Happy 2016!!!

Start fresh & reset!

Start fresh & reset!

Happy New Year!

Thank you for all your follows and support during 2015… Hope I won’t let you down in 2016.

SO! You’ve enjoyed the great fancy and fatty foods during the festive period, the jegging is a bit tighter at the waist as is the purse… No worries let’s try and be practical and smart with our eating habits for a bit.

For one month only, we are going to be kind to our body.

Forget the Costa, the Starbucks and the likes…. You will save a bunch. Instead, opt for homemade brews that can be prepared in advance for your day at the office.

Have you ever tried homemade ginger and lemon tea? You can do it yourself or buy it

Mint tea brewing in the strainer

Mint tea brewing in the strainer

ready made. It goes without saying that fresh is better and much more flavoursome. Buy the ginger, grate it, take half a lemon grate the zest. Place both in a tea strainer and pour over it a cup of boiling water. Leave the strainer in the cup for 2 minutes then drain before adding the lemon juice and drink.

If you don’t like lemon and ginger go, for the mint tea. Do you know mint tea is great to fight bloating? Lemon is great for cleansing and ginger I great for a good digestion?

To make the tea either buy a bunch of mint in the supermarket or go for the teabags.

If using fresh mint, simply pick out 3-4 leaves of mint rub them together to bruise them, place in the tea strainer and pour water over it.

You can pre-prepare both infusions in advance and just reheat a cup full when needed.

For the mint tea for example, bruise a whole bunch, pour 1.5l of water and bring to boil. Strain, leave to cool and place in the fridge. When you are ready, pour a cupful and heat for 2 minutes in the microwave. Voila!

Both can be consumed hot or cold. With or without sugar and if you are looking to fit better in those jegging, I do recommend that you either reduce the sugar or remove it completely and replace with lemon.

HJ porridge mix

HJ porridge mix

Another great way to eat smart will be to have porridge for breakfast. Porridge keeps you fuller for longer so, if having porridge for breakfast you will feel full until lunch time. Again, rather than using sugar here, opt for fruits to bring in all the sugar needed…

I prepare my on porridge mix by adding few extra to make it interesting…

The porridge flake costs 39p in Lidl and I add in chopped roast peanuts from Lidl cost 49p mix seeds, dry raisins or any dry fruits, seeds and anything else I’d like.

1 pack of 250 can become 500 just by adding the extra. In the morning, I measure 4 table spoons of porridge add 100ml (whole) milk or soya milk, place in the microwave for 2 minutes, stir and place back for 1 minutes and enjoy!

For the mid-morning snacks, I opt for a banana, pear, raw nut or crackers…. I feel that often when I want a snack it is not that I am hungry, it is just that I want to chew on something…. 1 cracker or two is enough to distract me until meal time. Water is also a great distraction from chocolate cravings.

My breakfast - dairy free no added sugar

My breakfast – dairy free no added sugar

As far as New Year resolutions go, I decided to go coffee free in January, will also eat more meat and dairy free meals. This to cleanse, reset and get ready for the rest of the year. For more information about doing a meat and dairy free week/month, google Veganuary for ideas or see the vegan dishes available on this blog. I will post some of my meat and dairy free recipes in the next post. They are from my vegan blog… been running since 2013…

Shinny tennis set

Shinny tennis set

Exercise: I am also taking up rackets sports to get fit… I found a set of 2 tennis rackets & balls for £9.99… will be taking lessons in Dulwich at £5.00 per session that is the cheapest I could find.

I am also taking badminton for recreation. A meetup group in Pimlico offers the session at £6.00.

The set of two badminton rackets and shuttlecocks (the balls) cost £9.99.

My badminton set

My badminton set

Last but not least squash! I’ve always wanted to do squash. The single racket cost £9.99, the set of 3 ball cost £4.99 and the lesson cost less than £5 in Stockwell.

But if you cannot do and don’t like racket sports, take on walking! To go shopping 2 bus stops away, walk it on the way and jump on the bus on your way back as you are carrying loads. Join Park run for free. You can do mini 5Ks marathon or walks weekly.

