Creamy Triple Green Pesto




I try to add some tofu into Cooper's diet when I can and I find an easy way to add it is to use silken tofu. Silken tofu is creamy and can be used in desserts or added to savoury dishes to make them creamy.

It is also a great product to add to an adult diet as it is high in protein, low in fat and is a good product to use if trying to reduce cholesterol. It is also said to reduce risk of heart disease. There isn't a down side at all.

I would advise you not to give tofu to your baby when weaning them. It is best to wait until they are 9 months to a year old as there is a risk of allergies, as there is with nuts. I have also read reports that say soy products are not good for babies, hence the debate about soy-based formulas. So it is best to wait.

Now Cooper is a toddler, tofu is a great source of protein, but because it is low fat, I have to make sure he is also getting a good amount of fat and calories in his diet too. Such a big no-no for us as adults, but so important to growing children.


I served this pesto with pasta, but it would be great on a pannini, spread across a puff tart, before adding the other ingredients or on a wrap with roast vegetables or salad. If you added more olive oil and it would make a delicious salad dressing.



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Creamy Triple Green Pesto
A creamy pesto made with basil, peas & spinach. Low fat, high in protein and good for those trying to reduce their cholesterol.
Ingredients
  • ½ cup peas
  • 50g spinach
  • 30 fresh basil leaves
  • ¼ cup unsalted cashews
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp silken tofu
  • a grind of black pepper
Instructions
1. Blanch the peas for a couple of minutes to soften slightly.

2. Wilt the spinach, by placing in a colander and pouring over a kettleful of boiling water. When wilted, rinse with cold water and squeeze out as much liquid as you can.

3. Whizz all the ingredients together and season with freshly ground black pepper.

This pesto will happily sit in the fridge for a few days and also freezes well.
Details
Prep time: Yield: 2 cups of pesto

Suitable for Vegetarians & Vegans





This isn't a sponsored post. I am just giving my opinion on a product I use.
23

Watermelon & Strawberry Smoothie


When I saw a huge watermelon on sale for £2, I just couldn't resist. I immediately started thinking ice lollies, smoothies and a watermelon and feta salad.

I decided to tackle the ice lollies first. I have a rather wonderful Zoku Quick Pop Maker. I bought it last summer and it has been packed away since then. Actually, it may have been the Summer before when I was pregnant.

Anyway, I had the Pop Maker in the freezer all ready and had made up my smoothie to make into lollies. Lollies seemed a great idea, not because it was a beautiful day, I want to make sure you are under no illusions about that, but because Cooper has a cold and it has just been cough, cough, cough the last few days. The poor wee mite must have a sore throat with all that coughing.

Cooper was hovering in anticipation. I don't think he understood I was going to make lollies, but he could see that pink smoothie sitting there just out of his reach and boy does that child love his smoothies.

He got more and more impatient with me as I got more and more impatient with everything trying to find those darn sticks. I can visualize then in the back of my glass cupboard, sitting in a tall scooner, but were they there? Of course not. I took everything out twice just to make sure.

At this point I had to pop the smoothie mixture in the fridge while I carried on hunting.

I turned the kitchen and conservatory upside down and do you think I could find the damn things? You are correct in your assumption, no! A bit of madness overcame me and I nearly ordered a fresh set with overnight delivery from Amazon at an extra cost of £8 (the watermelon isn't looking so cheap now is it?), but sanity prevailed and I put the poor wee boy who was staring at the fridge out of his misery and gave him his smoothie.

He loved it, but as per usual, he wouldn't touch the fruit on it's own. I stood him on a chair at the island unit so he could watch me cut the melon and have a look, a touch and a taste, but he wouldn't have anything to do with it. I long for this suspicious period to be over and for us to be back on track with him guzzling fruit as he used to. Oh well, smoothies it is until that day comes.




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Watermelon & Strawberry Smoothie
A fresh pink smoothie, made luxurious with a good dollop of creamy greek yoghurt. Would also make heavenly ice lollies.


