Monthly Archives: May 2012

How to be Healthy: Banana Brownies

Here is a disclaimer: don’t eat these with the idea that they will be really rich, sweet  brownies.

These aren’t meant to be indulgent, they’re meant to be sustaining snacks to get you on your way. They taste like banana bread, but because they don’t have butter or eggs or sugar in them, they’re not as rich or sugary.

HOWEVER, THEY ARE STILL DELICIOUS AND HEALTHY. Why? Well they have buckwheat in them. Buckwheat baking is fun because I’m like “IT’S LOOKS LIKE FLOUR BUT IT’S NOT”. It’s a bit like fake meat, “IT’S LOOKS LIKE A SAUSAGE BUT IT’S NOT”. (However, I don’t really like fake meat).

Enjoy these this jubilee weekend, because with all the drinking, unhealthy canapes and sun, you’ll need a healthy indulgence.

Ingredients-Food processor required, makes 12 servings

-3/4 cup of buckwheat groats

-1 cup of porridge oats

-3 over ripe bananas

-200 ml milk, any kind

-1.5 tsp of baking powder

-1/4 cup dessicated coconut

-1/4 cup of dried apricots, chopped

-1 heaped tsp of honey

-Chopped walnuts (optional)


-Line a baking dish with greaseproof paper, and preheat oven to gas mark 6, 200 c.

-In a food processor, process the buckwheat groats for 5-10 minutes until ground to flour like substance. Take little breaks so the processor doesn’t over heat.

-Once ground, porridge and process for a bit longer until the whole mixture looks well and truly FLOUR-LIKE.

-Add the bananas and process until the mixture is well combined.

-Add the remaining ingredients and process until the mixture looks like cake batter.

-Pour into baking dish and top with walnuts.

-Cook for 45 minutes, or until top has browned off and the brownies feel soft.

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Filed under Grains, Healthy Sweets, How to be Healthy

Cooking Up My Bookmarks: Root Vegetable Gratin

Mmm. Just goodness. Just before eating this we found out that Francois Hollande had won the French Presidency. The first Socialist President in about 2 decades. We didn’t mean to have a French-named dish, but we did. So I guess we had a gratin in dedication to Monsieur Hollande, but…we didn’t really. IT WAS ALMOST LIKE FATE.

Again, as part of my mission to cook my bookmarks, I’ve made this recipe. It was really great, with leeks, onions and sweet potatoes. Made in a cheesy, creamy sauce and then topped with breadcrumbs (and a bit more cheese). Baked. Great stuff.

Honestly, this bookmarks mission is really getting me to shake up my cooking routine, I was getting into a bit of a rut.

Ingredients-serves 5, adapted from this.

-1 leek, sliced into rings

-2 red onions, chopped into big chunks

-1 clove of garlic-chopped

-1 sweet potato sliced REALLY FINELY into rings.

-1 tbsp butter

-1 tsp salt

-3 tsp dried rosemary

-lots of black pepper.

-1/3 cup white wine

-3/4 cup of milk

-1/2 cup + 1/4 cup of grated gruyere cheese separated (or whatever cheese you have)

-100g breadcrumbs


-Preheat oven to gas mark 6/200c. Grease a baking dish, or individual ramekins.

-Melt the butter in a large sauce pan, and add the onions, leek, potato slices and garlic, add the seasoning too. If the mixture seems a bit dry, you might need to add a bit of olive oil.

-Add the white wine, and cover the sauce pan with a lid and cook on a medium heat for 10-15 minutes.

-Once the vegetables have softened, add the milk and 1/2 cup of cheese and stir.

-Once the cheese has melted and the mixture starts to bubble, spoon the mixture into the baking dish(es).

-Top with the breadcrumbs and the remaining cheese, and add some more pepper. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes or until the top has browned off.

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Filed under Cheese, Vegetarian

Cooking Up My Bookmarks: Quinoa Chili

I should be working right now. I should be reading about hagiography in the Merovingian period. I should be reading about bishop-saints, and how they were represented throughout the course of the middle ages. I should be reading about how the rising non-landed plutocrats of Victorian Britain were undermining the British aristocracy.

Instead I made chili. Chili with quinoa. Doesn’t it look really meaty? It does, doesn’t it? You’d be fooled into believing that that’s mince meat in there. I got my inspiration from this source, but I adapted it slightly.

It was delicious this was. It was bizarre when I was eating it because it definitely didn’t have the texture of meat, but it didn’t feel like it was trying to be something it wasn’t. It was very…wholesome? Satisfying? idunkno.

I would write more, but I’m a bit worried about my work. I hate exams.


