Monday, 30 June 2008

Sprouted wheat flour

This is very useful to have around for when I've forgotten to soak flour for something, or can't figure out a way to soak flour in a recipe. The sprouting reduces some of the anti-nutrient content and is very easy to do. The flour doesn't seem quite as soft as un-sprouted but it could be my imagination! The food comes out just fine any way.

All I do is soak some wheat grains over night in a bowl of water. The next morning I drain them into a sieve and leave that over the bowl. When I go past the bowl I give the grains and rinse and a little stir (as the grains on top dry out faster). By the end of the day they have started to sprout and the next day have tails 2 or 3 mm long. Then I dry the grains out. Ideally I would do this in a dehydrator but I don't have the DIY ability or a few hundred spare quid so I haven't got one! I use the bottom of my oven on the very lowest setting it will go, and turn it off over night (it stays quite warm with the door closed). I spread the grains out on baking trays (I line mine with tea towels because they are getting a bit rusty and horrible) and leave them until they are dried, stirring them every so often. It takes a couple of days to get them ready - when they crunch when you bite them rather than squashing they should be ready to grind.

Here is a horrible blurry picture of the grains just starting to sprout. I forgot to take another of them when they are done - I'll try and remember next time I do some.

Bean and cheese tacos, fried chicken livers

For the kids: soaked oat porridge with maple syrup and cream
For me: left over soup

Bean and cheese tacos
I rolled some re-fried beans and grated cheese in sprouted wheat tortillas and fried them until crispy. Lovely!

Wheat Tortillas
Makes 32

4 cups fresh wholemeal flour (preferably made from sprouted wheat)
6 tbsp lard
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
1 cup very hot water

Cut the lard into the flour, baking powder and salt (use a knife to cut the lard into small pieces while in the bowl so they get coated with flour). Then rub it into the flour with your fingers (like making pastry). Add the hot water all at once and stir it in. Knead the dough until it is smooth and stretchy (not sticky). Leave it to stand for 30-60 minutes. Then divide into 32 pieces, roll them into balls and then into thin tortillas. It helps to roll the tortillas between two pieces of greaseproof paper - you will get them much thinner and they won't stick.
Then heat up a dry cast iron frying pan. Cook each tortilla for about 10 seconds on one side before turning and cooking for about 30 seconds, or until little red spots appear on the other side. Cook the first side again for about 30 seconds.
Spare tortillas can be stored in the fridge or freezer until needed. If you have any spare of course....!


Fried chicken livers and salad

Fried chicken livers
500g chicken livers
An egg, beaten
Some breadcrumbs (I cheated and used dried wholewheat breadcrumbs but if I'd been thinking ahead I could have made some)
Oil for frying (I used goose fat)

Trim any white, sinewy bits from the liver. Cut into pieces and dip them in the egg, then roll in the breadcrumbs to coat. Then fry gently in the oil until they are done to your liking (some people like them pink inside, some well done).

I am really horrible and serve these as chicken (liver) nuggets. My mother thinks this is akin to child abuse but if it gets liver into kids......!

Sunday, 29 June 2008

Yorkshire Puddings

For the kids: scrambled eggs; bread and marmalade
For me: same smoothie as yesterday, with a spoonful of coconut oil added

Coconut chicken soup


Roast beef, sweetcorn, cabbage, gravy and Yorkshire puddings

Soaked flour Yorkshire puddings
1 cup freshly ground wheat flour
1 cup buttermilk, yogurt, kefir or water with 2 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar added
4 eggs
Pinch salt
1/3 cup beef dripping or suet

Combine the flour with the soaking medium of your choice. Soak for 12 -24 hours. Then add the beaten eggs and salt and mix well. Put the fat into yorkshire pudding tins (you can also make mini ones in cupcake tins, or large ones in cake tins) and heat it in a hot oven until sizzling hot. Then pour in the batter (fill about 1/2 way) and bake until puffed and brown.
I usually make about half the batter like this, then make half after dinner as a pudding. Traditionally it is spread with jam. I made it today with 1/2 a cup of raspberries mixed into the batter with a pinch of muscovado sugar and served it with ice cream.

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Fruity kefir smoothie, buttermilk scones, onion gravy


For the baby: Eggs scrambled with butter and chicken stock
For me: fruity kefir smoothie

Fruity kefir smoothie

I thought I'd write this down as it was so tasty!

1/2 cup kefir (I used some that had aged 24 hours at room temp so it was sour and fizzy)
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 large banana
1/2 pack of raspberries (a good handful)
1 egg yolk

Blend! This was delicious - sweet and sour and refreshing. I think next time I'll add a spoonful of coconut oil to it though as it didn't quite keep me going until lunch - I was starting to get grouchy!


Pies from the market and salad. These pies are great - made locally from natural ingredients and they are just delicious.


