RECIPE: Easy Bean Dip

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This easy bean dip is a tasty but low-fat option to serve on a buffet or as a snack. It is surprisingly quick and simple to make and the result is delicious considering the lack of effort required to make this dip. Here is an easy recipe for bean dip. 

Ingredients for Bean Dip

  • 1 x 400g tin of chickpeas
  • 1 x 400g tin of cannellini beans. 
  • 4 heaped tablespoons plain yoghurt
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp ground cumin

How to Make Bean Dip

  1. Put half the beans and chickpeas into a food processor with the yoghurt, lemon juice, cumin, and garlic.
  2. Blitz into a smooth paste. 
  3. Add the remaining beans and chickpeas along with the lemon zest.
  4. Blitz only quickly to get a chunky bean dip. 
  5. Serve with crudites, flatbreads, or other dipping ingredients. 

 

 

 

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10 Facts About Gordon Ramsay

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Of all the celebrity chefs and television personalities that feature on cooking shows, Gordon Ramsay is undoubtedly my favourite. I love his no-nonsense approach, his clear understanding of the restaurant business and his straight talking. Although he is known for his foul mouth, he also shows his softer and more caring side in may of his shows. I find him fascinating to watch and I am addicted to anything in which he appears. Here are 10 facts about Gordon Ramsay.

  • He was born in Renfrewshire in Scotland. This surprises many people as they associate this chef with England.
  • He had a career in football before injuring himself and switching career paths. 
  • His first head chef position was at La Tante Claire in Chelsea, England.
  • In 1998, he opened his first restaurant called Restaurant Gordon Ramsay.
  • Ramsay was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen’s 2006 honour’s list. 
  • He was inducted into the Culinary Hall of Fame in 2013.
  • Ramsay married Cayetana ‘Tana’ Elizabeth Hutchence in 1996. The couple has four children together; Megan, Holly, Jack, and Matilda. 
  • He fell 26 feet off a cliff while filming in Iceland’s Westman Islands. Fortunately, he landed in the water and was unharmed. 
  • He caused controversy in 2009 when it was discovered that one of his restaurants, the Foxtrot Oscar in Chelsea, was using pre-prepared food. 
  • Ramsay currently owns 10 restaurants in England, eight in North America, four in France, two in Italy, one in Ireland, and eight further restaurants in various locations across the globe.

10 Easy Soup Recipes to Try This Year

 

Recently, I have added quite a few soup recipes to the blog. There are a few reasons why I love cooking soup so often. These are:

  • Cheap to make
  • Easy to cook
  • Lots of variations
  • Great for using up leftovers
  • A good way of getting children to eat veg
  • Healthy and nutritious
  • Cook in advance and freeze

I have decided to post links to all ten of my recent soup posts so that they are easy to find on my blog and you can try whichever one takes your fancy. Here are my ten favourite soups from the blog so far.

Celery and Apple Soup

Vegetable Soup

Spinach and Potato Soup

Tomato, Courgette and Bell Pepper Soup

Mushroom Soup

Pea and Ham

Curried Parsnip Soup

Carrot and Coriander Soup

Leek and Potato Soup

Bloody Mary Tomato Soup

 

 

 

RECIPE: Bloody Mary Tomato Soup

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One of the most popular varieties of soup is tomato and there are many variations on this classic. Some which offer levels of spice and other variations that are rich and creamy. A bloody Mary tomato soup is an interesting twist on the traditional soup as it includes the flavors of the alcoholic drink the Bloody Mary. This soup is delicious served either hot or cold, so it is perfect no matter what the time of year. Here is an easy recipe for Bloody Mary tomato soup. 

