Spinach and grain loaf

Delicious as ‘bread’ or toasted.

Preheat oven to 180 C/ gas mark 5    Prepare a 1 lb loaf tin
Ingredients:

8 eggs                                    1/2 cup coconut oil – melted

1/4 cup chia seeds              1/4 cup linseed

1/4 cup sesame seeds        1/4 cup coconut flour

3 handfuls  spinach           1-2 tsp chilli flakes

Method:

Blend eggs and coconut oil for 1 minute. Add all other ingredients  and blend until thoroughly mixed. Pour in to the loaf tin. Cook for 30-40 minutes – skewer comes out clean. Once cold refrigerate.

Oat, chia and flaxseed breakfast muffin – gluten and dairy free

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I have combined ingredients that have a real benefit for the body – some of which I have listed:

Flaxseed – high in fibre aiding digestion and helping to maintain healthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels, omega 3, vitamin B1, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus and selenium

Chia seed – high in fibre, omega 3, potassium, omega 6, calcium, copper, phosphorus and  zinc

Coconut oil – healthy saturated fat

Oatmeal – rich in fibre, high protein, low fat

Spices – ginger and cinnamon – both anti inflammatory

Oat milk – lactose free, low in fat, vitamin E, vitamin B, iron, calcium, zinc and magnesium

The combination also chosen to keep me feeling fuller for longer 🙂  I have used coconut sugar as the sweetener — very little.

Preheat the oven to 180 C / Gas mark 4       Muffin tin – 12 bun

Ingredients:

1 cup of gluten free self raising flour                            2 eggs

1 cup of oatmeal                                                                1/2 cup of oat milk

1 tsp ginger                                                                          1/4 cup coconut oil – melted

1 tsp cinnamon                                                                   1/4 cup coconut sugar

2 tbsp chia seeds                                                                 1 1/2 tsp baking powder

3 tbsp flaxseed

Method:

Put all the dry ingredients into a bowl and mix thoroughly. Add the eggs, milk and coconut oil and stir until mixed. Divide between 12 the muffins.

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Place in the centre of the oven and cook for 15-20 minutes – until skewer comes out clean.

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Cheesy leeks / kale

I have two different methods to make this…both incredibly quick and equally tasty. Which method I use depends on what is in my fridge. I use leeks and / or kale.

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Cheesy leeks and kale served on gluten-free toast with sweet piquante peppers

The quantities given serve 2

Recipe 1:

Ingredients:

2 leeks – sliced / 1 leek – sliced and large handful of kale – torn away from the thick stalks / 2 large handfuls of kale

Knob of butter

3-4 tbsp of water

4 tbsp cream cheese

Method:

Melt the butter and toss the prepared vegetables in the hot butter. Cook for a couple of minutes. Add the water, cover and leave on a moderate heat. Cook for about 10 minutes or until the desired texture. Add the cream cheese and stir until thoroughly dispersed and heated through. Serve.

Recipe 2:

Ingredients:

2 leeks – sliced / 1 leek – sliced and large handful of kale – torn away from the thick stalk / 2 large handfuls of kale

Knob of butter

3-4 tbsp of water

4 tbsp creme fraiche

handful of grated cheese

Method:

Melt the butter and toss the prepared vegetables in the hot butter. Cook for a couple of minutes. Add the water, cover and leave on a moderate heat. Cook for about 10 minutes or until the desired texture. Add the creme fraiche and grated cheese and stir until thoroughly dispersed and heated through. Serve.

 

 

 

Simnel Cake (gf)

A deliciously rich fruit cake with the hidden yumminess of 2 layers of marzipan

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Grease and line an 20 cm deep cake tin. Preheat oven to Gas mark 2 / 150 C

Ingredients:

675 g dried fruit – I use a combination of sultanas, raisins, currants, mixed peel and a handful of glace cherries (washed, cut in half and dried.

