Recipe – Banana Nut Chocolate Chip Oat Bites

Just 4 ingredients; three if you leave out the nuts. You could also leave out the chocolate chips but why deny yourself? These chewy little cookie bites are ridiculously simple to make and are a delicious grab-and-go breakfast substitute or anytime snack, when your energy is lagging a bit.

They’re also yummy dunked in a cold glass of milk or served with a nice cup of tea.

This almost non-recipe comes courtesy of a friend. You know who you are and I want you to know that I’ve eaten six today already.

Oh – and they’re healthy.

And vegan.

Banana Walnut Chocolate Chip Oat Cookies

Banana Nut Choc-Chip Oat Bites

BANANA NUT CHOCOLATE-CHIP OAT BITES

(Makes approx 16)

Ingredients:

2 ripe bananas, mashed

1 cup (240ml measure) of quick cooking oats

1/4 cup (60ml measure) of chopped walnuts or pecans

1/4 cup of organic dark chocolate chips

Action:

Preheat the oven to 350F / 180C.

Line a baking sheet with parchment. Mix the mashed banana with the oats until well combined then stir in the chopped nuts followed by the chocolate chips. Make sure everything is well blended then drop walnut-sized amounts onto the baking sheet, flattening slightly.

Bake for 15 minutes – cool. They store well in an airtight container for a few days – not that they’ll last that long.

Note – if you like your cookies dairy and wheat free, try these made with chocolate chips and peanut butter -they’re amazingly good, only take 12 minutes to bake and freeze like a dream!

 

 

 

Posted in Cookies & Edible Gifts, Vegan, Vegetables / Vegetarian | Leave a comment

Recipe – Tagliatelle with Oven Roasted Baby Tomatoes, Basil & Goat Cheese

Baby tomatoes roasted with garlic, olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar create an intensely delicious sauce for pasta in just 20 minutes. Roast tomatoes are also fabulous served with grilled lamb.

I like it served over fresh tagliatelle, topped with torn basil leaves and a soft goat cheese.

A simple, hearty pasta and very easy to make.

Tagliatelle with Roasted Baby Tomatoes, Basil & Goat Cheese

TAGLIATELLE with ROASTED BABY TOMATOES, GARLIC, BASIL & GOAT CHEESE

(Enough for 4 servings)

Ingredients:

2 pints/4 cups/1 liter measure of tiny tomatoes, any variety

3-4 cloves of garlic, minced

2 tablespoons of olive oil

2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

A few chili flakes (for optional bite)

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

A good handful of fresh basil leaves, torn

3 oz/85g of soft fresh goat cheese, crumbled

Enough pasta for 4 people

Action:

Preheat the oven to 400F/200C.

Combine the tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a roasting pan. Season with sea salt and black pepper (add a few chili flakes if you want some heat) and toss well to coat the tomatoes. Roast them for about 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so, until the tomatoes are starting to pop. Even if they don’t all burst open, they’ll still be cooked through. With a slotted spoon, transfer the tomatoes to a separate bowl and keep them warm.

Over a moderate heat, reduce the remaining liquid in the roasting pan by about half while you’re cooking the pasta.

Drain the pasta (if you use fresh pasta it only takes about 4 minutes to cook), tip it into a warmed serving bowl and pour the reduced sauce over, tossing well to combine.

Add the roasted tomatoes to the pasta along with any accumulated juices, then top with torn basil leaves and goat cheese.

Serve immediately (although it tastes wonderful at room temperature).

Posted in Made in Under 30 mins, Pasta, Vegetables / Vegetarian | Leave a comment

Recipe – A Simple Pear Tart

It really doesn’t get much simpler than this. If you don’t have time to make an elaborate dessert but want to create something with lots of oooh-factor, then this luscious little fruit tart with a flaky crust is an absolute winner.

You also wont mind cheating by using frozen puff pastry (which incidentally, is usually vegan unless it mentions butter on the packaging).

All you need are a few ripe, juicy Bartlet pears, a scattering of flaked almonds, a splash of amaretto perhaps – and a sprinkling of sugar. That’s it.

Barely a recipe.

