh herbs and then batch rather than mass produce their products to ensure a higher quality*… win win right?
With my new years resolution to become a healthier me (still going strong on that FYI) I also had to start re-thinking some of my food choices and the discovery of heck allowed me to still enjoy sausages whilst knowing I wasn’t exceeding my allocated macros** I tend to opt for their chicken sausages. Today I’m going to talk you through some of my favourite recipes, of course you can do these with any type of sausages.
First up is one of my favourite breakfasts of the moment, stuffed mushrooms. Now this one is ridiculously simple and only has 6 ingredients. For the base I use my multi purpose tomato sauce, as I mentioned previously I like to have a jar of this stashed in the fridge or freezer for emergencies.
Prep your portobello mushroom by removing the stalk (do you know what mushrooms are grown in? Google it) then pealing the outer layer. I don’t like to wash mushrooms as they go slimy.
Squeeze one of your sausages onto the underside of the mushroom and push down. Top with a cherry tomato quartered and bake for 20mins. So simple right? I finish it off with a drizzle of truffle oil as the nutty flavour works so well with the mushroom and then you’re good to go.
Now this one is a family favourite for most people, I don’t think I’ve met many people that don’t like spaghetti and meatballs. You may think it’s sacrilege to change something so iconic but I did it anyways… My version has a higher fibre content, is lower in fat and has a greater protein content as well as being pretty damn tasty if I don’t say so myself.
I switched out to wholewheat carbs a few years back and haven’t looked back since. It’s an easy swap that increases my fibre intake so why not hey? That being said, I obviously use wholewheat spaghetti for this as well as using the zesty chicken sausages rather than pork. I have found that the recipe although not traditional is a lot lighter but still as filling as the traditional take on spaghetti and meatballs.The recipe works just as well with the chicken italia sausages too, be sure to let me know if you give it a try.
Last but not least, stuffed peppers. This one was so simple even I was laughing. It really is just a case of stuffing and baking. Since my last trip to Italy I have also rediscovered my love of tomatoes so I serve this with a heritage tomato salad. Commercial heritage tomatoes (or heirloom) are open pollinated and have been introduced over 75 years ago. Their growing popularity on the foodie scene means they are now super available (I saw some in costco last week). I tend to get my tomatoes from a local garden centre so I can hand pick the varieties I want for flavour and colour. I roughly chop them, splash with a glug of good olive oil then season with salt and pepper before leaving for AT LEAST 20mins! You may think that’s ridiculous but seriously… try it. The longer you leave them the better the flavour. It was the way I turned JB into a tomato lover! Simply done but the flavour is unreal. I go through phases of foods, sometimes there is just one thing I want and I want all the variations possible for it, last month it was profiteroles (clearly had to juggle the macros to allow for those) the month before it was omelettes and now it’s chicken sausages, hence the dishes. If you’re trying to cut down on saturated fats then this is definitely one way forward… trust me : )
*https://www.heckfood.co.uk/home **macros = macronutrients, types of foods required in larger amounts in your diet, carbohydrates, protein and fat
INGREDIENTS – serves 1 50g spaghetti 4 sprays frylight or similar 2 heck zesty chicken sausages 1 spring onion 2 cloves garlic 1/2 chilli 10 cherry tomatoes 100ml water salt and pepper to season METHOD 1. Boil water then cook your spaghetti for 2mins less than required on packet 2. Squeeze the sausages out of their skin into rough balls and fry 3. Add the spring onion, garlic and chilli and saute for 2mins 4. Half the cherry tomatoes and add, cooking down for a further 2mins 5. Add the water and allow to simmer whilst draining your spaghetti 6. Combine the spaghetti and sauce and season Enjoy : ) x
So… I promised you guys some drinks and so far I haven’t delivered. My bad! I’m about to rectify that situation though.
As well as talking you through my favourite of this summers drinks I’m also going to tell you about my favourite beer snacks! Let’s face it, you can’t drink and not eat right?
Lately there has been a huge surge in the amount of donut peaches out there and I’ve definitely made the most of that. My first summertime cocktail of choice is a take on a white sangria using peaches. If you cant get hold of donut peaches just use regular, as long as they are ripe and ready they work just as well!
As easy as this drink is to make the most important step is the ‘smushing’ very technical term obviously HAHA! Once your peaches are cut up put them in a jug with a couple of tablespoons of sugar then smush until you are left with only a few whole pieces and so that the juices are released.
I then add a bottle of white wine, I used a Sainsbury’s pinot grigio (the Sainsbury’s house one is delish) and then leave it like this until you’re ready to drink it. Finish it off with a few berries for colour and a splash of soda water.
The great thing about this drink is that you can prep it in advance and tailor the strength to suit your guests. It works just as well if blended too. The only difference is the consistency, it makes it a lot thicker and more smoothie like, works for some.
Next up is one that packs a massive fibrous punch! If you are not a fan of smoothies because of the texture then this one is definitely not for you. However, if you can bypass the texture because of the hefty slug of gin I put in then you definitely have to give it a bash.
I love the freshness of a watermelon and as great as it is to snack on in summer it also works well in cocktails. Now I am by no means and will never call myself a connoisseur of gin but I know what I like and what I like it with.
So here goes, with this I used a lovely glug of Tanqueray with a handful of watermelon and apple and blitzed. Yeah that’s all, simple right? It tastes so light and fresh but as I said it is bitty so watch out. Make sure you use a watermelon that is ripe so you get the full flavour.
It can be an absolute pain in the backside to de-seed a watermelon so if you don’t have a JB to pick out the seeds I feel for you because it is hard going. That being said, I do only ask him to pick out the black seeds as they are harder and affect the flavour, leave the little white ones in because they actually give a little protein boost. Fountain of knowledge today aren’t I HAHA.
Thirdly and arguably the most summery of them all my totally tropical. I have to admit, this one turned me from someone who was indifferent about smoothies into someone who likes them….GASP!
Like the others, this one is super simple. I use frozen mango for the temperature as well as the gurantee that you are getting a ripe well flavoured fruit. Throw in some fresh pineapple and some soda then blitz. It has such a smooth texture and because it is so cold it is more similar to a slush!
This is by far THE most appealing of them all if you guys have with a sweet tooth, plus it is natural sugars so win win! I knocked up the booze free version for my little cousins and they loved it! To turn it into a grown up beverage add splash of cognac and you are good to go.
Last but not least and another shout out for gin, for which I make no apologies…
This gin berry fizz is like summer in your mouth. Honestly! As you can see I use highly technical mixology equipment : ) I don’t make cocktails often so have never really thought to invest but that’s obviously about to change now these pictures are out there for everyone to see… oops.
So, how to make it? Whack some frozen berries into your measuring jug with a splash of fresh lemon juice and a couple of tablespoons of granulated sugar. I use the coarser sugar as it helps break down the berries. Smush (or muddle seeing as though we are being technical…HAHA) them all together using the end of a rolling pin and add your gin.
For this one I use bombay sapphire, the juniper, lemon and liquorice undertones work perfectly with the earthy berries. Have it as is, over crushed ice or turn it into a long drink with soda water.
So that’s the drinks all done, now for the perfect accompaniments. Chances are if you’re drinking cocktails like this you want some picky or sociable food right? This is were my picky tea always comes up trumps! Go for the rum ribs, my crispy panko baked chicken, some whitebait, gyoza or knock yourselves out and have all 4… I would : ) the more the merrier… literally.