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Recipe Index

Healthy, tasty & easy recipes on a budget

Ahoy there busy mums! You don't need bags of time, experience & money to make great meals. Check out my easy-to-follow tasty and easy budget recipes. When you feel the pinch look out for 'Credit Munch' recipes. Delicious, nutritious and easy budget recipes below £1.25 per serving!

 

Tuesday
May032016

Eat the Seasons and a recipe for Simple Dahl 

Earlier this year I shared how Organix asked me to be a 'No Junk Mum' and join their 'No Junk Journey' this year. The aim of the campaign is to help parents make healthy food choices for their kids. It's had a big impact on how we've been eating as a family. If you follow me on Instagram you might have seen some of the healthy swaps I've made.

As well as avoiding processed food, we're eating a much wider range of fruit and vegetables. My boys are really into trying new things now. It's so great to see them exploring new foods and getting excited about it. They get a sticker for trying something new even if they decide don't like it. 

I try to shop seasonally because fruit and veg that's in season always tastes better and it's cheaper as well. It's also more naturally grown. I now try to buy organic as much as possible as well, especially for the kids. The flavour is so much better, I'm amazed at how good organic carrots taste compared to regular ones.

Getting my boys to help in the kitchen encourages them to eat better. I let them choose fruit for their lunch boxes in the supermarket as well, they love that. They also love to watch You Tube videos showing how food is grown and harvested. It's great for kids to watch and learn about food in this way, and it's easy too.

It's important for kids to eat a variety of purple, green, yellow, red, orange and beige fruit and vegetables as the different colours contain specific nutrients they need to grow strong and healthy, for example, orange fruits and vegetables help keep eyes healthy and red ones can help keep blood pressure low.

I love this Simple Dahl recipe from Organix which is topped with roasted courgettes. Most of the ingredients are from the store cupboard and you can swap the courgettes with any vegetables you need to use up in the fridge. It also freezes well and can be eaten with rice, quinoa or on it's own. Great for weaning babies.

 

Simple Dahl: Serves 4 adults & 1 baby

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 large onion
  • 2 tbsps coconut oil or olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger
  • 4 cardamom pods (optional)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tsps curry powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 x 400ml can coconut milk
  • 250g red lentils
  • 300mls water
  • 2 courgettes (or other vegetables - see notes)
  • To serve (optional): brown rice or quinoa, squeeze of lime, fresh coriander

Method

  1. Finely chop the onion and sauté in the oil in a large deep frying pan or saucepan over a low heat until soft.
  2. Crush the garlic and finely grate or chop the ginger, then add to the pan.
  3. Remove the seeds from the centre of the cardamom pods (if using) and grind with a pestle and mortar along with the cumin and coriander seeds (or use ground spice).
  4. Add the spices, coconut milk, lentils and water.
  5. Cook for 35-45 minutes until lentils are soft and the consistency has thickened.
  6. In the meantime, cook the rice according to pack instructions, usually about 20-25 minutes.
  7. Whilst the dahl is cooking, dice the courgettes and place on a baking tray with a drizzle of oil, then roast for 20-25 minutes at 200°C / 180°C fan / gas 6 until golden.
  8. Top the dahl with the roasted courgette and serve with fresh coriander and a squeeze of lime accompanied by brown rice or quinoa if desired.

 

Now over to you - I'd love to hear about your family’s food and healthy eating. Do you have any tips or tricks for encouraging your kids to eat a variety of fruit and vegetables? Comment below or tweet using #NoJunkJourney 


Disclosure: This is the second in a series of sponsored posts for Organix. Words and opinions are my own. Recipe and images used with permission from Organix.

Monday
Mar072016

Breakfast Hacks - 3 ways with Fruit and Oats 

Here are three super-quick, easy, healthy and tasty breakfast ideas for you to try using oats and cans of Princes fruit in juice - overnight oats with peaches, granola with pineapple and oat mango smoothie. All of these recipes contain one of your 5-a-day and take seconds to prepare, as you can see in this video.

