‘Morning Gorgeous’ Orange and Raisin Pancakes

orange and raisin pancakesSometimes you wake up in a great mood, when I do I like to cook something fab. Normally, I’m not a big breakfast eater, I’m usually running late or trying to get the rabbit into his cage whilst brushing my teeth and tying my shoelaces at the same time. But the other day I woke up nice and early, wasn’t at work til 1 and made these fab orange and raisin pancakes for breakfast. Because you use fresh orange instead of lots of sugar and raisins for fibre, these are actually quite a healthy breakfast. I like something light to start the day, and normal pancakes can be a bit stodgy but these are lovely and light and full of summery flavours.

You will need: 75g plain flour, 1 egg, 70ml milk (I use semi skimmed), 1 tsp baking powder, the juice of one orange, 50g raisins, 1 tsp sugar, 2 tablespoons softened margarine (plus some for frying).

orange and raisin pancakesWhisk your flour, sugar and baking powder together in a bowl. Pour the milk into a jig beat the egg, milk and butter together with a fork. Add the orange juice, I squeezed it directly into the bowl, so there are some nice pulpy bits in the pancake mixture, but just use the juice if you’re not a fan of bits. Then add the milky eggy mixture and whisk everything together. Stir in the raisins and leave to stand for about twenty minutes.

Add a teaspoon of margarine or butter to a frying pan, turn up high and once it has melted, use a ladle to spoon the mixture into the pa. The trick is to use small amounts to make nice small fluffy pancakes and pour slowly so the mixture doesn’t spread too thinly. Once you see little bubbles start to form in the top of the pancakes, flip and cook until nice and golden.orange and raisin pancakes

Serve with a drizzle of orange juice or just eat them as they are. This is a fab breakfast, not too heavy, nice and sweet and a great start to the day. Morning, gorgeous!

Love, Mrs Gardom

 

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Chocolate, Ginger, Almond Easter Cake

easter layer cakeI had my in laws up for Easter this year and wanted to make a really special dessert that would feed 6, 2 of which had given up chocolate for lent! I thought about warm puddings, cheesecake, torte, all sorts, so I decided to make a combo. This was a seriously amazing dessert, super indulgent, really tasty and just so naughty! A crunchy ginger nut base, a layer of chocolate torte, topped with an almond cream – this is a real showstopper. Make it the day before you plan to serve and don’t think about the calories!!

You will need: 1 pack ginger nuts, 100g butter, 300g dark chocolate, 700ml double cream, 4 tablespoons golden syrup, 3 tablespoons soft cheese, 50g ground almonds, 4 tablespoons cinnamon, 4 chocolate bunnies, cocoa for decoration.

First of all empty the pack of ginger nuts into a large bowl and crush them until they are like breadcrumbs. Melt the butter in a pan and add the gingernut crumbs to the pan, add the golden syrup and stir until everything is combined. Cut a circle of greaseproof paper the size of your tin and place it in the bottom. I used a large springform tin. Pour the gingernut mixture into the bottom of the tin and press down with the back of a wooden spoon to make a flat layer. Cover the top of the tin with clingfilm and pop in the fridge.

For the chocolate torte layer, break the chocolate into small pieces and melt in a bowl over a pan of boiling water. Measure out 500ml cream and the chocolate starts to melt stir in the cream, a little at a time. Keep stirring with a wooden spoon, add a tablespoon of golden syrup and 2 tablespoons cinnamon. When all the ingredients are combined, whisk in a large electric mixer until little bubbles start to form then pour the mixture over the gingernut base. Clingfilm the top of the in again and leave in the fridge for another hour.

For the almond cream topping add the rest of the cream to a large mixer and whisk until it starts to thicken. Add 2 tablespoons cinnamon, then the soft cheese. Keep whisking everything together, then add the ground almonds. I whisked my mixture for about ten minutes until it formed a lovely thick creamy texture.  Check in the fridge that the torte layer has set, it should be firm to the touch. Then spoon the almond cream onto the torte layer. Use a wooden spoon to flatten the top. Place your chocolate bunnies on the top and sprinkle with a little cocoa. Cover with clingfilm and leave to set in the fridge overnight.

