Banana Bread

I'm pretty sure that I count this banana bread as one of my five a day! This is one of my favourite recipes and a big hit with my friends and family. A warm, spiced, fluffy banana loaf that is perfect eaten at any time of day. The ingredients are few and the flavour is big so I highly recommend you go and try this right now! Keep wrapped in baking paper and eat within three days, if indeed you have any left at that point!

 

Ingredients   4 Ripe Bananas 160g Soft Brown Sugar 2 Large Eggs 4 tbsp Cold Unsalted Butter 180g Plain Flour 2 1/2tsp Baking Powder 1 1/2tsp Ground Cinnamon   Method   Begin by mashing three of the four bananas into a chunky mash and set aside. Slice the fourth banana in half. In a large clean mixing bowl, place the sugar and eggs. Melt the butter and add this to the bowl too. Use an electric hand mixer to beat the ingredients together until light and pale and then add the mashed bananas - combine. Into the banana mix, sieve the plain flour, baking powder and cinnamon. Use a spatula to gently fold the ingredients together. Grease a loaf tin with butter and dust with flour to line the tin. Add in the cake mix and top with the two remaining halves of banana. Place into a preheated oven at 170 degrees for 50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Allow the loaf to cook for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack and allowing to cool for a further 30 minutes. Perfect served alongside a mug of English Breakfast tea!

Ingredients

 

4 Ripe Bananas

160g Soft Brown Sugar

2 Large Eggs

4 tbsp Cold Unsalted Butter

180g Plain Flour

2 1/2tsp Baking Powder

1 1/2tsp Ground Cinnamon

 

Method

 

Begin by mashing three of the four bananas into a chunky mash and set aside. Slice the fourth banana in half.

In a large clean mixing bowl, place the sugar and eggs. Melt the butter and add this to the bowl too. Use an electric hand mixer to beat the ingredients together until light and pale and then add the mashed bananas - combine.

Into the banana mix, sieve the plain flour, baking powder and cinnamon. Use a spatula to gently fold the ingredients together.

Grease a loaf tin with butter and dust with flour to line the tin. Add in the cake mix and top with the two remaining halves of banana. Place into a preheated oven at 170 degrees for 50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

Allow the loaf to cook for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack and allowing to cool for a further 30 minutes. Perfect served alongside a mug of English Breakfast tea!

Lentil and Spinach Masala

You can't beat a good curry and whilst I have a favourite curry that I make time and time again, I am always on the lookout for different ideas and combinations. I decided to make a veggie curry last night and played around with a few spice variations. Thankfully, it worked brilliantly and we indulged in a big bowl of masala last night. Although this is a veggie curry, it is protein packed with lentils and I've added plenty of garlic, ginger and turmeric to give an extra mid week immune boost. This recipe makes enough for 6 so we are dining on leftovers tonight!

 

 

Ingredients   1 Large Onion 2 Cloves Garlic 1 Birdseye Chili 1tsp Grated Ginger (Heaped) 1tbsp Turmeric 1tsp Ground Cumin (Heaped) 1tsp Paprika (Heaped) 2tsp Garam Masala 2 400g Tins Chopped Tomatoes 400g Tin Coconut Milk 1 Cup Green Lentils 2tsp Tomato Puree 50g Fresh Spinach   Method   Chop the onion finely and place into a large frying pan/saucepan with a drizzle of vegetable oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook on a medium heat for a minute or two until soft. Chop the chili finely, crush the garlic, grate the ginger and add them all to the softened onions. Cook for another 5 minutes. Next add the spices to the pan. Stir to combine and allow the spices to cook for a minute until the aromas begin to fill the kitchen. Now add the tomatoes - fill the two empty tins with water and add these to the pan too along with the tomato puree. Stir all the ingredients to combine. Now add the lentils and coconut milk. Bring the mix to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 45 minutes or until the lentils are soft and cooked through. Finish the curry with the spinach five minutes before it is ready to serve, just so that the leaves begin to wilt. Serve the curry with steamed rice, flatbreads and a swirl of natural yogurt.

