CONNECT WITH ME
Subscribe by Email
I ♥ INSTAGRAM
MY DAILY READS
MY RECENT PINS
Category Archives: Food
I’ve always been a big fan of spaghetti bolognese. I think it was actually one of the first meals I learned to cook at home – and during my student times this dish was very much a weekly staple! However these days as part of my 80/20 diet, on my healthy days I try to limit my carb intake. Luckily eating clean and healthy doesn’t need to mean missing out on your favourite foods because there are many substitutes you can use in your cooking that are more low-carb. So nowadays when I cook bolognese, I just make zucchini noodles and substitute that for traditional pasta. And it is just as delicious!!
This is my healthy spaghetti bolognese recipe.
So instead of boiling wheat based pasta I get out my beloved spiral cutter to create a bowl of low carb zucchini pasta! You can read all about how I make them here; link! Not only are they a super healthy replacement, it is also very fast and low-fuss cooking. The noodles are created in less than 5 minutes and just before my bolognese sauce is ready, I pop them into the microwave for about 3 minutes to heat them up (but ensuring not to overcook them because you want to keep a nice ‘al-dente’ crunch).
Looks so much like pasta doesn’t it? Zucchini’s don’t have much flavour of their own so it makes them are a perfect vegetable pasta substitute, plus it even soaks up a bit of the flavours from the sauce you decide to add with them. So onto the recipe for my bolognese sauce;
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 250-300grams lean beef mince (I usually get extra lean mince, which is about 5% fat)
- 250grams white button mushrooms, sliced
- 1 onion, chopped finely
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
- 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Grated parmesan cheese, to serve
- Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes until just softened. Stir in the mince, breaking it up with a wooden spoon and cook for 2–3 minutes until the beef mince is browned.
- Stir in the sliced mushrooms and cook for 1 minute. Add the can of chopped tomatoes, worcestershire sauce and season with salt and pepper. Stir well and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened.
- While your sauce is cooking away, you have time to create your healthy zucchini ‘spaghetti’ and right before the sauce is ready heat them in the microwave for 2-3 minutes so they are nice and warm but remain firm – no one likes soggy noodles!
- Divide your ‘pasta’ into serving bowls, top with the bolognese sauce and sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese if you fancy it; I love the stuff!
- Serve immediately and ENJOY!
How easy was that right? This meal comes in at approximately 300 calories per bowl/serving (including the ‘pasta’) and it is super filling! Spaghetti bolognese is always a crowd pleaser and preparing it this way means you don’t have to worry about the calories or the carb guilt!
I hope you enjoyed this recipe and I would love to know if you gave it a go :)
On Friday night I had a lovely evening out in Soho! Why? Because I took one of my favourite people for a night out at one of my favourite restaurants in London. So Erin + NOPI (oh + also throw in some singing, dancing and sparkles) = a perfect evening.
NOPI is all an-day restaurant in Soho and is the first proper restaurant by Yotam Ottolenghi (my favourite chef) who is behind the amazing Ottolenghi delis around London and three very wonderful cookbooks…which I all own.
The restaurant is on Warwick Street, just north of Piccadilly Circus and as soon as you walk in you are welcomed by the friendly staff and a glamorous and stylish looking dining room. It has a modern design that looks expensive without looking too formal; white tiles, marble floors and lots of gold finishing touches.
Also just like his deli’s, the restaurant features a large counter area displaying some of the delicious starters and side dishes. The restaurant is split between two levels; the basement houses two large sharing tables that have prime views over the working kitchen for a more low-key vibe and the ground floor is a more traditional dining room. This is where me and Erin were seated at a lovely table. Oh and yes NOPI accepts bookings, which is a huge bonus and so hard to find in London these days!
The menu is only one page and simply divided into the sections; vegetables, fish, meat, sides and nibbles. Ottolenghi’s cooking is known for combining Mediterranean, Middle-eastern and Asian cuisine using exotic ingredients and the unusual combinations of flavours and textures. At NOPI is designed for sharing and the restaurant suggests that diners choose 3 dishes per person. We had an early booking and didn’t have a lot of time before our show (or time to umm and ahhh over which delicious dishes to chose from the menu for that matter) so we opted for the easy option; a pre-theatre menu! This gives you 5 dishes to share at £21.50 per person or £25.50 per person including dessert. While we waited for our food to arrive we sipped on prosecco and enjoyed the lavosh crackers, black bean and ginger hummus nibbles!
We didn’t have to wait long because the service at NOPI is fast and soon our table was filled with many of the sharing dishes. Our sharing starters was the roasted aubergine, burnt butter with tzatziki (my FAVE) & roasted beetroot, pistachio salsa with goat’s curd.
For the mains we loved the twice-cooked baby chicken with lemon myrtle salt, chilli sauce. It is super moist on the inside but with a deliciously crisp charred skin! We literally picked every last bit of meat from the bones – so good. Next up was the baked cod, with squid ink venere rice and the spiced gurnard wrapped in banana leaf, with a pineapple sambal. Can you see what I mean about the interesting combinations of ingredients? It all tasted truly amazing!
