Quick and easy crumpet french toast

 

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I’ve been looking up pancake recipes this week because the best day of the year fast approaches, and every so often a french toast recipe crops up and I have the biggest craving (to both eat it and book flights to New York). French toast is one my favourite indulgent brunches but I haven’t made it in a couple of years because I feel like it’s loads of effort.

It’s not loads of effort, I am just loads of lazy.

I had crumpets in the cupboard and a slightly hungover sister, boyfriend and brother in-law to feed, and since I didn’t think they’d want plain crumpets and we had bugger all else in the cupboards, french crumpets happened.

I once saw an amazing looking chocolate and cinnamon french crumpet recipe but it was very complicated and frankly I can’t be arsed with complicated on a Saturday morning. This is quick, easy and tasty so it gets full marks for lazy weekend eating.

You Need: crumpets, milk, 2 eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, butter to fry with and something sweet to drizzle on top.

Directions: Crack 2 eggs into a bowl and add in about 4 tablespoons of milk, some cinnamon and nutmeg and whisk together until you get a runny, sticky mixture. I put a tiny bit of dessicated coconut in too, but obviously it’s not necessary.

Dump your crumpets in for a little soak (about one minute on each side) and heat the pan with some butter. Fry them all together if you have a big enough pan, so you can actually eat them at the same time rather than awkwardly queue. I chucked frozen berries into the pan while they browned and let them go mushy to use as topping.

Once they’re browned, drizzle them with honey or maple syrup, chuck on your toppings and et voila, you’re done.

Quick, easy, healthy – Spiced chickpea & spinach stew

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I never made a conscious decision to eat less meat and I don’t class myself as a vegetarian at all, but slowly over the past few years my diet has become 90% veggie. When I first moved out from home as a working adult and got into cooking, I started making more vegetarian dishes because they were cheaper, often quicker and I didn’t like cooking with meat. I hate chopping it and dealing with it raw, and actually I didn’t miss it when I ate it less.

As if anyone else needs to rave about chickpeas or talk about how good they are a veggie meal staple, but I’m gonna do it anyway. I LOVE THEM. I love chickpea curry more than any other curry these days and I make it frequently- but perhaps too frequently. I decided to try something different with them and take a break from the chickpea and lentil dhal I was having a relationship with (a very committed, happy relationship) and this was born.

I tried to base this on a recipe I found online but then couldn’t find it again to copy when I was in the kitchen, so I just chucked in whatever I fancied and it tasted heavenly.

Ingredients:

1 onion chopped

400g canned chickpeas (drained and washed)

400g chopped tomatoes

25ml water

One big handful of raisons

1 tsp of cayenne pepper (or two if you like things really spicy)

1 tsp of cumin

1 tsp coriander ground

A shake of basil

Two big handfuls of fresh spinach

Some grated beetroot (I put about 50g in because it’s an easy healthy extra, but you could use more or none)

1 roasted and chopped tomato

Method:

Roast a tomato for about ten minutes on a low heat in the oven.Brown the onion for a few minutes with a splash of oil, then mix in the cumin, coriander and cayenne. I also add a pinch of salt but you don’t have to. Mix this up for 30 seconds, then add in your chopped tomatoes and water and chuck in some basil. Chop your roasted tomato up small and chuck it in (I think roasted tomatoes make everything taste better) and let everything simmer for about 4 minutes.

Then chuck in the raison, spinach and beetroot and leave to cook for another 10 minutes on a low heat. It should thicken slightly, but should keep a liquidy bast. I served mine with toasted pitta bread but this would go with rice too.

I doubled all of these ingredients and got 5 portions out of it- it’s perfect for batch cooking for your lunch. ENJOY.

 

 

Recipe: Lasagne sheet tortillas and hot sauce dip

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The fact that this actually worked and tasted really good amazed me. My mum originally saw the idea for this on @theslimmingwoman’s Instagram and since I was off work on Monday and she had me as a kitchen aid, we gave it a go. Essentially, I guess making tortillas using wholemeal pasta is healthier than eating the shop-bought kind as you bake them and don’t slather them in vegetable oil- plus you can flavour them however you want! The flavour is the reason I like this idea so much and they turned out better than I could ever have imagined and had the perfect amount of crunch.

To make…

We boiled the lasagne sheets for about a minute and a half, so they were still quite hard, but starting to soften enough that you could tear them, rather than snap them. Then we cut them into triangles with scissors, and laid them on a baking tray sprayed with Fry-Light. Once they were all laid out, we sprayed them again, giving them a light covering and then dusted them with Nandos Peri-Peri salt, which you don’t need much of as it’s so strongly flavoured. You could also try garlic powder or paprika.

We baked them for about 8 minutes (our oven is fan-assisted so things tend to cook quickly) but they could probably go for 9 or 10 if needed. Once they were out I ground a bit of black pepper on for a touch more heat. To dip them in, I mixed cottage cheese with hot sauce and whipped it up into a chunky sauce consistency. We made these to go with chilli con carne and it was absolutely delicious. Once you start eating you’ll forget they’re made of pasta.

