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Savvy shopping, seasonal eating and thrifty recipes. Spend less on groceries and enjoy better tasting, easy to prepare meals your friends and family will love – all on a budget.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

GBBO Inspired Peach Upside Down Cake

I really enjoy watching The Great British Bake Off on the telly and each series I try out some of the recipes in my own home, using my version of the recipes.  I had never made an upside down cake but decided to give it a go after seeing them feature in episode one of the show.  I had some peaches that needed using up so I used a sponge, with added ground almonds to make it a little more robust, and peaches snuggled in caramel for the topping.

Peach Upside Down Cake

385g caster sugar
4 peaches, stones removed and cut into 8ths
250g softened butter or stork
2 tsp vanilla extract
225g plain flour
3 tsp baking powder
60g ground almonds
6 free range eggs

Preheat oven to 170°C/150°C Fan.  Grease and line base of a 23cm springform cake tin with baking paper or use a paper liner.  Put 175g of sugar and 125ml of water in a small saucepan.  Stir over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved.  Do not stir it after this point.  Bring the mixture to the boil and then simmer until a medium brown caramel forms.  Immediately pour the caramel into base of your lined cake tin then top with the peach wedges (skin-side down).
 
 

Put the butter or stork, vanilla and remaining 210g sugar a bowl and beat until until light and fluffy with an electric beater or use a stand mixer. Sift the flour, baking powder and ground almonds over the fluffy butter mixture. Add all the eggs then beat on low speed until mixture is smooth and just combined.



Spoon the sponge mix over peaches and level the top. 



Bake for 30 minutes. Cover the top with baking paper to stop it from browning too quickly, then bake for a further 30 - 40 minutes.  Check if your cake is done by inserting a skewer into the centre, if it comes out clean with no crumbs sticking to it then your cake is done. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes.  Release the spring to remove the sides of the cake tin then put a plate over top of the cake.  Invert the cake on to the plate.  Remove the base co the cake tin and lining paper from the cake.



I have submitted this recipe to the One Ingredient Cooking Challenge hosted by Nazima at Working London Mummy and Laura at How to cook good food.

The One Ingredient this month is peaches!




I have also entered the recipe in Lottie's Bake Off Challenge:


The idea of the challenge is to bake something inspired by what you have seen the bakers making on the Bake Off.

And I have also submitted the recipe to the Simple and in Season Linky over at Ren's blog Fabulicious Food.



The Great British Bake Off App and Book Review

The latest series of Great British Bake Off has started and I am glued to the telly when it is on, I even record it for my 3 girls to watch later as it is on after their bedtime.  I was delighted to be sent the latest book to accompany the series to review.

Along with the book is an iphone app which features 50 recipes from the two latest GBBO books.  The recipes are divided into five categories: Cakes, Biscuits, Bread, Pastry and Puddings. Each recipe comes with an overview, including a skill level rating, a list of ingredients and easy to follow step-by-step cooking instructions.

Using the search function you can filter the recipes in different ways: by baker, occasion, ingredient or difficulty, and you can store those recipes that you want quick access to as favourites.

Photo courtesy of iTunes

Don't worry about getting your iphone or ipad all mucky whilst baking!  If you lay your iPhone flat and tap a 'touch-free' button, you can wave a hand back and forth above the screen to move forward and back whilst you are viewing the recipes.

The book, entitled The Great British Bake Off: How to turn everyday bakes into showstoppers, covers a wide range of bakes from large and small cakes, biscuits and cookies, sweet and savoury pastry, puddings to breads and patisserie.  The recipes are separated into sections: biscuits, cakes, breads and the recipes within each section are rated by the level of skill required.  

Photo courtesy of Random House

There are gorgeous photographs throughout the book but there are just not enough of them.  Some of the recipes, which include technical challenges and signature bakes from the show, are quite complicated and yet almost half of these recipes do not have an accompanying photograph of what the bake should look like.  I found this rather frustrating.

If I am going to try recipes which are showstoppers, and much more faff than I usually tolerate, I want to know what the final bake will look like and what I will be aspiring to.  That said there are some great tips and tricks for cake decorating and making our bakes look a bit more special such as making chocolate leaves, how to make buttercream and how to ice and stack a cake.  There is also a handy measurement conversion section.

I am enjoying the book and will try a few recipes from it, I shall of course blog them when I do.

The app is available from the iTunes store for £2.99.  The book is available online or in book stores with a RRP of £20.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Giveaway - Seasonal Food Box from Knorr and Forman and Field - Winner Announced!

Thank you to all of you who entered this fab giveaway.   The winner was drawn using an online random number generator which picked comment number 9.  That makes the winner @domesticgoddesq, congratulations!



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Do you fancy winning a Seasonal Meat and Produce Box of lovely food including BBQ and Picnic Treats from Knorr and Forman and Field?


Photo courtesy of Knorr

I’ve got another seasonal fabulous box of produce from Knorr and Forman and Field  to giveaway to one lucky reader.  The box contains the ingredients needed to make Marco Pierre White's Spatchcock Chicken with Chipolatas and Rosemary.


The Seasonal Box will contain the following:


2 Baby Chickens


2 Sprigs of Rosemary


1 Lemon and a Few Sprigs of Parsley


4 Chipolata Sausages


Selection of BBQ and Picnic Treats


Selection of Knorr Stock Pots


Please Note: The box will be delivered on Friday 7th September. This date can NOT be changed, so please do not enter unless you can have it delivered on this date.

To enter leave a comment on this blog post telling me your favourite recipe from the Knorr website.

For an extra entry tweet the following and leave a blog comment letting me know you have done so: 

"I have entered to win a Seasonal Produce Box with @utterlyscrummy http://utterlyscrummy.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/giveaway-seasonal-food-box-from-knorr.html #mpwknorr "


This giveaway will close at 10pm on Monday 3rd September 2012.


Terms and Conditions

This giveaway is open to all readers over 18 with a postal address in the UK.

The winner will be chosen using an online randomiser and announced in a subsequent post.

I am running this competition on behalf of Knorr who will be sending the prize out to the lucky winner. Their decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

They reserve the right to substitute the prize for one of a similar type/value if the prize above is not available.

The winner will be contacted by e-mail, if they do not reply within 24 hours another winner may be chosen.

Instructions form part of the terms and conditions

Entries using any software or automated process to make bulk entries will be disqualified.

No cheating please! I will check the winning entry to see that you have commented/tweeted/subscribed, etc.


Groupon Voucher Giveaway



Daily Deal site Groupon is offering a 40 pound voucher to one lucky winner, and with hundreds of deals to choose from, you can decide what you want to do! Groupon works with local businesses to promote deals and discounts through online vouchers and offers discounts of up to 70% at both a local and national level.

