Over Ripe Banana…Lets Them Eat Cake

 So you know how it happens. You buy in lots of fruit and veg with the weekly shop and suggest to the family that they try healthy snacks instead of chocolate and sweets. So they have a run on fruit and veg and it is all gone in 2 days. So what do you do???

Well the following week you buy double the amount of the favourites, banana, apples, etc. But this week they have gone off bananas so you end up with the one lonely banana sat in the bowl turning freckly, then brown and eventually if you don’t do something it will be black and liquified.

Now if you are like me you don’t want to bin it, you don’t want to eat it so time to find a recipe hence

Banana Cupcakes

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1 lovely freckly banana
1tsp vanilla essence
4 oz caster sugar
4 oz veg margarine
2 eggs
4 oz self raising flour
12 Muffin Cases

1. Turn oven on to 160°C

2. Mash your banana with a fork until it is lovely and sloppy

3. Cream the marg, vanilla essence and the sugar until fluffy.

4. Beat eggs into the banana and slowly add to the marg and sugar mixture.

5. Using a metal spoon fold in the flour.

6. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes

If you find the recipe too sweet, I prefer slightly tarter snacks, reduce your sugar. Kids will hardly notice the difference

Healthy Chicken Lime, Chilli, Ginger, Garlic and Soy Stir Fry

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So it’s that time of year when you want to get healthy but you don’t want to be eating salads everyday just yet, it’s just not quite warm enough. Stir fry is the perfect solution, not only does it provide you with a great opportunity for mindfulness whilst chopping your vegetables, but it takes very little time to cook.

Now I know you can buy those lovely little packs of prepacked vegetables from the supermarket and they make the purchase all that more exciting by adding a free sauce to the mix, but there are a couple of reasons why this may not be your healthiest option. Did you know cutting vegetables increases the surface area where oxidation (contact with air) and nutrient loss can occur. Also, cutting a vegetable is “damaging” to the plant and some of the plant’s nutrients get used up in an attempt to repair the damage. These nutrients will then not be available to you anymore when you consume the plant. SO if you buy a prepackaged stir fry you may be eating vegetables that which are not as nutritious as you would want. 

As for those little packets of sauce provided so generously by your supermarket, just have a quick look at the ingredients, particularly the sugar content…not so healthy now hey!

So here is my simple recipe for Healthy Chicken Lime, Chilli, Ginger, Garlic and Soy Stir Fry

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1 inch fresh ginger, grated

3 cloves garlic, chopped

juice of half a lime

1 tablespoon dark soy sauce

pinch of dried chilli flakes

2 small chicken breasts diced

 

 

Grate the ginger on the side of the grater that you would grate nutmeg, use a knife and ease all the juice and pulp into the bowl with the diced chicken.

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Chop garlic into really small fine pieces, add to chicken, add a pinch of dried chilli flakes, the soy sauce and squeeze over the lime juice, mix well and set to one side for about 20 minutes. This will give you a chance to chop your vegetables.

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Now with stir frys the key is to have lots of vegetables and lots of variety of vegetables, otherwise you will be bored when eating and starving about an hour after dinner.

Start by adding a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil to your wok and heat on a medium to high heat, add the chicken and keep moving it around the pan until it is almost cooked through.

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Add the vegetables and keep stirring, make sure you flip the bottom contents with the top regularly so you can ensure everything is piping hot and that the sauce mixes with the vegetables.

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Now I did buy fresh noodles from the supermarket and added these straight to the wok so they pick up the flavour of the chicken and the chicken. It will take a good 3-4 minutes with rapid tossing and turning to ensure they are cooked through.

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Once cooked through stir straight away. This is quick, healthy and moreish. Happy eating xx

You Know Those Leftovers…Leek and Bacon Hash

Leek and Bacon Hash 

You know the day after the huge Christmas dinner you had with family and friends, when you open the fridge and survey the leftovers and wonder as it’s past breakfast and not quite lunch what on earth you can rustle up to feed the hungry hoards who never want to look at turkey or chocolate again? Well why not give this a whirl

 

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½ a leek sliced (you could use leftover brussel sprouts )

6-8 rashers of smoked bacon cut into cubes (use scissors, so much easier)

Handful of sliced almonds

10-12 left over roast potatoes or boil some to par boil stage as you would prepping hem for roasting and squish them slightly with the potato masher

 In a large skillet or frying pan heat about a tablespoon of veg oil, you don’t need much as bacon is quite fatty.

