Thursday, 28 February 2013

More Oats in a Jar

Haddock, Prawn and Courgette Pasta Bake

Ingredients (serves 2-3)

3 large handfuls of penne pasta
1 courgette, chopped

large knob of butter
1 tbsp flour
milk (enough to make a roux)
a dash of white or rose wine
1 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tsp mustard
a handful of grated parmesan or cheddar cheese
1 haddock or cod fillet (without skin)
1 handful uncooked and thawed prawns
breadcrumbs for the topping

1. Set the oven to 200°C. Start by boiling the water for the pasta. Leave the pasta to cook while you make the roux.

2. In a separate large saucepan, begin making the roux. Melt the butter in the pan and then add the flour (on a low heat) and keep stirring. Slowly pour in the milk, a little at a time. You might need a whisk if it gets lumpy. Continue to add the milk until there is a substantial amount of sauce and it starts to thicken. Then add the cheese, fish and prawns and remove the saucepan from the heat.

3. When the pasta has been cooking for 6/7 minutes, add the courgettes to the same pan. Drain the pasta and courgettes when the pasta is al dente and pour into the roux to coat the pasta.

4. Place the pasta into a dish, cover with breadcrumbs and cook in the oven for 15-20 minutes until crispy.

Fajita Night

Ingredients (makes enough for 16 fajita wraps)

1/2 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp vegetable oil
5 chicken breasts, chopped
2 peppers, chopped
1 courgette, chopped
2 onions, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
10 small tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp wine
2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp chilli flakes or more
1/2 tsp ground cumin

fajita wraps (we used coriander and lime ones - yum)

1. Start by frying the onions and garlic in the oil for a couple of minutes. Then brown the chicken for 7 minutes until it has changed in colour.

2. Put in all the vegetables and everything else and continue to cook for a further 10-15 minutes, until all the ingredients are cooked through.

3. Pile this yummy concoction onto fajita wraps and eat with salad, cheese and a selection of sauces. 

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Prawn, Pepper, Courgette and Noodle Sweet Chilli Stir Fry

Ingredients (serves 2)

1 tsp groundnut oil
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp vegetable oil
half a courgette, chopped
half a red pepper, chopped
3cm piece ginger, grated
2 cloves of garlic, grated
3 spring onions, chopped
half a chilli, chopped
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
300g Sharwood ready to wok soft noodles
200g uncooked prawns
2 tsp sesame seeds (optional)

1. Start by frying the courgette, pepper, ginger, garlic and chilli in the oils. Cook these vegetables for 5 minutes, until they have softened, and then add the soy sauce, sweet chilli and noodles. Cook for a further 2 minutes and then add the uncooked prawns and sesame seeds. 

2. Keep stirring the prawns around and after half a minute turn the heat off but keep cooking until the prawns are pink.


Tuna, Quinoa and Blueberry Salad

Ingredients (for one)

1 handful spinach leaves
1 handful lettuce leaves
3 tbsp cooked cold quinoa (I use Merchant Gourmet)
a few slices of cucumber
1 handful blueberries

1/2 tin of tuna
1 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp tinned sweetcorn
1 tsp worcester sauce

1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp lemon juice

1. Arrange the lettuce and cucumber as a base, then layer up the quinoa, tuna and blueberries on top.

2. You have the choice of having it plain, as the tuna gives a lot of flavour and moisture, or drizzling the salad with the lemon and oil.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Happy Shrove Tuesday!


American pancakes with raspberries, blueberries, golden syrup and yoghurt.
Pancakes with cinnamon apples, ice cream and banana

Monday, 11 February 2013

Diana's Delicious Banana Bread

This is a recipe that my mum and I have been using for years, and it never fails!

