Out of the fog food

Fig, feta and walnut salad (v)

  

And on one morning, almost immediately after our 12-week scan my wife woke, tuned to me, took off her beige-tinted glasses and said ‘Adam, I’m ready. Give me all of the fruit and veg.’

Ok so it didn’t happen exactly like that but as soon as Anni’s second trimester started, she suddenly found herself not just tolerating but craving lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. She was suddenly awake to all the beautifully colourful fruits and vegetables that her body now told her to eat. It was if she had been living the last few months in grey whereas now everything was bursting with colour. This also coincided with the start of Spring and with it, the emergence of lots of fresh and healthy produce ready to be eaten. 

The second trimester is often called the honeymoon trimester, and for good reason. Her morning sickness had passed, we began to tell friends and family that Anni was pregnant and we also started to plan trips away over the summer, our last holidays as just a two. Most of all the first trimester was over and Anni could now just enjoy being pregnant. 

It was at this point that I really began to focus on the food that Anni should be eating during pregnancy, and I saw it as my mission to turn those ingredients into delicious meals for all three of us. During the first trimester the focus rightfully so is on carbs and anything else that she could keep down or find appetising. The first trimester fog had cleared, and now, we both wanted to make sure that she was eating well for the sake of our unborn child.

Visually this is one of my favourite dishes, as I think the roasted figs open up like flowers when cooked. The salty feta contrasts really well with the sweet fig, another pregnancy superfood as they are full of fibre, magnesium and lots of vitamins. I’ve topped the salad with crushed walnuts and roasted pumpkin seeds, two really powerful foods to eat in pregnancy. 

If I could make summer on a plate for me it would be this dish. Every single ingredient used here is healthy, so I know that Anni is getting all the good stuff she needs to grow our baby. I made this dish a lot for her over the spring and summer, and the roasted figs also make excellent snacks between meals.


  

Method

-Cut up the avocado, orange and cucumber into bite sized pieces, add the rocket and spinach leaves and mix together in a bowl, adding a little seasoning and olive oil. 

-Turn the grill on and slice criss-crossed into the figs about two-thirds of the way down. Fill the figs with some of the feta and roast under the grill for a few minutes until the cheese has melted.

-Remove from the grill, drizzle a little honey over the figs and top with crushed walnuts. Place in the salad, sprinkle pumpkin seeds over and serve whilst still warm.

Ingredients

  -6 figs

-200grams of feta

-two oranges

-two teaspoons of honey

-one handful of walnuts

-one avocado

-two teaspoons of pumpkin seeds

-half a cucumber

-two handfuls of rocket leaves

-two handfuls of spinach leaves

unlocking the gates of Eden

Zaatar crusted king prawn fruit salad

  

I made this dish as a celebration of Anni’s new found cravings and this is my take on a juicy and healthy dish I learnt whilst studying at Leiths School of Food and Wine. I am an enormous fan of cooking with fruit because it is such an easy and tasty way of increasing the vitamin content of a dish. This meal is a real all rounder as you’ve got brown rice for carbs, prawns for omega-3 fatty oils and protein, and then a load of fruit for your daily vitamins. All in all such a juicy and healthy dish and perfect to celebrate the start of the honeymoon trimester with.


  

Method

-Boil the rice as per packet instructions, drain and set aside to cool.

-Combine the zaatar and flour and then coat each prawn in the mixture. Set aside.

-Chop the mango and cucumber into small pieces and mix in a bowl, adding in half the lemon juice, the pomegranate and the chopped mint.

-Add the cooled rice and mix together before separating onto two plates.

-Heat a pan and cook the prawns in the remaining lemon juice. They should only take 2-3 minutes to cook. Remove from the heat and place on top of each salad.

