Two Ingredient Flat Breads

These two ingredient flat breads are incredibly simple to make. They are so simple that my children get stuck in when making them. The best thing about these flat breads is that they take literally no time to make them and they are really difficult to mess up.

I have been buying Naan breads from the shop for years out of convenience. They are the perfect side for a curry, especially my butter chicken recipe.Although shop bought flatbreads are great, I always love being able to make the things I buy as it gives me a bit more satisfaction and with a bit of experimentation they usually end up being better. I make butter chicken curry once a week with some yoghurt dip and flatbreads. It always goes down well with the family and it’s a pretty cheap dinner.

When you buy flatbreads from the shop you usually only get between 2 to 4 and cost anywhere between two and three pound. When I make these, I make about 8 to 10 flatbreads which means I can save some for the next meal. They keep in the freezer for about a month.

Recipe

300g self raising flour

200ml 0% Greek Yoghurt ( I usually buy a 500ml tub and using some for the flatbreads and the rest for the yoghurt dip)

If you want to add some extra flavour to the mix you can add some herbs or some garlic granules. They are absolutely fine plain.

Method

Put the flour and yoghurt in a bowl and mix until fully combined. Depending on the flour you may need to adjust the amount of yoghurt you need. I tend to ‘eyeball’ it and add a little bit more if the mix is a little dry.

The dough should come together easily by working it together with your hands. Don’t be afraid to get stuck in. My kids love this part.

Once it’s together take it out of the bowl and knead the dough like you would bread on a clean surface for about 5-10 mins. It should have a smooth surface when it’s ready. Then roll it out into a sausage shape and cut it in to 8-10 portions of equal size. Roll these portions into balls and then press down to flatten. Use a rolling pin and roll then out to about 1/2 centimetre thickness.

You can add some oil or a sprinkle of water to the surface of the flatbreads and then cook. I cooked the featured flatbreads on a health grill for about 8 minutes. Flatbreads need a little colour, so if you get some charred bits all the better. To cook in the oven, preheat to 200C and cook for 6-8 mins. I always do test flatbread first as the mix varies dependiing on what flour I have used and how thick and large I have made the flatbreads.

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Our go to curry favourites – Butter chicken, quick flatbreads and yogurt dip

If your interested, see these recipes to make the curry and the dip:

Butter chicken curry

 

Yoghurt dip side for curry

 

 

Indian Raita Yoghurt Dip

The perfect accompaniment for curry and flatbread, this dip is super simple and delicious. The part is it takes no time at all to get together and you can make it in advance. Just chuck it all in together and mix, then pop it in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.

Prep – 2 mins

Recipe

250ml 0% Greek yoghurt or plain yoghurt

1 tsp mint

Half a cucumber – Grated and squeezed to drain the juice

1tsp Ground cumin

1 tsp Ground or fresh Coriander

1/2 tsp Lemon or lime juice

Check out my other recipes to go with this:

Spice Friendly Lamb Curry

Butter Chicken Curry

Two Ingredient Flatbreads

Butter Chicken Curry

A good curry takes time to make from scratch but you can make some short cuts. My version of a butter chicken recipe has taken quite a few attempts at getting the flavour and texture I want from a curry. It also has to be okay for the kids to eat as well – not too spicy.

I think we are not alone when I say sometimes it is just easier to get your curry from the local Indian takeaway, and we do when we want a sample of a couple of different curries. However, we tend to eat curry at least once a week and it gets expensive if you eat takeaways that often. My wife and have always loved curry! We went on holiday to Goa just so we could have a great excuse to eat curry for breakfast, dinner and lunch. It was amazing! That’s why it is so important that when we do have homemade curry, it must tastes authentic. The trick to this? Make sure you buy a good Garam Masala spice mix. You can make it yourself but buying it is one of those short cuts. Also, don’t use cheap tin tomatoes – just like making Italian pasta sauces, tomatoes are just too important to get wrong.

Serves – 4 to 6

Prep –  10-15 mins

Cooking Time – 35 mins

Recipe

3 large onions

2 tbsp garam masala

1 tsp ginger

1 tbsp of tomato puree

1 tsp powdered garlic or 3 cloves garlic

1 tsp paprika

1 tin of good quality chopped tomatoes or passata

30g butter minimum ( I some times add a bit for for a creamier taste)

salt and pepper

Chilli powder if you like it a bit spicy

150 ml of water

3-4 chicken breasts

Method 

  1. Dice the onions and sautee until transculent in some olive oil. Be sure to salt the onions as it helps draw the moisture out.
  2. Add the garam masala to the pan and cook the spices out on a low heat for a few minutes.
  3. Once the spice has cooked out the onions will take a beautiful dark colour. At this point add the tomato puree and cook out for another two minutes.
  4. Add the rest of the spices and a little splash of water or chicken stock.
  5. Add the chopped tomatoes and the water. Let the pan simmer for about 15 mins until it has reduced by a third.
  6. Use a food blender to blend the sauce until it is smooth
  7. Strain the sauce through a sieve. This will make the sauce really silky and without the lumps. You don’t have to do this but I think it makes the sauce better.
  8. Chop and cook the chicken with some oil. Be sure to season the chicken with salt and pepper. It makes the difference. You can add some extra flavour to the chicken by making the sauce the day before and marinating the chicken over night.  The chicken takes about 8 mins to cook in a saucepan.
  9. Add the sauce to the chicken and bring to a simmer. Add the butter and continuously stir until it dissolves into the curry.
  10. Serve with basmati rice, yoghurt dip or mango chutney and flatbreads.

Check out the recipes for the sides:

Flatbread recipe

Yoghurt dip recipe

Lamb leg steaks with roasted rosemary and thyme crushed baby potatos with a side of quick cook garlic mushrooms

If your fed up of having the same beef steak on a treat night, lamb leg steaks are a great alternative. Not that I get fed up of steak that often – it’s just nice to have a change. There’s not much to this dish buut we love it with a glass of white wine on a friday night. It’s one of my go to meals for a treat. The lamb has bundles of flavour and cooked correctly is absolutely worthy as a replacement for a good beef steak. I used to cook this plain a simple with a bit of veg on the side until I experimented with some fennel seeds and butter to take it to that next level. Crushing and roasting boiled baby potatoes is another way to make some pretty ordinary ingredients a bit more special. The skin goes crispy, adding another texture to the dish. The garlic mushrooms are quick and easy – anyone can make them.

 

Serves: 2  

Cooking Time: 35 mins 

Prep: 5 mins 

Ingredients 

2 Lamb leg steaks

15-20 baby potatoes

6 chestnet mushrooms

Garlic or Garlic Powder

Rosemary

Fennel seeds

Thyme

Salt and Cracked Black pepper

Method 

  1. Clean and chop baby potatoes into halves and boil in salted water for 10 mins. when finished boiling, drain and crush the potatoes with the back of a spoon or the bottom of a pan. Then drizzle over some olive oil and sprinkle rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper on top. Put in a preheated oven at 200C. The skins will go nice and crispy by the time your ready to plate.
  2. Leave lamb steaks out to come to room temperature. Rub salt and cracked black pepper and a pinch of fennel seeds into the meat.
  3. Cut the mushrooms in half and fry on a medium heat in plenty of olive oil and garlic or garlic powder.
  4. Preheat a heavy base saucepan on a high heat like you would a sirloin steak. Cook the leg steaks in a small ammount of oil for about 2-3 mins each side. Do not move the steak around as you want a nice colour on either side. Add a small amount of butter and fennel seeds about 2 mins before finishing cooking.
  5. Take the steaks out to rest whilst you finish the garlic mushrooms by adding a table 50ml of double cream to your mushrooms.
  6. Serve once your lamb has rested for a few minutes.

