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5 Cup Fruit Loaf

Monday, 10 June 2019
I love this recipe, and have used it for years but have never gotten around to blogging it.  Perfect for school lunchboxes, picnics, or just a quick bake for an afternoon tea treat, this recipe is SO easy.  My family love it, and it's great for filling a gap when there are hungry teens seeking a snack.

You could use dairy free milk to make this loaf vegan, use whatever dried fruit you have in your store cupboard. I've added a little vanilla bean paste or ground cinnamon/ginger on occasion, to give it a different flavour.  

5 Cup Fruit Loaf

1 cup rolled oats or dessicated coconut
1 cup sultanas/raisins or finely chopped dried apricots
1 cup light soft brown sugar
1 cup self raising flour
1 cup milk, I used full fat whole milk

Preheat your oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4/350F.  Grease and line a loaf tin, I used a 2lb/900g loaf tin.  In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients together then make a well in the centre.  Pour in the milk then mix until completely combined. Pour mixture into your prepared loaf tin and bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out free from crumbs or mixture.

5 Simple Salad Dressings

Wednesday, 15 May 2019
With the weather finally warming up again this week I thought it was about time I blogged our favourite simple salad dressings. I don't usually buy pre-made dressings, other than mayonnaise, as they're pricey and I like to customise our salad dressings to our tastes.

All you need is some measuring spoons and a jam jar, no special equipment.  Once made the dressings will keep in the fridge for a couple of days in the jam jar, just give them a good shake before you use them.

Lemon Dressing

90ml/6 Tblsp oil

30ml/2 Tblsp lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Honey/Maple and Mustard Dressing

90ml/6 Tblsp oil
45ml/3 Tblsp white vinegar
1 Tblsp Dijon mustard
1 Tblsp honey or maple syrup
salt and pepper to taste

Balsamic Dressing

90ml/6 Tblsp oil
2 Tblsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

French Dressing

1/2 clove garlic, minced or 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Dijon mustard
30ml/2 Tblsp white vinegar or lemon juice
60ml/6 Tblsp oil
salt and pepper to taste

Yoghurt Dressing

5 Tblsp/75ml or 1/3 cup natural yoghurt (can use dairy free)
2 Tblsp/30ml white vinegar or lemon juice
15ml/1 Tblsp oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 or 2 Tblsp fresh herbs, finely chopped (optional)
1 clove garlic or 1 tsp garlic powder (optional)

To make any/all of the dressings above simply put all the ingredients into a jam jar, screw on the lid, and shake until completely combined.  Use immediately or store in the fridge, remembering to shake the jar again before using the dressing.

Aubergine and Potato Curry

Monday, 13 May 2019
Last week was cold, with rain and thunderstorms most days, and everyone felt grumpy and grim.  We needed comfort food to warm us up and lift our spirits.  I love this curry, it's quick and tasty, perfect for a rather chilly Spring weeknight and a great addition to your Meatfree Monday repertoire.

 Augergine and Potato Curry

For the rice: 
175g basmati or long grain white rice 
2 Tblsp sunflower oil 
1 onion, thinly sliced 
1 tsp cumin seeds 
½ cinnamon stick 
2 cloves 
2 cardamom pods 

For the curry: 
2 Tblsp oil 
2 Tblsp butter 
2 onions, diced 
3cm/1¼ inch fresh root ginger, peeled and finely grated 
1½ tsp turmeric 
1½ tsp cumin seeds 
1 tsp black mustard seeds 
1 tsp chopped fresh green chilli (take out seeds and membranes for milder heat) 
2 large potatoes chopped into 1cm/½ inch dice 
2 large aubergines, chopped into 2cm/¾ inch dice 
3 Tblsp dried fenugreek (methi) 

Wash the rice until the water runs clear then cover with fresh water and set aside whilst you get the curry cooking. 

To make the curry, heat the oil and butter in a large lidded saucepan over a moderate heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes until softened but not coloured. Add the ginger, turmeric, cumin, mustard seeds, chilli and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook for a couple of minutes until the spices are fragrant and then add the potato with ¼ cup/60ml water and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 5 – 10 minutes. Add a little more water if necessary. 

Once the potatoes are tender, add the aubergines to the pan with the methi and another ¼ cup/60ml of water. Cover with a lid and leave to steam for 10–15 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft and cooked through. Remove from the heat and allow the flavour to develop whilst you cook the rice. 

Drain the rice thoroughly. Put a large lidded saucepan over a medium heat, add the oil and onion and cook for 5 minutes, until softened but not coloured. Stir in all the spices and cook for a minute until fragrant. Add the drained rice and 250ml/1 cup of water and simmer very gently, covered, for 10–12 minutes, or until the water has absorbed and the rice is tender. Remove the whole spices before serving the rice. 

Serve the curry with the rice, chapati or roti, and whatever other condiments and accompaniments you prefer.  

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