Ingredients

  

-A dozen or so jumbo king prawns, de-headed and de-shelled

-200 grams wholegrain rice

-2 teaspoons of zaatar mix (a combination of cumin, ground coriander and xxx)

-one teaspoon of flour

-Arils from one pomegranate

-one mango

-half a cucumber

-juice of one lemon

-a few sprigs of mint

Post workout Saturday lunches

Strawberry, avocado and halloumi salad with a pomegranate and lemon dressing

  

The new dawn of the second trimester also marked a time when life in some ways began to get back to normal a bit. We weren’t keeping secrets from anyone anymore, Anni was beginning to show meaning we could legitimately look at baby clothes and products without people giving us strange looks and Anni also began to enrol in a number of pregnancy keep fit classes like yoga and Pilates. Our new town is full of lots of pregnant people (as in there are a lot of people like us in their late twenties or early thirties who are starting families, it’s not like there’s something wrong with the water) and so there was always a lot going on and lots of choice. We also began to have ‘pregnant friends,’ again something made much easier by the fact that Anni was now showing and we could be honest about the pregnancy. 

Spring was in full bloom and life was good. Weekends were now full of pregnancy yoga and Pilates classes, and Anni would always come home after a session with her new friends on such a high that I wanted to make sure she had a healthy lunch to match it too. After a long week at work I also really needed that time on my own to just be in the kitchen making healthy food. I think best when I’m cooking and, on those mornings, alone in my kitchen whilst Anni was out I could begin to process impending fatherhood. Our scan had gone well, all tests had come back positive and everything was moving in the right direction. These times were a perfect example of how Anni and I were already on slightly different paths. She was pregnant, her belly was growing, motherhood had already happened to her. She was out almost every day with pregnant women talking to each other about how their bodies were changing. For me, fatherhood was still a little way off in the distance. Getting closer each and every day, but still an unrecognisable and unknowable shape over the hill. It helped that we now had a picture of the little guy though and every time I opened the fridge I looked upon this weird shape from our 12-week scan and would try and get to know him. He was smiling in the picture, did that mean he was happy in there or was it just a trick of the camera? Did he even know what happy was yet? Did he know how his parents couldn’t wait to meet him and spent every day analysing this picture but also hoped that he would stay put where he was until he was nice and ready?

Halloumi is a perfect pregnancy cheese, packed full of calcium but with a lot less calories than other cheeses. In this dish, both the halloumi and strawberry complement each other, with the pomegranate adding extra crunch and the avocado a silky smoothness. 


  

Method

-Cut the halloumi into thick slices and place on a hot griddle. Cook for around 8-10 minutes until the halloumi becomes firm. Remember to turn halfway through cooking.

-Dehead the strawberries and cut into thick slices. Mix in a bowl with the rocket.

-Cut the avocado lengthways into thin slices and arrange on top of the salad, adding the mint as well.

-When the halloumi has finished cooking, arrange in a nice pattern on top of the salad, before drizzling the dressing all over, ensuring the halloumi is well covered.

Ingredients

 -200g (one pack) of halloumi

-a double handful of fresh strawberries

-one avocado

-a double handful of fresh rocket leaves

-50g fresh pomegranate arils

-fresh mint to garnish

For the dressing

-2 parts olive oil, 2 parts pomegranate molasses, 1-part lemon juice, salt and pepper

Midweek dinner after a long day at work

Japanese tuna steak with stir fried bok choy, vegetables and wholegrain noodles

  

Even though by the middle of Anni’s second trimester everything was going well and she was full of energy, like most mums to be she was still commuting and working full time. Again, as seemed to be the norm there was no acknowledgement from her company that she did get tired more easily, or that for pregnant women, travelling in the rush hour was an extra special sort of hell. That meant that Anni arrived home pretty drained at the end of each day and so I wanted to make sure that we had food that was quick to make and full of energy

Tuna is a great fish to have at these times, packed full of protein, omega-3 fatty acids and lots of vitamins. I’ve topped this with sesame seeds, a real pregnancy power food and an easy way of upping the healthy content of the dish


  

Method

-Heat the oven to 180, line a baking tray with foil.

-Mix your marinade together, and cover the tuna with it. Refrigerate for half an hour if possible.

