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Dairy Free Pear and Honey Banana Bread...


Today it has rained all day making it a bit of a midweek duvet day watching films, the cooking channel and Come Dine With Me. In between watching all that and entertaining a slightly poorly toddler I decided to do some baking and thanks to a bunch of rather blackened bananas and no butter I ended up with a dairy free banana bread, a recipe I will use over and over again as it was super yummy and one that can be tweaked to your own taste or mood very easily.


Ingredients

Dry
1 1/2 cups wholemeal flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
Wet
3 small/medium blackened bananas, mashed
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup honey
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
a little water
Extra
I used 1 pear diced and brown sugar for added crunch but you could use raisins, pineapple, chocolate chips, what ever takes your fancy.


Method

1. Preheat your oven to 170 C. In a large bowl whisk your wet ingredients together. Holding back the water.
2. Once combined slowly add your dry ingredients and mix together using a spatula or wooden spoon.
3. Add your pear, or chosen extra, and fold in lightly. Sometimes coating it lightly in flour can help stop it sinking to the bottom. If the batter seems a bit thick you can add the water.
4. Once all mixed, spoon into a prepared loaf tin. I used a little coconut oil. I then sprinkled brown sugar on top.
5. Bake in the oven for 50 - 60 minutes. Once cooked leave to cool in the loaf tin for 10 or so minutes and then turn it out and leave to cool completely before slicing. Top Tip - make sure to use a bread knife.

 
To make my loaf look that little bit tastier I decorated it with a drizzle of honey, honey roasted pinenuts and little roses that I made using the skin of the banana's.
 
For the honey roasted pinenuts I just sprinkled some pinenuts on a baking tray and drizzled them with honey. I then popped them in a hot oven for a few minutes making sure to keep and eye on them so they don't burn. I then left them to cool. Once cooled I scraped them off the baking tray,  this brakes them up slightly but also leaves you with a few whole ones.
 

This banana bread comes out lovely and moist and to be honest would actually be amazing served warm with a glug of custard. A perfect rainy day blues cure, especially with a cup of tea or coffee.

Hope you are all having an amazing week so far.

Roasted Chicken & Tomatoes with Cracked Wheat...


I love finding new things to use in the kitchen and of course love making up recipes. Now I know cracked wheat isn't new and I have had it before but for some reason I have never really cooked it. But when looking for some ingredients on a budget and not feeling like couscous, decided to give it a go.

For those who don't know what Cracked Wheat is - 'Cracked Wheat is a wheat product made from whole raw wheat kernels which are crushed or cut into smaller pieces.'
I personally think it is very similar to couscous but with a earthier flavour and is super easy to cook. Like rice it's 2 cups to 1 (2 cups of water to 1 cup of CW) A great store cupboard item.

It's fabulously filling and has a great texture. Taking on flavour like couscous would.

I used Cracked Wheat in this recipe but you can of course use rice or couscous, all cooked basically the same way.



Ingredients

5 -6 Chicken Thighs
Fresh Thyme
Cherry Tomatoes
Courgettes, sliced
Kale
Cracked Wheat
Chicken Stock
Salt and Pepper


Method

1. Brown your chicken thighs in a pan. Then transfer to a baking dish. Season, add your thyme and cherry tomatoes. Bake in the oven for 20 - 30 minutes depending on the size of the thighs. You want to make sure they are cooked through.
2. While the chicken is roasting get your cracked wheat on the go. Like rice, bring to the boil in the stock and then turn off the heat, cover and leave to steam and adsorb all the stock.
3. A few minutes before everything is ready to serve finely chop the kale and stir into the cracked wheat. It will cook in the heat. Then in another pan fry your sliced courgettes in a little salt, pepper and frylight.
4. Serve the chicken in a large serving dish with the cracked wheat underneath and top with the roasted tomatoes and courgettes. You want all the flavours of the chicken and vegetables to seep into the cracked wheat.


This is a lovely light dish and is actually really great cold the next day. Just pull any left over chicken off the bone and mix in with the left over cracked wheat and vegetables.

recipe - mine
Syns - free if skin is removed.

Tappas anyone - Mexican range by Crofton by Aldi...



As a food blogger and lover of entertaining collecting amazing dishes, serving plates etc. is something that has become a bit of an obsession. The dream is Ina Gartens Kitchen and if you know who that is you know what a mean. She is prepared for every theme and every occasion and has a kitchen you would never want to leave. It is a foodie and wanabe food photographers dream.

Now if you not Ina or a professional foodie on tele this obsession can be expensive but if done the way I do it, by hitting the supermarkets and charity shops, you can feed your habit without breaking the bank.


Places like ASDA, Sainsbury's and Aldi can sell some really amazing things without a huge price tag, especially when they are coming to the end as that is when they go on sale. And charity shops, especially where I live can be goldmines. My favourite has to be Aldi though. They have 'themed months' which is  fun and great for blogging! But most importantly it is all really well priced and great quality.

My latest purchase was a few bits from their Mexican range.  They had all sorts from serving dishes, to jugs and even hotplates and all so brightly coloured. They were sold along side fajita kits and Mexican spices, basically giving you everything you could need to have a fabulous Mexican themed dinner party.


There was so much to choose from but I went for the items I would use most. I think all of this only came to £20! Which is amazing!! And to be honest although Aldi has a once its gone its gone policy you can still pick a few of the bits up and for half the price. You just have to dig :)


Again I will mention that the quality is great  and if you look after it, it  will see you through many the fiesta :) or other occasion.

And on a side note I will say... I will be first to admit I was a supermarket snob but ever since my first trip to Aldi I have never looked back. And that applies to groceries too.


Have you ever visited Aldi and picked up something fabulous for the kitchen or home?



Strawberry Fair - 2016...

 
This year we attended the Strawberry Fair which is a free family festival held on the common in Cambridge!
It's about an hour drive from us which made it super easy to get to and a great activity for the whole family with little expense.
 
 
 
The festival is a real treat for all the senses with food trucks full of yummy food, loads of stages with a range of amazing music as well as shops and activities for all ages!
 
 
 
There are even a few shows for all to enjoy! Benjis favourite was this 'flying duck'
 
 
And I added to my flower crown collection of course, just wish I bought more as they were only £5!
 
 
If you have never been I really recommend it as it is a lovely day out and as mentioned its FREE!!
My only tip is go as a group if driving as parking is quite tricky and hard to find. There is however a park and ride bus that will take you right to the common.
 
 
We have another 2 festivals coming up this year which I cant wait for!! Has anyone else been to any festivals this year?