Thursday, 18 September 2014

How To Make Almond Butter

I'm a little bit partial to a bit of nut butter, so when I ran out (shock, horror), I thought I'd try to make some! At the moment, my fave breakfast is a couple of slices of wholemeal toast made into a sandwich - one side smothered in my plum jam and the other with almond butter. Yum! So I rummaged in the cupboard and found a 200g bag of almonds. I washed out the actual nut butter jar in preparation for the homemade stuff! Here's how to make it:

200g raw almonds
Pinch of sea salt
Small amount of sugar or honey to taste

Place all the almonds on a baking tray and bake for 7-10 minutes at 180C. Once the nuts are done, put them in the blender or food processor. Put the clean jar on the baking tray and put it in the oven with door open at 130C. Blitz the nuts until ground. If you like your nut butter a little crunchier, remove a couple of tablespoons now for later. Keep on blitzing the nuts a minute at a time. After each minute, scrape the nuts down the sides of the blender and carry on blitzing. After about 5 minutes, you will have the usual nut butter consistency. At this point add the salt and sugar if required. Blitz again and then stir in the crunchier nuts. Spoon into the jar and either store in a cool place or the fridge.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Spanish Omelette

I've been super organised and made a meal planner for the week. I even did some prep in advance to make this Spanish Omelette super quick. So when I had a spare few minutes yesterday, I chopped the spuds, sliced the onions and cooked them. Once cool, I put them away in the fridge until I needed them today.

I think I will do this with all potatoes that might be about to go off, but I'll cook them and put them in the freezer.

So today, I just had to beat the eggs and plop the potatoes and onions in with some seasoning. Bang it in the pan, make a great salad and that's dinner done.

Serves 6
1kg potatoes, cubed
2 large onions, sliced
8 eggs, beaten
Mild olive oil

In one pan, gently cook the potatoes on a medium heat in a tablespoon of olive oil. Cook until tender, season with salt and pepper. Whilst the potatoes are cooking, slowly cook the onions in another tablespoon of olive oil. Once the onions are translucent and tender, you could now make the omelette or put the potatoes and onions in the fridge for the next day. Add the potatoes and onions to the beaten and seasoned egg. Cook in a large pan on a medium to low heat. Once the egg starts to go solid, you can put the pan under the grill to firm up. Serve with a salad. Can be eaten cold too.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Tuna Pasta Salad

I haven't got much time for anything at the moment. I certainly haven't got time to be standing cooking for hours on a weekday at all. What with little babies needing my undivided attention, children needing to be picked up, the ever-growing mountain of washing and cleaning, and my heavy boxing training schedule - I should be the perfect candidate for a takeaway lifestyle. But that ain't ever gonna happen! So I need some cheeky recipes that I can make in advance or only take a few minutes to throw together. 

Let me indroduce you to my little friend - The Tuna Pasta Salad. It's so easy to make, it can be made in advance and popped in the fridge, and everyone loves it. Job done. Can I have a mummy prize please?

I use brown pasta. Yes, I can hear you white pasta lovers going "yuck", but this variety is the best I've found for texture and grabbing onto pasta sauces. You'll love it! And it's healthier too. I'm sure that should be another mummy prize? Oh well, no real recognition in this job! Here's the winning recipe!

350g Mafalda Corta brown pasta
120g tin tuna
2 tablespoons french mayonnaise 
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3 tomatoes, diced
4 spring onions, finely chopped
40g black olives, finely chopped
50g baby spinach

First of all, get the pasta on and cook for 9 minutes (or according to the instructions). Whilst the pasta is on, put all the other ingredients in a large bowl. Add the drained pasta and the spinach will wilt. Serve warm or cold from the fridge.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Leftover Chicken Biryani

I don't like waste (I am Mean after all), so I'm always looking for ways to make tasty leftovers, or stretch something over two meals for extra value. And as I originate from Yorkshire - being tight is essential! This Chicken Biryani is a winner for using up leftovers. Feel free to add as much fresh chilli or chilli powder as you dare. I don't add any at the moment due to tricky kids and catering for a nine month old baby. If you don't have leftover chicken, you could add raw, or just leave it out - it's still as yummy!