Seriously Chocolatey Sunday Cake

 

Cake making on a Sunday is one of our favourite things to do. We have our breakfast and then the kids are ready to make the cake for our after dinner treat. I haven’t made a chocolate cake for a while as we have concentrated on making cupcakes over the last few months. The kids love making cupcakes because they are quick and they like to decorate them and eat as they are going. I wanted something a little more naughty this sunday and I had some leftover ingredients perfect for this cake from easter. I had some seriously good dark chcocolate as a gift and it’s always nice to do a dessert with great ingredients.

I have history with chocolate cake…a few years back I made the best chocolate fudge ever! Beginners luck though as I totally winged it. Chucked a bit in there and a little bit more there and hey presto! One. Amazing. Cake. Rookie mistake though as I didn’t write it down and tried to repeat it for my son’s first birthday….needless to say, it was awful the second time. It was dense and eggy – no where near the lusciousness of the first one I had made a week earlier. My friends and family were very kind and gulped nearly all of it down with a smile on their faces. I gaurantee you they didn’t like it. My wife is a very honest, straight talking woman and she had no qualms in telling me how bad it was. It has become one of those ‘remember that cake you made ‘ stories which will haunt me forever. Luckily, I have learnt the errors of my ways and now write down everything I experiment, discard the bad and improve the good. This cake is a top notch recipe that I have been playing with for a while. It’s fudgy, rich and moist – everything you want it a seriously good chocolate cake.

If you’re on a diet you might want to look away. I try not to eat that much chocolate nowadays but I need a good fix to keep the choccie monster at bay. This is a chocolatey, fudgy, and ultimately a gorgeous Sunday cake. I hope you enjoy! It’s an absolute belter of a cake.

Ingredients 

Cake Mix

200g Self raising flour

200g sugar

90ml olive oil

110ml boiling coffee water  ( 3tsp instant coffee)

2 eggs

1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

60g cocoa powder unsweetened

1 1/4  tsp baking powder

2 tbsp milk

Filling 

250g mascarpone

2 tbs nutella

2 tbsp cocoa powder unsweetened

Topping 

100g dark chocolate – finely chopped or grated

1 tbsp heavy cream or 75ml of double cream if you haven’t got the heavy stuff

 

Method

  1. Whisk the eggs and sugar together until light and fluffy. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees celcius.
  2. Add and mix the flour, cocoa powder and vanilla together.
  3. Add and beat the oil in until smooth and thick.
  4. Make the coffee water. It has to be boiling water and added when just made. Again beat this into the mixture.
  5. Add the milk and beat the mixture until fully incorporated.
  6. Crease a large cake pan. I used a 10 inch cake pan for my cake.
  7. Cook in the oven for 40mins. Check the cake at 30 mins. It should be a fudgey cake so the cocktail stick will be slightly covered but not runny.
  8. Let the cake cool for at least 20 mins before completing the filling and topping of the cake.
  9. For the filling, mix the mascarpone, nutella and cocoa powder together. I then put in to a piping bag and keep in the fridge until I am ready to complete the cake.
  10. For the topping, make a rich chocolate ganache by warming the cream on the hob on a low to medium heat. Do not boil the cream. Add the chopped chocolate to the cream and stir whilst off the heat. It will become a thick ganache and spreadable.

 

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Sicilian Style Cherry Tomato Linguine

I’ve always been pasta mad! In my mind, if you don’t love a bit of pasta there’s something inherently wrong with you, or you’re just not making it right. No offense intended.

Now you can either make your own pasta or you can buy some from your local supermarket. The supermarket stuff can be great to be honest and if your time poor it’s a great way of getting that pasta hit without the hassle of making your own. Although, I would say that with a bit of time management you can whip up some great pasta the day before and from there it only takes 10 mins to make a great spaghetti, tagliatelle or linguine. Either way I am not a snob when it comes to pasta. You choose what you like.

 

The other most important aspect of a great pasta dish is making sure you have a delicious sauce to go with it. There are so many to choose from and sometimes a simple sauce is all that’s needed. From a stay at home dad point of view, the quick sauce is usually the best and least ammount of effort at the end of hard day entertaining the kids. By the time the kids say they are hungry you know it’s too late and within minutes I know I am going to have hangry kids. This meal takes a maximum of 30 mins from start to finish. I am pretty quick at prepping as I have had plenty of practise. If you are better than me and have planned your time more effectively today and have fiven yourself time to get this dinner done, this dinner is low effort and great with a glass wine.

 

Recipe ( Serves 4-6)

One tin of cherry tomatoes (You can use chopped tomatoes here instead )

Half Onion – Diced

Half Aubergine/Egg plant – Sliced and diced in to small cubes

1 carrot – sliced and diced in to cubes

Half Large Courgette – Sliced and diced in to small cubes

1 Red Pepper – Sliced and diced in to small cubes

1 tbsp tomato puree concentrate

Salt and Pepper to taste

150g Bacon lardons (Can leave or replace to go vegetarian)

Mozzarella mini balls/ 1 large Mozzarella cut in to small pieces

150ml water

Pack of linguine or homemade pasta of your choice

 

Herbs & Spices – You can be as simple or elaborate as you want – Here’s what I add

2 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp onion granules

1 tsp garlic granules (You can use fresh garlic here – 3 to 4 crushed and diced gloves0

1/2 tsp fennel seeds

1 tsp dill

1/2 tsp coriander

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp  chives

1/2 tsp thyme

1/2 tsp rosemary

 

Method

  1. Prep the vegetables and start to boil a saucepan of salted water. Also, preheat a large frying on a high to medium heat with a tablespoon of olive or rapeseed oil.
  2. Fry the bacon lardons until browning and crispy. Remove the lardons, keeping the oil in the pan. This will give the veg some flavour. When I do the vegetarian version, I replace the bacon with some quorn or mince and use some vegetable stock.
  3. Add the cubed and diced vegatables to the pan and turn down the heat to medium. Fry, constantly moving the veg, for about 5 mins until they soften. Add the tomato puree and cook for 2 mins making sure you get a even mix across the vegetables.
  4. the bacon back to the pan, along with with tin of cherry tomatoes. At this point add the linguine to the boiling salted water. These cook for about 9-11 mins if your using the dried, shop bought packs. Fresh pasta takes minutes to cook so adjust the time you put the lingiune on accordingly.
  5. Add the herbs and spices. If you want a more grown up version, or your kids can take a spice of spice, add some flaked chillis to the pan. Add the water and let the sauce simmer for the time the linguine is cooking.
  6. When the linguine is cooked, drain and add a bit of pepper. Put the liguine in the sauce and stir to coat the pasta with the sauce.
  7. Finally, add the mozzarella to the pan of pasta. Stir until the mozzarella is melted and stringy throughout the pasta.

