Tag Archives: homemade

Warming Paprika Chicken

This is a very easy mid week meal to put together, the Paprika and the Cayenne Pepper (which you can ramp up or down depending on your love of heat!) give the dish that lovely warming feeling, perfect for the damp, chilly weather.  Serve with plenty of crusty bread to mop up those saucy flavours!

Warming Paprika Chicken

Prep Time:  20 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour
Serves 3-4

Chicken Paprika Collage

Ingredients

6 medium sized chicken thighs
1 tablespoon Paprika
2 medium sized white onions, sliced
1 tablespoon plain flour
Cayenne Pepper (I used around ½ tsp)
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
200ml Chicken stock (I used Maggi Stock Pot)
1 large red pepper, deseeded and cut into strips
sea salt and ground black pepper

To finish:
100ml soured cream (or to your taste)

Method

Fry the chicken thighs in olive oil until golden brown, transfer to a plate and then gently fry the onions in the same oil in the pan until softened.  

Add the flour, Paprika and Cayenne Pepper and cook out until the oil and juices have been absorbed.  Add the chopped tomatoes and chicken stock and bring up to a simmer.  Season with sea salt and black pepper.

Place the chicken thighs into a casserole pan/dish and cover with the tomato, onion, spice mix.  Put the lid on and bake for around 30 minutes.

Add the chopped red pepper at this stage and bake for another 30 minutes.

To finish add the soured cream and lightly stir in.  

chicken paprika3

 I have to say it’s not the prettiest dish to photograph but it really does taste delicious! 

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Tuna Steak au Poivre

We don’t eat fresh tuna very often but sometimes I see some great looking tuna steaks and hand them over to Mr ND to make us Tuna Steak au Poivre.  These two were £3.75 and the whole meal probably amounted to less than £6.00 with vegetables for the two of us (and the dash of brandy!).  We do eat canned/tinned tuna more often but fresh is even more special and delicious.

Mr ND is the chef du jour and guest posting today.

Tuna Steak au Poivre is a successful variation on one of the tastiest and simplest dishes ever to come out of classical French cuisine.  You can follow any of the numerous recipes available, just replace the traditional beef steak with tuna.  

Tuna Steak au Poivre

tuna ingredients

Prep Time:  10 minutes
Cooking Time:  15 minutes (extra for accompaniments)
Serves 2

Ingredients
2 x tuna steaks
1-2 tablespoons of black peppercorns
30g unsalted butter
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
200 ml double cream
30-60ml brandy

Tuna  Collage

Method

Coarsely crush the peppercorns preferably with a pestle and mortar.  Rinse the tuna steaks in cold water, remove any excess moisture with a piece of kitchen towel then coat both sides evenly with the crushed peppercorns.

Heat the olive oil and butter in a heavy based frying pan over a fairly high heat.  Just as the butter is starting to turn a light brown colour reduce the heat and place the peppered steaks in the pan.  Cook for about 2 minutes each side.

Carefully pour in the brandy and flambé.  When the flames have subsided remove the tuna steaks carefully from the pan and place into a serving dish, keep warm.

Add the double cream to the pan and stir quickly until gently bubbling.  Pour the sauce over the tuna steaks and serve immediately.  Delicious!

tuna steak au poivre

Quick Nutritional Info:

Tuna –  Omega 3 fatty acids, high protein, anti-inflammatory, B3, B6, B12, folic acid, selenium, phosphorus, magnesium.  High in sodium.
Black Pepper – good source of Vitamin B6, C, Calcium, Magnesium and Potassium.  Very good source of Vitamin K, Iron, Copper and Manganese.

 

 
 
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Healthy Date, Walnut and Seed Truffles

I’ve been using various combinations of ingredients for these little sweet morsels, trying to keep the little girl’s mind on healthy treats.   And with Valentine’s Day at the end of the week, they also make a lovely gift for the one I love. 

healthy truffles

These are sugar-free, the dates gives them their super sweetness and the cocoa that soft chocolatey taste, the seeds and nuts are blitzed finely (or hidden in the case of the toddler) and the coconut oil makes these truffles silky smooth.   For children I would roll in a smoother coating such as ground almonds or coconut rather than chopped nuts.

