Date and Seed Power Balls!

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On a resent trek in the north of Scotland, which I did with my family and a few friends (plus a happy dog) I knew a homemade energy boosting snack would be very much appreciated. Everyone in the group requested the recipe, so I took that as a good sign. These Energy ‘Power Balls!’ are rather delicious, and quite filling to, perfect for an in between meal snack, or a power boost when carrying heavy rucksacks and navigating unknown terrain in the wilderness!

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They store really well in an air tight container and keep for weeks in the fridge. You can also freeze them, and defrost as needed.

I’m posting two recipes; one with peanut butter, and the other with a luxurious Danish Nougat. Its not easy to get your hands on in the UK, but it is delicious.. Its a household staple in Denmark, used mainly around Christmas, paired with marzipan…yum!  So I would say, use Nutella or something similar, if you don’t live in DK.

 

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Power Balls no. 1

Makes 25

 

100g sesame seeds

100g sunflower seeds

100g dates

5 tbsp organic peanut butter ( or more if the mixture is too dry)

4 tbsp milled flax seeds

3 tbsp agave syrup

100g almonds

100g oats

1 tbsp organic coco powder

desicated coconut for rolling

 

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On a hot dry pan, gently toast the almonds, oats and sunflower seeds for a few min. Take care not to burn them.

Next, place all the dry ingredients including the dates in a food processor and blitz for a few moments. You want the consistency to be medium, between smooth and raw.

Empty the contents into a bowl, and add the peanut butter and agave syrup. Using a spoon, or your hands, make 25 balls, and roll them in the coconut. Store in the fridge.

 

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Power Balls no. 2

 

Makes 25

 

75g sesame seeds

75g sunflower seeds

150g dates

100g blød nougat – or nutella

4 tbsp milled flax seeds

1 tbsp hemp seed oil

100g cashew nuts

75g oats

2 tbsp organic coco powder

 

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On a hot dry pan, toast the cashews, oats and sunflower seeds for a few min. Taking care not to burn them.

Next, place all the dry ingredients including the dates into a food processor and blitz for a few moments. You want the consistency to be medium, between smooth and raw.

Empty the contents into a bowl, add the nougat and oil and mix it in well.

Finally, using a spoon, or your hands, make 25 balls. Store in the fridge.

 

 

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Filed under From the Bakery, Sides

Yellow Squash and Lemon Pasta with Creamy Rocket Pesto

yellow squash pasta-1

If I’m not entirely mistaken, putting raisins in pasta (or Pizza) dishes is a Sicilian thing. And I’m glad I discovered it. Its not that I’ve got a sweet tooth, I just love food that has a sweet/savory combo going on. And this dish definitely does. I pulled this dish together the other day, as my yellow ‘crook neck’ squash’s are producing lots of small tasty fruits, and they taste best lightly cooked, and al dente. I also have a fantastic amount of peppery rocket needing eaten. And so often when I’m gardening, recipes make themselves out of what fruit and veg is ripe just that very day.

 

rufus squash

This pasta dish is fresh and light, perfect for the middle of summer, but filling and satisfying all at the same time. This is definitely a dish to enjoy outdoors on the terrace on a hot day – dreaming yourself away to Sicily….

yellow squash pasta-2

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Serves 4

500g farfalle pasta
1 medium yellow squash
1 small courgette
1 garlic clove
a handful golden sultanas
a small handful pine-nuts
olive oil for frying

For the pesto:

150g cream cheese or alternative vegan spread
2 tbsp organic olive oil
a small handful pine-nuts (3 tbsp)
1 garlic clove
2 large handful rocket, plus extra for garnish
salt and freshly ground black pepper 1/2 lemon, juiced

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Bring a large pan of water to the boil, and pop the pasta in, cook for roughly 8-10 minutes until al dente.

Meanwhile, make the pesto.

Add all the pesto ingredients to a food possessor and blitz until smooth and creamy.

Next, chop the squash and courgette into rounds. Peel the garlic, and finely chop.

Heat a large frying pan on medium heat, and add a little olive oil, fry the squash and courgette gently for 4-5 min, then add the garlic and fry for a further 1 min, add the pine nuts and raisins and heat trough.

Now add the pesto mixture until heated though, roughly 1-2 minutes. Add the lemon zest to the dish.

Finally add the drained pasta to the pan, and mix until all the pasta is coated in sauce. Serve with extra rocket leaves and black pepper.