With discounts on shopping & beauty, restaurants & travel and with activities that range from a relaxing spa-day to an adrenaline-filled parachute jump, Groupon has a great deal for everyone.  So why not experience something new today?

To enter the giveaway, visit www.groupon.co.uk/vouchers/ and leave a comment on this blog post telling me which deals would most suit you.

For an additional entry tweet the following and leave me a comment letting me know that you have:

"I have entered to win a £40 Groupon Voucher with @utterlyscrummy http://utterlyscrummy.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/groupon-voucher-giveaway.html #groupon40 "

This giveaway will close at 10pm on Sunday 23rd September 2012.


Terms and Conditions

This giveaway is open to all readers over 18 with a postal address in the UK.

The winner will be chosen using an online randomiser and announced in a subsequent post.

I am running this competition on behalf of Groupon who will be sending the prize out to the lucky winner. Their decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

They reserve the right to substitute the prize for one of a similar type/value if the prize above is not available.

The winner will be contacted by e-mail, if they do not reply within 24 hours another winner may be chosen.

Instructions form part of the terms and conditions.

Entries using any software or automated process to make bulk entries will be disqualified.

No cheating please! I will check the winning entry to see that you have commented/tweeted/subscribed, etc.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Spicy Prune Loaf and California Prunes Review

I was recently sent some delicious California Prunes to try and to create a recipe with.  They are much moister than other prunes I have tried and make a great snack, not too many at once though. ;o)

Incorporating prunes in to your diet means that you can take advantage of the fact that they are:

High in fibre
Naturally fat free and saturated fat free
Packed full of essential nutrients including potassium, copper and vitamin K
Have a low GI index so release energy steadily over a longer period

Because California prunes are so juicy and indulgent, a prune puree can be used when baking in place of some of the butter – reducing the sugar, fat, saturated fat and calories in recipes, but maintaining all of the moisture.

California Prune Chocolate Brownies

(Reproduced with permission)
Butter 65g
Caster Sugar 160g
Eggs (whole Beaten) 45g
Melted Dark Chocolate 150g
Cocoa Powder (Belgian dark) 40g
Plain flour 175g
Baking Powder 2g
California Prune Puree 30g
Water 50g

Melt chocolate and add butter once fully melted over a previously boiled pan of water.  Sieve flour, sugar, cocoa and baking powder and add to mixing bowl.  Weigh eggs, water, prune puree and in the same container with a wooden spoon mix the flours and egg mixture until lump free.

Scrape mixing bowl thoroughly and add melted chocolate and butter.  Beat for a further 45 seconds and transfer mixture to an oiled, silicone paper baking tray.  Bake in a standard four sided baking tray for 45 minutes at 150C.

To make the California Prune Puree – 225g California stoned, ready-to-eat Prunes and 90ml water – Using a liquidiser blend the prunes with water until pureed. Makes 275g.



Spicy Prune Loaf

I created this recipe for an afternoon tea treat using some of the California Prunes I was sent.

150g pitted prunes, roughly chopped
250ml buttermilk
125g butter, softened
150g caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 free range eggs
300g self-raising flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp mixed spice
Combine the chopped prunes with 125ml buttermilk in a non-metallic bowl. Set aside for 1 hour to soak.

Preheat your oven to 180°C. Line the base and sides of a large loaf tin with baking paper, allowing a decent overhang at both long ends.

Using electric beaters or a stand mixer, cream the butter, caster sugar and vanilla together until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, adding a little flour if the mixture looks as though it may curdle.

Sift the flour, cinnamon and mixed spice into the creamed butter mixture.  Fold in flour mixture then the  remaining 125ml buttermilk and finally the soaked prune mixture.  Spoon the mixture into the prepared loaf tin. Bake for 60 - 70 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.  Leave the loaf to cool in the tin for about 15 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.


My daughters attacked the loaf and devoured it whilst it was still cooling.

You can also follow California Prunes on Twitter and find them on Facebook.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Quick Cheese and Herb Bread



This bread is a great emergency lunch option, picnic hamper addition or just a tasty snack.  You can use whatever herbs you like, I just picked a random selection from our garden.  It is great with soup in the winter or topped with red onion marmalade (I had some homemade red marmalade in the pantry) for a summer snack or picnic treat.

2 cups self raising flour
30g butter
2 cups grated mature cheddar cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh herbs (I used parsley, chives and thyme)
250ml milk

Sift the flour into a bowl and rub in the butter. Mix in the grated ceese, herbs and milk then mix until mixture forms a sticky dough.

Knead on a lightly floured board until smooth, don't over knead it or your bread will be heavy. Form into a round loaf then mark into four with the handle of a wooden spoon.  Dust with a little flour.

Bake at 180°C for 40 minutes or until golden brown and cooked. Serve warm or cold.



I have submitted this recipe to the fabulous Herbs on Saturday Challenge hosted by Karen over at Lavender and Lovage do take a look and take part, it is lots of fun.

Herbs on Saturday

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Quick and Easy Peach and Raspberry Tart



I do love recipes that look like you've slaved for ages when in reality they are really easy to make.  I whipped this up the other morning as a morning tea treat but it would be perfect for a picnic, pudding or afternoon tea treat.  It is SO easy and quick to make, you'll have a delicious and impressive snack ready in no time.

60g ground almonds
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tblsp white sugar
1 free range egg, separated
1 sheet pre-rolled frozen puff pastry, partially thawed
2 large peaches
150g raspberries (we picked ours fresh from our back garden)

Preheat oven to 220°C/200°C fan-forced. Grease a large baking tray. Line with baking paper.

Combine the ground almonds, vanilla extract, egg white and sugar to form a paste.  Halve the peaches, remove the stones and slice into thin slices.

Put the pastry sheet on the prepared baking tray and score a border about 2cm in from the edge then prick it all over with a fork.



Spread the almond mixture over the pastry within the scored area.



Top with the peach slices and raspberries. Brush the pastry border lightly with egg yolk. 



Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the pastry is golden and puffed up and the peaches are tender. Serve warm or cold.  It is delicious served on its own or with icecream or cream.



I have submitted this recipe to the Tea Time Treats Challenge which is a monthly blogging and baking event that is hosted by Karen from Lavender and Lovage and Kate from What Kate Baked on alternate months. The theme this month, which is being hosted by Kate is Picnic Pies, Tarts and Flans (Sweet or Savoury). 


I have also submitted this post to the Simple and in Season challenge hosted by the lovely Ren from Fabulicous Food



Friday, 17 August 2012

Philly Dinners - Recipe Reviews

I was recently asked to try out, and sent the ingredients for, a couple of recipes from Philadelphia using their cream cheese.  They have many more recipes on their website.

