Archive | April, 2013

Crunchy and Healthy Home Made Granola

30 Apr

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To me, a granola should be coarse and crunchy and not too sweet. I hate it when it doesn’t form clusters and really all you have at the end is some slightly crisp oats and fruit. I use mine to top my morning smoothie so I like to keep it less sweet but you could easily add extra honey to this recipe and it would sort that out in no time. I like to put a fair few different types of dried fruit and nuts into my granola and its great because you can just use what you have on hand at the time. If you want a really plain granola then you could leave out the fruit and nuts or just put in a minimal amount. The first time I made this I had a bit of a eureka moment because it was theĀ only time I ever made granola that it came out how I had always imagined granola should look like. The secret to this is a banana. I know it sounds ridiculously simple and it really is. The banana has the perfect level of sweetness and stickiness to hold the mixture together to form the clusters, it doesn’t taste like banana unfortunately but just has a subtle sweet note. As an extra bonus this granola is super healthy for you because it doesn’t have all the nasty fat and sugars that most granolas usually do, honestly you can’t really lose with this granola šŸ™‚

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Crunchy Home Made Granola

200g rolled oats (Not instant)

1 ripe banana

3/4cup water

1tbsp honey, or more if you like your granola to be quite sweet

1tsp cinnamon

1tsp vanilla extract

a pinch of salt

30-60g nuts of your choice, I used almonds, cashews and hazelnuts

30-60g dried fruit, I used raisins

2tbsp shredded coconut

  • Preheat the oven to 190Ā°c/375Ā°f and line a large baking tray with non-stick baking parchment.
  • Place the banana, water, honey, cinnamon, vanilla and salt in a food processor or blender and blend until it forms a smooth liquid, 15-30sec.
  • Put all the dry ingredients in a large bowl then pour in your banana liquid. Mix to combine, if it is a little dry just add another splash of water.
  • Spread the mixture out in an even layer on your prepared baking sheet and bake in the oven for 30-40mins, checking on it about every 10mins, giving it a good mix and breaking up the larger clusters.
  • Don’t worry if it seems a bit soggy, it will crisp up as it cools.Ā Remove from the oven when its all golden brown and let cool completely on the baking sheet.
  • Transfer to a container and use whenever you like.

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Melon Balls in Honey Port Sauce

29 Apr

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Finally, I’m back blogging again. I’ve missed you all so much. Unfortunately my laptop broke a few weeks ago and it has actually taken me this long to get a new one. I’ve been going mad but I’m back now and let the recipes keep rolling. šŸ™‚ This is an amazingly light and refreshing starter that is great to just get your taste buds tingling without filling you up. The port sauce is extremely flavourful and is sweet without being cloying. Because the melon balls are soaked in the port sauce they really absorb all the flavour and become super juicy. It is really quick to prepare, the melon balling may take a bit of time to get used to but is actually quite easy once you get the hang of it. It can be prepared in the morning and left in the fridge, covered, to let the flavours mingle with each other.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Melon Balls in Port Sauce (Serves 4)

2 melons of different colour e.g. yellow and orange (You will only be using half of each melon)

3/4 cup tawny port

1tbsp honey

zest of 1 lime

juice of 1/2 lime

5 mint leaves, roughly chopped

extra mint leaves, to garnish

  • Use a melon baller to make balls out of one 1/2 of each melon and place into a large bowl.
  • Whisk together the port, honey, lime zest, lime juice and chopped mint leaves in a small bowl then pour over the melon balls.
  • Toss to combine then cover and leave in the fridge for at least 1hr or more if you like.
  • DivideĀ into 4 serving glasses and drizzle with leftover juices.
  • Garnish with extra mint leaves and serve.

