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  • InRecipes

    Chilli Con Carne

    I’m not sure why I have never shared this recipe before. Maybe I stupidly just assumed everyone knew how to make a chilli. Or had a preferred recipe that they already use. But after a recent chat with a couple of Mum friends, I realised that actually this is not the case. And that lots of people really lack confidence in the kitchen. Others know the basics but tend to stick to the meals they already know how to cook. It’s no secret that I personally love cooking and my own confidence has really grown over the past few years. So I would like to try and share a few more family friendly dinners that are healthy, quick and most importantly easy to prepare.

    I asked on my Instagram stories a few days back if anyone would like me to share the recipe I use for chilli and to my surprise, so many people said yes. We love this dinner and Hugo especially always clears his plate! The recipe I use is a Hairy Bikers one which I stumbled across in one of their diet recipe books a few years ago. It’s very easy to prepare and I even take some short cuts to save time too. I use frozen onions and lazy garlic in this recipe, both of which I always have in. No compromise on flavour but much quicker! I usually serve chilli with rice but it is also delicious on a jacket potato too. Topped with a grating of cheese and a dollop of sour cream or low fat yogurt. Sometimes if I am feeling fancy I will make some home made guacamole too. Again, super easy!

    Ingredients (Serves 5 – Freezes well)

    • 500g lean minced beef (I always use 5% fat) – This would also work well with Quorn mince if you don’t eat meat!
    • 2 medium onions, chopped or a couple of handfuls of frozen chopped onion. Honestly this is a total game changer.
    • 2 tsp of lazy garlic
    • 1–2 tsp chilli powder – I use mild but if you it with more of a punch then go for hot
    • 2 tsp ground cumin
    • 2 tsp ground coriander
    • 2 tbsp plain flour
    • 150ml red wine or if you haven’t got any then just use extra stock
    • 300ml beef stock, made with 1 beef stock cube/pot
    • 400g chopped tomatoes
    • 400g can of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
    • 3 tbsp tomato purée
    • 1 tsp caster sugar
    • 1 tsp dried oregano
    • 1 bay leaf
    • salt & pepper

    Method

    1. Place a large non-stick saucepan over a medium heat and add the beef mince and onions. Cook together for 5 minutes, stirring the beef and breaking up any lumps.
    2. Add the garlic, 1–2 teaspoons of chilli powder, the cumin and coriander. Fry together for 1–2 minutes more. Sprinkle over the flour and stir well.
    3. Slowly add the wine and then the stock, stirring constantly. Tip the tomatoes and kidney beans into the pan and stir in the tomato purée, caster sugar, oregano and bay leaf. Season with a pinch of salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.
    4. Bring to a simmer on the hob, then cover loosely with a lid. Reduce the heat and leave to simmer gently for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally until the mince is tender and the sauce is thick. Adjust the seasoning to taste and serve with fluffy white rice and a good dollop of sour cream!

     

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  • InRecipes

    Chocolate & Vanilla Marble Loaf Cake

    I can’t quite believe it’s been over a YEAR since I last published a baking recipe! Baking/cooking has been such a passion of mine for many years now and I really enjoy sharing my favourite recipes over here on the blog. I promise to make a conscious effort to get into sharing more recipes again!

    Today’s recipe is a new one for me. As I am sure you already know, I love cake. Especially a loaf cake. They are just super easy to whip up and there’s no faffing about with sandwiching multiple sponges together. Which is always my least favourite part of sandwich cakes! My go to loaf cakes are usually always either banana loaf or lemon drizzle.

    But recently I was craving something chocolatey and wanted to bake something new. So I had a quick nose online and came across this Mary Berry recipe. Chocolate and vanilla marble loaf cake sounded amazing to me and exactly what I was after. So Bella and I quickly made it while Hugo has his afternoon nap. And ohmygaaad was it GOOD. The icing is bloody delicious and I very much enjoyed licking the spoon! I think it finishes the cake off perfectly.

