Sensational summer berries recipes and CookBlogShare linky week 26

Berries just seem to be everywhere at the moment now that it's officially summer (although I think we'll need to call Noah in soon to build us an ark we've had so much rain over the last week) and with Wimbledon about to start it really is well and truly berry season. I'm going strawberry picking on Wednesday with my daughter and her nursery class - please join me in hoping for a dry day.

There were heaps of mouth-watering recipes shared with last week's CookBlogShare linky over at Hijacked by Twins. It's always hard to choose which ones to add to a round up but this week it just had to be those that used berries. So without further ado here are four gorgeous looking berry recipes from my fellow bloggers. You'll find this week's linky just underneath.

Strawberry and basil pavlova by Only Crumbs Remain

No bake berry cheesecake by Basement Bakehouse

Quick toasted oats and strawberry breakfast bowl by Everyday Healthy Recipes

Strawberry bliss balls by Free From Fairy

Now onto this week's linky. You can link up any foodie post that you have - both old and new posts are welcome. We just ask that you:

  • Comment on this post
  • Add the badge so others can find us
  • And comment on some of the other recipes linked up
  • If you tweet me at @sneakyvegblog with your recipe I will retweet then throughout the week
  • I will comment on and pin all posts.
     
CookBlogShare

 

Here's this week's linky:

Buckwheat drop scones (pancakes) with courgette and banana (refined sugar free)

Buckwheat-drop-scones-with-courgette-banana-refined-sugar-free

These lovely little drop scones, or pancakes, are packed full of goodness making them a perfect breakfast or snack for anyone. They're free from refined sugar and work well for baby led weaning as they are easy for little fingers to grasp. All three of my children absolutely devoured these leaving me feeling great that (for once) they'd started their day with not only a fruit and a vegetable in their breakfast but some lovely wholegrain goodness as well.

Well, I say wholegrain, but in reality buckwheat isn't a grain - it's not even related to wheat. It's gluten free and is sometimes described as a pseudo-grain. Several countries around the world use it to make pancakes, such as the French galettes, Russian blinis and the Ukrainian Hrechanyky! I used Rude Health sprouted buckwheat flour to make these pancakes. Sprouted buckwheat flour uses buckwheat that has been soaked in water and allowed to sprout. This makes it more nourishing and full of goodness.

I was worried about the courgette and what kind of reaction this would lead to. We have a bad track record with "green bits" in food! I didn't peel them so there were green flecks in the drop scones. To avoid this problem you can peel the skin off making the courgette pretty much hidden. I was pleasantly surprised on this occasion though, as all three kids gobbled these pancakes up and didn't even notice - or if they did they didn't comment on - the green bits.

Buckwheat-drop-scones-with-banana-courgette

Ingredients
150g buckwheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 eggs, beaten
200ml milk (I used almond)
2 small courgettes, grated
1 ripe banana, mashed
1 tbsp honey or maple syrup, optional (remember no honey for under-ones)
Oil for frying (I used coconut oil)

1. Place the flour, baking powder and ground cinnamon in a mixing bowl and whisk until well combined.

2. Pour in the eggs and half of the milk and whisk, then gradually add the rest of the milk, whisking all the time until you have a batter.

3. Stir in the grated courgette, banana and honey or maple syrup if using. 

4. Heat a little oil in a non-stick frying pan over a low heat. Drop spoonfuls of the batter onto the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes before turning over with a spatula to cook the other side.

5. Serve with fresh fruit, honey or maple syrup, yoghurt, jam - or however you like them. Enjoy!

These keep pretty well overnight in the fridge if you're like me and struggle to find time to make breakfast in the morning.

Buckwheat pancakes with courgettes and banana. Refined sugar free. Great for baby led weaning.

Disclaimer: This is a collaborative post with Rude Health. To find out more about Rude Health, their products and recipe ideas visit rudehealth.com.

Beetroot and poppy seed oaty bars

Beetroot-and-poppy-seed-oaty-bars-baby-led-weaning-recipe

This recipe for beetroot and poppy seed oaty bars is perfect for baby led weaning and as a toddler snack. They are free from refined sugar, full of goodness and really soft. They're also a great snack for bigger kids, especially as an after-school snack for kids who don't do too well on refined sugar on an empty stomach.

I love how easy these vegan snack bars are to make. You simply put all the ingredients in a food processor, whizz them up and bake. If you don't have a food processor you can make these with a hand-held stick blender, but you may need to add a little water to help get the right consistency.

If you're avoiding nuts you could replace the almonds with sunflower seeds or extra oats. (I haven't tested this so let me know if you do make them how it turns out).