Healthy Date, Walnut and Seed Truffles

Prep TIme:  30 minutes
Chilling Time:  20 minutes
Makes 20-24

 Ingredients

125g dates
50g walnuts
50g mix of sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, flaxseeds
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 tablespoon coconut oil
100g fresh blueberries

To finish: flaxseeds, cocoa, chopped or ground almonds,
chopped hazelnuts, coconut

Method

Soak the dates in warm water for a few minutes to soften, then blitz the dates, walnuts and seed mixture in a food processor until smooth.

Add the cocoa powder, coconut oil and blueberries and gently pulse until well combined. Place the mixture in the fridge for an hour to firm up a little.

Form into small balls and roll in coatings of your choice, see above for suggestions.

These truffles will keep in the fridge for a week, not that I’ve ever had to test out that theory!

Quick Nutritional Info:

Dates are rich in Polyphenols, a plant antioxidant that has a higher capacity to reduce oxidative stress.  An excellent source of Potassium, Calcium and magnesium, with a good balance of manganese, zinc, copper, iron and selenium.  Vitamin K and B complex.

Walnuts:  Good source of Potassium, iron and magnesium, plus B6  and omega 3 fats.

Cocoa Powder (unsweetened):  Phosphorus, magnesium, and calcium, flavenoids.

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Coconut Almond Fruit Loaf

I am slightly obsessed with coconut oil, I’ve been using it in cooking and baking , in place of butter on my toast and the little girl loves it straight from the spoon!  

Coconuts contain trace amounts of some micronutrients, vitamins E & K plus a little iron.  Coconut oil is high in lauric acid, a saturated fat that enhances the immune system through its antiviral and antibacterial effects.  It is mostly made up of  MCFA’s (medium chain fatty acids) and is said to speed up metabolism and be good for your joints.  It is a stable oil when used at high temperatures and easily digested.  There are studies that show that lauric acid can increase your HDL (healthy) cholesterol and lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol.

I’ve been experimenting a little with adding coconut oil into my baking, it really is a great addition.  I made some muffins the other day using only coconut oil for the fat but although they were all scoffed down quickly by the family it made the muffins a little dense and heavy.  My Coconut Almond Fruit Loaf has butter and coconut oil and it is a great combination as the loaf turned out superbly and along with the buttermilk content, made a wonderfully moist cake.  I wanted to use coconut sugar instead of regular caster sugar but couldn’t find it, the 3 year old has probably relocated it to her kiddy kitchen!

coconut cake Collage

Coconut Almond Fruit Loaf

Makes: 8-10 slices (plus 2 end wedges!)
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Baking Time: 1 hour

Pre-heat your oven to 160C, gas 4 & grease and line a large loaf tin

Ingredients

75g unsalted butter, softened
20g organic virgin coconut oil, softened
zest of 1 lemon
1tsp vanilla extract
85g golden caster sugar
2 large organic eggs, lightly beaten
200g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
70g shredded/dessicated coconut
50g ground almonds
200ml buttermilk
150g raisins, apricots, sultanas
(or whatever your favourite mix is)

Method

Beat the butter and coconut oil with the sugar until creamy.  Add the lemon zest and vanilla extract with the eggs and gradually beat in.

Sift in the flour and baking powder and lightly fold into the butter/coconut/egg mixture.

Add the coconut, ground almonds, buttermilk and dried fruit and fold in until well combined.

Pour into the prepared loaf tin and bake for around 1 hour or until baked through (check with a piece of dried spaghetti, it should come out clean when ready) and golden brown.

Enjoy with a hot, steaming cup of tea.

I’ll be tweaking this one a little more to perfect the bake but pretty pleased with it so far!

 

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Walnut and Lentil Pâté

I love Pâté but only eat a vegetarian version.  Walnut and Lentil Pâté is so delicious and easy to put together fast and a good one for the whole family to enjoy.   I also made another batch of my sea salt and pepper oatcakes with extra flaxseeds to accompany the Pâté.

walnut lentil PâtéThe inspiration for this recipe came from here.  I used red lentils  (that I had in the larder) instead of Puy.  I measured out 80g of walnuts and 90g of red lentils in case you don’t have cup measures as used in the recipe.  The recipe specifies cooked lentils and 90g made about a third too much so probably 70-80g would be sufficient.

lentilwalnutonion

lentil onion Collage

This recipe is quite plain to my palate.  I will definitely make it again and infuse garlic with the onions as I do love garlic and know it will be a good addition and I think we will probably tweak it a bit every time but it is a great base to start from.

