Fresh Mango and Chia Seed Overnight Oats

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SCC Granola with pool in the backgroundIt makes my husband laugh when I announce at roughly 9pm that I’m going to make breakfast. I think at first he thought I was going a bit nutty or just being plain daft but he soon realised what I was doing when he was preparing his the next morning and me? I just grabbed a spoon along with my oats out the fridge and I was good to go.

SCC Mango Chia Oats Close Up

Overnight oats have developed from Swiss Birchermüesli which contained apples, lemon juice, sweet evaporated milk and honey all mixed in with the oats. Although that’s uncomplicated, the recipe I’m about to give you is even quicker and easier to make. All you need is a 1/2 cup measure each of oats, milk or juice and natural yogurt, this will make your basic oats to which you can add any of your favorite breakfast fruits, nuts and seeds. Any toppings that you want to stay crunchy will need to be added right before serving. The addition of chia seeds the night before not only adds some texture to the oats but they have many, many health benefits. My favourite is how extra filling they make a dish. I take part in a Latin Fitness class two mornings a week which, prior to starting my day with these oats, I would be ravenous by the time the class was over. I am happy to say that is a thing of the past.  Once wet, the seeds get a kind of jelly coating around them this is the part that along with helping to fight blood sugar spikes, keeps your hunger pangs away.

By following this recipe you can also make it in a lunch box for a healthy, yummy grab and go breakfast.

SCC Breakfast on Balcony

 

To make one portion you will need:

 

  • 1/2 Cup of Rolled Oats
  • 1/2 Cup of Fat Free of Low Fat Yogurt
  • 1/2 Cup Almond Milk
  • 1/4 Fresh Mango, chopped. I normally freeze the mango in portion sized pots and just allow it to defrost, stirred into the oats over night.
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp Chia Seeds, either black or white will do

 

Mix together all of your ingredients and leave in the fridge, covered, overnight. Before you tuck in, top with nuts or seeds, whatever you fancy. I love it with granola but it’s also yummy on it’s own!  That’s it, Done!

 

SCC Granola Close in Jar

Soup of the week! Lamb Mulligatawny

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SCC Lamb Mulligatawny Soup TextThe first time I tried Mulligatawny soup it was out of a Heinz tin. As a kid, I thought it was Scottish. Of course it wasn’t the mild spices that lead me to my conclusion but the name, to me, sounded very much from Scotland. It’s not really much of a surprise as the very same child thought that ‘random’ was a small town near Manchester. You know when you’re watching a TV show and they say, ‘Winners will be chosen at random’? Well I thought it was a happy place where, in a special building, there were winners everywhere. I was very much a youngster who lived in a world of Rainbows and Unicorns!

I pulled this soup together a couple of weeks ago when my husband came home from work feeling a little fluey. He said he wasn’t hungry but I had to make sure he got his vitamins if he was going to get better and it went down a treat! It’s so miserable here in Singapore at the moment. Earlier this year we had no rain at all for about 8 or 9 weeks but now we seem to be getting some everyday. This soup is full of goodness and along with the spices, a yummy, healthy, comforting dinner when the heavens are opening up outside.

This recipe, which serves 6,  comes out similar to a dhal’s consistency which you can thin out if you would prefer with some extra stock but I personally like it just the way it is.

When I’m cooking I like to prepare a Mise en Place before I start with anything else. I have multiple ramekins, dishes of various sizes and plastic containers that fill my cupboards and are used almost daily for this purpose. Our kitchen has very little worktop space so if I start making a meal and haven’t prepared anything, the odds are that something will go wrong. If I keep all my prepared ingredients in their own area, fill the sink with hot soapy water and throw the pots and ramekins straight into the washing up bowl whilst I’m cooking, I find it not only keeps the mess to a minimum, but during those periods where I have to wait 5/10 minutes before the next step,  I can get those pots washed, dried and put away making much less tidying to do after dinner. And that my friends, is what I call a good result!

