Leek pancakes with spinach, kale and ricotta

Leek Pancakes with Spinach, Kale & Ricotta

You won’t miss out on green vegetables with these tasty leek pancakes with a spinach, kale and ricotta filling!  A great way of hiding vegetables from picky eaters too!

Leek pancakes with spinach, kale and ricotta

Shrove Tuesday is almost here and I realised I had not yet decided what we were going to eat for pancake day.   Well, I like savoury pancakes and Mr Searching for Spice likes sweet pancakes.   He’ll be happy with just freshly squeezed lemon juice and sugar but I like to be a little more experimental.  And a little less sweet.

Leek pancakes with spinach, kale and ricotta

For me, these leek pancakes with a filling of spinach, kale and ricotta are definitely the ones I would choose for my pancake day meal.  The leeks are finely diced and mixed into the pancake batter to flavour it.   I managed to hide a whole (although small) leek in the pancake batter.   You can just see the little green specks in the pictures but they’re not too obvious if you are trying to hide them from your little ones!

Leek pancakes with spinach, kale and ricotta

The filling is a simple mixture of spinach, kale and ricotta with a little nutmeg and black pepper.   You could easily just use kale or just spinach or alter the proportions.   I had an opened bag of kale  that I wanted to use up but didn’t feel it was quite enough to fill all the pancakes.   Hence the spinach too.   Depending on how healthy you want the pancakes to be and how decadent you are feelinging you could increase the amount of ricotta to make the filling creamier.   You could also add a little cheese.   I was happy with them just like this though.  They were creamy, filling but also healthy.

Leek pancakes with spinach, kale and ricotta

Master Spice however, did not want to eat his pancake the same way. He loved the actual pancakes but wouldn’t try any of the spinach and kale mixture.   Maybe it was too green for him.    Or maybe it was the fact that he’d already decided to smear ketchup, barbecue sauce and HP sauce on his pancake!  I still have leftovers in the fridge and I’m going to give it another go today.

Leek pancakes with spinach, kale and ricotta

Leek Pancakes with Spinach, Kale and Ricotta

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: Serves 4

Leek Pancakes with Spinach, Kale and Ricotta

Tasty leek pancakes which are great on their own or fill them with spinach, kale and ricotta. A great way to hide vegetables from fussy eaters!

Ingredients

  • 100g leeks, finely diced
  • 160g plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 270ml milk
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of black pepper
    For the Filling
  • 200g spinach
  • 200g kale
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • 160g ricotta

Instructions

  1. Put all the ingredients for the pancakes in a measuring jug or bowl and mix well with a fork.
  2. Heat a little oil in a frying pan and when it is hot, add a small ladle of pancake mixture to the pan. Use the back of the ladle to spread it around so it is roughly circular. Cook the pancakes on a medium heat for 1-2 minutes on each side.
  3. While making the pancakes, stir fry the kale in another pan for a couple of minutes and then add the spinach and nutmeg. When the spinach has wilted, stir in the ricotta and season with black pepper. Serve warm with the pancakes.
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Leek pancakes with spinach, kale and ricotta

Are you looking for more pancake ideas?  Why not try these goat’s cheese and vegetable pancakesbanana pancakes or banana and blueberry pancakes?

I am linking this to Simply Seasonal at Hijacked by Twins.   I’m also linking to the No Waste Food Challenge at Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary.  It’s also perfect for Meat Free Mondays at Tinned Tomatoes.  Because of all the green vegetables I’m also sharing with Eat Your Greens at The Veg Hog and A2K A Seasonal Veg Table.

Simply SeasonalNo waste food challengeMeat Free MondaysEat Your Greens

Tasty recipe for leek pancakes with a spinach, kale and ricotta filling. A healthy vegetarian recipe full of green vegetables and perfect for hiding vegetables from picky eaters
Indian Tacos

Spiced Roasted Chickpea Tacos

These spiced chickpea tacos with with roasted vegetables make a healthy nutritious meal for lunch or dinner.  Serve without the yoghurt and they’re vegan too!

Spiced chickpea tacos

Until recently I always thought of tacos as being the crunchy Tex Mex type.  I like them but they can be messy and difficult to eat.    The hard shell always seems to crack in the wrong places leaving you with the filling sliding down your fingers.   Not the type of meal to eat if you’re precious about getting messy!

Spiced chickpea tacos

However, tacos don’t have to be crunchy.   Soft tacos are simply wheat or corn tortillas wrapped around a filling.   So much easier to eat!   And over the last few years, eating food in wraps has grown in popularity in the UK.

So, when this month’s Recipe Redux theme of Taco Tuesday was announced, I decided straightaway that I would go for soft tacos.   I decided to avoid traditional Mexican flavours but to go for a more Indian inspired chickpea taco.

