Spiced tuna and Tomato Pasta

Tuna pasta dishes are wonderful. They are effortless to make, require very little preparation, and rich in protein. Also all of the ingredients (apart from the fresh tomatoes) were kitchen cupboard essentials  – in my kitchen at least (!) I came up with this particular recipe on Saturday after losing track of time painting and realising that as it was 9.55pm, there was no way I could get to a shop to buy some dinner  before the closing time of 10pm. The problems of being an artist and getting lost in art!

Anyway, with an empty fridge, a broken oven, and a hungry stomach, I needed to come up with something quickly. So, to the cupboard I went! Canned tuna and tomatoes are perfect in situations like that. The recipe for the pasta dish is below. If you have fresh carrots you could add them too for some additional goodness. Also, if unlike me, you’re not waiting for an oven to be fixed, you could bake in the oven for 20mins rather than on the hob. You could even top with a little cheese for additional tastiness.

This recipe makes a generous portion for 1 but could also be split into two smaller meals for lunch etc. The tuna contains about 27g protein so this is a great post-work out dish especially after a muscle focussed session.



1 portion dried Fusilli pasta (wholewheat is healthiest but I used white as it cooks slightly quicker)


1 small can tuna chunks
1/2 can sweet corn
1 tsp maple syrup
1/2 tin good quality tomatoes
Handful cherry tomatoes
1/2 tsp thyme
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp hot paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp oregano
Pinch ground turmeric
Ground black pepper


For the pasta:

  • Cook pasta according to packaging instructions.
  • Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 12.04.24

For the sauce:

  • Add everything except the tuna, sweetcorn and black pepper
  • Cook for 10 mins
  • Drain tuna and stir in
  • Leave to summer for 20minutes on a low heat
  • Add in sweetcorn
  • Leave for another few minutes
  • Taste and season with black pepper if desired
  • Toss in the drained pasta and stir
  • Serve

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Finished pasta

Optional: Top with fresh parsley to serve


Recipe for a Colourful Smoothie

Header As well as being a passionate foodie and advocate for healthy living, I am also an artist. This means I love, like, really love, colour! Shades, hues, and tones are all awesome to me. (I actually own a book which consists solely of annotated swatch-like squares of colour…) A new series of paintings on which I’m currently working, involves a lot of ochre pigments, specifically yellow and golden. So, I think the fact that ochre is currently on my mind is perhaps why my mind gravitated towards creating this smoothie today as the finished drink gives a somewhat light ochre’y finish! I had it as part of my breakfast.

It goes lovely with a big bowl of muesli. The fact my muesli contains a variety of dried fruit – pineapple, papya, raisins, and banana – in combination with the ingredients of the smoothie resulted in a breakfast with a pretty tropical feel. Always good to brighten up an overcast Scottish morning!

Let’s push the grey clouds away with this sunny smoothie.





Here’s the recipe:

Mango-Coconut Smoothie                                                                                                  Photo

  • 1/2 a fresh mango
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1cm root ginger
  • 1 tbsp flaxseed
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds

Put everything in a blender and whizz till smooth.

It’s so simple yet packed with goodness and super scrumptious and sweet.

If you like a thick smoothie, chill for a while before serving as the chia seeds and flaxseed will naturally thicken the smoothie.

P.S If you’d like to take a look at some of my art, you can find my art profiles on Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter. The first painting from my new, aforementioned series will be revealed soon so keep checking back to those profiles, or give me a follow and you can find my art adding some creativity to your newsfeed!

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Tropical Dream


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Smoothie 2: Tropical Dream 

Missing the summer sun at all? I may have a quick fix DIY solution… Bring the sun to you, in the form of a sunny smoothie! Ok, so not a real sun, and no heat comes with it, but it looks nice and bright and tastes of the tropics. My mango and banana smoothie is a rich yellow smoothie which is dairy-free and free of any added sugar. It is packed with vitamin C and other nutrients. The flaxseed is an excellent plant-based source of omega 3 and also adds some texture to the smoothie.

Smoothies are a fantastic way of getting towards your 5-a-day of fruit and vegetables. They make great snacks, additions to breakfast, or a work-break drink as they are quick to make and easy to take with you. This is the second in a seriesof smoothie recipes I’m posting to help you all kick off the first month of 2015 in a tasty, healthy way. Check out yesterday’s post for another idea and come back tomorrow for the next smoothie instalment!


