Category Archives: homemade

Sea Salt and Pepper Oatcakes

I made these Sea Salt and Pepper Oatcakes for our Christmas Eve evening cheeseboard and beyond, not that they ever last that long.  You can add any herbs of your choice or chilli flakes and such like, delicious plain or packed with flavour,  these are relatively plain as they will be served with an assortment of very wonderful but quite strong smelly cheeses!

oatcake Collage

A batch of Oatcakes can be knocked up in under an hour, usually I just produce the classic round shape but as it’s Christmas I’ve busted out the star and heart cutters!  You can also make these up to a week before you need them if kept in an airtight box.  They make great little foodie gifts when paired up with some home-made chutney and small cheeses.   

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Sea Salt and Pepper Oatcakes

Yields:  around 25-30
Making time:  20 minutes
Baking time:  30 minutes

Pre-heat your oven to 180C/160C fan, gas 4 and lightly grease 2 baking trays with butter or olive oil.

Ingredients

220g oats
50g plain wholemeal flour
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp golden caster sugar
60g unsalted butter, melted
175ml hot water

Method

Mix the oats, wholemeal flour, sea salt, black pepper and golden caster sugar together in a large bowl.

Pour the melted butter into the hot water and mix, then pour into the dry ingredients and combine thoroughly to form a soft dough.  

Dust your worksurface with flour and roll out the dough to your desired thickness, mine are around 5mm.  

Cut out shapes using pastry cutters and carefully arrange on the baking trays and bake for around 30 minutes until golden.

Allow to cool.

Think I should leave some out for Santa Claus tonight?…….

santas oatcakes

Nutritional Info:

Oats:   good source of soluble dietary fibre, vitamin B1, phosphorus, selenium, manganese, iron and magnesium.

 Linking up with Simply Food – Let’s Cook Christmas

Mini Panettone for Christmas

I’ve not attempted to make a Panettone before but after my bread making course my confidence with all things bread and yeast has definitely increased.

Mini Panettone make lovely little gifts for Christmas, after wrapping in baking parchment paper pop them in cellophane wrap and tie with a bow.  These were for Miss ND’s pre-school gifts along with some homemade iced Christmas biscuits.  I shall be making my Stollen next and some Stollen bites for our usual Christmas Eve breakfast.

panettone

This recipe comes from the Baking Mad website, so many lovely baking recipes there. for once I stuck to the sugar allocation and the Panettone did not taste overly sweet even with the sultanas and mixed peel.  I would definitely add more dried fruit and mixed peel next time though and maybe some dark chocolate chips!

This is another recipe I will definitely be baking again and again as apart from the 3 provings (don’t let the 6 hour prep time put you off, you can start in the morning and have it all done by tea time) the Panettone were very easy to make and came out beautifully.  

 

Thanks to Tesco for providing the flour for the Panettone.

Linking up with Helen from The Crazy Kitchen and Helen from Mummy Mishaps for the #GreatBloggersBakeOff

  

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Seeded Spelt Loaves

Since I went on the bread making workshop  I’ve been wanting to try out some breads using non-traditional flours.  I’ve had some Wholegrain Spelt Flour in the cupboard for a while now and was wondering what to bake with it.   Spelt is an ancient grain, a cousin to wheat although  it contains a broader range of nutrients and is high in vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, folic acid, E, manganese,  copper, and magnesium.   It also contains a wide range of minerals and is a good source of fibre .

I used this recipe from Dove’s Farm  except that I made 4 mini loaves, omitted the nuts and added a mix of sunflower, pumpkin, sesame and flaxseeds to the top as well as the dough.  Before adding the seeds on top I egg washed the dough to give a nice sheen.

Speltflour

 

The dough was a little harder to work with and didn’t rise with as much aplomb as my usual wheat-based flour doughs but nevertheless the resulting Spelt bread rose well enough and was delicious.

Spelt loaf ND

 

We’ve enjoyed these loaves with a numbers of toppings and fillings, from cheeses to honey and even my jam!  It was also delicious toasted the next morning.  Even the tiddler enjoyed a slice  or two, although I think she’s a little confused about why I would put seeds in her bread when we usually put them in the garden!   

I popped one of the loaves into the freezer, the great frozen abyss that is my old chest freezer, I cannot wait till I have an upright one with drawers!