Ingredients

 

1 Large Onion

2 Cloves Garlic

1 Birdseye Chili

1tsp Grated Ginger (Heaped)

1tbsp Turmeric

1tsp Ground Cumin (Heaped)

1tsp Paprika (Heaped)

2tsp Garam Masala

2 400g Tins Chopped Tomatoes

400g Tin Coconut Milk

1 Cup Green Lentils

2tsp Tomato Puree

50g Fresh Spinach

 

Method

 

Chop the onion finely and place into a large frying pan/saucepan with a drizzle of vegetable oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook on a medium heat for a minute or two until soft. Chop the chili finely, crush the garlic, grate the ginger and add them all to the softened onions. Cook for another 5 minutes.

Next add the spices to the pan. Stir to combine and allow the spices to cook for a minute until the aromas begin to fill the kitchen. Now add the tomatoes - fill the two empty tins with water and add these to the pan too along with the tomato puree. Stir all the ingredients to combine.

Now add the lentils and coconut milk. Bring the mix to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 45 minutes or until the lentils are soft and cooked through. Finish the curry with the spinach five minutes before it is ready to serve, just so that the leaves begin to wilt.

Serve the curry with steamed rice, flatbreads and a swirl of natural yogurt.

Blueberry Streusel Muffins

I love muffins! There, I said it. My love grew for these sweet treats during our stint in Australia. Here, the muffins were packed with flavour, soft, fluffy and most importantly, huge! I wanted to try and recreate something similar from home and so these blueberry muffins were born! I fill the cases so they are nice and big and top them with a cinnamon crumb which really adds the most wonderful flavour to the finished product. Make and store in an airtight container for up to three days (if they last that long).

 

 

Ingredients   1 3/4 Cups Plain Flour 1/4tsp Salt 1tbsp Baking Powder 1tsp Lemon Zest 1 Egg 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar 1/2 Cup Plain Yoghurt 1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil 1/4 Cup Milk 1 1/2 Cups Blueberries Streusel Topping : 1/4tsp Cinnamon 1/4 Cup Flour 2tbsp Melted Butter 2tbsp Brown Sugar   Method   In a bowl combine the flour, salt, baking powder and lemon zest. In a separate bowl, mix together the egg, brown sugar, yoghurt and vegetable oil. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and gently combine. Add the milk and mix in. Fold in the blueberries until just coated. Make the streusel by combining the cinnamon, flour and sugar. Add the melted butter and mix until you get clumps of streusel. Line a muffin tin with baking paper or cupcake holders and fill each on 3/4 full. Top with the streusel and bake in a preheated oven at 200 degrees for 20 minutes.  

Ingredients

 

1 3/4 Cups Plain Flour

1/4tsp Salt

1tbsp Baking Powder

1tsp Lemon Zest

1 Egg

1/2 Cup Brown Sugar

1/2 Cup Plain Yoghurt

1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil

1/4 Cup Milk

1 1/2 Cups Blueberries

Streusel Topping :

1/4tsp Cinnamon

1/4 Cup Flour

2tbsp Melted Butter

2tbsp Brown Sugar

 

Method

 

In a bowl combine the flour, salt, baking powder and lemon zest. In a separate bowl, mix together the egg, brown sugar, yoghurt and vegetable oil.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and gently combine. Add the milk and mix in. Fold in the blueberries until just coated.

Make the streusel by combining the cinnamon, flour and sugar. Add the melted butter and mix until you get clumps of streusel.

Line a muffin tin with baking paper or cupcake holders and fill each on 3/4 full. Top with the streusel and bake in a preheated oven at 200 degrees for 20 minutes.

 

Spiced Cauliflower Tacos

These are a new favourite in our house at the moment! Cauliflower is fast becoming one of the most fashionable foods of 2017. Whether you are making this into soup, rice or baking it whole, this vegetable is cropping up everywhere and it's perfect in this recipe. Delicately spiced and roasted and packed into tacos or tortillas with lots of veggies and a drizzle of sriracha mayonnaise. Perfect food for the family to assemble together!

