Green Giant Minions Challenge #greengiantminions



26th June sees the release of the new Minions movie at the cinemas; this time the Minions are on an adventures with Stuart, Bob and Kevin as they search for a new evil master to serve.  We can't wait to go see it, and I definitely plan to take the boys to the cinema to see this one. 

And, to celebrate, Green Giant is challenging bloggers to create the ultimate Minion-inspired summer snack. So I decided to make potato skins for the kids, to snack on at lunch-time, and this is my first time making potato skins.

Green Giant Sweetcorn is a perfect ingredient for family mealtimes: Not only are you giving them something healthy and nutritious, but they also love the taste.

Ingredients:
2 Jacket potato's
1 tin of Green Giant Sweetcorn
Pot of Cottage cheese
Olive olive

Method:
First coat the jacket potato's in oil, before placing them in a hot oven to bake for one hour.(200C).  Take them out of the oven and cut them in half length ways, scooping out the flesh of the potato and placing it into a bowl. 

I then mixed the flesh with the cottage cheese add a bit of seasoning and mash together. Spoon the mixture back into the potato skin. Finally, I placed the Green Giant Sweetcorn on the potato skin and put back into the oven for 20 minutes.

Do check out Green Giant Minions promotional packs to win a family holiday – you have until 27th December 2015 to enter.




This is my entry into the Tots100 Green Giant Minions Challenge.

How to Make Herb and Garlic Butter

Recently I wrote about the #GoGreen challenge where I grew my own indoor herbs.

Since growing my herbs, I've been looking forward to using them, I wanted to make something simple, but also something I will use and enjoy, thus I made some super easy-to-make herb and garlic butter. 

Herb and garlic butter is a great condiment to have in the freezer as you can use it to add taste and flavour to many different dishes: garlic bread, or stuff it under chicken skin, or spread it on a steak - you can even mix it in with mashed potato - Yummy.

It is easy to make, and you can create different flavours, by using different herbs.

Ingredients

Herb and Garlic Butter:

3 cloves garlic, you can use more, depends on your taste.

250g of butter.

A hand full of herbs - I used my fresh basil and I also added parsley.

1 teaspoon of olive oil.

Pinch of salt and pepper.

Method

First I beat the butter with my mixer, until it was fluffy. 

I then crushed the garlic and added some salt and pepper. 

Using my mortar and pestle, I mashed up my herbs, I poured in a little olive oil, mixed together and added the garlic. Finally, I added the herb mix to the fluffed up butter, and mixed. 

I wrapped it in cling film, and popped straight into the freezer, so it is now ready and available for when I need it.

How to Make Honeycomb

I love honeycomb, one of my favourite chocolate bars is the Crunchie my hubby loves honeycomb, thus I wanted to find out how to make it, and to my surprise it is simple and easy - although, it did take me a couple of tries before I cracked it, but now I am whipping up honeycomb for the kids (and myself) with minimal effort.

I like to crumble it over vanilla ice cream, which is delicious and making it with the kids is fun, especially when you add in the bicarbonate soda, the confectionery instantly fizzes and froths up.

Ingredients

Honeycomb:

160g caster sugar

2 tablespoons of golden syrup

2 teaspoons of 

bicarbonate soda

Sheet of baking parchment

Method

The process for making honeycomb happens rather quickly, so it is important that you have all your tools and ingredients ready.

First I mix the caster sugar and the golden syrup in a saucepan, until it clumps together, then I turn a low to medium heat on and let it dissolve - it's important that you do not mix the caster sugar and golden syrup whilst it is on the heat, you can give the saucepan a swirl if needed.

Once melted I whack up the heat to high until it boils, then I remove the saucepan from the heat and add the bicarbonate soda. Whisk until mixed together (don't mix it too much, as you will take the air out) then pour the mixture onto the 

baking parchment - leave for approx. 30 minutes or until it is set, and then smash it up and eat.

How to Make Vanilla Pannacotta and Shortbread

Vanilla Pannacotta and Shortbread with Fresh Strawberries.

