Tag: healthy

Courgette and Aubergine Chutney

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 Recently my local store had sale on courgettes. They were
pretty cheap, so my greedy inner voice told me it would be good idea to buy
whole lot of them. And I listened.  So
there they were, sitting in the fridge and waited for their fate. I have to say
I had no idea what to do with them and because of that I kid of regretted that
I bought so many. Lesson learned – do not buy large quantity of food unless you
know what you are going to do with them.

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Anyhow, after a few days of ignoring them and a few days of
pondering what to do with them I made my mind. After seeing delicious looking
courgette chips on pinterest, I decided to try them out. Let me tell you, it
was B-I-G fail. I do not know what went wrong, but they tasted horrible. Good
thing I was only using few of the courgettes to try the recipe.  Yay for that!
And then I remembered my mom and grandma used to make
courgette and aubergine chutney. Every summer they would make big batches of
this chutney and canned it. We would eat it through the autumn and winter months.
And if we are lucky we would have one or two jars left in spring. It is usually
served as a side dish or, as I like to eat it, on toasted or fresh bread. Yum!
It is very easy to make this chutney, but the process itself
can take time as I fry each ingredient separately before putting them together
in one pot. I just think it tastes much better this way rather than dumping all
in one pot.  That is why I like to use
two frying pans to cut the cooking time. 
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Firstly I like to prep my veggies before I start to cook. I
chop the onion, grate the carrots. Cut off each end of courgettes
and cut lengthwise in half then cut each half in half again, ending up with quarters, then just chop them up. I do not bother to peel courgettes
skin but if you like than do it. Then peel and chop the aubergines, chop the
bell pepper and tomatoes.
Now that you are done prepping your veggies, preheat two
frying pans over medium-low heat.  Add 2
tablespoons of oil into each pan. When the pan is hot, add onions to one and
courgettes to another. You may need to fry courgette in batches. When the onion
is softened a bit, add carrots. Fry for couple of minutes and then transfer to
medium/large pot. Same with the courgettes, fry until they are softened, then
transfer to the pot. Repeat same with aubergine, pepper and tomatoes. Add more
oil to the pans as needed. Just be aware that courgettes and aubergines soak a
lot of oil, you may add a little bit of water to the pans instead of oil.
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After, when all of your veggies are softened and transferred
to the pot, add vegetable cube, or if you prefer season with salt and pepper. Stir
the veggies and then cover the pot with the lid; simmer on low heat for about
20-25 minutes or until veggies are done. For a little heat add one chilli
pepper to the pot, do not chop it, just add the whole chilli and when the chutney is
done, discard it.
Once cooled, transfer to an air-tight container and keep it
in the fridge for up to 5 days.
You can serve chutney warm or cold. Enjoy!
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Courgette
and Aubergine Chutney
Makes approx 750ml
Ingredients:
1 large onion, chopped
2-3 carrots, grated
4 courgettes (approx 1 – 1,5 kg), chopped
2 aubergines, peeled and chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 large tomatoes, chopped (you can use canned
tomatoes as well)
Oil for frying
Vegetable cube (if preferred can be used salt
and pepper)
1 chilli pepper
Method:
1.Firstly prep the vegetables. Chop the onions,
grate the carrots. Cut off each end of courgettes and cut lengthwise in half then cut each half
in half again, ending up with quarters,
then just chop them up. Then peel and chop the aubergines, chop the bell pepper
and tomatoes.
2.Preahet two frying pans over medium heat. Add 2
tbs of oil to each pan. To one pan add onions and fry until slightly softened, then
add carrots and fry for another minute. Transfer to a medium/large pot. To the
second pan add courgettes and fry until softened; you may need to do it in
batches. Repeat with the rest of the veggies, adding oil to the pan when
needed.
3.After all of your veggies are softened and transferred
to the pot, add whole chilli pepper and vegetable cube to it. Cover the pot
with the lid and let it simmer on low heat for about 20-25 minutes or until veggies
are done. Discard the chilli pepper when chutney is done.
4.Let the chutney cool before transferring to an
air tight container. Keep it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.  Chutney can be served warm or cold. Enjoy!
Note: Courgettes and aubergines can soak up a
lot of oil, therefore you can add a little water to the pans instead of oil.