-Place the tuna on a baking tray and roast for 8-10 minutes. Keep the leftover marinade.

-Fry gently the cashew nuts in a dry pan for a few minutes then set aside.

-Dice the onion, season and cook gently.

-Dice the carrots, courgettes and mushrooms and add one at a time to the pan.

-Boil the wholegrain noodles as per instructions.

-Add the leftover marinade to the pan and stir thoroughly.

-Chop the bok choy into slices and add to the pan.

-Remove noodles and drain before placing in 2 sperate bowls.

-Spoon the vegetables onto a large bowl and top with the tuna, broken into bite size chunks.

-Top with fresh coriander and sprinkle black sesame seeds over both the stir fry and noodle bowls.

Ingredients

  

-Around 400g of fresh tuna or two tuna steaks

-One courgette 

-One carrot

-Handful of mushrooms

-Handful of cashew nuts

-2 portions of wholegrain noodles (or rice if you prefer)

-One onion

-One bok choy

For the marinade

-2 parts soy sauce, 2 parts mirin, 1 part sesame oil, grated ginger, one clove of chopped garlic, juice of half a lime and half a spoonful of brown sugar

For the garnish

-Fresh coriander and black sesame seeds

The ‘will my friends still think I’m fun?’ BBQ

Pomegranate chicken with wild vegetable rice

  

Late on in Anni’s second trimester and to celebrate a beautiful summer’s day we invited all of our friends over for a barbecue wanting to show that we could still throw a party even if Anni was pregnant. What with moving out of London, settling into our new house and preparing for a new arrival we hadn’t seen friends in a while.

To a certain extent it feels like society still expects pregnant couples to stay home, sitting wide-eyed on the couch waiting for baby to come. I’d get strange looks at work if on asking what my weekend plans were they did not revolve around ‘painting the nursery’ or ‘buying the car seat’. I’ve never painted a wall in my life, what makes you think that just because my wife is pregnant that I’ve suddenly developed these new skills? As for buying a car seat, I had started to research things online but had become so overwhelmed by the abundance of weirdly named devices that I was mothballing this job all the way to the back end of the third trimester thank you very much. 

Anni was only five months pregnant. For us the actual reality of childbirth and entrance of the little smiling face on our fridge into our lives was lightyears away. We had tried to start buying things for the nursery and we had started to look at prams but neither of us could yet get our heads around it, it still felt too unreal and too far away. I could still barely look after myself, how on earth was I going to look after a child? Someone who, for the rest of my life will always be there. 

Where I could take charge was the food, so I set about making a lot of different dishes that I knew would not only taste great but be good for mum and baby. Yes, Anni was pregnant but we still wanted to enjoy ourselves as much as we could, especially as the time we had left as just a two was rapidly running out. Sadly, I was informed as I made jug after jug of Pimm’s, ‘enjoying ourselves as much as we could’ did not extend to include my own enjoyment. We had a lot of pregnant friends coming and Anni warned me if any of the barbecue food was undercooked our child would be growing up without a father.

However, as much fun as we both had that day something changed. I didn’t feel the urge to drink that much and in my head I kept thinking about what was to come. From that day on, bit by bit I could feel myself slowly changing, and bit by bit I could feel myself becoming more and more comfortable with the idea of becoming a father. Terrified yes, nervous yes, but also wanting this next stage in my life, even though I couldn’t yet picture how it would be.

Anni and I are both sociable people. We’d talked about how we wanted our children to grow up surrounded by friends and family, comfortable in pubs and restaurants. We didn’t want to hide from the world when we had a child but our priorities were changing. Next year maybe we’d have a barbecue in our garden with our friends but also lots of babies and kids running around, and that thought made me smile.

The chicken in this dish tastes awesome with the pomegranate molasses and works well on a barbecue or in the oven. The wild rice is packed full of fruit, nuts and vegetables, an ideal pregnancy accompaniment.


  

Method

-Turn the oven on to 180 degrees and line a baking tray.

-Mix the pomegranate mollasses with the lemon juice, place the chicken breasts in the baking tray and pour the mixture over.

