Tag Archives: healthy

Bring Some Excitement Into Your Life! Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Seed Bread

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If you are bored of your everyday bread, if the thought of yet another white sliced loaf makes you want to scream, if you are crying out for something to break the lunchtime sandwiches tedium… Then this is the bread for you.

Why should this be the answer to your problems, you may ask? Well, not only does it look lovely, with its rich golden colour dotted with tempting pumpkin seeds, but this bread also has the advantage of partnering equally well with sweet or savoury toppings. I am pointing this out because sadly it isn’t the case with a lot of other speciality breads (onion bread with jam, anyone? ) so it is perfect for busy households where the same loaf needs to be used for toast at breakfast and to make sandwiches to take to work.

Don’t like sweet potato? Or pumpkin seeds? No problem. This works equally well with the same amount of potato, pumpkin or squash, and you can use sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, pecans, etc.

You will also be pleased to know that this lovely bread is also rather good for you, with its vegetable goodness and healthy pumpkin seeds.

So, to sum up: this bread is good-looking, versatile, tasty, and healthy.

It will change your life.

Bake it.

You will need:

250 g sweet potato, cooked then mashed

1 x 7g sachet dried yeast

350 g strong white flour

110 g pumpkin seeds

10 g salt

1 tbsp. olive oil

250 ml warm water

Method:

In  a large bowl, mix the sweet potato, flour, yeast, salt, pumpkin seeds and olive oil. Gradually add the water to form a consistent dough (you may need a little bit more or less water), then knead for about 10 min until smooth and soft.wpid-20140209_140641.jpg

If using a mixer, knead with the dough hook for 5-10 min.

Shape the dough into a ball and leave to rest, covered, for 1 to 2 h or until well-risen.wpid-20140209_144329.jpg

Press down gently with your fingertips to deflate the dough, then either shape into a ball again on a floured baking sheet, or fill a lightly oiled 900 g loaf tin. Cover and leave to rise again for 30-45 min.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 220C/ fan 200C/ gas 8. Bake the bread for 25-30 min until dark golden (the loaf should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom).

Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

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Filed under Bakes, Bread, Breakfast, Vegetarian

Saturday Night Pasta with Olives, Tomato and Chili

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Staying in this Saturday night? Lucky you: it is the perfect time to cook yourself some delicious, easy pasta, open a nice bottle of wine, and catch up on Ray Donovan or whatever else you are into at the moment. Don’t worry about the washing up, either: you only need 2 pans!

Have a lovely weekend!

You will need (for 2):

4 tbsp olive oil
2 anchovies in olive oil, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 small red chili, finely chopped
2 tbsp capers in brine, drained
About 10-12 mixed green and black olives, halved
250 g cherry tomatoes
250 g wholewheat fusilli

salt, pepper

Method:

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, and cook the pasta according to the packet instructions.

Meanwhile, make the sauce. In a frying pan, heat up the olive oil over a medium heat, and add the anchovies and chili. Cook for 2 min, stirring, then add the garlic and cherry tomatoes. Cook for about 8 min, then add the olives and capers and leave to cook until the pasta is ready. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Drain the pasta and return to the pan, tip the sauce into the pan and combine. Serve with grated Parmesan, if you like.

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Filed under Mains, Pasta, Vegetables

The Fourth Emergency Service (aka Chicken Soup)

I came home tonight to a sick husband. Not sick enough to see a doctor, but decidedly under the weather, and feeling rather sorry for himself.

Initial offers of food were declined, Mr Greedy Frog did not want any food.

At the suggestion of chicken soup though, he perked up and confirmed that such a meal would be very suitable indeed.

Which suited me fine, as I had leftover meat from yesterday’s Barbecued Chicken to use up.

After a bowlful of soup, Mr Greedy Frog declared himself to feel “much better”.

So there you have it: Chicken Soup IS the fourth emergency service. Fact.

You will need (for 2, with a bit extra):

2 tbsp olive oil
2 celery sticks
2 carrots
4 spring onions
1 garlic clove
1 litre hot chicken stock
About 200 g cooked chicken meat, shredded
1 bay leaf
1 small handful vermicelli or other small pasta
Salt
Pepper
Chopped parsley, to serve.

Method:

Roughly chop the spring onions and celery. Slice the carrots. Cut the garlic in half.

In a large pan, heat up the olive oil, then add the chopped vegetables and the garlic. Stir, then cover and cook gently for a few minutes to soften.image

Add the stock and bay leaf, cover, then simmer for about 15 min.

Add the chicken, return to a simmer then add the pasta and leave to cook for the time stated in the packet.

Pour into bowls, top with the parsley, and prepare to witness a miraculous recovery or two.image

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Filed under Meat dishes, Soups

Quick bean stew with grilled halloumi and crunchy toasted almonds

This is very quick and easy to make, and ideal for a midweek evening meal.

You will need (for 2 portions):

2 tbsp olive oil
200g fresh white mushrooms
4 spring onions
2 cloves garlic
1 tin baked beans
25g blanched almonds (flaked almonds would be fine too)
150g halloumi
Pinch thyme
2 tbsp chopped parsley
Salt
Pepper

Method:

Preheat your grill on medium.

Cut the spring onions into 1cm chunks, clean and quarter the mushrooms, crush the garlic.

Place a large pan on a medium heat, and heat up the olive oil. Add the spring onions, garlic, mushrooms and thyme. Toss in the oil then cover and leave for about 2 min until it all starts to soften.

Meanwhile, warm up a small frying pan. If you are using whole blanched almonds, crush them roughly in a pestle and mortar (or food processor), if using flaked almonds, leave them as they are.

When the frying pan is hot add the almonds to it and let them toast until golden. Make sure you keep an eye on them though: they would burn in no time if left unattended. When golden, take off the heat and set aside.

When the mushrooms have softened, add the baked beans, salt and pepper to taste, and warm through.

Slice the halloumi as evenly as you can (you should end up with 6 slices), and pop it under the grill on a baking tray lined with baking paper.

As soon as the halloumi is nice and golden (this should take 1 to 3 min depending on your grill), take it away from under the grill.

To serve, spoon the bean and mushroom stew into shallow bowls, top with the cheese and scatter the almonds on top. Finish with the chopped parsley.image

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Filed under Mains, Vegetarian