Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Triple Chocolate Brownies

If you like chocolate stop right now. Don't read any further - just forget about whatever you've seen or heard. Step away from the computer, because once you try these Triple Chocolate Brownies, you won't be able to put them down. In fact you'll be getting up in the middle of the night to make a batch they're that good - so be warned and be very careful! I just love them!

50g walnuts
1 dessert spoon of caster sugar
80g butter
100g 85% dark chocolate
50g white chocolate
150g light muscavado sugar
1 egg, beaten
50g plain flour
60g creme fraiche
2 packs of Rolos (chocolate filled with toffee)

Toast the walnuts in a frying pan. Once the nuts have been in the pan a few minutes add a dessert spoon of caster sugar and continue to toss for a few more minutes. Set aside to cool, then chop.

Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Grease a 12 hole muffin tin with butter and add the chopped walnuts to eat hole.

Heat the butter and chocolate pieces in a small saucepan over a low heat. Once the mixture is smooth, add the sugar and set aside to cool a little.

Stir in the beaten egg, creme fraiche and the flour. Spoon half the mixture into the muffin tin. Add a Rolo to each hole and then cover with more mixture. Bake for 14 minutes. Once baked, stand in the tray for 10 minutes then run a knife around each brownie to turn out. Serve warm with ice cream for a gorgeous dessert or have cool with a cup of coffee for the ultimate indulgent break!

Monday, 14 April 2014

Double Almond Berry Smoothy

I'm going smoothy crazy! So, in my quest for a different, tastier smoothy, I'm trying all sorts of variations. 

With this smoothy I'm trying not just one type of almond, but two! Whizzed up whole almonds and almond milk - a smoothy packed full of great things!

The children particularly like this fruity number served in the old-school glass milk bottles. Great with their breakfast or served as a healthy snack (they think it's a great treat, they'll never suspect it's super good for them! Mmmwwahhahah!)

Serves 2 adults and 2 kids
3 tbsp porridge oats
15 almonds
2 small ripe bananas
1 handful blueberries
1 handful raspberries
3 tbsp Greek yoghurt 
250ml unsweetened almond milk
6 ice cubes

Put in the ingredients in a blender and whizz. I put my oats and almonds in first, gave them a blend, then added the rest of the ingredients. 

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Purple Power Smoothy

I have baby brain at the moment. I just can't retain information without a list. So to combat this excuse for tardiness, I've developed the Purple Power Smoothy. Packed with good stuff, it contains blueberries to help boost brain power and help me function through the day!

1.5 tbsp oats
15 almonds
1 ripe banana
1 big handful of blueberries
1.5 tbsp Greek yoghurt
200ml milk
5 ice cubes

Blend all the ingredients together and slurp through a straw!

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I've got a bit of a problem with Pinterest - I can't stop pinning!! There are some super bad baking ideas on there, and it just seem to be pinning them all in one place! So why not follow Mean Mother Cooker on Pinterest and get even more kitchen inspiration!

My boards include: So Bad It's Good, Easy Baking, The Best Breakfasts, Mean Mother Home Style, Fabulous Cakes, Noodle Time, Healthy But Tasty, Quick Bites, Easter Marzipan, Tasty Dishes, When I'm Not Cooking I'm....

Thursday, 10 April 2014

The Mean Green Smoothy

Everyone's doing green smoothies. If you haven't - where have you been? Here's the big Mean Green Smoothy. Start your day with a big fat kick of goodness! And you'll be on your way to your five-a-day, or seven-a-day, or ten-a-day......

1 ripe banana
1 small mango, peeled and diced
2 oranges, peeled
10 red grapes
Handful of spinach
Ice cubes

Whizz up in a blender, smoothy maker or with a stick blender in a jug. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Chia & Raspberry Overnight Oats

I'm still trying to avoid all sugary breakfast cereals. They don't fill you up, they're no good for you, and they don't keep you going throughout the morning. But I like some variety in life and these Overnight Oats are perfect.

Today I'm having Chia & Raspberry Overnight Oats with chopped nuts and grapes. I left the raspberries whole, but you could mush them up. The chia seeds are a great source of protein, fibre and omega-3 fatty acids. They also swell up overnight and make another great texture in this breakfast.

