Friday, 26 September 2014

Bread Mix Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing

I have been thinking lately that it would be nice to have pumpkin cinnamon rolls. I absolutely adore good cinnamon rolls but they’re definitely few and far between here! I also know that it can be difficult to make the right dough for them. Putting my thinking cap on I thought why I don’t try to make some with some kind of premade dough! Enter; bread mix. I really think I’m on to something here guys; this is a fantastic shortcut that took ages off the time to cook these. Sure the texture is a tiny bit off from those big thick delicious buns from back home but this is all so much easier! The kicker here is that the pumpkin isn’t actually in the dough, I’ve made it so that it’s a spread in between the the rolls so you get it in every bite and I’m sure it’s a bit more prominent than if I had made it in the dough itself. I made my own apple butter for this recipe, because I had some laying around…but you could skip this all together and add ¼ c. more pumpkin and add ½ tsp. cinnamon, ¼ tsp. nutmeg and an eighth of a teaspoon of cloves to replicate the flavour. This makes 9 rolls and they are amaze!

1 500g white bread mix (I used Wrights)
50g muscovado sugar
50g chopped walnuts
½ c. pumpkin
½ tsp. cinnamon
4 tbsp. apple butter (I made my own)
50g melted butter
2 tbsp. honey
100g icing sugar
100-150ml milk
100g Philadelphia lightest cream cheese

To Start:
Follow the instructions on the bread mix.
While you’re waiting for it to rise in various stages, mix up the pumpkin, apple butter, walnuts, muscovado sugar in a paste.
When the bread mix requires to be put into a loaf pan, this is when you’ll flatten and stretch it out into a big square and get it as big as you can, about 12x12.
Spread the pumpkin mixture all over the stretched out dough and roll up.
Slice into 9 even slices and put into a square dish.
Set to prove for a further 30 minutes in very warm place.

To Bake:
Melt the butter and brush it all over the tops.
Sprinkle with cinnamon and drizzle with honey.
Bake in a 200C oven for about 20 minutes, check as times vary by oven.

For the Icing:
Mix the Philadelphia cream cheese and sugar and milk very carefully until you’ve got a nice runny texture.
Make sure to sieve any lumps out or sieve the sugar before mixing it.
When the cinnamon rolls come out of the oven drizzle the icing all over the hot rolls and eat up!

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Easy Low Calorie Turkey Breast Curry

Easy, fast, low-calorie turkey breast curry.
Extra special with your favourite chutney's and a dollop of yogurt!

Today I’m sharing a really quick midweek meal. Something I try to do is regulate my portions and calorie intake during the week very rigidly. Sometimes I am really brilliant with it and sometimes not so much! The easiest way for me to get control of calories for the last meal of the day is a half cup of rice topped with something that has been stewed, like a sauce. You can do that using a completely vegetarian palate or a low fat protein such as chicken breast, turkey breast or I even find great success with lean beef in smaller quantities. My secret to keeping the calories low is taking away any fat that I can. My biggest enemy with calories is anything with fat in it. If you have something that has a high fat content or even just a few tablespoons of olive oil, you’re automatically going to be dealing with high calories since fat has a lot of calories. I know that before I started looking at calories and what they translated to in my every day routine, I was shocked at how much oil I was actually using! People say that olive oil is healthy, and while it is; everything in moderation! If you’re not measuring the oil going into your food you can quite easily go overboard. In 1 tablespoon of olive oil there are over 100 calories! If you’re making a one person dish, that’s a lot of calories to part with on your total daily intake; or it is for me anyways!

So with that said, the way I get around it is to boil boil boil! I use a non-stick pan, and I literally toss everything in, bring it to a boil and boil the crap out of it until it’s a thick sauce! No precooking, no heating oil to fry the onions and meat first, none of that! Just toss it in and boil boil boil, keep adding water if it’s not cooked through. Even if you don’t have a great non-stick pan, any large saucepan will work. I’ve found great success in this because you’re also left with a lot of flavour to dive into. I realize that for some things it just takes a bit of time. But if you get home from work and you toss it all in the second you get home bring it to a boil while you’re prepping for a shower, turn it down to medium and cook the crap out of it. My other tip is to stretch everything out with vegetables! Frozen vegetables are particularly the best because they’re completely hassle free and you can have them in ready when you need them. I tend to watch frozen items like peas, and sweetcorn because they tend to generate more calories, but mushrooms, red peppers, onions, green beans are fantastic for this. This recipe makes three portions, and can easily be stretched out for 4-6 with everything doubled. A secret of mine is also LARGE batches! Get those old takeaway containers out because they’re going to be your best friend at making portions correctly. I hope you enjoy!