The great thing about sharing dishes is that it leaves you with some room for dessert! We both drooled over the sound of the peanut and roasted caramel ice cream with chocolate sauce and peanut brittle option that we decided one of those to share just wouldn’t do. I was too afraid that when it arrived I wouldn’t want to share it so we opted for the same dessert each to avoid a sharing fight haha.
The super creamy peanut butter ice-cream with the chocolate sauce and the salty peanut brittle was delightful and gone in seconds so it was definitely a wise choice to get two because I wouldn’t have been too happy about sharing this treat ;)
When at NOPI I always tell people, ensure you check out the bathrooms! This may sound weird but they definitely are worth a mention. The toilet washing room walls are completely covered in mirrors set at different angels; which shows your reflection back at you into infinity, and beyond. It always gives me the giggles, especially when I can’t find which door is the exit again!
Our final bill came to £88 for two which isn’t cheap but for the service, the amazing food and having used Ottolenghi’s recipes quite often myself, I know how expensive some of the ingredients can be – so I do feel you are getting what you pay for. It’s just one of those feel-good restaurants were you can be certain to enjoy a tasty meal. If you are ever in London I definitely think you should check it out and then I’d love to know what you thought! It’s one of my favourites and I for sure will be going back again and again :)
After the dinner it was time for the singing, dancing and sparkles part of our evening. Don’t worry it was not us performing (even though Erin did put on her sparkly blazer for the occasion) – we were off to see the musical ‘A Chorus Line’ which is currently showing at the Palladium Theatre in London. A Chorus Line is Erin’s favourite movie so I got her tickets for her birthday so we could see the show together.
A Chorus Line is about seventeen Broadway dancers auditioning for spots on a chorus line. It provides you with a glimpse into the personalities of the performers as they describe the events that shaped their lives and why they became dancers.
I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with musicals but I have to say I LOVED this show. It was not too ‘musically’ and the dancing was fantastic. We had a great evening out!
Have you ever been to NOPI? NOPI, 21-22 Warwick Street, London, W1B 5NE www.nopi-restaurant.com
As part of my 80/20 Diet I try to eat healthy most of the time, and therefore I am always trying to find great new recipes that are healthy but that also taste delicious. Now believe me, I very much like my carbs. I could never be one of those people that cuts out carbs from their diet altogether (for example I couldn’t live without my daily porridge) but I do try to limit my carbohydrate intake at dinnertime on my healthy days. Now what if I told you that you could eat as much pasta as you wanted without the carb guilt? Yes it’s true; let’s talk about Zucchini ‘Pasta’ shall we!
I was first introduced to the concept of zucchini pasta a few years ago by my good friend Tanya; a raw food guru who blogs over at Better Raw. As a raw foodie, Tanya had this amazing spiralizer machine at her house that turned zucchinis / courgettes super quickly into spaghetti! Ok so it is not really pasta but it is an amazing low carb substitute.
Over time I kept seeing zucchini noodles pop up on blogs, so I decided I needed to get myself a similar clever little gadget so I could make my own zucchini pasta. I found this great Gefu spiral cutter on Amazon (link) and for £21.69 and it has been one of the best kitchen purchases I have made in a while!
So let me tell you how to make Zucchini Pasta in no time! First up you need to wash the zucchini. Now I leave the skin on my zucchinis, as I don’t mind the green colour plus it actually contains a load of fibre and nutrients but you can peel it if you don’t want it to look green and more pasta-like. Then I simply slice off the bottom of my zucchini and place it into my spiral cutter. I twist and twist and tada beautiful thick spaghetti looking ribbons will come out (whilst simultaneously discarding the seedy core in the middle). This spiral cutter can actually be used from both ends – the stripes on the side show you which side will give you thinner or thicker noodles.
If you don’t want to invest in one of these spiral cutters you can also make zucchini pasta with a julienne peeler, a mandoline or if you want to practice your knife skills, you can even finely slice the zucchini in ribbons by hand.
Once you have your beautiful zucchini pasta (I normally use about 1 or 2 medium sized zucchinis per person) there are lots of delicious ways to enjoy them! You can have them cold and raw (as part of a crunchy salad), you can quickly stir fry them with a tiny bit of oil or you place them in a microwave safe dish and heat them for about 2 minutes until they are warm and then serve them with for example your favourite pasta sauce! Do watch the ‘spaghetti’ closely when heating because you don’t want to overcook them, they will become soggy! You want them warm but still with a nice ‘al dente’ crunch ;)
I am now hooked and absolutely love eating zucchini pasta because it is such a great way to have a healthy, filling delicious low carb lunch or dinner. Soon I will share some more recipes on how I like to eat my Zucchini Pasta!
Is Zucchini ‘Pasta’ something you’ve heard of before, or would be keen to try?