- Roast the chicken for about 15 minutes, turning halfway.

-Meanwhile boil the rice in the chicken stock then drain when cooked.

-Slice the onions, pepper and carrots into small squares and fry gently in a little olive oil, salt and black pepper.

-When the rice is cooked and drained, add to the pan and stir thoroughly.

-Remove the chicken from the oven and allow to cool slightly.

-Stir the raisins and pomegranate into the rice and remove from the heat.

-Spoon the rice onto a plate and place the chicken breast on top.

-Sprinkle over the crushed pistachios and fresh mint. Drizzle the plate with a little pomegranate molasses. 

Ingredients

 -2 chicken breasts

-2 spoons of pomegranate molasses

-juice of one lemon

-200g brown rice

-one red pepper

-one shallot

-2 carrots

-handful of raisins

-fresh mint

-50g pomegranate arils

-200ml chicken stock

-handful of pistachios, crushed

Post workout Saturday lunches

Halloumi, mango, avocado and cucumber salad with a lemon and thyme dressing (v)

  

This is an incredibly easy and beautiful dish to make and the addition of mango is a great way of adding some vitamin C to a dish. The lemon juice is also essential here as it acts like a cover over the avocado, making it easier to mix and stopping it going brown. Halloumi is also a perfect pregnancy cheese, packed full of calcium but with a lot less calories than other cheeses. A great post-workout lunch. 


  

Method

-Cut the halloumi into strips and cook on a gridle pan or barbecue. The halloumi will take about 10 minutes to cook so don’t be afraid to just leave it alone to cook. It will get softer first before hardening and creating those fantastic lines across it. Don’t forget to turn halfway through cooking.

-Remove the halloumi from the pan and set aside to cool.

-Chop up the avocado into small bite-size pieces and squeeze half of the lemon juice over it to stop it browning.

-Chop up the mango and cucumber into similar sized pieces and place in a bowl along with the remaining lemon juice and a splash of olive oil.

-Tear the halloumi up into small pieces, add to the bowl along with the avocado, mix well and serve.

Ingredients

  

-200 grams (one pack) of halloumi

-one mango

-one avocado

-half a cucumber

-juice of one lemon

-splash of olive oil

Food to celebrate loving avocadoes again, part one

Avocado, tomato, cheese and rocket on toast topped with coriander, pumpkin and sesame seeds (v)

  

Heartbreakingly, during her first trimester Anni went right off avocadoes. Like any other millennial couple we would devour handfuls of avocadoes every week so I found this new rejection very hard to take.

Suddenly however, when the fog of the first trimester had lifted, Anni found herself back in the avocado game and all of a sudden couldn’t get enough of them. 

This energy-laden snack is a real winner during pregnancy. The wholegrain toast, pumpkin and sesame seeds gave Anni an injection of energy and the cheese ticks the calcium box so it was a good dish to have at any time throughout the day or night.


  

Method

-Turn the grill on to 120 degrees.

-Toast the bread and then place on a chopping board.

-Chop the avocado and spread onto the toast.

-Slice the tomato and arrange on top of the avocado. Cover evenly with the grated cheese.

-Place under the grill and heat until the cheese has melted.

-Remove from the grill and sprinkle over the sesame and pumpkin seeds.

-Top with the rocket and coriander and serve straight away.

Ingredients

  

-4 slices of wholemeal bread

-one avocado

-two tomatoes

-handful of rocket

-a few sprigs of coriander

-one teaspoon of sesame seeds

-one tablespoon of pumpkin seeds

-50g of grated cheddar cheese

Call that a Greek salad? Now this is a Greek salad!

Greek salad with grilled lemon and rosemary chicken

  

I love a Greek salad as much as the next person (who likes Greek salad), but they never fill me up enough, so for this recipe I’ve added a chicken breast cooked in lemon and rosemary to increase the protein content of the dish. 

