In search of something filling enough for my little one’s lunchbox and vegetable-y enough for her continual development, I came across the concept of cheese scones and had some left over courgettes from my ratatouille, so added them in also.
Result? Exactly what I wanted. They are great hot or cold, with filling and without. A great snack-come-light bite.
- 1 small courgette (about ⅔ cup)
- 300g self-raising flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- 1 cup grated mature cheddar cheese
- 1 cup full fat milk
- 1 tbsp lemon juice, squeezed from a fresh lemon
- Pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees
- Add the lemon juice to the milk and leave to stand for 5 minutes
- Meanwhile, grate the courgette and wrap up in about 5 paper towel sheets, removing the moisture
- In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour and add the cheese, courgette, sugar and a pinch of salt.
- Add in the milk mixture little by little until a dough forms (don't be hasty and use it all)
- On a floured surface, pat the mixture down until it is 1.5 inches thick. Then cut out with your party cutter to scones at a size of your preference.
- Place the cut, raw scones on a non-stick baking tray
- Rework the dough and cut more scones out, repeating this procedure until all the dough is used up
- Lightly brush the top of each scone with milk
- Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes until golden brown
- Serve with butter, cream cheese or any topping of your choice.
There are days when breakfast just doesn’t seem to work and you need an on-the-go alternative. Today was one of these days and these breakfast bars did the trick. Not only are they packed full of the good stuff, but they are quick to make, filling for little (and big) tummies and have a sweet kick, making them taste great and a perfect snack or breakfast bite.
Now, I looked up a lot of breakfast bars online before trying my hand at my own version and the majority require a whole cup of honey or agave syrup. This in my opinion made it way too sweet and sticky for something i would feel comfortable giving my toddler for breakfast, so I tried adding more dried fruits and less syrup to give it the same binding ability. Not quite as compact as the ‘original’ versions but it does stick less to your teeth and from my point of view, I feel much more comfortable giving it to K.
Another great thing about these bars is that you can pretty much adapt the recipe to suit your own preferences. I like pistachios and cranberries as they add some colour but you can pretty much choose any nuts or dried fruits which you like.
Bars will last for up to a week in an airtight container. When packing for ‘on-the-go’, simply wrap up the individual pieces in cling film and pack it away.
Anyhow, enjoy and here’s the recipe.
- 1¾ cup gluten-free rolled oats
- ¾ cup unsweetened desiccated coconut
- 1 cup unsalted cashews
- ½ cup chopped pistachios
- 2 tablespoon chia seeds
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- ¼ cup raisins
- ½ cup dates (medjool and preferably seedless) roughly chopped
- 4 tbspn agave syrup
- 1 tbspn coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a pan of boiling water, place the chopped dates, raisins and cranberries and allow to soak for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, place the cashew nuts and desiccated coconut in a food processor and chop until coarsely chopped.
- Add in the remaining ingredients, including the soaked fruits (which you should drain the water before)
- Mix in the food processor for a minute and then open and mix with a spoon. Then mix for an extra minute once more.
- Line a 9 inch square baking pan with greaseproof paper and transfer the mixture into the pan.
- Spread out to cover the entire area, firmly pressing it together so it is sticking together firmly. The harder you press, the better it will stick. (Don't be afraid of getting messy and use your hands for the best result).
- Even it out, trying to get a smooth surface and refrigerate for a couple of hours.
- Cut into squares (size of your preference) and store in an airtight container. e
Cheese on Toast day! I am currently managing a sick 6 month old and an almost sick toddler. By almost sick, I mean the toddler who isn’t fussy generally but won’t even touch her favourite meals. Paracetamol is just a matter of time for this one.
For those of you who know me, you will know that I don’t brag. However, when it comes to cheese on toast, I have no shame in proclaiming that I make a pretty awesome version of this classic comfort food. My methodology has evolved over the years to a winning combination of cheeses, veggies and freshly baked bread.
For the cheese, cheddar is a must as a base and this leaves you able to experiment to find your perfect partner to it. I love gruyere and smoked cheese (as used in this instance). However, there are no rules to this so just stick to the one type of cheese if you prefer.
For the veggies, again to your preference but I love the combination of onion, peppers and mushrooms.
Finally the bread; keep it simple, keep it white and keep it thick sliced. Seeded, grained or wholemeal breads will work too but my preference is white or half and half.
The milk, however odd you may find it, is the secret to success. By hand-mixing a little milk into the mixture, it creates a pastiness to the cheese, which in turn binds everything together.
- Couple of thick slices of good quality, fresh bread
- ½ cup grated cheddar cheese
- ½ cup grated cheese of your choice (mozzarella / smoked / gruyere etc)
- ½ green bell pepper, diced
- ½ tomato, diced
- ½ onion, diced
- Couple of mushrooms, diced
- Handful of chopped herbs (basil / coriander)
- ½ tspn dried mixed herbs
- 1-2 tbspn milk
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Pre-heat grill to a medium flame setting
- In a mixing bowl, mix all the ingredients together with your hands.
- Place the bread slices on a baking tray and grill for 2-3 minutes until the top is golden brown.
- Flip the bread over, soft side facing up. Spoon the cheese mixture over the soft side of the bread and place in the grill again for a further 2-3 minutes until the cheese mixture is melted.
- Eat hot and enjoy and serve with a bowl of soup or portion of salad.
Nut-free, Dairy free, Gluten free, Sugar free but FULL of YUMMINESS. Feeling experimental in my first attempt to make breakfast bars, I happened to stumble upon a recipe for these little treats.