Here's how to make them:

Ingredients
120g oats
40g almonds
100g dried fruit (I used a mix of raisins and dried cranberries
1 tsp honey
1 tbsp poppy seeds
1 apple, grated
2 small cooked beetroots ((130g), roughly chopped
1 tbsp maple syrup or honey (remember to avoid honey for babies under one)

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Grease and base line a square 20cm cake tin or similar sized dish.

2. Put all the ingredients into the food processor and pulse until broken down and well combined.

3. Pour into the prepared tin and smooth the top with a spatula.

4. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until firm to the touch. Cut into bars or squares while still warm, then leave to cool completely in the tin.

5. Store in an airtight container.

These beetroot and poppy seed oat bars are a perfect recipe for baby led weaning. They're free from refined sugar and make a great after-school snack.
CookBlogShare

Honey spelt freezer snack bars with Rude Health honey spelt puffs

Honey-spelt-puff-cherry-freezer-snack-bars

This recipe for snack bars is so easy and they are so good for you that I'll be making it time and time again. They're made with natural ingredients, including spelt, honey, almonds and dried fruit. They need to be stored in the freezer to keep them together, which in theory means they'll last for ages. The reality here was rather different with the whole batch disappearing in just a few days. In fact they should probably come with a warning along the lines of "Watch out! These bars are dangerously moreish."

The bars are made with Rude Health organic honey spelt puffs. This is Rude Health's first product that is specifically aimed at children. It has just two ingredients - honey and spelt - and lovely packaging with gorgeous drawings of an owl and a mouse.

Rude-Health-Honey-Spelt-Puffs-Sneaky-Veg-Review

All three of my kids absolutely love this cereal. R has it with milk and the other two prefer to eat it dry. It's great for breakfast, it's great for a snack and it's also great for keeping a toddler in his highchair just a little bit longer while you clean up - because the small grains take time to pick up and eat one by one.

Here's what to do:

Ingredients (makes abour 20 squares)
20g coconut oil
110g honey or maple syrup
100g honey spelt puffs
70g ground almonds
75g dried fruit - I used dried cherries
40g raisins
50g cacao nibs or chocolate chips - optional

1. Grease a 20x30cm baking tray and line with baking paper.

2. Heat the coconut oil and honey together in a small pan over a low heat until the coconut oil has melted. Allow to cool a little.

3. Place all the other ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir.

4. Pour the coconut oil and honey mixture over the top and stir well until thoroughly combined.

5. Tip into the prepared baking tray and smooth out with the back of a wooden spoon.

6. Freeze for an hour, then remove from the freezer and cut into squares or bars. Transfer to a Tupperware dish with a lid and store in the freezer.

Honey puff and cherry freezer snack bars with Rude Health honey spelt puffs

Rude Health Honey Spelt Puffs are available to buy now from Waitrose and selected independent retailers. They'll be on sale in Wholefoods from 10 June and from the Rude Health website and Ocado later this month.

NB: This recipe is adapted from one for Healthy Rice Crispy Squares by Cooking Them Healthy.

Disclaimer: this is a collaborative post with Rude Health. All opinions are honest and my own.

CookBlogShare

Oven-baked strawberry and rhubarb risotto

strawberry-rhubarb-oven-baked-risotto-vegan-schwartz

This recipe for an oven-baked strawberry and rhubarb risotto is seriously delicious. It might even be one of the best things I've ever made - my husband certainly thought so. It is a fantastic summer dessert that tastes just as amazing the next day eaten straight from the fridge with a spoon. I might have done this while hiding behind the fridge door so the kids didn't see me.

Baking it in the oven, rather than cooking it on the stove top, means no wrist-straining stirring to be done. Prepare your fruit, throw in the other ingredients, leave it in the oven for two hours and you're done!  I made this vegan by using almond milk but if you prefer you could use dairy milk - I haven't tested this but I'm pretty confident it would work ok. It's also free from refined sugar.

The sweet risotto is spiced with Schwartz ground cinnamon, juniper berries, cloves and a vanilla pod and the flavours are just gorgeous. I was really impressed with the quality of the Schwartz spices - the smells as I undid the lids were divine. I didn't know much about what to use juniper berries for - apart from gin of course - but it turns out that they are used for flavouring sweet dishes and cakes, as well as many meat dishes.

