apricot pancakes

That’s a really old recipe and really old photos, but I have a fondness for these apricot pancakes. Recipe comes from a recipe book from the 80’s. I’ve made them years ago, but still when I look at these photos it reminds me of hot Summer days when life was a bit more gentle. Not that I feel like life would be more harsh than ever, it’s just different than it used to be. But you know that feeling when you come back to some of your old memories – they always look happier and more colourful in your head (than they’ve really been, most probably). I guess everyone has these kind of memories, and mine are often somehow connected with food. Photos are not the best ones, but I still like looking at them, and they always make me smile inside.

That was the days when I was exploring recipe world, there was no one day with the same meal. It’s a really great recipe – 80’s were masters of making something out of nothing. The pancakes came out plump, delicate and I think that even without the addition of apricots (because there are no apricots in the original recipe) they would be delicious. I love apricots. I like all nutty flavours of fruit, and apricot has such a slightly nutty flavour for me. In addition, they have a beautiful colour – probably even peaches are not so pretty.

Pancakes are not the meal I would make often. First of all because I’m not a fan of frying (oil splashing everywhere, smell of frying, lots of cleaning after), second of all I try to avoid high carb foods. Although this recipe requires only couple spoons of flour, so it’s not a crime. These pancakes are going to be amazing as a treat yourself weekend breakfast or Summer dessert.

Being able to cook from scratch and make for yourself (and your loved ones) something you really enjoy eating is a great value. On the other hand eating something you don’t even like or enjoy makes me feel a bit sad. Eating good things it’s such a simple thing that can add value to your life, just try to spend some time and little bit of effort and you can make your life more pleasurable.

That’s why I want to encourage you to start cooking from scratch if you didn’t tried it yet. There’s a whole word of flavours, and I’m sure you’ll find the ones that will bring you instant joy and make your gut happy.


apricot pancakes


INGREDIENTS for about 10 pancakes:

  • 250 g curd cheese
  • 3-4 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 tbsp powder sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • few apricots
  • vegetable oil for frying

DIRECTIONS

Separate egg whites and whip them with a pinch of salt. Add sugar and curd cheese to egg yolks and mix it until smooth. Next add flour and baking powder, and combine (it will be very thick) at the end add whipped egg whites. Mix it gently using a spatula or spoon with folding motion. If it’s still to thick add a little bit of water or milk.

Now it’s time for apricots: wash them, separate seeds and chop them. Add them to pancake mix. Heat the pan with some vegetable oil. Using a spoon make small pancakes. Fry on a small heat until golden-brown on both sides. They are pretty gentle and might be tricky to flip, so better wait until one side gets nicely golden brown then flip it.

I made about 10 pancakes from that amount of ingredients – it’s definitely to little, because they were delicious!

🙂 Enjoy!

green peas, bacon and cheese fritatta

As I start my days quite early right now, I no longer have time for proper breakfast. So weekend is the time for me to have nice, decent and more time consuming breakfast. Today I would like you to have a look at this colourful, delicious fritatta. Usually this way of preparing eggs is not my favourite – I prefer fried or scrambled eggs with lots of fresh salad on a side, but this fritatta really surprised me. I only regret that I didn’t add more green peas (I love green peas by the way) because they added lots of freshness to this meal. Addition of feta cheese was also a good idea – it gives a mediterranean vibe and lots of lightness, a contrary to bacon and cheddar. In general great option for a hearty breakfast or lunch. Perfect as a low carb meal, even though green peas are not a ketogenic vegetable – you still keep your carbs low, obviously if you won’t have a slice of bread or toast with it. And it’s absolutely not needed here. If you place your fritatta on a bunch of fresh rocket leaves and garnish with fresh chopped herbs, you’ll get a delicious Summer dinner.

To make this fritatta it’s good to have a non stick pan, with quite thick bottom, so you won’t burn the eggs easily, covering the pan with lid will help to melt the cheese faster, without burning the bottom of the fritatta.

