Coconut curry noodles

veggie coconut curry noodles

Here’s a delicately spiced bowl of comfort food if ever I saw one, perfect for a cosy night in while the rain lashes against the window. Other than a bit of casual chopping this is so easy to throw together.

You can use any veg you like as well as, or instead of, the veg I’ve recommended in this recipe. In the past I’ve made this with kale instead of spinach and I often add in a couple of handfuls of frozen edamame beans and petits pois. If you don’t have a lemon you can use lime and if you don’t have either it really doesn’t matter, it’s still going to taste divine. Finally feel free to use any kind of noodles you like. I like medium wholewheat egg noodles the best. However the noodles in this picture are straight to wok white noodles (corona virus panic buyers left my local supermarket’s shelves a little bare).

What else…

…scatter over a handful of chopped peanuts or cashews before serving. Or stir in a big spoonful of peanut butter when you add the stock. Basically chuck in a little of what your fancy and you can make this a bit different every time.

This is all you need to get this noodly delight started

So let’s get started. First you just need to chop your spring onions and carrots into fairly small pieces and get them gently frying in a little oil for about 5 minutes.

Now add your crushed garlic and minced ginger. To be honest I find it easiest to take a small grater and grate both the ginger and garlic.

Chuck it into your pan and stir around for minute before adding the curry powder and stirring again. At this point the aromas are becoming rather delicious.

Carrots and spring onions mingling nicely with the spices

So now you just need to pour over your coconut milk and crumble in your stock cube and leave to simmer for about 10 minutes. While you’re waiting for the sauce to cook to perfection you can get on with your noodles, which you just cook according to the packet instructions or to your taste.

Roughly chop your spinach and once your carrots are cooked just the way you like them stir in the lovely green leaves and simmer for a final minute.

Adding peas, petits pois or edamames is optional

If you decide to add a handful or 2 of frozen veg just chuck them in a couple of minutes before the spinach and allow to cook through.

Nearly time to eat!

So now you just need to stir your noodles into the sauce, spritz over some zingy lemon and scatter with chopped coriander and nuts if you’re using them.

Get stuck in

Grab your chopsticks and get stuck in.

Ingredients

  • A bunch of spring onions, chopped
  • 200g of carrots, scrubbed or peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed or finely grated
  • A thumbsized piece of ginger, finely chopped or grated
  • A tablespoon of good curry powder
  • 1 400ml can of coconut milk
  • A small bag of spinach, chopped roughly
  • Half a lemon
  • A small bunch of coriander, roughly chopped

method

  • In a large frying pan heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil and gently fry your onions and carrots for about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the garlic and ginger, fry gently for a minute, then add the curry powder.
  • Pour over the coconut milk and crumble in the stock cube and stir again. Allow this to simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring every now and again. If the sauce is a little dry for you add a splash of water.
  • While this bubbles away merrily, cook your noodles according to packet instructions.
  • Once your carrots are tender pop in the spinach, stir and simmer for final minute.
  • To serve stir the sauce and noodles together, scatter with coriander and squeeze over the zingy lemon.

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Claire’s Loaded Veggie Breakfast Stack

Thank you scrumptious Claire for tickling my taste buds with this pile of savoury favourites… eggs on halloumi on avocado on chilli jam on focaccia. Be still my beating heart!

After a particularly punishing morning HIIT workout in Claire’s garden, my legs were trembling, my arms were aching, my stomach was rumbling, nay roaring! This hearty stack of deliciousness is what she treated me with.

Digging a little deeper into this plate it turns out it didn’t only bestow pleasure on my taste buds. Each of the ingredients is massively helpful to us after a workout. The protein in the eggs helps to repair and build muscle; the avocado is dense in nutrients and fibre, which is really important for our metabolic health; and of course we needed carbs to replenish all the fuel we’d just burned, hello foccacia.

When you stack these awesome ingredients high it’s quite a challenge to open your jaw wide enough to eat this so Claire helpfully served this in 2 halves, making it less exhausting to devour, especially in polite company.

