How to cook 7 of my favourite Instagram meals

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I call them Instagram meals because that’s the only reason I know to do this post. I like food. I like eating. I like photographing my food before I eat it with the hope that the likes will roll in and I will be confirmed as a worthy human. Because that’s sort of why we Instagram things isn’t it? To feel reassured that we are good, we are important, we are doing things right.

So yeah, after a few comments on my account about recipes for all the food I’m cooking up in the kitchen at the moment, I thought WHY THE FLIP NOT? So here they are. And no, they’re not all low fat and high protein and gluten and dairy free because fuck that. I like enjoying ALL the food groups and ALL the food in general.

Oh and also, there’s no recipe for poached eggs and avocado on toast – you can work that one out yourself…

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1. Beef and tomato stew

I cooked up this bad boy as a hearty Sunday lunch when my family came to visit and served it with creamy mashed potato, buttery green beans and a loaf of ciabatta. Try not to drool down yourself, I’m really struggling right now.

Fry up some diced beef with three chopped up cloves of garlic, an onion and three stems of sliced celery using a dribble of olive oil – make sure it’s in the biggest pan you have.

Once the beef is starting to brown, add a tin of chopped tomatoes, a glass of red wine and a litre of beef stock and turn the heat right down onto the lowest setting.

I add a teaspoon of mustard, salt and pepper, a little bit of fresh rosemary, and some Worstershire sauce for flavour and then leave to cook away (with the lid off) for about 2/3 hours until the stew has reduced by about half.

Then I add in some chopped carrots and some dumplings made from water, self-raising flour and suet (which you can get from all supermarkets). I tend to cook my dumplings for 15 minutes in the oven before adding them to the stew, just to make them a little bit yummier.

Cook for a further 30 minutes and HELLO SEXY.

 

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2. Baked eggs

This is such an easy peasy brunch and can be as healthy or naughty as you want. Use one of those frying pans which has high sides if possible and pre-heat the oven at about 180 degrees.

Here’s when I’ll try and use up any leftover veg – spinach, mushrooms and peppers all go down a dream – fry them up in a little bit of oil with garlic and fresh chilli (on a high heat on the hob – the oven is for later) and then when they’re pretty much there add a tin of chopped tomatoes per person. If you want to make it extra sassy – throw in some chopped chorizo or bacon.

Then make some wells in the tomato and crack in the eggs one at a time before trasnferring the dish to the oven and leaving for 10 minutes. I find the eggs always look glossy and uncooked even when they are so be careful not to overcook. Serve with lots of ground pepper and if you’re extra hungry – a bit hunk of warm bread.

 

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3. Naughty nachos

Don’t put this on MyFitnessPal. I once tried and it was horrific and they are bad for you but OH MY GOD SO AMAZING. I’ve been perfecting my nacho recipes for about 4 years now – my Sussex friends and I have become quite the masters and I’m not even ashamed about boasting about it.

Buy some basic tortilla chips and basic salsa from the supermarket – I’d say one bag and one tub per couple when eaten as a main meal.

Layer half the bag at the bottom of a baking dish, top with half the salsa and a hefty layer of cheese (jalapenos optional here) and then repeat another layer, adding even more cheese on the top layer. If you want to be extra fancy I recommend some chorizo chunks or pieces of chicken cooked in Nando’s sauce (both tried and tested delights).

Cook under a grill for about 10/15 minutes or until you can see that the middle layer of cheese has melted. Serve with massive scoops of guacamole, sour cream and a tin of heated refried beans dotted about. Oh and hot sauce if you’re that way inclined. And then eat with your hands straight from the hot dish. FUCK I’M HUNGRY.

 

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4. Peanut butter chicken

OK, so despite the fact this is so peanut butter-y, it does only have about 600 calories in and nowhere near as much fat as you’d expect. It’s taken from a Jamie Oliver recipe and then ammended a bit.

Basically add three tablespoons of crunchy peanut butter, a good glug of soy sauce, some chopped fresh chilli, the juice and rind from one lime and some chopped coriander to a blender. Failing that, if your blender is broken because your cat chewed up an important part (me) just smash it all together with a spoon in a small bowl.

Cut up chicken into thin strips or pieces and put in a small baking dish and then coat with half of the peanut butter mix and place under a medium heat grill.

Whilst these are cooking away, put the juice from another lime and MORE soy sauce in a big serving bowl along with a chopped red onion, a bit more chopped coriander and if you can be bothered, some pan fried cashews. Cook some noodles and add these to the bowl too, stirring it all up into a sexy, zingy noodley-thing.

When the chicken is nearly cooked and you’ve turned it over and all that, add a drizzle of honey for the last few minutes and then serve on top of the noodles.

Use the excess peanut butter mix to serve as a side sauce. SO MUCH HAPPINESS IN ONE BOWL.

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5. Tortilla pizza

I often have this for lunch at home during the week and it makes my belly mega happy. It’s inspired by the toastadas at Slug and Lettuce which I ate religiously on a 2 for 1 Monday whilst at uni.

Get a tortilla wrap and put it on a low heat in a frying pan – add a little oil to make sure it doesn’t stick. Cook both sides for a few minutes and then top with a light smear of salsa (or a hefty amount – your choice).

Then add your toppings – I tend to go for peppers, jalapenos and chorizo, and sometimes I’ll cook them in the pan first and then put them to one side to add when the tortilla is toasted.

Finish off with cheese – a light scattering of grated lighter cheddar if you’re being good – several hunks of goat’s cheese and mozzarella if you’re not.

Then take the pan and place it under a hot grill until everything has melted and VOILA. I like to top mine with a handful of rocket and a dribble of hot sauce to make it even sexier.

 

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6. Apple and blueberry crumble

I love crumble and I seem to forget how easy it is to make and also, how non-naughty it can be.

You can use pretty much any fruit (although the apple and blueberry combo is heavenly) – plums, peaches, pears, raspberries – basically anything that looks like it might turn brown because you forgot to eat it.

Put the fruit in a pan with cinnamon (YUMMERS) and a sprinkle of brown sugar to cook off for about 10 minutes. I tend to use cooking apples here, but you can use any TBH.

Once the fruit has softened, transfer to a cooking dish and top with crumble. Now, you can make a classic crumble topping with a heaped teaspoon of sugar, about 300g of plain flour and about 125g of soft butter – just put it in a bowl and rub it together with your fingers. You could also make half the normal amount of crumble topping and mix with a low-fat granola if you want to be healthy and all that.

Anyway, sprinkle on top of your sexy fruit and pop in the oven at about 180 degrees (the heat I cook EVERYTHING at) and leave in there until the crumble turns brown which is usually about 15/20 mins. THEN EAT IT WITH WHATEVER YOU LIKE – cream, custard, ice cream, creme fraiche etc etc.

 

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7. Sweet potato hash

I picked up this healthy dinner idea from Kate from Gh0stparties in a post she did last summer and I LOVE it.

Grate about one medium sweet potato per person and then add to a frying pan along with one egg and a teency bit of oil to stop it sticking. I also like to add sweetcorn, chilli and chorizo/chicken to my hash to make it a bit more exciting.

The egg should make it all stick together a bit – but if it doesn’t and it’s all falling apart in a weird mash up in the pan then that’s OK and super yummy too. It should take about 10 minutes in the pan all in all.

Once it’s got a nice gold colour on both sides (or just looks cooked if it’s all fallen apart – me, every single time) then it’s ready to eat! I serve mine with salad, sour cream and avocado. Although in this picture there’s goat’s cheese too because obviously. Dreamy.

 


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