Saturday, 3 May 2014

Freezer led rescue

There were quite a few things sitting in the kitchen this morning that were in danger of going off or not being used so I had a quick tidy up and stuck as much as I could in the freezer to minimise the waste.  The rescued articles were as follows:

  • A couple of bananas - leftover bananas always get sliced and frozen for later use in smoothies, ice cream or baking.
  • Half a punnet of plums - these were halved and stoned first.  They will probably be made into stewed plums for topping porridge or rice pudding.
  • Half a tub of strawberry soya yoghurt - I find the texture of yoghurt goes a bit funny when you freeze it but it's still useful for baking (like in this recipe).
  • Couple of gem lettuces - I'm pretty sure you can't freeze raw lettuces but I roughly chopped these up and braised them for about 10 minutes in a bit of vegetable stock.  When I defrost them I will warm them up and add some peas and fresh herbs for a side dish.
  • Parsley/Mint - the staple rescue of chopping up and freezing in ice cube trays covered in vegetable stock, for use in stews and soups.
Not a bad haul really, though it doesn't help with the fact that I'm trying to run down the freezer at the moment so I can defrost it!

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Healthy pizza - with homemade dough and garlic sauce

This was delicious, and the leftovers were still delicious when served cold the next day.  I had been looking to expand my bread repertoire and thought pizza was a relatively easy way to do this.  The recipe may look a bit fiddly but you can prepare the dough and the garlic the night before if needs be.

I served with some roasted cherry tomatoes, baked corn cobs and green salad, simple and healthy.

Mushroom and kale pizza

  • 2 tsp dry yeast
  • 250ml warm water
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 340g wholewheat flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large head of garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large portabella mushroom, sliced
  • Approx. 75g kale
  • 1 ball mozzarella cheese, cubed

First, make the dough.  Add the yeast and half the sugar to a small bowl and stir in the water.  Leave for 5 minutes.

In a large bowl mix the remaining sugar, flour and salt.  Add in the yeast mixture and the olive oil.  Stir until combined and then knead on a floured surface for 5 minutes or until the dough is no longer sticky.  Shape the dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl, cover with cling film or a damp tea towel and leave to rise until doubled in size (about 1 hour).

Punch the dough down in size.  (You can wrap the dough in cling film and place in the fridge overnight at this stage like I did).  Roll out the dough to the required size (I did about 10 inch diameter) and place on a flat baking tray.

Meanwhile, roast the garlic by simply slicing off the top of the bulb to reveal the individual cloves, drizzling with a little oil and baking at around 200C for 30-35 minutes until soft (again this can be done the night before).

Preheat the oven to 240C.


For the toppings, squeeze the soft garlic from its skin and place in a pestle and mortar.  Add the remaining olive oil and season well.  Mash until you have a smooth paste.

Heat a knob of butter in a frying pan and gently cook the mushroom until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the kale until wilted, about another 5 minutes.

Spread the garlic paste over the top of the dough and top with the mushroom and kale mixture and the mozzarella.

Bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese is fully melted and the kale is just starting to go crispy.

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If, like me, you ended up with half a bag of kale leftover you can whizz up a batch of 'pesto' to put in the freezer by placing the kale in the food processor with lots of olive oil and pine nuts.  Or if you don't have pine nuts you can try almonds and a bit of red chilli.

Lamb and feta meatballs with Greek brown rice salad

This was adapted from a Good Food recipe.


To add a bit more veg I also served some grilled aubergine slices that had been brushed with some garlic infused oil (home made).

I didn't have any skewers so I just made the meat mixture into meatballs instead and fried them, which worked fine.  The meatballs were nice but I think I would sweat the onion slightly before adding it to the mixture if I were to make them again as it was still a bit crunchy and I'm not a fan of raw onion.

I didn't have any olives in (a fact that needs to be rectified soon!) so I used a couple of tablespoons worth of capers instead to add the tang to the rice.

The portion sizes were a bit off for us.  The recipe says it serves six but I found the meat was just the right amount to serve four and there was far too much rice, we only ate about half of it.  I managed to use quite a lot for lunches over the following few days but I did have to throw a bit out.

Overall, a tasty recipe, and I think I'll be trying it again sometime.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Fruit sorbets

I wanted a reasonably cheap and healthy pudding for the weekend so I relied on one of my most used ideas and made some sorbet.

The general recipe is detailed out here.

I made two different flavours, the first was mango made with a can of sliced mango which I blended with the eggs and sugar.  I drained the syrup out of the can first as I thought it would be too sweet and I was right (I know I should buy fresh mango but I find I never get round to eating it so I don't bother).

The second flavour was cherry, as I had a box of cherries in the freezer.  It was quite sharp but it went really well with a slice of leftover cake from the other day.  I have some frozen raspberries and blackberries as well so I might make these into sorbet soon.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Cake Monday: Lemon and almond cake

It's not Monday but it's still cake time, as I have visitors coming this weekend.

This is supposed to be a relatively healthy cake, as it has no butter and is not overly sweet, but it still tastes like a treat!

Lemon and almond cake

  • 2 lemons
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 55g plain flour
  • 200g ground almonds
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Boil the lemons in a large saucepan of water for 1 hour.  Cut them in half, remove the pips, and blend the whole fruit in a blender or food processor (make sure the mixture is very smooth!).

Preheat the oven to 170C.

Add the remaining ingredients to the lemon and mix until combined.

Pour the mixture into a lined 20cm, round springform tin and bake for 50-60 minutes until golden on top.  Don't worry if the cake has not risen very much, it is supposed to be quite dense.

Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.

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I like the general idea of this recipe, and the best part was that I didn't need to do any shopping because I already had eggs and lemons in the freezer!

I found some limes in the freezer as well so I think I might try the recipe again and replace the lemons for limes and the almonds for desiccated coconut.


Sunday, 9 February 2014

Cake Monday: Gingerbread with caramel icing

It's been a long time since I've done a Cake Monday post, because it's been a long time since I did some proper baking, but this is what I'm taking into work tomorrow:

Gingerbread cupcakes (from here)

  • 140g unsalted butter
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • 60g black treacle
  • 60g golden syrup
  • 2 eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
  • 300g plain flour
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 240ml milk
Preheat the oven to 190C.

Beat the butter and sugar together until light and creamy.  Beat in the treacle, syrup, eggs and egg yolks until well combined.

Sift together the flour, ginger, nutmeg, baking powder and salt.  Add half the flour mixture to the butter mixture, then beat in half of the warm milk.  Add the remaining flour mixture and the remaining milk and beat until well combined.

Spoon the mixture into muffin cases and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until well risen and lightly firm to the touch.  Remove the cakes from the tin and set aside to cool on a cooling rack.

I didn't want to serve the salted caramel buttercream that was part of this recipe originally so I made my own caramel icing:

Caramel icing
  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 200g cream cheese
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 450g golden caster sugar
First, make the condensed milk into caramel by boiling the condensed milk in a large pan for approximatly two hours.

Once the caramel is cooled, mix with the remaining ingredients until smooth.