  • 1 cup chopped mango
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 tbsp flaxseed (ground linseed)

Makes: 1 glass


1. Add everything into a blender.

2. Blend until smooth.

Note: The finished smoothie is reasonably thick, so if you’d prefer it thinner, just add a tablespoon to a quarter cup water to thin it down. TIP: Add ice cubes and blend for a slightly thinner and refreshingly cool drink.

*Drink and pretend you’re on a beach in a tropical place bathingin the gorgeous warm sun* 😉Screen Shot 2015-01-07 at 15.45.49


Helen x

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Smoothie 1: Creamy Green Energy Machine


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Smoothie 1: Creamy Green Energy Machine

This is a rich, creamy and very filling drink full of energy and nutrients. Bananas are a fantastic source of potassium, vitamins, manganese and fibre. Similarly, avocados are a great source of fibre and vitamins, such as A and E, while, on the other hand, they are also sources of folate and pantothenic acid. The creaminess comes from the creamy, buttery consistency of avocados as well as the soya milk which for some reason gives smoothies a great creaminess which you’d almost think would have to come from cream but in fact is entirely from the soya itself. This makes a great quick breakfast, on-the-go snack, or part of a breakfast. The main ingredients, banana and avocado, successfully provide good nutritional content for both pre and post-workouts making it ideal to drink on the way to the gym or after the gym.

Recipe for: Creamy Green Energy Machine



  • 1/2 a super-ripe avocado
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 cup unsweetened soya milk (make sure it is made from non-GM whole soybeans) or use unsweetened almond milk
  • Optional: 1/4 cup water to make it slightly less thick
  • Crushed ice-cubes
  • 1/2 tablespoon chia seeds


1. Remove stone from avocado and scoop flesh out and into a tall jug or a smoothie maker. 2. Add the peeled banana in chunks and pour in the milk If using chia seeds add these too 3. Blitz for a few minutes with a hand blender or smoothie maker until smooth

Screen Shot 2015-01-06 at 13.52.55

Serve as it is, or, if you would like it thinner, add water /or ice-cubes Enjoy the tasty goodness!

Helen x

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Top 5 Healthy Foods to Snack On


Tempted to pick up a handful of crisps, sweets, or pop to the nearest coffee shop to buy a triple chocolate muffin?! Try these healthy options instead. All require no, or virtually no, preparation making them perfect for work breaks and study snacks.

1. Grapes


  • They are lower in sugar than other fruit such as bananas.
  • They are easy to eat, no sticky fingers or juice going everywhere (a nightmare if you’re busy working away in an office – no one likes sticky keys on a keyboard!)
  • They require virtually no preparation – just be sure to buy the seedless variety for minimal effort.

2. Half an Avocado


  • It is a power-house of goodness it is good if you’re in both a savoury or sweet mood
  • It can be eaten easily just with a spoon it is filling.
  • Here’s a quick little recipe for a sweet serving idea. 

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3. Nuts


  • There is no preparation – providing you buy ones already shelled.
  • They are a good source of minerals, vitamins and protein. Although, the high fat content in some nuts can worry people, the fats in the nutritional make-up of nuts are good fats rather than bad. [1]
  • There are many types to choose from including almonds, brazil nuts, cashew nuts, chestnuts, hazelnuts, and macadamia nuts. My favourite are pecans and fresh coconut.

Coconut photo

4. Sliced red pepper, carrot batons, celery and hummus dip


  • It’s a colourful snack filled with nutrients and easy to eat.
  • Celery, red pepper and carrots are all low-calorie making it a light snack.
  • Celery aids digestion and lowers blood pressure, red peppers are full of antioxidants and vitamins A and C, while carrots give a source of beta-carotene, promoting eye health.

This requires some prep. but works great for preparing in the morning to take to work as a mid-morning or afternoon snack. The different vegetables vary in colour and taste making them appealing to both eyes and tastebuds. This snack got me through many an essay break at university! I used to buy pre-cut carrot batons (lazy, I know) and store-bought hummus too – serving idea [here].

5. Apple and cheese


  • Apples are a good source of Vitamin C while cheese is a source of protein.
  • It is sweet and savoury – perfect if you can’t decide what mood you’re in (tastebud-wise!)

The snack I had as a child when other kids were eating fries / crisps / sweets etc. My parents have always encouraged a healthy diet. I did love it as a child and I think that’s why I still enjoy it now. Simply chop up an apple and cheese into similar sized cubes and serve as is in a bowl or, if taking to work, place in a sealed snack box with a squeeze of lemon over the apple to stop it from going brown due to oxidisation. To me, it’s the perfect sweet and savoury snack.