Strawberry-rhubarb-oven-baked-risotto-vegan-schwartz

Here's how to make it:

Ingredients
200g arborio risotto rice
400g tin of coconut milk
750ml milk (I used almond milk)
250g mixed rhubarb/strawberries
75ml maple syrup or honey
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp crushed juniper berries
4 crushed cloves
1 vanilla pod

1. Pre-heat the oven to 150°C. Lightly grease a large, shallow ovenproof dish (I used coconut oil for this).

2. Using a spice grinder, or a pestle and mortar, grind the cloves and the juniper berries to a powder.

3. Slice the strawberries and rhubarb and put in the bottom of the dish. 

4. Cover with the rice, milk, maple syrup or honey and the ground spices.

5. Pour the coconut milk into a bowl and whisk until it's combined. Pour this over the rice and fruit mixture.

6. Stir the lot gently. Place the vanilla pod in the centre.

7. Bake in the pre-heated oven for around 2 hours until the rice is cooked through and the pudding has set.

8. When serving, remove the vanilla pod.

Delicious warm or cold.

Strawberry and rhubarb oven-baked vegan risotto - perfect for a summer dessert - free from refined sugar

If you like this please sign up to my newsletter to find out when new recipes are published.

Disclaimer: this is a collaborative post with Schwartz. All opinions are honest and my own.

I am entering this post into the following blog linkys:

CookBlogShare
Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

Could you go dairy free for a day a week?

What do the following recipes have in common?

That's right - they're all completely dairy free. Many people eat a dairy free diet through choice - such as vegans - or through necessity - such as those with an allergy. But lots of people are now choosing to reduce the amount of dairy in their diet for another reason - the environment.

According to research published today, which is World Environment Day, by the Carbon Trust, in partnership with Flora Freedom, eating plant-based alternatives to dairy products is much better for the environment. The Carbon Trust found that plant-based foods have a significantly lower impact on climate change, freshwater consumption and land use. 

Flora is on a mission to educate kids and families on where their food comes from through their Powered by Plants initiative.  As part of this mission the company has launched Flora Freedom - a new dairy free spread. It's certified by The Vegan Society and is suitable for those with a lactose-free diet. It can be used as a spread instead of butter and also in baking. 

Earlier this year we tried out some Flora Freedom and the whole family enjoyed it. It's particularly good with Marmite on a slice of toast! And I'm convinced that it melts into toast better than some of the other dairy free spreads on the market. It's a great choice if you're trying to introduce more plant-based foods into your diet.

The Carbon Trust's research shows that if a family of four were to swap butter for Flora Freedom for just one day a week the family would reduce its carbon emissions by the same amount used to keep a TV on standby for seven years!

If you'd like to have a go at eating less dairy then take a look at these recipes from me and some of my fellow bloggers for inspiration (or click on the photos above to be taken through to the recipe).

Disclaimer: this is a collaborative post with Flora.

Blueberry fromage frais fairy cakes with My First Petits Filous - Baby S's first bake!

Blueberry-fromage-frais-fairy-cakes-my-first-petits-filous

We've entered a whole new phase with Baby S over the last few weeks. I'm sure that his two siblings weren't this energetic - he is just so, unbelievably active. He literally doesn't stop for a second. Unless he's eating. Which is he still extremely fond of. 

His new favourite game? Climbing on the table. I get him down. He climbs back on top of the table. Repeat x infinity/we leave the house.

We popped into a local cafe yesterday for a brief respite from London's completely unseasonal freezing cold weather. I seriously considered asking them to top my coffee up with cold water so I could drink it quicker as he decided that it would be great fun to push all the vacant chairs around the cafe.

Playgrounds? Yep, he's the toddler climbing the slides, trying to push four-year-olds off the roundabout and screaming blue murder if you try to put him in the swing.

Our local park has a wonderful bandstand, duck pond and woodland area perfect for toddler scamping and he has no trouble at all keeping up with his four-year-old sister and six-year-old brother. He even tries to follow R up trees!

Amidst all this newfound energy we've found the time for some gentler first experiences as well. This week we did our first baking together.

Now this was a bit of a first for me as well - I'm pretty sure that I didn't bake with either of the two Rs when they were this little. I was slightly worried that the whole cake mix would end up upturned on the kitchen floor.

In the end that didn't happen - but he did put some cake cases in the mixture and had a brilliant time licking the spoon. (I know, I know, raw egg, probably shouldn't have let him do it.

We made blueberry fairy cakes together. There's no added refined sugar in this recipe and I reduced the amount of butter by substituting a pot of My First Petits Filous for half of the butter. The recipe is below, at the end of the post, if you'd like to make them yourself (toddler involvement not necessary!).

