Fueling an Ironman – Mango Cashew bites

Mango_Cashew_Bites

As I said in my previous posts the focus of my last few culinary outings have been preparing snacks for a post work out refuelling. I am also lucky enough to be off on holiday next week and wanted to find something that would be a great and healthy snack to keep me going on the plane journey. Whenever I am on an overnight flight I always find myself getting the midnight munchies. Usually because I am either a) bored or b) I turned my nose up at lunch/ dinner and actually want to eat something. The helpful air stewards usually have some goodies in the back – biscuits, chocolate bars, crisps etc. All the stuff that tastes great at midnight but actual does nothing for your body and when you are on long haul flight, your body is getting a bit of a beating anyway. So, in fly your answer, in the form of Mango and Cashew bites, not only will these tropical tasting beauties prep you for sunshine, they are a sweet and delicious treat filled with goodness, and as always they are simple to make and easy to eat!

So the next time you want a sweet snack, don’t look to the biscuit tin look to the Mango Cashew bite!

Ingredients

100g Dried Mango

100g Cashew Nuts

60g unsweetend Dessicated Coconut

1tsp Vanilla Extract

Zest of 1 Lime

Pinch of Salt

 Method

  1. Firstly pour your cashews into a bowl, cover with water and leave to soak for 4 hours
  2. About 30mins before the 4 hours are up add your dried mango
  3. Drain your cashews and mango, add to a food processor with the vanilla extract, 50g of the coconut and the lime zest
  4. Pulse until everything is combined and you get a sticky dough
  5. Remove the dough from the processor and roll into balls (just a bit bigger than a chocolate truffle) then roll in the remaining desiccated coconut and leave to set in the fridge for an hour

These satisfying treats last in the fridge for about 2 weeks and make a great after workout snack, travel treat or excellent late night munchie option.  

I hope your day is filled with sunshine. If not try brightening it up with one of these!

Fuelling an Ironman – The Post Workout Snack

Cold_Pressed_Chocolate_Orange_Bars

So for those of you who don’t directly know me or Monsieur From Scratch, currently one of the major all consuming elements of our life together is the Ironman. No, that’s not code for the wedding, and no, I am not talking about the Robert Downey Jr. films. I am talking about the Ironman Race. The ultimate triathlon: a 2.4 mile Swim, 112 mile cycle and a 26.2 mile run (yes, that is a marathon). In one day. In fact in 17 hours or less. Before you go off on a crazy tangent thinking I am taking on an Ironman let me quell your fears and reassure you I am not. I am just a wonderfully supportive observer. It is Monsieur From Scratch (let’s just shorten that to MFS for now) who is taking up this mantel a mere month before our wedding (we like to cram things in at From Scratch Headquarters). Why am I telling you all this? Well as you can imagine training for something like this changes the way you eat, and I am being ultra supportive and healthy and in fact training for my own sporting feat – a half marathon in June ( I am raising money for a charity based around cake – one of the most beautiful things in the world – if you want to sponsor me, that would be amazing and you can donate here) – our diet at home has been slowly shifting. Hence the lack of posts. Basically we are eating a lot of fruit and vegetables. However it has not been the main meals that I have been itching to revolutionise, it has been the post workout snacks. Usually after a long run both myself and MFS go straight for the fruit, or in MFS’s case some Banana Soreen and a For Goodness Shakes. He has also been chowing down on cereal bars, energy bars and other snacks to get the good stuff back into his body. Our food bill has significantly increased. So in a bid to get more variety, lower the costs of our average weekly spend on cereal bars and, heck because it was a Saturday, I decided to experiment.

Now I know you may be thinking, I am not planning on running a marathon any time soon, I don’t own a bike and you will not find me swimming down a river in the North of England in this lifetime, why do I care about post workout snacks? Well these treats are delicious, they are the perfect afternoon treat, an ideal travel snack and just a lot of goodness in one place. Oh and did I mention they are incredibly simple to make? I mean you can be pretty darn lazy and come out with some fantastic treats.

I road tested them on a couple of hungry footballers and they seemed to go down well so they are also ravenous male approved! Hurray!

So even if you’re not in training and exercise is only on the to -o list I definitely recommend giving these a whirl.

