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Cooking at home

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Recipe of the month!

Give our summer inspired spinach, leek and cheese crumble recipe a go, it tastes great with a delicious side salad.
Take a look below ⬇ ⬇ ⬇


If you're looking to start cooking more at home, there's lots of easy and healthy recipes you can try, using basic kitchen ingredients.

For a lot of these recipes, you don't need any fancy gadgets and you don't have to be the next Mary Berry!  They're really easy to follow and quick to prepare, which is great if you've been at work all day, and will help you produce some healthy and tasty meals for all the family to enjoy.


Your Weekly Meal Plan

If you’re lacking inspiration for what to cook the family each night, why not take a look at Yvonne’s fantastic free weekly meal plan?  There’s some really quick and tasty ideas for you and it's all for less than £45 for a family of 4!  Find out more on our weekly meal plan page.



Local ideas

We've got a few ideas for you to try, thanks to Yvonne from Herefordshire's Healthy Lifestyle Service.

Ingredients

Filling

3 leeks
3 eggs
A bag and a half of spinach
A jar of roasted peppers
250g tub ricotta cheese
100g feta cheese
Nutmeg
Salt and pepper

Topping

25g butter
100g ground almonds
50g grated parmesan

You can also use Edam cheese slices to line the cake tin, but this is optional.

Method

Chop the leeks into small pieces and fry in butter, with a little salt and pepper, for about 10 minutes, until they’re soft.

Leave them to cool slightly, then add the ricotta, finely chopped feta and two eggs and mix together well.

Wilt all of the spinach by placing it in a microwaveable bowl, covered with cling film, and microwaving it for approximately 3 minutes.  Afterwards, remember to squeeze as much of the excess moisture out of the spinach, as possible.

Using a food processor (or a knife if you don't have one), finely chop the spinach and then add some fresh nutmeg and mix in the third egg.

Line the sides of your cake tin with Edam slices (optional) and place your roasted peppers into the bottom of the tin.  Then place a layer of the leek mixture into the tin, followed by a layer of the spinach mixture, until you’ve got two layers of each mixture.

To make the crumble topping, simply rub the butter, ground almonds and parmesan together (you can use normal flour or oats, if you’d prefer not to use nuts) and sprinkle over the top of the vegetables.

Cooking

Preheat the oven to 200°C and bake for approximately 30 minutes.

Once it’s cooked, allow it to cool slightly before serving.

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A photo of spinach, leek and cheese crumble served with salad

Crumble ingredients

150g plain flour
100g butter or margarine
100g caster / granulated sugar

If you want to make more or less crumble, remember to use the same equal quantities of sugar and butter / margarine with 1.5 times the quantity of flour.
 

Filling ingredients

You can try a range of different fruit fillings: 

  • Apple
  • Blackberry
  • Rhubarb
  • Apricot
  • Pear
  • Plum
  • Mango
  • Pineapple


You can also use a combination of fruits, such as apple and blackberry, which can be fresh, dried, tinned, frozen or a mixture.

You could also experiment with adding different flavours to the fruit or crumble, including:

  • Cinnamon
  • Ginger
  • Chocolate chips
  • Desiccated coconut
  • Chopped nuts or seeds
  • Porridge oats
  • Dried fruit

Method

Rub the flour, butter and sugar together using only your fingertips, until it resembles breadcrumbs. 

Prepare your filling, so for an apple crumble, simply peel, core and chop six normal eating apples.  If you’re using cooking apples, they may need some additional sugar sprinkled over the top, as they’re not as sweet as eating apples.

Arrange the apples in an ovenproof dish and sprinkle your crumble mixture evenly over the top.

Cooking

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Bake for approximately 45 minutes, until the fruit is soft and the crumble is golden brown.

Enjoy

We recommend enjoying your apple crumble alongside our custard recipe, for a delicious homemade dessert.

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Ingredients

Eating apples

You can also use cooking apples, but they may need a little extra sugar.


Filling / flavour ingredients

You can try a range of different fillings / flavours:

  • Mincemeat (great at Christmas!)
  • Cinnamon
  • Lemon juice
  • Dried fruit
  • Brown / caster sugar
  • Citrus zest

Method

Wash the apples before using an apple corer to remove the core or you can chop the apples into chunks, if that's easier.