My First Petits Filous is a brand new fromage frais on the market from Petits Filous. It's vanilla flavour and low sugar and contains only natural ingredients - so it's suitable for weaning from six months. There is 0.7% sugar in each pot compared to 6.2% in a normal pot of Petits Filous - and quite a lot more in some other children's yoghurts on the market. Baby S loved the taste of the fromage frais and asked for more, or rather "mo", every time he had one. It's good to know that not only is he enjoying his pudding, he's also getting a healthy dose of calcium and protein for good measure. He'll be needing strong bones if he's going to carry on trying to climb trees from such a young age after all! My First Petits Filous are available in Asda and Morrisons.

Here's how to make the fairy cakes. Because of the maple syrup, which is rather sticky, they can stick to paper cases a little. I'd recommend using silicone cases if you have them or giving the paper cases a little spray with some non-stick baking spray. If you don't have either of these/can't be bothered then paper cake cases are fine - just peel them off carefully! Either way they seem to peel off fine the next day.

Blueberry-fromage-frais-fairy-cakes-my-first-petits-filous

Ingredients
50g butter or margarine
2 eggs, beaten
2 tbsp maple syrup/honey (remember no honey for under ones)
1 small ripe banana, mashed
1 x 47g pot of My First Petits Filous
100g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
100g blueberries, fresh or frozen

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Line a fairy cake tin with 15 paper cases or use silicone ones if you have them (see note above about sticking).

2. Beat the butter until it is creamy. Beat in the eggs, then add the maple syrup and mashed banana. Mix until well combined.

3. Gently fold in the fromage frais followed by the flour and baking powder.

4. Stir through the blueberries

5. Spoon a little of the mixture into each cake case - you are aiming for each to be about half full.

6. Bake in the centre of the oven for 12-15 minutes until well risen, firm to the touch and golden brown.

7. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

This post is an entry for BritMums #PetitsFilousFirsts Linky Challenge, sponsored by Petits Filous.

Disclaimer: we were sent vouchers to buy some My First Petits Filous. All opinions are honest and my own.

CookBlogShare

Almond butter and raspberry bliss and review of Juice

Almond-butter-raspberry-bliss-smoothie-Juice

Juice is a collection of more than a hundred healthy and nutritious juices and smoothies. Whether you're already a juice convert looking for some new inspiration or someone who would like to drink more smoothies and juices then you will find something for you in this book. The recipes contain nutritional information, the ingredients are easy to get hold of and the instructions are clear and simple.

There are lots of different recipes to choose from and many of them contain vegetables as well to make them extra healthy.

Examples include:

  • Power Gulp with beetroot
  • Tantalising tomato refresher with carrots, celery and broccoli
  • Thai sunrise with spinach
Almond-butter-raspberry-bliss-smoothie-recipe-Juice

I let Miss R choose the smoothie that we would make for this post and she wasn't having any of it when I suggested one of the vegetable ones. She chose the almond butter and raspberry bliss. It's dairy free, vegan and absolutely delicious.

The recipe in Juice uses stevia granules. I didn't have any of those to hand so I used honey instead.

Here's what to do:

Ingredients
1 banana peeled and chopped
200g raspberries
400ml unsweetened almond milk
40g almond butter
1 tbsp honey (4tsp stevia granules)
2tsp vanilla extract
Ice cubes (I used six)

Put all the ingredients in a blender, blend until smooth.

Drink immediately or pop in the fridge overnight.

Recipe for almond butter and raspberry bliss smoothie and review of Juice by Parragon Books

Juice is published by Parragon Books.

Disclaimer: I am a Parragon Books Book Buddy. I was sent this book to review but received no other payment for this post. All opinions are honest and my own.

Cinnamon wraps with berry compote and chocolate banana nice cream

Cinnamon-wraps-with-berry-compote-and-chocolate-banana-nice-cream

Wraps for dessert? Such a good idea for so many reasons.

Is it easy? Tick.

Is it a great way to use up leftover wraps in a packet? Tick.

Do my kids ALWAYS eat wraps? Tick.

These wraps are filled with a juicy berry compote and served with a scoop of banana nice cream. Wondering what nice cream is? Well, it's the name for the amazingly easy and ingenious vegan ice cream that is made of nothing more complicated than blended frozen bananas.

Nice cream is perfect for kids as there's no added sugar, just a healthy portion of fruit. This is particularly useful in our house because our very vocal toddler gets extremely angry if other people are eating ice cream and he isn't!

Despite being a life-long fruit hater, R makes an exception for crumble and because this fruit filling is essentially the same thing that I put in a crumble, he made an exception for this too.

