Pumpkin Spice Balls

We are well into October, but here in Bristol, we are being spoiled by beautiful weather this weekend. Walking around was so perfect and it certainly doesn’t feel like winter will be here soon. Taking advantage of the nice weather, I went to Zero Green in Bedminster, one of Bristol’s many plastic free shops. You bring your own containers, weigh, fill, then weigh again. The oats, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, date/raisins, and pulp are from this shop. They also feature almond, cashew, and oat mylk in glass bottles from a lovely company called O!Mylk. They often leave leftover nut pulp for customers to take for free! So I took about a cups worth and decided to make these Pumpkin Spice Balls. Here is what you’ll need:

  • 1 cup almond pulp (or desiccated almonds if you don’t have pulp)
  • 1/4 cup porridge oats
  • 1/4 cup raisins and/or chopped dates
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin spice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter (or nut butter of your choice)
  • 5-6 tablespoons puréed pumpkin
  • Pumpkin seeds to coat

Place the pulp, oats, dates & raisins, chia seeds, and pumpkin spice in a bowl. The pulp is moist, so I found it best to mix together with a fork, working all the ingredients together as much as possible.

Once mixed, it should look a bit crumbly, as seen above.

Next, add the honey, nut butter, and pumpkin. Really stir it through so that all dry ingredients are well incorporated. If the mixture is too dry and not holding, you can add a bit more pumpkin. If it’s turned out too wet, just sprinkle on a bit more oats.

After rolling into a ball, I squished pumpkin seeds onto the outside. You really have to press them in as they don’t stick easily. Alternatively, you can drizzle the balls in chocolate or icing, then put the seeds on.

And there you have it, Pumpkin Spice Balls! They were super easy to make and would be a fun activity for little ones. There are also a lot of ways to adapt this recipe to your liking. You can always use maple syrup or golden syrup instead of honey. And if you like them sweeter, add more honey and slightly less pumpkin to bind. I think toasted pecans or chocolate chips would work really well in these treats. However you make them, this is a great way to create a healthy snack without producing much waste.

Enjoy the sunshine while it lasts! Thanks for reading and Happy Eating!


Upside Down Plum Cake

The Bristol Half Marathon is tomorrow and I thought I’d bake up some pre-race fuel to use up some ripe plums. Not sure how the weather will turn out, but when all else fails, at least there’s cake. Here is what you’ll need:

For the plum topping:

  • 8-10 ripe plums
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar

For the cake batter:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup almond milk (or any you like)
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 beaten eggs

First, wash and cut the plums as you like.

Next, mix the brown sugar and butter, spreading it on the bottom of your cake tin.

Then, neatly arrange the plums on top of the butter and brown sugar.

In a bowl, add the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, almond milk, and almond extract. Stir it a bit, then do the eggs.

Last, beat the eggs separately before adding them to the batter. If you have a mixer, use it! If not, just use a whisk to get a good batter. For the record, I don’t have a mixer, but the cakes still turn out alright.

Once mixed, pour the batter evenly into the tin, making sure it covers the fruit.

Heat your oven to 180 C / 350 F, and bake for 35 minutes.

And there you have it, Upside Down Plum Cake! This cake is good, like real good! Gooey, sticky, sweet, and part of your 5 a day? Heck yeah!

This is the perfect way to use up your ripe plums. The recipe also works well with damsons, peaches, and nectarines. And who doesn’t like a serving of fruit? Hopefully a slice of this cake will propel me to the finish line. And at the very least, lots of leftovers, yeah! If you happen to be near the Half Marathon route, come out and cheer us on – with the weather we’re expecting, we’ll need it! Thanks for reading and Happy Eating!

Parsnip and Carrot Soup

So, Christmas is officially over, and if you’re like me, you may still be in a food hangover. Also, you may have lots of leftover root veg. We went to Aldi on Christmas Eve and found that they had their super 6 veg on sale for 9 p! So, of course I got a few bags of parsnips and carrots. When I woke up this morning, I realized we had to do some cooking! So, my husband is guest chef today and is preparing a lovely parsnip and carrot soup. Here is what you’ll need:

  • 5 parsnips
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped ginger
  • 1 liter chicken stock
  • 1/2 tablespoon garam masala
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds (garnish)

First, peel your root veg after giving them a good cleaning.

Next, you will chop the root veg, onions, and garlic. When chopping the parsnips, cut out the fibrous, woody core. This makes a sweeter, less bitter flavour.

Sauté the onions and garlic with the olive oil. Once softened, add the garam masala.

You will then add the parsnips and carrots, mixing it around in the fragrant sautéed bits.

Lastly, add a liter of chicken stock. You can used prepared stock, or you can quickly make it with stock cubes. You can easily make it vegan by adding veggie stock.

Cover, and let it simmer for an hour, or until the root veggies are softened.

Turn off the heat, remembering to add the chopped ginger at the very end. Once it cools for a few minutes, use a hand blender to blend until very smooth.

Garnish with pumpkin seeds, and there you have it, Parsnip and Carrot Soup! This was the perfect thing to make on a lazy Boxing Day, and full of nutrients for you hungover peeps. You can even add chunks of leftover turkey or ham for an even heartier soup.

I really love the mild spice the garam masala and ginger adds. Very warming, without being too intense. You can easily make it in a slow cooker for a filling midweek meal. I really liked the way it turned out and this may be on a regular rotation in my household. Enjoy the last days of 2017 and here’s to baking and cooking wonderful things in 2018! 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!

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