Roast butternut squash salad with goat’s cheese, black cherries, quinoa & orange

Roast butternut squash salad with goat’s cheese, black cherries, quinoa & orange

A wonderful combination of fabulous tasting ingredients, butter nut squash sprinkled with garlic, thyme and olive oil, then roasted in the oven, served with warm quinoa, arugula, balsamic vinegar, fresh black cherries and crumbled goats cheese. What a way to start your evening, its quick, easy and yummy!!! Did I mention healthy!!! Turn on the oven, pour yourself and glass of wine, prepare your ingredients, pop the squash in the oven, as it cooks, make the quinoa, slice the oranges and before you know it your combining all the ingredients together for a lovely family meal.

Roast butternut squash salad with goat’s cheese, black cherries, quinoa & orange

Serves 6


2lb butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into 2 inch cubes

4 sprigs thyme

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup quinoa

2 cups low sodium vegetable stock, boiled

3 oranges

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Seas salt

Freshly ground black pepper

½ cup fresh black cherries, pitted

2 cups arugula leaves

1 tablespoon freshly chopped cilantro

1 cup goats cheese

Pre-heat oven to 360’F

How to Make:

Line a roasting tray with foil, place the squash inside a zip lock bag, and add the garlic, thyme and 1 tablespoon of oil, zip the bag closed and carefully massage the oil into the squash.

Unzip the bag and tip onto the lined roasting tray. Pop the tray into the oven and roast for 30 to 40 minutes or until the squash is golden in color and fork tender.

While the squash is cooking, place the quinoa and the stock into a medium size pan, place on the stove, bring to the boil then simmer for 12 to 15 minutes.

Peel 2 oranges then slice them into ¼ inch thick rounds, set to one side, with the remaining orange, cut it in half and squeeze out the juice into a small bowl, whisk in the remaining oil, balsamic vinegar and season with salt and black pepper.

Fold the cherries, arugula and cilantro into the warm quinoa, then divide among six plates, top with the warm squash, slices of orange, crumbled goat’s cheese and drizzle over the dressing to serve.




Homemade Almond Milk

Homemade Almond Milk

Light, creamy, slightly sweet and so deliciously satisfying—homemade almond milk is an all-round family winner in my home! Almonds contain virtually no carbohydrates, so they are a perfect food for diabetics like my son Matthew or people with blood sugar issues. The way I make our almond milk is by adding a whole vanilla bean to the blender; this really gives an intense fresh favor of vanilla to the finished milk. Not to worry if you don’t have a vanilla bean, add some vanilla extract instead, it will come out very much the same and hey let’s make life easy.

The power of the almond: With 6 grams of protein for every ounce and a mighty 3 grams of dietary fiber, the almond is a power house of good nutrition. Did I mention 80mg of calcium per ounce along with a good dose of Vitamin E and phosphorus. Made into almond milk, eaten raw with your daily breakfast cereal or used as a snack with a piece of fruit, almonds make the perfect addition to your meal planning. BTW-this recipe is vegan friendly, gluten-free, grain-free, with no added refined sugar or preservatives, colorants or chemicals!!!! It’s truly a winner!!!!

Homemade Almond Milk


1 cup raw almonds, plus 1 cup of filtered water

2 ½ cups filtered water (chilled)

2 Medjool dates, pitted

1 whole vanilla bean, chopped or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

1/8 teaspoon sea salt (optional)

How to make:

Take a medium size bowl, add the almonds, pour over enough filtered water to cover them, place on lid or wrap with plastic and pop into the fridge over night or for 8 to 10 hours.

The next day take the almonds and rinse off the stale water and pour into a blender along with the chilled fresh filtered water, pitted dates, and chopped vanilla bean or vanilla extract.

Turn on the blender and blend on the highest speed for 1 minute or until you have a smooth and creamy texture.

Strain the almond milk through a nut milk bag over a large bowl or jug by slowly pouring the almond milk mixture into the bag. As the milk goes through the bag, gently squeeze the bottom of the bag to release any trapped milk.

Rinse out blender and pour the strained milk back in along with the cinnamon and sea salt and blend again for 30 seconds.

Pour the almond milk into a large jar with a tight fitting lid, label, date and store it in the fridge for up to 4 days, use as needed. Shake the jar very well before using as the mixture separates while sitting in the fridge.

*Nothing is wasted in this recipe as you can even use the leftover nut pulp in your oatmeal, homemade granola, cookie batter, hummus, or yogurt topping.