To make this recipe I used Mission Deli wraps. The fact that these work just as well for dessert as for a main course (see my recipe for cauliflower, potato and chickpea curry wraps) shows how versatile they are. Mission Deli Wraps can be used in so many different ways, making them great for any occasion. 

Here's what to do:

Ingredients
For the nice cream

3 bananas, chopped
1 tbsp raw cacao powder/cocoa powder

For the berry compote
400g mixed berries, fresh or frozen (I used a bag of frozen blackberries, strawberries, blackcurrants and redcurrants
2 tbsp water

For the wraps
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 packet of Mission Deli Original wraps

To make the nice cream

1. The day before you want to make this chop the bananas and pop them in the freezer. If you lay them flat on a tray for the first hour or two this will stop them from sticking together, which is kinder on your food processor.

2. When you're ready to make your nice cream simply put the frozen bananas in a food processor with the raw cacao powder and blend until smooth and creamy. You may need to scrape the sides down with a spatula a couple of times.

To make the berry compote

1. Put the fruit in a small saucepan with a lid. Add the water and heat, covered, over a low heat until the fruit has defrosted.

2. Take the lid off once defrosted and cook for a further ten minutes. Stir occasionally.

To make the cinnamon wraps

1. Pre-heat the grill.

2. In a small frying pan heat the coconut oil, maple syrup and ground cinnamon together until the coconut oil has melted

3. Spread the wrap with the cinnamon mixture and place under the grill for one minute

4. Transfer the wrap to a plate, spoon over some of the fruit, add a dollop of ice cream, wrap up tightly - or leave flat if preferred - and serve.

Enjoy!

Cinnamon wraps with berry compote and chocolate banana nice cream with Mission Deli wraps

More information and wrap recipes can be found at www.missiondeli.co.uk.

Disclaimer: this is a collaborative post with Mission Deli

Five delicious veggie dinners and Cook Blog Share week 22

It was another great week for Cook Blog Share last week. Thanks to Hayley over at Snap Happy Bakes for hosting. If you haven't come across Cook Blog Share before then, in brief, it's a place for food bloggers to share recipe posts and for everyone else to come for inspiration. If you're a blogger then please link up your posts below.

But first check out these five delicious veggie dinners that were shared with Cook Blog Share last week. If you're a vegetarian looking for some new meals to try, or someone trying to eat more meat free meals then there's bound to be something here for you: 

Taste of sea seaweed spaghetti
I thought I'd tried every veggie pasta dish there was to try but no, I haven't tried seaweed spaghetti. This recipe from Allotment 2 Kitchen just sounds fantastic. 

Three minute veggie lasagne
I need this lasagne from Charlotte's Lively Kitchen in my life for a quick weeknight supper.

Simple mushroom risotto
Delicious creamy risotto full of tasty mushrooms by Easy Peasy Foodie.

Vegetarian laab salad
A traditional Thai salad turned veggie by Nasfriet

Goose egg frittata with spiralised veg
Delicious frittata made with enormous goose eggs by the Gluten Free Alchemist.

Over to this weeks #CookBlogShare link up:

  • Firstly link up your foodie post using the link below. ALL recipes welcome, old or new.
  • Add the #CookBlogShare badge to your post using the code below.
  • Leave a comment on any other recipes in the link up that catch your eye. We all love a comment or two!
  • I will be commenting on & pinning ALL the posts.
  • Tweet your recipe using the #CookBlogShare hashtag. Tag myself @sneakyvegblog & Kirsty @k_phillipson in your tweet and we will both RT.
  • Head on over to the Cook Blog Share Facebook page to share your recipes!
  • Don’t forget to check Kirsty’s Cook Blog Share page to see who is hosting each week!
  • Linking up your post to #CookBlogShare gives permission for this blog to link back to your post and use pictures from the post in future round ups. 
CookBlogShare

Mild kid-friendly patatas bravas with Fry Family soy and flaxseed schnitzel

mild-kid-friendly-patatas-bravas-recipe

Patatas bravas is a traditional Spanish tapas dish of potatoes served in a spicy tomato sauce. This recipe for patatas bravas is mild enough for children to enjoy yet still full of flavour. Although patatas bravas is traditionally a tapas dish I think it is a perfect side dish. It's really simple to make and is a great way to add one of your five a day to a portion of potatoes. It's also a good way to introduce new flavours to your children's diets. 

I served the patatas bravas with a soy and flaxseed schnitzel from The Fry Family Food Co and a green salad for the grown ups and steamed carrots for the children. Clean plates all round!

