Date & Walnut Oatmeal To Go

  
Just a quick post to share this lovely recipe. I really enjoyed my first batch of oatmeal to go, but wanted to see what these would taste like without sugar. Don’t worry, it was a success! Here is what you’ll need:

 

  • 1 mashed banana
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup any kind of milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups porridge oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped dates
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

  
Mash the banana and beat the eggs, mixing them together.

 

Add the milk and vanilla to the egg and banana. Stir into incorporated and smooth.

 

Chop up the dates and walnuts. I think I’ll buy pre chopped dates next time as it made the board a bit sticky. I used medjool dates as I think they have a caramel like flavor.

 

Add the dates, walnuts, oats, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon to the liquid mixture. Mix thoroughly.

 Heat your oven to 180 C / 350 F. Scoop the mixture into a greased or lined muffin tin and bake for 20 minutes.

 

And there you have it! Date and Walnut Oatmeal to Go! These are sooo good and with the addition of these gorgeous dates, you won’t miss the refined sugar! These are easy to make, easy to eat on the go, and an easy way to have a healthy treat. Enjoy making these this weekend and you’ll have a great start to your day! Thanks for reading and Happy Eating!

  
  
  

Nutella Nut Cookies

   
For some reason, I’ve been seeing a lot of recipes for Nutella cookies lately. A lot of them claim it only takes a few ingredients to make this soft, chocolate cookie. The reviews, however aren’t always raving and most mention the cookies were too dry if followed exactly as the recipe specifies. So, I decided to do myself own recipe and will be adding chopped nuts and a bit of almond flour. Here’s what you’ll need:

 

  • 1 cup Nutella, or any brand hazelnut butter
  • 2 tablespoons cocconut oil
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts 

 

First, soften the cocconut oil and hazelnut butter, mixing well.

 

Beat the egg, and fold it into the mixture.

  

Add both flours and nuts to the mixture. Make sure the flour is incorporated all the way into the chocolate mixture.

  

Place balls of dough onto a lined cookie sheet and chill the dough for at least 10 minutes. Otherwise, the cookies may go really flat.

  

Bake the cookies for 10 minutes at 350 F / 180 C.

  
And there you have it! Nutella nut cookies! These were super easy to make. And, ok, so I didn’t use brand name Nutella, but the Aldi brand turned out delicious. You can also try making this with peanut or almond butter, and just add some cocoa. I really love simple recipes like this because you can have fresh baked cookies in about 30 minutes without the fuss. Enjoy your weekend and enjoy these cookies! Thanks for reading and Happy Eating!

  
  

Oatmeal to Go!

  
This past week called for a lot of early mornings at work. I for one, have to eat breakfast. It is not something I can just skip, otherwise I will become a bit insane. Cue, a hand held breakfast option to go. These oatmeal cups are super easy to make, delicious, and slightly healthy. Here is what you’ll need:

 

  •  1 banana, mashed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups any kind of milk
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups oats
  • 1 cup raisins or sultanas

  

First, mash a banana then beat the two eggs. Mix these together until smooth.

  
You will then add the brown sugar, milk, and vanilla. Mix together until all ingredients are incorporated and the liquid mixture is even and smooth. 

 

Next, throw in the oats, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, and sultanas. I used porridge oats, which are similar to instant oats as you might find in the states. If you use old fashioned oats which are less processed, you may need to add 1/2 cup more liquid.

   Grease or line a 12 cup tray. I used coconut oil for mine as I didn’t have any cupcake paper liners.
  
Preheat your oven to 180 C / 350 F and bake for 20 minutes. You can also bypass the cupcake tray and bake this in a cake pan as seen in my wild blackberry oatmeal recipe. Just make sure you bake it for 25-30 minutes if you choose this method.