This is my first time making both shortbread and pannacotta - both desserts quick and simple to make.  I was really pleased with my shortbread, even hubby commented "I don't normally like shortbread, but these are lovely" and my boys enjoyed them too. I will definitely be making shortbread again in the near future, but maybe next time I will add a hint of vanilla. The pannacotta was not bad for my first attempt, it tasted nice and creamy, I maybe put a bit too much vanilla in, but I do plan to make it again, but with less vanilla - I might even try a different flavour next time, maybe chocolate.

For these two lovely desserts instead of using sugar, I used Canderel granules as you get the same sweetness that sugar gives, but with fewer calories.

Ingredients

Shortbread:

100g Canderel, plus extra for sprinkling.

300g plain flour, sifted.

200g unsalted butter, at room temperature.

Pinch of salt.

Pannacotta:

600ml double cream

150ml milk

3 vanilla pods.

2 gelatin sheets.

60 Grams Canderel

3 strawberries

Method

ShortbreadPreheat the oven to 160C.

First I mixed together the butter and Canderel until pale and smooth. I then added the flour and pinch of salt and gently mixed, pushing the mixture together into a ball of dough.

I placed the dough onto baking parchment and gently rolled it out to about 2cm or use your preferred thickness, and I then scored the dough into squares using a knife. With the baking parchment, place onto a baking tray and leave to chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.  

Before placing in the preheated over, sprinkle with a pinch of Canderel and then bake for 15-20 minutes, until pale golden-brown.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Once cooled, gently snap your slab of shortbread along the lines you scored. 

Pannacotta

Add the milk and cream into a saucepan, and using Dr. Oetker's vanilla grinder, I added the vanilla bits in and then brought it to the boil.

Reduce to a gentle simmer and cook until the mixture thickens which takes approximately 20 minutes. 

Remove the saucepan from the heat and leave to rest for 5 minutes. Add the gelatine and the Canderel and whisk until it is dissolved. 

Leave until chilled, before it almost starts to set, then you pour your mixture into ramekins. Transfer to the refrigerator and leave until fully set.

To get the pannacotta out of the glass ramekin, I popped it into hot water to loosen and then turned it onto the plate. (I left mine slightly too long in the hot water, and it started to melt - so be careful, as it doesn't need very long before it loosens, enabling the mold to be come out). I then added to the plate the strawberries, shortbread, and I poured some strawberry coulis.

Fillet Steak with Red Wine Sauce, Parsnip Mustard Mash and Asparagus



We celebrated our 18th Valentine's day together this year and it was the first-time I've cooked for hubby on Valentine's, normally hubby cooks, but not this year.

If we don't go out for a meal, hubby will cook us a nice sirloin steak with peppercorn sauce, but this year I wanted to do something different, but something simple as I am still learning how to cook.  So I decided to stick to steak, but fillet as we've never had that at home before, along with parsnip and mustard mash (I've done this once before which tastes amazing), and Asparagus fried with sesame seeds. I cheated with the stuffed mushroom, as that was Tesco brought, but the rest, I made from scratch.

Ingredients

Fillet Steak:
2 fillet steaks.
Vegetable:
Bunch of Asparagus
2 teaspoons Sesame seeds
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon of dark soy sauce
Mash:
750g of Parsnips.
1 tablespoon of honey mustard
2 tablespoons of
Wholegrain mustard
85g butter
Red Wine Sauce:
Half a cup of Merlot red wine
Quarter cup of balsamic

Method
Should take appox. 20 minutes.

First get the parsnips chopped in half and sliced. Boil the kettle and pour into the saucepan, add some salt and bring to boil. Add the sliced parsnips, and leave to boil for 10-15 minutes, until tender.

In the meantime, spread olive oil, salt and pepper over both sides of the steaks.  Heat your frying pan on a medium-high heat, and place the steaks into the hot frying pan. Cook for 4-5 minutes on each side, or until preferred choice.

Toast the sesame seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat until lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes; transfer to a dish and set aside to cool.

Remove the steaks from the frying pan and place them onto a warmed plate.  Then using the same frying pan, reduce the heat to medium-low and then add the red wine and balsamic and cook until the sauce is reduced down.

