Homemade lasagna! :)

Just 4 days to our trip to the US yay!! So this will be the last recipe until the end of September I’m afraid. I made this lasagna last weekend and it was really nice! Everything was homemade including the white sauce or besciamella. I packed the lasagna with plenty of vegetables, and the meat was organic too, so overall was quite an healthy meal.

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Ingredients : 

500g of mince beef

1 big onion

2 cloves of garlic

2 or 3 bay leaves

6 tomatoes

Some passata / can of chopped tomatoes

1 tablespoon of tomato ketchup

2 carrots

2 bunch of spinach

lasagna pasta sheets

3 slices of cheddar or some grated mozzarella

a handful of grated parmigiano reggiano

some sort of alcohol like beer or cider, white wine or whiskey

Spices : black pepper, dry chilies, salt, paprika, parsley

For the white sauce : olive oil, flour and hot milk, salt, black pepper and nutmeg.

Method :

Start frying the onion with the olive oil, bay leaves and garlic, when soft add the meat and all the spices and fry for awhile, until meat changes color, then add the booze and let it evaporate .

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After add all tomatoes,carrots, washed, chopped, passata and ketchup, let it simmer for a good 30 to 40m. 5minutes before the end put in the spinach.

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While the meat cooks, do the white sauce, it’s very easy but requires your full attention. In a pan heat a bit the olive oil ( if you want add a bit of butter like a teaspoon like I did) and add the flour, I didn’t measure anything, I added things until it looked right. Keep mixing without stopping the oil with the flour and add slowly the hot milk, always stirring, when it gets silky and just right thick take it off the heat, it’s ready.

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If you buy fresh pasta it’s much easier, you just need to assemble the lasagna e bake, I didn’t I used the dry one so I had to soak the sheets in boiling water for 30seconds. Once that’s done you start assembling. Choose a big enough tray, quite deep too. First put the lasagna sheets, cover them with the meat, add another layer of the pasta cover it with white sauce and some cheese, on top of that more meat, and finally the last layer of lasagna, on top lots of white sauce and all the cheese that it’s left.

Bake for 30m at 200 degrees or until golden brown.

TIP: If the lasagna it’s still hard on top but it doesn’t have enough sauce to cook with pour some milk on top of it and lt it bake a bit more, you won’t taste it at all, I didn’t need it this time, but last time I had too, and it was my partner’s father that told us how to do it, and he is an italian from the south, so he knows 😉

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I’m not going to lie and say it’s really quick because it’s not, but if you want to treat your family to a very nice homemade meal,this is the way to go, or if you simply enjoy some kitchen days like me 🙂

This week I didn’t have much chance to go to the gym, just managed 2 hours, but once I came back from my holidays and move house, I will get back on track.

So, take care, and until my return! I will update my facebook with pictures of some of the american food, so if you want to see that, add me 🙂  here  https://www.facebook.com/fionabluerecipes?ref=hl

Lots of love xxx

 

Best upside down apple/cinnamon/nuts cake, no really!

For our saturday dinner I decided to make lasagna ( my next post) and this amazing cake! If you love cinnamon, and christmassy flavours ( I know it’s a bit early 😉 ) then this cake is for you..

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For the cake :

Dry :

200g of self rising flour

1.5 teaspoons of baking powder

100g of golden sugar ( I think you can reduce this easily to 70g)

Wet :

2 tablespoons of olive oil /rapeseed oil

2 eggs

175g of natural yoghurt

2 drops of vanilla essence

1 tablespoon of melted butter

1 splash of vodka for good luck

Combine all the dry ingredients and then add the wet to it, mix all together. At the end fold in carefully the whipped egg whites.

For the upside down/topping part:

4 big apples, sultanas, sugar, butter, cinnamon

Peel and cut the apples, in a pan add a tablespoon of butter with some sugar, this part s up to your taste, and add the apples, sultanas and cinnamon ( i used 2 heaped teaspoons) . Let it cook for around 20m in a low heat, and add boiling water, everytime it starts to get too dry.

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I “greased” the baking tin with liquid caramel that I buy in a portuguese shop, but I’m sure you can buy elsewhere. Add the cooked apples to the bottom of the baking tray, 2 raw sliced bananas and after top it with the cake mixture.

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Pre heat the oven at 180 degrees C and bake for around 35/40m or until golden.

In the meantime heat a bit of the liquid caramel ( or make your own, or heat a bit of honey) in a pan and put in some chopped nuts ( in big pieces) leave it enough time just to coat the nuts.

