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I've not shared too many recipes on here recently, due to one thing or another, but I intend to rectify that now I've got a little more time on my hands, and the days are getting a little longer, making it easier to take photographs in the evening.

Anyone that knows me knows that I like to enjoy a drink from time to time. I don't drink often but when I go out with friends I do like to let my hair down a little, and sometimes have trouble finding my off switch [don't judge!] My drinks of choice are usually lager or Prosecco, and sometimes both, although I have been known to regret that decision.

Recently I got to choose myself a few different bottles of Prosecco from Millésima, along with some champagne, which is a bit of a luxury for me. If you're a big wine connoisseur then you're sure to be excited by Millésima's huge stock of more than 2.5 million bottles of fine wine that they age slowly in their cellars in Bordeaux, including 100-250 en-primeur wines. Now I don't claim to be a wine expert by any means so I did have to research what 'en-primeur' wines are, and discovered that it's a method of buying wines early, whilst still in the barrel; offering customers the chance to invest before it's bottled. There are many reasons for buying 'en-primeur' including investment and securing wines that may be limited in quantity, but mostly because customers want to obtain great wine at the best price.



I received a gift card to purchase my wines, which arrived beautifully packaged in a black ribbon tied presentation box, along with a very comprehensive catalogue of wines from many regions, including a handy guide showing whether particular vintages are 'to drink' or 'to age'. Putting together my own 'tasting case' of wines, from the large selection of single bottles, was simple, and the checkout was straightforward. My tasting case arrived in around 2.5 weeks, and I decided to pair one of the bottles of Prosecco with one of my favourite food pairings - pizza.

As Prosecco is often the drink of choice at parties and celebrations, and pizza makes a great party food, then it's a no brainer that they would be paired together. The ideal Prosecco to pair with savoury foods such as pizza and antipasti is the 'Brut' style, as confusingly 'extra dry' and 'dry' are sweeter in taste, and may better suited served with cake and desserts, at an afternoon tea, for example. For this particular food pairing I selected a bottle of Treviso Brut Prosecco from Mionetto to pair with my Antipasti Pizza topped with salty cured ham and creamy Italian cheese.




Home made pizza is really easy to make, and best of all, you can top it with all of your favourite ingredients. For this one I chose to top the pizza dough with fig jam instead of a tomato sauce as the sweetness of figs goes really well with Italian cheese & Prosciutto. Topped off with a scattering of thyme leaves and rocket (Arugula) and a drizzle of lemon extra virgin olive oil finishes off this sweet, salty & creamy pizza with a touch of pepperiness.

I find a pizza stone to be the best way of cooking home made pizzas to make sure that the base is cooked evenly. You need to preheat the stone in the oven, and by doing this the pizzas only take around 10 minutes to cook, so whilst one is cooking you can prepare the next. I've recently bought some wooden pizza paddles which makes transferring the pizza on & off the pizza stone easier

Antipasti Pizza - makes 4 small pizzas 

400g pizza dough - I have a recipe here
flour and/or semolina for rolling
4 tbsp fig jam
200g mozzarella, sliced
100g ricotta
150g garlic marinated artichoke hearts, sliced
1 burrata cheese
85g prosciutto
a few sprigs of thyme
handful of rocket
drizzle of lemon extra virgin olive oil

  • Preheat the oven to 225 C and if you're using a pizza stone place it in the oven
  • Divide the pizza dough into 4 pieces and roll out on a floured work surface to about 3cm thick
  • Top the dough with 1 tbsp fig jam & spread evenly
  • Add slices of mozzarella and artichoke and spoon small amounts of ricotta on
  • Bake on the hot pizza stone for approx 10 minutes, until the cheese has melted and the pizza crust has browned
  • Serve with small amounts of burrata dotted on top, prosciutto, some thyme & rocket leaves and a drizzle of olive oil





 

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There are a few dishes that usually appear regularly on our weekly meal plan, and along with fajitas and roast dinner, sweet & sour is one of those. It's a lovely quick midweek meal that can either be made with raw or pre cooked meat of almost any variety, and many different vegetables. I usually keep it simple by adding just peppers and onion, and occasionally I'll throw in a tin of pineapple if I have some to hand. Sometimes I'll use a ready made sweet & sour sauce and other times I'll make my own, but for the ease and quickness of this midweek recipe I used a packet.



