Very Buttery And Very Cheesy Mini Bites

This is such an easy and yummy snack to make, that even small kids could help. Bobcat loved being in charge of the rolling-pin and sprinkling the sesame seed. All over the place. And eating raw dough of course. (Who did not like that as a kid. Or even as a grown up.) These cheesy bites are great for parties, for the lunchbox, or as an afternoon snack. The resting seems long, but it’s absolutely necessary. They freeze well (whilst still raw), so it worth to make an extra portion for unexpected guests, or for a busy day and double the measurements. They go quickly anyway!

Ingredients: 

500g all purpose flour or pastry flour

250g unsalted butter (cold, straight from the fridge)

50ml milk

200g sour cream (room temperature)

3 egg yolks (2 for the dough + 1 for brushing)

100g grated cheese (cheddar or similar)

1 tsp sugar

1 tbsp salt

8g quick yeast

sesame seed for decoration

Method:

Sift the flour into a mixing bowl. Cube the butter and with your hands, rub it into the flour. Warm the milk A little bit and add it to the mixing bowl along with the sugar, the yeast and the salt. Mix the eggs with the sour cream and add the mixture to the bowl. Knead a neat dough ball, combining everything well, cover it and put in the fridge to rest for an hour.

Cover a baking tray with baking paper and preheat oven to 200C. Sprinkle some flour on a wooden board before rolling out the dough, to 1,5-2 cm thickness. Cut about 3×3 cm little squares, place them on the baking sheet, brush them with the egg yolk (into which you can add half a teaspoon of sweet ground paprika for a bit of an extra colour) and sprinkle with sesame seed. Bake them for 20-35 minutes.

 

One Messy Mama

Spicy Mushroom Stew With Home Made Gnocchi

In most Eastern-European countries, stew is everything. Hungary, where I’m from, is no different, we have all sorts of stews including goulash, which Hungarians eat as a soup. I know, we’re weird. The cuisine is of course heavy in meat dishes. Luckily, a lot of meat based dishes can be turned into a lovely vegetarian meal quite easily. My mum used to make a great mushroom stew, but it can be a little bit bland for some tastes. So I spiced it up a little bit and decided to serve it with home made gnocchi (dead easy, don’t get scared!) instead of the traditional Hungarian pasta pearls. (That is something I don’t have the time and the patience to make.)
Although the word “stew” somehow indicates that it’s heavy and fulfilling, this dish is lovely both in summer and in winter, not heavy at all. Well, as long as you can resist eating too much gnocchi, which I find very hard! I’m all for pasta and bread. Requires about an hour of your time to prepare this yummy dish.

Yield: 4

Ingredients:

For the spicy mushroom stew

250g chestnut mushrooms, thickly sliced

250g portobellini mushrooms, thickly sliced

1 onion, chopped finely

100ml wine (of any kind)

1 red bell pepper, chopped

2 tomatoes, chopped

200g creme fraiche

3 heaped tbsp of full fat greek yogurt

3 tbsp of olive oil

2 handfuls of fresh, chopped parsley

2 tsp of lazy chilli or chilly flakes

2 tbsp of ground, sweet paprika

1 tbsp of flour

For the gnocchi:

2 large potatoes (you’ll need 250g cooked, mashed potatoes), diced

250g plain flour

1 egg

Method:

No need to add water as the mushroom will produce some liquid when cooking.

Caramelise the onion on the oil for 15 minutes using low heat. Let them turn golden brown. Use a large pan. This will allow you to make a creamier, tastier sauce. Add the paprika, the chilli and the wine. Cook it for 5 minutes. Add the vegetables, simmer for 5 minutes, then comes the parsley in. Cover it and cook it for 15 minutes. In a small bowl, mix the creme fraiche, the yogurt and the flour, then add the mixture to the mushroom stew, bring it to boil. Reduce heat and cook it for a further 10 minutes.

To prepare the gnocchi, cook 2 large potatoes until they are cooked, but still a bit firm, approximately 10 minutes when diced. Mash them with a fork, let it cool and measure 250g of mashed potatoes. Add the flour and the egg and combine well using your hands, forming a bread like dough.

(For the future: all you have to remember is the measurements: 250-250-1. Easy.)

Divide your dough into 3-4 portions and form snakes of approximately 1.5cm diameter of each dough ball. Keep dusting with some extra flour to avoid stickiness. Cut them into 2-2.5cm diameter pieces.

Bring the water boil in a large pan, add your gnocchi and cook them for 3 minutes or until they start to rise to the top. Drain them and all done.

Serve it immediately.

