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Savvy shopping, seasonal eating and thrifty recipes. Spend less on groceries and enjoy better tasting, easy to prepare meals your friends and family will love – all on a budget.

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Spiced Rye and Fruit Buns for February Bready, Steady, Go!

Our beloved bread baking linky Bready, Steady, Go took an unplanned break for a couple of months, however it's now back and ready for you to link up your delicious yeasted bakes! 

I baked these rolls after a busy night shift, in between naps, and they are both delicious and very forgiving if you leave them to rise for longer than planned.  I added some rye flour for extra flavour and goodness and my family devoured them whilst still warm from the oven.



Spiced Rye and Fruit Buns

250ml/1 cup lukewarm water
7g sachet of instant yeast
1 tsp salt
300g strong white bread flour
100g wholemeal rye flour
1 tsp ground mixed spice
1 Tblsp oil
2 Tblsp golden syrup or maple syrup
50g sultanas or raisins
50g finely diced dried apricots

Mix all the ingredients together until a soft and sticky dough forms.  Knead on a lightly floured surface for around 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.  I kneaded mine for around 7 minutes in my stand mixer.  Put the dough into a lightly greased bowl, cover with greased cling film, and leave to prove until doubled in size.  Line one or two baking trays non-stick baking paper.

Knock back the dough and divide into 8 rolls, then shape how you like.  I decided on finger rolls but round ones are just as tasty.  Put the rolls on your prepared baking trays, cover again and leave to rise for a further hour - or until doubled in size 

Preheat your oven to 240C/220C Fan/Gas Mark 9 then bake the rolls for 10 -12 minutes until golden and cooked through.  I covered the rolls with a damp tea towel and left them to cool as this helps them to stay soft.  If you prefer your rolls with a firmer crust leave them to cool without covering.



Bready, Steady, Go! Challenge Guidelines


Bready Steady Go! will run from 1st until the 28th of each month and then a round up will be posted by the hosting blog at the end of the month.

You can link up any bread recipe, sometimes we may also run themed challenges, and feel free to join in with other challenges if your post also meets their guidelines. If you really love baking bread then you can add multiple entries up to a maximum of 3 per blog each month.

Please link back to Jen’s Food and Utterly Scrummy Food For Families and include the badge to help spread the word.

We’d prefer to see entries from new blog posts where possible but you can also add old posts if you add the badge and link back to our blogs as well.

You can tweet your entries to @JensFood and @UtterlyScrummy using the hashtag #breadysteadygo and we will retweet all that we see.

All entries will also pinned to our new Pinterest board as they come in.

If you make a recipe from a book/magazine/website etc please respect copyright and do not reproduce the recipe verbatim. Instead of copying out the recipe from the book, describe it in your own words and if it’s from an online source please link to the original content rather than copying full recipe.

So what are you waiting for?! Bready, Steady, Go bake some bread!

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Quick Vegetable Soup

The weather has been cold and dreary, I've had a cold and been feeling dreary, so I decided to make some soup to soothe my sore throat.  I had a look at the vegetable crate in the pantry and found a few carrots, some potatoes, an onion, and some garlic.  More than enough to make a large batch of soup.

My daughters enjoyed a large bowl of this soup when they arrived home from school, it was warm and comforting and filled them up until dinner time.  We quite often have a cup of homemade soup after school on Winter afternoons, we also sometimes have hot chocolate and a baked treat but the soup fills us up for longer and is better for us.


Quick Vegetable Soup

1 Tblsp oil
1 onion, diced
1 or 2 cloves garlic, minced
3 carrots, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
4 potatoes, peeled and diced
1.5 litres vegetable stock, or more as necessary
3 Tblsp flour
125ml cup milk (use soy/oat or coconut milk)
1/2 tsp chilli powder (optional)
1 tsp dried mixed herbs

Put a large pot over a moderate heat.  Soften the vegetables for a few minutes in a little oil.  Pour in the stock, add the chilli powder and herbs, then bring it to a gentle boil. Cook for 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are very tender.  Whisk together the flour and milk then add to the soup.  Cook for another 5 - 10 minutes.  tender. Take the soup off the heat and leave to cool for a few minutes before blending until smooth with a stick blender.  Season to taste, then serve. 