Whilst the red wine sauce is reducing down, heat the sesame oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the asparagus to the skillet, season with salt and cook for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; toss with the dark soy sauce and sesame seeds to serve.

Drain your parsnip, transfer into a bowl, along with the Dijon mustard, honey mustard, butter and a bit of seasoning, then mix and mash.

Plate the fillet steak, the parsnip mash and the asparagus and pour over the red wine sauce over your steak. Enjoy.



Smoked Chicken & Orange Salad

My dish - It tastes as good as it looks.
Sunrise, assisted living specialists in the UK have a team of award-winning chefs to create delicious healthy meals, perfect for a New Year health kick, and they shared this light, tasty, and refreshing recipe with me - which I've recreated.

With all this cold weather at the moment why not bring the sunshine to your kitchen, with this beautiful Smoked Chicken & Orange Salad.  I love salads and when hubby and I have both have had a busy day; or week in this case, it is nice and refreshing to be able to mix together a simple, easy and tasty salad together and enjoy for dinner.

I would never even think to add orange to a salad, but my gosh, it was amazing, it complimented the dressing, along with the chicken, and the whole dish was a pleasure to eat.

This is so easy, you have to give it a try. 

Ingredients:

¹/3 iceberg lettuce 
240g smoked chicken breast – sliced 
¼ oak leaf lettuce 
½ orange – peeled and segmented
½ punnet of cherry tomatoes – halved 
¼ cucumber – diced 
70ml olive oil 
35ml white wine vinegar 
Pinch of salt and pepper


Method: 

Using a mixing bowl, combine the iceberg lettuce, oak leaf lettuce, chicken, halved cherry tomatoes, orange segments and diced cucumber together. 

Whisk together olive oil and white wine vinegar with salt and pepper. 

Serve the salad onto your plate and drizzle the dressing over the salad. 

Enjoy! 

Mixing the salad
Whisking the dressing up.

Rack of Lamb with Vegetables, Mint Sauce & Chianti Gravy

People who know me, know I don't cook, my hubby has been the cook for the past 17 years, and recently I have wanted to change that. For the first time in my life I have found myself wanting to cook.

I really enjoy watching Jamie Oliver's cooking shows, I find his passion infectious and he makes cooking look, not only simple, but fun and last week I was watching a 30-minute meals episode when I spotted the Rack of Lamb dish.  

Normally when we buy lamb, which is extremely rare, it is minted lamb chops, we throw them on the BBQ and char them. But after watching a few cooking shows and seeing how lamb can be cooked, or how it should be cooked, slightly pink, and juicy, I have been wanting to give it a try.

I recorded that episode and went out and bought all the ingredients needed, then before I started to cook, I re-watched the show, wrote down notes and got started.

For someone like me that doesn't cook, this was a big challenge, but I did enjoy it, the kitchen looked like a bomb had gone off, but the end result was great; the whole dish was full of delicious flavours, it was a real treat and the more I cook the more I want to cook again.

Ingredients

Lamb:

8-bone rack of lamb (although at the time all that was available was a 7-bone rack)

lamb neck fillet (approx. 250g)

3 x sprigs fresh rosemary

2 x cloves of garlic

1 x teaspoon Dijon mustard

white wine vinegar

300g cherry tomatoes on the vine

Gravy:

4 x rashers of smoked bacon

2 x sprigs fresh rosemary

1 x heaped tablespoon plain flour

Half a glass of red wine

Vegetables

:

500g baby new potatoes

250g baby carrots

1 x bunch fresh mint

1 x chicken stock cube

200g fine beans

200g runner beans

Half a Savoy cabbage

Knob butter

Mint sauce:

Bunch fresh mint

4 x tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 x tablespoon golden caster sugar

Method

First turn on your oven to full heat, heat a large pan on the hob, boil water in a large saucepan and fill and boil the kettle.

Cut the rack of lamb and neck fillet into half, score the skin on the rack of lamb and season with salt and pepper and rubbed a generous amount of olive oil all over. 

Place the lamb into the hot pan and sear each end.

Whilst your lamb is browning, chuck your washed potatoes and carrots into the large saucepan and add a pinch of salt. Place a couple of sprigs of mint in, along with the chicken stock cube. Put the lid on and leave to bubble away.

