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P1030182

I don’t know what’s going on at the moment, but I really am going crazy for greens. My body is clearly desperate for the vitamins and minerals that these vegetables provide, because I just can’t get enough of them. And I think they are so beautiful…

Ingredients

  • olive oil/butter
  • courgette
  • leeks
  • spring onions
  • green beans
  • garlic
  • kale

Put some olive oil (with butter if you’re feeling excessive) in a deep frying-pan. Add slices of courgette and allow to brown slightly.

Add some chopped leek – don’t let it brown.

Add onions, beans, garlic – again don’t brown.

When you are nearly ready to eat, add the kale – just let it wilt, not overcook.

Choose proportions to suit yourself and what’s in the ‘fridge.

Enjoy as a side dish.

P1030173

Jim brought back a huge chunk of hake from the fishmongers, and my challenge was to transform it into something delicious.

Here’s how I did it.

Ingredients

  • a massive chunk of hake
  • some sprigs of rosemary
  • 6 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp thyme, finely chopped
  • olive oil
  • lemon zest
  • basil

Pre-heat the oven to 150C.

Lightly grease a baking tray. Lay the hake in the tray, along with some sprigs of rosemary, tomatoes and lemon segments.

Mix together finely chopped onion, garlic, rosemary and thyme with some olive oil. Then spread it over the fish.

Bake for around 40 minutes.

Garnish with lemon zest and basil.

We had this with brown rice and dressed green beans.

SERVES 2

P1030160

P1030154

I wanted to make something healthy (or at least pretend-healthy) for the children’s lunch boxes. Beth and I made these together yesterday. Then she told me she doesn’t like nuts. Then Sam told me he doesn’t like nuts (this is not true). They wouldn’t eat them. They each have a penguin biscuit in their lunch box today. I am eating the granola bars. And they are lovely.

Ingredients

  • 120g sultanas
  • 30g cranberries
  • 200ml apple juice
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 100g demerara sugar
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 200g oats (I used an oat/bran mix)
  • 25g toasted sesame seeds
  • 75g toasted sunflower and pumpkin seed mix
  • 25g toasted almond flakes
  • 25g chopped pecan nuts
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

First of all, put the sultanas and cranberries in a small pan, cover with apple juice and simmer for about 12 minutes.

Toast any nuts or seeds as required – make sure they don’t burn!

Pre-heat the oven to 150C. Line a small baking tray.

Melt the butter and sugar together, add the honey. Then add the oats, nuts and seeds, fruit and vanilla extract. Stir well.

Pour the mixture into a your lined baking tray and press down well.

Bake for 25 minutes or so.

Allow to cool before cutting into squares.

MAKES 12

P1020981

This cake made me laugh, it was just too much. The dimensions were all wrong – the layers too thick and the circumference too small. I had to slice the layers in half, which with the filling, made it even taller. It did, however, taste quite scrumptious. And once it was sliced it didn’t look quite as crazy. So here it is, my little tower:

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 1 tbsp instant coffee
  • 1 tbsp boiling water
  • 225g unsalted butter
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 25g cocoa powder

For the icing

  • 1 tbsp instant coffee
  • 1 tbsp boiling water
  • 175g unsalted butter
  • 350g icing sugar
  • chocolate shavings

The cake

Pre-heat the oven to 180C and prepare 2 cake tins.

Dissolve the coffee in a little boiling water and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, cream together the sugar and butter, then slowly add the eggs, whisking all the time. Add the coffee and whisk some more. If the mixture starts to separate, add a tablespoon of your weighed-out flour.

Sieve in the flour and cocoa powder and fold the mixture together until it is thoroughly mixed in.

Pour into two cake tins.

Cook for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

The icing

Once your cake has cooled you can add the icing.

Again, dissolve some coffee in a little boiling water and allow to cool.

Mix together the butter and icing sugar, add the coffee and whisk.

Spread the icing between layers and over the top of the cake. Finally, grate some chocolate over the top.

Next time I’ll use a broader tin and might even leave out the chocolate – my favourite cake is pure coffee.

P1030124

New year, old bananas. I have a freezer full of bananas, as usual. So when I needed to make something for the school lunch boxes, it had to be something banana-based. This tray-bake is very, (very) loosely based on my staple banana cake recipe, but I have added some orange and a dark chocolate drizzle, and omitted the cream cheese topping, among other things.

Incidentally, in addition to the banana cake, Sam is getting a fresh banana in his lunch box tomorrow.

Ingredients

  • 125g softened butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp runny honey
  • grated zest of one orange
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 bananas
  • juice of one orange
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 25g dark chocolate for drizzling
  • You could, if you like, add chocolate chips to the above ingredients

Pre-heat the oven to 180C.

Grease and line a baking tray (mine is 28cm x 18cm).

Whisk the butter and sugar together, add the honey and orange zest. Beat in two eggs, and then two bananas.

Add the juice of the orange, whisk again.

Add the self-raising flour (and if including, now would be a good time for the chocolate chips). Mix until the flour is fully incorporated into the batter.

Pour the mixture into your baking tray.

Bake for around 20 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.

Once the cake has fully cooled, drizzle some melted dark chocolate over the top.

If you want to be really adventurous, you could use melted Terry’s Chocolate Orange instead of normal dark chocolate.

Makes about 12 squares.

Here's one I made earlier

Here's one I made earlier

Hi, my name's Helen and I live in London with my husband and two children. When I started piping the potato on my shepherd's pies, my husband suggested that it might be a good idea for me to find an outlet for my creativity, so here we are. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, the extra twist is that I don't eat meat (I do eat fish though) and Jim, who loves meat, is always on a diet. Here are a few recipes that I have enjoyed making for my family.

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