Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Roasted cauliflower

The first time I heard of this I was dubious. But seriously - this is one of the greatest things you can do to a cauliflower!

Just cut the washed cauli into florets. Add a little sea salt and drizzle generously with olive oil. Roast in a hot oven until the it browns (takes 20 - 30 minutes). A little blackening around the edges it fine - it will be sweeter.

Apple sauce

Sooo bad at keeping up with this blog! Have been seriously off the healthy food wagon for a few months and feeling it. Ugh! Boy#1 is now off egg, tuna, lentils and crustaceans. Most of those aren't a problem but no eggs or lentil has been hard on our food budget!
I had a load of apples going spare today so I made apple sauce using my crockpot. Love doing that - it is easy and makes the house smell so good.

knob of butter
loads of apples *
spices of your choice

Put a knob of butter in your crockpot. Core and peel the apples and bung them in too Add any spices that you like (I use mixed spice, a couple of cloves and a pinch of ground cardamom). Cook on low for a few hours, until the apples are soft. Mash or puree.

The kids had this with yogurt for pudding and I am going to freeze a load for future pies, crumbles and sauces.

* If you are using a cooking apple like bramley then you may need to add some sugar. I find eating apples are plenty sweet on thier own.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Milk Kefir

Just realised I never posted properly about milk kefir. I've been making it for over a year now. I started off just using it in smoothies as it was yeasty and tasted horrible to me. But once the grains settled down they started making a really tasty drink. For information on the wonderful properties of kefir I can highly recommend this epic website. I can't think there can be any questions about kefir not addressed there somewhere!

To make kefir you just add some grains to some milk and leave them alone at room temperature. The time taken to turn the milk into kefir depends on how many grains you have, the temperature and how much milk they are in. The kefir is done when the milk starts to coagulate. You can then strain out the grains and either drink the kefir straight away, or put in a clean jar to further ripen (for more info see website linked above).

Apple juice kefir

Sadly the almond milk kefir was a bust. So I tried out apple juice kefir instead and boy#1 has declared it delicious. I agree - not as sweet as apple juice (which I find too sweet) and slightly acid and fizzy. A great replacement for Appletizer (which I have a serious weakness for!) and a strong probiotic to boot. Instructions are again fantastically easy to follow.

1 cup apple juice
kefir grains

Rinse the grains thoroughly in filtered water to remove all traces of milk. You might want to make a couple of batches in juice before trying it out with dairy sensitive folk (who may still react but many don't apparently so it could be worth a try). Add the grains to the juice in a clean jar and leave in a cupboard overnight. Strain out the grains. You can either drink the kefir now, or put into a jar and refrigerate. I did this for a few hours and it made the drink fizzier.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009


I love lacto-fermented sauerkraut. It is so easy to make the real deal and it has so many health benefits. When I first started making it I used 1.5 litre jars. But now I have found a big ceramic pot that works really well. Not perfect - it has a lip that means I can't get a plate in to cover all the vegetables, but it does fine.
I basically follow the instructions here for making it. I chop my cabbage because it is easier than putting it through my decrepit and slightly broken food processor. Then I add lots of grated carrot and thinly sliced onion. Apple is also really nice. When you have your veggies prepared then you need to salt them. Add about 3 tbsp sea salt to 5 lbs veggies. I also like to add a bit of the last batch of sauerkraut to get things started but this isn't necessary. Mix thoroughly and then add to your container. You then need to give them a good bashing, to squash them down tight and to start to break down the cell walls of the veg. I use the end of a rolling pin in jars and my fist in the big pot. Keep pounding until you have all that tension worked out and the veg is tightly packed. Then you need to weigh it down with something. If you have a plate that fits your container then put that in with a jar full of water on top to keep it down. If not, then fill a plastic food bag with water, seal tightly and put on top. Over the next 24 hours keep pressing the veg down as you remember. Water will be drawn out of the veg by the salt slowly. After about 24 hours the veg should be covered. If it isn't then you can add a little more brine - mix a tsp salt in a cup of water and put in enough that the veg is covered. Then leave it to ferment for 1-4 weeks. After the first week then you can start to sample the sauerkraut to see if it is done to your taste. How long it takes really depends on the temperature and how much salt is in there. When it is finished you can store it in the fridge if you have space. If not then put it in a cool place and make sure that the brine is always covering the vegetables after you have taken some out.

