I’ve had a yearning to make ginger biscuits for a while and today I finally kicked myself into action and did it. My little toddler helper was very pleased to be cooking as we’ve been reading all about Maisy making Gingerbread the past few days, so making Ginger biscuits was the same in her eyes 😉
40g muscovado sugar
50g rice flour
50g cornmeal/ fine polenta
2 tsp ground ginger
1tsp xanthum gum
2 tbsp milk
Mix all the dried ingredients together, then rub in the margarine until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the milk a little at a time and mix to a dough (you may not need it all).
Roll out and cut into whatever shapes you like……ours had to be teddy bears and were cut by my helper.
Cook at Gas Mark 3/160C for 15 minutes. Leave to cool on a rack and enjoy.
I’ve been meaning to try a polenta cake for AGES, finally today I got my chance. We were asked to take a dessert to our home group meeting, typically although I was given a weeks notice it was at lunchtime that I realised with a slight panic I had to knock something tasty up. Having been inspired by seeing this lemon polenta cake last night and on a high after completing the filming for my Pilates DVD, I stepped up to the challenge, here it is fresh from the oven.
You know what, it was easy, peasy, orange squeezy 😉
I’m well known for NEVER following a recipe, so here’s my adaptation, partially because I had no lemons and partially because I’m just like that. I found the red currants added a really nice zing, but you could use any berries, I just happened to have these growing in my garden (though these were last years harvest from the freezer).
75g ground almonds
1/2 tsp baking powder (gluten free if needed)
75g polenta or cornmeal
1. Preheat oven to Gas Mark3/150C, grease and line a cake tin (I’m no good with sizes so I’ll just say I used a round one!).
2. Cream butter and sugar, then add eggs one at a time.
3. Add the ground almonds, baking powder and mix well.
4. Zest all 4 orange and juice 2 oranges, add to the mixture, add the polenta.
5. Spoon half the mix into the cake tin, then sprinkle on the red currants and top with the rest of the mixture.
6. Bake for 45 minutes until golden on the top and the house smells yummy 🙂
7. Add the juice of the final 2 oranges to a pan with the 50g sugar, boil gently for 5 minutes to make a syrup.
8. Use a skewer to make holes in the cake and pour the syrup on, it will soak in.
9. Allow to cook before removing the cake from the tin.
It’s had a good reception from my taste testers. Really moist and tangy and the redcurrants looked lovely. Though certainly a treat and not low fat, I’ll certainly be making this again.
Nutritional Analysis per portion (assuming 10 slices): 290kcals, 18.3 g fat, 29.2g carbs, 23.3g sugars.
So this recipe started off as a decision to try out this lovely looking recipe from MamaCook. I weighed out the flour and then opened the margarine tub to realise it was pretty much empty. Boo.
Skip forward a few hours and margarine is back in the house. By now I’m in creative mode and the biscuits took on a life of their own! I’m a bit of a stickler for encouraging my small one to eat her veggies, so finding a courgette to hand, I decided to grate it in and then add some cheese for added yum factor. I’ll be honest I wasn’t expecting great things, but you know what, these have been a huge success, not only with the toddler girl but also with her Daddy!
Here’s how we did it:
100g plain flour
1/2 grated courgette
15 g grated cheese
Measure it all out and then add a dash of milk to mix to a dough. My little one likes baking with me, so she rolled out the dough:
My little helper then advised on which cutters to use and helped me cut it all out:
We baked them at Gas Mark 5 for 15 minutes, you may need less depending on how thin your dough has been rolled (or not rolled in our case!). Here is the final result.
I’m certainly not an experienced baker at all….yet I love giving things a go. Plus when you are wheat intolerant it can be cheaper to make things yourself rather than buy them. So in the back of my mind I had planned to try making some hot cross buns in the run up to Easter. Typically life ran away with itself, time fly by and on Easter Sunday there were still no hot cross buns.
However on Easter Monday I was tweeted a recipe to try….it being a rainy Bank Holiday I decided to take the plunge. These aren’t something to bake in a hurry but if you are around the house and have time to let them rise then give them a go! I had to adapt the recipe which I admit did make me quite nervous, however I was delighted with the results and a teeny bit proud of myself 😉
200g Rice flour
100g rye flour
50g tapioca starch
50g potato flour
(Alternatively 500g of a good GF flour mix)
1 tsp xanthum gum
2 tsp yeast
300ml warm milk
75g caster sugar
Mix all the above together to make a dough, but don’t knead it. Then place into an oiled bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rise in a warm place. This took about 1 1/2 hours for mine. It should almost double in size and it feels risen to the touch, springy and doughy.
