Friday, 27 February 2015

Fruit, Nut and Seed Flapjacks

This week I've been busy baking breakfast food. I've already posted my banana, blueberry and apple muffins and I have another muffin recipe to share with you later. For a change, I decided to make some chunky flapjacks which are brilliant for breakfast on the go. I bought some packets of fruit, nut and seed mix from Aldi as healthier snacks during a recent road trip. However, we didn't get round to eating them so I thought I'd use them to make flapjacks. These are really crunchy and chunky and I loved the addition of the fruits, nuts and seeds.  

 adding the fruit, nut and seed mix 

 I used my individual loaf tray to get chunky flapjacks 

Makes 6 large, chunky flapjacks
150g butter
125g golden caster sugar
50g golden syrup
225g porridge oats
2 tablespoons plain flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
200g dried fruit, nut and seed mix

  • Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • Melt the butter, sugar and golden syrup in a medium sized pan. 
  • In a medium sized bowl, mix the oats, cinnamon and flour.
  • Add the oat mixture to the butter mixture and stir.
  • Add in the fruit, nut and seed mix and sitr well. 
  • Spoon into the baking tray (you can use a shallow baking tin) and level the top with a spatula.
  • Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until golden brown. 
  • Cut into squares before serving (if you used a shallow baking tin). 

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Banana, blueberry and apple muffins

As usual I had a brown banana in the kitchen begging to be baked. I also found a slightly soft apple and some blueberries so I decided to incorporate everything into a muffin. These are great for lunch boxes or breakfast on the go. We kept them in the freezer and defrosted them for breakfast during the week which was really handy. The muffins are quite dense and cake-like and it was full of blueberries! I made sure to add extra blueberries on top just before baking and as you can see they didn't sink to the bottom!

I'm sending this to the No Waste Food Challenge hosted by Elizabeth from Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary. I used up a brown banana and an apple going spare in this recipe.

 banana and grated apple mixture; milk, vegetable oil and honey mixture 

 adding in lovely blueberries 

press a few blueberries on top before baking 

 bursting with flavour 

Recipe adapted slightly from BBC Food 

250g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
50g caster sugar
1 ripe banana, mashed
1 ripe apple, peeled, cored and grated
250g blueberries (set aside a generous amount to place on top of the muffin before baking) 
3 tablespoons honey 
60mls vegetable oil
1 laarge egg
185mls milk
  • Preheat the oven to 180C. 
  • In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and ground cinnamon. Add in the sugar. 
  • Add in the mashed banana, grated apple and about 200g of the blueberries. 
  • In a separate bowl or jug, mix the vegetable oil, milk and honey.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the large bowl and stir gently to mix through.
  • Be careful not to overmix or to break up the blueberries. 
  • Spoon into muffin cases.
  • Place lots of fresh blueberries on top of each muffin - don't press too hard.
  • Bake for approximately 20 -25 minutes or until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. 

Saturday, 21 February 2015

2 ingredient Nutella Mousse

Recently I've been on a real Nutella craze. I baked Nutella Ferrero Brownies earlier in the month. On shrove Tuesday, I had pancakes with Nutella. I then saw a recipe for 2 ingredient Nutella mousse and 2 ingredient Nutella brownie. It's been a really long and busy week and I felt we needed a little treat. I definitely did not have the time or energy to bake anything so I decided to give the 2 ingredient Nutella mousse a try. J thought it was amazing. He kept smiling and saying "this is really good" after each spoonful. It was very creamy, rich and nutty. It was a little on the sweet side so it helped that we served it with blackberries which are a little tart. I wanted strawberries but there were none in the shop. The recipe says to chill for 6 hours or preferably overnight. I whipped these up and put them in the freezer for about an hour and it was perfect. It had a nice, smooth creamy texture as you would get with a normal mousse. 

 Nutella and double cream 

 I addeda sprinkling of grated chocolate on top and fresh blackberries 

 Lovely, smooth creamy texture 

Recipe adapted from kidspot kitchen
Makes 2 portions

150mls double cream
1/4 cup nutella

Beat the cream until it holds it shape.
Add in the nutella and continue beating until smooth.
Divide into 2 serving bowls.
Refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight or if you just can't wait like me, pop them in the freezer for an hour and serve. 

