Avocado Double Chocolate Cupcakes

I know what you’re thinking – “Avocado? In a cake? Is she crazy?!” But let me explain. they were delicious! And now I doubt I’ll ever cook a chocolate cake without avocado. The avocado makes the cake creamy and moist whilst adding healthy fats and omitting butter. The chocolate hides the avocado’s subtle flavour and the end result is a rich, chocolatey sponge topped with a creamy, flavoursome chocolate icing.

Makes 6

Ingredients

  • 1/2 large ripe avocado
  • 150g muscovado sugar
  • 175g self raising wholemeal flour
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 200ml coconut milk or cows milk
  • 75ml vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 75g white chocolate chips + a few extra to sprinkle on top

For the Icing

  • 1/2 large ripe avocado
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 50g dark chocolate, melted
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • coconut milk or cows milk for consistency
  • couple drops vanilla essence

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 160 fan/180 degrees/gas mark 4
  2. Mix the avocado with an electric mixer until smoothish. Then add the sugar and mix together. Incorporate the oil and then the milk and vanilla essence.
  3. Fold in the self raising flour, bicarb, cocoa powder and chocolate chips then divide up between the 6 cake cases. Cook for 15-20 minutes until done – the cake should spring back when lightly pressed.
  4. Meanwhile to make the frosting, blend the avocado then mix first the dark chocolate in then the rest of the ingredients and chill until ready. When the cakes are done and cool spoon frosting onto each one and top with a few chocolate chips.

Paprika Chicken, Mixed Vegetables and Avocado

So this one was a bit of an odd meal but a fantastic way to use up chicken and vegetables before the shop came the next day. So the begetables I used below were just the ones I had in the fridge – you can use whatever you have.

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken breast or 6 mini fillets
  • 1 can sweetcorn
  • 1 lime, quartered
  • a few broccoli florets
  • 1 pepper, chopped
  • ½ courgette, chopped
  • 50g spinach
  • ½ red onion
  • chilli flakes
  • olive oil
  • 2 tbsp paprika + 2 tbsp
  • sprinkle cumin
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 avocado

Method

  1. Fry the red onion in a wok on a medium heat for a few minutes then add the broccoli, pepper, and courgette. Squeeze half the lime over the vegetables and add the paprika, sprinkle of cumin and chilli flakes to taste. Cook for 10-15 minutes until soft. Add the spinach and sweetcorn in the last few minutes
  2. Meanwhile spread the chicken on a baking tray, sprinkle with 2 tbsp paprika, honey, chilli flakes and drizzle with oil. Grill on a medium heat for 10—20 minutes (depending on if they’re mini flillets or whole breasts)
  3. Mash the avocao with some salt & pepper.
  4. To serve plate up the vegetables, place the chicken on top and spoon some avocado next to the veg

BBQ Salads – Mexican Rice & Avo, Sweet Potato Salad and Mediterranean Mixed Veg

We’ve had a spell of nice weather lately so that immediately calls for a BBQ. I love making BBQ sides whilst Toby cooks all the meat. I don’t have exact recipes and quantities for these salads but a rough guideline is below. If you don’t like any ingredients simply sub them with something you do like!

Mexican Rice & Avo Salad

Ingredients

  • rice
  • Sweetcorn
  • red kidney beans
  • avocado
  • sour cream
  • chipotle dressing
  • coriander
  • red onion, diced

Method

  1. Mix everything together, using the corainder and chipotale dressing to taste

Sweet Potato Salad

Ingredients

  • sweet potato, cooked in cubes
  • mayonnaise (equal part to the crème fraîche or sour cream)
  • crème fraîche or sour cream (equal part to the mayo)
  • spring onions
  • salt & pepper

Method

  1. Mix everything together and try not the eat before the rest is done!

Mediterranean Mixed Vegetable Salad

Ingredients

  • spinach
  • peppers, diced
  • red onion, diced
  • sundried tomatoes
  • bulgur wheat, cooked
  • black olives, diced
  • olive oil
  • basil, chopped

Method

  1. Slowly fry the peppers and red onion together, adding the spinach at the end to cook for a couple of minutes
  2. Mix with the rest of the ingredients, using the basil and olive oil to taste

Lime Panko Prawns with Ginger and Soy Vegetables

Just a little Asian dish to show today. It’s uncomplicated and quick to make but tasty and can be replicated with different Asian flavours in the stir fry for next time. 

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 150g prawns
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • flour (to half fill a bowl), seasoned
  • panko breadcrumbs (to half fill a bowl)
  • 100g edamame beans
  • 100g mushrooms, chopped
  • 100g spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 pepper, chopped
  • 3 spring onions, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, diced
  • thumb sized piece of root ginger, diced
  • chilli flakes
  • 1 lime, split into quarters, saving 2 for garnishing
  • 2-3 tbsp soy sauce

Method

  1. Start by prepping the prawns – stretch each prawn out that that it is slightly straighter, being careful not to break them. Dip each prawn in the flour, then the egg, then the panko breadcrumbs and set aside
  2. For the stir fried veg, using a wok, fry off the garlic and ginger for a couple of minutes, then add the mushrooms and peppers and cook for 6 minutes
  3. Meanwhile heat a frying pan with 1cm of oil and once hot fry the prawns for 5 minutes, flipping halfway through. Squeeze half of the lime over the prawns whilst cooking
  4. Back to the veg, whilst the prawns are cooking, add the edamame beans, spinach, soy sauce and spring onions and fry for 3 minutes or until everything is cooked through. Season and add chilli flakes to taste
  5. To serve, plate up the vegetables and prawns and garnish with the reserved lime

Salmon with Roasted Vegetable Salad and Lemon Crème Fraîche

So, following on from my previous post, here is the other half of the pack of the salmon. This was another quick and easy after work dinner and I can’t wait to cook it again.

