Archive | Veggie RSS feed for this section

Award winning (!) Kiwi, Lime and Ginger Cheesecake

28 Jul

The cheesecake (minus the kiwis!!)

This recipe (save for some tweaking) appeared on my blog when it started, just over 3 months ago.

When I saw the Ocado World Recipe Challenge (to celebrate the world cup) I just had to enter this recipe which is a delicious and easy crowd pleaser. And I am pleased to say, that with the help of some friends, my lovely blog readers, and the enduring love affair that most of us have with cheesecake, the recipe ‘won’ the challenge, and was the most popular recipe out of the finalists. If, like me you are an Ocado shopper, then click the link here to the recipe, and in one easy click, you can add the ingredients to your shopping basket.

My reward, apart from bringing the secret of a quick and easy dessert to the time-pressed, is £200 to spend on a Virgin Experience Day.  I am currently debating between a chocolate making workshop, a case of wine or a day at a spa. Decisions decisions.!

In case you missed the recipe the first time around, I have published it again here. If you do give it a try, and I would love your comments letting me know how you got on.

For this recipe you will need

A round 23cm springform tin, greased and lined

250g ginger nut biscuits or 100g digestives or shortbread biscuits and 150g ginger nuts

100g melted butter

1 tin condensed milk (yes really – condensed milk. Just trust me on this one)

2 x 250g tubs mascarpone cheese

5 unwaxed limes

Method

Make biscuits into crumbs either in the processor, or by placing them in a large (strong) clean plastic food bag and pulverizing them mercilessly with a heavy implement, like a rolling-pin. This can be quite satisfying. Mix with the melted butter. Press into base of tin, then put in fridge to set for at least half an hour, or if you are running late, try 10 minutes in the freezer.

While that is chilling, zest 2 of the limes (I use the microplane) and then extract the juice from them all. Limes can be awkward little devils, and reluctant to give up their juice. When they are warm, you get more juice out, so I often pop them in the microwave to warm them up.5 or 10 seconds per lime. I would probably put them all in and zap for 30 seconds altogether.

Empty mascarpone into a large bowl. Add condensed milk and lime juice and zest. Mix until combined and smooth (do not overmix or it becomes a little thin). You can do this by hand or with the electric beaters (about half a minute works for me).

Empty mixture into the tin, over the biscuit base. Cover with clingfilm, then place in fridge for at least 4 hours. Remove from tin once set and place on serving plate (I often leave it on the tin base, rather than risking a collapse).

Serve

Stand back and wait for the compliments. They will come. I promise..

Alternatives

If you don’t like limes you can make this the traditional way, using lemon juice and lemon zest (juice of 2 lemons, zest of 1), and plain digestives.

The gingernut biscuits are quite hard and make the subsequent base quite hard. As a result I tend to combine them with digestives or shortbread biscuits to alter the texture but retain the ginger taste, which contrasts well with the lime.

If like me, you make the mistake of only buying one tub of mascarpone, I have used half cream cheese. The result is a bit less firm, but still delicious.

Taste the mixture before you place it in on to the base. If you prefer a bit more zing, add the juice of another lemon or lime.

Go on, treat yourself. You deserve it

Happiness & help in the kitchen – for under a fiver!

24 Jul
Since we moved house, my complete lack of internet and phone signal, and TV (I can almost hear your agonised gasps) have left me mithering in a yesteryear haze.  I have been unable to access my blog or emails, and shamefully, todays post has been lingering in my inbox in for a week. But, joy oh joy, a kindly neighbour has taken pity on me, and allowed me access to their wi-fi, until I can have some 21st century technology installed!
The lovely Michelle at BabyDinesOut, (the only guide for eating out with babies and tots) has kindly prepared this post for me, and I have to say that after reading it, I ordered a chef’n’peeler straight away. Anything that keeps the little ones amused and helping with the dinner preparation is a winner in my book.
So, over to Michelle, and her talented almost 4-year-old sous chef.
I love cooking with my nearly four-year old.  Sharing the tastes, aromas and colours of fabulous ingredients and recipes is a real delight.Being a normal nearly four-year old, he naturally wants to be into everything and do everything himself.  He has mastered my beloved Kitchen Aid mixer for cake mixing.  He can stir, mix and (with a small, not too sharp knife) chop.
When it comes to preparing veggies, though, I never let him use the peeler.  Too sharp, too dangerous. The problem is that as soon as I intervene he gets disappointed and loses interest.Then I saw the Chef’n Palm Peeler on an American blog called Cooking with My Kid. Great, I thought, it’ll only be available in the states and cost me a fortune to have delivered, never mind the import duty.  Then I found it on Amazon.  It was a Mummyinahurry-worthy bargain £3.25 plus postage.
The nearly four-year old couldn’t wait to get his mitts (or palms!) on it when it arrived.  As you can see from the pictures he peeled carrots perfectly from the very first time he used it. Peeled perfectly and safely.  Result. Child re-motivated: happy child = happy mummy.

