So tomorrow is Shrove Tuesday and the kids have placed their order for pancakes. For breakfast they want the thick, spongy Scotch pancakes with bacon and maple syrup and after school they want these thin pancakes (which I call crêpes) with Nutella. I’m not sure they fully understand the meaning of Pancake Day and that Lent follows soon after. I wonder how long they would last if they had to give up something important for the next six weeks? I might just test them out for fun.
These pancakes are so quick and easy and yes I know it’s easy to buy the mixture from the supermarkets but ‘made from scratch’ tastes so much better and the kids love getting involved. I haven’t had one stuck to my ceiling yet and that’s not from lack of trying by the kids.
Enjoy with lemon, sugar and cinnamon, Nutella, caramel sauce, fresh fruit and cream – basically anything you want really.
The other day, my hubby and I were reminiscing about our earlier days in South Africa and in particular about all the lovely food that we had available. At one point he almost started drooling when he started to tell me about a little place in Joburg called Wachenheimers. This, according to him was where you got the best hot beef on rye sandwiches – ever! He even had me Google the restaurant to see if it was still open.
The pictures on Google were definitely tempting so I thought I would have a go at making my own hot beef sandwich and I have to say the results were delicious. Why oh why is Pastrami not used more in this country – it is so tasty? To top it all I tried one of the new pickles from English Provender. They have brought out a range of four Proper Pickles – Traditional Proper Pickle (Chunky); Traditional Proper Pickle (Finely Chopped); Pickled Onion Proper Pickle or Beetroot Proper Pickle which are available from Waitrose or Asda. Normally I’m wary of buying pickles because I don’t like big chunks of vegetables but when I saw the finely chopped pickle I was sold.
As you can see in the picture above the different root vegetables have been very finely chopped and are encased in the most delicious and tangy blend of spices to make a wonderful accompaniment to any sandwich.
Another first for me were the kale chips. I’ve seen them in so many of the latest cook books and magazines but just never got round to trying them until now. Let’s just say I have them with everything now. Baked until crispy and tossed with a pinch of rock salt – you can’t stop eating them.
I would highly recommend giving this tasty sandwich a go. There is nothing complicated about it – just a combination of great tasting ingredients. Warning – make plenty and don’t be shy with the filling.
Drizzle the kale with olive oil and use your hands to toss until the kale is fully covered in oil.
Place the kale on a baking tray making sure it is not overcrowded.
Bake in the oven until the leaves are nice and crispy - about 8 minutes.
Remove from oven and toss with a pinch of rock salt.
Turn your oven off. Place pastrami slices into the oven to warm up. You want it just warm not hot.
Set to one side.
Place a knob of butter in a frying pan and heat until melted.
Place the slices of sour dough bread into the pan and press down lightly until you have some nice colour and crispy edges. You don't want to toast the bread just give it a bit of extra flavour and crunch.
Remove from pan and set on serving platter.
Layer the warm pastrami on the untoasted sides of the bread.
Spoon a generous amount of Proper Pickle on your sandwich.
Add the kale chips to your sandwich or serve as a side dish.
I love granola but very rarely buy it. For one it is so expensive and secondly I eat too much if it is in the house. Making your own granola is quick, easy and allows you to control what goes into it and how much you make. The base ingredients for any granola are healthy – oats are full of protein and minerals and have a long list of benefits, seeds are a rich source of the essential Omega-3 fatty acids and nuts are rich in antioxidant vitamins. So what’s the downside? Well, all that lovely sweet crunchy yumminess comes from the added sugars and oil which are needed to bring it all together. That’s where making your own is better as you can play around with different sweeteners – honey, stevia, maple syrup are all better than refined sugar. Try different oils too – a popular choice is coconut oil which I do like but it is very expensive. Add in different nuts and seeds, dried fruit, even chocolate for a very special treat – the variations are endless. If eaten in moderation then granola has more health benefits than downsides. The key word here is moderation – I made this chocolate granola last weekend with the intention of taking photographs for my blog but it was polished off by all four of us snacking on it throughout the day. This weekend’s batch has been photographed and stored away out of sight until tomorrow’s breakfast 🙂
Ok, so I’m not going to tell you my exact age but I will admit that I’m at an age where I have to start thinking about the health of my bones and joints. Yup, the old joints are stiffening up on me 🙁 It is well documented that oily fish helps to reduce swollen joints, pain and stiffness so I try to eat at least two portions a week. One of my favourite lunch snacks is this smoked mackerel pate. It takes a few minutes to put together and keeps well in the fridge for a good few days. Served with toast, crackers or oatcakes it makes a delicious snack packed full of healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
One problem though – it is hard to stop eating it. Enjoy!
As a family we do not use large quantities of refined sugar. The only time I ever use it is in my baking and that is usually for a treat rather than the norm. Over the years I have tried several artificial sweeteners in my baking but have never been converted and always revert back to the normal household brands of sugar. While I was out shopping last week I came across a new product by Tate & Lyle called Light at Heart. This is a combination of Brown Sugar and a Stevia Blend and has 50% less calories. I shook the container and could tell that the sugar was granulated (I hate the powdery substance of artificial sweeteners) so in the trolley it went.
Since buying the product I have done a bit of research into Stevia and I think it would be fair to say that there is a divided camp when it comes to the safety of consuming Stevia products. The plant has been used for centuries in South America as a natural sweetener, it has almost zero calories and studies have shown that it significantly inhibits the development of dental plaque. On the flip side it has negligible nutritive benefits (but then neither does refined sugar) and there is this small camp who maintains that more research needs to be done before allowing Stevia to be used in food products. For me the positives outweighed the negatives and I know we will not be consuming large quantities so I was keen to try it out.
I decided to try it out on something simple first so went for these easy pancakes with a blueberry sauce. Now what I didn’t notice on the packaging was something it said on the back “as it’s twice as sweet, only use half as much.” My blueberry sauce was very, very sweet so I would definitely have been able to use half the quantity. By the time I made the pancakes I was a bit wiser and only used half my usual quantity of sugar and this time the taste was perfect. More to the point – there was no artificial taste normally associated with low calorie sugars/sweeteners.
The next step now is to try baking one of my tried and tested cakes to see how it compares. I will let you know how I get on.