Squash racket & balls

Squash racket & balls

I have also decided not to buy chocolate bars this year and only eat some when offered to me 😉 Let’s see if I can complete January first… ha ha ha!

The above are of course few of my recommendations for January and are mutually exclusive so, pick one or two things from the list and stick to it at least until end January.

And if you wish to lose weight, weigh yourself every 2 days or so and readjust your food intake… little often with a spot of exercise.

Before you weigh yourself, try to wee and do number 2. That always helps J

Do not no hesitate to send me your questions or if you need further details about the Tennis/badminton/ squash lessons.

Happy New Year to you and yours.

PS: I am not a nutritionist, all the above are from experience.

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#NoelByHJ – Dessert – Twin Hazelnut & Coffee buches

To finish this menu of, we will spoil ourselves with chocolate, coffee and hazelnut all in the shape of two version of the traditional French Christmas cake called bûche. The bûche can be like a Swiss roll or much more imaginative yumminess created in a shape of a log. Caution! These cakes are very very satisfying and RICH enough to make you feel very guilty after each spoon full. Just saying.

Twin Hazelnut & Coffee “bûches”

  • HJ's buche de Noel

    HJ’s buche de Noel

    HJ's buche de Noel

    HJ’s buche de Noel

Ingredients for 2 x 150g cakes:

  • 300ml double cream – 60p
  • 100g hazelnut – 95p
  • 50g Madeira cake – 70p
  • 3 teaspoons instant coffee
  • 20g sugar
  • 2 x (15cm x 7cm) mini loaf baking tins
  • 100g butter
  • 100g icing sugar
  • salt
  • 20ml vegetable oil

Total spend: £3.45

If these cakes were shop bough, they would cost at least £5.00 each… great as a treat.

Method:

Ground hazelnut is not always readily available in supermarkets or if they are, they

Sieving Hazelnut

Sieving Hazelnut

cost quiet a lot of money, It is much much cheaper to buy them with skin, roast, grind and sieve at home as I did. If you don’t fancy doing that, use ground almond instead.  I prefer hazelnut because of its strong flavour. Against the coffee it was fantastic!

Once the ground hazelnut is ready, set aside.

Next remove the “crust” from the Madeira and cut out two mini logs of 3cm x 3cm x 12cm to fit into the baking tin. The idea here is to cut the Madeira so it will fit fully in the inside of the cake. So, it should be smaller than the size of the cake tin. Once the Madeira is ready and set aside.

Break 2 and half chocolate tablets (250g) and melt them in a Bain Marie. Set the liquid chocolate aside to cool down a bit.

While all this is going on, the double cream should remain in the fridge until it is needed.

Dissolve 1,5 teaspoon of coffee in 100ml water, set aside.

Now, prepare the cream. Pour the 300ml of cream in a large bowl with the sugar and whisk until it starts forming picks.

Add to the cream, the melted chocolate and gently fold until the mix become one single and regular colour.

Now divide the mix in two. In one half, mix in the ground hazelnut, leave the other half plain. See blow the mix progression.

Mixing cream and chocolate

Mixing cream and chocolate

Plain chocolate-cream mix

Plain chocolate-cream mix

Hazelnut-chocolate-cream mix

Hazelnut-chocolate-cream mix

 

 

 

 

 

 

On to the moulds. Wet the inside of the cake tins with water and line with cling film allowing about 5cm of film to hang on the outside of the mould. Make sure that the film inside the mould is as flat as possible with no folds or pleats.

Once the moulds are lined up with the film, spoon in the first layer of the plain chocolate and cream mix. 2 tablespoons of the mix per mould should do. Now make sure to spread the mix evenly in both moulds. Spread on the bottom as well as on the sides. This will help with to shape of the dessert.

lined tins

lined tins

first layer

first layer

dipped Madeira cake

dipped Madeira cake

 

 

 

 

 

Once the first layer is spread, dip the Madeira cakes in the coffee and place them on the middle of the cake tins now lined with chocolate mix.

Cover the Madeira cake with the chocolate-cream-hazelnut mix, then tap the tins to allow the mix will fill all wholes. If you still have Madeira cake left, dip it in coffee, place in the tin and recover with the left over chocolate mix until the tin is full.