Getting to grips with the peeler

Concentrating on the carrots

Perfectly peeled carrots

Raspberry and White Chocolate Muffins. An essential component of your five-a-day?!

5 Jul

You know you want me!!

Today’s mouth-watering and seasonal recipe is provided by one of my new blogging friends, Sian, who is helping me out while I am wondering how we are going to get packed up by this time next week! Over to you Sian.

Hi Mummy in a Hurry readers, I’m Sian from Pumpkin and Piglet. Firstly I would like to thank Natalie for having me here. I’ve been reading Natalie’s blog for a while now and love her tips and quick, easy but yummy recipes so it’s a real pleasure to be here!

One of my passions is baking. For me, there is nothing more comforting than a big slice of cake, a fluffy, moist muffin or a lovely cupcake with a sweet swirl of frosting. Sometimes though, time is limited and spending too long in the kitchen is not an option.

For those days, muffins are a good answer. No faffing about making sure everything is combined just so, quick to bake and scrumptious. If time is seriously tight then you can weigh out the ingredients the day before, dry in one bowl and the wet in a jug covered in the fridge, ready to mixed together and taken out of the oven within half an hour.

There as many flavours of muffins as you can think of but I would like to share a recipe with you for Raspberry and White Chocolate muffins. This recipe is adapted from Nigella Lawson’s How To Be A Domestic Goddess.

Raspberry and White Chocolate Muffins

INGREDIENTS

  • 60g butter, melted
  • 200g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 150g caster sugar
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • Approx 120ml milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 150g raspberries
  • 100g white chocolate chunks

METHOD

Preheat oven to 200oC and line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases.

In a largish bowl combine the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, sugar, salt and zest.

In a measuring jug pour in the lemon juice and then enough milk to come up to the 200 mil level (it will curdle, this is fine), then beat in the egg and butter.

Pour into the dry ingredients and stir briefly. The batter should scarcely be combined and should appear lumpy. Don’t worry if there are still streaks of flour.

Fold in the raspberries and chocolate, dollop into the muffin cases and bake for 25 minutes.

Once baked, leave in the tray for 5 minutes and then transfer to a rack to finish cooling.

There you go, 12 muffins! They are best eaten the same day but will keep for another day in an air tight tin.

Chilli Non Carne

16 Jun

Chilli with cheese on the side

For the past few weeks, I have been wondering what to do, with the collection of ‘mixed bean’ tins that I discovered lurking out of sight on the top shelf of one of my numerous cupboards.  This week I decided it was time for action, and my desire for health and thrift meant this is a vegetarian recipe. This created a huge pot which will easily feed us 2 adults and the children for 2 meals, if not more.

This is more a suggestion and was heavily influenced by the content of my fridge. If there had been garlic to hand I would have added some. And if I was missing one of the other ingredients I would probably have added some sweetcorn.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tins cooked mixed beans
  • 2 tins chopped tomatoes
  • 2 red onions chopped
  • 2 red peppers chopped
  • 1/2 head celery chopped
  • 1 aubergine chopped
  • 5 medium carrots chopped
  • 1 courgette chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne chilli powder
  • 1 dessertspoon chopped jalapenos (from the freezer
  • Salt

I did the preparation and initial cooking of this dish just after clearing up from breakfast. Chop all the vegetables roughly (approx 1cm pieces, but don’t worry, no-one is getting the tape measure out!)

