Monday, 20 March 2017

Smashed Banana Pancakes

I fancied something tropical and healthy for breakfast but not something boring. I'm trying to eat more protein based dishes as I find that protein based dishes keeps me going for longer. I never associated pancakes with being good for you, but I found a recipe that combines both sweet and is protein based from Caribbean Modern. I'm a big supporter of anything Caribbean and I loved the tropical and sunshine feel to these pancakes. I topped mine with a drizzle of golden syrup and dates, which combined with the bananas made a welcoming change for the usual breakfast fare.



Serves 4-6
Makes about 8-12 pancakes
Time: 10 minutes prep & 20 minutes cooking.

Ingreidents
25g self-raising four, sifted
1/2 tsp baking powder 
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp cocoa nibs or chocolate chips
pinch sea salt
4 large, overripe bananas, roughly mashed with a fork
1 tbsp maple syrup
3 small free-range eggs, beaten
2 tbsp natural yogurt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 free-range egg whites
pinch of cream of tartar
virgin coconut oil, for frying,

Method
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, cocoa nibs (or chocolate chips) and salt until well combined. 
Place the smashed banana in a separate, large bowl, along with the maple syrup, then stir in the flour mixture then the beaten eggs, yoghurt and vanilla extract until well combined.
In a separate  bowl, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of cream of tartar until soft peaks remain when the whisk is removed.
Mix a quarter of the egg whites into the banana mixture then gently fold in the remainder.
In a large frying pan, on a medium heat, a tablespoon of coconut oil, tilting the pan to ensure the oil covers the base. Ladle out a little of the batter (about 4-5 tablespoons) and tilt around the pan so that the batter forms roughly a 10cm pancakes. Cook until the pancake is golden and dry underneath, about 30 seconds to a minute, then flip over and cook for a further 30 seconds to a minute, until the pancake is cooked through. Repeat with the remaining bate and serve immediately with a topping of your choice. 

xxx

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Friday, 17 March 2017

Fried Dumplings

Fried Dumplings are the perfect for carnival snack and you will almost certainly see this as a side dish during the festivities. I watched my nan make these crispy delights as a child, with a very simple batter of flour, water and salt. My uncle  took the fried dumplings to a whole new level with his flour, butter, milk and salt combo, fried in the deep fat fryer..... mmmmm, I’m salivating thinking how gorgeous his version were. My dumplings are a hybrid between the two, crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.

 You will need a large  mixing bowl and a wok.
Makes 12 – 15 dumplings

Ingredients
600 self-raising flour
75g margarine
225ml semi-skimmed milk
½ teaspoon salt
2 – 3 tablespoons of water 
200ml vegetable oil for frying.

Method
Sift the flour, in the mixing bowl and add the salt and the margarine. It’s probably easier to mix in the margarine using your fingertips. Pour half the milk into the flour and mix using a wooden spoon. Pour the remaining milk and water into the flour, mix again.  Turn the flour onto a floured surface and using your hands begin to knead the dough for 10 minutes, you are after a dough that resembles bread dough.
Form the dough into 12 – 15 balls. Pour the oil into the wok, turn the heat on high until the oil is hot (drop a small cube of bread and after 1 minute the bread should be golden brown). When you are ready to fry the dumplings, turn the heat on low, place the dumplings in the wok and fry for 4 minutes on each side, until golden brown.

 Test they are cooked by pushing a fork in the middle of the dumplings, if it yields and the fork comes out clean, its ready to come out of the oil.
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Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Hotel Chocolat Just Mik Easter Egg

It's Easter next month. Two bank holidays to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus. Somehow, chocolate has become synonymous with Easter with Easter traditions being celebrated in different ways throughout the world. In Jamaican culture, the traditional Easter is Jamaican bun with cheese. In England there's literally hundreds of Easter Eggs, from the cheaper end to the luxury scale. As one for luxury, I am always impressed by the wonderful range of luxury Easter Eggs that Hotel Chocolat has to offer. What I like about Hotel Chocolat Easter Eggs is that it's a world away from the cheaper chocolates, their Easter Eggs are super thick, luxurious and rich.
This year I was lucky enough to receive the Just Milk Easter Egg, retailing at £27 includes half 40% milk, half 50% milk, egg piled high with creamy pralines and velvety-soft truffles. 