Pasta for me isn’t complete without a bit on salty, tangy cheese on top. I used Parmigiano-Reggiano which has a great flavour to top this dish. This dish serves four hungry people of you can be sensible and serve a few normal size dishes to 6 people.

Cookies and Cream Cheesecake

Who doesn’t love a bit of cheesecake, especially when it’s got Oreo cookies in the mix and the base.

I made this for our family Easter dinner. I made the usual roast dinner but as always, the best part of special dinners is the special dessert.

After a few botched desserts recently, I needed this one to regain some of my reputation and bolster my cooking ego.

Needless to say, I wouldn’t be putting this one in the blog if it hadn’t gone down well. I made individual cheesecakes on this occasion but cooks just as well in a 12 inch cake pan. I love the feeling of having a dessert all to my self and using a medium to large size ramekin was perfect.

 

As it was Easter I decorated the top with come chocolate ganache and some crushed and whole mini eggs. You can decorate this with whatever you like.

Recipe

300g mascapone

300g cream cheese

1 large egg

75g icing sugar

12 Oreo cookies

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp honey

100g good quality chocolate (I’ve used 70% cocoa dark chocolate here)

1 tbsp heavy cream ( I used a slash of milk to thin the ganache slightly)

Bag of mini eggs ( as much or as little as you want)

Method

Base

  1. Place the Oreo cookies in a food blender and process until they are like crumbs.
  2. Add the honey and mix. You can use a little melted butter which is the most popular method. I like the hint of honey in the base.
  3. Line the ramekins with half to two thirds of the cookie crumbs. Press the mixture in firmly to create the base. Place in the fridge whilst making the cheesecake mix.

Cheesecake mix

  1. Combine the mascapone and cream cheese with a hand mixer.
  2. Whisk the egg and add to the mix a little at a time. Do the same with the icing sugar.
  3. Add the vanilla extract and mix until little and fluffy.
  4. Spoon and fold in the remaining cookie mixture left over from the base. Be careful not to add too much as it will end up making a very thick mix.
  5. Spoon in the mixture to the ramekins. Fill to about 1 – 1.5 centimeters from the top of the ramekin. This leaves space for the ganache.

The Bake

  1. Fill a large roasting pan with the ramekins and fill the pan with water so that the ramekins are half to two thirds submerged in a water bath. This helps cook an even cheesecake which I find is even more important when cooking in the ramekins. I tries it without and found the sides got too much heat and resulted in a pretty awful cook.
  2. Cook in a preheated oven at 160 degrees Celsius for 30-35 minutes.
  3. Carefully remove the ramekins from the water and cool on a rack before adding the ganache

Ganache

  1. Heat the cream and dash of milk on a low heat until warm.
  2. Chop or finely grate the chocolate.
  3. Add chocolate to the cream and stir whilst off the pan is off the heat until it has combined and is a velvety and moderately thick consistency. I like it to be able to run easily off the spoon a bit like honey does.
  4. Add to the ramekins and decorate with crushed and whole mini eggs.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Friday Night Dinner Recipes: Risotto and Sea bass

Friday Night Dinner Recipes: Risotto and Sea bass

Sea Bass with Prawn and Smoked Salmon Risotto

A Healthy Recipe in 20 Minutes

Sea Bass with Prawn and Smoked Salmon Risotto is one of our ‘go to’ meals on a Friday night. It is the upgrade to my Smoked salmon and prawn risotto for lunch recipe. It’s a nice, healthy recipe that’s easy to make and you can show off if you have friends over. I never get any complaints when I cook this.

It’s pretty cheap for a Friday night dinner and way better than dropping £10-20 for a meal for 2, which quite often leaves you a little underwhelmed and craving for a little more taste. This costings me about a £10 and feeds 4 easily. Or two extra big, greedy portions!

The other bonus, just like my lunch version below, is that it is a healthier version of a risotto I used to make with shed loads of cream and cheese. I hope I am ticking a few boxes for you here. It definitely packs a punch in the taste department. There’s a few extra nuggets of decadence in this recipe from the lunch one. When you watch the many cooking shows on TV you always see the judges saying how to elevate a dish with this or that. So I have experimented with a bit of this and that and settled on this current recipe. For this recipe you going to need to keep a little of that Sauvignon Blanc that you’ve opened. That’s the first key extra! Sounds good already doesn’t it.

Just one bit of advice if you want to have a cracking Saturday lunch – put a little extra risotto aside to make these Baked Arancini tomorrow. Just another bonus about making this dish. Leftovers are what makes a dish great, especially when it’s another healthier recipe.

Ingredients

300g risotto (Arborio rice)

500ml stock (Chicken/Vegetable oxo cube dissolved in boiling hot water)

100ml of good white wine (I prefer a Sauvignon Blanc)

2 shallots (finely diced)

2 mushrooms (finely diced)

2 cloves of garlic/ 2 tsp garlic granules

Fresh or dried dill

Fresh or dried fennell

50g low fat cream cheese

50g parmesan

75-100g of smoked salmon

10-15 king sized prawns

Seabass

Half tsp Fennel

Pinch of Garlic granules

Seasoning – Salt/Pepper to taste

Risotto Method

  1. Gentle fry the mushrooms and shallots in some rapeseed or olive oil until softened.
  2. Add the rice and fry at a medium heat for 2-3 mins until the oil is absorbed. This allows the rice to soften and absorb the flavour from the stock. Then add the wine and cook until it is absorbed.
  3. If you’re being fussy you can add the stock a little at a time waiting until the rice has absorbed the stock before adding more and gently stirring. For this recipe you can just add the stock and let it cook for approximately 20 mins. Make sure to keep an eye on it as it only takes a moment or to spoil.
  4. Once the stock has been absorbed add the smoked salmon and prawns with the herbs and cook for another 3-4 mins continually stirring.
  5. Add the cream cheese and stir until it has been dissolved in the risotto.
  6. Grate the parmesan into the risotto and serve immediately.

Seabass

  1. Season the fish with a little salt and pepper just before cooking.
  2. Heat the frying pan until very hot, then add 2 tbsp oil. Lay the fish fillets in the pan, skin-side down. As soon as it goes in, press each fillet down with your fingers or a fish slice to stop it from curling up.
  3. Add the fennel and the garlic. It does not take long to cook depending on the size and thickness of the fillet. I cook for about 2 mins and then take off the heat and turn the fillet over whilst I dish the risotto on to the plate. The residual heat of the pan will cook the flesh of the sea bass but will not burn it or dry it out.
Seafood risotto lunch

Prawn and Smoked Salmon Risotto – Healthy Recipe

Prawn and Smoked Salmon Risotto Lunch

A Healthy Recipe in 20 Minutes

Smoked salmon and prawn risotto for lunch is just one of those lunches that hit the spot. It’s a nice, healthy, and filling lunch that will fill you up but won’t weigh you down for the day. The best part – it’s easy to make and will make you look like a superstar cook if you have company to share it with.

My family love this and although I like it for a bit of lunch, it’s also great on a larger scale with some sea bass on a Friday night. I do add a couple of fancy extras for the Friday night recipe, plus it usually comes with a nice glass of wine to relax for the weekend.

