Make Lucy’s Fire Flower Cordial For A Narnia Party

Whether you’re having a fully-fledged Narnia party or just reading the book and want to add some 4-D to your reading experience, Lucy’s Fire Flower cordial is pretty to look at but is still safe to be used as ‘drops’ like Lucy does.

Fire-Flowers grew in the mountains and valleys of the Sun. The juice from their berries was used to make the healing cordial given to Lucy by Father Christmas. A single drop would cure almost any illness or wound, even bringing people back from the brink of death. The bottle of the cordial was in what was said to be made of pure diamond.

Fire Flower Cordial CoverRead more: Make Lucy’s Fire Flower Cordial For A Narnia Party

{Festival of Food Carnival} Recipes From The Garden

It’s time again, and this month we’re celebrating grow your own, or local food, whether that’s from your garden or from your local farmer’s market, veggie box or similar.

Unfortunately the late start to our spring and summer seasons here in the UK have not been good to our garden, and one of the only crops I’ve successfully reaped so far has been the Kale, so over at Keeper of the Kitchen, I share a simple, summery salad of kale and parmesan.

Co-host for the Festival of Food Carnival,Jennifer, gives us a gorgeous looking Grilled Fennel and Tomatoes with Basil dish. This recipe brings together some of the freshest, most vibrant flavors from her garden into a simple dish that even her wee-one adores.

In a guest post at Hobo Mama, Sam shares a garlicky, sweet, salty, and tangy topping for salads, sandwiches, pasta, and burgers and pairs it with a delightful dish that will help you use up the tomatoes and spinach fresh from your garden or farmers’ market. Such a versatile topping can never go wrong.

Lindy at Poppy Soap Company shares a recipe for Grilled Peaches with Balsamic Vinegar which pairs well with protein heavy meals as a decadent and easy side dish.

Angela from Earth Mama’s World scored some ‘imperfect’ veggies from a local farmer’s market and turned them into a perfect rosemary roasted veggie dish. That just looks a picture of health, really!

Amy at Anktangle details two different methods of preserving hearty summer greens (such as kale and chard) so you can enjoy the variety—and nutritional benefits!—year-round. This is definitely one for my Kale crops!

Last but not least, Destany at They Are All of Me creates low fat, healthy mock ups of some of her favorite restaurant dishes, using whole foods and ingredients from her garden.

Do you have recipes from your garden that you’d like to share with us? Add them to the link up below! We’d love to try them!
Stay connected! Be sure to “Like” the Festival of Food Carnival Facebook page.


5 Great Recipe Ideas For Poorly Kids (Guest Post)

Despite our best efforts at natural immunity, sometimes our children get sick. Whether they go to school or not, just being around other children seems to make them vulnerable sometimes! Written in collaboration with Supersavvyme, this guest post has great ideas for foods that help fight colds and inflammation, and recipe suggestions for incorporating them into foods for poorly little people.

When children head off to school, they’re especially susceptible to catching coughs and colds from their friends and class mates. If a sick day under the duvet covers beckons, here are five tasty and nutritional recipes that will boost the immunity of your child when they’re feeling under the weather:

Easy Salmon Fishcakes – Serves 5

Salmon is rich in Omega-3, which reduces inflammation and prevents respiratory illnesses.

In a bowl, mix 1 (418g) tin of salmon, 2 beaten eggs, 4 tbsp dried breadcrumbs, 4 tbsp instant mashed potato flakes, 1 diced onion, 1 crushed clove of garlic, 1/4 tsp dried dill, 1/4 tsp celery salt, salt and pepper. Form the mixture into 5cm balls, and flatten into patties about 1cm thick.

Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. In batches, cook patties about 5 minutes on each side, until lightly browned, and serve.

Garlicky Spaghetti – Serves 4

Garlic contains allicin, which helps fights infection and bacteria.

This is a great store cupboard meal that can be rustled up easily, and with just a few ingredients. Cook 400g spaghetti according to the packet instructions, drain and reserve 2 tbsp of the cooking liquid.

Over a low heat, crush and sauté 8 garlic cloves in 100ml olive oil until golden but not browned. If your child likes hot food, add 4 chopped and de-seeded red chillies, and the reserved liquid. Add spaghetti and season with 2 tsp chopped flat leaf parsley, salt and pepper. Toss until the spaghetti is coated in the mixture and everything is well combined. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese.

Easy Chicken Soup – Serves 6

When chicken cooks, cysteine is released- this amino acid has a chemical resemblance to a widely prescribed bronchitis drug, and has similar congestion relieving results. The soup’s salty stock also keeps mucus thin the same way cough medicines do.

