Pink Juice – AKA Berry Green Smoothies

Food, food, food. It really is my nemesis.I love everything I’m not supposed to eat and can barely stand the things that are good for me. I go through ‘healthy’ periods and the rest of the time, not quite as much. Chatting to a friend recently, she said that she almost feels like she needs to ‘re-learn’ cooking and I nodded along vociferously. I feel exactly the same.

I have to learn again how to cook, what goes with what and most importantly how on earth to bake gluten free, and I want to throw a ‘Monday to Friday’ kind of veganism in there too.    It’s a huge change, but I’ve started bringing these changes into action for my toddler too, in the hope that her ‘normal’ will include more  healthy than not.

At the moment, she’s loving one-ingredient ice cream and sometimes, for treats, she even gets it for breakfast. Another favourite is ‘chocolatey’ date balls – treats I feel no qualms in giving her. One of her new favourites are ‘pink juice’ which is actually a green smoothie, ‘tricked up’ for my suddenly pink loving girl. (She won’t eat her sandwich, but if I say ‘but it’s a pink sandwich?!’ she’ll say ‘Ooooooooh, and gobble it down!)

There are some fantastic websites out there, dedicated to green smoothies, and like with most of ‘my’ recipes – they’re never the same day to day, but they do have basic ‘commonalities’.  Here are the basic elements:

  • Fruit
    Apple – first in is normally an apple, for sweetness. I core it, but leave the skin on Banana – great for making the smoothie a little thicker, also adds some sweetness
  • Liquid
    Fruit juice – My smoothie maker requires liquid to start off with (I think most do). Apple juice is good for a green smoothie, but for a treat I also use mango sometimes. Milk – I’ve used hazelnut or almond milks and coconut milk, about a half cup, but as much as is required.
  • Greens
    Spinach – Baby spinach leaves are definitely my favourites, but you’re supposed to change up the leaves you use. Lettuce – can be quite overwhelming, so I use less green leaves when using lettuce. I haven’t tried it with other green leaves yet.
  • Colours
    Sometimes these are a beautiful, bright green, other times they can come out a rather unappetising brown. The best remedy for brown smoothies is to add some berries. Blueberries make it a gorgeous purple, while mixed summer berries make it an Ameli-approved pink
  • Healthy additions
    Depending on what we have available, I sometimes add flax seed, coconut oil, or other seeds.I’m totally a novice in green smoothies but I’m enjoying the journey.The first day, the first sip, I remember thinking ‘ewwww… how long do I have to do this for?’. A month in and I now look forward to my morning smoothie and I’m so pleased my little girl is slowly but surely developing her favourites too. And the best of all, she thinks it’s a yummy milkshake treat.

(One note of caution – daily smoothies are hard work on your kitchen equipment, unless you have quality equipment! In the last month we’ve burned through a liquidiser, a food processor and broken the spout off our smoothie maker! I’m currently saving up for something of a much higher quality to sustain our smoothie needs!)

Lemon And Caper Fish On The BBQ Recipe

As you can tell from the severe lack of posting around here, life is keeping me extremely busy. I’m so far behind on posting so many different things, and I’m not even sure what exactly it is that’s changed! For one thing, the girls just don’t afford me time in the day to work, since they’ve unsynchronised their naps. Then, when they’re finally in bed, I’m so tired I can barely keep my eyes open. It’s a nightmare, and I know it will change again, but for now, well… I’ll see you when I see you!

That said – we’ve had such lovely weather the last few days that we took lunch outside today, and it was so great I wanted to share it with you.

(We have this great picnic gas barbeque which means we can cook pretty much immediately. I’m a huge lover of bbq but we rarely have them because it just takes forever to get the fire ready, so since the gas bbq, it’s so much easier! This recipe can be done on either the bbq or in the oven.)