 

And there you have it! Oatmeal to Go! This sultana cinnamon version is sweet and hearty, going perfectly with a morning tea or coffee. It also makes a great pre or post workout treat, as well as an anytime of the day snack. It’s super east to make and the variations are endless. I used almond milk in mine, but soy, cocconut, rice, or cow’s milk work just fine. I will be experimenting with different flavors in the coming weeks as these were delicious. And by using porridge/ instant oats, you get a consistentcy like that of a muffin, but without the refined flour. You don’t have to use banana however. If that’s not your thing, you can add 3/4 cup butter, coconut oil, or applesauce to avoid dryness. I hope you enjoy making these! They really are easy and are something the whole family can help make together. As there’s lots of rain in Bristol this weekend, why don’t you give these a try! Thanks for reading and happy eating!
  

Gloomy Day Buns with Cinnamon and Oats

  
What crazy weather we’ve been having eh? I thought I was going to blow away Monday afternoon! I definitely made an effort to get home as quickly as possible. Then I made these gems which lightened up the gloomy day. Here is what you’ll need:

  

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 1/4 tablespoons yeast
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 egg
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup sultanas (or raisins)
  • 1/3 cup candied citrus peel

  
First, in a large bowl, prep the yeast by adding a cup of warm water and a tablespoon of sugar, making sure it is completely dissolved. Then add the yeast, give it a quick stir, and let it sit for about 10 minutes. It will be ready when there are lots of foam and bubbles.

  
To the yeast liquid, you will then add one egg, honey, and olive oil. Mix until it is evenly distributed.

  
To this, you will add the flour, oats, salt, cinnamon, sultanas, and citrus peel. Stir it up until all dry ingredients are incorporated.

  
Knead the dough until it becomes smooth and elastic like. Place it in an oiled bowl and allow it to rise in a warm place for 2 hours, or until it doubles in size. I’m not sure why it takes so darn long, but my guess is that because of the oats, sultanas, and peel, maybe it has to work a bit harder to form air bubbles. 

  
When ready, punch down the dough and divide into 16 balls. Cover these with plastic, or a large plastic bag, and let them rise again for another hour. Once they’ve achieved that, bake for 15 minutes at 200 C / 450 F. Yes, with all that work and time it takes to rise, they only spend 15 damn minutes in the oven! Metaphor for life, eh?

 
And there you have it! A super batch of soft, cinnamon buns bursting with sultanas. These came out soooo good and really added a nice lift to an otherwise gloomy day. They taste a lot like hot cross buns, but a bit heartier thanks to the oats. But beware, you definitely need at least 3 1/2 hours of your life set aside in order to bake these. It is worth it, but just don’t make any plans until they’re done. I hope you enjoy making these as they are truly tops on my favourite recipe list. Although first place still goes to my Apple Cider Caramel Cake, these buns still rate quite high. Stay warm out there Bristol! Spring will be here soon, but until then, thanks for reading and Happy Eating!

  

Nutty Chocolate Rye Muffins

  

  
I haven’t posted in about a week as I was on holiday in Iceland. So much good food, especially their rye breads. And what a better way to beat the post vacation blues than with some Nutty Chocolate Rye Muffins. Here is what you’ll need:  

  • 1 cup rye flour
  • 1 cup plain white flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa 
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 2/3 cup golden syrup
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chunks or chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts

 

Combine both flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cocoa in a large bowl.

  In a smaller bowl, beat all three eggs until nice and smooth.

 Add the milk and oil, whisking the entire time.

 

Add the wet mixture to the dry bowl, mixing well. Next add the golden syrup. I originally added the syrup to the wet mixture, and it sunk to the bottom. So, you’re better off adding it after you’ve put the liquid mixture into the dry.

    

I still had lots of Christmas chocolate left, so making these muffins was a great way to utilize my rye flour and leftover sweets.
  
After you’ve mixed the batter, add the chocolate and chopped nuts. 

 

Preheat your oven to 200 C / F. Grease or line a muffin tin and add an even amount of batter to each space. These will rise nicely, so don’t fill up the entire way. Also, to achieve muffins that are uniform in size, use a large spoon or scoop so that you get the same amount of batter for each.
  