Macaroni Cheese

This was really easy to whip up on a busy weeknight and much quicker than making a cheese sauce from a roux as I usually do.  My family ate it without complaint, in fact they were so quick wolfing it down I didn't get a photo of the finished dish before they ate it all.

300 g macaroni
120 g Philadelphia Light
150 ml semi skimmed milk
75 g reduced fat grated cheddar cheese
198 g can no added salt or sugar sweetcorn, drained
100g bacon, cooked and diced

Preheat the oven to 190 C, Gas 5. Cook the macaroni according to instructions on pack. Whilst it is cooking mix the Philly with the milk and half of the cheddar.

Drain the pasta and return to the pan, mix with the Philly mixture, ham and sweetcorn. Turn into a greased ovenproof dish and top with the remaining cheese.

Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes until light golden brown.


Photo courtesy of Philadelphia

Philly Meatball Pasta

My husband, myself and 2 out of 3 daughters liked this dinner and would have it again.  It was fairly easy to make, although I would buy good quality sausage meat instead of the sausages so I would not have to faff about removing sausage meat from the sausage skins.  I also baked the sausage meatballs instead of frying them.

300 g linguine pasta (I used macaroni)
6 large sausages (Cumberland sausages are particularly delicious)
1 dsp sunflower oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
150 g Philadelphia Original
2 tsp wholegrain mustard
approx. 75ml beef stock
1 tbsp chopped parsley, optional

Cook the pasta in a large pan of boiling water as directed on the packet.

Skin the sausages and roll the sausage meat into bite size balls. Fry in a little oil until browned all over and cooked through. Remove the meatballs from the pan.

Add the onion and garlic to the frying pan and cook gently for several minutes to soften the onions.

Add the Philly to the onions with the stock (or a little water) and mustard. Gently heat until the Philly has melted, then stir in the parsley and meatballs.

Meanwhile drain the pasta and divide between 4 pasta bowls. Top with the meat balls and spoon over the Philly sauce to serve.



Wednesday, 15 August 2012

6 Ways With . . . . . Tinned Fish

Tinned fish is such a versatile and reasonably priced storecupboard ingredient to have on hand.  I was recently sent some lovely tinned Princes Salmon to try out and create recipes with.  There are many other recipes on their website.  You can use either tinned salmon or tuna in these recipes.

You can of course make fishcakes using leftover mashed potato, herbs or pesto and egg to bind it all before coating them with breadcrumbs but I like to do different things with tinned fish as a change from fishcakes.


Salmon, Asparagus and Tomato Pasta

This is one of my favourite summer weeknight dinners that is ready in a flash. It's light and yet filling at the same time. You can leave out the fresh basil if there is none about, or use flat leaf parsley instead. 

400g dried or fresh pasta
250g fresh asparagus, trimmed and thinly sliced
3 large ripe tomatoes, finely diced
1 1/2 Tblsp capers, thoroughly rinsed
2 Tblsp finely chopped fresh basil or flatleaf parsley
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 Tblsp olive oil
1 Tblsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
pinch sugar, to season
black pepper, to season
210g can skinless and boneless salmon, well drained and flaked

Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions or until as al dente as you like it. When the pasta is almost cooked add the asparagus to the pot for the last couple of minutes of cooking time. Drain the pasta and asparagus well and return them to the saucepan.

Put the finely chopped tomatoes, rinsed capers, chopped basil/parsley, crushed garlic, olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice in a bowl. Mix well to combine and have a taste. If necessary add a little sugar or pepper to season.

Add the tomato mixture and flaked salmon to the asparagus and pasta. Toss or stir well to thoroughly combine the sauce, fish and paste. Serve as is or sprinkle with more chopped basil/parsley.


Fish Pie
(Serves 7 - dinner for 5 plus 2 lunches)

1 onion, finely chopped
1 pepper, diced
1 clove of garlic, crushed
600ml water
1 vegetable or fish stock cube
1 tsp mild curry powder
200g rice
2 large tins tuna or salmon in spring water (drained)
4 hard-boiled eggs, cut into quarters
100g grated cheese
5 potatoes, cooked and mashed
400g mixed vegetables to serve

Preheat oven to 180C. Sauté onion, pepper and garlic in oil. Mix water, chicken stock and curry powder then add to onion, pepper and garlic mixture. Add rice, stirring occasionally until rice has cooked through. Season. Pour in fish and mix until combined. Put the mixture in a casserole dish. Cover with the egg quarters and spread over the mashed potato. Groove the mash with a fork. Sprinkle over the cheese and put in the oven for around 15 - 20 minutes until the cheese has melted and the fie pie is piping hot. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for a few minutes before serving.


Salmon and Rice Bake

1 onion, diced
400g can chopped tomatoes
2 tsp dried mixed herbs
1 pepper, diced
1 1/2 cups long grain rice
500ml cups water
1 handful or two of frozen sweetcorn or peas
1 large tin of salmon, I used approx 400g tin

Preheat oven to 180°C. Chop the onion and pepper.

Put the onion, pepper, chopped tomatoes, mixed herbs, frozen vegetables, water and rice into an ovenproof baking dish and stir well to thoroughly combine. Cover with foil or a lid and bake for 40-45 minutes, until the rice is cooked.

Use a fork to fluff up the rice, season to taste, then stir through the salmon and drained tin of corn. Let stand for 5 minutes or so to heat through. Serve.


Crustless Salmon Quiche

1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
4 free range eggs, beaten
500ml milk
75g butter, melted
415g can pink salmon, drained
1 onion, diced
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 tsp fresh chives, finely sliced

Preheat your oven to 180C.

Put the flour and baking powder into a bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the eggs milk and butter. Combine to make a batter then stir through the salmon, onion, cheese and chives until they are just combined.

Pour into a large ovenproof dish which has been greased or lined with non-stick baking paper. Cook at 180C for about 45 minutes until the quiche is set. I usually serve mine with salad or steamed mixed vegetables.


Fish Pie - 2nd version

1 onion, finely diced
1 Tblsp oil
425g tin tuna or salmon in water, drained
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables
200g spinach
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
700g potatoes for mash topping
1 cup grated cheese to sprinkle on top

Preheat oven to 200C.

Cook the potatoes in boiling water and mash, seasoning to taste.

Mix together the tuna/salmon, frozen mixed vegetables, spinach and tinned tomatoes in an oven-proof dish. Cover with mashed potatoes and grated cheese. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the top is golden. I usually serve this with steamed broccoli or cauliflower.

This is a really quick storecupboard lunch or dinner and I sometimes double the recipe so I can cook two and freeze one for later. You can add a grated carrot as well as the courgette if you want the recipe to go a bit further. You can also add a tin of salmon instead of the tuna. Sometimes I use some cooked bacon, onion and peppers in place of the tuna if we have no tins of fish in the cupboard. Just use what you have in your cupboard.


