Any cake that features vegetables wins the day for me – this looks and sounds amazing!
Wow, what a week it’s been. I think this was the first time in two decades I’ve been all alone in the house for an entire week. Imagine that folks. The husband was away on business in New York, son #1 was working and son #2 is away at school. I suppose this was my golden opportunity to do all those things a gal likes to do when there’s no one else to attend to but yourself. So, woo hoo! yippee! party time…okay, so maybe not. Did I squander my week of being unencumbered, should I just have let it rip?
Well, I let it rip okay. I spent the week on a non-stop bake fest. A real bender if you will. Seven days of cookies, cakes and breads. I finally had to say to myself, “girlfriend, just step away from the oven”. I ended my…
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In honour of this day I am sharing a recipe for Welsh Cakes – a delicious tea time treat like a cross between a fruit scone, a tea cake and something awesome covered in sugar!
Enjoy your day if celebrations are afoot and save one for me! Click here to make your own…..
The aubergine is native to South and East Asia and is thought to have been introduced to the Mediterranean area by the Arabs or Africans in the middle ages. The first written record of it in England was in the 16th century when an English botany book of 1597 wrote “This plant groweth in Egypt almost everywhere… bringing forth fruit of the bigness of a great cucumber….”. I love that quote – cheeky!
There are a number of variants of aubergine; small, large, round, elongated ovoid, dark purple, pink, white, yellow, green, variegated colouring. The ones normally found in the UK and US are large, cucumber-sized elongated ovoid shaped, dark purple in colour although you can certainly find the small and round versions in South Asian supermarkets.
The flesh of an aubergine can be quite bitter so lends itself well to slow roasting and frying allowing the bitter starches to break down into sugars. The flesh can absorb a lot of oil during cooking – salting it can reduce the amount absorbed and draw out some of the moisture.
The aubergine is not especially high in any vitamins or minerals but is low in fat (when uncooked) and contains a decent amount of fibre and carbohydrate. It makes for a great meat substitute in vegetarian and vegan meals as its flesh has a good firm texture and it is fantastic in curries or stuffed for example with rice, nuts, vegetables, meat and herbs and spices.
In baba ganoush it is combined with tahini, a paste made of sesame seeds (which are a really good source of a variety of minerals: copper, manganese, calcium, phosphorous and fibre), which puts it in league with middle-eastern dips such as hummus as an amazing accompaniment to pitta bread or vegetable sticks as a healthy low in saturated fats snack. It goes great on the side of a middle-eastern or Greek style mezze with cous cous, tabbouleh or rice, salads, falafel, hummus, olives, etc. Perfect as part of the heart healthy Mediterranean diet.
4-6 aubergines (approximately 900g)
1-2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. salt
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 heaped tbsp. light tahini
2 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. ground cumin
Ground black pepper
1 tbsp. fresh parsley, finely chopped
Smoked paprika (optional garnish)
1 red onion, finely chopped
40 black olives, chopped
- Heat oven to 150C / 300F / Gas Mark 2.
- Cut the top off the aubergines and slice them lengthways. Pour a little oil into your hands (from the 1-2 tbsp.) and massage it onto the skin side of each half aubergine. Do the same with the salt.
- Lay the aubergine halves skin side up onto a lightly greased baking tray and place in the oven. Bake for 40 mins – 1 hour, until the flesh is soft.
- Scoop the soft flesh of all aubergines out into a bowl. Add the garlic, tahini, lemon juice, 2 tbsp. olive oil, ground cumin and black pepper to taste. Blend all ingredients together. I use a billy-whizz handheld blender for this – just make sure you have a deep enough bowl so it doesn’t splatter all over your kitchen and shirt-frontage!
- Serve in a bowl topped with the chopped parsley. Have the chopped red onions and black olives as an optional extra topping for people to add as they wish. Serve with toasted pitta bread.
per whole recipe (dip with parsley)
Energy 1105 kcal / 4623 kJ
Total sugar 18.8g
per serving (dip with parsley) – if serving 6
Energy 184 kcal / 770 kJ
Total sugar 3.1g
Black olives will add: 14 kcal / 59 kJ, Carbs – Trace, Fat – 1.5g, Protein – 0.1g, Fibre – 0.4g, Salt – 0.8g
Onions will add: 9 kcal / 38 kJ, Carbs – 2.0g, Fat – 0.1g, Protein – 0.3g, Fibre – 0.4g
Well, I don’t know about you but I had seriously (maybe a little on purpose because I loves ‘em!) overbought on the brussel sprouts and parsnips this Christmas. This recipe is a fab way to use up your leftovers by putting them into an awesome hearty Wintery warming stew which is jam-packed with fibre, vitamins and flavour and is a perfect lunch or evening meal that is low in fat (especially if you make the vegetarian version using Quorn sossies) and really filling and therefore useful if you are on a post-Christmas/New Year weight loss programme. The sausages add some lovely meaty taste and protein and, as if the veggies didn’t fill you up enough, the pearl barley provides the carbohydrate element which will help you to feel fuller for longer post-scoff! Tasty enough to eat twice a day, if you ask me!!!
4 medium-sized good quality (at least 70% meat) pork sausages (200g)
– use the extra special Chef’s Selection Quorn sausages for a lower saturated fat or vegetarian version
1 tbsp. olive or vegetable oil (10g)
1 clove garlic, chopped fine
1 large onion, peeled and chopped (150g)
2-3 large carrots, peeled and chopped (230g)
250g brussel sprouts, ends and brown leaves trimmed, sliced (you could use cabbage instead)
2-3 medium parsnips, peeled and chopped (300g)
125g pearl barley or scotch broth mix
1.2 litre vegetable or chicken stock (made with 1 x 10g stock cube)
Ground black pepper
A handful fresh parsley, chopped
- Grill or ovenbake the sausages until brown and cooked through, allowing as much fat as possible to run off. Set aside and leave to cool.
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and fry for approximately 5 minutes.
- Add the carrot, sprouts and parsnips and fry for 8-10 minutes or until softened and browned slightly.
- Add the pearl barley or scotch broth mix and the stock.
- Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the vegetables and pearl barley/scotch broth mix are softened. Keep the vegetables on this side of over-cooked though!
- Slice the cooked, cooled sausages and add to the stew with the chopped parsley and black pepper to taste. Stir well and serve piping hot.
Per Batch (70% pork sausages / Chef’s Selection Quorn sausages)
Energy 1250 kcal (5230 kJ) / 1164 kcal (4870 kJ)
Carbohydrate 126.7g / 138.7g
Total sugars 56.1g / 53.5g
Fat 60.5g / 43.2g
Saturates 17.4g / 4.8g
Protein 44.8g / 48.4g
Fibre 41.4g / 45.4g
Salt 6.1g / 8.9g
Per Serving – (70% pork sausages / Chef’s Selection Quorn sausages)
Energy 313 kcal (1308 kJ) / 291 kcal (1218 kJ)
Carbohydrate 31.7g / 34.7g
Total sugars 14.0g / 13.4g
Fat 15.1g / 10.8g
Saturates 4.4g / 1.2g
Protein 11.2g / 12.1g
Fibre 10.4g / 11.4g
Salt 1.5g / 2.2g
A slice of seeded bread = 120 kcal (502 kJ)
A crusty roll = 130 kcal (544 kJ)
Instead of sausages you could use shredded turkey or chicken meat, pork or beef to really help you use up those festive leftovers!