Kale and King Prawn Buckwheat Pilaf

Kale and Prawn Buckwheat Pilaf

Absolutely inspired by a new book cookbook I recently reviewed titled Grains as Mains I threw together this delicious Kale and King Prawn Pilaf for lunch earlier in the week. Ancient grains and seeds are currently enjoying somewhat of a reniassance at the moment probably because they taste great with the added benefit of being very nutritious too. Some ancient grains and seeds such as buckwheat, quinoa, teff, amaranth and millet are gluten free, so they are a fantastic alternative for those who are gluten intolerant.

I’ve not until now used buckwheat before but I’m now totally hooked. Buckwheat is a triangular shape shape seed related to sorrel and rhubarb, originating from Asia. It has a nutty taste and is one of the healthiest of the ancient grains and seeds.

I’ve teamed the buckwheat with nutrient rich kale and juicy king prawns, along with a pinch of chilli flakes and a good squeeze of lemon juice making it a real mouth watering meal. It’s a simple and quick recipe that I think you’ll enjoy.

Kale and King Prawn Buckwheat Pilaf

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
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IngredientsKale and Prawn Buckwheat Pilaf

70g buckwheat
1tsp olive oil
40g kale
75g cooked king prawns
a pinch of dried chilli flakes
a generous squeeze of lemon
salt and pepper

Method

1. Place the buckwheat in a sieve and rinse through with water.

2. Transfer the buckwheat to a small saucepan and add 150ml cold water, bring to the boil then simmer for approximately 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the buckwheat to soak up any excess water.

3. Heat the olive oil in a pan. Add the kale, king prawns, a good pinch of chilli flakes and a generous squeeze of lemon juice. Season well with salt and pepper.

4. Once the kale has wilted add the cooked buckwheat to the pan and heat through for a minute or so. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Recipe by Julie McPherson

Kale and Prawn Buckwheat Pilaf

If my kale and king prawn buckwheat pilaf is your kind of food, then don’t forget to check out my giveaway and review of Grains as Mains by Laura Agar Wilson, a cookbook featuring modern recipes using ancient grains.

Until next time.

Julie
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White Chocolate and Vanilla Layer Cake

White Chocolate and Vanilla Layer Cake

The lovely folks at Baking Mad recently asked me to try out one of their gorgeous recipes, a Victoria Sponge Cake recipe. However this is no ordinary Victoria sponge with layers of white chocolate sponge, white chocolate and vanilla ganache plus raspberry jam it really is a showstopper cake. Ideally, I would have decorated my cake with raspberries too but having run out of them I thought strawberries would work equally well.

Of course, this is not an everyday cake but one I would make for a special occasion like a birthday as it tastes so rich and indulgent. My girls were completely wowed by the finished cake and somewhat chuffed that they were getting the chance to eat it. White chocolate, vanilla and raspberry are beautiful flavours that work well together making this Victoria sponge cake utterly delicious.

White Chocolate and Vanilla Layer Cake

The recipe uses Nielsen Massey Vanilla Bean Paste, an ingredient that I’ve never used before as I’ve always stuck to using their pure vanilla extract. The vanilla bean paste actually contains the vanilla pods whereas the extract doesn’t. I really liked the Nielsen Massey vanilla bean paste (it smells incredible!), it’s most certainly an ingredient I’ll use much more in my baking.

White Chocolate and Vanilla Layer Cake

So, if you fancy having a go at making this delectable cake you can find the recipe and lots more baking recipes and ideas for everyday and special holidays such as Easter and Christmas on the Baking Mad website.

Until next time, happy baking.

Julie
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Disclosure: I have not been paid or sponsored to write this blog post. Baking Mad sent me some ingredients to try out one of their recipes. All opinions are honest and my own.

Gnocchetti Sardi Pasta with Parma Ham, Rocket and Tomatoes

Gnocchetti Sardi Pasta with Parma Ham, Rocket and Tomatoes

It has been a while since I’ve found an unusual pasta shape to cook with. I recently discovered the Gnocchetti Sardi pasta shape in Valentina Fine Foods, an Italian restaurant deli and have been itching to try it out in a new recipe.