Tinned Fish, Feta and Rice Loaf

225g (1 1/2 cups) cooked long-grain rice
1 x 185g can salmon or tuna in springwater, drained and flaked
70g (1/3 cup) semi-dried tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 large courgette, grated
2 Tblsp chopped fresh basil (if available, or use 2 tsp dried)
75g feta, crumbled
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Mixed salad leaves or cooked vegetables to serve it with

Preheat oven to 200°C. Line a 19cm x 9cm (base measurement) loaf tin with non-stick baking paper.

Combine the rice, fish, tomato, courgette, basil and two-thirds of the feta in a large bowl. Add the lightly beaten eggs and stir everything together until well combined. Season with pepper if you like.

Spoon the mixture carefully into the lined loaf tin and smooth the surface. Sprinkle the top with the remaining feta. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until puffed up and golden. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly before slicing it. Serve the loaf with mixed salad leaves or cooked vegetables.

 

Monday, 13 August 2012

Our Family Meal Plan for Week of 13/08 - Super Scrimping Edition

It is midway through the Summer Holidays here in the UK and in order to afford outings with our 3 children, school shoes and uniforms and everything else, we are using up what we have lurking in the freezer and cupboards this week.  I shall be an exercise in saving money, cutting food waste and clearing out any food that may have been lingering unnoticed in the pantry.  We have some yeast, sugar, baking powder, cornflour, tomato paste, dried fruit and breakfast cereals, homemade chutneys, jams and vegemite (of course) in the pantry.  We also have tins and packets of pulses, rice, pasta and vegetable soup mix.

If you are really broke and need a really frugal Meal Plan please see our Live Below The Line Meal Plan when we only spent £1 per person per day for 7 days on food.

Our grocery spending this week will be limited to fresh fruit and vegetables, flour, eggs, butter, cheese and milk. 

What will we be cooking and living on then? Well, here are a few things we will be doing to use up what we have:

Flour, Butter, Eggs and Milk
Luckily we have some dried pasta in the pantry, if we had none then I would be using flour and eggs to make our own fresh pasta.  One egg and one cup of plain flour will make enough fresh pasta for two adults.  Using flour, butter and milk we shall be baking bread and scones, both sweet and savoury.  Sour dough bread can be made without yeast by making your own starter which is really easy and a great science lesson for kids.  We'll also make our own tortillas.

By adding eggs to the flour, butter and milk we shall be making fritters which are incredibly versatile, a sponge and some muffins to use up any over-ripe fruit and baked apples to utillise the apples on our trees in the backyard.

Using four and eggs with some milk we will be baking crustless quiche and also filled bread cases

Using flour, cheese and  tomato paste with some veg we shall be making homemade pizza and calzone.

We shall also be making our own yoghurt with our Easiyo or in our slow cooker.

Fresh and frozen vegetables

We'll be making some soup because it is tasty, easy to make and can be bulked out by uses pulses from the pantry.  We've salad greens in the garden so will be making use of those as side salads and to bulk out sandwiches.  We can also use some of the greens from our garden in stir fries with rice or noodles which will help us make a little bit of meat or fish from the freezer go a long way.   We've some frozen vegetables in our freezer which will be used in fritters, on pizzas, and in calzone throughout the week as well as being an accompaniment to dinner.

We shall of course be having baked potatoes, and twice baked potatoes which are a cheap and filling lunch or dinner option.

Rice and Pasta

We've some Arborio rice so will be making risotto which we will either leave as a vegetarian dish or alternatively it will help a little meat from the freezer go a long way.  Any leftover risotto will be made into into patties, dipped in flour, egg, bread crumbs then lightly pan-fried to make risotto cakes.

Leftover cooked rice is ideal for making fried rice so we will no doubt be making some of that too.  Again, this makes a little meat or fish go a long way, or just add some finely sliced thin omelette.

You make a sauce for cooked pasta with a little olive oil and grated parmesan or pesto thinned out with a little olive oil.  I normally add some spinach or greens to the pasta during the last couple of minutes of cooking time.  You could also use a homemade tomato based sauce made from tinned tomatoes.  Lentil bolognese is a great frugal dinner and can also be served with baked potatoes as well as pasta.

Pulses

We have some tins of pulses and also dried pulses lurking in the pantry.  I shall be using them to make vegetarian curry, dhal, lentil bolognese, and also to bulk out soups.  They also make a really quick and filling salad when mixed with some salad vegetables and drizzled with a simple vinaigrette.

Leftovers from the freezer

Even a small amount of casserole, pasta sauce or cooked meat can used to fill a wrap made with homemade tortillas or crepes, you can also make small pasties or calzone.  Any leftover family meals that we have in the freezer will be a welcome respite from having to cook dinner that night.

Morphy Richards Accents Hand Blender Work Center Review

I was delighted to be invited to be a Morphy Richards Innovator earlier this year.  I did squeal with excitement and do a happy dance for a minute or two when I received their email.  Basically being a Morphy Richards Innovator means that I get sent lovely Morphy Richards products to review and retain so that I can blog about my opinions of the products.  Hurrah!  I already own several Morphy Richards appliances and have found them to be of high quality and very reliable so I am very excited to be able to try out a few more. 

The first appliance I was sent to review and put through its paces was the Accents Hand Blender Work Center which has a powerful 700W motor and is a lovely vibrant red colour, it also comes in cyan, yellow and cream should you want to match the colour of your appliances to the colour scheme of your kitchen.  The Accent Hand Blender Work Center retails for £69.99.  Here's a handy Morphy Richards video showing off the appliance:




So what did I think of it? Well, it is a really useful gadget and since my Magimix is deceased, I can see that I will find it really helpful when dealing with mundane food preparation tasks should I be in a hurry or my children go on strike. It grates, slices, chops and blends with ease and is fairly compact to store away when you're done.  It will also help us cut our food preparation time even more as I can easily make breadcrumbs, blitz onions and garlic to freeze and also grate cheese to freeze as well.  It is also fab for making small portions of coleslaw or shredded veges for a salad really quickly. 

Just one niggle, the beaker really could do with a non-slip base as it felt like it might slip a little when I was using the hand blender in it.  Other than that, it is brilliant! You get 2 gadgets for the price of one and it is fab for making breadcrumbs, pesto, salsa, chopping nuts and all those other little jobs that you might ordinarily need a food processor and blender for.  Great product if you are short on kitchen space, money and time - just like I am. 


If you fancy winning one of your own . . . . .

Morphy Richards have also teamed up with Foodies100 to launch a great summer baking competition with a chance for two lucky people to win a brand new set from their food preparation range.

