Category Archives: food

Two Fun but Annoying Gifts from Pringles

My kids love Pringles and so do I. I know they are probably really unhealthy but there is something compulsive about eating them. When I saw that they were giving away free gifts I stocked up.

The first gift I sent off for was the Pringles Bowl.pringoalsIt consists of a plastic bowl with markings like a football. It has a white ring-shaped insert that makes it perfect for arranging Pringles in. A whole packet will fit in it, and will go all the way round the bowl. In the centre of the ring there is a space for a red cylinder into which you have to put batteries (which are included!) If you make the mistake of switching on the little switch, every time you reach for a Pringle, the bowl will let out a roar and shout, “Pringoal!” whatever that means. I guess it’s good if you are on a diet as it will certainly put you off eating Pringles.

The second gift I sent off for was the karaoke kit.karaoke

A free karaoke kit! Sounds like a great deal. This gift comes with two sets of batteries – one for the speaker and one for the microphone. The speaker and microphone fit on the ends of a Pringles packet, so if you forgot to keep one of the tubes you have to go and eat a whole packet before you can set up your karaoke kit. (Or you could just pour the Pringles into your free bowl.) There is a jack that connects to your mobile phone and you can play any music you want on your phone and sing into the microphone. Your voice will mingle with the music, and come out of the speaker. It is really quite ingenious, but the novelty soon wears off when your children won’t stop using it. But I did get my own back by forcing them to listen to me singing Adele.

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Four Things to do with Over-Ripe Bananas

Bananas are very popular in my house but the moment the skins start to turn brown, my children turn their noses up at them. I often get left with a few in the fruit bowl that needed using up. Here are some ideas for what to do with them.

  1. Banana Muffins These are delicious and can be eaten at any time – even for breakfast. There are plenty of recipes on the Internet but I used this one. I couldn’t find any paper muffin cases in the cupboard so I used my silicon muffin tray to make these.

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2. Banana Loaf This banana loaf is so delicious! There are a lot of recipes online. Some call for cream cheese icing which I think goes really well with banana. I drizzled this one with glacé icing as I didn’t have any cream cheese. You can add lots of different things to banana loaf such as chopped walnuts, raisins or cinnamon.  It’s also nice if you substitute some or all of the flour for wholemeal flour.

 

3. Cooked Bananas You can do these in the oven but I usually cook them in a frying pan for speed. Slice the bananas in half along their length. Put in a pan with some butter, lemon juice and brown sugar. Cook until they are brown and soft, and the sugar is becoming a sticky sauce. They are delicious served with cream.

4. Banana “ice cream” I have put the words ice cream in inverted commas because there is no cream involved with this recipe. It is very simple and healthy as the only ingredient is bananas, although I like to experiment by adding other things such as cinnamon or peanut butter. The one pictured here has cinnamon added which gives it its lovely golden brown colour. Chop up some bananas and put them in a plastic bag in the freezer. Freeze them until they are almost solid but not quite. If they have been in the freezer too long, take them out and leave them at room temperature for about an hour. You can also add other soft  fruit to the bananas such as strawberries, raspberries or peach. Blend the fruit with a hand blender until it is smooth and resembles ice cream. You can fool yourself (or your children) that you are eating ice cream when it is actually just fruit.

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Eight Not-So-Wonky Types of Vegetable

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Today I bought my first wonky veg box from Asda. In an effort to reduce food waste, Asda are rolling out the wonky veg box, containing vegetables that would normally be rejected by supermarkets for their imperfections, in many of their stores. At just £3.50 it is a bargain, especially when compared to what you can pay for a veg box of a similar size elsewhere.

This is what my veg box contained, and most of it is not wonky at all.

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I was disappointed that there was only one parsnip, but it doesn’t seem wonky in the least.

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One cabbage, also not in the least bit wonky.

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One of my two cucumbers had a little discolouration on one side.

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My box contained several carrots and I could only find one that could be described as wonky.

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A couple of the peppers had a slightly uneven shape.