Sausages, buttermilk scones, onion gravy, baby broad beans and cabbage. The first broad beans from the garden this year!

Buttermilk scones
(makes 6)
1 1/2 cups freshly ground whole wheat flour (use 1/3 white flour for a lighter scone)
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tbsp melted butter or lard
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda

Mix the flour and buttermilk into a thick dough and leave to soak 12 - 24 hours in a warm place. Knead in the remaining ingredients (can use food processor if you can be bothered washing it up - I couldn't!) and roll out to 3/4 inch thickness on a well floured surface. Cut out scone shapes with a glass or cutter. Bake in a 350oF oven for about 20-40 minutes (I know - big time difference! The recipe says 40 minutes, but mine were done in 20 so start checking early).

This recipe is from Nourishing traditions (under biscuits - it's American). It gives a dense scone but it has loads of flavour - nutty and delicious. Great with onion gravy (what isn't?) and I would bet fab made with sugar and raisins and served with clotted cream and jam (so have to try that out!). These do work much better with some white flour in - otherwise they can be a bit bullet-like.

Onion Gravy
2-3 onions (sweet red ones are ideal)
50g butter
250 ml chicken or beef stock
1 tsp Dijon mustard (optional)
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce (optional)

Fry the onions in the butter, stirring regularly, until soft (about 20 mins). Turn the heat right down and leave to cook, uncovered, for 1-2 hours, until caramelised and delicious. Add the other ingredients and bring to a simmer. Check the seasoning and serve.
I could eat this with every meal - so tasty.

Friday, 27 June 2008

Savory bread and butter pudding, asparagus with bacon and eggs


For the kids: toast and peanut butter; glass of raw goats milk; banana
For me: a smoothie. Same recipe as yesterday, minus the spice and with some mint leaves (4 or 5). Yum!


For me: left over mushroom soup
For the kids: savoury bread and butter pudding and salad

Savoury bread and butter pudding
Makes enough for three kids
4-5 slices wholemeal bread (crusts removed if you can be bothered!), buttered
2-3 oz cheese, grated
2 eggs
1-2 cups milk, cream or a mixture
1 or 2 rashers of bacon, finely chopped (optional)

Butter an oven proof dish. Place half the bread in the dish and sprinkle over half the cheese and bacon. Cover with the other half of the bread and then add the rest of the cheese and bacon. Beat the eggs then add the milk and mix. Pour over the bread and leave for a minute or two to soak in. Bake in a preheated oven for 20 minutes or so, until the custard has set and the cheese is golden on top.

This is also great if you spread the buttered bread with marmite (or other yeast extract) as well.


Asparagus with bacon and eggs
The 'big' kids were having a sleepover at my mums tonight so I only had myself to cook for in the evening.
For the baby: left overs from lunch; yogurt
For me: Asparagus with bacon and eggs. I cooked some asparagus on a griddle with butter and coconut oil. On top of that I chopped some bacon, grated some Parmesan (raw and organic of course!) and put a poached egg. It tasted delicious. The poached egg didn't go so well though - I have got the learn the tricks of that! I have only recently started liking eggs done any way
but fried so I haven't had much practice. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Chocolate smoothie, mushroom soup, orange baked mackrel, samphire grass

For the kids: Breakfast cake
For me: chocolate kefir smoothie

Chocolate smoothie
1 cup kefir
1 cup coconut milk
1-2 tbsp kefir grains (if you have spare ones around - I don't yet)
1 large ripe banana (or two small)
1/2 tsp each ground ginger and cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp cocoa powder

Blend and enjoy! Next time I am going to try adding mint leaves too. I bet orange would be tasty as well... I got the recipe from here.


Cream of mushroom soup
Onion, chopped
1 tbsp coconut oil or butter (or a mix)
250g mushrooms, quartered
2 sticks of celery
2-3 cups stock
1/2 -1 cups milk or cream

Fry the onion in the oil until translucent. Add the celery and mushrooms and cook for a minute or two. Add the stock, cover and simmer until all the vegetables are soft. Blend using a stick blender until you get the consistency you like (I like it slightly chunky, kids like it perfectly smooth). Add the cream or milk and blend again.


Orange baked mackerel with samphire grass and new potatoes.

Orange baked mackerel
4 mackerel, headed, gutted and cleaned
Juice and zest of 1 orange
2 oz butter, softened
Small onion, very finely chopped
Salt and pepper

Season fish. Mix the orange juice and zest with the butter. Add the onion and stir in. Divide the mixture between the mackerel and place inside the cavity. Wrap each fish in a tin foil parcel and pinch the edged closed to keep the juices in. Bake in a preheated over for about half an hour.