My wife used to make the risottos in our house until about a year ago when I fancied giving it a go. I have always been a fan of great Italian food. I used to stick to my favourites: creamy, cheesy pasta or tomato pasta. My skills in cooking Italian dishes have moved on a bit the last year or so. It is easy to get stuck making the same old dishes that you love over and and over again; it gets a little tedious eventually and you lose appreciation of the how varied Italian cooking is if you’re not careful. Hence my foray into cooking a little more adventurously started with this risotto recipe. Originally, I made it with some cream, but as I am not supposed to have that anymore, I created this version. It uses low fat cream cheese as a substitute, which actually gave it a lot more flavour. I use less Parmesan that I used to as well which cuts the fat content down but you still get that rich flavour. Less is more as they say. I keep this recipe simple as well with just a bit of dill to highlight the seafood flavours from the smoked salmon and prawns. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed with this lunch favourite.

You can check out my spruced up Friday night risotto here.

Just one bit of advice if you want to have a cracking Saturday lunch – put a little extra risotto aside to make these Baked Arancini tomorrow. Just another bonus about making this dish. Leftovers are what makes a dish great, especially when it’s another healthier recipe.

Ingredients

300g risotto (Arborio rice)

500ml stock (Chicken/Vegetable oxo cube dissolved in boiling hot water)

2 shallots (finely diced)

2 mushrooms (finely diced)

2 cloves of garlic/ 2 tsp garlic granules

Fresh or dried dill

Fresh or dried fennell

50g low fat cream cheese

50g parmesan

75-100g of smoked salmon

10-15 king sized prawns

Method

  1. Gentle fry the mushrooms and shallots in some rapeseed or olive oil until softened.
  2. Add the rice and fry at a medium heat for 2-3 mins until the oil is absorbed. This allows the rice to soften and absorb the flavour from the stock.
  3. If you’re being fussy you can add the stock a little at a time waiting until the rice has absorbed the stock before adding more and gently stirring. For this recipe you can just add the stock and let it cook for approximately 20 mins. Make sure to keep an eye on it as it only takes a moment or to spoil.
  4. Once the stock has been absorbed, add the smoked salmon and prawns with the herbs and cook for another 3-4 mins continually stirring.
  5. Add the cream cheese and stir until it has been dissolved in the risotto.
  6. Grate the parmesan into the risotto and serve immediately.
Arancini

Oven Baked Arancini

Oven Baked Arancini

Whenever I make risotto I make too much. I do it on purpose! I love it so much and I know I am going to get those flavours in a slightly different way the day after. Arancini is my wife’s favourite dish to order as a starter or light lunch when we go out for dinner. If it’s on the menu, she is going to order it. I never made it the conventional way in a deep fryer but I have tasted the full fat version when nicking a taste from the wife’s plate. The acidity of the feta and cream cheese sit lovely with my homemade arancini dip. I am usually lost for words when I eat these lovely creamy rice balls. I just wished I had tried more of them before I couldn’t go near the deep fried kind. That doesn’t mean that the oven baked variety I now make are lesser vessels of loveliness. Yes, you can tell they haven’t been deep fried – there’s no way around that, but in this case (and mine) it’s a good thing. All the taste and crisp breadcrumbs, but without all the nasty, hip hugging fat.

As you can see in the photo, arancini make a cracking lunch or dinner. This time I make it with a side salad, roasted mini portobello mushroom and a simple serrano wrapped chicken breast. Yum!

Recipe

Leftover risotto – Usually about 100-150g

Feta cheese

Plain flour

2 eggs

Breadcrumbs

Method

  1. Refrigerate your leftover risotto overnight.
  2. Prep the flour and breadcrumbs into separate bowls. Preheat your oven to 180 C Fan assisted.
  3. Roughly chop the feta cheese and incorporate into the risotto.
  4. Roll the risotto into evenly sized balls.
  5. Coat the balls in flour and then in the whisked egg. Place directly into the breadcrumbs and gently roll until the balls are covered.
  6. Spray the balls with some low calorie oil. I use a vaporiser to spray a small amount of rapeseed oil.
  7. Cook in the centre of the oven for 20-25mins.

Dipping sauce (Extra)

¼ Chopped tomatoes or passata

1 Shallot

1 tsp Garlic granules or 1 clove of garlic

1 tbsp Light Soy sauce

Chicken stock cube in 75 ml of boiling water

4 Olives

Fresh Basil

Method

  1. Finely hop the shallot and place on a low heat in a saucepan with a small amount of oil. Heat until the shallots are browning. Add the garlic and cook for another 1-2 mins.
  2. Use a hand blender to blend the chopped tomatoes or use passata. Add to the onions.
  3. Add the soy sauce and chicken stock and simmer for 10 mins
  4. Crush or roughly chop the olives and add to the sauce. Simmer for a further 3-5 mins
  5. Chop or tear the basil leaves and add to the sauce and cook until the basil wilts.
  6. Serve as a dip or over the top of the arancini with some shaved parmesan.
Epilepsy Awareness

Parenting A Child With Epilepsy

Parenting A Child With Epilepsy

Parenting is a difficult job – you’re never going to get it perfect. I have become accustom to that feeling. I have two children: a boy who’s 6 and a girl who’s 4. My son was diagnosed with epilepsy at 3 months old. Believe it or not that wasn’t the worst news we had got in the first few months of his life. If anything, we were expecting it! My son had a stroke at birth which caused his epilepsy and was incredibly poorly for the first few months and continues to have periods of time where he is unwell. He has right sided hemiplegia, which means he has a weakness down the right side of his body. He is an incredibly resilient child. I couldn’t be prouder, and although I wouldn’t change him for the world, because of his medical issues we do have to change the way we live our lives. A lot of the time he makes our lives richer and in other ways more of a challenge. I suppose that can be said about any child – we are constantly told that every child is different as parents when trying to raise our children. I wanted to give an honest account of what it is like to parent a child with disabilities. Particularly, on with epilepsy. This blog post is about our live, and I have also created a page for information regarding epilepsy that I have come across over the years.

So, I will start from the beginning. J was born unexpectedly double breach and gave us a particular scare when being born. To cut a long story short, there was a sign of relief when he came, seemingly okay, in to the world. Unbeknownst to us, he had had a stroke, and three days after birth we rushed him into hospital where after a couple of days we were told about the damage the stroke had caused to J brain. We were told by doctors that he would probably not be able to walk or talk as his stroke had affected the occipital parietal region of his brain (the back, left area). We were shown a diagram about where this was and given a rather dreary view of what his future could look like. It didn’t completely sink in straight away. I am glad it didn’t really as this is definitely not the case today. Although J has had trouble walking, he can, albeit he does use a wheelchair and does need constant assistance to be able to walk without falling over. He can also talk when he chooses; he can also sign to make himself known. He is our little miracle. I have never seen a more determined kid when he wants to do something. He will try and try before he asks for help.

