warm barley & quinoa salad

For me, salads scream summer and since we are currently enjoying our beautiful winter season, it is fair to say that salad is almost last on my “have to make” food list. However, this warm salad of barley and quinoa was the perfect lunch comfort on a chilly day. At the fireplace with a glass of red wine, of course.
If you are not all that fond of smoked meats then grilled chicken breast, chorizo and grilled steak re also wonderful alternatives. I can definitely also recommend soft poached eggs.
The dressing is simple and delicious so take a few extra minutes and make it yourself. Home-made is so much better (and healthier) than store bought.
A simple way to mix the ingredients is using a glass jar to which you add all the dressing ingredients, seal it, shake it up and leave it to stand for a few minutes. Less mess and fewer things to wash up.

ingredients | serves 6 | a little effort
200g cooked pearl barley
150g cooked quinoa
1 large red onion, roughly chopped
300g smoked chicken, sliced
250g mushrooms, quartered
4 garlic cloves, sliced
5 sprigs thyme, leaves only & extra for garnish
120g mange tout or green beans
1C cherry tomatoes, halved
1C walnuts, roughly chopped and toasted
2T olive oil (more if needed)
3T butter
handful fresh parsley, roughly chopped
fresh rocket or watercress (optional)
avocado, optional
salt to taste
pepper

for the dressing
3T apple cider vinegar
3t Dijon mustard
3T maple syrup or honey
1/2C olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
pinch of salt
grind of black pepper

how to
Cook the pearl barley and quinoa to the packet instructions and set aside.
In a large skillet, heat the two tablespoons olive oil and butter together and saute the red onion for about two minutes. Add the sliced garlic and mushrooms and cook, while stirring, until the mushrooms are just cooked, about five minutes. Add the mange tout, tomatoes and thyme leaves, season with salt & pepper and cook for two more minutes.
Set aside.
In the same pan, warm the pearl barley & quinoa together with a tablespoon of butter. Season.
Spoon the barley & quinoa into a large salad bowl and top with the warm mushrooms & onion mixture. Add the sliced smoked chicken, walnuts & rocket.
Garnish with the parsley and extra fresh thyme.
Serve with sliced avocado, if using.

for the dressing
Mix all the dressing ingredients together in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid or whisk together in a deep bowl until emulsified. Seal the jar and shake for a few minutes. Add more olive oil & seasoning if desired.


butter stuffed chicken & veg

This is a flavorful one pan wonder that is packed with goodness and is perfect for a family feast! The butter and herb stuffing makes for beautifully juicy and tender meat and the veggies are roasted to perfection. I served a lemon beurre blanc sauce on the side with couscous but for a healthier alternative, serve the chicken with brown rice and lemon butter or no sauce at all.
Root vegetables are perfect here as everything is ready simultaneously, saving precious time, which, for the everyday parent, is crucial.
As alternatives think of halved beetroot, thick cuts of sweet potato & butternut or whole, peeled baby potatoes and fat cloves of garlic.

ingredients | serves 4-6 | easy
1 whole chicken, flattened (butterfly / spatchcock)
2 red onions, peeled & roughly chopped
4 large carrots, peeled & roughly chopped
4 potatoes, quartered
3 rosemary sprigs
olive oil
for the chicken rub
1T paprika
1t dried oregano
1/2t dried mustard
1/2t cayenne pepper
1/2t fine salt
1/2t black pepper
for the butter compound
80g salted butter, room temperature
2 garlic cloves, minced
handful parsley, finely chopped
4 thyme sprigs, leaves only
zest of 1 lemon
juice of half lemon
black pepper

how to
Mix all of the rub ingredients together. Drizzle the chicken with olive oil and rub the spice into the skin using your hands. Cover with clingfilm and leave to marinade in the fridge for a minimum of half hour.
For the butter compound – mix all the ingredients together and mix well using a fork.
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C.
Using a spoon, carefully lift the skin of the chicken and stuff the butter between the skin & meat, using your fingers. Continue until you have covered most of the meat and used all of the butter compound.
Place the rosemary sprigs in a large oven proof dish and place the chicken on top.
In a large dish, drizzle the vegetables with olive oil and season with salt & black pepper. Arrange the veggies around the chicken.
Place the tray into the oven and roast for 50 – 60 minutes.
Carefully remove the tray from the oven and leave to rest for ten minutes before serving.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x




succulent beef meatballs with extra vegetables

Meatballs always sound like so much effort but once you start it really goes fairly quickly. The most time is spent rolling them to size.
I do love meatballs and what i love most about these is that they are packed with extra vegetables, making them very beneficial for my toddlers health. I love preparing meals i can sneak extra vegetables into.
Softer in texture due to the abundance of extra veggies, they still hold their shape really well. I normally double the recipe and freeze half for another occasion as they make the perfect cheat meal when you’re in a hurry or just didn’t have time to prepare dinner.

