Archive | March, 2013

Raspberry and White Chocolate Shortcrust Slices

31 Mar

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This is quite a simple little dessert that is great on a warm summer evening. It is great for a beginner or someone who is doing a dinner party because it doesn’t involve any complicated techniques and it can be made well in advance and be chilling in the fridge ready to serve. It isn’t too rich as the raspberries lend it a subtle tartness that balances the whole dish out. It makes enough for about 10 people so it’s also great to  feed a crowd.

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Raspberry and White Chocolate Shortcrust Slices (Makes about 10 slices)

320g pack ready made shortcrust pastry

500g mascarpone

100g golden caster sugar

100g ground almonds

2 eggs, lightly beaten

300g fresh raspberries/frozen, thawed and drained raspberries

100g white chocolate, roughly chopped

  • Preheat the oven to 150°c/300°f and grease and line a tin with baking parchment.
  • Roll out the pastry a bit more until it fits with a border into your tin.
  • Place another sheet of baking parchment on top of the pastry and fill the tin with baking beans. Bake in the oven for 10mins then take out the baking parchment and beans and bake for a further 5mins. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the mascarpone, sugar, almonds and eggs until smooth.
  • Fold in the raspberries and white chocolate and spoon the mixture into your pastry case.
  • Bake again in the oven for 20-25mins until set and starting to turn slightly golden.
  • Open the oven door and leave it in the oven to cool gradually for about 30mins.
  • Remove and chill for roughly 1hr before serving.

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Hot Cross Buns

30 Mar

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These are definitely a must have around the easter holidays. It just wouldn’t be right without tucking into one… or a few hot out of the oven! This is a pretty standard recipe for hot cross buns. I figured it didn’t need any messing around with. The only unusual thing about this recipe is the chopped apple but it adds lovely moistness to the dough and who doesn’t love biting into a soft, hot piece of cinnamony apple? 🙂 In the original recipe, it said to glaze with apricot jam but of course did I check if we had apricot jam before I started? No! So when these came out of the oven, I was in a “mild panic”! I rooted around the fridge and pulled out the only thing that even slightly resembled what I needed, lime marmalade. I brushed it on, quite hastily I must add, in fear of my buns getting too cold. It turned out to be a fantastic mistake and one I would highly recommend everyone else to make too. The lime went so well with the spicy, zesty buns.

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Hot Cross Buns

300ml milk

500g strong white flour

70g caster sugar

1/2tsp salt

7g sachet fast action dried yeast

1tsp cinnamon

50g butter

1 egg, lightly beaten

zest of 1 orange

80g mixed dried fruit

1 small apple, cored and diced

sunflower oil, for greasing

For the Cross:

80g plain flour

For Glazing:

3tbsp apricot jam/lime marmalade

  • In a small saucepan, bring the milk to the boil then remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
  • Meanwhile, put the flour, sugar, salt, yeast and cinnamon in a large bowl. Rub in the butter using your fingertips then stir in the beaten egg and orange zest.
  • Slowly add the tepid milk until it forms a oft, sticky dough. Add the mixed dried fruit and diced apple and tip it out onto the counter.
  • Knead the dough for around 5mins until it becomes a smooth, elastic dough.
  • Oil a large bowl lightly and place the dough in. Cover loosely with cling film and leave to rise for around 1hr or until it has roughly doubled in size.
  • Grease and line a baking sheet with baking parchment. Divide the dough into 12 even pieces and roll into smooth balls in your hands or on a floured surface.
  • Place them on your baking sheet in lines, fairly close together. They should be about 1 1/2cm apart.
  • Cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise again for 1hr.
  • Preheat the oven to 210°c/410°f. For the cross mix the flour with about 5tbsp water or enough to make a thick paste.
  • Spoon it into a piping bag and pipe crosses over your buns. It’s easiest if you do one big line over each row of buns.
  • Bake in the oven for 20-25mins until golden. As soon as they come out of the oven, brush the apricot jam/lime marmalade over the top of them, generously.
  • Leave to cool or just tuck in if you really can’t resist! 😀

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5min Protein Pancakes

28 Mar

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These are like the coolest pancakes ever. They kind of go against everything I thought a pancake was because they are healthy and so super quick to make instead of unhealthy and only suitable to make on a lazy Sunday afternoon. They are jam packed with protein and amazingly kind of taste like cake! I got this recipe from a new blog I have found called moderngirlnutrition.com. It is a blog basically all about eating green and healthy which is what I’m (trying to be) all about at the moment and this fabulous recipe fits in perfectly with that. I recommend everyone to visit it, I hope you’ll be as enthralled by it as I am.

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5min Protein Pancakes (Serves 1)

1 banana

1/3 cup oat flour (If you don’t have oat flour just whizz the oats in a food processor until fine)

2tbsp protein powder/1tbsp cocoa powder

1 egg

1/2tsp baking powder

olive oil

  • Mash, whisk or stir all the ingredients together in a bowl.
  • In a small pan, heat enough oil to just cover the surface over a medium/high heat.
  • Dollop the mixture onto the pan to make 2 pancakes and cook for 90sec on each side until cooked through.
  • Serve hot off the pan with your chosen toppings. I put crunchy peanut butter, natural yogurt and cacao nibs on mine but feel free to experiment.