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Matcha and Pistachio Cookies

Today February 19 is Chinese New Year. Happy New Year to all my readers who are celebrating. May this year of the Goat or Sheep bring you lots of happiness, health and prosperity. I decided to make some cookies for the occasion as I am going out for a celebratory meal with some friends so I wanted to make little gift bags. These are not traditional chinese new year cookies but I thought they would suit the occasion. It's a recipe that I saw online and I was intrigued by the flavour combination of matcha and pistachio. I also wanted something that was easy to transport and give as gifts. 

I love this recipe as it's so quick and easy to make and the results are fantastic. It's a mix all in one recipe (with a food processor) and you can keep the dough in the fridge until you are ready to bake. You can also freeze the dough and bake cookies when needed. I added a sprinkling of sesame seeds for aesthetic reasons and was really pleased with how it turned out. I also experimented with chia seeds but the sesame seeds looked better. 

The cookies are really buttery and crunchy and the predominant flavour is of the matcha powder. The pistachio complements the green tea flavour well and added a layer of texture to the cookie. The cookies are not sweet at all which helps the green tea flavour shine through. 

I'm sending this to Foodie Friday hosted by Helen from Casa Costello.

#FoodYearLinkup hosted by Charlotte from My Recipe Book. The link up is open to any foodie posts related to events in the Food Bloggers Calendar for February. These are for Chinese New Year. 

 plain flour, icing sugar, matcha powder , pistachips, butter, egg 

 dough wrapped in cling film. It should be a square shape but mine is quite uneven! 

 Optional toppings - sesame seeds or chia seeds 

 I love the vibrant green colour of the dough 

 I love how the sesame seeds look 

 little gift bags 

Makes 40-45 cookies depending on the size of your cookies

350g plain flour
15g Japanese matcha powder
250g unsalted butter, cut in cubes
150g icing sugar, sifted
1 egg, lightly beaten
50g pistachios nuts, lighty toasted - I'd suggest increasing the amount if you want a nuttier bake
Optional - sesame seeds or chia seeds 

  • In a food processor, mix the flour, matcha powder, icing sugar and butter until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. 
  • Add in the egg slowly and continue mixing. 
  • Finally add in the pistachio nuts and blitx until a smooth dough forms.
  • Roll the dough in a log or square shape and wrap in cling film.
  • Refrigerate for a few hours or preferably overnight to allow the flavours to develop. 
  • When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 200C.
  • Slice the dough and arrange on a lined baking tray.
  • Sprinkle with sesame seeds if using.
  • Bake for approximately 13-15 minutes or until just brown.
  • Allow to cool on the tray for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Degustabox January 2015 review and a gluten free lemon cake

I know it's already halfway through February and this is the January Degustabox review but I received the box late in January and I just haven't gotten round to posting this. In case you have no idea what I'm on about, Degustabox is a no obligation monthly subscription which costs £12.99 including delivery. You get 9 to 14 surprise products and it's usually a good mixed selection of goodies. I have a special discount code for all my readers if you are interested in signing up a box for yourself or for a family memeber/friend. You get a £3.00 discount when registering by using this code F3TJ1 which makes it just under a tenner for a goodie box including delivery. 

It's a bit hit and miss what you get with the box. I was really pleased with my first box then less so with the next 2 boxes but am back to being impressed with this one again. The January healthy box has 2 versions, an alcoholic and a non alcoholic version but I received both drinks which was great! 

As usual I baked something from the contents of the box and it was a no brainer this month as there was a cake mix in the box. It's far from an ordinary cake mix as it's a sugar free, gluten free and wheat free cake mix. Just add water, eggs and vegetable oil and bake. It was extremely timely as I had to bake a gluten free cake for someone at work. I decided to use lemon as the flavour as she had mentioned that lemon drizzle cake is her favourite. The cake was really easy to bake and turned out beautifully. I added a simple lemon glaze and some lemon zest on top. The recipient was really pleased with the cake and said it tasted just like 'real' cake! I had a small slice and it was wonderfully moist and lemony. The sweetness was also perfect as I was slightly worried about the sour lemons. I was alittle sceptical that the cake would have a fake sweetener taste but it didn't! I was also impressed with the height of the cake as sometimes my gluten free cakes turn out a little flat. 

So what else was in the January Degustabox?

 A lovely selection of healthy-ish goodies 

 This is the non alcoholic drink. Simplee Aloe which is a natural Aloe Vera drink. It contains Aloe blended with fresh grape juice and lemon and it tastes a little sour but not overly so 

 Koko Dairy Free milk is a unique alternative to cow's milk made with freshly pressed coconut milk. It's allergen free and does not curdle when you add it to tea or coffee. It's great for drinking, baking or cooking. 

