RSS Feed

Category Archives: breakfast

Strawberry and prosecco jam

Here in the UK seeing an abundance of plump strawberries doesn’t just mean summer is here, but that it’s Wimbledon. Did you know they get through more than 23 tonnes of strawberries every year at the tennis tournament?

Strawberries have been know in Europe since Roman times when they were used to help bad breath and labour pains. They have anti-inflammatory properties, are an excellent source of vitamin C and have a good amount of potassium. Do you need any other excuses to eat them?

Strawberries and Jam

Well, when I was sent a selection of recipes to try from Tate & Lyle, the first one that jumped out was strawberry and prosecco jam. How could that combination not be delicious?

I’d never made jam before but knew that some fruits, like strawberries, cherries and grapes, only have small amounts of pectin making it more difficult for the jam to gel. But Tate & Lyle have solved this issue with their Jam Sugar which has added pectin to ensure a perfect set.

I’ve discovered making jam is actually easy! And having a few jars of homemade jam on hand is great not only for lazy Sunday breakfasts but perfect to impress your guests for afternoon tea, either dolloped on scones or in a Victorian sponge.

Strawberry & Prosecco Jam -low

Being a novice jam-maker, I did rather a lot of reading about jam-making. There’s quite a lot of debate about how much sterilising is needed for the jam jars as well as how to seal them properly.

Whatever method you use, you do need to sterilise your jars properly, and it’s also important to put the jam into hot jars while the jam is still piping hot.

I boiled my filled jars of jam. Many people online say this isn’t necessary to properly seal the jars and that it’s enough to turn the jars upside down while they’re still hot and leave them this way until they’re completely cool. I wanted to make sure any bacteria that might have gotten into the jar while filling them was killed as well as ensuring a tight seal on the jars.

To boil your filled jars you just need to put them in a large pot, completely cover them with water, bring to the boil and then boil for 10 mins. Carefully take them out of their water bath and leave to cool. As they cool, you’ll hear pops as the air comes out and the jars completely seal.

Whichever method you use, check the seals on the jars when they’re cool and use any that haven’t sealed well first.

But how does this jam taste? Absolutely delicious! While the added prosecco is subtle, it gives the jam another layer of flavour. And the added bonus is you’re just going to have to drink the leftover alcohol – what a shame!

Strawberry and Prosecco Jam

Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15-20 mins
Makes 5 x 450g jars

150ml prosecco
1kg Tate & Lyle Jam Sugar
1kg strawberries, hulled

Put the prosecco, sugar and strawberries into a large heavy-based pot and place over a low heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.

Increase the heat and boil steadily for 10 minutes, taking care to keep an eye on the jam to ensure that it doesn’t boil too rapidly.

Meanwhile, sterilize your jars by washing them in hot soapy water, rinsing well, then placing them in a low oven at 150°C/Fan 130°C/Gas Mark 2 for 10 minutes.

Test the jam for setting point. To check, remove the saucepan from the heat, spoon a little jam onto a cold plate and leave for 2 minutes – it should wrinkle softly when your finger is pushed over the surface. If this point has not been reached, return the saucepan to the heat and continue to boil for another 2 minutes. Test as before until setting point is reached. (You may need to test several times, though be patient, as this testing is crucial to achieve the correct consistency).

Pour the hot jam into the warm sterilised jars. Leave to cool, then seal and label.

Store in a cool dark place. Once open, keep in the fridge.

StrawberryandProseccoJam

Tip: Chill a stack of small plates in the fridge, so that you have a few lined up for checking the setting point. You can also use a thermometer; the setting point for jam is 105c (220F).

More yummy Tate & Lyle recipes using their jam sugar can be found here.

Disclosure: I received a packet of Tate & Lyle’s Jam Sugar to try out this recipe. My opinions are honest and my own. 

Advertisements

Spinach frittata

SpinachFrittata_TBCP_2

As you know I’m in the midst of doing The Body Confidence Program. Because it’s a high-protein diet that doesn’t allow dairy and greatly limits fruit, the biggest change to get used to has been at breakfast time.

To be honest, after 6 weeks I’m still struggling having to cook breakfast most mornings instead of throwing together my usual granola with yogurt and fruit, or grabbing overnight oats from the fridge. But, I have to admit, a cooked breakfast full of protein definitely keeps me going, without my tummy wanting a snack, right up to lunchtime.

One of my favourite breakfast options on the program is the spinach frittata. Surprisingly tasty for such few ingredients, after you’ve made it a couple of times it’s very quick and easy to make even first thing in the morning. Before starting the program I would have been tempted to throw in some bacon and possibly some cheese as well. Trust me; it doesn’t need any additions at all.

