Sweet Chilli Mixed Bean Tuna Salad

Sweet Chilli Mixed Bean Tuna Salad

Healthier Eating is always at the fore front of my mind and especially this time of year, your body needs those extra nutrients & vitamins to function well and fight of those colds & flu’s. I know a salad doesn’t sound ideal when it’s minus degrees outside but trust me your body will thank you for it. I normally have a warm bowl of porridge in the morning, not only does that heat you up it also keeps you full for longer.

Choosing foods for your lunch or dinner that are rich in vitamin C, such foods like sweet potatoes, tomatoes, red peppers and citrus fruits, try adding these to your meals as vitamin C plays an important role in the immune system and energy levels, especially important if you regularly exercise.

During the winter months, we can come into contact with viruses that can cause colds or flu. So, it’s important that our immune system functions normally and zinc contributes to this. Foods such as shellfish, spinach and lentils are good sources of zinc.

Fish such as salmon, tuna & cod as well as milk, eggs and cheese, are a great source of vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 contributes to the normal functioning of the immune system and also contributes to a reduction in tiredness and fatigue.

Spices like chilli’s are a good source of antioxidants and rich in vitamin A, as well as minerals such as iron and potassium.

This Superfood Salad bowl I have for my lunch, which gives me a good boost for afternoon working. It is rich in nutrients, flavour and vitamins so a good all rounder for the whole family. Serve with some wholewheat crackers for a more filling dish or serve as a side with some fish for dinner.


Serves 4 portions

1 x 400g Tin Mixed Beans

200g Baby Spinach – chopped

2 x Tins of Tuna (or fresh if you can)

100g Cherry Tomatoes, sliced into quarters

1 x Cucumber sliced into quarters

Handful of chopped mix nuts & seeds

3 Tbsps of Sweet Chilli Sauce (more if you want it sweeter)

2 Chillies, Chopped finely (optional)

Chopped fresh Parsley (Optional)

  1. Drain the tin of mixed beans and decant into a large bowl, add the spinach, tomatoes, cucumber, tuna, chilli’s (if using) and mix through
  2. Pour in the chilli sauce and mix ensuring everything is coated.
  3. Sprinkle Nuts & Seeds (of your choice) and chopped parsley (if using) on top and serve into bowls.


Mini Caviar Cocktails

Mini Caviar Cocktail

I was so lucky to receive some Beluga Caviar from Duncans Caviar https://www.instagram.com/stories/duncanscaviar/2437284876312845688/

by Royal Belgian Caviar Company

https://royalbelgiancaviar.be/en/caviar/beluga

I received the Osietra and Beluga Caviar and so excited to try. The Royal Belgian Caviar are based in Belgium and home farm their sturgeon for the best quality product. Click above link for more information.

Duncan Smith is the Exclusive Scottish Distributor for this excellent product, check out his Instagram above for more information.

I was looking for something a bit more sophisticated for my afternoon tea, so something in a cocktail glass sounded good. This little dish is great for the party season coming up or if you just fancy treating yourself like we did.

The Beluga Caviar leaves a lovely after taste with its rich, Buttery and Creamy notes.

Makes 4 Glasses

4-6 tbsps of Sour Cream or Creme Fraiche (both work well)

1 Medium Avocado

2 tbsp Minced Red Onion

2 tbsp Lemon Juice

1 tsp Chopped Fresh Dill

1 Small Plum Tomato – chopped finely

1 Boiled Egg, peeled and chopped finely

Salt & Pepper to taste

1 tsp Caviar (do not use metal spoon as it can effect the taste)

  1. Spoon the creme fraiche or sour cream into the glass.
  2. Mash the avocado with a fork and mix in the onion, lemon juice, dill and seasoning. Put 1-2 tbsps into the glass on top of the cream.
  3. Sprinkle some of the chopped egg and tomato on top then finish with a small spoonful of caviar an sprig of dill.


Spicy Carrot & Parsnip Soup

Spicy Carrot & Parsnip Soup

It is definitely soup season, nights are getting darker, air is getting colder and a bowl of warm soup is the perfect recipe after a long days work. If you are looking for a really tasty soup that is simple to make with simple store cupboard ingredients then this is for you. The things I love about soup is that you can make a huge pot and freezer it for later. Tasty cooking can not get any simpler than this.

