I had to make bread for a picnic last weekend. Mistakenly I thought I had a packet of my handy country loaf bread mix in the cupboard. By the time I realised that I didn’t have a bread mix, it was too late to go and buy one so I had to come up with a bread recipe using whatever I already had. I was a bit nervous about it working out (I’m not a very confident baker) but somehow it did. It’s a lovely moist, dense bread with lots of crunchy seeds – a perfect picnic loaf.
Makes 1 loaf
500 g nutty wheat, or other wholewheat bread flour
500 g plain fat free yoghurt
1 free-range egg
3 T canola oil
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
Two handfuls of seeds (I used sunflower, linseeds and pumkin seeds)
3 T seeds (for sprinkling over the bread)
Combine all the ingredients together and mix well. If the mixture seems a little too dry, add a bit more yoghurt. It shouldn’t be runny though – it should have the consistency of really thick porridge. Pour the mixture into a greased loaf tin and spinkle over a mixture of seeds. Bake in a 200 C oven for about one hour and a half until you are able to stick a knife into the middle of the bread and it comes out clean.
I’ve been going to about three picnics a week lately, so I’ve been cooking an enormous amount of picnic goodies. Picnic food is the best – I love the mini-ness of everything. These miniature frittatas with sundried tomato, feta, courgettes and olives sum up what picnic food is all about – bite-sized, packed with summer flavours and infinitely more-ish. They couldn’t be easier to make, and you can pretty much put anything you like in them, from different kinds of cheese, mushrooms, peppers, spinach…
Makes 12 mini frittatas
6 free-range eggs
250 courgettes, grated
Handful of sundried tomatoes, chopped finely
Handful of olives, pitted and chopped
8 peppadews, chopped finely
1 T wholegrain mustard
5 or 6 fresh basil leaves, chopped finely
1 T fresh chives, chopped finely
After grating the courgettes, place them in a colander over the sink and spinkle them with salt. Leave them to drain. Meanwhile, crack the eggs into a large mixing bowl. Crumble in the feta and add all the other ingredients. Season well with black pepper. I like to add a dash of Tabasco and a generous sprinkling of cayenne pepper, but that’s up to you. Pour the mixture into a greased muffin pan (filling up each pan almost to the top) and bake in a 150 C oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the frittatas have started to turn golden.
I was eating toast with peanut butter and fig jam and getting ready to make mince pies when I had a brainwave: what about adding peanut butter to the mince pies? It’s the same combo as PB and jam… the addition ended up being pretty successful (if I do say so myself). The result: super easy mince pies with a twist. I’m going to be making these all this week for my family.
Make about 12 mince pies
1 roll of ready-made shortcrust pastry, defrosted in the fridge
About half a jar of fruit mince (make sure it doesn’t contain suet if you’re vegetarian)
12 tablespoons peanut butter (I prefer organic sugar- and salt- free PB)
1 free-range egg, beaten
Roll out the pastry on a floured surface to make it about the thickness of a R5 coin. Cut out circles using a mug or glass and then roll up the remainder of the pastry and roll out again to cut more circles until it is all used up. Fill half of the circles with a tablespoon of peanut butter and a tablespoon of fruit mince and use the remainding circles as lids, using a bit of water to seal the two together. Pinch the two circles together to seal firmly. Place the mince pies in a greased muffin pan and poke the top of each with a fork. Brush over a bit of beaten egg on top of each mince pie. Place in a 180C oven for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the mince pies are golden.
I had some seriously ripe bananas that were about to expire in my fruit bowl this week, and I hate throwing away food so I had to do something with them. I didn’t have a whole lot of ingredients at home, so I just made up a recipe from what I had and it turned out really well. These healthy banana and cinnamon muffins have no sugar and are low in fat so they’re completely guilt-free. I’ve been eating them as a pre-exercise snack – they’re great if you need something to tide you over if you go for an early morning run.
Makes about 14 muffins
- 3 seriously over-ripe bananas, mashed
- 175 plain low-fat or fat-free yoghurt
- 4 tablespoons canola oil
- 4 tablespoons honey
- A handful of raisins or sultanas (or a mix)
- A generous pinch of cinnamon
- A handful of pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and linseeds
- 2 free-range eggs
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 cup bran
Mix together all the wet ingredients. Add all the dry ingredients one by one, stirring well. Once combined, pour into the mixture into greased muffin pans, filling each pan 3/4 full. Bake in a 180 C oven for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until the muffins start turning golden.
I’ve never actually baked banana bread before until the other night. There were a couple of overripe bananas in the fruit bowl that I was just about to throw away when I realised I had all the ingredients for banana bread. I found this super easy, healthy-ish recipe on this blog. It’s a one-bowl recipe – my favourite.
1 ½ cups mashed very ripe banana (about 3 medium bananas)
2 ½ cups flour
1 ¼ cups brown sugar
2/3 cup plain yoghurt
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Mix all the ingredients together in pour into a greased loaf tin. Bake in a 180C oven for about 50 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick or knife comes out clean.
You’re supposed to let it cool before eating but I was hungry and it smelled so good, so I cut it into thick slices while still hot and smothered them with salted butter. Delish!