 

The reason he is like he is now is down to few different people and organisations. We haven’t done it on our own, we had plenty of help along the road – we were very lucky. Jackson developed torticollis when he was a baby. We were referred very quickly to physical therapy to help him straightened up. We were given the opportunity to have multiple appointment a week and although this was a bit awkward with work we managed to do them. We had these appointment for a few years, covering both his torticollis and the weakness in his arms and legs. They gave us a routine of exercises through play that we did everyday intensely. It sounds rather dramatic and overwhelming when I describe it sometimes, but it gave me the excuse to play with my son for hours everyday whilst knowing that it was doing him a world of good. He loved the sessions most days, although he never really likes new toys and exercises at first. J takes issue with new things and always initially rebels or cowers away. It’s heartbreaking sometimes but totally worth pushing through it. He still continues to have physical and occupational therapy at his school which is great. We don’t have to go to so many appointments outside of school which means he still gets his education.

 

One of the major sources of help was a referral to Bobath. I can’t wax lyrical enough about them. I believe that they were a defining point in my son’s ability to walk. When we went there at 18 months old. He could not support himself, and although a lot of progress was made, he still had a lot of difficulty in using his right sided limbs. Bobath is a referral only charity run therapy centre in Whitchurch, Cardiff, which focuses on child with cerebral palsy. J has not been diagnosed with cerebral palsy but has many of the traits that comes with that diagnosis. To get the opportunity our physical therapy team and doctors had to make an application which went to a panel to decide. We were bowled over when they told us we had been accepted to a course. The course involved an initial meeting to discuss J targets for his therapy and an informal conversation about family support and routine with the family engagement officer.

Bobath Children’s Therapy Centre Wales

Bobath Children’s Therapy Centre Wales provides physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech and language therapy to children all over Wales who have cerebral palsy. Bobath therapists are state-registered and work together as a team to combine these disciplines to give each child the skills to explore their world, communicate their needs, maximise their potential and so improve their quality of life.

At Bobath Children’s Therapy Centre Wales we focus on the ability and not the disability.

Our mission is ‘to improve the quality of life of children in Wales who have cerebral palsy’.

The amount of care and expertise we were shown was outstanding. It is just a shame that they can only help so many families. Wales is very lucky to have one of these centres. After the initial meeting followed 10 intensive hour long therapy sessions over a period of 20 days. The hour long trip each day was a cheap cost for what we received. Although our local therapy team were good – these are the formula one team of physical therapy. By the end of the 10 sessions J stood up and supported his weight for a few seconds and was getting so much better at using his right side. Like the local regime, we were given a comprehensive list of exercises with photos and instructions of how to focus the exercises using play. It was quite a few months after until Jackson walked a few steps, but we still believe to this day that because of those sessions and the continued regime we followed was the reason that J started to walk and get around.

When I say we were incredibly lucky to the one course, you can imagine how we felt when we received another set of 10 sessions about 16 months later. The focus this time was on using his hand and also his speech. Jackson did not speak words at the time and only made a few vowel sounds. We were given very little help from our local speech therapist who had pretty much told us to wait and that if he didn’t want to try to speak there wasn’t much they could do. The specialist at Bobath did not believe that. She identified one of the reasons why J was finding it hard. We were told that because of his poor muscle tone in his core it was affecting the muscles in his throat and tongue so he didn’t have the strength to get the words or sounds he wanted. She also introduced to sign language to assist his communication. Until then he had just used his eyes and some sounds. It did not happen overnight, but what we learned there laid the foundations of the communication we have with him today. It has made his life, and ours, so much fuller and rich with experience. It used to be so frustrating for us all, mostly J, that we couldn’t communicate the way we wanted to. He still has his moments of mutism but generally he knows how to communicate through a mixture of words, signs and expressions. He still chooses with his eyes quite a bit but he is a million miles away from where the original doctor said we might be. It is not a criticism of the doctor as he was only trying to be realistic. We know now that keeping open minded and hopeful has been a blessing to our family. We live by that mantra as we continue our lives together. Our son’s future is not confined to what we believe he can achieve, but by the endless possibilities he can strive to.

As J got closer to school age we were also given access to portage: a play based therapy to help J get ready for nursery and school. A lovely lady by the name of Maria came to our house once a week. She initially assessed his abilities and we were again given targets to try to reach each week. They would be very simple for most children of J age, but he found them challenging. Whether it be to use a different toy with his weak hand, or to try to draw a circle, they were simple tasks but took some effort by J to master them. We would work together every day in order to try and show off his achievements by the next session. He really loved these sessions and Maria had a lovely way with him which always succeeded in making him smile. It may not seem like much but these types of therapy did wonders for his confidence and self esteem – things really important for children as they grow up. It was sad to end these sessions but one positive aspect of our contact with Maria was that she got us in touch with Y bont. A special needs focused nursery.

 

Y bont is local nursery, which focuses on helping families with children who have special needs. It is only a small charity run nursery but it has been a wonderful place for J to attend. Initially he only went for a day a week, and then everyday as I went back to full time work in a school. He left there this year after 3 years of attending. Needless to say, he absolutely loved every minute of his days there. I know they loved him to. They were very upset when he finally left. I have to say, so was I. A few tears were shed on his last day. He just smiled and waved. He was ready to be the big boy and go to big boy school. They offer such a unique place for children like J. It was a home from home. They are a small charity which means they have to raise a lot of money to ensure they keeping providing the service they offer. I was lucky enough to help by doing an interview for Children In Need a couple of years ago. It was a great experience. I can’t find an official video on the Children In Need website, but we recorded this video on a phone. Apologies for the quality:

They really are a great team, one that I could not leave out when writing this blog. If you want to know more you can visit their site here:

www.ybont.co

Or Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/Bridgend.YBont/

You don’t have to, but if you would like to help them out you can donate to them on this link.

DONATE TO HELP Y BONT

J now goes to a special needs school. One that is absolutely perfect for him. He calls it his play school. He gets on the bus everyday with other children like him, all of them with a smile on their face and excited to go to school. It is a wonderful thing to see your child so excited for a day at school. My memories of going to school were far more complex. Even at J’s age.

So, I have given you a little history about J’s short life so far. A lot more has happened than this but I would need to write a book to go through it all. The one thing I haven’t mentioned yet in much detail is epilepsy. It took a few visits and conversations for J to get diagnosed with epilepsy. We noticed J had a continuous twitch in his right arm which would last for periods of 10-20 mins to sometimes over an hour. This would happen throughout the day. Although we were told to watch out for epileptic fits, we didn’t really think this was the sign. We expected the full on seizures where the whole body violently jerks – we did not know that these twitches were fits in themselves. To be honest, the doctors we saw in hospital didn’t seem to think he was having fits either. However, after a few visits and conversations we got to have a specialist come to see J, who at first sight, said yes he is having seizures! It was a very casual expression for him, but for us it was a pivotal moment in the rest of our sons and our lives.

We still have a long way to go, and we have a lot happening over the next twelve months. J has been referred to Great Ormond Street hospital for surgical assessment. He may have brain surgery or he may . It is not something we are looking forward to, but we have some amazing support around us, plus he is a little superstar and takes everything in his stride. I suppose the best thing to say is wait and see. Parenting a child with epilepsy has its worries and we all go through our trials and tribulations about what’s best for our children, however we feel completely blessed to be able to live the life that we do. It is rich and fulfilling, with so many amazing memories made already. It has taught us not to take for granted the milestones that others might. The first step our son took wasn’t just a milestone – it was a miracle that we were told wouldn’t happen. The first time he used a cup to drink bowled us away. These events are seared deep into our hearts and minds. We are constantly reminded of how resilient children are and how determined they can be to overcome adversity. Whenever I am going through hardship or challenges of any sort I remind myself of this and it helps me to push through and try to overcome them.

