Homemade Clove and Cinnamon Tea

I haven’t posted a new recipe in just over a month but it’s been very busy for me with exams and finishing my final assignments (minus dissertation) for my masters degree. Today also marks exactly one year since I started this blog so it is only fitting I post a recipe for something I love- tea. For those who know me, I am absolutely obsessed with tea. I drink so much of it every day. For me, it’s an easy way to stay hydrated as well as warm in those winter months and now it’s become such a habit that I can’t go a day without a cup of tea (or 10! haha). Clove and cinnamon tea was something I stumbled across when I wanted to make cinnamon tea, but had cloves as well. It’s inspired by a recipe for Ethiopian tea (one of my favourites). This recipe makes in excess of 8-10 cups of tea, so is perfect to refill your mug and use throughout the day without having to make a new mixture.

Ingredients

  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 teaspoons of whole cloves
  • 2 tablespoons of freshly diced ginger (or more if you like)
  • 1 English breakfast tea bag (any brand)
  • honey (optional)
  • 1 litre of water
  • small sieve/tea strainer
  • 2 slices of lemon (optional)

Method

  1. add all the ingredients into a large pot. Turn the stove on to a low to medium heat and allow the mixture to heat up.
  2. when the mixture has started to boil turn the stove off. Pour into a mug using a tea strainer or small sieve. You can keep adding water to the pot and keep reheating the mixture throughout the day. If you find that the mixture has diluted, add a some more ginger, a few more cloves and another cinnamon stick.
  3. serve with a couple slices of lemon and a drop of honey if desired. Personally I don’t like honey in my tea but love having lemon.

Enjoy

xx

Express meal- Chicken, Peppers and Spinach

I find that many people assume eating healthy and making food can be quite time consuming. Well this is a recipe that takes about 5 mins to cook and a few minutes to prepare beforehand. You can substitute with any leftover meats/vegetables you have, but I do love the combination of peppers and chicken. This recipe serves two.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup couscous
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water (or stock)
  • 2 spring onions
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (or oil of choice)
  • 2 peppers (mixtures of colours)
  • 2 small chicken breast fillets
  • chicken spice mixture (or mixture of paprika, black pepper and cayenne pepper)
  • large handful of raw spinach

Method

  • bring the water or stock to boil and turn off the heat. Add the couscous and cover for 5 mins allowing to couscous to absorb the water and swell up.
  • finely slice the spring onion, garlic and ginger and add to a pan of 1-2 tablespoons of vegetable oil (or oil of choice).
  • slice the peppers and set aside in a bowl.
  • slice the chicken breast fillets to the size of your choice.
  • turn the heat on the pan and gently fry the spring onions, garlic and ginger over low heat. Add the chicken slices and turn the heat to medium. You don’t want to burn the chicken or the spring onions, garlic or ginger so try not to rush and fry the chicken over high heat. Shake some of the chicken spice mixture onto the chicken and stir.
  • when the chicken is fully cooked, add the peppers and gently toss.
  • check on the couscous and gently fluff with a fork. At this point, turn the fire off the chicken and add the fresh spinach.
  • serve the chicken over the couscous and garnish with fresh spring onions (optional) .

Express Chicken Dish

Enjoy

xx

Creamy Avocado Spaghetti with Garlic Prawns

There are several ways to eat avocados and one of my new favourite ways in creaming them up with pasta. It’s such a simple and healthy way to add some good fats into your diet. You can eat this dish either hot or as a cold pasta dish. This recipe serves 2.

Ingredients

  • 2 servings of spaghetti
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 lime juiced
  • 1 tablespoon oil of choice (vegetable, sesame etc)
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh ginger finely diced
  • 2 spring onion finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely sliced cabbage
  • 1 cup+ cooked prawns
  • black pepper
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tomato sliced

Method

  • boil your spaghetti if not already cooked. Make sure you don’t overcook it as you want the spaghetti to be al dente and not soft. Once done, drain and set aside.
  • scoop out 1 avocado and using a fork, mash together with the salt, pepper and lime juice.
  • whilst the spaghetti is cooking, fry the prawns on high heat until slightly crisp. Add the garlic, 1/2 the spring onions and ginger once the prawns are done and turn the cooker off. The heat alone will gently cook the garlic, ginger and spring onions without burning them.
  • mix together the spaghetti and avocado making sure to coat all the strands with the creamed avocado mixture.
  • toss in the cooked prawns and gently mix together with the spaghetti and avocado mixture. Add most of the sliced cabbage, but leaving some to use as garnish.
  • serve and garnish with the sliced tomato, cabbage (for crunch and texture) and the remaining spring onion. Add salt and pepper to taste.

DSC_0001 (1)1

Enjoy

xx

Avocado Chocolate Brownies

Lately I have been obsessing over finding a great, healthy and easy to follow brownie recipe….thus my second consecutive brownie post. My friend gave me the idea of trying out some avocado brownies so we searched for an easy and healthy recipe to use. We stumble upon the blog “The Iron You” and adapted their avocado brownie recipe to suit our tastes. This recipe makes a tray of brownies (12-16 depending on the size).