Ingredients (makes 14 slices)

2 large very ripe bananas, mashed
4oz margarine or unsalted cooking butter
6oz caster sugar
8oz plain flour
2 large eggs
1tsp baking powder
2 tbsp milk
a few walnuts to garnish (optional)

1. Firstly, heat the oven to 170°C and grease a bread tin with butter or line it with baking paper.

2. Cream or mix the butter and the sugar together. Then add the eggs and milk to form a runny mixture, and sift in the flour and baking powder. Finally add the bananas and mix well.

3. Pour the banana mix into the greased tin and if you're using walnuts, decorate the top with them. Bake the cake for 40/50 minutes until golden on top and cooked right through. If it is still slightly squidgy on top after 45/50 minutes, remove it from the oven and wrap it in some tin foil or kitchen towels so that it carries on slowly cooking.

I like to serve it in a bowl with ice cream, or simply with a cup of tea.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Oatsinajar - My New Favourite Breakfast

The good thing about this breakfast is that you can be as inventive as you like. Add anything and everything, like seeds, spices and different fruit. This was my first attempt so I'm sure I'll have some more delicious oats in a jar recipes to put up soon.

 Ingredients (rough estimates for one jam jar)

1/3 porridge oats
1 tbsp flax seed (optional)
1/3 milk (any milk is fine)
2 tsp natural yoghurt (natural or flavoured)
5 raspberries
8 blueberries
2 tsp honey (or jam)
(I would have liked a pinch of cinnamon in too, but I'll try that next time)

1. Put everything in a jam jar and stir or shake the contents of the jar until everything is mixed well.

2. Place the jar in the fridge overnight, ready to eat with a spoon in the morning. I chopped banana on top while I was spooning the porridge out. You can also put banana straight into the mix before refrigerating. 

Be inventive! 

Saturday, 9 February 2013

King Prawn, Courgette, Spinach and Coconut Curry

Ingredients (serves two)

half a courgette, chopped
3 spring onions, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
3cm piece of ginger, grated
half a large chilli (or a whole one), deseeded and chopped
1 tbsp Patak's Korma paste
1 tsp peanut butter
1 cup of packet coconut milk with water, or 1 tin of coconut milk
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp tomato puree
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1 handful of fresh coriander with stalks, roughly chopped
300g unfrozen king prawns
2 handfuls of spinach leaves

1. Place the ginger, garlic, spring onions and courgette in a large frying pan with a little vegetable or sunflower oil and cook for a few minutes.

2. Then add the coconut milk and all the other ingredients apart from the prawns and spinach. Cook this for 5 minutes, until the milk starts to reduce a little. 

3. Now add the prawns and spinach and cook for a further 3 minutes, until the prawns are cooked through. 

4. Serve with rice or couscous. 

So quick, easy and delicious!

Tomato Chicken Curry with Vegetables and Cashew Nuts

Ingredients (serves two)

1 large chicken breast, cut into pieces
half a courgette, sliced
half or a whole chilli, deseeded and sliced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
3cm piece of ginger, grated
3 spring onions, chopped
10 small tomatoes, chopped in half
2 tsp lemon juice
2 heaped tsp mango chutney
1 heaped tsp smooth peanut butter
a dash of white/rose wine
2 tsp curry paste (I use Patak's Korma paste)
4 cardamon pods, seeds crushed in a pestle and mortar
5 whole coriander seeds, crushed in a pestle and mortar
1 bunch of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
salt and pepper
2 handfuls of spinach leaves
1 handful of cashew nuts

1. Put all the ingredients, apart from the spinach and cashew nuts into a bowl and mix thoroughly. Then add this mix to a shallow frying pan or wok with a little vegetable oil. Keep stirring the curry, you may need to add a couple of tbsp of water if it becomes dry. Cook this for 15-20 minutes on a medium heat until the chicken is cooked thoroughly.

2. Add the cashew nuts and spinach and stir until the spinach is ready. 

3. Serve with either rice, couscous or naan. 

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Beetroot and Chocolate Cupcakes - To Die For!

I found this recipe on the BBC food website and adapted it slightly, making cupcakes instead of muffins.

