Mediterranean Potatoes

When I lived in France, I experimented with veggie recipes and this is one that my kids loved and therefore they ate it quite often!

I included it in the free potato book (pdf) here if you’d like to download it or just copy the recipe below and give it a go. Super tasty and nutritious…

Mediterranean Potatoes

Ingredients

3 or 4 medium potatoes, scrubbed or peeled and diced
1 courgette (zucchini)
1 green pepper
1 medium onion
A handful of fresh chopped herbs (maybe a teaspoon-ish of dried herbs if no fresh available?)
The juice of 1 lemon
A little olive or nut oil

Method

  1. Boil or steam potatoes until just cooked. Drain well and set aside.
  2. While potatoes are cooking, slice the pepper into strips or cut into chunks, chop the onion and slice the courgette.
  3. Gently sauté the pepper, onion and courgette in the oil in a large pan until vegetables are soft.
  4. Stir in the cooked drained potatoes carefully, add the lemon juice and herbs.
  5. Stir gently over a low heat for a minute or two and serve immediately.

NB: Use up any odd bits of vegetables you have lurking in the fridge; e.g. a tomato or a few small broccoli or cauliflower florets.

Bon Appetit!

Linda x

Chocolate Leaves

Well, if it’s chocolate, it’s probably worth sharing, right?!

I found a few ways of making chocolate decorations but they get a bit fiddly sometimes, then when you think it’s working, one of the chocolate works of art snaps and has to be eaten… oh well 🙂

I haven’t tried making these chocolate leaves yet. I need to go to the shop – AGAIN!

Anyway, see what you think. Copied from The Chocolate Book by Valerie Barratt

Select non-toxic leaves for ‘molds’ with clearly defined veins. Rose, bay, strawberry and mint are all possible. Don’t use leaves that would otherwise be non-edible.

Wash the leaves gently and pat dry.

Melt some chocolate on a heatproof plate over a pan of hot water.

Holding the leaf by the stem, carefully dip the vein side only in the chocolate

  • Alternatively, melt chocolate in a bowl over a pan of hot water and use a small paintbrush to paint the chocolate on the veined side of the leaf.

Wipe off any chocolate that may have dripped onto the front of the leaf.

Place on non-stick or waxed paper to set.

When the chocolate is completely hard, carefully pull off the leaf by the stem

Et voila! A chocolate leaf ready to decorate a dessert or celebration cake.

Linda x

Viennese Chocolate Cookies

Still on a chocolate run 🙂

Loving the recipes in The Chocolate Book (Valerie Barrett). Some have lots of sugar but this one seems a little less heavy on the sugar. See what you think.

I’ve copied it word for word as it appears in the book and I’m typing very quickly because the kitchen is calling!

Ingredients
225g./8oz/1 cup of butter or margarine
50g./2oz /½ cup icing sugar
225g./8oz/2¼ cups of all-purpose plain flour
50g./2oz /½ cup drinking chocolate powder
25g/1oz/3 tablespoons of cornflour (cornstarch)
125g/4oz plain chocolate
A little icing sugar for dusting

Method
Preheat oven to 180˚C, 350˚F, Gas mark 4

  1. Cream together the butter or margarine and sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Work in the flour, drinking chocolate powder and cornflour
  3. Put the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a large star shaped nozzle. Pip in fingers (or shell-shapes) onto greased baking trays.
  4. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack
  5. Melt the chocolate. Dip half of each biscuit into the chocolate and leave to set on non-stick (waxed) paper.
  6. Dust the uncoated half with a little sieved icing sugar.

Enjoy!!
If all the chocolate’s gone, I’m not going to be a happy bunny… 😊
Linda x

Jaffa Cakes

I found this recipe in an old Chocolate Recipe book. I liked the fact that there isn’t a huge amount of sugar listed in the ingredients.

Most marmalades we buy in stores tend to be packed with sugar, but perhaps a low-sugar variety may be available? Or a home-made sugar-free filling could be used as an alternative. No rules here!


The recipe is written as originally published.

Ingredients (makes 18)
50g/2oz/¼ cup of sugar
65g/2½oz/⅔ cup of self-raising flour, sieved
Approx. 4 tablespoons/60ml. marmalade, sieved
125g/4oz plain chocolate
Rind of ¼ orange, finely grated
2 teaspoons/10ml. corn oil*
1 tablespoon/15ml. water
2 eggs

  • Perhaps another oil may be okay. I haven’t tried this recipe yet but I might try it with a nut oil.

