22 January 2015

Nutella and peanut butter cornflake cakes


My daughter Bea was off preschool poorly yesterday and I felt awful too, so it was a tough morning. We did jigsaws, read books, watched telly - then I made these. She did participate, for a while anyway, but mainly I made them - isn't that always the way? Anyway, it killed 10 minutes.

They are so easy and simple, and with no cooking involved they are perfect for making with kids - if you can keep their interest! Also, I haven't added up the calorie count or anything, but they are quite small and given that peanut butter is a healthy wholefood... and Nutella is made with nuts too... and also cornflakes have added vitamins in them - then we can TOTALLY call these a healthy snack, right??

They never get totally hard and crunchy on chilling, but I quite like that... they make a nice change to straight up chocolate cornflake cakes.

Makes: 12
Prep time: 10 minutes
Chill time: about 5 hours
Total time (excluding chilling time): 10 minutes

Ingredients:
5 tablespoons of Nutella
5 tablespoons of peanut butter, crunchy or smooth (or a mix of the two)
100g cornflakes
A pinch of salt

Instructions: 

  1. Melt the Nutella and peanut butter over a pan of simmering water, stirring to combine. 
  2. Add a pinch of salt and mix unto the cornflakes. 
  3. Put into little paper cases and refrigerate on a cake tray. 

20 January 2015

Steak au poivre with oven 'frites'


Inntravel (an awesome holiday company specialising in walking and other 'slow holidays') asked me to come up with a French recipe for their #FlavoursfromFrance campaign. (Little warning for you - don't click that there link unless you are genuinely thinking of booking a holiday - it's a SERIOUSLY dreamy website that you could get lost in for a while.) I was very happy to help out, as I just don't 'do French' enough, which is crazy really as their cuisine is right up my greedy little street. 

When I think of French food, I think of rustic bistros, not Parisian haute cuisine. I love dishes like Moules Mariniere, Tartiflette, Coq au Vin, Croque Madame... The ultimate flavour of France surely though is a good Steak Frites. This is my version, with a pepper sauce. My 'frites' are done in the oven as, let's face it, you need a HUGE vat of oil to fry chips and that's just a massive faff. These are healthier and they really are just as good. The pepper sauce is an authentic one, with no cream, but if you wanted to you could add a lick of cream at the end, I won't judge!

It's supposed to be a fiery hot, heavily peppered steak and sauce, but if serving kids just hold back on the pepper as much as you see fit. All you need to wash this down is a glass of red and a suitably insouciant attitude. Vive la France!

Watch out for a competition on the Well Worn Whisk Facebook page, prize courtesy of Inntravel, coming later this week! You won't want to miss it!

Serves: 2 people 
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes

Ingredients: 
2 thick cut sirloin steaks from your butcher (ask them to cut them fresh)
A little olive oil 
Lots of freshly ground black pepper
Sea salt 

For the 'frites':
750g King Edward or similar potatoes, skin on
4 tablespoons olive oil 
1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
Sea salt 

For the sauce: 
3 tablespoons brandy 
150ml strong beef stock (I used a Knorr stock pot and made it twice as concentrated)
Lots of freshly ground black pepper
100g butter

To serve: 
Rocket and red onion salad with balsamic dressing

Instructions: 
  1. Preheat the oven to about 180C. Fill a metal roasting tin with the oil and preheat. 
  2. Take the steaks out of the fridge and let them come to room temperature. 
  3. Slice the potatoes into quite thin sticks, skin on. Wash them in a bowl of cold water and then drain, leaving on a teatowel to dry as much as possible. 
  4. Add the chips to the hot oil and throw in the rosemary, tossing them to cover well in herbs and oil. Let them roast for about 40 minutes, turning them a few times. 
  5. When the chips are nearly done, heat a heavy bottomed frying pan so that it is smoking hot and you can't hold your hand over it. 
  6. Whilst the pan is heating up, lightly oil the steaks and cover with as much ground pepper as you'd like. I like a lot!
  7. Add the steaks to the pan (don't overcrowd the pan, if doubling up and doing 4 then do it in two batches - if you overcrowd the pan they will steam). Let them fry for 2 minutes on each side for rare (just how I like it!), 3 minutes on each side for medium, and 4 for well done. Turn the steaks over and when the time is up take out and rest on a warm plate. Season with a little salt whilst resting. 
  8. Keeping the pan on a high heat, add the brandy and deglaze, scraping the bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon, add the stock and let this liquid reduce by about half. Whisk in the butter and taste. It shouldn't need any salt if using commercial stock. You may want to add a little more pepper or even some cream. Add the juices of the resting steak to the sauce and turn down the heat until ready to serve. Dress the salad at the last minute. 


Inntravel paid me to write this post but I'm happy to recommend their website. The link is nofollow as per Google guidelines. 

15 January 2015

Little banana and seed muffins


Happy New Year to y'all! Predictably, I'm doing the healthier eating and trying to get fitter thing - are you? After a disastrous 5:2 diet attempt, crashing and burning on day one at teatime, I decided that 1) diets of ANY sort don't mix with young children and 2) I don't deal with hunger very well. So, instead I have decided to make more effort to eat well and basically do a lot more exercise. I am trialling different things - at home yoga DVD, Zumba in the village hall, running, Bootcamp in the park - I'm going to see which ones stick and settle into a routine. I like the sociability of classes, the 'fun' aspect. And I want a mix of sweaty and stretchy. Coincidentally the #thisgirlcan campaign just launched, promoting women to exercise more. Have you seen the video yet? No? Go check it out, like NOW! It's brilliant. Can't stop watching it, gives me goosebumples!