225 g plain gluten-free flour

160 g butter – softened

150 g muscovado sugar

5 eggs (4 if using non gf flour)

500 g marzipan (if I have time or the inclination I make my own but shop bought works just as well) split in to 4. 3 pieces rolled out to the size of the cake tin diameter and 1 piece divided in to 11 balls

Apricot jam – optional

Method:

Put all the ingredients ( except dried fruit and marzipan) in to a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Add the fruit and stir until completely mixed.

Put 1/3 of the mixture in to the cake tin and level. Add one of the marzipan circles. Add the second 1//3 of the cake mixture, level and place another marzipan circle on top. Finally add the final 1/3 of the cake mixture. Level and place in the cool oven for about 1 1/2 – 2 hours. When a skewer comes out clean increase the oven temperature to Gas Mark 4 / 180 C and cook for  10 mins to allow the cake to turn a rich brown colour. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin.

Once cool, remove and cover the top of the cake with the marzipan circle (some people use an apricot jam glaze as ‘glue’ – I don’t find this necessary). Place the 11 marzipan balls on top. Using a grill or blow torch (much more fun!) heat the marzipan until it bubbles and turns brown on the top.

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Missed opportunity!

Yesterday was Easter Sunday for which the tradition of sharing eggs has been in my family since my earliest memory. As a child, I delighted in the hunting for eggs hidden in the garden and around the house. I then enjoyed eating my way through the Easter egg tower of gifted chocolate. Then as an adult and as a mummy, I relished the continuation of all the traditions with my own family, adding new additions and tweaks.

So…it was with a little bit of shock that I realised (following a conversation with my brother last night about the amount of chocolate he had consumed) that I did not eat a single piece…not one little morsel…of chocolate yesterday!! Not only that, but there isn’t a single bit of chocolate in the house for me to make up for lost time today.

One tradition I did at least adhere to (to the delight of my husband) was the making of a Simnel Cake – there is something truly scrumptious about layers of marzipan hidden within a fruit cake. This simple cake itself brings traditions in my household- my elder daughter only eats the marzipan topping and ‘disciple’, my younger daughter the cake and marzipan topping but not the ‘disciple’ and my husband devours it all!

 

What traditions do you and your families have at Easter?

Mrs Impatient

On the 28th of December, I wrote that I had finished chemotherapy and was at last starting on the road to recovery…followed by a post on the 26th February about the start of a new healthy me.

I think I was both naive and deluded! My doctors told me the chemotherapy would impact on my system for several months and  this compounded by the 5 weeks of daily radiotherapy would mean that the side effects would be long reaching. But …oh no…not me I thought! Well – they were right. I have been  / am really frustrated by the very slow process of recovery.

I understand that my body has taken a battering but I truly thought I would bounce back more quickly. I am struggling with accepting this – although I have no choice and am trying to turn my, ‘But I’ve only managed to do this,’ into, ‘Today I have done this!’ I have accepted (I think) that I won’t be the same as before diagnosis – and that isn’t a bad thing, I had already recognised that things needed to change – hence handing my notice in at work. I am accepting that this is a blip, a haitus in my plans and future goals and only that. I would like to have heard the words, ‘You are clear.’ but know that with the ‘high risk cancer’ (oncologist’s words not mine) it is all about doing things to increase my survival rate and chance of being around in 10 years. This is taking a bit to process…but I will 🙂

On a very positive note I now have a complete covering of baby soft hair on my head (albeit a different colour and flecks of grey – lovingly pointed out by one of my daughters!!), a full set of lashes and eyebrows and I do now feel in the right place mentally to tackle the few pounds that I put on during chemo and am fully embracing the diets choices  I used to make prior to treatment.  Of this part of my life, I can be in full control.

Would love to read the thoughts and words of wisdom from those of you who are at the same point as me,  ahead of me or just interested in my ramblings 🙂

Chick pea and lentil stew

This is a really quick dish to make and is delicious on its own or with crusty bread and a salad or baked potato.

