Evie Brogan

Apple, cinnamon & raisin porridge

Happy Friday Everyone, I hope this weekend brings you lots of sunshine, love and of course delicious healthy food.

As a lot of you will know, I have recently been on the first ever MC&L retreat and had the privilege of meal planning and cooking there. I promised the guests that I would give them the recipes of what team MC&L cooked for them, and this week I'm doing my apple pie porridge. (I don’t actually call it apple pie porridge, but that name just came to me now so I thought I'd make it sound better than apple, cinnamon and raison porridge :))

One of the biggest lessons that I have learnt in swapping my traditional cooking methods and more importantly ingredients for cleaner ones is that we do not need to consume things that do not work for our bodies. Almost every recipe and dish can be modified to make it cleaner and better for your body to digest and absorb the nutrients. Cow's milk is a fantastic example of this. You'll know from my blog last week that cow's milk is made for calves and can be easily digested by them with their massive digestive system and four stomachs, and not so much us with our human sized digestive system and one stomach. Plus from an ethical viewpoint there is the fact that in the UK we massively over milk female cows and the pressure on farmers to keep costs low does have an impact on what the animal eats and how it’s treated. Organic milk is better for you in terms of what the animal has been fed and therefore what ends up in your milk, but the organic stamp has no bearing on how the animal is treated – but that’s a whole massive topic and not one for here. So if you think you need cow's milk to make porridge taste good you my friend are wrong and the 23 people at the retreat I think may agree. Now I'm not saying that cow's milk porridge doesn’t taste nice by any means, although I have completely given up having cow’s milk in my diet I do very occasionally have a bit of organic double cream. Now double cream as a topper for porridge.  Ooohhh now you’re talking mmm, mmm, mmm. . .

As regular readers know sometimes my quantities are a bit of this and a bit of that and this one is right up there with that measurement method, but what I’ve put below I think this is about right. . . .

Per portion you’ll need:

  • Porridge oats (about 50g)
  • Water (about 350mls)
  • ½ an Apple
  • 1 tbsp. raisins
  • 1.5 tsp. cinnamon
  • Agave nectar (optional)
  1. Place your porridge oats and raisins  in a pot, cover with water by about 2 inches
  2. Place on a med high heat until it starts to boil then simmer for about 5 mins
  3. Add the apple and cinnamon about 2 mins into the cooking
  4. We add the raisins early on so that they can take in the water and plump up during the cooking so they’re nice and juicy when you eat them. Be careful when choosing your raisins that they haven’t been sweetened as many have, as always check the ingredients. 
  5. Keep stirring your porridge as its cooking so it doesn’t stick to the bottom, also keep an eye on the water levels and add more if you need to. If you add too much, then just keep it boiling and it will boil off.
  6. It’s important that you use a wooden spoon, or Spirtle, when making it.  Now I’m not sure about the science behind wood as opposed to plastic or metal, but I have tried it and it does come out better with wood.
  7. Drizzle on agave nectar and enjoy!

Apple, cinnamon and raisin is just a winning combo but you could try other combos such as my absolute favourite strawberry and cardamom (green cardamom in with the cooking and strawberries added after cooking) - delicious! 

That’s almost it from me this week guys apart from to tell you that I’m going to be stopping my weekly blog for MC&L. I’ve had a wonderful time over the past year and a bit, but it’s time to move on to new things. I’ve got a blog or two left in me so it’s not goodbye just yet. Plus I’ll be back with Jo and Fern for features and no doubt be back on some of the groups when I need a Jo Parry style whipping on my butt and abs!

I’d love you to stay in touch so please feel free to add me on Facebook you’ll find me at: Evie GingerLily   

Love & Light 

Watermelon & feta summer salad & canapés

It’s Friday whoop whoop and here in Edinburgh it’s looking like it’s going to be a nice day which is a welcome change from what was a rather rain filled week. So I'm going summer-tastic on the food today, it’s another two 2-4-1 with a watermelon and feta salad and watermelon canapés. Now I'm known as the Queen of the Canapé amongst my friends but strangely I don’t blog them, I guess I think it’s not really a meal of sorts so tend to stay away, but I made a few of these at the inaugural MC&L retreat last weekend and the odd combination of balsamic, fruit and cheese went down really, really well so I thought I'd include them in today's blog. I know guys it does sound odd, but honestly it really does work; they're just so fresh and delicious so crack on, make them and delight the taste buds of the people you feed.