Samphire grass
Thoroughly wash the samphire and discard the roots. Blanch in a pan of boiling water for 3-4 minutes and serve tossed in olive oil and a little butter with lemon wedges.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Coconut goat curry


For the kids: bread and butter with peanut butter, glass of raw goats milk, apple slices
For me: Smoothie - made with a little kefir, strawberries and coconut milk - not my best effort but I didn't have many ingredients left as it was shopping day.


For the kids: packed lunch of cheese, grapes, shaped rice balls, little cup of spaghetti bolognaise, melon and yogurt (that sound way more complicated than what it actually was - left overs from the fridge and freezer!)
For me: I had two veg samosas and an onion bhaji from the market. Not very healthy but delicious and fast when I was exhausted after doing the weeks shopping!


Quick coconut goat curry and rice

1 tbsp coconut oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
small piece of ginger, finely chopped
500g goat (or lamb) mince
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 can of coconut milk
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 - 1 cup peas
1 tbsp curry powder

Fry the onion in the oil until it turns translucent. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for a minute more. Add the mince and break up with a spoon as it browns. Add the curry powder and fry for a minute. Then add the coconut milk, stock and sweet potato. Cook for 15 minutes or so, until the potato is soft. Then add the peas and cook for 3-4 minutes longer. Serve with rice cooked in chicken broth, parathas or other bread to soak up the lovely gravy.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Kombucha tea

I got a kombucha SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture Of bacteria and Yeasts) and some kefir grains through the post today. Very excited to try them out. My kefir grains are already sitting in milk, hopefully doing their thing. And my sweet tea is cooling ready to put the SCOBY in.
These are the instructions I followed for kombucha

Bring 2 litres of filtered water to the boil and add 6 tbsp of organic white sugar per litre. Boil for a few minutes to dissolve the sugar and sterilise the mixture. Then add 1-2 teabags of organic black or green tea per litre. Black tea gives a nicer flavour and green tea adds more fizz so I use a combination of the two - usually 2 bags of black and 1 of green in 2 litres. Turn off the heat and cover and leave for 10-15 minutes. Fish out the tea bags and leave the sweet tea to cool to luke-warm. Put the tea into a large glass container with the SCOBY and a cup of finished kombucha tea. If you don't have any finished tea then you can use some apple cider vinegar (not raw - be sure it is pasteurised). Cover tightly with clean muslin and elastic (fruit flies love kombucha!) and leave in a warm dark place (like an airing cupboard) for 7-14 days (or up to twice as long if you are sugar sensitive). Don't disturb the tea while it is brewing and keep it away from smoke, dust, mold etc etc. When the tea is finished, remove the scoby (and the new one that will have grown with it) and put the tea into bottles. The scoby can then be used to start a new batch and the spare one given away for used to make even more tea! You can check to see if the tea is done by putting a straw into the kombucha, past the SCOBY, covering the end and removing a sample to taste. When you like the taste it's ready.

For the kids: soaked oat porridge with maple syrup, cream and butter; yogurt
For me: Fruit and yogurt smoothie


For the kids: Boiled eggs and soldiers with fruit for afters
For me: A salad with bacon, eggs and mushrooms cooked in coconut oil on top


Faggots and veg

Not the most politically correctly named dish! I bought this to try out last month and hadn't needed a ready made dinner yet. Well as we are all still recovering from the sugar-rush of Ps party this weekend I'm breaking it out tonight.
SO nice to read the label of a ready meal and see ingredients that I'd use! This is made from 30% pork, 30% bacon, 30% pork offal (liver, heart and lungs) and a little rice flour, onion powder and sage. And all organic too.
Well it was lovely! The kids all ate it happily and it was very filling. P complained a bit that it was too spicy (there was a taste of pepper but it only bothered her) but she still put it away. I will definitely be getting some more of this for the freezer - a tasty and good for us ready meal is always a bonus!

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Breakfast Cookies,


For me: Poached eggs on top of onions and mushrooms cooked in chicken broth
For the kids: Breakfast cookies

Breakfast cookies
Make about 8

2 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup milk
1 mashed ripe banana
2 eggs
1 tbsp yogurt
Sprinkle of mixed spice (or cinnamon and cardamom would be lovely)
1 tbsp maple syrup or muscovado sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
Pinch salt
1/8 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup raisins

Mix together the batter and let it sit in the fridge overnight. Preheat the oven to 350oF/ gas mark 4. Drop the batter in cookie sized blobs on a greased baking tray and flatten slightly. Cook for 20-30 minutes, until browning at the edges.

The kids had two of these with a bowl of yogurt for dipping and a piece of fruit. The boys loved them, my little girl said they weren't sweet enough. Could have been because I forgot the salt....


left over stew


Roast lamb with roasted veg, stuffing and new potatoes.