    The vanilla sponge marbled through the chocolate helps to stop it from being too rich. It’s definitely a cake I’ll be baking again and again I’m sure. It would be perfect for all occasions. Easy to knock up for a last minute coffee date or even stick a few candles in the top and it would make a lovely birthday cake! I actually remembered to take a couple of photos before diving into it fork first (literally) so I thought I’d share the recipe with you all too!

    INGREDIENTS

    For the cake

    • 225g butter, softened or margerine
    • 225g caster sugar
    • 275g self-raising flour
    • 2 level tsp baking powder
    • 4 large eggs
    • 2 tbsp milk
    • ½ tsp vanilla extract
    • 1½ level tbsp cocoa powder
    • 2 tbsp hot water

    For the icing

    • 25g butter
    • 15g cocoa powder, sifted
    • 1-2 tbsp milk
    • 100g icing sugar, sifted
    • about 25g white chocolate, melted (optional)

    METHOD

    1. Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F/gas mark 3. Lightly grease a 900g (2lb) loaf tin. Line your tin with baking parchment or cheat like I do and use a loaf tin liner! They are a wonderful invention. I get mine from the pound shop!
    2. Measure the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder, eggs, milk and vanilla extract into a large bowl and beat with a hand-held electric mixer for about two minutes, until well blended. Spoon half into another bowl and set aside.
    3. In a small bowl, mix the cocoa powder and hot water together until smooth. Allow to cool slightly, then add to one of the bowls of cake mixture, mixing well until evenly blended.
    4. Spoon the vanilla and chocolate cake mixtures randomly into the prepared tin until all of the mixture is used up, and gently level the surface.
    5. Bake for 50 minutes to one hour, until the cake is well risen, springy to the touch and starting to shrink away from the sides of the tin. Allow to cool in the tin for a few minutes, then turn out on to a wire rack, peel off the lining paper and leave to cool completely.
    6. To make the icing, melt the butter in a small pan, add the cocoa powder, stir to blend and cook gently for one minute. Stir in the milk and icing sugar, then remove from the heat and mix thoroughly. If necessary, leave the icing to one side, stirring occasionally, to thicken. Spread the cold cake evenly with the icing, then drizzle the melted white chocolate over the top (I didn’t have any and it was just as delicious without!) Leave to set then ENJOY!

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  • InRecipes

    Teriyaki Chicken With Coconut Rice & Bok Choy

    It has been way too long since I have shared a recipe post with you, especially a dinner one! Whenever I post a photo of this meal anywhere online, I always get lots of messages asking for the recipe! So today I thought I would finally share it with you. It is definitely one of our favourite week day meals. We absolutely love Chinese and Japanese food and this Teriyaki Chicken is the perfect takeaway alternative. It’s very simple and fairly quick to whip up. One of those perfect midweek dinners that doesn’t take too much effort but still tastes absolutely delicious! If you are really pushed for time then you could even use microwave coconut rice instead of cooking your own.

    INGREDIENTS (SERVES FOUR)

    • 8 x Skinless and boneless chicken thighs
    • 1 Tbsp of runny honey
    • 3 Tbsp of Soy Sauce
    • 2 Tbsp of fresh ginger, finely chopped (or lazy ginger)
    • 2 x Garlic cloves, finely chopped (or again, use lazy garlic)
    • Bok Choy (Alternatively you can use broccoli or spinach which is much cheaper and easier to find!)
    • 1 Mug full of basmati Rice
    • 6 Tbsp of powdered coconut (I have used desiccated before and this works fine also)
    • 3 Tbsp of cashew nuts, roughly chopped (Optional)

