Pickled Cucumber Sticks

Crisp with a lovely vinegary bite and a slight chilli kick, these pickled cucumbers sticks will light up any meal.

When we started our veggie patch in the spring, with no previous experience whatsoever, we were hoping that eight cucumbers plants will give us enough fruit for everyday use… well, we were wrong… we are drowning in cucumbers…  So far we have collected more than 70kg of them and we are nowhere near the end of the season looking at all the freshly formed flowers popping all over the plants. As there are only so many cucumbers you can eat in a day it was time to get creative and start thinking about jarring them for winter.

Crisp with a lovely vinegary bite and a slight chilli kick, these pickled cucumbers sticks will light up any meal.

This recipe is similar to my Honey Pickled Cucumber Slices posted earlier but with some key differences. The slices are good for sandwiches or burgers and the like where as these sticks are a better shaped for chopping into salads. The other difference is the absence of any sweet honey but the addition of a cheeky chilli giving a kick to the pickle, it works and it is divine.

The batch below will allow you to make five 0.72l jars (if you pack the cucumbers pretty tight).

Ingredients:

  • ~3.5kg cucumbers
  • 500ml filtered water
  • 500ml 6% vinegar
  • 125g sugar
  • 1.5tbsp salt
  • 5 allspice

Additional per jar:

  • 1 chilli
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 10 mustard seeds
  • 3 cloves

Crisp with a lovely vinegary bite and a slight chilli kick, these pickled cucumbers sticks will light up any meal.Method:

Fill the cooking pot with water, add vinegar, sugar, salt and allspice and bring it to boil. Make sure everything is dissolved.

Wash your cucumbers, then cut them in half (lengthways). With a spoon carefully remove all seeds, then with a sharp knife cut into sticks around ½-1cm thick and to a length that will match your jar height. Removing all seeds with allow you to pack your cucumbers much tighter into the jars and they will be much crisper once eaten later on.

Crisp with a lovely vinegary bite and a slight chilli kick, these pickled cucumbers sticks will light up any meal.

Pack the cucumber slices into sterilised jars… remember the tighter the better but don’t overdo it so you end up crushing the pieces.

Once the cucumbers are in, add chilli, garlic, mustard seeds and cloves, finally fill the remaining space with earlier prepared brine and close the lid tightly.

Place your jars into a large cooking pot. Add a kitchen cloth to the bottom, so none of the jars touch the pot directly. Fill with water, covering ¾ of the jar height and boil for 5 minutes. Do not over boil… this will make them softer.

Crisp with a lovely vinegary bite and a slight chilli kick, these pickled cucumbers sticks will light up any meal.

Somewhere on the worktop make temporary resting den for the jars… they will have to stay there for about 24h. Place a thick towel or two on the worktop, using thick kitchen gloves remove jars from the boiling water, check the lids and put to rest in an upside down position. Once all jars are placed cover with a few more towels or a blanket and let them stay like this until totally cool.

Move to their long term storage place and enjoy as needed.

Crisp with a lovely vinegary bite and a slight chilli kick, these pickled cucumbers sticks will light up any meal.

Triple Chocolate Almond Brownies

Super rich in flavour, dense yet chewy in the middle, those brownies offer the perfect cross between cookies and a cake.

Purposefully made to not be a sweet as traditional brownies whilst retaining all the wonderful flavours you would expect they offer a more intense experience. The chewy middle encapsulated with a crunchy exterior is complimented with the nuts for that pleasing crunch the mouth adores and all backed up with a small tingle from the coffee buzz… could you ask for more.

Ingredients:

  • 150g dark chocolate; roughly chopped
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 115g butter; cubed
  • 100g almonds; roughly chopped
  • 55g plain flour
  • 50g white chocolate; roughly chopped
  • 30g drinking chocolate
  • 2 eggs; beaten
  • 1tbsp instant coffee
  • 1tbsp filtered hot water
  • 1/2tsp vanilla essence

Super rich in flavour, dense yet chewy in the middle, those brownies offer the perfect cross between cookies and a cake.Method:

Preheat the oven to 180C and prepare an 8-inch square tin by lining it with baking paper, unless you, like me, bake in a silicone tray in which case no lining is necessary.

In a heavy bottomed saucepan, over a very low heat melt the butter and dark chocolate slowly. Once melted remove from the heat and add the sugar, stir constantly until it is all dissolved.

Put aside the mixture to cool down.

In a small cup mix together the hot water and instant coffee and again set aside to cool; once cold add the vanilla essence.

Beat the eggs with a fork or whisk in a small bowl or cup.

In yet another bowl sift the flour and drinking chocolate together.

Once your dark chocolate has cooled down to around room temperature pour into a mixing bowl and then add the whisked eggs, the coffee and vanilla mixture and stir the mix until combined.

