Brunch, Something fruity

Yoghurt pancakes with apple and sultanas

These make a great breakfast / brunch for two and are pretty healthy.

So what do you need?

  • 1 free-range egg
  • 1 cup plain yoghurt
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla essence
  • 1 cup of plain (all purpose) flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda or baking powder
  • 1 handful sultanas
  • 1 apple
  • A knob of butter
  • Maple syrup / honey to serve

So what do you do?

Crack the egg in a mixing bowl add the yoghurt, and vanilla essence and beat them together with a hand whisk. Next add the flour and baking soda and beat them in. Then add the sultanas and grate in the apple flesh, skin too, and mix them in. Heat a large thick based frying plan and melt a little  butter in it. Then ladle in four portions of the mixture and cook until they begin to firm up, turn them over and cook the other side. Serve hot with maple syrup or honey.


French onion soup

I haven’t made this for a long time but I woke up this morning to rain that looked like it wasn’t going to stop and really fancied making and eating French onion soup. It’s a delicious warming soup with deep flavours. Perfect comfort food on a cold day and well worth the effort.

Start by making a good vegetable stock mine was mainly made of leek and mushroom trimmings and a carrot. While your stock is simmering peel and slice about 900g – 1kg of onions. I caramelise the onions in a wide frying pan rather than in the soup saucepan as it’s got a much larger surface area. I melted about 75g butter in the pan and then as the onions softened and started to turn golden brown I added 2 cloves of crushed garlic and fried for a while longer. As the onions started to brown I added a tsp. of brown sugar and a tbsp. of balsamic vinegar and fried some more as they browned and caramelised. I then added a tbsp. of plain flour and stirred that in. I then transferred the onions into a thick bottomed saucepan and put a couple of ladles of stock in the frying pan and poured this into the saucepan too. I poured on more stock in total about 900ml and added a 330ml bottle of cider (you can also use white wine which is more traditional but I like the flavour the cider gives the soup), a tsp. of marmite, a couple of bay leaves, a pinch or two of dried thyme (you can use fresh if you have it) and a good grinding of black pepper. I then brought the soup to a boil and then simmered it covered for about 15 mins. Taste and check the seasoning. Meanwhile I lightly toasted 8 slices of French bread and grated about 120g of Gruyère cheese (Emmental is also good) and heated up by grill to hot. Then put 4 bowls on a baking tray and ladled the soup into them (removing the bay leaves) and put two slices of toasted bread on each and liberally covered each with cheese and them ground a little pepper on the top and pout them under the grill for a few minutes until the cheese melted and started to brown. Serve immediately.



Baking, Something sweet

Healthy chocolate and beetroot cake


This is based on a great recipe from the Green Kitchen Stories blog. It’s a healthy chocolate cake using beetroot, olive oil and honey. It makes a nice moist earthy chocolate cake.

So what do you need?

  • 150ml olive oil
  • 120 ml honey (or maple syrup)
  • 100g plain (70% cocoa) chocolate
  • a pinch of salt
  • 250g grated raw beetroot
  • 125g of sour cream
  • 3 free-range eggs
  • 200g plain flour
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp. baking powder

For icing (optional)

  • 25g sour cream
  • 50 g chocolate
  • 1 tbsp. honey

So what do you do?

First preheat your oven to 175 degrees C / 350 F. Then in a medium / large saucepan warm the olive oil and honey and break in the chocolate and warm until the chocolate melts. Then add a pinch of salt and the sour cream and mix it in. (The pot of sour cream I bought was 145g so I saved about 25g to make some chocolate icing.) Then add the grated beetroot and mix it into the chocolate. Next sieve the flour, cocoa and baking powder and mix them into the chocolate mixture. Grease a 23 cm bunt tin with olive oil and pour the cake mixture in. Cook for about 35 mins. until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

To serve either dust withy icing sugar or make a chocolate icing by meting some chocolate in a bowl over some hot water, then mix in sour cream and honey and drizzle / spread it over the cake.



Baking, Tarts, Veggie mains

Rustic roasted vegetable tart


This makes a delicious meal with a salad and is a lot easier than a quiche and is packed with lots of veggies. Serve with a green salad, it’s great for a picnic too. This will serve 4 people as a main meal.

So what do you need?

  • 120g plain (all purpose) flour
  • 80g whole meal flour
  • 100g salted butter
  • 1 free-range egg
  • 2 tbsp. milk
  • 2 tbsp. sesame seeds
  •  1 tbsp.chia seeds
  • 1kg of veggies (e.g. courgettes, mushrooms, peppers, onions, cherry tomatoes)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper corns
  • 2 chillies (optional)
  • 100g goats’ cheese
  • a few sprigs or oregano

So what do you do?

Start by pre-heating your oven to 200 degrees C / 400 F, if you have a pizza stone put it in the oven to heat up. Next make the pastry. In a food processor, or a bowl, mix together the flour and butter and then add the sesame seeds and chia seeds. Beat the egg and the milk together and put about 80% of it in the pastry and mix it together until it forms a nice ball. Flatten it into a disc and put it in a plastic bag and put it in the fried to rest.

Now chop up your vegetables and put them in a large roasting tin. Crush the garlic with the slat and about 1/2 tsp. of peppercorns and the chillies then add these along with the olive oil and bay leaves into the roasting tin and mix everything together. Put in the oven and cook for 40 minutes turning the veggies a couple of times. You don’t want them completely cooked as they will cook more in the tart.

When the veggies have been in the oven half an hour take you pastry out of the fridge for about 5 minutes and then roll it out to about 35 – 40 cms in diameter. Put it on your pizza stone or a baking tray. Mix some oregano leaves into your roasted veg, remove the bay leaves and then spread the veggies onto the pastry, leaving about 6 cms around the side. Next fold the sides of the pastry up over the veggies to form a crust, don’t worry about making it perfect this is rustic tart! Glaze the pastry crust with the remaining egg mixture. Then cut the goats’ cheese into discs and put them on top of the veggies and grind some pepper on top. Put the tart back in the oven. After about 15 mins reduce the heat to 180 degrees C / 350 F and cook for another 15-20 mins. until the pastry and the cheese are golden brown. Take the tart out of the oven and allow to cool for 15 mins before serving.