Spiced chickpea tacos

The spiced roasted chickpeas are really simple to make but so moreish!  Just mix together some spices and some oil then toss the chickpeas in the spicy oil.   I then roasted them in the oven along with aubergines, butternut squash and red peppers.    Tacos need sauce too so I chopped some fresh coriander leaf and stirred it into natural yoghurt.

The roasted chickpeas are good enough to snack on just by themselves but are also delicious with the sweet roasted vegetables.   It makes  tasty vegetarian meal but could also be vegan if you used vegan yoghurt.    Alternatively you could replace the yoghurt with houmous,  baba ganoush  or this carrot dip for a yummy vegan choice.

Spiced chickpea tacos

If you have children it can be fun to prepare tacos like this at home.    Just put everything down on the table and everyone can make their own taco with their favourite fillings.  The only problem is when one child wants all the chickpeas for themselves!

If you like these chickpea tacos and want more recipes using roasted chickpeas then do take a look at this roasted chickpea salad.   It also makes a simple healthy lunch.

Spiced chickpea tacos

Spiced Roasted Chickpea Tacos

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: Serves 4

Spiced Roasted Chickpea Tacos

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 400g tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/3 butternut squash, cut into thick slices
  • 2 red peppers, cut into slices
  • 1 large aubergine, cut into large pieces
  • 8 small tortillas
  • 300g natural yoghurt
  • Handful of fresh coriander (cilantro), roughly chopped

Instructions

  1. Mix the spices together with the oil in a bowl. Add the chickpeas and stir so they are coated in the spicy oil.
  2. Transfer the chickpeas to a baking tray and roast in the oven for 20 minutes at 200C.
  3. Put the vegetables on another baking tray and drizzle the leftover spicy oil over the top. Add a little extra oil if necessary and toss the vegetables in it. Put the vegetables in the oven too for 20-30 minutes.
  4. Mix most of the fresh coriander into the yoghurt. Reserve a little if you want it as a garnish.

Notes

To make this recipe vegan then use vegan yoghurt or replace the yoghurt with houmous or baba ganoush.

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Spiced chickpea tacos

Spiced roasted chickpea tacos - a healthy family recipe!

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I am sharing with Cook Blog Share hosted by Hijacked by Twins.

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egg-free chocolate muffins

Egg-Free Chocolate Muffins

These egg-free chocolate muffins are so chocolatey and moist you’d never know they were baked without eggs!  Perfect for sharing this Valentine’s Day 

egg-free chocolate muffins 1

This post didn’t start out as a Valentine’s post at all.   I wasn’t even planning to bake on the day I made these egg-free chocolate muffins.    Well,  I was planning to make them at some point. However, on this particular day I was guilt tripped into making them slightly sooner than planned.

Maybe Little Miss Spice is getting a bit spoilt but on the way to school she asked me what her after-school snack would be.   I said I wasn’t sure.   Maybe a cereal bar.

egg-free chocolate muffins

As the daughter of a food blogger, she was clearly not impressed.  She demanded to know why I hadn’t made any interesting snacks during the past week.   I pointed out that I’d made two different types of muffin the week before  but she has a rather selective memory.

The result being that once she was at school I  abandoned what I had been planning to work on. I came home and ended up researching how to make the best egg-free chocolate muffins instead.  Well, the best egg-free chocolate muffins without having to use ground flax seeds, chia seeds or aquafaba!   As I have heart-shaped silicone muffin cases at home and as Valentine’s Day was on its way, they accidentally ended up being Valentines themed too.This post didn't start out as a Valentine's post at all.   I wasn't even planning to bake on the day I made these egg-free chocolate muffins.    Well,  I was planning to make them at some point. However, on this particular day I was guilt tripped into making them slightly sooner than planned. Maybe Little Miss Spice is getting a bit spoilt but on the way to school she asked me what her after-school snack would be.   I said I wasn't sure.   Maybe a cereal bar.

You may be wondering why I wanted to make these chocolate muffins egg-free.   Well, Little Miss Spice has a friend with an egg allergy and so for a while now I’ve been planning to experiment to find the perfect cake to make for her.   I’m hoping I’ve found it!

Some people worry that egg free cakes will end up being a little dry but I was really pleased with these.  They were beautifully moist and really really chocolatey.   If you like your chocolate cake to have a strong chocolate flavour then these are definitely for you.

egg-free chocolate muffins

I’m not an expert on egg-free baking but I did feel these went drier slightly more quickly than other muffins I’ve made.  They do keep well in the freezer  though so if you want some of them to last longer than three days then just wrap them up and freeze for later.

These muffins are not vegan as I made them using cows milk.    You could easily make them vegan though by using rice, almond or soya milk instead.

egg-free chocolate muffins

 

Egg Free Chocolate Muffins

Yield: Makes about 15

These egg free chocolate muffins are perfect for a snack at any time of year and especially to share with your Valentine!