Fold in your flour and drinking chocolate; finally gently fold in the chopped almonds and white chocolate chunks.

Spread the mixture out evenly in your pre-prepared baking tray and bake for 28-30 minutes or until just set in the middle… avoid over baking as over baked brownies will tend to be dry and hard, I like to check on them once my timer hits the 25-minute mark just to keep a close eye on them.

Remove from the oven and place the tray on a cooling rack to allow them to cool completely.

Cut into your desired serving portion size and enjoy!

Super rich in flavour, dense yet chewy in the middle, those brownies offer the perfect cross between cookie and a cake.

Flourless Banana and Peanut Butter Dog Treats

Super quick and easy, using only five ingredients these gluten free, flourless banana and peanut butter dog treats will make their tail wag for sure.

Super quick and easy, using only five ingredients these gluten free, flourless banana and peanut butter dog treats will make their tail wag for sure. We all deserve something special from time to time so why not treat our four legged friends to some yummy homemade treats? This recipe, for a change, is totally flourless. I don’t think that flour in small quantities is necessarily bad for our dogs but a few readers have suggested that they would prefer a flourless recipe, so here you have it… banana and peanut butter mixed with oats… quick, easy and actually rather tasty… yes, I do try all baked goods even the ones designed for my dogs.

As I cook / bake for my dogs, which are way above the so-called standard size and on top of that there are two of them, depending on your circumstances you might want to halve the ingredients… just to make sure your pooch doesn’t end up being over fed with treats as you become fearful of the treats going off. The ingredients as stated below will yield 24 6cm round 1cm deep treats, which are perfect for my large / giant breed but might be way too big for a smaller lap dog type of breed, so please adjust ingredient amounts accordingly.

Super quick and easy, using only five ingredients these gluten free, flourless banana and peanut butter dog treats will make their tail wag for sure.

Ingredients:

  • 350g organic oats
  • 200g ripe bananas flesh
  • 200g unsalted peanut butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2tsp cinnamon

Super quick and easy, using only five ingredients these gluten free, flourless banana and peanut butter dog treats will make their tail wag for sure.Method:

Preheat the oven to 180C and prepare a large baking sheet.

In a large bowl place the bananas and mash them well with a fork.

Add the peanut butter, eggs, cinnamon and half of the oats and mix well. Slowly add the remaining oats incorporating them with the rest of the ingredients until you achieve a nice pliable mixture, which can be rolled out flat.

Using a rolling pin roll out the mixture until it is approximately 1cm thick. Use a cookie cutter of your desired shape and cut out some cookies.

Super quick and easy, using only five ingredients these gluten free, flourless banana and peanut butter dog treats will make their tail wag for sure.Place them on the earlier prepared baking sheet (no spacing necessary as these cookies aren’t going to grow or spread) and bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

Stored in an airtight container they should be good enough to feed for a week.

Super quick and easy, using only five ingredients these gluten free, flourless banana and peanut butter dog treats will make their tail wag for sure.

Honey & Mustard Roasted Chickpeas

High protein, crunchy and super tasty these Honey & Mustard Roasted Chickpeas make for a perfect healthy snack.

High protein, crunchy and super tasty these Honey & Mustard Roasted Chickpeas make for a perfect healthy snack. Chickpeas are a nutrient-dense food, which provide a rich content for protein, dietary fibre and minerals, especially iron. They have been associated with a number of possible health benefits for different medical conditions but for me there is one main reason to eat them… the taste… I love chickpeas, they are perfect as a main meal such as falafels, as an addition to soups or salads and of course as shown here, as a healthy snack.Chickpeas are a nutrient-dense food, which provide a rich content for protein, dietary fibre and minerals, especially iron. They have been associated with a number of possible health benefits for different medical conditions but for me there is one main reason to eat them… the taste… I love chickpeas, they are perfect as a main meal such as falafels, as an addition to soups or salads and of course as shown here, as a healthy snack.

If you are ever stuck for ideas for what to have as a healthy snack, then why not give chickpeas a try. Roasted chickpeas make for a perfect snack and they will keep you fuller for longer due to their high protein content. They are easy to prepare and can be flavoured in 100s different ways depending on your personal tastes and desires.

Today I want to share with you one of my favourite ways – honey and mustard chickpeas, a very nice sweet and sour combination, which should appeal to most.

