Healthy Sauce for Fussy Eaters!

Healthy Sauce for Fussy Eaters!Even at 28 years old I still have to trick myself into eating healthy foods. I’ve dramatically improved over the years but I think a part of me will always be a fussy eater. With me, half the battle was texture & ‘eating with my eyes.’ This unbelievably delicious recipe solves both those problems in one fell swoop!

Healthy Sauce for Fussy Eaters!Seriously, what if I told you that you could get all the above veg into a fussy eater and they wouldn’t even realise? I kid you not! The trick? A food processor. Take out the texture & you are left with a visibly appealing sauce that is jam packed full of the good stuff AND tastes fantastic!

Here is what you will need to make approx 6 generous portions/1.5kg. (Recipe adapted from BBC Good Food.)

Top Tip! With it just being me and the Mr, I used 2 portions straight away and froze the rest in freezer bags for a later date.

  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Onion
  • 2 Sticks of Celery
  • 1 Leek
  • 2 Carrots, peeled
  • 2 Peppers, I used 1x Red 1x Yellow
  • 2 x 400g Tins of Chopped Tomatoes with Garlic
  • 1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Granulated Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Mushroom Ketchup, optional
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • Salt & Pepper

Essential Equipment

  • Food Processor or Stick Blender
  • Large pot/saucepan with a lid

Firstly, prep your veg.

Slice the onion, celery, leek & carrot into pieces roughly the same size. Core and slice the peppers and set to one side.

Over a medium heat, add the oil into a large lidded pot/saucepan.

Add in the onion, celery, leek & carrots and cook for about 20mins until softened. Stir occasionally so nothing catches on the bottom.

Healthy Sauce for Fussy Eaters!

Healthy Sauce for Fussy Eaters!Add in the peppers and cook for a further 10mins.

Healthy Sauce for Fussy Eaters!

Healthy Sauce for Fussy Eaters!Tip in the tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, granulated sugar, mushroom ketchup (if using) and garlic powder. Generously season with salt & pepper and give it a good stir.

Healthy Sauce for Fussy Eaters!Pop on the lid and allow to simmer for about 20mins until everything is nice and soft.

Then remove the lid and allow to reduce for 5-10mins.

Healthy Sauce for Fussy Eaters!Lastly, give it all a good stir and leave to cool a little before either blitzing in a food processor or with a stick blender.

Healthy Sauce for Fussy Eaters!See the difference pureeing can make? If I was still as bad as I was when I was younger – there is no way in hell I would have touched this before it had been through the processor! Now it looks completely unassuming and harmless. See?! A perfectly deceitful way of sneaking veg into those fussy eaters.

Healthy Sauce for Fussy Eaters!As I recommended before, unless you are cooking for a lot of people anyway – this is a great  recipe to split & store in the freezer for those days when you just can’t be bothered. Making you much less likely to reach for the takeaway menu & far more likely to inject some goodness into you!

Top Tip! If serving with pasta, when warming through the sauce, add a little of the pasta water and stir it through. This will make it lovely and smooth.

In other news, If you weren’t already aware, me and the Mr are expecting our first child in around 4-6 weeks. Yesterday, our wonderful family & friends surprised us with an amazing Baby Shower!

Baby ShowerClearly this (and the large amount of cake!) made us extremely happy! I sincerely feel very lucky & privileged to have such a wonderful bunch of people in my life. Huge thank yous all round to everyone that was involved/attended. My mini KitchenMasonite is already so spoilt and she’s not even arrived yet!

Speaking of cake – I would like to take this opportunity to give a big shout out to my Dad. Why you ask? Well, my Dad has never decorated a cake in his entire life but he’s always relished a challenge…

Baby ShowerSeriously, he’s never made a celebration cake before. EVER. How unbelievably awesome is this?! Not only did it look incredible, it tasted incredible too. The vanilla genoise sponge was beautifully soft & light and the buttercream was so smooth – absolutely divine. Move over Mr Kipling, there’s a new cake maker in town!

I hope you enjoyed this week’s post my lovelies, until next time.

Miss KitchenMason

Baked Sweet Potato & Boston Style Beans!

Baked Sweet Potato & Boston Style Beans!Welcome to January 2015! With the undisputed return of exercise regimes and healthy diets, it’s time to abandon the December gluttony & adopt the resolution dominated New Year.

Honestly though? I think we’re all far too pressurized into being ‘healthy healthy’ in January and a lot of what we strive to achieve is, well, unrealistic to say the least. Personally I believe it’s easier to trick yourself by simply altering the hearty wintery foods we all love into healthier versions. That way, you’re more likely to stick to trying to eat better. The alternative? Eating a lettuce leaf for lunch then going home, giving in, and scoffing the entire kitchen! Be honest – we’ve all done it.