Patatas-bravas-kid-friendly-recipe

The Fry Family Food Co make vegan foods and we were sent a selection to try out. The schnitzels were one of our favourite items. Made from soya, they are well-spiced and seasoned and are coated in a flax and sunflower seed crumb, which was really delicious. 

We also tried out sausages, nuggets, mushroom pie, falafel burgers and stir fry strips - all of them vegan and all of them enjoyed by the kids. My favourite were the sausages, which were among the nicest veggie sausages I've ever tried. The biggest surprise was the mushroom pie which both R and Miss R absolutely loved. I'm not a big fan of mushrooms so I rarely serve them up to the children. I felt sure that they'd just eat the pastry but they both scoffed the pie. I will definitely be serving mushroom pie up again! 

In order to give you an idea of how you can enjoy a Fry's meal I'm sharing with you here the recipe for mild patatas bravas, which went perfectly with the schnitzels.

Here's what to do:

Ingredients (serves a family of five with a few leftovers)
1kg white potatoes, peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces
3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp chilli flakes (optional)
Salt and pepper (to taste)

Pre-heat the oven to 200°C. Put the chopped potatoes into a baking dish and cover with 2 tbsp olive oil. Stir well. Cook for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cooked through, golden and crispy.

To make the sauce heat the remaining olive oil in a medium saucepan, add the onion, cover and cook on a low heat until soft.  Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes then add all the other ingredients, stir well and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for up to 45 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Making this in advance will only be a good thing for the sauce.

Once the potatoes are cooked add them to the sauce, stir well and serve.

Patatas-bravas-kid-friendly-recipe

Fry's foods are available to buy in Morrisons and other selected UK shops.

Disclaimer: This is a collaborative post with The Fry Family Food Co. All opinions are honest and my own.

Sweet cherry and Swiss cheese toastie with The Polish Bakery chia seed bread

Cherry and Swiss cheese toastie with The Polish Bakery chia seeds bread

A late afternoon delivery of breads and cakes from The Polish Bakery is probably the only thing guaranteed to mean no grumpy kids after school in the Sneaky Veg household. We were lucky enough to get just that one afternoon earlier this week - including three tasty breads and two cakes to try.

The Polish Bakery is Britain's oldest Polish bakery and they produce a range of cakes and bread products using Polish techniques and ingredients. The company has just launched a new bread made with chia seeds, which I was very pleased to receive to try out as the health benefits of chia seeds are well known (put simply, chia seeds have lots of nutrients and antioxidants and a high fibre and protein content).

We also tried out a loaf of rye bread, a pumpkin seed bread, a cheesecake and an apple cake. Both breads were great. The kids were unsure about the pumpkin seed bread but once they'd had a taste they were won over, even though there were big "green things" in the bread. Baby S didn't like the rye bread, but everyone else did. And of course everyone loved the cakes, especially the apple cake which was very popular. Luckily the slices were so big that they could be shared five ways!

The Polish Bakery's breads are well known for being good for you. When I posted a photo of the breads on Instagram someone commented on it to say that they were the only breads that their digestive system could handle.

When I was deciding what to make for Sneaky Veg to show you The Polish Bakery's products I came across this recipe from the Polish Housewife for a grilled cheese and jam sandwich. Now, I just love the sound of this. I've always enjoyed the salty taste of cheese alongside fruit. Cheese and apple was one of my favourite childhood snacks.

This particular recipe uses a Polish cheese called oscypek. I went to check the (fairly extensive) Polish section of my local shop. Alas, the only Polish cheese they had was an unspecified type of cheese cut like salami...and called salami. I've since found out from fellow blogger Monika of Everyday Healthy Recipes that oscypek is a smoked cheese made from sheep's milk that is made in the southern mountains of Poland. It's unlikely to be available here in the UK. Halloumi would probably be the closest alternative, although the taste wouldn't be the same.

I considered making a toasted sandwich with halloumi, but it just didn't seem right. I like a bit of melty gooeyness in a cheese toastie, so I opted for Leerdammer Swiss cheese (which is actually produced in Holland). So this has turned into quite a European sandwich in the end.

Instead of jam I opted to cook some sweet cherries that I had in the freezer so we weren't having a lot of unnecessary sugar. And the result? Absolutely delicious. The chia seed bread toasted really well and held the cheese and cherry filling together perfectly.

