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Tinned Tomatoes by Jacqueline Meldrum - 18h ago

It's nearly Easter and time to buy some Easter goodies.

This year Marks and Spencer have a great range of veggie treats for Easter from adult and kids Easter eggs to Easter gifts for the little ones, eggs to set up your own Easter egg hunt and of course hot cross buns.

They are all vegetarian and two of the Easter eggs are dairy free, so they are suitable for vegans.

Lets get on and see what's new at M&S this Easter.

Easter Eggs for Adults

There's a great range of Easter eggs for adults at M&S this year. They always come up with stunning new designs each year. Here's a selection of my favourite eggs from this year's collection.

They come in a range of sizes and prices.

1. Made without Dairy Dark Chocolate Egg - 160g - £7 (blue)
2. Made without Dairy Milk Chocolate Egg - 160g - £7 (red)
3. Swiss Milk Chocolate Egg decorated with Nibbled Hazelnuts (with Swizz praline mini eggs) - 288g - £8
4. Hand Painted Belgian Milk Chocolate Egg (with mini champagne truffles) - £15

5. Dippy Egg - Milk Chocolate Hollow Egg with a Caramel Filled Yolk - 280g - £10
6. Handmade Hollow Soft Nougat Egg (with almond, hazelnut & pistachio) - 135g £5
7. Easter Watering Can filled with hollow milk chocolate eggs and sunflower seeds to grow in your garden or window box - 200g - £10
8. Single Origin Chocolate Egg (with dark chocolate ganache and gold leaf) - 35g - £2.50

Easter Treats for Kids
Children will love these chocolate Easter characters.

9. Trolls Poppy (white chocolate hollow figure with raspberry and strawberry) - 210g - £7
10. Spiketail Egg Cup (ceramic dinosaur egg cup with hollow egg) - 205g - £6
11. Thomas the Tank Engine (hand finished milk chocolate hollow figure with white chocolate decorations) - 210g £7

Easter Gifts
There's also a varied selection of Easter Gifts too, including these few.

12. Queen Layalot (hollow milk chocolate chick with pot of mini speckled eggs) - £4
13. King Layalot (hollow milk chocolate chick with pot of mini speckled eggs) - £4
14. Chic Hugs Tin (with chocolate mini eggs) - 180g - £5
15. Chicky Choccy Speckled Eggs (milk chocolate eggs with a speckled candy shell) - 100g - £1

Easter Veggie Jellies

Marks and Spencer always have a great range of vegetarian jelly sweets which started with Veggie Percy and has extended until their is now a huge selection. They also bring out some new jellies for Easter, Halloween and Christmas. These little bunnies are addictively tasty!

16. Easter Jellies (fruit flavoured jelly bunnies) - 100g - £1.50
17. Easter Jellies (fruit flavoured jelly bunnies) - 100g - £1.50

Easter Egg Hunt

M&S have a selection of eggs that can be used for an Easter egg hunt on Easter Sunday. So why not hide some eggs in your garden or a local park and let the kids have a good run about and burn off some of their endless energy looking for eggs while you relax?

18. Easter Hunt Treats (in crate with chalkboard label and chalk) - 510g - £10


For years I liked the sounds of hot cross buns, but I didn't really like them, then a couple of years ago I tried them cold, spread with butter and realised I loved them. 

Serve them toasted or cold, there's a big range of hot cross bun flavours to choose from this Easter at M&S. They are £1.70 for a pack, but they have a special offer running where you can buy most of the hot cross buns for £2.50 for two packs. That's a big saving of 90p.

19. Cranberry and Orange Hot Cross Buns x 4 - 255g - £1.70
20. Luxury Hot Cross Buns x 4 - 310g - £1.70
21. Salted Caramel and Chocolate Hot Cross Buns x 4 - £1.70

22. Blueberry Hot Cross Buns x 4 - 260g - £1.70
23. Kentish Bramley Apple Hot Cross Buns x 4 - 255g -£1.70
24. Sweet Orange Marmalade Hot Cross Buns x 4 - 272g - £1.70

25. Mini Double Chocolate Hot Cross Buns x 9 - 270g - £1.70
26. Breakfast Hot Cross Mini Loaves x 4 - 250g - £1.70
27. Mini Luxury Hot Cross Buns x 9 - 250g - £1.70


If you fancy doing a spot of baking over the Easter weekend why not try my Treacle Gingerbread (vegetarian) or my Dark Treacle Banana Gingerbread (vegan)?

I hope that has given you some ideas for Easter. Do have a great Easter weekend with your family and friends, or just take some time to relax.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for M&S. I was not required to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.

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Gnocchi is a handy ingredient to have in your fridge. Yes you can make your own, but if like me you haven't managed to get that recipe quite right yet (yes it was a disaster), then shop bought gnocchi is the next best thing.

I usually use gnocchi to make a filling bake, you may have seen my Tomato and Aubergine Gnocchi Bake (vegetarian) , my Tomato and Basil Gnocchi Bake (vegetarian) or my Tomato Gnocchi Bake with Cheesy Oat Crumble (vegan). The two vegetarian gnocchi bakes can be easily adapted for a vegan diet, just use vegan mozzarella.