Farmers Cheese Breakfast Fritters {Sirniki}

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If you ask me to name one dish that comes in mind
from my childhood memories, without a doubt it would be sirniki (seer-nee-kee). They were
usually made on weekends or mornings when there was nowhere to rush, and enjoyed
leisurely over the breakfast table. Ok, who am I kidding; they were gone as
soon as they hit the table as they were one of our favourite breakfasts 🙂 

 

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Sirniki are fritters or pancakes, and usually made
from farmers cheese, flour and/or semolina, egg and sugar. You can add vanilla
for taste, but I personally prefer without it. Also you can add raisins or
dried chopped apricots and omit sugar altogether for healthier version. Serve
them with dollop of sour-cream and lightly dust with powdered sugar. They also
can be served with jam or marmalade, or even with condensed milk. But I like
them more traditional way.

 

Now, speaking of farmer’s cheese. If you have not
heard about farmers cheese before then imagine cottage cheese or ricotta, but
much drier and tangier in taste. You can make farmers cheese yourself by using
this recipe, just make sure to drain it well by living it in a fridge
overnight. Alternatively you can buy it in an Eastern European shop or larger
supermarket.   

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It is very easy and quick to make sirniki. And you
do not really need any equipment, but of course you can use food processor for
your convenience. To be honest, I like to make sirniki only with semolina and
omit flour at all. In my experience they will hold shape better as using only
flour, more often than not, they fall apart in the pan.

In a bowl combine farmers cheese and egg, mix well
until combined. I use fork to break up farmers cheese and to make mixture fine
and even. Then add semolina and sugar, mix and leave to stand for 20-30 minutes
for semolina to plump up.

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 Put non-stick frying pan over medium heat and
add oil, about 2-3 tablespoons.
In a plate put more semolina. With a spoon scoop
(I use soup spoon) out farmers cheese mixture and put directly into the plate
with semolina; roll it into a ball, then flatten into a patty. Repeat with the
rest of the mixture. You should
get about 8 patties.
When the oil
is hot, carefully place the patties into the pan. Fry until they are golden on
both sides. 
I prefer to
eat them warm, but there is nothing wrong with cold ones too.

You can easily
double this recipe if you want to cook bigger batch.

 

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Farmers Cheese Fritters
{Sirniki}
Serves: 2-3

Ingredients:
250
g farmers cheese
1
egg
2
tbs sugar
3
tbs semolina
2-3
tbs oil for frying
Method:
In
a bowl mix farmers cheese and egg, use fork to break up farmers cheese and make
the mixture more even and fine.
Add
semolina and sugar, mix all. Leave to stand for 20-30 minutes for semolina to
plump up a little.
Heat
up non-stick frying pan over medium heat, add 2-3 tbs of oil.
In
a plate put more semolina. With a spoon scoop out some farmers cheese mixture
and put it into the plate. Roll into a ball then flatten into a patty. Repeat
with the rest of the mixture. You should get about 8 patties.
When
the oil is hot, carefully put patties in the frying pan. Fry them until they
are golden on both sides.
Best
served warm, with a dollop of sour-cream and dusted with powdered sugar. Also
can be served with jam, marmalade or condensed milk.
Enjoy!

 

Easy weekday meal: {Sausage and Broccoli Egg Noodles}

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 My life just got a
lot busier. My almost 5 year old
daughter started her first year at school (a squeal of excitement!), and I am
the one who is doing majority of school runs and after school activities, with a toddler in  tow. And let me
tell you, it is not always an easy task. In those moments I wish I could drive,
which by the way is on my mile long to do/achieve list. But I am getting there,
slowly but surely : )

 

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With above being said, I am more and more opting for an easy
weekday meals, whether it lunch or dinner, quick and simple will do the job.
Weekends are more relaxed in our household, therefore more laborious meals are
being cooked then. 
This sausage and broccoli egg noodle dish is simple yet
satisfying and you could easily add more veggies if you want. It is quick to
make and you won’t need to stand hours near the stove.  Double score!
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First, start with putting large pot with salted water over
medium high heat and bring it to a boil. Add egg noodles and frozen broccoli,
boil it for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
To a frying pan add oil and heat it up; add chopped sausage
and fry it for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then add chopped onions and
grated carrot, ½ cup of vegetable bouillon and simmer for another 3 to 5
minutes or until sausage is cooked through. Remove from the heat.
To the pan add noodles and broccoli, mix well. Add fresh
herbs, if using. Do not forget to grate some of your favourite cheese on top
and serve immediately. 
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Sausage and
Broccoli Egg Noodles
Serves 4
Ingredients:
4 egg noodle nests
3 cups frozen broccoli
5-7 sausages, chopped
1 tbs oil
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, grated
½ cup of vegetable bouillon
Fresh herbs, optional
Cheese of your choice
Method:
1.Bring a large pot of salted water over medium
high heat to a boil, add noodles and broccoli. Boil for 5 minutes; drain and
set aside.
2.To a frying pan add oil and heat up over
medium heat. Add sausage and fry for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then add
onion, carrot and vegetable bouillon, simmer for another 3-5 minutes or until
sausage is cooked through. Remove from the heat.
3.To the pan add noodles and broccoli, mix well.
Add herbs, if using. Grate your favourite cheese on top of the noodles and
serve immediately. 