Ingredients   6 Soft Tortillas/Taco Shells 1 Large Head Cauliflower 1 1/2 tbsp Ground Coriander 1 1/12 tbsp Smoked Paprika 3-4 tbsp Olive Oil Salt and Pepper to Season 1 Avocado 100g Assorted Tomatoes 1 Butterhead Lettuce 30g Feta  2 Jalapeños 5 tbsp Sriracha Mayonnaise 1 Lemon    Method   In a large bowl, begin by mixing together the grou   nd spices and the olive oil into a loose paste. Add a generous pinch of salt and pepper.  Chop the cauliflower into small florets and add to the bowl - mix well to ensure the florets are well coated in the spice mix. Place onto a baking sheet and cook in a preheated oven at 200 degrees for 20-30 minutes until soft and slightly charred.  When the cauliflower is cooked, take it out of the oven and leave it to cool slightly. Warm the tortillas in the oven for 5 minutes. Whilst they warm, slice the tomatoes into small chunks and peel and thinly slice the avocado. Wash the lettuce, break off the leaves and toss in a bowl with a pinch of salt and pepper and the juice of half a lemon. Add the juice of the remaining lemon half to the Sriracha mayonnaise to loosen. Once the tortillas are warm, assemble the tacos. To assemble, spread a teaspoon of mayonnaise onto the base of the tortilla and top with a few lettuce leaves. On top of this, add some chopped tomatoes, a few slices of avocado and a handful of spiced cauliflower. Finish with a few slices of jalapeño and a final drizzle of mayonnaise.

Ingredients

 

6 Soft Tortillas/Taco Shells

1 Large Head Cauliflower

1 1/2 tbsp Ground Coriander

1 1/12 tbsp Smoked Paprika

3-4 tbsp Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper to Season

1 Avocado

100g Assorted Tomatoes

1 Butterhead Lettuce

30g Feta 

2 Jalapeños

5 tbsp Sriracha Mayonnaise

1 Lemon 

 

Method

 

In a large bowl, begin by mixing together the grou   nd spices and the olive oil into a loose paste. Add a generous pinch of salt and pepper. 

Chop the cauliflower into small florets and add to the bowl - mix well to ensure the florets are well coated in the spice mix. Place onto a baking sheet and cook in a preheated oven at 200 degrees for 20-30 minutes until soft and slightly charred. 

When the cauliflower is cooked, take it out of the oven and leave it to cool slightly. Warm the tortillas in the oven for 5 minutes. Whilst they warm, slice the tomatoes into small chunks and peel and thinly slice the avocado. Wash the lettuce, break off the leaves and toss in a bowl with a pinch of salt and pepper and the juice of half a lemon. Add the juice of the remaining lemon half to the Sriracha mayonnaise to loosen. Once the tortillas are warm, assemble the tacos.

To assemble, spread a teaspoon of mayonnaise onto the base of the tortilla and top with a few lettuce leaves. On top of this, add some chopped tomatoes, a few slices of avocado and a handful of spiced cauliflower. Finish with a few slices of jalapeño and a final drizzle of mayonnaise.

Aubergine Parmigiana

There are certain meat free dishes that an everyday meat eater would struggle to eat. This is not one of them. This recipe for aubergine parmigiana is a wonderful alternative to a traditional beef lasagna - made up of layers of charred aubergine and parmesan cheese, cooked in a rich tomato ragu and topped off with bubbling and golden cheese. It is a substantial, delicious, entirely comforting family dish, perfect served up alongside garlic bread and a crisp salad. 

 