Now bring in the cling film ends hanging on the outside of the tin and fold them over the dessert tightly, then place the both tins in the fridge for 1 hour.

all layered buche

all layered buche

Ready for a nap in the fridge

Ready for a nap 

Out of the moulds

Out of the moulds

 

 

 

 

 

Meanwhile prepare the presentation plate for both dessert. The bûche can be very fragile and it is not advisable to more it around event two minutes. If you are decorating it, it is best to do so as cleanly as possible while the cake is on a presentation plate.

Prepare the covering for both cakes.

For one, simply melt 50g of chocolate with 20ml vegetable oil or Hazelnut oil if any available. Adding oil to the melted chocolate will prevent it from being too hard to cut with a knife and also give the chocolate a shine.

For the second covering, soften 100g butter at room temperature and when it becomes gel like, whisk it to soften it even further with a pinch of salt then sieve in 100g icing sugar as well as 1 teaspoon of coffee granules. Mix well until obtaining a milky coffee colour. Spoon this mix in a piping bags ready to be piped on the cake.

Once the desserts have been in the fridge for an hour, take them out and carefully unmould them and remove the cling film.

HJ's Buche 1

HJ’s Buche 1

HJ's Buche 1

HJ’s Buche 1

HJ's Buche 1

HJ’s Buche 1

 

 

 

 

 

For the first version of the dessert, simply pour the melts chocolate over it, leave to rest for 5 minutes then, pour another layer of the liquid chocolate over it. Leave to rest for 10 minutes then move into a serving plate before topping with broken roasted hazelnut. Return the bûche in the fridge for at least 1 hour before serving.

HJ's Buche 2

HJ’s Buche 2

HJ's Buche 2

HJ’s Buche 2

HJ's Buche 2

HJ’s Buche 2

 

 

 

 

 

For the other bûche, simply pipe the coffee icing in a pattern of your choice and have fun. As for me, I simply created straight lines to imitate a log. Afterwards, I sprinkled chocolate shaving and topped with whole roasted hazelnuts.

Et voila! It is all done. J

HJ's twin Hazelnut & coffee buches

HJ’s twin Hazelnut & coffee buches

HJ's buche - inside

HJ’s buche – inside

HJ's buche - inside

HJ’s buche – inside

I hope you have enjoyed this menu. To see my whole Christmas menu for 2, type #NoelByHJ in the search box.

I have also create 9 recipes for the Christmas leftovers if you had turkey with the usual trimmings. Just search #XmasScraps or #ChristmasScraps.

Thank you for following.

Happy Christmas to you and yours. See you in 2016… don’t forget to visit Croydon Radio to listen to the show dated 5th December on the podcast with Tom C.

Ciao!

#NoelByHJ – Mains – Lobster in Crème fraiche

For the main on this Christmas menu I chose to stay away for THE GIANT BIRD (Turkey)… The love of the fowl in this country (UK) is fascinating… People eat chicken throughout the year and at Christmas they want to eat an even bigger variety of the bird… WHY?!It is beyond me! So, of you are tempted to stay away from the fowl too, try the Lobster. Make it a treat… It is annoying to de-shell, but it is worth the bother. I feel the same for potato! So my main is …

Happy Christmas! Lobster & Mash!

Happy Christmas! Lobster & Mash!

Lobster in Crème fraiche Served with Parsnips & Swede mash

Ingredients to serve 2:

  • 2 lobsters from Lidl – £9.98

    Ingredients for the dish

    Ingredients for the dish

  • 50g red onion
  • A handful of parsley – 30p
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 150g crème fraiche – 52p
  • 300ml stock – made out of the lobster carcasses
  • 25g butter
  • Black pepper
  • Paprika
  • Salt
  • Vegetable oil

For the mash:

  • 500g swede – 30p
  • 300g parsnips – 30p
  • Chopped parsley
  • 25 Butter
  • Salt

Total spend: £11.40p

I think this might be the most expensive dish I have cooked for this blog, but it is Christmas and you are trying to eat something different and having a treat for this one day in the year is very much recommended! Enjoy it!

Method: 

Progression of the lobsters preparation below

HJ's Lobsters The day before cooking.