Here are two rubbish photos trying to show my arrangement for fermenting sauerkraut. It is a ceramic bread crock from Tesco and a freezer bag full of water on top for a weight. If you are sitting down then have a look at the 'proper' fermenting crocks (click on 'wholesome gadgets' in the link). There - looks a lot less naff when you have seen the price of real ones doesn't it!

Almond milk kefir

Today's kitchen science experiment (and I do lots of these - regular visitors are getting very wary of peering into jars and bowls in my house ;0) ) is almond milk kefir. Normally my kids eat lots of yogurt and take a probiotic to keep them stocked up with good bacteria. Now that my son is off dairy for the time being (at least) I needed to find new sources. Lucky for me he likes sauerkraut, but he isn't going to love it if I feed it to him every day!
I have been making milk kefir for a while and I did know that the grains could be used to make other kefir drinks. But it didn't occur to me to make some for boy#1 until I read this. I'm trying out almond milk kefir first because I think it sounds tasty. If he doesn't like it then I'll use it to make pancakes and try fruit juice kefir. Let's just hope the poor child doesn't mind being experimented on...!

Instructions are the same as for milk kefir - put the liquid to be 'kefired' in a clean jar with the grains, leave for 24 hours, strain out grains and drink. The only big difference is that the grains won't grow in non-dairy milk and will eventually die. So you need to keep some growing in dairy milk to replace them or this will quickly become very expensive!

Almond milk #2

This method isn't much more effort than using ground almonds but it does need starting ahead. I found that it wasn't quite as strongly almond flavoured but was still delicious. And better than milk (and nearly as good as cream) in coffee.

1 pack almonds - either in skins or skinless
warm water
pinch salt
more water, stock or wine

Put the almonds in warm water with a good pinch of sea salt and soak overnight. In the morning drain and rinse them and place in a blender with some more water, or some stock or wine (depending on what you will be using the milk for). Blend into a smooth paste and then dilute to the texture of double cream. Leave to stand for 5 - 10 minutes.
Strain through cloth into a clean jar or jug. You can then use the milk as is or dilute it further, depending on what you are using it for. A thick milk can substitute for cream, and a thinner milk is great over cereal.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Gluten and dairy free stuffing

Stuffing is an important part of Sunday dinners for my kids. In fact if it didn't appear I think I would have a riot on my hands! So I experimented with some gluten and dairy free this week. It came out quite nice - every one liked it.

1 gluten free bread roll (I used a Tesco's multi seeded one)
1/2 an onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried herbs (plain sage or mixed)
stock or water

Grease an oven proof dish. Grate the bread into crumbs. Heat the olive oil and saute the onions until starting to turn golden. In a bowl, beat the egg and then add the onion, breadcrumbs and herbs and a pinch of sea salt. Slowly add some of the stock, stirring until the stuffing mix is moist. Then put into the oven proof dish and bake in the bottom of the oven until cooked through.

Coconut jellies

I made a couple of different jellies for pudding last night and all have been very popular with the kids. I wasn't keen on the chocolate one but it disappeared super fast and my eldest declared it great. I think next time I will try it with melted chocolate and almond milk.

Raspberry coconut jelly
1 tin coconut milk
3 tbsp sugar/sweetener (I used coconut sugar and I bet maple syrup would be great)
1 sachet (10g) unflavoured gelatin
1 cup raspberries (I used some blue berries too)

Heat the coconut milk in a saucepan. Add the gelatin and whisk in until dissolved (don't let the mixture boil). Take off the heat and allow to cool slightly. Puree half the berries. Mix the sugar into the milk and then fold in all the berries. Put into glasses or bowls and chill until set.

I got this recipe from here and it uses lime oil and zest which sounds great.

Chocolate jelly
1 tin coconut milk
1 sachet gelatin
3 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp cocoa powder

Heat the coconut milk in the saucepan and whisk in the gelatin (as above don't boil!). Allow to cool slightly and then whisk in the sugar and cocoa powder. Put into bowls or glasses and chill until set.