After doing a little research online I discovered that this small tightly curved pasta with a ridged exterior is from Sardinia and was traditionally made by pressing the pasta dough onto the bottom of a wicker basket. Gnocchetti Sardi is also known as Malloreddus.

Gnocchetti Sardi with Parma Ham, Rocket and Tomatoes

This incredibly easy pasta dish takes no time at all to prepare and makes a delicious lunchtime meal. I adore the vibrancy and punchy flavours from the rocket (arugula), basil, Parma ham and semi dried tomatoes, not forgetting the salty Parmesan cheese which seems to bring everything together. I ate my pasta whilst still warm but I think it would work equally well cold as a pasta salad ideal for a picnic.

Gnocchetti Sardi with Parma Ham, Rocket and Tomatoes

Gnocchetti Sardi Pasta with Parma Ham, Rocket and Tomatoes

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
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IngredientsGnocchetti with Parma Ham and Tomatoes

75g Gnocchetti Sardi pasta
1 tsp olive oil
2 slices Parma ham
50g semi dried tomatoes in olive oil
a handful of rocket (arugula)
a handful of basil
grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (Parmesan) cheese

Method

1. Cook the pasta in a saucepan of salted boiling water until al dente (11 minutes approximately).

2. Meanwhile heat the olive oil in a frying pan. Using a pair of scissors trim off the excess fat from the Parma ham and cut into bite size pieces, . Sauté the Parma ham in the oil until beginning to crisp.

3. Chop the basil and semi dried tomatoes into bite size pieces.

3. Drain the pasta and add to the Parma ham along with the semi dried tomatoes pieces. Warm through for about 30 seconds or so.

4. Off the heat stir in the rocket (arugula) and basil. Serve immediately with lots of grated Parmesan cheese on top. Enjoy!

Recipe by Julie McPherson

Gnocchetti Sardi with Parma Ham, Rocket and Tomatoes

If you are lucky enough to have an Italian deli nearby, I absolutely recommend you pay it a visit. Italian deli’s are fantastic places for tracking down a wide variety of pasta types, as well as cheeses, meats and breads.

Until next time.

Julie
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Extremely Chocolatey Easter Cupcakes

Extremely Chocolatey Easter Cupcakes

Last year I baked these extremely chocolatey and utterly delicious Easter bird nest inspired cupcakes, with the Easter holidays not far away I wanted to share them with you again (just in case you missed them!). The cupcakes bases are a moist chocolate sponge, topped with chocolate buttercream and a layer of flaked chocolate to resemble a nest then finally finished off with Cadbury’s Mini Eggs. Chocolate and more chocolate, what’s not to like about these Extremely Chocolatey Easter Cupcakes?

Don’t be put off by the length of this recipe, it is actually relatively quick as the sponge cupcakes are made using the all in one method.

Extremely Chocolatey Easter Cupcakes

Extremely Chocolatey Easter Cupcakes

Extremely Chocolatey Easter Cupcakes

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
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IngredientsExtremely Chocolatey Easter Cupcakes

Chocolate sponge cupcakes

160g unsalted butter (very soft)
160g golden caster sugar
2 large eggs
130g self raising flour
30g cocoa powder
2 tablespoon milk
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Chocolate Buttercream

100g dark chocolate (54% cocoa solids)
100g unsalted butter (very soft)
200g icing sugar (sifted)
1 tablespoon milk

Decoration

1 bag of Cadbury’s Mini Eggs
8 small or 4 regular size Cadbury’s Flakes
Creme Eggs and little furry chicks not compulsory but totally cute

Method

1. Pre heat your oven to 160c Fan (180c)

2. Line a 12 hole muffin tin with muffin cases.

3. Put all the cupcake ingredients in the mixing bowl and beat well until the all the mixture is fully combined.

4. Using two dessert spoons, spoon the cake mixture into the cases and bake for 25 minutes until springy to touch.

5. Leave the cakes in the tin for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

6. To make the buttercream begin by melting the chocolate over a bain-marie or in the microwave until fully melted, then allow to cool.

7. In a mixing bowl beat the butter and icing sugar together, then add the melted chocolate and beat again, then finally beat in the milk.