If you want to try using non-traditional flours, Spelt is a great one to start with,  it has a lovely nutty flavour and with the addition of seeds a very healthy alternative to traditional wheat.

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Mixed Berry Oatmeal Yoghurt Bars

We love yoghurt, I love the way that Miss ND gets the giant tub out of the fridge each morning and spoons some into a bowl and just eats it, no sweeteners, just plain yoghurt, it’s like an appetiser before her main breakfast.  I am so pleased I have managed (so far) to keep her taste buds on the less sweet side, she is used to my baking with less sugar!

I usually have around a quarter of a tub left when I feel I need a fresh tub so have been looking at recipes to include yoghurt and have been compiling a folder of things to try.  We use Total Greek Yoghurt, it’s so thick and lush, we like the full fat kind, but you could use the 0% or 2% in any of the recipes.   I find a lot of recipes that use yoghurt only use a small amount, this recipe uses a good dollop!

Total Greek Yoghurt have a challenge going on Twitter at the moment, I’m not on Twitter nearly enough so have just found it, so today I am making their Mixed Berry Oatmeal Bars which I am hoping will be a healthy lunchbox favourite with Miss ND and maybe a little treat with my tea.  You can find the recipe on their extensive recipe site here where they have a week’s worth of recipes using yoghurt, I shall be cherry picking my way through them!

oatbar Collage

The oats in the recipe provide fibre and if using raisins, a good source of iron.  I’ve only made a couple of  tweaks, one to reduce the sugar and the other to substitute the sunflower oil for coconut oil, our oil (along with olive oil) of choice.  Pleased to see an egg white in the recipe too, always have an egg white or 6 hanging about in the fridge or freezer (I freeze them labelling the amount on the bag, makes it easy to whip however many I need for a recipe), this also adds to the protein content of the bars along with the yoghurt content.

oatbar

 

Mixed Berry Oatmeal Bars were very easy to pull together and really delicious and filling too, I think the little girl is going to like these!

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Cod and Chorizo Risotto

We eat a lot of fish at our house, Mr ND is a vegetarian and I mainly eat chicken and fish and the little one usually joins in with one or the other. When buying fish I like to take out a small piece and make another separate meal for her, a little plainer as we do like to spice our food up sometimes!  So with less fish available our Cod and Chorizo Risotto is an ideal way to stretch it out. I’ve added peas and mushrooms but you can beef it up with more vegetables too.

Serves 3 adults

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: around 30 minutes

Ingredients – 1 onion, chopped, Chorizo, sliced, mushrooms, sliced, Cod, cubed, 1 teaspoon each of Turmeric and Paprika (more to your own taste), 1 vegetable stock cube, Peas, 1 cup Arborio Rice.  Ingredient quantities are flexible depending on what is left in the fridge, so please adjust to your own quantities, the rice quantity will easily feed 3 adults.

risottoingredients

Method

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan and sauté the onion for 5 minutes, I add a splash of water half way through to steam fry, which softens the onions without them catching.  

Add the Chorizo, Mushrooms and Cod to the pan and gently fry for another 5 minutes until softened.  

Add the Arborio rice, Turmeric, Paprika and stock made up with around 600-700 ml of boiling water (use more or less as necessary).  Cover and simmer gently for around 20 minutes until the liquid has nearly all been absorbed, leave the lid off for the last 5 minutes of cooking.

codchorizoCollageND

 

Serve with a fresh, green salad and a chilled glass of white wine!

Quick Nutritional Info:

Cod – Protein, Omega-3, B3, B6, B12
Turmeric – see here for details
Paprika – Vitamins A, C & E, Calcium and Iron, good source of B1, B2, B3, B6, Vitamin K, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Copper and Manganese, and Potassium.
Peas – Protein, Vitamins A,  C,  K,  B1, B3, Folic acid, Iron & Manganese, very good source of Fibre.
Mushrooms – Protein, Vitamin C,  B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, Folic Acid, Iron, Zinc, Manganese, Phosphorus, Potassium, Copper and Selenium. Very good source of Vitamin D & fibre, 

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Apple and Sour Cream Flan Cake

appleflancake1Apple and Sour Cream flan cake

Last year our apple trees produced no fruit, a first for them since we have lived here, the beautiful, delicate pink blossoms were rained on so hard that they didn’t get pollinated so no apples.  We have 4 trees, 3 Bramley’s and 1, as yet, unidentified eating apple tree.  We cook, bake, freeze and finally give loads to the neighbours.   This year all is well again,  I have been on blossom, rain, wind, weather watch and although we had a lot of rain this year, we have a healthy crop.  

apple Collage

This Apple and Sour Cream Flan Cake was inspired by an old Woman & Home recipe that I have tucked away and is a firm family favourite.   I have lowered the sugar content again but feel free to use more if your tooth is sweeter than ours.

