My rich and tender Slow Cooked Beef and Mushroom Pie is easy comfort food at it’s finest. After posting a photo of my little Slow Cooked Beef and Mushroom Pie’s on Instagram I had many requests asking me to share the recipe. A recipe that …
Bake bread like a pro with my Easy Homemade Bread recipe. This soft and tasty bread, with it’s golden crust and excellent texture, never fails to impress. Especially when used for doorstop sandwiches, buttery toast and dunking into fresh soup. Best of all it only …
My 30 minute Spanish Style Tomato and Chorizo Pasta is a delicious fuss free midweek meal. This crowd pleaser is packed with fresh ingredients making it under 500 calories per serving.
Grow Your Own Food
I perfected this recipe last year using fresh tomatoes which I grew in pots on the patio and in the greenhouse. You can’t beat the flavour of a fresh tomato straight from the vine. This recipe uses tinned tomatoes but you can easily swap them for a mix of fresh homegrown tomatoes.
If growing your own tomatoes doesn’t interest you, I encourage you to grow your own parsley for this recipe. The flavour from seed grown herbs over store-bought, is far superior. You also reduce packaging waste and it’s very rewarding to watch your little herbs grow. I also believe growing your own herbs teaches children where their food comes from and they will be more adventurous with food.
2020 in The Delectable Garden
Last weekend I sowed the seeds for the produce I will be growing this year. I have planted a mix of herbs, salad leaves and vegetables. I hope to make this Spanish Style Tomato and Chorizo Pasta using all my own fresh homegrown produce this summer.
To continue my mission of reducing waste and the impact I have on the planet, I have reused the tomato tin from this recipe. I removed the label from the tin and gave it a wash. I then drilled a couple of drainage holes in the bottom, filled with soil and sowed some parsley seeds. I think they will make interesting planters for the kitchen window sill.
Homemade Vs Store-bought
Why make this Spanish Style Tomato and Chorizo Pasta when you can buy a ready-made tomato sauce? Easy, in 15 minutes you can create a restaurant quality tomato sauce and control what you put in it. No artificial flavourings, colours, preservatives or excessive salt and sugar. Some store-bought tomato sauces can have over 5 teaspoons of sugar in 1 jar! So make the healthier choice and treat your family to a fresh, hearty midweek meal they will devour.
Spanish Style Tomato and Chorizo Pasta
Spanish Style Tomato and Chorizo Pasta
- 1 red onion finely diced
- 80 g chorizo slices roughly chopped
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 80 g red pesto
- 40 g tomato puree
- 440 g chopped tin tomatoes
- 100 g cherry tomatoes halved
- 40 g Manchego cheese grated
- small handful of fresh parsley finely chopped, plus extra to serve
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 360 g wholewheat pasta
- pinch of salt and pepper
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- Bring a pan of water to the boil.
- Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. When the pan is hot add the chopped onions, season with salt and pepper and fry for 3 minutes until soft.
- Add the chorizo and smoked paprika to the frying pan and fry for 1 minute.
- Stir the tomato puree, red pesto and garlic into the frying pan and fry for another minute.
- Pop the pasta into the pan of boiling water, add a pinch of salt and boil as per cooking instructions.
- Pour the chopped tinned tomatoes into the frying pan and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down, add the cherry tomatos, season with salt and pepper and simmer for 10 minutes.
- When the pasta is ready, drain it and gently stir into the tomato sauce with the chopped parsley.
- Serve with sprinkling of Manchego cheese and finely chopped parsley.
Looking for simple pasta dishes? Try my Roast Pepper and Feta Pasta Salad.
If you enjoy my recipes please share, pin and comment on social media using the links below.
Don’t forget to Pin for later.
Goat’s Cheese Sourdough Toast with Herby Mushrooms is a healthy breakfast best served with deliciously crisp Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice. Toasted sourdough smothered in tart goat’s cheese topped with buttery mushrooms. The ultimate breakfast to win your Valentine’s heart. Happy Valentine’s Day Lovers. This year …
Refreshing Lime Long Drink with Gin is a thirst-quenching Finnish alcoholic drink. I would describe the local drink as a popular alcopop. Using freshly squeezed lime juice and good quality gin turns my version of the Refreshing Lime Long Drink into a sophisticated cocktail. Pyhä …
Smoky Tomato Salsa Dip with Sweetcorn and Kidney Beans is super health and delicious with any Mexican meal. This easy salsa recipe is a perfect mix of spice, chilli, lime and coriander to tantalise your tastebuds.
My Smoky Tomato Salsa Dip recipe is quick, healthy and a versatile dip that is much better to make than buy readymade. I use this salsa recipe for all of my favourite Mexican dishes. To dip nachos in, spoon onto fajitas and smother enchiladas.