The focaccia was a herby delight but any bread or toast would be welcome to join this party stack. I’m thinking sourdough, bagels or wholegrain toast.

So get veggie stacking this weekend. Workout optional.

Claire’s Loaded Veggie Breakfast Stack

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 4 generous slices of focaccia or bread / toast of your choice
  • 1 packet of halloumi, thickly sliced
  • Chilli jam
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 – 4 eggs (depending on how starving you are)
  • Salt & pepper

Method

  • First of all heat your oven to about 120C / gas 1 and slip in an oven tray. This is for keeping the halloumi warm once cooked.
  • Heat a frying pan and once it’s warm cook your halloumi slices. You will not need oil for this. Once the liquid has evaporated and the halloumi is golden flip over and cook the other side, the 2nd side cooks much quicker than the 1st so keep an eye on it. Transfer to the warm oven tray to keep nice and warm.
  • Now add a little oil to your pan and fry your eggs (1 or 2 each).
  • While you’re waiting for the eggs to cook you can spread your chilli jam on your toast / bread and slice your avocado.
  • Arrange the avo on the bread / toast, followed by the halloumi and eggs. Sprinkle over salt and pepper if you like.
  • If you’ve built a stack you can pop the 2nd slice of bread / toast on top or just keep it on your plate to catch the tumbling odds and ends.
  • Loosen up your jaw then sink your teeth into this heavenly manna.

Light & Lovely Veggie Carbonara

Monday evening means football training in my house so a carb packed meal is the norm. I’m surprised this carb fest carbonara hasn’t popped into my head before now. Carb by name and by nature.

Not only is this sensational plate of pasta vegetarian, it is also lighter than your more traditional carbonara style dishes. A couple of eggs and a small mountain of grated parmesan are the essence of the creamy sauce here. It tastes wonderfully indulgent and yet doesn’t hit you with the mega calories you’d be facing with a cheeky drizzle of double cream, thank you very much.

Quorn ham plays a starring role but if it’s just not your thing then simply add more veg (mushrooms would work a treat) or if the fancy takes you, try it with thinly sliced smoked salmon.

Light & Lovely Veggie Carbonara

Serves 4 people in need of a carb load

Ingredients

  • 500g packet of spaghetti
  • 3 eggs
  • 100g parmesan, grated
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • A couple of handfuls of frozen peas
  • A tablespoon of olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • A packet of quorn ham, chopped
  • A couple of tablespoons of fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced and zested

Method

  • First of all get your pasta started. Cook according to packet instructions.
  • Whisk your eggs, half of the parmesan and a pinch of salt and pepper together. Leave to one side.
  • A couple of minutes before the end of the spaghetti’s cooking time, tip the peas into the pan and continue to simmer.
  • Once your pasta is cooked just the way you like it, reserve a mugful of the cooking water and then drain the spaghetti in a colander.
  • In your now empty pan, heat the oil and gently fry the garlic for a minute. Add the ‘ham’, thyme and lemon zest and stir around.
  • Turn out the heat then tumble the spaghetti back into the pan along with the reserved warm cooking water and the cheesey eggs.
  • Stir this pot of delights well and the heat from the pasta and the pan will cook the sauce quickly to perfection.
  • With a final flourish, stir in the lemon juice and the remaining parmesan.
  • Have a taste and add more seasoning if you think it needs it.
  • Serve with a big crunchy salad.

Quick Quorn Creamy Pasta

I’m a big fan of quorn. Especially when I need to get dinner on the table quickly. I try to have a bag of quorn pieces (basically veggie chicken substitute) tucked away in the freezer just waiting for me to pluck out to add to something quick and delicious.

One of the mighty quorn’s exemplary features is that it absorbs all of the flavours you add to the cooking pot, so every mouthful is bursting with a lively, savoury punch.