    METHOD

    1. Boil the kettle in preparation for your rice. Add a splash of oil to a saucepan on a medium heat. When hot add in your mug of rice and stir to make sure the rice is coated with the oil. Then add two mugs full of boiling water and add to the pan, stir well. Place a lid on the pan and when it begins to boil reduce the heat and put on a timer for 7 minutes. Once the 7 minutes is up, remove from the heat but keeping the lid firmly on and put on another timer for a further 7 minutes.
    2. Put a good non stick frying pan onto a medium to high heat and toast your cashews. Watch them VERY closely and toss frequently as then can burn very easily. Once toasted, remove from the heat and set aside.
    3. Prepare the chicken by cutting into very thin slices. Then add 1 tbsp of olive oil to your non stick frying pan on a high heat. Once the oil is almost spitting, add your chicken to the pan to brown it off. Try not to overcrowd the pan and cook in two batches if needed.
    4. While your chicken is browning and your rice is cooking, prepare your teriyaki sauce. Simply mix the honey, soy sauce, garlic and ginger together in a bowl with 1 tbsp of water.
    5. Once your chicken is browned off add the teriyaki sauce to the pan and continue to cook for five or so minutes.
    6. Add your bok choy to the pan and cook for a further couple of minutes, until the bok choy has wilted nicely.
    7. Fluff up your pan of rice with a fork and serve topped with the teriyaki chicken and a sprinkle of toasted cashews! ENJOY.

     

    Please do let me know if you make it by sending me a photo over on Instagram – I am @lifewithmrslee!

    Harriet XO

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  • InRecipes

    Pea & Pancetta Penne Pasta

    It has been way too long since I last posted a savoury recipe post! So today I am sharing a super quick and easy family friendly pasta dish. It’s one of our all time favourites and it is always my go to if I am lacking either inspiration or time (or in most cases both!).

    One of the best bits about this dish is that by using creme fraiche instead of a regular white sauce, it not only saves you loads of time but it’s also much better for you too. It’s the perfect healthier alternative but with absolutely no compromise on flavour.

    Ingredients (Serves 4)

    400g of penne pasta

    A chicken or vegetable stock pot/cube

    2 crushed garlic cloves

    2 x packets of diced pancetta

    A handful of chopped mushrooms (optional)

    A generous handful of frozen peas

    6tbsps of half fat Creme fraiche

    4tbsps of grated Parmesan cheese

    Method

    1. Put your pasta on to boil for 10-14 minutes depending how al dente you like it! Crumble your stock cube into the pasta water.
    2. Whilst the pasta is cooking fry off your pancetta andvmushrooms in a little olive oil and cook until the pancetta is slightly crispy.
    3. Chuck in the frozen peas and garlic then continue to cook for another minute or so.
    4. Add your Creme fraiche to the pan along with about 4 tbsps of the pasta water.
    5. Continue stirring until the Creme fraiche has combined with the water and you should be left with a nice creamy sauce. Season with salt and pepper then take off the heat.
    6. Drain your pasta once it’s cooked then return it to the pan and pour over your sauce. Mix thoroughly then serve immediately in pasta bowls. Sprinkle 1tbsp of grated Parmesan and a little extra cracked black pepper over each portion before serving! Enjoy!


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  • InFamily, Hugo, Recipes

    10 Healthy Meals For The Freezer 

    You know you’re nesting like a crazy woman when you lay awake at 4am thinking of meals you can bulk prepare and freeze to help you out post baby! This was me a few nights ago so I thought I would share with you what I’m planning to cook up for the freezer. I remember my sister doing this when she went on maternity leave a couple of years ago and making a mental note that I would do the same next time.

    Some may think this is a bit unnecessary but I really don’t want to fall down that slippery slope of endless takeaways during those early newborn days. Not only is convenience food expensive but I’m also conscious that it’s also not very nutritious.I personally would much prefer to have a freezer stocked up with homemade nutritious family meals that we can easily defrost and simply reheat. Overall I’m hoping it will save me a lot of stress in those early days when we’re all still trying to find our feet as a new family of four!

    Here are ten things I plan to prepare over the next couple of weeks! If you have any other ideas or recipes that you think would freeze well then please do let me know!

    Bolognese
    This is a firm family favourite in our house. I’ll probably make enough so that it will do a couple of dinners. Once reheated I’ll serve this with spaghetti or pasta.

    Chilli Con Carne
    Chilli is super versatile so I will either serve this with rice, on a jacket potato or even in tortilla wraps with some guacamole and sour cream.

    Sausage & Bean Cassoulet
    This is a fab one pot dinner which you could have with just some crusty bread or if you want it to go further then serve it with new potatoes or rice.