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Filed under Main Courses, Summer

Garden Salad with Elderflower Vinaigrette

garden salad-6

The peak of the growing season is upon my garden. I am now able to harvest more that 2 or 3 bits of produce from the plot at any one time, as this Garden Summer Salad demonstrates perfectly. This is a salad to be proud off, as everything ( eggs-cept the eggs, get it?!) has been grown or harvested by me. The olive oil, is strictly not our own, but is from our friends own olive grove in Italy, and as they put it- is 3 times Extra Virgin Organic olive oil, and it tastes heavenly too. The peas, potatoes, dill, salad leaves, cucumber, and edible nasturtium flowers and corn flowers were all picked this morning, in preparation for lunch. I love how you can tuck into a portion of food, knowing that is was growing barley an hour ago, cool right?

 

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The peas are an exciting rare variety called Champion of England, dating from the 1840’s and are from The Real Seed Company, an innovative British family business who see the soil as a living organism that must be cared for, not thrashed. They have lots of exciting old as well as new fruit and veg varieties, and they are well worth a look, next time you are seed shopping.

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The driving force behind this post was to share the delicious Elderflower vinaigrette, that I’m really crazy for at the moment. It is summer in a jar, fresh, fruity and sweet, and it goes with anything from the summer season – salads, fish or even ice-cream.

Its made using this seasons Elderflowers from down the lane, get the recipe here.

 

garden salad-4

 

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Serves 4

 

Vinaigrette

50ml white wine vinaigrette

50ml olive oil

25ml elderflower cordial

pinch of salt

 

Salad

2 heads of little gems, or equivalent

1/2 cucumber, sliced

8 sugar-snap peas

a handful of garden peas

2 eggs

6  small new potatoes

some dill

a few flowers

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Boil the potatoes until tender, set aside to cool. One min before the potatoes are ready, pop the sugar snaps into the pan, and boil for 1 min, drain and set aside.

Boil the eggs, until hard boiled, leave to cool, then shell them, and cut into quarters.

Make the vinaigrette by pouring all the liquids into a jar,  shake well until combined, add the salt.

Assemble the salad by placing the leaves, potatoes, peas, sugar snaps, dill and eggs onto a serving dish, finish with the flowers and elderflower vinaigrette.

 

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Filed under Sides, Summer

Panzanella – Italian Summer Sour-dough Salad

Panzanella – Italian Summer Sour-dough Salad

 italian salad

Its hot! And its gorgeous outside! And when it’s hot for days on end, my tastebuds always hunger for light salady type foods, that are fresh, aromatic and seasonal.

This ‘salad’ could almost be called a de-constructed Bruchetta,  and is an absolute winner if you are hungry rather than peckish, as the bread is already inside the dish. The chunky sour-dough soaks up all the rich olive oil and vinegar, and combined with fresh tomatoes from the garden, you have yourself the perfect salad.

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Serves 4

1 organic loaf of sour dough bread or ciabatta

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

750g ripe tomatoes, halved

100ml organic extra virgin olive oil

2tbsp white wine vinegar

10 or so basil leaves
salt and pepper

 

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Combine the halved tomatoes and garlic in a bowl, with the olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Mix well using your hands to release the flavours.

Stir well, then leave the salad for 10 minutes, to infuse.

Meanwhile chop the bread into cubes, and lightly fry on a hot pan with a little extra oil, until golden. Add the hot bread to the tomato bowl, and combine well. Mix in the basil leaves, and serve immediately.

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Filed under Sides, Summer

Strawberry Rhubarb Summer Cordial

Strawberry Rhubarb cordial-4

 

 

 

This year has so far been a top year for berries. My strawberries have produced a bumper crop of delicious deep red fruit. However…just as they were 1 or 2 days away from perfection, something began to ‘nibble’ them. And after a close inspection I found a mouse hole, right in the middle of the strawberry patch! A great home indeed! Lovely warm straw, and plenty of fresh berries on the door step, well I couldn’t blame them really!

Strawberry Rhubarb cordial-1

Strawberry Rhubarb cordial-2

But, I wasn’t going to leave the remaining crop to the greedy mouse, so I picked every ripe berry and had enough to have with meringues and make a summer cordial too.

Paired with my last remaining rhubarb, this is summer preserved in a bottle.

 

Strawberry Rhubarb cordial-3

 

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Makes 1.5 litres

 

300g  strawberries,  roughly chopped
3 sticks of rhubarb, washed and chopped
300g caster sugar
2 lemons, juice and zest of
1 liter water

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Tip the fruit into a heavy-based pan alongside the lemon zest and pour over the sugar.

Simmer over low heat  for 10 minutes or until it has just begun to soften. Pour over the water and lemon juice and turn the heat up to medium.

Boil for a further 15 minutes then remove from the heat.

Strain the fruit using a sieve, pressing down well with a wooden spoon. Pour into sterilized glass bottles.