Do take a look at your local Hotel Chocolat store or online and treat yourself or a loved one to a luxurious chocolate. I have one Just Milk Easter Egg to giveaway. All you have to do is follow the instructions on below.

  • Follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter widget.
  • Join my blog and leave a comment (click on the left hand of the right side of the website using Google Friend Connector), this is an ESSENTIAL REQUIREMENT.
  • For additional entries, like my Facebook page, follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Google Plus.
  • All entries will be checked and verified.
  • Rafflecopter will pick a winner at random. 
  • The competition will run from 14.03.17 - 09.04.17.
  • Winners will need to respond in 1 working day of being contacted.
  • The competition is open to UK residents, aged 18 or over.
  • Hotel Chocolat is responsible for posting the chocolates, alternatives may be given if the Extra Thick Easter Egg is not available.
Disclaimer: I received the Extra Thick Easter Egg for review purposes. 

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Sunday, 5 March 2017

Flapjacks

I love a quick and easy tray bake. With life being super busy at the moment, I haven't had the chance to make any elaborate baking. I, however, always have time to make a quick and easy tray bake. I've made the recipe before and it's incredibly easy and quick to make.



Makes 16
175g butter
350g jumbo oats
a pinch of salt
175g light brown sugar
100g dark chocolate (optional)

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C and grease and line a 20x 20 x 2cm square tin with non-stick baking parchment. Take half the oats and process them in a blender or food processor until they are reduced to a coarse powder. Tip them in a bowl. Add all the remaining oats and the salt, and mix well.
Heat the butter, sugar and syrup in a small saucepan over a low heat until the butter is melted and the sugar dissolved. Pour into the oats and stir well to combine.
Tip into the prepared tin and level the top carefully, using the back of a spoon to press it down well. Make the surface as even as possible, especially along the edges and in the corners.
Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and slightly puffy, but check periodically to make sure the mixture is browning evenly. It should be evenly golden, bubbling a little have a wonderful nutty, buttery smell.
Leave to cool a little in the tin, then and cut into 4 along each side. Cool completely in the tin.
If using the chocolate, melt it in a heat bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl doesn't touch the water.
Pipe or drizzle the chocolate in lines back and forth across the pieces, or dip each one to coat half the top. Leave to set, and store in an airtight tin. These are best eaten within a day or two of baking.
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Sunday, 26 February 2017

Orange, Date & Chili Salad

I was in my local Poundland tossing in bits and bobs in my basket, when I discovered a healthy collection of cookery books. I was spoilt for choice, a cook book on Tuscan cuisine, Spanish cuisine, utilising your own vegetables in your garden and a Chocolate baking book. Having become easily distracted by a cookery book focusing on one of my favourite cuisines: Middle Eastern Food, I decided on purchasing entitled "200 easy tanginess & more". Rich hearty tagines, light refreshing fish dishes and sweet and savoury salad combinations. I strongly recommend that you take a trip to Poundland and treat yourself to an absolute bargain and a gem of a cookery book. 

This cookery book focused on 200-Moroccan-style recipes including tanginess, salads and snacks. The first recipe I tried was incredibly simple: Orange, Date & Chili Salad. Sweet, yet the chili adds a quick and I served this as part of a Middle Eastern Feast which included a hearty tagine and Middle Eastern spiced vegetables and pitta bread. If you can manage to get your hands on a pomegranate, sprinkle the seeds of half a pomegranate over salad, it adds a crunch. 



Orange, Date & Chili Salad
Ingredients
Serves: 4
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
3-4 ripe sweet oranges
150g ready to eat soft pitted dates, finely sliced
2-3 tbsp orange blossom water
1 red chili, deseeded and finely sliced
finely sliced rind of 1/2 preserved lemon. 
handful of pomegranate seeds (optional)

Method
Remove the peel and pith from the oranges with a sharp knife. Place the oranges on a plate to catch the juice and thinly slice into circles or half moons, removing any seeds. Place the oranges and juice in a shallow bowl. 
Scatter over the dates, then pour over the orange blossom water. Cover and leave to stand for 15 minutes to let the flavours mingle and date soften. 
Sprinkle over the chili and preserved lemon and toss together. If you are using pomegranate seeds scatter over. 


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