  • TIP (from my childhood): Try to end on a piece of cheese as cheese will help get some of the fruity acidity off of your teeth.

Apple and cheese


Helen x

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[1] http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/health-benefits-nuts





My Shopping Basket: 6 Great Fruit and Vegetables


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My Shopping basket

I think I might make this a bi-monthly feature where I’ll show a selection of food items I’ve bought and say what I’ll be using them for etc. Hopefully it will inspire you to try something new with foods that you may not have thought of before or, remind you of something you enjoy. This post will focus on fruit and vegetables I bought this week. For me, fruit and vegetables are naturally delicious on their own but obviously that would make for a pretty boring post so I’m going to hopefully try and give various serving ideas.

Shopping basket graphic 1

1. Bananas

To me, these are a staple. I buy them all the time and often have one a day. I much prefer them to apples as I find they are a lot more versatile being able to use them as a natural sweetener to add in baking, as the base of a smoothie, frozen and blended as ice-cream (see below), or simply to eat on its own, like the monkeys and orangutans do it! They can be eaten at any time of day. Breakfast, Mid-morning break, as a sweet component of lunch, as dessert in a banana split or frozen and dipped in chocolate, and as a pre or post-workout snack as they are high in energy and potassium. Fancy a tasty treat, try this banana recipe!

Frozen banana ice-creamServing suggestion: Banana ice-cream // frozen banana blended with a blender and served on top of fresh bananas // i.e a bowl of banana – sweet!

 2. Apples

Despite my previous paragraph, I do have a fondness for apples just not as much as banana! Anyway, at this time of year I often cook apples infused with spices, see Winter warming spiced-apples. I love cooked apples with Greek yoghurt, clotted cream, or as served as a topping for porridge or granola. Baked apples are also nice at this time of year making a warming winter dessert. If I have apples uncooked at this cold time of year, I tend to have them with cheese and crackers, or just the cheese on its own, as it makes a very satisfying snack or after dinner dessert.

 3. Lemon

Lemons are often merely used as a garnish for drinks. But they have a much greater potential. The zest is great for providing zest for a variety of recipes but I think the juice is the best part. I love using it, combined with some black pepper and extra virgin olive oil as a minimalistic and refreshing salad dressing. (For example in this tasty salad recipe.). It also makes a great marinade for prawns or salmon. Lemon juice also prevents chopped apples from going brown.

TIP: Start the day with a large glass of water with a squeeze of lemon juice. Water is crucial for keeping your body hydrated and drinking it first thing, kick starts your metabolism for the day ahead.

 4. Red onions

These are tasty cut into rough wedges, tossed in olive oil, seasoned, and oven roasted. I also like them finely chopped and added to salads to give a fiery kick and a distinctive colour.

TIP: Use in place of white onions when you want a stronger flavour.

 5. Cucumber

This is more of a summer food but I enjoy it year-round as I find it refreshing in sandwiches, on crackers and in salads. It goes perfectly with smoked salmon and cream cheese – two of my favourite things!

TIP: If you don’t like plain water or lemon flavoured water, then try adding a slice or two of cucumber to a glass of water or a few slices to a jug of water and leave it for a few minutes before serving. It’ll give a hint of flavour and make the water slightly more interesting than simply ‘still water’.

 5. Avocados

Avocados are truly a superfood being high in vitamins, fibre, and many other nutrients. Served either sweet or savoury, they are fully versatile. I use them on their own and in combination with other foods. I love them pureed and blended with a banana, which forms a delicious naturally creamy ‘whip’ , and equally enjoy them seasoned with black pepper and sliced in a salad. They are also great served filled with maple-sweetened Greek yoghurt (recipe here.)

TIP: Avocados are not only great for you inside, but outside too. There are many great skin products you can make easily and cheaply at home using them. A handy list can be found here.


Serving suggestion

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Helen x

Copyright ©hldcblog2014

Bean Chilli Hotpot

Here’s a tasty  bean chilli perfect for this time of year when nights are getting darker earlier and temperatures are lowering. I created this recipe back in June 2014 but now that it’s autumn it seems like now is a more apt time to post! It has around 4 of your five a day, 5 if you add the pepper, meaning it’s just bursting with vitamins and nutrients!