To enter, all you need to do is submit an original summer baking recipe either posting it on your blog or sending it through via email. Full details are available on the Foodies 100 website. Bloggers and non-bloggers can enter – there will be a prize awarded to the best recipe in each category.


If you would like to buy one of your own . . . .

You can also take advantage of an exclusive promotional code to receive 25% off products in the Morphy food prep range. All you need to do is enter FP1002 at the checkout stage on their website to get money off.


You can also follow Morphy Richards on Twitter, find them on Facebook and also read their blog.

 

A big thank you to Morphy Richards for sending me an Accents Hand Blender Work Centre to review and retain.  All opinions are my own and are based on my experiences testing out the product. 

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Goats Cheese and Roasted Pepper Swirls

I needed a substantial and tasty lunch for us all this week so decided to make some of these Goats Cheese and Roasted Pepper Swirls.  They went down well with everyone, especially my hubby who had three.

This post is part of the Capricorn Challenge in which food bloggers come up with recipes using Capricorn Goats Cheese.  You can have a bleat with Ethel the Goat on Twitter, read the Capricorn Blog or check out their website for more recipes.

500g strong white bread flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp quick action dried yeast
250ml warm water
75ml milk
1 Tblsp oil
150g goats cheese, I used Capricorn
1 roasted pepper, diced
fresh orgegano

In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, salt, sugar and yeast and mix well.  Add the warm water, milk and oil to the flour mixture and mix everything together until a stiff dough forms.

Place the dough in a large bowl, cover with cling film and leave in a warm place for an hour or so until it has doubled in size

Once the dough has risen, remove the dough from the bowl and place on a clean, well-floured work surface and knead for 5-8 minutes or knead in a stand mixer for 5 minutes or so until the dough is smooth.

Roll the dough out into a large rectangle. Scatter over the goats cheese and roasted pepper then sprinkle over the oregano.  Roll up the bread dough like a swiss roll and slice it into 2 inch pieces. 



Preheat your oven to 220C/Gas Mark 7.

Put the dough pieces into a greased and lined 9 inch square cake tin, cut side up, and cover with cling film.  Leave the swirls to rise again in a warm place for another 30 minutes.



When the dough has risen remove the clingfilm and bake for 25 minutes until the swirls are well risen and golden.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Our Family Meal Plan for Week of 06/08 - £72

It is the Summer school holidays here in the UK and trying to keep 3 active kids fed without needing to buy the entire supermarket is proving challenging. Lunches, if we are at home, will be substantial to cut down on afternoon snacking. If we are out we usually take our own lunch to save money, which is filling but not too heavy to carry.

Our raspberry and strawberry plants are doing us proud with a bumper harvest, as are the two apple trees in the back garden – great free food which saves us loads of money. We’ve also been foraging so have blackberries, cherries and plums to snack on – all for free. We've also got salad greens, chard, kale and spinach growing in our back garden which also helps to keep costs down and provides us with freshly picked salad leaves and greens to have with dinner.  I have added the cost of our usual fruit and vegetables to the Shopping List in this post to make it easier for those who don’t have access to free fruit to follow the Meal Plan. 

We’ve baked rather a lot these holidays so far which keeps the kids amused and also saves us more than a few pennies. My daughters love making their own bread, which I actively encourage, as it not only entertains them it provides us with lunch as well.  I have included the price of flour to make all of our own bread, wraps, bagels and fruitbread for the week within the Shopping List.

The cost of our Meal Plan this week was £72.32 online from Asda on 5th Augusst 2012.  I used My Supermarket to do my shopping and the same basket of groceries would've cost £82.00 at Sainsbury's and £83.13 from Tesco.

Breakfasts will be either toast or cereal and fruit for afters.  If I have time I might make fruitbread or bagels for a treat. 

Lunches

Vegetable Fritters

1 large potato
1 large carrot, grated
1 onion, finely diced
½ cup tinned sweetcorn, drained
1 cup tightly packed courgette, grated
1 cup wholemeal flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ - 1 tsp ground cumin (optional)
1 free range egg
250ml cup milk
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tblsp olive oil

Grate potatoes then squeeze out as much excess water and starch as you can with your hands.

Put the potato and all other ingredients, apart from the milk and oil, into a large bowl. Add the milk slowly whilst stirring the ingredients to combine them thoroughly. Cover the mixture and let the batter rest for half an hour.

Heat a large frying pan over a moderate heat, add the olive oil, then put large spoonfuls of the mixture into the frying pan Cook the fritters until they are golden brown on each side.

These fritters freeze well when wrapped individually in clingfilm. To eat from frozen put them in an oven preheated to 190°C for 10 minutes until heated through.


Crustless Salmon Quiche

1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
4 free range eggs, beaten
500ml milk
75g butter, melted
415g can pink salmon, drained
1 onion, diced
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 tsp fresh chives, finely sliced

Preheat your oven to 180C.

Put the flour and baking powder into a bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the eggs milk and butter. Combine to make a batter then stir through the salmon, onion, cheese and chives until they are just combined.

Pour into a large ovenproof dish which has been greased or lined with non-stick baking paper. Cook at 180C for about 45 minutes until the quiche is set. I usually serve mine with salad or steamed mixed vegetables.


Falafels

2 (400g) tins of chick peas
1 large onion, very finely chopped or grated
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp ground cumin
4-6 Tblsp plain flour
Salt and pepper
Oil for frying

Put the chickpeas in a bowl with the very finely chopped onion, crushed garlic gloves, cumin, ground coriander, salt and pepper. Use a potato masher or pestle and mortar to lightly mash the mixture until it begins to stick together. You can quickly pulse it in a food processor but don't be too over enthusiastic, you don't want a mushy puree.

Take walnut-sized blobs of mixture and and shape them into small flat rounds about 1/2 and inch thick. Roll the falafel in the flour ensuring they are well coated. Chill them for 15-30 minutes, this makes them much easier to work with. Heat some oil, about 1 inch deep, in a frying pan. When it's hot add a few falafels and cook over a medium heat for about 5-6 minutes, turning them frequently. Carefully take them out of the oil and drain well on kitchen paper.

To use the falafels from frozen: Put them on a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper and warm in the oven at 180°C/(350°F)/Gas Mark 4 for about 10 minutes or until piping hot.

Serve with a dip and crudités, in a wrap with salad leaves, or as a dinner/lunch with couscous salad.


Yoghurt Dip with Mint and Cucumber

150ml natural yoghurt
2 Tblsp mayonnaise
Juice of 1/2 a lime or lemon
1 small or 1/2 a large cucumber, thickly grated then drained on kitchen roll
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 Tblsp chopped fresh mint leaves
Pinch of salt

Put the yoghurt, mayonnaise and lime/lemon juice in a bowl and whisk together well with a fork. Add the drained cucumber, garlic and chopped fresh mint leaves. Mix together well and, if you think it needs it, add a pinch of salt.