Serves 2
1 banana, mashed
2 tbsp porridge oats
2 tbsp Greek yoghurt
150 ml milk
Handful of raspberries
1 tbsp chia seeds

First, mash the banana. Then add all the other ingredients. Leave in the fridge overnight. In the morning, serve with chopped nuts and seeds and grapes. 

Monday, 7 April 2014

Miso Ramen Noodles with Smoked Mackerel

I have a disclaimer before you make this tasty miso ramen noodle recipe, packed with yummy smoked mackerel. I have never been to Japan. I am not Japanese. I have been to a Japanese restaurant, and I do have friends that have lived in and visited Japan. My recipe might not be 100% authentic, but it sure is tasty! Let me know what you think. 

My children love noodle dishes, and this is a great way to get them trying ingredients they might otherwise not want to try. All the different elements seem to be attractive to kids too. They feel like they are being given a choice of what to eat.

I used a Benito soup base and added the white miso paste into the serving bowl. I think it is more traditional to use dashi when making miso ramen dishes. I bought all my ingredients from the Japanese Kitchen www.japanesekitchen.co.uk which has a great selection of products and help with how to use them if you aren't too sure. Tsuyu soup stock can be used in many different ways, but for a broth base, you use one part soup stock, to three-four parts water.
I used Fueru Wakame (meaning expanding Wakame). These dried Wakame seaweed shreds expand considerably when re-hydrated in water. Great in miso soup, salads or as a side dish. 

Wakame is rich in nutrients and also has high levels of calcium, iodine, thiamine and niacin. The kids love watching how quickly the dried seaweed changes to lush, fleshy green seaweed within minutes!

Serves 2
600ml of boiling water
2 tsp white miso paste
1 bundle ramen noodles
2 tsp Fueru Wakame
Sweet corn
2 spring onions, chopped
2 boiled eggs
1 fillet smoked mackerel 

Soak the Fueru Wakame in cold water for 6 minutes until fully rehydrated, then drain. Prepare your serving bowls with a teaspoon of white miso paste in each bowl. 

Flake the mackerel ready to serve and chop the spring onions too.

For Japanese soft boiled eggs, place the eggs in cold water and bring to the boil. Take the pan off the flame and cover with lid. Leave for 10 minutes, then plunge the eggs into iced water. Peel the shells and carefully slice in half to place on top of finished dish.

Add the water and soup stock to the pan and bring to a rolling simmer. Add the sweet corn and ramen noodles and cook per instructions on packet.

Once the noodles are cooked, it's time to serve. The miso paste shouldn't be boiled, so pour the soup stock onto the paste and stir. Now add all you other prepared ingredients to the bowl and serve immediately. Season with a dash of soy sauce.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Breakfast Booster Smoothy

I'm struggling at the moment to find time. Time to eat in the morning! Organising three children to get out of the house for school leaves little time for food. I'm also trying to lose some of this extra baby weight that's hanging about, so I don't want to be skipping meals and then eating ten chocolate biscuits because I am starving. So a smoothy in the morning seems the perfect solution.

I took myself down to TK Maxx the other day to buy a travel cup with lid and straw that I can bung the smoothy in and head out of the door. I might also be doing this at lunch time if I can't find time for a nice sandwich. 

To make sure this smoothy keeps me going, it needs to contain more than just fruit. So for this Breakfast Booster Smoothy, I've added oats, almonds and chia seeds to really ramp up the nutrition.

Chia seeds are a great source of antioxidants and minerals. They are also a complete source of protein and fibre and have more omega-3 fatty acids than salmon. Chia seeds swell when they come into contact with liquid - making you feel fuller for longer. 

Almonds contain calcium, protein and vitamin E and oats have a low gi index helping to stabilise your blood sugar levels. So this smoothy is definitely more than just a fruity shake!

1 tbsp porridge oats
10 almonds
2 tsp chia seeds
1 ripe banana
2 oranges, peeled
10 red grapes
2 tbsp Greek yoghurt
5 ice cubes

Take the oats, almonds and chia seeds and blend until fine. Then add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth. I used a stick blender in a jug, but you could use a blender or smoothy maker. Enjoy!