Once you remove the cake from the tin, pour over the caramel or honey and nuts mixture, and let it cool.

Enjoy!! It’s really tasty and so good with a cup of tea 😉

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Cinnamon : is a digestive aid that helps normalize levels of both glucose and triglycerides in the blood. It’s a 1st class antiseptic, rich in antioxidants. Just smelling it is said to boost cognitive function and memory.

Take care xx

Tasty pancakes, weekend breakfast!

I am a pancake and crepe lover, love all kind with all sort of toppings! I decided that in the US the meal I’m going to make sure to eat out all the time is going to be breakfast, as they have big and varied one….and pancakes, and pancakes!

So today I woke up really starving, maybe because I went to the pub and didn’t have a proper dinner yesterday, really good night by the way 😀 and did 2 hours of exercise too!  and decided that it was a pancake day. The basic recipe is from a Jamie Oliver tv program that I can’t recall the name, and all the extras are mine .

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The ingredients :

This will make 2 pancakes each for 4 people.

1 mug of white flour

1 mug of semolina ( original recipe asks for 2 cups of white flour)

3 eggs

2 mugs of milk

1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda

Now the extras :

Raw cocoa nibs

A handful of oats

poppy seeds

linseeds / flaxseeds

matcha powder ( this is just a mix from ,H&B that contains goji berries/chia and other things )

Note : the extras can be anything you like, it won’t affect the basic recipe, you can add nuts, dried or fresh fruit, it will always taste delicious!

The reason why I added all of this is to pack more nutrition, and keep the family fuller for longer 😉

Mix all together, you can leave it to rest for 5m so the soda reacts, but I didn’t because I was very hungry!

In a non stick pan add a bit of sunflower oil, and put in 1 soup ladle of the mixture. When you see little air bubbles ( after around 3 minutes) the pancake should be ready to flip, I use a spatula as I can’t do the french flipping thing . let it cook for another couple of minutes or until golden brown.

On the table we had blackberry jam ( my favorite) , honey, peanut butter, cocoa powder … you can top it anyway you want, I think yoghurt and fresh berries would be nice too.

The pancakes are fluffy, tasty and really filling, so I think 2 it’s plenty.

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What are your favorite pancake toppings? Best pancake recipe? And for the Americans, any good pancake place in NY or SF that you can recommend?

Enjoy your weekend, here in London is raining a lot, so I’m staying in today.

Lots of love xx

Brigadeiros, chocolate and carnation milk decadent dessert :)

Got the notice today, so we have 2 months to find a house! Hopefully it will be a smooth thing 😉  Tonight was the first time I went to a dance class, this one was  Brazilian  dance, it’s quite fun actually, I think I will do it again!

This dessert is Brazilian, and it was not on purpose :p It’s a decadent sweet intense chocolate flavored balls.. You only need a good chocolate powder, carnation milk and butter.

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Ingredients :

1 tablespoon of unsalted butter or margarine

1 can of carnation milk

4 tablespoons of chocolate powder

Chocolate shavings

Dried coconut

Method :

Place the butter, carnation milk and chocolate powder in  a pan over medium heat, don’t stop stirring until the mixture starts coming off the pan, that’s called Brigadeiro point, and that’s when you have to stop, it doesn’t take long, just a few minutes. Set it aside and let it cool down. Once it’s cold oil your hands, and make small balls, roll them on the chocolate shavings and some others on the coconut, place them in pretty cases and it’s ready to serve. Enjoy!

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Remember that this is a treat and not an everyday thing. We can enjoy the foods we love, in moderation, that’s the trick. I don’t believe in refusing everything you crave, but I don’t believe in excess either, it all hangs in the balance 😉

Chocolate, good and dark is a healthy asset to any diet :  improves immunity, longevity and quick recovery from intense exercise. Dark chocolate without additives, it’s best and lowers the risk of cancer and stroke.

Have you add me on facebook? If not, please do so, I usually post pictures of my food first in there 🙂

Do you enjoy dance classes? Which one have you tried?

And what is your favorite chocolate treat? Cake or mousse, or…?

Just one day to go, weekend is almost here 😀

 

 

Bacon and cheese muffin, perfect sunday treat! :)

Another drama in the house of  Fiona!…..

A pipe burst this week in our bathroom, a huge flood, emergency plumber and no sleep. And all of this followed by a day’s work, fun and games 😉 So another week went by without much time to cook.. And that’s why this week my main workouts were yoga and pilates, as I need as much calm as I can summon.