Smoky Tomato Salsa Dip is a plant based post from The Delectable Garden, very on topic for Veganuary. I’m not jumping on the band wagon of Veganuary, or posting a healthier food for a New Year New Me fad either. This recipe actually started last summer after a diagnosis of IBS and has become a healthy dish I make regularly.
For the majority of 2019 I suffered with mysterious stomach upsets. After a few visits to the doctors, one finally mumbled something about IBS. Having previously had an iron stomach, this was a surprise to me. I had no idea what was causing my IBS. I was adamant it wasn’t food because I have always eaten a wide variety without any issues. I put it down to stress IBS after starting a new position in 2019.
However later in 2019 I notice something wasn’t right, without going into too much detail I had reason to believe it was red peppers causing the upset. I stopped eating red bell peppers to see if it made me feel better. The next day my stomach had settled and the issue disappeared.
I was excited to discover the perpetrator, but sad that it happened to be something I loved and ate often. I also discovered that red peppers are used in pretty much everything I eat. I would now need to be conscious of this at the supermarket and at restaurants.
Smoky Tomato Salsa Dip
Mexican, being one of my favourite foods, is now a challenging cuisine for me to eat. Fajitas and enchiladas are a quick and easy midweek favourite of mine. Unfortunately they include red pepper in the sauce and filling. Cutting them out of the filling was easy, but all pre-made salsa contain bell pepper.
My stomach can find the smallest amount of red pepper, even if it makes up less than one percent of the overall ingredient. To please my stomach and my tastebuds I had to create a red pepperless salsa that was easy enough to enjoy midweek and taste authentically Mexican.
I couldn’t let Veganuary pass by without adding my thoughts! Anything that makes people think about where their food comes from and the impact it can have on the environment is a good thing in my eyes. Veganuary definitely does this. Reducing meat and increasing vegetables is obviously going to be a healthier diet. However I think you should look at all the facts and do some research before deciding if a strict vegan diet is right for your family.
The down side of Veganuary are the few vocal vegans who have been shouting at people in the media, trying to shame people into becoming vegan. I want to know when we lost the ability to debate, and respect for other peoples opinions? If you have a strong belief, that’s different to mine, shouting at me isn’t going to change my mind. I’m an adult, we can discuss and I can research the facts to help me make up my own mind.
Healthy and Environmentally Friendly Diets
Most people I speak to about becoming a Vegan say it’s normally down to two reasons, health and environment. If you are doing it for health I recommend you do your research and plan meals. You need to replace the vitamins and minerals you get from dairy, fish and meat with plant based alternatives. If you’re doing it for environmental reasons you need to consider the impacts plant based products still have on the planet. Fruit and vegetables can be packaged in the most ridiculous and unnecessary single use plastics. There are also pesticides, pollution, deforestation and over irrigation impacts.
Fish and meat farming can also have a negative impact on the planet. So it’s important to think about the environmental impacts of food whatever your diet.
You should never be shamed into changing your diet. If you do decide to change your diet for health or environmental reasons, you should do it in a way that is best for you and your family. A successful change should be sustainable, extreme anything is rarely sustainable. I prefer baby steps, drinking an extra glass of water a day, avoiding products containing palm oil, have a meat free day, or add an extra vegetable to evening meals. All are easy adjustments to change bad habits for the long term.
A Balanced Diet
I think our elders have the best view on food. Everything in moderation, eat a balanced diet, a little bit of what you like won’t do you any harm, we’ve all heard this from a grandparent. I think this is true, you need a wide spectrum of food to stay healthy. Too much of one thing certainly tips the balance and inevitably the scales!
If you think about it, our grandparents and great grandparents are a strong, fit breed that went through rations of war. They had to supplement diets with fruit and vegetables grown in the garden and on allotments. They were forced to live like this due to circumstances, but it installed the habit of a healthy balanced diet. They also recycled glass bottles and jars, and didn’t have single use plastics 🙌🏻. This is how I try to live in The Delectable Garden. I can’t grow everything, but growing what I can helps me reduce the impact I have on the planet. I reduce food waste and single use plastic by growing healthy produce to supplement my diet.
What can I grow?
Everybody can grow a bit of something. Below are simple ideas that have been successful for me in The Delectable Garden.
There are always herbs growing in pots on my windowsill. I can’t survive without fresh basil, you will always see a little chap sunning it up in my kitchen window. I find I’m more inclined to use herbs if they are fresh and readily available, they are also crammed with vitamins and minerals. Herbs from the supermarket all come in single use plastic, so you will also be doing your bit for the planet. Plant some rosemary, basil, mint, thyme or bay and transfer them outside if they get too big. You could use the tomato tin for a windowsill planter.
I’ve had success with tubs, pots, hanging baskets and even Belfast sinks placed on a sunny patio. I actually have more success growing in pots than I do in my vegetable plot.
