Goji Berry, apricot and coconut oil flapjacks

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There’s something comforting about freshly baked flapjack. The smell, the warmth, the way it cries out to be paired with a steaming cup of Earl Grey. It reminds me of cold Sunday afternoons spent snuggled under patchwork blankets. Homely, comforting, simple.

This recipe can be adapted to suit your tastes, but I used:

350g oats
125g salted butter
125g unrefined organic coconut oil
200g dark brown sugar
4 tablespoons golden syrup
30g dried goji berries
150g chopped up soft dried apricots
A couple of tablespoons of pressed apple juice to soak the goji berries in.
Half a teaspoon of cinnamon
A few grates of a while nutmeg.

Soak the goji berries in the apple juice for ten minutes.

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In a pan melt the butter, sugar, coconut oil, and syrup with the cinnamon and nutmeg, before adding in the drained goji berries, apricot pieces and oats.  Give it all a really good mix before pressing into a greased baking tin.

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I like to use a round springform tin so I can cut it into wedges rather than squares.

Bake for around 40-45 mins at 160oC. Leave to cool for 15 minutes before slicing. Enjoy with a cup of your favourite tea and good friends.

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Vanilla Scotch Pancakes

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We love a good pancake in our house, be that a crepe, American style or a good old Scotch. These are really quick and easy to whip up and can be adorned with pretty much anything you choose.

You’ll need
300g self raising flour
250ml milk
2 large eggs
80g caster sugar
1 heaped teaspoon of baking powder
2 teaspoons of vanilla bean paste
And of course whatever toppings you choose.

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. Beat in the eggs one at a time and drizzle in the milk and vanilla to form a thick batter.

Heat a nonstick frying and pan over a medium heat and swab with a little vegetable oil using a wedge of folded up kitchen roll.

Use a dessert spoon of batter per pancake and when you see bubbles starting to form on the top of the batter they’re ready to flip.

These are really easy to reheat in a toaster so I tend to make the whole lot, use what we want then either freeze the remaining, or put them in a bag to toast the following day.

These are Phoebe’s topped with yoghurt and strawberries and grapes. She loved them!

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Ste and I had ours with butter and maple syrup (wish I’d had some smoked bacon in too!)! Not quite as healthy but I did wash mine down with a green nutribullet smoothie!

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Curried Naan bread Pizza

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Left to his own devices my husband would happily survive on pizza and curry, so when I was scouring the kitchen yesterday looking for inspiration for his lunch and noticed a solitary naan bread curled up in the bread bin, I decided to treat him to a combination of the two.

This is a proper cheats recipe, which requires no culinary skill at all, and yes, I even used a shop bought curry paste!

Heat the oven up to about 180oC. Spread a tablespoon or so of curry paste on the naan. I topped it with baby plum tomatoes, spring onions, red peppers, half a jalapeño, chopped spinach, fresh coriander and a sprinkling of cheese, but the combination possibilities are endless.

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Bake for 8-10 mins, and sprinkle with a little extra coriander and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice before serving.

I’m not a huge pizza fan, but had a bite to taste it, and it was good, a real hit with the hubby too.

Wholly Guacamole!

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I’m a fan of good guacamole. Not the processed, sloppy, remnants of the flu like guacamole you find at the supermarkets, but the fresh, zingy, pack-a-taste-punch stuff.  Completely, totally, wholly guacamole.

For this recipe you’ll need:
2 ripe avocados
3 spring onions
2 cloves garlic
A small bunch of coriander
A handful of ripe baby plum tomatoes
A lime or two (I didn’t have any limes in so used lemons instead which are fine but I prefer limes for this really)
Half to a whole jalapeño chilli.
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

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Chop up the the onions, coriander, tomatoes, chilli and garlic very finely.

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Chop up the avocados until they’re slightly mashed but chunky at the same time, then add in the chopped ingredients and mix through. Season with salt and pepper and squeeze in the juice from one of the limes (or lemons). Give it a taste. Add more lime juice/seasoning as needed. Put the avocado stones back into the guacamole to prevent it discolouring, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Delicious!

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Phoebe’s Scones

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Thankfully there are very few things my daughter refuses to eat. Since she was weaned she has eaten the same as us, and enjoys a broad and varied range of meals, however there’s one thing she just doesn’t seem to like… Sandwiches. So I find myself looking for new ideas to put in her nursery lunchbox to avoid the monotony of pasta salad, cheese and biscuits and deconstructed sandwiches.

A friend suggest I try savoury muffins, so I had a look at recipes but actually settled on a basic cheese scone, amped up by a few basic ingredients chosen by Phoebe. When I asked her what she wanted in them she said “olives, cheese, bacon and orange peppers”! I thought spring onions would work better than peppers so subbed them out. We baked them together yesterday afternoon and Phoebe seems to love the results. You’ll need:

450g self raising flour
110g butter (I used unsalted as I was adding olives and bacon which add the salt element)
300ml whole milk
70g grated strong cheddar cheese
6 rashers of smoked Streaky bacon cooked to a crisp so you can crumble them.
3 spring onions very finely sliced.
A handful of pitted and chopped olives of your choice.

Rub the butter into the flour to make a breadcrumb consistency. Throw in the cheese, olive, bacon and onions and mix. Season with black pepper, then gradually mix in the milk until the dough comes together. Cut out desired shapes and sizes of scone and place on greaseproof paper on a baking tray. Brush the tops with milk and bake at avoid 200oC for approximately 15-20 minutes until golden.