Sunday, 24 January 2016

Fruit Puree Loaf and Muffins (Vegan)

I baked this vegan loaf using left over baby food purees I had found when cleaning out our chest freezer.  I decided to bake with them and the result was a delicious loaf and muffins, refined sugar free if you want, that are quick and easy to make.

I used apple and pear puree for the loaf and added some fresh blueberries, for the muffins I used a tin of fruit salad that I drained and whizzed up in our food processor until it was smooth and more apple and pear puree.  You need 300g of fruit puree for the loaf and another 300g - 400g of fruit puree for the muffins depending on which flour you use.



Fruit Puree Loaf

300g fruit puree
1/3 cup/80ml oil
2 or 3 Tblsp sugar (optional)
1 large dollop vanilla bean paste or 2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups/225g self raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
150g blueberries (optional)

Grease and line a 1lb/900g loaf tin.  Preheat your oven to 180C/160C Fan/350F.

Mix the fruit puree and oil together in a bowl, add the sugar if you are using it then mix in the remaining ingredients until everything is combined.  Don't beat the mixture or your loaf will be tough.  How easy is that?! A quick measure and mix then it's ready for the oven.  Pour the mixture into your prepared loaf tin and bake for 1 hour or until cooked though.  To check if the loaf is cooked, insert a skewer into the centre of the loaf, if it comes out clean then the loaf is cooked.



Fruit Puree Muffins

300g fruit puree if using plain flour, 400g fruit puree if using wholemeal flour
1/3 cup/80ml oil
2 or 3 Tblsp sugar (optional)
1 1/2 cups/225g wholemeal or white self raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
50g sultanas
50g dried apricots 

Line a muffin tin with paper baking cases or grease the tin well.  Preheat your oven to 180C/160C Fan/350F.

Mix the fruit puree and oil together in a bowl, add the sugar if you are using it then mix in the remaining ingredients until everything is combined.  Don't beat the mixture or your loaf will be tough.  Divide the mixture evenly between the holes in your prepared muffin tin and bake for 25 minutes or until cooked through.  To check if the loaf is cooked, insert a skewer into the centre of a muffin, if it comes out clean then the muffins are cooked.



Thursday, 21 January 2016

Oaty Crisp Slice

This is SO buttery, sweet, crunchy and delicious! Perfect with a cuppa, or in lunchboxes, it is very addictive but thankfully also very quick and easy to make.

I had to bake three batches in three day before there was enough left to take photos of.  Even my husband, who is a chocoholic loves pieces of this for a quick sweet fix.




Oaty Crisp Slice

100g/1 cup Rolled oats
100g/1 cup Coconut
110g/½ cup light soft brown sugar, firmly packed
120g butter

Preheat oven to 180C/160C Fan.
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Put rolled oats, coconut and  brown sugar into a mixing bowl and stir to combine.  Melt the butter either in the microwave or over a gentle heat in a saucepan on the stove.  Pour the butter into the dry ingredients and ensure everything is coated in butter.  

Tip the mixture into a lined Swiss Roll tin and spread out thinly.  I press the mixture down firmly with a potato masher.  

Bake for 25 minutes.  Remove from oven then leave to coll.  Cut into squares with a sharp knife or break into pieces.  Store in an airtight container.


Monday, 18 January 2016

Traffic Light Quinoa Bites

These delicious and filling bites are great in lunchboxes or for an after school snack.  My 15 month old son loves them and they are great for toddlers, older children, and adults alike! You can vary the vegetables you use according to your tastes.  We have tried various combinations including: frozen peas and corn (defrosted), orange or yellow peppers, grated sweet potato and finely sliced spring onion.  

I tend to cook up a big batch of quinoa then freeze it in portions.  I discovered a microwave pouch of quinoa and brown rice on offer in the supermarket for 74p so used that this time and it was delicious, and very quick.  These are a good snack for after school, before sporting activities and clubs as they are filling but not heavy.



Traffic Light Quinoa Bites

1 ½ cups cooked quinoa, or a 200g microwave pouch of quinoa, cooked and cooled
1 courgette, grated
1 carrot, grated
1 red pepper, finely diced
60g Parmesan, grated - plus extra for sprinkling (or vegetarian hard cheese)
2 medium free range eggs
½ - 1 tsp dried mixed herbs

Ensure the cooked quinoa is room temperature.  Preheat your oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas Mark 4.  Grease a muffin tin using a little oil on some kitchen towel.