Shortly after we were married Anni and I spent a week in a rented cottage on a Greek island. This dish takes me back as every day we did nothing but swim in the sea and eat bowl after bowl of Greek salads. With avocadoes as big as your head and blocks of feta made by the sheep next door it was a dish we never tired of, and one that back in the UK I always seem to have the ingredients for in the fridge. 

A Greek salad is all about the big, bold flavours. Use good quality tomatoes for a depth of flavour and definitely add the raw diced onions to bring the dish together; who cares about your breath!

Feta, as I’ve mentioned before is a fantastic cheese for pregnant women, as it contains as much calcium as other cheeses but barely any of the calories. I’d go through block after block of it when Anni was pregnant as you can really add it to most dishes. 


  

Method

-Pour a little oil into the pan, season the raw chicken generously with salt and pepper and start to grill.

-After one to two minutes of cooking, squeeze over the juice of one lemon. The chicken will take around 12-15 minutes to cook, and remember to turn halfway through cooking. 

-Meanwhile, quarter your tomatoes and slice the cucumber into chunks. Add to a bowl.

-Dice the onion and along with the black olives add to the bowl.

-Make your dressing: 3 parts olive oil to ne part red wine vinegar. Add to bowl and mix thoroughly.

-Gently slice your avocado into either long slices or small squares and add to the salad. You don’t want to mix the avocado in to much as it will start to disintegrate and the salad looks messy.

-Top with crumbled feta and fresh oregano.

-When your chicken is cooked thoroughly, remove from the pan, cut into three or five slices, top with fresh rosemary and serve: either on top of the salad or on a side plate.

Ingredients

  

-Half a dozen tomatoes

-Half a cucumber

-One avocado

-One shallot or half a small onion

-Black olives

-Half a pack of feta cheese

-Two chicken breasts

-Fresh rosemary and oregano

-Juice of one lemon

-Spoonful of red wine vinegar

-Olive oil, salt and pepper

Yup, it’s definitely ice cream

Banana and mango ice cream with crushed pistachios (v)

  

I’ve always wanted to make my own ice cream, but could never be bothered to actually learn how to do it or buy my own kit. I guess what I really mean is that I’ve always wanted a free ice cream shop in my own home, with a server who had the ability to conjure up any flavour I wanted at any time.

Ice cream was also Anni’s drug of choice over the summer and I was under increasing pressure to supply the goods at home. Instead I made a lot of the next best thing to frozen ice cream, frozen fruit blended so well that it looks like ice cream. This way you get all of the taste you want, with none of the fat or added sugar. Simply cut up some ripe fruit, freeze for a few hours and then blend until its nice and creamy, before refreezing. A really easy way to make a delicious dessert or summer treat at home, and another way for Anni to eat more vitamins.


  

Method

-Cut both the bananas and mango into thin slices, place in separate freezer bags and freeze for at least 2 hours, preferably more.

-Remove from the freezer, break up the fruits and blend until smooth. The mixture will first go lumpy but persevere and it will turn smooth after a few minutes.

-Scoop into bowls and serve immediately with crushed pistachios sprinkled on top. Freeze any leftovers in an airtight container.

Ingredients

  

-3 or 4 very ripe bananas

-One ripe mango

-50g pistachios- crushed

Adventures with blowtorches

Tuna steak topped with roasted apricot, passion fruit and wild rice

  

Anni got me a blowtorch for my birthday. Either she wants me to take up welding as a hobby or she thinks I’m to be trusted with another source of flames in the kitchen. After a few months of being too intimidated to use it, and regular premonitions about leaving it on and burning down my house (who forgets to turn off a blowtorch?) I then started to blowtorch everything in sight. Of course you don’t need to set fire to the peaches in this dish, but if you do, it really adds a rich, smokey flavour which contrasts wonderfully with the sweetness of the fruit.

I began to play around with adding fruit to our meals to take advantage of Anni’s sudden cravings for fresh fruit and vegetables but also to use any chance I could to top up the vitamin contents of her food. 