2 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 large onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
Half teaspoon ground cinnamon
Leftover chicken
2 large carrots, diced
3 potatoes, diced
100g frozen peas
Juice of half a lemon
50g sultanas
Salt & pepper
Flaked almonds

For the rice:
Measure out 250g of basmati rice. Rinse in a sieve with cold water. In a saucepan, add 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil. Fry the rinsed rice for a few seconds, then add boiling water to cover the rice by about a centimetre. Add salt and cover with a lid, turn the heat down to its lowest setting and leave for 17 minutes.

Make the rice first. Then in a separate pan, add the bay leaf and cumin seeds to the oil and heat. Now add the onion and gently fry for a few minutes. Add the garlic, ginger and dry spices and cook for another couple of minutes, taking care not to burn the spices. Add the potatoes, carrots, peas and chicken with enough water to just cover them. Simmer until the vegetables are nearly cooked. Season with salt and pepper, and also the lemon juice. Add the sultanas and a thick layer of rice. Cover and simmer for 7 minutes. Serve with flaked almonds and a nice chutney.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Wholemeal & Banana Pancakes

We have a bit of ritual on a Saturday morning. I go to bootcamp and Mr Mean makes the pancakes. But since trying to eat "clean" all the time, I decided to try a healthier pancake recipe. After a few failed attempts at the banana and egg pancake recipe (horrible), I decided to add wholemeal flour to the mix and a touch of yoghurt and light brown sugar. So not totally clean, but heathier than the average pancake and they are pretty tasty served with a small amount of maple syrup. Saturday mornings resumed!

2 bananas
2 eggs
75g wholemeal flour
10g light brown sugar
50g Greek yoghurt
Half teaspoon baking powder

Put all the ingredients in a jug. Whizz up with a stick blender. Heat a frying pan with a small amount of your chosen oil. Cook in small batches and serve with maple syrup.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Banana & Cashew Smoothy Popsicles

These popsicles are great snacks and they are super good for you too! In my pursuit for tasty clean eating snacks, I thought I'd make a smoothy into a yummy lolly - and these are well worth making. Great for a snack when you haven't got time to make a smoothy from scratch. And it's like eating a tastier Mini Milk!

2 x banana
1 heaped tsp cashew nut butter
3 tbsp Greek yoghurt
200ml almond milk
1 tsp honey

Blitz all the ingredients and then pour into lolly molds. Freeze until solid! 

Cleaning Eating & Clean Living?

My youngest is now four months old and I think it is about time to get back into shape. I'm guilty of eating way too much bad stuff. Chocolate biscuits are so easy to grab when you've got a screaming baby to feed and it would be rude not to have a big slab of cake when feeding a hungry baby in a café! And we all know that sleepless nights leads to craving instant energy foods like cakes, biscuits, crisps, white bread and chocolate. 

You see I have the goal of being able to wear less clothing in the summer months. I'm under no illusion I'll be wearing a bikini (ever again) by the pool (not when you've had three sizable babies!), but I would like to take my cardi off! So it's time to ditch the stodge and start some cleanish living!

Of course, being the Mean Mother, I won't be eating boiled brown rice, steamed fish and steamed veg every day, so my aim is to make tasty Clean Eating meals and snacks so we don't get bored, because don't think for one minute I'm doing this on my own - oh no! The whole family is on the Clean Eating diet! Although the children might get more carbs than me and Mr Mean. Lots of veg, fruit, whole foods, lean protein.... I'm sure they will love it! Lots of recipes and ideas will be posted soon!

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!

Follow Mean Mother Cooker on Pinterest!

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 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.

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