Ingredients

  • non stick baking tray
  • grease proof paper
  • 2 large ripened avocados
  • 1 bar of dark chocolate (any brand will do. Milk chocolate can also be used)
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2-3 medium sized eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 100g ground almond
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 heaped tablespoon self raising flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • hot chocolate powder
  • hot water

Method

  • preheat the oven to 170 Celsius.
  • line the base of the tray with grease proof paper. This will make it easier to remove the brownies but is of course optional.
  • mash the avocados until smooth in a large mixing bowl.
  • melt together the dark chocolate, and butter over low heat. Once full melted take of the heat and allow to cool.
  • add the sugar to the melted chocolate mixture and stir well.
  • in the mixing bowl, add the chocolate mixture and stir in well.
  • add the eggs and mix well then add the vanilla essence and again mix well.
  • add the ground almonds, cocoa powder, self raising flour and salt together and gently fold in.
  • then fold in the chopped walnuts.
  • pour into the baking tray and put in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until ready. Poke and toothpick into the brownies and if it comes out clean and without being coated in batter then you know the brownies are ready.
  • allow the brownies to cool before cutting into squares.
  • whilst the brownies are cooling down, mix together some hot chocolate and hot water in a pan over medium heat. You want the consistency to be a little bit like custard. When this is ready just drizzle the sauce over the brownies using a spoon in any way you like. Allow to cool before serving.

Avocado Chocolate Brownies

Enjoy

xx

Butternut Squash Brownies

You probably read the title and thought “WHAT?”. Yes…this recipe includes a vegetable to make delicious and moist brownies. I first saw this recipe on ‘The Live-In Kitchen’ and adapted it slightly to suit my tastes. With all this festive food I thought I’d post something seasonal. This recipe makes 1 tray of brownies…and between 12-16 brownies depending on the size you cut them.

Ingredients

  • non stick baking tray (roughly 9inch by 13inch)
  • potato masher
  • 1/4-1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 2-3 teaspoons vanilla essence
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon or all spice (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups puréed butternut squash or oven baked and mashed butternut squash
  • 1 cup ground almonds
  • 1 cup self raising flour
  • 1-2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips (or chopped up dark chocolate)

Method

  • if you haven’t already baked and mashed up your butternut squash then now is the time. Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise and clear out the seeds. Place in a baking tray, cut side up. Bake at 180 Celsius for about 45 minutes or until it is soft. Allow to cool a little then scoop up and mash with a potato masher. Set aside to cool.
  • preheat the oven to 170 Celsius.
  • mix together the butter and sugar in a bowl. Add the eggs and vanilla essence and mix thoroughly. You can add the cinnamon or all spice at this point, but this is optional.
  • add the puréed/mashed butternut squash and mix together.
  • in a separate bowl, mix together the ground almonds and flour then slowly add to the squash mixture. Using ground almonds makes cakes and brownies moist and soft. That’s basically everyone’s goals when baking, right?
  • add the chocolate chips, mix together, then and pour into a baking dish.
  • bake for 25-35 minutes and check every few minutes after 25 minutes.
  • poke and toothpick into the brownies and if it comes out clean and without being coated in batter then you know the brownies are ready. When it’s ready, take it out of the oven and cut into pieces. Allow to cool before serving.

Enjoy

xx

Potato Gratin

Something different for today’s post. A side dish. This dish is a inspired by a recipe from a French cookbook that my high school French teacher gave me a few years ago. I absolutely love it! I am all about making food healthy and delicious and this modified version/healthier version of the much loved potato gratin (aka gratin dauphinois) is a simple and delicious side dish that can accompany anything from grilled chicken and veges to steak. It’s a perfect substitute for bakes potatoes whilst still being (somewhat) healthy. It’s a win win situation. This recipe serves 3-4.

Ingredients

  • 4 large potatoes
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1/2 cup strong hard cheese (cheddar, gruyère)
  • 1/2 cup thick cream (or single cream)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour (optional)
  • a small amount of butter (thumb sized)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • oven proof dish

Method

  • preheat the oven to 170 Celsius.
  • peel the potatoes if you wish, but honestly I prefer to skip this step. If you don’t want to peel the potatoes make sure you wash them very well.
  • thinly slice all your potatoes
  • mix together the cream, milk, minced garlic and a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. If you want to use less cream and more milk then you’ll need to adapt this mixture. Follow the next step.
  • for those who don’t want to add the cream, don’t worry you can always change it up. Melt a little butter on low heat and stir in the flour. Mix together the milk, minced garlic, salt and pepper and then slowly add to the melted butter and flour mixture, stirring it in to prevent any clumps. once the mixture in fully incorporated you can turn the heat off and move to the next step.
  • layer the sliced potatoes with a sprinkle of cheese in between (optional). When the potatoes have been layered to fill the dish, pour over the cream mixture (or substitute).
  • sprinkle with cheese and put into the oven for about 50 minutes. If the cheese has started get a little too brown you can always cover the dish with some foil for the remainder of the time.
  • serve with the rest of your meal

Potato Gratin

Enjoy

xx

Ginger Tea

I am a serious tea drinker…and by that I mean I can drink in excess of 10-15 cups a day (english, herbal, etc). I felt like drinking some good home made ginger tea after waking up to my mum sending me a picture this morning. I love ginger, seriously love it and add it to smoothies, almost everything I cook and even sometimes eat it raw when I have a bad throat. Ginger tea is great for digestion, colds, sore throats and so many other things. This recipe makes 2-3 cups of fresh ginger tea.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of water
  • 2-3 inches of fresh ginger washed
  • 3 teaspoons of honey (optional)
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 1 english tea bag (optional)
  • grater
  • small sieve

Method

  • pour the water into the pot and bring to a simmer on medium heat. Simple.
  • grate the ginger with or without the skin. I don’t bother removing the skin as I wash my ginger before and will sieve through the mixture before drinking.
  • juice the lemon and add the juice into the pot. Don’t worry about having a few seeds here as well.
  • add the honey and mix well.
  • you can add a tea bag to the mixture if you like, but this is entirely optional. If you do, make sure to not leave the tea bag in for too long as this may take away from the flavour.
  • taste and see if you need to dilute the mixture (if you find it too strong and gingery) but if you like it strong then turn the fire off and sieve the mixture.
  • pour into mugs and serve with a slice or ginger and/or lemon .

Enjoy

xx