This dish contains apricot, pomegranate and passion fruit, lovely sweet fruits that work really well with the savoury tastes of the rice and tuna. A fresh and healthy dish perfect for eating outside on a summers’ evening. 


  

Method

-Head the oven to 160 degrees and line a baking tray with slightly oiled foil.

-Mix the soy sauce and honey together and cover the tuna with the mixture. 

-Boil the rice in a pan of salted water as per cooking instructions. When cooked, drain and set aside.

-Whilst the rice is boiling, cook the tuna steaks for around 10 minutes to ensure its fully cooked through.

-Cut the pepper, raisins, cucumber and carrots into equal, small squares and place in a bowl. -Thinly slice the shallot, add the pomegranate arils and mint to the bowl and set aside.

-Cut the peach into thin slices and blowtorch each for a few seconds to darken the outside.

-Stir the vegetables into the now-cooled rice and arrange in two bowls.

-Remove the tuna from the oven and place on top of the rice.

-Place the peaches on top of the tuna and spoon the juice of 4 passion fruits over the plate.

Ingredients

  

-2 tuna steaks

-2 spoons soy sauce and half a spoon of honey

-4 passion fruits

-one peach

-quarter of a cucumber

-300g brown rice

-half a green pepper

-handful of raisins

-one shallot

-2 carrots

-fresh mint and a handful of pomegranate arils

A trio of summer salads part one

Halloumi, pomegranate and walnut salad with beetroot oil (v)

  

During Anni’s pregnancy I became a little obsessed with halloumi, finding that it pretty much went well with everything I was making. 

This salad is packed full of fresh fruit and vegetables, with the beetroot, avocado and pomegranate being especially good to eat in pregnancy. The beetroot oil adds some sweetness and flavouring to the halloumi which works really well with the bitterness of the lemon juice. 


  

Method

-Cut the halloumi into slices, squeeze a little lemon juice over them and cook in a pan or on a griddle (preferred, so you get the lines).

-Whilst the halloumi cooks, cut up the cucumber and avocado into small pieces. Squeeze a little lemon juice on the avocado to stop it browning. Place in a bowl.

-Cut the beetroot and break the walnuts up, before adding both to the bowl.

-Add the fresh mint, pomegranate, spinach and rocket and mix .

-To make the beetroot oil, add 2 parts olive oil to one-part beetroot juice and add a squeeze of lemon. Mix thoroughly.

-Take the halloumi off the grill, arrange on top of the salad and drizzle the beetroot oil over.

Ingredients

  

-One pack of halloumi

-around 100 grams of supermarket-bought cooked beetroot, and the juice it comes in

-handful of pomegranate arils

-quarter of a cucumber

-rocket and spinach leaves

-50g walnuts

-half an avocado

-fresh mint

-squeeze of lemon juice

A trio of summer salads, part two

Peach, tomato and mozzarella salad dressed with raspberry oil (v)

  

Peaches are real unsung heroes of the fruit world as they are packed full of potassium, iron, protein and vitamin C. In this dish the sharpness of the raspberry folds into the creaminess of the mozzarella, it’s a really tasty dish.

This is a great afternoon snack or light starter to have outside on a cool summer’s evening. I once mistakenly said to Anni that the only thing missing from this dish was a glass of ice-cold white wine on the side and she threw a rock at my head. 


  

Method

-Arrange your cut peaches in a bowl, add the tomatoes and mix gently.

-Tear up your mozzarella into small pieces and add to the salad, mixing gently again.

-Crush the raspberries with a fork and add a glug of olive oil. Mix and then strain through a sieve to create the raspberry oil.

-Drizzle the raspberry olive oil over the salad, and top with fresh oregano.

Ingredients

  

-2 large peaches, destoned and sliced into eights 

- 1 pack of fresh mozzarella

-at least half a dozen vine tomatoes, quartered

-fresh oregano

-4 or 5 raspberries

-olive oil

-salt and pepper

Cooking with fruit, part one

Chicken and mango stir fry

  

I love cooking with fruit, especially citrus fruit because it is such an easy way of adding extra vitamin C to your diet. Plus, the fruit adds an extra layer of sweetness and juiciness to the dish that you just wouldn’t get with anything else.

