Category Archives: recipe

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.   

oatcakes4

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

  

mummy mishaps

Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

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Butternut Squash Ginger Soup & the 5:2 diet

Soups deliver such concentrated nutrition, even the little girl is amenable to soup even if it is a few mouthfuls, I can be assured that my homemade soup is full of natural goodness.

Butternut Squash is one of my (many) favourite vegetables, with its dense, orange flesh, it is delicious and sweet with a nutty flavour.  I have wrestled with many a Butternut Squash and have now found the perfect peeler for the tough outer skin thanks to a visit to Lakeland, so now its less challenging and faster to prepare too!

Carrots can be used instead of the Butternut Squash or a mix of both is good too, soup has so many variations and each has their own place within each season.  Although this year the seasons have gone a little awry with snow in April here!

Butternut Squash Ginger Soup is satisfying and filling on my 5:2 fast diet days.  And just in case you haven’t heard about this yet, the 5:2 Fast Diet was brought to us by Dr Michael Moseley when he was researching the health and longevity claims for the BBC2 Horizon programme Eat Fast and Live Longer – for 2 days a week you aim for 500 calories for women and 600 for men.  I have got this down to a fine art now & can easily get around the 500 calorie mark with soups on the menu, I’ve gone a little soup loopy but they are just so easy and delicious, plus you can use up any lingering vegetables from the fridge so less waste!

I make up a pot which will last for the couple of days fasting and is extremely low in fat and calories.  The addition of Ginger gives the soup an interesting zing and warmth.  On non-5:2 days I add crème fraîche, chilli flakes and black pepper which lifts the flavours even more!

For my pot of soup, some of which can be frozen too, popped in ice cube trays for easy access to soup for kiddie meals, I used around 600g of butternut squash, I did weigh it for the benefit of this blog post but usually I just use a medium Butternut Squash.

 

Prep time:  15 mins

Cooking time:  20 minutes

Ingredients

half a tsp butter – I use unsalted
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
about an inch of root Ginger
600g Butternut Squash, peeled, deseeded and chopped into small cubes
1 litre of homemade vegetable stock
black pepper, optional

Method

Gently fry the Onion, Garlic and Ginger for a couple of minutes in the butter then add a few tablespoons of water to steam fry for another 2-3 minutes. 

Add the Butternut Squash and steam fry for a further 5 minutes.

Add the Vegetable Stock, I make my own which increases the nutritional value of the soup too, see my blog post on Stock.

Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the Butternut Squash is soft and tender.

Cool, then blend in a liquidiser. 

Nutritious and delicious.

Quick Nutritional Info

Butternut Squash – Vitamin A, C, E, B-complex – folic acid, vitamins, B1, B2, B3 and B6. Iron, zinc, copper, manganese, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus.

Ginger – anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, carminative, anti-microbial properties.  Potassium, manganese, copper, and magnesium.

Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

Bread Time – Soda Bread

Soda Bread, leavened with bicarbonate of soda rather than yeast, which makes it perfect for me as I am supposed to be avoiding yeast, it’s not easy as I love breads of every kind!  I made a plain version to start with and really enjoyed it.  Soda bread does not keep well and is best eaten within a day or so, no problem there then!  Apparently it freezes well, mine didn’t last long enough to freeze.

I expect all Soda Bread recipes are mostly alike but I’m using Paul Hollywood’s version from his How to Bake book but I did halve the recipe, I always like to do a test bake first! 

Prep: 15-20 mins

Makes: 1 small loaf

Pre-heat your oven to 200°C/180°C fan/Gas 6
Line a baking tray with parchment/baking paper


Ingredients

250g plain white flour plus a little extra for dusting your board and dough before baking

½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

½ tsp salt

200ml buttermilk

Method

Combine the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a bowl, then add in the buttermilk and stir until a sticky dough is formed.

Put the dough onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a ball, flatten slightly.

Then put the dough onto your prepared baking try, cut into quarters making sure you don’t cut all the way through and give a light dusting with flour.

Bake for 30 minutes or until cooked through.

Leave to cool on a wire rack.

The great thing about some breads are the alternatives you can make. Combining wholemeal and white flour and by adding grated cheese and onion or sun-dried tomatoes, olives, etc to the dough mixture for an even more delicious Soda Bread.

For the Sundried Tomato and Cheese Soda bread I used 180g white plain flour (all I had left after baking 2 other Soda Breads!) and 70g wholemeal flour, as you can see even so little wholemeal flour has given it a lovely colour and texture.  I used 40g extra strong Cheddar cheese, will use more next time, love cheesy bread and a few sun-dried Tomatoes, again could have used more.  Can’t wait to try out more combinations!

Toddler Chicken Quinoa Burgers

My toddler’s food choices are changing, gone are the days when she would eat and sample everything, now I have to conceal vegetables in anything I can as I am not prepared for her to go without her veggies or good nutrition.