Add your prepared apples onto a sheet of kitchen foil and place on a baking tray.

If you're baking the apples whole, carefully use a knife to score around the circumference of each apple.

Add your choice of filling to the apples, either inside the core or over the top, if the apples are chopped.

For whole apples, wrap each of them in foil or for chopped apples, make a foil parcel and seal it at the top.

Cooking

Preheat the oven to 180°C / Gas mark 4.

Bake for approximately 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the size of your apples, until they're soft, but not mushy!

Enjoy

These are delicious served with ice cream or clotted cream.

 
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A baked apple filled with mincemeat, served with clotted cream

Basic ingredients

1.5kg pork shoulder / a tin of jackfruit (drained)
 

Spice rub ingredients

2 tsp ground fennel
1.5 tsp black pepper
2 tsp salt
3 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp chilli powder

Sauce ingredients

2 bay leaves
125ml vegetable stock
75ml apple cider vinegar
1/4 tin of chopped tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)

Method

Combine the spice mix ingredients and use to coat the pork or jackfruit. 

Cover and leave in the fridge for at least two hours, so the flavours can develop.

For a better flavour, add some oil to a frying pan and brown the pork on all sides, before cooking it further.

Mix the bay leaves, garlic, cider vinegar, stock and chopped tomatoes together.

Cooking

For pork:

Add the liquid mixture and pork to a slow cooker and cook on high for approximately five hours.  Remove the pork from the pan, discard the fat and shred.

Return the meat to the pan, remove the lid and continue to cook until the sauce has thickened (about 30 minutes).

For jackfruit:

Add the jackfruit and liquid mixture to a pan and cook for approximately half an hour, until the sauce has thickened.  Break up / shred the pieces of fruit and serve.

Enjoy

This is delicious served with homemade chunky chips or in a bun with coleslaw.

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A photo of BBQ pulled pork    

Ingredients

Basic mixture

4 - 6 slices bread
Butter or margarine
300ml milk
2 eggs
Nutmeg (optional)
Sugar (optional)

Additional flavour suggestions

  • Any dried fruit
  • Marmalade
  • Mincemeat (great for Christmas!)
  • Banana and chocolate chips

Method

Spread the butter / margarine on one side of the bread.  If you have stale bread available, this works really well or equally you can use brioche instead of bread.

If you're using a spreadable filling, such as mincemeat, chocolate spread or marmalade, spread this on top of the butter / margarine.

Cut each slice of bread into four triangles.

Layer the bread triangles into a greased baking dish.

Tuck any ingredients, such as banana slices or dried fruit, in between the layers.

Mix the eggs with the milk and pour over the bread slices.

Press the bread slices down slightly, so they're all coated in the egg and milk mixture.

Sprinkle the top with grated nutmeg and / or sugar (both are optional).

Leave for 10 minutes, so the bread can soak up the egg and milk mixture.

Cooking

Preheat the oven to 160°C / Gas mark 3.

Bake for approximately 30 minutes, until set firm and golden brown.

Enjoy

This is delicious served with custard, ice cream, fresh cream or creme fraiche.

 
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Bread and butter pudding served with clotted cream

Ingredients

Basic base

150g biscuits
75g butter or margarine

Basic topping

200g soft cheese
150ml double cream
50g icing sugar

Flavour suggestions

  • Stir some fruit through the topping or arrange on top. Frozen (but defrosted!), tinned or fresh fruit all work well

  • Zest some citrus fruits into the topping

  • Melt chocolate and swirl through the topping or layer on top

  • Add a layer of flavour between the base and the topping, such as chocolate ganache, fruit compote or even peanut butter!

Method / Cooking

Place the biscuits into a sandwich bag or large bowl and 'bash' into crumbs, using a rolling pin (you can also use a food processor, if you have one).

Melt the butter carefully in the microwave or over a gentle heat in a pan on the hob.

Combine the biscuits and butter together and press into a greased cake tin and pop into the fridge to set.

Mix the cream cheese and icing sugar together in a large bowl.

In a jug, whisk the cream until it is stiff, then gently combine with the cream cheese and sugar mixture.

This can also be done with an electric whisk or food mixer, if preferred.

Combine any flavours, such as fruit or chocolate, into the topping, before smoothing over the biscuit base.