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The leeks were a little on the small side but otherwise perfect.

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The same could be said for the onions – small but perfectly formed.

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A couple of the potatoes had some green patches, which I assume can be easily cut off. Most were perfect.

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I highly recommend this wonky veg box. It is great value for money and by buying it you are doing your bit against food waste, and helping the farmers to sell the vegetables that supermarkets have turned up their noses at until now.

Seven Things that Go with Peanut Butter in Pancakes

P1090347.JPGThe wonderful thing about peanut butter is that it can be sweet or savoury, just like pancakes! So why not put the two together on pancake day? Whether you prefer it crunchy or smooth, it adds flavour and texture to your pancakes. Here are some ideas.

  1. mushrooms, peanut butter and cream cheese

Mushrooms are delicious in pancakes, and the peanut butter adds a little saltiness.

2. cheese, peanut butter  and marmite

Love it or hate it, marmite adds a special savoury taste to any dish – even pancakes.

3. peanut butter and mars bar

Cut the mars bar into small pieces and roll it up in a hot pancake straight from the pan, with a dollop of peanut butter. The heat from the pancake will melt the mars bar making a gooey chocolaty caramel filling. The peanut butter adds that extra nuttiness.

4. peanut butter, chocolate and banana

These three things are perfect together, rolled up in a pancake.

5. peanut butter, maple syrup and ice  cream

It’s not pancake day without maple syrup, and it’s even more delicious with peanut butter.

6. Peanut butter, cinnamon and mascarpone.

Mascarpone tastes amazing in pancakes – so creamy and luxurious. The cinnamon and peanut butter add flavour to the creamy texture.

7. Peanut butter with Baileys

Pancakes are great with alcohol and the peanut butter adds a bit of texture.

Have a great pancake day and let me know if you try any of these ideas.

 

 

Three Things to do with Panettone

P1090281 (2).JPGI love panettone and I always buy one at Christmas. We often get given one or more too, so we are sometimes left with it after New Year. Although it is hard to believe, we sometimes get a bit fed up with eating panettone so I like to use it in recipes too. Here are three ideas.

  1. Use it in trifle. There are many ways of making trifle. Some use jelly; some scorn those who use jelly and prefer to use just fruit juice. Others (myself included) like to slosh in large quantities of sherry, although I’m usually cooking for my children and my teetotal husband so I can’t always do this. There are debates on what kind of cake to use for the base but it cannot be denied that panettone makes a delicious trifle base.
  2. Eggy bread. Some people call this French toast but I have always called it eggy bread. Whisk up an egg, a good splash of milk or cream, and some sugar. You can add some cinnamon too if you like it. Cut a slice of panettone and dip it in the egg mixture. Make sure it stays in the mixture long enough to soak up lots of eggy stuff on both sides and give it a good prodding with a fork to help the absorption process. You will probably find that one egg will do one or two slices. Then carefully place the slice in a pan of hot oil or butter and fry it on both sides. Sprinkle it with sugar and serve it with cream.
  3. Bread and Butter Pudding. Cut some slices of panettone, butter them on both sides, and put them in an ovenproof dish. Beat together a carton of cream, 200ml whole milk, 50g of Demerara sugar and 3 eggs. You can add spices such as cinnamon, cloves or nutmeg too, as well as dried fruit. Pour the mixture over the panettone. Dot some butter on top and sprinkle with Demarara sugar. Bake at 180 degrees for about 35-40 minutes. Serve with cream or ice cream.

 

Ten Vegetables in my Veg Box

I get an organic veg box delivered once a fortnight by Riverford. I really look forward to having fresh vegetables delivered to my door. I like to try new things that I haven’t tasted before and things that are not so easy to find in the supermarkets. Here’s what today’s delivery has brought.

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Green Batavia lettuce. I am looking forward to taking a lovely fresh salad to work tomorrow. I will also add…

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… vine tomatoes! These are delicious. I might also add to my salad …

P1090197… onions! Onions are a great addition to any dish, raw or cooked.

