10th February 2018 Helen 1Comment

Serving up great food is the fix for most things – and when you’re trying cutting something as every-present as sugar, ready access to sugarfree treats is a must. My go-to favourite of the moment is this Sugarfree Banana Bread – or more accurately these three variations on Sugarfree Banana Bread: plain, with walnut or with chocolate. All are fab – as tried and tested by my kids – and me! A few thoughts on the ingredients The real sweetness in these recipes comes from over-ripe bananas which I routinely pop into the freezer (in their skins straight in a ziplock…

Sugarfree Banana Bread - Three Ways
Print Recipe
Fast recipe for three types of Sugarfree Banana Bread - plain, with walnut or chocolate. A nice way to use up left over ripe bananas - fresh or frozen.
Servings Prep Time
1 loaf (2lb) 5 minutes
Cook Time
75 - 90 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 loaf (2lb) 5 minutes
Cook Time
75 - 90 minutes
Sugarfree Banana Bread - Three Ways
Print Recipe
Fast recipe for three types of Sugarfree Banana Bread - plain, with walnut or chocolate. A nice way to use up left over ripe bananas - fresh or frozen.
Servings Prep Time
1 loaf (2lb) 5 minutes
Cook Time
75 - 90 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 loaf (2lb) 5 minutes
Cook Time
75 - 90 minutes
Instructions
  1. Preheat the over to 140 C (fan) or 150 C (conventional). Line a 2lb loaf tin with greaseproof / baking parchment or a liner. Prepare your ingredients.
  2. Sift the dry ingredients - the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, into a large bowl and stir to mix.
  3. Making a well in the centre of the mix, add the wet ingredients - the coconut oil, eggs and syrup / nectar if using. Stir to combine.
  4. Add the bananas and raisins / sultanas - and the walnuts and / or cocoa. Mix to just combine being careful not to over-work the mixture.
  5. Pour the mixture into the prepared bread tin. If making the walnut loaf and looking for a super pretty effect add a little line of walnuts along the top. Alternatively you can add a long slice slice / smaller slices of banana - like I did here - http://thebusymamas.ie/chocolate-and-banana-bread/.
  6. Bake for 75 to 90 minutes or until a skewer into the middle comes out clean.
  7. Remove and cool on a wire rack before turning out. Enjoy slathered with butter and a large cup of tea.
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30th January 2018 Helen

It wouldn’t be January without some sort of purge going on, would it? To be fair, I haven’t made any resolutions or joined any gyms (as if), but in my ongoing pursuit of a waist, and with a little encouragement from my friend and fellow cake maker and eater Emily over at The Nest, I am kicking the sugar – or at least cutting back. And, as everyone knows, misery loves company and, as this house isn’t actually a democracy, whatever goes for mama goes for everyone else. So, the good news for anyone who is equally inclined to cut…

Sugar-free Pancakes and Fruity 'Jam': a fast and (secretly) healthy family favourite
Print Recipe
A two-minute fruity and easy alternative to jam. Perfect on cakes, breads or pancakes - or mixed with natural yoghurt. Recipe works (so far) for strawberries, raspberries or blueberries.
Servings Prep Time
1 bowl / jar 3 minutes
Cook Time
2 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 bowl / jar 3 minutes
Cook Time
2 minutes
Sugar-free Pancakes and Fruity 'Jam': a fast and (secretly) healthy family favourite
Print Recipe
A two-minute fruity and easy alternative to jam. Perfect on cakes, breads or pancakes - or mixed with natural yoghurt. Recipe works (so far) for strawberries, raspberries or blueberries.
Servings Prep Time
1 bowl / jar 3 minutes
Cook Time
2 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 bowl / jar 3 minutes
Cook Time
2 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: bowl / jar
Instructions
  1. Prepare your ingredients.
  2. Put the fruit (frozen or thawed) in the pot with the water and heat gently until the fruit softens (c. 2 minutes).
  3. Add the vanilla, chia seeds and agave syrup (if using) and bring the mixture to the boil. Stir constantly.
  4. Blend using the stick blender until the berries are pureed. Return to the heat and - stirring constantly, allow the mixture to thicken (c. 1 minute).
  5. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. The jam is ready to use straight away or can be stored in a clear, sterilised tub / jar in the fridge for a week.
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26th January 2018 Helen 2Comment

This is the most moorish and delicious blade steak casserole. With minimal prep and a long, slow cooking time, it’s perfect for any day of the week – as easy to walk into after work on a weekday as it is to tuck into after a weekend walk.  Serve up with crunchy bread (go for my old reliable lazy homemade option), mash (potato or celeriac), green veg – like wilted kale and carrots. I tweaked an old steak casserole recipe I found years back in the midst of a maternity leave when I needed to feed a large and hungry…