 

What you’ll need:

 

  • 250g Minced Lamb
  • 1 tbsp Sunflower Oil
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic, 2 finely chopped and one squished with the flat side of a knife
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Large Onion, finely chopped
  • 2 Medium Carrots, cut into smallish chunks
  • 2 Celery Sticks, sliced
  • 1 Large or Two Small Sweet Potatoes, peeled and cut into smallish chunks
  • 1 Tbsp Curry Powder
  • 1 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp Tomato Puree
  • 1 Eating Apple, peeled, cored and cut into small chunks
  • 1/2 a Fresh Mango, cut into chunks (You can take the other half, chop into pieces and freeze in two parts, I have another recipe coming soon that it can be used in!)
  • 1 Litre Hot Chicken Stock
  • 1 Cup of Uncooked Green Lentils
  • Fresh Coriander, Natural Yogurt and flat breads to serve

 

Get all your ingredients ready as directed above and once prepped, set the oil on a medium heat in a saucepan and start browning the lamb. Whilst this is going on, place the lentils in second saucepan and add the one squished garlic clove and a bay leaf to help add some flavour into them whilst cooking. Add 2 cups of hot water and simmer for around 20 minutes. Once the lamb has browned, add in the onion, carrots, celery, sweet potato and the remaining garlic. Pop the lid on and sweat out for around 10 minutes stirring or shaking the pan occasionally to prevent sticking on the bottom. Once soft, add in the tomato puree, curry powder and cinnamon. Stir well before pouring in the hot stock, apple and fresh mango and simmer for about 5 minutes. Check your veggies are tender before turning off the heat and leaving to cool for a few minutes. Your lentils should now be quite soft so drain them and remove the garlic and bay. Set them aside whilst you blend the soup in a food processor. It’s up to you how much you process the soup but I like to leave a few little lumps in there. Pour back into the saucepan and stir in the lentils. Season with salt and pepper before serving with a dollop of yogurt, a scattering of coriander and your chosen flat bread, pitta, chapati or naan.

SCC Lamb Mulligatawny Rain

 

 

Soup of the Week: Miso with Chicken

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I love Miso Soup! Miso is so healthy I find it almost cleansing. I never realised how easy it would be to make at home. A few months ago I discovered a supermarket in the basement of a mall I frequent. It’s called Meida Ya, a large Japanese supermarket selling global products with a separate section dedicated to japanese food including dine in outlets selling freshly made sushi or, my personal favourite, Katsu Curry. I have tried a few new japanese recipes since finding this store, the difficulty is trying to find the correct products as all the writing is in japanese, sometimes with a small white tag on the back with the English product name. Mostly I just ask someone who looks like they know what they’re doing! I have found out recently that you can get all the ingredients for this recipe from the japanese section of your local large supermarket.

SCC MIso

Traditionally, Miso Soup contains tofu. Now let me tell you this, I CAN NOT stand tofu! It’s not just the texture or the taste, it’s the way it sits in the soup as if to say ‘hey! i know i look like some tasty cheesy feta, but I’ll show you!’ it tries to trick you every time into giving it another try just to make sure you don’t like it, and as soon as it hits the inside of my mouth it triggers that gag reflex, like some cold, solidified, instant custard, yuck! Well I have had enough of the tofu tricks and replaced it with poached chicken breasts (take that tofu!).

SCC Miso Close Up

Here’s the recipe for my Chicken Miso Soup!

Makes 4 large servings:

For the poached chicken

  • One Carrot
  • One Celery Stick
  • One Bay Leaf
  • 3 Black Peppercorns
  • 3 Whole Chicken Breasts

For the Miso Soup

  • 40g Dashi – dashi is a japanese stock, if you can’t get your hands on it, make sure you use some top quality chicken stock
  • 3 Pints of boiling water
  • 4 Spring onions, finely sliced
  • 1 Sheet of Wakame (edible seaweed)
  • 4 Tbsp white miso paste
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp mirin

Optional

  • Cooked Edamame topped with a pinch of Maldon Salt
Edamame, another love of mine!

Edamame, another love of mine!

Start by placing the ingredients for the poached chicken in a saucepan and fill with water until the chicken is just about covered. Turn the heat on low and simmer for around 20 minutes. Next, get your water boiling in a separate saucepan, whilst this is getting up to heat, soak the wakame in cold water for a couple of minutes. Add to the pan along with the spring onions. Pop your miso paste into a small container, this needs to be watered down before adding to the main soup pan as it will stay in lumps if you don’t. Add a laddle of the stock mixture to your miso container and mix with a fork until completely combined. Slowly add this to the stock mixture whilst stirring continuously. Make sure that you keep the heat gentle, if you boil miso, the heat kills the aroma. Next add the soy sauce and mirin, and continue to stir gently. Check your chicken is cooked by cutting one chicken breast lengthways. Once it’s white the whole way through, drain the pan and cut into chunks before adding to the soup. Stir gently before pouring into bowls and enjoying with Edamame.

SCC Miso Soup Set

I’d just like to take this opportunity to apologise to any tofu lovers out there. If any of you have a recipe that you think will make me fall in love with it then please contact me to try it out.