Friday, 8 May 2009


I love home made mayonnaise - so creamy and delicious. It isn't that hard to make (despite it's reputation) and the process is like magic - how the glossy and creamy mayo appears from yolks and oil! Plus it makes a great dairy-free butter substitute for my son (we have also been using hummus but I can't see that making a great egg salad).

1 egg yolk
6 fl oz oil (I used a light olive oil but any oil or fat will work - even lard)
pinch salt
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
* 1 tsp whey or sauerkraut juice (optional)

Whisk or blend the egg yolk with a pinch of salt. Add a drop of oil and whisk/blend in. Once that is gone then add another drop. Keep adding oil - really slowly - for a few minutes. The mixture should be getting thicker. Add the mustard and lemon juice and whisk in. Then keep adding the oil. As you go on you can start adding the oil a little faster but be patient and don't rush things. If you do add the oil too quickly and the mixture curdles then don't panic. It can be fixed really easily. When no one is looking grab a clean bowl and a new yolk and slowly add the curdled mixture a drop at a time (like you were adding oil). It will come out just as normal. You can also get creative and add things like garlic, chopped herbs and spices to make flavoured mayonnaise's. They will keep for 3-4 weeks in the fridge.

* If you can tolerate dairy then you can also add a tsp of whey to the mixture. Then if you leave it to stand for 7 hours at room temp before refrigerating you get a probiotic mayonnaise which will be a little thicker and last longer. If dairy is a problem then you can substitute sauerkraut juice to the same effect.

Almond milk #1

I made this milk today and it is sooo tasty! Sweet and almondy and super easy. It tastes great on cereal and can be used in cooking. I will be trying making milk with soaked almonds at the weekend but I had some ground almonds around and wanted to see if my son liked the milk.

Makes 1 cup
2 oz ground almonds
8 fl oz boiling water

Pour the boiling water over the ground almonds and leave to stand for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain through a sieve or in a muslin bag. Alternatively blend until all the almond is combined.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Dairy and Gluten free waffles

These turn out really nice. Sweet all by themselves and very kid friendly. They don't get really crispy and they are prone to catching a little from the sugars in the apple juice so turn your waffle maker right down.

1 cup grain of your choice (I used rice but any grain will do)
1 1/4 cup apple juice
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 egg
pinch salt
2 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp coconut oil (or any other fat you like to use)

Put the grain, apple juice and vinegar into a blender and blend for a few minutes until smooth. Leave to soak for 12 - 24 hours (you can skip this if you like but it helps to release more of the nutrients in the grain and make it more digestible). Add the rest of the ingredients and blend smooth again. Cook in a waffle iron. If you don't have a waffle iron then you can cook these as griddle scones (Scotch or American pancakes) - just reduce the apple juice to 1 cup.

Gluten and dairy free chocolate muffins

We are trying out a gluten, dairy and soy free diet out with my eldest at the moment and I wanted to make him a treat to start it off. They worked well - very tasty and with a pretty good texture. And very popular with the kids!

4 1/2 oz gluten free flour mix (I used Dove farm's)
pinch salt
1/2 tbsp gluten free baking powder
1 tbsp cocoa powder
3 oz sugar (I used coconut sugar but any would do)
1 egg
3 fl oz oil (I like coconut oil for this)
4 fl oz apple juice

Preheat oven to 325 oF/190 oC/ gm5. Place the egg, oil and apple juice in a bowl and whisk together. Sift the other ingredients on top and mix together. Put into muffin tins and bake for 20 - 25 minutes.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Spanish rice casserole

I made this from this recipe on A Year of Crockpotting. It called for a pound of browned meat but I had loads of left over roast turkey from the weekend so I chopped that up and used it instead.

1 lb meat - any kind (browned mince or chopped leftovers)
1 onion, chopped
1 cup brown rice
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 clove garlic, crushed
Large pinch mixed herbs
salt and pepper to taste
water or stock

Brown your mince if not using leftovers. Add it to the crock pot with the onion, rice, garlic and herbs. Drain the liquid from the tomatoes into a measuring cup and put the tomatoes in the crock pot. Make up the juice from the tomatoes to 2 cups with water or stock and add. Cook on low for 2-4 hours, until the rice is tender. Season to taste.