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Christmas snowball truffles recipe


It’s close enough to Christmas to make these now and not to have worry about freezing them because in my experience, stuff like this never makes it to the day itself. When I decided to make these I was fully in Nigella mode, making lists and buying stacks of dark chocolate. Then it actually came to it and life reminded me that I am most certainly NOT Nigella.

It took me a while to get into the swing of truffle making, and despite the fact I had to clean chocolate off of the fridge, the floor, the tumble dryer and the back door handle (things got heated), it’s really not hard. It might be tempting to just buy the many thousands of truffles on sale in shops wrapped up in pretty boxes, but trust me, they taste so much better when you make them.

I made mine with dark chocolate 300g of it to be exact. You also need 300ml of double cream, some cocoa powder, some desiccated coconut and some butter. I also crushed up some almonds for mine, but if you can’t be bothered with that, the coconut is fine.

The chocolate making process is really simple, and you will still feel like a culinary, Christmassy genius at this stage. The cream and the butter go into a saucepan on a medium heat until they slowly combine, then simmer them for a couple of minutes, then mix in your chopped up your chocolate until it turns into a velvety smooth mixture. If you want to make it orange flavoured chocolate, squeeze in the juice and zest of a couple of oranges now. Once you’re done with the melting, pour it into a bowl and chill it for a few hours.

I usually get put off cooking or baking when you have to take a break in the middle, but it’s worth it. When your chocolate goo is chilled and hard (but not so hard you can’t scoop it and shape it) roll it into balls and then roll in the coconut, and THERE YOU HAVE IT. Snowball truffles. I did some of mine in plain cocoa powder too to mix it up and a few in almonds.

You’ll need to put them straight back in the fridge to avoid melted, messy truffles. You can also freeze them so they last a bit longer- the cream means they need to be eaten in about three days after making if you don’t freeze. Happy truffling! 

They are bloody delicious and if you need last minute presents they’re perfect. 

5 times the internet has been good lately #6

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If you need stuff to read on the train, can’t sleep, or want a good excuse to lay in bed longer, these links have got you covered. I usually dislike it when you get told to ‘grab a cuppa’ before reading something, because seriously, I would grabbing cuppas all day long if I listened to that instruction every time it came up on Twitter, but something nice and warm would go well with the Autumn photos link. Just saying.

The untold story of Roald Dhal’s Marvellous Medicine- BMJ Blogs

As a life-long Roald Dhal fan, I loved reading this. The story of a doctor who cared for the author at the end of his life has blogged about their late night chats and how Dhal got involved with medicine in real life not just in writing.

My Parisian bucket list- Sophie Cliff

This has so many good tips in the comments and I’ve been thinking lately about giving Paris another try. I went a couple of years ago and I don’t feel like I got the best out of it. I also desperately want to go to Disneyland. Sophie’s travel posts are always high on my reading list.

What’s it like to be a woman in 2016?- Daisy Buchanon 

In honour of Woman’s Hour celebrating it’s 70th birthday, one of my fave writers (who I had a chat with over Twitter about X Factor on Sunday, gotta love the internet) wrote about life with a vagina in 2016 and it’s well worth a read.

48 photos of autumn around the world- Gizmodo

So this isn’t a new article, I just found it when I was reading some other stuff about ‘autumn tourism’ which is exactly what it sounds like, and stumbled upon this. I want to do lots of autumn tourism. Right now.

National Curry Week: Punjabi Kadhi- Standard Issue

I can’t make it through National Curry week without eating curry, and this is top of my recipe list. I’ve never heard of this before and I am always up for new curry, or anything covered in coriander and chopped green chillis.

 

 

Recipe: pastry-free green veg and baked cheese pies

  
I’m never going to be the type of person who dances around the kitchen throwing kale in the air like I just don’t care. I’m also not going to be posting photos of myself doing yoga next to a cup of green tea anytime soon, but last week I discovered something green and delicious and idiot-proof in the cooking stakes.

I like veg, I really do, and I like healthy food A LOT, but I have little restraint for carbs, fizzy sweets and biscuit binges. I’ve also spent all of my adult life so far being a slave to a condition that messes with my entire body. One of the most important things I can do to feel well and keep myself upright is eat a good diet. It helps with all manner of symptoms and we all know how vital eating well is, regardless of what’s going on with our health.

These little pots of joy (not to be confused with the chocolatey, deliciousness that is a Cadbury Pot of Joy) are my new favourite, low maintenance way to up my intake of good food. They are also going to be my new staple for lunch (I need to probably consume less soup and rice cakes before I start looking and bleeding soup and rice cakes) because I am behind anything that tastes as good cold as it does hot. And I don’t care much for the microwave queue at work. Very few good times are had in the microwave queue at work.

I don’t really know what to call these, they are groundbreaking and they were a kind of happy accident, so I’ll go with mini vegetable pie bakes.

The best two combos I’ve made so far are spinach, parsley, spring onion, leek and kale, OR kale, leek, courgette and green pepper.