Cover the dip with clingfilm and leave in it the fridge for at least 1 hour to allow the flavours to mingle before you serve it.


Super Quick Chickpea and Couscous Salad

3/4 cup couscous
3/4 cup boiling water
1 tin of chickpeas, well drained
juice and zest of 1 lemon
small handful of toasted walnuts or hazelnuts, whole or roughly chopped
2 Tblsp olive oil
2 cups salad greens (roughly 2 large handfuls)
2 Tblsp chopped dried fruit (pears, apricots, dates, raisins)

Pour the boiling water over the couscous in a heatproof bowl. Cover the bowl with a plate or clingfilm and set aside for a 5 minutes while you chop up the other ingredients and open the tin of chickpeas.

After 5 minutes, fluff the couscous with a fork, add all the other ingredients and toss well to thoroughly combine. That's all there is to it! Pack it into lunchbox containers, refridgerate until needed or serve immediately.


Vegetable Parcels

These are fab to keep in the freezer for weekend lunches, or after school snacks as well as lunchbox fillers. You can cary the fillings or use pumpkin instead of the sweet potato. I have been known to add some curry powder to the mashed sweet potato for an extra kick, or pesto mixed in to the mashed sweet potato works well too.

1 small sweet potato, peeled and roughly diced
1 small carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 potato (Maris Piper is a good type to use), peeled and finely chopped
1 handful of frozen peas
1 small can of sweetcorn, rinsed and drained
1 handful of grated Cheddar cheese
2 eggs, lightly whisked
3 sheets ready-rolled frozen shortcrust pastry, just thawed

Preheat oven to 220°C. Line an oven tray with non-stick baking paper. Cook the sweet potato in a medium saucepan of boiling water for 10 minutes or until tender and then drain it well. Transfer it to a heatproof bowl and use a fork to mash it smooth. Set it aside to cool in the bowl.

Meanwhile, cook the carrot and potato in a saucepan of boiling water for around 5 minutes or until they're tender. Make sure you drain them well and then set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly.

Add the cooked potato and carrots, peas, corn, cheese and 1 egg to the mashed sweet potato and stir everything to combine it well. Season with salt and pepper if you think it needs it.

Use a 12cm diameter pastry cutter to cut 12 circles from the pastry sheets. Spoon the vegetable mixture evenly amongst the circles of pastry. Brush the edges of the pastry circles lightly with the remaining egg.

Fold the pastry circles in half to enclose the filling and use your fingertips to gently press and crimp the edges together to seal them. Put the parcels on the lined baking tray and lightly brush them with the remaining egg.

Bake the parcels in the oven for 15 minutes or until they're golden brown and cooked through. Remove them from the oven and set them aside to cool. Once they're completely cool, wrap them and put them in lunch boxes.

As an added bonus you can freeze these parcels unbaked. Just before you bake them, put in an airtight container in the freezer. When you're ready to defrost them, put them in the fridge for around 4 hours to defrost and then bake them for 15 - 20 minutes at 220°C.


Dinners

Spicy Rice with Chickpeas and Spinach – Meatfree Monday

This is a quick, healthy and delicious family dinner for a Meatfree Monday or any day of the week. My daughters like it with some poppadoms on the side and mango chutney. Give it a go, it works well as a side dish too.

1 ½ cups basmati or long grain rice
1 Tblsp olive oil
3 carrots, roughly diced
1 pepper, roughly diced
1 leek, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp turmeric
2 tsp mild curry powder
400g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
400ml vegetable stock, made with 1 stock cube
300ml water
200g spinach (fresh or frozen)
2 Tblsp chopped fresh coriander leaves
2 Tblsp chopped fresh mint leaves

Put the rice in a sieve and rinse it under cold running water until the water runs clear. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the roughly diced carrots, pepper, leek, garlic, raisins/sultanas and spices. Cook, stirring it occasionally for about 8 – 10 minutes or until the vegetables, especially the carrots, are tender.

Once the vegetables are tender add the chickpeas, rice, stock, and water. Bring everything to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook everything with the lid on the saucepan for 12 minutes.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and put the spinach over the top of the rice. Replace the lid on the saucepan and stand for 8 minutes. Uncover the saucepan again and add the chopped fresh herbs. Stir everything together until well combined.


Chicken Traybake

1kg chicken drumsticks
2 large potatoes roughly chopped into chunks
300g squash chopped into chunks
1 head of garlic, unpeeled and in half widthways
2 tsp dried mixed herbs
125ml chicken stock

Preheat oven to 200ºC. Put the chicken in a large baking dish along with the prepared vegetables. Sprinkle over the dried mixed herbs.

Bake for 45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked. Pour over the stock and bake for another 5 minutes so a gravy forms. Serve with rice or mash and steamed greens or vegetables.


Lentil Bolognese

This is so versatile! It can be served with pasta, baked potatoes, polenta or homemade gnocchi. I sometimes made double because it freezes well and is great to have in your freezer as a quick fix meal option. If you really have to you could add some beef mince or soy mince to bulk it out more.

1 cup red lentils, uncooked
2 Tblsp oil
1 onion, diced
1 pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
2 Tblsp tomato paste
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp dried mixed herbs
salt and pepper to taste

Pasta and 2 handfuls of frozen mixed vegetables (cooked), to serve.

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Pour in the lentils and stir them around to make sure they don’t stick to the bottom of the saucepan. Boil the lentils for 8-10 minutes or until soft.

Heat the oil in a medium pan and sauté the pepper, onion and garlic until softened. Add the tinned tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar and herbs, then stir in the lentils. Season with salt and pepper to taste and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes until the flavours develop.

Serve with pasta cooked according to packet instructions. When the pasta has about 3 minutes left to cook toss in a handful or two of frozen mixed vegetables.


Slow Cooker Meatballs

500g beef mince
½ cup uncooked long-grain rice
¼ cup chopped fresh herbs (parsley, oregano, etc) or 3 tsp dried mixed herbs
1 large onion, finely diced
1 pepper, finely diced
2 carrots, finely diced
1 stick celery, finely sliced/diced
500g homemade or store bought pasta sauce
375 ml beef stock or water

Turn the slow cooker on to low to preheat whilst you chop all the vegetables.

In a bowl, mix together the mince, rice and fresh herbs with a good seasoning of salt and pepper. Roll tablespoonfuls into balls and set aside for a few minutes.