Alternatively, you can add them to the top of your cheesecake instead.

Place the cheesecake into the fridge and allow to chill for a few hours before serving.

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Ingredients

200g cooked rice, 'cauliflower' rice or 2 microwaveable rice pouches
300g chicken breasts / thighs or a packet of Quorn pieces
1 red onion
150g green beans
4 tablespoons of balti paste
4 large / 10 cherry tomatoes
2 boiled eggs
Coriander
Oil
Water

For a vegetarian or vegan version, simply leave out the meat and eggs and include a range of different vegetables instead.

Method / Cooking

Dice the chicken and finely chop the onion.

Add a little oil to the pan, along with the balti paste, chicken / Quorn and chopped onion.

Cook for approximately 10 minutes, until the chicken is fully cooked through. To check it's cooked properly, cut a piece in half and it should be white all the way through.

Trim the green beans, roughly chop the tomatoes and finely chop the coriander. Once you've boiled your eggs, remove the shell and cut into quarters.

Add the green beans, tomatoes, half the coriander and 150ml of water to the pan and stir.

Once the beans have softened, add the cooked rice or 'cauliflower rice', place a lid on the pan and cook for a further 5 minutes (approximately).

To serve, simply place the boiled eggs and a sprinkle of the chopped coriander across the top of your biryani.

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Ingredients

500g beef mince / Quorn
1 onion
2 garlic cloves
500ml stock
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
1 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon passata
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1 tin kidney beans

Optional ingredients

Chorizo
1 - 2 fresh chillies
Other vegetables

For a vegetarian or vegan version, simply leave out the meat and use vegetable stock.

Method / Cooking

Peel and finely dice the onion and garlic and chop the fresh chilli (if you're using any).

If you're adding additional vegetables, such as peppers, courgette or mushrooms, roughly cut them into big chunks.  Equally, if you're using chorizo, remove the skin and chop into pieces.

Add oil to your pan and gently fry the onion, garlic and chilli, until they're soft, then add the chorizo (if you're using chorizo, you won't need to use oil!).

Add your additional spices, such as cumin, paprika and chilli flakes and combine everything together.  Add your mince / Quorn and separate using a wooden spoon.

Once the mince has browned, add the tomato puree, passata and stock and stir together well.  If you're using extra vegetables, add them now. 

Simmer until the liquid has reduced down to form a thick chilli, then add your kidney beans (or beans of choice) and heat through.

Serve with brown rice or over a jacket potato, although it's just as delicious on its own or topped with some sour cream and / or grated cheese.

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Ingredients

100g chocolate (minimum of 75% cocoa)
100ml double cream
15g unsalted butter

Additional ingredients

  • Coating, such as coconut, chocolate nibs, chopped nuts, freeze dried raspberries, sprinkles, cocoa or icing sugar

Method

Cut the chocolate into small pieces and place in a bowl.

Add the cream and butter to a small saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer (don't allow it to boil!).

Pour the warm cream and butter over the chocolate and mix until it's all melted.

Leave to chill for approximately 30 minutes.

Use a spoon to scoop a small amount of mixture and roll in the palm of your hand to form a ball.  You should have enough mixture to make up to 10 balls.  To make it easier to roll the truffles, rub a little oil on your hands!

Roll in your chosen coating(s) and place in a petit four case.

Keep refrigerated (they'll last for up to five days) and enjoy!

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Six chocolate truffles with an assortment of coatings

Ingredients

300ml milk
30g caster sugar
4 egg yolks
Half a teaspoon of vanilla extract

Method / Cooking

Separate the four egg yolks from the egg whites, before combining with the caster sugar in a large bowl.

Warm the milk gently on the hob and remove from the heat, just before it begins to boil.

Using a balloon whisk, gradually pour the warmed milk over the egg mixture, whisking quickly as you go.

Once all the milk has been added and completely whisked together with the egg mixture, clean the pan (or use another one) and pour the mixture back in.

Return the pan to the hob and stir continuously for approximately 10 to 15 minutes, until the custard has thickened and coats the back of a spoon.

Remove from the heat and continue to whisk for a further minute.

Add the vanilla extract and stir thoroughly.

