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Tag Archives: fruit

Recipe – Overnight Oats

So I have become one of those non-dairy, Kilner jar-using, superfood-eating people who prepares breakfast the night before and spends a small fortune on trendy seeds….£8 bag of chia seeds, I’m looking at you!

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In all seriousness, it isn’t as bad as it sounds. Weirdly, spending 5 minutes each evening sorting out my breakfast means my mornings are less stressful and I know I’m starting the day with something really healthy and filling. Overnight Oats are basically just porridge which soaks up the milk or liquid overnight and is served chilled with a shedload of fruit, nuts and seeds.

Ingredients

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My daily breakfast has an ever changing list of ingredients but the basics stay the same and I use a small cup to measure my oats out with double the amount of milk.

1 cup of oats (use chunky or steel-cut oats)

2 cups of milk (I love using almond milk for this)

A teaspoon of chia seeds

Frozen berries (blueberries and cherries are my favourites!)

Seeds (I’m currently using a mix of linseed, goji berries, sunflower and pumpkin seeds)

Nuts (I had a bag of mixed nuts in my baking drawer)

Flaked almonds

How to make it

  • In a bowl, jar or lunchbox, add the oats, milk and chia seeds

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  • Give them a stir and tip over a handful of frozen berries

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  • Pop this in the fridge overnight

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  • The next morning, give it another stir, add the seeds, nuts and top with flaked almonds

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Variations

The flavour combinations are endless here! I have been experimenting for the last few weeks and here are some winners:

  • A teaspoon of vanilla extract

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  • A drizzle of syrup, honey or dulce de leche on top

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  • Fresh mango

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  • Choc chips
  • Bananas

Any other recommendations for how to jazz up my oats? x

Cook Book Corner

If I had to answer the question ‘Do you really need any more cook books?’ I would, of course, say no. I have 4 shelves full of them and although I use them regularly for specific recipes or just for some inspiration, I know that whatever I cannot find at home, I can find online.

However, I just cannot help myself when it comes to cook books. I love food photography and the accompanying writing and stories as much as the recipes themselves.

So when I found myself in WHSmiths recently, I was sucked in, twice, to their till-side items. Both of these books were reduced to a fiver (from £26 and £25) which eases my guilt somewhat as I try and squeeze them on to my already crowded bookshelves.

First up, Save with Jamie.

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Aimed at providing great tasting food on a budget, this is a really great cook book. It starts with a good list of basic items to have in your freezer, fridge and cupboards followed by a list of tips on how to ‘shop smart’. Since I have started meal planning, I have noticed a big reduction in how much I throw away (almost nothing goes in the bin now) so these tips on combining good food with little waste struck a chord with me.

The rest of the book is split into sections on veg and various meats and fish with gorgeous photos too. As an aside, the calories in each dish are also noted which is useful if you have managed to stick to your healthy eating New Year’s resolutions!

I don’t think I have ever tried a Jamie recipe that didn’t turn out great and I am busy bookmarking some new ones to try.

Next, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Fruit.

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Apart from the odd inclusion in a pudding, I don’t have any cook books dedicated to fruit in every shape and form. I really like that there is a variety of sweet and savoury dishes with healthy options and others to save as treats.

I can’t see myself using this on a weekly basis like Jamie’s book, but I buy lots of fruit so having some new ideas on how to serve them will come in handy.

Two nice additions to the collection!

Euro 2012 Cooking Challenge – Croatia and Germany

Today has been fabulous. Despite weather reports warning of record levels of rainfall, I headed down to the beautiful Dorset coastline with my class for a day at the beach. The scenery was stunning and this part of the world is definitely on my list of places to revisit this summer!

Right, back to the kitchen…

I sat down this week and planned exactly what I was going to make for each country’s dish as part of my Euro 2012 cooking challenge. Whilst all the recipes sound delicious, and I am really looking forward to trying them all, I do feel that I have my hands full and I started wondering if I have bitten off more than I can chew (excuse the foodie pun!)

Looking at my diary for the next few weeks, I worked out that I don’t actually have enough free evenings to cook a different dish every night and write about it so I made a decision to combine a few different countries in posts in order to complete the challenge in time for the final.

By this, I don’t mean that I will be creating a new fusion style of cooking but rather that I will serve a starter from one country and a main course from another.

Tonight’s post is a German-Croatian affair…

Croatian Chicken Paprikash

I have to admit that Croatia was one of the countries I struggled to find a tasty recipe for, but this dish is a clear winner! The heat of the chilli and paprika is calmed by the sour cream, and you could serve it with whatever you fancied; vegetables, rice, pasta or potatoes.

This recipe served 4 people.

