Saturday, 21 October 2017

Fuss Free mid week curry

In a world where we are constantly aware of our levels of connectivity,  it has never been easier to be disconnected. 

Seeking hotspots and gateways to the virtual world as we go about our everyday lives, can lead us to feel detached and oblivious to what is right in front of us.  

I stopped to talk to a woman doing a survey in the street yesterday and I realised that I knew her from a local networking group.  It wasn't until I got home that I realised we were FB 'friends', yet I knew very little about her.

If this is my experience as an adult, how is this scenario for our children? Already I hear stories of teens who are basing their self-esteem on the number of likes achieved on a social media post, or who have 'Friends' who may not even say hello in the school corridors.  It's must be confusing to try and work out how these 2 worlds operate....the 1 hard enough to navigate back in my day. 

It is though, a double-edged sword that is difficult to ignore. Without this virtual world, my building of the FFF would not have happened this quick, so for that, I am grateful.  But it's probably not until you unplug, and totally connect and tune in to what surrounds you that you realise the hold the virtual world has.

Connecting to those 'real' things make me feel balanced, that everything is OK and that life is good. Getting out in nature, forgetting what I 'needed' to do to play a game with the kids or setting aside the bottomless list of to-dos and doing something for me. (Funnily enough, the list is still there when I get back!)

In connecting with others and ourselves we connect inwards to our hearts' true desire and not what is going on in our heads; Which can be logical and often fuelled with beliefs of what we feel we 'should' do. If  we do this, it is the best example we can show our youngsters. 

As half term starts, I intend to connect with my immediate world and look forward to unplugging a little.... I hope you will enjoy that too! 
Happy holidays! Lisa 

Fuss Free Mid Week Curry

Serves 2-3

  • 2 tbsp Patak's curry paste (Madras, Korma, Rogan Josh)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger root
  • 1 red or green chilli, sliced (optional seeds in or out!)
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 200g mushrooms, chopped into quarters
  • 200g potatoes, diced
  • 200g frozen spinach
  • 1 large ripe tomato, chopped
  • 200 ml water
  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • Optional prawns/chicken/chickpeas

1. Put the olive oil into a medium-sized pan on a medium heat. 
2. Add the ginger and chilli, and fry for a couple of minutes, then add the onion and frying until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes.
3. Add the mushrooms to the pan, and fry on a high heat to extract the water for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat and add the tomato, curry paste, and stir. Add the potatoes, spinach (frozen)and add the water. If you are using chicken or chickpeas add them at this point and simmer for 20-25 minutes until the potatoes are cooked. If it is too thick add a bit more water. 
4. Once the potatoes are cooked and you are nearly ready to serve, add the prawns.  If they are already cooked, just warm them through until piping hot, for a minute or 2. If they are raw, cook them for 5-7 minutes until they turn from blue to pink and cooked through.
5. Serve with boiled rice. Enjoy!

With this curry I would usually use, mushrooms and a red pepper, so feel free to mix up what you use by clearing out the fridge in the process! I would halve the amount of spinach I use if doing mushroom and pepper and omit the potato. 

Saturday, 14 October 2017

10 minute chocolate chip cookies

It seems that evolving never ends! Once we've learned something it doesn't mean that we never have to work on it ever again!! In blogging about my life as it unfolds, it serves as a great reminder to myself the lessons I'm learning and somehow by writing it down, I hope it will lock it in even further.

I asked myself.... is this my self discovery this week? I still work on things that I have worked on all my life; And it's the same with my kids; I thought once I taught them manners that that would be it, but it seems I still have to remind them of their Ps and Qs! We all need to rinse and repeat on certain things!

So I thought; What did I get from this week? I went blank. Nothing. I learned nothing?! Did my creativity dry up? Is it time to just write recipes with no blurb? I decided I would sleep on it. 

As I reflected on the week in bed, I acknowledged that this was a check list heavy week.  Lots got done, and things progressed massively but little yoga was done and the emphasis was more on doing rather than being. And I think I found my learn. 

In the past I have been all about thinking about what I need to do, but most of my evolving has not been about logic, intellect and thinking. It has been about feeling and hearing what is at the core of my heart, finding the answers that lie within and doing things that make my heart sing. I had slipped back into a comfortable old pattern of being overly productive and not focusing on what I need to do to feel good.