As it's the UK's official SPAM®️ Appreciation Week this week (4th-11th March) I've chosen to use SPAM®️ Chopped Pork and Ham in this recipe. SPAM®️ is made from more than 90% shoulder pork and leg ham, and as it is already cooked this dish takes just a few minutes to make. It needs a quick sizzle in the pan to crisp the edges, before frying the peppers, onion & chilli, adding the sauce and stirring through the SPAM®️ to coat in sauce. Job done in under 10 minutes!



You'll need your volume up to listen to that #SPAMsizzle



Chilli Sweet & Sour SPAM with Noodles - serves 2

1 tbsp oil
200g can of SPAM®️ Chopped Pork and Ham
1/2 red pepper
1/2 green pepper
1/2 red chilli
2 spring onions
150g sweet & sour sauce
300g fresh egg noodles

  • Heat the oil in a large pan or wok over a med-high heat
  • Dice the SPAM®️ and add to the pan
  • Fry until lightly browned on all sides
  • Remove from the pan & set aside
  • Chop the peppers, and thinly slice the chilli and spring onions
  • Toss the peppers, chilli & onions into the pan & fry for a few minutes until softened
  • Add the fried SPAM®️ back into the pan, along with the sweet & sour sauce
  • Stir the sauce through everything in the pan until everything is heated
  • Serve with the prepared egg noodles


WIN a SIZZLE PACK


To win your very own sizzle pack, including a SPAM®️ slicer, apron & spatula, you need to complete the Rafflecopter form below.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

More SPAMTASTIC meals and recipe ideas can be found on the SPAM®️ UK website, and for additional chances to win a Sizzle Pack follow SPAM®️ on Twitter and Instagram, and follow the #SPAMsizzle hashtag.


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December is fast approaching, and despite working two more jobs than I was this time last year, I feel that I've got this Christmas lark well and truly under control. I'm so organised that I actually hate myself right now. I've bought and wrapped presents, hand made a pom pom wreath , baked a Christmas cake, prepped ingredients (including a 2018 silver sixpence) for making a Christmas pudding on Stir it Up Sunday this weekend, and even planned my menus for the festive period. 

If you see me out and about with a smug grin on my face then kick me and tell me to get a grip and remind me that it's still only November!

LUXURY GIN HAMPER

Fortunately, for those of you that don't have Christmas wrapped up yet, there's still plenty of time for shopping before the big day. If you don't have the time or inclination to fight the crowds on the high street, or sift your way through the stream of 'hot deals' online, fear not, there is a simpler 'one stop' way to shop for your family and friends this Christmas, and you will barely have to lift a finger.

Whether your recipient is into wine, beer, gin, chocolate or even cheese, there are ready made Christmas hampers to suit all tastes and budgets at hamper.com.

I've received three such hampers, with the first being the Luxury Gin Hamper containing a half bottle of Hendrick's gin, a couple of Fever Tree tonics, chocolate limes, shortbread and olives. It arrived in a strong double walled cardboard box lined with wood shavings. The hamper.com website shows the contents of each box clearly on the page, in both the description and images scrolling underneath, and all hampers come with free UK delivery, and in many cases the delivery is next day.

CHRISTMAS CRACKER HAMPER

The second hamper I received was the Christmas Cracker hamper, which again arrived in a presentation box and was filled with treats to enjoy over Christmas, including a jar of luxury cranberry sauce and a Christmas pudding to serve 3-4.

CHOCOLATE INDULGENCE HAMPER

The final hamper would suit chocoholics out there, and is presented in a wicker basket, although disappointingly it wasn't the white one that was pictured on the website. There's a great selection of indulgent chocolate treats in the basket though, including a hot chocolate stick, truffles, popcorn and honeycomb.