Method
Preheat oven to 200˚C/400˚F/Gas 6

  1. Put eggs and sugar into a bowl. Whisk until thick and creamy so that when the whisk is lifted the mixture leaves a trail. If using a hand whisk, put the bowl over a pan of hot water.
  2. With a metal spoon, fold in the flour
  3. Spoon the mixture into about 18 well-greased round-bottomed patty tins (muffin pans). Bake for about ten minutes until golden brown.
  4. Remove and cool on a wire rack
  5. Spread a little marmalade over each cake.
  6. Put the chocolate, orange rind, oil and water in a bowl over a pan of hot water. Stir well until melted.
  7. Cool until the chocolate starts to thicken and then spoon over the marmalade. Leave to set.

Bon Appetit!
Linda x

P.S. I’d love to recommend the book I found this recipe in although I think it may be out of print. If you’d like to try and find it, it’s called ‘The Chocolate Book’ by Valerie Barrett and was published in 1988.

Cheese Soup Recipe

I love finding old interesting recipes and although I probably wouldn’t personally call this a ‘soup’, that’s what it was listed as in the Cassells Vegetarian Cookery book published in 1891 🙂

I quite like the idea of using stale bread in this way. Stale slices in my house tend to get ‘bread-and-butter pudding’ed’ or binned!

I’ve kept the original text but added a note or two…

Cheese Soup

Light-coloured and dry cheese is necessary for this somewhat peculiar soup, but the best cheese of all is, undoubtedly, Gruyère. Grate half a pound of cheese and spread a layer of this at the bottom of the soup-tureen. Cover this layer of cheese with some very thin slices of stale bread.

Then put another layer of cheese and another layer of bread till all the cheese is used up.

Next take about two tablespoonfuls of *brown roux, melt this in a small saucepan, and add two tablespoonfuls of chopped onion. Let the onion cook in the melted roux over the fire, and then add a **quart of water, and stir it all up till it boils, adding pepper and salt and a few drops of ***Parisian essence (burnt sugar) to give it a dark brown colour.

Now pour the boiling soup over the contents of the soup-tureen, and let it stand a few minutes so that the bread has time to soak, and serve.

*brown roux:
This recipe seems to assume you have a stock of brown roux available at any time 🙂 Generally a roux is made by melting fat in a saucepan and adding the equivalent weight of flour, stirring until smooth. Basically you want to land up with a smooth pourable sauce. Stir over a low-medium heat until brown.

Butter is usually used as the ‘fat’ ingredient but fats from meats can also be used. For the cheese soup I would probably go for butter but it’s your choice!

**A quart is 2 pints or approx. 1 litre

***Parisian Essence ?? – no idea but wouldn’t have thought it essential to the recipe

Bon Appetit!

Linda x

Chocolate Nougat Cake

I found this delicious sounding recipe in a very old book and wanted to share. I haven’t tried it yet but it looks fairly straightforward so I might have a go. I’ve re-written the recipe in today’s language as the original was probably written over 100 years ago, and they spoke different then 🙂

I can’t find the date of publication but there is a reference to White Mountain Cream and their factory was destroyed in 1881 although they may have rebuilt of course. The recipes in this book reference particular brands quite often and it’s sometimes hard to know what on earth they meant!

MISS FARMER’S CHOCOLATE NOUGAT CAKE

¼ a cup of butter,
1 ½ cups of powdered sugar,
1 egg,
1 cup of milk,
2 cups of bread flour,
3 teaspoonfuls of baking powder,
½ teaspoonful of vanilla,

2 squares of chocolate, melted,
½ a cup of powdered sugar,
2/3 a cup of almonds blanched and shredded.

  1. Cream the butter. Add one and a half cups of sugar gradually and then add unbeaten egg.
  2. When well mixed, add two-thirds of the milk
  3. Stir sifted flour and baking powder together. Add to the mixture with the vanilla. Mix together well.
  4. To melted chocolate add rest of powdered sugar, place on range (I’d probably do this in a bowl over boiling water), gradually add remaining milk and cook until smooth.
  5. Cool slightly and add to cake mixture. Bake fifteen to twenty minutes in round layer-cake pans.
  6. Put between layers and on top of cake *White Mountain Cream sprinkled with almonds.