Ingredients   3 Large Aubergines (Eggplant) 1 Onion 1 Clove Regular Garlic 2 Tins Plum Tomatoes 1 Pinch Sugar 1 Handful Fresh Basil 100g Grated Parmesan Cheese 125g Mozzarella Handful of Dried Breadcrumbs (optional)   Method   Begin by preparing the aubergines. Remove the stalk and slice lengthways into 1cm slices. Brush with a little olive oil.  Make the sauce by finely slicing an onion and softening it in a pan with a little olive oil and a crushed clove of garlic. Once the onion and garlic begin to give off their aroma, add the tinned tomatoes, break them up gently, add a pinch of sugar (to balance the tartness of the tomatoes) and simmer the sauce for 15 minutes. Whilst the sauce is cooking, place the aubergine slices in a hot pan and cook them until soft and slightly charred. You may have to do these in batches. Once all of the aubergine is cooked, set aside. Finish the sauce off with some torn fresh basil and a generous seasoning of salt and pepper. Use a hand blender to make the sauce smooth and creamy. Take an ovenproof dish and begin to assemble. Start with a layer of the tomato sauce, a sprinkling of grated parmesan and then a single layer of aubergine (like a lasagna).  Repeat the layers as before until all ingredients are used up - finishing off with a layer of sauce and a sprinkling of parmesan. At this stage you can tear the mozzarella and place on top of the parmigiana. Alternatively, you can just finish with some dried breadcrumbs (or just sprinkle them over the mozzarella). Bake in a preheated oven at 190 degrees for around 30 - 40 minutes. Best served warm.

Ingredients

 

3 Large Aubergines (Eggplant)

1 Onion

1 Clove Regular Garlic

2 Tins Plum Tomatoes

1 Pinch Sugar

1 Handful Fresh Basil

100g Grated Parmesan Cheese

125g Mozzarella

Handful of Dried Breadcrumbs (optional)

 

Method

 

Begin by preparing the aubergines. Remove the stalk and slice lengthways into 1cm slices. Brush with a little olive oil. 

Make the sauce by finely slicing an onion and softening it in a pan with a little olive oil and a crushed clove of garlic. Once the onion and garlic begin to give off their aroma, add the tinned tomatoes, break them up gently, add a pinch of sugar (to balance the tartness of the tomatoes) and simmer the sauce for 15 minutes.

Whilst the sauce is cooking, place the aubergine slices in a hot pan and cook them until soft and slightly charred. You may have to do these in batches. Once all of the aubergine is cooked, set aside.

Finish the sauce off with some torn fresh basil and a generous seasoning of salt and pepper. Use a hand blender to make the sauce smooth and creamy.

Take an ovenproof dish and begin to assemble. Start with a layer of the tomato sauce, a sprinkling of grated parmesan and then a single layer of aubergine (like a lasagna).  Repeat the layers as before until all ingredients are used up - finishing off with a layer of sauce and a sprinkling of parmesan. At this stage you can tear the mozzarella and place on top of the parmigiana. Alternatively, you can just finish with some dried breadcrumbs (or just sprinkle them over the mozzarella).

Bake in a preheated oven at 190 degrees for around 30 - 40 minutes. Best served warm.

Apple and Blueberry Galettes

For the days when only pie will do, these galettes really hit the spot! Galettes originate in France and are essentially a kind of open top pie which can be filled with any ingredients you like - sweet or savoury. They are easy to make and any left overs can be wrapped up and kept in the fridge (and eaten with coffee for breakfast danish pastry style). Serve warm out of the oven. Ice Cream optional but oh, so necessary!

 

Ingredients 113g Unsalted Butter (cold) 155g Plain Flour 1/2tbsp Caster Sugar 1/2tsp Salt 1/2 Cup Buttermilk 260g Blueberries 1 Apple 30g Caster Sugar 1tbsp Cornstarch 1tsp Vanilla Extract Zest 1 Lemon 1 Egg Raw sugar to finish   Method   1. Begin by making the dough. Mix together the flour, sugar and salt. Add the cold butter in cubes and toss to coat. Tip all the mix onto a floured surface and, using a rolling pin, roll out creating strips of butter through the flour. Gather together and continue to roll out a couple of times until the butter is evenly distributed through the flour. Place the mixture back in the bowl. 2. Create a well in the centre of the flour and butter mixture and add the buttermilk. Gently bring together into a dough. Divide the mix into three or four and press into a disk. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for at least an hour. 3. Combine the blueberries with the sugar, cornstarch, vanilla and lemon zest. Cut the apple in half and thinly slice on a mandolin. 4. To assemble, roll the pastry discs out to make a circle of around 8” and, in the centre, place a few slices of apple (ensure you leave a 2” space around the edge. Top the apple with the blueberry mix and roughly fold the pastry edges up to partly cover the filling. This doesn't have to be neat, in fact, it should look a little rustic. Brush the pastry with some beaten egg and sprinkle with raw sugar. Place in a preheated oven at 200 degrees and bake for 30 minutes or until golden and brown and bubbling. Serve warm with ice cream.

