Quick and easy gazpacho

gazpacho

I like to think of this as a summer salad in a soup. A beautifully refreshing, fragrantly deliciously ice-cold soup, perfect on a hot, sticky day.

It’s an excellent way to use up those salad ingredients that have been sat in the fridge just a little too long. I always seem to be over ambitious when I buy salad stuff. Ideally you should buy your salad the day you’re going to eat it – ideally from a fabulous farmer’s market where all the produce has been grown within a few miles’ radius. But like most people, I do a weekly shop at the supermarket and by the end of the week, the contents of the salad drawer are beginning to look a little sad. This soup is definitely the solution.

What’s more, it’s a cinch to make too. I can’t be bothered to peel and seed my tomatoes, or peel and salt the cucumber, as gazpacho recipes usually demand. Clearly if I were entertaining and out to impress, I might push the boat out and make a little more effort. But when I’m rustling up a speedy lunch, I simply bung everything in a food processor, give it all a quick whizz and in seconds you have the most glorious gazpacho. Job done!

gazpacho

Quick and easy gazpacho

Serves 2

Half a cucumber, chopped
750g ripe tomatoes, chopped
2 spring onions, sliced
handful fresh mint, roughly chopped
handful fresh basil, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tbsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling
juice of half a lemon
celery salt
pepper

This really couldn’t be easier. Simply place the cucumber, tomatoes, spring onions, herbs and garlic in a food processor and blend. I like my gazpacho to be quite smooth, while my husband prefers it a little chunky. So we usually end up somewhere in between.

Stir in the olive oil and lemon juice, and season with celery salt and pepper to taste.

Chill in the fridge for a couple of hours. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and, if you like it really cold, a couple of ice cubes.

gazpacho

I’m entering my quick and easy gazpacho into a number of blog events…

no+croutons+required

No Croutons Required is a monthly blog event for soups and salads suitable for vegetarians, hosted by Lisa’s Kitchen and Tinned Tomatoes. I think this soup fits the bill.

vegetable palette800

Vegetable Palette is a new vegetarian blog challenge from Allotment 2 Kitchen, which calls for dishes made from fruits or vegetables of a chosen colour. July’s theme is red, so I think this tomato-based soup is perfect.

Extra-Veg-Badge-003

With all that tomato and cucumber, I think this gazpacho definitely qualifies as a serving of Extra Veg, which is the theme for the blog challenge hosted each month by Fuss Free Flavours and Utterly Scrummy, and this month is being guest-hosted by Juggle Mum.

family-foodies

Of course, I’ve got to enter my soup into July’s hosted Family Foodies, the blog challenge I take turns in hosting with Louisa at Eat Your Veg. This month the theme is Chill Out, Baby!

fsf-summer

Al Fresco is the theme for this month’s Four Seasons Food, a seasonal blog event hosted by Eat Your Veg and Delicieux. I reckon this gazpacho would make a lovely lunch to eat out on the patio.

cooking with herbs

Basil is the theme for July’s Cooking with Herbs challenge hosted by Lavender & Lovage, and as my soup features lots of lovely basil (and mint too), I’ve just got to enter it.

simple

And finally, with all those seasonal salad goodies, I’ve got to enter it into Ren Behan‘s Simple and in Season challenge, hosted this month by My Custard Pie.

Wild garlic pesto tear & share bread

Wild Garlic Bread CollageThe lanes near our house have been heavy with the heady scent of wild garlic flowers in the last few days, the warmth of the late spring sunshine increasing their intensity. We’re nearing the end of the wild garlic season, so I’ll be picking one last harvest to make up a big batch of wild garlic pesto. It freezes beautifully and will provide us with a taste of English spring for many months to come.