You can easily halve the recipe to make just one serving, but leftovers can be eaten cold or quickly heated up for another breakfast, an easy lunch or even a snack.

Spinach frittata

Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
Serves 2

1 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
50g spinach
4 eggs
60 ml almond milk
pink Himalayan salt and ground black pepper to taste
pinch of paprika (optional)

Preheat your grill to high.

In a medium ovenproof frying pan, melt the coconut oil over a medium heat.

Add the onion and cook until just starting to brown. Add the spinach and toss for a minute or two to wilt, then remove from the heat and set aside.

Beat the eggs in a bowl and whisk in the almond milk. Add salt, pepper and paprika (if using).

Put your pan back on the heat. Evenly spread the onion and spinach in the pan and gently pour in the eggs. Cook until you see the mixture start to set at the bottom of the pan with the top still quite runny. Immediately turn the heat off.

Place the frying pan under the grill for 2 to 3 minutes or until the frittata is golden and cooked through.

Serve either hot or cold.

SpinachFrittata_TBCP_1

What are your favourite breakfast dishes that keep you going till lunchtime?

Olive oil granola – the lazy way

OliveOilGranola2

I love a good crunchy granola for breakfast, balanced with some tangy yogurt and topped with sweet fruit like strawberries – yum! Making it yourself is not only easy, but means you can tailor  it to perfectly match your taste buds (or adapt it to fit what you have in your cupboard).

There are many recipes out there for olive oil granola and mine is very similar – start with your oats, add a selection of yummy nuts and seeds plus some spice of your choice then top with olive oil and sweetener.

What is different is how I prepare it, in a very lazy way, avoiding extra bowls and jugs to wash as well as keeping my hands clean! I think it’s also a quicker way to get all the granola goodies together and who doesn’t want to save time?

OliveOilGranola1

Of course measuring out ingredients uses bowls, but once you’ve made this once or twice you can be brave and do it by sight without measuring. And this is a recipe where you don’t have to be exact in the quantities.

You can use whatever nuts and seeds you like; stay simple with just a few or add lots of different ones. I prefer almonds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds, but also add cashews and golden linseed sometimes. Walnuts and pecans, broken up a little, work well, as do flaked almonds.

You can also easily add some dried fruit, like raisins, sour cherries or goji berries, at the end to the toasted mixture.

Olive oil granola – the lazy way

Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 40-45 mins

300g rolled oats, preferably jumbo
75g skin-on almonds
50g pumpkin seeds
25g sunflower seeds
1 tsp cinnamon
100ml extra-virgin olive oil (or melted coconut oil)
100ml sweetener of your choice (I use 50ml each of maple syrup and honey)
2 tsp vanilla extract

Heat oven to 150C.

Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Spread the oats evenly on the prepared tray. Add the almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and cinnamon, and mix with a large spoon or spatula.

OliveOilGranolaPrep

OliveOilGranolaPrep1

Pour over the olive oil, sweetener and vanilla and mix well.

Spread the mixture evenly over the tray and put in the oven for 20 minutes.

Take the tray out of the oven and mix the granola to keep it toasting evenly.

Put it back in the oven for another 20 minutes or until it’s golden to your liking.

OliveOilGranolaPrep2

Leave to cool. Break up any large chunks if necessary and store in an airtight container.

Eat with milk or a dollop of yogurt and top with your favourite fruit, or simply devour it as is!

Variations:

  • try different spices like ginger or cardamon
  • add dried fruit such as dried sour cherries, goji berries, raisins, etc after the toasted granola has cooled
  • add a pinch of salt when adding the spices

 

What’s your favourite way to eat granola?

Chocolate overnight oats

Who wants to eat fluffy chocolate mousse for breakfast? Ok, so there are some (strange) people out there who don’t like chocolate, my hubby included, but I hope most of you will reply with a deafening ‘YES PLEASE!’

I get sick of having the same things for breakfast, but not being a morning person I find it difficult most mornings to even decide what I want to eat, let alone make it. That’s why I love overnight oats. Prepared the night before, all I have to do the next morning is take them out of the fridge and devour them.

For me, this recipe makes enough for three days and keeps well in the fridge in a covered container. I get my chocolate fix first thing and start the day with a filling breakfast. It’s a win-win!

ChocolateOvernightOats

Chocolate overnight oats

Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 0 mins 🙂
Makes 2-3 servings

50g (1/2 cup) rolled oats
250g (1 cup) plain Greek yogurt
120ml (1/2 cup) your choice of milk
20g (3 tbsp) unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp of your choice of sweetener (honey, maple syrup, etc.)
extra yogurt and chocolate sprinkles to serve (optional)

Add all the ingredients to a lidded container or jar and mix until combined. Cover and leave overnight in the fridge.