This time I decided to make gnocchi dish with a freshly made creamy garlic mushroom and herb sauce. I make a simpler version of this sauce to pour over pasta, so I thought it would be great poured over gnocchi too and boy was I right.

Cooking mushrooms

I slowly cooked my chestnut mushrooms in olive oil and garlic until soft and juicy, then I added, stock, wine and some herbs and let the liquid cook down before adding dairy free plain yoghurt and soya single cream. It's all well seasoned and utterly delicious. 

I used to make it with just the wine added before the cream, but adding the little bit of stock really improves the flavour.

I also season my mushrooms well with black pepper a they cook.  I do like a lot of black pepper.

Cooking gnocchi

The packet instructions recommend that you cook the gnocchi in boiling water for 3 minutes, which is a good starting point, but I like to then drain them, pat them on a clean tea towel and then I fry them in a little olive oil until they are crisp and golden with some nice charring.

Why fry gnocchi?

Frying the gnocchi turns them into little golden parcels that are crisp on the outside and soft inside like little roast potatoes. Mmmmmm! I picked up that little tip from Nigella Lawson.

essential Waitrose

I kept my food bill down for this dish with the essential Waitrose range. This good quality range from Waitrose contains 1500 everyday products at low prices.  

Waitrose also have a range called Waitrose Cooks' Ingredients with things like spices, fresh herbs and stocks which compliment all your every day items from the essential range.

To make this recipe vegan I used Alpro plain yoghurt and single cream, which are also available in store, but if you're vegetarian you could use the same quantities of creme fraiche and standard single cream.

Fresh herbs

I added fresh parsley to this sauce and piled some chopped fresh parsley to the dish before serving it. I also like to add fresh basil to this dish, but I forgot to pick some up while I was shopping. The basil is really good in this sauce so do try it.

When should I use fresh herbs?

This sauce is really fresh and creamy so fresh herbs work well and the fresh flavour shines through. For a longer cooking sauce with perhaps a tomato base or a gravy base or a soup or stew you could add dried herbs and they would have time to infuse their flavour, whereas the flavour of fresh herbs would be overpowered unless you added them right at the end just before serving.

Yield: 3Author: Jacqueline MeldrumPrint Recipe
With ImageWithout Image
Creamy Garlic Mushroom & Herb Gnocchi
Golden gnocchi in a fresh and creamy garlic mushroom and fresh herb sauce. Finished off with more fresh herbs. Suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
prep time: 10 MINScook time: 15 MINStotal time: 25 mins

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 500g gnocchi
  • 500g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • A handful of fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • A slosh of white wine
  • 50g/1/4 cup vegetable stock (1/2 vegetable stock cube)
  • 3 tbsp plain yogurt (we used dairy-free)
  • 250ml/1 cup single cream (we used dairy-free)
  • A good grinding of salt and pepper

  1. Cook the gnocchi according to the packet instructions, drain and pat dry in a clean tea towel, then fry the gnocchi in a frying pan in one tablespoon of olive oil
    until crisp and golden.
  2. While the gnocchi is frying saute the mushrooms and garlic in a large frying pan with one tablespoon of olive oil until the mushrooms are tender, seasoning well with salt and pepper.  
  3. Add some of the herbs (reserve some for decoration), the wine and stock and continue cooking gently until most of the liquid is almost gone.
  4. Add the yogurt and cream and stir well, until the sauce is warmed through. Taste for seasoning and add more if it needs it.
  5. Mix the gnocchi through the sauce and serve topped with a sprinkle of herbs. Serve with a side salad and garlic bread. It might not seem like a big portion, but it’s very filling.
  6. Enjoy
fat (grams)
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carbs (grams)
protein (grams)
sugar (grams)
Created using The Recipes Generator

If you like this recipe, check out the other recipe I created for Waitrose using the essential Waitrose range. Easy green edamame and pea falafel with a yoghurt, cucumber and mint dip.

Disclosure: This is a paid post for Waitrose. I created this recipe as part of their #essentialWaitrose promotion. I was not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.
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I have the perfect treat for an Easter Giveaway. An Extra Thick Champagne Easter Egg from Hotel Chocolat. Just one of their fabulous selection of Easter treats.

Hotel Chocolat are the home of superior quality chocolate here in the UK and they don't let us down with this egg. 

Easter Thick Champagne Easter Egg

Unwrap the gold encased egg and the shell is extra thick ombre chocolate. A mixture between milk chocolate and strawberry milk chocolate.  Inside the egg, wrapped in soft tissue you find a generous selection of Mercier Champagne truffles. A mixture of champagne truffles and pink champagne truffles.
The egg

The egg itself is super thick and the strawberry flavoured chocolate is divine. I have to admit I love Hotel Chocolat fruit flavoured chocolate. They do it so well. Sharing this egg? Forget it!

Egg weight:    395g
Egg Size:    L 15.80 x W 15.80 x H 16.50 cm

The truffles

The champagne truffles are creamy and luxurious and they pack a hit of champagne. You can tell by the flavour they use real champagne. In fact they use Mercier Champagne and all of their ingredients are natural. It's a strong flavour but utterly delicious. WOW!

The egg and truffles are suitable for vegetarians.