I digress. Because I am actually here to talk about food, right? These little muffins I made after the people at Anthropologie requested a healthy recipe, in return sending me some gorgeous home goodies, see below piccie (yes, they offer stunning home stuff as well as clothes). It was a no brainer as I love Anthro, and was itching to make a little healthy treat type thing anyway. Generous devil that I am, I'm giving away a divine little book from them. It's called 'Eat Pretty' and you'll love it - all about 'Nutrition for Beauty, Inside and Out' on my Facebook page. Just Like my page (you may already do so skip that part if so), Share the post, and Comment to be in with a chance of winning.

So, the muffies... They have nothing 'bad' in them. I don't like using the word bad when it comes to food, because everything is OK in moderation (even the occasional Big Mac) but you know what I mean. They are gluten free (feel free to switch this up to wholemeal or spelt flour), with coconut oil instead of butter, a little honey instead of sugar - and also bananas and seeds and a few other things. The best bit is they are actually really tasty - my kids adore them (great for after school snacking and breakfast too) and I don't feel bad when I grab one with a cuppa after a run.

Makes: 24 small 'cupcake' type muffins
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes

Ingredients: 
200g gluten free flour (or try spelt or wholemeal - or just good quality plain flour)
1 teaspoon bicarb
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch salt
120g runny honey (or try maple syrup)
225g Greek yoghurt
2 eggs
120g coconut oil, melted gently
100g seeds (I used chia seeds and sesame, 50/50 - but any others would work too)
2 ripe bananas, mashed

Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 180C. 
  2. Mix the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder and bicarb, seeds and salt.
  3. Combine the wet: honey, eggs, yoghurt, mashed bananas. 
  4. Add wet to dry and mix till just combined. 
  5. Using a mince pie type / cupcake tin, line the cake holes with little paper liners and add a generous dessertspoon full to each case. You want each one to be almost full. 
  6. Bake for 15 minutes. 
  7. Enjoy without a shred of guilt - but maybe don't eat 4 in one sitting like I did!

30 December 2014

Tandoori tuna with lentil salad


Two consecutive fish posts! I know, what is going on? Normally I don't have enough fish on here! But I'm thinking we are all ready for some fish, right? It's that time of year when most people are kind of, almost, maybe, possibly ready start to eat a bit healthier. (That said, we've been out for steak and chips then sticky toffee pudding for lunch today with friends. But it is Chrimbo Limbo after all, a time when we are not quite ready to commit to the new healthier version of ourselves.) However, if you are ready to make that leap, after days of chomping your own body weight in stilton and Quality Street, then this may be a nice little family dinner for you...

It's healthy, zingy, fresh - all things I crave post Christmas. It's also incredibly easy and so quick too. This is actually another netmums recipe - I have been providing some photos for their most popular recipes. My whole family loved it, we ate ours with perfectly plain rice on the side. 

Serves: 4  

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes

Ingredients: 
4 tuna steaks
3 tablespoons of Greek yoghurt
1 tablespoon of Tandoori paste (or other similar paste, like Balti)
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
Salt and pepper

For the salad:            
4 tomatoes, diced
2 carrots, grated
½ cucumber, cut unto half moons
1 tin of green lentils, drained and rinsed
Juice of ½ lime
Handful fresh coriander, leaves left whole
Henful of fresh mint, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

For perfect plain rice: 
365ml cold water 
200g white basmati rice

Instructions: 
  1. For the rice: rinse it using a sieve, and measure out the cold water. Add the rinsed rice and water to a saucepan. Cover and bring to boil. Once boiling let it cook on medium for exactly 7 minutes and turn off heat. Leave for a couple of minutes to steam and then fluff. Once cooking get the rest underway... 
  2. Mix the yoghurt and spice paste with salt and pepper and marinade the tuna steaks in it for a few hours – or not, it doesn’t really matter if you don’t.
  3. Make the salad by mixing all the ingredients together.
  4. Fry the tuna steaks in hot oil for 3 minutes on each side for medium. 5 minutes on each side for well done. 
  5. Serve tuna on top of the salad and rice alongside. 

20 December 2014

Mackerel fajitas


Just a little quickie tonight as I haven't posted for a while and I wanted to wish you all glad tidings and all that! We are off to the Brecon Beacons tomorrow for a week to spend Christmas with Adam's family in a holiday cottage. It will be crazy, exhausting - and very, very merry. I have so much to do still, but I didn't want to leave without saying Merry Christmas (as I doubt I'll be posting much next week). 

So, this recipe. I made it for netmums this week, changing it up a little as I always do. (I have been doing some shots of their most popular recipes). It doesn't sound much on paper (or screen I should say) but it's a really tasty, healthy family tea - the most important thing is that the kids enjoyed it, and it is super easy to make. I just had a thought: why not make this with turkey leftovers? Inspired, that's what that is. 

Have a fantastic Christmas everyone! 

Serves: 4  
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes

Ingredients: 
4 fillets of cooked smoked mackerel, skin removed and flaked
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon of olive oil
200ml passata
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and pepper

To serve:            
8 soft white tortillas
1/4 cucumber, diced
Handful fresh coriander, leaves left whole
4-6 tablespoons of Greek yoghurt

Instructions: 
  1. Soften the garlic and red pepper, along with the cumin too, in oil for 5 minutes. Add the passata and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the flaked mackerel and lime. Heat through. Season to taste. You should have a thick sauce.
  3. To serve, warm the tortillas in the microwave for a few seconds. Then spread Greek yoghurt all over, add a pile of the mackerel mixture in the middle in a column (don’t overfill or it won’t roll up!), top with a sprinkle of diced cucumber and a few sprigs of coriander. Roll up and eat.