Healthy, low-cost dishes to make you smile

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Split Pea and Vegetable Soup

Split Pea and Vegetable Soup

I live with such a soup lover and since making more of my own I’ve really gotten into it myself. It’s such a brilliant way of getting a big veggie fix quickly and easily as if you make a vat of soup and keep it […]

Chocolate Orange Oat Bars

Chocolate Orange Oat Bars

If you are looking for the perfect suit every occasion snack and breakfast then you have found it here! These Chocolate Orange Oat Bars are a versatile source of slow release carbs and are refined sugar free too. They are basically a baked oatmeal, so […]

Salted Caramel Chocolate Avocado Truffles

Salted Caramel Chocolate Avocado Truffles

I have recently been toying with ‘healthy’ truffles. Not just because it’s the season for them but also because I am trying to find bite size treats for lunchboxes which pack a nutritional punch! These Salted Caramel Chocolate Avocado Truffles are not only sugar-free and school lunch friendly nut-free too – they are packed with good oils to support brain function and well being.

This recipe is just for the soft, truffle centre, the beauty is you can then roll them in anything you fancy. Be it cocoa powder, some coconut shavings, my son loves them rolled in currants and here I’ve used a quality Christmas spiced real hot chocolate flakes.

I have used a sugar-free dark chocolate which gives a rich result although these are anything but bitter. You could use a lighter chocolate if you prefer and are less concerned about them being sugar-free.

These are so great to take to friends houses if they have dietary requirements as they are vegan, nut-free and also suitable for many low carb diets. If you are on a keto diet these would make a fab post work out snack to satisfy your sweet tooth too.

Salted Caramel Chocolate Avocado Truffles

December 5, 2017
: makes 16
: 15 min
: easy

By:

Ingredients
  • 100g sugar-free dark chocolate
  • 20g honey
  • 50g coconut oil
  • 150g ripe avocado
  • 1 teaspoon caramel essence/flavouring
  • pinch of salt
  • avocado or a flavourless oil to roll
Directions
  • Step 1 Melt the chocolate, coconut oil and honey together either in a bowl over a pan of boiling water or in a bowl in the microwave for one minute and stir well until completely dissolved.
  • Step 2 In a food processor or Nutribullet blend the avocado, caramel, salt and the melted mixture together.
  • Step 3 Refrigerate the mixture for one hour or place in the freezer for 30mins if you need to speed things along.
  • Step 4 Using a melon baller dipped in warm water scoop out your truffles and shape in your hands – if you spray your hands with a flavourless oil like avocado oil it makes this step easier.
  • Step 5 You should have approximately 16 truffles.
  • Step 6 Roll in your topping.
  • Step 7 These will keep for a week in the fridge or three months in the freezer.

 

Pitta Croutons

Pitta Croutons

If you have some pitta or flatbread which has gone a little stale please don’t throw it away!!! Make these Pitta Croutons instead which are low in fat and high in flavour. Just tear the bread I into pieces, spray with oil (I use a […]

Warm Courgette and Mint Salad

Warm Courgette and Mint Salad

This Warm Courgette and Mint Salad is a great way of using up courgettes and it’s such an interesting side dish. It compliments fish so well and is brilliant as part of a buffet as it’s so colourful and a bit different. I like to […]

Spiced Pumpkin Rolls

Spiced Pumpkin Rolls

made these as an experiment as I had some butternut squash puree left over from another recipe and now these Spiced Pumpkin Rolls are possibly one of my favourite things ever!

I love this style of enriched dough bun but often they have been covered in a thick layer of icing which I find over-sweet and which ruins the delicious spicing and rich, soft bun so I have just dusted them with some icing sugar. If you love that thick icing though slap some on!

Often yeast based cookery puts a lot of people off as they believe it’s time consuming. I just think you have to make the timings work for you and remember you can slow down the rise if you need to by popping the dough in the fridge for a while for the second prove. I work these buns around kids bedtime! I make the dough, which takes minutes, as the children are eating their dinner or straight after. Then leave it to rise in a warm place while I do their teeth, reading, stories, snuggles. The dough is ready to roll when this is done so I load it up and then leave it to rise for another hour or two until doubled in size and bake just before my bedtime. If I’m running late then it is just rolled out and popped into the fridge to go in the airing cupboard in the morning as soon as I get up meaning it’s warmed up and risen ready to cook as soon as I return from the school run. Which also means I get first dibs on these frankly amazing buns.

Don’t be put off by the length of this recipe, I promise it is easy and very much worth it. Can you tell how excited these buns make me!?!