 Finn Crisp - these are great to accompany my soups at lunch which I am having quite frequently at the moment. They are light and crispy and I personally like the sourdough taste. 

 Haywards Piccalilli - pickled vegetables in a tangy mustard sauce. Brilliant with pork pies! 

 Special gift for this month is a box of Clipper Fairtrade Green Tea with Lemon. This is a really nice refreshing drink and I love the lemon zing which pairs well with the green tea. 

 Special for Chinese New Year - Kabuto Noodles. Just add water and you have a delicious ready meal. It had a good flavour and was quite filling. 

 Mornflake Top Porridge Pots - great for breakfast on the go and I love that it comes with a little packet of Nutella. 

 Mornflake Top Porridge Pots -this one with Lyle's Golden syrup. 

 Sukrin Cake mix - sugar free, gluten free, wheat free, egg free (but you can add eggs to the recipe if you wish) A great base for creating gluten free cake- just add whatever flavour you want. 

 Little Miracles organic energy drink which is a blend of organic tea, juice and ginseng. It's sweetened with agave and contains less than 90 calories per bottle. 

 Another Little miracles drink but with black tea and peach. 

 The alcoholic version for this month's box - a bottle of Magner's Light Orchard Berries cider which was a little too sweet for us. 

 Alfa One Rice Bran Oil which is high in natural antioxidants such as Vitamin E and Gamma Oryzanol, a naturally occuring plant sterol which has been shown to reduce cholesterol absoprtion.

 For the gluten free lemon cake 

 ready to bake 

 fresh from the oven 

 The cake had a good height to it 

 with a simple lemon glaze and lemon zest 

For the cake
1 pack of Sukrin ake Mix
3 eggs
150ml water
75ml vegetable oil
Juice and zest of 1 lemon

For the lemon glaze
Juice of 1/2 lemon
100g icing sugar
zest of 1 lemon for decoration (optional)

  • Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • Mix the eggs, water and oil in a large bowl. 
  • Add in the cake mix and whisk until smooth.
  • Add in the juice and zest of 1 lemon.
  • Pour into a cake tin and bake for about 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. 
  • Allow to cool completely.
  • To make the glaze, sift the icing sugar into a large bowl. Slowly add the lemon juice and mix until you get the consistency required. 
  • Pour glaze over the cooled cake and top with some lemon zest if you wish.

Disclaimer: I was sent a Degustabox for review purposes. I was not required to write a positive review or to create a recipe. All opinions expressed are my own. This is not a sponsored post.

Monday, 16 February 2015

Banana Ferrero Bundt Cake

I actually made this cake a few weeks back but I think it's an appropriate tribute to Michele Ferrero who died age 89 on 14th February. He is the creator of Nutella and Ferrero Rocher chocolates amongst other confectionary delights. This cake actually came about by chance as I had a lot of Ferrero Rocher chocolates left after baking my Nutella Ferrero Rocher brownies. I looked around my kitchen to see what else I could use and spied the very brown bananas. I also found a tub of creme fraiche in my fridge which I bought for a recipe but never got round to using it. I decided to incorporate everything into a cake and used my bundt tin to make it look special. I was going to melt some Nutella to drizzle on top but I was in too much of a hurry.

The cake turned out beautifully as it had a lovely banana flavour with a good texture. It kept well for a few days and did not dry out mainly due to the creme fraiche in the cake. It felt like a treasure hunt in your mouth as you may or may not get the taste of Ferrero in each bite.

I'm sending this to the No Waste Food Challenge hosted by Elizabeth from Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary. As mentioned, I used up lots of leftovers for this cake.

I'm also sharing this with Recipe of the Week hosted by Emily from A Mummy Too

 adding creme fraiche 

 adding chopped ferrero chocolates 

 ready to go in the oven 

Note: I used double this recipe to fill my large bundt tin and had some batter leftover to make a small round cake
You can easily make a 18cm round cake with this recipe.

225g self-raising flour
225g light muscovado sugar
3 large eggs
80ml sunflower oil
2 ripe bananas
150ml creme fraiche
12 Ferrero Rocher chocolates, cut in half 

  • Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • In a large bowl, mix the flour and sugar.
  • Add in the eggs and sunflower oil and mix well.
  • Add the bananas in chunks and the creme fraiche.
  • Stir a few times then add in the chopped Ferrero Rocher chocolates.
  • Pour into a large bundt tin and bake for about 45-50 minutes or until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.