Oat and sultana cookies
85g brown sugar
1/2 tbsp vanilla essence
1.5 tbsp milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
120g wholemeal plain flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
85g sultanas or raisins
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter until soft. Beat in the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla, milk and eggs and beat thoroughly. Add the flour with the cinnamon, salt, baking powder and bicarb of soda and mix until just combined. Stir in the oats and sultanas. Place the bowl containing the batter in the fridge until firm, for a few hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 180deg. Grease or line two baking trays with greaseproof paper. Scoop out large tablespoons of the batter, shape each into balls and arrange on the prepared trays, a few centimetres apart. Press down with a wet fork to flatten slightly.
Bake until golden, about 15-20 minutes. They should still be slightly soft in the centre. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
Makes about 20 biscuits
Recipe thanks to Margaret Fulton
Warm Rice Salad
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2-3 cardamom pods or sprinkle cardamom seeds
1 tbsp butter
500ml chicken stock
nuts (cashews, pistachios, flaked almonds or pine nuts)
herbs (parsley or basil)
Chopped red or green pepper
1/2 tin chickpeas
Over medium heat, in a large pan with a lid, melt the butter and add the rice, stirring it to coat until glossy. Pour in the chicken stock, add the cardamom pods and lemon juice and bring the pan to the boil, then clamp on a lid and turn the heat down to very low. Cook for about 10-15 mins, by which time the rice should have absorbed the liquid and be cooked through.
While the rice is cooking, heat 1 tsp olive oil and add the onion, mushrooms and pepper and fry until cooked, about 5 mins.
Once the rice is cooked, combine with the veggies and add the chickpeas, nuts and herbs. Warm through for a couple of minutes and serve.
This should make 3-4 portions as a side salad with a barbie or serve with steak, lamb or grilled fish. If there is any left over, add cooked chicken, tuna or feta cheese for a tasty lunch.
Quick Pasta Salad
150g penne or fusili
1 tin tuna (or feta cheese if preferred)
Red / green peppers, chopped
Handful of rocket
Dash of olive oil
Squeeze of lemon juice
Cook the pasta as per packet instructions. Chop the peppers and mushrooms and boil the sweetcorn (this can be done in the same pan as the pasta). Drain the pasta and stir pesto through it. Add all other ingredients and stir. Finish with a dash of olive oil, lemon juice and pepper.
Lemon Butter Sauce for Fish
1-2 tbsps butter
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp capers
1 tsp chopped herbs (basil, parsley)
Salt and pepper to taste
Melt the butter, then add all other ingredients and mix together. Pour over salmon, trout or white fish.
Mixed Vegetable Curry
1 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
2 curry leaves
1 fresh green or red chilli, finely chopped
2.5cm piece fresh ginger
1/2 cauliflower, broken into florets
1 large carrot, sliced
115g green beans cut into 2.5cm lengths
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garam masala (or use curry paste instead of individual spices)
1/4 tsp salt
250g tinned tomatoes
50g frozen peas, thawed (optional)
250ml vegetable (or chicken) stock
Serve with basmati or brown rice
Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the mustard seeds for 2 minutes until they start to splutter. Add the onions and curry leaves and fry for 5 minutes.
Add the chopped chilli and ginger and fry for a few minutes. Add the cauliflower, carrots and beans, turmeric, cumin, chilli powder, salt and tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes.
Add the thawed peas if using and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the lentils and stock. Cover and simmer over a low heat for 20 minutes or until all vegetables are cooked.
Quick and easy pita bread pizzas
Wholemeal pita breads (1 or 2 per person)
Grated cheddar or goats cheese (enough to cover each pizza without smothering it)
1 dessert spoon tomato puree per pizza
Green or red peppers, sliced
Start by chopping all ingredients to go onto the pizzas. Spread the tomato puree over each pita bread. Place chopped veggies and olives on each (in a smiley face shape if you have kids!) Sprinkle cheese over and top with chopped basil.
Apple and Berry Crumble
80g self-raising flour
60g caster sugar
80g ground almonds or smashed mixed nuts
60g cold butter, cut into 1cm cubes
500g fruit (apples, pears, mixed berries)
Preheat the oven to 200C
To make the crumble, combine the flour, sugar and ground nuts in a bowl. If you have a bag of mixed nuts, grind them with a pestle or mortar or place in a freezer bag and use a rolling pin to smash them into small pieces.
Add the butter cubes and rub in using the tips of your thumbs and middle fingers. The mixture should end up looking like breadcrumbs.
Peel and slice the apples (or pears) and place, together with the berries in an oven dish. Add 1 tbsp water to help the apple cook. Sprinkle the crumble mix evenly over the top, ensuring all the fruit is covered. Bake in the oven for approx 25-30 minutes, or until the crumble is brown and the fruit is bubbling. Serve with a scoop of vanilla yoghurt or for a special treat, a dollop of cream.
Mediterranean Chicken Casserole
4-6 chicken thighs
2 celery sticks
1 clove garlic
100g button mushrooms
1 courgette, sliced thickly
1 carrot, sliced thickly
1/2 red or green pepper
2 x 400g tin tomatoes
1 x reduced salt chicken stock cube or a splash of chicken stock
1 x 400g tin cannellini beans (or broad beans or green beans)
3 sprigs chopped thyme
Handful of basil or parsley
Preheat oven to 180deg. Heat the oil in a non-stick pan and add the chicken. Cook for 5 minutes, turning occasionally or until brown all over. Transfer to oven casserole dish.
Add the onion and celery to the pan and cook until soft. Add the garlic, courgette, pepper and mushrooms and cook until tender. Add the tomato and stock cube and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and transfer to the casserole dish with the chicken.
Cover the casserole dish with a tight-fitting lid and bake in oven for 35 minutes or until chicken is tender. Add the cannellini beans and thyme and return to oven for 10 minutes. Taste and season with pepper. Sprinkle over a handful of basil or parsley and serve on its own or with rye bread, quinoa or brown rice. (Serves 3-4)
6 cups rolled oats (not instant)
2/3 cup mixed raw nuts
½ cup pumpkin seeds
½ cup sunflower seeds
¾ cup sultanas or raisins
¼ cup apricots (optional)
1 cup shredded or desiccated coconut
I use a measuring jug for the cup measurements. Pour all ingredients into a large mixing bowl and stir well. Store in the cupboard in a plastic or glass storage jar. This should make enough for about 10 portions – it is very filling! Serve with chopped banana or blueberries, milk and a spoonful of plain yoghurt.