I harvested some of my Carrots and Parsnips at the weekend, so this was what I had decided upon. With some good quality crusty bread on the side this is perfect for lunch or dinner. The bright orange colour also brightens up your dinner table.

Full of nutrition too, with Carrots & Parsnips both being full of good Vitamin C this can help boost your immune system at this time of year and very low in calories too. Lets not forget the spices, with cumin being a great aid for the digestive system and also full or iron. Garlic, with its active compounds which can help reduce blood pressure and also combat sickness including the common cold. Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory and a powerful antioxidant, was classed as a Superfood too. It’s a win, win soup for me this season.

Vegetable Harvest, Carrots & Parsnips

Serves 4

8 Medium Size Carrots, Chopped (I keep the skin on but you can peel if you prefer)

6 Medium Size Parsnips, Peeled & Chopped

3 Celery Stalks, Chopped

1 White Onion, Chopped

1 tbsp Olive Oil

1 tsp Ginger Granules or 1 tbsp freshly grated Ginger

1 tsp Garlic Powder or 2 garlic cloves – minced

1 tsp Cumin

1 tsp Ground Coriander

1 tsp Turmeric

1.5 litres good Vegetable Stock

Salt & Pepper to taste

A Little Swirl of Cream to serve and a sprinkling of pumpkin or sunflower seeds (Optional)

Crusty Bread to serve (Optional)

  1. Pre heat the oil in a large pot on medium to high heat, add the onions and celery and cook until onions are translucent.
  2. Add in the spices (cumin, garlic, coriander, turmeric, ginger) and mix through until coated.
  3. Add in the parsnips, carrots and vegetable stock, season & bring to the boil then reduce and simmer for 25-30 minutes.
  4. Take off the heat and using a hand blender, blend the vegetables to make a smooth thick consistancey.
  5. Serve into bowl and finish with a swirl of cream and sprinkle of seeds.

You can keep soup in a fridge for about 3 days and freezer for up to 3 months.


Beetroot & Goats Cheese Bites

Beetroot & Goats Cheese Bites

I recently visited Transylvania Shop & Coffee in Glasgow, https://www.transylvaniashopandcoffee.co.uk/, the shop opened this year and they are so passionate about their home produce and Country. Everything that you could wish for from Transylvania, Romania, they have it. Their selection is vast and all excellent quality produce, from grocery store to a cake store to even coffee, yes they have it all. If you are a foodie and love seeking out new products then this shop is for you. If you are a massive Dracula fan, like me, and just love everything Transylvanian then you must visit this shop, you will not be disappointed.

Transylvania Shop & Coffee

On my visit I decided to try out some Romanian Meats, Cheeses, Coffee and of course their awesome selection of cakes, honestly, I have never seen anything like it……mouth watering flavours and designs that just take your breath away.

Coming soon is a season of get togethers and this gives us the opportunity to share all things food. I believe food brings people together, whether it’s just around the table in your home or different families & friends coming together for a celebration, there is always food around. With the recent Lockdown situations this year it has definitely given people more time to spend at home and to find their new love of food, be it baking with the kids or experimenting on using up store cupboard essentials to create new recipes, we have all tried something new. I would like to help with this journey and give you some new ideas. Please have a look around my blog, hopefully you will find your inner chef too!

This recipe brings both of the above together, I used a fabulous Romania Goats Cheese from the Transylvania shop and harvested some Beetroot from my garden to make these little bites, they are perfect for that get together event, or even just a simple snack for something different with the family in your home.

Makes about 20

About 4 Medium Sized Beetroots – Pre cooked

100g Goats Cheese (preferably the LaColline)

Handful of Pistachio’s or Walnuts, chopped

Cocktails sticks to hold together and a choice of your cutter shape (I used a star from my cookie cutter selection)

  1. Using a cutter, cut out the beetroot and goats cheese into your desired shape. Make sure the Beetroot is slightly bigger than the goats cheese. Stack the goats cheese on top of the beetroot, sprinkle your choice of nuts/seeds and secure with a cocktail stick. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Black Pudding, Beetroot & goats cheese salad

Black Pudding, Beetroot Salad & Goats Cheese Salad

I’ve loads of Beetroot growing in my garden just now and perfect season for it too, so decided on a little treat for lunch today. Certainly beats the Ryvita’s….lol.