Toss in the bacon and leeks, and keep things moving around the pan, as the bacon starts to cook add the potatoes. Now these will stick to the pan, but this adds to the flavour as long as you keep them moving and do not let them burn.

Everything should be cooked in about 15 mins, but check the centre of spuds hot before serving, just before removing from pan add the sliced almonds

I like mine with brown sauce but you could always jazz it up with a splash of Tabasco or sweet chilli sauce.

So I Bought My Son A Pumpkin

So I Bought My Son A Pumpkin

Well it was Halloween and I thought as he is thirteen it may be the last time he wants to carve a scary pumpkin.

So Halloween came and went, the pumpkin was covered in black ink designs but he found it impossible to tear himself away from friends, Xbox and t.v. long enough to actually carve it.

I could have been annoyed but instead I thought right guess we’re eating pumpkin for the next couple of weeks. So what can you do with a pumpkin.

Well I made Pumpkin Fairy Cakes. The last time I used squash to make cakes I had a lot left so froze the remainder and just defrosted what I needed when guests came, they were really delicious and moist.

I made soup with lovely garlic, chilli and cumin, Garlic and Chilli Pumpkin Soup.

I toasted the seeds. This is sooo easy, the seeds are fiddly to remove from the stringy middle but do like I did and use it as meditation.

pumpkin seeds

Place seeds in a colander and wash thoroughly. The dry off in a clean tea towel. Heat a frying pan without oil on a medium heat and keep the seeds moving in the pan until they start to colour. Tipp into an air tight container and you have something to snack on over the next week.

Now after all that you would think I would be out of pumpkin but no, I still have a quarter left so I will be roasting some with olive oil and balsamic vinegar to add to couscous and hiding some in tonights veggie pasta sauce. Not bad for just one smallish pumpkin.

Now I think I got a lot out of one pumpkin but what would you make?

Bonfire Night Burgers

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Bonfire Night, that smoky, noisy night when the cold air makes you absolutely starving. So what do you feed yourself and the rowdy rabble of a family…

Homemade Burgers that’s what.

500g minced beef (don’t buy the lean stuff it won’t hold together)

2 slices of bread made into bread crumbs

sprig of rosemary

salt

pepper

half a small onion chopped finely

The bread will make breadcrumbs easiest if it’s dry, toasting it is a great way to make it crumbly and a food processor does the crumbing in seconds

Place beef in a bowl with salt, pepper, breadcrumbs and onion.

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Then using scissors cut your rosemary finely, just the leaves not the stem.

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make the mince into patties/burgers with your hands, try to make them as flat as possible so they will cook through evenly. Pour over a little olive oil so they do not stick to the griddle. Cook them on a medium to hot griddle or BBQ, or place on an oiled tray in the oven. They need to be cooked for 15 to 20 minutes or until all the meat is cooked through.

If you fancy jazzing up your burgers you can add some chilli or garlic to the mixture, or maybe a little chipotle paste. 

 

Garlic and Chilli Pumpkin Soup (Warning…This Soup Bites Back)

Garlic and Chilli Pumpkin Soup

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2 onions

2 sticks celery

2 cloves garlic

1 green finger chilli

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 quarter of a medium sized pumpkin

1.5 litres stock, veg or chicken

In the pestle and mortar grind cumin seeds, garlic and finger chilli to a paste.

Chop onions and celery finely. Remove the pumpkin skin and cut into tiny cubes.

In a pan heat 2 tablespoons of veg oil, sauté onions and celery with the paste from the pestle and mortar, keep stirring until glossy and add the pumpkin.

Cook for a few more minutes and add the stock, bring to a simmer and cover. Leave to cook until the pumpkin is soft. You can then either use a masher to thicken, blend in the food processor or eat as a chunkier soup.

Pumpkin Fairy Cakes

Pumpkin Fairy Cakes

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4 oz non dairy marg

4oz self raising flour

4oz caster sugar

Eighth of a medium Pumpkin roasted, peeled and mashed with a fork

2 large eggs

1tsp vanilla extract

 

Preheat oven to 190°C .

Chop Pumpkin in half scoop out seeds and the stringy bits place on a baking tray and roast for about 20 minutes. Take out and cool. Remove skin before mashing ready for your cake mix.