8. In a bowl crumble the flakes.

9. Using a palette knife spread each cake one at a time with the chocolate buttercream and then dip the cakes in the chocolate flakes (to create the bird nest effect).

10. Then top with 2 or 3 mini eggs. Enjoy!

Extremely Chocolatey Easter Cupcakes

Extremely Chocolatey Easter Cupcakes

Until next time, happy Easter baking.

Julie
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It’s that time of year again when bloggers go a bit crazy asking for nominations in the Brilliance in Blogging (BiB) awards. Last year Julie’s Family Kitchen was short listed but unfortunately didn’t make the final. So, if you have enjoyed reading my foodie blog I would really really appreciate it if you could take 2 minutes to nominate for me in the Brilliance in Blogging awards (food category) 2015. Thank you so much and a virtual slice of cake is on its way to you. xxx

Brilliance in Blogging Nomination Form

BritMums
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Eight Seed Wholemeal Soda Bread for St Patrick’s Day

8 seed soda bread

Soda bread is a delicious and easy no knead bread traditionally associated with Irish baking. I make soda bread quite often but like to ring the changes by adding different ingredients. This time I’ve baked a super tasty wholemeal loaf using Seasoned Pioneers Eight Seed Mix, which is a delicious mix of mini seeds including white sesame seeds, brown linseed, black sesame seeds, nigella seeds, chia seeds, blue poppy seeds, white poppy seeds and golden linseed. You can see my original review for Seasoned Pioneers here.

Soda bread is incredibly easy to prepare and requires absolutely no kneading, making it a wonderful bread to bake when time is short.

8 seed soda bread

Eight Seed Wholemeal Soda Bread

  • Servings: 1 loaf
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients8 seed soda bread

200g wholemeal plain flour
200g plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
300ml buttermilk
50g eight seed mix (Seasoned Pioneers)
Extra seeds and flour for sprinkling on top

Method

1. Pre heat your oven to Fan 200c and line a baking sheet with baking parchment.

2. Put all the dry ingredients including the eight seed mix in a mixing bowl and mix with a wooden spoon. Then, make a well in the centre.

3. Pour in the buttermilk and stir the mixture, finally bring the dough together with your hands.

4. On a floured surface shape the dough into a ball and then flatten. Place on the lined baking sheet and sprinkle with plain flour.

5. Using a sharp knife cut across the dough vertically and horizontally, forming a cross in the dough. Sprinkle a few extra seeds on top.

6. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, then cover with foil and bake for a further 10 minutes.

7. Once baked the loaf will be golden brown and sound hollow when tapped underneath. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

Here’s my step by step recipe photo guide on how to make soda bread.

Soda bread is delicious eaten quite simply spread with butter and a chunk of good mature cheddar cheese. It also makes a hearty accompaniment to a bowl of warm homemade soup.

8 seed soda bread

The eight seed mix is available to buy from Seasoned Pioneers online or in Lakeland stores, alternatively you can substitute the seeds for any combination of seeds you like.

8 seed soda bread

Happy St Patrick’s day.

Julie
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Disclosure: I was sent free samples of Seasoned Pioneers products to review. I have not been sponsored or paid for my review. All opinions are honest and my own. The recipe is my own.

Healthier Carrot Cake (Sugar-Free) and Natvia Review

Healthier Carrot Cake

Is it really possible to make a delicious sugar-free cake? The answer most definitely is YES. I am fully aware of how addictive sugar is and being someone who enjoys cakes, biscuits and chocolate this bothers me a lot. I’m careful as I can be when it comes to feeding my children, I try to make sure they eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables. Although, I do allow them cake and biscuits in moderation, fizzy drinks are an absolute no no and the drink of choice is water.

So when Natvia contacted me asking me to try out their sugar-free sweetener I was intrigued to say the very least. I’ve never liked the taste of sweeteners so whilst I was researching Natvia it became obvious to me that if the claims that it doesn’t have an unpleasant aftertaste were true, then it was worth trying.

Natvia

Natvia contains no calories and is unlike other sweeteners in that is doesn’t contain any sugar at all. Natvia is a natural sweetener made by combining the best Stevia extract and Erythritol. Natvia can be used in exactly the same quantities as sugar, for example if a recipe asks for 100g of sugar then 100g of Natvia can be substituted.

