Thursday, 25 April 2013

Traffic Light Fajitas (with Red Pepper, Yellow Pepper and Courgette)

Traffic Light Veg
The results are in!!! This week I asked you, the reader, which recipe you would like to see posted on the blog next. You voted on twitter ( @KitchenGoddess3 ) and on the Facebook Page and decided that you wanted to see my Traffic Light Fajitas, so here they are!
These Traffic Light Fajitas are so called because strips of red, yellow and green make up the bulk of the filling. The bold, vibrant colours remind you of fiery hot Mexico and the beaming hot sun. What a better way to celebrate the start of the hot weather than with this fun dish.
We often have “Mexican Night” in our house and although we eat our fair share of enchiladas, burritos and tacos, fajitas are the firm favourite.

Fajitas can be filled with almost anything. Chicken, beef and pork work really well but for the vegetarians among us (or meat eaters who just fancy a change) mixed peppers are the stars of the dish. Their ability to soften under the fiery heat of the pan yet retain their shape and a slight bite gives them the perfect texture when wrapped in a soft corn tortilla.
Courgettes may not initially an obvious choice. Often used in ragouts and slow cooked dishes where they are given the chance to soften and break down, they might not seem suitable for fajitas. However, by cutting the courgette into strips and cooking it hard and fast on a high heat you are able to retain the same kind of bite you get in the peppers.

I find the prep when making fajitas quite therapeutic. I think it’s the repetition of cutting neat, clean strips all of the same length and width. Or maybe it’s the fact that it’s normally carried out with a margarita in hand!!!
But it’s all part of the fun. Fajitas are all about everyone chipping in and sharing and what better way than with a jug of margaritas right?!

Traffic Light Fajitas with Orange and Chilli Salsa, Sour Cream and Avocado and Corriander Salad

So we’ve got the perfect red, yellow and green combination for our Traffic Light Fajitas but that’s only half of the battle. The sweet flavour of the veg needs to be kicked up a notch with a fiery blend of spices.
I first made my own spice blend when I had friends round in a “Come Dine with me Style” competition at university. Since then, Mr KG has refined it and we now have our house blend. It’s worth noting that everyone has different tastes so as you go do have a taste – some like it hot, some like it peppery. It’s up to you! As much as you can customise what condiments go into a fajita you can also customise the spice.

Our spice mix is as smokey as it is hot, but it’s not a pure chilli heat. The cayenne gives it a peppery kick too for a more well rounded flavour!

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Pomegranate, Walnut and Bulgur Wheat Salad

Have you been outside recently? Something strange is happening, the sky is blue, the sun is shining and there’s a beautiful warm breeze. It’s funny watching how the English public react to a bit of blue sky.

Just the other day Mr KG and I took a trip down Oxford Street for a spot of shopping and a bite to eat. Half of the people we passed were huffing and puffing, not only loaded up with shopping bags, but with layers of jumpers and coats causing them to overheat. (I’ll let you in on a secret; Mr KG was one of them!) Others had gone to the other extreme – we saw so many pasty legs sticking out of shorts and skirts.
However, the sun doesn’t just do strange things to a person’s wardrobe choices, it also changes the way we eat! A lot of people believe it’s easier to lose weight in the summer because light al fresco dinners and salads for lunch suddenly become much more appetizing options.

I’ve tried bucking the trend and last autumn introduced a warm salad series which included recipes like Grilled Nectarine & Goats Cheese Salad as well as Warm Honeyed Fig, Cured Ham and Mozzarella Salad. This autumn I’ll add a few more to the collection.
In the meantime however, as the sun shines and the sky remains blue, I’ll stick to fresh, summery salads without the extra heat.

This salad is great for people who struggle to feel full after just a bowl of leaves. It focuses much more on the use of bulgur wheat to provide sustenance and energy and the fresh herbs to bring some leafy greens to the mix. Last but not least, the walnuts and pomegranate bring a delicious crunchy texture to the dish as well as subtle nutty tones and the sweet yet sharp hit of fruit.
This dish also lends itself well to being packed up in a lunch box and being taken to work. If, like me, you end up working straight through your break, it can easily be tucked into at your desk without worrying about messy dressings. As the weather continues to improve I will have to make more of an effort to eat out in the sunshine!

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Banana and Coconut Smoothie

We are all guilty from time to time or not taking a moment to stop and reflect. Modern life can feel like one big whirlwind that picks us up and whizzes us around before dropping us off sometime in our 60’s/70’s leaving us to a hopefully peaceful retirement. Or at least right now that’s how it feels to me…
On the 1st of January everyone was full of hope and excitement for what the New Year would bring; fresh starts, new challenges and the like. For me however I had important exams, exams like Solicitors Accounts and Professional Conduct and Regulation – really fun sounding exams… I took these on the 3rd of January and told myself that me “new year” would come a little bit later. I tried celebrating around Chinese New Year when I posted my Tea Smoked Duck and Rice Noodle Salad and although things had calmed down a little, with another set of important exams just around the corner I never quite got the chance to take a step bake and reflect.
I still haven’t quite got there. After a couple of half-hearted attempts to “spring clean” and the odd weekend away I still haven’t quite cracked the art of me time. In the week I am an LPC student, I attend roughly one networking event a week at the firm, on Saturdays I work 9-6 in a shop for a few extra pennies and on Sundays I catch up with family. There really aren’t enough hours in a day or days in a week!
I have however got the hang of mornings… This may sound a little strange, but until recently I’d been a firm believer in waking up at the latest possible moment, getting ready and getting out of the door. It only takes me 45 mins from bed to car so the morning is just another part of my fast paced life. However, recently I have been taking time out to make myself a morning smoothie.
I decided to get back into smoothies after I had a horrible cold. When I have a cold the last thing I want is fresh fruit and veg so instead I gorged myself on carbs. Carbs are not my friends. So with the cold gone I’m back to stocking up on all the good things in the morning.
I take out my fresh fruit and veggies (more on green smoothies in a week or so) chuck them in my blender and off they go. For once it’s not me whizzing around but the fruit! I get 5 mins to simply stop and knowing I’m doing something positive for my diet at the same time is a big plus!
Now this won’t initially strike you as the “healthiest” of smoothies, but it is certainly one of the tastiest!
Smoothies often use bananas as a base as they offer a subtly sweet, creamy base on which to build other flavours. However, I for one LOVE bananas, and I can’t always get my fix in banana bread!
Bananas may also be better for you than you think! lists a number of benefits of including bananas in your smoothies, from being a great source of energy, promoting cardiovascular health, their natural antacid effect, and immune system support thanks to vitamin B6 to name just a few!!! So with all of this in mind I decided to come up with a smoothie recipe that made the banana a star.


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