The pesto is delicious simply stirred through a bowlful of pasta or spread on toasted bread to create bruschetta. It’s also wonderful in this easy tear-and-share bread, a perfect accompaniment to cold meats and cheeses as part of a buffet lunch or a springtime picnic.

wild garlic pesto bread

Wild garlic pesto tear & share bread

Makes 8 bread rolls

400g strong white bread flour
1 tsp salt
1 x 7g sachet fast action dried yeast
250ml water
1 tbsp olive oil
half a jar of wild garlic pesto – see my recipe here

Put the flour, salt and dried yeast into a large mixing bowl and combine.

Make a well in the middle and pour in the water and oil. Gradually work the flour into the liquid to form a soft dough. If it’s too dry, add a drop more water. If it’s too sticky, add some more flour.

Flour the work surface before tipping the dough onto it. Knead the dough for five to ten minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Return the dough to the mixing bowl, cover loosely with cling film and put in a warm place for about an hour, until the dough has doubled in size.

Grease and flour a 20cm round cake tin.

Uncover the risen dough and punch it back down. Flour the surface again and divide the dough into eight equal portions.

Roll each portion of dough into a rough rectangle, approximately 20cm by 10cm. Spread each rectangle generously with wild garlic pesto and roll up carefully into a tidy spiral. Stand each spiral into the prepared cake tin, spacing them out to allow them room to spread.

Cover loosely with cling film or a clean tea towel and leave to rise again for another 45 minutes to an hour.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas Mark 6 or use the middle of the top oven of an Aga.

When the bread has risen again, place in the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Place the tin on a wire rack and leave to cool for 10 minutes before turning out. Lovely eaten while still warm, drizzled with a little olive oil.

fsf-spring

As this bread makes use of a sensational spring ingredient, I’m entering it into this month’s Four Season’s Food challenge hosted by Eat Your Veg and Delicieux where the theme is Celebrating Spring.

SimpleinSeason

And as it’s a very seasonal recipe, I’m also entering it into Simple and in Season hosted by Ren Behan.

cooking with herbs

Finally as it features wild herbs, I’m sharing it with Karen at Lavender & Lovage in this month’s Cooking with Herbs challenge.

Easy aubergine and hummus dips

aubergine and hummus dips

I reckon we’re pretty good in the Bangers & Mash house when it comes to snacking healthily. Just as I sat down to write this post, my girls came in with their usual mid-afternoon demand: “Mummy, we’re hungry! Can we have a snack?” They are now happily munching their way through a bowlful each of dried apricots.

Don’t get me wrong. We’re not food saints by any stretch of the imagination. We enjoy our potato crisps and chocolate biscuits as much as the next family, but these are clearly seen as occasional treats rather than everyday snacks.

As well as dried apricots, the girls also love their dried apples, which we dry ourselves above the Aga – perfect in late summer when our apple tree is heaving. Dried apple is a perfect ingredient for our fruit & nut balls and granola, both of which make ideal snacks. Cherry tomatoes, chunks of cheese and cucumber, and carrot sticks are also snacktime favourites with my girls.

Healthy Snacks Collage

But probably the snack the kids ask for most are dips and breadsticks. We always have a pot of chunky hummus or some other dip, such as this deliciously smoky aubergine puree, on the go in the fridge. I used to spend a fortune on the shop bought varieties, until I realised just how cheap and easy they are to make at home. And so much tastier too.

Both recipes are based on ones I found in Leon cookbooks, but I’ve tweaked them slightly for my family’s tastes, in particular by increasing the amount of garlic involved in the proceedings.

aubergine dip

Aubergine dip

Use yoghurt instead of the tahini to turn this dip into babaganoush.

3 large aubergines
125ml tahini
juice of 3 lemons
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
salt
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 220°C / gas mark 7.

Prick the aubergines with a fork and bake in the oven, direct on the rack, for around 20 minutes until the skins have blackened.

Peel off the aubergine skins using a sharp knife while they are still warm.

Whizz up the aubergines in a food processor, together with the tahini, lemon juice and garlic. Taste and season with salt.