So would you like to win this luxury Easter egg from Hotel Chocolat worth £27?

  1. Leave a comment telling me your plans for Easter weekend.
  2. Enter via the rafflecopter box below.
  3. Look out for extra entries.
  4. This giveaway is open to readers who live in the UK and are over 18 years old.
  5. This giveaway closes on Monday 26 March 2018.

Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclosure: I am running this giveaway in partnership with Hotel Chocolat. They sent me an egg to review and will send one to the winner. I was not required to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.
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You're just like me aren't you? You eat lots of falafel. 

They're a great go-to snack, but they are also good on a BBQ kebab skewer, in salads or in a wrap or sandwich with lots of salad and hummus.  In fact they are the perfect quick bite for both vegetarian and vegans.

Sometimes I add them to my yumbox, which is a bento box with lots of little compartments. I load my lunchbox with falafel, some hummus (dips don't leak in a yumbox), crunchy veg and pickled baby beets. It's one of my favourite lunches and my wee boy loves the same lunch.

Homemade falafel

I tend to buy ready-made falafel from the supermarket. I bet you do too. Falafel are just so quick and convenient to pick up when you're shopping aren't they?

Today that changes! I made my own crispy falafel. I pimped them and swapped the usual chickpeas for edamame beans and petit pois (you could use bog standard frozen peas).

Now don't get me wrong, let's be realistic here. When I go shopping next week I'll definitely pick up ready-made falafel to use in lunches during the week, but now and again I'm going to take them time to make fresh falafel.

These green edamame and pea falafel have a crisp exterior and soft tasty filling. Shop bought falafel never really have the same crisp bite. 

Falafel blender recipe
These falafel are quick to make if you have a power blender or food processor. You just throw all the ingredients in. Once you have a flavourful paste (you can whizz until really smooth or leave a bit of texture, which I like to do), you just roll into balls and then roll in panko breadcrumbs and fry until crisp.

Of course you could just go old school and mash with a fork, but they will be a much coarser finish.

These falafel are fried but you can bake falafel for a healthier snack. However if you want that really crisp coating of an authentic falafel you really have to fry them. I'm personally not too worried as they are filled with a super healthy filling and will be served with a salad or on a wrap with salad, so a fried crispy coating isn't going to hurt. It's all about balance.

Five fascinating falafel facts

  1. Falafel were created a thousand years ago in Egypt and made from fava beans (broad beans). The Christian Copts were forbidden to eat meat during Lent and instead created the falafel to add to their diet.
  2. They were taken to Israel, where the base of the recipe was changed from fava beans to chickpeas and became a national dish served as street food in pitta (pita) bread with salad and a tehina (tahini) sauce.
  3. Falafel can be formed into flat patties or balls and either baked or fried.
  4. Falafel was so popular in Egypt that McDonalds used to serve a McFalafel on their breakfast menu there.
  5. There is an unwritten rule in Israel, if you still have some of your pitta bread left you can go back to the falafel stand for more (free) salad, but if you want more falafel you need to buy another portion.

essential Waitrose

I raided Waitrose for my ingredients for these homemade falafel. Waitrose is thought to be quite a pricey place to shop, but the essential Waitrose range contains more than 1500 high quality products you use every day at low prices. Waitrose also have a range called Waitrose Cooks' Ingredients with things like spices, fresh herbs and stocks which compliment all your every day items from the essential range.

I also used frozen edamame beans which are available in store. They are already shelled so perfect for adding to dishes like these crispy falafel, but also good in soups and stews. A great way to add nutrients to a dish.

I served some of these falafel with a dip and some on flour tortilla wraps with salad. I know pitta bread is the more traditional pairing with falafel, but I love them in a tortilla wrap with lots of salad. 

Yoghurt, Cucumber and Mint Dip

I usually spread a falafel wrap with a really generous layer of hummus, but this time I made a simple yoghurt, cucumber and mint dip, which I drizzled across the filling. I used Alpro plain yoghurt to make this dressing dairy-free, but you can use your favourite plain or Greek yoghurt.

You could also add a drizzle of chilli sauce if you wanted to pep up the wraps with a bit of heat.

I've included my dressing recipe along with my falafel recipe below. The dressing is also tasty drizzled over a salad and makes a great dip for sweet potato fries, crunchy vegetable crudités or nacho chips.

I do hope you try both the falafel and the dip!

Yield: 12 falafel (depending on size)Author: Jacqueline MeldrumPrint Recipe
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Green Edamame & Pea Falafel with a Yoghurt, Cucumber & Mint Dip
Crisp green falafel made with edamame beans, peas and coriander and served with a yoghurt, cucumber and mint dip. This recipe is easy to make at home and suitable for vegetarians or vegans.
prep time: 15 MINScook time: 12 MINStotal time: 27 mins
  • 350g/2 1/3 cups frozen edamame beans
  • 150g/ 1 cup frozen petit pois (or peas)
  • ½ white onion. quartered
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 ½ tbsp plain flour
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 ½ tsp ground coriander (cilantro)
  • 14 g (a handful) fresh coriander (cilantro)
  • 14 g  (a handful) fresh flat leaf parsley 
  • 1 tsp salt
  • A good grinding of pepper
  • 50g/ ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 250g/1 cup plain yogurt (I used Alpro)
  • 3 cm piece cucumber chopped finely
  • A few fresh mint leaves
  • A good grinding of salt