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Zingy Bulgar Wheat Salad

27 Mar

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This is a great light lunch that is full of flavor. The  bulgar wheat is a great alternative to the usual grains like rice, pasta or couscous. The bulgar wheat takes a bit of time to cook but it’s well worth it. It is high in protein and really nutritious. The vegetables can be changed up if you like, but I think it is really important to have a variety of colors because it makes the dish look really appealing.

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Zingy Bulgar Wheat Salad (Serves 1)

50g bulgar wheat

1/3cup frozen peas

1/2 carrot, cut into matchsticks

1 inch cucumber, cut into matchsticks

1/2 small red onion

1/4 yellow pepper, sliced very thinly

For the Dressing:

1tbsp olive oil

1/2 red chilli, finely chopped

1tsp honey

1tsp white wine vinegar

  • Cook the bulgar wheat according to packet instructions using chicken stock. Add in the peas in the last 3mins.
  • Whisk together the the ingredients for the dressing.
  • Place all the sliced veggies in a bowl, top with the bulgar wheat and peas and drizzle generously with the dressing. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

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Caramelised Sausage and Lentil Bake

26 Mar

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This is a super simple traybake that can be put together in a few minutes and is great if you have a hectic lifestyle. It is really healthy and loaded with protein. Make sure to use sausages with a low fat content. Lentils are just amazing and I can’t seem to get enough of them at the moment. They are just too fantastic. Sorry to anyone who doesn’t like them though!  They honey mustard sauce caramelises beautifully on the sausages and it gives wonderful subtle flavor to the lentils.

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Caramelised Sausage and Lentil Bake (Serves 2)

4 good quality pork sausages (I use kelly’s)

1 red onion, cut into thick wedges

2 garlic cloves, bashed

1tbsp rapeseed oil

250g bag of puy lentils

1tbsp honey

1tsp dijon mustard

salt and pepper

  • Preheat the oven to 190°c/375°f  and put the sausages, onion and garlic in the medium sized dish. Drizzle with the oil and toss to coat.
  • Bake in the oven for 20mins, turning halfway through. Mix the honey and mustard together and set aside.
  • Add the lentils and mix to combine. Put the sausages back on top and brush half the honey mustard sauce over them then drizzle the rest over the lentils.
  • Return to the oven for 12-14mins until the sausages have caramelised.
  • Serve hot with steamed veggies.

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Crunchy Peanut Butter

25 Mar

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Ok, I know I have posted quite a few nut butter recipes lately but how could I not post the original and best nut butter, peanut butter! I personally prefer crunchy pb by far but it’s up to individual taste. If you wanted to make smooth pb then you would just have to process all the peanuts together. I think everyone knows what peanut butter is and how amazingly delicious it is, so there’s not much to describe. The one thing I will say is that making your own pb means that you can control the sweetness and saltiness so it’s perfectly to your taste.

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Crunchy Peanut Butter 

450g peanuts

2tsp peanut/groundnut oil

dark brown sugar/honey/maple syrup

salt

  • Preheat the oven to 160ºc/320ºf and spread the peanuts out evenly on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper.
  • Bake in the oven for 10mins, tossing half way through.
  • Put 350g peanuts in a food processor and blitz for about 10-15mins until it starts clumping together and forming a thick paste.
  • Add the oil, salt and your chosen sweetener to taste. Blitz again to combine and continue processing until it forms a creamy butter.
  • Scrap into a bowl and set aside. Clean the processor and blitz the remaining peanuts until roughly chopped then add to the peanut butter.
  • Mix to combine and spoon into jars. Store in the fridge.

Spaghetti Bolognese

24 Mar

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I think it’s safe to say that spaghetti bolognese is a firm favorite in pretty much every household. It is such a comforting dish and  tastes like home, in my opinion. But the sad thing is that so many people make it with jarred sauce. It is nearly just as easy and quick to make it from scratch and the end product is a hundred times better, both in taste and health factor. It is also much cheaper then buying the convenience sauces and considerably lower in salt.Everything in this recipe is from the store cupboard except the veggies and meat, which means it is easy to throw together at the last minute. If you wanted to lower he fat content you could substitute turkey mince for the beef. Once you try this you’ll never go back to the jarred sauces!

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Spaghetti Bolognese (Serves 4)

1tbsp rapeseed oil

1 medium onion

3 garlic cloves, minced

350-450g lean minced beef

6-7 button mushrooms

1/2 green pepper, diced

3tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes

1 heaped tsp tomato puree

1/2tsp dried oregano

1/2tsp dried basil

A pinch of chilli flakes

1/2tsp granulated sugar

Salt and pepper

200-300g spaghetti or other type of pasta

Crunchy mixed salad

  • Cook the pasta according to packet instructions.
  • Heat the oil in a large non stick frying pan and add the onion, garlic and minced beef. Fry until all the meat is completely cooked.
  • Pour in the Worcestershire sauce, tinned tomatoes and tomato puree and mixed to combine.
  • Bring to the boil then transfer to a low/medium heat and simmer for about 5mins.
  • Meanwhile add in the oregano, basil, chilli and sugar and mix through. Season to taste.

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  • Serve hot over the spaghetti accompanied by the salad.
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