Pour into a large bowl to serve, drizzled with olive oil.

easy hummus

Easy hummus

1 x 400g tin of chickpeas, drained
juice of 1 lemon
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 tbsp tahini
70ml extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
½ tsp paprika (optional)

Simply place the chickpeas, lemon juice, garlic, tahini and olive oil into a food processor and blitz until you reach a good consistency. I like mine fairly chunky but you might prefer yours smoother or looser. If it seems to dry, add a little more olive oil and/or lemon juice.

Season to taste and pour into a bowl to serve. Sprinkle with a little paprika if you like.

Why not serve your dips as part of a mezze?

Why not serve your dips as part of a mezze?

Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. As my children like to say. Both dips are a good accompaniment to crudités, breadsticks or warm pitta bread, or serve as part of a mezze.

family-foodies-valentine

I’m entering these dips into April’s Family Foodies challenge, hosted this month by Louisa at Eat Your Veg. The theme this month is Healthy Snacks. Do pop over there to take a look through the other recipes entered so far – there are some really good ones this month. In particular, I’ve got my eye on the Easy Peasy Mackerel Pate from Casa Costello, which looks delicious and wonderfully simple to make.

 

Black bean soup and chilli baked feta

baked feta with black bean soup

Sadly I’ve never been to Mexico but it’s right up there near the top of my bucket list. When I make it there, this is the kind of food I picture myself eating, washed down of course with a bottle of ice cold cerveza.

This black bean soup and chilli baked feta were two of the recipes I discovered through Kitchen Nomad, which unfortunately is no longer operating. I really rather liked this food box scheme, where each month ingredients from another mystery location would arrive on your doorstep along with recipe cards created by a well-known chef.

Thomasina Miers provided the recipes for the Mexican month and these two dishes were our favourites, although my husband and I enjoyed them sin niños as the chilli would undoubtedly have proven a little two much for them both, even with their adventurous palates.

The baked cheese should really feature a Mexican queso fresco but Miers recommends feta as a good alternative for this classic dish. The feta tastes amazing melted into the olive oil and is brought alive by the flavours of garlic, lime, chilli and oregano.

The black bean soup is sumptuously comforting, with a subtle and smoky warmth from the chipotle and ancho chillies, and it tastes extremely good with a dollop of soured cream and some of the chilli baked feta on top. Comer con gusto!

chilli baked feta

Chilli baked feta

Serves 6

500g feta cheese
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
half tsp dried oregano
10 sprigs fresh thyme
2 chillies de arbol, chopped
juice and zest of 1 lime
120ml extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 180 C / gas mark 4.

Drain and slice the feta and place in an earthenware dish large enough to take the cheese in a single layer.

Sprinkle the garlic, herbs and chillies over the top of the feta, together with the lime juice and zest. Then pour over the olive oil.

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the cheese is soft and squishy and smelling heavenly. Serve with crusty bread and black bean soup.

black bean soup

Black bean soup

Serves 6

25g butter
1 tbsp olive oil
half an onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
2 bay leaves
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
3 tsp chipotle sauce
500g tin cooked black beans
salt and pepper
1 litre vegetable stock
juice of 1 lime
3 tbsp ancho chillies, crumbled
small bunch of coriander,  chopped
150ml sour cream

Heat the butter and oil in a heavy-bottomed pan and when it starts to foam add the onion and herbs. Sweat gently for 10 minutes until the onion is soft.

Add the tomatoes,  garlic and chipotle sauce and cook gently for 5 minutes before adding the black beans. Cook for a few minutes before adding the stock and lime juice. Then simmer gently for 10 to 15 minutes.

When cooked, whiz it up with a stick blender. Don’t go at it for too long as you want this soup to have a bit of texture.

In a small frying pan, dry roast the ancho chillies for a few minutes until they start to smoke and then remove from the heat.