So today, I decided that lot’s of food was going to come out of my kitchen! Today I will show my cheese and bacon muffins, delicious and really easy to put together!

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Ingredients :

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250g plain flour

50g semolina

grated cheese, I used cheddar and parmigiano

3 eggs

100ml of olive oil

bacon

sesame seeds

2 tsp baking powder

250ml of milk

parsley

salt and pepper

cumin and tumeric to taste

Preheat the oven at 180 degrees C ; Combine flour,semolina, baking powderand seasonings. On a separated bowl whisk the eggs, milk, olive oil and parsley. Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients, add the bacon( that has been previously fried)  and mix all together. Grease your muffin tin, or use paper cases and fill them with the mixture. Bake for 20m or until golden brown.

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Eggs : Excellent source of protein. Contains vitamin D for healthy bones and teeth, and nutrients that help balance blood sugar levels, protect against heart disease, and support the healthy function of nerves and the brain.

Countdown for USA  : 17 days!

Waht have you been baking lately? Tell me your favourite savoury muffin recipes! Hope you had an amazing weekend and have a good week! xx

 

 

 

 

 

Spinach, bacon and potato frittata, and another dinner :)

Unfortunately this week I was told that my landlord wants to sell my house, just 10 months after we move in, so my mind has been busy with worry instead of cooking ideas… But it will be fine, it always is!  😉

I made a beautiful frittata yesterday for dinner. It’s quite easy and not much work involved.

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You will need 8 to 10 eggs will make enough to 4-6 people ; spinach, bacon and some boiled and chopped potatoes.

First put the bacon ( I use pancetta, cooked and smoked bacon) in a large pan and let it fry, it doesn’t need any fat, as the fat from the bacon is enough, when the bacon gets some color add the spinach and let it cook for 2 minutes, add the already cooked potatoes and your spices, I used paprika, a bit of salt and pepper.

On another recipient whisk eggs with a bit of black pepper. I divided everything in  portions, it easier to cook. So just add half the eggs, to half of the potatoes/bacon/spinach mixture and let it cook for awhile, once the frittata is almost cooked you can flip it , I used a plate and just slide it onto the plate and after just put it back into the pan , but on the other side that needs to be cooked. The trick is that the frittata really needs to be almost cooked.

To accompany it I made an avocado, tomato, olives and onion salad, but I guess any kind of salad or even steamed vegetables, would be great!

Another dinner this week : Mustard turkey steak with borlotti beans rice, really tasty!

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Add me on facebook!! https://www.facebook.com/fionabluerecipes

Avocado : Is high in beneficial monounsaturated oils which can lower blood pressure, lubricate joints and helps improving fertility.

I still managed to hit the gym a few times this week despite all my stress, but I guess it was for the best as I let some steam off!

Do you change houses a lot? Does stress impacts on the way you eat?

Have a great weekend! x

Bento box! Work lunches, what’s in it ?

Everyday I take my lunch to work, just because I prefer m own food and I save more money. But I have to say that we are lucky where I work. We have a canteen, where the food is quite cheap and relatively healthy, we have a salad bar, a vegetarian, meat/fish option and soup, bread and sandwiches Plus cakes and desserts! So no complains there. My only problem is that I’m a bit sensitive to certain things like cream and too much oil, it just makes me a bit nauseous and I look pregnant as my belly get’s a bit swollen . So I would rather take my own.

Usually I take the next day what I had for dinner, as I don’t have the time to cook fresh just for that lunch, and I have to say it always taste good! I’m happy as I bought my first proper cute bento box, love it, it’s so tidy and neat, it makes eating lunch a much better experience 😉

This was what I had for lunch one day this week :

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It was a very easy seaweed rice – I just cooked rice as I would normally, and add the pre soaked seaweed to cook along the rice for the last 10 m. I pan friend some sausages, this ones are D. favorites, they have north African spices in it. On a separated container I sliced 1 tomato and add some blueberries. On top of the rice i put this Japanese rice seasoning( mainly dry seaweed, garlic and sesame seeds)  that you can buy in oriental shops, I bought mine in Japan Center. And that’s it, the colors and strong flavors helps me keep interested and eating less sweets ( which I tend to eat at work…) .

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What do you have or lunch at work? Do you prefer cold or hot meals for your lunch?

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Seaweeds : Assists weight management, helps remove toxins from the body, lowers risk of heart disease and stroke, fights the effects of stress.

 

Today is Pilates and Boxing day. What exercises are you doing today?

Take care xx