Saturday, 5 April 2014

The Relish Brownie Recipe

It's tough being a new mum, but there are some things you can look forward to: cake. And lots of it. With a new little buddle of joy in your life there are things that need to be done, like feeding them every other hour as it seems. That means finding a café, sitting down and eating cake. You also need to contact other new mummies and sit in cafés and eat cake, whilst you chat about leaking boobs, nappy contents and sleep deprivation. But cake is the main focus (or maybe that's just me).

Luckily for the ladies of Beeston, Nottingham, there is Relish. A little gem hidden away on Chilwell High Road, (an absolute nightmare to get to with the current tram works) which always has the right cake to lift your day! 

I recently persuaded Emma and Jenny to share their brownie recipe with me as I can't resist one with a coffee. I like them so much, I've never tried another cake! So now I can bring you a bit of Relish in the shape of their rich, chocolatey brownie - gorgeous!

Friday, 4 April 2014

Date & Brazil Nut Bites

After living off chocolate biscuits since the birth of my son four months ago, I need a change! These yummy little nibbles are perfect. Date and Brazil Nut Bites are super simple. 

100g dates
100g Brazil nuts 

Whizz the dates and nuts in the mini food chopper. Add water if needed to bring the mixture to a firm texture that doesn't fall apart. Lay some clingfilm out and roll the mixture into a sausage shape, wrap and chill to firm up. Cut into bite-size pieces. They should last in the fridge for two weeks. Perfect with a coffee!

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Sausage & Tortelloni Soup

I've never been a huge fan of fresh Tortelloni until I used them in this recipe. This soup is a great midweek recipe and no child can resist little balls of sausage! Whilst they are cooking, you can prepare the rest of the soup.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Beef and Oxtail Stew

I've been making a lot of beef stews recently and I've got to say this is the best one yet. It is just the easiest and most comforting Sunday dish that can be cooking away while you relax.

As with all beef stews and casseroles, the main ingredient is time - the slower you cook it, the yummier it will be! I always try to give it at least three hours at 150C. This recipe is also perfect for the slow cooker. Follow all the steps and just transfer all the ingredients to the slow cooker and cook on low for 7 hours. You could choose to add your potatoes to the stew to have a one pot wonder, or have a creamy mash instead. I served this stew with kale, which was lovely - or you can't go wrong with some Savoy cabbage.

I can guarantee you won't be disappointed with this recipe...

500g braising steak
3 oxtail joints
200g pancetta cubes
2 onions, chopped roughly
2 sticks of celery, chopped
4 carrots, sliced
3 gloves of garlic
Sprig of thyme
2 tablespoons of plain flour
tablespoon of worcestershire sauce
300ml red wine
2 litres of beef stock
Salt and pepper

In you casserole dish (make sure you can use it on the hob as well as in the oven) add some olive oil and fry the steak off in small batches until the meat is nice and brown, remove from dish and set aside whilst you fry off the rest of the meat.
Add a little more oil to the dish and fry the pancetta with the oxtails. Once the fat has rendered down add the onion, cook for a couple of mins then add the rest of the veg and garlic. Return the steak to the dish and add the flour. Give it a good stir (it will look nasty and sticky at this stage) and then add the red wine. After a couple of minutes add the stock, worcestershire sauce and seasoning. Place in a 150C oven for at least 3 hours. Once the stew is cooked take the oxtails out and remove the meat from the bone and add back into the casserole.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Chicken & Mushroom Ramen

This dish is a winner! In fact, chicken & mushroom ramen could be one of my all time favourites! The children absolutely love it too, which makes dinner time a little easier! 

I used fresh chicken thighs, but you could easily use leftover chicken for an even quicker dish. The poached egg brings the whole noodle dish together with gooey runny egg yolk.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Slow Cooker Overnight Porridge

Who said having children is easy? One was tough, two was harder, now three is near impossible! Our newest addition to the family is now three months old. Little baby Edward is a cracker, but family life is a mix of joy, fun and screaming panic that's me doing the screaming). Of course me and Mr Mean are truly blessed to have our three beautiful children and wouldn't give them up for the world, but daily life has got to get a little bit easier than this?
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