With out further ado I give you my classic cold pressed chocolate orange bar:

Ingredients

350g Mixed Nuts – I went for walnut, almond, cashew and coconut, but seriously you can pretty much do anything you fancy

20 Medjool dates

40g Cocoa Powder

Zest of 1 Orange

1 tbsp Orange Juice

¼ tsp of Vanilla Extract

a pinch of good quality Sea Salt – I used Maldon sea flakes

 

Method (you are seriously going to love how easy this is)

  1. Firstly prep your tin, by lining a square or rectangular cake tin about 8inch by 8inch with greaseproof paper ( you will want to skip this and do it later, this is what I did, it wasn’t fun, my hands were covered in chocolate mixture and I got it everywhere in an attempt to line my time without spending 5mins throughly removing mixture from my hands – do this now!)
  2. Place your nuts in a food processor and pulse until they reach breadcrumb stage, don’t worry if there are still some larger pieces a mixture is fine – and you don’t want to end up with nut butter. Place your now chopped nuts into a large bowl
  3. Pit your dates and place them in the processor, add the Cocoa powder, orange zest, Orange juice, vanilla extract and salt in and pulse until they form a big chocolaty dough ball
  4. Remove this from the processor and knead into the nut mixture – this takes about 2-3mins of kneading to combine – you will think you have two many nuts but you don’t it will work
  5. Once combined place in your tin and flatten down. Move to the freeze and let this set for about 30 mins, Alternatively you can move to the fridge to set for about 1.30 to 2hrs
  6. Once cooled cut into bars and wrap up in cling film ready to go. These are best stored in the fridge and will last about 2 weeks

Obviously you should leave out one to try immediately and thoroughly satisfy your taste buds. And that is it a great healthy after-exercise refuelling treat. These things are so good they might be the only motivation you need to hit the gym!

Next time on Fuelling an Ironman we will explore the wonderful world of Mango Bites!

Oh, and if you want to sponsor the lovely soon to be Ironman MFS here is his Just Giving page.

 

For the Love of Avocado Toast

Avocado Toast

You know when a food staple has completely passed you by and then all of a sudden you finally make it and realise it’s the best thing ever. That is what has just happened to me with Avacado toast. I swear the Californians have been making this for years, and everyone else in the world has been at it for at least a year or so.  Seeing as I love Avocado it’s pretty surprising I had never tried Avocado on toast before. However whilst I may have come late to the party I sure am making up for lost time. I have been eating this like the Avocado is becoming extinct (god forbid). I mean seriously this has been on the menu at least once a week. But here’s why – it is the perfect snack, small meal or meal accompaniment, it works for breakfast, lunch and dinner, midnight snacks, post gym snacks, mid morning snacks. You get the picture you can literally eat it anytime. And all you really need is some bread or Pitta Bread, an Avocado, a little bit of salt and pepper and sprinkle of chilli flakes and you’re there. It’s pretty much mash avocado, season, spread and eat. It couldn’t be simpler or more delicious. I mean I am tempted to say this could be the dish of 2014 for me and it is only February. So if you want to mix up your breakfast, lunch or dinner routine, or you just want a snack, I seriously suggest giving a try. Trust me you won’t regret it. You may just wish you lived in a place where Avocado’s grew on trees, I sure wish I did!

And with Pancake day approaching maybe I should try a savoury Avocado Pancake? 

Too far? We’ll have to wait and see!

Avocado_Toast_Egg

Happy Avocado based weekends!  

Little Bites of Love

love in biscuit form

With Valentines Day having just been and gone and what with me getting married this year, I have come over all romantic. Valentines Day is not a day I usually celebrate. I am all about love everyday not just one. However it is a great excuse to bake and also remind people that we think they are frickin awesome.

So with that said, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to make some little heart shaped biscuits to spread some love and sweet goodness around. 

These were so simple and quick to make, so if you are looking for a way to share the love tomorrow or simply make some other folks smile why not give these a go.

Also before I forget it goes with out saying Happy Valentines Day – I frickin love you guys – thanks so much for reading and sharing this journey.

Have an amazing day!

Chocolate Chip Shortbread Biscuits – also known as – Love in Biscuit Form

(makes about 30/ 35 little biscuits)

Ingredients

5oz Butter

3oz Caster Sugar

7oz Plain Flour

200g Chocolate

1/2tsp Vanilla Essence

a little extra Caster Sugar for sprinkling

Method

  1. Preheat your oven for 180 Degrees C
  2. Beat the butter and sugar together until smooth
  3. Add the vanilla essence and chocolate chips and combine
  4. Add in your flour and mix until you have a dough. Combine into a ball and roll out until to about 1cm thick
  5. Cut out your hearts using a cutter and place on a baking sheet, sprinkle over a little caster sugar and leave in the fridge for about 30mins
  6. Remove from the fridge and bake in the oven for about 12-15 mins
  7. Leave to cool and once cool package up with a lot of love 

And as Bugsy Malone would say – You give a little love and it all comes back to you!