  1. Blanch the frozen peas and beans in boiling water for a
    minute, drain and pat dry.
  2. Add all the ingredients apart from the breadcrumbs and oil to a blender or food processor and whizz until you have a textured batter.
  3. Form the batter into balls and roll in the breadcrumbs.
  4. Heat enough oil in a wok to cover the falafel. Once the oil is really hot, carefully lower a few of the falafel in at a time and cook for a few minutes until the coating is brown and crunchy.
  5. Once cooked remove from the oil carefully (I used a metal slotted spoon) and place on kitchen paper to drain off the excess oil. Keep cooking in batches until they are all cooked.
  6. To make the dip, chop the cucumber and mint and mix with the yogurt. Season with salt.
  7. Serve the falafel with salad and dip or on a wrap with salad and hummus.
  8. Enjoy!
Created using The Recipes Generator

If you like this recipe, why not try my red kidney bean falafel and follow my Pinterest board Falafel, Pakora and Savoury Bites.

Disclosure: This is a paid post for Waitrose. I created this recipe as part of their #essentialWaitrose promotion. I was not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.
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Hands up who loves a slice of moist sticky gingerbread?

Yes me too.

I haven't made any for ages, but I had some bananas which were, shall we say rather ripe and I had to do something with them quickly before Graham lobbed them in the bin.  Yep, I have to be quick, he has a thing about bananas once they start going brown. I see them as challenge to bake something, he sees rotten fruit that has no right being there.

I usually make some chocolate chip banana bread with them or if I have some silken tofu in the fridge I whip up some luxurious chocolate mousse, but this time I decided to make dark treacle gingerbread with bananas as a binder and for decoration.

Gingerbread has to be slathered with butter or dairy free spread, don't you agree? It's one of those comforting homemade cakes that would have been served by grandmothers across the UK with a cup of tea in decades gone by.

10 Gingerbread Facts

  1. Gingerbread can be a loaf cake or a biscuit (cookie).
  2. Gingerbread was allegedly brought to Europe in 992 AD by an Armenian monk who taught French Christians to make gingerbread.
  3. In the 13th century German immigrants introduced it to nuns in Sweden who baked gingerbread to help indigestion.
  4. In Tudor times gingerbread men were created for the court of Queen Elizabeth I.
  5. In the 17th century gingerbread was thought to have medicinal properties and was sold in English markets.
  6. In the 18th century settlers form Europe introduced gingerbread (the cake) to America where molasses were added.
  7. In America it is often known as gingerbread cake or ginger cake.
  8. In Germany gingerbread biscuits (cookies) are called Lebkuchen.
  9. In Switzerland gingerbread is called Biber and the cake is filled with marzipan.
  10. In Poland gingerbread is called Pierniki and has been made since the middle ages.

Flax eggs or no flax eggs?

My original recipe for gingerbread contained eggs and butter, but this recipe is vegan. I usually use flax eggs in my cakes when I'm converting them to a vegan recipe, but my friend Nic over at Yumsome blog had mentioned to me that you don't actually have to bother making flax eggs and popping them in the fridge to thicken. 

Nic said you can just add flaxseed powder (flaxseeds or linseeds freshly ground in a food processor, blender or pestle and mortar) to the cake mixture and just add a little more liquid. I tried that this time and it worked fine. I also added a bit more self-raising flour as I knew the cake would be a bit denser with the bananas in it.  It actually resulted in two cakes that are surprisingly light and airy but rich at the same time.

If you prefer to use flax eggs in cakes, mix 1 tbsp flaxseed powder with 3 tbsp water (for each egg) and pop in the fridge for 20-30 minutes until thickened.

Molasses or treacle?

Molasses and treacle are very similar dark syrups both made during the process of making sugar. Some molasses (blackstrap molasses) are very dark and almost bitter, so if you are using really dark molasses, you may want to use a mixture of that and golden syrup to sweeten and take the edge of the bitterness. 

Both molasses and treacle add to the richness and dark colour of gingerbread.

Nutrition and Calories in Gingerbread

Each loaf cake can be sliced into 12 slices and there are 163 calories per slice, making it suitable for a low calorie diet like the 5:2 diet. Of course if you slather it with butter or dairy free spread you WILL be adding quite a few more calories. Just saying!

Yield: 2 loaf cakesAuthor: Jacqueline MeldrumPrint Recipe
With ImageWithout Image
Dark Treacle Banana Gingerbread
A rich sticky gingerbread cake baked in a loaf tin. An easy bake with no dairy or eggs. Makes two rich flavoured cakes that are surprisingly light and fluffy.
prep time: 10 MINScook time: 45 MINStotal time: 55 mins

  • 150g plain flour
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 150g soft brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp ground flax seeds
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 heaped tbsp ground ginger
  • 3 tbsp mixed spice
  • 250g black treacle
  • 200 ml almond milk
  • 80ml olive oil
  • 2 mashed bananas
  • 1 banana (for decoration)

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c/160c fan/gas mark 4.
  2. Line two x 2lb loaf tins with baking parchment (greaseproof paper) or loaf tin baking inserts. Little blobs of dairy free spread will stick the liners to the tin, anywhere the paper is bulging. You will thank me for this tip when you are pouring the mixture in.
  3. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and mixed spice into a large bowl. Stir in the sugar and flax powder until well combined.
  4. Whisk the treacle, almond milk, olive oil and mashed banana in a large jug or bowl.
  5. Add the treacle mixture to the flour and fold in gently until just combined.
  6. Pour half the mixture into each of the loaf tins, top with a long slice of banana for decoration and bake for 40 - 45 minutes, or until a cake skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  7. Remove from the oven and leave in the tins for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and allow it to cool completely.