Ingredients

  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 70g cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 50g soft dark brown sugar
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 450ml milk (I used semi-skimmed)
  • 30g vegetable oil
  • 120g chocolate chips (I used milk chocolate)

Instructions

  1. Put the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder into a bowl and then sift into a large mixing bowl. Stir in the sugar.
  2. Put the milk, oil and vanilla extract into a measuring just. Whisk together then pour onto the dry ingredients. Fold together until just combined.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
  4. Stir in about two thirds of the chocolate chips.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases. Sprinkle the extra chocolate chips on top of the muffins.
  6. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 150C for about 20 minutes. Check with a skewer or cocktail stick and if it comes out clean they are ready.
  7. Let the muffins cool for a few minutes in the tin and then transfer them to a wire rack to finish cooling.
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egg-free chocolate muffins

Do let me know if you try them.  I’d love to know your experiences of egg-free baking too so let me know in the comments.   And if you’re looking for Valentines day recipes then how about my Frozen Yoghurt Hearts or Strawberry Heart Shortbread biscuits?

I am linking these to Free From Fridays with the Free From Farmhouse and Le Coin De Mel.

Free From Fridays

Egg-free chocolate muffins. Perfect snack for Valentine's day or any other day!
Strawberry Heart Shortbread Biscuits

Strawberry Heart Shortbread Biscuits

Crisp crumbly strawberry heart shortbread biscuits made with freeze-dried strawberries.   These cute biscuits are perfect as a snack or as a Valentine’s gift.

Strawberry Heart Shortbread Biscuits

The children and I make shortbread biscuits all the time in our house.   We make them for fun;   kneading, squashing, squeezing and moulding the dough,  just like play dough.  We manage to get about half of it on the baking trays ready for the oven and the rest gets swept up from underneath the table and thrown in the bin.  It’s not a good idea to overwork biscuit dough but I’ve given up and we still enjoy the biscuits.

Strawberry Heart Shortbread Biscuits

Sometimes though, not very often, just very very occasionally I sneakily make biscuits all by myself.   I follow the rules and try to make something a little bit special, just like when I made these 5 little ducks went swimming one day biscuits over two years ago now!

I’ve seen some beautiful heart-shaped biscuits online recently and I decided I wanted to have a go at making some myself.  I liked the idea of giving the shortbread hearts a fruity flavour.   After all, apart from chocolate, berries have to be the next most popular sweet Valentines ingredient.

I’d made some lovely blondies in the past using freeze-dried raspberries and so I wondered if freeze-dried berries would be just as good in a shortbread biscuit?    This time I went for freeze-dried strawberry pieces but any freeze-dried berry would work as an alternative.  I also added just a drop of strawberry flavouring to help enhance the taste.   You could leave this out and add a little extra freeze-dried fruit if you wanted.   You can also get powdered freeze-dried fruit and although I haven’t tried this yet, I’ve read some lovely recipes using it.  It’s now one of the next things on my list to try!

Strawberry Heart Shortbread Biscuits

The finished biscuits have a delicate strawberry flavour and a light crisp texture.   I used quite a small heart-shaped cutter so each shortbread biscuit was only a couple of mouthfuls.   This means you really don’t need to feel guilty about eating them!  And as it’s Valentine’s Day soon, it’s the perfect time to make them as well.

These strawberry heart shortbread biscuits would be perfect to take to work, to carry around in your bag as a snack, to give as a gift and even, actually especially to put in the biscuit tin at home, which is where mine are right now!  Or at least there were still a few there when I last looked.

Strawberry Heart Shortbread Biscuits

Strawberry Shortbread Hearts

Ingredients

  • 225g unsalted butter, softened
  • 110g caster sugar
  • 225g plain flour
  • 110g cornflour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp strawberry flavouring
  • 7g of freeze-dried strawberry pieces

Instructions

  1. Cover 4 baking trays with non-stick baking paper.
  2. Put the sugar and butter in a food processor. Blitz until thoroughly combined.
  3. Put the dry ingredients in another bowl and stir together then add to the food processor along with the strawberry flavouring. Blitz again until a dough just starts to form and then add the freeze-dried strawberry pieces.
  4. Blitz again then turn out onto a work surface. Bring together to form a dough. Roll out to a thickness of about 5 millimetres and use a cookie cutter to cut out the shapes you want. Place them onto the baking trays.
  5. Put the baking trays into the fridge for half an hour to chill.
  6. Preheat the oven to 160C
  7. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes.
  8. Let the biscuits cool on the trays for a couple of minutes then transfer to wire racks to finish cooling.
  9. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
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Strawberry Heart Shortbread Biscuits

I am linking to Cook Blog Share hosted by Easy Peasy Foodie and Recipe of the Week at A Mummy Too.  They are also my Bake of the Week, hosted by Mummy Mishaps and Casa Costello.

These shortbread biscuits are also shared with Brilliant Blog Posts at Honest Mum.