Pour the soup into six warmed bowls and scatter over a little of your chilli baked feta with some chopped coriander, crumbled ancho chillies and a spoonful of soured cream.

cooking with herbsspice trail badge square

I’m entering these dishes into my Spice Trail challenge, which this month is heading to Mexico in search of delicious delights, and also into Cooking With Herbs hosted by Karen at Lavender & Lovage as they feature fresh coriander and dried oregano.

Nettle soup

nettle soup

Usually when I take my children out foraging with me, they like to muck in and tend to eat half our booty before we get anywhere near home.woods

But not this time. No, the idea of harvesting stinging nettles from the woods near our home last weekend really did not appeal to my little ones, who preferred instead to build a den and climb trees. Quite sensible really. So their eccentric mother was left on her own to gather the nettles, protected of course by a pair of thick gloves.

nettles

This was the first time I’ve attempted nettle soup. The idea of making a meal from a free and plentiful plant, almost as abundant in the town as it is in the country and generally considered a weed, has always appealed. And this is the time of year to bag your nettles, early spring. The fresh, young growth is the crop you want. By the end of April, nettles start to get a bit tough and are definitely best eaten before they flower in May. Aim for the young shoots and tips of the plants.

As I was harvesting my nettles, with the welcome and much-needed rays of spring sunshine on my back, I was surprised at just how fragrant the plant is, quite floral and herb-like. If it weren’t for that pesky sting, I’m sure nettles would be insanely popular.

I must admit though, their smell does alter a little on cooking. As I dished up, my husband frowned and sniffed, and asked whether there was anything fishy in the soup. I shook my head and told him he must be imagining things; I didn’t want to put him off more than he already was. But I must admit there was the slightest fishy whiff. Please don’t let that put you off. The soup is delicious, with a deep flavour similar to spinach, but more earthy and greener somehow. And there is not the slightest hint of a sting, I promise. As soon as the spinach hits hot liquid, the sting disappears.

I was pleasantly surprised my lot took to nettle soup so well; definitely one to make again.

nettle soup2 web

Nettle Soup

half a carrier bag of nettle tops
1 tbsp olive oil
knob of butter
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 leeks, washed and sliced
1 large potato, peeled and diced
2 celery sticks, sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 litre vegetable stock
salt and pepper
yoghurt or double cream to serve

Fill your sink with water and, wearing rubber gloves, thoroughly wash the nettles and get rid of any tougher stalks and unwanted creepy crawlies.

Gently heat the oil and butter in a large saucepan and add the onion, leeks, potato and celery. Cook for around 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, to soften the vegetables.

Add the garlic and cook for a couple of minutes before pouring in the stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 to 15 minutes until the potato is tender.

Add the nettles to the pan and stir into the soup as they wilt. Simmer for a few minutes and then blend in a food processor or with a hand blender.

Season with salt and pepper and serve in bowls topped with a dollop of yoghurt of a drizzle of cream.

no+croutons+required

I’m entering my nettle soup into No Croutons Required, the monthly vegetarian soup and salad challenge hosted jointly between Jacqueline from Tinned Tomatoes and Lisa from Lisa’s Kitchen.

SimpleinSeason

And as it’s very much a springtime soup, I’m also entering it into Ren Behan’s Simple and in Season challenge, which this month is being guest hosted by Michelle at Utterly Scrummy.

fsf-spring

Finally, I’m entering it into the Four Seasons Food challenge, hosted by Anneli at Delicieux and Louisa at Eat Your Veg, where the springtime theme this month is Celebrate Vegetables.

A store cupboard supper: baked rice with spinach, cannellini beans and eggs

baked rice3 web

We all have times when we need to rustle up an easy dinner using basic, store cupboard ingredients.

You’ve been up against it at work and haven’t had time to get to the shops. It’s the end of the month and money is tight. Whatever the reason, it’s useful to have a go-to dish or two up your sleeve.

My usual store cupboard recipes tend to feature cheap ingredients like pasta, beans, pulses and whatever I find in the freezer. I make sure I always have a few bags of vegetables in the freezer for times like these. Frozen veg is just as good as the fresh stuff in certain dishes, and cheap as chips too.