Getting her to eat chicken (we only eat chicken and fish) is also not so easy, she will pick it out of any dish, it’s not the taste but probably the texture she isn’t keen on. With this in mind I decided to buy a mincer, a cheap plastic one in case it was all in vain, to mince up the chicken (not a pleasant task!) and make some mini chicken burgers. They turned out better than expected and she even managed a couple of bites, they did taste delicious, I would have liked some chilli in the mix but they are for the girl not me, although I did manage to polish off test out a couple!

Ingredients

4 x chicken mini fillets, minced
2 x sundried tomatoes
2 tsp red pesto (contains pecorino and grana padano cheeses)
2-3 spring onions, finely chopped
about half a slice of fresh oaty bread, minus the crusts
1 tsp mixed herbs, I used herbes de provence
black pepper to season (optional)
*Quinoa, cooked


Method

Put the chicken fillets along with the sundried tomatoes into the mincer and mince, then put the bread through the mincer, this helps to clear out all the chicken, the fresh bread rather than dried breadcrumbs keep the burger moister.

Add the red pesto, spring onions, mixed herbs and seasoning to taste and combine until all the ingredients are blended in.  Then add 1-2 tablespoons of cooked Quinoa.

Form into small balls, cover and chill for an hour.

Fry gently for 2-3 minutes, patting down into burger shapes, (you can also grill, brush with oil first if you do) on both sides until cooked through.

Serve with mini burger buns and cheese (the red pesto also contains pecorino and Grana pandano cheeses), or in TC’s case eat as a snack, it’s a start!  My next experimental batch will definitely have some vegetable puree blended in.   More from the “toddler test kitchen” soon!
*I cook Quinoa a couple of times a week and keep cooled in the fridge ready for use in a variety of dishes, I added about a tablespoon to the chicken burger mix, add more or less to your taste. 

Avocado Two Cheese Quesadilla

I’m on a quest for quick and easy snacks and light lunches that I can share with the ND toddler.  We both love pancakes, cheeses and Avocado and putting them altogether between tortillas and making Quesadilla was certainly a hit with both of us, must make one each next time, amazing what such a small person can pack away!

Avocado‘s have many health benefits, they are rich in monounsaturated (good) fats, vitamin A, B2, B3, B5, B6, C, E, Folic Acid and Potassium.  Phytonutrient compounds found in avocados, such as polyphenols and flavonoids have also been found to have anti-inflammatory properties. 

Quesadilla’s are so easy to make, hardly any “cooking” involved, just assemble, using the fillings of your choice.  I used a mix of Cheddar and Gruyère and added some black pepper and a little chilli seasoning to the Avocado, delicious and nutritious too.   If you don’t have an electric griddle, fry the tortilla’s until the cheese starts to melt then carefully turn over and fry for another couple of minutes.

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Chocolate Valentine Cheesecake

I asked Mr ND what he would like for Valentine‘s Day, he wanted a chocolate cheesecake.  To make it Valentine inspired I cut a little heart out of the middle with a cookie cutter and filled the space with raspberry jelly.

Serves: this is a small cheesecake for two to share or in our case, all for Mr ND!

Prep time around 20 minutes
Cooking time – 40 minutes plus cooling

Ingredients

125g Chocolate Digestive biscuits
45g unsalted butter, melted
50g double cream
300g soft cheese
1½ tablespoons cocoa powder
1 medium egg
40g golden caster sugar
1 tablespoon of fresh orange juice
plain chocolate grated for decoration

Pre-heat your oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4.
Method

Line a 15cm springform tin with baking paper, I find springform easier to release cheesecakes intact!

– Place the chocolate digestive biscuits in a food processor and whiz up until crushed.  Add the melted butter and stir into the crushed biscuits, press into your baking tin.  Chill until your cheesecake filling is ready.

– Place the double cream, cream cheese, cocoa powder, egg, caster sugar and orange juice into your food processor and whiz up until smooth.

– Pour the mixture onto the biscuit base and bake for 40 minutes.  Put a bowl of hot water into the oven too on a lower rack, the steam from the hot water will keep the cheesecake moist.

–  Turn the oven off after 40 minutes and leave the cheesecake in the oven to cool for abour an hour or so then place the cheesecake in the fridge to cool further.

– Decorate with shavings of chocolate to your heart’s content.

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Savoury Courgette Tomato Mozzarella Muffins

I have a penchant for vegetable cakes, we all know how delicious carrot cake can be, even without the icing!  Cakes with vegetables baked in can be a healthier option by providing a tasty way to increase vegetable consumption, especially for children who aren’t keen on anything resembling a vegetable.

This recipe contains no butter or sugar, carrots can be substituted for courgettes if you want a sweeter batter or a mix of both is good too.  I have used white, brown and a mix of the two flours, all are equally tasty, the latter having more fibre of course.

The sun-dried tomatoes can be substituted with roasted cherry tomatoes.

Give the grated courgettes a good squeeze through a sieve to eliminate excess liquid before adding to your batter.

I used just a sprinkle of parmesan before baking, I was over-exuberant with it once and it just over-ran and melted in a puddle all around the muffins in the tin which I still picked off and ate, so very tasty, melted, baked cheese!

Pre-heat your oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4.

