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Healthy ‘Apple Crumble’ Baked Oatmeal

5 Nov

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This baked oatmeal is so unbelievably good that words can’t even justify it! It tastes like a cross between the most heart warming apple crumble and a hot, gooey cinnabon. It’s like eating dessert at seven in the morning and knowing that every bit of it is oh so healthy for you. Also a huge bonus in my opinion is that it doesn’t call for an egg. I don’t know about you guys but having to add an egg or especially an egg white (What did the poor yolk do wrong?!) to my baked oatmeal is just a big nuisance. I’m always running out of eggs and to be honest I much prefer it without the egg. I don’t actually add any sweetener what so ever to this oatmeal because I don’t have a big sweet tooth for breakfast and the raisins and apple add enough sweetness for me but feel free to add a sweetener or your choice. I would recommend dark brown sugar.

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Healthy ‘Apple Crumble’ Baked Oatmeal (Serves 1)

1/3 cup rolled oats

12-1tsp cinnamon

1/2tsp baking powder

1tbsp flaked almonds

sweetener of choice, to taste (E.g. brown sugar, honey, agave nectar)

1/3 cup skimmed milk

1/2tsp vanilla extract

1/2 granny smith apple, peeled, cored and diced

2tbsp raisins or sultanas

  • Preheat the oven to 180ºc/350ºf.
  • In a bowl mix together the oats, cinnamon, baking powder, flaked almonds and sweetener if its dry such as sugar.
  • In another bowl mix together the milk, vanilla, diced apple, raisins and sweetener if wet such as honey.
  • I do step 1 and 2 the night before and then mix both together in the morning. This allows the raisins to plump up in the milk but it is fine if you prepare it in the morning.
  • Mix the dry ingredients into the wet and transfer mixture to an oven proof ramekin/dish. You can add up to a tbsp more milk if it looks a bit dry.
  • Bake in the oven for 20mins and enjoy, but don’t burn yourself!

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Breakfast Cookie

6 Oct

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I know, most of you are probably a bit baffled by the title of this post and I just want to say, just try it before you judge. You will be convinced the moment the first bite hits your lips. This cookie is not like your run of the mill refined, calorie laden, generally terrible for you but oh so delicious cookie. It has eliminated all the bad and happily been left with just the oh so delicious! The oats are a great slow release energy that keep me going even when I am faced with maths first thing in the morning!

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I personally don’t add any sweetener because I don’t usually like sweet oats but it’s completely up to you. The vanilla protein powder lends it a lovely cookie smell and taste and it feels ridiculously indulgent after adding choc or pb chips even though it isn’t! There is nothing more exciting then biting into melting chocolate chips at any time of the day let alone breakfast time. Children will love this and it is an interesting change up to add to any breakfast collection.

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Breakfast Cookie (Serves 1)

1/3 cup rolled oats

1 level tbsp vanilla protein powder (Or flavor of choice)

1/2tsp cinnamon

1/2tbsp chia seeds

1/2 banana mashed

1tbsp milk

honey or choice of sweetener, to taste (optional)

Toppings:

chocolate chips

coconut flakes

peanut butter chips

raisins

chopped dates

nuts (almonds, pecans etc) roughly chopped

  • Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl including any chosen toppings except chocolate or peanut butter chips.
  • Scoop out onto a microwavable plate and shape into a cookie.
  • Microwave for 1min then sprinkle the chocolate or pb chips over the cookie and return to the microwave for 25sec.
  • Add sliced banana or berries to the top and enjoy!

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Quinoa Oatmeal Bake with Banana, Blackberries and Almonds

15 Sep

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Being back at school has been a real shock to the system as regards to time management. I have been run off my feet for the last three weeks and thinking about what to do for meal times has been the last thing on my mind. So coming up with quick or freezer friendly dishes has been priority at the moment.

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This breakfast bake is exactly what I need. It is so easy to put together and made about 8 servings which I popped into tupperware and can have on the table in the morning in about 2mins. When reheating, it is a good idea to add a drop of water or milk before blasting it in the microwave. It is also crazy healthy and the perfect start to the day, even if the day itself started with me waking up late and running around the house like a maniac… It happens to the best of us, I hope!

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The quinoa injects loads of protein into the dish and the oats keep you going until lunch. You can vary the flavors of this dish by using different berries, nuts and subbing other spices for cinnamon. It would also be gorgeous with some crystallized ginger, which is what I’ll be popping in next time. 🙂

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Quinoa Oatmeal Bake with Banana, Blackberries and Almonds (Serves 6-8)

1 cup oats

1 cup quinoa

3tsp flaxseed/chia seeds

3/4 cup nuts of choice (I used almonds and pistachios)

1tsp baking powder

2tsp cinnamon

1/2tsp salt

1 3/4 cup water

1/2 cup skimmed milk

2tsp vanilla extract

1tbsp fat free natural yogurt

1 egg

2 large or 3 small bananas, sliced on the diagonal

1 1/2- 2 cups blackberries

  • Preheat the oven to 180ºc/350ºf.
  • In a large bowl, mix the oats, quinoa, flaxseed, 1/2 cup of the nuts, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together and set aside.
  • In a jug, whisk together the water, milk, vanilla, yogurt and egg until smooth.
  • Layer most of the bananas on the bottom of a casserole dish, saving some for the top then layer the blackberries over it, again saving some for the top.
  • Scatter the dry mixture over the fruit in an even layer then pour the wet ingredients over to soak in evenly.
  • Top with the reserved bananas, blackberries and nuts.
  • Bake in the oven for 45mins. Divide into bowls or tupperware if freezing. Top with some honey, agave etc. if you want an extra sweetness.

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Blackberry and White Chocolate Crumble

8 Sep

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This year we have been absolutely inundated with blackberries, they started ripening about a week and a half ago and they just haven’t stopped since. I have been out picking about four times now and I’d say have at least 6lbs of berries at this stage in the freezer and it is beginning to look at little squished!

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There is just something so fulfilling about getting free food that I just can’t stop myself from picking them. They also make a great mid run snack when you spot a bunch of glistening berries just yearning to be picked.  I have many ideas as to what I want to do with my overflowing store of berries, from dressings to sweets to crumble. Lots of recipes to come will have this star feature. This crumble was actually a bit of a stroke of luck. After my first blackberry picking escapade, I wanted to make something with them and what more classic then a crumble?

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I was going to make a pretty basic crumble but when I was reaching into the cupboard for the rolled oats I spotted the white chocolate and was instantly inspired to incorporate it into my little dessert. It works beautifully with the blackberry and adds a creaminess to the crumble that I have never experienced before. It instantly became a favorite of my mothers and I have made it countless times for her and guests since. I have served mine with ice cream every time as I didn’t have time to make custard but I think that either would work amazingly… When is custard not amazing? 🙂

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Blackberry and White Chocolate Crumble (Serves 2)

70g berries

1tsp light brown sugar

For the Crumble:

70g plain flour

50g butter, cubed

50g white chocolate, cut into small chunks

2tsp light brown sugar

  • Preheat the oven to 200°c/395°f.
  • Divide the berries between 2 ramekins and sprinkle 1/2tsp sugar over each.
  • Place the flour in a small bowl and add the cubed butter. Rub in the butter roughly until it resembles chunky breadcrumbs.
  • Mix in the white chocolate chunks and divide the crumble between the two ramekins.
  • Sprinkle 1tsp sugar over each crumble.
  • Bake in the oven for about 20mins until the top is golden and the berries are starting to bubble.
  • Serve with a scoop of good quality vanilla ice-cream or custard.

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Peach, Tomato and Mature Cheddar Wrap

9 Aug

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I have always loved pairing sweet fruit with savory, tangy flavors such as a sharp cheddar or feta cheese or even pickled onions. The sweet against the sharp just works to perfection and this wrap is a perfect example of how harmonious they can be. Peaches are in season at the moment and they are so amazingly mouthwatering and juicy that I’m trying to use them in just about everything to make the most of it.

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A sharp, crumbly, mature cheddar is one of my all time favorite indulgences and I like it in basically everything from a simple grilled cheese to sprinkled on a crispy baked potato or just a chutney, cheese and crackers combo. It just never gets boring! This wrap is really healthy and makes it easy to incorporate fruit and veg into your diet.

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Peach, Tomato and Mature Cheddar Wrap (Serves 1)

1 small wrap

a small handful of spinach leaves

1/2 peach, stoned and cut into wedges

1/2 small tomato, cut into wedges

a matchbox size of mature cheddar, cut into small cubes or grated

1/2 samll vacuum packed beetroot, cubed

1 spring onion (green part only) sliced on the diagonal

salt and pepper

  • Heat the wrap in the microwave for 10-15sec until warm and soft.
  • Place the spinach leaves in a flat layer on one side of the wrap then fan out the peach and tomato wedges on top.
  • Sprinkle with cheddar cubes/grated cheddar, beetroot and sliced spring onion. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Fold over and try and keep all the fillings under control while you eat!

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Pear, Almond and Chocolate Tart

2 Aug

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So I bought a big bag of gorgeous looking pears the other day. I got them home and couldn’t help munching straight into one and I nearly took my teeth out, they were that hard. Disappointment settled over me like a black cloud on a sunny day until I had a stroke of genius. I decided to bake with them, you couldn’t find a better baking pear if you had ordered it specially. Then there was the grueling task of finding the perfect recipe.

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I was going to poach them in red wine and spices but that was a bit too speedy and simple for my liking. It has been a horrible day and I really wanted to get stuck into making a fancy baked treat while I chuckled to myself about the people outside getting soaked to the skin and blown into the next county. It was quite satisfying, both the baking and the gloating. I decided on classic pear flavors, chocolate and almond. This is quite an easy, fool proof  dessert although it does take a while because of all the parts but believe me it is worth it. Especially when you get to sit down to a plateful of this tart at the end of it all!

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The crust is wonderfully buttery and the almond shines through the whole tart. The layer of marzipan in the base gives it a delicious chewy texture and amps the almond flavors up to the max. The chocolate filling just brings the whole thing together and results in a phenomenally elegant and scrumptious tart.

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Pear, Almond and Chocolate Tart 

For the Crust:

1 x 150g packet shortbread biscuits (I used Walkers)

1 egg

56g butter, melted

1/2 cup plain flour

1/3 cup granulated sugar

a pinch of salt

2tsp almond extract

For the Filling:

3 small ripe but firm pears, cored and sliced lengthways

1tsp cinnamon

1tsp dark brown sugar

1/2 lemon, juiced

28g butter

65g dark chocolate, broken into chunks

90ml milk

1tsp almond extract

a pinch of salt

1 egg

1 egg yolk

3tbsp granulated sugar

3tbsp plain flour

2tbsp cocoa powder

175g marzipan

a handful of flaked almonds

  • Preheat the oven to 180°c/375°f and grease and line the bottom of a 9inch tart with baking parchment.
  • For the crust, put the shortbread fingers in the food processor and whizz until it is a fine crumb. Add the egg, butter, flour, sugar, salt and almond extract. Whizz again until it forms a soft dough.
  • Wrap the dough in cling film and refrigerate for 20mins to firm.
  • Press the dough into the prepared tin with your fingers or the back of a spoon until it is evenly covering the bottom and sides of the tin. Place a sheet of baking parchment on top and fill with baking beans. Bake blind for 7mins. Allow cool fully.
  • For the filling, in a large bowl mix the pear slices with the cinnamon, dark brown sugar and lemon juice and set aside.
  • Melt the chocolate and butter in a small bowl in the microwave in 30sec intervals until smooth and completely melted. Mix in the milk, almond extract and salt and set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, beat together the egg, egg yolk, sugar, flour and cocoa powder for about 2mins with a electric mixer. Pour in half the melted chocolate mix and beat to incorporate then add the other half and beat again until it is smooth and silky.
  • Roll out the marzipan into a rough 9inch disc and place in the bottom of the pastry  case. Place the pears on top in a fan shape and finally pour the chocolate filling over making sure it is evenly distributed.
  • Bake in the oven for 25mins until the chocolate filling is set. Scatter with flaked almonds about 8mins before it is due to be done.
  • Let cool completely then slice and serve.

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Banana Bread with Chocolate Crumble Layers

18 Jul

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Because of the wonderful weather, we decided to go camping for a night. Food is a major part in this and we opted for easy meals all the way through (Post coming soon!) but for a handy dessert/something to have with a hot cup of tea, I made this banana bread. Usually when I make banana bread it is more of a spicy, rustic loaf with raisins and nuts like my recipe for the Best Banana Bread in the World but this one is basically the complete opposite.

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It is a more refined, cake like banana bread that of course is more indulgent and not as good for you as my other recipe but everyone has to have a bit of yummy, sinful banana bread in their life, right? I think so! This loaf has a lovely moist banana cake part with layers of rich, rough chocolate crumble. Because of the chocolate pieces in the crumble, the middle layer becomes wickedly gooey and fantastic when eaten straight out of the oven or after being reheated in the microwave.

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When we were camping I had my slice with a warm baked banana, done on our portable hob/grill set, and at home I had it with a blob of natural yogurt. Both were delicious and balanced out the richness of the chocolate to perfection. This was such a handy loaf as it was really robust and handled the traveling really well, wrapped up in a bit of tin foil. It was the perfect camping treat and I will definitely be making on a regular basis!

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Banana Bread with Chocolate Crumble Layers (1 substantial loaf)

For the Chocolate Crumble:

55g butter, melted

1/2 cup plain flour

1/4 cup light brown sugar

1/4 cup coarse brown sugar/granulated sugar

2tbsp good quality cocoa powder

50g/1/4 cup milk chocolate chips

For the Banana Bread Batter:

2 cups plain flour

1tsp baking powder

a pinch of salt

85g/6tbsp butter, softened

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1/3 cup fat free natural yogurt

3 small very ripe bananas, mashed

1tsp vanilla extract

  • Preheat the oven to 180°c/350°f and grease and line a 2lb loaf tin with baking parchment.
  • To make the crumble, mix the flour, two sugars, cocoa powder and chocolate chips in a small bowl and then pour in the melted butter while mixing with a fork and breaking up the clusters. Set aside.
  • For the batter, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
  • In another large bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer until creamy, about 30sec, then add the sugar and beat for 3-4mins or until pale and fluffy.
  • Beat in the eggs one at a time until incorporated then add the yogurt, mashed bananas and vanilla. Mix again.
  • Fold in the flour mixture with a large metal spoon, half at a time until it is all mix through.
  • Spoon half the batter into the tin then scatter half the crumble over. Layer the second half of the batter on and finish with the last of the chocolate crumble on top.
  • Bake in the oven for 50-60mins until a skewer comes out clean.
  • Let cool in the tin then slice thickly and serve with a hot cup of tea.

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