Rice makes a regular appearance too. I ate a lot of rice as a little girl. For a while my mother only worked part-time while she also studied for her MA, and there wasn’t a lot to spend on food. So rice became a staple, mainly due perhaps to my mum’s Chinese roots, quite often served with just soy sauce or, if we were lucky, some stir-fried vegetables on the side.

You’d think that might put me off rice but instead it is one of my favourite foods. When I am feeling low or poorly, there’s nothing I appreciate more than a simple bowl of rice with soy sauce or perhaps some chicken stock to make a very simple rice broth.

This baked rice recipe is ever so slightly more elaborate but a real winner when it comes to store cupboard cookery. The addition of eggs turns it into a proper comfort dish.Anything topped by an egg with a runny yolk gets my vote.

baked rice with eggs

It’s a very versatile and forgiving dish too. That’s the whole point of store cupboard recipes. Instead of spinach, why not throw in a few handfuls of frozen peas or sweetcorn? Instead of cannellini beans, try kidney beans or maybe a tin of tuna.

Baked rice with spinach, cannellini beans and eggs

Feeds 4

1 small onion, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp olive oil
200g basmati rice
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
400ml vegetable stock
1 x 400g can cannellini beans
100g frozen spinach
salt and pepper
4 large free range eggs

Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas 4.

Heat the oil in a medium-sized heavy bottomed casserole and gently cook the onion until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for a minute or two, before adding the rice. Stir it all together and cook gently for another minute.

Pour in the chopped tomatoes, stock, cannellini beans and a little salt and pepper. Give it all a good stir and then place chunks of frozen spinach, nestling it in amongst the rice and beans.

Cover the casserole with a lid and bake in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes until the rice is tender. Remove the lid and, using the back of spoon, make four slight dips in the rice. Break the eggs into these wells and return the oven for another five minutes or so, until the whites are cooked but the yolks are beautifully runny.

Serve at once.

This recipe was first published in my Eat the Season column in the Wells Journal on 6 March 2014.

baked rice2 web

family-foodiesAs my baked rice is very easy to make and cooks in around half an hour, I’m entering it into this month’s Fab Fast Food challenge for Family Foodies, an event I run with Louisa at Eat Your Veg and it just happens to be my turn to host.

speedy-suppers-veg-impI am also sharing this dish with Speedy Suppers, a new blog event for 30 minute meals launched by Sarah at Dinner With Crayons and Katie at Feeding Boys. I’m really rather excited about this new challenge – I just know it’s going to prove such a useful resource.

Roast vegetable sauce for pasta

roast vegetable sauce for pasta

I have been cooking this sauce, or versions of it, since I was weaning my two girls onto solids. They are now five and eight and still enjoy it just as much, although the portion sizes are considerably bigger now. Back in the early days, they would eat the sauce on its own and as they grew older I started stirring it into penne or fusilli to make a delicious pasta sauce. They still love it this way, especially with a huge heap of grated cheese on top, along with a drizzle of olive oil.

It’s one of the easiest sauces in the world to make. All the ingredients are simply roasted in one pan and then blitzed in a food processor with some stock. I don’t even bother to peel the garlic.

vegetables

It’s extremely adaptable too and you can experiment with whichever vegetables take your fancy – or whichever vegetables you might be trying to sneak past your unsuspecting fussy eater.

I generally cook up a big batch of this sauce and freeze it in individual portions; perfect for a quick tea after school when the kids have clubs to rush off to.

roast vegetable sauce for pasta

Roast vegetable sauce for pasta

450g tomatoes
1 butternut squash, chopped into large chunks
1 red pepper, cut into large chunks
1 red onion, peeled and cut into wedges
3 sticks of celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 courgettes (zucchini), chopped
3 garlic cloves
glug of olive oil
500ml vegetable stock (low salt)

Preheat the oven to 220°C / gas mark 7.

