Summer Enchiladas

Whenever the sun is out I feel like I crave light meals with fresh zingy flavours and a hearty does of vegetables. One of the things that has been missing in my life since I moved to Scotland has been good Mexican food.  So inspired by summer and a tangy Mexican palette I give you my favourite enchiladas. I make my enchiladas with zucchini slices rather than corn bread because too many heavy carbs usually means I have to take a nap right after dinner. The sauce will work just as well using a more traditional recipe; so if you want to use corn bread knock yourself out! The most important part about enchiladas is the sauce, you want to get it right. It has to be the correct balance of spicy to tangy, salty to sweat and nice and thick!

In this recipe I’m using spicy kidney beans as a filling however cooked peppers and mushrooms (or mince for meat eaters) will work as well. 

For this recipe you will need;

  • One onion, I like to use red but white will be fine. 
  • One can of kidney beans 
  • Fresh chillies or your favourite chilli past, sauce or powder.
  • A pinch of cinnamon 
  • Salt and pepper to tase
  • Olive oil 
  • Grated cheese for your topping (cheddar or mozzarella) 
  • Two cloves of garlic, crushed
  • One tbsp of tomato paste 

For the sauce you will need;

  • Four tbls of olive oil
  • Half tsp of Kanye pepper
  • One tsp of Cumin
  • One tsp of galic powder, 1 1/2 cloves fresh crushed galic
  • Two tsp of dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • One tbls tomato paste
  • Three tsp of apple cider or white wine viniagr
  • A squeeze of lime.
  • Two tbls of plain all purpose flour.
  • I like to add about 1/4 of a cup of fresh cilantro, however you can adjust to taste.
  • One cup of stock.


Heat oil in a saucepan, add cumin, Kenya pepper, garlic powder, oregano, tomato paste, flour and stir into paste. Add stock and bring to simmer. At this point your sauce should be nice and thick! add your cilantro, vinegar and lime. Simmer for roughly five minutes. 


Dice and fry your onion in olive oil until transparent, add crushed garlic, salt, pepper, cinnamon and tomato paste. Strain and rinse the kidney beans and then add to mixture and chillies. Stir occasionally and cook for approx ten minutes on a medium heat. 


Use a vegetable slicer to cut your courgettes into long thin slices. Lay them on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil bake for 10-15 minutes on a medium heat. You want them to be soft but not squishy. This can also be down under the grill if you prefer.  Lay the courgette slices three or four wide so the edges are overlapping, add a spoonful of your filling and roll into little sausage shapes and then place in a baking dish. 

Pour your sauce over zucchini rolls, top with cheese and bake for 25-30 mins at 180 (gas mark 4).

Try serving with sour cream, guacamole, salsa, chopped cilantro and corn on the cob.


The art of the tart; a flan plan.

     Baking is like riding a Horse. Most people would low key love to be able to whip up a British Bakeoff worthy pasty or effortlessly mount a horse with cowboy swagger. Should the occasion ever arise that is. The thing that makes pastry a harder stallion to tame than brownies or cupcakes is its ability to smell your fear. If you are spooked or stressed or baking under pressure the pastry can sense your nerves. It will pray upon your weaknesses leaving you traumatised and reaching for the store bought option the next time you find yourself in need. 

I will be the first to tell you that baking has not always been my culinary strength. It is incredibly scientific and there is very little room for error or improvisation, both of which sum up the way I usually cook. That being said, my inner Dorris Day demanded I develop the ability to produce instagrammable home-baking at the drop of a (very light- floaty) hat. 

So yesterday I set out with a plan to come up with the perfect flan. It was a flan plan. After eleven hours, three bags of flour including one bag of shortcrust premix- two minor burns and whole bottle of wine (for me not the pastry) I succeeded. I tested my recipe against the store bought premix just for confirmation and am delighted to report it surpassed it in every category. 

You will need; 

1 1/2 cups plain all purpose flour. 

1/3 of a cup of sugar (I would recommend Brown Caster sugar)

2/3 of a cup of butter. 

 1 egg. 

1tbsp maple syrup or honey. 

1tsp of vanilla extract.

1 (generous)  tsp of cinnamon.

Baking parchment. 

Flan tin/ pie tin.

The egg is a little unconventional for shortcrust but trust me it works a treat. Maple syrup or honey is not strictly necessary but it adds a lovely stickiness and if you have it I would recommend using. 


Preheat your oven to Gas Mark 3 (160C or 325F)

Mix your flour, sugar and cinnamon together. Cut up your butter into small chunks and work through with your fingers until the mixture is crumbly. 

Whisk your egg, maple syrup and vanilla together. 

Combine your wet and dry mixture into a dough. If it is to sticky add a few pinches of flour. It should feel like cookie dough. Wrap in cling film or a plastic bag and refrigerate for thirty minutes. This is a crucial step, don’t skimp on it. Any less then thirty minutes and your dough will be too sticky, any longer than forty-five minters and it will be too crumbly and difficult to roll thin. 

Once your dough is out the fridge lay out a some baking parchment and roll your dough out onto it. This is a hack I have learnt after a lot of frustration trying to scrape sticky dough off work surfaces. It makes it easier to pick up and place in a tin and much less messy than covering your table or work surface in flour. 

Roll out your dough until it is maybe two or three mm thick. You want to make sure it is wide/long enough to cover your flan tin with an overlap. Your crust will be a lot neater if you aren’t patching up bits around the edge.  