Leave to cool slightly before eating and serve with butter.  I actually wrapped these in foil individually and froze them so I can take them out the night before nursery and they’ll have defrosted in time for Phoebe to enjoy at lunchtime.

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Nutribullet green Thai curry paste

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As you may have noticed from recent posts I LOVE MY NUTRIBULLET! I use it daily for breakfast smoothies but am finding more and more uses for it. One of my favourites is making fresh green Thai curry paste.

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In my paste I use tiny Thai chillies, garlic, onion, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, ginger, lemongrass, frozen spinach for an extra hit of goodness, a large bunch of corriander (cilantro), fish sauce and rice wine vinegar, oh and of course salt and black pepper.

I literally throw all the paste ingredients into the nutribullet, some of them frozen, add a splash of water to help it along a bit and blitz it up.

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Once blitzed, cook out the paste in a saucepan with coconut oil for a few minutes before adding in a can of coconut milk. Let it simmer, stiring regularly, for about half an hour, then add in veggies of your choice.

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On this occasion I added baby corn, red pepper and courgette, but you can add pretty much whatever you fancy. I add the veg at this point because I like them crunchy, but you could add them earlier if you wish. After a couple of minutes add some prawns in. They’ll only take a couple of minutes to cook. Check the seasoning and add in some fresh lime juice to make all those amazing flavours sing. Serve with steamed basmati rice and sprinkle with chopped coriander. Although not traditional Thai cuisine we also had naan bread. Yummy!

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Coffee with coconut oil & butter (bulletproof coffee)

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When an American friend told me he had put butter and coconut oil in his coffee I had visions of an oil slip in the Atlantic…oily puddles drifting around on an ocean of black coffee did not sound appealing, but I was intrigued, so I gave it a go. If you want to know where the idea of so called Bulletproof Coffee came from check out the link here or Google it.

I filled the short cup on my Nutribullet up to the max line with freshly brewed coffee then added in a couple of teaspoons of organic, unrefined coconut oil and one of good quality butter (by all means add more if you want). I blitzed it for a few seconds,  then gave it a taste. The first thing that surprised me was the colour, it looked a lot lighter in colour than I had expected.  Plus, it wasn’t oily, just very creamy with a subtle coconut undertone.

I’ve since tried it with just coconut oil, and it works pretty well. The only difference really was the lack of frothy head.

This is definitely not an every day kind of coffee in my opinion, being high in calories but low in nutrients. Personally I’d rather spend my calories on a green smoothie, but give it a shot (no pun intended) and let me know what you think!

Puy lentils with roasted veggies and goat’s cheese

This is the epitome of simple, rustic, midweek veggie dinner ideas. Packed with goodness, your body will smile at the thought of this delicious yet virtuous meal.

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Firstly chop up whatever veg you fancy and put in a roasting tray. I used onions, garlic, courgette, carrot, baby sweetcorn, peppers, butternut squash, leek and tomatoes. I like to use a peeler to get really thin curls of courgette and carrot.

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Season well with sea salt and black pepper, then splash in a generous glug of oil of your choice (I used olive on this occasion, but coconut works well too). Bake for about 45 mins in a hot oven turning regular.

Whilst the veggies are working their magic in the oven it’s time to get the lentils on. I use a small mug for three of us, and the lentils I use don’t need soaking, merely just rinsing under the tap.

Fry off some onion and garlic in olive oil until softened, adding in some fresh herbs halfway through. I used rosemary, thyme and a bay leaf. Once softened add the lentils and stir allowing them to absorb some of the flavours from the onion/garlic and herbs. Using the same mug you used to measure the lentils pour in half to a whole mug of red or white wine and let the alcohol cook off for a couple of minutes.

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Finally add in two to two and a half mugs of stock of your choice, season and reduce the meat to a simmer.  Stir regularly and cook for about 30 minutes, or until they’re at a texture you’re happy with. Puy lentils are renowned for naturally having more of an al dente texture then a lot of other varieties, so they won’t turn mushy.

Once the veggies and lentils are done to your liking, pour the pot of lentils into the tray of veggies abse mix well, allowing the lentils to absorb even more flavour. Serve in wide bowls (pasta bowls are perfect) and sprinkle with goat’s cheese. 

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Humble (crumble) Pie

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Pie or crumble? One of life’s great conundrums! Now you can have your pie and eat it along with the crumble, all as part of the same pudding. Happy days!

Grease two 8 inch shallow cake tins/or pie dishes, before lining with a thin layer of shortcrust pastry. Homemade or shop bought, both work. I actually used shop bought as I had a block in the freezer I needed to use up. Prick with a fork, then put a piece of greaseproof paper on top of each and fill with lentils, rice or baking beans. Bake in a preheated oven at 180oC for twenty minutes or until golden and crispy.

While they are baking, prepare the crumble topping by blitzing 125g of each butter, light brown sugar, and self raising flour in a food processor. It will start to clump together and at this point add in a couple if handfuls of oats and mix with your hands to ensure the oats stay whole rather than being pulverised by the processor.

Leave the pie crusts to cool slightly before filling with cooking apples, blackberries, blackcurrants or whatever fruit you fancy.

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Sprinkle over about 50g of caster sugar then top with the crumble. Bake for 30-40 minutes until the fruit is tender and serve with custard.

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You can freeze one of the pies for use at a later date of you want or give it to a neighbour like we did. Enjoy!