If you wish to save your custard for later, cover it with a layer of cling film, ensuring it touches the custard to prevent a skin from forming.  When you’re ready to serve, simply re-heat it on the hob, after removing the cling film.

Enjoy

We recommend enjoying your custard alongside our apple crumble recipe, for a delicious homemade dessert.

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Ingredients

4 / 5 eggs (depending on their size)
275ml cream / milk (or a combination of both)
Grated cheese (a few good handfuls)
 

Additional ingredients

These can be anything you’d normally eat in a quiche, just remember to cook everything beforehand!

  • Roasted vegetables
  • Roasted butternut squash / beetroot and feta cheese
  • Bacon and leek
  • Salmon and broccoli / asparagus
  • Ham and mushroom
     

Method

Grease an ovenproof dish and preheat the oven to 180°C.

Mix the egg and cream / milk together, then add the grated cheese and salt and pepper seasoning.

Place the additional ingredients into the dish and pour the egg mixture across the top.
 

Cooking

Bake for approximately 30 to 40 minutes, until it’s set all the way through.
 

Enjoy

This can be enjoyed hot or cold and it’s great for breakfast, lunch or dinner and even better for picnics!

If you slice the bake into smaller portions, you can also store them in the fridge or freezer.

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Basic ingredients

2 large baking potatoes
A tin of tuna or other tinned fish
Broccoli (optional)
Salt and pepper

You can add other additional ingredients, such as sweetcorn, spring onion or peas.

Breadcrumb ingredients

Plain flour
Egg
Bread / breadcrumbs

Method

Peel and chop the potatoes, before boiling until soft.

Mash with a little butter and season with salt and / or pepper.  Drain the tuna and prepare or cook any other vegetables you wish to add.

Mix everything together and use your hands to form four individual fishcakes.

To make your own breadcrumbs, you can use a food processor or a cheese grater, using approximately 2 slices of slightly stale bread.

Coat each fishcake in the flour, beaten egg and finally the breadcrumbs.

Place on a lightly greased baking tray. 

Alternatively, chill in the fridge for cooking later or freeze for another time.

Cooking

Preheat the oven to 180°C / Gas mark 4.

Place the fishcakes in the oven and cook until golden brown and fully heated throughout (approximately 30 - 40 minutes).

Alternatively, shallow fry in a little oil, again until they’re golden brown and hot all the way through.

Enjoy

They're delicious served with a crisp, fresh salad and coleslaw.

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Ingredients

Plain flour
Natural / plain yoghurt (without flavourings)

If you’re using scales, make sure you use equal measures or you can simply use 1 cup / mug of yoghurt and 2 cups / mugs of flour.

Additional ingredients 

You can add different flavourings to the dough (remember to adjust the amount of yoghurt and flour if needed) to make a variety of flatbreads or pizza bases.

  • Chilli flakes
  • Sundried tomatoes and feta cheese
  • Grated cheddar and black pepper
  • Coconut and sultanas (for a sweeter option!)

Method

Mix the flour and yoghurt together until a dough is formed (no kneading is necessary).

If it’s too sticky, simply add a little more flour.

Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface, until it’s nice and thin (the thinner the dough, the easier it is to ensure it’s cooked).  If you don’t have a rolling pin, you can use a clean bottle instead or simply stretch the dough out with your hands. 

Cooking

Place into a hot non-stick frying pan (you don’t need any oil) and cook on both sides, until they’re lightly browned. 

Enjoy

You can serve the flatbreads with a curry, use as a sandwich wrap or cut into smaller pieces and bake as crisps.  You can also spread tomato sauce over the top and add some favourite toppings and cheese to make a pizza (see the below recipe).
 

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Ingredients

4 slices of bread
2 eggs
75ml milk
 

Optional flavours / ingredients

Why not experiment with different flavours and ingredients, such as...

  • Grated cheese and chive / spring onion
  • Vanilla extract and cinnamon
  • Grated apple and cinnamon
  • Sultanas / apricot / other dried fruit

 
You can always have your French toast plain or try it plain with different toppings.  Why not try… 

  • Bacon and maple syrup
  • Yoghurt and fresh berries

Method

Cut your bread to the desired size.

Break the eggs into a bowl and beat using a fork, then add the milk and mix together.

