Pesto Twists

I know this looks like it’s a bit of a cheaters ‘bake’ but sometimes the easy options are the best.
As I had spent a full evening preparing the caramel squares for a work fuddle, I also wanted to make something savoury but it had to be fairly quick and easy. And let’s face it, who doesn’t love a bit of cheese and pesto. With 3 simple ingredients and 20 odd minutes, what could be better.

Ingredients

1 pack of puff pastry (500g)

1 jar of pesto

½ cup of grated parmesan


Method

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180oc

2. Roll out the puff pastry until it’s about the thickness of the a 50 pence. 

3. Spread the pesto over the pastry leaving about ½ an inch from the edge, sprinkle over the cheese, then fold the pastry in half bring together two of the edges that don’t have any pesto.

4. Cut into 12 strips and twist each strips 4-5 times.

5. Place onto a parchment lined baking tray and bake for roughly 10-15 minutes until the edges have started to go golden brown, then leave to cool. 

Nutritional Information

Serves 12

Calories: 243

Protein: 5.0g

Carbohydrates: 15.1g

Of which is Sugars: 0.5g

Fibre: 1.6g

Fat: 17.8g

Of which is Saturated: 6.9g

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Caramel Shortbread

I always see loads of recipes for these called many different things e.g. Twix bars, caramel fingers etc. I’ve just always known these as caramel squares and they are one of the many things that my mum would always be asked to make for us and unlike some of the other recipes I’ve seen, I do insist on making my own caramel, which although adds a fair bit of time to the baking process I think that you cannot beat homemade caramel. 

I normally need a full evening or preferably afternoon to make these so just be warned as these a fair bit of cooling involved and I always make them the day before I want them so it can completely cooled and be cut up into equal squares.


Ingredients

For the base

125g Butter

50g Caster Sugar

175g Plain Flour

For the Caramel Filling

175g Butter

115g Golden Caster sugar

3 Tbsp. Golden Syrup

1 Tin Condensed Milk (400g)

For the Topping

100g Dark Chocolate

100g Milk Chocolate


Method

1. Prepared a large dish, I use a deep casserole dish but any dish roughly 20cm square will do, just grease with some butter, making sure that you do the sides as well. Pre-heat the oven to 180°c 

2. In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add the sifted plain flour and mix until it begins to bind together. Knead the mixture until it becomes smooth then press it into the pre-prepared dish. With a fork, prick the mixture in numerous places and place in the oven for 20-25 minutes until it started to go golden brown.

3. Leave to cool ready for the topping.

4. When the base has been in the oven for roughly 10 minutes start to make the caramel. 

5. In a saucepan over a low/medium heat add the butter, sugar, condensed milk and sugar, stirring until the sugar dissolves.

6. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 5-8 minutes until it begins to thicken and darkens in colour. Keep stirring!

7. Pour over the cooled biscuit base and leave to cool.

8. Once the caramel has cooled, in a suitable bowl over some simmering water, melted the chocolate chunks until completely melted then pour over the caramel then place in the fridge to cool.

9. After a couple of hours once the chocolate has started to set but not completely, score through the chocolate where you want the pieces to be. This will mean that once the chocolate completely cooled, you will get nice neat squares.


Nutritional information

Serves 16

Calories:  343 

Protein:  3.8g

Carbohydrates: 39.6g 

Of which is sugars:  26.8g

Fibre: 0.4g 

Fat: 19.1g

Of which is saturated: 12.1g

Easter Rocky Road

As a little treat for one of the girls at work I decided to ‘bake’ a little  something for her. As I didn’t have too much time, I needed something that could be easy and quick to make but also super delicious. I thought rocky road would be an instant winner and not going to lie, it went down incredibly well with the work teamies.
One of the joys of rocky road is that there’s no real set recipe so it meant that I could add an all manner of delicious ingredients that caught my eye in the shop, such as mini eggs, hence the name.


Ingredients

450g Dark Chocolate (70% or more)

100g Mini Marshmallows

300g Chocolate Digestive Biscuits

2 Mini Meringues

100g Mini Eggs

3 Tbsp Golden Syrup

125g Softened Butter

Icing Sugar (For Dusting)


Method

1. Line a large dish with cling film, ready for the mixture to the poured straight into. This will make it easier to get the bars out of the dish once set.