Whilst it rises have a sit down, a cuppa, sweep the kitchen, do some catching up on twitter (you get the idea) and also mix together:
1 tsp olive oil
zest 1 orange
1 tsp mixed spice
1/2 grated nutmeg
Mix this fruity bunch into the dough and leave it to rise once more. I left mine most of the afternoon. Leaving it longer than needed won’t harm it. Then shape into rounds, about 12, and get ready for the creative bit. Mix a couple of tbsp of gluten free flour with a drizzle of water and mix to a thick paste. Pop into a piping back and pipe on your crosses. Here’s mine before cooking:
Pop in the oven at Gas Mark 7 for 20 minutes. I checked mine and swapped the upper and middle trays over half way through. Leave to cool on a wire rack and enjoy. Yum.
Drinks. We all need them, but are you being sensible with your choices. It’s surprising how much difference the right drink can make to your calorie intake. Many people work hard on their food intake and exercise but drinks can get forgotten. Extra liquid calories end up sneaking in without you being aware.
With a coffee shop on every corner it’s easy to be wooed by the delicious sounding drinks, however your favourite beverage may have more calories in than you think. Take a coffee for example: Latte, Cappucino, Americano, added syrups, sprinkles, small, medium, large, the possibilites are endless. An average large latte provides 340 kcal, equivalent to many people’s breakfast. A large Cappucino can be 200 kcals which is the size of a snack, whilst a large Americano is only 23 kcals.
Fruit Juice 150ml
Cola 1 can
Diet Cola 1 can
Red Bull 1 can
200 kcals340 kcals
120 kcals200 kcals
11 kcals23 kcals
Looking at cold drinks an average smoothie can be 150 kcals and an energy drink such as Lucozade 266 kcals. Having these drinks regularly could lead to your taking in more calories than you should be and prevent you achieving your weight loss goals.
Lower calorie drinks include: No added sugar squash, all types of tea (earl grey, darjeeling, redbush, herbal and fruit), low calorie hot chocolate, diet drinks and the best choice of all is always water.
This post was originally written and published on the Slimsticks site.
We’re not the most traditional family and I must admit I like that. So no roast over Christmas for us, and usually no Sunday roast either. However today, being my husbands weekend off we made the most of it and had a roast. Everytime we do this I remember how tasty it is, how much we all like it (cats included) and how it provides so many meals with just a little effort. Plus we have NO WASTE, nothing is thrown out except the packaging. I LOVE this.
We only buy free range chicken, the chicken has a nice life, the meat tastes like actual chicken and it’s value for money when you use the whole bird. We roasted one chicken with potatoes, carrots, swede, parsnip and steamed broccoli as well. Yes lots of veggies, I am a dietitian after all. I always make sure we have too much, not so we can eat seconds, but so we have leftovers to make soup. It’s amazingly simple and so good.
Once we’ve eaten I remove all the meat off the bird and have several bowl – one for some breast meat for Little Miss Tew, one for the rest of the meat for us for stir fries, soup and risotto’s, one for skin and greasy meat for the cats, one for the bones. My top tip is lock any cats out of the kitchen and put on some beautiful gloves 😉
Once I’ve made the soup I reuse the bones to make stock, probably a complete cheat but I still find I get a tasty stock. This all goes into tubs in my freezer ready for risotto’s and soups. It generally makes me feel like a good person 😉
Finally the cats get the leftover bones, which they go mad for.
Place the chicken bones in a large saucepan and cover with milk (I use a mix of semi skimmed and skimmed), add a bayleaf and simmer for 10 mins.
Strain the milk into a new pan and keep the bones for stock.
Add chopped left over veggies (roasted or steamed any will do) plus potatoes, seasoning and grated nutmeg. I love nutmeg but it is of course optional.
Add some chopped chicken, heat and serve. You can thicken with cornflour however the potatoes do this for you too.
Cover bones with water, add bay leaf, peppercorns, 1/2 onion, 1 carrot chopped and 2 sticks celery if you have them.
Simmer 10 mins.
