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Category Archives: snack

Banana and nutella muffins

Hannah at Mums’ Days has made a fabulous list of recipes to use up browning bananas. Her 10 ways to use up old bananas includes banana milkshakes and smoothies, banana gelato, banana pancakes, banana bread and also my sugar-free flapjacks (which is without a doubt the most popular recipe on my blog).

Yesterday I needed a ‘pick-me-up’ and seeing the bananas in my fruit bowl that looked like they were very close to walking to the bin on their own, I thought of Hannah’s list, especially The Londoner’s Nutella swirl banana muffins. Perfect!

Banana and nutella muffins

Even though I wanted to eat something indulgent I couldn’t help myself from trying to make Rosie’s original recipe slightly healthier. So I reduced the sugar by a third and substituted some of the white self-raising flour with wholemeal. For muffins, the slightly heavier and denser cousins of cupcakes, you can definitely get away with adding some healthier wholemeal flour.

My taste-testers made no comment about the lack of sugar (and hubby ALWAYS comments if something I make isn’t sweet enough in his opinion). The fact that very ripe bananas are super sweet, plus the addition of Nutella makes it very easy to reduce the sugar content significantly without losing the necessary sweetness needed for it still to be a sweet treat.

I do love Nutella, in particular for how little you can add of it to make something seem much more indulgent than it is. I like adding it to porridge as only half a teaspoon makes the porridge taste wonderfully chocolatey and incredibly indulgent.

When I showed the muffins going into the oven yesterday on Instagram, one of my lovely IG friends asked if I’d tried Lindt ball muffins. I’d forgotten seeing them and was very glad I had! But if you need a more indulgent muffin, why not try popping a Lindt ball into the centre rather than the Nutella; I’m sure they would be divine.

BANANA AND NUTELLA MUFFINS

Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 20-25 mins
Makes 12 muffins

115g unsalted butter
80g wholemeal self-raising flour
150g white self-raising flour
100g caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3 very ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 tbsp Nutella, at room temperature

Gently melt the butter (I prefer to use the microwave) and leave to cool.

Heat the oven to 180C and lightly grease your muffin tins (or line with paper cases).

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the wholemeal and white flours, the sugar and salt.

In a jug (or smaller mixing bowl), whisk together the melted butter, beaten eggs, mashed bananas and vanilla extract.

Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined (mixing too much can make your muffins dense and chewy).

Divide the mixture evenly between the muffin tin holes (they’ll be about half to three-quarters full depending on the size of your tin). Add a small dollop of Nutella on top of each muffin and use a skewer (or knife) to swirl it through the muffin (not too much or you won’t see any swirls).
banana and Nutella muffins

Bake for 20-25 mins until golden and cooked through when tested with a skewer.

Variations:

  • instead of Nutella, place a piece of chocolate (or Lindt ball!) in the centre of each muffin before baking to make oozing chocolate banana muffins
  • add 1 tsp of ground cinnamon to the mashed banana
  • make banana and Nutella bread/cake by cooking the mixture in a loaf or cake tin

Tip: if your Nutella is still rather hard at room temperature, either place the jar into a sink of hot water or pop the jar (without its lid) in the microwave and zap at a low temperature for intervals of 10 seconds each until it’s slightly runny.

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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?

Yogurt Week: Yogurt-filled strawberry apples

Yogurt Week: Yogurt-filled strawberry apples

We’re heading towards the end of Yogurt Week, but you still have until June 9th to enter the Food Stylist competition.

Yogurt Week 2014These yogurt-filled strawberries are a yummy quick snack or dessert that really aren’t any more time-consuming than chopping up strawberries and serving them with yogurt. Really!

I thought it would be fun to turn them into something else, so we have strawberry apples. Not quite in the same league as Heston Blumenthal’s meat fruit, but they’re still fun!

If you don’t want to turn your strawberries into apples, you could grate a little chocolate over the top (or simply plop a chocolate chip on top) or you could crumble a bit of biscuit over the top for a different take on a healthy strawberry cheesecake (you’re with me on the last one, right?!).

However you have them, they’re a yummy little healthy snack to pop into your mouth.

Yogurt WeekWash your strawberries and pat them dry. Slice the tops off, then using a small spoon (or the tip of a sharp knife), scoop out the inside of the strawberry. If you want them to stand up, also slice a small piece off the bottom.

Fill the hollowed out strawberries with yogurt and decorate as you prefer.

To make strawberry apples, cut out leaf shapes from a green apple or pear, and stems from licorice, and position them in the yogurt.

Eats-Amazing-Fun-Food-FridayI’m linking my yogurt-filled strawberries up to Eat’s Amazing Fun Food Friday, a weekly round up of fun and creative food.

Yogurt Week: Beetroot and Yogurt Dip

This is a super easy, super quick and healthy dip, celebrating the versatility of yogurt.

My often fussy little eater kept wanting to taste this as we made it. The wonderfully vibrant colour appeals to little eyes, just be careful of beetroot stains! If serving this to a little eater, give them a variety of foods in different colours to dip in. You can also use it as a spread in sandwiches or wraps.

You still have plenty of time to celebrate Yogurt Week as well as enter the exciting Food Stylist competition (details in my last post). Did you know there is enough plain yogurt sold in the UK every year to make at least 616 million kormas?!

Yogurt Week

BEETROOT AND YOGURT DIP

Prep time: 5-10 mins
Cook time: 0 minutes!
Makes 4 servings

250g cooked beetroot, peeled and chopped into chunks
70g Greek yogurt
A pinch of cumin
Salt and pepper to taste

Put everything into a mini food processor and blitz until smooth. Taste and add more seasoning and cumin if needed.

Other uses:

  • use as a pasta sauce by stirring through hot cooked pasta
  • serve over rice
  • use as a crepe filling

Yogurt Week 2014Disclosure: I was compensated by The Yogurt Council to promote Yogurt Week.

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.

 

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.

Carrot and cumin dip

Nicholas, who doesn’t like carrots, has really enjoyed the ‘orange dip’ we’ve been eating for most of this week, as have both hubby and I. We’ve dipped in various vegetables and also had it spread on flat bread.

vegetable

It’s quick and super easy to make, and would be perfect party food as you can easily make a lot of it. This is definitely a recipe I’m going to be making lots more of in the future, and not just because it’s a stress-free way of getting Nicholas to eat carrots.

The original recipe is from Taste.com.au and makes 8 servings using 1 kilo of carrots. I quartered the recipe (if you can say that!) and it produced 2 very generous adult servings.

The amount of cumin in the original recipe and mine is conservative, giving just a mild flavour which is perfect for little ones. If you’re making this for adults, I’d add more.

CARROT AND CUMIN DIP

Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 5-30 mins (depending on how your cook the carrots)
Makes 2 very generous adult servings
Can be made up to 2 days ahead and stored in an airtight container in the fridge

250g carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
15ml (3 tsp) olive oil
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 small garlic clove, crushed
Salt and pepper

Cook the carrots your preferred way (I steamed them in the microwave).

Put the carrot, oil, cumin and garlic in a mini food processor, and process until smooth (this can take a little while and you need to keep scarping down the sides of the bowl).

Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Eats-Amazing-Fun-Food-FridayI’m linking up to Eat’s Amazing Fun Food Friday, a weekly round-up of fun and creative food. Check out the other fun creations on Grace’s blog.