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Fighting the Sniffle!

The dreaded lurgy has hit the Miles Family!  Luckily seems nothing more serious than a head cold which I take a weird amount of pleasure in trying to banish with a combo of super strength over the counter medication and home remedies, the best of which I share with you below!

Now this one is another one of my ‘years in the perfecting’ offerings.  I’m certain I can’t take full credit as there are probably 100’s of 1,000’s of people who have been doing this for ages, but I pass it on to you all on their behalf, trust me it’s amazing!

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Ingredients

Fat slice of fresh lemon

Large knob (amount the size of a walnut) peeled fresh ginger root

Tablespoon of honey

1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

Method – get ready, it’s complex….

Bung all ingredients in a large mug.  Top up with freshly boiled water.  Stir.  Drink.

And that’s it!  It looks a bit like pond scum, tastes simply delicious and the combination is brilliant for everything from the merest of sniffles to a full blown head cold.  We all know the benefit of honey and lemon which provide not only a shot of much needed Vit C but also antibacterial and anti viral goodness.  Add ginger for it’s apparent 12 antiviral and downright warming properties, and a dash of cinnamon for additional comfort and just because it makes it taste so damn good!

NOTE: new learning for me today, cinnamon is one of the most common allergens in the spice world, I’m guessing most people would know if this is an issue for them but please be sure you’re not affected before merrily shovelling it into your drink!

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Vitality Cous Cous Salad

 

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Can’t really call this a recipe, not going to try!  It’s a dish that is standing the test of time in my house and amongst my delightfully diverse circle of family and friends.  In many guises I have offered this to people, and never – not even once, has it been rejected.  It’s hearty and healthy, lively and mellow – and the combination of ingredients deliver such a blast of nutrients and all round goodness it’s difficult not to ignore the occasional high fat content of elements like feta, pine nuts and olive oil.

It is basically a salad – with 3 core components – the cous cous, the veg base and the protein, in today’s case chicken – oh and a simple dressing, so maybe 4 components?  It’s a case of prep all 3 (4?) and bung them together.  It also stays deliciously fresh in the fridge for a couple of days of substantial chilled lunches.

Starting with the veg.  In a huge bowl easy to get your hands stuck into for a bit of gentle tossing – throw a finely half-moon sliced red onion, a few slices of roasted red and yellow peppers, a small bunch each of fresh mint and basil, a decent sized bag of green leafy – I like a combo of spinach, watercress and rocket, seeds from a whole pomegranate (or one of those fab ready picked pots of seeds is perfect), a cubed pack of feta. Prep and put to one side.

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Marinate 2 chicken breasts with a couple of crushed cloves of garlic, zest and juice of a lemon, plenty of salt and pepper and a heaped tablespoon of sumac.  Sumac is your hero spice here, it’s bitter, sour, zesty and unlike anything else, perfect with this dish.  Pan fry or grill the chicken until cooked but still very juicy, then rest for a few minutes before slicing thinly.

Cous cous  – my brother in law Tim’s nemesis.  I’ve encouraged my husband to tolerate it over the years, and in this meal it’s a winner.  I use a whole wheat grain, add salt, sumac and a chicken stock cube, the add boiling water to cover, fling on some cling film and leave to steam for 5 mins or so.

For the dressing, mix olive oil, mint sauce, lemon juice and balsamic until fully combined.

Mix all the ingredients as artfully as your skills and hunger level will allow, fling into salad bowls and top with an extra drizzle of dressing.

Scoff – feeling equally virtuous and indulgent.

Options – I have also made this with salmon, cod, and lamb – either leg steaks of loin fillet grilled or pan-fried to a pink medium rare.

 

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London calling!

Wow.  Here in the UK we have a capital city (among many others of course) that presents such a diverse mix of food and drink culture, we really are spoiled.

Just returned from 36 hours of child free luxury – fine dining, relaxed dining, drinking, fun and festivity with my hubby to celebrate our 7th anniversary. We stayed in a beautiful hotel and basically spent every waking hour either eating or wandering between eating establishments seeking the next glorious experience.