Add any additional flavours to the egg mix, such as cinnamon and vanilla or prepare any ingredients to add after cooking, you might like to try fruit and yoghurt.

Cooking

Preheat a frying pan and add some butter / oil.

Place your bread pieces into the egg mixture and ensure both sides are well coated.

Carefully place your 'eggy bread' into the hot frying pan and allow to cook for a couple of minutes, before turning over.

Once both sides are cooked and golden, remove from the pan and repeat with any remaining bread.

Enjoy

This is delicious for breakfast, brunch or as a quick and easy after school / work snack.

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Ingredients

1 pack of chicken / halloumi / salmon
Plain flour
2 eggs
2 / 3 slices of bread / readymade breadcrumbs
Pepper / herbs / spices (optional)

Method

Cut the chicken, halloumi or salmon (or your chosen ingredient) into portions, depending upon your requirements.   

If you’re not using readymade breadcrumbs, mix your bread in a food processer, until they resemble breadcrumbs.  Season with pepper, herbs and spices if you’d like, although you can leave them plain.  If you wanted to try something a little different, you could add a little grated parmesan to your breadcrumbs or even use ground seeds to coat your goujons.

Mix your two eggs together in a bowl and place a small amount of breadcrumbs and flour into two other, separate bowls. 

Take a goujon and fully coat it in the flour, then the egg and finally the breadcrumbs.  Place onto a lightly oiled baking tray and repeat the process, until all of your goujons have been coated.

Cooking

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Bake for approximately 25 to 35 minutes, until they’re golden brown.  Remember...The larger your goujons, the longer you will need to cook them for, to ensure they’re fully cooked.  If you’re using chicken, a good way to check it’s fully cooked, is to simply cut a goujon in half and make sure it’s white and hot all the way through.

Enjoy

These are delicious served with oven chips or in a burger bun with a crisp side salad.

Please note!

As your flour and breadcrumbs will have been in contact with raw meat and egg, any leftovers will need to be disposed of.  In order to prevent waste, it’s best to use a small amount of both to begin with, as you can always add a bit more into your bowls, if it’s needed.

During July and August 2020, Growing Local offered a Summer Holiday Recipe Box Scheme for families across Hereford.  They not only provided all of the ingredients, but also the recipe cards, which Yvonne used to create a range of videos, to help families see exactly how to make each of the meals.

Even if you weren't part of the scheme, you can still follow the recipes to make a range of delicious family meals, including curry and lasagne.

To find out more, visit our Growing Local Recipe Box Scheme page.

An image of the Growing Local logo

Ingredients

1 pack of mince (approximately 500g)
1 passata / tinned tomatoes / pasta sauce
1 onion

Additional ingredients (optional)

  • Grated apple
  • Herbs
  • Spices
  • Spinach
  • Egg
  • Breadcrumbs

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Chop the onion very finely, either by hand or with a food processor, and pop into a large bowl. 

Add the mince and mix well.  You can also add any other ingredients you’d like at this point, such as herbs or spices.

Use your hands to combine the mixture and roll into equal sized balls (approximately 12 balls). 

You can also use an egg and breadcrumbs to bind and coat the meatballs, if you wish, but you don’t have to.

Place the meatballs into an ovenproof dish and cover with the passata / tinned tomoatoes / pasta sauce.
 

Cooking

Bake for approximately 35 minutes.

If you’re adding spinach to the dish, pop this in about five minutes before the meatballs are finished cooking (it doesn’t take long to wilt down).

To check they’re fully cooked all the way through, simply cut one in half. 
 

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Ingredients

Ready-made puff pastry
Mincemeat
Butter

Alternative filling ingredients

If you don't fancy mincemeat, you can use a range of different ingredients instead, for sweet or savoury swirls.  Why not try:

  • Chocolate spread and banana slices
  • Dried fruit, cinnamon and chopped nuts
  • Pesto and grated cheese
  • Tomato puree, spring onion, ham and cheese


Method

Roll out the pastry, if it's not already rolled, until you have a large, flat rectangle.  Make sure you remove your pastry from the fridge before you use it, to enable it to reach room temperature.

Spread the pastry with a thin layer of mincemeat or your chosen flavour combination.

Take the long edge and carefully roll up to form a sausage shape.

Cut into 12 equal sized pieces.

