Posts filed under ‘in the kitchen’

making cookie pressed biscuits

Chocolate cookies 4BMaking biscuits for friends on Day 3 with the Kindness Elves was so simple thanks to our Oxo Good Grips Cookie Press.
Cookie press butterflies 4B
Dozens of perfect-every-time mini cookies easily pressed into a range of 12 different shapes using a one-click handle that even a 3 year old can manage.
Collage - cookie press 4B
The secret to perfect biscuits is all in the dough, made by following the recipe in the booklet provided to the ounce.  Substituting any of the ingredients (like thinking self raising flour will do in place of plain the first time you use it) will be courting disaster.
Trust me, I know!
cookie press dough 4B
chocolate cookies colling on rack 4B
Disclaimer: With thanks to Oxo Good Grips who sent us this cookie press to try.
I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.

January 5, 2016 at 12:10 am Leave a comment

making quinoa tabouleh

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with bread. I love the taste and the texture of a nice fluffy sandwich but I hate the feeling of bloating and lethargy that follows it.
How ironic then that when I’m pregnant it’s just about all I can manage to eat along with bananas and wheetabix! Now that the worst of my sickness is settling down and I’ve discovered that raw tomatoes and onion have an alkalising effect in the body despite their acidity perhaps it’s time to make this again – quinoa tabouleh. Not only is it a less glycaemic form of carbohydrate but it’s rich in protein. What’s not to like!
Quinoa 3 4B

How to make Quinoa Tabouleh (serves 4)

250g dry quinoa, rinsed and drained
500ml water
1/2 veg bouillon cube
1 tsp turmeric
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
pinch of freshly grated lemon zest
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
pinch each of turmeric, ground coriander, ginger, cumin and paprika
1/2 tsp cinnamon
250g finely cubed tomatoes
2 spring onions, finely chopped
2 heaped tbsp coarsely chopped mint
50g coarsely chopped parsley
salt and freshly ground pepper
Quinoa 1 4B

♥  Bring the rinsed quinoa to the boil in a pan with the water, stock cube and turmeric.
♥  Cover and simmer on a low heat until the quinoa is al dente.
♥  Remove from the heat, tip into a wide bowl and leave to cool for 20 minutes
♥  In a large bowl combine oil, lemon juice and zest, crushed garlic and spices.
♥  Tip the cooled quinoa into the bowl and add the chopped tomatoes, onions and herbs and toss gently.
♥  Season to taste with lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Chill until serving.

Quinoa 2 4B

This recipe is from Connor Middelman-Whitney’s fabulous ‘Zest for life: the mediteranean anti-cancer diet’ cookbook. Check out the Zest for Life website for more details or Connor’s youtube channel for walk-you-through videos of some of her favourite recipes.

October 27, 2015 at 6:00 am 3 comments

lemon curd loveliness

10-7-15 - lemon ring cake 4B
10-7-15 - lemon ring cake close up 4B
10-7-15 - lemon ring cake sprinkles 4BA generous dollop of lemon curd; my favourite addition for jazzing up a simple ‘weight of 2 eggs’ cake recipe (double dollops for this 4 egg version). It seems baking has become a bi-annual affair having not greased my tins since E’s birthday in January. This ring cake headed off to E’s playgroup fete and proved quite popular I hear.
What’s not to love about a ton of sprinkles on a cake?
10-7-15 - lemon cup cake sprinkles 4B
Baking buddy E’s cup cake versions!

July 30, 2015 at 9:44 pm 2 comments

easy peasy skinny base pizzas

29-9-14 - spicy tomato chutney jar 4B2014 was the first year in five that I’d not made any chutneys, jams or cordials.  Small wonder really as my love of preserve making began when allotment grown vegetables and spare time were both in abundance!
29-9-14 - spicy tomato chutney jar_opened 4B
So instead I’ve been working through my stores of tomato chutney as a starter for chunky salad dressings or as an alternative tomato sauce for quick pizza’s spread on a pitta or flat bread base. I particularly like Warburtons thins as a lower carb option for a simple, crisp, skinny base
Warburton thins pizza 4B
Cooked pizza 4B
Mission accomplished – another empty jar!
Empty chutney jar 4B