I cooked with fruit quite a lot when Anni was pregnant, it was a no brainer when it came to increased vitamin content for her. With this dish, the mango also serves to take away some of the heat of the dish.


  

Method

-Cook the rice as per packet instructions.

-Heat the cashew nuts in a dry pan and then set aside. Slice the onions, season and cook on a low heat in a little oil.

-Finely chop the ginger and add to the pan. Season the chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces and add to the pan.

-Slice the carrots, pepper, courgette, mushrooms and sugar snap peas and add to the pan one by one in that order.

-When the vegetables have been cooking for a few minutes add the sauce to the pan and stir well. Add back in the cashew nuts.

-Slice the mango into small pieces and add to the pan, stirring well. Cook for a further 2 minutes and then remove from the heat and top with fresh coriander. Divide the rice into two bowls, top with a sprinkling of sesame seeds and serve.

Ingredients

  

-One chicken breast

-two shallots

-one carrot

-one red pepper

-a handful of sugar snap peas

-one courgette

-handful of chestnut mushrooms

-a handful of cashew nuts

-a thumb sixed piece of fresh ginger

-fresh coriander

-250grams wholegrain rice

-sesame seeds

-one ripe mango

For the sauce: 3 parts soy sauce, one-part hot sauce, one part sesame oil, one part honey

a trio of summer salads, part three

Feta and Watermelon Salad (v)

  

Hands down my favourite summer salad, but that’s mostly because I absolutely adore watermelon. A thirst-quenching dish on a hot summers day it went down a storm at our barbecue. The salty feta works well with the juicy watermelon, and the black pepper adds a hint of spice. Perfect for making in huge quantities for a barbecue, and if you want to go all 70’s you could even hollow out a watermelon and serve it in that. 


  

- Cut your watermelon into small squares and place in a bowl.

- -Add a glug of olive oil and some black pepper and mix thoroughly.

- Crumble some feta and add to the watermelon. Mix slightly but not too much as you don’t want the feta to disintegrate.

- -Carefully julienne some mint sprigs and sprinkle over the salad.

- Serve immediately to maintain freshness. 

Ingredients

  

-One whole small watermelon, or half a large one

-250g (one pack) of feta cheese

-Handful of fresh mint

-Olive oil and black pepper

Guaca not butter

Guacamole (v)

  

Guacamole is one of the most versatile foods I know yet for some reason we only ever use it as a topping for tortillas. When I lived in Mexico I got into the habit of using guacamole in sandwiches instead of butter and to this day I always have some freshly made guaca in the fridge. During Anni’s pregnancy I also found that this was a really easy way for her to eat more vitamins without even noticing it. Guaca not butter works really well in cheese and tomato sandwiches, ham sandwiches and almost everything else. Anni also ended up using it to eat with vegetables during the day. It’s a great substitute for fattier foods, just make sure you are generous with your lime juice to stop the guacamole from turning brown.


  

Method

-Peel and roughly chop the avocadoes, adding them to a pestle and mortar (or a big bowl if you don’t have one).

-Season with salt and pepper and mash until a creamy consistency forms.

-Remove the seeds from the tomato and chop finely. Add to the bowl along with the lime juice, and finely cut chilli. Mash again.

-Taste and season as required. Finely stir in some chopped coriander and mix for a last time.

Ingredients

  

-two avocadoes

-one small cherry or vine tomato

-juice of one lime

-fresh coriander

-a quarter of a red chilli (optional)

-salt and pepper

Can I have French toast for breakfast every day, part two

French toast with a fresh berry compote (v)

  

The only problem with Anni eating for two was that I, who probably ate for two already on a good day, was probably now eating for around three, and my waistline wasn’t thanking me for it. Yes she could eat French toast whenever she desired, she was pregnant, she could do what she wanted, but I wasn’t, so quite often it was muesli for me, French toast for her.