Beetroot is packed with essential nutrients, beetroots are a great source of fiber, folate (vitamin B9), manganese, potassium, iron, and vitamin C. Beetroots and beetroot juice have been associated with numerous health benefits, including improved blood flow, lower blood pressure, and increased exercise performance.

Perfect pairing with Beetroot for me is definitely Stornoway Black Pudding & Goats Cheese, just so yummy! I served with some Homegrown Spinach too.

Serves 2

4 large Beetroots – Cooked and Sliced into bite size chunks

60g Goats Cheese

4 Slices of Black pudding

1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar

Pinch salt

1 tsp Mixed Herbs

Handful of Spinach – chopped

Sunflower & Pumpkin Seeds to top

  1. Place Beetroot into a bowl, add balsamic vinegar, salt & mixed herbs and mix through.
  2. Cook Black Pudding in a pan on medium to high heat for about 3-4 minutes each side with a little oil. Remove and pat dry, break up into bite size pieces and add to beetroot and mix through.
  3. Chop up the spinach and lay on a plate, top with the beetroot and black pudding then tear the goats cheese over and serve with pumpkin & sunflower seeds.
Plate of Black pudding, Beetroot & Goats Cheese

Chicken & Chickpea Thai Cakes

Chicken & Chickpea Thai Cakes

These little cakes are so easy to make and quick too, a great mid week dinner or even a quick lunch bite. What’s even better is that they are healthy, low in fat & low in calories at just 150 per cake.

Makes 8

2 Chicken Breasts

4 Spring Onions – chopped finely

1 tsp garlic granules or 2 garlic cloves, crushed

1/2 tsp ginger or 1″ fresh ginger chopped finely

1 tbsp dried coriander

2 tsps Soy Sauce

Zest & Juice of 1 lime

Salt & Pepper

1 tin of Chickpeas drained (400g)

1 tsp dried chilli flakes

Sweet Chilli Sauce to serve.

  1. Preheat oven to 180 deg and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  2. Using of food processor blitz the chickpeas and chicken until minced.
  3. In a bowl mix everything together with your hands and form 8 small cakes about 1cm thick, place onto baking paper and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
  4. Serve with some Sweet Chilli Sauce. Yum!
Chicken & Chickpea Thai Cakes

Roasted Beetroot Salad

Roasted Beetroot Salad

As you may know I started my very first Raised Vegetable Beds this year, it’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a while but as the story goes, we work & we work and never seem to find time to start anything. This was the year that I was finally going to put a plan of action together, ordered my raised beds, got them all painted and treated, filled them up, planted the seeds and waited. I can’t tell you how exciting it was to see my first little green shoot pop up.

I love Beetroot, so that was the first seed planted and I am now starting to harvest them. Oh my, freshness, freshness, freshness…..there is nothing better that eating straight from your garden, I harvested some yesterday and decided on a lovely refreshing salad today for my lunch.

Fresh Beetroot from my garden

How to Roast Beetroot

First wash all the mud etc off of the beets and trim of the stalks & leaves, but keep the leaves aside for later. If not using straight away, store in a perforated plastic bag in the salad bins in your fridge, these will keep for about 2 weeks.

Beetroot & Beetroot Leaves Storage in Fridge

Using Tin foil, place the Beets (with the skin on) on and sprinkle a little olive oil & salt, wrap up into a parcel, not too tightly as you want the steam to help cook the beets, then bake on a tray in centre of your oven at 200 deg for about 45 minutes.

Remove and allow steam to escape from parcel then allow to cool slightly. At this stage, I advise to wear gloves, you WILL get Beetroot stained if you don’t…lol! With gloves on gently rub the skin and you’ll notice it comes away very easily, remove all the skin and slice into wedges or bite sized pieces. Yum!

Using the saved leaves, these can be cooked just like Kale. Bring a pan of water to the boil add a little salt and blanch for a few minutes, remove and drain excess water through a colander/sieve. I love the colour of the water here too.