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1 salmon fillet
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • chilli flakes
  • couple slices butternut squash, chopped
  • 1/2 courgette, sliced
  • 2 beetroot, sliced
  • 1/2 avocado, chopped
  • 60g lentils and quinoa mix (I buy the microwave packs from Ocado/Waitrose)
  • 1 tbsp crème fraîche

Method

  1.  Preheat the oven to 180 fan/200/gas mark 6
  2. Spread the courgette and butternut squash on a baking tray, season and roast for 15-20 minutes
  3. After 8 minutes, squeeze half lemon juice on the salmon fillet, season, wrap in foil and pop on the baking tray for 10 minutes
  4. Cook the lentils and quinoa in the microwave for a minute (the packs are pre-cooked)
  5. Place all veg on the plate and top with the salmon. Mix the crème fraîche and lemon together and dollop on top

Roasted Salmon with Italian Spelt, Veg, Avocado and a Lemon Dill Crème Fraîche

I go to Vietnam in 2 week for 2 weeks! So it’s time to start eating healthily. My boyfriend is away so I bought a two pack of expensive salmon to treat myself so this recipe and the following will use up the pack. Hope you enjoy it as I did!

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1 salmon fillet
  • chilli flakes
  • 1 tbsp chopped dill
  • 3/4 lemon, juiced (save the remaining 1/4 to garnish)
  • 1 tbsp crème fraîche, heaped
  • 50g spinach
  • 1/2 pack tender stem broccoi
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • 35g spelt (or however much you want)

Method

  1. Preheat the grill to a medium heat
  2. Cook the spelt as per instructions on the packet
  3. To make the dill crème fraîche mix the chopped dill, lemon and crème fraîche and season
  4. To cook the salmon, season with chilli flake, 1/4 lemon juice and salt & pepper and wrap in foil. Cook for 10 minutes or until only just done (I like mine ever so slightly raw in the middle)
  5. Cook the broccoli in the microwave for 5 minutes, add the spinach after 2
  6. Assemble as above and enjoy

Bacon Cheeseburger with Sweet Potato Fries

This is a really simple, obvious meal but thought I’d post it anyway. It is my firm belief that a good burger will always consist of a beef patty, cooked medium, bacon, cheese and a brioche bun although here I omitted the bun as was trying not too eat too many carbs. The sweet potato fries are my boyfriend’s contribution – he makes the best so I am learning from him. I seem to burn them everytime!

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 2 good quality beef patties
  • 50g cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 rashers of good quality bacon
  • 2 tbsp red onion chutney (a great addition)
  • 1 large sweet potato, chopped into large fries
  • olive oil
  • paprika
  • cumin
  • chilli flakes
  • asparagus (or whatever veg you have)
  • salad bits (whatever you like)

Method

  1. To makes the sweet potato fries, preheat the oven to 180 fan/200/gas mark 6. Spread the fries out on a baking sheet, drizzle with lots of olive oils, sprinkle with paprika, cumin, chilli flakes, salt and pepper and bake them for approx 15 minutes until browning on edges. Then transfer to a frying pan with a little oil and fry for 3 minutes
  2. Cook the beef and bacon as per instructions and the packet – I like to grill both. In the last few mins of the burger top with grated cheese and finish grilling
  3. Cook the veg in the microwave
  4. To assemble, put the salad down, burger on top, top with the bacon then chutney. Place the asparagus next to it and eat.

Prawns and Scallops with a Chunky Tomato and White Wine Sauce and Greens

My sister had a night to herself so she indulged by having two pots of prawns with a lobster sauce and a dressed crab from the Taste the Difference range in Sainsbury’s. I love the idea of a fishy main with a thick sauce and bread to mop it all up. So I did a slightly more budget version of her prawns. Using the other half of the packs of prawns and scallops from last night’s recipe and the rest of the asparagus and broccoli, I made this delicious dish. Although I definitely plated up too much bread, so the recipe below only calls for one slice each.

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 100g raw prawns
  • 100g raw scallops
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 250g cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 150ml white wine (to taste)
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • ½ lemon juiced
  • handful spinach
  • 2 tbsp parmesan, grated
  • 25g butter
  • tenderstem broccoli
  • asparagus
  • 2 thick slices of white bread

Method

  1. To make the tomato sauce, fry the onion gently for 5 minutes until soft and golden. Then add 3 cloves of garlic and cook for a minute. Add the tomatoes and let them stew down for 7 minutes ensuring they still hold some of their shape
  2. Add the spinach, white wine and lemon juice and mix together. Season, taste and keep warm on the hob until the other components are done
  3. Meanwhile steam the asparagus and broccoli in the microwave for 5-6 minutes
  4. To cook the seafood, heat the butter and 1 clove of garlic in a frying pan. After a minute add the prawns and scallops and cook for 4-5 minutes until done
  5. To assemble place the vegetables on the plate, position the seafood mix next to them and spoon the tomato sauce over and between. To finish sprinkle parmesan over everything.