Friday, 20 June 2008

Beef Stew and dumplings


For the kids: Scrambled eggs and bread
For me: Left over coconut chicken soup


We tried out some sustainable wild fish tacos I got from Graig farms. They were quite nice - a bit overly salty and peppery. Don't think I'll be getting them again at that price but they were a quick and easy lunch with a big salad from the garden and fruity yogurt for pud.


Beef stew and dumplings

500g stewing steak, diced
half a beef heart (about 500g), diced
1 cup red wine
2 cups beef stock
chopped onion
seasoned flour

4 oz sprouted whole wheat flour
2 oz butter
A little salt - about 1/4 tsp

Put the red wine and stock in a large pan and simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile fry the onion in the butter. When done add to the stock and wine. Toss the beef in the seasoned flour and brown in the butter. Add that and the heart to the stock. Top up with water so the meat is well covered. Put on the lid and simmer gently until the beef is tender - I usually cook it for several hours or all day in my crock pot.

To make the dumplings, rub the butter into the flour and salt. Slowly add a little water to form a soft dough. Split into 6 or 7 balls and put on the top of the stew. Replace the lid and cook for 30-35 minutes.

I serve this to the kids with a little creme fraiche or cream stirred into the sauce. And with lots of steamed cabbage!

I have also had success with adding a little chicken liver, sauteed in butter and finely chopped, to beef stew. It gave a rich flavour and snuck some more liver past the kids!

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Crustless quiche

Ran out of time yesterday but here is our menu:


For the kids: Breakfast cake
For me: Smoothie


For the kids: Bread and butter, ham and salad
For me: Ham and salad

For me: I went out for dinner with a friend - delicious!
For the kids: Crust-less quiche with steamed veggies, followed by fruit and yogurt

Crust-less quiche

500g cottage cheese
3-4 eggs
A roughly chopped onion
1-2 oz grated cheese

Put the cottage cheese, onion and eggs in a food processor and blend. Add the grated cheese and pour mixture into a deep silicone paper case (or a cake tin but the paper case is much easier to clean up!) or divide into portions in muffin tins. Bake until set (takes about 20 minutes at gas 6).
You can add any topping you like to the basic mixture. Roasted veg is delicious, as are bacon or salmon and broccoli.



Leftover crust-less quiche, fruit and homemade yogurt.


For the kids: bread and butter, ham and banana
For me: coconut chicken soup


It is my daughters 4th birthday today so she got to pick dinner. She chose chicken skin, chips, cucumber and tomatos. She did in the end have some chicken to go with her skin but only grudgingly!

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Soaked oat porridge, cottage pie


For me - surprise - another smoothie!
For the kids - soaked oat porridge

Soaked oat porridge
Serves three small children with big appetites
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
2 tbsp yogurt/whey/kefir etc or 2 tsp vinegar/lemon juice
1 tbsp freshly ground wheat (optional)
Milk or water

Mix the first three ingredients together with enough water to slightly cover the oats. Cover with a towel and leave in a warm place overnight.
Put the oat mixture in a pan and add milk or water. How much depends on how thick you like the porridge, but add enough to cover the oats. Heat through, stirring until the oats are cooked (only takes a minute or two). My kids love this with a little cold milk poured over the top and some maple syrup.


A salad made with veg from the garden, a tin of tuna, some sauerkraut and sauerrueben and blue cheese dressing.

Blue cheese dressing
This comes from nourishing traditions
Makes 1 cup
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp plus 1 tsp raw vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp expeller pressed flax oil
2-4 tbsp blue cheese

Pulse ingredients in a food processor until well combined. You could also mash the cheese in with a fork but this takes ages - worth washing the food processor for!


Cottage pie

500 g beef mince
2 carrots, chopped
1-2 tbsp cooking oil
1 onion chopped
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 cup beef stock
4 medium potatoes, cooked and mashed with butter and milk
Grated cheese and sesame seeds (optional)

Fry the onion in the oil until translucent. Add the beef and brown. Add the carrots, tomatoes and stock and simmer until reduced to a thick sauce.
Place meat into a casserole dish and top with the mashed potatoes. Use a fork to mark the top into lines (helps it go crispier) and add cheese and sesame seeds, if using.
Cook at gas mark 6 for about 45 minutes, until the cheese is golden and crispy. Alternatively if you are in a hurry you can eat it as is, or brown the top under the grill - though this doesn't give the same crispiness.

Monday, 16 June 2008

Fruit smoothie, leftovers


For the kids - breakfast cake defrosted overnight and warmed under the grill
For me - Fruit smoothie

Fruit smoothie

Another one from eat fat lose fat

1 cup yogurt
1 cup fruit
1 tbsp maple syrup (I used a banana instead)
2 egg yolks
1 tbsp melted coconut oil

Blend the fruit into a puree and add the yogurt and yolks and blend again to combine. Pour the coconut oil in slowly through the liquids funnel thing with the blender on.