*I think ‘White Mountain Cream’ may have been a whipping or double cream or possibly ice cream. Go with your choice or what you have available.*

Not sure that bread flour is necessary. I might try this with gluten free flour and perhaps substitute some of the sugar with honey. Also, nougat nowadays tends to have cherries and other fruits and nuts mixed in, so might try that as well. This is changing rapidly. Better go back to the original and see where we go with it:-)

Happy Baking!

Linda x

Gluten-Free Success!

glutenfree-pin

I’ve had some disasters lately with my gluten-free experiments, but today I got something right. 🙂
This banana bread is a recipe I created a couple of years ago but needed adapting to my store cupboard ingredients, so this is what I did…

In one large bowl, I stirred together

125g of gluten-free flour
3 teaspoons of baking powder
just over 75g of dried fruit mix (sultanas, dried peel)

Then in another fairly large bowl, I mixed (well)

2 large mashed ripe bananas
1 egg
2 dessertspoons maple syrup
4 dessertspoons milk
50g. melted butter

Then poured the wet ingredients into the dry and beat for about 15 seconds (just to get the mix well combined and incorporating some air)

Poured into a lined loaf tin and baked in a preheated oven (175degrees) for 33 minutes – 2 more minutes and the top would’ve been too brown. I lifted it out with the baking parchment lining and left it to cool on a wire tray until I couldn’t wait to cut it!

This is a really good ‘filler’ loaf/cake and the ingredients can be healthed-up a bit by using melted coconut oil instead of butter and honey instead of maple syrup.

And if you use a non-dairy milk this is a dairy-free, gluten-free and sugar-free recipe. And it’s delicious. The cut slice in the photo disappeared as soon as the photo was taken!

Bon Appetit!

Linda x

Nutrition

nutrition-pin

Well day two turned out to be nearly two weeks late! So much – and so little – going on right now on this crazy planet of ours.

Nourishment or nutrition was to be my next post so, chocolate aside, what can we eat to make us feel good and doesn’t require a cordon bleu diploma?

If you’re vegan you probably have all this stuff sussed by now. I haven’t managed the step yet as I don’t know quite how I would survive without eggs or honey, but there’s time, there’s time!

In my region, we’re not finding it easy to get basic foodstuffs (at affordable prices) and, having moved house fairly recently, I hadn’t yet stocked my food cupboards so I’m having to be very inventive when it comes to dinners. Some work out better than others. 🙂

If you can get hold of fresh veg and a few herbs though, soups go down well and a crusty loaf of bread will satisfy the carb cravings.

I like to make soups and one-pot meals – less washing-up! But also, when you make soup, you’re keeping the nutrients in, rather than draining them away after steaming or boiling. And the more nutrients we can get, at the moment especially, the better.

In the UK, we should be in asparagus season about now. Asparagus is probably my favourite veggie but tends to be expensive. Making soup seems to make it go further.

Note to self: Remember to get some asparagus crowns to plant!

Anyway, there’s a recipe below from  this page and I hope you enjoy it.

Aside from fresh vegetables, dried foods can help fill the gap. Pasta seems to have become one of the most bought items in the big supermarkets. Whether you buy wholemeal, plain or gluten-free pasta, there are a ton of recipes you could try that liven it up a bit. Make it as enjoyable as you can.

(I’m a fine one to talk as years of cooking for a big family made me a very lazy kitchen person.  Nutritious? – tick = throw it on a plate.)

But yesterday, I had a moment of madness and created a pasta bake out of random ingredients. Lots of prep but quite fun and definitely not hard! Apologies to vegans and vegetarians but this is what I did:

*Cooked the gluten-free pasta (for two servings), drained and put in a bowl.
*Steamed a handful of torn up kale
*Grilled 3 thin rashers of bacon, then cut into small pieces
*Boiled two eggs, peeled and chopped them
*Gently fried 2 chopped fresh tomatoes and 3 cloves of chopped garlic

Mixed all the cooked ingredients together in a bowl, then I made a plain white sauce, using cornflour and milk. Found a little cheddar, so grated that and stirred it into the white sauce until melted. Poured the sauce over the bowl of pasta mix and stirred it gently to coat everything.

Then I popped it in the oven – not too hot – for about 20-25 minutes. Serve with any green salad or veg you can rustle up.