Makes around 12 large muffins

Ingredients

1 large egg
50ml olive oil
150ml semi-skimmed milk
200g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
4-6 sun-dried tomatoes (drained and chopped)
1 large courgette, grated
Salt and black pepper
150g mozzarella, chopped into small pieces
¼ tsp paprika
grated Parmesan for sprinkling on top

Method

Put the egg, olive oil and milk into a bowl and whisk together until blended.  In another larger bowl, combine the flour and baking powder, pour the egg/oil/milk mixture over the flour and gently combine, muffins need minimal mixing or they can become rubbery once baked.  Add the sun-dried tomatoes, courgettes and the seasonings and paprika to your taste.  Finally add the chopped mozzarella and combine together.

Pop mixture into a prepared muffin tin lined with muffin cases, sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on the tops of the muffins.  Bake for 20-25 minutes turning once halfway though.

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Sweet Potato Quinoa Hummus

I do like hummus, a lot.  It is so very easy to make and you can adjust the consistency and ingredients to your own tastes.  I usually make a basic hummus then split the portions into 2 or 3 and have one for the toddler, a chilli hummus for myself and then whatever else is requested, they all get wolfed down.

Adding cooked Quinoa to hummus makes it even healthier, see the health notes on my Quinoa post here.  Plus the anti-oxidant rich sweet potatoes give it extra taste and valuable nutrients making it a fabulous snack for all the family. 

Hummus is made from chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil. 

Chickpeas are nutritionally valuable pulses and a great source of protein, they have many health enhancing nutrients and are a good source of isoflavones, vitamin E and iron.

Tahini, made from ground sesame seeds, is also a nutritional powerhouse, a high quality protein and a great source of calcium. 

Sweet Potato Quinoa Hummus

Ingredients:
1 medium sweet potato – around 100g of cooked product
400g Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons Tahini
1 garlic clove, chopped
60g cooked Quinoa
juice of ½ lemon
2 tablespoons of Olive oil

Method:
Bake the sweet potato until soft and tender.  Scoop out the cooked sweet potato into a food processor, add the chickpeas, tahini and garlic and whiz it all up until smooth(ish).  Scrape down the sides of the food processor if necessary.

Add the cooked Quinoa, lemon juice and olive oil and whiz up again until smooth.  If you need to adjust the consistency add a little water at the end.
Add a sprinkle of Paprika and a dash of olive oil to finish.  Serve with breadsticks (toddler favourite), vegetable sticks and my favourite, toasted Warburtons Soft Seeded Thins.

Delicious, soft and smooth!



Nutritional Info:

Chickpeas: Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, E, Beta-carotene, Biotin, Folic Acid, Calcium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Molybdenum, Phosphorus, Potassium, Selenium, Zinc, Fibre.

Tahini – sesame seeds:  Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, E, Beta-carotene, Calcium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Potassium, Selenium, Zinc, Fibre, Omega 6 and 9.

Quinoa Cookie-Cakes

 
 
 
 
 
 

These Quinoa Chocolate cookie-cakes are soft with a cake like texture rather than a hard biscuit.  You can add dried fruit or chopped nuts for more crunch but they are so good just as they are with chocolate!

I bought some Coconut sugar recently, I was intrigued to see how it worked in my baking, I tasted it first to see how sweet it was and was pleasantly surprised to find it far less sweet than white or brown sugar.

 

Coconut sugar is a healthy alternative sweetner that has a lower glycemic index than cane sugar, agave or honey.   It is especially high in minerals including potassium, magnesium and zinc, as well as vitamins B2, B3 and B6. 

The addition of Quinoa makes these little cakes protein-rich and with a little bit of chocolate a delicious treat at tea time, breakfast time or any time!
Great healthy toddler snack too, mine loves them.
Ingredients

125g unsalted butter – softened
75g coconut sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg100g wholewheat plain flour
75g plain flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
¾ cup cooked and cooled Quinoa (easier to measure in cups)
50g sugar-free dark chocolate, roughly chopped

Method

Pre-heat your oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4.

Beat the softened butter and Coconut sugar until pale and creamy.  Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat in until well combined.

In another bowl, combine the wholewheat flour, plain flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and ground cinnamon.

Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients a few tablespoons at a time and mix in until fully combined.  I used my hand mixer.

Stir in the cooked Quinoa and chocolate pieces to the cake batter and fold in until just combined.  These cakes are a great way to use up any left over Quinoa.

Pop small dollops of the dough onto your baking trays, I prefer to brush a smear of  butter over mine for biscuits or cookies, a tablespoon or teaspoon size whichever you prefer and flatten down a little.  Space evenly apart.

Bake at 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4 for about 12-15 minutes until the edges of the cakes are slightly browned.

Cool for a few minutes before transferring onto a wire rack.

I would normally use 70% dark chocolate in my recipes but I’m linking this post up to We Should Cocoa – The January Challenge where our remit was to come up with something that contains chocolate but is sugar-free including the chocolate. 

 

Nutritional Info:

http://nutritiousdeliciousness.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/quinoa-mother-grain.html
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