So! Here’s what I propose you start with. This surprisingly sensational, baked sweet potato topped with Boston style baked beans. Trust me – these beans are FAR superior to any you can buy in a tin and are well worth a little extra time & effort! Another bonus? It’s naturally gluten free so a great, tasty dish for you coeliac sufferers too.

Here is what you will need.

For the Beans – Serves 2-3

  • 150g Smoked Bacon
  • 600g Cannellini Beans
  • 2 x Small Onions
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • 150ml Vegetable Stock
  • 50ml Runny Honey
  • 30ml Cider Vinegar
  • 30ml Mushroom Ketchup, optional
  • 30g Brown Sugar
  • 50g Tomato Ketchup
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Mustard Powder
  • 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Coarse Black Pepper
  • Fresh Parsley to garnish, optional

For the Baked Potatoes – Serves 2

  • 2 Medium sized Sweet Potatoes
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Additional Topping – Grated Cheddar Cheese, optional

 

Preheat your oven to 170°C/Fan 160°C.

To make the beans, prep your ingredients. Chop up the bacon, finely dice the onions & crush the garlic.

Preferably, use a large roasting pan that can also be used on the hob. Alternatively, just use a frying pan to start with and transfer to a roasting pan.

Heat your chosen food vessel over a medium/high heat then add in the bacon and fry until browned. (About 5mins.) No need for any oil, the bacon will create it’s own fabulous juices. If you used a frying pan, transfer the bacon & juices into a roasting pan.

Baked Sweet Potato & Boston Style Beans!Add in the beans, (including the juices) the diced onion & the garlic and give it a stir.

Put the rest of the ingredients (minus the fresh parsley) into a jug, stir, then tip it all into the roasting pan. Mix it all up then pop it in the lower part of your oven and bake uncovered for about 60-70mins until the sauce has reduced down to a beautiful sticky sauce & the beans are soft.

Baked Sweet Potato & Boston Style Beans!

Baked Sweet Potato & Boston Style Beans!These beans will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days if you wanted to make them in advance. Alternatively, keep covered to one side then simply reheat when your potatoes are ready.

To bake the sweet potatoes, crank the oven up to 200°C/Fan 180°C.

Rub the potatoes in a little olive oil & some salt. Place on a baking tray lined with foil & put into the centre of the preheated oven for approx 45 minutes. When done, the skin should be nice & crispy and the insides soft & smooth.

Baked Sweet Potato & Boston Style Beans!When your potatoes are cooked, slice them down the middle and, if you like, add a little grated cheddar cheese. Then top with a generous helping of the beans & sprinkle with some freshly chopped parsley to add a little freshness.

Et vous voila! You got yourself a wholesome, hearty dinner that’s not only really good for you – but tastes incredible! And it’s only a stones throw away from the regular jacket potato with cheese & beans that we all know and love.

Seriously, you’ve got to give this a go. I promise it’s worth the extra bit of effort to make your own beans. I genuinely wish you could get these in a tin but, for now, I’m more than happy to make my own when they taste as good as this!

I hope you enjoyed this week’s post my lovelies.

Oh, and Happy New Year everyone! Until next time.

Miss KitchenMason

A Nutella Lovers Dream!

Nutella Truffles & Nutella Hot ChocolateNo one wants to be slaving away in the kitchen for hours making Christmas gifts or treats. Want to know a little secret? These incredibly simple, 3 ingredient Nutella truffles will only take you about 10 minutes to make AND they make gorgeous little Christmas gifts!

And how do you reward yourself for your 10 minutes of “back breaking hard work”? A wonderfully indulgent mug of Nutella hot chocolate of course! Oh, and did I mention that both of these sensational delights are naturally vegetarian and gluten free? I know, they’re the gifts that just keep on giving!

Without further ado, here is what you will need to make these beautiful, chocolatey pleasures.

Nutella Truffles

(Makes approx 18-20 – recipe adapted from Urban Bakes.)

  • 180g Nutella
  • 60g Icing Sugar
  • 50g Chopped Roast Hazelnuts

In an electric stand mixer with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with a spatula – beat together the Nutella and icing sugar until you can’t see any more white powder.

Nutella Truffles & Nutella Hot ChocolateRoll into small balls between your palms then roll in chopped hazelnuts to cover. Imagine a spherical 10p coin – that’s the kind of size I went for.

(I honestly wouldn’t make these big as they will be far too sickly – even for the most dedicated Nutella fan!)

