Archive | June, 2013

Peanut Butter Protein Bites

30 Jun

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I think one of my most favorite foods in the entire world has to be peanut butter, I like it with everything… My porridge, sandwiches, on fruit, in baked goods, in smoothies, chicken satay and of course in these peanut butter protein bites! These are a great pre or post workout snack that’s packed with protein and natural sugars to keep your body going. They are only small, eaten in two bites, which means they won’t make you feel too full or heavy.

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Boots just found the sight of these on the table as I was photographing so tempting that he had to take a bite out of something… Unfortunately it was Sophie!

If your not the exercising type, these would still be great just for a mid morning snack or a tasty dessert treat. They are all natural and best of all they taste out of this world! You can substitute the peanut butter with any other sort of nut butter such as almond, cashew or hazelnut butter if you prefer. They are really easy to make, they don’t even have to be baked and if you store them in the freezer they last for ages (Not that you’ll be able to resist them for long!) and so you have a handy and healthy snack whenever you need it. 🙂

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Peanut Butter Protein Bites (Makes about 12 balls)

1/2 cup natural peanut butter

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/4 cup desiccated coconut

2tbsp ground flaxseed

1tbsp honey/maple syrup

1/2tsp cinnamon, optional

a drop of vanilla extract

1/4 cup raisins

1/4 cup dates, roughly chopped

1tbsp apple cider vinegar/water

a handful of flaked almonds

  • Put everything in a large bowl except the flaked almonds and mix with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together and forms a ball in you hand.
  • Shape the mixture into 12 or so even sized balls and place on a plate.
  • On another plate, crush the flaked almonds in your hands just until they are in smaller pieces.
  • Roll each ball in the crushed almonds and place back on the plate.
  • This step is optional but I like to store mine in the freezer in a sealed plastic bag. This makes them denser and quite refreshing. Otherwise you can store in the fridge although they won’t keep for as long.

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Classic Egg Mayonnaise Panini

29 Jun

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I must admit before I start that I actually don’t like egg mayonnaise at all… (Gasp!) Yep, I don’t like mayonnaise in general therefore it just really isn’t my cup of tea so I’m telling you about this based on my moms taste, which in my opinion is very valuable! When we were in England, my Auntie Liz made egg mayonnaise sandwiches which my mom just adored and since we got back she has been craving them.

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So I decided to try and make some of my own, I’m pretty positive it wasn’t as good as Auntie Lizs but according to mom it was pretty damn tasty! It is great to know how to make egg mayonnaise, even though there is basically nothing to it because who (Besides weird people like me!) don’t like egg mayonnaise sandwiches? It is very handy to have up you sleeve… Not literally though because that might be a bit disgusting!

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Classic Egg Mayonnaise Panini

2 eggs

1/4 onion, diced

1-2tbsp light mayonnaise

1/2-1tsp dijon mustard, optional

a pinch of paprika, optional

salt and pepper

3-4 cherry tomatoes, quartered.

1 panini/bread roll/2 slices of bread

  • Place the eggs in a small pan of cold water and put over a high heat. Time 14mins then remove from the heat and place the eggs in a new bowl of cold water.
  • Peel and place in a bowl then chop roughly with a knife.
  • Mix in the onion, mayo, dijon and paprika and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Toast the panini/bread if you want and place the egg mayonnaise on one side and cherry tomatoes on the other.
  • Sandwich together and devour!

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Smokey Vegetable Bolognese

26 Jun

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Me and my mom decided on the spur of the moment to paint our kitchen today. So in other words we have been run off our feet all day and my arms are going to be sore in the morning! But the colors are beautiful and it was definitely worth it. I had planned on a making a complicated sort of a dinner but necessity was the mother of invention for this great, speedy dish.

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The dish is quick basic really but the addition of chopped green olives and a pinch of smoked paprika really deepens the flavor and makes this dish really impressive. Don’t worry if you don’t like olives, like me, because you can’t taste olives specifically. It is just the smokiness off them. So this is a fantastic meal if you are stuck in a rut for time but don’t want to sacrifice flavor or nutritiousness.

