Halloumi, bean and veg stew (ready in 20 mins)

halloumi bean stew

This is one of those meals that was invented when I was using up the contents of my fridge and cupboard. My kids didn’t turn their noses up at it so it is a success in my book! They loved the natural saltiness of the halloumi cheese and the Mediterranean flavours of the capers and olives, so much so that they happily accepted the presence of the beans and vegetables. My boyfriend approved too (if you read my blog regularly you will know that he normally only gets excited by fish fingers and Rustlers burgers).

This dish is healthy, tasty, colourful and quick so makes a perfect family meal! Allow about 20 minutes to make it.

Halloumi, bean and veg stew (serves 2 adults and 2 kids)

Tin chopped tomatoes
Tin haricot beans, drained
Shake dried herbs (or fresh e.g. parsley/oregano)
1/2 block halloumi cheese, chopped
1 red onion, finely chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
tbsp capers
tbsp chopped black olives
1 veg stock cube (I like Oxo as it crumbles easily)

Heat some oil in a pan and add the crushed garlic, herbs, and chopped onion and pepper. Sweat for at least 7 minutes, until softened, stirring regularly. Add the chopped tomatoes, drained beans, halloumi cheese, capers, olives and crumble in the stock cube. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 5 mins. Serve!

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LA-style all green salad (ready in 15 mins)

LA style all green salad

This must be what the figure conscious celebs of LA eat. It’s super healthy, full of greens, lentils (canned for ease!), seeds and a deliciously tasty yoghurt dressing with cumin seeds. It only takes 15 minutes to prepare and is guaranteed to make you feel virtuous. I couldn’t resist having some mozzarella on the side though…

LA style all green salad

The recipe is courtesy of Sainsbury’s magazine (supermarket magazines are the best place to find clever recipes in my opinion). Here are a few tips for super-charging salad, also courtesy of Sainsbury’s: ‘liven it up with flaked salmon or sliced chicken; bulk it out with drained, canned beans; add roasted tomatoes, courgettes or cooked grains such as quinoa or pearl barley, to create more interesting textures and flavours; sprinkle toasted seeds or nuts on top for added crunch’.

LA-style all green salad (serves 4)

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 clove garlic, crushed
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
80g fat-free natural yoghurt
1 medium head broccoli, broken in to florets
250g asparagus, trimmed
200g watercress
410g tin green lentils
1 ripe avocado, chopped
40g seed mix

Make the dressing: combine the olive oil, cumin, garlic, lemon zest and juice and natural yoghurt. Set aside.

Steam/boil the broccoli until just tender, adding the asparagus for the final 2 minutes.

Toss together the salad leaves with the asparagus, broccoli, lentils and avocado. Divide between 4 plates and drizzle with the dressing and serve scattered with the seeds.

Recipe from Sainsbury’s magazine

Cooking with kids – Strawberry fridge jam

strawberry fridge jam cooking with kids

My son told me he would like some ‘red’ jam so we agreed to make our own! He enjoyed mashing up the strawberries (we pretended we were angry with them) while his little brother squeezed the lemon, then we added the sugar, stirred it all up and preperation was almost complete!

strawberry fridge jam cooking with kids

cooking with kids strawberry fridge jam

The kids were really proud to have made their own jam and gave a jar to nana.

strawberry fridge jam cooking with kids

cooking with kids strawberry fridge jam

I would advise against getting the kids to stir the jam as it gets VERY hot. Don’t worry if the consistency is a bit thin after it is heated as it will thicken over the next day. The jars will keep in a cool, dark place for up to a year or in the fridge for 3 weeks once opened.

You can recycle old jam jars by washing them then sterilising them in the oven – put the jars and lids on a tray on gas mark 1/140 degrees for 10 minutes (or a dishwasher cycle) and fill while still warm.

Ingredients – strawberry fridge jam (makes 2 – 3 jars)

800g strawberries
Juice of 1 lemon
500g jam sugar with pectin

Finely chop half the strawberries and mash the rest in to a pulp. Mix together then add the lemon juice and sugar. Mix again then leave to stand for 1 hour to draw out the juices.

Put in a saucepan and heat on a high heat. Boil on a high bubbling heat for 8 minutes, skimming any foam off the surface.

Leave to cool for 10 minutes then fill the jam jars.