Squeeze excess moisture from the grated courgette, and add to a bowl with the cooked quinoa, grated carrot, prepared pepper and greated parmesan.

Add the eggs and herbs then mix until ingredients are completely combined.  Spoon into the holes in the muffin tin and sprinkle some extra grated parmesan on the top of each one.

Bake in the preheated oven for approx 20-25 mins until lightly golden and set.  Allow to cook for 10 minutes then gently ease out of the muffin tin with a spoon or palette knife.



Sunday, 17 January 2016

Savoury Biscuits - Poppy Seed, and Sun-dried Tomato and Parmesan

My 15yo daughter baked these delicious morsels to practice for her GCSE Food Technology practical session.  They are very moreish and would be perfect for lunchboxes with hummus or herbed yoghurt dip, an after school snack, or with drinks at a party.  These biscuits are based on a Paul Hollywood recipe altered to suit our tastes.



Savoury Biscuits

375g plain, all purpose, flour
1 tsp salt
125g unsalted butter, softened
2 medium free range eggs
2 Tblsp poppy seeds
50g Parmesan, finely grated (or a vegetarian hard cheese)
1 Tblsp sun-dried tomato paste or tomato puree

Put the flour, salt, butter, one of the eggs and 40ml cold tap water into a bowl.  Mix to combine the ingredients then get your hands in the bowl and squish the dough together.  Turn out on to your work surface and lightly knead for a minute or two until a smooth dough forms. 

Divide the dough in half.  Put each portion of dough into a mixing bowl.  Add the poppy seeds to one portion of dough and the tomato paste and Parmesan to the other portion of dough.  Knead the flavour additions into the dough.  Mixing the flavour additions into the dough whilst the dough is in a bowl is much less messy than trying to incorporate the ingredients on a work surface.  Those poppy seeds get everywhere if you spill any!

Line two baking trays with non-stick baking paper.  Lightly flour your work surface and roll out each portion of dough to about 3mm thick, about the thickness of a £1 coin.  Transfer the rolled out dough to the prepared trays and cover with cling film.  Put in the fridge to rest for half an hour.  We used this time to wash the dishes and clean up the kitchen.

Preheat the your oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas Mark 6.  Lightly flour your work surface and transfer the rested dough from the trays to your work surface.  Using a 7cm/2¾ inch round cutter, cut biscuits from the dough.  Re-roll the dough and keep cutting out biscuits until all the dough has been used.  Put the biscuits onto the lined trays.

Bake the biscuits for 10-15 minutes until golden-brown.  Remove the biscuits from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  These biscuits are delicious with hummus or other dips, and are very moreish.




Friday, 15 January 2016

Why I've not been blogging. Finding a new 'normal'.


It has been almost 6 weeks since I have posted anything on my blog.  The time has flown, I cannot believe so much time has passed!

Our gorgeous boy badly burned his hands on a heater at our GP surgery in November and they took a while to heal, bless him he was so very brave.  We then entered the 'Winter Lurgy Zone' which means various members of the household catch a cold or other winter ailment and, despite my best infection prevention measures, the ailment is then passed on to all the other members of our household.  Bubs was poorly on and off for a month before he was prescribed antibiotics and recovered within a couple of days.  

There has also been chronic sleep deprivation caused by bubs teething.  He only has a few teeth left to come though, thank goodness.  Surviving on 4 or 5 hours sleep each night, and with a busy household to run, not to mention a hectic night shift each week, has left me exhausted with no energy or urge to blog anything.

Bubs is so active, we have to watch him all the time, and his nap times vary from day to day, so blogging during the week became nearly impossible.  Added to that, the dreaded Winter lack of light, when sunset is around 4pm, there's no chance of me getting a decent photo of any evening meals or bakes.

However, I think I'm getting some blogging mojo back. I have been baking and developing recipes on a Saturday, photographing when there is decent natural light.  It won't quite be normal service resuming but I am getting there.  Figuring out a new normal, making sure I take care of myself and my family, as well as nurturing this creative outlet and sharing our recipes with you all.

Here's to a New Year of makes, bakes and garden adventures!