Ingredients
  • 1 x 5cm wide wedge of watermelon
  • 12 ripe strawberries
  • juice from ½ lime
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp greek yoghurt (or soya natural yoghurt)
  • a few leaves of mint to serve

Instructions

1. Cut the watermelon into chunks, removing any seeds.

2. Wash and hull the strawberries.

3. Juice ½ lime.

4. Whizz together all the ingredients bar the mint in a blender.
  Although a little mint would actually be rather nice in this smoothie.

5. Pour into two glasses.

6. Leave the smoothies in the fridge to cool. Add a sprig of mint before serving

7. Enjoy!


Details
Prep time:

Yield: 2 glasses




27

Caprese Salad with Chilli & Lime



We're not getting much of a Summer here in Scotland, but I'm enjoying a lot of salads and one of my favourites is a caprese salad. I usually treat it to a drizzle of a balsamic and mustard dressing, this time I made a chilli speckled dressing.

Milky slices if fresh mozzarella, slices of ripe, juicy tomato, a sprinkling of basil leaves and a drizzle of my chilli & lime dressing. Mmmmmmmm.





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Chilli & Lime Dressing
A simple dressing that will add a speckling of colour and a zingy flavour to any salad.
Ingredients
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • finely grated peel of 1 lime
  • freshly squeezed juice of ½ lime
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
Simply whisk all the ingredients in a bowl and season with black pepper. Taste and adjust to your own liking. You can add more or less of any of the ingredients.
Details

Total time: Yield: dresses up to 6 salads




19

Spinach & Onion Puff Tart

An easy and tasty seasonal tart made with spinach and onion that will delight both children and adults. Can be vegetarian or vegan, your choice!

Spinach & Onion Puff Tart with a slice cut out


Today I want to share this glorious puff pastry tart.

Puff pastry is a great base for so many tasty dinners and lunches and ready rolled puff pastry is such good quality, you don't need to make your own.




River Cottage Baby & Toddler Cookbook

The River Cottage Baby & Toddler Book


This is another recipe from The River Cottage Baby and Toddler Cookbook by Nikki Duffy.

I was really pleased to receive a promotional copy of this book and I'm just loving it. You may have seen the first recipe I tried from it, lentils with onions and watercress. It was also super tasty and child friendly.

The author Nikki, a mother of three herself, works at River Cottage and was able to take their ethos and combine it with her own common sense methods to come up with some great recipes and some very sound advice.

She also worked with a paediatric dietitian when researching for this book, to make sure she got it right.

It's so easy to open this open and be inspired.

I wanted to make a new dish for Cooper and was swithering between this and the Veggie Bean Curry, so I let Graham have his say and he plumped for this one.

I think he was hoping he would get a slice too.


Vegan Spinach & Onion Puff Tart

Spinach & Onion Puff Tart


This tart was super easy to make and we all loved it.

You can easily make it vegetarian or vegan, just by changing up the cheese.

Most shop bought puff pastry is suitable for vegetarians and vegans. Just watch out for those that say all butter if you are vegan.

I hope you give this tart a try. It's great for dinner, or served cold in slices for lunch. So do keep leftovers for your lunchbox. You will thank me!


Child Friendly Recipe


As you can see Cooper enjoyed his slice of tart and he very kindly shared it with us.

It's always great to find a new recipe that little ones will enjoy too. Even better if it's a recipe you can make for the whole family like this one.

Cooper enjoyed it another night with vegetables and beans.

We'll  definitely be making it again soon.

It's a keeper!

Spinach & Onion Puff Tart


Vegetarian Spinach & Onion Puff Tart
Yield: 6-8
Author:
prep time: 15 Mcook time: 15 Mtotal time: 30 M
An easy and tasty seasonal spinach and onion puff pastry tart that will delight both children and adults.

ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp rapeseed or olive oil
  • 400g fresh spinach
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove crushed
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 375g puff pastry
  • 50g cheddar or vegan cheddar
  • a good grinding of salt and black pepper

instructions:

How to cook Spinach & Onion Puff Tart

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 c /180 c fan/ 400f/ gas mark 6. 
  2. Line a baking tray. If you are using ready rolled pastry, it will be on baking paper, so you can skip this step.
  3. If the spinach is mature, tear out any tough stalks. Wash the spinach thoroughly in a colander and pour boiling water from the kettle over the leaves to wilt them, followed by cold water. When cool enough to handle, squeeze out as much liquid as you can with your hands, then chop the spinach roughly.
  4. Saute the  onion with the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat for 10 minutes until soft and golden. Add the garlic for the last few minutes., then add the thyme leaves and chopped spinach. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Roll  the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface to a rectangle about 5 mm thick or unroll the pastry, if it's ready rolled and place on a  baking tray. Score a border around the edge.
  6. Spread the spinach and onion mixture over the pastry, leaving a border around the edge. Scatter the grated cheese over the top and bake for 15-20 minutes until the pastry is crisp and  golden.
  7. Serve warm or cold.
  8. Enjoy!

NOTES:

If you can't find fresh time, you may use dried thyme, but add a scant teaspoon, about three quarters will do,

If you are using vegan cheddar, you may find it quite mild. For a punchier flavour add some grated vegan parmesan too.
Calories
464.94
Fat (grams)
33.13
Sat. Fat (grams)
6.56
Carbs (grams)
33.40
Fiber (grams)
2.84
Net carbs
30.55
Sugar (grams)
1.57
Protein (grams)
9.87
Sodium (milligrams)
484.55
Cholesterol (grams)
12.93
puff pastry tart, puff pastry pie, spinach pie, spinach tart, child friendly tart, kids recipe, family recipe, vegan tart, vegan pie, vegetarian tart, vegetarian pie, River Cottage recipe, Nikki Duffy recipe, River Cottage Baby & Toddler recipe
dinner
British, vegan, vegetarian
Created using The Recipes Generator
32

Apricot & Chocolate Fool


Excuse the bad photograph, but I had to share this apricot and chocolate fool as it was so delicious. Even if the light was against me. It was a dark, dreich day here in Scotland with lots of rain.

What is a fool?


Sounds like a silly question but I am of course talking about the dessert and not a foolish person, although to be fair there are a lot of those about.

Traditionally a fool was an old English dessert where fruit puree was folded into custard, but these days it is more commonly fruit puree mixed with whipped cream and some sugar, usually icing sugar, to sweeten it. A posset (the most popular a lemon posset) is similar but the cream is heated and mixed with the fruit juice or puree and sugar, then chilled.

And if you add alcohol?

Well add alcohol to a fruit fool and you have a syllabub, which is usually made with wine, cream sugar and any flavourings like fruit puree you may add. It is whipped and chilled like a fool.

Here are a few of my fool recipes:


Lemon Dream
Lemon Honey & Pear Syllabub
Lemon Syllabub





Violet Apricots


I was very pleased to come across a punnet of rather lush looking red apricots. I haven't come across red apricots before. These were rather inaptly named Violet Apricots.

These jewel like fruits sat in the fridge for a week before I got around to using them. I know apricots don't have a long shelf life, but these were still beautiful. I settled on an apricot fool and decided to add the chocolate as a layer to the bottom of the glass.