Cheese omelet and salad


Leftovers. I reheated yesterdays gravy and poured it over chopped leftover pork. I served this with peas, sweetcorn and bubble and squeak cakes.

Bubble and squeak cakes

Cold mashed potatoes
Cooked cabbage
A little flour
Cooking fat (I used lard)

Mix together the potato and chopped cabbage and season. Sprinkle in about a tablespoon of flour and stir through. Form into cake shapes and fry in the fat until browned on the outside.

Grant loaves

Finally I have found a no knead recipe that works well with my home ground flour! It is from the 1940s by a lady called Doris Grant. I made a small loaf today to try it out and it is very tasty, despite me forgetting about it and leaving it in the oven for an hour, rather than 30 minutes!
For a small loaf (can be doubled for a large loaf)

260g wholemeal flour (at room temperature or slightly warmed in a low oven)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar (muscovado sugar to give taste)
1 tsp quick yeast
200 ml hand hot water

Mix together the dry ingredients. Form a well in the centre and pour in the water. Mix together well with a wooden spoon to form a dough. All the flour should be incorperated - none left in the bowl. Add more water if needs be - it is better for the dough to be too wet than too dry.
Stretch the dough into a rectangle and fold over the sides to form a log shape. Place in well buttered loaf tin (don't scrimp on the butter - it is a total pain to try and get stuck bread out. Trust me!) and cover loosely with oiled clingfilm. Leave to rise until doubled. This takes anywhere from an hour to several hours at room temperature. I prefer a slower fermentation for taste and nutrition purposes so I leave it in the fridge overnight.
Bake at gas mark 6 for 30 minutes (40 minutes for a larger loaf) and turn out onto a cooling rack immediately.

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Elderflower cordial and wine

I picked a load of elder flowers today and started off some cordial and wine with them. I had plenty left over - if I had had another big bowl I would have done elderflower champagne as well. Perhaps next week.
Make sure only to pick white flowers - when they start to brown they smell like cats pee - not great for a drink! Avoid picking by busy roads and sprayed fields for obvious reasons. Try and make the cordial within 3 hours of picking - don't want that cats pee sneaking in.

Elderflower cordial

20 heads of elder flowers
1 sliced lemon
2 tsp citric acid (I didn't have any so I added the juice of another lemon)
1.5kg sugar
1.2 litres boiling water.

Pour the boiling water over the other ingredients in a large bowl or bucket (I split them between several large jars). Skim off any scum that rises to the surface. Stir in all the sugar and cover with a cloth. Stir twice a day for five days.
Strain through a muslin cloth or fine sieve and bottle in sterile screw top bottles. Store in the fridge. Best used within two weeks but can also be frozen so you can have some summer in the depths of winter!

Elderflower wine
Grated rind of one lemon
1 pint of elder flowers (shake, but don't press them down and don't add any bits of bitter green stem)
8 pints of boiling water
1.3 kg sugar
Juice of one lemon
25g yeast

Pour boiling water over lemon rind and elder flowers. Allow to stand for 4 days,covered with a cloth and stirring occasionally.
Strain through muslin cloth or fine sieve. Stir in sugar, lemon juice and yeast. Ferment at room temperature (over 18 oC) until all bubbling has stopped. Stir and allow to settle for three days. Strain again, carefully. Put into a demijohn and bottle after maturing three months.

Roast Pork, Bananas and Custard


For me: coconut banana smoothie (again!)
For the kids: left over griddle scones from yesterday, heated in the oven and served with slices of apple


Coconut chicken soup


Roast pork, mashed potatoes, cabbage and gravy.

Not doing anything ambitious with this today, just plain roasted meat (with crackling - so who needs anything fancy!) with a little garlic, salt and rosemary rubbed on, mashed potatoes and streamed cabbage.

Bananas and custard

10 fl oz double cream, cream, whole milk or a blend
1 vanilla pod or 1/2 tsp of vanilla essence
3 egg yolks
1 tsp cornflour
1 oz natural sugar (I have also used a splash of maple syrup too)
Sliced bananas

Split the pod and scrape out the seeds. Place pod and seeds (or vanilla essence) in a pan with the cream/milk. Heat gently until just below simmering point. Meanwhile whisk together the egg yolks, cornflour and sugar. Remove the pod from the cream/milk if using and pour the hot liquid into the mixture. Whisk it until it is smooth and then return it to the pan. Gently heat the custard until it is thick. Serve over the sliced bananas. If you want to make the custard before dinner, then put it into a jug, cover with clingfilm and stand the jug in a pan of hot water. This will keep the custard warm and help prevent a skin forming.
Use more double cream for a thicker custard, like in a trifle. A cream/milk blend is better for pouring. I generally use what ever I have to hand, usually half and half cream and whole milk.

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Oat Griddle Scones, Lamb burgers,


For me: coconut banana smoothie
For the kids:

Oat griddle scones:
Serves 4 at least!