ingredients | makes about 15 | easy
Olive oil
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
1/2t crushed garlic
400g beef or lamb mince
1 large zucchini, grated
1 large carrot, grated
1/2t dried oregano
2t finely chopped fresh parsley
3/4c fine breadcrumbs
1 egg
1/2t fine salt
1/2t black pepper

for the sauce
Olive oil
1T butter
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/2t crushed garlic
1 can chopped tomato
1T tomato paste
1T Worcester sauce
1T brown sugar
1c beef stock
1t turmeric
5 sprigs thyme, leaves only
1/2t fine salt
1/2t black pepper
1/2c cream
handful fresh parsley, chopped

how to
Combine all of the meatball ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Using your hands, mix the ingredients until well combined.
Roll the mixture into balls just bigger than golf balls, using the palms of your hands and place them onto a large baking tray. Set aside.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet and brown the meatballs on all sides.
Remove the meatballs from the skillet and set aside.
In the same pan, heat the butter and a drizzle of olive oil. Add the chopped onion and saute until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for one minute.
Add the tomato paste and turmeric and cook for one minute. Pour the chopped tomato & beef stock into the pan, add the Worcester sauce & brown sugar and bring to a gentle boil. Gently place the meatballs into the sauce, bring the heat down to a gentle simmer, cover and cook for about 10 minutes. Remove the lid and leave to simmer until the sauce has reduced and thickened.
Add the thyme, salt & pepper, give a gentle stir and cook for about five minutes. Pour the cream into the pan and simmer until slightly thickened.
Garnish with the chopped parsley and serve with mash or rice.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x






easy roast chicken & rice one pot meal

Very similar to my chicken & orzo dish, this meal is a great, easy go-to that can be enjoyed any night of the week. In my home, it was the perfect end to all of the Easter celebrations.
I love one pot meals for its simplicity and no mess, no fuss kind of attitude really. And honestly, after cooking up another wonderful meal, i don’t want to spend hours doing a clean up.
I roasted a whole chicken and portioned it while the rice was cooking in al of its delectable juices. You can, however, use chicken pieces if you prefer, which will reduce the cooking time.
Basmati is my preferred grain and adds beautiful aromatic flavour here. And since it cooks so quickly i can have my meal on the table sooner rather than later.

ingredients | serves 6 | easy
1 whole chicken
3T olive oil
2T butter + 3T extra
3 celery ribs, sliced diagonally
3 carrots, peeled & sliced diagonally
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1 large onion, chopped
zest of 1 lemon & lemon quartered
1.5C dry white wine
1.5C chicken stock
bunch fresh thyme, leaves only
1tsp fine salt
1tsp black pepper
bunch parsley, chopped
bunch chives, chopped
1C basmati rice

how to do it
Preheat the oven to 165 degrees Celsius. 145 degrees with a fan.
Heat the oil & 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet with tight fitting lid.
Sauté the onion until translucent. Add the carrots & celery and cook for five minutes. Place the chicken in the skillet, breast side down, and brown for five minutes. Remove the chicken and deglaze the pan with the white wine. Cook the wine until reduced by half. Add the garlic, lemon zest & thyme and stir through. Put the quartered lemon into the cavity of the chicken and place the chicken back into the skillet, breast side up (browned side facing upwards). Pour the stock into the skillet and bring it to the boil.
Turn the heat down and place the skillet into the oven, without the lid. Cook the chicken for two hours.
Carefully remove the skillet from the oven. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set it aside.
Pour the rice into the vegetable mixture, add the remaining 3 tablespoons butter and bring it to a gentle simmer. Cover with a tight fitting lid and cook for about 12 minutes until the rice is just cooked.
The rice will soak up most of the juices.
While the rice cooks, portion the chicken.
Place the chicken pieces on top of the cooked rice, cover with a lid and gently cook for four more minutes, so as to heat the chicken and finish cooking the rice.
Garnish with the chopped parsley & chives and serve immediately.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x






bangers & mash – an easy, tasty & budget friendly dinner

this is not fancy food, i know, but it is a delicious, comforting, home cooked meal and one that everyone in your family will enjoy. plus, it is easy, it is quick and it is really budget friendly.
i prefer pork bangers for this dish but of course you can use any type of sausage here.
this dish is so easy to make in almost no time at all that it easily can become weekly dinner go to.
mushrooms are a great addition here and think of spicy or fruity chutneys and pickles to serve alongside.
best served with mashed potato.

ingredients | serves 3-4 | easy
8tbs olive oil
4 tbs butter
8 pork bangers (or beef / chicken if you prefer)
1 white onion, peeled & sliced
1 red onion, peeled & sliced
3 garlic cloves, peeled & sliced
1tbs brown sugar
6 sprigs thyme, leaves only
1/2tsp dried oregano
2tsp tomato puree
2tsp onion gravy powder
300ml red wine
400ml beef stock
salt to taste
1/2 tsp black pepper
handful fresh parsley, roughly chopped

how to do it
heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet. brown the sausages on all sides. about 30 seconds per side. set aside.
in the same skillet, heat the remaining olive oil and two (2) tablespoons butter. fry the onion on medium heat until translucent. add the tomato paste & brown sugar and cook for about two minutes, while stirring.
add the thyme & oregano and cook for one minute. deglaze the skillet with the red wine and simmer on a low heat until reduced by almost half. add the garlic.
now add the stock, 2 teaspoons onion gravy powder and the remaining two tablespoons butter. stir and bring to the boil.
turn the heat down to a gentle simmer and cook for about 5 minutes. add the sausages back to the skillet and simmer until the sausages are cooked and the sauce has thickened. (about 12 minutes)
serve on buttery mashed potato and garnish with chopped parsley.

potato mash
5 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into blocks
salt to taste
3tbs butter
1tsp garlic powder
1/3c cream
1/4tsp white pepper

fill a pot with cold water. add the potatoes and 1 teaspoon salt. bring the water and the potatoes to the boil and cook on a medium heat until soft. about 15 minutes.
strain the potatoes and place them back into the pot, on the heat, to dry for about 1 minute, while tossing.
remove the pot from the heat. add the butter, cream, garlic powder and white pepper and mash with a handheld masher and then whisk vigorously for about 1 minute to remove all small lumps.
taste and season.

from my kitchen to yours, with love x