Naked peanut butter bars

This naked baking session produced the most memorable results in my kitchen this week. One minute there was relative peace and the next I had two bare bottomed urchins running around me causing havoc.

The aptly named Naked peanut butter bars were devoured before they made it to any form of storage tin. It wasn’t just the children, we all loved these. They’re oaty, crumbly, super peanuty and packed with slow releasing energy. I’m all over that at the minute. I’ve been training well and snacks like these massively help to get me through.

Naked PB bars_4

To make 12 of these simple peanut snacks you will need:

  • 120g oats
  • 100g tahini
  • 100g peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons honey

(Each one contains around 145 calories)

Naked PB bars

It’s barely a recipe:

  1. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees F (fan setting)
  2. Mix everything together and press down in a baking tray or ceramic dish.
  3. Try get the mixture to a fairly equal depth of around 1.5cm. If you don’t fill the whole tray don’t worry, the mixture will hold together well and keep its form. Just try keep a clean edge.
  4. Bake for around 20 minutes until the bake turns a golden brown.
  5. Let the tray/dish cool for 15 minutes but not completely hard before cutting into bars and lifting from the dish.
  6. Enjoy as soon as they’re cool enough to eat.

God I love her…

 

Pumpkin power bites

Sometimes you don’t need to complicate things with a hefty recipe and lots of stages, especially when you want your children to engage with the idea of healthy eating and good food. The window of focus can be pretty short in our house, so if my son asks to help I like to give some pretty instant gratification.

little ninja nibbles

These little bites took us 10 minutes to make using basic cupboard ingredients. They’re delicious, naturally sweet and ever so moreish.

Simply:

  1. Blitz together 100g raisins with 50g of pumpkin seeds and a teaspoon of cinnamon
  2. Roll 10 small balls in some linseeds/flaxseeds.
  3. Keep in the fridge

For me these little nibbles are good to have around for a quick energy fix and also to keep my digestion on track. I am putting in quite a few miles at the moment in training for an event in 2 weeks. (Take a peak at the crazy event) Sweet option snacks that can also aid good digestive health means I can perform without feeling bloated and tired.

Why are they so powerful and fantastic?

  • Pumpkins are a feel good seed, they provide a good source of protein, zinc and posses a wide range of anti-oxidant qualities.
  • Raisins provide good forms of fibre and also iron, which you need plenty of if you’re exercising regularly.
  • Linseeds are amazing little seeds. They work wonders for IBS and constipation and just one to two teaspoons a day can make a dramatic difference to your digestive health.

little ninja nibbles_2

It’s good to share healthy things with our kids. Sometimes I think we can forget to offer them the kinds of nutritional snacks we eat, because it wasn’t how it worked in our parents day.  I’m sure he’ll be eating icecream with his friends later too – I’d call that a pretty fair mixed bag.

Enjoy x

Champions chutney

Okay, tenuous link in the title because it’s Wimbledon men’s finals day, but this chutney is seriously for winners. I made a big batch of chutney a few weeks ago that just didn’t make the grade. So I’ve spent time trying out some tweaks this week. The result is this really sunny, crowd pleasing chutney. It’s a gem, delivering an intensity of flavour and a wonderful warmth with every bite.

Champions chutney

To make around 3 x 500ml jars as shown above, you will need:

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1 white onion
  • 200g chopped aubergine
  • 600g chopped ripe tomato (I used big fresh tomatoes)
  • 200g runner beans chopped into 1cm pieces
  • 800g chopped courgette
  • 3 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1 tsp hot chilli powder
  • 200g honey
  • 350ml cider vinegar
  • A little seasoning

To make:

  1. Fry the onion and garlic in a large heavy duty pan for a few minutes until soft and translucent.
  2. Add the spices and seeds then fry together for 2 – 3 minutes.
  3. Add the chopped vegetables. The size of the these depends on your own preference. It’s nice to have some chunkiness to a chutney, but you don’t want it too rustic. Give everything a good stir before pouring in the honey and vinegar. The liquid should just cover the vegetables.
  4. Let the chutney come to a boil, give it a good old stir and then turn down to a constant simmer, with the lid off. You need the liquid to evaporate over the next 1 1/2 to 2 hours and the vegetables gently soften. You can’t leave it to its own devices for the whole time. You need to give it the occasional thorough stir. Towards the end you’ll need to keep stirring to make sure it doesn’t dry out or start sticking.
  5. The chutney is ready when the liquid has reduced right down, leaving you with a thick sumptuous pot of sticky vegetables.
  6. Once you are happy, pop on a lid and leave to cool. Then re taste and check seasoning, before adding to jars. Make sure you stir well and distribute evenly in the jars.

I was lucky enough to pick my own vegetables for this chutney from the most idyllic working farm in Andalusia. The care and attention taken to nurture the produce is amazing. It undoubtedly makes a difference to the taste and romance of every dish made from such a wonderful place.

Spot the three of us in the sunflower field. Magical x

Sunflower_1

Herby green marinade

Summer time! The first week of the school holidays thankfully went without a hitch. I think it’s going to be a good one. We’ve got a long summer with visits from those we love and visits to those we dearly miss.

On the food front summer means plenty of BBQ action. I love a BBQ. It’s the perfect way to serve up lots of little bowls and plates of my kind of food. I love the ceremony of it all, the big banquet of chargrilled vegetables, dips, fruits, fresh shellfish and sexy salads.

This heavenly marinade is perfect for white meat and fish. It’s generous on the garlic and herbs, meaning it really holds its own among a mixed platter of BBQ food.

Chicken_1

To make enough marinade for 2 salmon fillets and 2 chicken breasts you will need:

  • 6 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
  • 3 long sticks of fresh rosemary
  • 3 tablespoons of other fresh herbs. I used basil, mint and coriander
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • Juice from a large lemon
  • 2 teaspoons of dijon mustard
  • Seasoning to taste

Salmon_3

To make:

  1. Chop your fish/meat into generous cubes – so that they hold their form on the BBQ and don’t drop off the skewers.
  2. Divide the fish/meat into freezer bags – don’t share the same bag for meat and fish.
  3. Pop the marinade ingredients into the blender and whizz up for a few seconds. As with a salad dressing, you need to then taste it. It should be strong and punchy – it’s got to coat the meat and deliver some impact once cooked.
  4. Pour in equal measures into the bags, give a little gentle shake to get good coverage.
  5. Store in the fridge for around 2 hours or more.
  6. When you’re ready to cook, load the fish/meat to metal skewers. Don’t overload or overcrowd, the measures here make 4 large kebabs.
  7. Cook on the BBQ… the timings and technique is down to preference and equipment. The chicken will take a little longer that the fish. I prefer Salmon to be pink, very soft in the middle. Whatever you do, you’ll need to test both before serving.
  8. Serve up with salad, corn and relish or chutney.

Delicious. Enjoy x