Bake for 15-18 minutes depending on how your oven heats. I took mine out at about 17.

 

And there you have it! A batch of Nutty Chocolate Rye muffins to brighten up this gloomy weekend. These are perfect to enjoy for breakfast or as a filling snack. The muffins came out very moist and rich without being overly sweet. If you do require more sweetness, you can add more syrup or chocolate, or even try adding in a bit of sugar. Either way, these will not last very long in your kitchen. Enjoy what’s left of the weekend and if you have the time, try baking yourself something sweet to start off the week!

Thanks for reading and Happy Eating!

   
 
  

Regular Rye Bread

 

So, I received 3 cookbooks for Christmas and I can’t wait to slowly attempt the plethora of recipes that await. However, I really want to polish up my bread baking skills first before I try anything too advanced. Bread is just one of those things that isn’t really complicated ingredients wise, but the process can be a bit tricky. My aim is to try a basic recipe, then build upon it. As I bought a small bag of rye flour recently, I thought I would try a basic rye bread recipe. Here is what you’ll need:

  

  • 1 tablespoon active dried yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup rye flour
  • 1  3/4 cup strong white flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  
First, combine the warm water and sugar in a bowl, mixing until dissolved. Then add the yeast and let it sit for about 10 minutes until it begins to bubble and foam up. You will then add the olive oil.

  
Measure out your flour and add the salt to it.  

  
Add the flour mixture to liquid bit by bit until combined. It will seem sticky at first.

  
Go ahead and begin to knead it. As you handle the dough, the water will absorb. You want the texture to be smooth, which can take up to 10 minutes. It may not take as long if you use a mixer.

  
Cover the dough and let rise for about 20 minutes.

  
I then punched down the dough and put it in a bread tin to achieve a second rise.

    

Cut a few slits on top, then pop into a heated oven at 350 F / 180 C for 25 minutes.

  And there you go, a simple, regular loaf of rye bread. It came out soft with a lovely flavor. It can be enjoyed on its own, or with a hot bowl of chicken stew that has been in the slow cooker all day.  

However,  as delicious as the bread was, it didn’t achieve much of a rise after I put it in the oven. It rose well initially, but it may have needed more water. Or maybe it didn’t need a second rise. Hmm, I don’t know, but I plan on trying again. Anytime you use a whole grain flour, the gluten structure may be affected (so I’ve heard), so sometimes more water may need to be added. Or less oil; I read that too. Well, back to the drawing board. Thanks for reading and Happy Eating!

  
   

Leftover “Sweet Bread” Pudding

  
We’re well into January, and I’m still finishing off all of the Christmas treats. However, if you still have any kind of sweet breads (fruit loaves, panettone, pandoro, etc) you’ll probably find that they are a bit dry by now. So, as I firmly believe in “waste not, want not”, dry sweet bread calls for bread pudding! Yay! Here is what you’ll need:

 

  • 4-5 cups of cubed sweet bread
  • 1/2 cup sultanas
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon  

  
First, cut up all of your dried out bread into cubes. Toss in the raisins, making sure they are well distributed. Pack the bread and raisins into a greased baking dish.

  
In a medium sauce pan, heat the milk and butter on low. Do not boil! Just warm enough to melt the butter. Add the sugar and mix well, taking the pan off the heat.

  
In a separate small bowl, beat the eggs and add the vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

  
Pour the egg mixture into the milk, butter, and sugar mixture. Make sure to whisk very well to avoid a scrambled egg consistency when baked.

  
Pour the liquid mixture slowly over the bread, trying to distribute it as evenly as you can.

  
You really want to make sure all the bread  is moist. It sometimes helps to press the bread down so it absorbs as much of the liquid as possible.

  
Bake at 180 C / 350 F for 40-50 minutes. When it comes out of the oven, it will look as if it has risen. As it cools, it will lower.

