Butternut squash “pizza”

This weekend has really flown by, my brother, sister-in-law and nephew came for a brief visit after I hadn’t seen them for well over a year so there’s been lots of catching up and running around to show them how beautiful Brighton is – which also involved a fair amount of not particularly healthy food (takeaway curry anyone?).

I wanted a light dinner but fancied trying something new, and I was also tired. New, healthy and quick… now that’s a challenge! Thankfully I remembered a recipe I had saved on my Pinterest food board (are you on Pinterest? If no, you really should, it’s amazing for saving all great things in one place!), it was a butternut squash pizza crust, the idea being to have a paleo-friendly pseudo pizza. I also saw this roasted butternut squash with goats cheese recipe yesterday so I combined the two to make my own veggie butternut squash pizza.

Baked butternut squashIt’s all pretty easy. Preheat the oven to 200°, cut the butternut squash in slices around 1cm thick then drizzle with olive oil (or butter, or coconut oil… whatever floats your boat!) and place them on a tray and bake for around 30 minutes – the timing depends a lot on the thickness of your slices so it’s worth checking them after around 20 minutes to make sure they’re not getting too mushy.

The next step is not necessary as it depends on what you want as topping, but here’s what I did! Prepare a quick tomato sauce by softening some finely chopped onion in a pan with a little olive oil, pour in a can of chopped tomatoes and let it simmer for a few minutes. Next add some chopped courgettes, fresh basil and oregano and cook until the courgette are softer and the sauce has thickened up.

Now, assemble! Put the veggie tomato sauce on the butternut squash slices and crumble feta cheese on top, pop back in the over for 10 minutes and there you go, lovely dinner ready to serve. It was a winner all round (ok, my daughter did leave the courgettes, one day she’ll eat them again, or so I hope!).

Butternut squash pizza with feta

I think I’ll make it again soon, though next time I’ll add more feta cheese, I found myself saving the cheesy bits for the end!

 

Chickpeas swimming

p.s. chickpeas are soaking… can you guess what I’ll be attempting to make tomorrow?

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Banana bread, rain and cleaning

I seem to be having a pretty hectic week this week, which is unlike me as I normally like to be calm and relaxed most of the time (did I just say calm and relaxed in relation to looking after a 2 year old and a 6 months old 24/7?!).

We made banana bread today. Finding the right recipe took me a while, since every time I googled something along the lines of  “sugar free banana bread recipe”, the results would be recipes which used syrup instead or even worse artificial sweeteners like aspartame or the dubious agave nectar (I’ve read so many conflicting articles on it that I’m unsure as to whether it’s good or not, so in doubt I’m avoiding it for now). I will leave my rant on why I have virtually no refined sugar in my diet* for another time, let’s focus on the good stuff for now!

*yes, you’re right, I do put some in my pizza dough, but that’s because the yeast needs something to feed on! Roll on sourdough.

Ingredients ready!I found this wholemeal no added sugar banana bread recipe a couple of months ago and absolutely love it. It ticks all the boxes: no refined sugar, wholemeal flour, dates, optional chocolate… what’s not to like?!

Now, I have a really bad flaw. I have no patience at all, which is not something that goes well with cooking and doing crafty things, which are my passions. Today this meant that I miscounted the number of bananas I was using – the recipe says 4-6 and I find that 5 bananas in the blender plus one chopped up to get nice chunks in is the way to go. The last banana got forgotten about, so I only used 5.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, see that luscious wholewheat stoneground flour? It needs sifting. It really does.

On the bright side, I made a little change and added about 2 tablespoons of cocoa to it. It was brilliant, had a little chocolatey hint (though wasn’t all fluffy and light due to the non sifting of the flour, learn from my mistakes!) and tasted lovely. I definitely need to pay more attention to what I’m doing next time, not easy with a toddler that really really wants to “help”.

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It was brilliant to have something to snack on here and there during our busy day, we’ve been out in the moody weather (sun, rain, sun – repeat as required) all afternoon and this evening I’m doing a fair share of cleaning, my brother, sister-in-law and nephew are coming to visit tomorrow and I’m trying to make the house look a little less like a bomb site. Wish me luck!

Day out and a quick salmon pasta

Today we made up for yesterday’s lazy day and went for a long day out. It was a pretty last minute plan to go and visit a friend in Peacehaven, about an hour’s bus journey away from us; the weather looked a bit uncertain but it was just meant to be very cloudy at worst (glorious British summer!) so we went for it and it turned out to be quite lovely and sunny most of the day!

The day was spent mostly playing in the garden, how I wish I had one! And I also was lucky enough to end up with some gorgeous pictures ❤
Katya02


We were all quite exhausted by the time we were going on home and we needed a quick and easy dinner so I stopped to buy some smoked salmon and made creamy salmon pasta. It is such an easy dish that it doesn’t really need a recipe!

IMG_20130627_183405All it takes is to cook some pasta (please, only put the pasta in when the water is already boiling!) and in a separate pan briefly cook the chopped up smoked salmon with a bit of butter.

Add some double cream, I normally use the little 150ml cartons, and let it cook on a low heat just to thicken the cream up. Combine with the pasta and done! That’s a lovely quick dinner sorted.

Admittedly no veg in it so we try to make up for it by having a salad or cooked veggies on the side.

Pizza!

imageToday we had mostly a fairly lazy day, we were all a bit tired and grumpy so we stayed indoors but ended on a high as we made pizza for dinner.

We love making pizza. We have a bread machine that takes care of the messy dough making part for us most of the time so all we have to do is roll it out and put toppings on, it usually takes us half an hour from getting out of the bread machine to eating it so not too long either. Plus point that it’s cheap, or at least it can be unless you feel like splashing out on fancy toppings!

I use the Jamie Oliver pizza dough recipe and have done for years, though I tend to leave the salt out as I find that because I do it in the bread maker it can sometimes kill the yeast. Also, I don’t use fast acting yeast so I first need to activate it by mixing it with the warm water and sugar and leave it for 15 minutes or until it has a bit of foam on the top.

Then, the fun part!

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Because I like my pizza fairly thin, I first cook it for a few minutes just with the chopped tomatoes (or passata, if we’re using that) on to avoid it becoming soggy. We then add our toppings, sprinkle oregano, basil and a drizzle of olive oil and back in the oven! The result is always great. Sorry, not a great photo, we were all too busy scoffing it down.

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And I think it’s fair to say that everyone enjoyed it!

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On my to do list is trying to get a sourdough starter going and make pizza using that instead of the yeast. I tried it last week but it didn’t work. Will try again…

New beginnings and a toddler game

Exciting first post! Exciting for me because I am fairly new at blogging, actually almost a total newbie so please bear with me while I get in the swing of things.

It’s been an exciting day here, my little boy (who turns 6 months this Saturday) has just started weaning so it was very messy but all so interesting – I’d forgotten how much cleaning is involved though! We are doing baby led weaning so he just eats what we eat as long as it’s suitable, today it was spelt pasta with courgette, peas and pesto and then some pineapple and strawberries.

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As exciting as it was for me and him, my toddler was feeling a bit bored this morning so I had one of those rare moments of impromptu creativity and I made her a little game – I printed out some pages with coloured squares on (a 5 minutes job on Word) so she could sort her built blocks on them. And voilà, there you have it: a Montessori-style sorting activity. It worked a treat! Until her little brother tried to add said paper to his morning menu, but that’s a different story. If you don’t have a printer you could just draw them by hand, I’m sure it would work just as well.

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