Princes cans of fruit in juice are an affordable and speedy breakfast option. Because there's no peeling or chopping involved they're also a convenient way to get one of your 5-a-day. Princes ring-pull cans are easy to open in the mornings and the fruit is great quality for a quick, simple and delicious breakfast.

 

1. Creamy Overnight Oats with Peaches

  • 70g rolled oats
  • 250g natural yoghurt
  • 220g can Princes sliced peaches in juice
  • Splash of milk (optional)

Method: 

  1. Combine the oats and yoghurt very well in a jar or container with a lid.
  2. Put the lid on tightly and chill in the fridge overnight (minimum 4 hours).
  3. Open and drain the peach slices. Mix well with the creamy oats.
  4. Serve with a splash of milk if desired. Serves 2.

 

 

2. Granola with Pineapple & Coconut

  • 35g granola
  • 4 teaspoons natural yoghurt
  • 227g can Princes pineapple chunks in juice
  • 1 teaspoon desiccated coconut

Method: 

  1. Place the granola in a bowl and top with the yoghurt
  2. Open and drain the pineapple chunks.
  3. Spoon half the pineapple chunks over the yoghurt and granola.
  4. Serve sprinkled with desiccated coconut. Serves 1.

 

 

3. Mango & Oat Smoothie

  • 100g rolled oats
  • 600ml milk
  • 3 tablespoons natural yoghurt
  • 425g can Princes mango slices in a light syrup

Method:

  • Place oats, milk and yoghurt in a food processor or blender.
  • Open and drain the mango slices and add to the blender.
  • Blend the mixture until smooth and serve. Serves 3.

 

 

This is a sponsored post in association with Princes. 

Wednesday
Jan272016

A fresh start for 2016 with Organix No Junk Journey

2015 was a rough year for us. We lost our baby girl at the end of 2014 three weeks after we moved into our new home. It's been emotional, painful and tough as well as busy. It's definitely had an effect on the way we eat - more comfort food and junk food for us and more convenience food for the kids.

But it's a new year. A fresh start and a new beginning. We're much brighter in ourselves as we've come into 2016 and we've done lots of work on the house including a new kitchen/dining room. It's time to get back to eating well again.

I was delighted when Organix asked me to be a 'No Junk Mum' and join their 'No Junk Journey' this year. The aim of the campaign in a nut shell is to help parents make healthy food choices for their kids. The accountability of being part of the campaign will definitely help us to eat better as a family. The timing could not be better.

I hope you will enjoy sharing our No Junk Journey along the way.

'Engineered' food vs 'real' food 

Organix recently commissioned a study Engineering taste - is this the future of our children's food? by Greg Tucker, Taste Psychologist, and Professor Andy Taylor from the University of Nottingham Food Science Department. They asked me to have a read through and share my thoughts.

Reading the study was a real wake up call and made me realise I have to make some serious changes to our diet. Please don't get me wrong, I'm not saying there's anything wrong with the odd sweet treat or take away - it's about making engineered food, i.e. convenience food, the exception rather than the rule.

I decided to make a video of Joshua, my 7 year old, to see knew the difference between engineered and real foods. The results were suprising! 

He's been shopping and cooking with me since he was tiny and generally prefers healthy food. However, he thought fish fingers were 'real' food over fish fillet. He also thought strawberry yoghurt was real becuase it had a picture of a strawberry on it!

Thankfully, he knew that chickens have bones but he definitely prefer nuggets to the real thing and he's not alone! 66% of kids prefer nuggets to chicken breast according to the study, and 81% would choose fish fingers over a fillet of fish. Part of me thinks they're just kids and they will grow out of it, but part of me worries that children are growing up without an appreciation of what foods taste like or looks like in it's natural form.

Overall, the study revealed some rather worrying findings regarding the effect of engineered food on children's taste buds and eating habits. I've explained some of the highlight below, but I would definitely recommend having a good read of the full report especially if you're a parent.