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Strawberry Heart Shortbread Biscuits. These cute cookies are perfect as a sweet bite-sized snack or why not give as a gift?
Frozen yoghurt hearts

Frozen Yoghurt Hearts – Perfect for Valentines Day!

These cute little frozen yoghurt hearts are perfect for making with young children.   They also make a great sweet treat for Valentine’s Day!

Frozen yoghurt hearts

Valentine’s day is just around the corner and if you’re anything like me, you don’t have the time to spend hours in the kitchen preparing sweet treats for your loved ones.   Even so, you will want to surprise them with something.   So how about something like these frozen yoghurt hearts?

They are the simplest of recipes.   So simple in fact that you don’t even need to read the recipe at all, although I have included it at the end of this post, just in case!   I made three different flavours and each one contains just 2 ingredients.  They are plain yoghurt and strawberry jam; plain yoghurt and blackcurrant jam, and plain yoghurt and apricot jam.

Frozen yoghurt hearts

You get the idea.   These could not be easier.   Well, actually they could.   Flavoured yoghurt.   Just one ingredient.

But if you want to make these with your little ones then mixing up the jam and yoghurt together first is all part of the fun.  As is choosing which flavoured jam to use.   It really is a great foodie messy play activity for children.

Frozen yoghurt hearts

Once the yoghurt and jam have been mixed together, you just need to spoon the mixture into a suitable silicone mould.   It’s then really easy to then peel it back to get the frozen yoghurt hearts out afterwards.   If you don’t have a silicone mould, you could use an ice cube tray instead.   However, if you are looking for an excuse to go out and buy a silicone heart-shaped mould then these frozen yoghurt hearts are definitely the excuse you’re looking for.

After all,  you can also use it to make chocolates in as well as these rhubarb and fromage frais frozen hearts.

Frozen Yoghurt Hearts

These frozen yoghurt hearts are a perfect sweet treat for Valentine's Day and fun to make with kids too!

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp natural yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp jam

Instructions

  1. Mix the yoghurt and jam together.
  2. Spoon the yoghurt mixture into the silicone mould.
  3. Cover the top with clingfilm and put it in the freezer for 6 hours or until frozen.
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I am linking these to Treat Petite, hosted by The Baking Explorer and on alternate months by Cakeyboi.  I am also linking to Cook Blog Share hosted by Easy Peasy Foodie and Recipe of the Week at A Mummy Too.  And I’m linking to Brilliant Blog Posts at Honest Mum.

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Frozen Yoghurt Hearts. Perfect sweet frozen treat for Valentine's Day and fun and easy to make with your children
February cook once eat twice food blog linky and January recipe round up

Cook Once Eat Twice February 2017

Welcome to another month of Cook Once Eat Twice.   This is THE place to come for meal planning and recipe inspiration, especially if you want to make life easier by preparing enough for two or more meals at the same time!  I have to say, by planning meals this way I end up eating more healthily and  save time in the kitchen.

January tends to be the month for frugality and healthy eating and as expected there are lots of gorgeous cold weather soups and stews in the round up this month, including many vegan and vegetarian options.  I’m still suffering a little from a lingering cold so I expect I’ll be making another soup from the round up this month.   To see what I made from last month’s linky then scroll right down to the bottom of the page!

But first, have a look at the 25 entries from last month:

February 2017 Cook Once Eat Twice round up from January 2017

From left to right: The first recipe was these beautiful gluten-free winter ginger pear trifles by Kate, the Gluten Free Alchemist.   Don’t they look cute with the little chocolate gingerbread men on top!

This was followed by  an ingenious savoury chestnut, rainbow carrot and lentil cake by Shaheen at A2K A Seasonal Veg Table.  It looks so much more interesting than a typical nut loaf!

Then Angela from Only Crumbs Remain shared her vegetarian tomato, lentil and bacon soup. This would certainly help fight my cold away!

Next is a lovely Moroccan squash and pea stew by Helen at Roast Chicken and A Country Walk. Healthy, hearty and vegan too!

February 2017 Cook Once Eat Twice round up from January 2017

From left to right: These beautiful vegan vanilla almond cookies by Choclette at Tin and Thyme were next.   I’m sure they’d go perfectly with a cup of tea!

Next was another soup that would be perfect to warm you up on a cold day. I have to say I’m envious of Elizabeth from Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary having such beautiful scenery on Shetland to enjoy this  Curried Butternut Squash Soup in.

Then Jhuls of The Not So Creative Cookshared this beautiful Cheese Manakish, which is a Middle Eastern flatbread topped with Kashkaval cheese.  It sounds like a great alternative to pizza!

Jhuls also shared this hot gochujang hummus.   I do like houmous to have a bit of a kick to it and this is certainly one to wake up your tastebuds!