Ingredients (makes 30 cupcakes)

75g good quality cocoa powder (I used Green and Blacks)
180g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
250g caster sugar
260g cooked beetroot
3 large eggs
170ml sunflower, corn or vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract

3 tbsp icing sugar
1 tbsp (or more) beetroot juice

1. Preheat the oven to 180c and arrange the cupcake cases in cupcake tins or on a baking tray.

2. Sift the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder into a bowl and then add the sugar and set to one side.

3. Puree the beetroot (or mash with a fork) and then add the eggs one at a time. Then put in the vanilla and oil and mix well.

4. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and gently add the beetroot mixture while stirring. Pour this into the cupcakes and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the top is firm when pressed with a finger.

5. Cool on a wire rack and then decorate with the icing sugar and beetroot juice mix, or just icing sugar.

What a Revelation

Prune Syrup Porridge with Nectarine and Yoghurt

I tried a little experiment today, as I had some left over tinned prune juice and didn't know what to do with it. I usually make porridge with milk but I decided to swap half of the milk for some prune juice, before putting it in the microwave. The outcome was delicious and I wanted to share my revelation! It means that the porridge is sweet enough on it's own, without having to add jam or honey, and consequently much healthier.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Mixed Goodness

This was a throw it together salad but it was also very scrumptious!

Ingredients (For One)

2 small handfuls of mixed lettuce leaves, I used spinach and cos lettuce
1 handful of walnuts
1 tbsp tinned sweetcorn
3 figs, chopped
left over roasted vegetables, I used previously cooked potato and sweet potato with rosemary
8 pieces of feta

1 tbsp good quality olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice
salt and pepper

1. Mix together the oil, lemon juice and seasoning for the dressing and then drizzle over the salad. Easy yummy!

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Spinach, Pea, Feta and Mint Salad

My mum first introduced this salad to me as the recipe came from a friend. It is so fresh and healthy, and I had an abundance of mint so it felt appropriate. 

Ingredients (For One)

2 handfuls of spinach leaves
1 large handful of peas, cooked and cooled
roughly 15 mint leaves, finely chopped
chopped feta as desired

1 tbsp good quality virgin olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice
salt and pepper

1. Place all the ingredients together in a bowl and mix well. The simple dressing allows for the taste of mint and feta to shine through and makes the whole salad very fresh.

Sweet Lamb Curry with Lemon Coriander Couscous and Homemade Tzatziki

Minced lamb with a difference. I have tried making bolognese with lamb mince numerous times, but it just doesn't taste as good as beef mince. I decided to branch out of my comfort zone and go for a curry inspired lamb mince dish. If you like a sweet meal occasionally, this is perfect. 

Ingredients (serves two)

1 tbsp groundnut oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
400g lamb mince
2 tsp curry powder
1/2 green chilli, chopped
1 tbsp mango chutney
1 tbsp tomato puree
8 cherry tomatoes, chopped
100ml chicken or vegetable stock
       8 dried apricots, chopped
                                                                                           50g sultanas or raisins

                                                                                             couscous (roughly 140g - see instructions)
                                                                                        120ml chicken or vegetable stock
                                                                                          1 small handful of coriander, finely chopped (optional)
                                                                                              1 tbsp lemon juice
                                                                                             1/2 tsp sugar
                                                                                              1 tbsp good quality olive oil

                                                                                              1/4 of a cucumber, finely chopped
                                                                                            1 clove of garlic, crushed
                                                                                           1 large handful of fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
                                                                                          200ml yoghurt
                                                                                          salt and pepper

1. Fry the onion and garlic in the groundnut oil for a few minutes and then add the meat and start to brown it, stirring constantly. 

2. Next, stir in the curry powder, tomatoes, tomato puree and chutney. Cook for a few minutes and then add the stock, followed by the apricots and raisins. Season with salt and pepper and let the dish simmer gently for 20-30 minutes.

