Cooking with Frylight Spray Oils

Oh my goodness I have to tell you what a fantastic day I had last week with the Frylight Team over in the Food at 52 Cookery School in London. Along with a few Bloggers and Instagrammers I was invited along to pick up some top tips and get all educated about healthy eating and nutrition thanks to the lovely Helen Bond, Dietician and Frylight® consultant nutritionist.

As bloggers and food writers we had a brilliant day cooking under the guidance of chef John Benbow who launched Food at 52 Cookery School in 2007.


Seriously, this was a really interesting and fun day. Plus we got to eat a delicious healthy lunch consisting of a starter, main and dessert; and as none of us were vegetarian we had two mains!

Potato and Spinach Rosti with Pea Mash and Maple Bacon

Potatoes are extremely versatile whether you want to boil, mash steam or bake potatoes are really quite amazing. They're cheap to buy, they fill you up and the humble potato can transform even a basic simple meal into a feast. I particularly like the lovely deep red skins of  Albert Bartlett Rooster potatoes; they really stand out from the rest of other potato varieties.

Oh and they make proper crispy, crunchy golden roast potatoes and because they crisp up nicely and are perfect for making rΓΆsti.

Potato and Spinach Rosti with Pea Mash and Maple Bacon

Of course Albert Bartlett produces other kinds of potatoes. Look out for the new seasons crop now which are available now in supermarkets; they will be highlighted with stickers.

Here are just a few varieties - click on the link to see the full Albert Bartlett potato range.
Rooster is the classic, main crop potato. Red skin and great for mashing, roasting, baking, gratin etc.

Elfe is a more modern potato flavour, with a slight buttery-ness about the flesh. Yellow skin and great for mashing and baking.

Apache is a distinctive looking baby potato with red and white patched skin and is great for roasting whole, skin-on.

Indian-spiced Lamb Meatball Pizzas

I especially like using lamb in Indian dishes as it can handle the lovely spices without them overpowering the lamb.  A really easy and tasty favourite of mine is to make these Indian-spiced meatballs and serve on a soft tortilla; kinda pizza style. Soft tortillas topped with tomatoes, cucumber and mango chutney drizzled with cooling riata.

They're so easy to make and take just 35 minutes from prep to table; the perfect starter to an Indian meal to celebrate National Curry Week with Tasty Easy Lamb (9th -15th October).

Spicy Lamb Meatball Pizzas

I use tortillas as they're much lighter than a pizza dough base so make a great Indian tapas/starter dish to an Indian meal or a light lunch. You could also serve these mini meatballs minus the tortilla in little dishes with a few different dips. Or you could half the amount of filling and make them into wraps.

Honey Challah Bread Recipe

When asked to make a recipe that called for Challah bread I was on a mission to find it and buy a loaf. But after a trip to Waitrose, Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's, Morrison's so I gave up and decided the only way I was going to get my hands on Challah bread was to get busy and make it myself! Turns out as our Waitrose is fairly small they don't stock it.

But as most people know I don't do baking simply because I'm not very good at it and also I can't be doing with all the exact measurements baking involves. However, with that said considering this was my first attempt I was pretty pleased with myself 😊

Honey Challah Bread

I didn't take a proper picture of it being made since I had little faith that it would turn out any good so the only one I have is a phone camera pic which I posted on my Instagram.

Challah bread is enriched with eggs and this recipe has honey in it which gives it a really lovely taste.

Sliced Honey Challah Bread


Butternut, Sweet Potato and Spinach Bake

Now I do love a good frying pan, saucepan or any other kind of pan for that matter! Just recently I've been trying out the Dura Forge range of frying pans from Prestige which also includes an excellent grill pan.

Butternut Sweet Potato and Spinach Bake

When looking at what I call a good pan they really get top marks from me if they can also go into the oven and the Dura Forge range can; so my Butternut, Sweet Potato and Spinach Bake started on the hob and then got popped into the oven to bake! The pans are oven safe up to 180°C/350°F or Gas 4 which makes for easier and faster cooking since there's no need to change pans half way through the recipe. That's not all as it also means less to wash up πŸ˜‰

The interior of the pans have reinforced ridges which provides a great non-stick surface and makes them easy to clean. As you can see from my picture the frying pan hardly looked like it'd had food in it when I dished out some of the butternut bake - brilliant.

