Archive | March, 2013

Raspberry and White Chocolate Shortcrust Slices

31 Mar

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Hot Cross Buns

30 Mar

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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! 😀

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

5min Protein Pancakes

28 Mar

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Zingy Bulgar Wheat Salad

27 Mar

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Caramelised Sausage and Lentil Bake

26 Mar

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Crunchy Peanut Butter

25 Mar

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

  • Serve hot over the spaghetti accompanied by the salad.

Cauliflower and Lentil Dhal

22 Mar

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I find that a problem I face regularly is that I always end up with a spoonful or two of curry paste in the bottom of the jar in my fridge. I hate to waste anything and so when I came across with recipe, I had a total eureka moment. It is the perfect solution and this is such a tasty curry. The lentils give it a lovely grainy, rustic texture and are a great source of vegetable protein too. This is a great curry for vegetarians because it’s so balanced. It is so quick to prepare that you can practically have it on in 10mins. What’s not to love?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Cauliflower and Lentil Dhal (Serves 2)

1tbsp rapeseed oil

1 medium onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 1/2tbsp tikka masala curry paste (Or any other medium curry paste)

100g red lentils

500-700ml chicken stock

1tbsp tomato puree

400g cauliflower, cut into small florets

100g frozen peas

1tsp dried coriander

naan bread,to serve

  • Heat the oil in a large casserole dish and fry the onion, garlic and curry paste for 2-3mins until softened slightly. Add the lentils and mix to coat fully.
  • Pour in most of the stock and the tomato puree and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for 15mins.
  • Add the cauliflower and bring to the boil again. Turn the heat down to medium/low and simmer for about 10mins until the cauliflower is tender. Add the peas in in the last 2mins.
  • Check regularly if the liquid is not practically covering the cauliflower you may need to add more stock.
  • Season to taste and add the dried coriander. Serve hot with the naans.

 

High Protein Energy Bars

21 Mar

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Today, I took part in the Mayo Mud Run which is basically an 8.5km run through the most crazy terrain ever with a constant factor of MUD! Sometimes it was even so deep that it came up to about my waist  and I’m not that small.  On Saturday, I’m cycling the 42km/26mile route called the Greenway from Achill to Westport to raise money for cystic fibrosis. I knew that both of these would be quite a big challenge especially since they take place within a few days of each other. So I decided to make something that would would be a good pick me up, easily portable and handy to eat on the go.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

I came up with these, they are super high in protein and give loads of good slow release energy. They are really tasty and the drizzled chocolate gives a bit of sugar, makes them extremely yummy and they look real pretty too. I know the beans are a bit of an odd ingredient but you can’t even taste them, they provide loads of protein and they are low in fat too. Don’t let them put you off this amazing recipe. These are perfect for any athlete or if you just need good energy food on the go.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

High Protein Energy Bars (Makes 12 Bars)

400g can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/4 cup mashed banana, (about 1/2 banana)

1/4 cup honey

1tsp vanilla extract

1tsp ground cinnamon

1/4tsp salt

1 1/2 cups oats

1 1/4 cups wholewheat flour

1/4 cup flaxseed

1 cup add ins, such as raisins, cranberries, coconut, nuts, chocolate chunks, seeds, etc.

120g chocolate, half milk chocolate and half white chocolate

  • Preheat the oven to 180ºc/350ºf and grease and line a 9 x 13 inch baking tray.
  • Put the beans, peanut butter, mashed banana, honey, vanilla, cinnamon and salt in a food processor and whizz until smooth and combined.
  • Add in 1 cup of the oats, whizz again, then add in the flour and flaxseed and process until smooth. You may have to scrap down the sides.
  • Tip into a large bowl and toss in the add ins and the leftover 1/2 cup oats. Use you hands to squish the add ins and the oats into the paste mixture. It will be sort of a dough consistency.
  • Transfer to the oiled tin and use a spatula to smooth it all out into an even, smooth layer.
  • Bake in the oven for 15-18mins. Remove from the oven and allow to cool then take out of the tin and put into 12 squares.
  • Melt the milk chocolate in the microwave in 30sec bursts stirring between each interval. Pour into a small zip-loc bag and snip a tiny bit of the corner off, drizzle the chocolate all over the squares.
  • Let the milk chocolate set a little bit then repeat with the white chocolate.
  • Let set and wrap each one individually in cling film.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Dark Chocolate Pecan Butter

19 Mar

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This pecan butter tastes rich and indulgent and to be honest it tastes nearly completely of chocolate. It is fantastic because it tastes like it should be really bad for you but it is completely the opposite. We all know that dark chocolate, in small amounts is actually very good for our health and this is the perfect way of ensuring we don’t go overboard and inhale that whole bar! This is a really quick nut butter to make because pecans are quite a soft nut compared to the likes of almonds or hazelnuts. This means that it is great if your food processor is kind of weak as it doesn’t put that much strain on it. This pecan butter is very liquidy at room temperature and sets into a soft paste consistency when in the fridge. It is fantastic melted into hot toast with banana slices for a delicious, indulgent breakfast or pour over a baked banana and ice cream for that not so naughty dessert.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Dark Chocolate Pecan Butter

200g pecans

50g dark chocolate

1/2tsp sea salt

  • Preheat the oven to 170ºc/340ºf and spread the pecans out evenly on a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper.
  • Bake in the oven for 5mins then toss and bake for a further 5mins.
  • Put the toasted pecans in your food processor and whizz for about 5-8mins until the pecans form a smooth liquid/paste. You will have to scrap down the sides of the processor regularly.
  • Melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30sec bursts, stirring between each interval until the chocolate is smooth and melted completely.
  • Pour the chocolate, along with the sea salt, into the processor with the pecan butter and whizz until it is all incorporated into one.
  • Pour into a jar and keep in the fridge. It will set more when in the fridge, so it resembles a spread.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

%d bloggers like this: