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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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Nutella Stuffed Chocolate Chip Muffins

1 Nov

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First of all I’m so sorry I haven’t posted anything in so long, I have been extremely busy. Also Happy belated Halloween! I hope everyone had a suitably frightening and indulgent night, while I was tucking into these heavenly muffins. These muffins are insane! Nutella isn’t really my thing but baked into a muffin and I could eat it all day. These muffins are light and moist from the yogurt and once you reach the chocolaty centre, your brain will just explode from the awesomeness!

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Make sure you don’t leave out the coarse sugar sprinkled on top as this adds an amazing crunchy texture to contrast the delicate muffin.These muffins rise really well and create a perfect dome shape making them really impressive looking. They are robust enough to be good when traveling as a lunch dessert or just whenever, you really don’t need an excuse to make these other then to experience their crazy deliciousness! I really can’t put the superbness  of these muffins into words so I’ll leave you guys with this simple advise… Go, run and make these muffins as fast as possible! 🙂

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Nutella Stuffed Chocolate Chip Muffins

1 small jar of nutella, approximately

3 cups plain flour

1tbsp baking powder

1/2tsp baking soda

a pinch of salt

145g butter, softened

1 1/4cup caster sugar

2eggs

1tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2cups vanilla yogurt

1 cup white and milk chocolate chips

2-3tbsp mini chocolate chips, for sprinkling

2tbsp coarse brown sugar

  • Line a baking sheet with baking parchment and drop roughly 16 spoonfuls of the nutella onto the tray. Pop in the freezer until the nutella is frozen solid, about 2-3hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 180°c/350°f and line about 16 muffin cups with paper liners.
  • In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  • In a separate large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time followed by the vanilla and vanilla yogurt.
  • Mix in the dry mixture and chocolate chips alternately in batches until fully combined.
  • Divide the mixture between the muffin cups leaving about 4tbsp for the top.
  • Push the frozen nutella discs into the muffin mixture and top with the remaining batter to cover where the nutella went in. sprinkle each one with mini chocolate chips and coarse sugar. Bake in the oven for 20-25mins until golden brown.
  • These are best when served slightly warm but really they’re just delicious all round! Enjoy 🙂

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Roast Butternut Squash, Spinach and Feta Lasagna Roll Ups

16 Oct

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This has to be one of the most exciting yet simple dishes I have whipped up in a long time. It uses basic ingredients in a clever way that will just dazzle your taste buds to leave you wanting more. Now I will be the first to admit that butternut squash is not my favorite vegetable because most often it is too sweet and sickly for my liking but in this recipe it is the absolute star of the show.

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Its overly sweet flavor is balanced by a couple of things in this recipe, the spinach, the passata and the feta. The passata works particularly well as its acidic flavor counteracts the squash to perfection. This is a fantastic recipe for vegetarians who are looking for new and exciting recipes or just for anyone who likes getting their socks knocked off by amazing food!

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I use dried lasagna sheets that have to be pre-cooked in this dish but I’m sure fresh lasagna would also work perfectly. The thought of having to roll up lasagna sheets may seem daunting but don’t be put off. It is super easy after the first two or so, everyone is allowed a few disasters! So what are you waiting for, go make it!

Roast Butternut Squash, Spinach and Feta Lasagna Roll Ups (Serves 2 generously)

1 medium butternut squash

5 lasagna sheets

2tbsp olive oil

1 onion, diced

3-4 thyme sprigs, stalks removed

250g frozen spinach

4 garlic cloves, finely sliced

350ml passata

salt and pepper

whole nutmeg

30g feta

15g grated parmesan

  • Preheat the oven to 180°c/350ºf and roast the whole butternut squash on the bottom shelf of the oven for 1 1/2hrs.
  • When there is about 30mins left on the squash you can start getting everything else ready. Cook the lasagna sheets according to packet instructions. Drain and set aside.
  • Heat 1tbsp olive oil in a frying pan, add the onion and thyme and fry over a medium heat for 2-3mins until soft add the frozen spinach and cook for a further 10-15mins over a medium/low heat with a lid until the spinach has broken down and excess liquid has evaporated.
  • Heat the remaining 1tbsp olive oil in a small frying pan and add the sliced garlic. Fry for 2-3mins until lightly golden. Add the passata and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and simmer for 3-4mins.
  • Cut the squash in half and scoop out the soft flesh from one half. You don’t need the other half for this recipe but it makes an unbelievably delicious soup! Mash the flesh and season with salt, pepper and a generous grating of nutmeg.
  • Also season the spinach with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
  • To assemble,place the lasagna sheets vertically in front of you. Divide the mashed squash between the 5 cooked lasagna sheets spreading it out evenly. Then layer on the spinach and crumble the feta on top.
  • Roll the lasagna sheets away from you into fairly tight cylinders and slice in half or even thirds if you want. Place the lasagna roll ups, standing up, in the frying pan with the passata.
  • Sprinkle with parmesan and bake in the oven for 20mins until golden and beginning to crisp.
  • Serve with a fresh green salad and extra parmesan if desired.