Easy Pizza Dough Recipe

Easy Pizza Dough Recipe

Who doesn’t love pizza! It is just one of those lazy foods that we pick up or order in so we don’t have to do much cooking. Yep, it is one of our family favourites. I feed the kids this on swimming night. It’s easy to make, delicious, and making it fresh doesn’t take as long as you would think. The only effort is in the keading, and if you’ve made bread before this will come easy.

This recipe is my own, but I am not ashamed to say that I’ve cooked many online recipes prior to creating this to make sure I knew what I was doing. This creation is the best I’ve made a pizza. The pizza base is light and crispy but without being paper thin. It definitely leaves you filling fulfilled but not weighed down.

I shall leave the toppings up to you. I’ve gone with a mozzarella and pepperoni on top of my own homemade tomato sauce. I will post that up soon.

Ingredients

300g Strong White Bread Flour (You can get 1.5kg for less than a £1)

200ml of warm water (I just combine half boiling and half cold water)

2 Tbsp Rapeseed Oil (You can use olive oil if you prefer)

10g Sea Salt

1 Tbsp of Sugar

1 Sachet of Fast Acting Yeast

Method

  1. Combine flour, yeast, salt and sugar. Mix well, but be careful not to put the salt directly onto the yeast. I put the yeast in first, mix and then add the salt.
  2. Add the liquids and mix and knead until they combine to form a smooth, elastic dough.
  3. Rest in the mixing bowl for 30 mins. Make sure it is covered with food wrap or a tea towel.
  4. Use some flour to dust a clean work surface. Scrape out the dough with a plastic spatula. You can use your hands if you want. You now need to knead your dough for about 15-20mins.
  5. Place back into the mixing bowl to rest for 1 hour. Preheat your oven to 220C (200 for fan assisted), Gas mark 7 or 425 F.
  6. Knock out the dough by flattening hit out with your palms and then use your fingers to poke dimples in the dough.
  7. Dust a clean work top with flour. Cut dough into two halves and use a rolling pin to stretch out the dough.
  8. Dust a round pizza tray with flour and place your dough on tray and folder the edges to make your crust.
  9. Add the pizza toppings. Cook for 15-20mins, Hey presto, you have a pizza that’s far better than a shop bought pizza. I would say it rivals any takeout or restaurant pizza
Daddies Space

The Digital Daddy Club

The Digital Daddy Clubimage

The Digital Daddy Club has opened and is available for all daddies who are looking to up skill and either change to the direction of their career, change jobs to fix that work life balance, get back into work, or you’re just looking for that change. Go to our facebook page and join the group.

I have worked for Daddyjobs.co.uk since the start of September. I am a stay at home dad of two children, and that is a demanding job in itself, but that isn’t the whole of my life. It is just one aspect that enriches the life that I live. I truly believe that the role of ‘Dad’ has changed since my father and grandfather and so on.In fact according to an article in the Guardian there are indications that there are as many as 10 times more stay-at-home dads in the UK than there were a decade ago. This figure is not completely fact – it is an estimation from research completed by the Office for National Statistics. Accurate or not, it still shows that we are a growing breed.

The long established view of the stay-at-home mum is shifting to a more shared approach which has seen more dads reduce the hours of their work in order to share or take some of the responsibility of looking after our children. Hand on heart, I am proud to be part of this growing community of fathers. It is not all sweetness and roses, sometimes as we all know, being a parent can be a difficult job, and whether you’re a stay-at-home dad or mum, isolation, frustration and loneliness can be difficult to manage. That’s even forgetting the other mum/dad jobs we have looking after the house. It’s like running a mini multinational sometimes…I do have a penchant for the melodramatic occasionally.

 

Some of the facts..

 

It is not all gloom and doom though – us dads are supposedly a happy bunch. 75% of us feel lucky to able to look after the children. The study behind the Guardian article also revealed a number of emotive responses from role-reversing parents:

Of women who are the main breadwinner:

  • Four in 10 (37%) feel guilty going out to work and leaving their children
  • One in seven (15%) say they occasionally resent their partner because they have to go out to work
  • Although fewer than one in 10 (9%) say they’d actually want to swap places with their partner to be the stay-at-home parent.

Whereas men who are the stay-at-home parents say:

  • Three quarters (75%) feel lucky to be spending time with their children
  • Around a third (29%) find looking after children more rewarding than going out to work
  • Although one in 10 (10%) say looking after children makes them feel “less of a man”
  • And one in five (17%) wish they earned more so they could go out to work while their partner cared for the children.

Interestingly, I agree! I am lucky to be a stay at home dad. However, figures can also be misleading and not give the real picture. That’s another reason why we have started this. Whether you’re male or female; mum or dad, you own your own story and life – it is unique to you and as individual as your fingerprint. One of the things I have learnt since becoming a dad, a blogger, a work from homer….a grown up! Is that it is important to share knowledge and experience with people in similar situations; to find different ways of tackling situations and ideas. A lot of mums (not all) are good at this, it is one of the crucial skills that I think women are better at than men – communication. It enables them to communicate their emotions, troubles and share knowledge easily. I see it at the school gate: groups of mums gossiping away everything that is going on in their lives. It is not all gossiping though. They are sharing their stories and ideas about their kids, reaffirming their own thoughts and fears about what they’re doing. It may seem trivial, but it really is ‘good to talk’. It’s not all men though.

As I said, we are a growing breed. Like any new adventurers striding into the unknown, we take a few stumbles and go in a couple of wildly fun ‘scenic routes’. We are quick learners and problem solvers. We can be pragmatic and goal driven. These are all skills that we can use in the stay-at-home dad role. I’ve seen so many great dad blogs out there that give great advice and give honest and open stories about being the main caregiver, and what the highs and lows of that life can be. Being a stay-at-home dad does not have to mean you’re less of a man. It means we need to change the perception of what being a man means.

When the job don’t fit…

One of the reasons I am a stay at home dad is because the job I was in no longer fitted around the term time hours. It is hard finding a job as a dad that has to look after the kids. When mums have said that looking after the kids was a full time job. They weren’t kidding. I think we knew that already to be honest. Most dads aren’t knuckle dragging troglodytes, in fact most of us knew the lengths to which our mothers went to look after us. It is why we are perfectly capable of doing this job, and why more and more of us are doing it. Like many mums before us, being the stay-at-home dad doesn’t confine us to a life of nappies, cleaning and food. It is important that we look after our own health and mental well being. I went through a period of adjustment the first time I did the stay-at-home dad job with my son and daughter. It took me nine months…and then I went back to work. Doing the stay-at-home job again is much better this time. I know more about what to expect and what to avoid. I now keep myself busy by blogging and working from home; keeping healthy and exercising, and making sure I keep the social life going. It is a juggling act which can be a bit heavy at times, but it is not unmanageable – it just takes a little effort …but for a big pay off.

Community

The Digital Daddy Club is a community connected via the Daddyjobs.co.uk website that we want dads to join because we know it important to connect and share experiences.