Rustic Red Snapper

Rustic Red Snapper

We just love fish and shellfish, the diverse, strange creatures from the planets waters, whether from the great seas or the great lakes to the beautiful rolling rivers of North Carolina, you can’t beat the smell and taste of a freshly caught river trout, salmon or succulent prized ocean oyster.

Having grown up in the North East of England we would visit the beaches of South Shields, Seahouses, Eyemouth off the coast of Scotland, and holiday in my aunties caravan in Warkworth near Amble. Still one of my favorite places to visit each time I go back to England, so many fond and happy memories. At the stalls along the beach we would buy potted shrimp, steamed crab legs, freshly cooked battered fish and chips. My father loved winkles, and it was our job to scarrow the rocks around the beaches and fill our sand buckets with as many as we could physically carry in both hands. He would later get the biggest pan in the caravan, fill it with salted water, bring the water to the boil and tip all the fresh wrinkles into it. Boil for 10 minutes, then drain off the water, tip the cooked wrinkles onto a newspaper covered table, add a sprinkle of salt and black pepper and we would all dig in with our own special pin taken from mam’s dress making box. To tell the truth my mother always gave this a miss, preferring to have a sandwich as we ate all the “snots” as she called them, until we could not eat anymore. FUN TIMES, GOOD TIMES, FAMILY TIMES.

So many people are put off buying, preparing and cooking fish, so here are a few pointers to help you:

The flesh of fish and shellfish are very different to that of animal flesh or poultry. Fish and shellfish are cold blooded as they live their lives at the equivalent of a refrigerator and spoil very quickly unless they a kept alive or kept ice cold.

So buy your fish from a seafood specialist with a high turnover.

Always ask where the fish has come from, the nearer the better, bring along a cooler full of ice to keep the product as cold as possible after buying.

Avoid fish or shellfish with a strong odor, fresh fish smells of the seashore.

Choose whole fish if you can, then have the market clean and portion it for you. Look for glossy, taut-looking skin, bright full eyes, red inner gills.

For shellfish choose live lobsters and crabs that look lively when touched or handled.

Clams, mussels and oysters that are stored in a shallow tank, not completely submerged in water or in a plastic bag. The shells should be closed, if open tap the shell and it should close, if it doesn’t then toss it out as the mollusc is dead.

Preshucked oysters whose surrounding liquid is clear, scallops that are slightly off-white to slightly orange and not to glossy, very white, glossy scallops have been treated with chemicals.

Squid and octopus are normally frozen and thawed, buy small as these are more tender and easier to cook.

Always store fish and shellfish on crushed ice in the refrigerator and use as soon as possible.

To prepare fish always clean thoroughly, remove any scales, trim off any inner organs from the belly, remove as many bones as you can and rewash and pat dry.

Shellfish, if frozen allow to defrost in the refrigerator overnight, scrub the shells with a brush to remove any grit or slime.

Remove the vein in shrimp and lobster tails, this is the digestive tract of the creature, do not eat it.

Fish and shellfish are typically cooked at 120’F to 140’F (50 to 60’C) just until done.

Fish and shellfish are generally a very lean high protein low calorie food with outstanding health benefits. As I’m using red snapper in this recipe let’s talk about white flesh fish. One 3oz portion of white fish generally provides about 20gms of lean protein for less than 100 calories. Rich in B vitamins that 3oz portion provides about half of the daily value of this vital nutrient along with the trace mineral selenium which as we know is a cancer fighting mineral.

We as a family eat fish at least twice a week, some times more depending on the season. In the spring and summer it’s always a lite dinner that can be enjoyed on numerous occasions during the week. Here’s a quick and easy recipe to try at home, I’m using red snapper in this recipe but try any fish that you like, give it a try and see what you think, enjoy!

Rustic Red Snapper

Serves 4


1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 small Vidalia onion, peeled and chopped

1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped

6 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced

4x 6-ounce red snapper fillets

Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup vermouth or dry white wine

1/3 cup low sodium fish stock or chicken stock

1 teaspoon capers, drained and rinsed

1 large heirloom tomato, cored and sliced

6 each green and black olives, rinsed, pitted and chopped

A few small basil leaves for garnish

How To Make:

  1. Take a large skillet and add the oil, place over a medium heat and add the onions, oregano, basil, and garlic slices. Cook without coloring for 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. Season the sea bass with salt and pepper, place into the skillet along with the vermouth and stock, bring to a simmer. Add the capers, tomatoes and olives, cover with a lid and gently cook      for 5 to 6 minutes or until the fish is cooked to your desired degree of doneness.
  3. Just before serving scatter over the baby basil leaves. Serve with couscous, a simple side salad or a thick slice of warm crusty whole-wheat bread to soak up all the lovely cooking juices.