PADRON PEPPERS- the king of Peppers

My question is simple; how the hell have I lived 29 years of life without having found Padron peppers? I’m sorry to my poor taste buds.

There is only a short window of opportunity to get these guys but when you see them- BUY THEM.

So good as a snack, or with my chorizo stew, or as part of some tapas, or just whenever you feel like it.

Simply chuck the punnet contents on a baking tray, add a lick of olive oil and a generous sprinkle of sea salt and bake for 20 mins. They’re a game changer.

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Chorizo stew

This dinner has proven great when cooking cooking for pals or just for a dinner come lunch option for me and Rich to reheat at work the next day. Super easy to make and really tasty so give it a go!

I know a lot of people steer clear of fats on a diet but Rich and I don’t cut it out even when “dieting” – although I wouldn’t actually say we ever “diet”. It’s got 3-4 of your veggies for the day in and the beans will help keep you fuller for longer. And even better it’s made in one pot which means less watching up for Rich (you’re welcome!)

Ingredients:

Serves 4ish

  • Half a ring of chorizo- chopped into 1cm chunks
  • 2 x onions
  • 3 x cloves garlic
  • 1 x teaspoon paprika
  • Tomato purée
  • 1 x courgette
  • 3 x peppers
  • 1 x half bag spinach
  • 1 x tin of either kidney, Black and butter beans
  • 2 x Tins chopped tomato
  • Squeeze of honey

How to:

One pot wonder, fry the onions, garlic, and chorizo chunks for a few mins, add the tomato purée and paprika. Add the diced vegetables- peppers and courgettes work well but you could also add mushrooms/ aubergines- the more the merrier :), fry off for a couple of minutes until the veg starts to soften.

Throw in the beans and chopped tomatoes and leave to simmer for 20 mins. I always add a squeeze of honey for a bit of sweetness to any stews too.

Add the spinach at the last minute and cook through.

Serve with either brown rice, cous cous or extra veggie if you’re being particularly heavenly. Photo below is with a pitta bread and a bit of Houmous (sp?!) which makes a great lunch option!

Great option to batch cook on a Sunday too and keep in the fridge for a couple of days lunches.

I need to sort out my food photography skills but I usually just want to get it in my gob to be honest

Planning protocol

This year for January- March, Rich and I did our usual reset which involved going back to the basics, having a little word with ourselves about the amount of shit we were eating and, shock horror, cutting out alcohol. Anyone who knows us will know this was a BIG surprise as we are usually the first to get smashed at any given opportunity.

With the emotional shit show that has been our lives for the few months in the lead up to Christmas we had been exceptionally careless with regards to our diets so we do relished this opportunity to refresh and motivate ourselves back to normality, which this year involved cutting out booze to pack an extra punch.

Anyway- more about the no booze news another day. For today, I wanted to share with you the best new tool in my planning tool kit. I always plan and prep meals each week and usually write a list on my phone of what we will eat, and loosely when we will eat it. However, this year I went back to basics and actually printed off a meal planner- nothing revolutionary by any stretch of the imagination, but I am a real pen and paper girl- physically writing it down just makes it seem more formal you know.

I’ll sit down with my recipe books and try to pick one new thing a week (if I can be arsed) and then jot down the ingredients on my shopping list and do a weekly online shop so I’ve got everything I need for the week.

I find this also makes it harder to deviate from – when you know you’ve got the ingredients in the fridge it’s harder to justify a two for Tuesday Dominoes (although, really does Dominoes ever actually need justification 🍕)

Give it a whirl – just print an A3 sheet off (days of be week on the top and meal time/ snacks on the side) – and write down what you fancy. I find doing an online shop helps just with time more than anything- I try to get it delivered when I know I’ll have time to cook (usually a Sunday morning for me).

Chorizo for the win

I really vividly remember a story where my friends boyfriend made her pasta for dinner one night and when asked the contents he confirmed it was indeed chicken and tuna. I mean, chicken AND tuna. I’m sure it tasted fine but I just can’t comprehend putting these two pals together in a pasta dish.

So needless to say I’ve since been slightly sceptical when Rich offers to cook dinner, not to tar him with the same brush but he did one pick up a packet of skips to accompany our stir fry when I’d asked him to get prawn crackers (reason enough for concern?!)

So when Rich offered to make me scrambled eggs for breakfast I was marginally hesitant when he told me he had added a “secret ingredient”. The secret ingredient was in fact chorizo and I haven’t looked back since. There is no need for you to have scrambled eggs when even just the smallest amount of chorizo makes this a taste sensation. Fry the chorizo (sure, chuck in some onions if you really wanna be fancy) and let it go crispy. Then take it off the heat, add the eggs and let the residual heat cook them. Serve with avocado and sour dough. Perfection, sorry I ever doubted you, Rich.