Easter Layer CakeWhen you are ready to serve the cake, release the springform sides of the tin and lift it off. Place the cake onto a plate or a cake stand and serve!

This is one of the most complicated recipes I have created, it is also one of the best. I think it’s great to have a lovely, restaurant quality dessert for special occasions. The almonds, chocolate, cinnamon and ginger complement each other perfectly and this is a perfect Easter treat.easter layer cake

Love, Mrs Gardom

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Perfect Nut Roast

sunday roastI hate to sound unpatriotic but British food is notoriously bland, and a roast dinner is more British than the Queen wearing a Geri Halliwell Union Jack minidress. But it’s a classic and my version is neither bland nor boring – a tasty nut roast is how a vegetarian sunday dinner should be. It’s a healthy meat alternative and a great protein source.

You will need: 5oz mixed nuts, 2oz breadcrumbs, 2 small onions, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp in marmite dissolved in 1/4 pint of  boiling water, 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice, 1oz butter.

To make the nut roast, dice your onions and put in a mixing bowl, add the breadcrumbs, then the olive oil. Stir together and then add your dissolved marmite to the bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl and stir everything, until your nut roast is a thick texture, like stuffing. sunday roastGrease a loaf tin and then cut a sheet of greaseproof paper slightly larger than the tin. Place the paper in the tin and then scoop the nut roast mixture into the loaf tin. I usually sprinkle some sunflower or pumpkin seeds on top of the nut roast for a nice crunchy topping but it’s up to you. You could also wrap it in shortcrust pastry and cheese for a special occasion.sunday roastBake your nut roast in a preheated 180 degree oven for 30 – 40 minutes. Test with a knife – if it comes out boiling it’s ready.

Serve with crunchy roast potatoes, fresh boiled vegetables, like carrots and broccoli, cauliflower cheese and vegetable gravy if you like. This is a great meal when you have friends or family over. The nut roast has a rich nutty taste and a great texture. This recipe would serve 4 so I usually keep some in the fridge for the next day and microwave it.

Love, Mrs Gardom

 

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Spicy Carrot and Coriander Soup

carrot and coriander soupI just love soup but I’ve found myself sticking to old favourites – broccoli and cashew, mushroom, lentil (see the links at the bottom of the page), so I’ve tried a new one! I like soup with a nice hit of spice so this carrot and coriander also has a big spoon of curry paste. It’s really simple, you just need to cook it for a while, it’s also a fab orange colour so would look great if you were entertaining.

You will need: 2 onions, 4 large potatoes, 2 carrots, 1 tablespoon hot curry paste (I used Madras), 2 teaspoons coriander, a teaspoon butter, 600ml vegetable stock, salt and pepper.

Dice the onions and pop them in a large saucepan with the butter. After 3 minutes add your curry paste and stir so the onions are coated. Dice the carrots and add to the pan with half the veg stock. Bring to the boil, then simmer for ten minutes. Dice the potatoes and add to the pan. Simmer for half an hour then add the coriander. carrot and coriander soupStir everything together and simmer for another 5 minutes. Blend everything together until it is a nice smooth consistency, add the rest of the stock and stir. Higher the heat and cook for another 5 minutes then serve.

This is a gorgeous soup, really spicy, really tasty and a healthy lunch. It’s also vegan, but if you wanted to add some double cream you could. It will also freeze, if you put the leftover soup into tupperware.

Love, Mrs Gardom

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Red Pepper Pasta Bake

pepper pasta bakeSometimes it’s worth just looking at the fridge and deciding to put things together that seem fairly logical. This evening I made a lovely tomatoey cheesy pasta bake, with ricotta stuffed peppers we had in the fridge. I made this bake with slightly less sauce than normal, so the cheese flavours come through. Dead quick and simple after work, really tasty and healthy, healthy as always!