Place the tomatoes, chopped vegetables and garlic into a large roasting tray. Drizzle with olive oil and give it all a good mix to make sure everything is thoroughly covered. Roast in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes until the vegetables are tender and beginning to char a little.

Put the vegetables into a blender with the stock and blitz until smooth. Job done.

Simply stir into cooked pasta for an easy peasy supper.

Freeze the remainder of the sauce in individual portions. You should get around 12 portions out of it.

family-foodies

As this pasta sauce is an ideal way to introduce your children to vegetables and entice them to eat a few they might not be so keen on, I’m entering it into this month’s Family Foodies challenge, where the theme is ‘Hidden Goodies’.

Roast cauliflower cheese soup

Roast Cauliflower Cheese Soup Collage

Everyone seems to be roasting their cauliflowers at the moment, so here I am getting in on the act. Roasting cauliflower gives it the most beautifully deep flavour, which works a treat with the smoky paprika and tasty cheeses I’ve used in this soup. I opted for a couple of different cheeses; a mature Cheddar and a tangy Lancashire cheese – two of my favourites, but you can experiment with any strong, hard cheese.

It might not be the prettiest bowlful, but all my family love this soup. The ingredients are simple yet it tastes rich and luxurious. And it’s an ideal way of encouraging people who don’t usually appreciate cauliflower to give it a try.

roast cauliflower cheese soup

Roast cauliflower cheese soup

1 small onion, peeled and quartered
1 cauliflower, trimmed and broken into florets
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp smoked paprika
500ml hot vegetable stock
200g hard cheese (I used Cheddar and Lancashire), grated
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 200°C / gas mark 6

Place the onion quarters and cauliflower florets into a roasting tin. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle over the paprika. Mix with your hands to make sure the onion and cauliflower are well covered. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes, until the cauliflower is browned.

Pour the hot stock into a large pan and add the cauliflower and onion. Bring to a simmer and cook for around 10 minutes.

Take the pan off the heat and stir in the grated cheese. Use a hand blender to puree until smooth. Taste and season if required.

spice trail badge squarefamily-foodiesno+croutons+requiredssbadge300cheesepleaseI am entering this soup into the following challenges: The Spice Trail (hosted by me), where the theme this month is paprika; Family Foodies (hosted by me and Eat Your Veg) where the theme is hidden goodies; No Croutons Required (hosted by Lisa’s Kitchen and Tinned Tomatoes);  Cheese Please! (hosted by Fromage Homage) where it’s all about Comfort Food & Winter Warmers; and Simple and in Season (hosted by Ren Behan).

Sweet and sour winter salad

sweet and sour winter salad

This article first appeared in the Wells Journal on 9 January 2014.

In the deepest, darkest days of winter, it is not uncommon to crave large helpings of a warming slow-cooked casserole, a rich, meaty pie or a satisfying steamed pudding smothered in hot custard.

There are times though when it’s not heavy, stodgy comfort food my body yearns for. Instead I need something light, crunchy and zingy; a fresh and healthy dish to transport my head to more sunshiny climes.

While this salad is comprised for the main part of seasonal winter produce, it successfully delivers a taste of summer, as well as providing a much-needed alternative use for those seemingly uninspiring ingredients filling our veggie boxes week after week at this time of year.

Based on a Yotam Ottolenghi recipe, this salad is extremely versatile and can be used with just about any root vegetable or cabbage. All the vegetables are served raw, either grated or finely shredded, so it is very much like a winter coleslaw or remoulade. But it is the dressing that really elevates this salad, featuring generous handfuls of fresh herbs, lemon juice, salty capers, mustard, sour cherries, sultanas and a little sugar, for a superbly vibrant sweet and sour kick.

I served it alongside a baked ham for our Boxing Day gathering and it went down a storm with family and friends. It’s also a very good accompaniment to simple grilled fish or chicken, or include it as part of a mezze.