I’m backkkkk….

Well hello there, apologies that it has been a little while- well in fact over a year since my last post. I’ve actually really missed it.

I’m in Croatia in holiday at the moment, I went for a run pre breakfast today and suddenly had an epiphany that I wanted to start writing again, so here I am, sat on a sun lounger in a cloudy but warm Croatia and writing again 🙂

So, why the absence?!

Those of you who know me well, will know that this year has been a pretty shit year for Chez Bolan. I won’t bore you with the details, but when i say shit, I really do mean shit. We’ve been dealt two big blows with regards to family members health and have been working through that which has taken a massive toll on us both. On top of this, I Started a completely new job in October, and whilst this is fine now, it’s been a bit turbulent getting used to working in the wonderful world of sales! And then, just to round this year off nicely on the stress levels, we have bought a new house and moved from our beloved North London, to modern day Suburbia, Surrey.

The latter of the stressed is actually a very welcome one (although try telling Rich that as I abandoned him on moving day because I “had” to work). We found that with all of the uncontrollable stresses we have in our lives, going back to our tiny, albeit it perfectly formed (if I do say so myself) flat in Finsbury Park each evening, through tubes at rush hour and dodging dodgy people on the way home, just added more stress than we needed- hence operation move!

Now we have moved to Surrey, I genuinely feel a real sense of elation and release from London life and stress. Sure, I wailed quite a few evenings before leaving London and I sure as hell miss our pals already but we are only an hour into central and my face is no longer quite as close to someone else’s armpit twice a day. And did I mention we have a garden?! Literally so excited to be in the sunshine in our own garden- lots of BBQ plans and making our friends come out to the suburbs!

So, aside from still being under a lot of stress, now feels like the right time to start focusing on writing, and re-motivating myself (and hopefully some of you guys) again!

So much to talk about- watch this space for usual fitness, health and real life chat.

Xx

Cheat’s lunch

If you’re like me and my pals, you probably spend 90% of your time thinking of lunch ideas for work- I’m not a fan of reheated food which makes lunches for me at work a real chore. I quite often make me and Rich different lunches due to this.

Lunch is such a snore. So boring that sometimes I resort to breakfast again- banana pancakes for lunch. Sometimes I eat a tin of beans with a wholemeal role. I’m not gonna win any Michelin stars for lunches that for sure.

But I just rustled up this and thought I would share- it’s one of our go to lunches on the go as it’s super quick and something I don’t hate eating which is a bonus!

Hummus, cheese and ham, tomatoes, pepper, carrot, celery, pitta bread

Super simple- usually a combo of these things:

Carrot sticks

Celery

Cucumber

Pepper

Cherry tomatoes

Hummus

Avocado

Cheese (I obviously usually pre fry halloumi and put it in but Tesco had sold our yesterday- how dare they!)

Babybel cheese

Ham/ chicken

Pitta bread (I realised VERY quickly that this was essential for my lunch as I’m a real prick if I don’t eat carbs at lunch)

Falafel (again, Tesco, where are you at with your falafel?! You’re killing my lunch vibes)

A veritable picnic/ picky lunch! Enjoy guys xx

PANCAKES FOR THE WIN

So I’ve been making these at the weekend for a while but just realised the last few weeks that they actually travel quite well for work! Just zap them in the microwave for 30 seconds if you fancy them warm- I usually can’t be bothered so just have them at desk cold 🙂

In a blender mix together 1 egg and 1 banana… simples! I also add oats too if I know I’m going to be hungry as these thicken out the mixture!

I mean if you’re feeling dead fancy then sure, add honey, add cinnamon, add a pinch of salt, add blueberries, add protein powder, add cacao- make it your own people!

Can we just talk about how disgusting this looks? Looks like an alien baby.

Fry up the mixture in a little coconut oil. Keep the heat low as these bad boys burn quickly. At least 50% of mine end up a tad burnt as I get impatient and distracted simultaneously. Chargrill adds to the flavour right?

Boxed up ready for work! Take in some Greek yoghurt and mixed berries and dollop it all on top when ready to eat! For gods sake, do not pack the yoghurt with the pancakes over night- heathens.

You can make a few days ahead as they last at least 3 days in the fridge. I generally mix the yoghurt and berries in a separate pot the night before though as they don’t last as well.

Enjoy! Xx