Tomato risotto with a twist!

Today has been feeling a bit of a slow day, I think I’m still recovering from doing my longest ever run yesterday (13.5k, and I ran all the way, no walking or stopping!) and being kicked out of bed at 6am didn’t help either.

Soon to be breakfast smoothie!To give me a good kick start I had a huge morning smoothie as usual, that’s my only breakfast nowadays and I love it, it gives me a lot more energy and keeps me fuller longer than many other breakfasts, even things like porridge. I always change it a bit but the base is always a few bananas and a small handful of dates, it’s delicious just like that but I can add berries, pineapple (like today), spinach, green lettuce, mango… you get the idea. I’ve never added yogurt or other dairy, I just don’t feel the need for it. Also, I will need a total separate post on why I’m happy to eat so much fruit and not only I don’t believe it to be bad but I find it hugely beneficial.

Moving on! I had already today’s lunch planned (I’m trying to be good and make weekly menus to spend and waste less) so no last minute weird combination, instead we had a lovely tomato risotto, with a twist! My mum gave me this recipe when, not long ago, while on the phone to her I told her how it was almost dinner time, I had no idea what to make and an ’empty’ fridge.. she asked me what I had and I told her I pretty much only had pesto so it would have probably ended up in a fairly unexciting pasta with pesto. How wrong was I! This risotto is amazing and far from unexciting.

Now, yes, risotto does need you to stir and add stock almost continuously, but I’m often on my feet doing 10 things at once around the kids anyway so stopping for a quick stir every few minutes really isn’t that daunting to me, and the result is certainly worth it. It usually takes me about half an hour or less from start to finish.

Tomato risotto


80-90g arborio (risotto) rice per person – I normally make 200g and that’s enough for me and 2 kids.
1 onion
1lt of sock
a tin of chopped tomatoes, or small bottle of passata
zest of one orange
2 tbsp pesto
olive oil/butter


Chop up the onion really finely and cook on a very low heat in a large pan with some olive oil (or butter) until they soften – not brown or burn! Easy does it. Put the stock in a separate saucepan on a low heat to keep it warm, if you use cold stock it will stop the rice from cooking properly.

Once the onions are soft, pour in the rice and let it toast for a couple of minutes, then add the tomatoes and a ladle of stock, stir well and cover. Keep on stirring it every few minutes and add stock ladle by ladle when needed, waiting until it’s completely absorbed until you add more. That’s it!

Season (though you may not need to as it’s been cooked with stock), then serve with a nice sprinkle of orange zest on top and a little pesto in the middle, and add some parmesan too if you like it. Done! It’s a great hit around here and so good for when I have no fresh ingredients in.

Tomato risotto


Did  you try it? Was it good? Was it horrible? Let me know! Any feedback is helpful 🙂



No refined sugar flapjacks

A long overdue post! I’m sure I did say I’m terrible at sticking to things, but nevermind, here I am again.

I have  little recipe for some yummy and healthy flapjacks today, I made them modifying a version of no added sugar flapjacks I’ve found on another blog and thought I’d share it! I had been looking for a while for the perfect recipe as my kids love the Goodies oat bars but they can be expensive to buy regularly and anyway I prefer to have homemade food, I think it’s good for them too to not get too used to eating things that come in fancy packaging.

Making flapjacks    Making flapjacks

My daughter loves giving a hand to make them and we all love eating them, in fact they rarely last more than a day in this house.

Without further ado, here’s how to make them!

150g stoned dates, chopped
5 tbsp apple juice or fresh orange juice
150g unsalted butter (I may try them with coconut oil to make them vegan soon)
100g sultanas
200g porridge oats
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice


Preheat the oven to 170C (fan) slightly higher for non fan assisted.

Put the apple juice and the dates in a blender and blend, it will become a bit of a paste and may not be fully blended but that’s ok! Meanwhile, gently melt the butter in a saucepan on a low heat.


Put the oats and spices in a large bowl, then add the sultanas, apple and dates mix and melted butter and mix well. Turn the mix into a lined deep square or rectangular baking dish and bake for 20-25 minutes or until browned on top.  Cut into 16 squares and leave until fully cooled in the dish (they break apart otherwise, as you can see from my picture!).

I also like to make them a little naughty every now and then and add a little bit of dark chocolate, chopped in little chips. I use about 1/3 of a bar and that seems enough for us 🙂



Sorry about the poor picture, I will try to take better ones next time! They were a great snack to pack up and take with us at the kids’ first time playing bowling.

Playing bowling

Raw breakfast banana choco tarts

Happy Sunday everyone. Mine has been rather sluggish so far, both my little ones were very restless last night so I had little sleep and my little guy seems still rather grumpy this morning, deciding that he wants to be glued to me at all times.

Why do I tell you all this? Apart from the fact that I love having a good old moan, I wanted a bit of a pick me up for breakfast so I combined the  raw chocolate brownies and this breakfast banana pie  from Raw on $10 or less (such a great blog, it’s great to show that eating raw needn’t be prohibitively expensive!) and ended up with these breakfast banana choco tarts.

Ingredients for 2 tarts:

– 1/2 cup nuts (I particularly like a mix of pecans and cashews)
– 1/2 cup dates
– 1tbsp shredded coconut
– 1tbsp honey
– 1tbsp cocoa
– 1 banana

Put all the ingredients apart from the banana in a blender and whizz together, put the mix in a small tart pan and press down, creating the raised edges with your fingers. Put in the fridge to set for 10/15 minutes (or enough to wash the blender, make the filling, wash it again and get a plate ready!).

Next blend the banana, saving a few slices as topping if you wish. If your bananas are small you might need 2. Put the filling in the base, top with bananas (or anything else you wish) and sprinkle some cinnamon or cocoa on top and voila’, breakfast is served!

Raw banana choco tartsRaw banana choco tarts

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?

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”.


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!