Homemade Almond Milk Recipe

 I only ‘discovered’ almond milk sometime last year.  Don’t get me wrong, I knew that there is alternative
to dairy milk, but, thankfully, having no allergies in my family, I was not
interested in non-dairy milk.
 But seeing so many of lovely bloggers raving about almond
milk, my curiosity took over and I decided to try it as well. I am not going to
lie, at first I wanted to buy it. But when I looked at the price at my local
store, all my desire disappeared. It costs almost €3 for one liter of almond
milk, which in my opinion is a pure robbery 
🙂

 So after doing some research, I was happy to find out that
to make your own almond milk is very easy. In fact to make basic almond milk,
you need only three ingredients. Yes, that’s right, only three ingredients –
almonds, water and some kind of sweetener. And that’s it!
Talking about sweeteners, I prefer to use dates as my
sweetener. Usually I use madjool dates, or any other dates I have on hand. But
you can use honey, maple syrup or stevia as well. Whatever you prefer.

The other nice thing about making your own almond milk is
you can add flavour to it. Like vanilla, cinnamon, cardamom, cacao powder,
cloves-just to name few.  
To make your own almond milk, you need to soak almonds for
10-48 hours. The longer you soak almonds, the creamier milk will be.  After they been soaked drain the water and
rinse almonds in running water.

 

 Put almonds into blender, add filtered water and dates.
Blend on highest speed for a couple of minutes or until smooth and frothy. 
Place 4 layers of cheesecloth over a strainer set over a
bowl. Pour the almond milk through the strainer into the bowl. When most of the
milk has passed through the strainer, gather the cheesecloth and twist, gently
squeezing it to remove any excess liquid. 
You will be left with almond pulp, which could be used in
baking. Just spread almond pulp onto cookie sheet and dehydrate in the oven
over low heat. So no waste here at all!
Store almond milk in glass jar or bottle in refrigerator for
up to 3 days.  Enjoy!

Almond Milk
 Makes about 1 liter
Ingredients:
150g almonds
1 liter pure, filtered water, +for soaking
4-6 Madjool dates
Method:
1.Put
almonds in a large bowl, pour pure, filtered water over almonds and let it soak
for 10-48 hours.
2.After
almonds been soaked, drain the water and rinse in cool running water.
3.
Put almonds in blender, add pure, filtered water and dates. Blend on highest speed
for 2-3 minutes or until smooth and frothy.
4.
Place  4 layers of cheesecloth over
strainer set over a large bowl. Pour almond mixture and let it strain for
couple of minutes. After all milk has been strained, gather cheesecloth and
twist, squeezing it gently to remove any extra liquid.
5.
Transfer milk to a glass jar or bottle and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Shake
the bottle/jar before using.

 

 

Spicy Beef and Kidney Bean Lettuce Cups

Lunches nowadays are almost nonexistent for me. With one
toddler and one four year old, there seems never time just to sit down and have
a lunch.  And by the time I finally have
a free minute to eat I am always starving and ready to wolf down anything. And
I have to admit that not always it’s a healthy or wise choice. 

Sure, I could stock up with oh so convenient store bought ready-made
meals but knowing or rather not knowing what exactly goes in there, I prefer to
cook myself. I guess it is something to do with my upbringing.  My mom always cooked from scratch, every
single day and every single meal. And that’s what I do for my family now.

These lettuce cups are perfect if you don’t have a lot of
time on your hands yet want to eat something healthy.