Heat the olive oil in a stock pot. Fry the vegetables (reserving the tinned tomatoes and beans) for a couple of minutes, then put lid on and leave to steam/fry for about 10/15 minutes, until they have started to soften. (I had a shower while this was on. but remember to put the time on, as you don’t want it to catch and burn) Add tomatoes, beans and spices and cook on a low heat until the vegetables are tender but not mushy (20/30 minutes depending on their size). The additional time while this was cooking was employed getting the children dressed and getting bags packed for a mini- shopping expedition.

Ready to serve. Or to save for later

SERVING IDEAS

The joy of this meal is you can serve it in so many ways, Tonight we had it with brown basmati rice, yoghurt and grated gruyere.  Alternatively I would use couscous. Flour tortillas work well either gently warmed and filled at the table,  or by encasing the mixture in the tortilla, covering with cheese and baking in the over (15 mins, check it doesn’t burn).  I am considering experimenting and blitzing it to see how it works as a soup. Watch this space.

For the children, I mushed the vegetables a little with a fork, and mixed in some cream cheese to tone down the spice. Mixed with grated cheese and the rice. Although there was some initial reluctance to try it, once they had a little extra sprinkle of cheese, they both started murmuring appreciative noises, and save for a couple of mouthfuls, plates were cleared. Total 10 mins prep, and minimal supervision while the chilli and rice cooked. Job done!

Chilli my way. With rice, yoghurt and coriander

Pink Soup

12 Jun

After my cake fest of the last couple of weeks, this week I have tried to reign in the cravings, and up the fruit and vegetable intake. I don’t ‘do’ diets. There is nothing like the lure of the forbidden to make me want something even more. I must be related to Eve!! Instead, I try to make choices that don’t feel like a sacrifice, and that sustain me without leading to hunger pangs.

One of the snippets of wisdom that i have found useful over the years, is that thirst is often mistaken for hunger.  However, I do not seem able to glug the ‘2 litres of water a day’ that seems to be the mantra of every health tipster.(Maybe if it was wine I would give it a try)  Instead, I look for alternative ways of upping the fluid intake to keep the hunger pangs and the cravings at bay.

One of my fast fix solutions to drop a few pounds quickly is to have soup for lunch. It’s quick to make. filling, and full of water.  This week I re-visted an old favourite, which is my twist on Borscht.  The preparation time for this dish is about 2 minutes, hardly a chore, even for the most committed sofa sloth.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 packet organic cooked beetroot (250g) roughly chopped
  • 250g approx plain yoghurt
  • Dessertspoon shallots (i use the pre-chopped frozen ones from the freezer)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • dollop of yoghurt and chives to serve

Mix ingredients then blitz in liquidizer or with a stick blender.

Spicy Beetroot Soup

The resulting soup has an almost smooth as velvet texture, and the spices gently compliment the earthy sweetness of the beets. The bonus is that it is virtually fat-free, without even giving the slightest impression of dietary restraint. I have successfully served this ‘pink soup’ to my little ones, (minus the cumin and cayenne). I don’t know if it is the colour or the sweetness of the beetroot, but they love it.

Garnish with a dollop of yoghurt and chives

The flavours of the spices intensify if you leave this in the fridge overnight and it can be served hot or cold. Take your pick…

Bananas about Bananas

2 Jun

The Best Banana Muffin Ever?

 

There are very few people I have come across in life, that don’t like bananas. I love them. They are amazing. The ultimate fast food that come in their own biodegradable packaging.  

Even the peel is useful. Did you know the peel makes a great fertilizer for plants? Apparently its very good for rose bushes. Next time you are planting or pruning your rose bushes, dig a hole next to the bush and bury the banana peel. Then cover the whole back up. Not a tip I have tried as I am more of a ‘swingseat’ gardener than a get your hands dirty type, but maybe worth a try?  

There is no good reason why you should ever throw away a banana ever again. Ever been faced with a half-eaten/blackened banana and thought there was nothing else for it than the bin? Well stop right there. I say this with someone who is used to having half-eaten bananas discarded by my 2 year old at will.  