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Smokey Vegetable Bolognese (Serves 2)

1tbsp olive oil

1/2 onion, sliced

4 garlic cloves, minced

8-10 green olives, finely chopped

1/2 green pepper, sliced

1/2 red pepper, sliced

1/2 small courgette, cut into half circles

8-10 chestnut mushrooms, sliced

1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes

1/2tsp caster sugar

1/4tsp smoked paprika

1tsp fresh oregano, finely chopped

150g whole wheat pasta shapes

salt and pepper

grated parmesan and torn fresh basil leaves, to serve

  • Heat the oil in a medium pot over a medium heat, add the onions and garlic and fry for 2mins then add the rest of the veggies and cook, stirring regularly, until the mushrooms and given up their juices and the vegetables are softening.
  • Pour in the chopped tomatoes, sugar, paprika, and oregano and mix to combine.
  • Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and let simmer for 3-5mins until the sauce is thickened.
  • Cook the pasta according to packet instructions.
  • Serve the bolognese over the pasta and sprinkle with parmesan and basil leaves.

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Sticky Sweet Chilli and Spring Onion Salmon

25 Jun

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My absolutely favorite flavors to pair with salmon is asian, they just work so perfectly together and compliment one another wonderfully. My other asian salmon dishes are fantastic but they miss one thing that this dish has… a sticky, smooth sauce that coats the salmon and there really is loads of sauce in this dish!

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If you aren’t a crazy sauce fanatic like me you can half the quantities. I like to serve this with just some steamed veggies but a serving of basmati rice would also be delicious if you want a more substantial meal.

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Sticky Sweet Chilli and Spring Onion Salmon (Serves 2 with lots of sauce)

4tbsp sweet chilli sauce

3tbsp soy sauce

1tbsp fish sauce

4-5 kaffir limes leaves, crushed or finely chopped

2 spring onions, roughly chopped

1tbsp olive/sesame oil

2 salmon fillets, deboned and skin on

salt and pepper

1 spring onion, sliced on the diagonal

  • Whisk the sweet chilli sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, crushed kaffir lime leaves and spring onions in a small bowl and set aside.
  • Heat the oil in a small frying pan over a medium heat and cook the salmon fillets for 4-5mins on each side or until cooked all the way through.
  • Pour the sauce over the salmon fillets and turn the heat down to low but make sure it is still bubbling, continue to cook for 1-2mins spooning the sauce over the salmon repeatedly until the sauce is thickened and sticky. Season with salt and pepper
  • Serve the salmon with steamed veggies, drizzled with sauce and sprinkled with spring onion.

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Super Quick Chicken Fajitas

24 Jun

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The other day we bought the new Heinz ketchup, the one in a jar that looks really fancy. We got the roasted garlic, thyme and honey and it is really yummy so I was trying to think up a way of using it instead of just with some chips or on a burger.

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So I came up with this, it is a super speedy way of making tasty fajitas that everyone will love. This isn’t too spicy, just a hint from the chilli flakes, but you can make it to your taste by either adding more chilli flakes or a dash of Tabasco sauce along with the Worcestershire sauce. Be careful though as Tabasco sauce is extremely hot!

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Super Quick Chicken Fajitas (Serves 2-3)

1tbsp olive oil

2 chicken breasts, sliced into strips

1/2 onion, diced

3-4 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 orange pepper, cut into strips

1/2 green pepper, cut into strips

5-6 cherry tomatoes, halved

3 heaped tbsp Heinz Roasted Garlic, Thyme and Honey Ketchup

a pinch of chilli flakes

2 stalks fresh thyme, leaves removed and finely chopped

a dash of Worcestershire sauce

salt and pepper

4-6 tortilla wraps

lettuce strips, sour sream, salsa etc, to serve

  • Heat the oil in a large frying pan and add the chicken strips, cook for 2-3mins on each side until cooked through.
  • Add in the onion, garlic, pepper strips and halved cherry tomatoes and cook for a further 3-4mins until the veggies are softened.
  • Add the ketchup, chilli flakes, thyme and enough Worcestershire sauce to loosen the sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Warm the wraps in the microwave then place two or three lettuce strips in and top with some of the chicken. Spoon some sour cream or salsa on top if you want, wrap up and enjoy!

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Holiday Food Recap!

22 Jun

Holiday Food Recap!

As most of you know I was in holiday in Cornwall for the last ten or so days which I greatly enjoyed. One of the highlights of my trip was the food. It was utter heaven from slurping down rich Cornish ice cream to devouring the most amazing foccacia sandwiches I have ever laid eyes on and that’s not even including the amazing dinners my aunt and uncle made us while we were staying. So I’ll give you guys a bit of an insight into my snippet of bliss.

First day there we were served a beautiful corn fed roast chicken with buttery new potatoes and a big fresh salad, simple and oh so delicious! We were served all sorts of divine dinners during our stay such as creamy mushroom risotto, perfect veggie lasagna, gorgeous tomato pasta and a to die for chicken curry. It is safe to say that both my Auntie Liz and Uncle Mark are experienced and talented cooks. 🙂

Here is the tomato pasta courtesy of Uncle Mark on our last night, a beautiful way to end the holiday.

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Me and mom made dinner on two nights, one night I made Honey Pistachio Crusted Salmon and the other I made Couscous Quiche. There was clear plates so I think everyone liked it even though it was quite nerve wracking!

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As a sweet treat to end the evening I made my beloved Sticky Toffee Pudding which I enjoyed immensely, I won’t lie, and I hope they enjoyed just as much.

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We had a day visit to an amazing place called the Eden Project. It is a a charity that turned an exhausted china clay quarry site into three domes that are climate controlled and so filled with all sorts of tropical plants suited to the respective dome, Mediterranean or Rain Forest. It aims to have as small a carbon foot print as possible and stocks recyclable produce and all fair trade food. It is the most inspirational place ever and not only that but they also have unreal food just to top it all off! In the Mediterranean dome there was a choice of paella or authentic Italian pizza, we had the pizza and it was even better then we could have dreamed!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe split that and then went into the main cafe area of the Eden Project which is also so cool. It is so well organised and has amazing food.

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We shared a bowl of lentil and coconut soup and it was so good we had eaten most of it before I even remembered to take a picture… Sorry!

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They had all sorts of yummy looking desserts too but we ended up going for the ice cream instead, I had mint chocolate chip and mom had hazelnut which was unusual but oh so delicious!

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And here is a pic of one of the coolest flowers I have ever seen that was in the Rain Forest dome just to give you a glimpse of the awesomeness of the Eden Project!

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As you know, if you read my previous blog post of the Chocolate Sponge Cake, you will know it was my Auntie’s birthday while we were visiting. To mark the special occasion, we went  out for lunch… and what a lunch it was! We went to a place called The Hidden Hut, which is a small wooden cabin overlooking a gorgeous beach that makes the most delicious food ever!

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We all had foccacia sandwiches, although I was sorely tempted to a serving of chicken rogan josh with pita breads. Mine had ham, cheddar and onion marmalade and everyone else’s had prawns. I honestly think it was the best sandwich that I have ever eaten in my entire life! The bread was crisp but still fresh and easy to eat. The ham was proper roasted ham, the cheddar was tangy, rich and smooth and the onion marmalade upgraded the sandwich from delicious to pure heaven. Something that really made it too was a simple but essential detail, all the filling stayed easily in the sandwich… this may sound like a silly thing to note but there is nothing that ruins the bliss of eating a sandwich more then if you end up eating two slices of bread and then scooping all the filling off the plate!

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Only after we had ordered and sat down did we spot the big dish of paella cooking away in the corner, so we got one helping of that and we all had a taste although I was so stuffed after my heavenly sandwich that I could just about fit a few mouthfuls in! It was really flavorful and looked beautiful although I’m too much of a wuss to try the squid or mussels!

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And lastly to finish off the perfect meal we got Cornish ice cream for dessert. Me and Auntie Liz got pistachio and my mom got mint chocolate chip, I was torn between getting pistachio or good old chocolate but my curiosity won out and I went for the pistachio. I was so happy I did because it was sooo good! It was a combination of the slightly sweet slightly savory pistachio and the creamy Cornish ice cream that was just to die for. I also tried the mint choc chip and it was the best I’ve ever had, it had all the essential qualities of a perfect mint ice cream, such as the smooth yet somehow still grainy texture, the sweet and just enough mint flavor and of course lovely big chunks of rich, bitter sweet chocolate chips.