LUXURY GIN HAMPER UNBOXED


Whilst it's definitely cheaper to put hampers together yourself, not everyone enjoys shopping for the individual items to fill a basket as much as me, nor may they have the time. Ready made hampers from hampers.com come with the utmost convenience and are available to deliver all over the UK, and a limited number of hampers can also be sent to many countries worldwide. If you don't quite see what you're looking for within the huge range of ready made hampers then it's also possible to create your own, and include anything you like from fresh apples and oranges to Wensleydale cheese and Champagne.

If you're looking to send a surprise to friends and family that you can't be with this Christmas, whether you're living overseas or they are, then sending a hamper is the perfect gift. Who doesn't love receiving a hamper filled with your favourite goodies!

What are you waiting for? Go and get your Christmas wrapped up too!



In collaboration with hampers.com
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I can't believe how fast this year is flying by. We're more than halfway through October already, which means that Halloween is fast approaching, followed swiftly by that dreaded C word!

For Halloween this year my teens have requested a party, which came as a bit of a shock as they planned it together, by actually speaking to one another. Wonders never cease.


I've got quite a few Halloween party food recipes on this blog, but before I could start planning the menu for the party of the year I was informed that hot dog sausages resembling creepy fingers wouldn't be featuring on this buffet table, and neither would spooky banana ghost pops. All that would be required are a few bowls of crisps and a couple of cans of cider. How very disappointing!

If you're having your own Halloween party this year I'm sure your guests will appreciate these ghoulish mini desserts, complete with their own bloodied eyeball. Made with SKIPPY® Peanut Butter they have a touch of sweet & saltiness to the creamy filling, which pairs so well with the sharp raspberries. They are like mini cheesecake heaven. 

They are really easy to make, and can be whipped up in just a few minutes and stored in the fridge until you eat them. I found these plastic skull shot glasses in Asda and they're a perfect size for kids. Note that if you're making these for young children you might want to use a lychee or foil wrapped chocolate eyeball instead of the bouncy eyeballs I used, for safety reasons.



SKIPPY® Peanut Butter has been enjoyed by millions of Americans for more than 80 years, and as the Super Chunk and Smooth varieties can be now found in most major UK supermarkets the UK can go nuts about SKIPPY® Peanut Butter too. SKIPPY® Peanut Butter is made only with high quality peanuts from the USA, and is a really good source of protein, providing 22.1g per 100g.


The wide necked jar is a great feature that allows you to get out every last bit of nuttiness too, because nobody wants to waste peanut butter. Some of my favourite ways to enjoy SKIPPY® Peanut Butter are with sliced apple or banana for breakfast, spread with jam in a sandwich for lunch, or added to a curry or stir fry, which is a great way to add additional protein and flavour, as well as acting as a thickener. 

How do you enjoy yours?

The star of the show - SKIPPY® Peanut Butter Super Chunk


This recipe was commissioned by SKIPPY® Peanut Butter. You can find more recipes on their UK website here : www.peanutbutter.uk.com




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It would appear that summer is well and truly over now. I was hoping for an Indian summer, but as we head into October and threats of the coldest winter in decades, it's not looking likely. We managed to stretch the summer out as long as we could, and the arrival of our new garden shed meant we had somewhere to shelter in the garden when the rain came.

I've wanted a garden shed for a couple of years, but it's one of those things that we've never got around to organising (or agreeing on), so when we were offered a shed from Garden Site there was no hesitation. I also knew that I didn't want just any shed, it had to be a certain design, as well as being the right size for the space we had. My shed wasn't going to be a place to fill with tools or bikes, nor somewhere to potter with plants, or even a relaxing place to ponder. Nope, my new shed was going to be a party bar, aka The Crazy Corner; a bar and shelter in the corner of our garden.


We started with a 4ft x 6ft Forest overlap lean to shed , which was pretty straightforward to build by myself and the husband one Saturday, despite our ratchet screwdriver being the closest thing to a power tool that we had! It needed both of us to fit the sides to the base, but once they were in place I completed the next few stages by myself whilst he went to football, returning to fit the roof panels and roofing felt together.



