Cakes in a Jar Three Ways

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Am I the only person in the world who has missed out on this cake in a jar trend? Apparently so. My teenage son caught onto to it way before me (and he’s not well known for his love of all things kitsch and cute) and challenged me on Facebook to knock him up a couple. Yeah, yeah, I said, I’ll get to it. That was a month ago, but this week as I was still ‘convalescing’ (read having a very lazy week) I decided to give them a go. It was almost worth having the flu for. We haven’t looked back, and have been gorging ourselves on cakes in jar every lunch time since.

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Chayote and Quinoa Aztec Salad

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Chayote (or mirliton) is one of those vegetables that doesn’t crop up too often in the UK. Strange that. It favours an almost tropical climate (don’t we all?) and shows up a lot more in Southern Europe as well as the Caribbean, southern American states and, of course, Mexico. But this week, I was lucky enough to be presented with a couple and therefore given a good enough reason to spend a day in my kitchen messing around with them. Continue reading

Flu Fighting Fish Curry

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So, I  know, it is Monday. I should be posting up a lovely quick meat free meal, but today is going to be different, just to keep you all on your toes. The reason behind this is simple. Last week, after hanging around with a variety of germ infested children, I went down with the flu. Now, what you need to understand is that I never get ill (in fact I can only think of one time in my life when I had the flu before) unless you count the odd hangover, so I really don’t make the best patient. It’s not that I don’t like lying around doing nothing, I just want to feel well whilst I’m doing it. And believe me, this flu was a killer. As it’s still hanging around now leaving all of us feeling like we’ve been run over by a bus, I thought today I’d rustle up something to perk us back up again so we can last out the last few weeks of this interminable winter.

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Store Cupboard Soup

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This week has been our half term holiday, a week of catching up with friends and on much needed sleep. It’s a lovely break but somehow it’s always a shock to me though how much more food we get through when everyone is home all day. Even as I wrote that I can hear what a no brainer it sounds; but think about it. I make their lunches every day for school. Why shouldn’t I get through the same amount of food just because they are eating it at home? Because it’s just not the same, being surrounded by cupboards full of food rather than lunch boxes, that’s why. This soup is what I make when I can’t face the endless round of sandwiches and when I really don’t want to head out to the shops again. It’s really tasty, healthy and can be knocked up pretty quickly with the contents of any well stocked kitchen cupboard. But best of all, because you’re going to blitz most of it to get a smoother soup, it’s perfect to delegate to your children to make; you’ll never notice the hatchet job they might make of the fennel after five minutes with a blender.
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Herb and Ricotta stuffed Crespelle

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It might still be cold outside but, where I am at least, little signs that Spring is coming are popping up and, of course we are fast approaching Easter and all the gorgeous food that goes with it. Easter is a bit different to Christmas in that the weather is (usually) more forgiving so we (usually) get the chance to move around and get out a bit more however it does kick off quite a bit earlier with Mardi Gras. And yes I know,  strictly speaking, if we’re doing things right we ought to have quite a lengthy pause before carrying on with the festivities, but a lot of us seem to forget that bit nowadays. Here in the UK, we like to celebrate ‘Fat Tuesday’ or Shrove Tuesday, the beginning of Lent by gorging ourselves on all of the fat and flour traditionally left in the house before the great 40 day fast begins. So we make pancakes. Lots of them as well. So much so that Shrove Tuesday is now more commonly known as Pancake Day.

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Sisterhood of the World Blogger Award

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Today marks the day that I’ve been blogging for 5 months, and thanks to Becky from Quinoa and Cookies I’ve got a little bonus post for you all. I’m pleased to say that Becky has nominated Herbs and Spice for the Sisterhood of the World Blogger Award. The Sisterhood of the World Blogger Award recognizes all of the talented female bloggers out there so I couldn’t be happier to accept the award. Thank you Becky! If you haven’t already checked out Becky’s blog head over there for great ideas for loads of healthy and gluten free recipe ideas. Some of my favorites are her shredded beef and black beans or her cinnamon roll muffins.
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Valentine’s Vegan Cheesecake

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Looking around the internet this week (and actually for a few weeks before) I’ve come to the conclusion that I must be the only food blogger that doesn’t go in for Valentine’s in a big way. And I mean a big way. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not completely unromantic; but I am British. I’ll stretch to a humorous card but and a nice meal, but considering the fact that I do the nice meal most nights, (I have warned you all I am food obsessed) we’re not talking about a huge change. But if you can’t beat them, I say, join them so this week I decided to give my cheesecake loving husband a little Valentine’s treat and to kill two birds with one stone and use up some of my winter beetroot stocks.
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Meatfree Monday: Pasta with Leek, Broccoli and Sage

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There are a lot of reasons why we should all be cutting down on the amount of meat we eat but for me the two most important ones are (aside from the obvious massive damage factory farming does to the planet) taste and ease. I sometimes find myself resenting the almost tyrannical way a piece of meat can take over a whole dish, with the more subtle flavours of your lovely fresh veg hardly noticeable. And when you are rushing round with a normal busy day, there is just no denying that that same lovely fresh seasonal veg will usually need much less cooking time to create something delicious. However, a few people out there aren’t ready for a change like that yet and that’s where meat free Monday comes in. But don’t get too attached to the name; this pasta sauce will make a perfect midweek pasta supper, any day of the week.

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Black Garlic Vegan Carbonara

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A couple of quite momentous and seemingly unrelated things have happened to me over the past couple of weeks (well, for me anyway, but I’ve got some strange priorities). The first is that I bought my first batch of black garlic. Having heard a little of the buzz that has been going round about this stuff I knew that I wanted to try it, and soon. But the other, and probably even better thing was that I discovered how to make vegan bacon bits, courtesy of blissful basil.

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