Defrost the lobsters and deshell them without damaging the shapes too much or you might end up with flakes instead of well-shaped pieces of lobster meat. Be especially careful with the laws as they are the hardest to break without crushing.

Start by separating the tails from the heads, then detach the claws from the heads. Carefully remove the shell from the tail then rinse and score the back of the tail to empty the belly of the lobster.

Once that is done, rinse the lobster tail and feel it all over to make sure that there is no shell debris left. Set aside. Now deshell the laws and carefully remove the meat. Rinse and feel all sides to make sure there is no broken shell left on the meat and set aside.

Repeat all the above with the second lobster. And do not throw away the shells debris

Seasoning the lobster

Seasoning the lobster

nor the heads. Instead, rinse and reserve in bowl with a lid or in a freezer bag.

Returning to the lobster meat: We are going to marinade it overnight.

Place the lobster meat in a bowl with 3 chopped garlic cloves and 25g chopped onion. Add a pinch of paprika, salt and 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Mix well and leave in the fridge overnight.

The Next day:

When you are ready to make the sauce, heat a pan with 2 tablespoons of vegetable oilDSC06163 fin, toss fry the lobster shells for 2 minutes, then add the parsley, chopped or whole with the remaining 25g of chopped onion. Toss fry for another 2 minutes before adding 500ml water. Cover the pan and leave to simmer for 10 minutes at high heat then drain using the finest sieve you can find.

Making the stock

Making the stock

The sieve will hold back even the smallest pieces of shell so you won’t find them in the sauce later. Discard the shell and set the stock aside. The stock will be about 300ml.

In a new pan, heat 25g butter and add the lobster and everything that was in the

marinade. Stir fry for 2-3 minutes allowing the onion of the marinade to soften. NowMaking the stock add the 300ml stock prepared previously as well as 150g of crème fraiche, salt & pepper. Stir and allow to simmer for 8-10 minutes. This will give time to the liquid to evaporate and the sauce will become creamier and creamier… as you stir, look out for the sauce sticking to the sides of the pan as an indication that the sauce is getting creamier… as it begins to stick, taste and adjust the seasoning. Before removing from heat.

For the mash:

Peel and cut the swede and parsnips in small pieces.
Place them in a pan with enough salted water to cover the content of the pan. Bring to boil for 10-20 minutes depending on the size of the pieces of vegetables. Both vegetables feel a bit like potato once they are cooked so, keep a closer eye on them after 10 minutes of boiling as you do not want a soggy mash. The vegetables should be cooked, but still firm and mashable.

Once they are cooked, drain and mash either with a potato ricer or simply a potato masher. Add the remaining 25g butter, a pinch of salt, combine and finish with chopped parsley.

Serve hot as suggest with the lobster.

DSC06195 fin Serving suggestionTuck in and enjoy.

PS: Lidl’s Lobsters are pretty well rated by the Daily mail… check out what they said about it here.

Click to see the nibbles & stater from this menu or simply type in #NoelByHJ in the search box.

#NoelByHJ – Starter Surimi verrine

We are continuing our Christmas dinner on a budget. If you have been nibbling on one or two or three selections of the bouchées previously posted. You won’t want to have a big starter. So here is my Verrine, a light green salad layered in a water glass… It might be under £1.50, but you can still make it look good… Just because it is Primani (Primark), it doesn’t mean that you can’t wear it like a Coco Chanel!

Salad in a glass

Salad in a glass

Surimi verrine

 Surimi are sometimes called crab sticks or seafood stick! I love those things and they can be addictive… Not to everyone’s taste, but really yummy!

Ingredients to serve 2

Ingredients for the verrine

Ingredients for the verrine

  • 4 crab sticks – 40p
  • 25g red onion
  • 1 medium tomato – 10p
  • 2 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 Lemon – 27p
  • 1 carrot
  • A hand full of spinach leaves – 20p
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive oil

    Ingredients for the verrine

    Ingredients for the verrine

  • Mayonnaise
  • Paprika (optional)
  • vinegar

Total spend: 97p

The Crab stick cost 99p for 10 sticks. The pack of 6 tomatoes cost 59p in LIDL and can be event cheaper as the store often reduces prices on fruits & veges.

