Healthy Chicken Kebabs with Wholewheat Flatbreads, Mango Salsa & Mint Yoghurt Dressing

Like everyone, I’m partial to fast food every so often, its quick and convenient and usually very tasty but more often than not, it’s not very healthy. So what if you could make your own alternative fast food recipe at home? When I was asked to develop a healthy ‘fast food alternative’ for the Ramsay Health Care Campaign I thought it would be a great chance to experiment. Trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle is very important, and choosing to eat well is a part of this, BUT it doesn’t mean that food has to be boring. Continue reading

Caramelised Onion Bread

DSC_0008

I’ve been on a bit of a bread making roll recently (pardon the pun!) and am really enjoying experimenting with flavours in the bread, and some different types of bread as well. We’ve been trying not to buy much fresh bread, but to make our own more. We still have a white loaf in the freezer thought for those toast emergencies!! This is one of my particular favourites I’ve made over the last few weeks – a simple white loaf dough with caramelised onions.

Ingredients:

  • 500g strong white bread flour
  • 7g easy blend yeast
  • 2 medium onions – 1 and a half finely chopped, and half finely sliced (for the top of the loaf)
  • 8g sea salt
  • 320ml tepid water
  • 1 tbsp clear honey
  • 2tbsp butter
  • vegetable oil

Method:

  1. First prepare the onions. In 2 separate frying pans melt some butter (1tbsp) and a few DSC_0001drops oil, then to one pan add the chopped onions, and to the other add the sliced. Over a gentle heat soften these for about 10minutes until just starting to go golden and nice and soft. Set both aside to drain off the excess oil and cool a little on kitchen paper.
  2. Move on to mix the flour, yeast and salt together in a freestanding mixer or bowl
  3. Mix the water and honey together in a separate bowl and then add to the dry mixture.
  4. Mix on a slow speed to form a rough dough then continue to knead in the machine for 6mins (or 10mins if you are kneading by hand) Pause the kneading with about 2 minutes to go and add the chopped onions (keep aside the sliced ones)
  5. Shape into a ball and leave to prove in a lightly oiled bowl for 1 hour
  6. Tip out and knead for about 30seconds to knock back the doughDSC_0003
  7. Form into the shape you would like your loaf to be, place on a baking sheet or in a lightly floured loaf tin and sprinkle the sliced onions over the top. Leave for a further half hour covered with oil cling film to prove further.
  8. Bake in the middle of the oven at 210 degrees for about 25 mins, or until golden brown and the underside of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.
  9. Leave to cool before slicing

Happy Eating πŸ™‚

DSC_0005

DSC_0006

DSC_0009 DSC_0010

DSC_0011

DSC_0013

Tried&Tested: Jo Wheatleys White Seeded Bread

IMG_3800

I don’t really tend to make much bread, the time you have to leave it to prove tends to annoy me as it ties you down to being in the house, but on a lazy Sunday with no plans we decided to try something different. This bread is based on the ‘Seeded White Bread’ recipe from Jo Wheatley. In it she uses a mix of seeds, but as this was a spur of the moment decision to make some bread, we only had pumpkin seeds in the house so went with these only. I would definitely like to try it again with a mix of seeds, maybe some sunflower or poppy seeds, and try scattering a few on the top of the loaf before it bakes also to give some texture to the top. Nevertheless we really enjoyed this loaf and between us we ate half of it before the day was out. The rest off the loaf lasted well for couple of days for sandwiches and toast.

Ingredients:

  • 500g strong white bread flour
  • 7g easy blend yeast
  • 50g pumpkin seeds (extra if you want to try putting some on the top of the loaf as suggested above)
  • 8g sea salt
  • 320ml tepid water
  • 1 tbsp clear honey

Method:

  1. Mix the flour, yeast seeds and salt together either in a freestanding mixer or bowl.
  2. Mix the water and honey together in a separate bowl and then add to the dry mixture.
  3. Mix on a slow speed to form a rough dough then continue to knead in the machine for 6mins (or 10mins if you are kneading by hand)
  4. Shape into a ball and leave to prove in a lightly oiled bowl for 1 hourIMG_3791
  5. Tip out and knead for about 30seconds to knock back the dough
  6. Form into the shape you would like your loaf to be, place on a baking sheet and leave for a further hour covered with oil cling film to prove further. Scatter the extra seeds over the top of the loaf at this point if you choose
  7. Bake in the middle of the oven at 220 degrees for about 25 mins, or until golden brown and the underside of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.
  8. Leave to cool before slicing ( if you can.. I can never resist warm bread!!)

