Category Archives: Teatime Treats

Banana Art!

A quick silly one for you this week as I’m concentrating on the fact that I will be running 5k tomorrow!!!  Donate Here!

Did you know you can decorate your bananas?

Banana Art!

It’s so simple!  Just take a banana and a blunt writing implement and trace your design on the skin of the banana.  Don’t press too hard and break the skin.  Leave for a few hours and the design develops into a brown ‘bruise’ on the skin as it oxidises.  Simple!

Excellent for labeling food or leaving notes or drawings in lunchboxes to bring a smile!

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Filed under Basic, Easy, Gluten Free, Low Fat, Teatime Treats

Aspara-bacon Quiche

Ah, Quiche!  The poor quiche has a bit of a bad rep simple because it has a bit of a funny sounding name!  But we should not mock the quiche for it is delicious!  Throughout the summer months I will frequently have one in the fridge just waiting to be grabbed for causal lunches, a picnic, a light supper.  It’s a very versatile dish and once you have the basics down you can whip one up in no time!

Asparabacon Quiche

This little quiche is an asparabacon quiche.  Asparabacon is one of the finest flavour combinations so adding it to a quiche seemed like a brilliantly obvious step!

Asparabacon Quiche

I’m not going to lie though, I think I’ve had it with pastry!  I CAN make pastry, sure.  It’s not that hard… but I hate it.  It’s just one of those fiddly jobs that I just don’t really enjoy.  I think that these days you can get some good ready made pastry at a decent price in any supermarket so I may just throw the towel in and go for an easy life!  We shall see!

Asparabacon Quiche

There’s an entire bundle of asparagus in this small quiche, which is a lot, yes, but ASPARAGUS! Fresh, British Asparagus too!  If you want to dial back the asparagus that’s cool, but why not indulge yourself a bit?

Asparabacon Quiche

 

Serves 4 / Makes 1x 8″ quiche

150g plain flour
50g butter
25g trex (or just 75g butter)
1-2 tbsp cold water

6 large eggs
200 ml milk
1/4 tsp salt
fresh ground black pepper
1 bungle asparagus spears, trimmed of the woody end
125g smoked bacon lardons
25g grated cheese

– Put the flour, butter and trex in a mixing bowl and rub together with your hands until it forms a breadcrumb consistency.
– Add the water a little at a time mixing until it comes together into a dough.
– Shape into a flat round, wrap in clingfilm and chill for 30 minutes.
– Heat the oven to gas mark 5.
– Roll out the pastry on a floured worksurface into a rough circle.  It should be about the thickness of a £1 coin and large enough to cover an 8″ sandwich tin with a little overhang.
– Gently pick the dough up using the rolling pin and drape it gently into the 8″ sandwich tin, lightly press down into the edges and smooth up the sides and over the lip making sure there are no trapped air bubbles.
– Cover the pastry with foil and fill with baking beans.
– Place on a baking tray and bake for 15 minutes.
– Remove from the oven and gently remove the foil and baking beans.  If it won’t release evenly put it back in the oven for 5 minutes.
– Bake uncovered for a further 5-10 minutes until the pastry is just cooked and has lost that sickly pale look!
-Prepare your filling: Whisk the eggs, milk, salt and pepper together in a jug.
– Scatter the bacon and asparagus evenly over the pastry shell.
– Pour the egg mixture into the pastry shell.  If you’ve got it right and there are no holes this is where your filling should stay.  If you’ve got it wrong, well, that why it’s on a baking tray!
– Scatter the grated cheese on top.
– Pop it back into the oven (if it’s leaking get it back in as quickly as you can so that egg seals the hole!)
– Bake at gas mark 5 for 45 minutes until the egg is set in the centre and the top is a golden brown.
– Leave to cool completely before running a sharp knife around the edge of the tin to loosen the pastry.
– Place the bottom on a sturdy bowl smaller than the tin and press down evenly to unmould it.
– Run a sharp knife between the pastry and the tin base to separate it.
– Serve and enjoy!

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Filed under Easy, Mains, Moderately easy, Starters, Teatime Treats

Pinwheel Pizza Rolls

As with so many things in my life I blame Pinterest for these little morsels of joy!  These Pinwheel Pizza Rolls are so simple to whip up and make a fabulous grab and go lunch.  They’d also make great picnic or party food!