500g (1lb) diced turkey breast
1 400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 red pepper
150g button mushrooms
100g frozen peas
30g dried red split lentils
2 tbsp. mango chutney
Handful of coriander (cilantro)
Handfull curry leaves (optional)
2 green cardamom pods
3 whole cloves
1 inch piece cinnamon
2-4 tbsp. curry powder
1 tsp. whole peppercorns
Salt to taste

To Start (This will take appx. 1hr)
Prep all of the veg – cut the peppers, slice the mushrooms, dice the onion.
Take out the peas and weight them.
Weigh out the red lentils.
Gather all spices.

To cook:
Heat a pan really hot. (While you don’t have to add oil, you want to throw everything into a very hot pan.)
Start by throwing in the meat first, then the veggies.
Add in the tinned tomatoes and two cans of water.
Next add the spices, and lentils and peas while it’s coming up to a boil.
Salt lightly because it will develop more salt while cooking.
When it’s up to a rolling boil add in two cloves of garlic and turn to a medium boil and cover.
After about 30 minutes of boiling take off the cover, taste to check seasoning, if it needs more salt, salt it.
At this point add half the mango chutney (1 tbsp.), stir in and continue to cook.
If it’s too watery, turn that flame up high and evaporate the water, if it’s running out of water, add a bit more. Cook until the sauce has reached a consistency you like.
If it’s still too bitter add the remaining 1tbsp. of chutney.
At the final 5 minutes of cooking throw in the last clove of garlic, crushed or diced up.
Serve it up when hot on a bed of rice with some fat free yogurt.

*Note: If you can’t find mango chutney, a few tablespoons of coconut milk would be perfect.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Light Mexican Chorizo

When I moved to England, I couldn’t believe how many things I would miss from home! One of the most missed things is waking up early and getting potato, egg, and chorizo tacos on the way to school twice a week. Sadly there’s no Mexican chorizo to be had in the UK. What they have here is Spanish chorizo which is much different. There are similar flavours in that you’re tasting garlic and paprika, but more smoky paprika in Spanish chorizo. The thing I absolutely don’t miss about Mexican chorizo is the grease! Oh it tastes soo good but it’s not good for you!! There is something comforting in a bit of grease running down your arm while you grasp that taco first thing in the morning. However comforting that is, or might be it’s not for today’s recipe! This is super easy to make, and I haven’t taken any photos of things I’ve made with it but I just portion this recipe into four parts and it feeds two each time. I put it in the freezer and take it out for breakfast tacos, or mix with rice or potatoes for a side or main dish. Enjoy!

Light Mexican Chorizo
The possibilities are endless.

Ingredient List:
500g lean pork mince
3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp. ancho chilli powder
2 tbsp. sweet paprika
1 tbsp. smoked paprika
½ tsp. dried Mexican oregano
¼ tsp. pepper
2 tsp. chilli powder
1 ½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. cayenne
¼ c. apple cider vinegar
Small pinch cinnamon
Small pinch cloves

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Homemade Freezer Pesto Cubes

Luckily it’s that time of year where basil is running rampant in everyone’s garden and being grown at high volumes for purchase. Unfortunately, I am not one of those people who can grow lot of anything, except maybe mint. I have a very aggressive mint bush growing right now and it’s threatening to take over. Anyways, back to basil. It’s a really lovely herb and it also freezes really well. A few years ago I took advantage of a huge bag of basil from my local organic veg box scheme Riverford, mostly because I didn’t realize at the time how much 200g of basil was! I had basil everything for a week. When it was running out I decided to figure out how to freeze it which was incredibly easy. I just put the remaining 100g into a food processor and added a little oil and presto pesto. Shove it in some ice cubes and pop it in the freezer. It’s a very simple remedy for any herbs really. They can be popped into any dish frozen; I like to pop them into the last five minutes of a Bolognese sauce or quick pesto pasta for a quick mid-week dinner. The possibilities are absolutely endless.

Easily doubled if necessary.
Takes about 2 seconds to make.
Makes about 18 1 tsp. portions.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Low Fat Coronation Chicken Wraps

When I first came to England, I tasted so many interesting things. One thing was this ‘coronation’ flavour. It’s essentially any kind of curry flavoured mayonnaise based mixture that can be a rice salad or a chicken salad or even egg salad. Basically delicious and I wanted to make up a recipe and see how it goes! This recipe makes about 4-6 depending on how big your tortilla wraps are. I think the bigger ones are better. This is also really great for a fabulous picnic with the last few hours of sunshine left in England! Enjoy!
Have you ever had curried chicken wraps?