Put the onion, pepper, carrot and celery Into the slow cooker. Mix together the cook-homemade pasta sauce and beef stock then pour into the slow cooker. Stir to mix thoroughly with the vegetables.

Put the meatballs on top of the sauce in the slow cooker and then cover with the lid. Cook on low for 6–7 hours or on high for 3–4 hours. Serve with mash/pasta/baked potatoes and steamed mixed vegetables.


Slow Cooker Chicken Curry

2 Tblsp vegetable oil
2 Tblsp butter
1 onion, cut into wedges
1kg chicken thighs, cut into large pieces
2 Tblsp mild curry powder
3 Tblsp tandoori paste
2 tsp garam masala
1 cup tomato paste
400ml coconut milk
250ml natural yoghurt

In a frying pan heat the oil and butter over a moderate heat. Brown the chicken thighs and soften the onion. Add the curry powder, tandoori paste, tomato paste and garam masala and cook for a couple of minutes until fragrant.

Add the coconut milk with the yoghurt and half a cup of water. Pour the whole lot into the slow cooker. Cook on low for 3-4 hours then serve with rice and vegetables.


Fish Pie

1 onion, finely diced
1 Tblsp oil
425g tin tuna or salmon in water, drained
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables
200g spinach
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
700g potatoes for mash topping
1 cup grated cheese to sprinkle on top

Preheat oven to 200C.

Cook the potatoes in boiling water and mash, seasoning to taste.

Mix together the tuna/salmon, frozen mixed vegetables, spinach and tinned tomatoes in an oven-proof dish. Cover with mashed potatoes and grated cheese. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the top is golden. I usually serve this with steamed broccoli or cauliflower.


Chicken Goujons

2 chicken breast fillets
1/3 cup plain flour
1 garlic clove, crushed
Salt and pepper to taste
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups fresh bread crumbs
¼ cup oil

Cut chicken into strips approximately 1cm thick and about 10cm long. Toss the strips of chicken in flour, shake off excess. In a bowl whisk eggs, add garlic, salt and pepper. Cover chicken strips beaten egg then roll in breadcrumbs.

Heat oil in a deep frying pan and fry the chicken strips in two batches until golden brown. We’ll be having ours in wraps with salad.


Baking and Treats


Homemade Muesli Bars

1 x 397g tin of condensed milk
500g muesli
100g mixed dried fruit

Preheat your oven to 130C/Gas Mark 1/2 and lightly oil a large baking tin. Mine measures 23cm x 33cm x 4cm.

Mix the dry ingredients and fruit together until well combined. Warm the condensed milk in a pan then mix with all the other ingredients and use a spatula to make sure everything is well coated.

Press the mixture into the tin and level the surface. The mixture is really sticky so you might want to wet your hands or lightly oil them so that you don't end up a sticky mess.

Bake the muesli bars for 1 hour then set aside for 15 minutes to cool slightly. Cut into bars and store in an airtight container.


Quick and Easy Banana Cake

I have several over-ripe bananas lurking in my freezer. Whenever we have over-ripe bananas I freeze then so that I have some available to use as a base for smoothies as well as baking muffins, caramelising them to have with pancakes and for baking this cake.

125g butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
500-600g (unpeeled weight) spotty over-ripe bananas
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
2 1/2 cups self-raising flour

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a round 23cm square cake tin with non-stick baking paper.

Cream the butter and sugar until pale and creamy, mash the bananas and beat well in to the mixture. It will look curdled but don't panic. Beat in the eggs one at a time adding 1/2 a cup of the flour so the mixture comes together. Add the last 1 cup of flour (and vanilla if using) then beat for one minute on low speed or until well combined.

Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin andamp; gently shake to level, don't bang it. Bake in oven at 180°C for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Set aside in the cake tin for 10 minutes to cool slightly before transferring the cake to a wire rack to cool completely.


My Favourite Tea Bread

1 cup sultanas or raisins
1 tsp mixed spice
1tsp cinnamon
25g butter
1 cup hot strong tea (without milk)
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 or 2 1/4 cups self raising flour

Measure the sultanas, mixed spice, cinnamon and butter in to a medium sized bowl. Pour hot recently made tea over them and leave to stand until cold.

When the mixture is cold, add the brown sugar and self raising flour. If you use 2 cups of flour the tea bread will be more cake-like, whereas if you use 2 1/4 cups of flour the tea bread will be more bread like. Mix gently until just combined, don't overmix or the tea bread will be tough.

Line a 20cm cake tin, or a 23cm x 12cm loaf tin with baking paper and pour the mixture evenly in to it. Bake at 180C for 35-45 minutes in the cake tin, or 1 hour in the loaf tin, until a skewer pushed in to the middle comes out clean.

When cold store in an airtight container. It's best left 24 hours before cutting but never lasts that long in our house.

Shopping List

49 items: £72.32

Packets and Cereals
1x ASDA Smartprice Cornflakes (750g) 46p
1x ASDA Smartprice Muesli (1Kg) £1.18
1x Silver Spoon Granulated Sugar (1Kg) 88p was 98p
1x Asda Wholefoods Strong White Bread Flour (1.5Kg) 60p
1x ASDA Wholemeal Bread Flour (1.5Kg) £1.28
1x ASDA Smartprice Plain White Flour (1.5Kg) 52p
1x ASDA Smartprice Self Raising Flour (1.5Kg) 52p
1x ASDA Easy Cook Long Grain Brown Rice (1Kg) £1.61 was £1.79
1x ASDA Smartprice Long Grain Rice (1Kg) 40p
1x ASDA Smartprice Pasta Shapes (500g) 30p
1x Great Scot Red Split Lentils (500g) £1.28
1x ASDA Wholefoods Cous Cous (1Kg) £1.35
1x ASDA Chosen by You Ready to Roll Puff Pastry (500g) £1.00
1x Asda Home Baking Easy Bake Yeast (6 per pack - 42g) 64p

Tins, Jars and Cooking
2x ASDA Wild Pacific Pink Salmon (418g) £4.34
2x ASDA Smartprice Chopped Tomatoes (400g) 62p
2x ASDA Sweet Sweetcorn in Water (326g) 90p
1x ASDA Good for you! Mayonnaise (250ml) 48p
4x ASDA Chick Peas in Water (400g) £2.80
1x ASDA Double Concentrated Tomato Puree (200g) 48p
2x Kingfisher Coconut Milk (400ml) £2.00 was £1.40
1x ASDA Chosen by You Bolognese Pasta Sauce (735g) £1.00

Frozen
2x ASDA Smartprice Mixed Vegetables (1Kg) £1.50

Dairy and Eggs
6x ASDA British Semi Skimmed Milk 4 Pints (2.27L) £6.00
1x Country Life English Butter (250g) £1.00
1x Nestle Carnation Sweetened Condensed Milk (397g) £1.44
2x ASDA Smartprice Low Fat Natural Yogurt (500g) £1.10
1x ASDA Free Range Mixed Weight Eggs (15) £2.50
2x ASDA Smartprice Mature Cheddar (334g) £4.08