Bangers and Bulgar

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‘Remember, remember the 5th of November, Gunpowder, Treason and Plot’ It’s the most well known song that relates to Guy Fawes Night. This is the first year in a long time that I have missed a display on bonfire night, there doesn’t seem to be anything happening in Singapore but I have fond memories of watching displays previous years. Wrapped up in hats, scarves and gloves it seems a world away from our life here. Apart from sparklers, I always think of slightly burned sausages when I think of bonfire night. I have no idea why as my Dad would probably gasp at the prospect of a sausage being given such disrespect. I had tried to find some decent sausages here in Singapore and finally hit the jackpot a couple of weeks ago when I found a packet of British Sausages in the freezer section of my local supermarket. From a farm in the home counties they really are a taste of England. The last couple of weeks I’ve been eating a lot of grains, pulses and wholewheat. I always thought that Bulgar Wheat was really boring and tasteless, but cooked with the right herbs and spices it can be really full of flavor. It’s also a pretty quick dinner and to top it all off, this week is British Sausage Week, what better excuse do I need to open a packet of good old british bangers!

Here’s my recipe for Bangers and Bulgar

What you’ll need for two people…

100g Bulgar Wheat, this will need a good wash to take away any bitter taste

25g Raisins

1 tbsp Olive Oil

1 Red onion thinly sliced

2 Cloves of garlic

1 tsp Cinnamon

1 tsp Garam Masala

25g Toasted Pine Nuts

One large pack of fresh coriander, roughly chopped

4 Sausages

SCC Bangers and Bulghar Ingredients

Get the sausages cooking as they’re going to take the longest. While they’re having a sizzle, take a small sauce pan and heat the onion and garlic until soft. This should take just over 5 minutes. Add a little salt and pepper along with the cinnamon and garam masala and cook for another couple of minutes. Meanwhile, place the bulghar and the raisins in a sauce pan, cover with water and boil for 5 minutes. Once cooked, drain and mix with the cooked onions and garlic, add the pine nuts and serve with the sausages cut into chunks.

SCC Bangers and Bulghar

Egg White Omelette with Feta Cheese

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It’s been a busy couple of weeks in our household with my in laws to be visiting from England. It’s been nice to actually spend some time making memories with them rather than just the quick catch ups when you just spend a couple of days together every few months. We’ve had a lovely time showing them the sights of Singapore and eating out in some yummy restaurants, what a treat!  Although it hasn’t given me much time in the kitchen lately.  With them now safely home and the other half back in the office, it’s time for me to get the apartment back in order and get into the kitchen. Here’s what I had for lunch today…

Yet another healthy post from me but lets just make one thing clear – we aren’t sacrificing on taste here. I’m the kind of person who’d rather spend an extra 20 minutes in the gym than eat some low fat, low cal cardboard.  I have always associated egg white omelette with healthy tasteless rubbish but the low fat feta in this one teamed with the olives and mushrooms makes it very tasty indeed. Even the other half likes it! Next you’ll just need to figure out what to use those left over egg yolks for! This recipe makes an omelette to serve one.

What you’ll need:

3 Egg whites, Seasoned with salt and pepper

25g Red onion, finely sliced

1 Black olives, sliced

2 Mushrooms, sliced

50g low fat feta cheese

SCC Egg White Omellette Ingredients

Coat a small frying pan with a little cooking spray or just enough olive oil to cover the pan in a thin layer. Cook the mushrooms and onions on a medium to low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Now add the feta and olives, followed by the egg whites. Swirl them around until they coat the bottom of the pan and cook until the eggs are no longer translucent. Turn over halfway if you need to. Serve with your favorite side salad.

SCC Egg White Feta Omelette

Caesar Salad Dressing – The Healthy Alternative

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This isn’t the most seasonal recipe to post on the last day of September but then again we are no longer eating the most seasonal foods in our household when the only change throughout the year is ‘Monsoon Season’ and ‘not Monsoon Season’.

I am a real sauce lover. Be it gravy drowning my Sunday roast or a big dollop of hollandaise on a juicy steak, sauce really completes a meal for me. So with the wedding coming up it doesn’t help with my healthy eating when I want drink the stuff!

One of the few salads I can get the main man in my life to eat as a meal in itself  is Chicken Caesar – he loves it. I’ve managed to adapt the sauce so it still has that caesar taste but is a bit lighter on the calories. This recipe makes enough to serve 4 people.