 

 

Flavour Bombs – The Ultimate Accompaniments

Food Accompaniments

So last Friday I Invited some friends over to celebrate Chinese New Year. Regular readers of Suppers From Scratch will know about my penchant for Dim Sum and my love of Chinese food in general.

As a result I pretty much always make some sort of Chinese inspired meal for the New Year celebrations. Of course this year was no different, roll on the Char Sui Buns, the Vegetable Dumplings, Edamame Beans, Prawn Crackers, Fried Noodles, Tapioca Pudding and Fortune Cookies.

Most of these foods have already made an appearance on the blog. So this year, I had sort of decided not to blog about Chinese New Year at all. However I kind of can’t help myself, because I had a bit of a food break through in the form of a sauce and a pickle that revolutionised my dishes. Good Asian food is often made fresh and served piping hot, meaning the kitchen can get busy, and it can all be a bit last minute. This year though I decided to make a few accompaniments for my feast ahead of time so I had some great extra’s to pile on top of my overflowing plates. The great thing about a sauce or a pickle is that they are even better when they are made in advance. And the real kicker is that they positively made each dish sing with an extra kick of spice and flavour. Oh what’s that you want more… well the best bit – they last for a couple of weeks so I have two flavour kings sitting in my fridge ready to transform any lazy mid week supper. There you have it Ladies and Gentlemen the From Scratch trio of awesomeness – easy to make – great flavour – multi-purpose. It doesn’t get any better.

So meet your two new flavour bombs – La sauce d’ail – or for us regular folk Garlic Water and Mango Kutcha. Both of these are classic Mauritian accompaniments for fried noodles, and other street food dishes. They are both very simple and so yummy I recommend giving them a whirl.

So let’s get down to it.

First up La sauce d’ail – I love this stuff, when I am in Mauritius I pile this on to my fried noodles and then some, it is so good and garlicy.
Garlic Water

Ingredients
500ml Hot Water
1.25 tbsp Golden Sugar
100ml White Wine Vinegar
2 Cloves Garlic
2 finely chopped Spring Onions ( I couldn’t find garlic chives which is the traditional addition – so if you can why not try those instead)
1tsp Salt

Method

  1. Dissolve the sugar in 250ml of hot water and stir until it has completely dissolved. Finely chop the garlic and spring onions
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir, place in a container and leave in the fridge. This is ready to add to any dish that you fancy and will keep for about a week

Next up Mango Kutcha – this was a new recipe for me but it proved sweet and hot and utterly satisfying. It also offers a great accompaniment to fish. (Want to go further? I added this to Spaghetti Bolognese the other day and guess what it was awesome!)
Mango Kutcha

Ingredients
200g Frozen Mango Cubes
2 tbsp Vegetable Oil 
1 tbsp Turmeric
2 finely chopped Red Chilli’s
1 tbsp Mustard Seeds
2 finely chopped cloves of Garlic
30ml White Wine Vinegar
1 tsp Salt

Method

  1. Prepare your mango’s by grating with a thick grater in your food processor ( if you don’t have a food processor, buy 2 unripe mangos peel and finely chop)
  2. Heat the oil in a pan and add the turmeric, chilli’s, mustard seeds and garlic, fry for about a minute
  3. Then add the vinegar, mango and salt. Stir to combine and cook for a further 2-3 mins
  4. Remove from the heat and allow to cool, then place in an airtight container, cover with a splash of oil and keep in the fridge. This will keep in the fridge for about 2 weeks

And that is it. Two simple flavour bombs, that offer you a lot of bang for your buck and will make your mid week dishes feel like weekend feasts. Happy accompanying!

Kale Caesar Salad

Kale and Caeser Salad

January being the month of health has meant Salad has been the order of the day for a few weeks now in our house. So as you can imagine, the same sort of salads have been doing the rounds.

However this Saturday after a hefty 2 hour gym session, I wanted something healthyish (basically didn’t want to undo all that good word) but at the same time I fancied a bit of an indulgence, something that packed a real punch in the flavour department. 

A few days before I had seen this Smokey Kale and Caesar Salad and decided to give it a try. I mainly for the dressing – I always make one of two dressings you see, and Caesar isn’t one of them.

This dressing seemed to be the answer. 

So Kale Caesar Salad it was – obviously with a few amendments – nix the croutons and cheese, add in tomatoes, avocado, pepper and now we have a salad going. And boy did it pack a punch in the flavour department. And even better news it was filling. A truly satisfying meal on all accounts. So next time you fancy an indulgent but semi-healthy salad why not give this a try. 

