Category Archives for Breakfast/Brunch

The Perfect Sunday Brunch

I’m a big fan of anything that helps make my life easier in the kitchen and so I was delighted to be asked to do a collaborative post with Panasonic and a bit of a shout out to their new range of bread makers. I have a bread maker of my own and I’m not sure whether I love it more for the ease with which I can whip up a loaf or the fabulous smell that fills the house when I use it…

Here then, is my perfect Sunday brunch…brunch

Lazy Sunday mornings, sun pouring through the window, perusing the papers, sipping freshly brewed coffee, the aroma of baked bread surrounding you like a cosy dressing gown…

There’s something about brunch that I rather love.  It’s a bit more exciting than breakfast – a spot of Champers in my orange juice?  Ooh, why not? 

And it’s rather less formal and intimidating than lunch don’t you think?  No need for starters and… well, courses in general. It’s perfectly acceptable to just lay out a feast of your favourite foodstuffs and dig in!

brunch 2

Sorry to be bossy but…

So here’s what I’d like you to do (hopefully you’re used to my unreasonable demands by now); I’d like you to invite a few chums over one free Sunday and serve them a sumptuous, luxurious brunch.  It’s ok – I’ll tell you exactly what to do to make it perfect 🙂

sunday brunch

The arrival

The whole experience should start the moment your guests come through the door.  Imagine being welcomed by the wonderful aromas of freshly baked bread and brewing coffee… If you have a bread maker, get this going in plenty of time before your guests arrive so you can present it triumphantly, still warm and just waiting to be drenched in butter, drizzled with honey or covered with jam.

No bread maker? Take a look at these bread makers by Panasonic and keep your Sunday brunch stress free but croissant-full…

Sunday brunchSetting the scene

Minimum fuss, maximum impact – that’s what we’re looking for here.  A simple table cloth, the papers spread out for people to peruse and plates and cutlery left in piles so that everyone can help themselves.  If you want everyone to feel relaxed (which is an absolute MUST for Sunday brunch) then you need to be relaxed too.  Keep things easy peasy and you’ll be breezy! (Too much? Sorry…)

The foodbrunch

I know this is a food blog, but today there will be no recipes.  This is just about the enjoyment of good food and great company without any of the stress of preparation.  Here then are a few ideas for simple but delicious eats for your brunch guests…

Fresh fruit – slices of melon, bowls of strawberries or just a big fruit salad

Pastries – a few favourites from your local bakery

Assorted breads and preserves – perhaps a crusty loaf, some croissants or some lovely muffins served with jam, honey or perhaps a spot of lemon curd….mmmmm

Eggs & Bacon – I can’t bring myself to leave these weekend breakfast staples out!  A big bowl of buttery scrambled eggs and a plate overflowing with crispy bacon.  Hard to resist!

The drink

brunch

As suggested in my opening, the beauty of brunch is that a spot of booze can be added to the mix without too many raised eyebrows 🙂  My brunch faves are bucks fizz (a combination of orange juice and Champagne) and Bloody Mary.  The latter can be tricky to get just right but I love this recipe by Felicity Cloake.

As well as this, then a pot of hot tea, coffee or if you’re feeling particularly naughty, creamy hot chocolate.

Now go – bake, brunch and be happy!

5 Quick and Healthy Breakfast Ideas

This is the time of year when we all look at our waistlines and sigh (if you’re reading this and thinking ‘not me’ – then lucky you!)

It’s the time when we give up all those things we enjoy in the hope that THIS will be the year that we attain our body goals.  The last of the Christmas chocolates and booze finally gone, we fill our cupboards with fresh veg, seeds, perhaps some coconut water or low fat yoghurts as a special treat…

I’m a big believer in starting the day right.  A healthy breakfast is great motivation to stay strong and stick to the straight and narrow.  Let’s face it, if you’ve had a big, greasy full english for brekkie, then it’s very easy to write off the whole day as far as healthy eating goes and to put off the start of the diet until tomorrow.