February 2017 Cook Once Eat Twice round up from January 2017

From left to right: The next two recipes are also by Jhuls, The Not So Creative Cook.   The first is a tasty sounding pepper, corn and beef dish and the second is a garlicy tahini chicken dish.   I have been adding tahini to soups a lot recently and so I’m really intrigued by this recipe.   It’s definitely one I’d love to try!

Then there was a beautiful chocolate, cherry, pear and pecan granola by Kate, The Gluten Free Alchemist.  It’s always great to see a healthy chocolate recipe!

Next was a delicious slow cooker gnocchi with cannellini beans by Lucy at Baking Queen 74.  I’ve never tried cooking gnocchi in the slow cooker so that’s also something I’d love to try!

February 2017 Cook Once Eat Twice round up from January 2017

From left to right:  Slow cooking was certainly popular this month and this slow cooker beef brisket goulash by Sarah at Tales from the Kitchen Shed would probably be a meal my two children would love.   And me too of course!

Next was a creamy vegan courgette and potato soup from Helen at Family Friends Food.  It looks just perfect for this cold winter weather!

Pasta is always a good choice for a cook once eat twice meal and I love the sound of this smoked salmon and kale pasta by Kirsty at Hijacked by Twins.

Then Dave from Dave’s Delicious Delights shared a crunchy bean and mange tout stir fry.  It would make a lovely fresh side dish!

February 2017 Cook Once Eat Twice round up from January 2017

From left to right: Then there was another tempting pasta dish, this time lamb meatballs in tomato sauce by Eb at Easy Peasy Foodie.   Meatballs are always a hit here so this would be something I’d like to make!

I also love Moroccan flavours but have never made a fish tagine so this smoked fish tagine by Kirsty at Hijacked by Twins would be another dish I’d love to try.

Next was another tempting meatball dish.   Dave from Dave’s Delicious Delights shared these mozzarella stuffed meatballs.  Yummy!

I have to say that the next entry really caught my eye too.  I love the vibrant green of this creamy broccoli and cannellini bean soup by Kate at the Veg Space.  It’s vegan too and if you’re looking for more easy vegan recipes then Kate’s new book, Vegan in 15 is now out and available to order on Amazon!

February 2017 Cook Once Eat Twice round up from January 2017

Then there was my sausage lentil and vegetable soup.   It was really tasty and so healthy too!

This was  followed by a traditional beef and ale stew with dumplings by Eb at Easy Peasy Foodie. It would certainly be another great winter warmer!

As would this shredded turkey and soba noodle soup by Elizabeth at Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary, especially if it was enjoyed in such a beautiful location!

Sweet pies always remind me of my childhood and I love the sound of this  rustic mincemeat and apple galette by Angela at Only Crumbs Remain.  What a great way to use up half a jar of mincemeat!

The final recipe is a gorgeous butternut squash vegetarian chilli by Monika at Everyday Healthy Recipes.  I do like the avocado and grated lemon zest on the top!  It makes it look so healthy and fresh!

Root vegetable and bean soup #CookOnceEatTwice February 2017

The final picture is of the Chunky Root Veg and Bean Soup that I made from last month’s link up. The recipe is by Kirsty at Hijacked by Twins and I have to say, it was as easy and delicious as it looks.   The only difference in my version is that I used butternut squash instead of swede.   I really liked the slight sharpness that the addition of balsamic vinegar gave to the soup and what’s more, Master Spice loved it too so it was definitely a win.  He sat on my knee and picked out his favourite vegetables from my bowl one by one!  Do take a look at Hijacked by Twins if you’d like the recipe.

Cook Once Eat Twice

The linky for this month’s Cook Once Eat Twice is now open at the bottom of this page.

Here’s a reminder of the rules:

  • Include a link in your post to Searching for Spice and include the badge.  Add your link to the linky.
  • Tweet @Corinathecook using the hashtag #CookOnceEatTwice and I will retweet all that I see.
  • Include the source of any recipe if applicable and use your own photos.
  • I will pin all entries onto the Cook Once Eat Twice Pinterest board.  I also stumble and yum the entries.
  • It’s acceptable to link up old posts but please update them with the link and the badge so they fit the rules of the challenge.
  • Feel free to link up to other blogging events as well, as long as it is within their rules.
  • Please take the time to visit some of the other links that catch your eye.
  • The closing date is the 28th of the month and the roundup along with the next month’s linky will be posted on the 1st of the following month.
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cook once eat twice January recipe round up
Simply Gluten Free Butternut Squash and spinach curry

Simply Gluten Free: Butternut Squash and Spinach Curry

This vegan butternut squash and spinach curry from Simply Gluten Free is perfectly spiced and ideal with a side of rice, yoghurt, lime pickle and a few poppadums.  

Simply Gluten Free Butternut Squash and spinach curry

I love curries.  I could eat curries every day without getting bored.   Well, I haven’t tried it but I’m sure I could!  After all, what’s not to love about about a dish like this?  It’s full of spice but not too hot and without too many individual spices.  So, if you’re not used to making a curry from scratch then this recipe is for you.