The next morning, stir and serve with an extra dollop of yogurt and some chocolate sprinkles.

What’s your favourite type of overnight oats?

I’m linking up to Honest Mum‘s Tasty Tuesdays, a weekly list of fabulous recipes.

Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

Aussie saltbush damper

This week’s Great British Bake Off was all about bread, something I have a love/hate relationship with when it comes to baking it.

I used to love baking bread and wasn’t too bad at it, then came a period where it never seemed to go right. The only bread I tend to make at the moment are these bread rolls which are super easy and very slightly adapted from my friend Barbara’s recipe. If you’re at all interested in baking bread you must check our her wonderful blog all about bread and things that accompany it.

I tried to face my bread demons with an attempt at baking an amazingly pink beetroot bread. What I learnt was I must always check the type of yeast I’m using and how it’s meant to be activated! My bread was a fabulous colour but didn’t rise properly and so didn’t cook properly.
My beetroot bread failure

I wasn’t sure I’d manage to try some more bread as we’re going on holidays at the weekend, so there’s the usual pre-holiday panic of packing and getting on top of work. But when I was putting away the Aussie herbs and spices hubby brought back from a business trip quite a while ago, the jar of saltbush caught my eye, in particular when I read the label explaining its use in damper.

Damper is a traditional Australian bread, typically baked in the coals of a campfire and gets its name because the fire is damped to then cook the bread amongst the hot coals. Damper can also be wrapped around a stick and cooked over a fire.

Originally made by stockman who might be in the outback for weeks or months with only basic provisions, it consisted simply of flour and water without any raising agent. Now people tend to use self-raising flour or add baking powder, as well as add butter and milk to the dough.

Saltbush is a very hardy long-living shrub that doesn’t mind droughts and is very common in the dry inland of Australia. As its name suggests, its dried leaves have a salty ‘herby’ taste which were used in the past along with the ground roasted seeds by indigenous Australians mainly to flavour damper.

I decided to do a dairy-free take on a modern damper recipe using the saltbush for an authentic outback flavour.

dairy-free

AUSSIE SALTBUSH DAMPER

Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 30-35 mins
Makes 8 servings

250g plain self-raising flour
200g wholemeal self-raising flour
2 tsp saltbush
1 tsp salt
100ml oil (I used extra virgin olive oil)
300ml cold water
1/4 tsp saltbush, extra

Heat the oven to 200C and line an oven tray with baking paper.

In a food processor, combine the plain and wholemeal flours, saltbush, salt and oil until the oil is fairly evenly distributed.

With the motor running, pour in the water a little at a time until the dough has just come together in a ball (you might not need all the water).

Tip the dough out onto a floured surface and very briefly knead (about 1 minute) then form into a round shape.

Place the dough onto your prepared tray. Dip a sharp knife into flour and score the top in a star pattern to create 8 wedges. Sprinkle the extra saltbush over the top.

Bake for 30-35 minutes until lightly golden and when you tap the bottom it sounds hollow.

Cool on a wire rack for a few minutes.

Best eaten warm as a large chunk in your hand, with lashings of butter and perhaps some good cheese or a bowl of soup on the side.
dairy-free damper bread

Variations:

  • omit the saltbush (difficult to get outside Australia) and replace with chopped fresh rosemary
  • sprinkle with Parmesan before baking
  • add chunks of cheese to the dough when kneading for a cheesy damper
  • use beer instead of the water to get a yeasty flavour
  • use your hands instead of the food processor to mix the dough (great for little ones to get involved)

Please share some of your easy/foolproof bread recipes so I can beat my bread demon!

I’m joining in with the Great Bloggers Bake Off. Visit Mummy Mishaps to see some more successful attempts than mine at leavened bread!
gbbo-badgesmallI’m also linking up to Supergolden Bake’s #CookBlogShare party.
cookblogshare

The most important meals of their lives

For children in Africa, breakfast isn’t just the most important meal of their day, but it could also be the most important meal of their lives. Starting the day with a full tummy gives them the energy to go to school and the energy to concentrate on learning. Education has the power to break the cycle of poverty; it can turn despair into hope.

The UK charity, Send A Cow, have published an e-book celebrating the importance of the first meal of the day as part of their Break…Fast appeal to help children in the poorest parts of Africa start each day with hope, potentially changing their lives. The Most Important Meal of their Lives features women and men who have made remarkable achievements. These women and men, who changed the lives of others dramatically, all had the choice to eat breakfast. If they hadn’t started every day with a full tummy, would they have changed the world? Maybe not.

Send a Cow researched what these great people liked to eat for breakfast, writing down the recipes for the food that helped them reach their potential. Now you can also start the day just like some of history’s greatest women and men, including Nelson Mandela, Winston Churchill, Thomas Edison, Mother Theresa and the Apollo 11 astronauts.