We decided to leave the window pane out and instead I replaced it with a pull down plywood shutter that doubles up as a table supported by removable supports, based on this idea. Inside I've only added a plywood shelf and, for now, a camping table. There's not a lot of room for much else inside, but it's big enough for serving drinks and snacks. Outside I've added a couple of bar stools, along with a 4 seater table and chairs and my Bundleberry string chair.


If you're over 6ft you'll find it necessary to stoop a little to stand under the canopy, but once seated most people can sit comfortably!





  • 6 x 4 Forest overlap lean to shed - Garden Site
  • Bar stools - B&Q
  • Outdoor lights - Tomshine (Amazon)
  • Bespoke wooden sign - Vintage & Retro Signs (Facebook)
  • Outdoor rug - Bundleberry collection at QVC
  • Cactus side table - Bundleberry collection at QVC
  • String chair - Bundleberry collection at QVC





In collaboration with Garden Site and QVC

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Friends are an important part of everyone’s life and they are the ones who stand by us whatever the situation. You can always rely on your friends to lend an ear and offer advice, without judgement. Friendship is all about supporting and helping each other, but it can be hard to find an honest friend in your life, so if you have one then make sure you keep hold of them and treat them as well as you would like to be treated yourself. Sure, you may have the occasional fall out or disagreement with your best friend, or go long periods without seeing much of them, but a true friend is someone with whom you can pick up right where you left off. You may spend times talking each others heads off, and then there are other times where you sit happily in silence, feeling content that your friend is close by. 

They say that friends are the family we choose for ourselves.



Friendship Day is the day when you can  show your friends just what they mean to you, in a way that's special to you both. Here are the 5 best gift ideas to show your friend how much they really mean to you.

1. Personalised Gifts
Personalised gifts are always a good idea, and shows that you've put thought into choosing your gift.  These 'best friend' gifts show that you know them better than anyone else – whether that's with a personalised beer glass, handmade jewellery or a unique wine tasting experience.

2. Photo Album
Whether you've been friends for one year or twenty years, you're sure to have made lots of memories together. What better way to reminisce with your bestie, than by sharing a glass of wine, poring over a photo album filled with memories of all of the best times that you've shared. Everyone loves to be reminded of the good times, which makes photo albums the perfect special friendship day gifts for friendship day


3. Personalised Cake
Who doesn't love cake. It's a popular dessert for any occasion, including Friendship Day. Whether it's chocolate cake, fruit cake or an iced cake with your friend's favourite cartoon character on, a cake is a guaranteed way to bring a smile to someone's face. With an online cake delivery service you don't even need to leave the comfort of your own home, and if your friend lives far away you can get it delivered straight to them - of course they won't be able to share it with you though!


 4. Accessories
Whether it's a watch, necklace, handbag or wallet, you can always find that special accessory online that your friend will love. If you want to make it extra special and unique you could also have it personalised. Your friend will think of you with a smile whenever they use this favourite accessory or keepsake.


5. Bouquet of Flowers
Last but not least is flowers. Flowers are a lovely way to brighten up somebody's day, and whatever time of the year it is you can always find a colourful bouquet of fresh flowers for that special friend in your life. 






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When it comes to maximising the lifespan of your grains, proper storage is paramount. Even in the relatively mild climate of the UK, entire grain stores can be spoiled by fluctuating temperatures, poor moisture management and failure to identify insect infestations soon enough.

Start the season off properly by preparing your grain storage well in advance, ensuring that you can maintain the quality of your grain and maximise its commercial potential over the following year.


1. Thoroughly clean your storage units
Cleaning your storage units between each season is essential to keep your crop pest-free. Be sure to repair any damaged areas that may be an ingress for critters of any size – from beetles to pigeons – and fill crevices, cavities and recesses that could provide a hiding spot between seasons. You will also need to clean grain handling equipment and machinery.