Pinwheel Pizza Rolls

 

The only tricky part might be the bread dough but once you have the hang of that there’s nothing to it!  It’s a good way to practice your techniques for bread too as there isn’t a proper crumb to mess up while you’re learning.

Pinwheel Pizza Rolls

I love making bread of all kinds, its’s so satisfying!  I love how it magically puffs up and fills out.

Pinwheel Pizza Rolls

Makes 9

300g strong bread flour
3g fast action yeast (1 tsp / 1/2 a sachet)
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
150ml warm water
5 tbsp tomato puree
3-4 large slices cooked ham
75g grated cheese

– Place the flour in a large mixing bowl and add  the yeast on one side and the salt on the other.
– Mix together and make a well in the centre.
– Add the oil and almost all of the water, reserve a little in case
– Mix well until a dough forms.  If it won’t quite come together add the remaining water until it does.  You may not need it.
– Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured worksurface and knead for about 10 minutes until it is soft and elastic.  If you’ve overdone it with the water you can add a little more flour if it is sticking very badly.
– Place the dough in a clean, oiled bowl and cover and place in a warm, draft free place for 1 hour until the dough it risen and doubled in size.
– Knock the dough down by ‘punching’ it in the middle, give it a little knead to pick up all of the dough into a ball and turn out onto a lightly floured worksurface.
– Roll the dough out into a rectangle about 30cm wide.
– Spread the tomato puree evenly over it.
– Sprinkle over the grated cheese and lay the ham on top.
– Roll the dough up into a long spiral starting from the long edge furthest away from you.
– Pinch the long open end closed so the the dough forms a tube.
– Slice into 9 equal pieces and place cut side up on a large baking tray evenly spaced.
– Cover with a tea towel and leave to rise for 30 minutes.
– In the meantime get your oven preheating to gas mark 7 / 220C.
– Bake for 25-30 minutes until risen and golden brown.
– Leave to cool or enjoy warm, whichever grabs your fancy!  (I know you’re going to eat at least one warm, fresh from the oven!)
– To heat up later simply microwave for 30 seconds.

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Filed under Breads, Easy, Mains, Teatime Treats

Slightly healthier brownies! 

I have been playing around recently with trying out some natural sugar alternatives.  I’m not giving up sugar, no siree! However, I did come back from Canada with half a suitcase of maple syrup so I’m having a lot of fun finding new ways to use it and any health benefits are purely coincidental!

Maple Syrup Brownies

I found it really interesting how it affected the texture of the brownies.  Unsurprisingly without the solid sugar crystals there is no trace of the granular sugar feeling, it is a smooth, fudgey texture.  You still get the same chocolatey intensity though!  They also cooked more quickly I think.  All in all I feel that it was a very successful experiment.  I kept to just plain chocolate this time for a true base reading (I’m all about the science!) but I think it would take on any combination of flavours you wanted it to!  As ever with my brownies you can make these gluten free simply by substituting the flour for ground almonds.

Maple Syrup Brownies

Makes 12

200g unsalted butter
200g plain chocolate
3 large eggs
150g maple syrup
100g plain flour (or ground almonds)
40g cocoa powder

– Heat the oven to gas mark 5/190C and line a 7″ x 11″ brownie tin with baking paper.
– Melt the butter and the chocolate together then leave to cool a little. (Short sharp bursts in the microwave, stirring in between or slowly in a bowl over a pan of boiling water.)
– In a large jug mix the 3 eggs and the syrup until well combined.
– Add the chocolate mixture to the egg mixture, whisking constantly as you go.  (Make sure the chocolate isn’t too hot or you could cook your eggs!)
– Add the flour (or almonds) and cocoa powder and fold into the chocolate mixture.
– Pour into the prepared tin and level the surface.
– Bake for 30 minutes until just set in the centre.
– Allow to cool in the tray before slicing and serving.

 

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Filed under Easy, Gluten Free, Teatime Treats