  
And there you have it, Sweet Bread Pudding! It’s warm, delicious, and easily made with ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen. For mine, I used the rest of a Dutch gingerbread loaf and part of a fruit loaf I got at Sainsburys. The combination of breads made for a nice winter treat, perfect for a dreary, Sunday evening. As you can tell, dieting isn’t really a New Year resolution for me! If anything, I’ll be a wee bit warmer this winter. Anyway, stay dry out there Bristol and try baking a bread pudding to warm up your winter day. Thanks for reading and Happy Eating!

  

Slow Cooker Cider Pork

  
Happy New Year one and all! I am really excited to bring today’s recipe to you as it highlights two special things I picked up at the Bath Christmas markets last month. First, I want to talk about this awesome cider I picked up from the Honey’s Midford Cider stall. I happened to be there on the last day, and these jugs were only ¬£5, so I thought I could definitely do that! Turns out, this cider is PERFECT for braising or slow cooking pork. This was very smooth, and in my opinion, only a hint of dryness and not too sweet. It was also still, which made it a perfect accompaniment for anything savory. With that in mind, I thought some slow cooked pork would be a great recipe to bring in the new year. Here is what you’ll need: 

 

  • 1kg pork joint
  • 20 oz (~1 standard bottle) cider
  • 1 onion
  • Olive or vegetable oil
  • Thyme, salt, & pepper 

   

 
First, roughly chop the onion. For this recipe, I like to use big chunks.

 

Next, light sauté the onions in a table spoon of olive oil. Place on the bottom of your slow cooker and set to medium.

  Next, massage the joint with olive oil then sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. In the same pan you used for the onions, sear the meat on all sides. Place in the slow cooker on top of the onions.

  
  You will then pour the cider into the searing pan to deglaze anything that stuck to the bottom. This ensures you get every bit of flavoring into the roast.

  
Pour the cider from the pan into the slow cooker. I threw in some potatoes as well, then sprinkled some thyme over the lot. Let it cook for about 6 hours. You may need a longer cooking time for a larger piece of meat.

  
Now for the fun part. Yes, you can serve it up as is, but I like gravy and a bit of cracklin’. If this sounds like you too, put the roast in a dish and put under the broiler to get that top skin nice and crispy. You can add a bit more salt to the top which will help it crackle by drawing the moisture out from the fat.

  
You’ll see it start to bubble and pop and when you’re satisfied with the crispness, take it out. 

  
After I took mine out, I thought I want it really crispy, like a chicharon. So I took off the rest of the skin and cooked it some more. I simply put it on a roasting tray, crispy side down with just a sprinkle more of salt on the softer side, broiling it for another 15 minutes.

  
 
Then I was like, you know what? I want gravy to go with my pork, pig skin, and potatoes. Simply take out the potatoes from the slow cooker, then pour the remaining liquid into a sauce pan. Reduce the liquid to about half of what you had. Add some flour, whisking until smooth and thick, sprinkling more flour until you reach the desired consistency.

 
And there you have it! Slow cooked cider pork with a bit of cracklin’ and cider gravy. The meat was super tender and the gravy really pulled it together. It was tangy and smooth, just like the notes in the cider that was used to make it. This meal definitely was a great way to start the new year! 

  
We also had some chutney to accompany the dish made by The Victorian Kitchen. I picked up a jar of The Cardinal’s Christmas Chutney as I finally found a chutney I like. I can say, it’s not something I’m usually a fan of. However I like this one as it was more savory than sweet, thus pairing perfectly with any roasted meat served up over the holidays. I picked this up at the Bath Christmas Market. They have a website, so check them out if you don’t happen to live in the southwest but still want to taste what they have on offer. I also got some cranberry sauce with port and tried the passion fruit curd which was devine!

  
One last thing to add, if like me, you love taking leftovers to have at work. Because this meat was so tender, it made perfect pulled pork sandwiches for tomorrow’s lunch. Simply shred it with a fork. I then added the rest of the gravy, and smothered it with some Stubb’s BBQ sauce. It was just too easy! That should keep us all satisfied for a day or two, eh? Thanks for reading and Happy Eating!