500g chicken breast
1 tbsp. madras paste
1 tsp. curry powder
2 tbsp. light mayo
3 tbsp. Greek non-fat yogurt
150g grapes
25g flaked almonds
¼ c. raisins
2 ribs celery
3 spring onions
Salt + pepper
4-6 tortilla wraps

To Start:
Get a pot of water going and boil the chicken breasts for 10-15 minutes until cooked through.
Slice the grapes in halves or quarters depending on size.
Slice thinly the celery and green onions.

To make the Coronation Mayo:
In a medium bowl combine madras paste, curry powder, mayo, yogurt, and salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
Next add in the raisins, almonds, grapes, celery and spring onions.
Mix thoroughly checking for seasoning.

To Finish:
Drain the chicken off and let cool before dicing into chunks.
Fold into the mayo mixture and wrap it in tortillas.
Eat it or pack it away for a picnic!

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Tiramisu Cupcakes

What can I say? Who doesn't love tiramisu AND cupcakes?! Combine the two and I have a total winner! Seriously, I don’t know where my sweet tooth came from. I think it came from moving to the UK because I never had such a taste for sweets. I had some lady fingers in the cupboard that I as going to make a killer tiramisu recipe out of, but when I was looking at the ingredients, I just was thinking, “Why don’t I try to make cupcakes out of it?” Lately I’ve been on a cupcake kick. Any type of cupcake I want it. Since I’m still improving my baking skills it’s a bit of a hit or miss, but this certainly was a hit! I nearly ate all of the cupcakes I made, luckily I gave some away! There is some alcohol and coffee in this recipe so you can use it as a great excuse not to share any with the kids! This recipe makes 10. Enjoy!
tiramisu cupcakes
Delicious, and for more authentic look, dust with cocoa powder :)

150g butter soft room temperature
150g self-rising flour
150g caster sugar
3 eggs
½ tsp. baking powder
Pinch salt
½ tsp. vanilla
1 tbsp. strong espresso - cold
1 tbsp. marsala wine

125g mascarpone cheese room temperature
50g butter soft
1 tbsp. marsala wine
1 tsp. cocoa powder
300-500g icing sugar

To Start:
Heat oven to 180C
Cream together butter sugar and eggs until light and fluffy.
Next add in the vanilla, espresso and marsala wine.
In another bowl sift together salt, baking powder and flour.
Mix in with the wet ingredients a little at a time until everything is incorporated.

To cook:
Bake the oven for about 12-15 minutes or until a toothpick is inserted clean. Oven times vary so watch them closely.

For the icing:
Make sure that everything is room temperature.
First cream together the butter mascarpone cheese.
Sift in the cocoa and mix to combine.
Next add in the espresso and the marsala wine mix until creamy.
Add icing sugar a little at a time until it becomes a thick consistency that you would like to ice the cakes.
Ice and enjoy!

Friday, 22 August 2014

Easy Fresh Panzanella with Mint and Marjoram

What is it? It’s an Italian bread salad, made with hot croutons freshly made, then sauced up with a delicious vinaigrette and fresh veggies and herbs. It’s absolutely delicious on a hot day or easily taken on a picnic. I bet it would even go nicely with a grilled piece of chicken or fish. I got the herbs from my garden but you traditionally use basil, but since I didn’t have any I just improvised and it was fantastic. It’s best when the croutons are fresh hot out of the oven, but just as delicious after resting at room temperature. This recipe makes about 4 servings but you can easily double it for 4 large portions. Enjoy!
italian panzanella with mint and marjoram
Fresh and healthy!

200g baguette (rustic baguette preferred and slightly stale)
2-3 medium tomatoes
1 small red onion sliced finely
½ yellow pepper sliced
½ red pepper sliced
½ long cucumber
4 tbsp. olive oil (1 for toasting, 3 for dressing)
½ tsp. Dijon mustard
3 tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 clove garlic
Few sprigs mint and marjoram
Salt and pepper

To start:
Cut the baguette into 1x1inch cubes. Make sure your bread is crusty and stale if it isn’t cut into cubes and leave to rest for 1hr before toasting.
Drizzle 1 tbsp. of olive oil around and salt and pepper tossing it with your fingers to combine.
Put in a 200F oven for about 10 minutes, watch them so they don’t burn!

For the Salad:
Dice the tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers in nice big chunks.
Make sure the onions are sliced finely.
Finely chop the herbs
Salt and leave aside.

For the Dressing:
Whisk 3 tbsp. oil, vinegar, Dijon mustard, garlic until well combined.
Add the herbs and stir.

To Combine the Salad:
When the croutons are hot out of the oven mix them with the vegetables.
Next dress the salad with the dressing and stir to combine.
Stir well so that the dressing gets absorbed by all of the croutons.