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Black kale. My absolute favourite way of eating kale is kale crisps. Tear the leaves off the tough midrib. Heat some extra virgin olive oil in the oven, toss the leaves in the hot oil, sprinkle generously with salt and then put in the oven for about ten minutes. Give them a shake every so often. They should be crispy and just beginning to turn brown but not blackened to a crisp. Even my vegetable-phobic son will eat them.

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Courgettes. I love courgettes in all sorts of recipes. Courgette frittata is a big favourite, or simply cooked in some butter as a side dish.

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Crown Prince Squash. This will be made into pumpkin pie. There will be enough for some soup too (or maybe another pie!)

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Avocadoes. My favourite way of eating avocadoes is to slice them in half, remove the stone and fill the hole with a dollop of mayonnaise. Then I just eat it with a spoon. Deliciously creamy!

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Leeks.  Leeks are delicious in all sorts of recipes. I think my favourite has to be leek and potato soup, but they also go very well with mushrooms in a quiche.

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Brussels sprouts. It must be nearly Christmas if I’ve got Brussels sprouts in my veg box! I love them as long as they are not over-cooked. My usual method of cooking them is to put them in a pan with just enough water so that it will all evaporate by the time they are cooked. You might want to keep an eye on them in case it all evaporates too soon and you ruin your pan as well as your sprouts. Cooked in this way, the sprouts keep all their nutrients and their flavour rather than throwing it all away with the water that you have boiled or steamed them in.

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Cosmos potatoes. According to the bag, these potatoes are good for mashing or baking, so we might have jacket potatoes for dinner one day this week. Or I might team them up with those leeks and make some soup.

What is your favourite vegetable and how do you like to eat it?

Ten Things from Aldi that I Love

I was so pleased when a new Aldi opened recently near my house. I love Aldi because it is such good value and the food is good quality too. Although you don’t find as much selection as the bigger supermarkets, you do find some interesting continental items that you might not see at all in other shops. And who needs a whole aisle of shampoo anyway? Here are some of my favourite things from Aldi.

P10901891. This Solesta Extra Virgin Olive  is just as good as any branded extra virgin olive oil, in my opinion, and a fraction of the price. I can afford to slosh it about generously without worrying about the cost.

 

P10901882. I am the only member of the family who drinks alcohol, and I only tend to have a glass at weekends. This bottle of Merlot contains just 18.7cl which is the perfect quantity to drink alone. It’s a lovely Merlot too – perfect to drink with a meal or just on its own.

 

P1090187.JPG3. These thick ridged crisps are lovely. I like ridged crisps, and they have just the right amount of flavour. They are excellent value.

 

P10901854. Is it a biscuit? Is it a chocolate? These chocolate biscuits have got the ratio just right between biscuit and chocolate.

 

P10901845. Everyone in he family loves these onion and chive puff pastry twists. They are like posh cheese straws.

 

P10901866. These strawberry fruit bars are perfect for packed lunches or a snack for play time. I don’t eat them myself but the kids love them.

 

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7. This stuff is great sprinkled on breakfast cereal or yoghurt for a bit of extra omega 3 which is always a good idea as I don’t eat fish.

 

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8. This chocolate is fabulous! All the Moser Roth chocolates in Aldi are amazing but this is my favourite. Really good quality dark chocolate with little bits of crystallised ginger. And it is divided into mini bars so there is less temptation to eat the whole lot (although the temptation is still there!)

 

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9. I love this peppermint and liquorice tea. It’s so tasty and luxurious that you can’t quite believe it has practically no calories.

 

P109017710. You have to have a crate of clementines in the house at Christmas time! These are sweet and juicy and delicious.

What are your favourite things from Aldi? Let me know in the comments.

 

Seven Things to Do with Quinoa

P1090164.JPGI love quinoa. I love its nutty flavour and slightly crunchy texture. I love the way it looks in the pan when the little curly germ comes away from the grain-like seed, indicating that it is ready to serve. Here are some of my favourite ways to eat it.