Place the pieces into a well greased muffin tray and gently open them up, to form circular swirls.  You can also use a flat baking tray, if you don’t have a muffin tray.

Brush them with a little melted butter.

Cooking

Preheat the oven to 220°C / Gas mark 7.

Bake for approximately 15 to 20 minutes, until they're golden brown.

Once cooked, allow them to cool completely, before carefully removing from the muffin tray.

Enjoy

These are delicious served warm or cold and can also be frozen to enjoy later, once they’ve fully cooled.

 
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12 mincemeat swirls baked in a muffin tray

Ingredients

This will make 12 mini scotch eggs.

Scotch eggs

8 sausages 
3 boiled eggs
Mayonnaise (optional)
Black pepper (optional)

Breadcrumbs

Flour
Beaten egg
Breadcrumbs

If you’ve got a slightly bigger appetite or just prefer larger scotch eggs, you can…
 

  • Use 4 boiled eggs (whole not mashed!)

  • Carefully wrap your sausage mix around the whole egg, before rolling in flour, beaten egg and breadcrumbs (just like the mini version)

  • Extend the cooking time to approximately 45 minutes, to ensure the meat is fully cooked

Method

To hard boil your eggs, place them in boiling water and simmer for approximately 5 minutes.  Allow them to cool before removing the shell.

Mash the egg in a bowl and season with black pepper to taste (optional).  You may also wish to use a little mayonnaise to hold the egg together.

Remove the sausages from their skins by slicing the skin with a sharp knife or scissors and peeling it away.

Mash the sausages together using a fork (you can add in other flavours here, such as grated apple, chopped onion, herbs or spices).

Press a small amount of sausage mixture into the palm of your hand and place a little mashed egg in the middle.

Carefully wrap the sausage meat around the egg, sealing any gaps with your fingers, to form a small ball.

Repeat the process, until all of your ingredients have been used.

Cooking

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Roll each sausage ball in flour, whisked egg and breadcrumbs and place onto a lightly oiled baking tray.

Bake for approximately 25 minutes, depending upon their size.

Enjoy

These are delicious hot or cold and make a great addition to a picnic.

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Ingredients

250g self raising flour
100g caster sugar
1tsp bicarbonate of soda

200ml milk
85ml oil (e.g. vegetable or sunflower oil)
2 eggs
1tsp vanilla extract

Additional ingredients

150g of a filling of your choice, such as blueberries, cherries, sultanas, mixed fruit or chocolate chips

Method

Preheat the oven to 180oC.

Measure the dry ingredients into a large bowl and mix together.

Measure the wet ingredients into a separate bowl or large jug and mix together well using a fork.

Add your additional flavours, such as blueberries, to the dry ingredients and then pour the wet ingredients over the top.

Using a spatula, combine the two mixtures together, but try not to overmix.  You want a slightly lumpy texture for the best muffins!

Place 12 muffin cases onto a muffin baking tray and spoon the mixture evenly between the cases.

Cooking

Bake for approximately 15 minutes, until the muffins are soft to touch and slightly golden in colour.

If you can, transfer the muffins to a wire rack and allow them to cool.

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Ingredients

150g self raising flour
250ml milk
1 egg

To save measuring everything, you can use 1 cup / mug of flour, 1 cup / mug of milk and 1 egg.

Additional ingredients

You can try a range of different flavours, if you don’t want plain pancakes. 

  • Cheese, chives and sweetcorn
  • Lemon zest and sultanas
  • Cocoa powder and mashed banana
  • Grated apple and cinnamon
  • Smoked salmon
  • Chopped fruit

Method

Put the flour and egg into a large bowl and gradually whisk in the milk a little at a time, until you have a thick consistency (you might not need all of the milk).

If you’re making flavoured pancakes, add any additional ingredients into the batter at this point.

Cooking

Once you’ve decided how big you want your pancakes, place the appropriate amount of batter into a hot non-stick frying pan (you don't need any oil). 

Cook until they start to bubble and pop, then flip them over to the other side.  They only take a few minutes each side, depending upon their size.

If you made plain pancakes, you can always add extra toppings afterwards, such as cream cheese and salmon or yoghurt and berries.