Yield: 4

Apricot & Chocolate Fool

Apricots and chocolate. Mmmmmmm! A quick and easy jar dessert to use up any stoned fruit left over in your fruit bowl.
prep time: 20 MINScook time: total time: 20 mins

ingredients


  • 10 apricots, halved and stone removed
  • grated peel from 1 lemon
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 6 tbsp icing sugar
  • 300ml whipping cream
  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 150ml double cream
  • 1 tbsp Cointreau, optional

instructions


  1. First make the puree. Place the apricots, sugar, lemon juice, lemon peel and water in a pot. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes until the apricots are soft. Set aside to cool a little before whizzing up in a food processor or with a stick blender.
  2. Next make a chocolate sauce, In another pot over a low to medium heat, heat the double cream and break the chocolate into it. Stir the chocolate until it has melted, then remove form the heat and add the cointreau if you are using it. You could add orange juice instead or leave it plain.
  3. Pour the melted chocolate into 4 bowls or glasses and pop into the fridge.
  4. Now make the fool base. Whisk the whipping cream until firm. If you like, you may add a little icing sugar, to sweeten it up, but as you are adding some apricot puree, you really don't need to.
  5. Swirl apricot puree through the double cream, leaving some to top the finished dish with.
  6. Spoon apricot fool on top of the chocolate sauce in each of your bowls/glasses and top with some of the remaining apricot puree.
  7. Chill well before serving.
  8. Enjoy!
Created using The Recipes Generator



For more easy dessert ideas check out my recipe index.
28

Spaghetti con Pesto alla Siciliana



Pasta sounds so much more interesting in Italian, doesn't it? Maybe I need to have all my pasta recipes translated into Italian to make them more beguiling.

I am very excited by this particular pasta dish. When you read the recipe, you will see how simple it is, but boy does it pack a punch. As I am writing about it my mouth is watering and my stomach is grumbling. Not such a bad thing you may be thinking, go whip up a bowl, but alas it is actually breakfast time here in Scotland, so maybe I should wait.

I found this recipe in a rather wonderful cookbook called Gino's Pasta by Gino D'Acampo.

Gino, a tv chef here in the UK, grew up on a farm in Torre del Greco, Naples and inherited his love of cooking from his grandfather or his nonno Giovanni as he called him. His grandfather, a head chef, taught gino to cook and he soon realised it was to be his life's work. He trained in a traditional catering college in Italy, then travelled Europe, working in many kitchens, before meeting his English wife and settling down in London.

Gino has a new show beginning in August on ITV called Lunch with Gino and Mel. If you are not in the UK, you can enjoy Gino's recipes from one of his five books: The Italian Diet, Gino's Pasta, Fantastico! Modern Italian Food, Buonissimo and Italian Home Baking. He even has an iphone/ipad app called Eating Italian.

OK, so at this point you may be thinking I am on commission or have a review copy at the very least, but no I am just in love with this chef after finding this book. I am pleased to say that the publisher Kyle Cathie, have kindly given me permission to post three recipes from Gino's Pasta.

Back to the pasta. Gino says that this is a dish that can be found in every cookbook in Italy, but his will guarantee maximum satisfaction. I can concur. My husband and toddler love it too and my brother-in-law pronounced it "Amazing!". The sauce coats the pasta beautifully and has a lovely texture. It is indeed very satisfying.









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Spaghetti con Pesto alla Siciliana
This flavoursome Italian pesto recipe is made with sun-dried tomatoes, basil & almonds. It coats spaghetti like a comforting hug.
Ingredients
  • 50g skinned almonds
  • 20 fresh basil leaves
  • 150g sundried tomatoes in oil, drained
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • extra virgin olive oil as required
  • 80g freshly grated Parmesan
  • 500g wholewheat spaghetti
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
Instructions
1. Place the almonds in a frying pan over a medium heat and toast until golden brown all over. Set aside to cool.2. Place the basil and sun-dried tomatoes in a food processor with the garlic. As you start to blitz, pour in enough oil to create a smooth paste.3. Add the almonds and continue to blitz until creamy. Add more oil if necessary.4. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and use a fork to fold in the Parmesan Cheese. Season with salt & pepper and set aside.5. Cook the pasta in a large saucepan with plenty of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain well and tip into the bowl with the pesto. Mix everything together for 30 seconds to allow the pesto to coat the spaghetti.6. Serve immediately, with a few basil leaves scattered on top.