Did you know they freeze well? So you can freeze them with or without skin, for use at a later date in a smoothie, as ‘faux’ ice cream, or to put in banana bread.  

Put them in the bin? No chance!

 

Today I was faced with a glut of ‘decaying’ bananas, that were transformed, in under 10 minutes, into a muffin mixture awaiting a breath of life from my *blush* not too clean and slightly temperamental oven. 25 minutes later, and they were resplendent on the cake rack, awaiting almost certain instant demolition from my two little treasures.  

INGREDIENTS LIST  

  • 4.5 medium bananas, mashed
  • 1 lightly beaten egg
  • 75g unsalted butter, melted
  • 175 g plain  flour
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

Almost good as new

 

So heres what we did. Whilst still in our pyjamas, the kids washed hands, jumped on their stools and got ready for some ‘we can cook’ time with Mummy.  The banana pile, it has to be said, would not be one to get your heart racing. In fact, I am sure in most houses this would have ended up on the composting pile. However, fearless thrift warrior* that I am, we used the bananas, after checking they were just black from being bruised and not mouldy. Skin off and inside they were almost good as new.  

So we mashed bananas, melted butter and just mixed all the ingredients together in a very haphazard way. The trick with muffins is that you don’t overmix. I seem to have been drawn to a few streusel recipes of late.  That inspired me to sprinkle some crumble mixture that I found in the freezer, on top of the muffins. I then finished them off with a tiny sprinkle of caster sugar and cinnamon. but you could leave them plain. They still work!  

Then into the oven on 180 degrees for 25 minutes. And result, the perfect portable treat for our day trip to the farm.     

Keep your hands off!

 

Now don’t get me started on banana bread which I love. I make it in big batches then slice it and freeze it, ready for breakfast on the run, and packed lunches. Recipe to follow.  

If you too are bananas for bananas, then I would love to hear your tips and recipes. If you fancy something a little more decadent, maybe involving frosting, then try the Banana and Carrot cake by Mummy Mishaps 

Too good not to eat

 

*When I say thrift I have no intention of implying hardship. Its not a matter of being cheap. More, making sure every penny counts, so there is room left for a few of lifes essential pleasures. Like lipgloss, and champagne.  

 

Worlds Best Chocolate Cake?

28 May

fabnestfriday



Worlds Best Chocolate Cake?

Donna Hay

Is

A

Temptress.

And very good she is at it too. As soon as I saw the picture of this cake (less than a week ago) I knew I had to make it. As we are about to enter June (which is birthday season in this house), I felt compelled to conduct a product test, just to see if this one was up to the job.

It soooo is.

Clearly, modesty is not one of Donna’s strong points, as the title above is her own (bar the question mark), but having tasted the cake, I think I can overlook the trumpet blowing on this occasion.

I made this with my friend Hadia, her daughter, and my 2 little munchkins.  The making of the cake batter is so easy, and a great one for the kids to join in with as no special equipment required. It was ready to go in the oven in less than ten minutes.

As this is Donna’s recipe, not mine, I have included a link to the  recipe, and video!

The cake is delicious. Dense and *dare I say it* moist, without being heavy. And the cream cheese in the frosting stops it being too sickly.

Frosting in the making

TIPS

The chocolate cake batter before cooking

  • The batter for the cake is very loose, so if you are using tins that have a loose bottom, I would really recommend pre-cut cake liners. I get mine from Lakeland.
  • I found the cake took almost 55 minutes to cook (I checked it every 5 minutes from 40 minutes) not the 40-45 that Donna recommends.
  • If it is a hot day, the frosting will melt causing the layers to slide around when you cut to serve.  Chilling in the fridge for a while should eliminate this problem, but it will taste better if served at room temperature and not fridge cold.
  • It is delicious if you heat it up for 20 seconds or so in the microwave


This was sooo good, after being woken at 4-30 this morning, I could not resist its siren call, so at 6am, I had to sneak downstairs and have a slice before breakfast!!

If like me, you are a complete chocoholic, you may want to make the frosting with melted dark chocolate instead (I shall work on that and get back to you), but on the whole, this is a fantastic, and easy cake, that looks impressive. Go on, treat yourself!

Too late!