Ingredients:

For the fish:
1 whole trout, cleaned
Coarse salt
Pepper
Lemon
Capers (optional)
For the potatoes:
Thinly slices potatoes
Paprika
White wine vinegar
Salt
Pepper

Serve with salad of your choice.  Ours was rocket and spinach leaves with mixed seeds and tomato, with a truffle oil and balsamic vinegar dressing
For the fish:

  • Placed the clean trout in foil big enough to cover the fish and create a parcel
  •  Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice from one half, and slice the other half
  • Add the salt, lemon juice and lemon slices on the fish
  • Fold the foil to create a parcel.
  • Place on a low heat bbq for 15 minutes or so, depending on the size of your Trout.
For the potatoes:
  • Heat up a little bit of oil (we used olive) and spread the potatoes evenly over the frying pan.
  • Shallow fry the thin slices, adding the seasoning as it turns crispy.
  • Just before taking it off, splash some white wine vinegar, just to flavour, not enough to boil.
  • Sprinkle with salt and pepper
Serve with salad and a good, refreshing glass of white wine, preferably outdoors, soaking up the last of the summer sun.

Summer Festival Of Food: Muffin Tin Quiches

Welcome to the Festival of Food Carnival. In celebration of summer, we’re sharing recipe ideas for healthy snacks and picnic food, or anything you could take outdoors with you. Hosted by Diary of a First Child and Hybrid Rasta Mama, you’re welcome to join us next time, or if you have a recipe you’d like to share, add it to the linky below.

I’m terrible at having breakfast, and have been as long as I can remember. I don’t get hungry before about 10am, at the earliest, normally, which isn’t great for my girlies as they need to eat well before that.  I decided to make these muffin tin recipes in bulk, freeze them and thaw as needed. They’re gorgeous warm, or cold – although not frozen! – which makes them ideal for lunch box snacks, trips out, or picnic food. They’re also highly adaptable.

This is not a free-from recipe. It contains eggs, gluten, meat and dairy, but is very easily adaptable.

 

Makes about 12

Preheat oven to 180C/ 325F

Ingredients:

  • 3 round whole wheat wraps (or alternative)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup vegetables: spinach, chives, corn, or any other vegetable that won’t give off too much liquid, like tomatoes
  • bacon, sausage, mince, chicken etc to taste
  • cheese to taste

1. Cut smaller circles out of the wraps using a cookie cutter or tinned food can. I get about 3 rounds out of a wrap.

2. Place the round in a greased muffin tin

3. Put a small spoon of meat and a small spoon of vegetables into each round

4. In a separate bowl, vigorously mix the eggs, adding any seasoning, such as chives or other herbs, salt, and pepper.

5. Using a large spoon, scoop the egg mix into each ‘case’, covering the other ingredients, but making sure it doesn’t over flow.

6. Top with the cheese.

7. Place in a oven for 20 minutes.

8. Remove, cool to edible, and enjoy, or cool completely and freeze.

We’ve tried various options: cheese and bacon, and cheese,bacon,onion and chives, and next on our list is ricotta and spinach. What fillings would you try?


The links in this list will be live by the end of the day, as participants in different time zones publish their contributions

If you’d like to add your recipe to the blog hop, please do so below. You will have to add our badge to your post before you’ll be able to link up!

Festival of Food Carnival


Sauteed Chicken Livers And Mushrooms On Toast With James Martin

I’ve never liked chicken livers. I’ve certainly never gone back for seconds – until James Martin made them.

This week Aviya and I went to London for a More To Mushrooms event where chef James Martin did a cooking demo for a small group of bloggers and journalists. The theme of the event was quick and easy mushroom recipes and I learned more about mushroom than I ever thought – like the fact that we totally overcook mushrooms. While he made some fantastic dishes, it was the chicken livers that caught me by surprise. Here’s a newsflash: cooking chicken livers through, ruins them. They need a quick fry and that’s the end of that. And then they are totally palatable!! Here’s the recipe James Martin made for us:

Ingredients:

  • 4 slices from a white bloomer
  • 30g butter
  • 6 rashers bacon cut into lardons
  • 400g chicken livers
  • 200g chestnut mushrooms, cut in half
  • 50ml white wine
  • 110ml double cream
  • 3 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
  • salt and black pepper

To make:

  1. Toast the bread and set aside
  2. Melt half the butter in a frying pan set over a high heat, add the bacon and fry until it starts to crisp. Add the livers and mushrooms, and saute for 1 minute
  3. Pour over the wine and cream and stir all the ingredients together for 2-3 minutes, but no more, to ensure the livers stay pink in the middle, then remove the pan from the heat
  4. Add the parsley and season with salt and pepper. Serve with slices of toast.

