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Savvy shopping, seasonal eating and thrifty recipes. Spend less on groceries and enjoy better tasting, easy to prepare meals your friends and family will love – all on a budget.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Chocolate Overload Slice

This slice is the invention of my 8yo, she made it when we had our After School Club session last week.  It is great to be able to spend time with her and watch her bake, make or craft whilst having a chat.
We started with a Tiffin base then added a layer of marshmallows followed by a layer of melted chocolate then sprinkles.  Everything sweet and baked needs sprinkles, it's the law, so says 8yo. Who am I to disagree?



Chocolate Overload Slice

4 Tblsp golden syrup
125g butter
250g shortbread finger biscuits
4 Tblsp cocoa powder
75g raisins
200g pack marshmallows
250g plain chocolate, roughly chopped

We used a microwave to make this slice, you could use a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water instead.  Measure the golden syrup and butter into a large pyrex jug or non-metallic bowl.  Melt in the microwave on full power for about 1.5 - 2 minutes in 30 second bursts.  

Whilst the butter and syrup are melting, put the biscuits into a plastic bag, seal it and gently crush the biscuits.  You want small chunks of biscuit, not totally crushed to crumbs, so don't be too vigorous.  

Once the butter and golden syrup have melted, mix them together until totally combined.  Then add the cocoa and mix until completely incorporated.  Finally mix in the raisins and the crushed biscuits.

Pour the mix into a lined tin and spread it out evenly then level the surface.  Put the marshmallows into a microwave safe bowl or jug and heat on full power for about 45 seconds until melted.  Pour over the tiffin base.

Finally, heat the chocolate in the microwave in 30 second bursts for a total of 2 - 3 minutes until melted.   Alternatively you could put the chocolate in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water and stir until melted.  

Pour the melted chocolate evenly over the melted marshmallow layer and carefully spread it out to completely cover the slice.  Sprinkle over some sugar stars or other sprinkles if you want.

Put the tiffin in the fridge for at an hour to set.  Cut into small squares to serve.


Thursday, 22 January 2015

Kale, Butternut Squash, and Mozzarella Toastie

I was asked my the lovelies at Warburtons to create a sandwich using their Sandwich Thins which are only 100 kCal per thin.  I decided to make a toasted sandwich that would be great for an after school snack on the way to clubs and work equally as well for a filling lunch.


Kale, Butternut Squash and Mozzarella Toastie

100g butternut squash, peeled and finely diced
2 Tblsp garlic butter
1/2 chilli, deseeded and very finely diced
1 small onion, peeled and finely diced
1 handful kale, finely shredded
1 handful mozzarella cheese
4 sandwich thins

Heat the butter in a small frying pan and cook the squash, onion and chilli until the squash is cooked and has softened.  Add the kale and cook until wilted.  Remove the ingredients from the frying pan and divide between two sandwich thins.  Sprinkle over the cheese and top with another sandwich thin.  Using a frying pan or sandwich press, heat the sandwiches on both sides until the cheese melts and the sandwich thins are toasted and crisp on the outside.



They also asked me to share with you their ideas for Food Trends that will be popular in 2015:

Creativity, contrasting flavours and convenience are the new watchwords on the food scene this year. Research carried out by Warburtons reveals the new food experiences, flavours and the diverse options we will be eating in and out in 2015:

Sweet and spicy mix up
Look out for the likes of jalapeno honey and ghost chilli honey topped on chicken-and-waffles, whipped into butter, mixed into salad dressings, snuck into sauce. It started with salted caramel but this year the idea of subtle clashes in food will become the norm.

A nation of grazers
Quick, portable and smaller portioned foods on the go are replacing traditional meal occasions with the continued popularity of street food testament to this trend. 

Beneath the surface
Carrots are the new pork belly, cauliflower the new steak, winter kale the new burger. Vegetables, no longer the supporting players in restaurant meals, now have the starring roles. Watch out for parsnips making a come back and kohlrabi, part of the cabbage family, rising in fame.

Creative sandwiching
Adventurous sandwiches will pick up pace in 2015 as consumers think outside the (lunch)box to add flair, not calories to their meal and enjoy food their way. Sandwich alternatives such as thins are hot property this year as they complement this growing trend offering consumers a versatile canvas to add exciting flavour fillings at 420 KJ / 100 Kcal per thin.

Breakfast evolution
Taken on-the-go during the week and ‘out-of-hours’ at the weekend, the most important meal of the day is either healthier, quicker and convenient or long and leisurely. Portable foods like yogurts, breakfast sandwiches and fruit are in huge demand. When looking at breakfast eaten out, everyday ‘home style’ breakfast products are on the rise as shown by Brixton’s popular Burnt Toast eatery where consumers are invited to toast their own bread. 

Search, eat, share
As generation Z make themselves known, technology will become a core fixture of food occasions. Whether it's the restaurant experience, the ordering process or social sharing of food, a side of technology will be a must-have. 

Manipulation
Prepare for adjustments in restaurant environments and the way food is served, as foodies play with our senses and manipulate the way the brain tastes and interprets food. Diageo found that if you drink a glass of single malt in a room carpeted with real grass, accompanied by the sound of a lawnmower and birds chirping, the whisky tastes "grassier".

Noodles
The speed, ease, tastiness and value for money that noodle based dishes offer will see the love of noodles continue in 2015. Bone Daddies Ramen Bar hit London by storm recently showing just how popular noodle have become.

Rising Stars
Just as dining is becoming less and less formal, so too do we look less to the old guard of cooking, and look more to the young, exciting cooks. Shaping how and what we eat over the next few years will include Florence Knight at Polpetto, Marianne Lumb of Marianne and Daniel Doherty, head chef at Duck and Waffle, who published a book this year and is pushing a great number of boundaries in the kitchen.

Back to the future
Childhood food formats that are deliberately re-invented in an adult form – from milkshakes to fish finger sandwiches. Childhood food rituals are coming back.


Sponsored Post:  I was compensated for my time, expertise and ingredients to create this recipe.