July 27, 2015 at 9:11 pm Leave a comment

going wild for garlic

Cranham woods with E 4BA walk in Cranham woods turned into a happy stumble* across patches of wild garlic when we went to explore this strange looking tree. Cranham woods with E - strange tree 4B Cranham woods with E - wild garlic 4B
What fun we had collecting sticks (no surprises there), nibbling on wild garlic leaves and eating our snacks to free up our Tupperware box for foraging. Cranham woods with E - stick man 4B Cranham woods with E - snack time 4B
Turns out a small snack box doesn’t hold much and it’s pretty slow going when you’re a forager clutching a stick collection! Cranham woods with E - forager 4B
To make our pesto style sauce I whizzed up our garlic leaves (17g), with 10g walnuts, 10g hard cheese, seasoning and 25ml rapeseed oil (different choice of ingredients but quantities based on those in Hedgerow (River Cottage Handbook, No.7)Wild garlic pesto collage 4B
It tastes so fresh and vibrant and it’s surprising how such a small amount goes a long way.  The equivalent of 5 teaspoons of pesto has stretched to jazzing up pasta, potato salad and adding some zing to soup. Wild garlic pesto - on pasta 4B
No prizes for guessing where we’ll be returning to soon!

*Literally a stumble when only a minute or two before E had learned that getting out of a tree is not always as easy as climbing in. No harm done and all in the name of independence! Cranham woods with E - climbing out of strange tree 4B

April 4, 2015 at 11:20 am Leave a comment

making chocolate courgette cake

If you’ve still got whopping great marrows knocking around (they store for weeks afterall so it’s quite possible) then reach for your grater and make a simple, delicious chocolate courgette cake.  Super easy, moist and tasty this is a great recipe for making do with what you have in the cupboard as it uses oil instead of butter and cocoa powder instead of chocolate (although on this baking day I found G’s dark chocolate in the cupboard and the cocoa powder pot empty).  It works just as well for making cupcakes (made another day when cocoa powder supplies had been replenished).16-8-13 - chocolate courgette cake_slice 4B

I was so sure I’d already posted this recipe but it seems I imagined that.  E’s hair, or rather the lack of it, is the measure of the passing of time since taking the photos with the intention to share it!  Woops, well over a year ago I’d say.
Collage - Chocolate Courgette cake 4BTo make Chocolate Courgette cake

350g self-raising flour
50g cocoa powder (I used 100g dark chocolate in this cake)
1tsp mixed spice
175ml olive oil
375g sugar
1tsp salt
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
500ml grated courgette
140g toasted hazelnuts roughly chopped

      • mix flour, spice, salt, cocoa powder
      • mix oil, sugar, eggs, vanilla, grated courgette
      • combine the dry and wet mixtures and fold in chopped hazelnuts
      • line a 24cm cake tin and pour the mixture in (or spoon into cup cake cases)
      • bake for 40-50 minutes (reduce to 25 mins for cup cakes) before turning out
      • place 2 squares of dark chocolate on top of the warm cake and move around the cake with the back of the spoon to create a thin melted topping.
      • Alternatively cool for 10 mins and see original BBC Good Food recipe for making a gooey chocolate frosting topping

I sandwiched my cake with butter cream and jam and decorated with blueberries.  Who knew melting chocolate squares on top of a fresh-from-the-oven cake could be so satisfying?  My topping was a bit meagre (I only saved 2 squares for it) but once it hardened properly a few hours later it created a lovely thin crispy topping (very satisfying to cut into!)
16-8-13 - chocolate courgette cake 4B
The inspiration for the melted chocolate topping came from Conner Middelmann-Whitney’s video post for Chocolate Beetroot cake (fast forward to 6 minutes if you just want to see the icing stage).  It’s next on my list of recipes to try as unlike this recipe it’s packed with nutrients, gluten-free, dairy free and sweetened only with a smidgen of acacia honey. Conner is the author of Zest for Life: The Mediterranean Anti-Cancer Diet and her YouTube channel is well worth checking out for other video recipes.

November 4, 2014 at 11:46 pm 1 comment

making yoghurt icepops

icepop boy 4BE has his Dad’s tooth when it comes to a love of ice-cream. During the heatwave in July the occasional Twister or Fab ice lolly started to become a daily request for one. So we decided to make our own ice-pops using Rachel’s Organic Greek Style Coconut yoghurt.Collage - icepops 4B
We pinked up our lollies using Cawston Press Brilliant Beetroot Juice so not only were they naturally sweet but they got a little punch of vitamins too.  E with yoghurt lolly_close up 4B
”Want a lolly” requests no longer a problem!icepop face 4B
Disclosure: I received a free sample of Rachel’s Organic Yoghurt for the purposes of this review. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions are my own.

September 6, 2014 at 9:00 am 2 comments

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