Mummy in a Tutu

Savoury Butternut Squash – Broccoli Muffins With Feta

These are just perfect to make on a rainy afternoon, and eat them all up whilst they are still lovely and warm. I have a very picky toddler and seems like my baby girl is following her big brother’s footsteps. Lucky me. Not. I was hoping that at least one child of mine will eat properly. Nope, I can keep envying other parents with their small children eating raw carrot stick and steamed broccoli, but non mines. Anyway, that is why I try to smuggle some extra healthy ingredients into their dishes and also hoping that they will venture beyond the usual tastes and textures.

Muffins, both sweet and savoury are usually big hits in our house. I normally need to avoid whole pieces of vegetables being visible and use lots of cheese, for the savoury muffins to get green light. This recipe meets both criteria. Also contains more of the “friendly” veggie (butternut squash) and less of the “unfriendly” one (broccoli). Great for snack or even as a lazy main meal with some more cheese or healthy spreads like hummus.

Tip: by adding lots of fresh rosemary instead of chives, these muffins can be turned into more of a grownup’s snack.

Yield: 12 muffins

Ingredients:

250g plain flour

100g butternut squash diced

80g broccoli (4-5 small florets)

1,5 tsp bicarbonate soda

1 tsp baking powder

200ml milk

50g butter melted

100g feta cheese crumbled roughly

1 egg

half a tsp salt

1 tbsp of chopped chives

some grated cheddar to sprinkle on the top (optional)

Method:

Steam the vegetables until they’re tender. With a hand mixer, blend the butternut squash into a smooth paste. I guess it could work with just mashing it with a fork. As a smooth paste, it adds some extra liquid to your batter (so does the broccoli). After this, I normally just add everything one by one in no particular order and just mix it quickly (with a wooden spoon, by hand).

Preheat oven to 160C. I found that because of vegetables, they bake a bit slower than without them, but they can burn just as easily. Therefore, it’s better to keep it around 160C instead of 180C. So the baking time is slightly longer than with normal muffins: 12-14 minutes.

They are lovely warm or cold, or even reheated in the oven.

One Messy Mama
Real Mum Reviews

Green Tea Cookies With Matcha And Mint

I’m a bit of a matcha addict lately. Not just as a tea (once a day at least), but I also love combing it with sweet flavours. Like cakes and ice cream. It adds the subtle bitterness of the finest green tea and a lovely, bright green shade. I already tried it with cream cheese chiminangas (find my recipe here: Cream Cheese Chimichangas With Matcha And Strawberries) and it worked very well. So, last weekend I thought, why not try making cookies with matcha? Sounds like a pretty obvious combination, isn’t it? Yummy choc chip cookies with a little twist. I also added a bit of a maca powder to it, but that’s completely optional. And oh so easy, it only takes a half an hour from scratch.

Crispy outside and gooey inside – these are delicious.

Yield: about 20-22 cookies

Ingredients:

100g butter

100g caster sugar

80g light brown sugar

1 egg

200g all purpose flour

1 tsp of baking soda

1.5 tsp of matcha powder

1tsp of maca powder (optional)

1 tsp of vanilla extract

half a tsp of mint extract

100g choc chip

1/4 tsp of salt

 

Method:

Preheat oven to 170C.

Melt the butter in the microwave (proper bakers feel free to gasp here), so that all the tools you will need is a wooden spoon. In a bowl, cream the melted butter with the sugars and add the mint and vanilla extracts. Add the egg, the matcha, the maca powder, the salt and the baking powder. Combine well. Add the flour. (I never sift the flour either, just stir it in well.) Finally, add the choc chips and combine well.

Cover a baking tray with baking paper and evenly place 9 little balls (bit smaller than a golf ball) on it. Bake them for 8 minutes only, I kept checking on them: when they are getting a light golden shade (that’s how they are getting their lovely crispness), they will be just perfect.

Leave them to harden and cool for a few minutes before transferring them to a plate. I think they are the best when still a bit warm, but they also store well. But they are always gone in no time 🙂

 

Bridie By The Sea

Vegan And Raw Mini Energy Bars

We all know, just how bad refined sugar is for us. If you ever tried to cut down on your sugar intake, you know how hard it can be. Low-sugar and “sugar-free” substitutes are not healthy either (and they taste terrible).

Dried fruits are great to satisfy your sugar craving. They are full of fibre, and antioxidants (especially figs and prunes), and they taste divine. However, it’s easy to overeat them and they contain the same (naturally occurring) sugar as the fresh fruit itself, but concentrated. Use them as a natural sweetener.

These raw mini energy bars also contain nuts and puffed brown rice, which make them more fulfilling and also healthier. I added some organic baobab powder for extra calcium, potassium and vitamin C.