Ingredients

A glug of olive oil

1-2 onions, chopped

4 chicken breasts

150ml of white wine

3 teaspoons of paprika

Half a teaspoon of chilli powder

Salt and pepper

3-4 tablespoons of sour cream

How to make it

  • Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and cook the onions until they have softened and have started to turn transparent
  • Add the chicken breasts and sauté for about 5 minutes
  • Add the wine and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally
  • Add the paprika, chilli, salt and pepper and watch the sauce turn a lovely, rich, red colour
  • Cook for about 20 minutes and then add the sour cream and cook for another few minutes, stirring constantly
  • I served mine with mushroom rice and some greens

German Apfelstrudel

Strudels are one of my favourite bakery treats and very popular in Germany and Austria.

I think they are a very versatile pudding as if you aren’t too keen on apple you can jazz it up by adding another fruit or some nuts, or substitute them completely for another fruit.

Ingredients

1 sheet of puff pastry

2 apples, chopped (I recommend a slightly tart variety, such as Granny Smiths)

A squeeze of lemon juice (to stop the apples browning and give a refreshing twist)

3 tablespoons of sugar

A handful of sultanas (optional)

A teaspoon of cinnamon (optional)

A pinch of plain flour

Milk and brown sugar

How to make it

  • Begin by preheating your oven to 180°C/ Gas Mark 4
  • In a bowl, mix together the apples, lemon juice, sugar and cinnamon
  • Pop the bowl in the microwave for 1 minute to slightly soften the apples
  • Stir in the sultanas and add the flour
  • Roll out your puff pastry sheet and with the shortest side facing you spoon the apple mixture on the bottom half of the pastry, keeping about 1 inch away from the edge
  • Roll up the strudel like a swiss roll and place on a baking tray with the joining seam on the bottom
  • Using a pastry brush, brush the strudel with milk and sprinkle some brown sugar over the top (this will add a lovely crunch!)
  • Bake for about 40 minutes or until golden brown
  • Serve warm with a scoop of ice cream

This was absolutely delicious and made all the more sweet by England’s win!

Recipe – BBQ Banana Surprise

We have a plethora of lovely warm crumbles and pies to enjoy throughout the year as different fruits come into season, but when the evening sun has gone and the coals on the barbecue are still glowing there is one more treat to be had…the rather ominously named ‘BBQ Banana Surprise’!

I have to apologise for the photos as they don’t really do these lovely little parcels justice (you can probably tell I was more excited about eating them than photographing them!)

The beauty of this pudding is that you can put any chocolate you like inside; white, dark, milk, chocolate spread, truffles…we even tried a crème egg which surprisingly worked a treat!

You can either peel and chop your banana into smaller pieces or keep it whole and split it down the middle…and make sure no puppies are hanging around to try and steal a piece!

Pop a chocolate inside and wrap in foil.

Put the foil parcel into the warm coals for a few minutes

Then unwrap and enjoy the gooey goodness!

Buns, Bruschetta and Bonfires

This has been a week of firsts…

We have enjoyed our first hot-cross buns of the year, a monumental event I think you’ll agree! What a delightful breakfast; a bit spicy, a bit sticky and perfect with butter melting on the top. They are one of those things, like pancakes, that we should be eating all year round!

The first Pimms cocktail of the season has been polished off. My lovely limited edition bottle (thanks Sandy!) didn’t last long and we enjoyed a few glasses in the sun. This traditional British summer drink, with its lovely warm citrusy notes, reminds me of sitting with a good book in the sun and I can foresee lots more of it being drunk this summer!

It does divide people though; do you keep it as a minimalist cocktail, with just some ice and lemonade, or go the whole hog and turn it into a boozy fruit salad, with strawberries, apples, oranges and cucumber? I went somewhere in the middle this week with some cucumber and mint for good measure.

Finally we had our first bonfire in the fire pit. We spent last weekend clearing out a lot of dead plants from the garden and decided that burning it was a much more fun way to get rid of it compared to a trip to the skip or putting it in the recycling bin!

The stars and moon were shining brightly, so armed with glasses of red wine we headed outside to watch the sparks fly and even though we came in absolutely stinking of smoke, it was so worth it!

Today’s post isn’t really a recipe but more of a suggestion for some good bruschetta ideas.

These little Italian treats are great for using up a bounty of in-season vegetables and even when you keep it simple, with just some garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper, they are still delicious.

We had this tray of bruschetta as a starter, but I would have been quite happy making it our main course!

Here are some of the combinations we had:

  • Tomato and parmesan cheese
  • Sundried tomatoes, anchovies and goats cheese
  • Basil pesto and goats cheese

I love topping bruschetta with cheese; brie, goats cheese, parmesan, cheddar…I’m not too fussy as long as it melts and adds a lovely gooey top layer!

Finally, I wanted to share another gift from my garden – these gorgeous sunshine-coloured tulips which look even better basking in the sunshine.