-1/2 cup of uncooked quinoa

-1 red onion

-1 clove of garlic

-1 carrot

-1 green pepper

-1 tsp salt

-1 tsp gr coriander

-2 tsp cumin

-1 tsp cocoa powder

-1 tsp paprika

-1 tsp chili

-1 x 400g tin kidney beans, drained

-1 x 400g tin chickpeas, barlotti beans or black beans, drained

-1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes

-2 tbsp tomato puree

-200 ml water


-Cover your quinoa with water, bring to the boil and cook for fifteen minutes or until it’s soft (when eaten).

-Meanwhile, cook your vetegables in some olive oil in a large saucepan and add some salt.

-Once vegetables are soft add remaining ingredients, bar the quinoa.

-Bring the mixture to the boil and add the quinoa. Cook for 15 minutes and take off the heat.

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Filed under Grains, Mexican, Pulses, Quick, Store Cupboard, Vegetarian

Cooking Up My Bookmarks: Really Good, Really Healthy Brownies

Shockingly good actually, but I didn’t want to make that the title. It seemed a bit presumptuous.

These are part of my ‘Cooking Up My Bookmarks’ mission. It’s going well so far.

These are date brownies. They aren’t called date brownies because eating a lot of them will get you a date (they wont, I’ve tried) , but because they have lots of dates in them. AND WE ALL KNOW, dates really rule when it comes to sweet things #datesquares #stickytoffeepudding.

I love brownies. They have to be really fudgy and sickly. And chocolately. My mum makes amazing brownies, and I always swore that she did. But then my friend made these even more amazing brownies with melted chocolate. They were nice.

They reinstated a love of brownies in me, and so, to make brownies REALLY EXCITING, I wanted to make a healthy recipe for them…party at my house.

How are these made healthy? Well, they don’t have butter, sugar, eggs or flour in them. DAT’S RIGHT. They have pearl barley flour in them, this is made by grinding pearl barley. This did mean that there were bits of pearl barley in the brownies, but they were edible and I’m fine 12 hours later. So hey, it’s okay! By the way, a food processor is necessary.

So what do they actually taste like? OMIGOD, they taste so good. I was so dubious, but these are rich, and gooey and very chocolately. The texture is very dense, and the flavour is nutty and chocolatey, a bit like a Kinder Bueno.

Just taking this opportunity to plug my twitter account again, @jes_sca (or see the side bar).

Ingredients- Cooking THIS but with a lot of variation

-1 cup of dates

-3/4 boiling water

-1 tsp vanilla extract

-1/4 cup of pearl barley flour (process barley)

-1/4 mix of hazlenuts and almonds

-1 1/2 tsp of baking powder

-1/2 cup cocoa powder

-1/4 cup of coconut oil, melted

-1/4 dessicated coconut (optional)

-1 tsp cinnamon (optional)

-1/4 cup peanut butter


-Preheat oven to gas mark 5/370f/190 c. Grease a rounded cake tin, or a 5″ x 5″ tin, or any sort of tin you have.

-In a bowl, pour the hot water and vanilla essence over the dates and set aside.

-In a food processor, process the pearl barley and nuts for as long as possible. It should be very finely processed,  but there will be some bits of pearl barley that don’t get processed. Seive the mixture into another bowl, you basically want to get rid of all the whole bits of barley, and set aside.

-To this mixture add the cocoa powder, coconut oil, dessicated coconut and baking powder.

-Get your date mixture, and put into the food processor. Process for about 1 minute until the mixture is paste-like .

-Add the cocoa mixture and the peanut butter to the paste-mixture and process until everything is well-combined.

-Pour the batter into cake tin and cook for an 45 mins-hour. They are ready when the top of the brownies is very firm and when you poke a knife through it, it comes out clean.

-Leave to cool before cutting. And eating.


Filed under Desserts, Healthy Sweets, Vegan, Vegetarian

Cooking Up My Bookmarks

Do you add things to your bookmarks (web favourites), and then never look at them again? Yeah, YEAH YOU DO. The other day, for example, I was looking for something in my bookmarks manager and I found this:

I was happy to relive it, but I do not remember actually adding it to my favourites.


Well also, as  a lover of a food, or ‘food-lover’ if you will, I have a special folder in my bookmarks dedicated to ‘recipes’. My friend said ‘oh my god, Jess’ when she came across them. She wasn’t meant to, but she did. However, seeing the extent of them made me realise that I have only cooked up a few of these bookmarks. Which is a shame.

So I’m going to undertake a mission to cook as many of those recipes as I can.  You might be pleased to know that some of these will be sweet recipes, which I don’t include a lot of.