Nutella Truffles & Nutella Hot ChocolatePlace the truffles on a lined baking sheet, then the next bit is up to you. You can either eat them as they are at room temperature, or you can pop them in the fridge to firm up. My preference is chilled but it’s entirely up to you.

Nutella Truffles & Nutella Hot ChocolateThen store in an airtight container and consume within a week.

Nutella Truffles & Nutella Hot ChocolateNutella Hot Chocolate

(Serves 2, easily doubled – recipe adapted from Cafe Delites)

  • 600ml Semi Skimmed Milk
  • 1 generous tbsp Nutella
  • 1 tbsp Cocoa Powder *
  • 1 tbsp Honey

* Don’t use chocolate drinking powder as this is already sweetened.

Pour the milk into a saucepan and place over a medium heat. Warm through.

Nutella Truffles & Nutella Hot ChocolateOnce it starts to steam – add in the Nutella, cocoa powder & honey.

Nutella Truffles & Nutella Hot ChocolateBring the mixture to the boil, stirring frequently with a whisk to ensure all the ingredients blend together nicely.

Nutella Truffles & Nutella Hot ChocolateDivide between two mugs and, if you like, top with whipped cream, marshmallows, chocolate chips or anything that takes your fancy!

(Bear in mind that marshmallows are typically gluten free but not vegetarian.)

Nutella Truffles & Nutella Hot ChocolateI told you they were easy!

Even I was surprised with how simple & quick they both are to make. I will remember these truffles the next time I have zero time to sort a gift! Even if the receiver doesn’t like Nutella – you can get tons of different flavoured chocolate spreads now and you could roll them in anything! Grated chocolate, cocoa powder or even desiccated coconut.

Another surprise for me is how easy it is to make your own home made hot chocolate. I mean – wow. It’s SO much nicer than the stuff you buy at the supermarkets! The flavour possibilities are endless too. So long as it will melt, is a liquid or removable (i.e. a bouquet garni) – you can pretty much put it in hot chocolate. I can’t wait to experiment with this!

I hope you all enjoyed this week’s post my lovelies.

From me, the Mr & the bump – I wish you a very Merry Christmas!

All my love, Miss KitchenMason x

Christmas Tree Brownies!

Christmas Tree BrowniesWith just over a week left until the big day, I found myself wondering what other awesome Christmas bakes I could try – then I came up with these little beauties. Christmas tree brownies! Not only are they delightfully gooey & rich, they’re really fun to decorate AND vegetarian & gluten free. It’s also a great recipe to get the kids involved in. What more could you want?!

One thing to note – these brownies work best if made the night before and allowed to cool completely before attempting to slice & decorate. Also – they are the most awesome, rich & gooey brownies you will ever make. (And that’s a KitchenMason promise!)

Here is what you will need to make 14.

For the Brownie

For the Decoration

  • 100g White Chocolate **
  • Pack of Candy Canes **
  • Red/Green Sugar Balls **

Essential Equipment

  • 30 x 20cm Rectangular Cake/Swiss Roll Tin

*Regular self raising flour works fine if you don’t need it to be gluten free.

** Most are vegetarian/gluten free but check the label just in case.

 

Right, let’s get cracking!

Grease and line the cake tin and set to one side until needed.

Preheat your oven to 190°C/Fan 170°C.

Break the dark & milk chocolate into a large bowl and add the butter & salt. Gently melt either in a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water or in the microwave.

Stir until smooth & shiny then leave to one side to cool.

Christmas Tree BrowniesEither in an electric stand mixer with the balloon whisk attachment or in a large bowl with an electric hand whisk – whisk the eggs for at least 3-4 minutes until really light and pale.

It should leave a slight trail when you remove the balloon whisk/beaters.

Christmas Tree BrowniesAdd in the muscovado sugar & vanilla extract and whisk again until evenly blended but still fairly light in texture.

Christmas Tree BrowniesIn thirds, pour in the cooled chocolate & gently fold through using a rubber spatula.

Sift over the flour and carefully fold this in – just until you can’t see any more lumps of flour and the mixture is smooth & still quite light.

Christmas Tree BrowniesPour the mixture into the prepared cake tin – be careful not to overfill as it will rise slightly.

Then bake in the preheated oven for approx 25-30 minutes.

Christmas Tree Brownies

Christmas Tree BrowniesAs mentioned before, it is best to make these brownies the night before and allow to cool completely before attempting to remove from the tin & slice.

So, when completely cooled  -run a spatula down the sides of the brownie to release from the tin then gently lift out and place on a chopping board/mat.