Choose delicious, juicy and sweet cherry tomatoes, preferably from your local supplier. If you choose tomatoes that had to travel thousands miles to finish on your plate, you can be sure that they didn’t managed to ripe on the bush, but during the long journey. So they didn’t managed to develop all the nutritional components as they should. In the ideal world we would have tomatoes that grow happily in the sun, not in the greenhouse. Hydroponic cultivation is gaining more and more popularity. In a small area, in a controlled atmosphere and irrigated with a mixture of chemicals, they grow huge bushes. That’s why in stores tomatoes are cheap even in winter. One bush, grown in this way, can bear up to 25 kilos of fruit. This kind of tomatoes don’t see any sun and most of them don’t even grow in the soil. Why don’t they smell and don’t taste like tomatoes? – that is why.

If we think that we eat healthy because we eat vegetables, we can often be very wrong. If the only source of our vegetables will be those from the supermarket packed in plastic, imported from distant countries, we can almost be sure that their nutritional values will be very poor. If you look for fruit and vegetables from a local grower, you can be more sure that what you get your body will have more value. Such vegetables will sometimes be more expensive than in the supermarket, less diverse, but isn’t it better to eat something that has some value and will nourish our body than something that will give us only a illusory sense of health and, as a result, malnutrition and disease?

There’s one more thing about small local growers – they usually grow their crops not for lust of earning as much money as possible. Lots of them are truly passionate about what they grow, they are often small family run buisnesses so they also eat what they grow. And if they are honest they will be happy to answer all your questions and tell you how their veggies and fruits are grown. Like Mhairi that I spoke with some time ago – you can read our conversation here.


green peas, bacon and cheese fritatta


INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 large eggs
  • couple slices smoked streaky bacon
  • 1 brown onion
  • slice of butter
  • 2 handfuls of green peas (I had frozen peas)
  • handful of grated mature cheddar cheese
  • handful of crumbled feta cheese
  • couple cherry tomatoes
  • natural rock salt and black coarse pepper to taste
  • dried or fresh parsley for garnish

DIRECTIONS

Chop onion and bacon. On a large pan melt slice of butter and add bacon. Fry until golden, add onion and sprinkle with a little bit of salt and black pepper. Fry for about 5 minutes. Add green peas and lower the heat. Fry for another 2 minutes stirring from time to time. Whisk 3 eggs, pour all over the pan.

Sprinkle with grated cheddar and crumbled feta, add cherry tomatoes. Cover the pan with lid and fry on a very low heat until cheese will be melted. Garnish with dried or fresh chopped parsley and serve.

Enjoy!

broccoli and cheddar omelette (#ketofriendly, low carb)

I don’t know how it’s possible that time passes so quickly. I remember writing that I’m excited to share some Autumn recipes and I feel like it was yesterday. But somehow two months passed so quickly that I didn’t even noticed that we’re getting closer to Winter.

I had couple small but time consuming projects that engaged me, and to be honest cooking was somewhere at the end of my list. Again. I’m not happy with my eating habits and I keep telling myself that from now on I will pay more attention to what I eat. But as I have quite weak strong will, I keep on coming back on the same track. What can I say – carbs are addictive, especially the processed ones. Cookies, ice creams and doughnuts will always find you at your weakest moment – when you’re hungry, angry, sad or you need a treat.

So today I would like to show you a quick and easy recipe for delicious breakfast that will keep you full for some time, so you won’t feel cravings for cookies and doughnuts 🙂 This omelette is keto friendly, so if you’re on keto diet it’s a perfect breakfast recipe for you.

You will need some young broccoli or tenderstem broccoli, so you can stir fry it in couple minutes. I used 3 large eggs to make this omelette and I could barely eat it. It’s pretty heavy, so you can use 3 small or medium eggs or 2 large ones.

I also added one garlic clove, because garlic (butter and cheese too) makes everything better, but if you need to spend your day around other people you can skip the garlic. Non stick pan will be also very useful, so everything will go smooth and with no problems.

This omelette is perfect for Autumn/Winter mornings – cheesy, warming (hint of chilli flakes makes your blood start circulating quicker in the morning) and delicious. Highly recommend for cosy mornings spent in fluffy pyjamas under the blanket.

broccoli and cheddar omelette

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 eggs
  • handful of young broccoli with leaves and stems (for example tenderstem)
  • handful of grated mature cheddar
  • pinch of natural rock salt
  • 1 garlic clove
  • pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch of chilli flakes
  • small slice of butter

DIRECTIONS

Wash and roughly chop broccoli, melt a little bit of butter in the frying pan and stir fry broccoli with pinch of salt and chopped garlic. If you don’t like garlicky after-taste just skip it. Also add pinch of salt and stir fry 3-4 minutes on a small heat. If you want your broccoli to become more soft rather than crunchy add a splash of water to the pan.