About a year or so ago, I did a blog entitled ‘Who said eating clean isn’t glamorous?’ so if like me you're partial to a canapé then why not check that out right here: http://missioncleanlean.com/blog/2013/6/20/mocktails-canaps-who-says-eating-clean-isnt-glamorous

If you're not sold on the idea of adding fruit to a salad, then I think this is a good place to start because the juice from the watermelon acts like a dressing, the feta provides a nice salty taste while the pumpkin seeds give a wonderfully nutty filling crunch to each mouthful. “Pumpkin seeds nutty?” I hear you say. Yes they are you just need to toast them. When I first got into 'clean food' I bought some pumpkin seeds and after tasting them thought, ugh they taste like plastic and cardboard mixed together, I can only use these to top a soup -WRONG! By using a pan and dry frying them you bring out a wonderful flavour, plus the seeds expand and turn into a nutty type seed. Now I use them a lot in salads, flapjacks and the like. So on with today's dishes, which I learnt to make in Australia earlier this year during their summer.

Watermelon Salad 
I would serve this as a salad at a BBQ, a light lunch or as a summer starter.
To feed 1 you will need:

  1. 4 black olives - halved

  2. 1.5 tbsp pumpkin seeds - toasted

  3. 1/5 of a watermelon (size depending) rind removed, sliced or cubed

  4. 50g of feta - cubed

  5. Mixed dark green leaves e.g. rocket, spinach

1. Toast the pumpkin seeds in a pan until they start to pop, it should take about 4 mins on a med heat. Allow them to cool.
2. Mix your chopped watermelon and leaves on the serving plate 
3. Sprinkle over the halved olives, feta and pumpkin seeds

Simple as that. You could add a little balsamic or some freshly milled black pepper but I like it just as it is. I made this for myself, so just double the quantity for an extra person, triple for a third and so on. Like almost all of my dishes it doesn’t have to be exact so it’s an easy one to get right.

Watermelon Canapés

You will need:

  1. Watermelon chunks

  2. Feta cubes

  3. Balsamic vinegar

  4. Mint leaves

1. Chop your watermelon into cubes. I find the easiest way to do that is to chop my whole water melon into quarters, then thick wedges then chop the wedges into chunks.

2. Drizzle a little balsamic vinegar on the cube. Be careful when you do this or you could end up with balsamic all over the plate so hold your finger over the top of the bottle so just a bit comes out. (If loads comes out then it’s not the end of the world, just transfer on to another plate and start again.)

3. Place a bit of feta on the top of the watermelon and then a bit of torn fresh mint leaf

Serve and enjoy! This combo while it sounds a little odd is really nice and I just love food that surprises my mouth. Plus the 23 ladies at last weekend’s retreat can’t be wrong!

For the eagle eyed amongst you, you'll notice I didn’t actually use feta today, that’s because (at home) I only eat organic dairy and they didn’t have any in the store, so I opted for a sheep's cheese which is basically the same thing. I was asked at the retreat why feta is clean and cheddar not, so leaving the processing and animal feeds out of it the short answer is this. Cow milk is designed for cows not humans, it’s make up is very different to human breast milk. Cows have four stomachs not one and so break it down differently to us with our one stomach. Feta is made from sheep's, or goats, milk. The fat particles in goat and sheep cheeses are close to the size of the milk found in human breast milk and therefore easier for us to digest than cow’s milk. These cheeses are also rich in calcium, vitamin B and Zinc. Plus whilst on the topic of health watermelon if full of vitamin E which is good for your skin, perfect when its summer and more of it is exposed. Leave the seeds in too as they are full of nutrition.