Grease your flan tin and place your pastry into it. Gently fit it to the tin and use a sharp knife to cut the overlap off. 

Now It’s time to blind bake! 

If you’ve never heard of blind baking, it simply means to bake a pie curst or other pastry without the filling. To do this you will need baking parchment (or muslin cloth if you don’t have any) and some dried rice/ beans or heavy grain for pie weights. You can use anything really as long as it’s oven proof. I once used pennies! 

Fit your parchment to the inside of your crust nice and tightly, make sure it is folded into the creases and corners of your crust. If your base is not weighed down it will puff up and cause an uneven crust.

Blind bake for twenty minutes (fifteen for a fan oven). Remove from the oven and take out the pie weights and parchment and then bake for another fifteen minutes. This step is important in order to harden the bottom of the flan so that it does not become soggy once you put your filling in. The perfect flan has some crunch to it! 

Don’t worry if your crust is hard it will soften after you put your filling in. 

Let cool and remove tin and voilà-  ready for your choice of filling. 


Feel free to change your spices, I recently made a flan for a friend who is allergic to dairy and cinnamon so I used coconut oil as a butter replacement and a nutmeg and turmeric combo instead of cinnamon. If you are using canned or cooked fruit for your topping try adding a little of the sauce or fruit juice to your pastry. It can bring a little extra oomph. 

The above picture show a candied pear and custard filling. To make this filling just pour your favourite custard- I recommend a thick hard setting one into the base. Simmer pear slices with a cup of water and half a cup of sugar for apron one hour. Add either almond essence or rose water for flavour. A little food colouring if you want a jazzy colour-  or leave plain for a more rustic look. 

Try spreading a thin layer of melted chocolate over the bottom of your flan crust before adding custard… this is particularly suited to a strawberry tart! 

Final step is glazing with a flan setting gel.

My breakup with Bread, Keto rebound and transition into a healthy relationship with food.

Two years ago after a particularly painful breakup I went on a classic ‘change my life’ new me – self-denial health kick. I became vegan. I started following a strict Ketogenic way of eating. Gave up sugar and alcohol.

Which let me tell you was incredibly difficult, time consuming and miserable. Unless you have endless money and time to dedicate towards your food and prep time then I would not recommend. One or the other. Not both. Sufficient to say my vegan Keto experiment did not last. The vegan lasted approximately fifty days, the Keto lasted longer. While I do still believe that Ketogenic eating is a valid way to live your life. For those of you who may not have heard of the Ketogenic way of eating it involves switching from burning glucose to burning fats. Essentially cutting out carbs and upping your fat intake. Like anything in the nutrition world it is controversial. In my opinion the fact that no one nutrition path works for everyone, in other words every one is different means that the nutrition community is by very definition full of contradictions. The first thing you will notice if you start reading about nutrition is various specialists telling you a million different ways of eating- all convinced that their way is the only way. For this reason when I say I believe Ketogenic is a valid way to live your life I am not recommending it to anyone else. I am referring only to my own experiences with it.  I found it increased my daily energy, my stamina and endurance while working out and helped to sort out my sleeping pattern. 

However there are drawbacks. It is expensive. You tend to eat more when you aren’t eating carbs. Unless you eat meat it is difficult to eat out. It can be harmful to your health unless you are well educated about nutrition, are getting everything your body needs and you are doing it for the right reasons. lastly it can be difficult to maintain. Especially if you, like me – love food. Going Keto did change my approach to the way I eat, I really started to noticed how certain foods effected my energy levels, what made me feel good and what made me need to curl up into a ball and take a nap. Now when I talk about nutrition and eating I cannot underline enough that I am speaking only from my own encounters with what makes me feel good and what makes me feel bad. I am not a specialist, if you want to learn more and experiment for yourself it is vital you do your own research and understand that because something works for me or someone else does not mean it is right for everyone. It is a personal journey; you have to find out what works well for you and if you are considering a drastic change then consult a health specialist you trust. 

Cutting out previous daily staples such as pasta, bread, potatoes and rice made me a lot more creative with my recipes, I started eating more vegetables and became less lazy with cooking. I realised that I didn’t miss these foods from my life on a day to day basis and I felt a lot less lethargic after eating. I no longer stick to a strict Ketogenic way of eating, I love home baking, cocktails, making desserts and eating fruit. I do occasionally eat some carb heavy foods. I really enjoy them and set time aside for a nap afterwards if need be. However I don’t miss having them every day and I am at a point in my life now where I enjoy food more than ever before. So overall I’m glad I decided to try something new because even though it didn’t stick it did lead to a new way of eating that makes me happy.  

For me the most important part of my own health is not feeling restricted, being able to really enjoy what I am eating and feeling good afterwards. To be completely honest I have had issues with food and bulimia since my early teens. Now to be in a position where I have found a way of eating which makes me feel healthy and isn’t restrictive or dangerous in the ways my eating habits have been in the past; and to find a way of eating which has encouraged and sparked a love of cooking and nutrition is amazing.

Healthy eating habits have been an incredibly important battle for me throughout my early twenties. Now to finally feel like I am getting there is such a personal achievement that I feel it is important to shout about it from the tree tops. Most importantly to be in a position in which I can really enjoy food makes me feel like I have finally started to heal and move into a new chapter of my life. One in which I am starting to respect and love my body through what I put into it. 

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