Ingredients

113g Unsalted Butter (cold)

155g Plain Flour

1/2tbsp Caster Sugar

1/2tsp Salt

1/2 Cup Buttermilk

260g Blueberries

1 Apple

30g Caster Sugar

1tbsp Cornstarch

1tsp Vanilla Extract

Zest 1 Lemon

1 Egg

Raw sugar to finish

 

Method

 

1. Begin by making the dough. Mix together the flour, sugar and salt. Add the cold butter in cubes and toss to coat. Tip all the mix onto a floured surface and, using a rolling pin, roll out creating strips of butter through the flour. Gather together and continue to roll out a couple of times until the butter is evenly distributed through the flour. Place the mixture back in the bowl.

2. Create a well in the centre of the flour and butter mixture and add the buttermilk. Gently bring together into a dough. Divide the mix into three or four and press into a disk. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for at least an hour.

3. Combine the blueberries with the sugar, cornstarch, vanilla and lemon zest. Cut the apple in half and thinly slice on a mandolin.

4. To assemble, roll the pastry discs out to make a circle of around 8” and, in the centre, place a few slices of apple (ensure you leave a 2” space around the edge. Top the apple with the blueberry mix and roughly fold the pastry edges up to partly cover the filling. This doesn't have to be neat, in fact, it should look a little rustic. Brush the pastry with some beaten egg and sprinkle with raw sugar. Place in a preheated oven at 200 degrees and bake for 30 minutes or until golden and brown and bubbling. Serve warm with ice cream.

Butternut Squash and Sage Ravioli

There is definitely something magical about making fresh pasta. Its easy, enjoyable and very therapeutic (and you get to eat the fruits of your labour). Don't get me wrong, I buy as much dried pasta as the next person to ensure simple and straightforward suppers through the week but if you have a lazy weekend and want to make something a little more special, I recommend you give this recipe a try. It's not a difficult thing to make, rather, it is a more time consuming process. Still, once you've made your own pasta once, I guarantee you'll want to do it more often - and believe me, its worth it!

 

 

Ingredients   200g Tipo ’00’ Flour /Plain Flour 2 Free Range Eggs Pinch of Salt Half Medium Butternut Squash Bunch of Sage Leaves 100g Butter Parmesan (to finish) Salt and Pepper to Season   Method   1. Make the pasta by placing the flour and salt in a bowl. Make a well in the middle and add the eggs - mix them into the flour. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 5-8 minutes until slightly soft and elastic. Wrap in cling film and allow to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.  2. To make the filling, hollow out the seeds from your butternut squash. Make a cut after the hollowed out area leaving about two thirds of the squash. Peel the hollowed third that is saved and slice into crescent shapes. Place on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and  pepper. Peel the remaining two thirds of squash and cut into cubes. Place the cubes into a baking dish, add 4-5 finely chopped sage leaves, drizzle with olive oil and season like before. Place both sets of squash into a preheated oven at 200 degrees for around 30 minutes. 3. When the squash is cooked and soft and golden, remove from the oven. Allow the crescents to cool and mash the cubes into a squash puree. Set aside. 4. Once rested, take the pasta dough and cut in half. Leave one half of the dough wrapped toprevent drying out. Press the dough out into a flat round and using a pasta machine on its biggest setting (1) - roll out into a long rectangle. Continue rolling out on each setting until you reach number 7 (alternatively, you can hand roll to a thickness of about 2mm). 5. Lay the pasta out on a a flat surface (horizontally) and, using a teaspoon, place small mounds of the cooled squash filling just below the centre line of the pasta, leaving a gap of about 3cm between each mound. Dip your finger in water and draw a line around each mound, then, pull the pasta down and over the filling to join the other side. Run your finger around each mound to ensure there is no air and the pasta has glued together. Take a cookie cutter or a knife and cut out the ravioli. 6. To cook, place the ravioli in a large pot of salted boiling water for 2-3 minutes - one cooked, remove with a slotted spoon and place into a pan of melted butter, seasoned with salt and pepper and flavoured with a few leaves of sage. Coat the ravioli in the sage butter sauce and serve with one or two roasted squash crescents and a grating of parmesan.

