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Category Archives: lunch

Lyle’s Chicken Satay Skewers

I was recently sent a lovely sample of goodies from Tate & Lyle, including the wonderful jam sugar I easily turned into strawberry and prosecco jam.  The tin of black treacle intrigued me, along with the bbq recipes using it.

I’d never thought about using black treacle with savoury dishes. I was tempted by the char-cooked courgette and pepper bruschetta as well as the treacle and spice marinated pork steaks, but decided to first try the chicken satay skewers.

LylesChickenSataySkewers

Lyle’s original recipe uses peanut butter and also uses the black treacle marinade in an accompanying salad. I substituted the peanut butter with almond butter to be allergy-friendly and was a bit rushed with guests arriving to try the salad.

The recipe is very quick and easy, and even though I only managed to marinate the chicken for half the time, it was super tasty and wolfed down by our guests!

I’ll definitely be experimenting more with black treacle after discovering how much more versatile it is than I knew.

All of Lyle’s black treacle recipes can be found here.

Chicken Satay Skewers

Prep Time 10 mins, plus 2-3 hours to marinate
Cook Time 15 mins
Serves 4

2 tbsp Lyle’s Black Treacle
100g nut butter (I used almond)
4 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp lemon juice
500g skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks

Put the black treacle into a large mixing bowl (not a metal one) with the nut butter, chilli sauce, soy sauce and lemon juice. Spoon half this mixture into a small serving bowl, stir in 2 tbsp just-boiled water, then cover and set aside to serve with the cooked skewers.

Add the chunks of chicken to the rest of the satay sauce in the bowl. Mix well, then cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours (or overnight, if preferred).

When ready to cook, preheat the barbecue or grill. Thread the chicken onto soaked wooden kebab sticks or skewers. Barbecue or grill, turning often, for 8-10 minutes, or until the chicken is done. (Test with a sharp knife – there should be no trace of pink juices).

Serve the chicken skewers with the reserved satay sauce.

Disclosure: I received a tin of Lyle’s Black Treacle to try out this recipe. My opinions are honest and my own. 

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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?

International Talk Like a Pirate Day 2014

Pirate Pucco

Ahoy me hearties!

Yo ho ho and shiver me timbers, today be t’ best day o’ t’ year. Arr, aye, today be ‘International Talk Like a Pirate’ Day!

T’ celebrate I made Captain Nicholas a swashbuckling lunch with an extra surprise for snack time. Aye, dressin’ up like a pirate be one o’ his favourite things t’ do, so he was happy with his booty. Later he told he especially loved the jolly roger flag.

pirate lunch

pirate apple - aarrr!

The pirate schooner and sail are cut from a ham, cheese and spinach sandwich with a cheese mast on a sea of lettuce. I drew a jolly roger and the portholes with edible ink pens, and added a side of cherry tomatoes.

I precut the apple to make it easier for Nicholas to eat and put the pieces back together held with a rubber band to stop the pieces going brown. I then drew on the pirate face with an edible ink.

Batten down t’ hatches and happy Pirate Day to ye!

Eats-Amazing-Fun-Food-Friday

I’m linking our pirate lunch up to Eats Amazing’s Fun Food Friday, a weekly round-up of fun and creative food.

 

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

Beetroot and yogurt risotto

Beetroot is a vegetable I’ve only grown to love cooking with recently, most probably as I’ve previously written, my experience of it growing up was ready-cooked, sliced and in tins.

When it’s in season, beetroot features a lot in our weekly delivered fruit and vegetable box, and that’s encouraged me to try using it in different ways. I’ve blogged my most successful recipes to date: beetroot, feta and thyme muffins, pink (beetroot) pancakes and beetroot and yogurt dip. The dip is what got me thinking about making a beetroot risotto.

beetroot and yogurt risotto

Cook your beetroot in your preferred way (or buy it precooked to cook down on preparation time). I like wrapping them in one piece of foil and roasting them in the oven; there’s no need to trim or chop them. Once they’ve cooled, it’s easy to remove the skin. You can also cook them in the microwave.

