Thursday, 25 February 2016
Hi friends! I only have a couple of days left before February ends to write another post, and I can't let my post count go below two for a month, however busy I am! The days have been really confusing lately, with their freezing cold starts, warmish afternoons and intermittent rain. I have a recipe of my own to share with you today, which was supposed to be along a springtime theme, but you may not feel that springy yet. If you're not, maybe this will awaken your tastebuds for something lighter and fresher, as the season starts to truly change. The recipe is so, so simple, and it's something I threw together one day absolutely years ago, but husb absolutely loves this meal, and his eyes always light up whenever I put it in front of him.
The main reason I love this meal though, is that it reminds me of some old friends we rarely see; once a year if we're lucky. In the days before children, although I think I was pregnant with big Tonju, they came to visit on a sunny Sunday afternoon when they happened to be in the area, and I made these wraps which we ate on the pub-style bench at the back of our garden. They remind me of laughter, sunshine and joy, and they are the easiest thing you could make. Funnily enough, they take longer to assemble than to prepare! But the ingredients are minimal and, of course, you can add your own ingredients and leave out any you don't want.
Ingredients (for two adults)
Two chicken breasts
1/2 pack rocket (give or take a bit)
About 5" slice of cucumber
Sweet pointed red pepper or bell pepper
A few spring onions
Scant 1/4 cup soy sauce (that means, just about; a little less)
Sweet chilli sauce
Tub of sour cream
Olive oil (for frying)
Extra-virgin olive oil (for drizzling)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Put a generous glug of olive oil in a frying pan over a medium-hot heat.
Slice the chicken breasts into strips and add to the pan.
While the chicken is cooking, prepare the pepper, spring onions and cucumber. Slice the pepper into thin strips. Trim the spring onions, cut the lengths in half, then slice in half then quarters along the lengths, so you end up with strips.
Cut the cucumber length in half, then stand each half up. Slice down the length through the middle, then once through each half created, then rotate whilst keeping the cucumber standing, to do the same, perpendicular to your previous cuts. This is not as complicated as it sounds, and will give you nice lengths of cucumber for your wraps.
The chicken should be looking pretty much cooked through by this point (keep an eye on it as you prepare the veg, as it may need attanding to while you're in the middle of it). When it is starting to turn golden, throw in the soy sauce and stir to coat the chicken well. Leave to bubble and splutter for a few minutes until the chicken is lovely and sticky, and cooked through.
Prepare the tortillas. Remove four from their packaging and put on a plate in the microwave for 20-30 seconds.
Spread out the individual tortillas on a worksurface and begin to assemble, starting with the rocket. Just add a good handful to each tortilla.
Top with some chicken...
...add the cucumber...
Now drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper, before adding your desired amount of sweet chilli sauce and dollops of sour cream.
Finally, bring both sides of each tortilla over to create the wraps, then secure with two cocktail sticks per wrap.
These are so wonderful enjoyed outside on a beautiful spring or summer's day. They are both sweet and fresh at once, and you can add as much or as little chilli sauce and sour cream as you like. As you can see, I like a lot, though I do add a little too much sometimes! If you have a smaller appetite, one of these would be plenty for you. I do not, but two definitely fills me up.
In case you are wondering about the ultra step-by-step method I've used in this post, and I know I usually go quite step-by-step, I've been revisiting in my head the reasons I started this blog, before I became interested in super-healthy eating. The point of it then, and still now, is to engage with everyday people who want to know how to feed themselves and their families with easy but interesting and even slightly challenging meals. Who want to know a bit more about ingredients, or who are really just starting to cook properly themselves and want to know where to turn to find recipes and encouragement. I really want to engage with those who think they just can't cook, as well. I want to show people that anyone can cook, and that many meals actually hardly require any cooking to create what is a really delicious meal. And I want people to enjoy new ingredients and realise they weren't inaccessible or impossible to prepare after all. I have a lot more to say about how I want to progress the blog and what I am trying to do, but the time of life for me isn't quite right yet as I don't have the time to devote to it (I have two rather more important drains on my time at the moment!) but keep watching as I hope to do some exciting things with it in future, God willing.
Thank you so much for reading, and I hope you enjoy the wraps (whilst sitting in the sun...)