Love, laugh and smile lots this weekend because you are beautiful. 
Love & Light 

BBQ chicken drumsticks with hot sweet potato salad

Its Friday whoop whoop!!! As the weather has improved and I've listened to your requests for more chicken dishes this week I'm blogging Smoked Paprika Chicken Drumsticks, which is an absolute BBQ all-time favourite in the Brogan household, I've also included a cheeky little hot sweet potato salad with feta, red onion and chilli.

As today hasn’t been Scottish BBQ weather I've done my drumsticks under the grill, it works really well as does cooking them on the griddle pan. I often do drumsticks if I'm having a BBQ because they are fuss free and can be prepared the day before, they make great leftovers as they are delicious cold and they can be teamed up with almost anything. Kids love them too and as they can be cooked under the grill they make a great mid-week cost effective meal. Not only is the drumstick cheaper than breasts, they are made up of the darker chicken meat which contains more iron and zinc than the white meat of the breast. So if you're stuck in a chicken breast rut, why not try these bad boys out, they are so moist and delicious.

I bought organic chicken drumsticks so I served mine with the skin on. The skin is where the majority of the toxins are stored, so with purchasing organic you're reducing the amount of toxins you ingest. You might want to remove it if you're being super clean, but do this after cooking as the skin will help retain the moisture in the meat. 

5 tbsp of mild olive oil (not extra virgin) 
4 tsp of smoked paprika (normal paprika is fine) 
4 tsp sea salt

I used a packet of 12 drumsticks weighing 1.1kg. You will need to adjust your marinade according to the amount of chicken you're using. There is no great skill to that because what you do not use gets thrown away with the marinade.

1. Mix marinade together in a bowl and rub it all over the chicken. Get right under the skin so it really infuses. 
2. Leave in the fridge to marinade for at least 10 minutes but longer is better; you could even do this bit the night before.

3. Cook! Grill on a med/high heat for about 20 mins turning regularly, you can finish off on a smoking hot griddle if you want but it’s not really necessary. To BBQ will take about 20 mins too over med/hot coals, with regular turning and the same on your griddle.

Remember with all chicken you must ensure it’s cooked through before serving. The meat of the drumstick next to the bone can still be a little pink when it’s cooked, so bear that in mind if you're not used to cooking them. I doubt on a medium to high heat they will take more than 25 mins. You might like to rub some of the leftover marinade on the chicken as its cooking. But never ever use it as a dipping sauce on account of it having raw chicken on it.

I know I often mention salt in my blogs but I want to mention it again here as it appears we're using a lot of salt and I guess we are but remember it’s sea salt so not processed dirty chemical salt plus you won’t end up eating it all as its some will get thrown out with the leftover marinade. The vast majority of salt in the western diet is from processed food. We're living a clean and healthy life with the food we promote at MC&L so really there is no need to worry, unless you're doctor tells you otherwise. You might like to read my blog on salt: http://missioncleanlean.com/blog/2013/9/24/evies-tip-all-salt-is-equal-but-some-is-more-equal-than-others

On the side...
Drumsticks go with almost everything, I've done mine with a trio of salads; two cold - a green salad and carrot and beetroot salad (recipe here: http://missioncleanlean.com/blog/2014/5/16/beetroot-carrot-salad-plus-tasty-spinach-sides and one hot - sweet potato, chilli, lime and feta. I know it sounds a bit odd but it is honestly really tasty, just remember to go easy on the lime.  

As with so many salads there is no exact measurement here. I used: 
3 sweet potatoes 
1 chilli 
1/4 block of feta - chopped 
1/3 of the juice of a lime 
Oil for cooking (I used coconut)

1. Peel your sweet potato and chop into bite sized pieces and either boil until they have just turned soft (so that when you stick a knife in a bit it falls off slowly) or roast them. Boiling takes about 15 mins, roasting about 30 mins.

2. Wash and chop your chilli, I took a fair amount of the seeds out, the more you leave in the hotter it will be and chop your onion according to your taste. I used thin slices.