Yuk Sung

This is most likely a completely unauthentic recipe but it uses ingredients I had and we all loved it.

1 lb pork mince
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
2 spring onions, finely sliced
1 small tin waterchestnuts, finely chopped
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1/2 tsp five spice
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Ice berg lettuce

Brown the mince in a large frying pan or wok. Add the carrot, spring onions, water chestnuts and other ingredients (except the lettuce). Cook for a few more minutes, until the mince is cooked but stop before the veg has lost it's crunch.
Serve the mince rolled in the iceberg lettuce leaves. A drizzle of hoi sin sauce on top is really good too.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Slow roast leg of lamb

Leg of lamb
Sprigs of rosemary
2-4 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
Pinch of seasalt
splash of water

Preheat oven to gas mark 4/190 oC/ 375 0F Make a small cuts in the lamb and tuck a sliver of garlic or a small sprig of rosemary inside them. Sprinkle over a little seasalt. Place the lamb in a roasting pan with a splash of water and cover with tin foil. Roast in the oven for 3 1/2 hours.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Phoebe's chowder

My daughter loved this soup so much she insisted it had to be named after her! It was a big hit, although the little guy needed his sieving as he hates the corn skins in it.

50g shell-less prawns
100g mussel meat
1 large tin sweet corn (or a cup or two)
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 onion, finely chopped
2-3 medium potatoes, scrubbed or peeled and diced
1.5 litres stock
Large dash of milk or cream
salt and pepper to taste

Put all the ingredients except the milk or cream and salt and pepper into a crock pot. Make sure the mussels are beard free! Cook on low for 6 hours. Add the dash of milk or cream and blend (you can leave it partly or completely whole if you prefer). Check the seasoning and serve with chopped parsley on top if you are feeling fancy!

The amounts and types of shellfish are pretty arbitrary. Just add what is available. Blending them into soup gets all sorts of interesting sea foods past small children!

Friday, 10 April 2009


This is an adapted recipe from Nourishing Traditions. I've made it on top of casseroles before but I made it on it's own this week and really enjoyed it. I managed to leave out the baking powder which gave a denser texture, somewhere between fluffy spoon bread and polenta. I really like it that way so I'm going to pretend I did it on purpose.

1/2 cup fine polenta (cornmeal)
1 cup buttermilk (or another slightly acidic soaking mixture)
1 large egg
pinch of salt
pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
1 oz grated cheese
1/2 tsp baking powder (or not)

Soak the polenta in the buttermilk for 12-24 hours at room temperature. In NT there are instructions for a previous soak to free up the vitamin B3. I've never done this as quite honestly, getting my act together to soak it once is enough of a challenge!
Preheat the oven to gas mark 5 /375 oF/ 190 oC. Separate the egg and place the white in a large bowl. With a pinch of salt, whisk the white until it forms soft peaks. Add the yolk to the polenta and whisk in. Add a pinch of salt, baking soda (if using) and the cayenne pepper and mix well. Stir in the grated cheese. If your bowl is big enough, then add the whites to the polenta mixture and cut in very gently with a metal spoon. If not then do it the other way around, but with a great deal of care so you don't lose the air in the whites.
Put the mixture in a buttered dish and bake for 45 - 60 minutes. I suggest letting it cool somewhat before serving as it gets easier. This dish is also delicious cold as a snack.

Sausage casserole

This is a great way to stretch a few left over sausages into a whole meal. However in my house there are never any leftover sausages but I like this so much I often cook some specially for it.