After eating this loaf, the only thing I would change is probably adding about half the amount again of seeds as I didn’t feel they featured enough.

Happy eating πŸ™‚

IMG_3793 IMG_3798 IMG_3800I actually tried this loaf again a few days after the first, adding the extra seeds as I talked about above and this is how it turned out. Even better than the first time. Yum.

DSC_0025

Mini Doughnuts with a Chocolate Dipping Sauce

IMG_3650As a treat on the evening of my birthday back in Novmeber, Lee cooked me some AMAZING little mini doughnuts and a chocolate sauce. They were so good I wanted to share the recipe with you. The proving can be a bit of a hassle, but if you’ve got the time then these are a perfect special little treat for pudding. We decided not to fill them with anything, but you could easily inject them with some jam or custard, or apple compote, what ever take your fancy really!

Makes 12 doughnuts

Ingredients:

Doughnuts;

  • 125g/4Β½oz strong white flour
  • pinch salt
  • 75g/3oz caster sugar
  • 15g/Β½oz butter, softened
  • 75ml/3fl oz water
  • 10g easy-blend yeast
  • vegetable oil, for deep frying

Chocolate sauce;

  • 200g bar dark/milk chocolate, not too bitter, broken into chunks
  • 100ml double cream
  • 100ml whole milk
  • 3 tbsp golden syrup
  • Β½ tsp vanilla extract

Method:

  1. For the mini doughnuts, mix the flour, salt, 25g/1oz of the caster sugar and all of the butter, water and yeast until well combined. Mix for 4-5 minutes, or until the mixture comes together as a smooth dough. Cover with cling film and set aside for one hour to rise.IMG_3642
  2. When the doughnut dough has doubled in size, divide it into 12 equal portions and roll each into a ball.
  3. Line a tray with baking parchment and place the dough balls onto it, leaving plenty of room between each ball. Set aside in a warm place to prove for a further 20 minutes.
  4. When the dough has proved, heat the oil in a deep fat fryer to 150C/320F. Alternatively, heat the oil in a deep, heavy-based saucepan until a breadcrumb sizzles and turns brown when dropped into it.IMG_3647
  5. Carefully lower the dough balls into the hot oil in batches and deep fry for 3-4 minutes, or until golden-brown. Remove from the pan using a slotted spoon and set aside to drain on kitchen paper.
  6. When the excess oil has drained off the doughnuts, place them onto a plate and dust with the remaining caster sugar until completely coated.
  7. For the sauce put all the ingredients into a pan and gently melt together, stirring occasionally until you have a smooth shiny sauce. Keep warm on a low heat.
  8. Place doughnuts in a bowl and dip dip dip away!

Happy eatingΒ  πŸ™‚

IMG_3648 IMG_3649 IMG_3651

Rosemary & Sea Salt Foccacia

IMG_3200I don’t often make bread, so it’s not one of my strong points when it comes to baking, but it’s something I love so I’m determined to try to do it a little bit more often. For this one we used the recipe and method on the BBC Food website for Rosemary and Sea Salt Foccacia.Β The ingredients and method are all up on their website here, for everyone to have a look at, so I won’t retype it all.

Unlike my previously baking mini disaster of using expired yeast, I remembered to purchase some fast action yeast for future efforts and am pleased to report there were no more rising related difficulties!

IMG_3197

Just before going in the oven

Bread is really fun to make, and its great to take out any frustrations on kneading and knocking back the dough – very therapeutic! This recipe was pretty simple, although a little time consuming because of the proving. I’m definitely going to try some different variations on the foccacia. I have roasted garlic and red onion in my mind, I’m salivating just thinking about it….. My hubby and I manged to hoover up most of the bread in one sitting with a little dish of olive oil and balsamic vinegar!

IMG_3198 IMG_3199 IMG_3201 IMG_3203

Happy eating πŸ™‚