Squash, Lentil & Goats Cheese Salad

I never thought I’d be the type to get excited about a salad. I think that stems from having the same uninspiring salad forced upon me for many years i.e. bagged lettuce, cucumber, pepper and at a push some diced tomato. However, I have since learnt that salad doesn’t need to be boring. This one combines some old favourites like butternut squash and spinach with my new great food loves: goats cheese, beetroot and pomegranate seeds.

It’s a great one for a sunny weekend lunch and even for the weekday lunchbox: just make a batch of each component, stick them in the fridge and chuck them together before work. Continue reading

5 Minute Coleslaw

Alternatively: The tale of Alex’s Relationship with Coleslaw

I hate coleslaw. Correction: I hated coleslaw. Perhaps it’s growing older and tastes changing but some of my favourite foods of late are ones which I detested when I was younger: porridge, raw carrot, orange, maybe even beetroot at a push. For some, I’ve forced myself to eat them until I enjoy them (porridge being the prime example) and now I happily enjoy them! No really, I honestly do..

Coleslaw though was a different story: I’ve always hated the shop-bought kind, finding it too vinegar-y and tasting like 99% of the other mayonnaise-based pasta salads/potato salads/etc. on the shelf. But over Christmas we made our own for a family party and now I can’t get enough of the stuff.

Coleslaw

As well as being tasty and going with any lunch option out there, it’s also brilliantly easy if you possess a food processor which, thanks to Santa, I now do. Continue reading

Chocolate Biscuit Cake

I moved placements at work at the start of January and was immediately on the cake rota (although each week since then I’ve been away on cake day, booo). I find cooking under pressure is when it goes completely terrible so, looking to keep things, simple I remembered our favourite family recipe for chocolate biscuit cake. I have the best memories of making this when I was younger; I think I once even ate all of the bottom before the melted chocolate went on top – that’s how good the biscuit base is!

Biscuit Cake

Anyway, long story short, everybody in the office seemed to really like them and I made a good first impression! Continue reading

The Alex Project – January

The Life

For me, January has been such a good start to 2017. I’ve squeezed lots in and feel like I’ve barely sat still. There have been big family get togethers, a cinema trip to La La Land, a games night and a doolally arts and crafts session, a night out (aht aht!) and an impromptu sleepover, and even a trip to laser quest (thankfully no eight-year-olds in sight).

This month I somehow ended up being interviewed on the radio about being a woman in engineering which was crazy but hilarious to look back on. I went to my first Goodgym session and had a weekend away at Bovey Castle in Devon (room service, afternoon tea, spa facial, big open fires and comfy sofas – the dream). I’ve also just gotten back from a trip to Bath with my Mum which was really lovely. I might write about some of these things soon – there’s too much to pack in to one post!

January - The Life

The Food

Booting this blog back up has reminded me how much I enjoy cooking and food photography. I’ve been experimenting with my camera and love love love this shot of some very yummy cookies! Continue reading

Cranberry, Sultana & Orange Oat Cookies – Refined Sugar Free

These cookies are very tasty, like eat-six-in-the-space-of-an-evening kind of tasty (which of course isn’t something I have ever done..). They are also super easy and use honey as a sweetener. The “To eat or not to eat” refined sugar argument isn’t something I’ve looked into a huge amount but I’m always keen to reduce the amount of processed foods I eat so hopefully it’s a start in the right direction..!

Cookie Stack

Continue reading

Sweet Potato & Chorizo Soup

Today I am sharing my all time favourite soup recipe: sweet potato and chorizo. At university I essentially lived off of sweet potatoes (zap in the microwave for 10 minutes and voila!) and chorizo has been a long time family favourite, making this recipe an obvious choice for cold afternoons. This soup is super easy to make and full of flavour: sweet, smokey and spicy, delicious! I promise I am not being overly enthusiastic, I  really do love this soup and would recommend it hugely!

Sweet Potato & Chorizo Soup

Continue reading

Roasted Pumpkin stuffed with Honeyed Lamb

This recipe is incredible.

It’s nutty, herby, sweet and with a bit of fire i.e. all the flavours! Imagine nutty roasted pumpkin filled with sticky fragrant lamb mince and topped with crunchy pine nuts… delicious!

Roasted Pumpkin with Honeyed Lamb

A couple of weeks back, I got taken in by the crates of pumpkin outside a wholefoods shop (I’m sure I’m not the first) and spent a solid five minutes choosing which ones to buy. There were orange ones, green ones and even one that looked like the Witch of the Pumpkin World. I believe this pumpkin is a ‘Carnival Pumpkin’ and is meant to be best for roasting. It can be used as an alternative to butternut squash and I found it had lots more nutty flavour and was fractionally easier to hack away at! If you want to get all clued up on the pumpkin world, this site has a great guide.

Back to the recipe and why it is the aforementioned ‘incredible’:

  1. Firstly, you get to eat out of a pumpkin bowl: who doesn’t love that? Plus you only have one pumpkin cut to make: easy!
  2. It’s great for easy weeknight suppers or for impressing friends.
  3. The flavours are great: fennel gives it a lovely almost-refreshing taste, then there’s the nutty-ness of the pumpkin and the pine nuts, the comforting spices of cinnamon and ginger, and the sticky sweetness of the honey.
  4. It’s all cooked and served in 30 minutes with a break in the middle for washing up all of those pesky boards and knives.

All in all, if you fancy making something a little different this autumn, try out this one!
Roasted Pumpkin with Honeyed Lamb

The recipe is adapted from Winter Kitchen, I used pumpkin and added in some extra herbs and spices but if you haven’t come across this book before, you should really check it out. It’s full of tasty comfort food with lots of recipes for tarts and quiches: my favourite. Everything I’ve cooked from the book has tasted really good so yes, take a look!

Roasted Pumpkin stuffed with Honeyed Lamb

Serves 4, ready in 30 minutes. Recipe adapted from Winter Kitchen.

  • Two or three pumpkins (depending on size)
  • Rosemary, either fresh or dried
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely diced
  • 1 red chilli, finely diced
  • 500g lamb mince
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of cumin
  • ½ teaspoon of ginger
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds
  • 250ml of chicken stock
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of runny honey
  • Handful of flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • Handful of pine nuts
  • Fresh green vegetables to serve
  1. Heat the oven to 200°C
  2. Halve and deseed the pumpkins and place on a baking tray, spray with oil and season with salt, pepper and rosemary. Cook in the oven for 25 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, place a frying pan and a little olive oil over a low heat. Add the onion and fry gently for 10 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic and chilli to the pan and fry for another minute.
  5. Add the lamb to the pan and break up with a wooden spoon. Once it has browned off a little add the cumin, ginger, cinnamon and fennel seeds; season, stir well and leave for a further minute.
  6. Pour in the chicken stock and honey, stir well and leave to bubble away for 15 minutes or until the stock has all gone. Stir once or twice but don’t let it burn.
  7. In the last minute, add in the chopped parsley and pine nuts, turn the heat up a little, stirring well.
  8. Once the pumpkin and lamb have cooked, fill the pumpkin bowls with the lamb and serve with lots of green vegetables.