Most herbs can be grown in a pot. I’ve always got rosemary, thyme, parsley and bay in pots outside my kitchen door.
Last year I purchased a dwarf peach tree and planted it in a pot on the patio. I have everything crossed for a bounty of fresh juicy peaches this summer. I’ll keep you posted with the results.
I also like to grow vegetables and salad produce in tubs close to the kitchen. It’s nice being able to pop out for some beetroot, tomatoes, chillies or spinach. Some of the ingredients in my Smokey Tomato Salsa can be successfully grown in pots.
If you have a larger garden and want to grow something that is low maintenance with high yield, then fruit bushes are for you. The raspberries, blackcurrants and jostaberries growing in The Delectable Garden are the most neglected but most rewarding. I get kilograms of fruit each summer and the maintenance is minimal. Fruit bushes can be attractive additions to your borders and will encourage wildlife into your garden. I also believe that children are more inclined to try something they have grown.
Smoky Tomato Salsa Dip
Smoky Tomato Salsa Dip
- 440 g tin of chopped tomatoes
- 1/2 red onion, roughly chopped
- 1 green chilli pepper, deseeded and roughly chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tbs tomato puree
- juice of 1 lime
- 1 small handful of fresh coriander
- pinch of salt and pepper
- 100 g kidney beans, cooked, rinsed and cooled
- 100 g sweetcorn, cooked, rinsed and cooled
- Pop all the ingredients, except the beans and sweetcorn, into a blender.
- Pulse until you have the desired consistency. I like mine a little chunky.
- Pour into a serving bowl and stir in the beans and sweetcorn. Serve with nachos or plantain chips.
- Keep in an airtight container for a couple of days. It’s best prepared ahead to allow the flavours to develop.
Serve Smoky Tomato Salsa Dip with Plantain chips and my Ultimate Margaritas.
Please don’t forget to like, share, and comment using the social media links below.
My rich and creamy Festive Bread Wreath with Gruyere Cheese Dip is the perfect centre piece for your Christmas gathering this year. The flavours from the creamy gruyere cheese and nutty artichoke hearts, when roasted into a bubbling molten dip are insane. Having a freshly …
Give your day a boost with my healthy, homemade Honey and Almond Granola.
My super easy, 30 minute, Honey and Almond Granola recipe is a simple way to enjoy a hearty breakfast. Packed with honey toasted oats and almonds, my granola is the fuel you need to start your day. It tastes as good as shop bought, but without unnecessary sweeteners and additives.
I recently visited the wonderful city of Budapest. With endless attractions and events, spread over both sides of the Danube, we walked over 10 miles everyday. It’s amazing what you can pack into one day. One morning we scaled the 700 ft Gellert Hill, to see the Statue of Liberty and Citadel. Had an afternoon stroll along the Buda side of the Danube to visit Buda Castle, Sándor Palace, Matthias Church and the stunning Fisherman’s Bastion. Then we ended the day with drinks at one of the famous Ruin Bars (until early hours of the next morning).
The ultimate Breakfast Club on Tour
In a 24/7 city, with so much to do in a limited time, the only thing that kept me going was food. Luckily for me Budapest is a foodies dream. Offering every type of cuisine in hundreds of restaurants. Restaurants offering breakfast and brunch were very popular with tourists wanting to fuel up for another busy day of sightseeing. All restaurants offered the staple breakfast items, but some were extra special. Garzon Café introduced me to Nutella stuffed French Toast, it’s as sickly and dirty as the name suggests. Á La Maison have perfected my favourite breakfast, the poached egg. I went for the Flat Avocado Sandwich with poached egg, delicious.
My top 5 must do’s in Budapest
Honey and Almond Granola
So whatever you have planned today make sure you start it right with a bowl of crispy homemade honey and almond granola. I’ve been perfecting this recipe for months and it’s finally ready to share.
Honey and Almond Granola
- 400 g Rolled oats
- 120 g Flaked almonds
- 100 g Coconut oil, melted
- 150 g Runny honey
- 1/2 tsp Fine sea salt
- 1/2 tsp Allspice, ground
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 175c, 160c fan, gas mark 3
- Pop all the ingredients into a bowl and mix with your hands
- Spread evenly over two lined baking trays
- Bake for 10 minutes then stir the granola. Bake for around another 10 minutes, or until golden. Discard any burnt bits from around the edges
- Allow to cool before storing in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
- Serve with ice cold milk
Try my Smashed Avocado with Poached Eggs for an indulgent brunch.
The Gelato Experience at The Delectable Garden. Join me in my kitchen for a deliciously interactive day of authentic Italian gelato making and tasting. Gelato Love Gelato is an incredibly creamy Italian frozen dessert. Compared to traditional ice cream, gelato, has a thick and silky …