Recipe

DAIRY FREE SPAGHETTI BOLOGNESE

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Hi Guys and a Happy New Year. Now I know that the start of a new year is full of promises and resolutions but I’m not going dairy free as a resolution but as a necessity… my baby stinks! Not just a little bit either, I’m talking about clear the room, atomic bomb stinky. She’s exclusively breastfed and apparently shouldn’t smell this bad. The suspected culprit? Dairy.

I should explain, her older brother has a severe dairy allergy, coming out in hives on contact and she is no where near as bad but the signs are there. He also could clear a room in one foul flatulent explosion swoop whilst exclusively BF until I gave up dairy. Then, the magic happened. I gave up dairy and within 2 weeks he stopped smelling and started sleeping better.

So fingers crossed and wish me luck!

 

Recipe of the week

Spaghetti bolognese for busy people

(Dairy Free obviously)

 

 

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Serves 4

Prep 5 mins

Cook all day in an Aga/slow cooker or 90 mins conventional

 

Ingredients

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  • One onion
  • One chicken stock pot
  • One tub of tomato purée (I use these little 70g tubs by Cirio)
  • One pack of beef mince
  • Mushrooms (optional)
  • Pasta of any shape
  • Green side salad to serve

 

Method

 

  • Finely dice the onion
  • Put everything else into the pot/slow cooker
  • Add 250ml water and stir well
  • Put in Aga simmering oven or slow cooker until teatime
  • If you’re in a rush, put it in the Aga roasting oven for 90 mins or conventional oven @ 180C
  • Serve with pasta of your choice

 

Listen: Kelis – Milkshake


TURMERIC LATTE

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On a visit to trendy Shoreditch House last year whilst waiting for my meeting i was browsing at upcoming events for their members and saw one evening session scheduled was a lecture on Turmeric.

Well i was clearly out of the loop on this one and had only ever come across Turmeric as an ingredient when i’d made my curries from scratch. Full of curiosity i did my own investigations in to the benefits of this brightly coloured spice.

Turmeric has been used in Asia for thousands of years and is a major part of Ayurveda , Siddha medicine. Ayurveda therapies have been integrated in general wellness applications and in some cases medical uses.

Turmeric is one of the key ingredients in many Asian dishes and is commonly used as a dye for clothes and food.

However the latest claims and hype enough that people would want to go to a lecture on it were and wait for it , it’s a big list

Increases circulation

Reduces cholesterol

Helps to fight infection

Anti – ageing

Anti – cancer

Improves immunity

Improves digestion

Prevents Ulcers

Regulates blood sugar

Protects brain and heart

Aids sleep

So at this point i can hear you all saying my god let’s get adding this wonder super spice to everything which is exactly what i was like after of getting over the shame for not knowing just what this miraculous little spice could do.

However i did dig a little deeper whilst sipping on my now daily Turmeric latte’s and despite all the claims there is not enough data to support any of them.

None of this is to say the scientific community has dismissed Turmeric as a lost cause . The curcumin continued within Turmeric has medicinal activity but gives false screening  during drug tests which may explain the flurry of interest without much in the way of real results. It’s also pretty hard for the human body to absorb.

In conclusion is Turmeric the magic little spice it’s claimed to be? – no . Might it be beneficial to our health ? – probably , we just need to wait and see so in the meantime it does make a rather nice curry and i’m still sipping my latte’s ( vegan recipe below)

Ingredients

1/4 tsp ground ginger

250ml almond milk

1 pinch black pepper

1/2tsp Cinnamon

1 tsp coconut sugar

1/2tsp

Add all ingredients in a small saucepan, turn heat to medium high and whisk vigorously until it begins to foam but not boil.

Remove from the heat and put into a mug.

 

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Hatches, Matches and Dispatches

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I’m currently organising my daughter’s Christening. We would have done it sooner but the end of last year was a difficult one to say the least for us as a family.

Our Dad passed away.

Quite unexpectedly actually, even though he was suffering amyloidosis and myeloma. He contracted sepsis and pneumococcal meningitis and wasn’t strong enough to fight it. Although he fought a good fight.

We were all there-he held on so every relative that wanted to be there could be there. It was as though he’d timed it that way. Everyone had just finished work for the weekend and even the hospital car park had spaces! Just like Dad-organised right to the end.

