Parsnip, Honey and Walnut Cake

This cake is absolutely ‘divine’!  It was created by Sabrina Ghayour, a self-confessed foodie, for this year’s Portobello Market ‘Roots Festival’. Do check out her blog and the supper club she hosts.

As for parsnip in a cake? Not as odd as it sounds. Carrot is popular but we’ve been known to use butternut squash, courgettes and beetroot all to great effect. A great way to sneak in some veg for the kids don’t you think?

Photo credit: Sabrina Ghayour

  • 225g plain flour
  • 1 heaped tsp soda bicarbonate
  • 1 heaped tsp baking powder
  • 2 heaped tsps cinnamon
  • 4 medium free range eggs
  • 100ml clear honey
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract
  • 180ml olive oil
  • 400g parsnips, peeled and finely grated
  • 150g walnuts, roughly chopped
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients in one bowl – flour, cinnamon, soda bicarbonate and baking powder.
  3. In a separate bowl,  beat the eggs. Then add the oil, vanilla extract, sugar and honey to the beaten eggs to make a smooth mixture.
  4. Pour the wet mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Blend.
  5. Add the grated parsnip and chopped walnuts and stir carefully until you get a smooth cake batter.
  6. Line a 24cm spring-form sandwich tin with oven paper (not greaseproof) and pour in the cake mix. Bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes. Once ready, a knife inserted into the cake will come out clean. Allow to cool before serving.

 

 

Jacket Potato in Vegetable Heaven

Nothing beats a baked potato for a quick, filling and healthy meal. But sometimes you want a topping that’s just a little more exciting than baked beans and cheese, coleslaw or tuna and mayo.

Enter our baked potato with roasted veg. It’s quick and easy. And no slaving over the stove. You get to open that bottle of wine and relax while everything cooks in the oven. And more veg means more of your 5-a-day.

What do you put on your jacket potato?

Serves 2 (can easily be doubled)

  • 2 medium sized jacket potatoes
  • 2 peppers, cut into chunks
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2 tomatoes, cut into chunks
  • olive oil
  • mixed herbs (fresh or dried, optional)
  • a handful of your favourite cheese (cheddar, mozzarella, edam, gouda)
  1. Scrub the potatoes clean. Prick with a fork and then rub a little olive oil and sea salt on the potato for a crispy skin. Start baking in the oven at 190 degrees for about 60 minutes (longer if you have bigger potatoes). For a quick alternative, microwave following your machine’s instructions.
  2. In the meantime, toss all the veg into a baking tray and drizzle with some olive oil, mixed herbs (optional), salt and black pepper. Roast for 3o minutes in the preheated oven.
  3. To serve, place the roasted veg on the potato and top with the cheese. Return to the oven for a few minutes until the cheese melts.

Serve with a big green salad.

Note: you can vary the vegetables to add whatever you have to hand. Courgettes, aubergines, mushrooms would all work well. And if you’re in a feta cheese mood, ignore step 3 and just crumble the feta into the veg before serving.

Chinese New Year: Noodle Stir Fry with Shrimp

Monday 23rd January marks the beginning of the Year of the Dragon.

To celebrate, why don’t you invite some friends over and try making this simple noodle dish. The shrimp, pronounced ‘ha’ in Chinese symbolises happiness and laughter while the noodles represent long life (so don’t cut them).

If you don’t eat shrimp, try some other meat, tofu or leave it out altogether. Other veggies would also work. Try some sliced peppers or mushrooms.

Serves 2

  • 200g noodles, any that you prefer
  • 250g shrimp, deveined
  • 1.5 tsp seasalt
  • 0.5 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 tsp finely minced garlic
  • 50g carrots, cut into matchsticks
  • 50g mangetout, sliced thinly
  • 1.5 tsp soya sauce
  • 0.25 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  1. Bring water to the boil and boil noodles according to the instructions on the packet.
  2. To cook the shrimp, heat some oil in a wok until very hot. Add the shrimp in an even layer and fry until cooked through halfway, about 1 minute each side. The shrimp should be vibrantly pink. Set aside on a plate.
  3. Turn down the heat in the wok and add garlic. Fry until fragrant, about 15 seconds, and then add the carrots and snow peas. Stir fry for 1 minute until they are cooked but retain a nice crunch. Add the soya sauce and rice wine.
  4. Increase heat to high and add in the cooked noodles and shrimp. Toss to combine and stir fry for a couple more minutes until the shrimp is fully cooked through.
  5. Toss with sesame oil and sesame seeds. Garnish with a few sprigs of coriander to serve.

Gung Hay Fat Choy, or Happy Chinese New Year!

3 ways with bananas you probably didn’t know

Who doesn’t like bananas? They’re the perfect on the go snack neatly wrapped in their own biodegradable packaging. And for about 100 calories, they pack a solid nutritional punch.

But here are 3 ways with bananas you probably didn’t know.

  1. Boil a banana skin. Researchers in Taiwan have found that banana peel contains ingredients that increase levels of the happy hormone serotonin. To reap the benefits they suggest you drink the water in which you’ve boiled a banana skin (10-15 minutes). Tastes like camomile tea with a banana kick.
  2. Mash for a moisturising face mask. Nothing beats a home-made, ultra-nourishing face mask that leaves your skin looking and feeling smoother. Mash a ripe banana and mix it with 1 teaspoon honey and 2 teaspoons yoghurt. Apply evenly to the face and neck and let it set for 10-20 minutes. Rinse off with cold water. Easy and it doesn’t break the bank.
  3. Make healthy one-ingredient creamy ice-cream. Oh yes. This does exactly what is says on the tin. Peel a ripe banana, cut it into coins and freeze for 1-2 hours. Blend frozen banana pieces scraping down the sides of the bowl as it sticks. Watch the magic transformation from crumbly, to smooth and creamy. At this point, you could add peanut butter or honey. For soft serve, eat as is or for regular ice cream, freeze again in an airtight container. Yum, and healthy. Result.

Healthy snacks under 200 calories

According to research, more than 90% of people who made healthy eating resolutions in the New Year are likely to have already given up. And poor snacking habits are one of the major downfalls. That time in between main meals can be tough. So we’ve brainstormed our 5 simplest and favourite healthy snacks.

Here are our top 5 healthy fruit and veggie snacks under 200 calories.

1. Carrots and cucumber sticks dipped into houmous

2. Blueberries topped with a dollop of greek yoghurt and some honey

3. Sugar snap peas sprinkled with parmesan

4. Apple and banana slices dunked into peanut butter

5. Almonds and oranges (12 almonds and 1 orange to be exact for a perfectly balanced snack)

And here’s our challenge to you. Once a week for the next 5 weeks, substitute one of your unhealthy snacks with one of our healthy snacks. Try it!

Cumin Scented Butternut Squash Soup

Sometimes you just need some dependable, quick, tasty and healthy recipes to turn to after a busy day at work. This is one of them. It’s spicy and warming, and great for when it’s cold outside.

Serves 4

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 litre hot vegetable stock
  • salt & pepper to taste
  1. Heat some olive oil in a large saucepan and add the sliced onions. Saute for a few minutes until the onions soften and becoming translucent.
  2. Add the cumin seeds and heat for 30 seconds. You don’t want the spices to burn but just release their flavour.
  3. Add the butternut squash and vegetable stock to the pan. Bring to the boil and then simmer for about 15 minutes.
  4. Whiz in a blender until smooth. Season to taste and serve with crusty fresh bread.

Enjoy. And here’s to a Healthy and Happy New Year!