Quick Nutritional Info:

Walnuts:  high density source of nutrients, including calcium, high in magnesium, B6 and a rich source of  Omega 3 essential fatty acids and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, anti-oxidants plus a valuable source of iron.

Red Lentils:  see this article from Mind Body Green for health benefits.

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Pea Pesto

I really enjoy pasta with pesto, red being my absolute favourite with sun-dried tomatoes or red peppers.  The little girl isn’t all that keen so I’ve been experimenting with other ingredients other than basil for a green pesto.   Kale Pesto is on my list to try too but the milder taste of peas (hopefully) will suit her palate more for now and we love peas!  As you can gather I am trying to get the little girl to enjoy our family meals, sometimes she will tuck right into a plate and other times I get an “urh, yuck”  when she does the tongue tip taste test!

Pea Pesto makes a lovely light, fresh weekend lunch when you don’t want to spend too much time in the kitchen.  It is very mild in taste and the addition of crème fraîche gives it a lovely creamy texture,  I used the 50% less fat variety.  

Pea Pesto

Serves 2

Ingredients

250g peas, cooked
10g Pine nuts
35g Parmesan cheese, grated
50g  crème fraîche 
Pasta of your choice

Pea Pesto Collage

Method

 Roughly blitz the pine nuts in a blender, add the cooked (cooled slightly) peas and grated Parmesan cheese and blend further until you have a soft paste consistency.   Stir in the crème fraîche and run through hot pasta.  Serve with a sprinkling of parsley.  The photo shows the Pea Pesto up until this point, I like to add black pepper and chilli flakes to mine.

Quick Nutritional Info:

Peas:  a very reasonable source of protein. Contains vitamin A, B1, B3,  B6,  Folic Acid, C, K, Manganese, Phosphorus and Copper.  Very good source of Dietary fibre.
Pine Nuts:  Very good source of Iron, Manganese, Choline, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, vitamin K and Folic Acid.  Omega 3 & 6 oils (much higher in 6).

 

pea pesto
 
 
 Fast lunch or supper, Easy Peasy too!
 
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Warming Chilli, Chickpea and Lentil Soup – 5:2 Diet

Although the weather here hasn’t been all that cold compared to all the snow we had last year, it has been rather damp and extremely windy, the rain doesn’t show any signs of letting up either.  This Warming Chilli, Chickpea and Lentil soup using the  homemade vegetable stock* I made yesterday is wonderfully filling and at around 250 calories per portion is ideal for a supper dish on fast days on the 5:2 Diet which I am doing again just for January then it’s 6:1 to maintain.  I’m also attempting the A.Vogel Fourteen Day Detox starting tomorrow, my first detox!

vegstock

 

Both Chickpeas and Red Lentils are high in protein with the Lentils being able to absorb a variety of flavours from other foods too and the chilli kick  will definitely warm you up!  Add more or less chilli to your taste of course,  ½ tsp is just right for us.

 

Chilli, Chickpea and Lentil Soup

chilli chickpea lentil

 

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 large red onion, finely chopped
 900ml vegetable stock*
150g red lentils
400g chopped tinned tomatoes
400g tin chickpeas
 ½ tsp crushed chilli’s
Ground Black pepper to taste
½ tsp Turmeric (optional**)
1tsp golden & brown flaxseeds

Method

Using a tablespoon or less of olive oil, fry the red onion for a couple of minutes to soften then add a couple of tablespoons of hot water to the pan to steam fry the onions for around 5 minutes on a gentle heat.  Add the crushed chilli once the water has absorbed a little and fry with the onions.  Add the vegetable stock, lentils and tomatoes to the pan and bring to the boil (stirring continuously to avoid the lentils sticking to the bottom of the pan), then simmer for around 20 minutes until the lentils are soft.

Cool the soup a little then blend roughly in a food processor, place back into the pan, add the chickpeas and place back on a low heat until the chickpeas are warmed through.  Season to taste with black pepper and if adding the turmeric, add now.