ActiFry Arancini - Tefal Slimmers Secret Supercook Challenge

A couple of weeks ago I competed against 5 lovely bloggers in the Tefal ActiFry Slimmers Secret Supercook Challenge; we each cooked up our most favourite dish in the ActiFry. Ever since I got my ActiFry I've used it loads so I know what it can do and I was up for the challenge!

We absolutely love Arancini, it's an Italian dish of small rice balls made from leftover risotto which are then stuffed with a savoury filling and coated in breadcrumbs; we like a combo of mozzarella and red pesto.


Arancini are usually deep fried in oil, but making them in the ActiFry is a much healthier option and that means they contain far less calories too. I even made the risotto in the ActiFry and then let it cool. Cooking anything in the ActiFry doesn't compromise on taste either; just a few sprays of Frylight or similar and you're on the way to crunchy, crispy, cheesy rice goodness in every bite.

It's a shame I didn't get to take a picture of the inside as when cut open the mozzarella is lovely and gooey and pesto not only adds a bit of colour but tastes delicious too. I was so engrossed in cooking I didn't have time to get me camera.

We all know the ActiFry cooks fantastic chips but it can be used to cook far more than you'd think possible. I know as I was really surprised when I got mine and started experimenting. It's so versatile and you can cook almost anything in it. The only difference is your dishes will be healthier and contain a lot less calories which can only be a good thing.  

Anyway I really need your help to win the Slimmers Secret Supercook Challenge so to see my Arancini recipe.

Take a look at this video and then pop over to Tefal.co.uk/slimmerssecret and vote for me by clicking on the Big Red VOTE button underneath my video 😊 Just by voting you could Win a Luxury Spa Weekend Break for Two so please pop over now and vote; oh and a few people will each win a ActiFry XL so Good Luck Everyone!

#SlimmersSecret


Autumn Flavours have Arrived -Time to Celebrate the New Season

It’s that time of year when we start to think about one-pot dishes packed with hearty, warming ingredients. As the weather turns colder, it’s time to crank up the stove and opt for food that’s good for the soul as well as the stomach. As the weather fails to wrap us up in warmth and comfort, our food needs to do so. We’re still months away from the festive gorging of the Christmas period, so it’s the perfect time to enjoy the very best of autumn’s bounty.


Image credit: Pixabay

The autumn months are a time to celebrate stews, hotpots and anything else that you can cook in one deliciously warming pot. On the vegetable front, it’s the perfect time of year to indulge in rich, flavoursome squashes and pumpkins, as well as to enjoy the last of the summer’s glut of tomatoes and carrots. Leeks, beetroot and field mushrooms are also at their best at this time of year and are ideal for bolstering hearty dishes.

Stellar Hob Top Espresso Maker - Review

If you like Espresso Coffee then chances are you'll love this rather stylish Hob Top Espresso Pot by Stellar Cookware. It makes a perfect cup, in fact it holds 400ml so 6 cups of Espresso plus it's easy to use too.

Hob Top Espresso Maker

The shiny polished stainless steel may well look lovely but I might tell you it took me an age to photograph without seeing me in it!

How does it work?
Once the water in the base chamber boils, it creates pressure which in turn forces water up through the coffee and creates the perfect cup in a matter of minutes.

New - GU Mousse Fusions Review

NEW to the GU puds range are Mousse Fusions. Now regular readers of this blog will know I'm not a one for desserts but Paul (the husband) loves desserts.

Of course I did have a taste since it's me writing about them and I have to say the Chocolate and Toffee Mousse Fusions are really rather nice indeed and could even convert me to eating chocolate; now they must be good!

Chocolate and Toffee GU Mousse Fusions
Seriously chocolatey, rich and creamy topping but with a chocolate and toffee mousse underneath.

As they are new to the market I had a bit of trouble actually getting them since our Tesco is quite small. Waitrose did but only had two of the three varieties as they'd sold out of the Mango and Passionfruit so I can't comment on those. By the fact that they'd sold out I'd say they must be popular; I have to say they do sound good.  

Hofmeister Lager is Back - Review and Giveaway

Yes indeed Hofmeister is back!  Helles lager is slow-brewed colder and longer than most other beers today. Hofmeister is brewed in Bavaria Germany using natural mineral water.