 

1. 'Engineered' foods are distorting children’s ability to recognise and enjoy the taste of ‘real’ foods

As obvious as it sounds, convenience food is not real food. Mums are busy and need meals which are quick and easy to prepare, but these convenience or engineered foods are not a true representation of the real food they are trying to emulate.

Over-seasoned chicken nuggets hardly taste like real chicken breast and super-sweet, highly-flavoured strawberry yoghurt is a far cry from a strawberry. These engineered foods provide "instant taste gratification" and are causing a shift in children’s palates. In summary, kids are losing appreciation for ‘real’ food.

The study found that there are children who believed that chickens do not have bones or skin and that apples don’t have cores - much to the surprise of their parents.


2. The zone of 'artifice' is a new space and is changing the way children eat

The study found the lines are blurring between real and artificial, creating a new space, the ‘zone of artifice’ which you can see on the graph below. I found this really shocking.

Engineered foods are easy to eat and deliver instant flavour but they are disingenuously delivered. In some cases natural ingredients are being used inappropriately, for example carrot juice in strawberry yoghurt to give it's appealing bright colour. The claim on the front of the pack states 'natural colours' - but carrot juice in yogurt? It's just plain unnecessary and misleading.

The food is being engineered to enhance the eating experience – the flavour, texture, colour and appeal. Kids grow up thinking food is really like this, but it's not. They lose appreciation of what real food is and become fussy adults. Yikes.

3. Misleading claims about ‘real’ and ‘natural’ mean parents are unable to make informed decisions

Parents are busier than ever. With the average family having just 15 minutes to prepare a meal convenience food is more in demand than ever before. But people still want healthy choices. The study showed that 72% of mums are more likely to buy something if it says 'real' or 'natural' and 63% think food is healthier if the label says it’s ‘real’ or ‘natural’ but these claims are misleading.

Here's a good example. One brand of chicken nuggets claimed to be "made with 100% chicken breast guaranteed” when in fact the ingredients show there is only 51% chicken breast and a total of 14 different ingredients. 49% of the nugget is not meat but breadcrumbs. It's hugely misleading, and not good value, but the food industry are not breaking the law.

The study found it's increasingly hard for parents to make good food choices, and they are increasingly angry about what they see as the ‘deceit and lies’ perpetrated by the food industry. 76% of mums in the study want the food industry to take more responsibility for this.

Berevement has defintely caused us to slip into the zone of artifice further than I care to be and this is the year to change that. Still, I can't help but feel conned by manufacturers who have led me to believe I have been making healthy choices for my kids while rushing down the freezer aisle when I clearly haven't.

 

Top Tips to help you become more label savvy from Organix

Here's some great tips from Organix to help you when you're out shopping. It's worth making a bit more time to do the food shop to get a feel for the labels:

 

  1. Know what’s in the food you feed your family.
  2. Don’t be lured by front-of-pack flashes such as "real" or "natural" which can actually mean very little when there is a long list of complicated ingredients in the small-print on the back.
  3. If you have the time, try to take a closer look at back of pack ingredients and the nutritional information.
  4. Go for fewer ingredients - if there are too many ingredients, or ones you don’t recognise, then the more additives there are likely to be.
  5. Look for ingredients that you recognise, that would appear in a recipe, or that you might find at home.
  6. Avoid colourings, artificial sweeteners, starches or thickeners, preservatives, flavour enhancers and flavourings.

 

 

Over to you

 

  • Are you concerned about the quality of convenience food marketed towards children?
  • How much time do you spend reading labels?
  • Do your children prefer fish fingers and chicken nuggets over the real thing?
  • Does that bother you if they do or do you just think they will grow out of it?

 

I'd love to know what you think! Please leave a comment!

Get involved

Join the discussion at Facebook: /organixfood, Twitter: @organixbrands, #OrganixTaste

Have a dig in your cupboards. Read the labels on the back of products claiming to be 'natural' or 'real' or 'healthy' - you might be surprised. Tweet a picture to @organixbrands using hashtag #OrganixTaste - I'll be doing this over the next few weeks. Follow me on twitter @GourmetMum if you're interested in my findings.