2. In a large saucepan melt the butter, chocolate and golden syrup over a medium heat ensuring that the chocolate doesn’t burn, stirring regularly.

3. Place the chocolate biscuits into a food bag, and break them down so you have a selection of crumbs and larger biscuits bits.

4. Once all the chocolate is melted, turn down onto a very low heat, add the biscuits to the chocolate and mixed until well incorporated. 

5. Add in the mini eggs and crumble the meringues into the saucepan, mix together then add the mini marshmallows (if you add them earlier then they can start to melt quite a lot). 

6. Give the mixture a final stir to ensure everything is evenly distributed then pour it into the pre-prepared dish, smoothing it down with the spatula.

7. Place in the fridge to cool, after a couple of hours you can run a knife through the mixture where you want the bars to be to make it easier to cut once it’s completely cooled. 

8. Leave to completely set, preferably overnight, cut into bars and dust with icing sugar.


Nutritional Information

Serves 16

Calories:  354

Protein: 3.1g

Carbohydrates: 37.0g

Of which is sugars: 26.8g

Fibre: 0.8g

Fat: 21.2g

Of which is saturated: 12.6g

Clean Eating Alice – Butternut squash and feta frittata

​One of my favourite things about Christmas, is getting into my new cookbooks and learning some new recipes. I got a number of different types of cookbooks for Christmas, from a bit of hummingbird bakery to vegan cookbooks and one that I was most looking forward to was ‘The Body Bible’.  After a brief flick through all of them to just get a bit of inspiration for this weeks lunches, I stumbled upon this butternut squash and feta frittata and I was sold. 


It’s been perfect this week for being back at work fully and getting back on the wagon. I’ll admit, I’ve had to tweak the method slightly as I don’t have a pan that I can use on the hob and in the oven, but it was still delightful and super easy to make.
Ingredients

1 Butternut Squash (roughly 400-500g)

1 Red Onion

2 Red Chillies

150g Feta Cheese

6 Eggs

1 Garlic Clove

2 Tbsp Coconut Oil

1 Tbsp Cider Vingear

Method

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°c

2. Chop the butternut squash into chunks and finely chop the onions. In a pan, heat half the coconut oil then add the chopped vegetables. Leave for roughly 10 minutes stirring occassionally so it doesn’t stick.

3. In a small bowl, mix together the crushed garlic clove, vinegar and finely chopped red chillies.  Once the squash is starting to soften, add the mixture to the pan.

4. Take a oven proof casserole dish and the rest of the coconut oil, place in the oven for a couple of minutes to melt, then remove and ensure the sides and bottom are well coated to avoid it sticking.

5. Once everything in the pan is all mixed, add it to the oven proof dish. 

6. Beat the eggs together then pour over the vegetable mixture.

7. Crumble on the feta and place in the oven for 10-15 minutes depending on your oven, until the mixture no longer wobbles in the middle.

8. Leave to cool and it should come away from the sides without needing to force it and cut into portions.


Nutritional Information

Serves 5

Calories: 221

Protein: 12.7g

Carbohydrates: 16.9g 

Of which is sugars: 4.3g

Fibre: 2.4g

Fat: 12.6g

Of whichis saturated: 6.3g

Mary Berry’s Homemade Custard

​Its been a little whole since I’ve done any baking and I’ve really missed it! So I decided last weekend it was time to make a proper winter pudding, spotted dick and homemade custard. Whilst the pudding wasn’t my favourite I couldn’t believe how easy it was to make custard. I found this recipe on the bbc good food website (which is always a go to when I need a bit of inspiration) and its from the queen of baking herself, Mary Berry, so it was going to be the only recipe I would trust for my first attempt.
Ingredients

4 Egg Yolks

30g Caster Sugar

2 Tbsp. Cornflour

1 Vanilla Pod

570ml Whole Milk

55ml Single Cream

Method

1. Add the milk and cream  to a saucepan, cut open the vanilla pod, scrape out most of the beans and add these and the pod to the mixture. Slowly bring them to a simmer over a low heat.

