Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Healthy Turkey Burgers with Pita, Tzatziki and Salad Leaves

About three years ago I went to university, drank beer and ordered too much takeaway. I started a food blog and became addicted to recipe books and cooking. It was only a matter of time before I needed the intervention of a personal trainer. 

Last week I began a four week programme of exercising with Emily, and a healthy eating plan. Note that this is not a diet, it’s a nutrition plan, which sounds so much more inviting. Well, I’m loving it so far, slightly because I went home this weekend and broke all the rules, but mostly because it tells me to eat more then I usually do. Salads, seeds and oat cakes loom large, but so do lovely fresh vegetables, fruits and protein rich meat and fish. My shopping trolley was looking so good this morning I nearly took a photo of it. I’m not THAT cool though. 

One supper suggestion on the plan is grilled turkey burgers with pita and salad, and the recipe below is my interpretation of the brief. I used extra lean turkey breast mince which contains only two grams of fat, regular lean contains about six, which just don’t cut it I’m afraid. The tzatziki uses low fat Greek yoghurt, and the pita bread is of the extra groovy, crammed with seeds, wholegrain variety. The whole lot’s either grilled or raw. And most importantly, it was delicious and I don’t feel like I’m starving myself. Ben’s even requested it again, the ultimate seal of approval!! 
Serves 2 greedy people, or 4 calorie counters
- For the Burgers -
500g extra lean turkey breast mince
1 onion, peeled and grated
1 garlic clove, crushed
handful of fresh mint leaves, chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper
a sprinkle of cayenne pepper
- For Everything Else - 
salad leaves, I’ve used spinach
1 spring onion, chopped
1 tomato, sliced
drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
2 small wholemeal pitas, halved
Tzatziki (my recipe can be found here, use low fat Greek yoghurt)
  1. Preheat the grill. Mix all the burger ingredients together in a bowl, and shape into four burgers. Grill for approximately 8 minutes on each side, until golden brown and cooked through. 
  2. Put together all the other ingredients on the serving plate, and serve the burgers on top, with plenty of tzatziki on the side.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Grilled Halloumi with Fresh Tomato and Mint, served on Pita

There are a few things in life that I really can’t stand, late buses, spitting in the street, exams, that sort of thing. The flavour of raw tomato is another... or so I thought. Ben will tell anyone who’ll listen that I’m one of the most pickiest girls in the world, but really I’m not that bad. I do, however, have very particular requirements on a number of things, coffee for example, and now, it would appear, raw tomatoes. Because, for the first time in forever I ate a raw tomato and didn’t screw my face up at it. Brilliant. Well not quite, the special requirement is that it’s a firm, bright red Greek tomato, preferably eaten next to a pool or by the beach. I had hoped that any old tomato would do, but like good coffee, the alternative really doesn’t come close. 

The tomato in this recipe, I’m sad to say, didn’t quite meet my exacting standards, but I’m pretty sure anyone normal would like it just fine, and placed alongside all the other ingredients this dish is a real treat, simple to make and gorgeously vibrant in colour. 

Serves One as a lunch, or Two as a starter
8 thick slices of Halloumi
half a firm tasty tomato, cut into 8 slices
2 tsp dried oregano
1-2 Pita breads
small handful of fresh mint leaves
a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
  1. Place the halloumi slices onto a baking tray or griddle pan (depending on which you have) and sprinkle with oregano and a little olive oil. Grill, or griddle, until golden brown. 
  2. To assemble, place a heated pita in the centre of the plate, and alternate the tomato and halloumi, creating a fan effect around the bread. 
  3. Drizzle with olive oil and scatter with mint leaves. 

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Courgette Balls with Feta Dip

A couple of weeks ago Mum and I visited the Greek island of Mykonos, for some long overdue rest and sun. I’ve been to plenty of the islands in the past, but I must say Mykonos is probably one of the most beautiful of the lot. It also boasts some excellent restaurants with innovative Greek style menus. Avli Tou Theodori on the beach of Platis Gialos is one such example, and is well worth a visit if you are lucky enough to find yourself in the area. We visited twice, Mum opting for the same starter and main course on both occasions, it was just that good.

Avli Tou Theodori

This recipe is my take on the Zucchini and Tomato Balls served with Fresh Oregano and Feta Cheese Dip, and although I may not have the heat, the beach and the Greek hospitality, the flavours of this dish go a small way to lightening up my little Brighton flat on this most dingy July day. 

Serves One as a light lunch, or two as a starter
-for the courgette balls-
half a courgette, grated, deseeded and strained of excess water
1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 spring onion, sliced
thumb sized chunk of feta, crumbled
1 egg, beaten
small handful of fresh mint, chopped
2 tbsp flour
salt and pepper to taste
oil, to fry
-for the dip-
a good wedge of feta, crumbled
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
  1. Combine the courgette, garlic, spring onion, feta, mint, salt and pepper, and flour in a large bowl, then add the egg and mix.
  2. Form into three or four flattish balls, and sprinkle with a little extra flour. Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the balls for about 3 minutes in each side until golden brown.
  3. Meanwhile, make the feta dip by mixing the dip ingredients in a bowl and mashing everything together using a fork to create a smooth consistency. 
  4. Serve the balls alongside the dip.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Awards, Awards, Awards

Over the last month or so I have managed to accumulate a few blog awards. I love receiving feedback from my lovely fellow bloggers, so a big thank you to Miss Cakeaholic and The View From the Table for passing on the following awards.

All three (or is it two?!) awards have different rules, but I’m going to accumulate them here in one go... (I hope I’m not breaking any unspoken blogging laws doing this!!)

  1. Thank the person who nominated you for this award and link back to them.
  2. Include the award image to your post. 
  3. Share five random facts about yourself.
  4. Spread the joy by nominating other bloggers.
  1. If you’ve been reading the blog from the beginning you’ll know that I only really started cooking when I was 21. I survived the first year of University on Old El Paso Fajita kits, pasta, and smoked salmon, cream cheese and avocado bagels. 
  2. Winning 800 metres gold at Sports Day when I was 8 years old is my biggest sporting achievement. 
  3. I’m a dog person. Up until recently we had two French Bulldogs at home called Flo and Spike. When I have my own house I would love to have another. 
  4. There are too many countries I want to visit in the world, but the top three would have to be Vietnam, the USA, and Russia. 
  5. I know every word of Lewis Carroll’s nonsense poem Jabberwocky.

Rebecca at Chow and Chatter

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