They require no bake, it’s ridiculously easy to prepare them and even small kids will love it (my 3-year-old chief taster did so). They keep for a few days in the fridge (I think they are even nicer when chilled). This recipe will give you about 12-14 mini bars. Drizzling them with melted dark chocolate is optional (but it makes them look just heavenly).

Ingredients:

10-12 dried and pitted dates

6-7 dried figs

4-5 prunes

100g ground almond

3 handfuls of puffed brown rice

1 handful of dried cranberries

1 handful of pumpkin seeds

1 handful of sesame seeds

2 tsp of Baobab powder

80g good quality, at least 70% dark vegan chocolate

Method:

In the food processor whizz the dates, the figs and the prunes for a minute or two, until they start to form a little ball. Don’t blend them down completely, you don’t want a paste. Let them keep some texture. Add the ground almonds and the baobab powder and mix them well. The mixture should be sticky enough to take the puffed rice, the cranberries and the seeds. Your target is a dough-like mix. Form a 5-6 cm wide loaf and cut it into 10-12 small bars. Melt the chocolate and drizzle it over the bars. Enjoy. Try to resist eating them up all at once 🙂

I have received the Organic Baobab Powder from Pandavita for my unbiased review of their product, which is absolutely great. I am very pleased with the quality and taste of the powder.

One Messy Mama

Skinny And Vegan Mediterranean Vegetable Soup With Pearl Barely 

You know the type of craving, when it’s cold and gloomy outside and you’re dying for a hot, satisfying soup. But you suddenly realise that you have nothing at home for anything “classic”. Then, you start to search through the fridge and the cupboard for possible ingredients. I quite enjoy this actually, letting your tastebuds and nose to take you for an imaginative drive. This soup is the outcome of this kind of kitchen tour. I’m so pleased with it, that I thought I have to share it with you. It’s lovely and hearty, but healthy at the same time. If you wish, you can add some grated Parmesan or vegan hard cheese on the top when serving. Takes about an hour to prepare it and serves at least 6 people.


Ingredients:

1 medium yellow onion chopped

1 courgette, sliced

2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced

100g butternut squash, cubed

400g canned cannellini beans, drained

2 sticks of celery, sliced

150g pearl barley, cooked

1,5 l vegatable stock

1 tbsp of olive oil

1 tsp of dried basil

1 tsp of dried sage

1/2 tsp of dried thyme

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Handful of  Super Sprouts and slice of toast to serve (optional)

Method:

First, cook the pearl barley. Put it in a pan, cover it with water, bring it to boil, add a pinch of salt. Cover it with a lid, and cook it for about 40-45 minutes on low heat, until it’s al dente.

Chop all the veggies and in a big pot, fry them with the spices until they begin to soften, 10-15 minutes. Stir it occasionally. Add the stock, turn the heat to low, and cook it for 30 minutes. Add the beans and cook it for another 10 minutes.

You can also add a bit of a chilli, for a little kick.


Vegan Paneer And Butternut Squash Curry

It’s so good to have a big bowl of spicy and warm comfort food on a cold winter day. Vegetarian and vegan curries can satisfy the pickiest meat eaters too. The spices do the trick. If you can’t get vegan paneer, you can substitute it for other vegan cheese, as long as it’s soft enough. Add extra chickpeas, spinach, or green peas to make it a bit different every time you prepare it. We love it, it’s one of our standard midweek meals. It’s also quite easy and quick to prepare. Takes no more than 40 minutes from scratch.

Ingredients:

225 or 250g package vegan paneer

500g butternut squash, chopped into small cubes

1 yellow onion, chopped finely

2 garlic cloves, minced

handful of fresh coriander, chopped roughly

2x 200g chopped tomato tins

1 tsp of fresh ginger, minced

1.5 tsp of medium curry powder

1 tsp of Garam Masala

1 tsp of turmeric

1 tsp of paprika

1/2 tsp of lazy chilli

2 tbsp olive oil

pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper

Method:

First, cube the cheese and in a small frying pan, on a little olive oil, fry them for 10 minutes. I like them when they only start going golden brown and become crunchy on the outside but they still remain soft inside. Set them aside.

Then, add the onions to a large skillet (I sometimes just use my wok) and fry them for 5 minutes on the remaining oil. Add all the spices, and simmer for another 2-3 minutes until they become fragrant. Add the butternut squash cubes (and any other vegetables you’d like to use). Another 10 minutes simmering. Finally, add the tinned tomatoes,  salt and pepper and the coriander. Cook it for 10-15 minutes, softening the butternut squash. When it’s ready, add the paneer, gently mixing, so you won’t crush them.  Serve it with plain or jasmine rice.

