I’ve been feeling poorly now for the past week and this weekend was particularly bad – I ended up laying in bed most of Saturday. Bleugh.
Today I woke up early (I started sneezing) but went back to bed with my Food Network magazines after breakfast to go through the last ones. Our apartment is also good at keeping cool (great in the summer) but when it’s warm outside, the heating is turned off which makes it feel colder in the house. Snuggling up underneath the duvet for a while made me feel slightly better.
After tearing out some interesting pages of recipes, I found one for banana pancakes which sounded very good for a quick snack. I mashed up one ripe banana, mixed it thoroughly with 1 tbs of smooth peanut butter before whisking it together with an egg. I then grated up some nutmeg and added to the batter, together with some ground cinnamon. The pancakes ended up with a slight sweetness and a hint of banana. I’m sure my husband (who hates peanut butter) would be able to taste the peanut butter, but I couldn’t really tell.
I think they would be great with some berries and some greek yoghurt – but unfortunately we don’t have that much in the fridge today. My two missions for the day is for one load of washing to be done as well as going for a walk to the grocery store. I’m mustering up the strength now for the walk with some pancakes!
We’re off to Spain in a couple of days and I have started to prepare. Not only by packing all my clothes (ehm… haven’t quite started yet with the actual packing, but I have made a list thought!) but with what snacks to bring. I know what you’re going to say now – I know Spain has plenty of food and so does the airport. But being economical and not eating bread makes it slightly tricky – therefore, I’m preparing food.
My usual on-plane-snack is small omelette rolls which are easy to make the night/day before and doesn’t require that many ingredients or advanced cooking skills. I got the idea from one of Jamie Oliver’s food magazines which I modify depending on what leftovers there are in the fridge.
Cheese, ham and herbs are common items in my kitchen along with the obligatory eggs. I whisk up three eggs with some salt, pepper and garlic powder/granules. These are my favourite spices that go in most of my cooking but I’m sure some curry powder or chilli also can spice up these small rolls.
I have a slight issue in my kitchen with good pans as we share the house with several others and many pans have previously been ruined by being soaked in cold water straight from the hob (I almost cried when I came home to that…). Making the omelette wraps in a even heated small pan would be ideal (15cm or so) but if you feel it’s a bit fiddly with making many small rolls, just make one or two large ones that you roll up like a spring roll and slice in smaller pieces. I love small nibbly food that I can pick and graze from, my tummy doesn’t – but that’s not what we’re talking about now.
Slice all your filling in smaller pieces, chop up your herbs and grate the cheese. Put them on a plate next to the hob as this would make the rolling up bit smoother and have a good spatula on the ready. Heat up the pan so it is warm, I usually put a bit of butter in the pan for a nicer colour on the omelettes, but it’s completely up to your taste. If find that if I take too much butter my hands get a bit too greasy when nibbling them, but hey – some people like the grease!
When your pan is hot, add a spoonful of the whisked egg, enough to coat the pan and keep swirling it ‘round in the pan to make it set evenly. Sprinkle the grated cheese on the uncooked side and place the rest of the filling on a straight line in the middle of the omelette. The egg should have set enough to be able to fold up the sides without breaking (do it slowly and if it shows signs of tearing, leave it a bit longer) so start with the end sides of the filling. Next, fold up one of the other sides and roll the filling bit onto the last bit, turning it into a small roll with the edges folded in. Fry the roll a couple of minutes on each side to ensure the cheese has melted and the egg is solid (wobbly egg whites makes me feel uneasy….). When you’re done, out it on a plate to go cold and continue until you have got plenty of small egg rolls and no more eggs + filling. After they’ve been in the fridge for a couple of hours, I put them in a small plastic box (usually a clean yoghurt pot) that I don’t mind throwing away (not my finest Tupperware!) and take with me to the airport!
There are also times when I’ve brought small sachets of ketchup which can be nice to dip them in. People might look at your funny when taking out your yoghurt pot and ketchup sachets, but I know it is a nicer snacks than a store bought sandwich and just smile back at them.
This week, we’re off to Bestival(music festival) on Isle of Wight and as I do not eat bread (gluten/wheat intolerance) breakfasts can be a bit tricky. Usually, I make scrambled eggs or yoghurt , fruit and home made granola, but despite going in the wonderful Doris we will not have any electricity, thus making it slightly tricky to keep certain things cool. I’m also quite lazy in the mornings and breakfast bars is easier than making scrambled eggs….
As I searched the web for recipes on protein/oat bars, I came across a fitness website that had several. Most of them used protein powders as a main ingredient, but as didn’t have any at home (I rarely do) I used one of the recipes as a base and changed it according to what I wanted and what we had at home.
Oat, nut and apple Protein Bars: 24 bars
- 3 cups oatmeal (make sure they are gluten free, some brands are not)
- 1/4 cup hi maize
- 3/4 cup almond flour
- 3/4 cup peanut butter
- 1 cup milk
- 2 egg whites
- 1 cup apple sauce (1 apple, dates, apricots and milk, mixed in blender)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- Dash of salt
- Lots of ground cinnamon
I made my own “apple sauce” by combining an apple, approx 100g of soft dried dates, ten soft dried apricots in a blender. Usually, I add in a dash of apple juice (not from concentrate) or other juice I have at home in order for it to become a smooth liquid, but today I only had milk, hence using it instead.