What you’ll need:

SCC Ceasar Ingredients

One small or half of one large clove of garlic, minced

75g Low Fat Mayonnaise

40g Parmesan, grated

Juice of half a lemon

1 tsp Colmans English Mustard Powder

SCC Ceasar Dressing in Mug

Mix all the ingredients together until well blended. Traditionally, the salad is tossed in the dressing before being served but we’re cutting down on calories here so divide the dressing evenly between four mini dishes and season with some freshly ground black pepper.

SCC Ceasar Salad Dressing

Get some chicken breasts in the grill pan and start preparing that salad!

SSC Grilled Chicken

Another way I cut down on calories with this is to dip my fork in the dressing before loading it up with salad, that way I get the taste of the dressing with every mouthful without the same calories as smothering the entire salad with it.  And I don’t feel as guilty enjoying a nice cold glass of Riesling Gewurztraminer blend with my Saturday lunch.

Not you traditional Ceasar salad but a yummy Chicken Salad with a just as yummy Caesar Dressing!

Not your traditional Caesar salad but a yummy Chicken Salad with a just as yummy Caesar Dressing!

Quiche au Gruyère

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Quiche was always a favorite for Mum and me. She would sometimes bring home a couple of slices of Cheese and Onion from the deli counter where she worked many years ago. It would put a smile on my face to see that plastic bag in the fridge with the sticker printout reading QUICHE.

It’s only in recent years that I’ve extended myself to eating Quiche Lorraine and other varieties rather than just the cheese and onion from my childhood, if you know me well, then you’ll know I’m a sucker for almost anything cheese and onion flavored.

In Switzerland, bacon lardons and Gruyère, the swiss cheese traditionally used in Quiche au Gruyère, are both readily available and reasonably priced and so are great ready made pastries if you don’t have neither the time nor willingness to make your own. I guess that’s why I eventually perfected this recipe in Geneva. I much prefer homemade pastry although I now have to give it a miss and go straight for the ready made here in Singapore. My kitchen temperature generally averages at around 30 degrees and being one of the only rooms in our condo without air conditioning, it’s difficult to make a tasty pastry. As the old saying goes, cold hands make good pastry. This is because the warmer the fat is, the more flour it absorbs and the pastry becomes tough. That aside, I have actually made this a couple of times without any pastry at all which cuts out some of those calories too!

What you’ll need…

SCC Quiche Ingredients

Short crust pastry, be it homemade or straight from the store or just leave it out completely!

Butter for greasing

100g cooked bacon lardons

4 eggs

160ml double cream

75g Gruyere

100ml milk

20cm, circular Flan dish  – If your dish is slightly smaller, you can just pour any left over mixture into muffin tins to make make mini crustless quiches. Cook for about 20 mins until golden and set and pop them in the fridge once cooled and they make great little snacks!

 SCC Fried Bacon

Preheat the (fan assisted) oven to 160 degrees. If you are using pastry, you will need to blind bake the pastry in the flan dish. To do this, simply grease the dish with the butter, lay the sheet of pastry into the dish pressing it in smoothly. Leave a little pastry as an over lap – I usually cut this off once it’s all cooked. Next you’ll need to lay a sheet of baking paper over the pastry and fill with baking beans If you don’t have baking beans you can use dried beans, pulses or rice instead. This bit stops the pastry from rising up. Bake for 20 mins before carefully removing the beans, continue to bake for an additional 5 mins.

Its not very photogenic but thats what working with pastry in 30 degrees plus does!

Its not very photogenic but thats what working with pastry in 30 degrees plus does!

Whilst this is cooking we can make the filling. Beat the eggs in a jug and then add the milk and cream and beat a little more. I always beat the eggs separately and then add the milk and cream afterwards as I have made this before and noticed whilst pouring the filling into the case, I still had a whole yolk. Now add the bacon and cheese, stir through and season with salt and pepper.

This is the crustless version with the mixture poured straight into the flan dish

This is the crustless version with the mixture poured straight into the flan dish

Next, without taking the flan dish out of the oven you’ll need to pour the mixture into the case, this is so that you can get as much mixture in as possible without it spilling over the edge. Using an oven glove, slide the oven shelf out and pour the mixture into the case. Continue to bake for 40 minutes until nice and golden on top. Allow to cool for a few minutes before removing and serving with a fresh side salad. Any left overs can be chilled and eaten straight form the fridge.

Crustless, fresh from the oven. Just like a gooey, cheesy, creamy, oven baked omelette

Crustless, fresh from the oven. Just like a gooey, cheesy, creamy, oven baked omelette

Served with salad for a yummy weekend lunch. I added a handful of chopped mushrooms to the mixture here as I had some in the fridge

Served with salad for a yummy weekend lunch. I added a handful of chopped mushrooms to the mixture here as I had some in the fridge