3 cups oats
3 cups soaking liquid (yogurt, butter milk etc)
3-4 tbsp melted butter or coconut oil
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
3/4 tsp baking soda
pinch salt
1 tbsp baking powder

Blend the oats and soaking liquid and leave overnight in a warm place to soak. Add the other ingredients and blend again to mix. Cook on a lightly oiled griddle or heavy frying pan. Top with a little butter.
Left overs can be dried in a low oven to make a crispy snack, or frozen to be reheated for a fast breakfast.
Other whole grains can also be used. Substituting brown rice for 1 cup of the oats give a bit more crispness. I usually use at least some wheat also, for the phytase. Buckwheat can also be used for half the grain - leave out the vanilla. Any grains and various combinations can be used - experiment!
1/3 of this recipes is usually enough to feed two hungry kids and a baby who will eat a couple of pancakes without leftovers.


Moroccan lamb burgers
Makes 6

1 onion
1 inch piece of ginger
2 cloves garlic
bunch of fresh coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 oz ready to eat apricots (or dried ones that have been soaked in hot water)
500g minced lamb
salt and pepper

Peel and chop the onion, ginger and garlic. Place in a food processor with the fresh coriander and blend until finely chopped. Add the spices, apricots and lamb and season. Blend until mixed but still chunky.
Shape mixture into 6 burgers and grill or fry for 4-5 minutes until cooked through.


Left over baked beans with new potatoes and broccoli.

Friday, 13 June 2008

Wholemeal sourdough

Sourdough is amazing stuff. I came across it on the web and couldn't quite believe that you could raise bread just using some left our bread and water. Turns out you really can!

I got this recipe from here and it has worked well for me (well, not so well today because I forgot about the loaves and over proved them....)

1 1/2 cups water (room temperature, preferably filtered)
2 tbsp honey (I have used maple syrup when I've run out of honey)
2 cups wholemeal flour
1/4 cups starter*
2 tbsp oil
1 1/2 tsps salt
2 tsps bread enhancer (or a couple of powdered vitamin c pills)
3 tbsp wheat gluten
2 1/4 cups wholemeal flour

Mix the first four ingredients to form a sponge and leave for about 5 hours, until slightly bubbly but not at the peak of activity.
Add the remaining ingredients and knead until stretchy and soft. Cover with oiled clingfilm and prove for 6-7 hours at room temperature, or leave in the fridge overnight (this will give a stronger flavour).
Bake in a preheated over at gas mark 4 (180 oC) for 30 -40 minutes.

*There is tons of info on making starters on the web. You can even buy them. I made mine myself by mixing roughly equal volumes of water and flour and leaving it out in my kitchen. I poured away half the mixture everyday and added some fresh flour and water. After about a week (it was a cold time of year - it can happen faster) it was bubbly and yeasty smelling and made bread! Just like magic.

breakfast cake, coconut chicken soup, pigeon pie


For me - banana coconut smoothie
For the kids - Breakfast cake

Breakfast cake
(makes 9 kid portions, 6 adult)
4-5 cups oatmeal or rolled oats
1-2 cups yogurt
4 eggs
1 tbsp - 1 cup sweetener to taste (I use a tablespoon of whole sugar or maple syrup)
3/4 cup coconut oil or melted butter
1-2 cups milk or cream (or a mix)
2 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tbsp baking powder
1-2 cups fruit (fresh, dried or frozen - I used frozen raspberries today)
1 mashed ripe banana

Soak oats overnight in yogurt and 1-2 cups warm water overnight. Add a tbsp of freshly ground wheat if possible. If I am using rolled oats I put the mixture through the blender. You don't have to - if you use just the oats you get a lovely custardy base with a cakey oat topping, blending gives a more consistent texture.
Preheat oven to gas mark 4. Mix eggs, sugar, oil, vanilla, baking powder and spice. Add milk and mix. Add the fruit and the oats and mix well. Pour into 9x13 inch pan. Bake for an hour until set.

This recipe is very fluid - you can mess with just about all the ingredients and amounts depending on what you have around and it is still great. It freezes well and is nice as a cold snack.

Banana coconut smoothie

From eat fat lose fat

1 ripe banana
1/2 cup whole coconut milk
2 tbsp maple syrup (I leave this out - waaaay too sweet for me otherwise)
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract

Process in a blender until smooth. Add water to get the right thickness. Enjoy!


Coconut chicken soup

This is from Eat Fat Lose Fat.
Serves 4
1 can whole coconut milk
3 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup brown rice (optional)
1/4 tsp crushed red chillis
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
1 tsp salt or 1 tbsp thai fish sauce
1 tsp natural sugar (I leave this out - I like the soup slightly tart)
Juice of 1 lemon or two limes
1 tbsp fresh basil leaves
1 cup chopped chicken (cooked or raw)

Place all ingredrients but the chicken into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for abot 1 1/2 hours, or until rice is cooked (if not using rice, simmer for about 30 minutes). Add the chicken 15 minutes before serving.
Be careful when simmering this - it boils over really easily. I find it best to take it off the heat after it boils, reduce the heat to the minimum, then put the pan back.