Ingredients
1 bag of chopped Curly Kale ( Alternatively chop the kale yourself)
2 Peppers (1 Yellow, 1 Red)
1 Avocado
4 Tomatoes

For dressing
1 tbsp Lemon Juice
2 cloves Garlic
1 Egg
1 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
3 Anchovy filets
1 ½ tsp Dried Chilli Powder
1 ½ tsp Paprika
Salt and Pepper
50 ml Olive Oil 

Method

  1. Squeeze some lemon on to your kale and mix – leave for about 30mins
  2. In the meantime chop your other salad ingredients into chunks
  3. For the dressing mix the lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, anchovies, chilli powder and paprika in a small blender, add the oil and egg and blitz until everything is combined. Season with salt and pepper
  4. Check the seasoning, then add your salad vegetables, and dressing to the kale and give it a good mix

Delicious, indulgent, semi healthy and just plain good. Perfect Saturday lunch fodder!  

Chocolate and Almond Butter Fudge … Crumbs

Fudge

So I was all set to write about the Chocolate and Almond Butter Fudge I made – the complete Sugar and Dairy free beauty that it is. This stuff is good, really good. So good I didn’t really leave that much to photograph this morning. It kinda got eaten. So excuse my photo of the crumbs. Hopefully you will see it as a testament to a recipe worth trying. 

If you are in the midst of a healthy January and really craving some sort of sweet and satisfying treat that doesn’t break any resolutions – well consider this your answer.

Hello Chocolatey Fudge goodness. Please stick around forever and be my best friend.

It is pretty simple to make but does need an hour or so in the fridge to harden so try making it before dinner, if you fancy enjoying some for dessert. 

Ingredients
60g Coconut Oil 
120g Almond Butter
120g Cocoa Powder
60g Dates (with stones removed)
Handful of Raisins (these aren’t essential just add extra sweetness)
1 pinch of unrefined Sea Salt
(don’t you just love that list – not a bad thing in sight!)

Method  

  1. Soak your dates in hot water for 20 mins then drain
  2. Melt your coconut oil over a low heat – you don’t want it to heat up too much – just to melt
  3. Place all your ingredients except for the Almond Butter and Raisins in a food processor and blitz until fully combined
  4. Then stir in the Almond Butter and Raisins 
  5. Spread evenly in a dish/tin and place in the fridge to set 
  6. After about an hour remove and chop into Fudge size chunks 

This keeps well in the Fridge for at least a week or so, If it lasts that long! So that is Friday night sorted then! 

An Everything Quinoa Salad with Avocado Pesto

Quinoa Salad

So just like everybody else I am doing a fairly health conscious January. No resolutions for myself – as I said in my last post I am focusing on my general approach rather than specific goals. That said exercise and good food are at the top of my to do list and have become a general focus for my day. Hence the lack of posts. Really I have just been at the gym. Oh and then my oven broke. I know … true story. A food blogger with a broken oven. What’s a girl to do hey! Well improvise.

This is how my Everything Salad came about. I was hungry, very hungry, I couldn’t decide what to eat or think what I could make just using my hob. I knew I had to be healthy – to me this means Veg and a lot of it. But then I was hungry, which meant some sort of bulk – enter Quinoa – the healthy hungry girls best friend. It fills you up as if you were eating rice or cous cous but is gulten free and chocked full with all sorts of goodness. So that was it Veg and Quinoa, decided. But it needed something, and that is where Avocado Pesto came in. The idea being that you remove the hefty slug of olive oil that makes pesto a little bit unhealthy and replace it with the god of all ‘good’ fats, the Avocado. And all you have to do is simply blitz it with Garlic and Basil and you are there.

Very quick to make, and every filling. I still ate way too much, but at least I am eating too much of the right stuff.

So here it is my ‘everything salad’ so named because I literally stuck every type of veg I had in this bad boy and it worked. 

Ingredients

40g Quinoa

Broccoli trees and stalks

Asparagus

Sugar Snap Peas

1 Parsnip – peeled and chopped into chunks

Baby Sweetcorn

1 Red Pepper

1 Beetroot

A large handful of Spinach

 

For Avocado Pesto

1 Avocado

1 clove of Garlic finely chopped

a large handful of Basil

Salt and Pepper to taste

Method

  1. Pour your quinoa into a pan – cover with 250ml of water and let this simmer on a low heat for about 20-25 mins until cooked
  2. Steam your broccoli, asparagus, sugar snap peas, chopped parsnips and baby sweetcorn for about 5mins
  3. In a small food processor/ blender blitz your avocado, garlic and basil then season with salt and pepper
  4. Once your quinoa is cooked add your steamed vegetables, chopped raw vegetables, spinach and ½ the avocado pesto and mix together, then chomp away

As a side note I saved the rest of my pesto and had it the next day with a vegetable pasta – yummy! 