Naturally, as with all ‘experimental’ situations, the effort to recreate your initial concoction is always a challenge. Fortunately, several steps along the way, here they are, better than before and polished off by K (and me) before I have even written this post.
- 1 cup rolled oats (gluten free)
- ½ cup pitted dates
- ½ cup pitted, dried apricot
- ½ cup desiccated coconut
- Boil some water in a pan and remove from the stove
- Roughly chop the dates and apricot and soak in the hot water for 15-20 minutes
- Meanwhile, blend together the oats and coconut to form a grainy mix
- Once the dates and apricots have softened in the water, drain and add to the oaty coconut mix.
- Blend to form a dough-like mixture
- Remove from the blender and roll in the palms of your hands to make 1 inch balls
- Refrigerate for 2-3 hours and then store in an airtight container (for up to one week)
When you look at your colourful fruit bowl and see the blackened, old bananas, which no-one wants to eat, hidden away at the bottom, don’t feel bad about throwing them away; they have a purpose! Banana Bread; It’s a win-win on all fronts.
Brilliant for kids as you can pass if off as cake
A substantial and healthy snack
Saves the old banana wastage
A great home-made on-the-go food (I actually bake a whole loaf and take it on holidays with me for occasions where we may struggle for decent vegetarian food)
You can add raisins, alternative dried fruits or nuts and whatever takes your fancy. I add chia seeds these days as I am recently exploring the benefits of this amazing seed!
- 3 overipe bananas
- 75g vegetable/sunflower oil
- 225g all purpose flour
- 2 heaped tspn baking powder
- 50g brown or raw sugar
- 1 tspn ground cinnamon
- 1 handful of raisins
- 1 tbspn chia seeds
- 1 heaped tbspn soya yogurt (use normal yogurt if not vegan)
- Preheat oven to 200 degree C
- In a mixing bowl, add the bananas, oil and sugar. Mash together with a fork.
- Sift in the flour, baking powder and cinnamon and mix together.
- Finally add in the yogurt, chia seeds, raisins and mix together.
- Transfer into a non-stick or silicon 2lb loaf tin or cake molds
- Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, cover with foil of the top is browning and bake for a further 10-15 minutes.
Hide the vegetables and tickle the taste buds with a trio of hummus. With our time in Dubai, we have been surrounded by hummus. K loves dips in general and I love bringing fun to mealtimes. With three types of hummus flavours, we practiced colours, counting, role-playing and had a blast.
Flavoured hummus’ are also a great way to secretly sneak in vegetables and various herbs as it all gets blended up, so your little ones can’t tell the difference.
It is a fun way to pack goodness into a nutritious snack, which can be served as a side dish, dip or sandwich filling.
- ½ can chickpeas, drained
- 4 tbspn olive oil
- 1 tbspn lemon juice
- ½ clove garlic
- Salt to taste
- 1 small red pepper
- 3 tbspn olive oil
- Approx 250g butternut squash
- 3 tbspn olive oil
- ½ cup fresh coriander (leaves)
- 1 tbspn lemon juice
- 1 tbpsn olive oil
- For the basic hummus, crush the garlic and add all ingredients together in a food processor and blend to a smooth consistency. Add salt to taste and top up with extra olive oil or lemon juice if required.
- Deseed and chop the red pepper into medium sized chunks. Roast with the olive oil at 180 degrees C for approximately 20-25 minutes until the peppers have softened. Stir on occassion to avoid the peppers blackening.
- Once softened, add (with the love oil) to the bowl of basic hummus ingredients and blend with it until your hummus becomes red and to a smooth consistency.
- Peel, deseed and chop the butternut squash into medium sized chunks. Follow the same process as with the red peppers, blending the roasted butternut squash with the basic hummus until you get a smooth, yellow pasty hummus.
- Remove the coriander stalks, wash and finely chop the leaves. Add to the basic hummus, along with the additional lemon juice and olive oil. Blend together until a smooth, green colour is obtained.
I have always pan-fried patties in the past, so this was my first efforts at baking them and in all honesty, not only is it healthier, but they taste a lot better too. They are also great for little ones as you can make them any shape or size you like, serve them with curry or pack them as a snack. Although it does take a bit of effort in the preparation stage, they are really easy to cook as you simply pop them in the oven.
- ½ cup quinoa, cooked
- 3 medium sized potatoes
- ½ cup coriander, finely chpped
- ¼ tspn turmeric powder
- ½ tspn garam masala powder
- ½ lemon
- Salt to taste
- 1 tbspn plain flour
- 2 tbspn sunflower or vegetable oil
- Halve and steam the potatoes until you can easily put a knife through them. I used a pressure cooker for two whistles. You could alternatively use the jacket potato setting in your microwave.
- Once cooked, peel and mash with a fork until you have a dough like consistency (If potatoes are overcooked, add 2 tbsp of breadcrumbs or corn flour if required)
- Add the cooked Quinoa, coriander, turmeric powder, garam masala and salt.
- Squeeze the juice of half a lemon and add it into the mixture.
- Mix and knead with your hand until all ingredients are mixed together, forming a sticky dough.
- Preheat oven at 180 degrees C.
- Flour your hands and your work surface to make the dough more manageable. Create round patty shapes about ½ inch deep and 3 inches wide and place on a baking tray.
- Brush both sides of the patties with the oil and bake for approximately 15 minutes, turning half way. The patties should be golden brown on both sides.
- Great as a snack with homemade tomato ketchup or serve as a meal with Chickpea Coconut Curry.