The cordial will keep for 3-4 weeks in the fridge.

To serve, dilute to taste, with either still, sparkling water or maybe serve with vodka as an aperitif.

 

Strawberry Rhubarb cordial-6

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Pumpkin Seed Pesto Pizza with Yellow Squash and Goats Cheese

pesto pizza sm

 

Pumpkin Seed Pesto Pizza with Yellow Squash, Goats Cheese and Dill

My garden is thriving, as the summer is at last here for definite! I’ve got various salads, including hot and peppery rocket, butter lettuce, chard, spinach..to name a few. And of course dill, which I use as a salad ingredient most days. Freshly picked, nothing beats the aromatic flavour of dill. It adds depth and contrast to this pizza, and is a match made in heaven with goats cheese.

This pizza came about as Al Fresco dining was on the cards last week, as it had been a hot afternoon, and the promise of a warm evening was guaranteed!

But after the decision had been made that pizza was on the menu, I realized I didn’t have my store cupboard staple – Pesto. But as I mentioned above, my rocket and spinach was doing well, so I quickly threw one together. The lack of pine nuts didn’t put me off, I just substituted them with pumpkin seeds, they do the job nicely!

rocket pesto sm

Here’s the confessional part of the blog post – I never use recipes, or measurements whilst cooking at home…

Only when baking do I pull out the scales and books, baking is a science, cooking is an art form! But when I am creating a recipe for the blog, or the magazine I work for, I meticulously measure my ingredients as they are being prepared, so I know what to tell the readers.

But I thought I would, as a first ever Camera and Clementine special, not include precise quantities for the pesto (I will do that for the dough, though) as it is an easy recipe to develop and practice your cooking skills and tastebuds on.

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Pesto

makes one jar

2 big handfuls of fresh spinach

2 handfuls of rocket

1 handful of fresh basil

3 cloves of garlic

1 handful of pumpkin seeds

a large squirt of lemon juice

enough organic extra virgin olive oil to make it smooth

a 3×3 inch square of parmigiana

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Dough

300g strong flour

½ tsp fast action yeast

2 tbsp olive oil

170ml water

½ tsp salt

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Topping

1 small yellow courgette

100g goats cheese

3 tbsp pesto

1 red onion, sliced

a few olives

a few sprigs of dill

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Method

To make the dough:

Tip the flour, salt and yeast into a large bowl and make a well in the middle. Pour the water and oil into the well and slowly incorporate the flour until you have a soft dough.

Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5-10 min. Place back into the bowl, cover and leave to rise for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 220 °c /fan 200 °c.

Lightly knead the dough again. Divide the dough into two equal balls and roll out using a rolling pin and place on 2 baking trays

To make the pesto:

Dump all of the ingredients into a food possessor and blitz for a few seconds. Then with the motor running, add the olive oil. Now taste it, and check the consistency. Is it garlicky enough? Can you taste the parmigiana? If not, add a bit more. 

 

Pop in a jar, and refrigerate.

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To assemble the pizza:

Spread the pesto over the two pizza base’s and layer the sliced squash, goats cheese, olives and red onion on top.

Bake for 12-14 min, once out of the oven, top with dill and serve.

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Filed under Summer

Roasted Cherry Tomato and Aubergine Bruschetta with Rocket

rocket copy

Roasted Cherry Tomato and Aubergine Bruschetta with Rocket

 

Its hard to beat freshly picking your own salad leaves, and rocket is at the top of the list for flavour and bite.  Last spring my good friend and ‘Bridesmaid to be’ sent me a packet of wild rocket seeds, and being a lover of variation, I sowed them beside my already thriving lettuce’s. Well, 12 months later and the rocket is still thriving, having survived the mild winter, it is looking and tasting better than ever.

Add rocket to these warm and juicy bruschettas,  and you have a match made in heaven, with the sweet tomatoes,  and lovely fresh pepper punch from the rocket. I like my bruschetta oily and warm with lots of garlic, so if you are like me, dont hold back on the organic extra virgin olive oil.

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Serves 4 as a starter or 2 for lunch

 

250g grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

6 tbsp organic extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp sugar

1 tbsp oregano

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 large aubergine, sliced into 1cm thick rounds

2 handfuls rocket leaves

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

25g parmigiano cheese, shaved into flakes

1-2 small ciabatta bread

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Pre-heat the oven to 150 ˚C/fan 140˚C.

Place the halved tomatoes in a roasting dish, drizzle with 2 tbsp olive oil, oregano, sugar, salt and pepper, and roast for 30 min.

Meanwhile, combine the remaining oil and crushed garlic and coat the sliced aubergines. Set aside.