These breakfasts don’t work miracles but they are quick and easy to make and they’ll give you a spring in your step and a start to the day which sets you in the right direction.

1) Boiled egg

Breakfast

A boiled egg. Such a simple concept but with SO many cooking variations out there.  For me, I add my pierced egg to a small pan of boiling water and at the same time put a slice of wholemeal toast in.

4.5 minutes later, out comes the egg, to be eaten with buttered toast soldiers dipped in the still runny yellow yolk and a little salt and pepper. Pretty much perfection as breakfasts go.

2) Smoothies

Smoothie Packs

Filling up on a few portions of your five a day is pretty satisfying, both in terms of appetite and(perhaps more importantly) the rather smugness-inducing knowledge that you’ve been good to your body.

It’s not just your body that will feel better though, who can help feeling a little bit happy in the presence of the wonderful colours and smells of fresh fruit?

Here are a few ideas to get your started…

Banana Smoothie

Pineapple & Coconut Smoothie

Smoothie Packs

3) Granola

Tropical Granola

There are some great varieties on sale – check out the options at your local supermarket or health food shop. Mixed with some fresh berries and creamy natural yoghurt, this is a great way to fill up on nutrients and to fill up till lunch.

Alternatively, have a go at making your own granola, filled with your favourite things.  Here’s an example to get your started 🙂

Sunshine Granola

4) Fresh Fruit

Breakfast

Talk about unprocessed, right? No kitchen skills required, no cooking or long list of ingredients.  Just beautiful, fresh fruit, full of goodness and absolutely delicious.

Grapefruit is one of my favourites.  I always used to add sugar but one day decided to try it without and now find it tastier ‘au natural’.

Why not try some beautiful, juicy melon or mango?

Some sliced pineapple, some papaya with a squeeze of lime juice or even just a good old banana?

5) Something on toast

There is a world of possibility when you start adding things to toast.  Marmalade, jam, Marmite – obvs.  But here are a few other ideas to keep things interesting…

Banana and peanut butter

Mashed avocado with a squeeze of lemon

Mushrooms

Tomatoes

Baked Beans

Scrambled eggs

Nothing ground breaking – just a few of the healthier breakfasts that I enjoy and hopefully a bit of inspiration to brighten up your morning routine.

Here’s to us all achieving our perfect bodies this year! 🙂

 

 

Recipe: Apple Flapjacks

Oats, apple, golden syrup and just the smallest hint of cinnamon. What’s not to love about these meltingly soft, sweet apple flapjacks?

The great thing about flapjacks is that despite the fact that they’re clearly a yummy little treat; sweet and gooey like a slice of cake, they’re made from oats and so they somehow seem really rather healthy. To be clear, I’m not saying that they are (in fact, to do so would be to completely ignore the artery clogging amounts of butter and the tooth rotting levels of sugar and syrup..) – but it’s certainly easier to maintain the illusion with flapjack than with a big slab of chocolate cake.

apple flapjack

Apple flapjacks are frankly even more virtuous. They’ve got one of your five a day in them for goodness sakes! They’re practically a health food. So what I’m saying is, in this month of over-indulgence, these flapjacks are a little something which you can enjoy without too much guilt.  It’s nearly Christmas after all!

