Friday, 25 January 2013

Homemade chocolate spread

I have been experimenting with making my own chocolate from scratch, because I love it and wish it was healthier to it, so I could eat more of it.

So I looked up some recipes, thanks Google, and recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie (healthy desert blog) looked the most promising.

Currently hoping to set - I have some R2D2 chocolate in the fridge, which will go into the freezer once it starts to become a bit more solid.

This is using 1/4 cup cocoa powder, 1/4 cup coconut oil, 1 tbsp agave. Fingers crossed this works! I think it going to need some tweaking to be sweeter but that's all part of the fun.

R2D2, how else would you have your chocolate?
The first time I tried this I misread the recipe as I often do, thinking I could treble or quadruple the agave to make it sweet. And indeed you and it tastes lovely.

But, it doesn't set to be solid chocolate bars. What it does make is amazing chocolate spread!

To make the spread I used:

1/4 cup of cocoa powder, 2 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil (melted) and 1/4 cup of agave.

Once the coconut oil is melted add the cocoa and agave and stir until everything is well mixed and pour into a your mold.

This spread is good on toast, mixed into plain (soya) yoghurt, or straight out of the tub - that's the way I like it best.

So the chocolate making experiment goes on, will keep you posted :)

Friday, 18 January 2013

It is most definitely the time of year for soup.

Really that's all year round for me mostly, but even more so in the winter. I eat A LOT of soup, if you hadn't already guessed. For me soup is always a good choice, because...

- its generally quite easy to make yourself
- good way of using up leftovers or stuff thats about to go out of date
- or a cheap work lunch option
- you can often get most of your 5 a day in one bowl
- its easy to digest
- its usually warm and comforting...
- and filling!

My soup needs to be chunky or thick and well blended. Nothing watery for me, I'm not a consomme person.  And despite loving tomatoes and mushroom, there soup cannot pass my lips, another quirky of mine. I find them to intense and rich. Its strange.

Homemade soup favourites:

From Jamie's Ministry of Food:
- sweet potato & sausage (I substituted chorizo for gluten free sausages)
- Lentil and spinach - the name doesn't really do it justice

Simply Vegetarian by Tracy Culleton, Dee Higgs 
& the Vegetarian Society of Ireland. This one isn't widely available but its a no fuss book that I got in Dublin many years ago when I was a veggie. The curried parsnip soup gets a big thumbs up wherever you get the recipe from.

New Covent Garden Food Co - Soup For All Seasons.
This is a book for all your soup needs and its seasonal - bonus! There are several soup recipes for very month of the year. Most of the ones a like best come from autumn / winter recipe - probably cos I love the root veg. They even have dessert soups but I haven't tried these yet.
- sweet potato, butternet squash & smoked chilli
- maple roast parsnip
- bacon, broccoli & celeriac
- pea & ham
- caramelised root veg
- broccoli, leek & potato

I have just discovered they have a book with 365 soup recipe, most interesting, I must investigate.

Jamie's Magazine, Delicious Magazine, Waitrose LIVE, and BBC Food always offer inspiration, if you don't want to just bung some veggies in a pan with some stock.

Ready Made Soup

Many of the convent garden ready made soups are delicious and filling. There are so many to choose from veg & meat are both good, but its worth checking the ingredients for unexpected ingredients - for example milk in best veg soup.

Waitrose do massive pots of fresh yummy soup, I particularly like Chicken & Quinoa.

And smaller pouches (if your stomach isn't that big) such as the Organic Red Pepper & Med Veg.

For tinned soup, that keeps forever in the cupboard, the brand I like the best is Amy's Kitchen for their chunky filling gluten free veg soups. I'd happily eat any of them (apart from the tomato and mushroom, but thats just me).

Eating out - its ok to have soup as your main... especially if its an enormous bowl of Pho. I often can't finish it cos there is so much in one portion & as its combine yourself (for take away) you can make it as spicy as you can take.

Wagamama's itame's also give you a never ending bowl of chunky soup. 

For smaller bowls, get a takeaway from Nusa - I like that its always and easy to see which soup will meet your dietary specs.

All this thinking about soup has made me hungry, I better go eat...

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Homemade rindless marmalade

I like the taste of marmalade, but mine not a fan of lots of bits in my preserves. Making your own means you make it the way you like and you get to use up fruit that your not sure what else to do with. Its quick to make to, in about 15 minutes.

This recipe was adapted from The Able & Cole Veg Box Companion.

The Ingredients

The Method
Juice your oranges and measure much you juice you have.

Measure out the same amount of honey as you have juice.

Put the juice in a saucepan, let it bubble on a medium heat.
Stir in the the honey with a wooden spoon.

When it boils again, reduce the heat to a simmer for about 7 minutes, stir continuously.

At this point, it will be quite runny, but it will thicken a bit in about an hour.

It can be sorted in the fridge in a sealed glass jar for up to 3 months.

Friday, 4 January 2013

Goodbye 2012, Hello 2013

It seems the thing to do in the blogshpere at the moment is to do a review of the year. So here is mine...

I made a lot of food, some of it worked and some of it didn't.
I ate a lot of food and enjoyed most of it. 
A good result methinks. 

My new favourite things are chocolate lollipops and peanut butter squares.


Peanut butter squares
Always in the top 10 banana bread.

Newly discovered combo chocolate and liquorice.  

Liquorice, mmmm.

Amongest my favourite recipe books; Making Cupcakes with Lola, Jamie Oliver in general, and the Hairy Dieters

Workshop highlights - Waitrose Cookery School (Macaroons and  Gluten Free Baking) and Jamie Oliver's Recipease (Mexican Street Food).

Still looking for a recipe of baked gluten free donuts. I've had several attempts and they have all had to go in the bin. Something to look forward too....