We watched him go. It was such a bonding experience with every person that was there. We were crying, we were smiling, we were pragmatic, we were irrational, we were hopeful, we were despairing, we were so many things but we were all there supporting each other. It wasn’t scary or frightening, he just drifted off to sleep.

Our grief was immeasurable but what helped was talking. We spoke about Dad constantly, taking comfort from a poem by Henry Scott Holland. ‘Death is nothing at all’

Let my name be ever the household word that it always was. Let it be spoken without effect. Without the trace of a shadow on it

We looked through old photos and remembered all the great times we had. That his life was so much more than the last fortnight in hospital and the last two years that he’d been unwell. To celebrate him as well as mourn him.

So instead of organising a christening, we were organising a funeral.

And it was spectacular. Full of pomp and circumstance. Standing room only and an abundance of flowers that left other members of the usual Sunday congregation wondering who this recent addition to the graveyard was. A fitting send off for an exceptional man.

And now, we’re making more memories in this Church that all of our children have been christened in and I was also married in. And I find great comfort knowing that Dad is there too. In fact, we’ll be able to see him from the font.

Dad’s Pavlova recipe

 

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Photo credit: Dad xx

Ingredients:

4 large egg whites (older eggs or previously frozen egg whites will give you more volume)

225g (8oz) caster sugar

1 level tsp cornflour

1 tsp white wine vinegar

For the filling:

300ml (½ pint)whipping or pouring double cream, whipped

About 350g (12oz) fresh fruit.

Method:

  • Line a large baking sheet with non-stick paper.
  • Whisk the egg whites on high speed in a very clean bowl until they form stiff peaks.
  • Add the caster sugar a spoonful at a time, whisking all the time.
  • When the whites look shiny and thick, mix the cornflour and vinegar together and pour into the meringue. Stir everything together to combine.
  • Pile the meringue onto the baking sheet, building up the sides slightly.
  • Slide the meringue on to the grid shelf on the floor of the Roasting Oven with the cold sheet on the second set of runners for about 3–5 minutes until lightly golden. Transfer to the Simmering Oven for 1–1½ hours or until easy to lift off the paper.
  • Allow to cool on top of the Aga for about 30–45 minutes to dry out remembering that the middle should be soft. Peel away the paper and place on a serving plate.
  • Whisk the cream to soft peaks and spoon onto pavlova. Arrange or scatter the fruit on top.

CONVENTIONAL OVEN

Cook in an oven preheated to 150°C/Fan 130°C/Gas 2 for an hour, switch off the oven and leave the pavlova in the oven until cold.

Top tip: For some reason this recipe works better with imperial measurements.

Make this dairy free: Substitute the cream for coconut milk.

  • Chill tin of coconut milk in the fridge for 8 hours or overnight. Make sure it’s full fat.
  • Open tin of coconut milk, taking care not to shake it. The coconut cream will have solidified. Scoop out the solid coconut cream into a mixing bowl.
  • Beat coconut cream using electric mixer with chilled beaters on medium speed; increase to high speed. Beat until stiff peaks form. Taste and add caster sugar if desired.
  • Pile on top of pavlova and serve immediately. It tends to make the base a bit soggy otherwise.

We’re listening to: Parting Glass (Live from Wembley) by Ed Sheeran.


 

BANANA DATE MUFFINS

 

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If you love banana bread then you’ll love these muffins plus it’s a greta way to use up overripe bananas.

I make these with the girls so they can grab healthy snacks at the weekend or have one  for breakfast, they keep for a few days in a tin.

I’ve used a vegan friendly recipe.

Ingredients

2 cups gluten free flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

 

a pinch of sea salt

2 overripe bananas, mashed

1/2 cup virgin olive oil

2/3 cup maple syrup

2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract

6 large dried dates chopped

2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

Method

Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners

Whisk together 2 cups flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.

In a separate bowl whisk mashed bananas, olive oil, maple syrup, almond milk and vanilla extract.

Combine wet and dry ingredients.

Fold dates and some of the pumpkin seeds in to the batter.

Divide batter among muffin cups and sprinkle rest of pumpkin seeds on top

Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Chloë x x