Here's what to do:

Ingredients (for one sandwich)
200g frozen sweet cherries
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp honey (optional)
2 slices of chia seed bread
Butter, for spreading
2 slices of Swiss cheese

Put the frozen cherries in a small pan with the water and honey (if using) and cook covered over a low heat until defrosted. Stir occasionally. Take the lid off, turn the heat up a little and cook for a further five minutes, stirring often to avoid sticking, until some of the excess water has cooked away and the cherries are starting to break down. Remove from the heat.

Put a non-stick griddle pan or toastie maker on to heat up. Butter one slice of bread. Turn it over and spread the cherries on the unbuttered side. Put the two slices of cheese on top. Cover with the other slice of bread and butter the outside.

Cook on the griddle pan for 2-3 minutes then carefully turn over and cook the other side.

Products from The Polish Bakery, including the new chia seed bread, are available for sale in Asda.

Disclaimer: this is a collaborative post with The Polish Bakery. All opinions are honest and are my own.

Highlights Monster Day game for preschoolers review

*Colto are offering a 3-day price promotion of Highlights Monster Day from Friday 10-Sunday 12 June. The price will be reduced to £1.49 on the App Store and £1.39 on Google Play and Amazon throughout the weekend.*

Children can feed a healthy breakfast to their monster in the game.

Children can feed a healthy breakfast to their monster in the game.

What's a game review doing on a food blog you might ask?

Well, tackling picky eating isn't just about real, physical food. It's about making food fun, making it real and making it normal. And that's just what this game does. 

In Highlights Monster Day, little kids get to care for their monster friends, helping him to wake up, brush his teeth, play with him - and feed him (nothing too unhealthy either - fruit and bagels are on the menu for the monster today).

Don't forget to brush your monster's teeth - it's very important to do this after breakfast!

Don't forget to brush your monster's teeth - it's very important to do this after breakfast!

The company behind the game, Highlights for Children, Inc, who produced the game in partnership with Colto, say that the game is designed to help young children to develop compassion, kindness and independence. It also helps them to learn about the world around them, and as well as being bright and fun, it's simple and the activities in the game are recognisable as things from their own lives.

All of my kids enjoyed playing it. R, at the age of 6, is definitely not a pre-schooler, but he still enjoyed playing a new game. Miss R, 4, loved it - it took her a little while to work out what to do and when she had got the hang of it she had a lot of fun caring for her monster. She is a big fan of both fruit and bagels, so I think they bonded over that. Baby S is 16 months and isn't quite ready for games yet, but he had a good time prodding the screen!

Tablets, technology and games are going to be a big part of our children's lives as they grow up. I like the fact that this game has been produced with the aim of encouraging children to care for others - it's aiming to be something more than just screen time. And I think it succeeds. 

Here's the trailer so you can see the game yourself:

If you'd like to try out the game for yourself you can find it on iTunes, Google Play or Amazon. It costs £2.29 to download.

Disclaimer: we were sent a copy of Highlights Monster Day to review. No other payment was received for this post and all opinions are honest and my own.

Cauliflower, potato and chickpea curry wraps with raita and crunchy cabbage relish

Cauliflower, potato and chickpea curry wraps recipe

This is such a delicious way to fill a wrap that I ate it for three meals in a row - I kid you not. The mildly spiced curry, the crunchy cabbage salad and the refreshing raita, served together in a wholegrain wrap - for me that's pretty close to heaven on a plate.

The cauliflower, potato and chickpea curry is mild, because it has no chilli in it, but it's still packed full of flavour. If you aren't serving this to kids you could add in some chilli powder or flakes. I figured that there would be zero chance of my kids eating the crunchy cabbage salad so I covered it in chilli flakes - then of course Baby S tried to help himself. Another lesson learnt (always give your kids a chance to try new things...and don't coat them in chilli just in case!). 

I served this like fajitas, so put all the dishes out on the table, with a wrap on each plate, so we could all help ourselves. R just ate the curry BUT ate all of his cauliflower and chickpeas, as well as the potatoes, and thoroughly enjoyed every mouthful. How's that for progress? Miss R and Baby S had curry and raita. Miss R at first just ate the potatoes - she ate her wrap in a deconstructed style - ie not wrapped up - but eventually ate her cauliflower too. Baby S ate everything and had seconds - I'm keeping everything crossed that his amazing eating continues.

I love serving meals in this way as it means that everyone feels like they've had a say in what they eat and you know that even if they just eat one element of the meal, they're still getting some goodness. Even the raita has cucumber in it so if that's all your kid wants to eat then it's not a total disaster. And having one element that is super spicy means that my husband is happy too.

This meal was served with Mission Deli wholegrain wraps. Mission Deli Super Soft wraps are easier to fold and hold fillings better - just be careful not to overstuff them and they hold together really well.

