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Lunchbox Muffins

Posted by Gill Bland Thursday, 20th October 2016

When researching for a baking idea that could be used to fill a spot in the lunchbox and the stomach at the start of a new term I read lots of interesting ideas about home-made sushi, bread on sticks and pretty bento boxes. Let’s be honest though, the first week is over and we’re into the long slog of the academic year and our resolve to be healthy and home-made is probably waning. What we really want is not a fiddly, pretty piece of sandwich art but something we can throw together with minimal washing up in the time it takes for someone else to find that tv programme and get it loaded and ready to go on iPlayer before we collapse in a heap and fall asleep before we’ve got through the ‘last time on’ section. What we really want and probably what the kids want is chocolate. Again. But we’re not  quite ready to give in completely. Even for those without children though there’s something about this time of year that has that ‘start from the beginning’ feel to it. It’s almost like a second bash at new year. With that in mind I bring you a slightly healthier version of chocolate cake: the one fork, one bowl, 5 minute feelgood lunchbox muffins. These muffins enable you to create that ‘made with love’ moment for the lunchbox but without loading it with sugar and without loading yourself with washing up.

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Raspberry Chocolate Puddle Crumble Flapjack

Posted by Gill Bland Monday, 22nd August 2016

The Great British Bake Off is back on our screens and this year’s crop of bakers are ready to do battle with flour and eggs. There’s a garden designer, a pastor, a PE teacher and an aerospace engineer. Who will rise (pun intended) to the top and who will sink like one of my Victoria sponges? 

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Earl Grey & Lemon Teabread

Posted by Gill Bland Monday, 27th June 2016

Anyone for tea and tennis? Wimbledon is upon us once again and with it the excuse to lounge around in the sun eating strawberries and drinking G&Ts. In our dreams. Sadly, we know that the great British summertime can sometimes be less that sweltering and we can’t all write off an afternoon to a jug of Pimms. This recipe harnesses the joy of a traditional British pastime and a hint of summer but is also easy to take to work or nibble whilst watching the clouds roll over.

 

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Use up your veggies

Posted by Gill Bland Monday, 16th May 2016

This week is National Vegetarian Week. Whether you’re veggie or not, the warmer weather of summer is both an ideal time to get more vegetables into your diet and also a bit of a nightmare for keeping vegetables fresh. Which vegetables end up in the tray-of-shame at the bottom of your fridge will vary from house to house. For us there’s often a slightly yellowing head of broccoli, passed over during the week for the more exotic red pepper or the easy to throw in frozen peas. The great thing about vegetables is that, unlike meat, if you use them when they are slightly ‘off peak’ you’re usually not at risk of killing anyone. 

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Valentine's recipe

Posted by Gill Bland Tuesday, 9th February 2016

Nothing says “I love you” more than a bread-based product the size of your face, right?

I wanted to steer clear of the normal  heart shaped cookies, pink cakes or ‘romantic dinner’ recipes you find around valentine’s day. Instead I have tried to come up with something that is equally useful for someone wanting to give a home-made gift as for someone with a family and wanting a bit of love-filled comfort food. 

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Breakfast Boost Loaf

Posted by Gill Bland Tuesday, 5th January 2016

I’m sure you’ll see plenty of green smoothies, salads and other healthy recipes doing the rounds this January but the fact remains that it’s still pretty wet and dark out there and we need some comforting stodge in our lives. This will definitely fulfil that brief. 

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Musings on Christmas dinner

Posted by Gill Bland Tuesday, 8th December 2015

Christmas dinner - the most wonderful meal of the year?

I’m going to have come clean on this subject. I have only ever cooked Christmas dinner once. I massively over catered and I over cooked the veg. But, despite the spiced red cabbage mountain left after my attempt I’m not averse to the idea of trying again because you know what? I’m pretty certain that the cook is more critical on themselves than anyone else is of their cooking when it comes to Christmas dinner. In fact how about we don’t call it that? Let’s call it a turkey roast dinner to celebrate Christmas. It’s not your only dinner of the Christmas period after-all and there’s a lot more to Christmas than that one meal. 

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Edible Sparklers for Bonfire Night

Posted by Gill Bland Tuesday, 3rd November 2015

You don’t need worry about wearing gloves to eat these sparklers and you don’t need a bucket of water to put them in. However, I’m sure dipping them in a mug of hot chocolate wouldn’t hurt. If you’re short of time this ideas works perfectly well using bought breadsticks in a packet (the grissini type). The biscuit base here will make for a sweeter treat though.

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P-P-Pick Up A Pumpkin

Posted by Gill Bland Monday, 26th October 2015

I don’t buy into the idea of celebrating ghouls and ghost-type things for Halloween, but I’m more than happy to embrace the recent influx of pumpkin-based products to our supermarkets. In fact, in the interests of honesty, I should tell you that I have used a large amount of the UK’s pumpkin supplies in aborted attempts to make pumpkin-filled treats.

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Simple Sardine and Tomato Tagliatelle

Posted by Gill Bland Monday, 13th July 2015

Whether you’re going on holiday or not, the fresh flavours and easy method of this recipe should bring you a little taste of the mediterranean. I suggest finding a nice red wine to drink with it and perhaps burning a citronella candle as you eat it - just for that authentic holiday experience!

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