Place leaves in a bowl with beetroot, squeeze some lemon juice and 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar over and mix. Sprinkle over some Goats cheese or Feta cheese and chopped walnuts to serve.

You could also cook some couscous or bulgur wheat to add to make it a more filling bowl.

A Bowl of Roasted Beetroot, Beetroot Leaves, Goats Cheese, Walnuts


Lemon Glazed Sweet Potatoes

Lemon Glaze Sweet Potatoes

I recently harvested my first sweet potatoes, so decided to have a little quick potato lunch today. If you love sweetness, you will love this. I served with some crushed goats cheese for that extra creamy texture.

Serves 2

2 medium sweet potatoes – sliced into 1″ thick slices

1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp brown sugar

1/2 lemon juice

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Pinch Salt

  1. Preheat oven to 160 deg and grease a baking tin.
  2. Mix the Lemon juice with melted butter, sugar, salt and cinnamon
  3. Places the sweet potato slices in baking tin and pour over the mixture, cover with tin foil and bake for about 40-45 minutes.
  4. The last 5 minutes, remove the tin foil to allow glaze to thicken and brown in oven. Remove and sprinkle some goats cheese. Serve.


Nutty Energy Balls

As the Covid19 Lockdown is slowly and gently easing, we are now allowed to travel to the mountains again. We have longed to get back outdoors and into the picturesque landscape we call home. The Scottish Mountains are my headspace, a place where I grow, think, be at peace, laugh and get fitter…lol! To read more about the Scottish Munros, Corbetts, Grahams etc, head over to my travel post https://theweecaledoniancook.com/2020/07/08/a-list-of-scotlands-mountains/.

Anyway, back to food, my first passion. To walk or climb the Scottish Mountains you need energy firstly (then waterproofs…lol), so I made these to pack and take with us for a wee boost when needed. Great for a pre workout snack too & also Gluten Free.

Nutty Energy Balls

Makes about 16

For the Balls:-

4 heaped tbsp of Crunchy Peanut Butter (good quality, I use Whole Earth)

200g chopped mixed nuts & raisins (I used a food processor to chop finely)

2 tbsp Icing sugar

Coating/Topping:-

Choice 1:-

Dark or Milk Chocolate, 1 tbsp Butter – Melted together

Chopped Pistachios

Choice 2:-

Butter icing – Icing Sugar 80-100g, 1 tbsp butter – Melted together

Desiccated Coconut

  1. Place all ball ingredients into a bowl and mix together until combined. You may find it best to us clean hands for this. Take a tsp size and roll into a ball.
  2. Dip the rolled balls into your wet mixture of choice and then roll into the coconut or pistachio toppings to coat. Place onto a greaseproof lined baking tray and refrigerate to harden.
  3. These can be stored for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container. Enjoy!

Of course you can use any coating or topping you like.

Enjoy these bite size energy boosters

Stripey Omelette

Happy National Egg Day! (well in the U.S it is on 3rd June). I am helping them celebrate today my making myself eggs for lunch and a stripey omelette at that & why not! I do love experimenting with food…lol!

Eggs are so nutritious and filling, stored with lots of protein, about 13g in a large egg size. Eggs are also low in calories and full of vitamin D & B, so a good all rounder for any meal. I love eggs, you can scramble, poach, fry, bake, boil they are very versatile. Want to know even more, check out egg info here….https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egg_as_food

I get my eggs delivered straight to my door from McQueens Dairies. This omelette made from Scottish eggs from Beaton Farms in Inverurie, Scotland.

3 Eggs – Large

Spray oil

Seasoning

  1. Start by separating the yolks from whites. Mix the yolks.
  2. Heat a little spray oil in a pan on a low heat and pour in the yolks only, cook gently for a few minutes until cooked.
  3. Using a knife gently & I say very gently as you don’t want to damage your pan, then slice into strips about 1-1.5cm thick and remove every 2nd one. (you can use the spare strips for another omelette or create a lattice design).

4. Then pour in the egg whites and cook gently on a low heat until the egg whites start to bubble.

5. At this stage if you are using a filling, lay it onto omelette and start to roll up in pan then decant onto a plate.

Serve. Yummy and Eye catching.