Grate some cheddar, whisk the eggs with pinch of salt.

Remove broccoli from the pan. Add a little bit more butter if you want, lower the heat and pour the eggs. When eggs starts setting add broccoli and grated cheddar (save some cheese to sprinkle on top). You can cover the pan with lid if you like your omelette to be well done. When it’s ready take the spatula and fold one side of the omelette, sprinkle with cheddar on top and give it a couple seconds to melt.

Gently place on the plate sprinkle with some chilli flakes and your broccoli and cheddar omelette is ready. Enjoy!

polenta & cheddar breakfast muffins

Maybe it’s weird but I never ate polenta before, so on my last online shopping trip I grabbed one pack to my basket without any idea how to use it. That’s very common for me: buying food items without particular reason and then looking for a way to use it. The same was with polenta. Boiling it with water or broth would be to easy, so I was scrolling internet looking for something more complicated and found this recipe on BBC Good Food. And I wouldn’t be myself if I would not make any changes to this recipe. Original recipe required adding plain flour, but I skipped this and used only polenta. Instead of butter I used olive oil and because I haven’t got any buttermilk I used almond milk (and 2 teaspoons of lemon juice) instead.

And that’s how I got this sunny morning muffins, a bit grainy in texture but very tasty with a hint of warming chilli flavour. Great when hot straight from the oven or on the second day, sliced in half, toasted and smeared with some butter or cream cheese of your choice.

Where actually polenta comes from?

The dish was created during the Venetian republic. Peasants fighting in the army had a limited ability to cultivate the land, but they had to find some source of food. The answer to their demand was corn, which was then imported from America. Corn was hardy and easy to grow, so it was used as an ingredient in the daily diet, including the base of polenta. Unfortunately, due to the low nutritional value of polenta, many cases of avitaminosis, i.e. extreme vitamin deficiency.

It’s not surprising as polenta contains mainly carbohydrates, a bit of proteins, some pottasium, sodium, a little bit of vitamin A and Iron. So it’s not something I would include into my everyday diet, but as a weekend breakfast, from time to time it’s a quite good idea, especially that in compare to white flour, polenta has lot less carbohydrates. Serving of 100 g of polenta has around 15 g of carbohydrate, bread in 100 g contains about 50 g of carbohydrates. Polenta also doesn’t contain any gluten, so if you have issues with gluten, that’s a good choice for you.

Actually I was quite surprised, because I had couple of them for my breakfast and I was afraid that after an hour I will be hungry again but they kept my belly full for couple hours, so it’s a nice surprise. Moreover if you want to go the whole hog, add to them some crispy fried bacon. I’m sure your loved ones will be very happy with this kind of weekend breakfast.

polenta & cheddar breakfast muffins

NOTE: my measuring cup is regular 250ml glass

INGREDIENTS for 12 muffins:

  • 1½ cup polenta
  • 1 cup almond milk (use any milk you like)
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp tinned sweetcorn
  • 1 tbsp fried onion (about half of an onion)
  • 1 tsp natural rock salt
  • 100g extra mature cheddar cheese (grated)
  • 2 eggs
  • pinch of chilli flakes
  • 2 tsp baking powder

DIRECTIONS

Finely chop half of a brown onion and fry until golden with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.

In a pot or a large bowl combine all the dry ingredients: grated cheddar, polenta, baking powder, salt, chilli flakes. In a separate bowl whisk 2 eggs, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, milk and lemon juice. Pour wet ingredients to dry ones and using a spoon combine them all together. Then add drained sweetcorn, fried onion and give it a good stir. It will be quite liquid, but that’s absolutely fine – polenta will soak all the liquid while baking. Set aside and prepare muffin tray.

I encourage you to use muffin liners, if you don’t have any, simply cut baking paper in squares, using a cup or a glass give them a shape of a muffin liner and place in a muffin tray. It will be much easier to remove the muffins after baking.