If you like, you can use golden syrup instead of black treacle, but the you will come out with a paler loaf cake which isn't as rich. 

The banana on top is also optional.
fat (grams)
sat. fat (grams)
carbs (grams)
protein (grams)
sugar (grams)
Created using The Recipes Generator

If you like this gingerbread recipe, you may also like my vegan chocolate chip banana bread.
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Chocolate Mousse. That can't be healthy right?

It can the way I make it. Only three ingredients too. Bananas, silken tofu and cocoa powder. That's it!

A rich indulgent chocolate mousse that's good for you. Although I do admit I added some dark chocolate chips for a change this time, but you could leave those out if you like..

This luxurious mousse is made in minutes, then you just pour it into glasses and pop it in the fridge to chill until you're ready to serve it.

New products at M&S
I picked up the silken tofu when I was in M&S. They now sell a fabulous range of products from Clearspring, who are well known as the people who bring us premium and organic Japanese products which are all vegetarian or vegan. M&S are stocking organic tofu, sushi ginger wasabi powder, organic white miso, organic sushi rice, toasted sushi nori, organic instant miso soup with sea vegetables and rice miring.

Tofu at M&S

As well as all the new veggie and vegan products at M&S, including salads, ready meals and sandwiches, I think I have been most excited about their range of tofu. It's what I need when I'm in there picking up fruit, veg and other bits and pieces to create new recipes. They have silken tofu which I made this mousse with, firm tofu, which I am planning to make skewers with soon and sesame, chilli and coriander tofu which is ready prepared and spiced. I used it in my vegan sloppy joes which where sensational!

Back to the mousse

I whizzed up this mousse in my power blender. It's fabulous for quick recipes like this. Just throw the ingredients in and you have a super smooth mousse in seconds with no effort at all.  All that deliciousness and healthy too.

Then I poured in some chocolate chips, haha. Well as I said it's your choice if you add them.

Power blender

In case you are wondering I use the Optimum 9400 from Froothie. I've been using it for years now and it's my favourite piece of kit. Froothie have it on sale just now with £60 off taking it down to £339 and they have given me a further £20 off to offer you (taking it down to £319) along with free delivery. Just add the code AMB20 + 1405 in the comment box if you decide to treat yourself to one.

Healthy Chocolate Mousse

You may have scoffed when I called this healthy chocolate mousse, but it really is. It's low in calories and saturated fat, it's a good source of dietary fibre and protein and includes calcium, iron and protein.

Perfect if you are watching your weight or following the 5:2 diet.

What more could you ask from a dessert that is a heavenly chocolate hit and made in minutes?

Yield: 3 dessertsAuthor: Jacqueline MeldrumPrint Recipe
With ImageWithout Image
healthy choc chip and banana chocolate mousse
A luxurious chocolate mousse that is made in seconds. It's low in fat and calories as well as full of good stuff. This will becomes your go-to quick dessert and there's no guilt attached.
prep time: 5 MINScook time: total time: 5 mins

  • 290g silken tofu
  • 2 large bananas
  • 2 heaped tbsp cocoa powder
  • 50g dark chocolate chips (optional)

  1. Slice a few pieces of banana and set aside for decoration along with a few chocolate chips (if adding them).
  2. Pour the liquid out of the tofu pack, then place the tofu, the rest of the banana and the cocoa into the jug of a blender. You could use a stick blender, but you would want to mash the banana first.
  3. Whizz until smooth, then add the chocolate chips if you are adding them and mix in.
  4. Pour the mousse into three short glasses or dessert bowls and top with slices of banana and a few chocolate chips. Chill until ready to serve. It will set and thicken as it cools.
  5. Enjoy!
Nutritional information is for each mousse with no decoration. The sugars are from the banana.
fat (grams)
sat. fat (grams)
carbs (grams)
protein (grams)
sugar (grams)
Created using The Recipes Generator

If you like this low calorie, but sumptuous chocolate mousse you may like my coconut fruit salad which it utterly delicious and only 174 calories.

Disclosure: I am working with M&S to promote some of their new veggie and vegan product and I also included an affiliate link for my favourite blender (I receive a small payment if you buy one, which helps pay for this site). I was not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own. 
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Tinned Tomatoes by Jacqueline Meldrum - 3w ago

Doesn't that look good? It's my favourite lunchtime wrap. And when I say favourite, you can fill in the blanks and figure out I eat this a lot. It is so darn tasty.