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Pastry ingredients

250g plain flour
125g butter
1 egg
A small amount of water
 

Filling ingredient

Jam

Method

To make the pastry, which can be used for tarts, pies or quiches, start by cutting the butter into small cubes and adding it into the flour.

Rub the butter and flour together with your fingertips, until it resembles breadcrumbs.

Gradually add in the egg, followed by the water, a little at a time.  Mix everything together using a table knife, until it’s almost all combined, then finish bringing the mixture together using your hands, until it forms a ball.

To make jam tarts, roll the pastry out on a lightly floured surface, turning it regularly to avoid it sticking.

Cut your tarts out into circles, making them slightly larger than the holes in your baking tray.  Remember to slightly grease each hole with butter, so the tarts don’t stick, and gently pop them into place.

Add a teaspoon / dollop of your chosen jam to each tart, being careful not to overfill them, otherwise the jam will boil over!

Cooking

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Bake for approximately 15 minutes, until the pastry is a nice golden colour.

Top tips

Ideally, once you’ve made your pastry, you’d wrap it in cling film and allow it to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes, before using it.  However, if you don’t have time to wait or simply want a quick recipe, you can use it immediately.

If you want to make more or less pastry, the basic proportions are half the amount of butter to the amount of flour.  For example, if you want more pastry you could use 500g of flour and 250g of butter.

You can make pastry just using water, but the egg helps to give it a richer flavour.

This pastry recipe works for both sweet and savoury dishes.  For example, you could add caster sugar or cocoa powder to make sweet pastry or grated parmesan cheese or herbs for a savoury pastry.

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Ingredients

Popcorn kernels
Microwaveable roasting bag

Additional ingredients

You can try a range of different flavours, if you don’t want plain popcorn, just remember if you’re using liquid flavourings, to use a spray bottle rather than pouring it on, in order to get the flavour to stick and not make the popcorn too wet!

  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Sugar and salt
  • Curry powder
  • Vanilla and cinnamon
  • Lemon juice and black pepper
  • Hot chocolate powder
  • Paprika

Method

Put one handful of popcorn kernels into the bag and use the provided tie to loosely seal it.

Cooking

Put the bag into the microwave and heat on full power for approximately two minutes, until most of the kernels have popped. 

Make sure you remove and open the bag carefully, as steam will be released and it’s hot!  You can then add your different flavourings (approximately one teaspoon), close the bag again and shake well before serving.

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Ingredients

200g self raising flour
125ml milk
50g butter
 

Additional ingredients

You can try a range of different flavours, if you don’t want plain scones.

  • Caster sugar (2 tablespoons)
  • Caster sugar and sultanas / other dried fruit
  • Grated apple and cinnamon (with a little sugar)
  • Grated cheese (plus mustard powder to help enhance the flavour of the cheese)
  • Cooked bacon / ham and cheese
  • Feta and olives / sundried tomatoes

Method

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Rub the butter and flour together with your fingertips, until it resembles breadcrumbs.

Add any additional flavourings at this point and gradually add in the milk and combine together.

Flatten the mixture onto a lightly floured surface, either with a rolling pin or by hand, to an approximate height of 1.5cm.

Cut your scones out and pop them onto a baking tray.  If you have leftover mixture, simply bring it back together and make additional scones.

Cooking

Bake for approximately 10 to 15 / 20 minutes, depending upon the size of your scones.

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Sauce ingredients

1/2 an onion
1 garlic clove
1 tin of tomatoes
Fresh / dried basil

Filling ingredients

250g ricotta cheese
250g fresh spinach
30g grated parmesan cheese
1 egg
1 garlic clove
A pinch of nutmeg

Additional ingredients

Cannelloni tubes
Mozzarella / Cheddar cheese (for the top)

Method

To make the sauce…

Finely chop the garlic and onion.  Heat a little oil in a saucepan and gently cook the garlic and onion for a few minutes, until softened.  Add the tomatoes with a little water and allow to simmer, while you prepare the filling.

When the sauce is almost ready, add the basil and season with pepper.

To make the filling…

Wilt the spinach by placing it in a large bowl covered with cling film, and heating in the microwave for approximately two minutes.

Squeeze the moisture from the spinach, before chopping and mixing it together with the remaining ingredients and seasoning to taste.