As I finish this I realise that I need to not clean my house but go do some body balance at the gym, less thinking in my head and more being in my body. So my goal for the weekend is to disconnect from the to dos and connect with the people around me and to do things that make my heart sing. Isn't that why we were put on the planet?! To enjoy life. 

And what better way to do that but by having a batch of quick cookies by your side! Sending love Foodies for a beautiful weekend. Do you know someone who would love this recipe (or a batch of delicious fuss free cookies?!) then please remember to keep sharing the fuss free love by sharing the link on Facebook and don't miss a thing by following the the FFF Facebook page Lisa 💕 


10 minute choc chip cookies

  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 75g soft light brown sugar
  • 1 medium egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 150g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking  powder
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 100g dark chocolate chips or chocolate chopped into chunks (or milk if you prefer)
  1. Preheat the oven to 190℃/375℉/Gas mark 5
  2. Gently melt the butter in a pan
  3. Put both the sugars into a bowl and add the melted butter and stir
  4. Beat in the egg and vanilla
  5. Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt into the bowl, stir, then add the chocolate chips
  6. Spoon heaped dessert spoon sizes of mixture onto a lined baking sheet, leaving about 4cm in between each dollop as they spread!
  7. Bake for 8-10 mins until they are turning pale golden brown
  8. Leave on the tray for a few minutes to firm up , and then cool on a wire rack

Double chocolate chip and hazelnut cookies
  • Substitute 40g of the plain flour for cocoa powder instead 
  • Add 75g chocolate chips and add 40g chopped hazelnuts
The original recipe is from River Cottage Everyday by Hugh F-W.

Friday, 29 September 2017

When you lose your path, don't seek too hard to get back on track....

Sometimes lifes detours can reveal the best scenery; So if you lose your path, maybe don't try too hard to get back on track. Often what we THINK is what we need isn't always the case and the universe has a greater plan for us! Revealing far many more gifts and learnings than we could ever even imagine.

We have all experienced being diverted from an outcome, whether its day to day or a long term goal or dream.  And as frustrating as it can be, the reality is, it's not always easy to come from a place of gratitude and thanks when it happens!!  A period of adjustment, acceptance, grieving or just plain old getting angry may be needed to shift first in order to move into this space. Without pulling out all the cliches, life IS about the journey and not just the destination. If we can arrive at that place of acceptance and allow things to unfold, we may be able to actually see the beauty in this new, less travelled path.

Maybe the deviated journey we will learn something....a new skill, meet a new person who will inspire us in our endeavours or discover something about ourselves that we hadn't realised.  Yet had we tried to get back onto the original route we would never have had the chance to experience those things that would help us grow. As long as we are kind to ourselves along the way, and seek to approach the journey in a way that is true to ourselves, the experience and outcome is more likely to be positive.  

I heard a saying 20 years ago that "what you will someday be you are now becoming."  I understood what it meant back then, but now with a reflective eye over those decades gone by and my own deviations and digressions, I understand the meaning more fully. 

There is no point wishing that if I knew then what I know now that I would be further along in my endeavours or realised my passion sooner.  It's because of the exploits I went through that I have arrived at this point; And I'm sure this isn't THE arrival point, it is a beautiful stop off on the journey! 

This week for me was quite different, as I have experienced the sheer beauty of the journey on one side and conversely the most scariest of sheer drops on the other. I guess sometimes some of us are lucky enough to be shown both at once 🙈 So I will be focusing my learning this week to help me navigate my way!

This weeks recipe, out of the pure fuss free simplicity is a Panna cotta.  Being led by a 14 year olds enthusiasm for wanting to turn his hand at making it, I experienced this for the first time this week as well.  Enjoyed by him, my kids.....and myself too! It is the easiest of desserts and great to make ahead for a party.

Let me know in the Fuss Free Foodie FB community what you think of Panna cotta and what you serve yours with, or just remember to give a share to add it to your timeline or share some FFF love with your foodie friends! Lisa xx