apple flapjacks

Gotta taste for apples?  I’m here for you…

Salted caramel apple crumble

Apple & Blackberry Cheesecake

Spiced Apple Butter

Apple & Pear Turnovers

Apple Flapjacks
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 350 g butter
  2. 4 tbs golden syrup
  3. 100 g light brown sugar
  4. 500 g oats
  5. 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  6. 2 apples, peeled, cored and finely sliced
Instructions
  1. Line a tin with grease proof paper and pre-heat your oven to 170 C (fan)
  2. Add the butter, sugar and golden syrup to a small pan and stir regularly until the butter has completely melted
  3. Put the oats and ground cinnamon in a large bowl and add the melted butter mix. Stir well.
  4. Add half of the oat mix to the baking tin and flatten down firmly
  5. Now add the sliced apple and cover with the rest of the oats. Flatten again to prevent crumbling later
  6. Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes until the edges are starting to brown
  7. Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly
  8. Now slice while still in the tin and leave to cool completely before turning out on to a board or plate
Notes
  1. After much experimenting, I have found that the jumbo oats are much crumblier, so if you want a sturdier flapjack, I would use the smaller oats.
Eat Drink Cook http://www.eatdrinkcook.co.uk/
 Now, these are fab for breakfast, for pudding or just as a little something sweet with a nice cup of tea.  

Five Ways to Five-a-Day

You need never be unhealthy again!

So, Summer is creeping slowly and frankly, rainily (is that a word??) to our doorstep once more and I for one have started the annual ‘oh lord, I’d better start eating a bit better so I can fit in those shorts’ thoughts.  Not only that, but I live in endless cycles, of ‘I must eat more healthily’ followed by ‘oh, I’m too tired, I don’t care – I’m getting pizza‘.  I actually LOVE fruit and veg so I really have very little excuse not to get my five-a-day, and yet… somehow I very often don’t!

My ‘Five Ways to Five a Day’ series attempts to offer a few friendly tips on how we can all make life a little easier  and a little healthier for ourselves.  Plus, it’s my opportunity to present to you my FIRST ever vlog – you have no idea what technical hoops I (and my patient hubby) had to jump through, manoeuvre around, upload and reformat…

So, without further ado, I bring to you, Smoothie Packs – and I’m not talking facials here…

Enjoy, be kind, like and share! 😉

No. 1: Smoothie Packs

Five smoothie packs, so that you have a quick, healthy start to the day from Monday to Friday. No muss, no fuss.

The five smoothies that I’ve chosen were aimed to use the same selection of fruits so that you’re not going out and buying a million fruits and letting loads go to waste.  The great thing with smoothie packs though, is you can just chuck in what you fancy!

My other yummy smoothies

Banana Smoothie

Pineapple & Coconut Smoothie

Top Tip: to get extra goodness in there, why not pop in a handful of green leaves, like spinach or kale?

The Final Touches

  • Add the contents of your frozen smoothie pack to your blender
  • Now, add your chosen liquid – here are a few examples…
    • Milk
    • Fruit juice
    • Coconut Milk
    • Almond Milk
    • Ice cubes
  • Blend until smooth and enjoy 🙂

 

Recipe: Pineapple & Coconut Smoothie

Sweet, tangy pineapple and fresh tasting coconut – a real taste of the Tropics!

Goodness in a glass…

There’s something about a smoothie that makes me feel pretty saintly – even the ones that are actually filled with ice cream and syrup!  I think it’s the coolness and flavours of fresh fruit.  You just know it’s doing you good. 🙂

This one is a real taste of Summer.  It takes the flavours of a Pina Colada and turns it into something suitable for breakfast (not that I would ever want to discourage you from drinking pina coladas at breakfast too!).  I had some this morning, using an old, tired pineapple that was going brown and would otherwise have been headed for the bin.  In a smoothie, its ripe, juicy deliciousness was able to shine through.  Add in a splash of creamy coconut milk and you’ve got yourself a tasty, refreshing (and pretty healthy!) start to the day.

pineapple & coconut smoothie

Want to know more about pineapples, their history AND just how darn good they are for you? Take a look at this great article by Helen Nichols at Well-Being Secrets.

Pineapple & Coconut Smoothie

(or ‘Pina Coloothie’ as I like to call it…)

You will need:

300 g pineapple (peeled and chopped)

100 g ice cubes

100 ml coconut milk*

  • Add the pineapple, ice and coconut milk to your blender
  • Blitz until smooth (I leave for a minute or 2 so it’s nice and frothy)
  • Pour into glasses and add any garnishes you fancy – grated chocolate, pieces of pineapple, coconut shavings, mint….the world’s your oyster!

