Coconuty rice crispie squares

Gluten and dairy free.These babies went down a treat…not just for those intended for but also with the husband and kids…and they are my best critics!
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coconuty rice crispie squares
150g rice crispies
100g coconut oil
4 tbsn honey
2 tbsn muscavado sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste(or vanilla extract)

Melt the coconut oil, honey, sugar and vanilla in a pan. Bring to the boil and turn down to a medium heat and cook for 4-5 minutes. Take off the heat and stir in the rice crispies till they are all coated in toffee. Press into a square tin and leave to set. When set melt 200g of chocolate(dairy free or not) and spread over and leave to harden. Cut into squares and enjoy!

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Balti spiced shoulder of lamb with naan

“What’s for dinner mum”? That was the greeting today as the children raced through the front door. I don’t blame them, because there was an overwhelming aroma of spices wafting from the kitchen. Patience is particularly hard when it smells so good.
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balti spiced shoulder of lamb with naan
1.6 kg shoulder of lamb
140g ( half a jar) of balti paste
4 garlic cloves crushed
1 green chilli sliced
1 tsp salt
2 limes zest n juice
2 400g tins of tomatoes
1 400g tin of chick peas

Take the lamb out of the fridge and place in a large roasting dish to come up to room temp and pre heat the oven to full whack. Mix the paste, garlic, chilli, salt, lime juice and zest together. Score the lamb and rub some of the paste all over. Mix the rest of the paste with the tomatoes and chick peas and pour around the base of the lamb. Put it into the heated oven and turn down to 200 C. Cook for one hour, take out of the oven and baste all over with any pools of oil that have formed. If the sauce has become too dry add a little water. Cover the meat and turn the oven down to 170C. (Start making your naan at this point). Cook for a further 2 1/2 hours. Leave to rest for 15 minutes. Serve with naan bread, tomato and onion salad and cucumber raita.

naan bread
175ml lukewarm water
1tsp active dry yeast
3tbsp natural yogurt
2tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp black onion seeds(optional)
1tsp salt
1tsp sugar
Pinch of baking soda
370g plain flour
Melted butter

Mix the yeast and water together and leave aside for 10 minutes. In a bowl mix the yogurt, oil, onion seeds, salt and sugar together. Mix in the flour and baking soda, along with the water and yeast. Knead for 10 minutes. Cover with cling film and leave to rise in a warm place, about one hour or till it doubles in size. Once you’ve taken the lamb out to rest, put the oven up to full temperature. Separate the dough into 6 balls and roll with a rolling pin into naan shapes. As soon as the oven comes to temperature. Turn it off and leaving the door closed turn the grill onto highest setting. Put the rolled naan onto a tray and sprinkle with a little water. Quickly place under the grill for a few minutes with the door shut. Be careful as they can burn quickly. As soon as they come out of the oven, brush with the melted butter and serve immediately.
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Naomi’s take on Mums minestrone

I’m obviously on an Italian roll this week, can’t help it, it’s my most favourite place on earth and I do so love the food. I’ve never actually had an authentic minestrone soup, only my mums version which was much loved in our house growing up. She is that thoughtful kind of mum who would make up a big flask of minestrone when me and my brother would go swimming in the freezing Atlantic Ocean. There she would be, with a big towel ready and a cup of tasty soup to warm your shivering body…perfect!
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Naomi’s minestrone
Olive oil
1 onion finely diced
1 celery stick finely diced
3 carrots peeled and diced
200g of smokey bacon cut into squares
2 garlic cloves minced
400g tin chopped tomatoes
500g passata
2 tbsp tomato purée
1L chicken stock and extra water(according to taste)
2 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp rosemary
150g kale chopped up small
1 small courgette diced
1 pepper diced
60g linguine broken into 2 in pieces

In a large stock pan heat your olive oil and add your onion, celery and carrot. Soften for 5 or so minutes. Add your bacon and garlic and brown. Add the tin tomatoes, passata, purée, chicken stock and an extra 200-300ml of water depending on how rich you like it. Throw in the herbs and kale. Bring to the boil and turn down to a simmer. After about 10 minutes add the linguine, chopped pepper and courgette. Cook for 15 minutes longer or until every thing is cooked. Serve with crusty bread or in a flask for those autumn days out.