With the squash, spinach, passata and chickpeas it’s undeniably healthy too.   That’s one of the things I love about homemade curries.   They are not swimming with oil the way a takeaway sometimes can be.   I would say they’re one of the healthiest things you can eat.

Simply Gluten Free Butternut Squash and spinach curry

This curry is vegan and gluten-free too as it uses gluten-free curry powder.   Some curry powders contain an anti-caking agent that may contain gluten.  Of course, if you’re not following a gluten-free diet then feel free to make this using whatever curry powder you normally use.

Simply Gluten Free Butternut Squash and spinach curry

The recipe for this butternut squash and spinach curry is from Simply Gluten Free by Susanna Booth.  I’ve been trying out a few recipes over the last few weeks and this curry is one of the meals that impressed me the most.   It was also popular with Master Spice who seems to have grown just as fond of curry as his parents.    He loved it with a big dollop of yoghurt stirred in at the end.

Simply Gluten Free Butternut Squash and spinach curry

Finding a range of good gluten free breads can be a challenge for coeliacs so I couldn’t review the book without trying at least one bread recipe.   As I’ve been eating so many soups recently I decided to try the garlic and parmesan flatbread which uses tapioca flour.   The bread was very easy to make by stirring all the ingredients together.   There was no kneading at all and so the hands on time to make it was very quick.

Garlic and parmesan flatbread Simply Gluten Free

And the result?   Well, I was impressed.   It tasted great from the garlic and herbs but very indulgent from the butter and parmesan so it wasn’t the healthiest bread.   Even so, my husband declared it to be one of the best flatbreads I’d ever made and it was a delicious partner to this chunky root veg and bean soup.  I will be making it again.  If you are looking for more gluten-free bakes then there were quite a few recipes in the book, including a recipe for a gluten-free plain flour blend.

Garlic and parmesan flatbread Simply Gluten Free

I also tried this simple carrot and apple salad.  It is possibly the author’s favourite salad of all time and as her children beg her to make it, I decided it might be the very recipe  to get my two into eating raw carrot.   Unfortunately not.   Despite the success of all my soups recently, it seems salad is a step too far.   I could not even get it to pass their lips so I can’t say whether they would have liked it or not.  Maybe I need to add a few spices next time!

Carrot and apple salad Simply Gluten Free

However, I liked it.  I wouldn’t say it was my favourite salad but I ate it quite happily.  It was quite sweet and so it’s best to eat just a little at a time.   I think it would go very well with this barbecue pork.

Now here’s the recipe for the butternut squash and spinach curry from Simply Gluten Free.

Butternut Squash and spinach curry Simply Gluten Free

Simply Gluten Free: Butternut Squash and Spinach Curry

Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 500g butternut squash (or similar squash), peeled and cubed
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 10 cloves
  • 2 onions, finely diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • small piece of root ginger, grated
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • 4 tsp gluten-free curry powder
  • 1 tsp sugar (I omitted this as I don't like curries to be too sweet)
  • 500ml passata
  • 2 x 400g tins of chickpeas
  • 200g spinach leaves

Instructions

  1. Put the squash in a roasting tin with a little oil and roast for 45 minutes until cooked through.
  2. Grind the whole spices.
  3. Heat a little oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion gently until softened. Then add the garlic, ginger and all the spices. Cook for a few minutes.
  4. Then add the sugar (if using) passata and chickpeas. Add extra water if there is not enough liquid. Simmer for 20 minutes. Add the roasted squash and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes. Stir in the spinach at the end.
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I am linking this butternut squash and spinach curry to Cook Blog Share hosted by Kirsty at Hijacked By Twins.  I am also linking to Meat Free Mondays, hosted by Jacqueline at Tinned Tomatoes.  I am sharing with Brilliant Blog Posts at Honest Mum and Recipe of the Week at A Mummy Too.  Finally, as curries are always better the next day, I’m linking to Cook Once Eat Twice as well.

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Review of Simply Gluten Free by Susanna Booth
Simply Gluten Free Butternut Squash and Spinach curry
sausage lentil and vegetable soup

Sausage Lentil and Vegetable Soup

So full of goodness, this sausage lentil and vegetable soup is just the thing to ward off the cold. Delicious, easy and economical too!

lentil-sausage-vegetable-soup-8

I’ve been struggling with cold after cold this winter.   I feel I’m just about to get better when another one strikes!   I’m supposed to be training for a half-marathon in March but at the moment I’m seriously wondering whether I’ll have to pull out!

There is just one thing for it: Soup!  Yes, tasty, easy, veggie and nutrient rich soup is the only way to go.  Or at least, it’s my current tactic.

lentil-sausage-vegetable-soup-3

I can’t claim that this soup will definitely get rid of your cold, but I can promise that it’ll make you feel better.  There’s nothing fancy to it.  It’s just full of all those super healthy seasonal vegetables that are available right now, plus some lentils, stock and of course sausages.  Oh, and a little fresh parsley.  Feel free to vary the vegetables depending on what you have at home. This is a great soup to make to use up some of the slightly less than perfect specimens that lurk at the bottom of the fridge.