Vanilla Panna cotta

Serves 6

6 silver dariol moulds or rectangle loaf tin or ice cream tub, lightly oiled

  • 10g leaf gelatin (5 1/2 sheets) (1-11/2 tsp Agar agar powder for vegetarians)
  • 100ml milk
  • 500ml double cream
  • 1 vanilla pod, cut in half to expose the seeds or 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 100g caster sugar
  1. Fill a bowl with water and add the gelatin leaves to the water and leave
  2. Pour the milk into a sauce pan and bring to just below simmering point, then remove from the heat. Do not boil
  3. Squeeze all the water out of the gelatin and add to the milk. Set aside. 
  4. **If using agar agar, add to the milk, stir and you can allow to boil until it melts, which should be 5 minutes
  5. Pour the cream into another pan, add the vanilla extract OR the vanilla pod (scrape all the seeds out, add to the cream and then add the pod as well)
  6. Bring to the boil over a low heat, stirring regularly. Remove from the heat as soon as boiling point is reached. Remove the vanilla pod
  7. Add the milk mixture to the cream and stir
  8. Gently pour into the moulds, and once cooled leave in the fridge to set (around 2 hours)
  9. To turn out, run warm water around the mould to release the Panna cotta
  10. Serve simply with fruit, with or figs baked with honey. For a flourish and bit of crunch, make a tuile or biscuit! Enjoy!

**I have not yet tried this recipe using agar agar, but based on the equivalents, 1-1 1/2 tsp should bring a nice wobble!

Remember to keep liking, loving and sharing to keep the FFF in your feed, and to spread the fuss free word! 👇👇👇👇👇👇👇

Friday, 15 September 2017

Doing a Meg Ryan.....

I've got a new rule. When opportunities come knocking, I'm just gonna say yes! The cool thing with that is I don't have to let my brain get involved....and here's why. It totally means well, and is only trying to protect me, keep me safe and be logical by pointing out what could go wrong but that can take over from what my heart desires, and that's where the spark, excitement and joy can be in life. If I say yes, and it's meant to happen, it will.  It just takes the control right out of my hands, and I'm OK with that!

So one of those 'Yeses' meant today I addressed 150 year 10, 11 and 12 students at a local girls school about my journey so far as the Fuss Free Foodie. Slightly daunting thought. A room full of eyes, being able to hear a pin drop and only my voice reverberating around the room. My head could've found many reasons why not to do it! But I did not allow myself to even get into my head about it. What's the worst that could happen!?! Sometimes its great just to bite the bullet and do it anyway and in the words of a well known trainer company....Just do it! So let's see what comes up next that I have to say yes too!😁

I feel very blessed that so many of you are saying yes to the Fuss Free Foodie too, which I am so grateful for! Thank you! This week I've been hearing of more of you giving my recipes ago, and even better you're families enjoying them as well! It's so easy to get stuck in a rut with the same 1-2 week recipe cycle, and we all experience that at some point and need to change things up!

So please could I ask for your help? If you are, or know someone who gets into this rut with their cooking, would you remember to share the post for me or one that you've enjoyed most? It would be great to reach out to even more people and inspire folks to give it a go and demonstrate that you can eat delicious food without the fuss! You can share from Facebook or on the icon below....sharing is caring 😍😉

This weeks recipe is still helping me use my yellow courgette glut (you could leave them out if you wanted but all part of your 5 a day!) and using those ingredients that lurk at the back of the cupboard. A fuss free fast food, and is great for making ahead and reheating.  Let me know how you get on! Lisa. 

Courgette Moong Dal

  • 1 cup of Moong Dal/yellow split lentils, well rinsed in water and drained
  • Heaped tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 3 1/2 cups of water
  • 2 medium ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 2-3 medium courgettes, sliced

  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 red/green chilli, sliced
  • 1-2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 5-6 tbsp butter/ghee/oil
  • Salt 
  • (Optional 1/2 tsp garam masala, 1/4 tsp chilli powder)
  • I did it without and was still delicious

1. Put the lentils into a medium sized saucepan with 3 cups of the water (retain the rest for later). Add in the turmeric, tomatoes and ginger.  Stir, and bring to the boil and then return to simmer. Stir occasionally and add more water if it dries out or starts to stick. 
2. This should take about 30 minutes, until the lentil are broken down and the dal has a porridge consistency. Add the courgettes at this stage and let them cook in the dal for 10-20 minutes.  Add a little water if is drying out. Season with a good pinch of salt. It's not going to do any harm cooking it for longer, just keep adding bits of water if needs be.
3. In a separate frying pan, add the oil/butter and raise the temperature to medium to high, so that you can add the cumin seed and fry for a couple of minutes with the shallot. It is OK to get the shallot brown, but turn down to a medium to low heat when you add the chilli and garlic. This doesn't want to be brown, just cook for a further minute or 2. 
4. Add the temper to the lentil mixture, stir in thoroughly. Check the seasoning for any more salt, and serve with chapatis, rotis, nan or rice. I only had pittas and that worked well too!!