  

Leftover Turkey Bake

Christmas is over, yet we’ve got tons of stuff in our fridge that we didn’t quite get around to eating. Pairing that with a huge hunk of leftover turkey, and I’ve got an easy recipe idea for this week. Here is what I used for my leftover turkey bake, although it’s really just a hodgepodge of what I had leftover:

  

  • 1 pound cooked turkey, chopped into cubes
  • 1 carrot, cut into small chunks
  • 1/2 zucchini cut into small chunks
  • 1 cup chopped Savoy cabbage
  • 1/2 head of broccoli, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups gravy
  • 1 pound chopped potatoes
  • 1/2 tablespoon each of sage, thyme, & rosemary 
  • Sea salt
  • Olive oil to drizzle

  

 First, chop up your turkey and fresh veg, and place into a baking dish.

  Next, comes 1 1/2 cups gravy. If you have leftover gravy, use that. Otherwise, I used 1 1/2 cups hot water and added some instant gravy granules, stirring until thick.
 

Pour the gravy over the chopped turkey and veg. Use a large spoon the stir it in throughout to make sure the meat and veg are coated.

  
Wash and roughly chop about a pound of potatoes.

  Place them into a medium sized bowl. Drizzle them with olive oil. Next, sprinkle in the sage, thyme, and rosemary, topping it off with a pinch or two of sea salt as desired. Use a large spoon or your hands to mix it up, making sure the potatoes are covered in the olive oil and herbs.
  
Place the potatoes on top of the veg, forming a top layer. If you have lots of leftover mashed potatoes, you can spread the mash over the top instead. Heat your oven to 180C / 350F and bake for 55 -60 minutes. If your bake is topped with mashed potatoes, 45 minutes should suffice.

  
And there you go, Leftover Turkey Bake for dinner! It’s an easy way to use up your leftover meat, veg, and gravy after the holiday feast. The recipe can also be delicious if using leftover ham or roast beef.  And this leftover bake makes still more leftovers for lunch if you have to work today, like me. Enjoy your time off and relish the last days of 2015! Thanks for reading and Happy Eating!

today’s leftover lunch

Christmas Sugar Cookies with Festive Icing

  
Merry Christmas everyone! I hope everyone has had a festive season with friends and family. This last seasonal cookie recipe is a simple favorite I’ll be bringing to the in-laws today. It’s a simple sugar cookie recipe with simple icing, and it’s the kind of thing you can always modify according to your tastes. Here is what you’ll need:

  

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened 
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  
First, cream the butter and sugar. Then add in the beaten egg and vanilla, mixing very well.  Finally add in the dry ingredients bit by bit until a dough forms. It really is that easy! Put into the fridge for 3 hours, or until dough is chilled.

  
Once the dough is cold, roll it out and cut out various shapes with your cookie cutters. Place onto a greased or lined baking tray. 

  
Bake for 8-10 minutes at 350F / 180C.

  
Once baked, take out of the oven and let cool completely. Sometimes I’ll even bake them the day before I ice them.

  
Now for the icing! It’s pretty simple, just a bit of milk and icing or powdered sugar. You can start by trying 2 tablespoons of milk and 1/4 cup of sugar. It will take a lot of sugar to get the right consistentcy. Keep stirring with a whisk adding the sugar bit by bit.

  
Add your food coloring and continue to stir.

  
Once it’s nice and thick, you can begin icing your cookies.

  
Use a bit and lightly spread it towards the edge using the tip of your spoon or even a toothpick.

  
Sprinkle while the icing is wet and let dry completely, and there you have it! Festive Christmas cookies. There are so many ways you can decorate these, but I chose to go simple this year. I may try some piping next year, but we’ll see. Wherever you are, have a very Merry Christmas! Enjoy the food around you and hopefully I’ll have some ideas for leftovers soon! Thanks for reading and Happy Eating!