As well as being part of my cold fighting strategy, this sausage lentil and vegetable soup is also my Recipe Redux contribution this month.   The theme was Budget Eats and I believe this soup is as good for your wallet as it is for the rest of you.   Eating seasonal vegetables is always more economical and store cupboard items like lentils can be picked up really cheaply.

lentil-sausage-vegetable-soup-6

The only thing I don’t advocate is using cheap sausages.  Just.  Don’t.  The sausages flavour the rest of the soup and so choose good ones with a high meat content and seasoned the way you like them.

I like to chop the sausages up and cook them in pieces. This makes it so much easier when eating the soup.   I just use a pair of scissors and cut them as I put them in the saucepan.  It also means there is more surface area and so more deliciously caramelised bits of sausage.

Even good sausages contain fat and after the sausages have been cooked the saucepan will have a lot of liquid fat in the bottom.   I drain this off, give the saucepan a quick wipe and then add the vegetables before the  next step.  After all, it is January and I don’t want lots of solidified globules of fat floating on the top of my soup when I take the leftovers out of the fridge the next day.

lentil-sausage-vegetable-soup-2

Did I say leftovers?   Yes, the leftovers of this sausage lentil and vegetable soup are just as good the next day.   Like many soups it’s a perfect recipe to make in a big batch and eat up over the next couple of days.   That’s exactly what I did with this.

My husband was out and I ate it for lunch, for dinner and the next day.   And so did Master Spice.  It’s always a success when at least one of my children loves a recipe and so much the better when it’s a healthy recipe like this one.

lentil-sausage-vegetable-soup-4

Lentil, Vegetable and Sausage Soup

Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 6 Sausages (400g)
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 stick of celery diced
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 300g butternut squash, cubed
  • 1 courgette, cubed
  • 150g green lentils
  • 800ml stock (I used chicken)
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • Pinch of black pepper

Instructions

  1. Cut the sausages into bite-sized pieces and cook in a large saucepan until cooked through and browned on all sides.
  2. Remove the sauce pieces from the pan and set aside.
  3. There will probably be quite a bit of fat in the pan so wipe it clean then add all the vegetables and lentils. Cover with the stock and bring to the boil. Lower to a simmer and continue to cook for about 20 minutes until the lentils and vegetables are almost ready. Add the sausage back to the pan and cook for another 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in some freshly chopped parsley at the end and season with black pepper.
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As the leftovers we just as good the next day, this is my #CookOnceEatTwice recipe for this month. I am also linking to Simply Seasonal at Hijacked by Twins and Cook Blog Share at Sneaky Veg.  I am also linking to Brilliant Blog Posts at Honest Mum.

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Sausage Lentil and Vegetable Soup
Healthy Nutella smoothie bowl with banana and avocado topped with banana, kiwi fruit, dried apricots, cranberries and hazelnuts

Nutella Smoothie Bowl with Banana and Avocado

This Nutella smoothie bowl with banana and avocado, topped with fruit and hazelnuts makes a healthy nutrient-rich start to the day, even with the Nutella!

Healthy Nutella smoothie bowl with banana and avocado topped with banana, kiwi fruit, dried apricots, cranberries and hazelnuts

I’ve been eating really healthily recently.  Lots of homemade vegetable soups, one pot meals and plenty of fruit for snacks.  Ok, there have been a few treats as well, but I won’t mention them.   After all, who needs to know about the large marzipan coated slices of Christmas cake I sometimes eat for breakfast.   Leftover Christmas cake is a fantastic early morning meal!

Ooops!  Maybe I should have kept that a secret because it does mean I need to try harder on the days I forego an early slice of cake.

nutella-smoothie-bowl-9

Smoothie bowls became very popular during 2016.   They were all over the internet.   Or at least they were everywhere I looked.   It’s not surprising that I started to think that my two slices of toast and coffee might not be quite up to the standard of my fellow food bloggers, who were undoubtedly tucking into not only healthy but also beautiful bowls of fruity goodness every morning!

This isn’t the first time I’ve experimented with the combination of Nutella, banana and avocado. A couple of years ago I put them in a smoothie.    It was delicious, thick and creamy but it was lacking something:  It didn’t have any toppings.

nutella-smoothie-bowl

Toppings!   That’s the great thing about smoothie bowls.   You make your favourite ingredients into a smoothie and then add even more deliciousness on top.   How about extra slices of fresh fruit?   Dried fruit?  Nut or seeds?  You choose.