Remember if you love the Fuss Free Foodie, maybe your'e friends will too, so please remember to keep liking and loving to keep me in your feed! Lisa x

Friday, 8 September 2017

15 year Stew ....

I'd written my blog pre-amble a few days ago but as I went to bed last night, these words were wanting to be delivered with the urgency of a 3rd baby! Having made a conscious decision not to blog over the summer I did wonder how my first one back would go, but I needn't have.... it was just coming out!

It wasn't until having space in the last few days as the kids went back to school, that I noticed how the summer was very much about 'doing' rather than 'being'. I realised the importance of having time to myself, and how the cathartic nature of writing my blog keeps me consciously aware of how I feel.  

In fact since starting The Fuss Free Foodie I've been lucky enough to meet some awesome new people who've guided me to watch new speakers of which a video I watched yesterday really struck a cord. I noticed how we swiftly move through lifes experiences and sometimes without a second thought once they've past. If life is a playground, wouldn't it be good sometimes to just stop and to get a sense which version you've been playing? Do the rules still work and is it still a fun game!?!  

I reflected back yesterday on one of those old old relationships that ended fast, with no post match dissection and no time for orange segments, if you know what I mean!! I wondered if I hadn't properly closed that relationship programme down, was it still running in the background and maybe taking up valuable (subconscious) memory space?

So I dragged an old bag out of the loft with photos and bits in, lit a fire and started to sort through and see who this girl was from the early noughties. It was interesting to see as I looked at photos of Indian travels, book selling summers and clubbing days how I could get a sense of the person I was and how it aligned (or didn't!) with me now. 

As I tossed photos onto the fire that no longer brought me joy I acknowledged the time I had spent maybe not always been connected to myself.... but sought others approval, connection and 'fitted in' to feel complete. 

My time finished by retrieving a locket from the loft that I had surprisingly 'found' a few days prior and placed in a corner.  It had both a picture of me and my ex in. This jewellery was gathering dust so I decided to take it to the pawn shop and do some good with the cash.   

I knew I wanted to give some to a guy I always see selling the Big Issue, and before I even spoke, he said he was having a bad day.  He said he wanted to go out (as he said it was his birthday, whether it was or wasn't it didn't matter) for a curry and to go to the cinema.  Brilliant I said.  I cleared my loft today and came to a little extra cash...please do that on me. And Happy birthday. I felt joy. 

So yesterday I made peace with that girl and rather than focusing on why that game was lost but how it was played gave me a greater insight to where I am at right and I felt a lot lighter and more joyous for my actions! I'm OK with not knowing what the rest of the journey holds....but I hope you will stick with me as there are some fun things coming ahead...this is just the beginning!!

Remember to keep me in your feed keep loving and liking on Facebook and follow me more in pictures on Instagram or words on Twitter! With love Lisa x

Moroccan chickpea and chorizo stew

2 tbsps tom puree
1 large sweet pot, peeled and large dice
1 pepper
2-3 carrots, large dice
1 large onion, diced
4 cooking chorizo sausages, skin removed and sliced
2 cloves garlic
400g passata
2 tbsp Ras al hanout spice 
(I use Barts Spices available in Waitrose and larger supermarkets)
300-350g veg stock 
1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Olive oil

1. Put a tablespoon of oil in a large pan and add the chorizo. Fry on a medium heat so that the oils come out and the chorizo browns.  
2. Add the onion to the pan and coat in the oils, and cook for 8 minutes until soft, then add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. 
3. Add the carrot, pepper and stir, then add the tomato puree and cook for a couple of minutes. Then add the chickpeas and sweet potatoes.   
4. Add the ras al hanout, passata and stock and stir. The liquid should only just be up to where the veg sit.   Simmer on a low to medium heat for 1 hr until the carrots and sweet potatoes are cooked through. 
5. Serve on a bed of plain couscous....follow the start of my couscous salad video for perfect plain couscous!

Friday, 21 July 2017

Summer sign off....but you can still find me.....

As the rain drops race down the window I wonder what the summer holidays have to hold! It's always with a certain amount of trepidation for me at this time, as my space is hijacked by my two delicious monkeys!