Braised Blade Steak Casserole
Print Recipe
A gorgeous winter stew - best served up with mash, thick socks and a glass of red wine.
Servings Prep Time
4 adults 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
3-4 hours 3.5 hours
Servings Prep Time
4 adults 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
3-4 hours 3.5 hours
Braised Blade Steak Casserole
Print Recipe
A gorgeous winter stew - best served up with mash, thick socks and a glass of red wine.
Servings Prep Time
4 adults 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
3-4 hours 3.5 hours
Servings Prep Time
4 adults 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
3-4 hours 3.5 hours
Ingredients
Servings: adults
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 160 C. Prepare your ingredients.
  2. On a chopping board, season the beef lightly on both sides and gently run.
  3. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a heavy bottom pot or frying pan, on a medium heat. Add the beef steaks and cook for 2 / 3 minutes until browned. Remove steaks from the heat and transfer to a casserole dish.
  4. Reduce the pan to a low heat. Add the remaining oil, onion, celery and carrots and fry until golden brown ( c. 7 minutes). Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Transfer to the casserole dish.
  5. Put the pan back on the heat and deglaze it with the red wine, gently scraping any 'bits' from the pan so they dissolve into the sauce. Add the stock, tomato puree, mustard and stir to combine. Bring to the boil. Pour over the meat and vegetables. Add the thyme and bay leaf to the mix.
  6. Cover the beef and vegetable mix with a greaseproof paper / baking parchment, tucking it in around the edged. Cover with a lid. Cook in the oven for 3 to 3.5 hours occasionally skimming any fat from the surface but otherwise not stirring.
  7. Gently remove the beef from the casserole and place onto a warmed dish and cover.
  8. Pour the liquid from the casserole through a sieve removing all of the vegetable pulp. Add back to the pan casserole dish (or pan if the dish isn't suitable for the hob) and bring to the boil. Reduce for c. 3 to 5 minutes. Add the beef.
  9. Serve up with greens - sautéed courgette, wilted kale or spinach are best, and - for extra winter deliciousness, with baked potato, creamy celeriac or potato mash. And wine.
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1st July 2015 Helen 10Comment

Nicola at Simply Homemade is hosting a great blog linkup on healthier breakfast choices and I’m delighted to add our morning favourite – a Potatoe, Chorizo, Onion and Cheese Frittata, to the mix. As this is a great recipe for using up those leftover bits and pieces I’ve also added this to the great ‘Clear Out and Eat’ link up over at Three Sons Later. Personally I’ve done a complete u-turn about breakfast over the years. I’ve gone from slugging a cup of coffee on the hop to forsaking a shower in favour of a proper sit-down breakfast. Sitting down for…

Potatoe, Chorizo, Onion and Cheese Frittata
Print Recipe
A fast and tasty healthy breakfast option, that would also do for supper or tea.
Servings Prep Time
2 hungry adults (with some stolen by the kids) 5 to 10 minutes
Cook Time
10
Servings Prep Time
2 hungry adults (with some stolen by the kids) 5 to 10 minutes
Cook Time
10
Potatoe, Chorizo, Onion and Cheese Frittata
Print Recipe
A fast and tasty healthy breakfast option, that would also do for supper or tea.
Servings Prep Time
2 hungry adults (with some stolen by the kids) 5 to 10 minutes
Cook Time
10
Servings Prep Time
2 hungry adults (with some stolen by the kids) 5 to 10 minutes
Cook Time
10
Ingredients
Servings: hungry adults (with some stolen by the kids)
Instructions
  1. Prepare all the ingredients.
  2. On a heavy bottomed pan on a medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the potatoes to the pan and cover loosely with a saucepan lid. Stir occasionally to avoid them sticking.
  3. When the potatoes are slightly cooked (about 3 to 5 minutes depending on the size of the chunks), add the onion. Pan fry on a medium heat for about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the chorizo and cook lightly for about a minute to release the oils.
  5. Mix the eggs, milk and seasoning. Preheat the grill at a medium setting.
  6. Make sure the potatoe, onion and chorizo mix is spread even across the pan. Add the egg mix and sprinkle the cheddar evenly across the top. Cook on the pan for one minute.
  7. Remove from the heat and put under the grill. Cook for roughly 5 minutes or until the egg is cooked through.
  8. Remove and allow to cool slightly before eating. If storing, allow the Frittata to cool completely, and cover tightly with clingfilm, before storing in the fridge. The Frittata can be eaten cold or hot (4 minutes in a 800W microwave) as preferred.
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23rd March 2015 Helen 2Comment

Our first of two house moves has seen my kitchen space shrink drastically as I said goodbye to my well-used, well-equipped kitchen, and hello to two gas rings and a dodgy oven. With less time and space on my hands I’ve been taking the easy option and sticking to the family favourites and it’s been a good while since I took a chance on something new.  My desperation must have been obvious then this week when Marks and Spencer offered to let me sample and post a lovely new recipe for Super Wheatberry with Roasted Carrots and Salmon. I made this on Saturday -…

Super Wheatberry with Roasted Carrots and Salmon (a Marks and Spencer Recipe
Print Recipe
A delicious warm grain, fish and vegetable dish that leaves your feeling full and virtuous.
Servings Prep Time
2 hungry people (or 4 peckish ones) 5 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 hungry people (or 4 peckish ones) 5 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Super Wheatberry with Roasted Carrots and Salmon (a Marks and Spencer Recipe
Print Recipe
A delicious warm grain, fish and vegetable dish that leaves your feeling full and virtuous.
Servings Prep Time
2 hungry people (or 4 peckish ones) 5 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 hungry people (or 4 peckish ones) 5 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: hungry people (or 4 peckish ones)
Instructions
  1. Prepare all ingredients.
  2. Preheat the oven to 190˚C/375˚F/gas 5 (170˚C for fan ovens). Put the carrots in a roasting tin and drizzle over half the oil. Scatter over the garlic and cumin seeds, then season. Roast for 30 minutes, until the carrots are just tender.
  3. Cook the Super Wheatberry according to the packet instructions. Gently mix together with the carrots, salmon and dill, and arrange on a serving dish. Scatter over the pomegranate seeds.
  4. To make the dressing, mix together the buttermilk, remaining olive oil and 1 tbsp warm water, then season. Drizzle the dressing over the dish to serve.
Recipe Notes

Note: I was provided with this recipe and all of the ingredients to make it by Marks and Spencer for the purposes of reviewing the recipe and posting it here.  I was not paid to write this post.  All opinions are honest, and my own.

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