Hofmeister is made according to the 1516 Reinheitsgebot German Beer Purity Law, which states that only three ingredients can be used to make beer. And while using so few ingredients doesn’t make things easy, it does result in an incredible lager.

Bottles of Hofmeister Lager

So what did we think?
This light golden coloured lager is easy to drink, nice and refreshing and when poured into a glass it has a nice frothy head. Yep we love it, especially Paul (the husband) as used to drink Hofmeister years ago so he's certainly glad to see it back!

Where to Buy:
Currently, you can buy Hofmeister over at Amazon or via their Shopify page. Please drink responsibly.
For more info pop over to the Hofmeister website.

You can find Hofmeister on social media:
Twitter: @hofmeister_beer
Facebook: @hofmeisterbeer
Instagram: hofmeister_beer

#FollowTheBear

Kitchen Products and Herb Scissors from New Soda

Well I have to admit I hadn't heard of New Soda until just recently when I was kindly sent a few of their products to try. I'm pleased to say I really think they're excellent products and do exactly what they say they will and are great quality and reasonably priced too.

Kitchen Products from New Soda

The Sinkstation is a great little invention; a flat colander that enables you to prepare your veg and as it fits neatly into the bottom of your sink.  It then catches peeling ready for you to dispose of then you can rinse your veggies under the tap and tilt it slightly to drain away any excess water.  Not only that but it's brilliant for defrosting items on the draining board rather than having a pool of water on the counter top or on a plate.

Flatbreads with JAZZ Apple and Goat Cheese

These lovely mini flatbreads are really easy to make and well worth the little effort they take. Of course you can use shop bought flatbread but  making your own is rewarding since they do taste a whole lot better.

Having been asked to make a recipe using Jazz Apples I immediately thought of goats cheese being a perfect balance of tangy yet sweet. I added a few chopped nuts along with pea shoots for colour.

Pea shoots are available in any good supermarket (in the bit where you find bags of salad leaves) they have a sweet delicate flavour so certainly wont take over power those lovely apples or goats cheese.

Flatbreads with Jazz Apple and Goat Cheese

Serve as a tasty lunch or serve as appetisers; whichever you choose I'm sure they'll be a big hit.

Jazz™ are a cross of a Braeburn and a Royal Gala (two of the nations favourite apple varieties. Grown in the UK for taste, crunchiness and juiciness. The Jazz apple has all year-round availability too and is now grown not only in the UK but also in France, Italy, USA, Chile, Switzerland, Austria and Australia and New Zealand.

Jazz apples will easily keep for up to and over 4 weeks if they are correctly stored correctly; in a cool dark place or better still in the fridge.

Available in Aldi, Asda, Booths, Co-op, Lidl, Morrisons, M&S, Ocado, Waitrose, Tesco, Sainsburys and good independent green grocers.

Sweet Potato and Chickpea Casserole - Wonderbag Review

I must admit when I was asked if I'd like to review a Wonderbag (which I might point out I had never heard of before) I was intrigued.  Can it really work, I mean really?  Well the answer is, YES it does.

So, the Wonderbag looks like a big comfy beanbag but of course it isn't; it's an eco-friendly slow cooks that cooks and keeps food hot for up to 12 hours, but with a difference - there's no battery, plug or fuel required.

Check out my deliciously warming Sweet Potato and Chickpea Casserole - cooked in the Wonderbag!


Sweet Potato and Chickpea Casserole and the Wonderbag

This was another of my experiments in the kitchen and it worked. The lovely warming spice cumin and honey go perfectly together but the addition of coconut milk gave the casserole a nice and creamy rich flavour; yep sucess.

The Wonderbag is light in weight, easily portable and compact for easy storage when not in use. There's no need to supervise the cooking of your dishes and it will never overcook or burn your dishes.  It even doubles as a cooler bag to keep food and drinks chilled as long as they went in really cold in the first place they will stay really cold.

Strong Roots Frozen Food Products - Review

New to the market from Strong Roots are these lovelies and in case you haven't discovered them yet I'll tell you a bit about them. The full range includes: Oven Baked Sweet Potato Fries, Kale & Quinoa Burgers, Garlic Roasted Sweet Potato Cubes and these amazing Ripened Frozen Avocado Halves which I got particularly excited about - why because I've fancied making guacamole but had every ingredient except avocado.