Bean Chilli Hotpot

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Serves 2


    • 1 tin of tomatoes247634_777262758986773_6512152553743555052_n
  • 6tbsp tinned red kidneybeans

  • 6tbsp tinned black eye peas
  • 6tbsp tinned sweetcorn
  • 1 clove finely chopped garlic
  • 1tbsp tomato puree
  • 1tsp chilli powder (less if you want it milder or more if you like it hot!)
  • 1/4tsp paprika
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Drizzle of agave syrup or honey


  • 1 fresh red pepper chopped



1. Sauté the garlic in a drop of oil and then add the tinned tomatoes.

2. Season with the spices and add the remaining ingredients apart from the red pepper, if using.

3. Bring to the boil and then leave to simmer for 40-50 minutes or until it thickens. (Note: If you’re in a rush you can serve earlier but it will be a soup-like consistency, really good for a cold autumnal afternoon or a cosy winter evening by the fire!)

4. Add any final seasoning you wish – more chilli, cracked black pepper etc. Serve with either fresh crusty bread, brown rice rice, or in tacos.



P.S Remember I’m on Twitter @hldcblog and Instagram: @hcrinstacam

Helen x

Blueberry sauce

Blueberry sauce

 photo image_zps19e1fb39.jpgThis is a great little sauce which can be whipped up at a moments notice as a topping for Greek yoghurt, other fruit, frozen yoghurt, pancakes or ice-cream. I particularly like it swirled through a bowl of Greek yoghurt as it makes for a delicious healthy instant fruit yoghurt without the ridiculous number of thickeners and stabilisers etc that are added to the majority of commercially produced yoghurts. This version is sugar and sweetener free too. So, want to know how to make it? Here you go!



  • Approx. half a handful of ripe fresh blueberries
  • A splash of water


  • Pop the blueberries and water into a microwaveable bowl and microwave for 30secs (800W)
  • Remove, stir and replace for a further 10secs.
  • Stir until blended.
  • Serve immediately or wait to cool.

Note: Adjust the time slightly depending on the Wattage of your microwave

It’s so simple, isn’t it!



  • Why not try with other soft fruits e.g. raspberries, blackcurrant
  • Use frozen rather than fresh berries. During the winter months I always keep a selection of frozen berries in my freezer which I can use to make the sauce but I find when using frozen berries it is best to add a little maple syrup/honey to sweeten.

P.S I’d love to see how you serve this so feel free to tweet me @hldcblog or #hldcblog. Also I’m on Instagram daily @HCRinstacam. 

Have a wonderful day,

Helen x 

Nutmeg and orange at mugcake

So for my second post I thought I’d share something brand new. I fancied a mugcake for breakfast this morning – yes a CAKE (don’t worry it’s healthy!) – and was also feeling in an experimental mood which resulted in me making this new version of an oat-based mugcake.

Oat-based mugcakes in general are not a new concept (Google and see) but this recipe was made entirely on-the-spot and I think it worked well! With oats, an egg and fruit juice, this has an ideal combination of nutrients to start your day the best way.

Also, it’s really, really quick and easy to make and is cooked in a microwave (no messy pans to wash – yay!) Just to warn you all, though, this mugcake is not like a conventional cake, not the same texture etc, but it is certainly tasty and as this blog is all about being healthy, it is exactly that – healthy!! As well as for breakfast, this works well as a snack, post work-out energy rejuvenator or dessert. Try it and see what you think!

Recipe: Nutmeg and orange oat mugcake 


  • 1/3 cup oats (microwavable or ordinary)
  • 1 small egg
  • 3tbsp fresh orange juice
  • 1tbsp maple syrup
  • 1tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg (or a 1/4 if you’re not as big a fan of nutmeg as I am!)


Mix all ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl (I use a cereal bowl). Cook for 1 min 30 secs in a 800W microwave. Leave to stand in the microwave for about 30secs and be very careful when lifting as the bowl will be hot. To serve either eat it out of the bowl or flip it out onto a plate as I have done in the above picture. Either way, it’s nice served with fresh natural yoghurt or Greek yoghurt and sliced banana.

Other topping ideas:

  • Other fruit e.g. Orange  segments
  • Frozen yoghurt
  • Melted high cocoa dark chocolate


  • Add some dark chocolate chips to the mixture for a chocolate version
  • Use a different juice e.g. apple juice


P.S. if you try this out, I’d love to see how it turns out so feel free to Tweet me a pic or show me via Instagram using the hashtag #hldcblog or tag me, @HCRinstacam.