High protein, crunchy and super tasty these Honey & Mustard Roasted Chickpeas make for a perfect healthy snack. Chickpeas are a nutrient-dense food, which provide a rich content for protein, dietary fibre and minerals especially iron. They have been associated with a number of possible health benefits for different medical conditions but for me there is one main reason to eat them… the taste… I love chickpeas, they are perfect as a main meal such as falafels, as an addition to soups or salads and of course as shown here, as a healthy snack.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tin of chickpeas (400g)
  • 2tsb sunflower oil
  • 2tsp raw runny honey
  • 2tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2tsp salt

Method:

Preheat the oven to 200C

Drain and wash chickpeas, then help them dry by patting them with some kitchen paper towel.

Once dry, spread them on a large baking tray and lightly drizzle with the sunflower oil.

Gently shake the tray and make sure all the chickpeas are evenly coated.

Sprinkle generously with salt and pop into the earlier preheated oven for 20 minutes.

In the meantime whilst you are waiting, mix the honey and mustard together.

When the time is up, remove your chickpeas from the oven, gently tilt the tray to move them to one side so they are all bunched up and then drizzle with honey and mustard mixture. Using a silicone spatula stir the chickpeas around ensuring that they are all evenly coated. Finally spread them out again all over the baking tray and pop back to the oven for an additional 10 minutes, stirring once half way through the cooking time.

The chickpeas should be totally dry and crunchy. If they are still slightly wet inside you might need to increase the cooking time but check them every few minutes as you don’t want them to burn.

Cool and enjoy!

High protein, crunchy and super tasty these Honey & Mustard Roasted Chickpeas make for a perfect healthy snack. Chickpeas are a nutrient-dense food, which provide a rich content for protein, dietary fibre and minerals, especially iron. They have been associated with a number of possible health benefits for different medical conditions but for me there is one main reason to eat them… the taste… I love chickpeas, they are perfect as a main meal such as falafels, as an addition to soups or salads and of course as shown here, as a healthy snack.Apparently, they can be stored for up to a week but my batches never seem to last more than a day so I cannot vouch for it. 🙂

High protein, crunchy and super tasty these Honey & Mustard Roasted Chickpeas make for a perfect healthy snack. Chickpeas are a nutrient-dense food, which provide a rich content for protein, dietary fibre and minerals especially iron. They have been associated with a number of possible health benefits for different medical conditions but for me there is one main reason to eat them… the taste… I love chickpeas, they are perfect as a main meal such as falafels, as an addition to soups or salads and of course as shown here, as a healthy snack.

Coffee, Chocolate & Pecan Cookies

Soft and chewy, those coffee, chocolate and pecans cookies offer a great treat; an irresistible flavour combination for any time that you need a pick me up.

Soft and chewy, those coffee, chocolate and pecans cookies offer a great treat; an irresistible flavour combination for any time that you need a pick me up.It’s cold out there, and very white… yes, we are kind of snowed in, which means no playing outside… as a result, we are spending more time in the kitchen, cooking and baking and generally creating some wonderful creations… and today I would love to share our new cookies with you 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 175g flour
  • 115g butter; soften
  • 115g light muscovado sugar
  • 85g caster sugar
  • 50g dark chocolate; roughly chopped
  • 50g pecans; roughly chopped
  • 2tbsp instant coffee
  • 1tbs hot water
  • 1 large egg
  • 1tsp vanilla essence
  • 1/2tsp baking powder
  • 1/4tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/4tsp grounded ginger
  • 1/4tsp grounded cinnamon

For decoration (optional)

  • 25g dark chocolate; melted
  • 25g pecans; roughly chopped

Soft and chewy, those coffee, chocolate and pecans cookies offer a great treat; an irresistible flavour combination for any time that you need a pick me up.

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180C and prepare two large baking trays by lining them with baking parchment.

In a large bowl place the butter and both sugars and beat until light and fluffy.

Put the coffee granules into a small bowl or cup; add hot water and stir until dissolved, set aside to cool. Then add the vanilla extract and the egg and whisk until combined.

Slowly add the coffee mixture into your butter and sugar mix beating until creamed and fluffy again.

Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and cinnamon and fold carefully into your mix.

Finally, fold in the pecans and chocolate chunks.

Measure approximately one heaped tablespoon of mixture per cookie and place onto your earlier prepared baking trays spacing them well apart to allow room to grow.

Bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown and slightly crisp on the outside, they will still feel very soft to the touch but they are ready at this stage.

Leave to cool on the baking tray for a 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Soft and chewy, those coffee, chocolate and pecans cookies offer a great treat; an irresistible flavour combination for any time that you need a pick me up.If decorating, wait until the cookies have cooled down completely, drizzle with melted chocolate then immediately sprinkle with chopped nuts (the still warm chocolate will work like a glue as it cools and sets).

Store, after cooling down completely, in an airtight container.

Enjoy with a beverage of your choice!

Soft and chewy, those coffee, chocolate and pecans cookies offer a great treat; an irresistible flavour combination for any time that you need a pick me up.