If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen my versions of some of the Most Important Meals over the last few weeks. Here are some of them. I also breakfasted like Amelia Earhart and Jane Austin.

Mahatma Gandhi secured independence for India and inspired freedom movements all over the world. When he was in London, he liked to eat porridge and cocoa.

Send A Cow Most Important Meals of their Lives

My peaceful breakfast:

Send A Cow Most Important Meals of their Lives

Albert Einstein believed in the benefits of a vegetarian diet. When he lived in Germany he liked eating fried eggs for breakfast with something drizzled over them (download the book to find out what!).

Send A Cow Most Important Meals of their Lives

My brainy breakfast (I was initially sceptical of what Einstein poured over the top, but it actually works very well):

Send A Cow Most Important Meals of their Lives

Rosa Parks became an icon in the battle against racial segregation when she bravely yet quietly refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white passenger. Her featherlite pancakes have an extra (very American) ingredient which make them very yummy (download the book to find out what it is!).

Send A Cow Most Important Meals of their Lives

My quietly strong breakfast:

Send A Cow Most Important Meal of their Lives

While the book is free to download, any donation you make, big or small, before the end of June 2014 will be doubled by the UK Government. Your donation will help Send A Cow provide seeds, tools and livestock so African families can grow enough food to feed themselves.

Tomorrow morning when you eat your breakfast, don’t take it for granted. Take a moment to think about the importance of food and take a moment to think about the power of food. Food has the power to change lives. Food has the power to change the world.

Read more about Send A Cow’s work.
Download The Most Important Meals of their Lives.
Make a donation to change the world.

Yogurt Week: Italian-inspired yogurt cake

Today is the first day of Yogurt Week, the UK’s first celebration of that wonderfully versatile dairy product and everything you can make with it.

Yogurt Week 2014What can’t you do with yogurt? Eat it on its own or add it to both sweet or savoury dishes, it’s a great way to add some creamy lusciousness without adding too many calories. It’s also a perfect first food for weaning babies.

With its power-boosting protein and bone-building calcium as well as a load of vitamins, it’s no wonder that in the UK we spent over £1.2 billion on yogurt in the last year (that’s £38 every second of every day!).

To celebrate yogurt, The Yogurt Council is running a Food Stylist Competition for those of you in the UK, with a £1,000 prize package up for grabs. All you need to do is create and style your own recipe using yogurt. The competition runs until Monday 9 June 2014 and more details can be found here.

Discover more about yogurt, and lots of yummy recipes using it, on the Yogurt Council’s website and follow @loveyogurtuk on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Yogurt Week

Yogurt Week has been the perfect excuse for me to experiment with making something I often ate while living in Italy and have been wanting to try to make for a while.

‘Plumcake allo yogurt’ is eaten for breakfast and also as a snack for little ones. I have no idea why it’s called ‘plumcake’, especially when it has no plums (or anything resembling plums) in it! Aside from the misuse of English, this Italian yogurt cake is lovely and light, and yummy both for breakfast or afternoon tea. If you make it with low or no fat yogurt, you can have absolutely no guilt eating it for breakfast (remind yourself of the protein and calcium you’re treating your body to).

It’s an amazingly quick and easy cake to make, it’s really just beating the ingredients together, and doesn’t leave you with many dirty things to wash. It also freezes very well.

In making my Italian-inspired cake, I’ve only used ingredients that are common here in the UK. I also added some lemon zest as I like the tangy freshness it gives to the cake. (When brutally honest Italian hubby tried it, he quickly pointed out that plumcake doesn’t have lemon!) It’s just as yummy with or without the lemon; why not try both versions and tell me your favourite.

ITALIAN-INSPIRED YOGURT CAKE

Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 40-45 mins
Makes 1 loaf
Freezable

250g Greek yogurt
100ml light-flavoured vegetable oil (I use rapeseed oil)
zest of 1 lemon (optional)
3 eggs
140g caster sugar
200g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 175C. Line a loaf tin with baking paper.

Put the yogurt, oil and lemon zest (if using) into a medium-sized mixing bowl.

Beat the eggs until they’re light and fluffy (a hand whisk is fine), then beat them into the yogurt mixture.

Add the sugar, flour, baking powder and salt, and lightly beat until combined.

Pour the mixture into your prepared loaf tin and bake for 40-45 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.

Tip: if the top of your cake is browning too much in the oven but it’s not cooked, cover the top with a piece of aluminium foil to protect it.

By the way, can you guess what the most popular yogurt flavour is in the UK?

Disclosure: I was compensated by The Yogurt Council to develop a recipe using yogurt and promote Yogurt Week.