Recipe: Kale & Pistachio Pesto

We've all heard the health benefits of kale. Like other leafy greens, packed full of vitamins and calcium. Expect kale is still much cheaper than the rest to buy so tends to be a favourite of mine.

You may not even be a kale fan, but this pesto will change your mind. Quick and versatile, this can be made and scooped out the jar as the week goes by. Spread on crackers, top chicken and fish, add to sauces, pasta and breakfast eggs.

Kale & pistachio pesto
(Recipe adapted from Every Last Bite)

1/3 cup pistachios
1 clove garlic
3 cups kale
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup parmesan
1tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Toast the pistachios in a dry pan on a low heat or in the oven for 5-10 minutes until they start to turn brown. (Watch carefully as they can turn quickly).

Throw all ingredients into a food processor and blend until a smooth paste is formed. You may need to add a few more drops of oil to get the mix going.

Cover and store in the fridge for up to 5 days.

There's so many other recipes I'd love to try on Carmen's site, its packed full of loads of refined sugar free recipes. If you're paleo, vegan, SCD, grain or dairy free then I'm sure you'll find lots of good clean recipes to try.

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Recipe: 3 Ingredient Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Fudge

This weekend I had a baking disaster.

By disaster, we're talking dry sponge, lumps of butter in the frosting, too warm frosting slipping down the cake, a drop in transit and for the finale, completely collapsing.

I was persistent, carried it to the Sunday dinner table (looking like a car crash), but it got trumped by my Mum's sticky toffee pudding.

And so I did what I always do in times such as this, seek inspiration and encouragement from Pinterest.

3 ingredient recipes, no baking? Yes please!

I think most colleagues and friends must assume that, like Nigella, I bake at all sorts of hours and sit in my pantry (cupboards) eating ingredients straight out the jar. Well, strictly speaking this is pretty spot on. And this is exactly what I did last night come 10pm, Horlicks in hand.

A few minutes of prep and you're away, this recipe can be left overnight to firm up. Monday morning = significantly improved.

There's not a recipe as such, just a few cup measurements. But when you're waiting for an advert break to finish on your weekend TV shows or for Netflix to load, there's just no time.

Peanut butter cup fudge
(Recipe adapted from Something Swanky, makes 24)

3/4 cup smooth peanut butter (approx. 180g)
3 1/2 cups chopped milk chocolate (approx. 500g)
1 bag Reese's peanut butter mini cups (approx. any left after you've tested a few)

Line an 8" square cake tin with foil. Line the bottom of the tray with half the Reese's cups. Melt the peanut butter in a pan over a low heat, stirring constantly. Pour in the chocolate and continue to stir until everything has melted. Pour the mix over the cups in the tray, give it a gentle wiggle to cover every gap. Chop the rest of the Reese's cups and scatter over the top. Leave out to cool overnight (or 4 hours at least). If the fudge has been cooled in the fridge, leave out for 30 mins until room temperature to slice, this way it won't crumble.

Once made, this should last a week in an airtight container or a few weeks in the fridge...I like mine straight from the fridge.

In Ashton's recipe, white chocolate is used. The flavour combinations are endless, next I may try white chocolate and custard creams or milk chocolate and mini eggs, dark chocolate and pretzels.

And if you don't believe I eat ingredients straight from the cupboard... shame!

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Recipe: Flourless Almond & Amaretto Chocolate Cake

I'm always in the mood for a slice of chocolate cake, or two.

Recently I've been trying to curb my sweet tooth a little. Chocolate and biscuits are the first thing I reach for when I'm hungry rather than having a proper balanced meal. Oops.

Surprisingly (or not) I only managed a week before baking a chocolate cake for the weekend. And I'll skim over the fact that I only lasted a few days before pouring a whole bag of mini eggs into my mouth. Because, well mini eggs!

And, another surprise, as much as I LOVE mini eggs, there's nothing that can beat homemade. Have 2, 3 or even 4 slices and I'm pretty sure it's 'better' than having something shop-bought with all those suspect ingredients.

Well that's my reasoning anyway. Seems a bit rich blogging about a recipe for chocolate cake and healthy food choices. But that's my life!

And now to the point. This cake is deliciously nutty, moist and a little boozy. Feel free to swap ground almonds for hazelnuts and Amaretto for Frangelico or whisky. Whatever takes your fancy. The cake can be stored for 4-5 days in an air-tight container so can be made ahead of time if you need.

Flourless almond and Amaretto chocolate cake
(Recipe adapted from Scandicilous Baking)

4 eggs
250g caster sugar
100g unsalted butter, melted
50ml Amaretto
50g cocoa powder (plus extra to finish)
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp vanilla salt (see note)
200g ground almonds

Heat the oven to 180 degrees and grease and line a 23cm round cake tin.

In a mixer, whisk the eggs and caster sugar together until pale and fluffy, approx 5 minutes. Continue to whisk on a low speed whilst adding the butter, Amaretto and cocoa powder in stages, alternating between each until incorporated. Tip the baking powder, vanilla salt and ground almonds in and fold in with a spatula until just combined. Don't fold too much and overwork the mix.

Pour into the prepared tin, smooth the top and bake in the centre of the oven for 35-40 minutes. Once cooked, the edges should start to come away from the sides and a skewer inserted into the middle will come out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 10 minutes. Remove from the tin and place on a wire rack to cool fully. Dust with a generous helping of cocoa powder or icing sugar and serve with strong coffee and Amaretto spiked cream!

N.B. Vanilla salt -  great to balance out sweet flavours when baking, but its not completely necessary. Feel free to use a small pinch of salt and a dash of vanilla extract instead. Alternatively, make a jar ahead and use in everything you bake! Recipe here from Joy the Baker.

Here's some other great recipes using nut flours from some blogger friends...

Chocolate and chestnut torte from Franglais Kitchen, here.
Popping candy brownies made with almonds from Emily's Recipes and Reviews, here.
French chocolate cake from Vagabond Baker. here.

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Recipe: Spelt Waffles & January Waffle

Over the week I've enjoyed a few leisurely breakfasts with a few leisurely days off. My favourite breakfast being these spelt waffles with banana, currants and maple syrup. 

I also got the chance to try out my new waffle iron which was chosen specifically for the shape of waffles it makes. 

Taking stock of the month of January, here are a few other favourites...

A chilly 24 hours in Berlin including Boy, bratwurst and burgers. 

A lazy lunch in Reigate, having a mooch around the shops and a stop of at Cullenders for pea and bacon soup and the best flat white I've had for a while. Including an obligatory stop at Chalk Hill bakery to pick up a loaf or two to take home. 

Making the perfect snickerdoodles. Probably won't be long before there's a dog with a similar name, that's what they're doing with breeds these days, right?

Hearing in the news that a French court has overruled parents naming their child Nutella and named their child Ella instead for them. How considerate. 

That picture of a Daschund reading Jamie Oliver's Comfort Food on the loo. 

A visit to Joe's Southern Kitchen to start this year's chicken escapades. Could this replace my love of burgers?

Friendly deliveries from Abel & Cole and Ocado. They've got it just right. 

And whilst we're talking food (always) some of my favourite recipes from some friendly bloggers include Rosie's spicy chicken pho and Lucy's chocolate chip cookie dippers

And if you're looking for the waffle recipe, you can find it here. Regular flour would work also. 

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