Now, I’m a bit of a perfectionist so yeah – I got a ruler out at this point! But basically, cut the brownie into 14 triangles. You will have 4 spare bits for you to taste test too! (Clearly I couldn’t wait to take a photo…)

Christmas Tree BrowniesTake each candy cane out the wrapper and snap into pieces approx 3cm long.

Place the brownies on a wire rack over a piece of newspaper & carefully insert a piece of candy cane into the base of each one.

Christmas Tree BrowniesMelt the white chocolate in either a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water or in the microwave and pour into a piping bag.

Snip the end and pipe ‘tinsel’ across each tree then place sugar balls down the edges in the chocolate for the baubles.

I found it best to decorate in half batches – just to ensure the chocolate doesn’t set before you have stuck the ‘baubles’ in.

Christmas Tree BrowniesAllow the chocolate to set for about 30-40 minutes or so before either devouring straight away or placing in nice presentation boxes to give as gifts to your loved ones.

I find it best to store these in an air tight container in the fridge – due to their extreme ‘gooeyness’ they can become a little delicate if stored at room temperature.

Christmas Tree BrowniesGo on, admit it – they’re SO cute aren’t they?! I think these make great little home made gifts for people and, with the decoration element – you can let the kids go nuts adding edible glitters, hundreds and thousands or whatever else they can think of!

Don’t forget to enter my awesome competition to win a fabulous Scanpan Roasting Tray! You can enter via the Website, Facebook or Twitter.

I hope you enjoyed the post my lovelies – until next time!

Miss KitchenMason

 

Ultimate Roast Veg & Scanpan Giveaway!

Ultimate Roast Veg & Scanpan GiveawayWe’re into December now and there’s only one thing on everyone’s mind – Christmas. I’m here to help make it a little easier on you with my super simple & intensely delicious ultimate roast veg recipe. Not only that, but you could bag yourself literally the greatest roasting pan I have ever used! Competition details at the end of the post.

Here is what you will need to serve 3-4 as a side dish.

  • 350g Baby Potatoes, quartered
  • 2 – 3 Large Carrots, peeled & sliced
  • 2 – 3 Large Parsnips, peeled & sliced
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Oregano
  • 1 tsp Thyme
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Fresh Parsley, to garnish (Optional)

Preheat your oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C.

Quarter the baby potatoes (they should be roughly 3cm in diameter) then peel the carrots & parsnips.

Slice the carrots & parsnips to approx the same size as the potatoes – this will ensure it all cooks evenly.

Then throw it all into a good quality roasting pan along with the garlic powder, oregano, thyme, olive oil & a generous helping of salt & pepper.

Get your hands in and mix it all together so everything is evenly coated.

Ultimate Roast Veg & Scanpan GiveawayPop it into the centre of the preheated oven and cook for 35-40 minutes until golden & soft.

I gave mine a mix half way through the cooking time.

Ultimate Roast Veg & Scanpan GiveawayI told you it was simple! No mess, no fuss recipes are exactly what you need on Christmas Day to eliminate all that unnecessary stress. This is literally – chop it, mix it, cook it . Job done! And only one pan to wash after?? You’re welcome.

Now, onto the more important business at hand. The Scanpan roasting pan. Wowsers this is a great piece of kit! I’ll be honest, I had never actually heard of the brand until now. But honestly? This really is a kitchen must have and completely obliterates all the other roasting pans I have ever used!

Ultimate Roast Veg & Scanpan Giveaway

What you need to know: Scanpan is a Danish company that not only strive for unrivaled quality with their patented ceramic titanium coating but they also care deeply about the environment. Despite the added cost, the Scanpan Classic range is made using 100% recycled aluminium and even the packaging they come in is 100% recycled material too.

Ultimate Roast Veg & Scanpan GiveawayAs for the roasting pans, I have honestly never come across quality like it. It has a fantastic weight to it and you know they’re not lying when they say it comes with a ‘no warp’ guarantee.

The ceramic titanium non stick coating is really something to shout about too. I mean, nothing is going to stick to this baby – NOTHING! Every time I’ve roasted veg in a roasting pan, something has always stuck to the bottom and it’s a nightmare to clean. With this? No chance! Everything wiped straight off. It was like you hadn’t cooked anything in it in the first place.

Another thing I noticed when making this recipe was how evenly everything cooked. They claim the roasting pans have fast & even heat distribution and I totally agree! Fantastic stuff.

Ultimate Roast Veg & Scanpan GiveawayAn additional feature that I think is also worth noting, is the fact that the bottom allows it to be used both on the hob & in the oven. So you could sear some chicken or beef on the hob and finish it off in the oven – all in one pan. It literally does it all!