  1. For breakfast or pudding, cook in orange juice instead of water, with raisins and pumpkin seeds.
  2. Cook some leeks and mushrooms in olive oil, then stir in cooked quinoa and cubes of goats’ cheese.
  3. Cook the quinoa and then stir in roasted squash (butternut squash would be a good choice) and chick peas.
  4. Roast some aubergines, red peppers and halloumi. Then stir in cooked quinoa.
  5. Use it as a stuffing for peppers. Mix cooked quinoa with chopped tomatoes, pine nuts and grated cheese. Cut the peppers in half and stuff with the mixture before drizzling with olive oil and cooking in the oven.
  6. Mix with peas, spring onions, feta and parsley for a delicious salad.
  7. Add some to your home made soup for a nutrient boost.

 

Seven Things to Do With a Crown Prince Squash

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This wonderful winter squash has a bluish grey skin and a vivid orange flesh.  Its flavour is deliciously sweet and nutty. Here are seven ideas for how to use it.

  1.  Roasted. Just slice the squash, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with herbs before roasting it in the oven. There’s no need to remove the skin – it comes off more easily after roasting.
  2. Soup. You can cook the squash in a pan but the flavour is more intense if you roast it in the oven. Add some warming spices such as ginger and chilli, and some cream for a rich flavour. You can incorporate other vegetables such as carrots, leeks or tomatoes.
  3. Squash pie. Crown Prince squash has a sweet flavour that makes it an ideal alternative to pumpkin for making pumpkin pie. Mix eggs, pureed squash and condensed milk and add spices such as ginger, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour into a pastry case and bake. Instead of condensed milk you can use cream or evaporated milk and then sweeten with brown sugar or maple syrup.
  4. Frittata. Squash and egg are a great combination. Add some sage too, and your favourite cheese.
  5. Risotto. Roast the squash first and make sure you use a good risotto rice such as Carnaroli or Arborio.
  6. Pasta filling.  Squash makes a delicious filling for ravioli or other stuffed pasta.
  7. Curry. Crown Prince Squash is a perfect ingredient in a delicious curry. Use coconut milk in the sauce. It goes well with chick peas or lentils too.

Seven Things in my Early Bird TasteBox

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Early Bird has set up in competition with the other better known company that delivers healthy snacks through your letterbox. The disadvantage of Early Bird is that the box doesn’t actually fit through a standard letterbox, unless your postman is willing to spend some time turning it to get it at the right angle. Sometimes I find it on my doormat. More times I find a little card on my doormat to say it is waiting for me at the sorting office.

An Early Bird box contains five little snacks – one for each day of the working week – and 2 tea bags. Here’s what I found in mine this week.

  1. Lost Your Marbles. This snack contained hazelnuts, almonds, cranberries and white chocolate coated blackcurrants. A lovely sweet treat!
  2. Margherita Rustica. This contained almonds and rice crackers with a tomatoey herby coating. I liked this one as I don’t like too many sweet things – I’m very fond of savoury snacks.
  3. Rhubarb Winders – This snack contained Rhubarb, almonds and orange cranberries. This was my favourite. I’ve never had dried rhubarb before and it was amazing! I need to find somewhere I can buy bags of dried rhubarb.
  4. Strawcherry Jam.  This consisted of cranberries, strawberries and cherries. This was very sweet. I would have preferred some nuts or seeds in there with the dried fruit as it was just a bit too sickly.
  5. Fudge Snacker Shot. This one was sultanas, chopped dates, sunflower seeds and little cubes of fudge. A delicious combination.
  6. Mint lime tea. Very refreshing.
  7. The Elvis Tea. Not sure what this had to do with Elvis (maybe it was the king of teas?) but it did taste very special.

My Early Bird box also contained a ShareCode. I’m not sure what you get if you enter this code on the website. Try it and let me know. The code is judy9329 and the website is EarlyBird.