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Buttery Almond Swirl Cookies

14 Apr

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These cookies are the most amazingly crumbly and buttery cookies you’ll ever have. They are literally out of this world and so easy to make. No fancy recipe and they look super pretty just to top it off. This cookie is the perfect base to showcase a simple flavor such as almond but if you want, the almond essence can be substituted by another flavor such as vanilla or lemon. The top can be decorated with a range or fruits, nuts or even sprinkles. These would be a good cookie to serve alongside a dessert such as panna cotta and are extremely moreish so be warned! šŸ˜€

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Buttery Almond Swirl Cookies (Makes about 10)

115g butter, softened

1/4 cup caster sugar

1 egg yolk

1/2tsp almond essence

1 cup plain flour

1/4tsp baking powder

A pinch of salt

Whole almonds, to decorate the top

  • Preheat the oven to 180Ā°c/350Ā°f and grease and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Beat in egg yolk and almond essence until combined.
  • Add in flour, baking powder and salt and beat gently until just forming a dough.
  • Spoon the dough into a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle and pipe about 10 cookies onto the prepared tray about 1 1/2 inches apart.
  • Alternatively you can just shape the dough into small balls, place on the tray and flatten gently.
  • Place an almond on top of each cookie and bake in the oven for 8-10mins until lightly golden around the edge.
  • Remove and let cool on the tray.

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Stove Top Porridge

13 Apr

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I have always made my porridge in the microwave but i realize bow that i was actually missing out on a lot. In my head i always thought of making porridge on the stove as a lengthy, slow process that required you getting up at dawn just to put the porridge on. But it couldn’t be farther from the truth. This porridge recipe takes about 10mins in total (When your still half asleep) and the end result is divine. The porridge is creamy, even though i made it with all water and you can still feel the rustic texture of the oats. In other words it will be quite a while before i even think about making microwave porridge again.

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Stove Top Porridge (Serves 1)

1/2 cup

1 cup water or milk

Flavorings of your choice, for me it had to be a mashed banana, cacao nibs and a big spoonful of crunchy peanut butter šŸ™‚

  • Put the oats and liquid of your choice into a small pot and give it a quick stir to make sure all the oats are moistened.
  • Place over a medium beat and leave for about 3mins until it starts to bubble.
  • Stir and turn the heat down to low. Continue cooking for a couple mins, stirring regularly, until the porridge is thick, creamy and yourĀ preferredĀ consistency.
  • Stir in your flavorings and spoon into a bowl. Dig in straight away šŸ™‚

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Tomato, Spinach and Mozzarella Frittata

12 Apr

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This afternoon was just the most lovely day. It has been either very cold, very wet or just plain dull lately so to see the sunshine was just a joy. I wasn’t in the mood to have a big heavy meal that would have me flopped out on the couch unable to enjoy the gorgeous evening. So I picked eggs and veggies… It sounded good until I realised I had no clue what so ever that I would do with them. Eventually, I grabbed the spinach, mozzarella and tomatoes out as well and I whipped this little beauty up. It was so delicious and had a lovely subtleĀ ItalianĀ flavor. Ā It was the perfectly light supper that fit into my sunshiny evening to perfection! šŸ™‚ I hope everyone else is having one too.

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Tomato, Spinach and Mozzarella Frittata (Serves 2)

4 eggs

a dash of milk

salt and pepper

1tbsp rapeseed oil

6-8 cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 small onion, diced

2 handfuls spinach, roughly chopped

2 heaping tsp sun dried tomato pesto

1/2tsp dried basil

1/2 125g ball mozzarella, cut into match sticks

a pinch of chilli flakes

  • Preheat the grill to high and in a small bowl, beat together the eggs and milk and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  • In a small frying pan, heat the oil over a medium/high heat and add the tomatoes, onion and spinach and cook stirring occasionally until everything is slightly softened.
  • Add in the spoonfuls of pesto and basil and mix to combine with the cooked veggies.
  • Pour in the egg mixture and mix quickly with the veg to distribute the veg and flavors evenly. Cook for about 3-4mins until most of the frittata is cooked then transfer to the grill and cook for 2-3mins until the egg is set.
  • Scatter with mozzarella match sticks and sprinkle with chilli flakes and extra basil.
  • Return to the oven for about 5mins or until the mozzarella is melted and slightly golden.
  • Serve immediately with veggies and lentils.