You will need: a tin of tomatoes, 1 onion, 3 garlic cloves, mixed herbs, 40g cheddar cheese, 100g ricotta stuffed peppers (or if you don’t have any, use normal peppers, mushrooms, whatever 🙂 ), olive oil, 200g fusili.

pepper pasta bakeBoil your pasta in a big pan for 10 minutes. Chop up your garlic and onions and fry in olive oil, add the tinned tomatoes and the mixed herbs, and give everything a good stir. Chop the peppers in halves and grate the cheddar. Drain the pasta and put it into a casserole dish. Add the sauce and toss everything together. Pop your pepper halves in the dish and add half the grated cheese then stir. Sprinkle the other half of the cheese on top of the pasta and bake for 20 minutes on 180 degrees.

Serve straight out of the oven in a big pile and enjoy. This would be a great meal for friends if you just double the quantities. Lots of Mediterranean flavours make a really great meal.

pepper pasta bake

Love, Mrs Gardom

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Vegan Pesto Pasta Salad

Vegan Pesto Pasta SaladI’ve recently started a new job and Sam has been working loads so cooking excellent food and blogging about it has kind of been on the backburner this week! As lunch times are either just before or just after work I wanted to make something quick and healthy that could stay in the fridge. So I made my pesto pasta salad. I always make this for buffets or family parties because it is just so simple yet the taste and texture are awesome. These quantities are for a massive batch that you can shove in a bowl, leave in the fridge, and grab yourself a plate in a rush but if you want to make smaller portions, go ahead!

You will need: 200g Fusili, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 5 tablespoons of green pesto (I love pesto!), 2 tablespoons of sunflower seeds, a good handful of walnuts, 100g pitted queen olives and 25g chopped nuts.

Pop your pasta in a pan and cook (I cook mine for 12 minutes). When it is done to your liking, drain in a colander and leave to cool. Take a large salad bowl and pour the cool pasta in. First of all add your pesto and give it a really good stir with a wooden spoon. Slice your olives and add them along with the rest of the ingredients. Season to your liking (I used aromat, black pepper, and some basil) and make sure everything is mixed together.Vegan Pesto Pata Salad

And that’s it. A really gorgeous healthy meal that takes no time to cook and is a bit different from an egg mayo sarnie. It’s also vegan (hurrah!) but if you fancy you could put some chunks of mozzarella or feta in. In fact, I am tucking into a plate myself now.

Love, Mrs Gardom

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Banana, Fruit and Nut Squares

   banana fruit nut squaresWell I thought my chocolate fudge traybake was a success so I decided to do another! I had some bananas in that were past their best (I like them when they are green!) so I decided to make a banana based cake. I must admit it was a bit of a throw everything in and hope for the best recipe, but it tastes great! Instead of just banana bread, these tasty squares are packed with raisins, nuts, maple syrup and bananas – awesome!

You will need: maple syrup, 150g sugar, 100g butter, 100g self raising flour, 25g plain flour, 3 overripe bananas, 40g chopped nuts, 2 eggs, 2 tablespoons milk, 50g raisins.

First of all preheat your oven to 190 degrees and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper, then pour a couple of tablespoons of maple syrup onto the greased baking tray (it makes the top of the squares lovely and gooey). 20140314_143136Mash the bananas in a bowl with a fork, till it forms a sort of puree. Cream your butter and sugar together in a mixer and add the eggs, banana and milk. Sift in the flour, add 3 tablespoons maple syrup, and mix it all together. Then add your raisins and nuts, mix together, and then pour the mixture into the baking tray. 20140314_143301Bake for 25 minutes, turn out on a wire rack and chop into squares.

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p style=”text-align:center;”>This is a really lovely bake, with a light, moist texture and loads of great flavours. And it has fruit in so you could even say it was healthy (I’m not convinced either!) Eat a slice as an afternoon snack with a big cup of tea, or drizzle with maple syrup and enjoy for pudding!banana fruit nut squares

Love, Mrs Gardom

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