2 - 6 cooked sausages, sliced
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tins chopped tomatoes (or passata)
2 cups / 1 tin cooked chickpeas
1 red pepper, de-seeded and chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
A little salt and pepper

Bung all the ingredients into a crock pot and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Above is the basic recipe to which I always add an assortment of things. Anything in the fridge about to turn feral goes in. I add spices and herbs according to my mood. This is lovely hot with Moroccan style spices or cool with french herbs. Chorizo or pepperoni as the sausage is lovely. Or just leave it as it is and enjoy.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Chocolate mousse

Serves 6
12 oz dark chocolate (70% at least)
6 eggs (good ones - they are going to be raw so absolutely need to be free range and preferably organic)
1 oz of butter (unsalted)
pinch of salt
A little sugar if you have a very sweet tooth - up to 1 tbsp

Gently melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl over some simmering water. Meanwhile separate the eggs, placing the whites in a large mixing bowl. Whisk the whites with a pinch of salt until they are fluffy and forming peaks. If you are using sugar, whisk it into the yolks, a third at a time. In another bowl, break up the yolks a little. Take the chocolate off the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes. Stir into the yolks. Add a spoonful of the egg whites and stir in gently. Then, using a metal spoon, gently fold in the rest of the egg whites, retaining as much air as possible. Pour the mousse into glasses or ramekins and refrigerate for 2 hours to set. Remove from the fridge about half an hour before serving.

Cauliflower pizza

I got this recipe from here. I often use cauliflower rice with curries - even the children like it. So this recipe looked to be a good way to get some veg into them as well as tasty. It doesn't turn out quite like pizza (or at least it didn't for me) as you can't pick up the slices to eat them. But it is delicious and very filling.

Makes 1 10" pizza (will serve two)
1 cup cauliflower rice, cooked
1 egg
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
1/2 cup cottage cheese
Pinch of herbs and salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450 oF/gas mark 7. Mix the ingredients and press into a pizza base shape on a greased baking tray. Bake for 12 - 15 minutes. Top with your favorite sauce and (cooked) pizza toppings then grill until the cheese is melted.

This was quite a success. All the children ate it, with varying degrees of enthusiasm. Most surprisingly the little guy declared it was 'yummy' and had seconds! I had to scrape my jaw off the floor - this from the child who hates veg. My eldest quite liked it but says he prefers 'proper' pizza. My daughter wasn't keen but ate it as there was chocolate chickpea cake for afters.

*** I just had some of the leftovers of this pizza cold for lunch. Wow! It is so tasty cold. It was nice last night but today it was delicious. I might just make it in advance and serve it cold in future it was so good.

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

5 minute chocolate cake

A while ago some kind soul sent me the recipe for 5 minute chocolate cake. I must remember to get them back at some point.... Anyway, that recipe is at least partly responsible for me needing to lose a stone at the moment, so I've had a go at making it healthier. Still a work in progress so any ideas or comments are welcome!

1/2 cup cooked chickpeas
1 egg
1 heaped tsp cocoa powder
1 tsp unrefined sugar or honey
1 tbsp milk
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp melted coconut oil (optional)

Blend together the ingredients and pour into a mug (I used an immersion blender in the mug which saves on washing up a bit). Microwave for 3 - 3 1/2 minutes on full power.

The cake is light but a little dry I find. You can serve it with a big dollop of creme fraiche to help with that while I work on making it moister!

Friday, 13 March 2009

Rice pancakes/crepes

This recipe is from 'The Mood Cure' by Julia Ross. They are very nice - I had them filled with chicken and sweetcorn last night and fried bananas this morning. Yum!

1/2 - 2/3 cup of cooked rice
3 eggs
pinch salt
Fat to fry

Blend the rice, eggs and a little salt until smooth. Fry into pancakes and enjoy! I fried mine in coconut oil but ghee, olive oil or lard would also be great.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Ginger snaps

This is a recipe from Nourishing Traditions. My eldest son and I made it this afternoon and we all agree these are the greatest biscuits.

1/2 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup wholemeal flour (3/4 cup freshly ground)
1/4 unrefined sugar
pinch salt
3/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp mixed spice
3/4 tbsp water
1/4 cup coconut oil or butter, melted

Preheat oven to 300oF/gas mark 2. Mix together the ingredients and form into walnut sized balls. The mixture is crumbly and needs some squishing together but don't fear - it turns out fine in the end! Place the balls onto a buttered baking sheet and cook in the oven for 5 minutes. Take them out and gently squash with a fork. Put back in the oven and cook for 15-20 minutes. Let the biscuits cool down before eating (this is really hard but worth it - they are more biscuity, less crumby). Try not to eat them all at once!