Heat the oven to 180°C. Place 2 tablespoons of polenta batter in each muffin liner. Place them on the middle shelf of you oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes.

After baking let them rest for couple minutes, and they are ready to be eaten. They are great on their own or on the next day, sliced in half, toasted and smeared with some butter or cream cheese.

You can store them for 2-3 days in airtight container.

Source of knowledge:

https://www.natureword.com/tag/polenta-glycemic-index/

https://www.med-health.net/Polenta-Nutrition.html

https://www.pyszne.pl/foodwiki/wlochy/polenta/

smoked sausage traybake (ketofriendly)

I have a serious problem with arranging the food on a plate for photos when I’m hungry. Ideally I would just toss a bunch of veg and couple sausage, and start eating before it gets cold, and I go really frustrated trying to make some kind of aesthetic composition on the plate. Sometimes it finishes like this.

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I’m still far away from professional food composition, but I hate cold food. So please bear with me if you feel embarrassed with this veg and sausage set up. Just double the portion of veggies and imagine me running with the fork, so I can finally grab a seat at the table and start eating. Yes, I was very hungry on that day 🙂

But. I really like this kind of meals, where you have all ingredients separately. I could make a mix of all veggies with sliced sausage, but I was smuggling some potatoes for my partner, so I sectioned everything on the baking tray, making sure that I won’t get any potatoes by mistake. Yeah, my partner is taking a keto break, but I feel like sooner or later (rather sooner) he will decide to get back on ketogenic track. Anyway, if you like traybake of veggies mixed with sausages, make some mess.

I’m not the biggest fan of sausages, the only one I like is the smoked ones from time to time. You can find smoked sausages in every Polish shop, and most of the popular supermarkets in UK. Look for the one that has a lot of meat in it, short list of ingredients, and as little as possible preservatives. The one that we like is a mix of pork and turkey meat (prepared with 80g of pork meat and 21g turkey meat per 100g of finished product) and only one preservative: sodium nitrite. Stay away from the one that are full of flour, artificial colours, starches, soya proteins and many preservatives.

I’ve also added couple unpeeled garlic cloves. If you’ve never tried baked garlic, you should definitely start adding it to your baked veggies and meats. It gets soft, buttery and sweet when caramelised. Garlic heaven! (check out my recipe for chicken baked with 40 cloves of garlic). If not that unfortunate potatoes I would add plenty of onion, but I haven’t been left with much room.

Anyway if you want something effortless, tasty and fun, grab couple smoked sausages, plenty of veggies, garlic (undoubtedly!), place them all on a baking tray, drizzle with some olive oil, sprinkle with herbs and pop into the oven. Get nice and crispy sausage and veggies, that are melting in you mouth. You can serve it with some low sugar ketchup, mustard or horseradish.

Yum!

smoked sausage traybake (ketofriendly)

INGREDIENTS (for two people):

  • 300g smoked sausage
  • 2 medium courgettes
  • 1 large aubergine
  • couple unpeeled garlic cloves
  • some olive oil
  • natural rock salt or sea salt flakes
  • pinch of dried basil
  • handful of cherry tomatoes (for baking or as I did – fresh)

DIRECTIONS

Preparations are as easy as it can be. Grab a large tray and place a piece of baking paper on it.

Take sausages, make small crosswise cuts, not very deep, to make kind of chequered pattern. Do it on both sides of each sausage.

Wash courgettes and aubergine and chop in smaller pieces, but don’t cut them very small. It will take about 40 minutes to bake the sausages, so we don’t want to burn veggies. Keep garlic unpeeled.

Place veggies, garlic and sausages on the tray, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle veggies with some dried basil and salt. If you like, also place cherry tomatoes. I’d rather like them fresh, but if you don’t mind baking them, do not hesitate.

Heat the oven to 200°C, and bake until veg and sausages are ready, it took me about 40 minutes. You can use grill function in the oven to sear the sausages slightly.

After baking place immediately on a plate and enjoy. You can serve it with low sugar ketchup, mustard or horseradish. After baking garlic is ready to be peeled, should be soft, buttery and slightly sweet when caramelised.

Enjoy!