Come back to Sneaky Veg next week for another way to use Mission Deli wraps - this time for dessert! 

Cauliflower, potato and chickpea curry wrap recipe

Here's what to do:

Ingredients

For the cabbage salad
50g red skin-on peanuts
1/2 small white cabbage, finely shredded
1 large carrot, grated
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp chilli flakes (or to taste)
Juice of one lime
Salt

For the cauliflower, potato and chickpea curry
1 tbsp sunflower oil
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
Chilli flakes, optional, to taste
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp turmeric
6 medium potatoes (850g), peeled and chopped
1 medium cauliflower, broken into florets
1 x 400g tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tbsp garam masala
Boiling water or vegetable stock, around 600ml

1 pack of Mission Deli wholegrain wraps (contains 8) 

To make the salad

1. Pre-heat the oven to 150°C. Roast the peanuts for 10 minutes, remove and allow to cool. 

2. Heat the oil, mustard seeds and chilli flakes until the seeds start to pop. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. 

3. Once cool mix together the shredded cabbage, grated carrot and peanuts with the dressing. Squeeze over the juice of one lime and season with salt, to taste.

To make the curry

1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan with a lid. Add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds and chilli (if using). Cook for a minute or two until you hear the mustard seeds start to pop. Add the onion, stir well, turn the heat to low and cover the pan. Cook for ten minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft.

2. Stir in the garlic and ginger, cook for a further few minutes, then stir in the turmeric.

3. Add the potatoes, cauliflower and water or stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and allow the pan to simmer with the lid on until the vegetables are cooked. Stir often. If the vegetables aren't cooking you can add a little more water but be careful not to add too much as you don't want the curry to be too liquid. 

4. When the vegetables are soft, stir through the chickpeas and the garam masala. Warm through.

Get the raita recipe here.

Serve with wraps and either roll up and eat like a burrito (how me, D and R ate ours) or tear off bits of the wrap and use them to pick up the food like a chapati (how Miss R ate hers - Baby S sort of did this too).

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Recipe for cauliflower, potato and chickpea curry served in wraps with raita and crunchy cabbage relish. Using Mission Deli wraps. Vegetarian recipe.

Disclaimer: This is a collaborative post with Mission Deli. More information and wrap recipes can be found at www.missiondeli.co.uk

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Banana almond muffins (refined sugar free)

Recipe-for-banana-almond-muffins-refined-sugar-free-bake-with-stork

This recipe for delicious banana and almond muffins is completely free of refined sugar. The muffins are sweetened with dates, honey or maple syrup and bananas. They're the perfect snack for anyone looking to cut down on sugar. I find them particularly good for kids who are affected by sugar. One of my kids always gets a massive sugar high, followed by a sugar slump - and plenty of bad behaviour. That doesn't happen with cakes and muffins that are sweetened naturally like these.

My kids love these and they have never noticed that they aren't as sweet as shop bought muffins or other homemade cakes. I don't mind giving one of these to my toddler either as I know he'll get plenty of goodness from the fruit, the almonds and the dates. You could make them even healthier by using wholemeal flour - though I haven't tested this. They're great for baby led weaning as well - just make sure you use maple syrup instead of honey as honey is unsuitable for babies under one. 

These muffins are made with Stork, a baking spread. Stork is celebrating the Queen's 90th birthday this year and you'll find loads of tasty recipes on Bake With Stork if you're planning a street party or picnic to celebrate too.

Here's how to make the muffins:

Ingredients
3 ripe bananas, mashed
50g chopped dates
50g honey or maple syrup (remember no honey for babies under one)
125g Stork tub 
2 medium eggs
250g plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
50g ground almonds

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a muffin tin with 12 muffin cases.

Mash the bananas in a bowl. Blend together the chopped dates and the honey or maple syrup until you have a paste. I use a small processor to do this that came with my hand held stick blender, which does the job perfectly but any blender or food processor should be ok.

Beat the date and honey paste with the Stork until well mixed, then beat in the eggs.

In a clean bowl sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder. Stir through the ground almonds. Fold this mixture into the Stork mixture, then stir through the bananas. 

Spoon into the muffin cases then bake in the centre of the oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown and firm to the touch.

Remove from the oven, leave in the tin for a few minutes then cool on a wire rack.

Refined sugar free banana almond muffins. Suitable for baby led weaning, children and adults alike. Sweetened with honey or maple syrup and dates.

This recipe is adapted from one on Bake With Stork.

Disclaimer: This is a collaborative post with Stork.

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