Saturday, 2 August 2014

Pretty on a plate

Having made up my own nectarine and goats cheese salad the other day, I decided to try and stick more closely to the Hemsley and Hemsley recipe today.

I bought some beautiful flat peaches at the local market, defrosted some peas and got going.

The original recipe has fried yellow courgettes in it but I didn't bother with those, just didn't fancy it.  I also changed the dressing as I couldn't imagine how an olive oil and balsamic dressing would work with the flavours so quickly shook up some olive oil, honey and apple cider vinegar.

It looked SO nice.  I just wanted to sit and look at it. I even got my best plates out in honour of it's prettiness.

So, even though I already posted about my first self concocted version of this salad, I feel compelled to post about this even prettier version with about 8 million photos of its loveliness.


Since Alex mentioned there was a new yogurt out made just from coconut milk, I was looking forward to trying it.  He found one in Clerkenwell Waitrose the other day so bought two.


It is SO delicious.  Creamy, coconutty yuminess.

But, at £1.60 each and 13g of sat fat per 100g (and a pot is 125g), it's not exactly the light option where either the wallet or the waistline are concerned.

One for the odd treat pile I think...

...or maybe I'll just try making me own.  Watch this space ;)

Something for the Weekend

Whilst I normally make myself a smoothie for breakfast during the week, at the weekends I like to make something a bit more special and brunchy for the both of us.

I love an indulgent breakfast, whether it's eggs benedict on a lovely, squashy muffin, or a big fat almond croissant or a stack of pancakes drizzled with maple syrup. Mmmmmm.

What I don't love, though, is how eating those things tends to make me feel.  Mostly greasy, dirty, sluggish and bloated.  With a headache.  Nice.

So, I like to find ways of creating delicious, indulgent breakfasts that taste just as yummy and feel like as much of a treat as their naughtier cousins, but are in fact much, much nicer to my mood and body. Sometimes that's by making things up myself, other times it's following recipes, or a bit of both.

Today we settled for pancakes and chose a grain free pancake recipe using coconut flour which you can find here.  I had some coconut flour in the cupboard from an experimental banana bread I made a while back so I dug it out.

I fully intended to follow the recipe properly as pancakes can be a bit funny, but Alex mentioned getting some flaxseed into the mix so I did.  Only the packet sort of slipped in my hand and I ended up chucking rather a lot more flax in than I intended which meant the mixture then looked a bit dry.  Having seen a load of recipes for greek yogurt pancakes earlier this morning I decided to counteract that dryness by chucking in a few spoonfuls of greek yogurt too.  So now nowhere near the original recipe. Oh well.

Anyway, they did take quite a long time to cook and didn't hold their shape that well.  That could be the coconut flour as it is a tricky one, or it could be my flax addition.

Texture wise they weren't as light as they could have been or others that we've tried...but again that could be because we totally fiddled with the recipe!

However, once we'd chucked on some berries, greek yogurt and pure maple syrup, it was just the yummy, indulgent, filling breakfast we wanted without any of the manky side effects or guilt of its less healthy alternative.  (Still prefer the banana and almond meal version I made once before, if only I could find the recipe...)

Go-to Gravel

Well what a busy week.

Have swum in lakes and rivers, cached like a mad thing (25 in one day at one point!), kayaked in the pouring rain, walked in the countryside and spent an entire, sweltering day sorting out the garden.  Today's mammoth kayaking jaunt saw us in the thing for nearly 4 hours, against the wind and the current and up a cut that looked anything but navigable.  But we survived and saw 2 kingfishers in return, even if it did mean not eating lunch until about 5pm.

So, not massively surprising that my back, which had mentioned to me earlier in the week that I ought to just be careful, decided to pay me back and seized up with a vengeance.

Which meant that when Alex came home, quite rightly in search of dinner, there wasn't any.

"It's ok, I'll just get a takeaway" he offered.  "No", I said, best wifely martyr face on, "I'm sure I can rustle something or other together."

My favourite (shop bought) dressing
Determined not to be beaten by any of aforementioned setbacks, I shuffled about the kitchen grabbing a selection of random things and assembled them on a plate.  I say random, I did at least attempt to make sure there was a vegetable contingent and a protein contingent (got to love keeping a stash of tinned beans of various descriptions for such moments). Luckily my husband is not of the variety that insists on there being meat on the plate before it is deemed meal worthy.

Turns out I accidentally made a decent enough salad in less time than it would have taken to say "chicken fried rice" (which I guarantee he would have said, had I not made him dinner).  Thanks to a packet of ready made gravel, without which it would have been a bit light and empty and husband would have been hungry again a few minutes later.

Gravel is what my mum and brother label any kind of weird (to them) and wonderful (to me) grain/pulse/wheat type concoction they find in my fridge. I think today's mix included quinoa, blugar wheat, lentils and soy flakes (which sounds vile but is nice).  Apparently my brother was once heard declaring

"There's no point looking for stuff to eat in Emma's fridge, all she has in there is gravel."

Well, gravel saved the day today and will continue to remain a staple in my basked and my fridge so there.