I've noticed especially with having the work done on the house that being amongst chaos almost creates an excuse to get drawn into the eye of the storm and be a human do-ing, rather than be-ing.  I have some goals for the being to enjoy the time with my kids and when needed and possible, to take a break for me so I will be more effective with them.  But also to do some things that fill me with joy and make me feel glad to be alive; And ultimately if I keep my cup well topped up, I will be able to keep giving!

As far as the Fuss Free Foodie is concerned, I will be hanging up the blog... just for the summer and using this time to work on the website, so that it will be ready for launch late Autumn. I still plan to be extremely present in the FFF community, swapping ideas on what's seasonal and what I am cooking, shopping or eating and also posting up progress with the kitchen and hints to some of the other projects I'm working on, on the FFF Facebook page.  So I hope you will keep loving, liking and commenting, as I love to hear your thoughts!

In the Autumn I hope to spread the Fuss Free word even more and will be looking for a crack team of if a post or thread resonates with you and you think it will interest your friends, I'd love it if you'd remember to share it with your friends too, as this will help our reach grow.  Just a couple of shares a week means a post will reach several thousands of people!

Wishing you all an awesome summer, and please keep posting up your creations and places you are loving to eat for all of us to see, wherever you are! 

Lisa 💕💗💝

Love Instagram? I'm posting things there too!

Friday, 14 July 2017

Fig, mozzarella and prosciutto salad

This week was like bumping into an ex but knowing that it was going to happen as I travelled back to a city where I had a whole other life. If Cardiff was an ex we didn't finish on good terms, in fact, the split was messy and caused some heart ache, which was a shame as we had some great times together!

This is all about my trip to see Coldplay this week, and it seemed I had something in common with the band, as they hadn't played a gig in Wales for 17 years, which is when I last visited properly too. 

In the build up to the gig I was acutely aware that there were some strong memories, almost mental photographs of places in the city that needed healing, as they still held some charge within me when I contemplated them.  In fact, I recognised that I had closed off from those parts of myself, as if I felt I couldn't relate to the person I was then and how she ran her life.

We were young and carefree and my lifestyle then on the surface, couldn't have been any more different to now. I'm not even sure I enjoyed it all the time but I seemed to be a rebel with a dancing cause! With superficial enjoyment, I often felt disconnected from the crew that I hung out with and the majority didn't feel like true friends. 

On reflection part of my sadness was that I didn't fully appreciate what Cardiff had to offer and that it was a missed opportunity; Despite this, the path I took was the one I was supposed to take. These photographic memories of heartache and joy had actual locations, and unknowingly I actually passed through these exact places, which felt like a changing of the guard from feeling empty to healed. I mean the chances of being sent to the wrong gate which lead me to see one place....the universe is funny like that! 

So I was there to see a band who had become the soundtrack to my life in those subsequent years of living in Cardiff. Sipping Pu'erh tea (very grounding you know, after all those years with my head in the clouds) opposite a nicknack shop called Rebel! And you know, it's funny that I didn't associate so much with the rebel me from back then, as she was dared to be different but now I feel that I'm not that different.... I'm just harnessing that inner rebel to be different in my mainstream foodie world! 

This lovely salad is one I made to take in the car to Cardiff, and was heartily enjoyed on the way to Wales, so I thought I would share it with you. Please remember if you enjoy the Fuss Free Foodie to share any posts that resonate with you with your friends, as I hope to build our following and community, and this happen with your help! So loves and likes will help us grow and help people know what the FFF is all about! (In fact today at City Hall someone knew me because he'd seen his friends like the FFF!)

Have a great weekend Lisa 💕

Fig, mozzarella and prosciutto salad

  • 3 figs
  • 1 ball mozzarella
  • 3 slices prosciutto
  • 3-4 handfuls rocket or mixed leaves
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 tbsp blackberry vinegar (red wine vinegar or lemon juice)
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Place the leaves over a large serving plate.
  2. Pull the tough stalk off the top of the fig. Then tear the fig into pieces and place over the leaves.
  3. Drain the mozzarella and tear into small pieces and place around the plate, and do the same with the prosciutto, tucking it in amongst the other ingredients. 
  4. In a jam jar mix the olive oil, vinegar and salt and pepper and shake.
  5. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and serve.
  6. This is a surprising good dish to eat in a car on the way to a Coldplay concert 😀

Join the FFF community where we inspire each other to cook here or follow my week on the FFF page here.  The new website should be here in the late Autumn!!