I combined all the dry ingredients in one bowl and all the wet ingredients in one. As I love cinnamon and think it’s a great combination with the apple, I put in lots and lots.
Combine all the ingredients in to a thick paste and spread it evenly in a oiled or silicon sheeted A4 pan. Originally, the recipe called for a 9×9” pan, but it turned out to be quite a lot of batter so I had to move it in to a bigger one. I like my bars about 2cm thick, but it the size of the pan all depends on what you prefer. If you bake them in a smaller pan, there will be fewer but thicker bars, make sure you keep them in a bit longer though if you like them thick.
Let cool on a rack so they wont go soggy. Cut in to bars and keep them in the fridge , they’re also good to freeze, if you get any left over…
Oat and chocolate Bars: 24 bars
This recipe is a mix of the above recipe combined with another favourite recipe. I started by wizzing the shredded coconut and cocoa for a couple of minutes before transferring to a large bowl. I like my chocolate dark but unfortunately, we only had a third of a cup left of cocoa powder. If we had more I would have added ½ cup as I feel the dates can make them quite sweet. I however have but it all depends on your preference. My fiancée likes milk chocolate so he was very pleased with the lack of cocoa powder.
- 1.5 cups oatmeal
- 1.5 cup almond flour
- 3/4 cup shredded coconut
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- A dash of milk
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups apple sauce (1/2 apple, about 150g dates, unsweetened apple cinnamon sauce and milk, mixed in blender)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- Dash of salt
Just like with the recipe above, I put all the ingredients for the apple sauce in the blender until it went all smooth and creamy. I also had a small portion of non sweetened cinnamon apple sauce that I added. I mixed the apple sauce with the eggs and all the liquids in a large bowl and added the dry ingredients in the bowl with the cocoa/coconut mix. Combine the two bowls in to one and put in a oiled or silicon sheeted A4 pan and bake in oven at 175 degrees for about 35 min. These bars will become stickier and moister than the previous ones due to the dates. If you want them drier, dry them out in the oven by slicing them in to the right sizes in the pan and put them back in the oven for another 10 min.
I love fruit trees and would love to have more in our garden. At the moment, we have plenty of raspberry bushes (more like small trees at the moment), lots of herb bushes but only one plum tree. Last year there were five small dark purple plums that came out of that tree, but this year we’ve got at least fifteen! At this rate, we might have enough for a plum cake in about five years time…
Our neighbours on the other hand, have got plenty of trees in the same space as us, and they all fit in nicely. It always surprises me how their garden looks so much bigger even though they’ve got double the amount of plants and trees! Their cherry tree is right by our fence which means when the cherries ripen, we all help out to pick them before all the birds devour them.
Melissa who lives in our house is crazy about cherries and has eaten about a kilo or two by herself since the end of June when they started getting edible. I, on the other hand, wanted to bake with them.
Come forth my gluten free cherry pie!
Unspecific number of cherries (what you’ve got really – I had tons)
Doves gluten free white flour
approx 125g butter, room temperature
a couple of squeezes of honey
left over marzipan (the blue stuff)
Gluten free oats
150 g butter
a couple of squeezes of honey depending on the sweetness
Start with the base as it takes the longest. Cut up the room tempered butter in cubes and put in a bowl. Mix the almond flour with the gluten free flour and add in a pinch of salt. Pour over the butter cubes and start pinching it all together. Once it is starting to look like crumble, squeeze in (or dollop, if you’ve got a jar of it) a bit of honey, mix in well until you’re satisfied with the sweetness. This is best tried by licking the crumble off your fingers, or if you’re well mannered (not me…) with a spoon. Once you’re satisfied, add in a couple of tablespoons of water and mix, until you end up with a lump of dough. Leave it to rest in the fridge for about 30 min and then press it out in a pie shape.
As I had some marzipan left in the fridge (I had coloured it blue for a birthday wii-cake a couple of days previously) I made small flat nuggets of them and put them on top of the dough.
I had already pitted all the cherries and put them in a bowl (a small warning – they stain hands pretty bad so watch out with fabrics!) and so now I just mixed them with tons of cinnamon as (pretty much) anything with cinnamon makes my soul sing. Or at least my stomach growl…
Anyways, put the butter in a pot (or micro if you’re not a fan of the hob) and squeeze in a couple of dollops of honey. I don’t really like my desserts that sweet so have a small squeeze but it’s all up to you. Once the butter is melted, pour in the oats, bit by bit and stir it well. It should start to soak up the butter; if it’s getting dry you are done, if there is still a lot of butter- keep pouring on the oats!
Once that is done, pour it all on top of the cherries, and put it in the middle of the oven until the top is golden and smells divine. For me it took about 25 min on 175degrees (Celsius) but it usually varies on the oven.
I served it with amazing vanilla ice cream (Taste the difference) on the first day and cold custard on the second (and third) day. It was heaven!