I topped my Nutella smoothie bowl with more fresh banana, slices of kiwi fruit, dried apricots and cranberries and a few hazelnuts.

nutella-smoothie-bowl-4

The other great thing about smoothie bowls is that you eat it with a spoon so it can be really really thick if that’s how you like it.   There’s no need to add as much juice, milk or whatever else you might use to make a smoothie the right consistency to drink.   You’re not going to drink this. You’re going to eat it!  And if this Nutella smoothie bowl is your breakfast, you want it to fill you up and keep you going for a while.

Healthy Nutella smoothie bowl with banana and avocado topped with banana, kiwi fruit, dried apricots, cranberries and hazelnuts

Nutella Banana and Avocado Smoothie Bowl

Yield: Serves 1

This Nutella smoothie bowl with avocado and banana really is a healthy start to the day!

Ingredients

  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 2 tsp Nutella or any other chocolate spread
  • 2 tbsp natural yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp milk
    For the toppings
    Choose from
  • Sliced fresh fruit, dried fruit, nuts

Instructions

  1. Put all the ingredients in a measuring jug and blend with a stick blender. Add extra milk if you want a thinner smoothie bowl
  2. Pour into a bowl and top with your choice of toppings.
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https://searchingforspice.com/2017/01/16/nutella-smoothie-bowl-banana-avocado/

I am linking this to Weekend Brunch Club at Gingey Bites. I am also linking to Cook Blog Share, hosted this week by Eb at Easy Peasy Foodie and to Brilliant Blog Posts at Honest Mum. It is also linked to Recipe of the Week at A Mummy Too.

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I am also sharing it with First Monday Favourites at Sid’s Sea Palm Cooking. This is the linky for ex-SRC members to share their favourite recipe of the last month


Note:  This is post is not sponsored by Nutella

Healthy Nutella smoothie bowl with banana and avocado topped with banana, kiwi fruit, dried apricots, cranberries and hazelnuts
Dairy Free Lemon Muffins with Rice Dream

Dairy-Free Lemon Muffins

These dairy-free lemon muffins are perfect for afternoon tea!   Not too sweet but with a tangy glaze they make an ideal sweet treat.

Dairy Free Lemon Muffins with Rice Dream

I have to admit that I love muffins!     What could be easier than adding all the ingredients to a big bowl, stirring them together and then spooning into pretty little cases to be baked.   It may just be me but I also find that citrus flavours make me feel healthier too!   That’s got to be a good thing in January.

Dairy Free Lemon Muffins with Rice Dream

The lemon muffins themselves are not very sweet, most of the sweetness comes from the sweet sticky glaze so although I can’t claim they are healthy, they are at least more of a January than a December muffin!  January may traditionally be the time to give things up but there’s no reason not to have a few treats occasionally.

And for those who need to follow a dairy or lactose free diet, there’s no reason not to still enjoy a great cup of tea alongside these muffins too.

Dairy Free Lemon Muffins with Rice Dream

The lemon muffins are made with Rice Dream, a dairy free alternative to milk with no added sugars.  Rice Dream is one of the only hypoallergenic dairy alternatives and is free from dairy, lactose, soy, gluten, wheat and nuts.    It also doesn’t compromise on taste.   This means it’s perfect for using in hot drinks like tea and coffee as well as in bakes like these muffins.

We’ve also enjoyed Rice Dream on breakfast cereals, in homemade smoothies and although I’m not a milk drinker, my little boy was quite happy to drink it by itself.

Dairy Free Lemon Muffins with Rice Dream

This month Rice Dream is launching a ‘try me for free’ campaign.   It will be available on  120,000 packs and if you don’t enjoy it you can get your money back.   So why not try some Rice Dream for free while stocks last?

RRP £1.50 from Tesco and Asda

If you are looking for dairy alternatives then Dream also produce a range of other non-dairy milks as well as ice creams.

Dairy Free Lemon Muffins with Rice Dream

 

Lemon Muffins

Yield: Makes about 10

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 85g caster sugar
  • 240ml Rice Dream milk
  • 100ml vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp lemon extract
  • 300g self-raising flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
    For the icing
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 50g icing sugar

Instructions

  1. Put the eggs, sugar, Rice Dream, vegetable oil and lemon extract into a bowl and beat together.
  2. Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix together until just combined.
  3. Spoon the mixture into muffin cases. Fill them about 2/3 full.
  4. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180C for 30 minutes. Let them cool on a wire rack.
  5. Make the icing by whisking the lemon and icing sugar together. Use a pastry brush to brush it generously over the top of the muffins or just spoon it on.
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Dairy Free Lemon Muffins with Rice Dream

If you’re looking for more dairy-free bakes then why not try my vegan carrot cake?

I am linking these dairy-free lemon muffins to Cook Blog Share at Hijacked by Twins, Recipe of the Week at A Mummy Too and Brilliant Blog Posts at Honest Mum.

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Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post.  However all opinions are my own.

Dairy-Free Lemon Muffins with Rice Dream