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Category Archives: Lifestyle
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
Monday is a bank holiday in the UK which makes it a long weekend. What that means for me? Packing!! Yes because I am off on a little three day city trip to Madrid with one of my best friends. Madrid has been on my list of places to visit for such a long time so I am very excited.
I love going away on holiday but one thing I can’t stand about travelling is packing. I am just terrible at it! I make lists to ensure I don’t forget anything but the main problem is that I always want to pack way too much. For this trip I am only going away for three days and I finally managed to narrow the suitcase down to about 15 outfits. Woops…..but hey c’mon a girl needs plenty of options right!?
Some items you can see: My beloved Converse sneakers (as seen here) which are perfect for roaming the streets of Madrid // Ray Ban Aviator Sunglasses // Black and gold Tory Burch flats // Denim Jacket // Chloe clutch // SuperDry Neon Pink cosmetics bag (link)
We all have our travel essentials. Some of mine are: My passport (duh!) // my iPad so I can blog on the go and to have books, music, emails and internet at my fingertips // a small (coin) purse // my iPhone // Camera (taking the photo…) // Headphones
I love my Jimmy Choo Roma Glitter Coin Purse (link). It’s perfect for travelling because I mainly put the foreign currency in there plus it fits 1-3 cards so it’s nice and compact for travelling so I don’t need to take my (jammed full) usual wallet.
When travelling I can’t live without my favourite tunes! Spotify has been one of the best inventions ever and to enjoy my music when on the go I always take my Skull Candy headphones with me. I have two types of Skull Candy headphones; colourful Aviator headphones that I custom designed myself (link) and these smaller black on-ear navigator headphones (link). The sound is on them amazing, they are lightweight, easy to fold up, super comfortable to wear due to their leather touch memory foam ear pillows and it comes with a mic3 control which means you can take/make calls, control the volume, pause/play and track control with them.
Oh let’s not forget the cool skull detailing – LOVE!
What are some of your travel essentials?
So after making some last minute changes to my suitcase this morning (OK maybe I sneaked in another outfit option haha) I am finally all packed and ready to jet off to Madrid this evening!
Sunshine, tapas, sangria and Zara – HERE I COME :)