What I LOVE about this is we buy 1 chicken, get lots of meals and have absolutely NO WASTE. Bones and skin and all are eaten. Give it a go 🙂
We’ve recently hit baby party season. A whole heap of our baby friends are turning one, and it’s the Christmas season too. Usually for me parties are rather a non-event in terms of eating, being wheat free the majority of buffet food is a no-no and you’ll tend to find me propping up the carrot sticks and hummous table.
This season parties have taken on a whole new feel. How do I feel about my little bundle tucking into party food? We are a bunch of pretty healthy eaters in our house, in my book that means we also include some treats like cake, biscuits and chocolate on an occasional basis. So I’ve taken the same view of party food, it’s a treat, a new experience and exposure to foods that we wouldn’t normally have at home, it’s also a lovely social way of eating. I’ve loved watching the babies engaging with each other and watching each other munch. At one party they were all feeding each other, lovely to watch.
Interestingly Kezia herself hasn’t been that into all the party food. Chips are a definite thumbs down as was ice-cream (so mummy enjoyed the ice-cream instead!). She is more of a fruit monster and quite partial to a nice piece of cake 🙂
At Kezia’s 1st birthday party we tried to keep food along the healthier lines – raw veggies with dips, banana flapjack, fresh fruit, chunks of cheese and small crackers plus of course….CAKE.
Top tips for baby parties:
Let them enjoy some different foods, even if they are not the healthiest. Keep to sensible portions though.
Encourage the social side of eating, it’s a fun time and mess is ok.
Keep meals the rest of the day healthy, make sure those fruit and veggies are eaten.
See party day as a treat day and try to balance it out over the week.
Take a small selection of party foods onto a plate for your baby to choose from rather than staying near the buffet table.
Keep a bib handy and some wipes.
Take a selection of foods your baby likes in case they are not keen on the party food but want to eat.
Keeping the variety going for babies is so important yet can be quite a demanding thing to do amidst juggling the piles of washing, the milk feeds and all that mummy-hood brings. So here are a few ideas to help you out….
All meals need to be well-balanced, so based on starchy carbohydrates such as bread, rice, potatoes, crackers, rice-cakes, pasta, cous cous. There should be some protein – meat, fish, cheese, eggs, lentil, beans or pulses. I always try to include 1 portion of veggies and 1 portion of fruit. Below I’ve just outlined the carbohydrate and protein element of the meal, they can of course all be mixed and matched 🙂
We tend to keep lunch as a snack meal, and dinner is our cooked meal but it doesn’t matter which way round you do things, whatever works best! We are often out and about at lunchtime so it’s easier to take cold food that doesn’t need heating and isn’t too messy to eat. I have a baby who likes to share my lunch so we often eat the same.
Rice-cakes with cottage cheese or cream cheese and grapes.
Cream cheese and grated apple sandwich.
Pitta bread with avocardo and grated carrot.
Rye bread with avocardo and tomato.
Bagel with hummous, try different flavours.
Scrambled egg cooked with peppers on toast.
Brioche roll with ham.
Sardines/pilchards on toast.
Jacket potato with cheese/beans.
Cous cous with chicken, sultanas, peas and sweetcorn.
Tuna rice salad – mix cooked rice with tuna in spring water, chopped cooked. peppers, grated carrot and cucumber, dress with red wine vinegar and olive oil.Our favourite this week is a spiced cauliflower hummous. Yum yum. Here’s my little one enjoying it!
An interesting piece of research caught my eye this week. A team of psychology researchers in Montreal looked into how using mental imagery techniques may increase the likelihood of people eating more fruit and vegetables. They asked 177 students to aim to eat more fruit over the next 7 days. Those who planned, wrote it down and visualised how they were going to do it (e.g. where and when they would buy, prepare and eat the fruit) were twice as likely to increase their consumption.
This was based on sports psychology. “Athletes do lots of work mentally rehearsing their performances before competing and it’s often very successful. So we thought having people mentally rehearse how they were going to buy and eat their fruit should make it more likely that they would actually do it. And this is exactly what happened,” says Bärbel Knäuper.
As a dietitian part of my job is helping people plan how they will manage to alter their eating habits so this research is further evidence that planning really is key. Talking through with someone what your long term goals are, how you can put them into place and having a short term goal to achieve are vital components of achieving dietary change.