Once the tomatoes are almost cooked, heat a large pan over a medium heat, and grill the aubergines for 5-10 min until soft and cooked through.

Slice the ciabatta and brush with a little olive oil and grill for a minute or two on each side until slightly golden.

 

Now assemble the bruschetta by layering up the aubergine, tomatoes, rocket and parmigiano flakes. Serve warm.

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Filed under Sides, Summer

Rhubarb and Ginger Gin Fizz

rhubarb fiz

You can’t but marvel at nature, especially whilst cooking fruits like the colourful rhubarb. It is always a joy to create impressive looking dishes and drinks all done with nature-powered colourings. I have rhubarb popping up in my garden, and I’m on my second harvest already, so I thought a little celebratory drink to mark the arrival of spring is in order!

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Rhubarb and Ginger Gin Fizz

Syrup:

200g sugar

200 ml water

150g finely chopped rhubarb

1/2 vanilla bean, pod split and scraped

1 thumb of fresh ginger, finely chopped

Mixers:

100ml gin

100ml rhubarb syrup

150ml prosecco or other sparkling wine

a squirt of lemon juice

crushed ice to serve

4 sprigs of rosemary

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To make the syrup:

Combine all the ingredients in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook gently until the fruit is soft and the liquid has thickened slightly, about 20 minutes.

Pour and strain the liquid into a large bowl.

Pour the hot syrup into a sterilized glass bottle, cover or cork the bottle and refrigerate. The rhubarb syrup will keep for a week in the fridge.

Make the cocktails by mixing the gin, rhubarb syrup, and lemon juice in a jug or cocktail mixer. Divide the crushed ice between 4 glasses, pour in the mixture and top each glass with sparkling wine. Stir gently and garnish with rosemary sprigs. Serve immediately.

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Filed under Spring, Uncategorized

Super Green Spinach Smoothie

spinach smoothie

 

I dont know about the rest of the world, but here in Scotland, its still cold and wet. April is said to be the rainiest month, and my garden is living proof. I’ve not seen the sky for 10 days straight, just a drab gray cloud cover. In which case, now’s a good time to devour some extra vitamins – the green way!

A super green spinach smoothie to boost your immune system, and get you lean and mean for spring time!

Helping the spinach become more palatable, is sweet pear and tangy kiwi, delicious yoghurt and fragrant vanilla. Once blended, its best to drink the smoothie immediately.

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Serves 2

1 large handful of spinach (50g)

1 kiwis

2 bananas

150ml pear juice

2 tbsp natural yogurt

¼ vanilla pod, scraped

a dash of lemon juice

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Chop the banana and kiwi into chunks and pop them in the freezer for 30min. (they do the job of ice cubes)

Place the spinach and pear juice into the blender, and blitz until smooth. Add the frozen fruit, and blend again. Now add the yoghurt and vanilla seeds, and whizz again for a few seconds.

Serve immediately.

 

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Filed under Breakfast, Spring

Pear and Marzipan Tartlets with Lemon Marmalade

pear tart

 

Spring seems to come and go, this past week. But there are sure signs of its increasing presence, with the hedgerows turning light green and the daffodils standing tall in full bloom. Spring will triumph once again!

And if you feel like you are just sitting around waiting for spring to really get going, then I’ve got just the recipe if you’ve got a bit of time on your hands.   These little pear and marzipan tarts are a perfect afternoon treat, for friends and family to enjoy on a grey day.

pears_on_table

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Makes 8 tarts

For the pastry

225g plain flour
100g butter
80g sugar
1 large free range egg
½ lemon, zested

Frangipane filling

170g sugar
170g ground almonds
50g marzipan
1 tbsp flour
1 large free range egg
1 tsp almond extract
½ lemon, zested

Plus

3-4 pears, sliced
2 tbsp almond flakes
5 tbsp lemon marmalade, heated

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Add the cold butter and flour to a food processor and blitz to bread crumbs. Add the sugar and egg, and blitz until just combined. If the dough is to dry, add 1 tbsp of ice cold water to the mixture.
Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for one hour minimum.

Meanwhile make the filling. Whisk together all the filling ingredients to a smooth paste, and set aside.
Divide the pastry into 8 equal pieces, and roll out to 3mm thickness, and press lightly into 10cm tartlet tins, prick the pastry with a fork, and refrigerate again for 30 min.

Once chilled, scoop 1 tbsp of filling into each of the tartlets, making sure to fill any gaps. Press slices of pear lightly into the filling and bake at 170 degrees for 25-30 until golden and baked through.

Brush heated lemon marmalade over the tarts, and sprinkle with a few almond flakes. Leave to cool.

 

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Filed under Spring