Fruit and Vegetables
1x ASDA Smartprice Mixed Fruit (500g) 64p
20 ASDA Smartprice Apples by Weight (100g) £2.00
20 ASDA Bananas by Weight (100g) £1.36
15 ASDA Carrots by Weight (100g) £1.17
4 ASDA Courgettes by Weight (100g) 64.8p
3 ASDA Leeks by Weight (100g) 77.7p
10 ASDA Red Onions by Weight (100g) 90p
2x ASDA White Potatoes (2.5Kg) £2.00 any 2 FOR £2.00
10 ASDA Tomatoes by Weight (100g) £1.99
4 ASDA Butternut Squash by Weight (100g) 34.8p
5 ASDA Sweet Potatoes by Weight (100g) 57.5p
2x ASDA Whole Cucumber 80p
1x ASDA Celery 89p
1x ASDA Garlic Loose 27p
1x ASDA Smartprice Peppers (700g) £1.50
1x ASDA Spring Onions 70p
2x ASDA Spinach (350g) £1.50

Meat, Fish and Poultry
1x ASDA Butcher's Selection British Beef Mince (500g) £2.00
3 ASDA Free Range Chicken Breast Fillets (100g) £3.83
20 ASDA Free Range Corn Fed Chicken Legs (100g) £6.16

Prices and special offers reflect those of the Asda online grocery store on the My Supermarket website, and were correct as of 5th August 2012.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Fruity Flapjack Slice

I love it when a delicious recipe comes about when I am mulling over what to do with a particular ingredient or what to make for a particular occasion or to fill a need.  The pears in our fruit bowl seem to go from rock hard to over-ripe in a day at the moment.  It is most frustrating as I abhor food waste and we're getting a bit bored with muffins, crumbles and turnovers made with the over-ripe fruit from the fruit bowl.  I also needed a pick me up for my girls to eat on the way home from Holiday Club to make the walk much less whiny, along with a treat to have with a cuppa once we got home as a friend was popping in for a chat.

I came up with a this lightly spiced, fruit filled flapjack using my standard flapjack recipe that ticked all the boxes and was absolutely delicious!  You can vary the fruit according to what you have, likewise the spices.  I used pears, dates and ginger the first time I made this recipe but have since used apples, dried apricots and mixed spice which was equally delicious.  I also didn't have quite enough rolled oats the first time I made it so used some weetabix to make up the correct quantity of cereal.  It really is an easy and brilliantly versatile recipe that I'm sure will come in handy quite often these school holidays.

225g self-raising flour
225g rolled oats (I used 50g crushed weetabix and 175g rolled oats)
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 - 2 tsp ground ginger or mixed spice
225g butter
225g caster sugar
2 Tblsp golden syrup
2 - 3 pears or apples peeled, cored and diced chopped
120g chopped dried dates or other dried fruit

Preheat your oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/Gas Mark 4. Line a 23cm (9 inch) square cake tin with non-stick baking paper.

Measure the flour, oats, bicarbonate of soda and ground ginger in to a bowl and mix until well combined.

Put the butter, sugar and golden syrup into a saucepan and heat on medium-low, stirring occasionally, until the butter has melted and everything is well combined. Don’t heat the mixture too vigorously or let it boil.

Take the saucepan off the heat and pour the melted ingredients into the flour and oat mixture, stirring well to make sure everything has been thoroughly combined.

Spoon half the mixture into the prepared tin and level the surface with the back of a spoon or spatula.

Sprinkle over the fresh and dried fruit then spread the remaining oat mixture on top.

Bake the slice in the oven for about 30 minutes until lovely and golden. Leave to cool in the tin and then cut into squares with a sharp knife.



Thursday, 2 August 2012

Oven Baked Doughnuts

I've decided to re-post this recipe as it kept my eldest daughter amused yeterday afternoon, the doughnuts are so easy to make she made them all by herelf.  All 3 of daughters love these donuts and they're easy and quick to make, especially with loads of kids about because there's no deep frying involved.  They taste delicious and my daughters friends like them as a treat when they come over to play, I get nagged for them a lot!  I usually either make them quickly in my stand mixer or get my daughters and their friends to help knead and shape the dough.

Dough:
250ml milk
1 Tblsp butter 
2 1/2 cups plain flour
1 1/2 tsp instant dried yeast

Topping:
25g butter, melted
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon or mixed spice if you want a stronger spice flavour

Gently warm the milk in a saucepan on the hob or in the microwave until it is lukewarm.  If it is too hot it will kill the yeast.  Stir through the butter which will melt with the heat of the milk.  


Sift the flour into a bowl then stir in the yeast and 1/4 cup of sugar.  Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients.  Add the milk and butter mixture.



Mix to form a soft dough then turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic.  I usually make the dough in my stand mixer and knead the dough with the dough hook for about 5 - 7 minutes until it's smooth and elastic.


Put the dough into a lightly greased bowl to rise. Cover the bowl with lightly greased cling film.  Set the dough aside in a warm place for about 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size. 




Line a baking tray or two with non-stick baking paper.

Using your fist, punch the dough down to knock it back then turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead the dough until it's smooth.  I usually knead it for about 1 minute in the stand mixer. 

Once you're ready to shape the dough, press it out until it's about 2.5cm thick. You can make the doughnut two different ways.  Either use a 6.5cm cutter, or a wine glass, to cut 12 circles from the dough then use a 2.5cm cutter to cut little circles from the centre of each large circle.  What we ended up doing yeterday, and do quite often as a low faff option, is just use the 2.5cm cutter to cut circles out of the dough to make doughnuts without holes. 


Whichever method you use, knead together the offcuts of dough and continue cutting out the doughnuts until all of the dough has been uesd.  Put the doughnuts about 5cm apart, on the prepared baking trays.  Cover the doughnuts with lightly greased cling film.  Set the doughnuts aside in a warm place for 30 minutes or until they've doubled in size again.


We left ours to prove a bit too long, for over an hour, they were masive! LOL

Whilst the doughnuts are rising on the baking trays, preheat your oven to 200°C/180°C fan-forced.  Bake the doughnuts for 10 to 12 minutes or until they are lovely and golden brown.

Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Brush the doughnuts with the melted butter.  Dip the doughnuts into the cinnamon sugar mixture or sprinkle some over the top if the doughnuts are a little too hot to handle.


Special thanks and aknowledgement to my eldest daughter who made these doughnuts and took the photos using my phone.  Well done her!