Peach and Banana lollies #TastyTuesdays

Banana Peach lolly

It was quite hot last week. I thought I might try my hand at some home made ice lollies but I wanted something a bit unusual and I found this recipe on Pinterest. It includes plain almond milk – I’m experimenting with various dairy alternatives at the moment – for no good reason other than curiousity really but I hope that this will appeal to anyone who is lactose intolerant or suffers dairy related allergies.

Ingredients

peach & banana lolly ingredients

I used one ripe banana which had been frozen in advance (this apparently helps with the texture of the final product); about half a tin of peach slices (although you could use a fresh ripe peach), about 250ml of almond milk (I used plain); a tsp of vanilla essence and a squirt of agava nectar (to taste – I probably used a bit too much as my banana was really ripe and very sweet already!); and a pinch of cinnamon.

Whizz all the ingredients up together and pour into moulds:

peach & banana ice lolly making

Leave in the freezer for a couple of hours until set and enjoy!

(I assume that the tip about having the banana frozen in advance has to do with the fact that, oftentimes, homemade ice lollies come out with an unpleasant, sharp little ice shard texture. Apparently this is to do with the fact that home freezers do not freeze fast enough so speeding up the process by having a colder mix to start with should help. I will probably try freezing other fruit ingredients next time too).

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Easy Chocolate Banana Cake (free from wheat & dairy)

Choc banana cake

Anyone who has been reading this blog recently will know that I’m on a bit of a health kick at the moment and trying to be relatively virtuous – avoiding refined sugar and carbs where possible. I have had hardly any bread, lots of salads with protein rich ingredients for lunches and dinners and the odd potato. But what I miss is my sweet treats. I have a very sweet tooth and I do like my cakes and pastries but they are most definitely off the agenda right now. With this in mind I decided to look into baking an alternative version of a cake – one with no flour or sugar added (other than the sugar from the fruit).

My go to free-from guru on all things healthy like this is the lovely Mummy Tries who is currently on a very strict ‘GAPS’ diet – see her blog Mummy Tries Gaps for more info on this. I know she has lots of recipes over there so I searched under ‘banana’ (I had a couple of over-ripe ones going spare) and came up with the following recipe:

Ingredients:

50g Cocoa Powder
50g ground almonds
2 eggs
2 tbsp coconut oil and extra for greasing (I wasn’t really aware of coconut oil before this but I’ve read up on it now and bought some – it has the most fab health benefits and is probably the best type of fat there is with all sorts of uses)
80ml coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 medium size ripe bananas

Method:

Mixing the batter

Into the oven

Chocolatey slab

Preheat oven to 175C/Gas 4 and grease loaf tin with some coconut oil.

Put all ingredients together in a bowl and whisk up (I just stirred with a wooden spoon).

Pour ingredients into tin and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes. This is what the original recipe says but I have a dodgy old gas oven and I found it took the best part of 40 minutes to get the cake to firm up in the middle (fortunately it didn’t burn though!).

I have been enjoying this cake with a drizzle of my Sainsburys Taste the Difference Mexican Orange Blossom Honey, or a side helping of strawberries and it really is a tasty treat! I also had a fair bit of coconut milk left over and I’ve used it to make an orange and coconut smoothie and a strawberry, banana and coconut milkshake as well as trying it as an alternative to cow’s milk in tea. It was quite refreshing and different. Loving all this coconut!

Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

 

Pork marinaded in garlic, ginger, soy and red chillis #TastyTuesdays

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Bit of a late addition to the Tasty Tuesdays here but I had to cook this for my dinner so I couldn’t take the photos til I was in the throes! (I know bad planning on my part – should have had it for dinner last night!).

This is a dish that I chanced upon last summer when I was looking for an addition to my somewhat limited dinner repertoire. We often have beef or chicken or even fish but not often pork. I was put off pork as a child by my (very well-meaning and lovely) Nana who used to cook pork chops to within an inch of their life! It was a bit like eating the sole of someone’s shoe unfortunately (she was more a pudding person).

This particular pork dish allows you to create the most wonderful, soft, melt in your mouth meat (or old boot leather – whatever your preference…) and it also gives me the opportunity to whip out my George Forman (any excuse!) for a lovely low fat meal.

Now, I’m not by any means a lover of spicy hot food – I’m good for a medium curry but not much beyond. For that reason the red chillis in this dish work just fine for me – a nice heat on the palate afterwards.

What you will need is:

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Some pork. I like these nice lean medallions, or a pork fillet cut up into medallions – not the cheapest but often on offer if you don’t mind buying extra for the freezer. I would say about three medallions per person is about right. You need to create a marinade by grating about a thumb-sized piece of root ginger, chopping one red chilli pepper, crushing a large clove of garlic and adding all these ingredients to a freezer bag along with a tablespoon of toasted sesame oil, a couple of tablespoons of reduced sodium soy sauce and a couple of teaspoons of brown sugar (this adds a delicious caramelisation to the cooking meat).

Chuck the ingredients plus medallions into the bag, squish about a bit and leave to marinade for, I’d say at least an hour but I left mine all day in the fridge.

When you’re ready to cook, heat your grill and chuck the meat on.

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Soon it should start looking a bit like this:

 

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I’d say give it at least 20 minutes, turning regularly, depending on the thickness of the pieces of meat. I cut sideways through to check that they aren’t still raw in the middle, but I like them just cooked so that they retain that softness which is just such a beautiful texture.

I ate mine with some brown rice and a little salad, but this would probably be quite nice shredded up with salad in a sandwich or flatbread or with some crushed new potatoes and green beans.
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Toffee Apple Muffins #TastyTuesdays #Recipe of the week

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Before my 18 month old, EJ, was born in July 2012 I had a window of opportunity to do a bit of baking at a time when my then two year old was still taking lunchtime naps. I knew that I wanted to do something quick and easy and quickly discovered that muffins would be ideal for the purpose. I tried out several different kinds at the time but I think these toffee apple ones were my favourites. I served them up as a dessert at a barbeque (I know most people think Barbeque = Meat but my philosophy is, where there’s a main meal [of any kind] there should always be some sort of dessert too!). They went down very well!

I also took some of these in for my work colleagues on another occasion and lets just say there weren’t any left over!

350g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground mixed spice
240g golden caster sugar
2-3 dessert apples peeled, cored and finely chopped
3 large eggs, beaten
120ml vegetable oil
100 ml milk
150g soft toffees, chopped (I used Sainsburys Mini fudge chunks from the bakery aisle which were perfect)

1 Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4 and line a 12-hole muffin tray with paper cases. Sift the flour, baking powder and mixed spice into a large bowl and stir in the sugar. Make a well in the dry ingredients.

2 Add the chopped apples, eggs, oil and milk in the middle of the well, and fold the mixture together with a large metal spoon, using as few strokes as possible. Don’t worry if the mixture is lumpy, the trick behind the lightest muffins is not to overwork the batter. At this point I also stir through a decent amount of the fudge pieces.

3 Fill the paper cases with the mixture, then sprinkle over the some more fudge pieces for decoration. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the muffins are well risen and golden.

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