The recipe in the book calls for using 3/4 cup of 'crispy almonds' instead of ground almonds. These have been soaked and dried out again to make them more digestible. You then process them into fine crumbs in a blender before using in this recipe.

Rice pudding for breakfast

The lady who writes this crock potting blog is a genius. Rice pudding is a great idea any time but waking up to it for breakfast on a Sunday morning? Fab.

1 oz butter
2 small apples, cores removed and chopped
3/4 tsp cinnamon
pinch each of nutmeg, ground cloves and salt
3/4 cup short grain brown rice (soaked and drained if you remember)
1-2 tbsp honey
2 1/2 cups milk (or apple juice or a mix)

Place the ingredients in the crock pot and cook on low for 6-8 hours. 6 is better but I couldn't find my plug-in timer so it went for 8 and was fine - just caught a little on one side. I used 1 tbsp of honey and this was plenty sweet for us. You can always add more once it is cooked if you like it sweeter.

I bet coconut milk would be divine in this but I haven't tried it yet.

*edit to add - yes coconut milk in this is really really good! Might even be better than the traditional rice pudding with dairy milk..... *

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Soaked flour tortillas

I've made these two days running and the kids can't get enough of them! If you have any left over they freeze really well. Fat chance around here!

2 cups wholemeal flour (3 cups of freshly ground)
2-3 tbsp melted coconut oil or lard
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup hot water
1/2 tsp salt

Mix the ingredients in a bowl. Knead for a few minutes until a soft but not sticky dough is formed. Put in a bowl covered with clingfilm and leave at room temperature for 12 - 24 hours.
Divide the dough into 8 - 10 pieces (about golf-ball sized pieces). Roll the pieces into balls, flatten with the palm of your hand and roll out on a flour dusted surface. Heat a cast iron frying pan to a medium/low heat. Fry the tortillas for a minute on one side and 30 seconds on the other.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Slow-cooked sausage and potatoes

I made this in my crock pot when we were going to have a busy afternoon. I loved it. The potatoes and onions took on a lovely flavour and were soft but not too mushy. The kids loved the sausages (they find the tougher skins of grilled sausages a little hard at times) but weren't so keen on the potatoes. I haven't given amounts as it doesn't really matter - just put in what you want to eat.

Chopped onion
Several potatoes, scrubbed but not peeled, diced
Salt and pepper
Olive oil (a couple of tbsp)

Pour the olive oil into the crock pot. Add the veggies and salt a pepper to taste and toss to get them all covered. Put the sausages on top and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

This recipe comes from the blog 'A year of CrockPotting' which has so many great ideas! I'll be trying a lot more of them soon.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Cottage cheese griddle scones

These are yummy and full of protein. We had them this morning dusted with cinnamon and topped with some chopped fruit.

1 cup cottage cheese
3 eggs
pinch salt
2 tbsp coconut oil (or butter), melted
1/4 cup wholemeal flour

Blend together the ingredients into a smooth batter. Fry in a large frying pan or on a griddle.

This recipe comes from The Mood Cure by Julia Ross.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009


It's Shrove Tuesday so I have been dusting off my pancake making skills. Usually I make griddle scones instead of pancakes for the kids as for some reason they intimidate me. But this year I seem to have cracked it! I managed to flip them all too. (note - pancakes are best flipped in the air after both sides are cooked. That way they flip easier and if it goes wrong the pancake isn't ruined. But your kids still think you are amazingly talented!)

250g flour (I use wholemeal, but white or a blend makes for lighter pancakes)
2 eggs
600ml buttermilk (or watered down yogurt)
Pinch salt
Lard for frying

Blend the flour with the buttermilk and leave in a warm place overnight. About half an hour (at least) before you want to make the pancakes, add the egg and salt. This is easiest to do in a food processor as you don't want any lumps. The batter should be runny but thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (dip a spoon into the batter, take it out and turning it upside down. Some batter should coat the back of the bowl if it is right). You can always tweak the flour or milk to get the right consistency when the batter is made. Put it to rest in the fridge.
When you are ready, fry up the pancakes! If you need more batter (and I have yet to manage to make enough to satisfy my kids!) then make it up with milk - it works fine even without chilling in the fridge, just not quite as well.