Don't forget to turn your meat. For the marinade, you need to pull the leaves off 3 sprigs of rosemary and place into a pestle and mortar with some salt & pepper and the garlic. Then pound until it is mushed. Add a spoonful of Dijon mustard, with a couple of lugs of olive oil and a lug of white wine vinegar, mix it all together. 

Once your lamb is seared, transfer it to a roasting tray. Pour away most of the fat in the pan, then put it back on a very low heat for the gravy. Back to your lamb you spoon the marinade dressing from the pestle and mortar all over, making sure it is well coated and then put the vines of cherry tomatoes on top. Season with salt and then put the tray on the top shelf of the oven. Set the timer for 14 minutes.

Finely chop the mint leaves and place in the unwashed pestle and mortar. Pound away until the mint is mushed up and then add the red wine vinegar, caster sugar, a pinch of salt and a couple of tablespoons of water from the vegetable saucepan. Mix it all together and add a tiny splash of extra virgin olive oil. That is the mint sauce done!

For the gravy, first you need to slice up the bacon and chuck into the pan, and turn the heat-up on the hob. Add the leaves from the rosemary and stir in the flour, red wine and a few ladles of water directly from the veg saucepan.  

Whilst your gravy is simmering away, slice up the runner beans (about 1cm thickness), dice up the cabbage and add to the saucepan as well as the fine beans, then stir and put the lid back on.

When the 14 minutes are up, remove your lamb from the oven and leave it to rest for a minute.

Drain the veg in a colander, and return them to the pan. Drizzle your veg with extra virgin olive oil, and add a good pinch of salt and pepper and a knob of butter and gently mix. 

Pour the gravy into a gravy boat and cut the rack of lamb into individual chops. Plate up and enjoy.

Seasoning the meat

Mixing the marinate up, ready to rub on the meat

Getting ready to place the meat in the oven.

The gravy is now ready.

Getting the vegetables started.

Turkey Mince Meatball Wrap with Mint Yogurt Sauce

For the Mission Deli Recipe Challenge I made turkey mince meatball wraps. 

Mint yogurt sauce is my favourite at the moment, it is so easy to make and tastes light and refreshing. For this dish it tasted great as a base sauce within the wrap, and I had a bit on the side to dip my salad it, it really brought the dish together.

This is the first time I've made meatballs, and hubby and my boys loved it. It was so easy to do and I enjoyed making them.

For the meatballs:

4 x tablespoons of olive oil or sunflower oil

14 x Jacob crackers

1 x egg

400g Turkey mince

2 teaspoon dollops of Dijon mustard

Rosemary

Dried oregano

For the sauce:

Yogurt

Cucumber

Mint

Lemon

Method:

- For the sauce, I poured the Greek yogurt into a bowl, chopped up the mint leaves, sliced up the cucumber very thinly, and mixed altogether - finishing off with a squeeze of lemon and seasoning.

- For the meatballs, first I put the crackers into a freezer bag, and smashed them with a rolling pin. Jacob done this with me and had loads of fun.

- We added the mince in to a mixing bowl with the cracker-crumbs, the Dijon mustard and the egg. I added the finely chopped rosemary, and the dried oregano. I seasoned the mix and then with my hands, mixed it thoroughly together. Once I was happy with the mix, I shaped lots of little balls (I want them slightly smaller as they will be going into a wrap), and then I allowed them to rest for 10 minutes.

- I heated the oil in my frying pan over a medium heat and turned the oven on to preheat at 200C. I browned the meatballs in my frying pan and then transferred them to a baking trap and cooked in the oven for 12 minutes. 

- I got my wraps out, and built our wraps. First I smothered my mint yogurt sauce over the wrap, then I laid some lettuce, cucumber, red onions, and tomatoes. And finally, I added my meatballs and rolled it up. 

Angel Delight

Angel Delight

was my favourite dessert when growing up, I loved it, and I am really not sure how or why it got lost in my life, but I haven't brought it since leaving home, 

thanks to the Angel Delights moments challenge,

 that has changed now. I got to re-discover it and introduce it to my children for the first time, which went down very well.