Pigeon pie

1lb chuck steak
10 pigeon breasts
Seasoned flour and cooking fat (I used beef dripping)
4 oz bacon or ham, chopped
2 hard boiled eggs, thickly sliced
8 oz flaky pastry *
1 1/2 pints good stock
dash Worcestershire sauce

Preheat oven to gas mark 4/350 oF/ 180 oC
Dice the steak and coat in seasoned flour. Brown in the cooking fat and place in the bottom of a large pie dish. Next layer the pigeon breasts on top, then the bacon or ham, then eggs. Season with salt and pepper and add a little parsley if possible. Pour on two tbsp if water. Then top with the flaky pastry, leaving a hole in the middle (I put a china blackbird into mine because it amuses the kids! Shame it ended up at a drunken angle). Bake for two hours in a moderate oven.
Before serving, pour a little boiling stock, which has had the Worcestershire sauce added to it, into the pie. Traditionally served with potatoes and veg.

*Flaky pastry - cheats version!

4oz butter
6oz plain flour
pinch salt

Weight out the butter and put it in the freezer for about half an hour. When it is cold and hard, put the flour into a mixing bowl and grate the butter over it, using a course grater. Then mix the butter around in the flour using a palette knife - coating the fat with flour. Add two tbsp of cold water and continue to mix with the knife for as long as possible (the heat of your hands is not good for pastry). Keep adding water a little at a time until the pastry comes together in a ball that is not sticky and there is no flour left in the bowl. Chill in the fridge for at least half an hour before use. Freezes very well. This recipe makes enough for two pigeon pies.

I don't often use white or unsoaked flour in our meals, but occasionally I do a pastry with it. I do have some great wholemeal, soaked pastry recipes but every so often it is nice to indulge.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Farinata, Baked beans


For me - left over broccoli and peanut soup
The kids - Soaked oat porridge

Soaked Porridge
Makes 3 kid portions

1 1/2 cups rolled oats
2 tbsp whey, vinegar, lemon juice, yogurt or other acidic soaking liquid
1 tbsp freshly ground wheat flour (optional)
Milk (or cream for a real treat)

Put the oats in a bowl with the whey (or substitute) and cover with water. Cover the bowl with a cloth and leave in a warm place overnight. Add the flour if you have it.
In the morning pour the contents of the bowl into a saucepan and add milk. How much depends on how thick you like you porridge. I used about half a pint this morning. Cook the oats for a few minutes, until thick. Serve with more milk, raw butter, salt or sweetener (ie honey, maple syrup etc), fruit - however you like it best.

For the 'big' kids - packed lunches of parathas, ham, cheese and grapes.
For the baby - scrambled egg because he asked for it! So proud.
For me ....

Aubergine farinata

Serves 3

3 1/2 oz chickpea flour
1/2 pint warm water
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice or vinegar
1 tbsp salt
1 aubergine (egg plant)
1 tbsp chopped basil
Black pepper to taste

Whisk the flour into the water, trying to avoid lumps. Add the salt and lemon juice or vinegar and cover bowl with a cloth. Leave in a warm place overnight.
Preheat oven to gas mark 8.
Chop the aubergine into chunks, salt and toss in 1 tbsp olive oil. Roast in oven for about 20 minutes.
Add 2 1/2 tbsp olive oil to chickpea batter. Put the remaining 1/2 tbsp in a cast iron skillet (oven proof) or earthenware dish or equivalent and place in oven to heat until just before smoking point. Pour the batter into the pan, add the herbs and aubergine and black pepper. Bake in oven for about 15 minutes - until golden and crispy.

This is delicious with all kinds of roasted veg. If I ever had any leftover then this would be a great way to use them up... It is also gluten and dairy free.


Baked beans

2 cups cooked haricot beans
500ml passata
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 dessertspoonful molasses or treacle
1 cup stock (I used beef today)
6 slices streaky bacon, chopped (optional)
1 onion, chopped
1 or 2 red sweet peppers, diced
1 tsp mustard powder *

Put all ingredients in a crock pot and cook on low all day. Serve with crusty bread and a big salad. It comes out more like sauce with beans than beans with sauce but that is how we like it. You can always add more beans!

* you can vary the spices according to taste. I like paprika and cayenne pepper in here too. Mixed spice might also be nice. What goes in really depends on what catches my eye in the spice cupboard!