The beets are pickled, the tomatoes are sundried for that rich flavour, the peppers are sharp and crunchy as is the juicy cucumber. The salad leaves are the filler and the tortilla is spread with dairy free pesto before the toppings are pilled on. It's a flavour explosion in the mouth!

As you can see I fill it rather generously, so when it comes to wrapping it and eating it, I do have to be careful. Does that make me add less the next time I make this scrummy wrap? Hell no, I add just as much, if not more. I just have to have some kitchen paper to hand for any escapees.

Sometimes I add a few dollops of Violife cream cheese to the tortilla too and I have to say that is rather good too. My vegetarian readers might like it with some fresh mozzarella added. I warn you though, don't add vegan mozzarella, as that wouldn't be a thing of pleasure.

I was feeling generous today and served my wrap with a small bowl of crisps (chips to my American readers) and a glass of mango cordial. I don't usually stop long enough to add anything on the side. I am usually too eager to dive in.

One warming to you. If you are making this for your lunchbox, roll it in some kitchen paper before wrapping it tightly in tinfoil. Otherwise some beetroot juice or oil from the sundried tomatoes or pesto can escape. That kitchen paper is a necessity if you aren't eating this right away. Mark my words!

How I love thee beetrootLet us count the ways!
  1. Raw and grated
  2. Pickled
  3. Tetra packed already cooked and ready to chomp
  4. Roasted
  5. On salads
  6. In wraps
  7. In sandwiches
  8. in couscous
  9. In a chocolate cake
  10. In a savoury tart

Or just straight out of the jar with a spoon! Yup! I'm that refined and shan't tell you about climbing onto a kitchen unit as a child to reach the cupboard so I could eat French mustard out of the jar with a teaspoon. Nope, not telling you that story. Me, I have no bad habits. NONE! I am a lady!

Yield: 1 wrapAuthor: Jacqueline MeldrumPrint Recipe
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Beet Salad Lunch Wrap
A salad wrap with a powerhouse of flavours and textures including pickled baby beets, sundried tomatoes and pesto.
prep time: 5 MINScook time: total time: 5 mins

  • 1 large flour tortilla
  • 1-2 tbsp dairy-free pesto 
  • A generous handful of salad leaves
  • 4 slices of cucumber, halved
  • A few slices of fresh red pepper
  • 3 sundried tomatoes, halved
  • 2 baby beets, quartered

  1. Spread the tortilla with pesto.
  2. Add your filling along the top half of the tortilla, first
    salad leaves, then cucumber, red pepper, sundried tomatoes and baby beets.
  3. Fold the sides of the tortilla in a little then holding them
    firmly, roll the tortilla from the top over the filling and towards you.
  4. Chop in half and serve.
  5. Enjoy!
Created using The Recipes Generator

Here are a few of my favourite sandwiches and wraps

Clockwise from top left:

  1. Veggie sausage, red pepper and hummus wraps
  2. The ultimate vegan sandwich
  3. Spiced chickpea and carrot sandwich filler
  4. Falafel and apple sandwich

If you are looking for more lunchtime inspiration check out my food guides 10 Vegan Lunchbox Ideas for Kids and The Ultimate Sandwich Guide (50 veggie and vegan sandwich ideas) or follow my Pinterest board Sandwiches - Make Lunch Special.

For recipe inspiration delivered straight to your inbox sign up to my newsletter using the mailing list form on my sidebar.

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I have to hold my hands up and admit I'm the worst person at eating breakfast. When I head to work in the morning I never eat breakfast. It's just too early for me and I can't face it. Somewhere between 9 am and 10 am is my optimum time to eat and enjoy breakfast. Before that? Nope! Not going to happen. I have to say in my house it's do what I say and not what I do, so Cooper never leaves the house without a tummy full of breakfast, which is usually a hearty bowl of porridge.

I do eat breakfast on my days off, when I will quite often enjoy a bowl of porridge. I'm not a great fan of cereal. Now and again I will take a notion for it, but not very often. I quite like a toasted bagel with cream cheese or a toasted teacake and the occasional slice of toast.

On a Sunday we eat breakfast late and we all enjoy baked beans on toast or a full cooked veggie breakfast.

Do you eat a special breakfast on Sundays?

Why is porridge so good for you?

Oats have a low glycemic index, so you don't experience that sugar spike with them. They leave you feeling fuller for longer and one bowl of porridge has more fibre than a slice of wholemeal bread. It's also rich in minerals including iron, copper and manganese.

The fibre in porridge turns jelly-like in your stomach which is why it leaves you feeling fuller for longer and it is said to help lower cholesterol, prevent heart disease and lower the chance of some cancers.

You are also less likely to snack or have that late morning slump. A bowl of porridge should happily keep you going until lunchtime.

Creamy Blueberry, Banana and Coconut Porridge

My dad is a true Scot. He makes his porridge the traditional way with water and a pinch of salt. To hell with that I say! 

I make Cooper's porridge with milk, raisins, cinnamon and flax seeds (linseeds), then mix in a mashed banana for sweetness. 

For the adults I make the porridge with coconut milk (fresh drinking coconut milk, not the thick stuff in tins you use in desserts), which is Graham's favourite, blueberries and cinnamon then mixed in mashed banana and topped with dessicated coconut and more blueberries.