And that is it, my quick and healthy dinner that properly filled my stomach! Win, Win, Win.

More healthy recipes coming soon – be prepared for vegan chocolate and almond fudge!

Yule Log Love

Yule Log

Don’t you just love a Yule log, the great alternative to a Christmas pudding, chocolatly decedant and just plain great. I make one every year, occasionally I toy with the idea of doing something crazy, like a black forrest gateau version, or a white chocolate version, but every year the old reliable classic that my Grandma taught me comes out and every year it is excatly what I want. As they say if it aint broke, don;t fix it.

So here we go. You still have time to make it trust me, I am making mine today!

Ingredients

For Sponge
6 Eggs
5 oz Caster Sugar
2 oz Cocoa Powder

For filling
250ml Double Cream

For Icing
6oz Butter
12 oz Icing Sugar
150g Dark Chocolate Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees and line a rectangular shape inch deep tin (I actually use a roasting tin)
  2. For the sponge separate your eggs placing the yolks in a big bowl
  3. Whisk yolks until they thicken, then add the caster sugar and continue to stir until the mixture thickens further
  4. Sift your cocoa powder in and mix together
  5. In a separate bowl mix your egg whites until they form stiff peaks
  6. Fold the egg whites into your chocolate mixture. Mix them in carefully so you don’t loose the air
  7. Pour the mixture into your tin and bake for 20 mins
  8. Once cooked remove from the oven and leave for 5 mins to cool
  9. Before the cake has completely cooled take a clean tea towel and sprinkle with icing sugar. Place your sponge on the tea towel and carefully roll. Wrap the tea towel around and leave to cool. It is important to do this stage before the cake cools completely.
  10. For the icing melt the chocolate in a double boiler and leave to cool
  11. Cream butter and icing sugar together. When the chocolate has cooled stir in.
  12. For filling whisk double cream until it is thick
  13. To put together carefully unroll your sponge and place onto board fill with cream and roll back together again. If you have any cracks or breakages don’t panic as you can cover this with icing
  14. Then ice your log. Run a fork through the icing to make it look more log like and sprinkle with icing sugar. 

So there you go, the Yule Log recipe as far as I am concerned. Have fun making!

And if I don’t write until after the Big day have a very Happy Christmas!!

 

The full Thanksgiving report

Happy Thanksgiving

I survived!! The Turkey didn’t burn and wasn’t undercooked and everything managed to make it to the table. What a relief.

More to the point it was a great evening, good food, good people and pumpkin pie. Life doesn’t get much better. It also pushed me beyond my current knowledge of food to dishes I had never tried. A few of my favourites were: the Ritz Cracker topped Broccoli Casserole, Pecan topped Sweet Potato (this was SWEET) and of course the Pumpkin Pie. The Jello salad as I expected was a 1950′s American House Wife classic, I don’t think it will be making it into the rotation anytime soon.

But all in all it was a yummy meal, made even better by some pre food crafts – I have posted a picture of my ‘Hand Turkey’ below.

Thanksgiving_craft

However if I am going to pick one recipe to share… well it just has to be pumpkin pie. The quintessential Thanksgiving food. Surprisingly simple to cook and pretty delicious to eat. So if you didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving yesterday, why not whip up your own Pumpkin Pie to carry you into December. Yes, it’s December this weekend… bring on Christmas!

Classic Pumpkin Pie (unashamedly only slight adapted from the back of the tin! How very American of me!)

Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients

1 tin Pumpkin Mix ( I found mine in whole foods)

2 eggs lightly beaten

6oz caster sugar

½ tsp salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground ginger

¼ tsp ground cloves

½ pint of evaporated milk

Around 250g Shortcrust pastry (either shop bought or from scratch)

Cream to serve ( I would whip double cream with a touch of vanilla essence and a sprinkle of cinnamon)

 

Method

  1. Roll out your pastry and place in a pie/tart dish (remember to leave excess the pastry will shrink in the oven)
  2. Prick with a fork and blind bake in an oven at 220C degrees for 10-15 mins
  3. Once baked lower the oven to 180C degrees
  4. In a large bowl mix together your pumpkin, eggs and sugar. Once combined add the salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Stir until combined
  5. Finally add your evaporated milk and stir until fully combined
  6. Pour the mixture into your pie base and bake for 40-50mins or until a knife comes out of the centre of the pie clean (mine took closer to 50mins)
  7. Once cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool
  8. Serve with some delicious whipped cream

And that’s it. Your classic Thanksgiving dessert. 

And just like the Macy’s day Thanksgiving Parade it is time to say Goodbye Thanksgiving, Hello Christmas. Be prepared for seasonal excitement!