A Range of Frozen Products from Strong Roots

These Peruvian Avocado Halves (RRP £5.29) are perfectly ripened, pitted and freshly frozen.  With with a bag or two of these in the freezer it means smoothies and guacamole can be made at anytime along with anything else that requires avocado.

The Oven Baked Sweet Potato Fries (RRP £2.99) are coated in a gluten-free rice flour which gives them a firm and crispy texture.  I say these are the best frozen sweet potato fries ever; oh yes, definitely sweet potato heaven!

Kale & Quinoa Burgers (RRP £2.99) are low in sugar and low saturated fat.  They have a crispy crunchy quinoa crust and contain nutritious mixed vegetables.  You could even serve them as a veggie burger between a bun and yes, they are big enough. I have to admit I didn't think I'd be over keen on these, but I was wrong! I imagined they would taste bland but they really are very tasty and nicely seasoned; can't fault them at all.

The Garlic Roasted Sweet Potato Cubes (RRP £3.99) are a mix of sweet potato, garlic, onions with some added herbs. Lovely and crisp and I say perfectly seasoned; yep we love these.

Official Cobnut Season is Here

Cobnuts are my favourite kind of nut!  When I was a kid we used to go and stay at a farm in Wales and pick cobnuts; that's not all we did, I'm just saying.  My dear dad who's sadly no longer with us, absolutely loved cobnuts so I when I see them I think of him and he'd have loved this little lot that were kindly sent to me from Potash Farm in Kent.

It might be just me but I hardly ever see cobnuts in shops other than in Waitrose last year; hopefully they will have them again this year. Actually official cobnut season starts on August 22nd, St Philibert’s Day and the arrival of the August Bank Holiday normally signals the beginning of the cobnut-picking season but many crops are already ripe this month!

Kentish Cobnuts

Native to Kent, cobnuts, a cultivated hazelnut, were favoured by the Victorians who enjoyed them as an after dinner accompaniment to vintage port. They have been grown around St Marys Platt in Kent, since the early 1800s where Potash Farm is situated, and by the turn of the century an estimated 7000 acres had been planted in orchards known locally as plats.

Potash Farm attends regular shows throughout the year such as RHS Taste Of Autumn held at Wisley, 16 Farmers Markets on a monthly basis where pot-grown cobnut, almond, sweet chestnut and walnut trees can be bought or ordered, as well as the other Potash Farm products.  You can read more about
Potash Farm over at kentishcobnuts.com.

Smart Bacon Express - Review

Bacon!  We LOVE bacon in this house, as long as it's smoked and crispy any bacon is good. For the life of me I can't understand anyone not liking bacon done all nice and crispy.  Anyway, let me introduce you to the Smart Bacon Express - a little machine that cooks bacon to perfection.  Not only that but it's a healthier way to cook bacon too.

 
Before I go on though, let me show you the lovely crispy bacon this produced - Check this out!


Nice ah?  Of course if you really don't like your bacon done so much you simply turn the dial down.

Breakfast in a Jar - Overnight Oats with Berries

As we all know breakfast is the most important meal of the day but so many people skip it because they say they don't have time. Totally understandable in this day and age (been there done that) but I can not function without breakfast.  Always hungry am I so actually I can't function without lunch, or dinner either for that matter.

Anyway, back to breakfast and I say breakfast in a jar is the way to go and is far better for you than a piece of toast. You could even eat it straight from the jar whilst on the train to work πŸ˜‹ but if you drive to work, this is never going to be a good idea so please don't attempt it!

Breakfast in a Jar

Transform your breakfasts and make them not only wholesome and filling but healthy too.

Rolled Oats - Porridge Oats, what's the difference?
Porridge oats, usually, are not just flattened, but also ground so they are broken up into smaller pieces. The whole oat is still there, but the result is more powdery.  Rolled oats are good  for making a chewier and larger-textured porridge, and take slightly longer to cook. Oh yes, full of knowledge me.

So for this reason I say rolled oats such as Scott's or Quaker work better simply because after soaking they don't end up mushy. But with that said if you prefer mushy then go for porridge oats.  Just for goodness sake don't use Ready Brek or you'll end up with a jar of glue.
  • Fill a 500ml jar to just below half way.  Now add milk until the oats are covered plus a tiny bit more. You can of course use soy milk, almond milk or whatever it is you fancy.
  • Add a squeeze of of runny honey and throw in some berries such as raspberries and blueberries.
  • If you don't like honey, try adding cinnamon to sweeten.  You can also add a dollop of yogurt and a few nuts if nuts are your thing.
  • Put the lid on and pop the jar into the fridge.