Mini Egg Flapjack

First off, let’s get one thing clear: There is no such thing as “Leftover Easter Eggs”.  There are simply Easter eggs you haven’t eaten yet.  All recipes that imply otherwise, as if you would accidentally forget about all of that chocolatey goodness waiting for you, annoy me.  However, in the spirit of being adventurous in your chocolate consumption I came up with these Mini Egg Flapjacks to take on my Easter Weekend Hike up Kinder Scout.  A good flapjack is hard to beat for giving you an energy boost and the Easter holiday was to good  an opportunity to pass up! Mini Egg Flapjack Makes 16 bars 100g butter 75g golden caster sugar 3 tbsp maple syrup 200g oats 50g rice crispies 50g plain flour 100g whole hazelnuts 50g chocolate Chips 90g Mini Eggs (1 bag), lightly bashed – Heat the oven to gas mark 4 * and line a brownie tin with baking paper. – Melt the butter, sugar and syrup together in a small pan until just melted and bubbling.  Don’t over boil unless you want hard, crunchy flapjack! – In a large mixing bowl combine the oats, rice crispies, flour and hazelnuts. – Stir the melted butter into tthe dry ingredients until no flour is left visible. – Add the chocolate chips and stir through the mixture. – Tip into the prepared baking tray and spread the mixture out evenly. – Scatter over the mini eggs and press the mixture down firmly to give an even surface. – Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes until just golden brown. – Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin  for 10 minutes before lifting out the paper and slicing into bars. – Return to the tin to cool completely. Mini Egg Flapjack

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Filed under Easy, Teatime Treats

Caramel Brownies

Brownies are one of my quickest  and easiest go to recipes.  Not only are they simple to whip up by they satisfy any number of my chocolate and sugar cravings! There are endless variations to play with, my most recent have been these sinfully good Caramel Brownies!

Caramel Brownies

These are sticky and delicious.  The caramel melds nicely with the gooey brownie to give an almost Sticky Toffee like effect. Caramel Brownies

Makes 16

200g unsalted butter
200g plain chocolate
3 large eggs
250g golden caster sugar
100g plain flour (or ground almonds for gluten free version)
40g cocoa powder
1 packet caramels / toffees (at least 12 sweets)
150ml double cream
– Heat the oven to gas mark 5/190C and line a 7″x11″ brownie tin with baking paper.
– Melt the butter and the chocolate together then leave to cool a little. (Short sharp bursts in the microwave or over a pan of boiling water.)
– In a large jug mix the 3 eggs and the sugar until well combined.
– Add the chocolate mixture to the egg mixture, whisking constantly as you go.  (Make sure the chocolate isn’t too hot or you could cook your eggs!)
– Add the flour (or almonds) and cocoa powder and fold into the chocolate mixture.
– Pour the brownie mixture into the prepared tin.
– In a small saucepan melt the caramels and the cream together over a low heat to get a smooth caramel sauce.
– Pour the caramel mixture over the brownie mixture and swirl about to get ripples of caramel throughout your brownies.
– Bake for 30-45 minutes.
– Leave to cool in the tray then lift out the paper and slice into squares. Bloody brilliant warmed up with vanilla ice cream! Caramel Brownies

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Filed under Easy, Gluten Free, Teatime Treats

Sticky Date Slice

My mother was a brilliant, sneaky mother. She found ways to get us to eat really healthy things and make it fun and tasty! These sticky date slices were a staple snack in our family and it’s only as an adult when I asked for the recipe that I realised just how good for you they are! To me they’re still a fantastic sweet treat, I just get to enjoy them even more now!

Sticky Date Slice

They are so quick and easy to make too, throw it all in a food processor, blitz it up, rolls, chill, slice and wrap!  Now I have a little stash of these in my fridge whenever I need a quick boost of energy (mostly that post-work pre-dog walk ten minute break I get!)

Sticky Date Slice

I suspect that if you made these into balls rather than slices then they would be in the ‘powerball’ category of healthy snacking.  But let’s not ruin something delicious by loading it down with too much virtue!

Sticky Date Slice

Makes 12 (~70 kcal each)

175g dates (pitted)
50g whole almonds
50g rolled oats
1 tsp honey
~1 tbsp cold water

– Put the dates and the almonds in a food processor and blitz until all chopped up.  You can go for longer if you want a smooth slice, or leave it chunkier for more bite.
– Add the oats and honey and blitz again.
– With the motor running add the water slowly until it comes together in a ball.  You may need a little more water if your dates were very dry but don’t add too much or you will get a VERY sticky slice!
– Turn out onto baking parchment and roll out to a little under the size of an A4 piece of paper.  About 5mm thick.
– Place in the fridge and chill for about an hour.
– Remove from the fridge, slice and wrap in cling film then store in the fridge for later.  (You can also keep them in an airtight container at room temperature but I prefer the bite from keeping them in the fridge!)

 

 

 

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Filed under Breakfasts, Cookies and Biscuits, Dairy Free, Easy, Fast Day Food, Gluten Free, Teatime Treats