Surprisingly, this risotto doesn’t taste overly of earthy beetroot and the yogurt gives it a lovely (healthier) richness and creaminess without adding the usual extra butter and parmesan at the end. Kids (and adults) will love the colour and Nicholas happily ate it. I used red wine to add to the colour and liked the extra depth of flavour it gave, but white wine would work just as well.

BEETROOT AND YOGURT RISOTTO

Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 20-25 mins
Serves 4 adults

400g cooked and peeled beetroot
1 tbsp olive oil
15g butter
1 onion, finely diced
350g risotto rice (I used Carnaroli)
250ml red wine
1 litre hot vegetable (or chicken) stock
150g Greek yogurt

Roughly chop the beetroot, put the pieces in a small food processor and blend until smooth.

Heat the oil and butter in a medium-sized pot over a medium-low heat. Add the onion and gently fry until softened.

Add the rice and quickly stir it so all the grains are coated. Add the wine and stir until it’s absorbed.

Start adding the stock a ladle at a time, letting it absorb then adding more. Keep doing this until the rice is ready (cooked but still with a little bite, about 15-20 minutes, and still moist). Remove from the heat.

Gently stir through the beetroot then the yogurt. Check for seasoning.

Tip: keep a small piece of beetroot aside and finely dice it to sprinkle over the top before serving.

What are you favourite ways of cooking with beetroot?

Mini savoury bread puddings

When we were doing our Kingsmill Great White Challenge, I didn’t just want to eat bread in sandwiches or as toast. After a quick search online for ideas, I decided to try making savoury bread puddings.

Not only are these puddings a brilliant way to use up older bread, but they’re also great to use up any crusts or end pieces that your family doesn’t like eating. I have a few bags in my freezer of crusts leftover from school lunches which I would normally make into sugar-free French toast, but now I think they’ll be made into savoury bread puddings!

Please excuse my approximate amounts in the recipe. This is a very forgiving recipe, so even just 2 sausages would work. The only important thing is making sure there is enough liquid to moisten all of your bread chunks.

I made my savoury puddings in a large muffin pan, but you could easily pour all the mixture into a loaf tin and eat it in slices instead.

To get your munchkins involved in the cooking, forget about cutting up the bread and get them tearing it up instead. And I’m sure they’ll love mixing all the ingredients together too.

cute food

MINI SAVOURY BREAD PUDDINGS

Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 30-40 mins
Makes 6 mini puddings

1/2 onion, finely diced
3 or 4 uncooked sausages
1 cup milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 tbsp fresh herbs such as parsley, thyme or chives, chopped
salt and pepper
approx. 4 slices of bread, roughly chopped into cubes about 3cm square
oil of your choice (I used rapeseed oil)
extra cheddar cheese for sprinkling on top

Preheat oven to 180C.

Remove the casings from the sausages by cutting down the length of the sausages and peeling off the casings.

Heat a small amount of oil in a medium-sized frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and sausage, and cook for about 5 minutes until both are cooked, stirring to break up the sausage meat. Take off the heat and allow to cool a little.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix the milk, egg, 1/4 cup of grated cheese, chopped herbs, and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Add the sausage mixture and then stir through the bread (if the mixture is quite wet and runny, add a little more bread; if there isn’t enough liquid to soak through the bread, add a little more milk).

Allow the bread to soak up the liquid while you lightly grease a large muffin pan.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan, sprinkle over a little extra cheddar cheese and cook for 30-40 minutes until golden brown on top and cooked through.

If you want to make your mini puddings into turtles, use half a cherry tomato for the head and pieces of soft cheese triangles for its legs and little tail. His mouth is a small piece of soft cheese and his eyes are cress leaves. I also garnished the plate with cress (grown by Nicholas!).

Variations:

  • Bake the mixture into a loaf tin and eat in slices
  • Add some grated apple while you’re cooking the onion and sausage
  • Use bacon or uncooked ham instead of the sausage
  • Add some chopped fresh spinach to the finished mixture

What do you do with your leftover bread?

Making Food Fun… Easily

Making Food FunToday I’m very honoured to be guest blogging over at Snotty Noses, the wonderful blog of Dr Orlena Kerek, a mum of four and a paediatrition.

I’ve written a post with, hopefully, useful and easy ideas for making food fun for your little ones, encouraging them to eat more.

Read my post here.