Cioccolata calda….Italian hot chocolate

One really does need cheering up, after weeks of concocting up a recipe in ones head, imagining how good it’s going to taste, and then the result being a complete failure. Toffee banana cake. Not at all like I’d imagined it and unlike other times, where Ive tweaked until Ive finally got it right, I come to the realisation that this one is never going to work. Not the way I planned it anyway. To top off that, my pride and joy, my beautiful Kmix decided to make strange noises….it’s only three years old and I’d be lost without it. Who wants to go back to hand kneading dough when you can just let Kmix do it for you! So with nothing to give you and a weary heart, I try to think up something quick to rustle up. For some reason there’s an abundance of milk in the fridge , and what’s in the fridge is usually a source of great inspiration, and this evening is no different. The memory of a hot chocolate I once had in a restaurant in Malahide, Dublin floats into my mind, silky, thick like custard, the best I’ve ever had.
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cioccolata calda/Italian hot chocolate

110g dark chocolate (at least 60%)
380ml whole milk
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste (or extract)
1 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp milk
2 tbsp corn flour

Chop up the chocolate into small pieces. Heat up the milk to simmering point. Add the chocolate, vanilla paste and sugar and whisk until all the chocolate is melted. Mix the corn flour with the 3 tablespoons of milk into a paste. Whisk the paste into the chocolate milk. Keep whisking until thickened. Pour into small espresso cups. Top with whipped cream if you want to be really indulgent! You may need a spoon!

Autumn spiced apple cider jelly/jello

I thought you might like an Autumnal version of the great and mighty jelly or if you live over the Atlantic Ocean, jello. I love making grown up versions of childhood favourites and it would put a smile on any adults face at a party…who doesn’t love jelly and combined with alcohol, it’s an all round winner.
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autumn spiced apple cider jelly/jello

250ml apple cider
400ml apple juice
6 gelatine leaves
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
4 cloves
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
3 tablespoons of muscavado sugar

Put the cider in a bowl and soak the gelatine leaves for 4 minutes. Pour the apple and lemon juice into a pan and simmer along with the cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves and sugar for 5 minutes. Take off the heat and one by one add the soaked gelatine leaves, stirring after each one. Leave for five minutes to cool then pour in the cider you used to soak the gelatine leaves and mix well. Leave to cool in the pan so that the spices have time to infuse. When mostly cooled pour the mixture through a sieve into your glasses and leave to set in the fridge. Serve with cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
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Homemade Jelly/jello with real orange juice

Making homemade jelly isn’t as hard as you’d think, in fact, dare I say it’s easier than the packet type. There’s no snipping up jelly cubes and stirring endlessly until they’re melted, but rather a soaking of clear leaves that resemble leadlight windows for a few minutes until soft and then a quick stir into the heated fruit juice. Really that’s it…there’s not much in it and seeing as you can make any flavour you desire it’s defiantly the better option as you can use real fruit juice, and no artificial anything!
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zingy orange jelly/jello
5 gelatine leaves
650ml orange juice
1 lemon juiced
3 tbsp sugar
This fills a mould that holds just over 650ml. Measure how much your mould holds and adjust the recipe accordingly.
With the a little of the orange and lemon juice, soak the gelatine leaves for around four minutes. Meanwhile put the remaining juice in a pan and heat till barely simmering. Stir in the sugar till dissolved. Take off the heat and one by one mix in the gelatine leaves till melted. Pour into your mould and leave to set and chill. When fully set dip mould into a basin of hot water to loosen the edges for a few seconds and turn out into a plate.

The hedges are good for you!

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Back in the old days we looked to what was growing around us to heal us, and it wasn’t that long ago that mothers were spooning things like rosehip syrup into their little ones.The hawthorn has long been known to help the heart in more ways than one, and also helps with anxiety, blood pressure and much more. Along with the rosehips, which are full of vitamin C and good for joint stiffness, ginger which is excellent for the tummy, lemon which is an immune booster and cinnamon which helps regulate blood sugar and reduce cholesterol. And that’s just a taste of what wonderful things these natural ingredients can do and by the way, end up being pretty yummy!

hawthorn and rosehip syrup
100 g of hawthorn berries
18 rosehips
1 lemon sliced
4 inches of fresh ginger sliced
1 stick of cinnamon
2.5 pints of water
200 g of caster sugar or honey
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Put the first 6 ingredients into a pan and being to the boil. Simmer for 30 minutes, mushing the berries every now and then. Give it one final mashing before straining through a muslin, sitting on a sieve (I folded the muslin into quarters to make sure nothing but juice got through) over another pan with the sugar or honey in it making sure to squeeze all goodness out. Put back on the heat and simmer for a further 10-15 minutes to dissolve the sugar and thicken slightly. Pour into sterilised bottles and name and date them. Keep stored in the fridge and use within 6 months…..2 ml 3 times a day.
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