An iconic British brand and dessert I grew up with, as I am sure many of my readers grew up loving as much as I did? What was your favourite flavour? mine was butterscotch. It was the treat, the one dessert I wanted and loved - Instant, simple but yummy.

The new Bubblegum flavour Angel Delight, which launched in Tesco last September can be used to make either a traditional instant dessert or a milkshake, with instructions for both on the back of the packets! We got to try out this new flavour, and it tastes as sweet as bubblegum, just like it.

The Bubblegum flavour is made only using natural colourings and is suitable for vegetarians.

Other flavours available:

 Banana, Butterscotch, Chocolate, Raspberry and Strawberry. There is a no added sugar range as well.

We were sent the new flavour, Bubblegum and we got to be a little creative with it:

All you need is milk, a whisk and a bowl - easy peasy, even I can make Angel Delight.

I added a treat in the bottom - Lewis loves meringue

Yum yum yum - a mouth watering bubbly delight

Lewis LOVES meringue, and he loves desserts, so I made his very own meringue coated in Angel Delight with a sprinkle 

Violet Crystals

A dish of goodies.

Bubblegum Angel Delight went down a treat with the boys and Summer, they enjoyed the fun and unique taste - I can't wait to buy the other flavours and try these out on the kids.

BBQ Weekend

Over the Bank holiday weekend we decided to have a family BBQ - well it was meant to be nice weather, so we thought 'why not' - perfect excuse for the first BBQ of the year. We pulled the BBQ out, cleaned it, and popped off to Morrisons for our shop. Throughout the supermarket they had lots of POS and labels highlighting all the new cheaper prices, it made our shopping experience must more positive. Once we had everything we headed home and I started on the dishes:

Mediterranean vegetables - I love this dish, not only great for BBQs but also goes well with most meals.

  • Courgette 55p
  • Yellow courgette - never added one of these before, but I spotted it in Morrisons and couldn't resist. £1.06
  • Peppers £1.59
  • Red Onion 49p
  • Mushrooms 89p
  • Baby Potatoes 76p

Slice all the vegetables up and place in a dish, pour some olive oil over and add a little seasoning/mixed herbs, then stick into the oven for about an hour. 

Cost £5.34 - for 7 adults costing 76p each.

Potato Salad - I love making my own potato salad, this dish is so simple and tastes much better than shop brought.

  • 1 pack of baby potatoes 76p
  • Half a bunch of spring onions - but I use the green part only 24.5p
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Half a jar of Morrisions Light mayonnaise - 45p

First you steam the potatoes, then once soft drain them and chop in half. Trim the green part of the spring onions and mix in with the potatoes, season with salt and pepper -  then mix it all together with some Light Mayonnaise.

Cost £1.46 - for 7 adults costing 21p each.

Red Coleslaw - This dish is my favourite (a few of my friends and family members love it when I make this), it is so simple to make and tastes yummy.

  • 1 Red onion - Morrisons 49p
  • 1 Red cabbage - they didn't have any in my Morrisons unfortunately, but I had some in the fridge already (from another supermarket). 49p
  • Pine nuts (half a pack) - £1.35
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Half a jar of Morrisions Light mayonnaise - 45p

Chop the Cabbage, chop the onion, mix together, chuck in the pine nuts, season with salt and pepper - and then mix it all together with some Light Mayonnaise

Cost £2.78 - for 7 adults costing 40p each - however there was 1/3 leftover, which I enjoyed for a few lunches throughout the following week - Yummy.

From BBQ to the table:  

Then the meat - my husband was really pleased with the quality of the meat (so was I) he mentioned how the burgers didn't shrink, and the sausages didn't split - the quality and taste was great.

For 7 adults, and 4 children:

  • Minty lamb ribs £2.01
  • Chinese steaks £2.99
  • 3x Burgers £12
  • 2xSausage £6.38
  • Beef shish kebabs £4

Total meat - £27.38 

- for 7 adults + 4 children costing £2.49 each - there was plenty of meat for all of us, in fact we had some left over and Paul's mum took home a doggy bag.