Garnish with a generous dollop of 0% fat Greek Yoghurt and a sprinkling of flaxseeds.

Bon Appetit!

Those who are not on the 5:2 diet can add a tablespoon of Parmesan cheese before serving with freshly warmed crusty bread

Quick Nutritional Info:

Red Lentils – Health benefits of lentils see this article from Mind Body Green
Chickpeas – Iron, Protein,  Fibre, Magnesium and B6.
Turmeric**  I like add to soups wherever possible for the anti-inflammatory benefits, Turmeric is such a potent spice that even a small amount will have huge benefits to health.

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New Year Nibbles

I do love making my own nibbles/canapes for parties and family gatherings wherever I can but this year for our New Year Nibbles I am taking a few shortcuts (if it’s good enough for Delia) along with some homemade goodies.  I shall be buying all the pastry ready made and ready to roll out and I will be keeping a few M&S nibbles as backup in the fridge as we are having a small party to say ta-ta to 2013 and I know how fast the buffet table disappears!

A few of our favourites are:

Parmesan Crisps – simply grated Parmesan in little piles on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for a few minutes.

Mini Quiche, these are great and so easy to make, this recipe comes out several times a year for picnics and the like,  Gruyère makes these so tasty:

mini quiche

Ingredients

375g ready rolled shortcrust pastry
90g back bacon, chopped into small squares
5 tablespoons crème fraîche
1 whole organic egg
1 organic egg yolk
3 tablespoons semi-skimmed milk
50g Gruyère cheese, grated
Salt and pepper

Method

Pre-heat your oven to 190°C/170°C/Gas 5.

1.  Cut 12 rounds of pastry to line a 12 hole tin, I use a glass that makes the
perfect size round for my tin, around 7.5cm.  Refrigerate while you make
the filling.
2.  Dry fry the bacon until lightly golden.  Drain on a paper towel and let cool.
3.  Combine the crème fraîche, semi-skimmed milk, whole egg and egg yolk in
a bowl, season to taste.
4.  Divide the bacon and grated Gruyère between the pastry cases, then
spoon the crème fraîche, egg mixture carefully and evenly over.
5.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden and the filling has risen.  Leave to
cool for a few minutes before removing from the tin.

Stilton Puffs a la Nigel Slater – I saw these recently on one of his programmes and wanted to bust out the ready rolled puff pastry immediately!

Spicy Chickpeas – drain and rinse 2 400g tins of chickpeas, place on baking trays and roll in olive oil, sprinkle with spices of your choice, we like chilli powder, black pepper, garlic salt and a touch of cumin.  Bake in your oven with other canapes for around 15 minutes.

Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese Blini’s – these I do enjoy making but you can also buy ready-made.  Light, sugar-free little pancakes (also brilliant for the toddler girl who wolfs them down topping free), can be made ahead, the recipe I usually use  from the Good Food Channel makes around 3o, using half a tablespoon of batter for each blini.  Top with cream cheese or  crème fraîche with a little finely chopped smoked salmon  mixed in plus a touch on top and a twist of black pepper to finish.  Delicious!

canapes

 However you are seeing the New Year in,

 I’d like to wish you all a very

Happy New Year

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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.

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Seeded Wreath Bread with Camembert

This Seeded Wreath Bread with Camembert is great for sharing at lunch, the bread was made yesterday evening and the Camembert added today into the middle of the bread and warmed for around 10 minutes. Home-made warm bread and oozing melted soft cheese, perfect for a light pre-Christmas lunch!

camembert

Seeded Wreath Bread with Camembert

Prep Time:  25 minutes plus 1 hour 15 minutes for proving
Baking Time:  25 minutes
Serves 4-6 generously (but you may need more cheese!)

50ml warm water
10g dried yeast
500g strong white bread flour
10g salt
35g unsalted butter, melted
1 Camembert round – 250g size
1 medium organic egg, lightly beaten for egg wash
1 tablespoon golden flaxseeds
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

This recipe is inspired by and adapted from Woman and Home you can find the full recipe and method here. I used the seeds I had in the pantry and doubled the volume as we love seeds on our breads and left out the wine and honey at the end (see recipe for details).  It.was.delicious!

seeded bread Collage

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