Delicious!

Mushroom, Herb and Parsnip Pie Recipe

There is a new favourite recipe in town, and I cannot get over how good it is. Additionally, it’s a vegetarian recipe, and for a meatless recipe to hit the spot so completely is pretty unusual in our house. This is one of the babymoon, cook-ahead and freeze recipes we did, but obviously you don’t have to cook ahead! Hope you love it as much as we did. (You can find the original recipe here, but below you’ll find our simpler version with our own adaptations – for example we didn’t have shitake mushrooms on hand!)

Another thing – these are rough guides… if you have more parsnip or less potato, for example, it’s not going to be the end of the world. Work with what you have.

  • 850 g parsnips , chunked
  • 500 g potatoes , chunked
  • 2 carrots , sliced
  • 1 large leek , sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 75 g butter
  • 1 onion , chopped
  • 250 g closed cup mushrooms , halved
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 250 ml red wine (optional, but the alcohol will burn off anyway)
  • 350 ml vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon tomato purée
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary , leaves removed and chopped
  • 4 tablespoons milk
[pinit]

Directions:

  1. Boil the potatoes and parsnips until tender.
  2. Steam the carrot and leeks over the potato pan
  3. Meanwhile heat the oil and a third of the butter until foamy. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Add mushrooms and garlic and fry over a high heat until softened.
  5. Sprinkle flour on mushrooms and toss to coat.
  6. Add wine to mushrooms, along with stock, puree, cinnamon and bay leaves and bring to boil.
  7. Stir until sauce thickens and simmer for 15 minutes.
  8. Drain the potatoes and parsnips
  9. Melt the remaining butter and gently fry the rosemary – this releases the sweetest, most amazing fragrance.
  10. Add the seasoned butter to the potatoes along with the milk and mash until smooth.
  11. Add the carrots and leeks to the mushroom mix and season.
  12. Place the mushroom mix in your freezer containers, then top with the mash. If you’re cooking immediately, grill it in the oven until it’s golden on top.
  13. If you’re freezing, wait for it to cool and freeze.

When you’re ready to eat it:
1. Transfer to oven proof dish
2. Defrost
3. Heat grill to high, and grill until golden brown, and serve with salad or vegetables.

English Cottage Pie With Cheese And Leek Topping Recipe

We have been getting so many leeks in our winter vegetable boxes that I’m starting to feel a little ‘leek-ed’ out, if I’m honest! I thought I’d try something different from the usual, and this recipe turned out to be an amazing winner! You’ll find the original recipe here, but here’s how we made and adapted it.

Cottage Pie Filling

  • 600 g lean ground beef or 600 g cooked beef , shredded
  • 2 onions , peeled and diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 ounce butter (25g)
  • 1 -2 tablespoon fresh mixed herbs, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce or similar
  • 250 ml beef stock (OR 250 ml red wine mixed with 2 teaspoons sugar. We went for the wine, since the alcohol boils off anyway)
  • salt
  • pepper

Cottage Pie Topping

  • 1 kg potato , cut into small even sized pieces
  • 2 large leeks, cleaned and sliced into rings
  • 2 ounces butter (50g)
  • 2 -4 tablespoons milk
  • 4 ounces mature cheese, grated (100g)
  • salt
  • pepper

[pinit]

Directions:

  1. Fry the onions and carrots in the butter until they are soft.
  2. Add the minced/chopped beef and cook for about 10 to 20 minutes or until the onion and carrot have browned and the minced beef has taken on some colour and is firm.
  3. Season well with salt and pepper, then add the mixed herbs. Stir in the flour, and mix well.
  4. Mix the tomato puree and Worcestershire sauce with the stock or wine and add it to the meat mixture, bringing it all to simmering point. Simmer until the stock has reduced by about a third, and take off the heat. Set aside whilst you make the topping.
  5. Boil the potatoes in slightly salted water then mash them well, adding half of the butter and all of the milk gradually. Season to taste. We don’t peel potatoes and carrots, because so much of the ‘good stuff’ is in the skin.
  6. Fry the leeks gently until soft and slightly coloured then stir the cooked leeks into the mashed potato mixture and give it all a good mix.
  7. Put the meat mixture into a large and deep well greased baking dish and spread the potato mixture on top; then sprinkle with the grated cheese. I put these into freezer containers, and left to cool, then put in the freezer.

To cook:

1. Transfer into ovenproof dish.
2. Defrost, then put into a pre-heated oven, 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 for about 25 to 30 minutes until the topping is crusty, golden and bubbling.
3. Serve with an assortment of fresh seasonal vegetables and a jug of gravy or eat as is.

Batch Cooking For The Freezer: A Babymoon Menu

I’m really bad at OAMC – that’s once a month cooking for us novices – and once something’s made it into the freezer, it’ll stay there for ever and a day. We do prefer our fresh food, but obviously that’s not always convenient.  With our recent sickness the vegetables have been stacking up, and I had to do something with them all – that’s two weeks worth of veggies – so I decided to stock up the freezer with some healthy meals to give us a cooking break when we’ve had our baby and our family have been and gone.

Here are a few items off the menu I cooked in preparation for our babymoon.Read more: Batch Cooking For The Freezer: A Babymoon Menu

Home Made Cream Cheese

I found myself with too much home-made yoghurt the other day, and thought I’d try to make some cheese.  The yoghurt was quite runny, so I put it through a coffee filter to separate the whey. After about four hours, the yoghurt was a better consistency than it had been up to then, but not really cheese-y.

I mixed some salt into the yoghurt and left it overnight to separate further and was surprised at the amount of whey collected by morning – and more surprised by how much the yoghurt had reduced! In fact, there was hardly enough for a cheese!

I decided to make a small portion of spreadable cream cheese from it instead and I have to tell you, it feels a bit silly sharing this as a ‘recipe’ as it isn’t really one…  it’s just mixing stuff together.Read more: Home Made Cream Cheese

Home Made Yoghurt Topping Options

I have tried to do regular food posts here since almost the start of this incarnation of the blog, but something always comes up. Initially I posted recipes based on the organic food deliveries we received, then we joined a foraging group, and I started posting about that. We then went to South Africa and all foraging stopped, but when we returned last year, we started foraging for food again.

Then I became ill, and that stopped too. I’d love to start it up again, but I know that I won’t be able to keep up a weekly foraging post, what with a baby coming and all, so I thought I might combine the two – recipes we use as we explore healthier, organic and seasonal food, and those we come up with when we find ourselves able to forage.

One of my big ‘to-dos’, which I’ve been planning for a while now is making our own yoghurt. I know – it’s about as crazy as making your own mayonnaise, right? But the thing is home-made mayo is exceptionally good and ridiculously easy. So, I thought, perhaps yoghurt would be too?Read more: Home Made Yoghurt Topping Options

Pregnancy Friendly Alternative To Mulled Wine : Russian Tea

I adore Mulled Wine (Gluhwein). There’s nothing like the aroma of spiced red wine, cinnamon and cloves lingering over the house, but it’s been a few years since I’ve been able to indulge now, what with breastfeeding and pregnancy.

I’ve tried a number of different alternatives for Christmas and winter flavours, but so far this Russian Tea is my favourite of all, and hopefully you’ll enjoy it too!Read more: Pregnancy Friendly Alternative To Mulled Wine : Russian Tea