If you know you’ve had an infestation in the past, make sure this is completely tackled before refilling your store but keep in mind that use of pesticides will need to be carefully timed so as to avoid residue affecting the crop. If you aren’t sure whether the infestation issue problem persists, installing insect traps around the unit will reveal lingering bugs and mites.

2. Clean your grain
It only makes sense that clean, uniform grain will store better. Once harvested, run it through a grain cleaner to eliminate particulate and unnecessary fibres that can act as insect feed and cause poor aeration during storage. If not removed, these fine materials will be drawn into a dense column at the centre of the storage unit, ultimately causing a concentration of moisture.

Using a grain spreader will also ensure an even distribution of grain in the container, improving aeration and reducing spoilage.


3. Manage your moisture and temperature levels
If moisture and temperature are not controlled, your entire supply will be at risk of growing mould and fungus and their associated mycotoxins. The moisture content for grain should be no higher than 14.5% (with 13% ideal for long-term storage) and where heat processes are used for drying, the grain should be given sufficient time to cool before sealing. Keeping the temperature below 15°C will minimise grain beetles and mites; 12°C or below will prevent grain weevils from hatching. Keeping your stores at 5°C or lower will kill any surviving bugs, but bear in mind that barley for malting cannot be cooled below 10°C.

Using a storage container with an aeration system will ensure you can control grain temperature throughout the seasons, and you may find it beneficial to install a temperature monitoring system to track your batch over its use.  

4. Avoid cross-contamination
Insects, mites and other pests are rarely introduced from new crops. Instead, they are usually already in the storage container, living on the residues from last year and being carried between stores on contaminated equipment.

Even small amounts of contaminated grain can infect a new bin with an insect infestation or damp problem, so it’s important to screen batches that are being moved to a new container and check that machinery (and storage bins) are completely clean before loading or unloading. If you can tell what type of grain it was previously used for, then it isn’t clean.


5. Monitor your stores frequently
Checking insect traps, temperature readings and store levels should be carried out weekly, so that any problems can be addressed quickly and grain reserves can be saved. Moisture should be checked monthly, although feel free to do so more often during seasonal shifts. Don’t forget the value of the grain you have, and how much income would be lost from failing to catch an issue quickly enough.

The first indication of a moisture issue would be any amount of condensation on the top of your grain, or samples from the top or bottom of the unit giving off a distinct smell. Your aeration system should be able to eliminate light moisture, but if these fail to dry the grains sufficiently you may need to empty your unit until you reach the section causing the issue. 

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It's been a crazy busy few weeks, with starting two new jobs, as well as getting stuck into my new gym membership. The weather has been great, which means we've been spending more time that usual sitting in pub gardens and socialising with friends.  We've got holidays to look forward to, and then before we know it we'll be in the thick of the pre Christmas build up!

Before all that though, I'm hoping we've still got a good few weeks of Summer sunshine left, with barbecues and al fresco dining aplenty.


Home made no churn ice cream can be the perfect ending to a barbecue, especially as it's simple to make in advance, and if served in a cone there's no additional plates or bowls to wash.

A couple of weeks ago I shared a recipe for Peanut Butter & Pretzel No Churn Ice Cream, which went down extremely well in our household, even with the self confessed peanut butter hating husband.

No churn ice cream made using condensed milk is a simple way to make ice cream, which can be tailored to suit all tastes. To the basic condensed milk and cream base you can stir through your favourite chocolates or biscuits, such as these previous recipes of mine for Chocolate Oreo Ice Cream, After Eight Mint Chocolate Ice Cream and Caramel Ice Cream, or with home grown fruit, such as this Rhubarb Ripple Ice Cream.

This Cherry Chocolate Ice Cream was also extremely to make, made with fresh seasonal cherries, dark chocolate chunks, and a little Nutella.




Once you've made your ice cream you then need to make sure you freeze it at the correct temperature - too cold and you'll need a chisel to serve it, and not cold enough it will begin to thaw.