3. While the lamb is cooking you can make the tzatziki. Place all the ingredients in a bowl and season with salt a pepper. Give it a taste to check that it doesn't need anymore chopped mint or garlic.

4. When the lamb has been cooking for 20 minutes, start to make the couscous. Place the couscous in a clear bowl and just about cover it with stock. Leave it for around 4 minutes with a lid or plate on top, and then fluff it up with a fork. Next add the chopped coriander (if using), lemon juice, sugar and oil, and season well.

Now you're ready to serve! 

Healthy Mixed Grain from Merchant Gourmet

Merchant Gourmet Mixed Grain

I am a great fan of Merchant Gourmet, their products are easy, affordable, and quick to use. I usually buy the mixed grain pack which I like having with a hearty salad. I accompany it with mozzarella, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber and walnuts. Just a simple olive oil and lemon dressing tops it off. Have a try...

Fish Pie with Sweet Potato Topping


Ingredients (For Two)

300g mixed chopped fish like haddock, cod, and salmon
1 tsp mixed herbs, or 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
a knob of butter
1 tbsp flour
enough milk to make the white sauce
a little grated cheese
salt and pepper
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped

1. Preheat the over to 200 degrees. Boil the sweet potato in a saucepan.

2. Then begin to make the white sauce for the fish. Melt the butter in a saucepan then add the flour and slowly start pouring in the milk to make a roux. Keep adding the milk until it is at a thickish consistency. Add the herbs and then the mixed fish. Cook for a minute or so, then take the pan off the heat.

3. Pour the saucy fish into a suitable baking pot ready for the sweet potato which should be ready to mash. Mash the sweet potato with a few knobs or butter, a dash of milk, and season well to taste. Once this is done, cover the fish with the sweet potato mash and grate some cheese on top.

4. Place the pie in the over for roughly 20 minutes, until it is sizzling and bubbling. Serve with some green vegetables.

Rocky Road - Delicious

Ingredients (For Twelve Large Slices)

200g dark chocolate (70% coco solid or higher)
2 tbsp golden syrup
135g butter
100g mini marshmallows
200g Rich Tea or Digestive biscuits
80g mixture of dried cranberries, raisins and dates
20g chopped hazelnuts or other nuts

1. Line small/medium sized baking tray with baking paper.

2. Bash up the biscuits with a rolling pin into medium pieces and put to one side.

3. In a saucepan melt the butter, chocolate and golden syrup.

4. Take this off the heat and stir in all the remaining ingredients until the mixture is completely covered.

5. Place the rocky road in the fridge for at least 2 hours, until set, and then cut into pieces and serve with blueberries and ice cream.


Porridge Toppings

5 Inventive Ways to Make Porridge More Delicious!

1. My Favourite - Top it with chopped banana, blueberries, raspberries, tinned prunes, yoghurt and jam or honey
2. Health Freak - Top it with flaxseed, linseeds, yoghurt and honey
3. For a Serious Morning - Stir in some brown sugar and add chopped banana and nuts
4. Feeling Christmassy - Top it with dates, apple and cinnamon (optional: walnuts)
5. Feeling Naughty - Top it with a dollop of Nutella and chopped banana.

Creative Carrot and Coriander Soup

Ingredients (For Four)

3 large carrots, chopped
1 potato, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped, grated or minced
3cm piece of ginger, grated
1tsp ground coriander
1 large handful of fresh coriander with stalks, roughly chopped
1.2l vegetable stock, I added two stock cubes to boiling water

1. Start by chopping the vegetables. Then fry the onion, garlic and ginger in a saucepan with a little vegetable oil. 

2. Add all the other ingredients and leave to gently boil on a medium heat with the lid on for 20-30 minutes, until the vegetables are cooked right through.

3. Take the pan off the heat and set aside for 5 minutes to cool down. Blend up the soup when desired and garnish with a few coriander leaves.