I finished the porridge with a small drizzle of maple syrup, but that is optional. The mashed banana adds a lot of sweetness to the porridge, so you don't really need the maple syrup.

How to pimp your porridge?

  1. Add mashed banana and slices of strawberries for a summer hit.
  2. For a chocolatey porridge, mix in a little cocoa or cacao powder and top with sliced bananas.
  3. Make porridge more interesting. Cook it with raisins and when it's ready, stir in mashed banana and top with a spoonful of crunchy granola or muesli.
  4. Top with a spoonful of dessicated coconut and slices of ripe mango for a tropical taste.
  5. For a dessert style porridge top with slices of ripe pear (cooked or tinned) and a generous grating of dark chocolate.
  6. For apple pie porridge, stir in cooked apple and top with a sprinkle of cinnamon and a some crumbled ginger snap (biscuit/cookie).
  7. Mix in a dollop of peanut butter (add extra milk as this will thicken it) and top with curls of dark chocolate.
  8. Top with tinned peaches, raspberries and a dollop of plain yogurt (dairy or dairy-free) to make peach melba porridge.
  9. For a treat, mix a generous dollop of nutella through your porridge and top with slices of ripe strawberries.
  10. For a nursery style porridge, top your porridge with a big dollop of your favourite jam.

Yield: 1Author: Jacqueline MeldrumPrint Recipe
Creamy Blueberry, Banana and Coconut Porridge
A creamy bowl of porridge made with blueberries, cinnamon and coconut with mashed banana added for sweetness. This healthy breakfast will see you through the day and keep you full longer.
prep time: 2 MINScook time: 5 MINStotal time: 7 mins

  • 50g porridge oats
  • 300 - 350 ml of milk (choose your favourite and add more if it needs it)
  • a pinch of cinnamon
  • 75g blueberries
  • 1 small banana
  • 1 heaped tsp dessicated coconut
  • a drizzle of maple syrup (optional)

  1. Add your oats, milk, cinnamon and most of the blueberries to your pan (reserve a few to top the porridge with before you serve) and cook gently for a few minutes until it thickens, stirring it regularly.
  2. While your porridge is cooking, mash a banana in your porridge bowl until it becomes a puree.
  3. Pour your porridge into your bowl and mix in the banana with a spoon. Top with coconut and more blueberries.
  4. Tuck in and enjoy!
fat (grams)
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Created using The Recipes Generator

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This beet, grape and cream cheese salad is a big tasty salad for one. It's all singing and dancing. It has salad leaves and cucumber as the base and it given a ping with some tasty pickled baby beets, which have the tang of vinegar and a slight sweetness. There is sweetness from the grapes, salty crunch from the pistachios and a hit of fresh herbs and garlic in the creamy yogurt dressing.

Oh yes my friends this is a winner.

And it's all mine. 

Well actually it was all Graham's. I told him I'd make him a tasty lunch on Valentine's Day to enjoy after his dog walk (I shall not tell you I made him do housework and iron on his day off which just happened to be Valentine's Day, let's focus on the good stuff!).  I had already eaten a salad wrap, but I did taste all the ingredients as I was assembling the salad. I mean what's a girl to do?

Do you do anything special for Valentine's Day?
We don't. I gave a card to my wee boy this morning, which I got a lovely big smile for and a big squeezy hug, but Graham and I don't really bother. For instance today, I told Graham this was his Valentine salad and told me he was doing some Valentine ironing for me. So we do still make each other laugh, but we really can't be bothered with the day.

Don't get me wrong, when we were younger we made a big fuss. There were cards, flowers, chocolates, presents and dinners or trips out.

We've had our share of romance. Shall I let you into a secret? We've been together 27 years now (I know I seem way too young for that, I'm sure you are thinking, well I'm telling myself you're thinking that anyway)

Since we had our boy, he has become our focus and we've let Valentine's Day slide and do you know what, I'm not upset about that in the least. We're still best friends and love each other. You can't get better than that.

Salad Nutritional Information
This salad is much lower calorie for lunch than a sandwich. It's a substantial, filling salad that's only 183 calories with a good drizzle of the dressing.

It provides 20% of your daily recommended intake of potassium (a mineral that helps lower the negative effects of salt and helps lower blood pressure),  15% of your recommended intake of calcium (and no dairy in sight!) and 14% of Iron. So it's a pretty darn healthy lunch as well as tasty.

It's perfect if you are watching your weight or doing the 5:2 diet.

Yield: Serves 1Author: Jacqueline MeldrumPrint Recipe
Beet, Grape & Cream Cheese Salad with Herby Yogurt Dressing
A colourful beet salad with lots of flavour and texture, served with a yogurt, fresh herb and garlic dressing. Suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
prep time: 10 MINScook time: total time: 10 mins
  • 50g salad leaves
  • 1/4 cucumber, sliced
  • 6 pickled baby beets (you could use fresh but the sweet pickled ones add more flavour), halved
  • 6 red grapes, halves
  • 6 tsp cream cheese (dairy or vegan, we like Violife)
  • a handful of pistachio nuts, shelled and roughly chopped
Salad Dressing
  • 50g plain yogurt (dairy or vegan)
  • 1/2 small clove garlic, crushed (less if you like)
  • a small handful of fresh herbs (I used mint and parsley), chopped
  • a good grinding of salt and pepper

  1. First make your salad dressing by mixing up the yogurt, garlic and herbs in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Layer your salad in a bowl. Salad leaves, cucumber, beetroot and grapes, Spoon on dollops of cream cheese, scatter over the nuts and then add a drizzle of the dressing.
  3. Enjoy!
fat (grams)
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Created using The Recipes Generator

If you like this salad you may like to try my creamy vegan potato salad.
Happy Valentine's Day!
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Pancake day is nearly here and it's the perfect time to brush up your flipping skills and try out a new recipe. Today I'm sharing a recipe for healthier blender chocolate and banana pancakes. They are quick to make a super tasty!