These are really good with savoury as well as sweet fillings. Leftover meat in a white sauce is a favorite with the kids. I love mushrooms and bacon in mine.

Sunday, 22 February 2009


I posted a recipe for sourdough pasta, but lately I haven't been using that one. Mostly because I don't have an active sourdough culture at the moment (it is dried and in the freezer). Instead I have just been making an egg pasta and leaving it to rest for longer to help soak the flour.

Serves 3
250g freshly ground wholemeal flour
2 eggs
1 tbsp buttermilk (or yogurt or another acidic liquid)

The easiest way to do this is to bung all the ingredients in a mixer and turn it on! The dough is ready when it is smooth, silky and elastic. If you don't have one or would like to get some arm exercise then put the flour on the counter. Make a well in the centre and break the eggs into it. Add the buttermilk and beat with a fork. With your fingers mix the flour in until it is combined and then knead away.
When your dough is kneaded then wrap it in clingfilm and leave it out on the side to rest. Leave it at least half an hour, a few hours if you can.
Then it is ready to be rolled out as thin as possible and cut in to shapes. If you have a pasta machine it helps but it is by no means necessary. Dust the surface you are rolling on with flour and dust the top of the rolled flour again before cutting out the shapes you want.
Cook as usual in salted, boiling water. It will be done very fast (in a minute or so) so keep checking on it.

Red lentil spaghetti sauce

1 cup red lentils, soaked 7 hours in water (optional) and rinsed
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and grated or finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp mixed herbs
2 cups stock or water
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Salt and pepper to taste

Saute the onions in the oil until translucent. Add the garlic and fry for a minute or so. Add the remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, until the lentils are soft. Serve over spaghetti with cheese.

I tend to puree this to get the veggies past fussy kids, but I also enjoy it left chunky. You can add pretty much any veg you like. This is the basic recipe that I use, and then I add extra veggies depending on what I have around.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Cheesy bean burgers

These were lovely and a hit with the kids.

2 cups cooked beans (or 1 can)
1 onion, roughly chopped
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 egg
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp ketchup
1/2 cup cheese

Place the beans, onion, oats, cheese and egg in a food processor. Blend until chopped and mixed. Add a little ketchup if the mixture seems dry but not too much - you don't want it runny. Add the cheese and briefly process to combine. Leave to rest for a few minutes.
Heat a pan to a medium heat with the cooking fat of your choice (I used ghee). Shape the mixture into burgers with your hands and fry on both sides until golden and crispy.

I think next time I will add another 1/4 cup of Parmesan to the cheese (I used cheddar) to make the taste a little stronger. If you are concerned about soaking grains then you could substitute the oats and egg with a cup of cooked porridge.


Oh my word this is good! This can be a delicious breakfast or a tasty pudding.

1 cup fruit (anything larger than a berry, sliced)
3 eggs
2-3 tbsp sugar of your choice (I used raw cane sugar)
1/2 cup flour
1 cup cream, coconut milk, milk, water or a mixture
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 375oF (gas mark 5). Oil a 9" oven proof dish and scatter the fruit over the bottom in a single layer.
Whisk together the eggs and sugar. When they are well combined then start to whisk in the flour, a little at a time. Make sure there are no lumps! When all the flour is well combined then whisk in the remaining ingredients. This should form a thin batter. Pour the batter over the fruit and bake in the oven for about half an hour. The edges should be puffy and browned and the centre just set. Eat fast before the kids wolf the lot! If it should get a chance to cool it is also delicious at room temperature.

Technically if you use a fruit other than cherries this is a 'flaugnarde' rather than a clafoutis. I made mine with cherries, strawberries and blueberries. Banana and strawberry has been requested for next time and I can imagine that apple is totally delicious.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Another bread recipe...

But you really need to try this one! It is a no knead recipe where you make the dough in advance for 2 weeks and just take out pieces as you need it. So far the bread has been good, but not perfect (tastes great but I am having trouble with getting it the shape I want). But it is so worth doing to be able to make fast naan breads and pizzas whenever you like! I can see there being a bucket of dough in my fridge on a permanent basis.
The recipe is from a book and there is a free sample online here. And a blog with a handy Q&A section and some more recipes.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Roasted chickpeas

Sometimes you need something to nibble on and these are really tasty. Sadly not so quick but well worth the wait.