So next time you pull up yet another swede or parsnip from you veg box or allotment, don’t automatically boil it up or roast it. Instead, give this sweet and sour salad a go and bring your taste buds out of hibernation.

sweet and sour winter salad

Sweet and sour winter salad

Serves 4-6

500g winter vegetables, shredded or grated
(I used red cabbage, celeriac, parsnip and swede)
handful fresh coriander, roughly chopped
handful fresh mint, roughly chopped
50g capers
juice of 1 large lemon
1 tsp cider vinegar
4 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp vegetable oil
3 tsp wholegrain mustard
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp caster sugar
50g dried sour cherries
50g raisins
salt and pepper

Place all the shredded or grated vegetables in a large mixing bowl and simply add the rest of the ingredients. Use your hands to thoroughly combine everything to make sure the vegetables absorb all those flavours.

Add salt and pepper to taste, and possibly a little more vinegar or sugar depending on how sweet or sour you like it.

Leave the salad for an hour or so before serving to allow the flavours to develop. I always intentionally make too much, as I think it tastes even better the next day.

Cooking-with-Herbs

As this salad features both fresh herbs and zingy lemon, I’m entering it into this month’s Cooking with Herbs hosted by Karen at Lavender & Lovage where the theme for January is Herbs & Citrus Fruits.

Extra-Veg-Badge-003

It is also my offering for Extra Veg, a new challenge hosted by Fuss Free Flavours and Utterly Scrummy, encouraging us all to eat an extra portion of vegetables each day. With a big bowl of this in your fridge, there’s no excuse to snack on the bad stuff when you get the munchies.

fsf-winter

Since it’s such an unbelievably healthy bowful of goodness, I’ve got to share it with Four Seasons Food (hosted by Eat Your Veg and Delicieux), where the theme this month is Virtuous Food.

FFF

And finally I’m also entering this salad into the Fabulous Fusion Food challenge, hosted by by the very talented Deena Kakaya.

Banana eggy bread

banana eggy bread

Eggy bread (otherwise known as French toast) is a popular lazy day breakfast in the Bangers & Mash house. Actually, pretty much anything to do with eggs is popular here. But eggy bread in particular takes me back to my own childhood, as I have very fond memories of my Mum making this for me, which I’d sprinkle with salt and lots of pepper and eagerly wolf down while it was still piping hot, serving after serving. And so I rather like making it now for my own daughters.

Making eggy bread with mashed banana sandwiches is perfect for anyone with a bit of a sweet tooth, and yes I’m thinking primarily of little ones here. It’s an easy way to get some extra fruit into them too.

banana eggy bread

Banana eggy bread

Serves 4

2 ripe bananas
4 slices of fresh, white bread
4 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
1 tbsp sunflower oil

Peel the bananas and mash roughly with the back of a fork. Spread the mashed banana onto two of the slices of bread, cover with the remaining slices to make sandwiches, and cut each one in half.

Crack the eggs into a shallow dish, add the milk and gently whisk together with a fork. Place the banana sandwiches into the eggy mixture, and turn a few times to allow the bread to soak up egg like a sponge.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Carefully lift the eggy sandwiches from the dish, allowing the excess egg to run off, and pop them into the frying pan.

Fry for a couple of minutes on each side, until golden and crispy. Allow the banana to cool a little before eating. For a treat, you might like to serve with a drizzle of honey or maple syrup.

banana eggy bread

As this banana eggy bread is a delicious way to encourage your children to eat more fruit, I am entering it into this month’s Family Foodies. This is a challenge run by Eat Your Veg and Bangers & Mash, and it is my turn to host. January’s theme is Hidden Goodies.

family-foodies

I think it would be also rather nice to serve up this banana eggy bread at tea time, so I am also entering it into January’s Tea Time Treats, hosted by The Hedge Combers and Lavender & Lovage. The theme this months is Eggs.

teatimetreats