We want to make that work/life balance right for parents. Dads and mums deserve to be able to work together and have opportunities that fit around their life, and not have to fit their life around their work.

We want to give you the space to share experiences and advice, not just around jobs, but around every aspect of your lives. As much as you want to. Our ambition is to make it easier for parents to live a full life without having to sacrifice the important parts.

We will give opportunities for flexible/part time/ work from home jobs; training options and CV consultation, but most importantly the feeling of being able to control your life. Yes, queue inspirational music to that last sentence, but we really mean it.

The whole reason we started our sites and digital parent clubs is to try to change the landscape for parents who find it difficult to keep up with demands of modern day life. It shouldn’t be a case of if you can beat them join them. It should be if you can’t beat them, change their viewpoint, change the arena, change their minds.

Join the club…

Please visit the facebook page, twitter or our daddyjobs community. We’d love to hear from you, read your blogs and hear your stories.

If you’re a mum and you’re reading this, we haven’t forgotten about the mums. You can connect with our mums on our facebook page, twitter and www.mummyjobs.co.uk

Low Sugar Brownie Recipe – Chocolate and Banana

Low Sugar Fudgey Chocolate Banana Brownies

brownies.jpg

If you’re looking for a treat but don’t want to feel that inevitable guilt afterwards, I recommend this brownie recipe. I did a bit of research before having an experiment on Sunday morning -that seems to be the time I always have a little play in the kitchen. I usually let the kids join in and have a bit of fun whilst doing it. This week we created these yummy little treats that surprised and delighted us.

I have found that most recipes out there have a lot of sugar and aren’t really that healthy. Delicious, but definitely not that healthy. I have tried making one so that I can feel good about indulging in something a bit naughty but not so much that I regret it straight after. I think these hit the mark. My daughter loves them. They are fudgey brownies with a nice glossy finish to them. The dark chocolate makes it rich and the banana gives a fruity twist. I am sure some of you will still prefer the calorific sugary recipes, but for those of you that are trying to keep an eye on the diet, give these a try.

Recipe

One large banana

50g dark chocolate

One teaspoon of brown sugar

2 tbsp honey

150g flour

100g cup of cocoa powder

2 free range eggs (whisked)

2-3 Drop of vanilla extract

2 tsp oil (I use rapeseed oil)

Method

  1. Whisk the dry ingredients together in a bowl.
  2. Mash a ripe banana with a fork and combine with the other wet ingredients in another both.
  3. Melt the dark chocolate with some water in a microwave for 20-30 secs. Be careful to stop and start this so you don’t burn the chocolate. Add to the wet ingredients and mix.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until fully combined.
  5. Preheat your oven to 150C
  6. Line a metal cake tin with a little bit of oil and add the mixture.
  7. Place in the centre of the oven for 25-30 mins.
  8. Allow to cool before cutting. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Baked Chocolate Cheesecake

Baked Chocolate Cheesecake

 

For those you who have read any of my other recipes, you know I haven’t been able to eat much chocolate or fatty foods. That doesn’t mean I don’t treat myself now and then. I have discovered I can eat dark chocolate without much problem, and treat myself to some 70% cocoa solids dark chocolate on a Saturday night. This weekend I have used that treat in a cheesecake. If you don’t like dark chocolate just change it to a chocolate you do like. If I could, I would, trust me. I have always liked dark chocolate, but I now have a new found appreciation for it, since it’s the only type I can eat without any problems.

I have always been a chocoholic, it is one of those vices that I cannot fully get rid of. As so many people say, ‘Everything in moderation’. I baked an apple crumble cheesecake a couple of weeks ago, and since then have been playing about with a recipe of a chocolate version that is pretty low fat and much less sugar than the ones you can buy over the counter, or the many recipes out there that have a tonne of sugar in them. Since starting my diet my mission has been to create food that I used to eat but with different ingredients and less fat and sugar in order to get healthy without it being too much of a food and taste killer. I knew it was possible, I have lost 3 stone in since March. It’s amazing what you can do with a little effort. The thing is, dieting encompasses your life when you stick to one – that can be incredibly hard to stick to. It’s too intense. My trick is you have got to treat yourself, but the treat has to be worth it or it has to be kinda healthy or lower in fat and sugar. That way you’re not wandering off back into your old food life.

This baked chocolate cheesecake contains far less fat that most baked cheesecakes contain as it uses low fat cream cheese and lighter mascarpone. The chocolate topping is the naughty part of this dessert. Although I have used far less of the naughty stuff than you would imagine by using good quality chocolate that delivers on taste.

We tried this dessert after a steak dinner on Saturday night.

IMAG0165.jpg
The Rump Steak dinner was pretty good too!!

It went down like a house on fire. My kids had smiley chocolate faces that you really can’t pay for. It’s worth a little bit of extra effort to make the family happy. The bonus of making this cake is that I make it in a large cake tin, which means there is plenty for the next day and also plenty to share out to family and friends. I love hearing what they think of my recipes. I have started a Facebook group for sharing recipes – share some please, I have loved making cheesecake recipes lately. It’s great, considering  they are inspired by a recipe shared with me.

Ingredients

Cheesecake Base:
A half pack of digestives (approx. 10 biscuits)

75g of toasted and blended oats

2 tsp Cocoa powder

2 tablespoons of honey

Cheesecake Filling
2 packets lightest (5% or less) cream cheese
1 packet light mascarpone

2 tsp cocoa dissolved into 1 tbsp of hot water

50g melted dark chocolate
25g sugar

1 tsp of Cornflour

2 tsp honey
2 medium eggs

Topping (optional)

50g dark chocolate

25g chocolate buttons

10 Maltesers

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 160°C/320°F
  2. Toast the oats in a dry frying pan until they start to brown. Be careful not to burn the oats as this doesn’t take long. They should smell a little like popcorn when toasted. Yum! Put the the toasted oats and digestive biscuits in food processor and blend until they are just crumbs. Add the cocoa and process again until combined. Add the honey and mix. The mix should be damp and form crumbs. If not add a little more honey until you get this texture. Press into the bottom of a lined, spring loaded, cake tin and refrigerate whilst you get the rest sorted.
  3. Melt the chocolate in the microwave. I do this 10 seconds at a time to make sure it doesn’t burn. Alternatively, you can do this in a bowl over hot steaming water. Also, dissolve the cocoa powder for the cheesecake filling in a tablespoon of hot water. I learnt this little trick by watching Nigella. Like her or not, she has some pretty awesome recipes.
  4. Add all the ingredients for the cheesecake filling and pulse until smooth. Use can you a food processor or a hand mixer like I did for this. Empty in the mixture into the cake tin and place in the centre of the oven for 1 hour.
  5. Once it has baked, let it rest for at least 10 mins before adding your topping.
  6. For the topping melt the buttons and the dark chocolate with just a couple of drops of oil. I used rapeseed oil as it’s lower in fat. It also gives the chocolate topping a nice shine. Once melted use a small spoon and drizzle over the top of your cake. Add the Maltesers for some decoration. The kids had these on theirs. You can use white chocolate buttons – melt a few and drizzle them over the dark chocolate to make a nice visual contrast to the dark chocolate. Its up to you.
  1. Set for at least three hours in the fridge. I l was suppose to leave mine overnight but it looked too good not to try it.