1 tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or equivalent of dried peas, soaked and cooked)
curry powder (optional)
salt and pepper

Take the cooked chickpeas and toss them in the salt and pepper, curry powder (I use a teaspoonful or so) if using and oil. Place them on an oiled baking sheet and put them in the oven at about 450oF/230oC/gas mark 4. They will take 30-40 minutes to get crispy (you need to keep checking on them towards the end as there is a fine line between crispy and crunchy and burned!). When they are ready they will rattle when you shake the baking tray.

You can use various seasonings on them. Different spices, garlic salt, etc.

Honey Baked Lentils

I can't believe I've not posted this recipe yet! Its cheap, tasty and easy to make. Another one from the mothers at MDC - and everyone should know this recipe!

1 cup lentils
2 cups stock or water
1 potato, peeled and diced
2 sticks celery, chopped
1 red pepper, de-seeded and chopped
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp ground ginger

Combine the ingredients in an oven proof dish, cover with tin foil and bake for between 1 and 1 1/2 hours until the lentils and veggies are soft. You can vary the veg according to what you have and what your family likes. You could also make this in a slow cooker.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Baked egg custards

These would make a great pudding. But they make an even better breakfast! They can be made in advance and keep nicely in the fridge. Especially if you were lucky enough to get a set of 1 cup glass ramekins with lids for Christmas (thanks Mum)! This recipe came from a mother on the traditional foods board of MDC which is always an inspiration.

Makes 2 ramekins full

2 large eggs (beaten)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla essence (or less if yours is strong)
1/2 cup berries (I've used raspberries and blueberries and both are great)
1 tbsp honey

Mix ingredients together and pour into ramekins or a small baking dish. Place the containers into a larger baking dish filled with water. Bake at 350oF/gas mark 4 until set (takes quite a while - 45 mins to 1 hour).

Thursday, 8 January 2009


This is so easy to make and is a really great cooking oil. You can either make it on the stove or in the oven. I do mine in the oven usually, after something else has finished baking.
Put unsalted butter into a pan or oven proof dish. Heat the butter until it melts and then simmer gently until the white particles have turned golden brown. Strain through a double layer of cheese cloth or handkerchiefs. It doesn't need refrigerating (but can be if you like or don't use it much). I just keep mine in a jar by the stove and use it for frying most things (especially onions).

Crab risotto

This served me and the kids but if you are cooking for 4 then you will probably want to double it.

500 ml stock (fish, vegetable or chicken), hot
1 tbsp butter
1 stick celery
1 - 2 leeks
1 onion
100 ml white wine
200g arborio (or other risotto) rice
Dressed crab (or small tin crab meat)
Dash of cream
Salt and pepper

Heat the butter in a pan. Add the (finely chopped) leeks, celery and onion and fry until soft. Add the rice and fry for a minute or two until the rice starts to turn translucent. Then add the wine. Cook over a gentle heat, stirring, until the wine is absorbed. Then start to add the stock, a ladle full at a time, stirring. Keep adding the stock when the last lot has been absorbed until the rice is soft and creamy. Gently stir through the crab and cream and season to taste. Serve topped with finely grated Parmesan.

Friday, 2 January 2009

Potato cakes

These make a great lunch or breakfast with some veggies and a slice of cheese, or a great side dish for a main meal. Always worth making extra mash so you can have these the next day!
Don't worry too much about quantities. I've never measured this out so I am guessing. Just use what you have. You can also add chopped cooked meat and/or veggies to the cakes for extra flavour and goodness. Sliced spring onions or leeks are particularly good.

2 cups cold mashed potato
1 egg
2 tbsp flour
Salt and pepper
Oil for cooking (I use lard)

Beat the egg and mix into the flour and potato. Season. Heat a frying pan and when it is hot add the fat and turn down to a medium heat. Add the potato mixture in spoonfuls and flatten them to form cakes. Fry until golden and crispy then turn and repeat!