Melt 55g butter in a saucepan over a medium heat and soften 2 sliced onions, 2 sticks of celery finely chopped, and 2 diced carrots. Stir in 25g plain flour and cook for 2 minutes. Add 2 pints of chicken stock and bring the mixture to the boil, whilst stirring. Season with salt and pepper, then simmer for 10 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.

Add 450g cooked chicken and heat through. Season again, and add 1 tbsp parsley to serve.

Yoghurt 

Yoghurt contains probiotics, which keep the gut free from intestinal bacteria that can cause unwanted diseases.

Avoid artificially sweetened or “fat-free”: go for natural yoghurts to best support your child’s health. If they don’t like yoghurt, try freezing home-flavoured yoghurt in lollipop moulds. Or serve yoghurt sweetened with honeyor even try this yoghurt cake.

Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes contain beta-carotene, a form of vitamin A, which is vital for healthy skin, which of course is designed to protect you from bacteria and viruses.

These are a great alternative to the classic jacket potato, and can be served with any topping your child fancies. They are also good steamed or roasted, or as an alternative to pasta – or if you fancy cooking a new recipe, you could try this Sweet Potato and Spinach Bake.

Once you’ve cooked up a storm in the kitchen, make sure you take the pain out of washing up and other household chores with the great money off coupons you can take advantage of online.

“Chocolate” Date Ball Snack

We’re huge chocolate fans around here, to the extent that I’m sometimes a little worried about it, because it’s just not that good for us.  I found some organic, vegan, good for you chocolate bars in our local health food shop, and nice as they are, I don’t think my bank balance can handle a like-for-like replacement.

These bars have the ingredients listed on the packaging, so I thought I’d have a go at doing it myself.  The good thing is, they’re yummy, Ameli loves them and thinks they’re sweets, and they’re pretty easy to make.  The bad thing is, every time I make them they’re different because I tend to use what I have available.

So, here’s a rough go at these yummy ‘chocolatey sweets’ as Ameli calls them!

The basic ingredients are:

  • 1 cup dates
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup oats
  • Two tablespoons cocoa powder
  • Something wet: a 1/4 cup apple juice or 2 tablespoons peanut butter, just enough to hold the batter together.
  • You can add a variety of things – nuts, dried fruit, berries

What to do:

  1. Mix everything together in a food processor or blender. You want it well mixed, but not smooth.
  2. Either roll the batter into balls, then around a plate of coconut and place in the fridge. Alternatively spread it out on a baking sheet and refridgerate.
  3. Once set, cut into squares and enjoy.

I don’t actually know how long these last. For us they last about  a day, then I have to make more!

One thing I can say about them, for sure, is that a lot less goes a lot further – a few of these are sweet enough to ‘hit the spot’ for a lot longer than normal chocolate does. With normal chocolate I need another hit in a couple of hours. With these I’m normally satisfied.  Additionally, the energy that  comes from these lasts longer and doesn’t bring a ‘crash’.

These chocolate date balls are an amazing treat – try them!

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.

Mint Cordial Recipe

It’s a beautiful time of year, and while my dismal garden remains dismal, my mint has grown so thick and fast that the leaves at the bottom aren’t seeing the sun anymore. I decided it was time to do something about it and then to do something with the mint leaves.

What’s lovelier on a hot summers day than a refreshing mint cordial? Well, I don’t know, but a mint cordial definitely hits the spot.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh mint leaves
  • 500g sugar
  • 2 cups water

Lightly crush the mint leaves to release some of the flavours.

Add sugar and water to a heavy bottomed pot and then add mint.

Bring the mixture to boil for five minutes, then simmer lightly for 15 minutes.

Cover and leave as is overnight

Strain the mixture to remove all the leaves, then decant into a bottle and refrigerate.

You can keep this in the fridge for a few weeks. I don’t know that it will go off, but it’s not worth wasting it anyway!

Just add to water to taste.

Enjoy the refreshing yumminess.

Kids In The Kitchen: Chocolate Crispies

A few weeks ago my boss, Emma, from PlayPennies sent Ameli a little gift that ticks two boxes for her: books and cooking. Yes, she sent her the Usborne First Picture Cookbook. It’s a cardboard book with seven simple child friendly recipes. It’s a gorgeous book, beautifully illustrated, full of atrociously bad for you, but incredibly good recipes.

We set about making what we could with what we had in the house straight away, and here’s our first go at what turned out to be absolutely delicious Chocolate Crispies.Read more: Kids In The Kitchen: Chocolate Crispies

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.