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Hearty Minestrone

16 Sep

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The chill of autumn has swooped in out of nowhere and I have found myself rummaging around in my big hearty recipe books… or my bookmarked internet tabs for those meals that are basically the equivalent of a couch, a fire and a cuddly doggie! This dish is exactly that and is so handy because its also a one pot wonder which cuts the dishes to slave away over afterwards.

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This is a really basic minestrone but why fix something that’s not broken? It uses mostly store cupboard ingredients and has so much flavor, you will be blown away. It can also be made ahead of time which fits wonderfully into hectic life at the moment. It gives wholesome portions and supplied us with two days worth of dinners which was amazing and really freed up my evening.

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Hearty Minestrone

1/2tbsp olive oil

3-4 rindless bacon slices, cubed

3 carrots, peeled and diced

1/2 medium courgette, diced

1/2 red pepper, diced

1/2 green pepper, diced

150g button mushrooms, quartered

1 red onion, diced

3-4 garlic cloves

2 bay leaves

1tsp dried oregano

2 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes

2 cups chicken stock, more if needed

1 x 400g tin chickpeas, drained

1/2-1 cup pasta shapes

parmesan, to serve

  • Heat the oil in a large casserole dish and cook the bacon cubes until lightly browned. Add the carrots, courgettes, peppers, mushrooms, onion, garlic, bay leaves and oregano and cook for 5-10mins over medium heat until softened and smelling delicious.
  • Pop in the chopped tomatoes, chicken stock and chickpeas and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to the boil, turn down to a simmer and cook for roughly 30mins.
  • Add the pasta and cook for a further 10mins until al dente. Taste and correct seasoning if necessary and thin with some extra stock or water if it’s too thick.
  • Serve piping hot, but don’t burn your tongue, with lashings of parmesan and some basil leaves.

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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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Homemade Digestive Biscuits

18 Aug

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I’m seriously on a homemade biscuit role between the oreos, jammy dodgers and now these. I love it! It is so cool being able to recreate classic favorites at home and being able to present a box of delectable tea time treats to visitors with their cup of steaming tea. Now that is something that will really make somebodies day.

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Digestives are actually just a sort of wholemeal shortbread biscuit and of course I covered mine in chocolate to make them completely irresistible. These are easy cookies to make but really time consuming so it’s a recipe to make when you have a few hours to settle into the kitchen and enjoy an afternoon of biscuit smells wafting through the house and several cups of tea being consumed!

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Homemade Digestive Biscuits

1 cup plain flour

1/2 cup ground flaxseed (You can sub in any of the following: Wheat germ, Oat bran, Finely ground bran cereal or a mixture)

1/2tsp baking powder

1/4tsp baking soda

1/4tsp cream of tartar

pinch of salt

30g butter, cold and cubed

2tbsp vegetable oil

90g light brown sugar

3tbsp light cream

1tsp vanilla extract

iciong sugar for dusting

100-150g milk chocolate

  • To a food processor, add the flour, flaxseed (Or substitution), baking powder, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt and whizz to combine.
  • Add the butter, oil and sugar and whizz again to combine making sure there are no butter chunks left.
  • Finally add the cream and vanilla and whizz again. It should resemble a soft but not wet dough. If you think it is a bit wet, turn it out onto a well floured surface and knead a few tbsp flour into it. Wrap up in cling film and place in the fridge for at least 30mins or preferably the freezer for about 15mins until firm.
  • Preheat the oven to 180°c/350°.
  • Cut out two large sheets of baking parchment and dust both lightly with icing sugar. Roll the dough out to about 1/8inch thick between the two sheets and peel the top sheet off.
  • Cut into circles and remove the excess dough, transfer to a large baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 15mins. Let cool on the tray.
  • Repeat with the rest of the dough until it is all used up.
  • Once all the cookies are cool, melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30sec bursts, stirring between each interval until smooth.
  • Dip the cookies in the melted chocolate, using a knife to spread it out evenly then get a clean toothpick and draw several lines across the biscuit then draw similar lines in downwards motions on the biscuit creating the traditional digestive look.
  • Let the chocolate set then have a tea party!

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