 

So, to be in with a chance of winning your very own Scanpan Roasting pan – just do one or all of the following 3 things:

 

1. Like the KitchenMason & Scanpan UK pages on Facebook then share the photo pinned to the top of my timeline

2. Follow @KitchenMason & @ScanpanUK on Twitter and retweet the competition tweet on KitchenMason’s Twitter feed with the hashtag #WinHausKM

Not on social media? No problem!

3. Subscribe to my blog via e-mail or WordPress (on the right hand side of the page) and leave a comment on this post to say you’ve done so.

 

It really is that easy!

Competition is open to UK residents only and closes on Saturday 20th December at 1pm.

The winner will be announced on both Facebook & Twitter afterwards.

I hope you enjoyed the post lovelies, and good luck!

Miss KitchenMason

Chocolate Cinder Toffee

Chocolate Cinder ToffeeSo Halloween is over. Up next? Bonfire Night!

I know what you’re thinking… you want a super quick, super easy, naturally vegetarian AND gluten free recipe right? Give this chocolate cinder toffee a go and I promise, you won’t regret it! Alternatively referred to as hokey pokey or honeycomb, it’s like making your very own, home made Crunchie bars. Awesome right?

In other news this week, I’ve also tried something a little different for you lovely lot. It’s the first ever KitchenMason step by step video! I hope you like it.

Alternatively, here’s the usual guide you’ve come to know and love.

What you need:

  • 2 tbsp Honey
  • 2 tbsp Golden Syrup
  • 100g Caster Sugar
  • 2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 150 – 200g Milk Chocolate*

* for Gluten Free, check the wrapper as some are/some aren’t.

Line a 25cm square tin with baking paper and grease lightly with oil. Or, like me, just use a silicone tin as it won’t stick.

In a large pan, add the honey, golden syrup and sugar. Mix it all together now as it’s not wise to do so when over the heat.

Chocolate Cinder ToffeePlace the pan over a high heat and bring to the boil.

Bring the mixture to 145°C (it will take approx 2-3 minutes from boiling point – if you don’t have a thermometer, watch the video to see what it should look like.)

Now for the magic. Immediately turn off the heat, chuck in the bicarbonate of soda and give it a good whisk until you can’t see any more bicarb.

Quickly pour it into your prepared tin and leave to cool & set for 30 minutes.

When it’s hard, cut into large chunks.

Chocolate Cinder ToffeeEither in a microwave or a glass bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, gradually melt the chocolate until smooth.

Place a sheet of greaseproof paper onto a baking sheet. Then dip each piece of cinder toffee into the chocolate, and allow to set on the sheet.

Store in an airtight container.

Chocolate Cinder ToffeeSee, I told you it was quick and easy!

It’s gorgeous stuff, I absolutely love it. Like glistening gold dust smothered in a smooth, silky chocolate coat… drool. Yeah, they ain’t gonna last long that’s for sure!

I hope you enjoyed this week’s post, until next time my lovelies.

Miss KitchenMason

 

 

Crushed Baby Potatoes

Crushed Baby PotatoesI always seem to run out of ideas for sides to have with meals.  But I definitely get bored with the usual pasta, rice & salads. This side dish is quick, easy and something a little bit different to the regular mashed, boiled, roast or baked. A really tasty and satisfying dish that appears to be creeping into my meals more & more often!

Here is what you will need to serve 2 as a side dish. (Easily doubled)

  • 450g Baby Potatoes
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • Salt & Pepper

Bring a large pan of generously salted water to the boil.

Add in the potatoes – being careful not to splash yourself. Bring back up to the boil then cook for 15mins until starting to soften.

Crushed Baby PotatoesDrain the potatoes well then gently crush with a fork. You want a good mix of large & small chunks.

Crushed Baby PotatoesSwap that fork for a spoon so you don’t crush the potatoes any further. Drizzle in the olive oil,  dot in the butter and add a fairly generous helping of salt & pepper to season. Give it a mix and that’s it!

Crushed Baby PotatoesAnd there you have it, a simple yet temptingly inviting side dish that’s ready in less than 30mins! Perfect for midweek meals or easy entertaining. You can even play about with the flavours. Got some fresh herbs to use up? Chop ‘em up and mix ‘em in. Mustard in the fridge? Add a teaspoon or 2 for an extra kick. You could just about chuck anything in to give it a flavourful boost or simply enjoy it as it is.

I hope you enjoyed the post lovelies!

Until next time.

Miss KitchenMason