Thursday, 12 February 2015

Easiest Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cups for Valentine's Day

With very little prep and hassle, you can make these sweet tasty bites and wow the special someone on the receiving end. Unfortunately this post is going to ruin my surprise, but I wanted to share these with you before Valentine's Day on Saturday. They are probably the quickest tasty treat I have ever made...and cheap too, with only 4 ingredients! They are not the healthiest things however, but who doesn't like a naughty something once and a while.

Ingredients (makes 8 large chocolates)

- 400g chocolate, around 52% cocoa (very cheap from Lidl!)
- 2 tbsp smooth peanut butter (or dairy free nut butter if preferred)
- 1 tsp maple syrup or natural sweet syrup such as 'Sweet Freedom'
- goji berries to decorate

You will need silicone moulds, so that the chocolates come out easily. Mini cupcake cases would also work.

1. Place all of the chocolate into a glass bowl resting on a saucepan with a little water in it. Heat up the saucepan to melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally. When the choc is melted, after around 3 minutes, pour a little into your moulds - about 1 1/2 tbsp each depending on the size of your mould, or 1/2 tsp if using mini cupcake cases. 

2. Put the chocolate in the freezer for a few minutes while you prepare the peanut butter filling.

3. Mix together the peanut butter and sweetner. If you find it won't mix, heat it up a little in a pan. 

4. By this time, the chocolate in the freezer should be nice and hard. Remove is and spoon one tsp of peanut butter filling in the centre. Return them to the freezer for another few minutes.

5. If the chocolate that was heated up has gone a bit hard, pop it back on the hob to heat it up.

6. Finally, once the peanut butter filling has hardened, remove them from the freezer and place another 2 tbsp of chocolate on top, levelling the cups out as much as possible. Decorate with a few goji berries, nut sprinkles or rose petals before returning them to the freezer for a final set - around 2 hours. 

7. If you have used silicone moulds, the chocolates should pop out extremely easily. The outside should be nice and hard, and the centre all gooey and delicious.

Extremely quick and scrumptious - ENJOY!

Friday, 6 February 2015

Fuss Free - Sausage and Lentil One Pot

Most of my recipes involve throwing everything into a pan and hoping for the best. This is no exception! A tasty filling meal, which makes a change from sausages and mash. If you're larder is nicely stocked - which I highly advise in order to make cheap and healthy meals, then you won't have any problems making this dish. Don't let the long list of ingredients put you off, most of the writing is cooking and larder tips. This one-pot can be eaten alongside a baked potato, a healthy salad or some green veg.

Ingredients (serves 6)

- 2 packs of regular sausages (around 700-800g fat or thin - I like to buy these from the supermarket when they're reduced and then bung them in the freezer for when I need them)
- 1 onion, cut in half and sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
- a good few dashes of red wine (I store leftover bottles from dinners in the cupboard for cooking, but often use white or rose instead - any wine will do!)
- 400g tinned chopped tomatoes
- 1 tsp paprika
- half a vegetable or chicken stock cube in 400g of boiling water
- 2 dried or fresh chillies, deseeded (bags of dried chillies can be bought from any Asian supermarket for next to nothing, and put in a jam jar for when you need them)
- 200g red or green split lentils (I only had red at the time but any uncooked lentils would work)
- 1 handful of chopped parsley, fresh or frozen (if I buy herbs and know I'm not going to use them before they go bad, I chop them up and keep them bagged in the freezer for these sorts of dishes - saves on waste and means you won't have to buy them for a while)
- 2 handfuls of frozen peas, thawed in boiling water

1. Start by frying the garlic and onion in a little sunflower/vegetable and garlic oil. You will need to use a deep wok/frying pan with a lid, or a non-stick saucepan with a lid. After a few minutes, add the wine, and bring to the boil. Then add the chopped tomatoes, stock, paprika and chilli. 

2. Once it has got nice and hot, put the sausages into the sauce. You can either cut them up or keep them whole. Cook on a medium heat for 5 minutes with a lid on.

3. Next, add the lentils to the dish and cook for a further 10 minutes with the lid on, stirring occasionally. If it looks like it's starting to get dry, add a bit more water or wine. 

4. The lentils and sausages should nearly be cooked, so finally pour in the thawed peas and chopped parsley. 

(If you're cooking a baked potato, whack it in the microwave for 8 minutes until soft, and put it under the grill (at stage 4.) with a little oil, salt and pepper on top, for a few minutes to crisp up).

You're ready to eat! A fried or poached egg would also be delicious served on top. 

Any leftovers can be eaten for the next few days, or put in the freezer. 

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Obsessed About Pomelo - How to Tackle, Eat and Use it

I have fallen in love with this fruit, and I hope if you're reading this, you will too! A somewhat overlooked orangey yellow ball which not many people know what to do with. Pomelo it a citrus fruit, and originates from South and Southeast Asia. Like the orange, it is high in Vitamin C. It's reasonably cheap - ranging between £1-£2, feeds between three and four, easy to dissect and of course, very sweet, healthy and scrumptious. If you haven't purchased one before, now is the time. Pomelo can be found in most independent grocery shops in and around London, often for only £1, and it can also be bought in Lidl for £1.49.

Where to Start!

1. Carefully cut off the plastic covering. You will be left with this, or something similar.

2. Slice off the top until a small amount of the inside is showing. Then make incisions down the sides in order to help you peel it (shown in the photo on the right).

3. Start to peel away the outside like an orange. The skin should come away easily.

4. Discard the skin and put your thumbs in the middle of the fruit, peeling the two sides away from each other. As you will notice, it is much like an orange or grapefruit.

5. The skin is tough and unpleasant, therefore it will need to be removed. It should come away from the flesh easily by pulling the segments apart and peeling off the sides. This is what it looks like when it is ready to eat. Voila!!

Once I have started peeling the pomelo, I usually peel it all and keep any leftovers in a tuppaware in the fridge. It seems to last well and it good to nibble on. Also perfect for a light pudding, or sprinkled on salad and curries.