 

 

 

 

Wintery And Warm Apple And Walnut Strudel

Just as easy as delicious. Strudel is a very popular pastry in Central – Europe, both the sweet and the savoury versions. For me, it’s a comfort food and also the manifestation of a Sunday lunch at my Grandparents. My Grandma made the pastry all by herself, even when it was already available in the supermarkets. I don’t have the skills or the time, so I just bought Just-Rol Filo Pastry Sheets, so it takes very little time to prepare this delicious dessert, around 40-50 minutes from scratch.

Ingredients:

6 filo pastry sheets (for 2 strudels)

6 medium apples (not too sweet apples work better, they add a fine tanginess), peeled and chopped

100g roughly grounded or chopped walnuts

150g dark brown sugar

1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp of vanilla essence

splash of lemon juice

50g unsalted butter

Method:

First, prepare the filling. (Oh yes. Preheat the oven too. 180C worked for me.) Peel, core and chop the apples and place them in a mixing bowl. Add walnuts, sugar, vanilla essence and cinnamon. Add half a lemon’s juice. Mix well. Taste the mixture and add some more sugar if you prefer it sweeter.

Take the filo pastry out of the fridge NOW. You don’t want the filo go warm and soggy. Melt the butter and lay your first sheet of filo out on a clean tea towel. Brush with melted butter. Top with the second sheet, brush with butter and add the third sheet. Lay out another clean tea towel and repeat the procedure with the other three sheets. Be generous with the butter, it will create a fluffy, crunchy pastry.

Arrange the mixture in the middle of the pastry leaving 2-3 cm on both ends for folding. First fold these ends up then roll it into a log. Line a baking tray with baking sheets or grease paper and gently transfer your strudels over. You might find that you need two baking trays, I was ok using just one. Bake them for 25 mins, or until the pastry is golden brown and crisp. Serve it warm.

Sweet, Spicy Roasted Christmas Snacking Nuts

I have to confess: I am addicted to this fantastic winter snack. When making them at home, the divine smell will turn your house into a German-style Christmas market. So why not make some mulled wine too? They could also make lovely, handmade gifts, if you fill small cellophane bags or glass jars with them. If you think the measurements in the recipe are dangerously big, and you’d eat them all in one afternoon, just reduce them.

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Ingredients:

500g mixed nuts: walnuts, almonds and pecans

2 tbsp of Indigo Nutrition Organic Dark Maple Syrup

1 tbsp of honey

2 tbsp of Indigo Nutrition Organic Coconut Sugar

3 tsp of grounded cinnamon

1 tsp of grounded nutmeg

1 tsp of grounded ginger

 

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Method:

In a medium pan over low heat, start stirring the maple syrup, the honey and the spices until they form a runny, dark brown mixture. It should only take 2 minutes. Then add the nuts and mix them well, until they are all equally coated and sticky. Transfer them into a roasting tin and sprinkle half of the coconut sugar all over them.

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Roast them for 25 minutes on 175C in the pre-heated oven. When ready, sprinkle the rest of the coconut sugar over them and remove them from the tin. Enjoy!

 

 

Review: Nim’s All Natural Vegetable And Fruit Crisps

I’m always on the look out for healthy and vegetarian nibbles. Bobcat is a very picky eater, he currently doesn’t eat any fresh fruits or vegetables apart from a little banana and some tomato. No matter how creative and persistent I am, he just won’t eat them. Therefore, I’m keen to try new things just to make him eat some more natural fibre, vitamins and minerals.

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So when Nim’s asked me to review their product range I got excited. I was already a big fan of the veggie crisps available in the supermarkets, but they are all too salty for a toddler.

Nim’s all natural crisps range is invented by a fellow mum, who was looking for healthier snacks for her children. They are air-dried snacks because this way they keep most of their nutritional content and natural sweetness. Nim’s sources locally grown (British) fresh products and produce no waste. I was in love with the idea even before tasting them.

Tastewise, they are not super sweet nor salty, but naturally crispy and the packs are coming in a few lovely combinations like my favourite: kiwi and pineapple. I only wish they would come in bigger packs as we finished the entire range in a few days!
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These crisps make a lovely addition to your meals too. Just a couple of ideas to use them: adding them to your morning porridge or topping a hearty soup or risotto. You can also make mini open sandwiches with chocolate spread and banana then top them with fruit crisps – lovely party food idea!

And of course my chief tester really enjoyed the crisps too! On this photo he’s actually stealing my nice crisp arrangement prepared for a photo:

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Nim’s currently planning to launch a special product range for kids and crowdfunding it with Tesco Backit as they are passionate about helping to combat unhealthy snacking habits for children.

I’m more than happy to promote this innovative, award winning and independent business.