  

Method

-Keeping one spoonful back, add the sugar to the berries and boil along with the water and 1 spoonful of cinnamon.

-Let the mixture bubble away so that the berries disintegrate. If the mixture goes a little dry, add more water. Cook for around five minutes then set aside.

-Mix the eggs and add a sprinkling of salt.

-Mix the remaining spoonful of sugar with half a spoon of cinnamon. You now have cinnamon sugar (I make this in a large batch so I always have some).

-cut the brioche into slices. Take one slice and submerge in the mixed eggs. Fry gently on each side until the eggs are well cooked.

-place a slice on a plate and sprinkle over the cinnamon sugar. Cover half the slice with the berry compote and top with fresh mint and icing sugar.

Ingredients

  

-any combination of 200g of fresh blueberries, strawberries, pomegranate and raspberries (or all if you have them)

-cinnamon

-50g granulated sugar

-one brioche loaf

-2 eggs

-fresh mint

-25ml water

-icing sugar to finish

The ‘will my friends still think I’m fun?’ BBQ

Feta, pomegranate and cous cous salad (v)

  

A great dish in its own right, this also works well as a barbecue salad on a hot summers’ day. Rich, creamy, juicy and full of delicious fruit and vegetables it’s a really healthy dish and one that I would make Anni a lot over the summer. 


  

Method

-Make the cous cous as per the packet instructions, set aside.

-Chop the cucumber and add to a bowl along with the pomegranate and cooled cous cous.

-Crumble the feta cheese over the top and mix in chopped mint and the lemon juice. Stir well and season as required before serving.

Ingredients

  

-200 grams of cous cous

-100 grams feta cheese

-arils from half of a pomegranate

-quarter of a cucumber

-a few sprigs of fresh mint

-juice of half of a lemon

Closing out the second trimester

Paprika and tahini marinated chicken thighs with wild rice

  

It was with an equal amount of trepidation and excitement that we closed out the second trimester of Anni’s pregnancy. We both felt fortunate that this trimester had happened over the summer and that we had squeezed quality time for us, holidays, time with friends, wedding weekends and much more into what had been a wonderful couple of months. But now the third trimester began to creep into our thoughts and things began to get real. We had a lot to do, we had a lot to get ready and as we prepared to enter this final stage we knew that at the end of it was labour, and the arrival of a baby that would change our lives forever.


  

Method

-Stir a teaspoon of paprika into a bowl along with the tahini, half of the lemon juice and a glug of olive oil. Add the chicken thighs, mix well, cover and refrigerate for a few hours.

-Heat the oven to 200degrees and place the rosemary and garlic in a baking tray. 

-Remove the chicken from the fridge and seal the meat. To do this, heat some olive oil in a pan, season the chicken generously, and when the pan is hot cook the chicken for 2 minutes or so on each side. This will give the meat a lovely dark appearance as well as seal in some of those juices.

-Remove the chicken from the pan and place in the baking tray, pouring the rest of the marinade from both the bowl and pan over the chicken. Cook for around 40 minutes in the oven.

-Meanwhile boil some water in a pan for the brown rice. Mix in some chicken stock and season the water. Cook the rice as per packet instructions then drain and set aside allowing to cool.

-Remove the chicken from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Spoon the rice onto a plate and then arrange the chicken thighs on top. Drizzle some greek yoghurt over the top and garnish with chopped chives.

-Dice the pepper, carrots and onion and place in a large bowl along with the pomegranate, pistachios, raisins, remainder of the lemon juice and a good glug of olive oil. Add the now cooled rice to the bowl and mix well, seasoning accordingly.

Ingredients

  

-4-6 chicken thighs

-300grams brown rice

-One red pepper

-Arils from half a pomegranate

-2 carrots

-a handful of raisins

-a handful of pistachios

-one shallot

-juice of half a lemon

-50grams of Greek yoghurt

-chives

-3 teaspoons of tahini

-paprika

-fresh rosemary

-3-4 cloves of garlic

-one chicken stock