*I use the low fat version – plenty creamy enough for me

pineapple & coconut smoothie

Important note

If you want to add a splash of rum then it certainly wouldn’t go amiss! Possibly not for breakfast though – unless you’re expecting a really bad day….

Check out my other smoothie recipes here…

Banana Smoothie

Blueberry Muffin Smoothie

Smoothie Packs

Recipe: Sunshine Granola

Every mouthful is a taste of Summer.  Sweet, tangy mango and pineapple, a hint of coconut with toasted macadamias and almonds.  How can that be anything but good for you?

Tropical granola

There’s something rather smugly satisfying about eating granola.  It doesn’t matter what’s actually in it, you just feel like you’re being very good to yourself.  Let me tell you, if you’re eating granola that you’ve made with your own fair hands, then this satisfaction is multiplied tenfold!  That’s partly because frankly, it tastes way better than the shop bought stuff and partly because you know exactly what’s in it and what good it’s doing you.

This recipe is loosely based on ‘Andy Fairfield’s Granola’ from Nigella’s book Feast. I wanted to make it full of tropical flavours so each mouthful would taste like a Summer holiday.  Eat with a splash of milk, or with natural yoghurt and fresh fruit – or just greedily by the handful 🙂

Tropical granola

Sunshine Granola

You will need:

450 g rolled oats

100 g sunflower seeds

150 g sesame seeds

175 g peach compote

2 tsp ground ginger

100 g golden syrup

4 tbs runny honey

100 g light brown sugar

100 g macadamia nuts

150 g whole natural almonds

100 g dessicated coconut

1 tsp maldon salt

2 tbs melted coconut oil

100 g dried mango

100 g dried pineapple

100 g chopped dried apricots

Tropical Granola

  • Pre-heat your oven to 170 C
  • Put all of the ingredients apart from the dried fruit into the biggest bowl that you have
  • Give it all a good mix – don’t be tempted to use your hands, it’ll take you hours to get unstuck again!
  • Spread the mix out evenly over a couple of large baking trays
  • Pop in the oven for around 40 minutes-1 hour
  • Half way through, give it all a mix around so that it toasts evenly
  • Once it’s all nicely browned, remove from the oven and allow to cool
  • Mix in your dried fruit and pop it all into an airtight container

tropical granola

Recipe: Banana Smoothie

You’re just 3 ingredients and 30 seconds of whizzing from a super scrummy, super healthy banana smoothie breakfast!

This is probably one of the easiest smoothies you could make, so if you’re a smoothie newbie then it’s a good place to start.  There are endless combos  that you can try, but today we’re keeping it simple and staying classic.

banana smoothie 2

Banana Smoothie

You will need:

1 frozen chopped banana

1/2 pint milk

1 tbs honey

  • I should start by saying that if you don’t have a frozen chopped banana then don’t let that put you off making this recipe – a handful of ice will also suffice or in fact neither will still make for a cool smoothie because presumably you keep your milk in the fridge…
  • Anyhoo – on with the instructions – they’re pretty complex so I hope you can keep up…
  • Stick your banana, milk and honey in a blender
  • Whiz until smooth
  • Pour into your glass of choice
  • Devour greedily and feel smug about joining the smoothie brigade 🙂

Banana smoothie

If you’re feeling all fancy…

Why not top your smoothie with a handful of granola or maybe some shavings of chocolate.  Perhaps a few chopped nuts? Or if you’re feeling really naughty, then a dollop of vanilla ice cream never goes amiss.

My other smoothie recipes

If you liked this one, you’re going to LOVE my other smoothie recipes. Go on – check them out!

Pineapple & Coconut Smoothie

Blueberry Muffin Smoothie

Smoothie Packs

What’s your favourite smoothie recipe?

Please share your fave smoothies in the comments – and if you like this one then share it with your chums!