A Simple Pear Tart with Flaked Almonds

PEAR & ALMOND TARTS

(Makes 6 individual tarts)

Ingredients:

6 raw frozen puff pastry shells, defrosted

3 medium to large ripe, juicy pears, halved and cored, then each half cut into 5 wedges

A good handful of flaked almonds

A splash or two of Amaretto liqueur

A tablespoon or so of fine white sugar

A little beaten egg

Action:

Preheat the oven to 400F (200C)

Ignoring the fact that raw puff pastry shells are designed to rise and be stuffed with something, roll them out into a circle on a lightly floured board until they’re about 4-5 inches (10-12cm) across. Brush a little beaten egg around the edge and roll it in about 1/2 inch (1cm) and press lightly to create a rim. Transfer the pastry circles to a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Arrange the pears slices in the center of each tart and scatter with flaked almonds. Give each a splash of Amaretto followed by a good sprinkling of sugar.

Bake in the middle of the oven for about 20 minutes or until the pastry is puffed and golden and the pears are tender.

Allow to cool slightly before serving with custard, cream or vanilla ice cream.

So simple and so very good.

Posted in Desserts, Vegan | Leave a comment

Recipe – Spiced Peach Chutney

When you live in a State that produces numerous tree fruits plus varieties of grapes that end up as fine wine (on occasion) – although unexpected, it’s no surprise that people have peach, plum and apple trees growing in their gardens.

In this case, a friend’s peach tree planted from seed over 30 years ago, was so weighed down with big fat peaches, that a third of them had flung themselves off the tree to lie, nestled in the grass – no doubt to save the branches from snapping under their weight.

A basket full of windfall peaches was a welcome gift and as there were so many – and as I already have a fridge full of jam – I decided to make chutney. Spiked with fresh ginger, clove, cardamom and chili, this is a deeply fragrant relish that’s simply divine slathered over soft goat cheese, on a toasted baguette. It would also enhance other cheeses, such as a good sharp Cheddar and it works brilliantly with pork, lamb chops, sausages and cold cuts.

Spiced peach chutney is easy to make and keeps well in the fridge for about 6 months, stored in sealed glass jars.

Spiced Peach Chutney

Spiced Peach Chutney

SPICED PEACH CHUTNEY

(Makes approx six 8-oz / 0.23 kilo jars)

Ingredients:

4lbs (1.8 kilos) of ripe peaches

1 and 2/3 cups (400 ml measure) of soft light brown sugar

1 cup (240ml) of apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons of grated fresh ginger

1 smallish red onion, finely chopped

12 green cardamom pods, lightly cracked to expose the seeds

4 whole cloves

1 dried red chili, seeds removed and crumbled

1/2 teaspoon of sea salt

Action:

If the skins wont peel off the peaches easily  without removing chunks of flesh, you’ll need to blanch them as follows:

Cut a small X in the base of each peach and put them in a large bowl. Have a separate large bowl filled with iced water to one side.

Pour boiling water over the peaches and let it sit for half a minute, then drain and dunk them in the iced water. Drain again and the skins should now slip off easily.

Cut the skinned peaches into smallish chunks and discard (or plant) the stones. Set aside.

In a large heavy pan, combine the vinegar, sugar, onion, ginger, cardamom and cloves. Bring it to a simmer, stirring occasionally until the onion begins to soften (5-8 minutes).

Add the peaches, chili and salt. Stir well to combine and bring to a simmer. Cook for about an hour stirring at 10-15 minute intervals, until the peaches are translucent and soft.

Allow to cool a bit before ladling into *clean glass screw-top jars. Spiced Peach Chutney will keep in the fridge for 6-8 months.

*To sterilize glass jars for preserves, wash them in hot soapy water, rinse well and dry in a 250F / 120C oven for 30 minutes.

 

Posted in Cookies & Edible Gifts, Sauces, Preserves, Condiments | Leave a comment

Recipe – Sausage & Cheese Stuffed Jalapeño Peppers

These spicy little nibbles are the sort of thing you find served all over the US while people are watching football.

I don’t watch football, ever. But I’d happily down a few of these fiery bites with a chilled IPA, served in a frosted glass.

The original recipe calls for pork sausage but I substituted spicy chicken sausage meat. Vegetarians could use sausage meat of the ‘V’ variety or leave it out entirely, adding more cheese.

Best of all they take no time to prepare and are done in 20-25 minutes. You can assemble them 24 hrs ahead – just cover with cling film and refrigerate until you’re ready to bake.

I like to serve these with a mild salsa because they have plenty of bite without adding more. If that’s still too much fire for you, serve them with a cooling ranch-style dressing.