Ingredients

 

200g Tipo ’00’ Flour /Plain Flour

2 Free Range Eggs

Pinch of Salt

Half Medium Butternut Squash

Bunch of Sage Leaves

100g Butter

Parmesan (to finish)

Salt and Pepper to Season

 

Method

 

1. Make the pasta by placing the flour and salt in a bowl. Make a well in the middle and add the eggs - mix them into the flour. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 5-8 minutes until slightly soft and elastic. Wrap in cling film and allow to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. 

2. To make the filling, hollow out the seeds from your butternut squash. Make a cut after the hollowed out area leaving about two thirds of the squash. Peel the hollowed third that is saved and slice into crescent shapes. Place on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and  pepper. Peel the remaining two thirds of squash and cut into cubes. Place the cubes into a baking dish, add 4-5 finely chopped sage leaves, drizzle with olive oil and season like before. Place both sets of squash into a preheated oven at 200 degrees for around 30 minutes.

3. When the squash is cooked and soft and golden, remove from the oven. Allow the crescents to cool and mash the cubes into a squash puree. Set aside.

4. Once rested, take the pasta dough and cut in half. Leave one half of the dough wrapped toprevent drying out. Press the dough out into a flat round and using a pasta machine on its biggest setting (1) - roll out into a long rectangle. Continue rolling out on each setting until you reach number 7 (alternatively, you can hand roll to a thickness of about 2mm).

5. Lay the pasta out on a a flat surface (horizontally) and, using a teaspoon, place small mounds of the cooled squash filling just below the centre line of the pasta, leaving a gap of about 3cm between each mound. Dip your finger in water and draw a line around each mound, then, pull the pasta down and over the filling to join the other side. Run your finger around each mound to ensure there is no air and the pasta has glued together. Take a cookie cutter or a knife and cut out the ravioli.

6. To cook, place the ravioli in a large pot of salted boiling water for 2-3 minutes - one cooked, remove with a slotted spoon and place into a pan of melted butter, seasoned with salt and pepper and flavoured with a few leaves of sage. Coat the ravioli in the sage butter sauce and serve with one or two roasted squash crescents and a grating of parmesan.

Pumpkin Carbonara

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas and with the temperature cooling and the nights drawing in, I can't help but crave some comfort food. This dish is not a traditional carbonara - in fact, there isn't an egg or a lardon in sight. Instead this is a creamy, rich and tasty veggie alternative that warms the soul aswell as the tummy - the carbonara name fits (shhh don't tell the purists). It's made quickly and simply and is the perfect thing to eat cosied up on the sofa in your pjs. 

 

 

                                                                          Ingredients 1/2 Large Butternut Squash/Pumpkin 2-3 Springs Thyme 2tbsp Olive Oil 3tbsp Cream/Coconut Milk 1tsp Paprika Large Handful Baby Spinach  1/2 Large Onion 1 Clove Garlic 250mls Vegetable Stock Salt and Pepper to Season Pasta of your choice. Feta Cheese to finish   Method   1. Begin by peeling the butternut squash / pumpkin and removing the seeds. Chop into small cubes and place into a baking tray with a good seasoning of salt and pepper, a tbsp olive oil and a few thyme leaves. Toss to coat and place in a preheated oven at 200 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until soft. 2. Once the pumpkin is cooked and cooled, place 3/4  into a food processor (reserving a few to sprinkle over at the end) with the cream and paprika and blend into a thick puree. Add a pinch of salt and pepper if needed. 3. Place your pasta into boiling water and cook according to packet instructions. 4. Whilst the pasta is cooking, finely chop the onion and place into a frying pan with the remaining olive oil, salt and pepper and a crushed garlic clove. Cook on a medium heat until softened (take care not to burn the garlic). Once the onions and garlic are cooked and soft, add the puree into the pan and combine. Add the vegetable stock and cook for 5 minutes to reduce slightly and thicken up. Add the spinach leaves to the sauce and the cooked pasta and toss lightly together.  5. Divide the pasta onto the plates and finish with a few remaining cubes of roasted pumpkin, a crumble of feta and twist of black pepper!                                                                                

                                                                          Ingredients

1/2 Large Butternut Squash/Pumpkin

2-3 Springs Thyme

2tbsp Olive Oil

3tbsp Cream/Coconut Milk

1tsp Paprika

Large Handful Baby Spinach 

1/2 Large Onion

1 Clove Garlic

250mls Vegetable Stock

Salt and Pepper to Season

Pasta of your choice.