Start with heating up oil in frying pan over medium heat.
Add onions and lightly fry them, stirring from time to time so you do not burn
them.  When onions are almost done add
your minced meat. Break down big lumps of mince meat, so that meat cooks evenly
and throughout. 
When the meat is almost done, add minced garlic and finely
chopped red chilli pepper. Season with salt and if you wish add some black
pepper as well. Stir well.
Now you can add kidney beans. I used canned beans, just
drain and give them a rinse.  Stir well.
Cook everything for another minute or so and your are done with cooking.
Wash your lettuce leaves, pat them with kitchen towel to
soak excess water.
Arrange lettuce on plate, scoop some meat into lettuce and
top with some shredded carrot for a crunch. And enjoy your lunch 🙂 
Spicy Beef and Kidney
Bean Lettuce Caps
Serves: 4 
Print this recipe
Ingredients:
 
2 tbs sunflower oil
1
onion, chopped
450
g minced beef meat
2
garlic cloves, minced
½-1 red chilli, finely diced
Salt,
pepper to taste
1
can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
8
Lettuce leaves, washed and dried
1
large carrot, julienned or grated
Sour
cream
Method:
1.Over
medium heat, heat up oil in frying pan. 
Add onion and gently fry for 5 minutes.
2.Add
minced meat, garlic, chilli, salt and pepper. Keep frying for another 6-10
minutes or until minced is cooked. Break up large lumps as you fry the minced
meat.
3.
When the minced meat is done, add kidney beans. Keep frying for another minute
or until kidney beans are heated up.
4.
Place your lettuce cups on the serving plate, divide mixture evenly among the lettuce
cups. Top with some carrot.
5.
Serve with sour cream.

Glimpse of our holiday in Torrevieja and prawns in garlic, olive oil and lemon marinade

It’s certainly become a tradition for us.

 Every
spring, for the past five years we go to Torrevieja.

Torrevieja (Old Tower),
pronounced as [toreˈβjexa], is a coastal
city located in the south-eastern Spain. Situated in the Costa Blanca and is just
47 km from the second-largest Valencian city – 
Alicante. With two airports nearby, one in Murcia and other in Alicante,
Torrevieja is easy to access. 

Located
between the sea and two large salt lakes (Las Salinas), Torrevieja was
originally a salt-mining and fishing village and only in 1931 was given
official city status.

Although
Torrevieja is relatively small city, there are plenty of thing to do and to see.
Whether you like an active holiday or just looking to enjoy a slow paced
Spanish life, there is something for everyone.

 

Even though Spanish
cuisine differs from region to region, they all have one in common – using locally
grown, fresh ingredients. Many dishes prepared nowadays are same as they were
hundreds years ago and recipes are usually passed from generation to
generations. Some dishes were developed with the help of the other cultures,
both invaders and visitors.

With all the
water that surrounds Spain, there are large choice of fresh seafood and fish at
the market. You can find anything from sea bream to shrimp and octopus.
The most
typical dish in Torrevieja is ’’Caldero’’, it’s a fish stew which consists of
different types of fish and rice and is cooked in cauldron – cast iron pot with
a tight-fitting lid. Caldero translates as cauldron, hence the name of the
dish.

 

There is
weekly market with abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as freshly
baked bread, pastries and other great produce. It takes place every Friday
morning at Salinero Calle. 

With the
plenty of seasonal and local food choices available, we always cook ourselves. The
meals are usually very simple and always consist of some kind of fish or
seafood and always a huge salad to accomplish the meal. Garlic, lemon, sea salt
and olive oil –  all what we need to
season our meals.
Simple,
fresh and healthy.

Without any
doubt, after long winter and cold spring, warm Spanish sunshine is what we
needed.  Long walks along the beach, listening
to tranquillity of the waves and just sitting in cafe and sipping cortado or
coffee con leche and watching the world go by.
 We always come back recharged and ready for
the next challenges that awaits us back home.
Here is
simple prawn recipe we cooked a lot at Torrevieja. It only needs few
ingredients but it tastes flavoursome and complete.
 Enjoy!

Serves 2
Ingredients:
500g prawns,
cleaned
2-3 garlic
cloves, minced
Juice of 1
lemon
2 tbsp
chopped parsley
3 tbsp olive
oil
Sea salt and
pepper to taste
Method:
In bowl combine
garlic, lemon juice, parsley, olive oil and salt and pepper, mix well until
combined.
Place prawns into marinade, make sure all prawns are well coated in the marinade.
Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Heat a non-stick
pan over medium heat, place prawns into the pan and cook for about 3 minutes
on each side. Discard the marinade used for prawns. 
Leave
shrimps to cool off a bit before serving.