I hope you like it! If you do, let me know what you think.

No Chilli Chicken Enchiladas

No Chilli  Chicken Enchiladas

If you can’t have chillis or chilli powder like me, this is a great recipe. I have always loved enchiladas – there’s nothing better than settling down for the night, watching your favourite TV show and then tucking into to a couple of tasty Mexican treats. I used to like mine spicy and cheesy. We used to do it the lazy way and buy the El Paso Enchilada kit, and although I loved it I would always add a few extras to make it spicier or a little bit more cheesy.

As I have mentioned a few times before, I cannot eat a few different things now due to a lot of ingredients triggering LPR. Enchiladas were going to be one of those recipes I was going to have to figure out pretty quickly – I could not live without this for too long. Needless to say I sorted a recipe out and it has gone through a few different changes to get it the way I like it over the past few months. I have tried it out on a few people, including my sister who is another mexican food lover like me. She loved it! I knew I was onto a winner and the litmus test had been passed.

I am a little biased obviously, but I think this recipe is far superior to any enchiladas I have tasted, although I haven’t been to Mexico so this recipe would probably be beaten by a traditional Mexican recipe. Maybe not. Suppose I will never know.

Ingredients (Serves 4 people)

3 Chicken breast fillets – Sliced into thin strips

1 onion or 4 spring onions (milder flavour) – Sliced into strips

Tomato puree

Chopped tomatoes – half can – blended

1 Bell Peppers  – Sliced into strips

1 Beef tomato – roughly diced – chunks are better

2 tbsp cider vinegar

Chopped tomatoes

Corn flour – 1 tsp

1 1/2 tsp Cumin

1 tbsp Paprika

Salt – To taste

2 tsp Chives

1 tsp Tumeric

200ml warm water with veg oxo cube dissolved

1 tbsp Tamarind Sauce

1 1/2 tsp Garlic Granules

100g Cream Cheese – Low fat (-5%)

Flour tortillas – Corn tortillas are better but I tend to have flour more often

Parmesan – 50g (or more if you like a stronger cheesy flavour)

Method

  1. Prepare the vegetables and chicken by slicing them all into strips of roughly equal size.
  2. Soften the onions in a pan for 5 mins. They should be translucent when they are ready.
  3. Add the beef tomatoes and cooked for a 3 mins on a medium heat.
  4. Add the cider vinegar and cook off the liquid until evaporated.
  5. Add the peppers and make sure to stir constantly until softened.
  6. Add the spices and herbs including the garlic but not the tamarind sauce.
  7. Add some corn flour – this will thicken the liquid that we are going to add. Stir for a minute until the cornflour has combined with the ingredients.
  8. Add the water and stir all the ingredients in.
  9. Blend the half can of chopped tomatoes and add to the sauce.
  10. Turn down to a simmer and cook for 20-25 mins until the sauce has reduced to a thick concentrated sauce. Add the tamarind here and simmer for another 5 mins.
  11. Put one half of the sauce aside.
  12. Brown the chicken in a pan. This takes about 5 mins. Add the sauce and cook for a further 5 mins.
  13. Preheat your oven to 220C or 200C for fan assisted.
  14. While this is good grate your parmesan, ready 4 – 6 tortilla by lining them with low fat cream cheese and a little bit of parmesan or low fat mature cheddar.
  15. Add the chicken and sauce and roll your tortillas. If you’re using the flour tortillas you will need to cook them without a topping first in order to get that crispy finish, otherwise it will become soggy and not very tasty. I use a George Foreman Grill, but a panini press with also do the job. It doesn’t take long. You want a nice browning or charring on the tortilla.
  16. Assemble the enchiladas in an oven proof dish.
  17. Then pour the rest of your sauce over the middle of the enchiladas. Do not full cover unless using corn tortillas.
  18. I then dollop cream cheese over the and then grate parmesan over the top.IMG_0264.JPG
  19. Place in the oven for 20-25 mins until the cheese and melted and starting to crisp.
  20. I serve mine with a nice Avocado salad and sweet potato wedges.

If you do try this, tell me what you think. It’s not the usual/traditional way to make enchiladas but it is extremely delicious and is definitely within the realm of mexican flavours I like.

Apple Crumble Cheese Cake

Apple Crumble Cheesecake

I got the basis of this recipe from @Somersetmum on her blog Somersetmum.com. It sounded like something we’d eat in our house. I had to change it a little bit to fit my dietary requirements, but I thought why not give it a try. It is an awesome little dessert – the apple crumble on top is caramelized apple and gives the taste of toffee apples as well as the usual apple crumble loveliness . For those of you who like cheesecake, those of you who like apple crumble, this is a match made in food heaven. My version is still a little bit naughty but it doesn’t really affect my LPR, so I am calling it a win. Plus you don’t need to eat the whole thing to yourself. The best bit about food is sharing it with others. The best thing is that it cost me a fiver!!! For a 12″ cheesecake. Absolute bargain.

Ingredients

Cheesecake Base:
A half pack of digestives (approx. 10 biscuits)

75g of toasted and blended oats

2 tablespoons of honey

Cheesecake Filling
2 packets lightest (5% or less) cream cheese
1 packet light mascarpone
25g sugar

Tsb of Cornflour

2 tsp honey
2 medium eggs

Baked Apples
4 chopped up cooking apples
25g brown sugar

2 tsp of honey
1 tbsp cinnamon
75g sultanas or mixed dried fruit

Crumble
50g brown sugar
100g plain flour
4 tsp of honey
50g oats

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 180°C/350°F
  2. In a baking tray mix apples, sugar, cinnamon and sultanas/dried fruit and bake for 25 minutes. Then Turn the oven down to 160°C/320°F. Adjust according to your oven. I have a bake option on mine so I use that instead of the fan setting. The result is always better when I do this.
  3. Toast the oats in a dry frying pan until they start to brown. Be careful not to burn the oats as this doesn’t take long. They should smell a little like popcorn when toasted. Yum! Put the the toasted oats and digestive biscuits in food processor and blend until they are just crumbs. Add the honey and mix. Press into the bottom of a lined, spring loaded, cake tin and refrigerate whilst you get the rest sorted.
  4. Add all the ingredients for the cheesecake filling and pulse until smooth. Use can you a food processor or a hand mixer like I did for this. So this is where I got confused and literally blended everything up together! Now blend half if the apples in the food processor and add to the cheesecake mix. Leave the other half of the apples to layer on top of the chesse cake.
  5. To make your crumble, put all your ingredients in a bowl and work the mixture with your hands. I was always taught to roll the mixture with your thumb over your fingers. Do this until the mixture is fully combinedIMAG0075.jpg
  6. Now pour all your cheesecake topping on top of the biscuit base you have in the fridge and then top with the rest of the apples and your crumble topping, put as much or as little as you want on.

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7. Bake for 1 hour then set for at least three hours in the fridge. I left mine over night and come lunchtime the next day when we tried it, it was perfect! Try Hot or Cold, So many people said it was better hot but ya’ll might like it cold!

 

Thanks to @Somersetmum for the original recipe. I truly enjoyed this dessert today. Sundays are the best for a treat after a roast beef dinner.

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