3. When your potato is almost cooked add your onion and chilli to a pan or wok and cook on a med heat.

4. If using boiled sweet potato cook chilli and onion for 1-2 minutes then add your potatoes and mix everything together, so that that potato gets coated with the oil and crisps up, then fry for about 4-5 mins. If you're using roast sweet potato then fry the onion and chilli for about 5 mins and then add the roasted potato just to coat, as it should already be pretty crispy.

5. Transfer your potato mix into a serving bowl and add a squeeze of lime (not too much), add the feta, give it a mix, serve and enjoy!

This year why not make the most of the British summer, it’s really starting to feel like it’s on it way! 

Lots more seasonal dishes to come. Until next week...  
Stay clean live green

Beetroot & carrot salad plus tasty spinach sides

Hello health lovers

Firstly my apologies for lack of bloggage, I had a 'technical issue' getting my blog for two weeks ago over to MC&L HQ and then I'd a last minute escape to the sun, which saw me leaving the next day for a week away. Well it would have been rude not to go right? I was delighted to have done the new 21 Day Detox just before I went, maybe that’s part of the reason I jumped at the change to go away for a week in the sun - less flab on this girl!!! So unlike my fellow bloggers I don’t really post pictures of myself but do you know what, I'm digging my shoulders and arms just now so why not celebrate the success I've had living clean and training and whack out a full on planking on board a yacht pic! Oh it’s so holiday! (Jo's gonna look at it and tell me “Evie lower your hips” he he!)

Right so gang this week health, health, health on a plate! Plus you know I'm going through a 'raw food' phase so it’s up there for me and my current trend. (I know the feta isn’t raw and I'd probably have this with a bit of BBQ fish, but I'm enjoying the new dishes I'm learning as part of understanding the benefits of raw fruits and veggies. Without doubt summer is on its way and the salads and the BBQ's will be out, if not already, so I thought I'd share with you a wonderful salad of beetroot and carrot which I first had at my friends’ house (Lesley & Omar delicious, thanks guys!)

It’s super simple and you'll notice from the pictures I've done it two ways, one as a tasty vegetarian starter with feta and one as a brightly coloured salad that would rock any BBQ table.

You will need: 
Beetroot sliced (either fresh or sweetfire in natural juice) 
1 large carrot, grated 
1 clove garlic, crushed 
Olive oil

For the salad:
1. Slice enough beetroot to cover your serving dish. A small side plate, dinner plate, salad plate, anything really.
2. Mix ½ the garlic and a good glug of olive oil in a dish and mix together, then using a pastry brush, brush over the beetroot. (If you don’t have one just sprinkle the garlic on and drizzle the oil.)

3. Then cover with the grated carrot and sprinkle the remainder of the garlic on top of that, drizzle with more olive oil.
4. Leave for a bit if you can before serving, it gives the garlic and oil a little time to flavour the dish.
I've topped mine off with a bit of chopped coriander, but that’s optional as is crumbled feta.

For the starter: 
1. Place a chef's ring in the middle of your plate 
2. Fill the bottom layer with beetroot 
3. Sprinkle the olive oil and some garlic (or pastry brush like me) 
4. Add a layer of grated carrot, pressing down with the back of a spoon to that you get a nice firm tower 
4. Add a tiny bit of garlic and oil 
5. Another beetroot layer 
6. Another oil and garlic layer 
7. A layer of chopped feta 
8. Decorate the top with some carrot/ beetroot 
9. Drizzle any leftover oil round the tower letting it drip off a teaspoon 
10. Carefully pull your chef's ring off and boom - delicious!

It's important with this dish to use fresh beetroot; the pickled stuff your granny used to buy in a jar is just not going to cut it here.  

Lesley also gave me another wonderful side dish which I've tasted but not yet had the pleasure to make. It’s a spinach side dish, also wonderful on any BBQ table.

Bag of spinach 
1 clove garlic, grated 
2 tbsp sundried tomato paste 
An alternative is to use some grated lemon rind, lemon juice and olive oil

Option 1 
1. Place the grated garlic and sundried tomato paste in a pan on a medium heat to avoid burning the garlic and it becoming bitter.
2. Soften the garlic then place the spinach in the pan and stir until wilted.