I made this yesterday when time had run away from me and before I knew it I needed dinner to be on the table in less than 30 minutes. After a quick scavenger hunt around the kitchen this is what I concocted.

So, do the same, grab what your have and please don’t feel wedded to the ingredients I suggest. This would work with any pasta shape. Most vegetables would be grand here, I simply chose peas as they are quick and effort free. I love creme fraiche as you can keep things light by opting for the half fat version, but you could make this creamy dreamy with double cream. In times of severe bare fridge moments I have made something similar with cream cheese.

You get my point. Let your fridge be your guide.

Quick Quorn Creamy Pasta

Serves 4 people with hearty appetites

Ingredients

  • 500g bag of pasta (I used tricolor farfalle, because it was in my cupboard)
  • A tablespoon of olive oil or butter
  • 2 leeks, chopped into fairly small pieces
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 bag of quorn pieces
  • 1 stock cube
  • A couple of large handfuls of frozen peas
  • A tub of half fat creme fraiche
  • A large handful of cheddar, grated
  • A couple of tablespoons of Parmesan cheese, grated

Method

  • Cook your pasta according to packet instructions.
  • Meanwhile cook your leeks in your oil of butter over a gentle heat, until softened.
  • Add the garlic and stir for a minute, before crumbling in your stock cube and tumbling in the quorn pieces.
  • Stir, then pour over enough hot water to cover the base of your pan. Pop a lid on the pan and leave to simmer for a few minutes.
  • Pour in your peas, stir then pop the lid back on. Add a little more water if the pan is looking dry.
  • After about 5 minutes the peas and quorn should be nicely heated through, so turn off the heat and stir in the creme fraiche and then the cheddar.
  • Once your pasta is cooked to perfection, drain and return to the pan. Pour over the creamy quorn and add the Parmesan. Give it all one final big stir.
  • Serve with a good grinding of black pepper and, if you fancy, an extra sprinkling of Parmesan. Buon appetito!

What To Eat To Boost Your Immunity

It’s that time of year when everyone seems to be picking up pesky colds and sniffles. So I’m trying to be a little more mindful of the foods that we are eating in the hope of boosting our immune systems to avoid those sneezes.

I knew we needed a whole lot of vitamin C, and garlic is always an immune boosting star, but after a bit of research today I’ve unearthed some surprising members of the immunity protection club. Like is it just me or is yoghurt the last thing you’d think to add to your immunity boosting shopping list?

Let’s be honest looking after yourself sometimes feels a bit like hard work. I mean it’s totally worth it but the prospect of piles of oranges soon gets old. As the nights start drawing in I’m often tempted to pull on a jumper and have a cosy threesome with a cup of tea and a bar of chocolate.

Which brings me to my favourite healthy discovery of the day. Are you ready for this? Tea and chocolate are in fact immune system supporters. Really and truly they are. Cross my heart.

This immunity boosting malarky just got interesting. So read on and eat yourself better.

Yoghurt

This was a real surprise to me but it makes so much sense. You see yoghurt is packed with probiotics, which are, quite frankly, awesome for general immune system boosting.

I’m thinking a lovely breakfast of natural yoghurt, fresh berries and an unctuous drizzle of runny honey to deliver a massive blast of healthy goodness.

Garlic

While this ingredient is well known to many of us for it’s antibacterial properties I couldn’t resist including it here as it’s one of my all time top favourite foods ever.

I will merrily be adding a few extra cloves here, there and everywhere. I hope nobody in my house is planning a romantic exchange any time soon.

Mangoes

A perfectly ripe mango might just be the biggest fruity treat I could wish for. The fact that these sunset painted beauties are so darn good for us is almost too good to be true.

If you devour a mango today you could be getting up to 2/3 of your daily vitamin C dose. Yesss!

Kiwis

Another fruity delight, which will help fight off the coughs and colds is the emerald green kiwi fruit. My kids will happily scoff these, skin and all, but I’m partial to whizzing them into a smoothie with oranges and bananas.