Fun Mother’s Day Recipes

It’s Mother’s Day in the UK soon, and there’s little nicer than waking up to breakfast in bed. So, my advice, Mamas, is tell dads or older children to glance over here for some healthy, simple, child-friendly recipes brought to you by the HGCA. These recipes are so simple, children could make them (with supervision please!) and even not too kitchen savvy dads should manage!

Before I lose you completely in the gooey yumminess of pancakes and brownies, here are some interesting facts about something we all know, but know little about: Rapeseed Oil.

  • Rapeseed oil is produced from the oilseed rape plant and comes from the same Brassica family as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower.
  • Rapeseed, along with linseed, are the only oils grown and bottled in the UK making them the best oils for those trying to lower their carbon footprint and eat local.
  • Sometimes labelled as ‘vegetable oil’, rapeseed oil is lower in saturated fat and high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats like omega 3 and 6 that can help to lower cholesterol when consumed as part of an overall healthy diet.

Add a flower and a Mother’s Day Card and it’ll be a treat indeed.

CHOCOLATE & CRANBERRY BROWNIES

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 25-30 minutes

Makes 12

  • 3 medium eggs
  • 200g soft brown sugar
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 50g cocoa
  • 100ml rapeseed oil
  • 50g dried cranberries
  • 25g milk chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180oC, gas mark 4. Base line a 22cm square tin.

Whisk the eggs and sugar together until pale and creamy. Sieve the flour and cocoa together and gently whisk into the eggs, then whisk in the oil.

Pour into the prepared tin, scatter over the cranberries and chocolate chips if using. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Cool slightly before turning out of the tin. Cut into 12 pieces.

Cook’s tip

Replace the cranberries with any other dried fruit such as apple or chopped dates. For an extra healthy option, replace the flour with self-raising wholemeal flour.

Estimated total cost: £2.44

Estimated cost per brownie: 20p

FRUITY BUTTERMILK PANCAKES

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

Serves 4

  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 150ml buttermilk
  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil + extra for frying
  • 100g fresh blueberries or raspberries

Place the flour in a large bowl. Whisk in the eggs and honey then gradually whisk in the buttermilk and 1 tbsp oil to form a thick batter. Stir in the fruit.

Heat a little extra oil in a frying pan and using a tablespoon, spoon some mixture into the pan to make 4 pancakes. Cook gently for 1-2 minutes each side until golden and cooked through. Repeat to make 12 pancakes.

Cook’s tip

For an extra healthy option, use self-raising wholemeal flour. Ideal drizzled with honey or maple syrup and scattered with fresh fruit.

Total cost: £1.76

Cost per serving: 44p

And Happy Mother’s Day, Mamas!

** This post was originally posted on April 2nd 2011. This is a repost.

I Can Cook’s Spiced Fun Buns Recipe (Adapted)

Ameli loves BBC’s I Can Cook. In fact she actually giggles with glee when we put it on TV for her, and she sits, absolutely mesmerised by Katie, the host. I decided to capitalise on that, since we do a lot of cooking together, and actually use it as a foundation for an afternoon’s activities.

That specific day the recipe had been Spiced Fun Buns and since then it’s been a quick breakfast or regular snack in our house, specially since it only makes about 8 – 10 ‘buns’.   I particularly like the recipes on I Can Cook because they are child sized portions – although you can obviously double it, which is useful in this recipe so you use the whole egg. I also like the fact that they’re more or less healthy, with a few exceptions – this recipe, for example only has 2 tablespoons sugar.

We’ve been playing around with the recipe too, so for the original you can head over to BBC website, but here’s our version.

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons chopped dried fruit, fruit peel, currants or coconut
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar (although we tend to use brown sugar)
  • 110g (4oz) self-raising flour
  • Large pinch of mixed spice
  • 60g (2.5oz) soft butter
  • ½ an egg
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
  2. Combine the flour with the mixed spice and butter, rubbing the mixture till it looks like fine breadcrumbs.
  3. Gently mix in the sugar and fruit mix using a fork.
  4. Break the egg in a separate cup and pour half of it into the mixture. It should be firm but not dry and not too wet either. You should be able to shape it. Add more egg if needed.
  5. Divide the mixture into chunks and place on a buttered tray for 10 – 15 minutes.

Serve with butter, cream and fresh fruit. Personally I can’t wait for Dandelions to be back in season so we can make some Dandelion Jam again. I think it’ll go really well together.

We made these together in the week, and put together a little video of our exploits. For how to make Spiced Fun Buns in 1.27mins, watch our clip 😉

 

[youtube 46YF8cObrgE]