2. Remove the vanilla pod.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour until you get a smooth mixture.

4. Slowly pour in the hot milk mixture to the eggs, constantly whisking to avoid curdling.

5. Pour back into the saucepan and slowly heat until thickened, stirring regularly.

6. Once thickened, it’s ready to serve.

Nutritional Information

Serves 4

Calories: 217

Protein: 7.9g

Carbohydrates: 15.9g 

Of which is sugars: 14.7g

Fibre:  0.0g

Fat: 11.7g

Of which is saturated:  6.2g

Trombone Squash Rounds

​As ever, things have been getting on top of me slightly these last few months, I am working on it, promise! But apologises for the long gap between posts. I’ve been in a slight rut recently just eating the same meals over and over again so haven’t felt too inspired to write about any recipes but I realised that I’ve become slightly obsessed with a particular side dish. So I thought I’d share this one as it may appeal ☺

My dad has an allotment not too far from my parents house which means throughout the year I get gifted with all sorts of goodies from summer berries to winter squashes. And the big plus is that I know no chemicals have been used to help them grow, it’s just all natural goodness. It does however mean I get various things that I then can’t always find in the supermarket.  Recently there has been trombone squash a plenty at my parents house and I’ve not been able to eat them quick enough (trust me, not for lack of trying). When I first got given one of these I had no idea how to cook it and as I don’t normally cook similar stews to my mum I’ve been experimenting.

I stumbled into this really simple recipe and just became a bit obsessed with it, it’s just little squash rounds or wedges (how I cut them seems to change daily) with paprika and veggie seasoning, all bunged in the oven until soft on the inside and starting to crisp on the outside. Sounds simple but I love it.

Ingredients
450g trombone squash (peeled and cut into circles)

1 tbsp.  Coconut Oil

2 tsp paprika

2 tsp concentrated vegetable seasoning (e.g. maggi)

Method

1. Pre heat the oven to 200°c, place the coconut oil on the tray and place in the oven until the coconut oil has melted.

2. Ensure the oil covers the tray and sprinkle half of the vegetable seasoning and paprika so it mixes in the oil slightly. Add the rounds evenly spaced on the tray and sprinkle over the remaining seasonings.

3. Place in the oven for roughly 15 minutes, turning after about 10 minutes. 

4. Once the rounds have started to go a bit soft in the middle, turn the oven down to roughly 150°c to start crisp up the  edges slightly without burning for 5 minutes.

5. Take out the oven and serve alongside your main dish.

Nutritional Information

Serves 1

Calories: 150

Protein: 3.1g

Carbohydrates: 31g

Of which is sugars: 12.4g

Fibre: 12.4g

Fat: 0.0g

Of which is saturated: 0.0g

Gluten Free Vegan Lentil Chilli

​As the British Summer that never began has now come to a close, I’ve started swapping my salads for stews and chia puddings for chocolate quinoa (recipe to come). What I love most about this type of weather is that it’s so easy to batch cook for the week ahead which for someone like me is perfect, if I don’t have all my meals planned and usually prepared then I end up all off track and before I know it I’ve eaten a whole bag of granola bars in one sitting. But when I get planning, boy, do I plan.


So, all ready to get the saucepans out, I’ve also been experimenting with some more vegan dishes and there are just so many recipes out there to try that suit this brief! I was getting some inspiration on pinterest and stumbled upon this little beauty from littlebroken.com that has made the last couple of days at work when it’s wet and windy.
Ingredients

450g Red Lentils

1 Onion

1 Red Pepper

2 Tins of Tomatoes

950ml Vegetable Stock (gluten free if necessary)

4 cloves Garlic

4 tsp Chilli (mild or hot depending on your preference)

1 tbsp mixed herbs

2 tbsp Preferred Oil (I went with coconut)

Handful fresh Parsley


Method

1. Finely chop the onion and add to a saucepan pan with the melted oil on medium heat, once they start to brown add in the crushed garlic cloves and chopped red pepper and cook for another of minutes. 

2. Add in the chilli powder and herbs then stir in, incorporate the lentils and once all coated add the tomatoes and stock.

3. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for around 50 minutes or until the lentils are soft.

4. Take half the mixture and pulse in a food processor until smooth then add back into the original mixture.

5. Top off with a bit of chopped parsley and serve.


Nutritional Information

Serves 7

Calories: 293

Protein: 17.9g

Carbohydrates: 32.4g

Of which is sugars: 8.1g

Fibre: 10.9g

Fat: 7.5g

Of which is saturated: 3.8g