I decided to bake a carrot cake with the Natvia samples I was sent, not any old ordinary carrot cake but one that was as healthy as I could create without compromising on taste using wholemeal flour and coconut oil. Well, I can honestly say I’m delighted with this deliciously moist carrot cake with its tangy cream cheese frosting. The cake itself is baked well and has a great crumb structure. I really don’t think you can tell that it is sugar-free at all and there is certainly no unpleasant aftertaste.

Healthier Carrot Cake

Healthier Carrot Cake (Sugar-Free)

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: easy
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IngredientsHealthier Carrot Cake

Carrot cake

150g Natvia baking pack
150ml coconut oil
3 large eggs
225g plain wholemeal flour
2½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground mixed spice
175g grated carrots
75g sultanas

Cream cheese frosting

125g Natvia icing mix
125g full fat soft cheese (I used Philadelphia)
zest of ½ orange
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice

Method

1. Pre heat the oven to Fan 160c Fan.

2. Grease and line the bottom of a 23cm (9 inch) round spring form cake tin.

3. Melt the coconut oil by putting it in a bowl in the pre heating oven for a few minutes, then set aside to cool. To make the cake put all the cake ingredients in a bowl and mix well until thoroughly combined.

4. Spoon the cake mixture into the tin and bake for 40 minutes, until springy to touch and a skewer comes out clean.

5. Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes then remove from the tin and allow to cool fully on a cooling rack.

6. Make the cream cheese frosting by mixing the remaining ingredients well for a few minutes, then spread on top on the cake. Enjoy!

Healthier Carrot Cake

Healthier Carrot Cake

I was sceptical about trying Natvia but I guess my curiosity got the better of me. If you are looking a sugar free alternative sweetener then it is a good substitute.

Until next time.

Julie
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Disclosure: I was sent free samples of Natvia baking pack and Natvia icing mix. I have not been sponsored or paid for my review. All opinions are honest and my own. The recipe is my own.

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Apricot, Lemon and White Chocolate Cookies

Apricot, Lemon and White Chocolate Cookies

Oh my, these luscious lemony cookies filled with apricot chunks and white chocolate chips are absolutely dreamy. Soft and very slightly chewy, they’re crammed full of delicious and tantalising flavours that make these cookies a real joy to eat. I definitely recommend serving the Apricot, Lemon and White Chocolate Cookies with a pot of your favourite tea for a delightful afternoon tea treat.

If you’re thinking of baking something for mum this coming Mother’s day then these delightful cookies would make a wonderful edible gift.

Apricot, Lemon and White Chocolate Cookies

Apricot, Lemon and White Chocolate Cookies

  • Servings: 16
  • Difficulty: easy
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IngredientsApricot, Lemon and White Chocolate Cookies

175g unsalted butter (softened)
100g caster sugar
100g white chocolate chips
50g dried apricots (chopped in 5mm pieces)
zest of 2 small lemons
225g plain flour

Method

1. Cream together the butter and sugar together until thoroughly combined.

2. Mix in the white chocolate chips, dried apricot pieces and lemon zest.

3. Add the flour and mix until the mixture becomes a dough.

4. Line two baking sheets with baking parchment.

5. Divide the cookie dough into 16 pieces, roll each piece into a ball. Then, place the balls of cookie dough on the lined baking sheet and flatten until about 1cm thick. Smooth the edges of the cookies with your hands if they are cracked.

6. Place both the baking sheets in the fridge to allow the uncooked cookies to firm up, chill for at least 1 hour.

7. Pre heat the oven to Fan 160c.

8. Oven bake the cookies for about 20 minutes, the cookies will be pale gold when cooked. Don’t over bake as they will lose their soft texture.

9. Once cooked remove from the oven and leave on the baking sheets for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

Apricot, Lemon and White Chocolate Cookies

Happy baking.

Julie
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I’ve linked up this recipe to #CookBlogShare with Supergolden Bakes.