The arrival of our Samsung American Fridge Freezer from AO came just at the right time for us; in the middle of a heatwave. The large capacity fridge and freezer with all around coolingmeans that even when it's full to the brim, all the food is evenly chilled at the correct temperature, without any warmer or colder spots.

The Brita water dispenser is ideal if you want to have cold water on tap without the need for plumbing in your appliance. The  large water container can be easily filled, and once chilled it dispenses cold water at a touch, without the need to open the fridge doors. Perfect for this hot weather! It's also a bit of a looker..

HANDSOME BEAST






I received the product in exchange for an honest review
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and why it’s best to make your own

The healthy snack industry is big business. For the health conscious who love a sweet treat, energy balls have become the go-to healthy snack to eat on the go. Piled high on the counters of every gym café, the energy snack ball is also the legitimate sweet treat for the exercise crowd. Gym café bars are filled with smug fitness fanatics nibbling away at their protein-loaded healthy snacks.

But, even those not into exercise are biting the energy snack ball craze. Even Deliciously Ella has her own take on supermarket shelves.

Writing in the Los Angeles Times, Holly Van Hare of The Daily Meal says, “Energy balls are a sad excuse for food and I’ll never eat one.” It’s not what you expect from a health-conscious food blogger. But, she does have a point when she says ‘if you want a truffle, eat a damn truffle.”
Van Hare’s objection to the humble energy snack balls is primarily that the ingredients don’t need to be mushed up into a ball to be enjoyed. “I don't need to purée and mould my cashews into tiny balls of food. I can eat them on my own with my very able human hands, thank you very much.”
It’s another good point, but so what if we are fooled into thinking the energy ball is a perfectly good sweet treat or dessert? Surely, it’s better than scoffing a bar of Dairy Milk? Then again, I guess that depends on what is in them.

Source: Daily Burn

What are energy snack balls made from?
Most energy snack balls consist of some combination of dried fruit, usually dates, nuts, and seeds. Additional ingredients include oats, puffed rice or other cereal, coconut, raw cacao, matcha, ginger, cinnamon, nut butters, chocolate chips, honey, agave syrup and vanilla extract. This isn’t an exhaustive list. There are many other additional ingredients, but these are the main contenders.

Are energy balls a good snack choice?
On the whole, yes. Energy snack balls are generally a better alternative than muesli bars, chocolate bars and other refined snacks. However, ingredients in snack balls vary widely, so it’s always important to check the ingredients list before you buy. Try to avoid those snacks containing refined sugar and processed ingredients. Here are the best protein and energy snacks according to Forbes.

While wholefood, raw, natural and energy are all words with a healthy connotation, don’t make the assumption that just because they are mentioned on the packaging, there aren’t hidden nasties inside. Always read the label.

Also, be mindful that many snack balls have a high concentration of dried fruit in them. Dried fruit is highly nutritious, but it contains a high level of the natural sugar, fructose. Eating a lot of fructose isn’t good for you and can have a negative impact on your health. While fruit sugar is better than refined, it’s still not ideal, and something you need to watch out for.

Snack balls have a healthy reputation, but because of their relatively small size it’s easy to think it’s OK to eat more than one. Many nutritionists warn those reaching for the energy snack balls to consider serving size and not go overboard, largely because of the fructose content.

Making your own healthy energy snacks
The internet is awash with recipes for healthy no-bake, energy bites. It may be more convenient to buy them from your gym, local health food store or supermarket, but it’s an expensive habit and much cheaper to make your own. Making them yourself also means you have complete control over what goes in them.

Make a batch and package them up to keep in the fridge. They make a great gift for your health conscious friend, sibling, boyfriend, girlfriend, mum or dad. It’s also a great activity to do with your kids. Take a look at this range of customisable food bags from The Bag Broker, perfect for keeping your healthy treats fresh.

If you don’t have a sweet tooth, there are plenty of savoury recipes you can try. The savoury energy snack ball doesn’t seem to have taken off like the sweet versions, but these are super healthy. Without a piece of dried fruit in sight, they won’t spike your blood sugar either.