Whatever you use, chop or shred it up pretty small before chucking it in a pan with a little olive oil and sauté until it’s all soft (and shrunken). If you use corugette, just chop it thinly into slices and leave it to one side.

For 4 portions about 1 large leek, 100g spinach and 80g of kale is enough.

  
Once you’re done with the veg, put it into an oven-proof dish, or mini dishes if you’re making small portions. Crack some eggs in a bowl (about 3 for a pie that’ll give 4 portions. I used one for the two little ones below), whisk them until combined and pour over the veg. Use a fork to make sure all the liquid soaks through. If you use courgette, layer it on top at the point.

Then the best bit- THE CHEESE. Crumble feta or goat cheese on the top of your greens, chuck some black pepper on, then bake.

About 25 minutes is sufficient for little pots, but if you make a big old batch, it might need longer to make sure everything cooks nicely inside. The egg sticks everything together, and makes a glaze that keeps it all whole, and the cheese makes a nice crispy topping- once it’s brown it’s likely ready to exit the oven.

Bloody delicious. 

A recipe for the weekend- chocolate slabs with no refined sugar

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I’m two and a half weeks in to my new life as a recovering sugar addict. It’s not been that eventful, although I have noticed positive improvements to Ehlers-Danlos symptoms- anyone with a chronic condition, try reducing your sugar and see what happens. It’s also done wonders for my skin. Giving up everything sweet and nice is NOT easy though, but you obviously don’t need to just stop eating tasty things. You just have to google ‘things that are nice and contain no refined sugar’, which is exactly what I did.

Someone recently pointed me in the direction of a recipe from Livia’s Kitchen, which contained no refined sugar, gluten or dairy. I used to roll my eyes at things described as ‘raw’’ and ‘all natural’ because I was too busy sitting in my sugary bubble, stuffing Haribo in my mouth and queuing for coffees with syrup shots, all the while still suffering really quite badly with a out of control chronic illness and endless list of symptoms- some of these are genuinely better since I started this.

As soon as I saw Livia’s photos of what looked a bit like millionaire’s shortcake and was described as a ‘Snickers slice’, I was all in.

I modified the recipe a bit, as I think these things can work with a variety of ingredients, and you may as well do it to your taste preference. If you’re trying to be better at cutting out sugar and bad snacks, I cannot recommend these enough. They take no form of baking skill whatsoever, as they’re just essentially mushed together, and they taste delicious. Just like a peanut caramel shortcake but with a coconut twist.

I haven’t changed my recipe that much from the original, but the coconut I added was delicious. I also made them again and used Hazlenuts and it was almost like a Nutella slab, which is obviously an enormous win.

Base

  • 100g ground rolled oats or oat flour
  • 20g desicated coconut
  • 125g ground almonds OR hazlenuts
  • 30ml maple syrup
  • 10ml Manuka honey
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil

Peanut Caramel

  • 350g dates
  • 95g peanut butter
  • ½ tsp vanilla powder
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 40g peanuts (Toasted preferably or raw)

Raw Chocolate

  • 100g coconut oil
  • 60g cacao Powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla Powder
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup (50ml)
  • 1 tbsp honey

As Livia instructs, you just make these by creating each layer and popping them in the freezer before adding the next. check our her website for lots of other treats. She’s on to something.

Because Thai food is important- How to make a delicious green curry

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Thai food is like, the boss of all food. I never thought anything could overtake my strong feelings of true love towards Indian, but then I went to Thailand and everything changed. I’ve wanted to learn how to make a good Thai curry ever since I got back and this is the tastiest, easiest, healthiest way to do it. It also impresses people when you can whip up something using all manner of torn up leaves, lemongrass sticks and other exotic things like coconut milk. SO cultured.

You need:

Lemongrass (1 stalk is enough)

Kaffir lime leaves (these are pricey so you can just use lime zest, it works really well)

A handful of corriander

3 chicken breasts chopped up small

Babycorn

Green beans

Coriander

Any other veg you fancy, GO WILD

Thai Green curry paste

Coconut milk 400ml

Lime juice (1 lime should do fine)

Jasmine Rice

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This is basically so easy once you do it once you never need to follow a recipe again.

Essentially just cook the chicken for a couple of minutes in a dash of oil, then add two big dollops of the curry paste (Wholefoods do delicious Thai pastes for about £2) and the lemongrass stalk. Bash the top of the stalk so the flavour comes up and then chuck it in whole. You also need to rip the lime leaves into pieces (I use about 5) and throw these in. Mix these together on a high heat for about a minute, then pour in the coconut milk. Add the veg and let the concoction simmer for around 25 minutes. It should become slightly thicker, but not much. Just before the 25 minutes is up, squeeze in the lime juice and chuck the coriander in.

Thai should always be served with Jasmine rice. For the stickyness. And just because that’s what they do in Thailand and who are we to argue?

VOILA. CURRY. ENJOY. YUM. HEALTHY.

Oh and shall we just admire Thailand for a second? That blue t-shirty spec in the sea is my boyfriend.

hh