Tea

I’ve saved my favourite immunity stars for last. I do love a good old cup of tea and I knew there were some health benefits to be had from sipping a brew.

What I hadn’t realised until today is that the antioxidants in your cuppa are powerful enough to be effective against the flu virus.

Chocolate

There are 2 compelling facts I discovered about chocolate today: firstly it contains a fair whack of antioxidants, which are massively supportive to our immune systems; and secondly, cocoa contains an active ingredient which helps soothe a sore throat. Who knew?

And the bonus fact of the day is that you can still nibble on milk chocolate if you’re not a fan of it’s dark cousin. True, there won’t be as many antioxidants in milk choc, but they are undeniably in there.

Light & Lemony Beetroot Soup

I’ve been feeling a little under the weather this week. So for lunch yesterday my body was calling out for a big bowl of nourishing soup. A little rummage in the fridge and a couple of moments later I was armed with a beautiful bunch of beetroot and a few other select ingredients to chuck in the soup pan.

By absolute coincidence pretty much everything in this nourishing soup is helpful if you are in need of a health boost: beetroot is packed with antioxidants and great for nurturing our immunity; garlic is well known for its antibiotic properties, which are invaluable in fighting colds and coughs; and of course lemons are bursting with Vitamin C. I could go on by mentioning the antibacterial properties of onions etc but you get the picture, this soup is really good for you. Really really good for you.

But the crucial thing here is that this lemony beetroot soup is also seriously delicious. Everyone scraped their bowls clean.

Beetroot soup is so velvety smooth, like a soft cosy blanket, that I’d usually categorise it as Winter comfort food. But adding the lemon brings a subtle citrus zing to the party, which makes this soup ideal during these warmer months.

Whether you are feeling a tad low or on top of the world one thing’s for sure, you will feel all the better for eating a bowl of this alluring deep purple soup.

Lemony Beetroot Soup

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 500g raw beetroot, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped
  • 1 potato, roughly chopped
  • 1 litre beef stock (use veg or chicken if you prefer)
  • Juice of half a lemon

Method

  • Put all of the ingredients, except the lemon, into a large pan and bring to the boil.
  • Turn the heat down and simmer for about 25 minutes, or until the veg is nice and tender.
  • Blend the soup until it is velvety smooth. Stir in the lemon juice.
  • Serve with your favourite bread or crackers, we had brioche rolls with Dijon mustard and cheddar cheese.

Garden Berry Waffles

Waffles truly are waffley versatile. They’re delicious sweet or savoury with a delectable array of tempting toppings and and accompaniments.

This is my new favourite way to munch sweet waffles. The combination of juicy berries, crunchy nuts and sweet syrup with the warm, fluffy waffles is pretty much perfection on a plate.

Of course you do need a waffle machine to make the actual waffles at home (I picked up mine from a well known discount supermarket some years ago). But if you don’t have one fear not, this would be just as fabulous with a stack of hot pancakes. And let’s be honest this would be ready in mere minutes if you decided to opt for shop bought waffles. There’s no shame in keeping it real.

And if you do want to try this with pancakes I use the exact same ingredients for pancakes as I do for the waffles and just cook them in a standard non stick pan.

Garden Berry Waffles

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • A big rounded tablespoon of butter
  • 300ml milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 225g self raising flour
  • 1 level teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Berries
  • Pecans
  • Maple syrup
  • Peanut or almond butter (optional)

Method

  • Melt your butter in a pan then leave it to cool slightly while you get on with your measuring and weighing.
  • Mix together the milk, eggs and vanilla, whisk.
  • Now add the flour, baking powder and sugar. Whisk again.
  • Pour in the melted butter and whisk for the final time.
  • Cook your waffles in your machine. Keeping them warm in a low oven as you go.
  • To assemble, pop a couple of waffles onto each plate, strew with berries and nuts and drizzle generously with maple syrup.
  • If you fancy, dollop over a little peanut or almond butter.