Wednesday, 17 February 2016
Isn't it wonderful when you meet a kindred spirit who is as into something as you are, and when you get together, you have so much to say to each other that you realise your mouth has completely dried out because you haven't stopped talking for the last half hour? That's how I felt when I last saw the friend who gave me the recipe I'm going to share with you today. We don't know each other really well, and are more friends of friends, or were anyway, but both of us were informed by those friends that we have a love of food and cooking in common, and when we were lucky enough to meet up a few weeks ago, we definitely had something to talk about! We have exchanged many food related messages since then, and she was kind enough, not only to share her recipe for these absolutely yummy breakfast muffins with me, but she also agreed to me writing it up to share with you all! Thanks Bec! So I take no credit for this recipe, but I really hope you enjoy it as much as I have.
Of course, these muffins don't have to be eaten only for breakfast. Although that's what I had intended them for, I ended up eating mine as my afternoon snack. They lasted really nicely and were perfect with my mug of tea around 3pm. How easily one's day can start to revolve around when the next tea break is! A slight digression here, but tea drinking is so important in my day! At breakfast I have a mug of nettle tea, then mid-morning a mug of Earl Grey; after lunch a white tea, mid-afternoon I have my only cup of regular tea of the day, which has to be Yorkshire tea, then a green tea when the Tonjus have toddled off to bed. A creature of habit, you might say...
So, the other great thing about these muffins is that they are really nicely sized. They're not mammoth sized like you'd get in a coffee shop, more like half that size, so you don't feel utterly over-indulged when you've scoffed it all. Besides, the ingredients are so healthy your stomach doesn't feel like it's had someting sweet, even though your taste buds are utterly satisfied, so everyone's a winner!
Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Muffins
Ingredients (for 6 - double for 12)
1 1/4 cups rolled oats, blitzed to oat flour in a food processor or blender (or just buy oat flour)
1/2 cup plain or Greek yoghurt
1/4 cup of honey
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp ground flax seed (aka linseed. You can grind whole linseed in a mini mill if you don't have any ground)
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1 ripe banana
Optional extras: Handful of blueberries; handful of dried fruit; level tbsp raw cacao; handful cacao nibs; sprinkling of cinnamon on top (I wouldn't do all these at once though!)
6 hole muffin tin (greased if metal, or lined with muffin cases)
Mini mill (if you need to grind linseed/flax seed)
Food processor or blender to blast the oats
Pre-heat oven to 180C. If you need to, prepare the linseed/flax seed by blasting to powder in a mini mill or high powered blender.
Place the oats in a food processor or blender and blast to a flour consistency.
If you are using a frozen banana and have only recently removed it from the freezer, like I had (!) peel it and chop into chunks. If you have a normal banana fresh from the fruit bowl, you can just break it up into the bowl when you put everything together. I always freeze old bananas as I hate wasting them and they are perfect to use in banana cakes of every description! However, I need to use Deliciously Ella's tip of peeling and chopping them before freezing...
Put everything in the food processor or blender and blend together. If you want to try adding a tbsp of raw cacao, add that at this point, but leave any other ingredients for now.
NB. If you don't have a food processor, but have been able to source oat flour and ground linseed, don't worry if at this point you think you need to use a processor. Just mash your banana well with a fork, then mix everything together well by hand, in a stand mixer or with a hand-held electric whisk.
Add any extra ingredients (maybe get a little helper...) and mix in by hand.
Divide the mixture between the six muffin holes, then put in the oven and bake for 20 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.
Leave to cool in the tin for five minutes, then remove to a cooling rack to cool fully.
Enjoy with a lovely cup of tea!
So there you have it! Thank you so much again to Rebecca Swain for letting me share this fab and easy recipe. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did, and I'd love to hear how your's turn out and if you add any other exciting ingredients. Share them on the Facebook page (link on the right).
I almost forgot to add that my boys absolutely loved these muffins, so they are also perfect for after school sweet but healthy snacks. I should have added these to my Healthy Snack Quest recipes, so consider that done, I guess! They are perfect to bake with children; as you saw, my little Tonju enjoyed adding the blueberries, and they always love pressing the buttons on the food processor!