Method:

Remove the film on the fish sticks and pull apart. Dice the onion.

preparing the crab sticks

Preparing the crab sticks

Cut the medium tomato and lemon quarters, chop the spinach, peel the carrot and cut it in strings length ways using the carrot peeler.

In a bowl, combine the crab sticks strings with a tablespoon of mayonnaise and 1 tablespoon of vinegar, black pepper and paprika. Mix well and spoon in the serving glasses making sure that they leave no trails on the sides of the glasses.

Now deposit 2 pieces of the quarters tomato on top of the crab sticks, then a bit of the carrot, then a handful of spinach, sprinkle the diced onion then more carrot and spinach… or however you would like your visual to be.

layering is done!

Layering is done!

Layering is done

Layering is done

Once the layering is done, top with the cherry tomato, drizzle olive oil, sprinkle black pepper and add the lemon.

If you are not serving immediately, refrigerate the salad and only drizzle the oil and sprinkle black pepper at the last minute. The lemon will be squeezed just before tucking in.

bon appetit!

Bon appetit!

It is done. Simple, light, beautiful… literally.

See you tomorrow for the mains and it is Turkey free!

#NoelByHJ – Christmas boucheés

Noel by HJ Bouchees

Noel by HJ Bouchees

Christmas boucheés

Boucheés are little starters or canapés that can be eaten in one or 2 mouthfuls.

In this set, you will have  salmon, prune, cucumber and paté. The boucheés are detailed below. They are just options that you can offer on your tables. Not all of them will be necessary… the cost for each set varies from £1.00 to £3.00.

The roulés

Les roulés

 The Bacon Prunes

 Ingredients for 10 bacon & prunes.

Prunes 1

Prunes 1

  • 5 bacon slices – 50p
  • 10 pitted prunes – 50p
  • Onion strings
  • 5 tooth picks

Total spend: £1.00

The bacon cost 99p for 10 slices and the prunes cost £1.39 per packs of about 30 units. The left overs can be used for breakfast the next day or for yogurt.

Prunes 2

Prunes 2

Method:

Pre heat the oven at 180°C

Rinse the bacon and slice them length way.

The onion is just to add flavour and it is optional. Cut it as thinly as possible. Set aside.

Now a halved slice of bacon, place on it an onion string, then the prune and roll.

Prunes 3

Prunes 3

Hold with a tooth pick and repeat until all 10 are done. The can be prepared in advance and are best eaten hot.

To cook it, place the prepared prune on a baking tray and cook for 20 minutes at 180°C.

 

Salmon rolls

Ingredients for 8 small rolls.

  • 4 smoked salmon slices – £1.37

    Salmon roll 1

    Salmon roll 1

  • 2 teaspoons full of crème fraiche -10p
  • Hand full of fresh parsley -10p
  • Garlic granules
  • Poppy seeds

 Total spend: £1.57

Method:

Finely chop the small hand off of parley and place it in a bowl. Add two full teaspoons of crème fraiche and sprinkle garlic granules. Mix well.

On flat surface, lie the smoke salmon slice flat, spread on it the crème fraiche mix and roll tightly, then cut in two. Keep on half other roll as it is and cover the other with poppy seeds.

Salmon roll 2

Salmon roll 2

Salmon roll 3

Salmon roll 3

Salmon roll 4

Salmon roll 4

Salmon roll 5

Salmon roll 5

Repeat the process until all 4 slices are done. you should end up with 4 small rolls covered in poppy seeds and 4 plain.

The poppy seeds are just to add crunchiness and a visual variation…

Courgette rolls

Courgette rolls

Courgette rolls

Ingredients for the cucumber roll:

  • ¼ cucumber – 10p
  • Crème fraiche
  • Salt pepper
  • Garlic granules
  • Tooth picks

Total cost: 10p

Method:

Cut a whole cucumber in half (width way) and cut the extremities. Using a mandolin or a potato peeler, slowly cut 4 large, but thin strings of cucumber. Lie them flat.