    Chicken Curry
    Curry is another favourite in our house. It’s always a good one to have in to stop you reaching for the take away menu too when you fancy an Indian!

    Pork & Apple Burgers
    Now these I won’t actually cook before freezing. I’ll just pre prepare them to save time and then pop in the freezer in between some parchment paper to stop them sticking together. Then I can just defrost and cook them on the day. You can find the recipe here.

    Filo Topped Chicken & Mushroom Pie
    I use this Joe Wicks recipe which is so so tasty. This pie freezes really well and is a good healthier alternative to your normal chicken pie.

    Lasagne
    This is probably the most unhealthy meal on this list but it’s one of our favourite dinners. Served with a big side salad balances out all the cheese too, right?!

    Sweet Potato Topped Cottage Pie
    Cottage pie is the ultimate comfort food. I love topping mine with sweet potato mash and I serve it with lots of simple green veggies.

    Meatballs In Homemade Tomato Sauce
    These are great in the freezer because you can even store them in a zip lock bag rather than a tub so they take up less space. I like to pack the sauce with lots of finely diced hidden veg like onions, peppers and courgettes.

    Ratatouille
    Another super versatile dish. Super healthy and can be served with both rice or pasta but my personal favourite is with a jacket potato and sausages.

    Hope this gives you some inspiration if you’re wanting to stock up your freezer!

    Harriet XO

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  • InBrand Collaborations, Recipes

    Stuffed & Grilled Banana Boats With A Gooey Cadbury Creme Egg Ganache 

    As it’s Easter weekend I thought I would share a couple of new recipes with you that I have whipped up recently. The first is these amazing grilled banana boats with pecans, marshmallow and a gooey Cadbury Creme Egg ganache. I personally am always on the hunt for quick and easy desserts to serve when entertaining and these fit the bill perfectly! 

    What I love most about these banana boats is that they are a little bit different to your standard pudding but yet still super tasty. I would have never considered melting creme eggs into a ganache before but it works really well and tastes amazing. Although this dessert is definitely not one for the faint hearted as when paired with the gooey melted marshmallows inside the banana, it’s pretty sweet!

    Ingredients

    Banana Boats

    • 6 large ripe bananas, unpeeled
    • 2 tbsps of chopped pecans
    • 6 tbsps of mini marshmallow

    Cadbury Creme Egg Ganache 

    • 4 Cadbury Creme Eggs
    • 100g butter

    Method For The Banana Boats

    1. Cut 6 x 12 inch sheets of foil. Heat your oven to 180 degrees
    2. With a sharp knife, make a deep cut lengthwise in the inside curve of each banana, being careful not to cut all the way through. Open the slit to form a pocket. Place each banana onto a sheet of your pre cut foil with the slit facing upwards so you can easily fill.
    3. Holding each banana in hand, fill the pocket with 1 tbsp of marshmallows and a few of the chopped pecans. 
    4. Seal the top of the foil leaving 3 inches of headspace. Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the marshmallows go all gooey! 

    Method For The Cadbury Creme Egg Ganache

    1. While your banana boats are in the oven heat up a small amount of water in a saucepan and place a glass bowl over the top (like a Bain Marie).
    2. Place the 4 Cadbury Creme Eggs and butter into the glass bowl and stir gently until all the ingredients have melted together (this should take about 4-5 minutes). The mixture should be slightly gloss and quite runny.
    3. Set aside to cool for a minute of two. Once your bananas are cooked gently peel away half of the skin and drizzle the Ganache over the top along with some broken pieces of Cadbury Creme Eggs and extra marshmallows and nuts! 
    4. Serve immediately and enjoy!

    This recipe has been created by the bakers at Rinkoffs who have joined forces with Cadbury Creme Egg this Easter. If you’d like to try it for yourself before baking it, then Rinkoffs will also be selling a selection of gooey treats in the their bakeries alongside the sell-out Cadbury Creme Egg Crodough from 2016! 

    *** This is a collaborative post with Cadbury Creme Egg*** 

    Harriet XO

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