Overnight Oats with Berries

If you really don't have time to eat it now you can eat it as soon as you get to work.

Top Tips!
You can make ahead a couple of jars at the same time, so tomorrow and the next days breakfast are sorted. But with that said this really does take two minutes so I'd say do it the night before for the next morning.

Prepare and leave in the jar for at least an hour but overnight for best results.  But actually you can eat rolled oats straight away as you don't have to cook them. In a list of questions and answers Quaker say 'Yes, you can eat rolled oats without cooking them as during the milling process they are cleaned and heat treated'.

If you don't like the idea of cold oats just pop the jar into a microwave (without the lid if it's metal of course) for a minute or so, remember they are already soaked so they just need warming.

You can add frozen berries if that makes life easier for you; whatever works for you, do it.

You can use any jar really as long as it's thoroughly washed and squeaky clean; but I like to be all fancy so I use Kilner or Mason  jars.

Coffee Caramel and Hazelnut Poke Cake

Poke cake is so called because once it's baked you simply poke holes in it!  Then you pour a delicious runny topping into the holes; and when the cake is fully finished you can't see the holes as they are covered with more topping.  Then when you cut it, everyone gets to see the scrummy gooey filling in every slice.    

Coffee Caramel and Hazelnut Poke Cake

See what I mean - sticky, gooey caramel oozing from the cake and of course the more holes you make the more filling there will be; but with that said don't go too mad or the cake might fall apart!

Inside a Coffee Caramel and Hazelnut Poke Cake

Just recently the lovely people over at Spiller and Tait sent me some of their freshly roasted coffee to try.  When the delivery guy arrived at the door you could really smell the lovely aroma of coffee; he even said, no guessing what's in this parcel!

On opening the lovely smelling parcel I was amazed to see on the packets the day of roasting (might be just me but I've never seen this before), anyway this coffee was fresh, it was roasted no more than 7 days ago. The secret to good coffee is it should be fresh and apparently Spiller and Tait only roast weekly in small batches so every packet you buy from their website arrives to you with full flavour and aroma.

Beef Chilli with Dark Beer and Chocolate

As everyone knows there are a trillion billion 'Best Beef Chilli' recipes out there and many include the addition of chocolate.  Chocolate goes so well in any good beef chilli recipe, but until now I'd never added beer. Well let me tell you this was good stuff and I'll be making it again!

I know there's a long list of ingredients but half of them are just spices; I say this is the perfect make ahead recipe too which means it's a great meal to cook for friends. Whether you serve it with rice or potato wedges and a side salad, or even tortilla chips it's bound to be a hit.

Beef chilli made with beer

Purity Brewery are based in Warwickshire and very kindly sent me some of their Saddle Black beer. I was asked to make a recipe using it along with a few more cans to drink which made the husband pleased as it meant he dinner and beer!

Expedia have come up with this lovely 'Beer Map' of the UK and Ireland's Best Regional Breweries;
Take a look to see which breweries are nearest to you.

All the beers and ales shown on the map are not only great to drink but also to cook with too.  After reading about Purity Saddle Black I discovered that the roasted malts used to craft it give it a taste of chocolate is how my Beef Chilli with Dark Beer and Chocolate recipe came to mind. So yes, beer is not only good for drinking but for with cooking too!

Warm Potato Salad with Spinach Asparagus Tomatoes and Gremolata Dressing

We love potatoes in our house, especially new potatoes. I say new potatoes are just the best thing ever since you don’t even have to peel them!

Now that the baby potato season is now in full swing I was pleased to be asked to try 'Taste the Difference' British Gems Baby New Potatoes which are available right now until the end of August from @Sainsburys - give them a go, we're now hooked on them. Grown by British growers and freshly dug every day before being washed and packed and making their way to Sainsbury’s stores within 48 hours. They have a lovely buttery flavour and are perfect simply boiled and served with a nice salad.


Just recently we've also been trying to eat more spinach and so for my recipe I just had to include it in my warm salad with a gremolata dressing; extra vitamins and all that healthy stuff!

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