 

Disclosure: This is the first in a series of sponsored posts for Organix. Opinions and video content are my own. All images used with permission from Organix.

Monday
Dec142015

Bacon-topped Roast Turkey with Clementine, Sage and Garlic Butter

It's easy to make a delicious and impressive looking Christmas turkey using a few extra bits to add flavour. Roasting it with a layer of herby butter under the skin gives juicy tasty meat. Top with bacon and sage leaves to make it look pretty. This recipe is simple but stunning.

I love the flavours of clementine, sage and garlic with roast turkey - it's so good! Visit the British Turkey website to help you calculate defrost times, cooking times and a guide to what size turkey to buy. Invest in a meat thermometer to avoid over-cooking. Happy Christmas!

Bacon-topped Roast Turkey with Clementine, Sage and Garlic Butter

  • Serves: 8-10
  • Prep time: 30 minutes
  • Cooking time: 3 hours

Ingredients:

  • 4.5 kg turkey, fresh or thoroughly defrosted if previously frozen
  • Salt & ground black pepper to taste
  • 150g softened unsalted butter
  • 4 clementines, finely zested and halved
  • Good bunch of sage leaves, 2 tablespoons of which finely chopped
  • 3 garlic bulbs, two left whole with outer skin removed, one with two cloves peeled and crushed and remaining cloves bashed in their skins
  • 12 rashes of streaky smoked bacon
  • Few sprigs of fresh rosemary (optional)

Method:

  1. Allow the turkey to come to room temperature before cooking. Season it well inside and out with salt and black pepper.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas mark 4.
  3. Blend the butter with the clementine zest, the 2 tablespoons of chopped sage and the 2 cloves of crushed garlic. Add salt and pepper to taste and blend well again.
  4. Using your fingertips, carefully lift the turkey skin away from the meat taking care not to tear it. Push all but 2 tablespoons of the flavoured butter under the skin, pushing it back as far as possible under the skin towards the neck cavity. Smooth the skin to create an even layer of herby butter under the skin. Brush the remaining butter all over the outside of the turkey.
  5. Arrange the bacon over the breast of the turkey in a criss-cross formation. Carefully push several sage leaves under the bacon and the turkey, so half the leaf is exposed and half is under the bacon.
  6. Place two clementine halves in the cavity with the remaining sage, bashed garlic cloves and a few rosemary sprigs if using.
  7. Truss the turkey by wrapping string around leg joints, then around the parsons nose, under the bird and up over the wings. Tie securely where the legs cross over.
  8. Weigh the turkey and calculate the cooking time at 20 minutes per kg plus 90 minutes. For a 4.5kg turkey this will be 3 hours.
  9. Put the turkey in a roasting tin along with the remaining clementines and whole garlic bulbs. Cover the tray tightly with tin-foil making sure there’s a slight gap between the turkey and the foil. Place in the pre-heated oven.
  10. After 90 minutes, uncover the turkey and baste it in its juices before re-covering and returning to the oven. If you have a very large turkey you may want to baste a second time during the cooking.
  11. Remove foil for the final 45 minutes of cooking to crisp skin. To check the turkey is cooked either use a meat thermometer, or, pierce at the thickest part with a skewer. The juices will run clear when cooked.
  12. Transfer the turkey to serving plate. Cover with a new layer of foil and a warm damp tea towel. Leave it to rest in a warm place for at least 30 minutes before carving. 
Tuesday
Nov172015

The best gluten and dairy free chocolate cake ever

No exaggeration - this is literally the best, most delicious and most easy gluten and dairy free chocolate cake recipe ever. It's so good I make it more than regular chocolate cake. It's moist and gooey and rich and fabulous and I love it. Warm with vanilla ice-cream it's just divine. 