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The view from The Hidden Hut was just beautiful especially when it was such a magnificent day, as you can see. I would highly recommend anyone in Cornwall to go there, you will definitely not regret it.

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Later that day I made Auntie Liz a birthday cake, it was a Classic Chocolate Sponge Cake with Rum Infused Chocolate Buttercream and I must say… It was utter bliss all wrapped up in a moist, airy sponge sandwiched together by a rich, intense frosting. It didn’t last too long either which, I guess, means that everyone else had similar feelings on the subject!

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And the most vital travelling companion is the humble coffee, in its cardboard cup with loads of milk so you don’t burn your tongue (or your hand!) while racing around trying to find your terminal which is, of course, the one at the farthest end of the airport! Oh and a good book, can’t travel without that. 🙂

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Lastly this speedy fritatta that I rustled up in the kitchen for dinner after a long day of traveling and in desperate need to use up the eggs before they go out of date tomorrow! Sometimes, it just really works out. Simple, nutritious (Much better then the rubbish, besides Starbucks :D, that you get at the airport!) and easy.

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Classic Chocolate Sponge Cake with Rum Infused Chocolate Buttercream

21 Jun

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On my lovely visit to England, it was my Auntie Liz’ birthday, so a big Happy Birthday to her and thank you for such a wonderful holiday. It was the only day in the whole holiday that the sun came out and it was splitting the stones, utter bliss and luck. So for her birthday I wanted to make her a cake.

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She wanted a classic chocolate cake and I was all too happy to make it because I have actually never made a Victoria sponge before (gasp!). I got this recipe from a Nigella Lawson recipe book which I instantly fell in love with, although I did improve on the original recipe. We had leftover rum from making Sticky Toffee Puddings a few nights ago so I decided to throw a bit into the cake mix and the frosting.

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It was the best idea ever as it really gave the cake depth and made it incredibly moreish! Don’t worry though if you don’t like the flavor of rum, like me, because it is a very subtle hint. Although this is a very classic cake, the method is a bit unusual, using only a food processor, but I assure you that it comes out absolutely perfectly.

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Classic Chocolate Sponge Cake with Rum Infused Chocolate Buttercream (Serves 8-10)

225g butter, quite soft

225g caster sugar

1tsp vanilla

4 eggs

175g self raising flour

25g cornflour

25g good quality cocoa powder

1tsp baking powder

2-3tsp dark rum, or to taste

milk

For the Buttercream:

200g butter, softened

200g icing suger

4tbsp cocoa powder

2-3tbp dark rum, or to taste (optional)

1tsp vanilla extract

  • Preheat the oven to 180°c/350°f and grease and line the bottoms of two 8″/20cm sandwich cake tins.
  • This is a ridiculously easy method. Put the butter and sugar in a food processor and whizz until just combined, then add in the vanilla, eggs, self raising flour, cocoa powder, cornflour and baking powder and whizz again until it forms a smooth batter.
  • Add in the rum to taste and whizz, you are looking for a soft batter that falls off a spoon slowly. If your batter is a bit thick then just add milk, a tablespoon at a time and whizzing after each addition until it is soft. Don’t worry if you accidentally make it too runny, it should still be absolutely fine.
  • Divide the mixture as evenly as you possibly can (For some reason I find this ridiculously impossible to do!) and bake in the oven for 25-30mins. To check if they are done, you should be able to press lightly down on the surface of the cake and it should spring back into shape. Remove and leave to cool completely then remove from the tin and place on a wire rack until needed.
  • To make the buttercream, place the softened butter in a large bowl and sieve in the icing sugar. Beat together with an electric mixer or a wooden spoon until well combined and creamy. Sieve in the cocoa powder  and add the rum and vanilla, beat again until all combined then taste and add more rum if necessary.
  • To assemble, Place one cake half on a clean plate or cake board and dollop the buttercream all over. Smooth it out roughly using a palette knife and place the other cake half on top.
  • Dust the top with icing sugar and decorate as desired. I used crushed pistachios and strawberry halves.

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