Ingredients:

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Can of chick peas – drained

Small butternut squash peeled and cubed

Onion – finely chopped                 Olive oil

2 cups of red lentils                        1 tsp ginger

Carton of passata                            1 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp turmeric                                  500 ml vegetable stock

Method:

Fry the onions until soft. Add the spices and heat for another minute. Add all the other ingredients and simmer until the lentils are soft.

 

Vegetarian /vegan pie – ‘cottage’ pie made with mushrooms

Don’t let the title deter you if you are a meat eater. My husband, who thoroughly enjoys eating meat, really likes this dish – always goes back for another helping – and frequently requests it.

Preheat oven to 190C / Gas mark 5

Ingredients:

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1 large onion – coarse chopped

1 large punnet of Chestnut mushrooms – chopped in half

2 cups of red lentils

1 large can of chick peas – drained

5 tbsp red wine vinegar

Small jar of sun-dried tomatoes

5-6 sweet potatoes

Coconut oil for frying

3/4 – 1 pint of vegetable stock

Grated dairy / vegan cheese – optional

Black pepper – optional

Method: 

Peel and chop the sweet potatoes – cover with water and boil until cooked. Drain and mash.

Fry the onions in the coconut oil until soft. Add the mushrooms, chickpeas, sun-dried tomatoes, lentils, vinegar and stock and simmer gently until the lentils are soft adding more stock if required. The mixture should be of a thick consistency.

Put the mixture in to an oven proof dish and top with mashed potato.Sprinkle with grated cheese and black pepper. Place in the oven for 25-30 mins until heated throughout.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eggs – quick and hassle free dishes

People who know me know that my cooking style is minimum effort but hopefully maximum taste. I am lucky enough to have a small group of my own ladies pecking about in my garden. From them I get a plentiful and daily supply of wonderful power houses of goodness. I adore eggs – scrambled, poached, fried, omelettes, frittatas, Benedict, souffles, Huevos Rancheros, in cakes etc. but I do enjoy trying them in different ways.

Recently I have served all in one breakfast  / dinner dishes – the one pot cooking and washing up dream 🙂  I heartily recommend this approach.

  1. Sausages and fried onion – gf sausages cooked in the tin, add the chopped onion and when all cooked add the egg mixture.
  2. Sausages,Stornaway black pudding, asparagus and tomatoes  – gf sausages and black pudding cooked in the tin. Egg mixture added and then when nearly cooked tomatoes and coconut fried asparagus placed on the top and returned to the oven
  3. Sausage, mushroom and tomato – gf sausages cooked in the tin and mushrooms and tomatoes added. When all cooked add egg mixture.

I have also served up my eggy combinations as breakfast muffins – all ingredients mixed together and baked in muffin tins – bacon rashers cooked first and chopped in to pieces and added to egg mixture, spinach and black pepper.

Serving suggestion – grilled plum tomatoes, avocado and hot buttered toast.

All a bit bonkers…

This is going to seem to be a bit bonkers…

I have only just realised; I have had cancer.

People who know me will probably think that I have finally lost the plot. They know I was diagnosed last July. Since then I have existed within a whirlwind of tests, operation, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, weekly and sometimes daily visits to the cancer hospital, visits to my own doctor, visits to district nurses, etc.

Throughout all of this I haven’t really had time to think…or been able to think. It was during my penultimate visit for radiotherapy treatment (18/19 treatments on 9th February) that the reality hit me – like a sledgehammer. I then did what I had vowed I would never do – spent a week wallowing in self pity and ‘woe is me’ mode.

Now it is all about moving forward. Yes, I still have reminders of the treatment – operation scars, nails falling off, aching bones and joints, burned skin – but… my body is recovering and the signs are clear. I have a covering of hair on my head, eyelashes and eyebrows are returning and my energy levels are increasing.

During treatment my diet changed. Partly due to taste buds; partly due to the fact that many of my staple foods were banned (sprouted legumes, kefir, salads) and partly because somedays eating anything was better than eating nothing.

It is time to recalibrate.

Here is to the healthy me 🙂