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Toffee Apple Yorkshire Puddings

8 Apr

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I know, I know… Some of you are going to see this post and be like “What? Is that girl crazy?” No I’m not crazy, this is just an amazing way of usingĀ YorkshireĀ puddings! Yorkies are one of the simplest and quickest things to make and this recipe just shows how delicious can can really be. The ice cream starts melting into the hot yorkie and its like heaven on a plate! This is a definite must try for anyone looking to try something quirky or anyone who just wants a damn good dessert! šŸ™‚

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Toffee Apple Yorkshire Puddings (Serves 3)

1 eggs

100ml milk

55g plain flour

2tsp caster sugar

1/2 vanilla pod, seeded/1tsp vanilla extract

1 orange, zest only

2 granny smith apples

1tbsp light brown sugar, or to taste

extra butter and sugar, to grease

Toffee sauce and vanilla ice-cream or custard, to serve

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, flour, caster sugar, vanilla and orange zest until smooth and lump free then set aside and leave to stand for 15mins. Then pour it into a jug.
  • Meanwhile, peel core and slice your apples into wedges and put them in a medium pot with the sugar and splash of water.
  • Bring to the simmer over a medium/high heat then turn the heat down to low and cover it with a lid.
  • Simmer for about 10mins until the apples are tender. Taste and add more sugar if necessary.
  • Preheat the oven to 220Ā°c/430Ā°f and generously grease 3 cups of a muffin tin with butter then sprinkle with sugar to coat the entire inside.
  • Spoon the apples evenly into the 3 holes then bake in the oven for 3mins. Open the oven and pour the batter into the 3 holes evenly then shut the oven and cook for a further 10mins. Do not open the door to check on them! Be patient. šŸ™‚
  • Serve hot with ice cream and toffee sauce.

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Overnight Oats

7 Apr

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I have only just tried overnight oats recently and I must say, I think I’m hooked! I have seen them on various blogs for a long time now and I have always been meaning to try them… The problem? I only ever remembered I wanted to try them in the morning when I was searching for something tasty to eat! So last night I was passing time looking at food blogs, as usual and I saw a overnight oats recipe. I was delighted. So I went and made it up straight away (So I wouldn’t forget it AGAIN!) And I was veryĀ impressedĀ  It has a very smooth, creamy texture and even though you are eating oats, which the majority of us would associate with hot food, it was cool and soothing. The perfect fresh start to the day!

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Overnight Oats (Serves 1)

1/3 cup rolled oats

1/3 cup milk or water

1/4 cup natural/Greek yogurt

1tbsp ground flaxseed

1 1/2tsp chia seeds

honey/sugar/maple syrup, to sweeten

Add ins, such as mashed banana and peanut butter (My favorite) ,berries and cocoa powder, apple sauce and cinnamon etc.

  • Simple instructions! Mix all the ingredients together in a container or jar. Leave in the fridge overnight and tuck in in the morning.
  • You can put the sweetener and add ins in with all the other ingredients or in the morning, whichever you prefer!

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Luscious Lime and Coconut Cupcakes

5 Apr

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Every year, I make anĀ EasterĀ basket full of baked goods for ourĀ neighborsĀ and friends. I do it for most holidays and I always vary what I put in them but the one thing I always include is a cupcake. This year for Easter I decided to make a lime and coconut cupcake because, well, IĀ thinkĀ we all have to agree that that sounds pretty darn amazing! It was a fairly straight forward recipe, except for all that zesting of limes! But the flavors worked together even better then I had imagined and the fresh, tropical combination is perfect to put a “spring” in your step! šŸ™‚ If you wanted to make it more coconuty you could use coconut extract instead of vanilla. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get my hands on any! šŸ˜¦ But they were still unbelievably delicious so its all good!

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Luscious Lime and Coconut Cupcakes (Makes about 24)

Cupcakes:

2 cups caster sugar

3 limes, zest only

340g butter, softened

6 eggs

1 1/2tsp vanilla extract

3 cups plain flour

1tsp baking powder

a pinch of salt

1 cup buttermilk

150g shredded coconut

Frosting:

225g cream cheese, room temperature

115g butter, softened

1tsp vanilla extract

1 lime, zest only

500-600g icing sugar, depending on desired consistency

  • Preheat the oven to 160Ā°c/325Ā°f and line 2 x 12 hole cupcake tins with cupcake liners.
  • In a medium bowl, mix together the sugar and lime zest until the zest is evenly distributed.
  • In a large bowl cream together the zesty sugar and butter with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy.
  • Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl regularly then beat in your vanilla.
  • Sift the flour, baking powderĀ andĀ salt into aĀ separateĀ bowl.
  • Mix in the flour mix and buttermilk alternately, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix just until everything is combined. Fold in the shredded coconut.
  • Fill the cupcake cases to the top with the batter and bake in the oven for 25-30mins or until they are light golden on top and a skewer comes out clean.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Meanwhile, make your frosting.
  • For the frosting beat together the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl until smooth and creamy. Beat in the vanilla and lime zest until combined.
  • Add the icing sugar in small batches, mixing and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition until youĀ achieveĀ the right consistency.
  • Pipe or spread onto the cupcakes and decorate as you want. I used extra shredded coconut and mini sugar coated chocolate eggs.

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Sweet and Sticky Tofu Stir Fry

4 Apr

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Tofu is something I have always been very curious about. So the other day when I was in the health food store and saw a box of it, I finally bit the bullet and just bought it. I figured now that I have it I have to use it, right? So I went searching for a recipe that would be playing it safe. This one was highly recommended as a beginner tofu recipe and I must admit it did sound super delicious. And I am glad to report that it indeed is super delicious. The tofu has a very mild taste and the sauce is so good. It is sweet and sticky and utterly out of this world. Even if you are not a fan of tofu or you just have no desire to try it then make this sauce instead with chicken or mixed vegetables. It tastes just like it’s from the bestĀ ChineseĀ restaurant ever. And making a double batch will never go to waste either!

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Sweet and Sticky Tofu Stir Fry (Serves 2)

170g firm tofu

1 egg

1/3 cup + 1 heaped tsp cornflour

rapeseed oil

2 spring onions, sliced thinly on the diagonal

1 inch piece ginger, peeled and finely grated

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/3 cup vegetable stock

2tbsp granulated sugar

1 1/2tbsp soy sauce

1/2tbsp rice wine/sherry, optional

1/2tsp chilli powder, or to taste

  • Slice the tofu intoĀ largeĀ squares. Beat the egg lightly then dip the tofu squares in itĀ briefly. Place on a clean plate and sprinkle with the 1/3 cup cornflour and toss until it is all coated.Ā 
  • Heat 1tbsp rapeseed oil in a large pan and fry the tofu until crisp and golden brown. Transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper and set aside.
  • Add an extra tbsp of rapeseed oil and fry the spring onions, ginger and garlic for 1-2mins. Pour in the soy sauce, sugar, soy sauce, vinegar and sherry. Sprinkle the chilli powder in to taste and mix to combine.
  • Mix 1tbsp water with the tsp cornflour in a small cup to make a paste, pour into the frying pan with the rest of the sauce and mix well. Cook for 1-2mins until the sauce starts to bubble.
  • Add the tofu back into the pan and mix gently until all the tofu is generously coated with the sauce.
  • Serve immediately with rice, couscous and steamed greens.

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Honey Pistachio Crusted Salmon

3 Apr

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This is an extremely yummy way to cook salmon. The combination of the salty pistachios and sweet honey is just amazing and is extremely moreish! The pistachios also give a great texture and healthy crust to the salmon. It is really simple, only containing 5 ingredients. How handy is that! Ā My personal favorite is having this with hot floury boiled potatoes and loads of steamed veg. It is just so good. This would also be great if you had leftovers, which you probably won’t, but if you do it would be great to crumble into a fresh salad and have it as a delicious, light lunch. If you don’t have honey, you canĀ substituteĀ it for maple syrup if you want. It is slightly sweeter but still divine.

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Honey Pistachio Crusted Salmon (Serves 2)

1/4 cup runny honey

1tsp curry powder

1tsp dijon mustard

1/2 cup pistachios, shelled and roughly crushed

2 salmon fillets, boned and skinned

  • Preheat the oven to 190Ā°c/375Ā°f and line a baking sheet with tin foil.
  • Mix together the the runny honey, curry powder and dijon mustard in a small bowl.
  • Ā Season the salmon fillets and place on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Drizzle half the sauce over the two fillets then sprinkle the pistachios evenly over both fillets. Pour the rest of the sauce over the top of the two.
  • Bake in the oven for about 15-20mins or until the salmon is completely cooked all the way through.
  • Serve with rice, couscous or mashed potato and lots of lovely veggies!

 

 

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