I have found coconut flour is the best gluten free flour for this cake, for it's texture and flavour. If you're not keen on coconut, ground almonds work well as a substitute, but you will need to use 125g as they are more coarse. You can use plain gluten free flour, but it can make the cake a little dry.

The best gluten and dairy free chocolate cake ever: Makes 10 slices

Time:  15-20 mins prep + 25-35 mins baking
Cost:  18 per slice (based on 10)
Calories:  308 per slice (based on 10)

Ingredients:

  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 150ml boiling water
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 150ml sunflower or vegetable oil (plus extra to grease)
  • 200g caster sugar
  • Good pinch of salt
  • 100g coconut flour (see notes above)
  • Icing sugar to dredge

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 C / 160 fan / gas mark 4. Line a 23cm round spring-form tin with grease-proof paper and grease well with oil.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and boiling water until smooth. Leave until completely cool. You can leave the whisk in the bowl as well as you will be using it later.
  3. Crack the eggs into the cocoa mixture and whisk until smooth and well combined. Add the vanilla, oil, sugar and salt. Whisk again until well combined and completely smooth.
  4. Finally add the coconut flour. Sometimes it has clumps so you may wish to sieve it first or break up the lumps with your fingers. Whisk the flour into the mixture until smooth and well combined.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 25 minutes. If the mixture still has a wobble bake for a further 5-10 minutes. When it's cooked it will be firm but not dry. If you insert a skewer and it comes out with a few crumbs stuck to it, rather than raw batter, then it's done. 
  6. Leave to cool for ten minutes before running a knife around the edge between the tin and the cake. When it has cooled considerably remove it from the tin, place on a serving plate and dredge with icing sugar. This cake will last for up to three days and still taste as good as on the day it was baked.
Monday
Oct192015

Corned Beef Hash with Stilton

Princes asked me to create a recipe for corned beef hash with a regional twist for their Corned Beef Hash Clash campaign. As we live in Berkshire, the home of her majesty the queen, I've given my “Berkshire Hash” a royal twist. I've used some lovely locally grown Charlotte potatoes, in honour of the new princess, and finished the dish with some crumbled Stilton for a touch of luxury. 

The flavour combinations work a treat – it’s delicious. Stilton and beef are always good together and sautéed onions add sweetness. I love charlotte potatoes and always get them when they are in season, but either Jersey royals or baby new potatoes make a perfect substitute.

With only four ingredients, corned beef hash with Stilton is a quick and easy dish, ideal for a speedy evening meal or special brunch. Corned beef is versatile, good value for money and also has a long shelf life. Princes corned beef is made with 100% beef so it’s a great one for the store cupboard.

Corned Beef Hash with Stilton: Serves 2

Time:  10 mins prep + 15 mins cooking
Cost:  94p per serving
Calories:  583 per serving

Ingredients:

  • 450g charlotte potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion
  • 200g Princes corned beef (chilled in the fridge for a few hours)
  • 50g stilton cheese, crumbled
  • Ground black pepper to serve (optional)

Method:

1. Bring a pan of water to boil for the potatoes.

2. Cut the potatoes into bite-sized pieces.

3. Pop the potatoes in the water simmer for around 6-8 minutes until tender. Drain well when cooked.

4. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large frying pan.

5. Peel and slice the onion.

6. Fry the onion over a medium heat for around 3-4 minutes until opaque and slighted brown but not burned.

7. Meanwhile, open the corned beef. Tins of Princes corned beef come with a little key that make them easy to open.

8. Dice the corned beef into 1cm cubes. It’s much easier to slice if it has been chilled in the fridge for a few hours before use.

9. Add the cooked potatoes to the frying pan along with the corned beef.

10. Fry everything for around 5 minutes until crisp. Use a spatula to turn the mixture over but be careful not to break up the corned beef too much.

11. Transfer to a serving dish and immediately sprinkle over the crumbled up Stilton cheese so it melts. Top with some ground black pepper if you wish and serve straight away.

This is a sponsored post.