Sausage & Cheese Stuffed Jalapenos

Sausage & Cheese-Stuffed Jalapeños

SAUSAGE AND CHEESE-STUFFED JALAPENO PEPPERS

(Makes approx 40)

Ingredients:

1lb (450g) of sausage meat

8oz (225g) of cream cheese at room temp

4oz (113g) of finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

20 large firm jalapeño peppers, split lengthwise and seeds removed

To serve – mild salsa or ranch dressing

Action:

Preheat the oven to 425F (220C)

Arrange the pepper halves on a large baking sheet.

Cook the sausage meat in a heavy pan over a medium heat until it’s no longer pink. Set aside.

Combine the cheeses and add the sausage. Mix thoroughly and place a tablespoon of this mixture in each pepper half.

Bake for 18-25 minutes or until the topping is golden and bubbling.

Allow them to cool for a couple of minutes before serving.

 

Posted in Meat, Salads & Appetizers | Leave a comment

Recipe – Baked Eggs with a Sweet Pepper, White Bean & Tomato Hash

When you’ve stumbled home exhausted at the end of a long work week and only have a few items in the larder, you’ll be surprised by what you can pull together with a couple of eggs, a bit of onion, a scattering of crumbled feta, fresh parsley and a can opener.

Deeply satisfying and filling, this hearty baked dish makes a wonderful vegetarian supper and takes very little time to make. Serve with some hot crusty baguette for dunking – perfect for sharing.

Baked Eggs, Sweet Pepper, White Bean & Tomato Hash with Crumbled Feta

BAKED EGGS, WHITE BEAN, TOMATO & SWEET PEPPER HASH WITH FETA

(Enough for two)

Ingredients:

A 14oz (400g) can of canellini beans, rinsed and drained

Half a red onion, sliced very finely

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 tablespoon of butter

4oz (100g) of fire-roasted red peppers from a jar, sliced

1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika

2 teaspoons of soft brown sugar

8oz (227g) of chopped Italian tomatoes with their juice

1.5 tablespoons of cider vinegar

2 large free range eggs

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve:

2oz (58g) of crumbled feta cheese

A handful of chopped parsley

Action:

Preheat the oven to 400F (200C). Heat the oil and butter over a medium heat and saute the onion until translucent. Add the sliced peppers, sugar, smoked paprika and a good grind of sea salt.

Cook, stirring for about 2 minutes then add the chopped tomatoes, cider vinegar and beans. Continue to cook, mashing the beans a bit until you have a thick mess – about 5 minutes.

Transfer the  mixture to an oiled, shallow ovenproof gratin dish and with a spoon, make a couple of deep wells – crack an egg into each. Season the eggs with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper then bake in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes or until the egg whites are set but the yolks are still runny.

Remove from the oven, sprinkle the feta cheese and parsley over the top and serve immediately with hot crusty bread for dunking.

Posted in Eggs, Vegetables / Vegetarian | Leave a comment

Recipe – My Favorite Clam Chowder


There’s nothing nicer than a steaming bowl of clam chowder on a chilly Autumn evening.

This easy recipe doesn’t involve shucking fresh clams and is quite wonderful, despite being made with canned baby clams.  It has a little kick, too – you can omit the chili if you prefer but it wouldn’t taste quite as lively.

Chock full of good stuff, this is a hearty a meal in itself; just serve it with some hot crusty bread on the side.

Clam Chowder

CLAM CHOWDER

(Serves 4 as a main course)

Ingredients:

3 x 8 oz (237ml) bottles of clam juice

1 lb (454g) of red skinned potatoes, peeled and cut into half inch (approx 1cm) cubes

2 oz (57g) of butter

3 slices of smoked bacon, diced small

2 medium onions, finely chopped

2 large celery stalks, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 bay leaf

¼ cup (4 tablespoons) of all-purpose/plain flour

40oz (1.134g) of canned whole baby clams – drained, juices reserved

1 ¼ (300ml) cups of half and half or thin cream

1/2 – 1 teaspoon of hot pepper flakes (adjust to taste)

Action:

Bring the bottled clam juice and diced potatoes to a boil; reduce to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 10-12 minutes.

Melt the butter in a heavy pan over medium heat. Add the chopped bacon and cook until just starting to brown; add the chopped onion, celery, garlic, chili flakes and bay leaf; sauté gently until the onion is tender.

Stir in the flour and mix really well – cook for 2 minutes; don’t allow the flour to brown.

Slowly whisk in the reserved juice from the canned clams.

Once it’s well blended, add the potato-clam juice mix, half and half and clams, then simmer for at least 5 minutes and adjust the seasoning…add sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

You can make it up to 24 hours ahead – refrigerate and slowly bring to a simmer to serve.

Posted in Fish & Seafood, Soups | 1 Comment