There are A LOT OF THEM. This is such a massive undertaking, but I’m determined to do a least TEN of them before I head to LE SUD DE LA FRANCE. Here are just some that I will be attempting.


Roast Vegetable and Houmous Pie 

Root Vegetable Gratin 

Stuffed Loaf 

Lentil Loaf 

Cajan-Spiced Rice

Pumpkin and Goats Cheese pies

Quinoa Chili

Quinoa Pizza Bake

Sweet Potato Cakes

Polenta Fries

Cheese and Pea Muffins


Quinoa Squares 

Walnut Brownies 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Crispy Bars 

Fig and Hazlenut Crostada

Fig and Raspberry Upside Down Cake

Strawberry Tart

Raspberry Cheesecake Bars 

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Fig Torte 



Filed under Other

Versatile Blogger Award

In my last post I briefly noted that I had been ‘nominated’ for a Versatile Blogger Award by The Healthy Foodie. I didn’t realise what this meant, until I googled VBA. To be honest, I still do not know what it is, but I think it’s a platform to publicise blogs that other bloggers think are worthy of appreciation. I took a look at the VBA ‘rules’ and it stated that after I had been nominated that I should include a link to the nominator’s page as a thank you (already done). Next I must select 15 bloggers who I regularly follow. Here you go:

-Oh She Glows

-Smitten Kitchen

-Salad Pride

-Naomi is Hungry

-Michelin Microwave

-The F Word Blog (I do like things other than food).

Chocolate Covered Katie

-Holly White

-Left Bank Manc

-I am Baker

-Shop Cook Make

-The Edible Perspective

-Helen Graves-Food Stories

-Tracey’s Culinary Adventures

The Oven Mitt

Okay, now that I’ve nominated 15 bloggers that I’ve discovered/follow, I now must ‘tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself’. Blogs are horrifically self-indulgent aren’t they? Although, of course, I write a bit about my life here I don’t really tend to write that much. I think there’s a lot of things I don’t talk about which you might be surprised to find out. So I guess that’s why it might be useful to write seven things about me, cos I probably wont do it again. Here we go:

  1. I don’t want a career in food, I’m actually a History and French undergraduate and have academic pursuits. I’m obsessed withVictorian Britain, particularly the aristocracy, mid-Victorian politics and William Gladstone. I’m also weirdly interested in Queen Victoria as well. WHO KNEW?!
  2. Next year I will be living in Montpellier (south of France) as part of my year abroad. I study French and thus I have to spend a compulsory year in a Francophone country. I’m so excited and so petrified. I’ve heard they go to the beach up until November, this is probably not so good for  my health as I am a sun worshipper. I went to Italy for a month in August ’11 and I put sun-cream on only once. I have A LOT of moles.
  3. I’m not really into illness and conditions, but I have what is known as Raynaud’s phenomenon, or bad circulation. I’M ALWAYS COLD (hence the sun worshipping). Those who are closest to me tend to cringe away from me when I touch them(not in a creepy way) because my hands are like ice blocks. Also, at the change from winter to spring,  my fingers (because they’re warming up a bit) swell up as the blood rushes to them and the vessels burst (chilblains). This then means that when the swelling goes down, I get saggy finger skin like when an overweight person loses weight too quickly. IT’S GREAT.
  4. My favourite foods are cheese and chocolate. I think that’s why I would find it impossibly hard to be a vegan. My mum has always said (lame) that you can’t go through life denying yourself treats. Especially when you go running, I feel I’m entitled to both. My favourite cheeses can go through phases, right now top 3 are: 3) Goat’s cheese 2) Saint Agur Blue 1) Feta. With chocolate, I’m not fussy. Someone once told me that women have a greater emotional attachment to chocolate. SCOFF. Chocolate tastes good and that’s that.
  6. I get up early, horrifically early, and there’s nothing I can do about it. I will sometimes go out and not get to bed till 4am, and it wont matter, I’ll get up at 8am. I think people tend to think that I’m a loser and that I get up early cos I’m a nerd and a bit too active for my own good. But I don’t think people get that I can’t help it. I go through phases (i.e the holidays) when I normally get about 12 hours of sleep a night, and wont wake up till about 10. Those are good days.
  7. I come from North London and I can see this bad boy from my bedroom window : Alexandra Palace. Its biggest claim to fame is having a Robbie Williams music video filmed at the Ice Rink that’s inside. However, I study in West Yorkshire about 200 miles from home, so I move in between places. It’s windy in Leeds, but I like it.


There you go. 7 mediocre facts about my life.


Filed under Other