Details
Total time:
Yield: serves 4






I am submitting my pasta dish to Presto Pasta Nights which is being hosted by Tandy of Lavender and Lime

I am also adding this to my event Bookmarked Recipes. Bookmarked recipes is an event designed to encourge you to make some of those bookmarked recipes you have from cookbooks, magazines and blogs. The only stipulation is that they must be suitable for vegetarians. If you would like to join in, just add your post to the linky at the end of this post. I will post the entries on the last Sunday of the month and open the next month's challenge.

Disclosure Statement: I did not receive this book free from the publisher to review. I borrowed this book from the library and gained permission from the publisher to print the recipe. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
34

Scottish Raspberry Jam


I love this time of year. Why, you ask? Well, it certainly isn't the weather, as all we have is rain, rain and more rain here in Scotland. No, the reason I love this time of year, is because it is berry season.

For some reason the berries are extra tasty this year. I think if must be because of the glorious weather we had in the Spring. Whatever the reason, I am not complaining. I do so love berries.

I visited Arbuckles, a local berry farm, last week and loaded up on strawberries and raspberries. The strawberries were just for guzzling, but the raspberries were bought with the intention of making jam. I scouted about the internet for a recipe and realised that most recipes for raspberry jam called for equal quantities of raspberries and sugar, so I went from there. Lovely soft set jam, just the way I like it. My first sample just had to be on a fruit scone. Perfect!

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Scottish Raspberry Jam
Use the freshest berries of the season to make this truly delicious and soft raspberry jam and have a little bit of Summer all year long.
Ingredients
  • 4 lb/1.8kg raspberries
  • 4 lb/1.8kg caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • a knob of butter
Instructions
Sterilise jam jars. I sterilise my jars in the dishwasher at a high temperature, but you could sterilise your jars in the traditional way.

Place the sugar in a heatproof bowl and pop in a moderate oven for 10 minutes to heat up.

Put a saucer in the freezer to cool for testing the jam.

Rinse berries and place in a large, heavy based saucepan with the lemon juice and cook over a gentle heat for 2-3 minutes until the juices are just beginning to run.

Add the warm sugar and stir until it has dissolved.

Bring to a rapid boil and allow the jam to bubble away for around 10 minutes over a high heat, stirring regularly, during this time, add a knob of butter, which will help to reduce the foam of bubbles rising to the surface. Remove any foam that is left over with a spoon.

To test the jam, put a spoonful on your cold plate, leave to sit for a few seconds and then push your finger through the jam, if it wrinkles, it's ready.

Remove from the heat and pour into sterilised jam jars.

The jam will set as it cools.

Fills 6 x 1 lb /454g jam jars and a little left over to try as soon as it cools.
Details

Total time:
Yield: 6 x 1 lb /454g jam jars






If you are now in the mood for jam, here a few recipes to tempt you:

1. Strawberry Jam over at Down on the Allotment

2. Plum Jam over at Green Gourmet Giraffe

3. Mango & Orange Peel Jam one of my own recipes.

4. Rum Pumpkin Jam over at Allotment 2 Kitchen

5. Damson Jam over at Nip it in the Bud

6. Black Cherry & Cointreau Jam over at A Pot of Tea and a Biscuit

7. Strawberry & Rhubarb Jam one of mine

8. Bramble Jelly over at A Wee Bit of Cooking

9. Wild Fruit Jam over at Book the Cook

10. Mirabelle Jam over at Cherrapeno

11. Summer Fruit Jam yep, another one of mine

12. Peach & Apricot Jam over at Chocolate Teapot

13. Mango & Cardamon Jam over at Closet Cooking

14. Nectarine Preserve over at eCurry

15. Thai Ginger, Rhubarb & Chilli Jam over at Fuss Free Flavours

note: photos above links have been added with permission
26
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