Spiced Pumpkin Rolls

November 19, 2017
: 12
: 20 min
: 20 min
: Medium

By:

Ingredients
  • For the Dough
  • 80ml milk
  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 125g roasted, mashed squash or pumpkin (or plain tinned pumpkin)
  • 45g dark muscovado brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 350g bread flour
  • Filling
  • 80g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 80g dark muscovado sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Also: butter and oil for greasing
Directions
  • Step 1 Warm the milk and butter together over until the butter has only just melted – you don’t want the liquid to boil as it will be too hot and kill off the yeast.
  • Step 2 Beat together the puree, sugar and nutmeg (I used an electric whisk). Gradually add the milk and butter mix. Beat in the eggs then the flour and yeast.
  • Step 3 Place the finished dough into an oil greased bowl and rub a little on the top too so it doesn’t develop a hard skin or stick. Cover the bowl with cling film so it is not touching and has some growing room.
  • Step 4 Leave to double in size in a warm place then knock the dough back and knead on a floured surface for about a minute.
  • Step 5 Roll out the dough into a rectangle approx. 45cm x 25cm. Spread the soft butter over the whole area.
  • Step 6 In a small bowl combine the sugar and spices then sprinkle evenly over the butter and dough.
  • Step 7 Tightly roll the dough up starting the longest edge and rolling up to the longest edge opposite. You need to make the resulting sausage shape as long as possible.
  • Step 8 Cut into to 12 equal size pieces and place in a butter greased oblong brownie tin, evenly spaced (you should end up with 4 rows of 3 buns).
  • Step 9 Cover with plastic wrap and once again let the dough double in size. This takes about an hour but if you don’t have time you can pop them in the fridge until you are ready.
  • Step 10 When the buns are risen, place in a preheat oven which is at 180°C / 350°F / Gas mark 4.
  • Step 11 After 15mins in the oven cover with foil and cook for another 10mins.
  • Step 12 Remove from the oven when cooked (the buns should spring back when you prod them) and cool a little before dusting with sugar.

Basic Hummus

Basic Hummus

I’m not sure what kids party tea and lunchboxes comprised of before hummous or hommous or hummus – however you like to spell it! – was a staple of childhood. There’s no doubt it’s a brilliant go to for the whole family, whether as a […]

Spiced Pumpkin Cake

Spiced Pumpkin Cake

Halloween maybe just a memory but pumpkin and squash season is still on! This year I am determined to make the most of it and pumpkin or squash puree, made from a roasted and blended member of the squash family, is popping up in my […]

Italian Kale Stew

Italian Kale Stew

I am lucky enough to have a friend who embraces veggies and throws together meals with them so well I want to recreate their fantastic flavours as soon as I return home. And this Italian Kale Stew came about as a direct result of a wonderful afternoon at her house. And finding some fresh full-stem kale at the local farm shop which I just had to have.

While I have called this a stew, it could also be termed a very full broth, although I think the chew factor always changes something from soup to stew! It’s just perfect for the winter as it is hearty but certainly not stodgy or unhealthy. In fact the high vegetable content, especially the kale which is packed with filling fibre but zero calories and is rich in antioxidants, vitamin C and a number of minerals many of us are deficient in, is perfect for keeping you feeling in tip-top condition this winter and balancing the approaching Christmas excess. The beans add protein and make it a satisfying meal. And it’s such a cheap dish to make it’s perfect for both saving money and losing the extra Christmas pounds in the New Year.

I like to serve this with fresh bread, to mop up the juices, or a homemade quiche but it’s just as yummy on its own.

Italian Kale Stew

November 13, 2017
: 4-6

By:

Ingredients
  • Splash of oil or water
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 sticks of celery, diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 teaspoons garlic, finely chopped or minced
  • 100ml red wine (optional)
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 vegetable stock cube dissolved in 1 litre of water
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato puree
  • 2 teaspoons mixed dried Italian herbs or dried oregano
  • 300g kale, hard stalks removed, sliced
  • 400g tins of beans, for example black eyed, flageolet, borlotti, cannellini beans
Directions
  • Step 1 Place the oil/water, carrot, onion, garlic, celery and kale into a large saucepan and cook with the lid off for 5mins, add a little water if it starts to stick.
  • Step 2 Remove the lid and if using add the red wine, cook for a couple of minutes on a medium heat then add the tin of tomatoes, herbs, the vegetable stock, tomato puree and kale.
  • Step 3 Bring to the boil and simmer for 10mins with the lid on.
  • Step 4 Remove the lid and simmer for another 5mins or until all the vegetables are just cooked before adding the drained tins of beans.
  • Step 5 Cooks for a few more minutes so the beans are heated right through then season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Pomegranate and Herb Salad

Pomegranate and Herb Salad

A friend of mine asked how she could better use the premade mixes of vegetables and dried grains and pulses which are available in shops while also saving cash and eating healthily. As she’s a fan of a big salad which will last a few […]