Why are these pancakes healthier?

Generally pancakes are made with eggs, milk, sugar and flour and don't get me wrong, that makes a delicious pancake, but if you're looking for tasty pancakes that are healthier, lower in calories or suitable for a dairy free or vegan diet, then these are the pancakes for you.

These pancakes:
  1. Contain no egg
  2. Are sweetened with banana
  3. The milk is replaced with almond milk
  4. The chocolate flavour comes from good quality dark cocoa powder. 
  5. There is also an extra nutritional boost from chia seeds
  6. They are topped with berries for a second portion of fruit
  7. They can be cooked oil-free if you use a non-stick pan

The sauce has is made with cocoa powder and coconut milk with a little maple syrup to sweeten it.

Linwoods nutritional seeds, grains and powders

Linwoods kindly gave me this recipe to try and to share with you. 

They do a fabulous range of individual and mixed grains, seeds and powders, which a perfect to boost the nutritional content of your recipes. I personally use their flaxseeds, hemp and chia seeds to add to dishes. I use them a lot in porridge, smoothies, sauces and dips.

I used flax seeds and chia seeds in my Scottish oaty walnut and raisin flapjacks and in this rather lush Oreo chia shake. I added hemp and chia seeds to a fruity green smoothie and flax seeds to sticky toffee pudding energy balls.  I use ground flax seeds to make flax eggs to replace regular eggs in puddings and cakes and I add hemp to homemade kale hummus.

Linwoods also have a recipe page for inspiration.

What is the story of Pancake Day?

Pancake Day is celebrated every year in February. Pancake day falls 47 days before Easter Sunday, but a quick Google search will quickly tell you which Tuesday it falls on each year. This year it falls on Tuesday 13 February.
Pancake Day is also known as Shrove Tuesday, Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras. Pancake Day is also the day before Lent so traditionally a time to use up rich foods such as butter, sugar and eggs before Lent begins.

Lent is a time of moderation and reflection for Catholics and many Protestants. It starts on Ash Wednesday, the day after Shrove Tuesday (pancake day) and lasts up until Easter Sunday when the resurrection of Jesus after his death on the cross is celebrated.

Yield: 6-8 pancakes depending on sizeAuthor: Jacqueline MeldrumPrint Recipe
Healthier Blender Banana Pancakes with Chocolate Sauce
Healthier chocolate pancakes made with oats, banana, chia seeds and cocoa. Served with a chocolate sauce and berries. The sauce is optional, but totally delicious.
prep time: 5 MINScook time: 10 MINStotal time: 15 mins
  • 60g porridge oats
  • 15g cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 60g ripe banana
  • 125ml unsweetened almond milk (or your favourite nut milk)
  • 1 tbsp milled chia seeds (ground chia seeds, you can do this yourself in a blender or pestle and mortar)
  • 1 -2 tsp maple syrup (optional, the bananas add sweetness)
  • 1⁄2 tsp vanilla extract or paste
Chocolate Sauce
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp coconut milk
  • 1 tsp arrowroot starch (or cornstarch) and 1 tbsp warm water

  1. Place all pancake ingredients in a blender or food
    processor and blend until the mixture is smooth. If you don't have a food processor or blender, you can use a stick blender.
  2. Heat a non-stick frying pan and test a little of the pancake batter to see if the pan is hot enough. It should puff up and start to bubble a little, then it is ready to flip. Use 2 heaped tablespoons of batter for each pancake.
  3. Cook each pancake for 2 to 3 minutes then flip and cook the other side for a couple of minutes.
  4. To make the chocolate sauce whisk together the cocoa powder, maple syrup and coconut milk in a small pan and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for a couple of minutes.
  5. Mix together arrowroot or cornstarch with the water. Add this mixture to the pot and whisk well. This will help to thicken the sauce. It will take a couple of minutes.
  6. Serve the pancakes topped with a drizzle of chocolate sauce . To make them extra special add a scattering of hemp seeds and desiccated coconut for a bit of crunch and blackberries for adding flavour.
  7. Enjoy!
The sauce can be made ahead and stored in the fridge for a couple of days.

Calorie is per pancakes (if you make 6) with sauce.
fat (grams)
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Created using The Recipes Generator

Vegan Pancakes

Vegetarian Pancakes

Scotch Pancakes - Tinned Tomatoes

For more pancake inspiration follow my Pinterest Board Pancake Day. Flip it up!

Disclosure: Linwoods shared this recipe for me to try. I was not paid in money or goods for this post.
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