Option 2 
1. Place the grated garlic and olive oil in a pan on a med heat to soften the garlic. 
2. Stick in the spinach, lemon rind and juice of a half a lemon then stir until the spinach is wilted.

That’s it from me this week gang.  Next week BBQ chicken, let’s hope the sun shines! Take care team it’s good to be back on my Friday slot and as always we're here if you want any cooking tips or dishes using a particular ingredient.

Love & Light 

Salmon, leek & asparagus stir-fry

Wow wee didn’t that week fly by, I could get used to this 4 day week! I'd a great Easter bank holiday with NO CHOCOLATE can you Adam and Eve it?

So how did I manage to stay chocolate free, well one reason is I'm in the MC&L groove, that and I told everyone NO CHOCOLATE EGGS!!! Yep 2 weeks in to the revamped 21 day MC&L detox, which I'm totally loving. The new exercise videos are great, Jo and Fern double up so you get to see a front and side view of the exercises which I think has helped with my technique. Plus as it's my 3rd time to do a detox it’s not been too hard and I'm feeling great, looking good and wearing super skinny jeans as I type - this pleases me no end :) :) :)

So this week I'm going to share with you something that I made this week that is 100% clean and detox friendly and totally delicious and is 20 mins from fridge to plate. It’s such a typical Evie Brogan dish in terms of you can make it with almost anything you have out of the fridge and your all-important store cupboard, however, I have used classic pairings of salmon with leek and asparagus with a few extras added in. (For the readers who say they can't cook, leek and salmon are a marriage made in heaven, remember that!)

I've got this new coconut oil and its odourless which is a FAB addition to my store cupboard, coconut oil is so full of health benefits. “Err stop right there, yes we know Evie, you tell us all the time!” Ok I'll stop banging on about it but this new one is amazing because you can use it in European foods with no coconut taste and still keep it clean. Remember what happens to oils when they get heated up?  No, OK read this: http://missioncleanlean.com/blog/2013/11/28/seafood-tagliatelle

Serves two. You will need:
2 leeks - chopped in rounds 
1 bunch asparagus spears - chopped into 1.5" pieces
7-8 broccoli florets 
1.5 tsp dill (dried is fine) 
1/5 a courgette chopped in rounds 
4-5 cherry tomatoes 
2 salmon fillets - flaked (or whole if you’d rather) 
Oil for frying (coconut is best) 
1.5 tsp basil (I used frozen) 

  1. Wash and prep your veg, you need to be careful with leeks as they can harbour some dirt so give them a good wash. Use a knife to cut into it if you need to wash between the layers.
  2. In a large pot, pan or wok (I used a wok with lid) heat some oil on a med heat and add the leeks and fry for 1-2 mins.
  3. Add the broccoli fry for another few minutes, add a good splash of water so that the veg steams too – this speeds up the cooking.
  4. Add your herbs. 
  5. Add your tomatoes and give a good stir. 
  6. Add your salmon, more water if you need to and pop a lid on to steam cook until the salmon has changed colour. It’s quite trendy these days to serve salmon a bit opaque in the middle so it doesn’t have to completely turn colour. In this dish I like my salmon fully cooked so I wait for it all to change colour, about 3-4 mins for flaked fish. If you want to leave your fish whole, cooking will depend on the size and more so the thickness, I'd say between 6-9 minutes.

Also try adding some frozen peas, sugar snaps or mange tout and squeeze a bit of fresh lemon over it. Maybe also try replacing the salmon with chicken!

I used to make this with white wine and double cream, but this is just another success out of the MC&L kitchen where we have removed the non MC&L friendly ingredients and turned out a total winner!!

With 2 weeks until holiday, I'm not only on the MC&L wagon I'm driving the beast! (Can you tell I'm totally loving being motivated this week? That’s what being in the MC&L Facebook group and going from 12st 8lb to 10.10 will do for ya!)

Have a great weekend peeps

Lots of Love