In a bowl, mix 2 teaspoons of crème fraiche with salt, black pepper and garlic. Stir to mix. Now spread this mix on the cucumber slices and roll, then keep them rolled with tooth pics.

Note the slices must be about 10cm long to have a good roll.

Salmon on Rye

Salmon on Rye

Salmon on rye bread

Ingredients:

  • 2 slice of rye bread – 25p
  • Unsalted butter
  • 3 slices smoked salmon – £1.02
  • Parsley or dill to finish

Total cost: £1.27

Method:

Cut the bread, spread butter and add salmon, then top with herbs. Enjoy.

The last option will just be slices of baguette with Ardennes pate.

Bread cost 25p and pate cost 40p.

Total cost 60p…

And if you don’t like any of the above, you can always buy LIDL’s platter below at £2.99!

LIDL ready platter

LIDL ready platter

Bon Appétit!

Coming up – Noel By HJ

Sorry faceStill to come this week, my Christmas menu, but you can use it for your New Year’s celebration instead why not?

Sorry it is a bit late, but it has been a very busy events month as I am an events’ coordinator and have just finished a 10 days stretch nonstop at work!

Here is the menu you will be having recipes for

My menu starts bouchees including salmon and prunes wrapped in bacon

Noel by HJ Bouchees

Noel by HJ Bouchees

Starter is a verrine with Surimi

Noel by HJ verinnes

Noel by HJ verinnes

Mains is lobster with swede & Parsnips mash

Noel by HJ lobster

Noel by HJ lobster

Dessert is a 2 buches de Noel with ground roasted hazelnuts & coffee.

Noel by HJ les deux buches

Noel by HJ les deux buches

I hope to post all the recipes this week.

The menu looks expensive, but it amazing what you can do with a bit of creativity.

To listen to the related Croydon Radio show, click on this link.

Thank you for checking in!

x

Buche or Yule log is the French Christmas cake

Buche or Yule log is the French Christmas cake

#ChristmasScraps – The cheese board 3

HJ's Filo quiche

HJ’s Filo quiche

Filo quiche

(Also using left overs roast vegetables & bacon)

Ingredients:

Serves 6

  • 250g roast vegetables – Leftover
  • 3 slices of bacon – Leftover
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 1 small onion
  • 100ml double cream – leftover
  • 150g mix cheeses – leftover
  • 100g cucumber
  • 100g leek
  • Garlic granules
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 4 sheets of filo pastry – (£1.39 for 12 sheets)
  • 25cm tart dish
  • 10g butter
  • Green salad to serve with.

Total spend: £1.39p

Method:

 Preheat the oven at 180°C

Cut the leek in half and separate the leaves. If the leaves are too large, cut them in half, length ways so they look like strips. Cut the cucumber in strips using a mandolin or potato peeler. Cut the bacon in strips too, grate the cheeses, chop the tomatoes and slice the onion as in the picture above.

In a bowl, add the grated cheese, the cream and 100ml water. Also add salt and black

Quiche filling 1

Quiche filling 1

pepper, garlic, mix, taste and adjust seasoning. Set aside.

Butter the bottom and sides of the tart dish and layer in the filo sheet crossing each leaf: the sheet are rectangular so if you lay a sheet one way, lay the next one across it as if creating a star or the British flag.

Once that is done, stretch out at the bottom of the dish, the

Quiche filling 2

Quiche filling 2

leek and cucumber strips, spread the roast vegetables, the

bacon and then the tomato. Pour over it the cheese and cream mix, then the onion slices. Give it a slight shake then fold inward to the ends of the filo sheets. Brush butter over the filo ends before placing the quiche in the middle tray of the oven.

Bake for 50 minutes at 180°C.

Quiche filling 3

Quiche filling 3

Quiche filling 4

Quiche filling 4

Cooked quiche 1

Cooked quiche 1

Cooked quiche 2

Cooked quiche 2

Quiche serving suggestion

Quiche serving suggestion

Leave to cool down a bit before serving. I served mine with a spinach and cherry tomato salad.

To see the whole leftover series, type #XmasScraps #ChristmasScraps in the search box. You will also find ides for using leftover Christmas pudding, Turkey etc… Don’t forget to post your comments!

Happy Christmas.