#CookBlogShare

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Creamy Parsnip Soup and a visit to the Harry Potter studios

Creamy Parsnip Soup Julie's Family Kitchen

Have you ever wondered what Butterbeer tastes like? OK, so you have to be a diehard Harry Potter fan to be asking this question in the first place. During the school half term holidays, we took the children to The Making of Harry Potter at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London. Whilst there we sampled the popular drink consumed by witches and wizards at drinking establishments such as the Leaky Cauldron, the Three Broomsticks and the Hog’s Head. Well, all I’m going to say is that it tastes remarkably like cream soda! It’s an experience not to be missed for Potter fans and I’d highly recommend it.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a recipe for Butterbeer but I do have a wholesome recipe for Creamy Parsnip Soup. I tend to associate parsnips with Christmas as that’s really the only time I buy them but I had three largish parsnips in my organic veg box recently that needed to be used. Inspired by the success of my Celeriac Soup, I made this deliciously creamy soup. I think you’ll enjoy it too.

Creamy Parsnip Soup

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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IngredientsCreamy Parsnip Soup Julie's Family Kitchen

450g parsnips (peeled and chopped)
1 medium onion (finely chopped)
1 stick of celery (finely chopped)
½ tablespoon olive oil
600ml hot chicken or vegetable stock
100ml milk
salt and pepper
half fat creme fraiche (optional)

Method

1. In a lidded casserole pan heat the olive oil.

2. Sauté the onion and celery for until soft. Then, add the parsnips and cook for a further 2 to 3 minutes.

3. Add the hot chicken or vegetable stock and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then simmer with the lid on for 30 minutes until the parsnips are tender.

4. Transfer to a blender and blitz until smooth, return the soup to the pan and stir through the milk on the heat.

5. Then serve with spoonful of creme fraiche and extra black pepper. Enjoy!

Creamy Parsnip Soup Julie's Family Kitchen

Until next time.

Julie
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Celeriac Soup

Celeriac Soup Julie's Family Kitchen

As vegetables go celeriac is a pretty ugly vegetable, knobbly and gnarly looking it is not that appealing. Celeriac is not a vegetable that I’d normally buy but it so happened to be one of the substituted items in my new weekly organic veg box delivery. However, I’m now completely won over by this overlooked vegetable and its subtle celery taste. I’ve added some milk to this celeriac soup recipe to help bring out the natural creaminess of the vegetable. It really is a delicious soup and is a great way of introducing yourself to this root vegetable, go on give it a go.

Celeriac Soup Julie's Family Kitchen

Celeriac Soup

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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IngredientsCeleriac Soup Julie's Family Kitchen

650g celeriac (peeled and diced weight)
1 medium white onion (finely diced)
1 stick of celery (finely diced)
½ tablespoon olive oil
600ml hot vegetable stock
100ml milk
Sunflower seeds
Pumpkin seeds
Salt and pepper

Method

1. In a large lidded casserole pan heat the olive oil.

2. Dice the onion and celery, then sauté in the pan until soft.

3. Add the diced celeriac to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Sauté for a couple of minutes.

4. Add the hot stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer with the lid on for about 35 minutes, until the celeriac is tender.

5. Transfer to a blender and blitz until smooth, return to the pan and stir in the milk on the heat.

6. Serve in bowls with a scattering of seeds on top. Enjoy with crusty seeded rolls.

Celeriac Soup Julie's Family Kitchen

Does anyone else have a weekly veg box delivery? If so, do you use a nationwide distributor like Abel & Cole and Riverford or do you have a local provider instead? What do you think about the quality, quantity and selection of vegetables you receive? I’m a little undecided at the moment whether it’s for me, so I’m going to continue for another couple of weeks before I make up my mind.

Until next time.

Julie
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Valentine’s Day Shortbread Biscuits

Valentine’s Day is nearly upon us and sometimes it can be tricky to find that perfect gift for your loved one. These Valentine’s Day Shortbread Biscuit recipes from my blog archives are ideal if you want to spoil them with a home baked gift. Buttery and light these shortbread biscuits are sure to melt anyones heart.

Cherry Shortbread Hearts

Cherry Shortbread Hearts Julie's Family Kitchen

Chocolate Drizzle Shortbread Hearts

chocolate shortbread Julie's Family Kitchen

Happy baking and Happy Valentine’s Day.

Julie
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