The energy snack ball has its place, but ingredients vary widely and some brands are teetering dangerously close to selling themselves as something they aren’t. Is the energy snack ball as deliciously satisfying as scoffing a chocolate bar? Probably not. Just saying. Don’t tell my personal trainer.

In all seriousness, I have to partly disagree with Holly Van Hare. Making energy snack balls at home is decidedly satisfying and there’s something very special about mindful food preparation.

Are energy balls all they are cracked up to be? In most cases, yes they are.

Here are a couple of my own recipes, and whilst they're not 'balls' the ingredients are the same, they are just rolled differently!

Cashew, Date & Ginger Bars

Cocoa Orange Date & Almond Bars

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When you’re trying to come up with dinner ideas that keep everyone from fussy three-year-olds to hungry 12-year-olds happy, there aren’t many things that meet the mark – especially when you want things to be healthy and quick, too.

That’s where sweet potatoes are a real lifesaver. Not only do they cook more quickly than regular potatoes, they’re also packed full of vitamins A and B. Add to this that they’re a great source of fibre and low GI and it’s easy to see why they earned their superfood title!
Whether you want to add them to a meal as a side or use them as one of the main ingredients, here are three great ways to incorporate sweet potatoes into your family’s midweek dinners.
Creamy Roasted Vegetables
You’re going to read this and think it couldn’t possibly be filling enough for dinner, but you’d be amazed! This recipe feeds four, so scale up or down depending on how many hungry mouths you’re feeding.
You’ll need two large sweet potatoes, two courgettes, a handful or two of cherry tomatoes, an aubergine, an onion, and a tub of crème fraîche. For the seasoning, make sure you have a vegetable stock cube, some oregano and either rosemary or thyme.
For the prep: you’ll need to chop all the veggies into smallish cubes – about 2 cm (chop the cherry tomatoes in half). To save time, do this the night before, put them in a tub and fill with water, then keep them in the fridge overnight so they’re ready to pop into the oven.
Once you’re finished chopping, spread the veg out evenly over some oven trays – you’ll probably need two or three. Make sure it’s in a single layer so that everything gets a chance to cook.
Douse generously with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Next, crumble the stock cube over the vegetables, then add a tablespoon of oregano and rosemary to each tray.To make sure all the vegetables are evenly covered with the oil and seasoning, get your hands in there and mix everything up – trust us, it’s quicker and more effective than using a spoon!
Bake at 180°C for around 35-40 minutes, then test the sweet potato is soft. Spoon the crème fraîche on to the baking tray; it will mix with the vegetable juices to create a creamy sauce.
Serve with crusty garlic bread.
Sweet Potato Fries
For a healthier alternative to regular chips, mix things up with some sweet-potato fries. The key is to cut the chips roughly the same size to make sure they cook evenly – thin 'boat' shapes rather than traditional square chips tend to work better.
Once they’re sliced, put into a mixing bowl and cover with a generous amount of olive oil. If you’re feeling fancy, you could also substitute this for garlic- or chilli-infused oil to give extra flavour. Add some salt and pepper and two teaspoons of paprika.
Spread evenly on a baking tray and cook at 200°C for about 20 minutes.
If you’re short on time, a great alternative is the McCain Shake Shake Sweet Potato Fries. They come with a sea-salt and three-pepper sachet that you shake around in the bag before baking.

Baked Sweet Potato with Mackerel and Natural Yoghurt
If it’s too hot to face putting the oven on, this is a great alternative. Cooked in the microwave, sweet potatoes only take between four and eight minutes (depending on their size).
Prick the skins well before popping them in on full power. While the sweet potatoes are cooking, flake some cooked smoked mackerel into a bowl. Chop up some spring onions (chives also work nicely) and add them to the fish with a squeeze of lemon juice.
Mix with natural yoghurt until all the fish is well covered. Once the potatoes are cooked (test that they’re soft with a knife), cut in half and add some butter.
Spoon on the fish mixture and serve with salad and cherry tomatoes on the side.





a collaborative post with McCain
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