Feta Cheese to finish

 

Method

 

1. Begin by peeling the butternut squash / pumpkin and removing the seeds. Chop into small cubes and place into a baking tray with a good seasoning of salt and pepper, a tbsp olive oil and a few thyme leaves. Toss to coat and place in a preheated oven at 200 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until soft.

2. Once the pumpkin is cooked and cooled, place 3/4  into a food processor (reserving a few to sprinkle over at the end) with the cream and paprika and blend into a thick puree. Add a pinch of salt and pepper if needed.

3. Place your pasta into boiling water and cook according to packet instructions.

4. Whilst the pasta is cooking, finely chop the onion and place into a frying pan with the remaining olive oil, salt and pepper and a crushed garlic clove. Cook on a medium heat until softened (take care not to burn the garlic). Once the onions and garlic are cooked and soft, add the puree into the pan and combine. Add the vegetable stock and cook for 5 minutes to reduce slightly and thicken up. Add the spinach leaves to the sauce and the cooked pasta and toss lightly together. 

5. Divide the pasta onto the plates and finish with a few remaining cubes of roasted pumpkin, a crumble of feta and twist of black pepper!

                                                                               

Chocolate and Vanilla Bundt Cake

It's August and that can only mean one thing, Great British Bake Off is back! My absolute favourite show. In anticipation of the first episode, I felt I had to make a cake, not least so we had plenty to eat with the copious amount of tea we would drink whilst watching. After recently buying a bundt tin, I thought this might be the ideal time to use it and it was the perfect vessel for my soft, moist vanilla cake swirled with chocolate. Absolutely delicious!

           

Ingredients

210g Plain Flour

40g Cornstarch

2/12tsp Baking Powder

1 Pinch Salt

3/4 Cup Buttermilk

1/4 Cup Milk

227g Unsalted Butter

300g Caster Sugar

2 Large Eggs

1tsp Vanilla Extract

For the Chocolate Marbling:

2tbsp Milk

1tbsp Caster Sugar

1tbsp Melted Butter

30g Cocoa Powder

1/8tsp Baking Powder

Method

1. To begin, place the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl and combine.

2. In a separate bowl/jug, whisk together the buttermilk and milk. Set aside.

3. In another bowl, beat the butter for a few minutes until soft and light, and then add the sugar. Continue beating (preferably with an electric mixer) for a further few minutes until the mixture is pale, light and creamy, 

4. Gradually add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well to combine. Add the vanilla and ensure it is well incorporated.

5. Add half of the flour and use a spatula to gently fold it in. Next, add half of the buttermilk/milk mixture and continue to fold in. Finish off with the remaining flour and then the remaining buttermilk. Stir until just combined but don't overmix.

6. Remove a cup full of the cake mixture and set aside for the chocolate marbling.

7. For the marbling, place the milk, butter and sugar in a saucepan and gently heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar and then add the cocoa powder. Whisk to remove any lumps and then add the baking soda. Add one or two spoonfuls of the cake batter to this mix and stir to combine. Add the remaining batter and fold until well incorporated.

8. To assemble the cake, generously butter your bundt tin and dust with flour (shaking off any excess. Pour in 2/3 of the vanilla cake batter and using a teaspoon, create a small well in the centre of the batter running all the way around the tin. Pour the chocolate mix into this well and, using the end of a knife, ripple the chocolate through the mix. Top with the remaining vanilla batter and swirl again with the knife.

9. Place the cake into a preheated oven at 180 degrees for 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning the bundt out onto a cooling rack.

10. Serve with a dusting of icing sugar and a mug of hot tea!