Ingredients for Bloody Mary Tomato Soup

  • 1 kg ripe tomatoes, halved
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 sticks of celery, chopped
  • 1 miniature vodka
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 250 ml vegetable stock
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper

How to Make Bloody Mary Tomato Soup

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Put the halved tomatoes on a baking tray. Season with salt and black pepper, drizzle over 2 tbsp of olive and cook in the oven for 20 minutes, turning once halfway through cooking.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the other tbsp of olive oil in a large pan on the hob. 
  4. Add the celery, onion, and garlic to the pan. Cook for 10 minutes until softened. 
  5. Remove the tomatoes from the oven and put in a food processor with the onion, garlic, and celery. 
  6. Add a little of the stock and blitz. 
  7. Repeat, adding a little more of the stock at a time until you have used all the vegetable stock.
  8. Transfer back to the pan and add the Worcestershire sauce, vodka, and lemon juice. 
  9. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  10. Cook for ten minutes and serve immediately if eating hot.
  11. If serving cold or saving for later, allow the soup to cool before transferring to a container and storing in the refrigerator. 

 

I’m NOT ‘On a Diet’

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I have recently posted a few blogs about how I am trying to adopt a healthier lifestyle and lose some weight. It’s annoying me how many people have asked me how my diet is going or if I am struggling with being on a diet. I hate the term ‘on a diet’ and refuse to use it.
First of all, everybody has a diet, it is just that some people’s are healthier than others. A diet is simply what you eat. Second, if you refer to yourself as being ‘on a diet’, I think it gives the impression that you are depriving yourself in some way and struggling on through life. These are the reasons why I do not refer to myself as being ‘on a diet’.
I prefer to call it changing my eating habits or adopting a healthier lifestyle.

Anyway, I have hardly deprived my self of anything. I have simply made a few changes in an effort to fit back into my jeans. My biggest sacrifice, if you want to call it that, is to reduce my wine intake. Desperate times call for desperate measures! Other than that, I have replaced fizzy drinks with water, put sweeteners in my coffee, stopped eating crisps in bed and walked a bit more. That is the extent of my efforts so far.
It is already working. Making these simple changes to my eating and lifestyle habits have led to a weight loss so far of six pounds in under two weeks. Hopefully, I will have hit the half a stone mark by next week.

Catch up with my previous weight loss posts here:

My New Weight Loss Plan

A Mixed Start to My Healthy Lifestyle

 

RECIPE: Spicy Tomato Dip

tom dip

If you are having people around to your home, one of the easiest things to serve is a selection of dips with other tasty morsels, such as crudites and flatbreads for dipping. A spicy tomato dip is a delicious option that is easy to make in advance and keep chilled until you are ready to serve. Here is an easy recipe for spicy tomato dip. 

Ingredients for Spicy Tomato Dip

  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 chillies, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 3 tbsp tomato puree

How to Make Spicy Tomato Dip

  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan over a medium heat.
  2. Add the garlic, paprika, cayenne pepper, and chilli powder and cook for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add the chopped onion and chilli and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  4. Add the tinned tomatoes and tomato puree and cook for 10 minutes.
  5. Blitz the mixture for a few seconds for a chunky dip or a little longer for a smooth dip using either a hand blender or a food processor. 
  6. Transfer to a container and leave to cool. 
  7. Cover and put in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Other Dips You Might Like to Try

Guacamole

Raita

Salsa

Mango Salsa

Blue Cheese Dip

Baba Ganoush

Humous

You can try these with flatbreads or wholemeal flatbreads.

 

RECIPE: Carrot and Coriander Soup

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If you want a low-budget meal to make, then there are few that can beat carrot and coriander soup in terms of cost. Despite the fact that this soup is cheap and easy to make, it still has plenty of flavour and is packed full of nutrients. This healthy soup is also a great option for vegetarians and vegans. Here is an easy recipe for carrot and coriander soup that serves four to six people.

Ingredients for Carrot and Coriander Soup

  • 450g/ 1 lb carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • A handful of fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1.2 litres/ 2 pints vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

How to Make Carrot and Coriander Soup

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat then add the onions and carrots.
  2. Cook for five minutes until carrots and onions are beginning to soften.
  3. Add the ground coriander and season with salt and pepper. Stir and cook for a further two minutes. 
  4. Add the vegetable stock and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Either use a hand blender to blend the ingredients together or blend in a food processor before returning to the pan. 
  6. Stir in the fresh, chopped coriander and cook for a few minutes before serving.