In a large bowl  cream the marg and sugar until light and fluffy Add the egg and vanilla essence and beat well. Add flour a spoonful at a t time until no flour shows in mixture and add the mashed pumpkin.

Spoon a large dessert spoon of the batter into each paper case. Bake until cake is golden and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean, 15 to 20 mins maximum.

Spiced Butternut Squash (or Pumpkin) Cakes

Spiced Butternut Squash Cakes

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I don’t know about you but we love cake in our house. We don’t eat it often and due to the dairy free nature of Moi we tend not to have shop bought delicacies. The only issues we have is none of us is patient enough to wait for a large cake to cook so inevitably I have adapted a lot of my cake recipes to make smaller fairy cakes.

Spiced Butternut Squash Cakes

4 oz non dairy marg

4oz self raising flour

4oz caster sugar

4oz butter nut squash roasted, peeled and mashed with a fork (about an eighth of a medium pumpkin)

2 large eggs

1tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp. Cinnamon

1 tsp.  grated nutmeg

1/2 tsp.  ground cardamom

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

Preheat oven to 190°C .

Chop Butternut squash in half scoop out seeds and the stringy bits place on a baking tray and roast for about 20 minutes. Take out and cool. Remove skin before mashing ready for your cake mix.

I always grind as many of my spices by hand in the pestle and mortar as I can, it is stress busting, when grinding the cardamom just remember to remove the husks from your powder before mixing into your batter.

In a large bowl  cream the marg and sugar until light and fluffy .

Add the eggs, one at a time,  and add the vanilla.

In a small bowl mix the flour, salt, and spices. Once mixed add the  squash to the flour and spices and mix well then add a spoon full at a time to your sugar, marg, egg combo.  Stir just until completely combined and no flour showing.

Spoon a large dessert spoon of the batter into each paper case. Bake until cake is golden and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean, 20 to 25 mins maximum

Let  them cool if you can bear to wait.

Apples…Well They Ate Them Last Week

So you know that bowl of lovely juicy apples you bought a week ago, that the family could not get enough of 2 weeks ago but have suddenly gone off apples, yep those, the starting to turn yellow and mushy apples in the fruit bowl?

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Before you chuck them away how about a couple of quick ideas how to use them?

Last Sunday I had some very well travelled apples, they were ordered with our shop a week before we went away. They travelled down to Padstow in Cornwall, 300 miles and then travelled all the way back. I was determined after all the effort of carting them to the other end of the country and back I was not going to bin them!

Now if you are lucky enough to have an apple tree in your garden you may have had a few windfalls left after our unseasonably warm September and October, this is a great way to use them,

Option 1

Apple Sauce for your Sunday Roast

Peel, core and chop your apples, to be honest a couple of apples will make loads of this so you can always pop some in the freezer for next time you want to impress your Mother-in-Law.

Put in a small saucepan with just enough water covering them, if you have a sweet tooth or are using cooking apples add some sugar, but no more than a couple of teaspoon fulls.

Bring to a simmer and cook until the apples are soft. Use a slatted spoon to remove from pan, and mash with a fork. Volia apple sauce.

Option 2

Aromatic Apple Crumble

4-5 apples

2 tsp cumin seeds

2 cardamom pods,

1 tsp ground ginger,

1 tsp  cinnamon

2 whole cloves

3oz non-dairy marg

2oz caster sugar

5 oz flour

 

Again peel, core and chop your apples maybe 4 or 5 for a family of three.

Put in a small saucepan with just enough water covering them, if you have a sweet tooth or are using cooking apples add some sugar, but no more than a couple of teaspoon fulls.

Bring to a simmer and cook until the apples are soft. Use a slatted spoon to remove from pan, and mash with a fork.

Whilst the apples are simmering in a pestle and mortar add2 teaspoons of cumin seeds, 2 cardamom pods, 1 teaspoon of ground ginger, 1 teaspoon of  cinnamon and 2 to  whole cloves, blend until a fine powder, removing the cardamom husks.

In a mixing bowl put non-dairy marg, caster sugar and flour rub between your fingers until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Mix half of the spice into the apples, half of the spice unto the crumble top.

Place apples in heatproof dish, sprinkle crumble mix on top and bake in the oven for 15 minutes at 180 C

As you can see ours never last long enough for a photo!!

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