It was interesting and tasted good but a little bland. I didn’t have any fresh herbs, but if you have some, definitely add them. But, mostly, use what you have in the cupboard, tinned sweetcorn and tuna go well together. Experiment!

So, the promised asparagus soup recipe…..

INGREDIENTS:
asparagus
butter or margarine
water or stock
seasoning
1 medium sized onion

METHOD:
1. Prepare asparagus and onion and cut into small pieces.
2. Melt butter in saucepan and add asparagus and onions. Cook gently until the vegetables start to soften. Keep the heat low and a careful eye open at this stage. Don’t burn the precious veggies!
3. Add stock and seasoning and bring to the boil. Simmer until vegetables are soft.
4. Either serve as a clear soup or puree the vegetables in a blender or through a sieve. Re-heat gently.

Bon Appetit!

Linda x

P.S. There’s a long list of family recipes here

 

Easter Eggs

EasterEggs-pin

We often have rain or even snow at Easter. This year, who knows what’s going to happen next?! But, if you have some time on your hands and are up for a challenge, I found this recipe in an old recipe book called ‘The Chocolate Book’ – I don’t think it’s still in print but if I find it I’ll add a link.

Do this on a day when you can use the egg for an omelette or cake etc; because the eggs are molds for this recipe.

Anyway, here goes…. (Very fiddly!)

Ingredients: (makes 4)

4 medium eggs
8oz. (225g.) plain or milk chocolate
3oz. (75g.) finely ground praline
2 tablespoons (30mls) cream

Decorations (all optional):
Icing to pipe
edible balls/flowers etc
coloured ribbon

Method:

1. Using an egg prick or pin, pierce a hole in the pointed end of each egg.
2. Using small scissors, carefully enlarge the hole to about 1cm (half and inch)
3. Using a cocktail stick or toothpick, push it into the hole to puncture the yolk. Shake the raw egg into a bowl.
4. Run water gently into the shells and shake until clean. Turn upside down and leave to dry.
5. Melt the chocolate. Stir in the praline and cream. Spoon or pour the mixture into the dry shells and leave to set.
6. When set, break the shell and decorate with icing or silver balls and flowers

Alternative:
When set, seal the holes with a small sticker and place face down in an egg box – probably be better to make six if you are doing this. Remember to increase the ingredients. Bon Appetit!

Stay safe and well,
Linda x

P.S. For grown-ups, you could add a little brandy or rum to the chocolate mixture 🙂

Carrot Recipe

carrotrecipe-pin

Carrots are thought to have been cultivated 5000 years ago in many different colours including red, yellow and purple varieties. The bright orange carrot we know and love today was developed in Holland in the 16th century when they crossed red and yellow varieties.

Carrots contain beta-carotene which is a form of vitamin A. One medium carrot will provide the recommended daily requirement of vitamin A for an average adult. They also contain vitamins B1 and B6, and are a healthy low calorie snack.

 

Try this delicious recipe

CARROT, ORANGE and ALMOND SOUP

Ingredients:
6 carrots, prepared and sliced
2 onions, chopped
4oz (100g.) ground almonds
1 orange
A little butter
seasoning
2 pints (1 litre or about 5 cups) vegetable (or chicken) stock

Method:
1. Melt the butter in a large pan and add the prepared carrots and onions
2. Cook gently for a few minutes until vegetables begin to soften. Don’t let them burn
3. Add the stock and seasoning to taste and bring to the boil
4. Reduce heat and simmer for about 40 minutes until vegetables are tender
5. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a minute or two
6. Blend quickly in a liquidizer or food processor and return to the pan
7. Finely grate half the peel of the orange and add to the soup with the almonds
8. Squeeze the juice from the orange and add to the pan
9. Re-heat gently for a few minutes and serve hot

Growing Carrots

One of the best things about growing your own food is that you can eat the fruits of your labour while very young and sweet! Make sure you remember to eat the tiny carrots you thin out from your lines. They are perfect in a salad bowl.

The recipe above is one of many veggie recipe ideas included in the new updated edition of Growing Everyday Vegetables – quick download and available in lots of online stores now!

Growing EverydayVegetables

Growing Everyday Vegetables

Amazon US , Amazon UK , Apple Bookstore , Kobo , Payhip , Barnes & Noble (Nook) , Etsy (Top featured listing),

Bon Appetit and Happy Gardening!
Linda x