As a couple we actually have little in common other than our utter passion for great food, so this kind of short break is our bliss.  There’s so much to share but I need to gather my thoughts – oh and I’m about to sit down to a meal prepared by my amazing mum who also had babysitting duties while we were away. The menu is a closely guarded secret although I’ve seen evidence of crab and curry….

Will give a full London report very shortly!

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Just for Nat – my pizza dough recipe

My dear friend Natalie (newly engaged and utterly gorgeous!) has asked me to share my pizza dough recipe.  Let me explain that this little beauty is 2 years in the making, I’ve tried endless variations – honey instead of sugar, salt, no salt, different oils, you name it, and have finally come up with something that satisfies my need for a thin and crispy vehicle of dough that carries any number of delicious, and sometimes bizarre, toppings.

Note: flour should be 00 or bread/pizza specific.  I don’t understand the science, it’s just better.

Another note: I always use a pizza stone.  If you’re serious about crust you should invest, they’re not pricey at all and worth the investment, just never EVER clean them in water, a quick swipe with a dry cloth is all that’s needed, I promise.

Ingredients:

200g flour (see note above)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 sachet (7g) easy bake yeast

1 heaped teaspoon sugar – I’ve used golden caster and normal granulated – no diff at all

1/2 tablespoon salt – I prefer maldon sea salt

Tap hot water – 140 – 200ml.  Every batch of flour adapts differently so be prepared to add gradually

Method:

In the bowl of a tabletop mixer, put flour, yeast, sugar, salt.  Mix lightly and make a well in the centre.  Using dough hook mix gently, then still on that speed add oil, and half the water, you’ll definitely need more.  Continue to add water until the dough comes together in a scruffy blob, you might need to scrape down the hook a bit.  When it looks good, continue to mix on a low ish speed for up to 5 mins, the equivalent of a good 10 – 12 mins kneading by hand.  The dough should be elastic, shiny and spring back slightly when you press a finger into it.

If preparing by hand, you’ll get a great workout.  It’s actually exactly the same method replacing the dough hook with your well washed mits.  I’ve done this many times too – crazily therapeutic but quite hard work!

Use the same bowl, lightly oiled, covered with cling film and place in a non-drafty spot to rest the dough.  It’s good after 30 mins but I’ve been known to leave it hours!  It’ll double in size.  Simply split it in half to make 2 bases of around 14inch, enough for 2 seriously greedy people.

Toppings and cooking details coming soon….watch this space Nat….

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Happy Sunday!

So while trawling through about 1,347 online pics from the past few months I stumbled across a (pretty amateur if I’m honest) but utterly drool inducing pic of our first meal on a recent break in Mijas, Spain.

We were starving, happy, slightly tipsy and in need of simple fare.  So after a quick visit to fab local market I whipped up a panful of high heat fried prawns, calimari and chorizo with lashings of olive oil, garlic, fresh tomato and smoky paprika.  All served al fresco with crusty bread, salad and of course the obligatory chilled white wine.

Delicious, and a very happy memory indeed 🙂

Happy Spanish Sunday!

Happy Spanish Sunday!

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Welcome to Eleanor’s Kitchen!

Who is Eleanor?

She’s my 4 year old daughter!  My name is Amanda but as this blog is inspired by my wish for her to achieve all her goals in life, I thought I’d use her name to kick off the journey to achieve one of mine.

What is Eleanor’s Kitchen?

A place for me to share with you my love of food, recipes, stories and challenges related to my favourite topic!

Look out for news about my current culinary challenge about all things healthy, thoughts about how to make sure midweek meals can be interesting, fast and nutritious, and musings from a new first time mum about fitting food into everyday life in more cunning guises than toast and biscuits grabbed in a spare 5 minutes.

I hope you enjoy browsing and find some gems of recipes to try yourself.

Amanda & Eleanor

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