To assemble…

Spread a little of the sauce into a large ovenproof baking dish.

Spoon the filling into a piping bag and carefully fill the cannelloni tubes.  Place the filled tubes onto the layer of sauce and once you've used all of the filling, pour the remaining sauce over the top and cover the dish with foil.

Cooking

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Place the cannelloni into the oven and cook for approximately 20 minutes, before removing the foil and adding the mozzarella / grated Cheddar cheese and returning to the oven.

Continue cooking until it's golden brown and the cannelloni tubes are soft and fully cooked.

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Vegetable soup

Ingredients

1 carrot
1 stick of celery
1 onion
Vegetables of your choice
Vegetable stock cubes
Oil

Flavour suggestions

  • Leek and potato
  • Sweet potato and chilli flakes
  • Broccoli, courgette and spinach
  • Parsnip, apple and curry powder
  • Carrot and orange
  • Cauliflower and cheese

Method / Cooking

Finely chop the onion, carrot and celery and add to a pan with a little bit of oil.

Allow to cook gently, until it's all softened.

Meanwhile, prepare your chosen vegetables and make your stock (you'll need approximately 1 litre).

Once the onion, carrot and celery are soft, add the other vegetables and cover with the stock.

If you want to add any spices or additional flavours, you can do so at this point.

Bring to the boil and then allow to simmer, until the vegetables have all softened.

If you're combining different vegetables (such as broccoli and spinach), you may want to add the quick cook vegetable towards the end.

When your soup is ready, carefully use a hand blender to fully or part blend the soup, until it reaches your desired consistency (if it's too thick, you can add more liquid).

If you don't want to serve immediately, allow to cool, then portion into freezer bags / containers and store for up to three months.  When you're ready to use it, simply defrost and reheat.

Savoury bread

Ingredients

Dough

425g self raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
150g grated Cheddar cheese
200ml - 225ml water
1/2 teaspoon salt

Flavourings

5 spring onions
4 ham slices
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder (optional)
1 teaspoon paprika (optional)
Pepper (optional)

Method

Measure the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl.

Grate the cheese and roughly chop the spring onions and slices of ham.

Add the ham, cheese and spring onions to the flour mix, along with any optional seasonings, and combine together.

Gradually add the water (you may not need it all) and bring the mixture together to form a large ball of dough.  Gently knead it into shape.

If mixture gets too sticky, add a little extra flour.

Shape into a ball then flatten slightly and place onto a baking tray.

Use a sharp knife to make three long cuts across the top of the dough.

Add any additional flavours to the top, such as extra cheese and / or chilli flakes.

Cooking

Preheat the oven to 200°C / Gas mark 6.

Place the baking tray into the oven for approximately 35 to 45 minutes, until the bread is golden and sounds hollow when you tap the bottom.

Serve warm or allow to cool.

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Ingredients / Method / Cooking

Vegetable sticks

You can use any raw vegetables, such as…

  • Carrots
  • Cucumber
  • Peppers
  • Cherry / salad tomatoes
  • Radishes
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Mangetout
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Baby sweetcorn


Simply chop / slice them to your chosen size and serve.

Crisps

  • Tortilla wraps (plain or wholemeal)

 
Preheat the oven to 180oC.

Cut a tortilla wrap into crisp size pieces and place onto a baking tray.  If you’d like flavoured crisps, you can brush a little oil across the tortilla and add flavours such as salt and pepper, paprika, cayenne or chilli.

Cook for approximately 7 to 10 minutes, until the crisps are just starting to brown.

Mackerel pate 

  • 1 tub of cream cheese
  • 1 pack of smoked mackerel
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Black pepper 


Remove the skin from the mackerel and flake into a bowl.  Add the cream cheese, lemon juice and black pepper and mix together well, before serving.

Cheese dip

  • 150ml natural yoghurt
  • 50g grated cheese
  • Finely chopped chives / spring onions

Place all of the ingredients into a bowl and mix together well, then serve!

The dips also make great sandwich fillings, if you make too much.

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National ideas 

Change4Life has a fantastic range of meal ideas and recipes you can try, along with fun ways to help your kids stay healthy.

Jack Monroe is a British food writer, with a passion for cooking on a budget.  She has a great range of recipes to try at home, including an extensive vegan selection.