 Pre heat your oven to 180C, 160C Fan, gas mark 4

Bottom line and butter a 23cm (9″) round cake tin, I use a springform, so easy to use.

My Ingredients
3 medium sized cooking apples, peeled and cored
125g butter,softened plus a little extra to brush top of apples
90g golden caster sugar
2 organic free-range eggs
1tsp vanilla extract
200g plain flour
1½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp ground cinnamon
100g sour cream
1 tblspn apricot jam for glazing

Method
Beat the butter and the golden caster sugar together until pale and creamy, add the eggs one at a time and beat in. Stir in the vanilla extract, then the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and the sour cream until smooth.

Chop one of the apples into small bite sized chunks and finely slice the others, you may not need all the slices.  Add the chopped apples to the cake batter, then spread the mixture into the prepared baking tin. Make smooth and even then arrange the apple slices to top. Melt a little butter and brush over the top of the cake and apples.

Bake for 40-50 minutes until the cake has risen and is golden. It should be firm to the touch. Cool on a wire rack, then glaze the top with the warm apricot jam. Serve with creme fraiche or a dollop of double cream, this cake is so lovely and moist it doesn’t need anything but it’s summer and a blob of something creamy is so de rigeur!  Enjoy!

 appleflanslice

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Flavour Packed Vegetable Stock

I’ve been making my own vegetable stock forever especially in the colder months and this year being colder for longer I’ve made a small batch this weekend. It’s so simple to do and it’s a great way to use up excess vegetables.  Carrots, celery and onion make up the base of my stock and from there I add different vegetables depending on what’s usually in the fridge, parsnips, leeks and sometimes cabbage, swede and mushrooms have made their way into the pot.

I use parsley, bay and black peppercorns but also have used thyme, garlic and other herbs, there really is no set menu for making your own recipe vegetable stock.  The stock I’m making here is perfect for tiny tastebuds too, mine doesn’t like garlic very much yet so will leave it out of this batch.

Today’s pot of goodness includes:

2 organic carrots, chopped – I don’t peel, just give a good scrub
2 celery sticks, chopped
1 medium onion, cut into quarters
1 parsnip, peel and cut lengthways
1 small swede, chopped
1 leek including the green part, trim the end off and cut lengthways
3 cabbage leaves, the very outer greener ones
small handful of parsley including stalks
a few black peppercorns
1 bay leaf

Put all the vegetables into a pan, I’m using my trusty old (and it is very old but still so good) Le Creuset pan and add 2 litres of water.   Depending on the size of your pan you can add more or less water, more will, of course, produce a more lighter flavoured stock and with less the stock will have a more concentrated infusion.  2 litres fills my pot nicely and produces a delicious, well-flavoured stock.


Simmer for 1-2 hours, I know this seems a bit vague but an hour is fine but if I have the time I do like to give it a bit more simmering time.  Stir occasionally to further blend the flavours.

For extra depth of flavour you can also fry the vegetables gently first in a little oil before adding the water.  For soups though I prefer a simple, fresh and light stock.

Take off the heat and strain through a sieve and leave to cool.  The stock liquid can now be used as the base for soups or to make rissoto, quinoa, etc. 

Once cooled the stock can be frozen, mine is used up pretty quickly as I make a lot of soups which are fabulous for the 5:2 diet which I am still doing every week, it has become a habit now, part of my week and having low-calorie, highly nutritious soups to keep my appetite satiated has been amazingly helpful. 

The cooked vegetables can also be blended down and included in many recipes.  The vegetables will still contain plenty of fibre and a huge shame to waste.  I use them in soups for the tiddler, blended down or added to casseroles.  We also make veggie burgers, mixing the mashed vegetables with breadcrumbs and egg, seasonings and sometimes cheese.  So many uses for extra veg!

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