Instead of the bacon, chorizo is also lovely. Unfortunately I have yet to find a non industrial source so I'll be sticking with bacon from happy pigs. Any other sausages would be very nice with this dish. Obviously, leave out the bacon or sausage and use vegetable stock to make this vegetarian.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

The easiest bread ever...

is no knead bread. Great results for very little effort - what more could you ask!

The basic recipe:

3 cups flour
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp quick yeast

Combine the above ingredients in a large bowl. Stir well, giving a wet and stringy doughy-type-mess (yes that is a technical term!). Cover with a plastic bag or clingfilm to keep it from drying out, and leave for 12-18 hours. I usually start this off in the evening while doing the dishes so I can bake it in the morning. After this time use a spatula to scrape the dough out of the bowl onto a clean, floured surface. Let it rest for about 15 minutes. then put it into a banneton, or a cloth lined collander. Leave it again for about 2 hours. Heat up your oven as hot as it will go. Put a dutch oven or pyrex casserole dish with a lid into the oven to heat. When both are hot, put the dough into the dish (carefully!) and shake a little to make sure the dough is even. Put on the lid and return to the hot oven. Cook for 30-45 minutes (depending on how good your oven is). Then remove the lid and bake for 10-15 minutes more, until the crust looks well browned and crispy and the bread sounds hollow when knocked on the bottom. Put onto a cooling rack and resist cutting it for as long as possible!

For this bread I usually use a blend of flours. 2 cups of wholewheat, or spelt and 1 cup of white works very well. I am still working on getting 100% wholemeal to work well but I will put up a recipe when I get it right!

To the basic recipe I usually add some fat. This gives a softer bread that keeps better. Olive oil is nice, as are butter, lard and coconut oil. When using the solid fats I warm them gently to soften them (or let them get to room temp on warm days) then cut them in to the flour with a knife and rub into breadcrumbs before adding the water.

I have also substituted some of the water for milk or yogurt. The bread was a little softer doing this, but it didn't make a big difference. Possible the yogurt helped to break down the phytic acid a little faster/better but I don't know for sure. Either way, I generally just stick to water alone.

Broccoli and peanut soup, Lentil Dal, Parathas, Raitha


Eggs scrambled with coconut oil, butter and milk


Broccoli and peanut soup
Serves 4
Large head of broccoli
Pint of stock (I use chicken but vegetable would do)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons peanut butter
Dash of cream

Peel and chop onion. Saute in the butter. Wash and chop broccoli and add to pan when onion is softened. Add stock and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer gently for about 15 minutes. Add peanut butter and blend. Add a swirl of cream to the bowls when serving.
Variation - if you have no stock then use a pint of milk instead and leave out cream.

Popular with my kids as long as I call it peanut butter soup and forget to mention the broccoli!


Lentil dal with parathas and cucumber raitha

Serves 4
7 oz red split lentils or puy lentils (washed and soaked overnight)
1 1/2 pints water
1/2 tsp ground tumeric
2oz ghee or unsalted butter
Onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp ground corriander
1 fresh green chilli, seeded and finely chopped
salt and pepper

Drain lentils and transfer to large saucepan. Add water and tumeric and bring to the boil. Skim off any scum that comes to the surface and simmer on a low heat for 1-1 1/2 hours, until lentils are tender and mushy.
Heat ghee/butter and fry onion and garlic until soft and browned. Add spices and chilli and cook until they smell wonderful (2-3 minutes). Stir onions into lentils and add salt and pepper to taste. If using red lentils you can stir them up to a mushy paste if you like, or leave them more intact.

Serves 4 , or one of my kids!

6oz wholemeal flour (preferably fresh ground)
6 1/2 oz plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
About 10 tablespoons coconut oil or melted ghee
7 fl oz water

Mix flours and salt in a bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of oil and rub in until it looks like course breadcrumbs. Add the water a bit at a time until you have a soft ball (takes 5-7 oz usually). Turn out onto a clean surface and knead for about 10 minutes. Rub with 1/4 tsp oil and cover with plastic. Leave for at least 3 hours.
Put a large cast iron frying pan over a medium-low heat. Divide dough into 12 equal balls. Using flour where needed, roll the first ball out into a 6 inch circle. Brush half of the circle with 1/4 tsp of the oil and fold in half. Brush the top with a little more oil and fold again. Roll out again into a triangle with 7 inch sides. Place in frying pan and brush the top with 1tsp oil. Cook for about 30 seconds on each side - the parathas should have reddish brown spots on them. When they are cooked, put them on a plate with another plate inverted over the top, or cover with tin foil.

Cucumber raitha

300 ml natural yogurt
1/4 Grated cucumber
1 tsp Cumin seeds
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint or 1 tsp mint sauce

Toast cumin seeds in a dry frying pan until darker brown and aromatic. Mix all ingredients together and allow to sit in the fridge a while for the flavours to combine.

No pics today - it all got eaten too fast!