Thursday, 31 July 2014

Blueberry & Raspberry Smoothie

This is the first recipe we (well actually Miss O!) made in our new Optimum 9400 blender. It's a super-easy, but really tasty, chilled fruit smoothie...

Serves 1
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen raspberries
  • ½ cup ice cubes
  • ½ cup apple juice
Lightly crush the ice for a few seconds in the blender.
Add the remaining ingredients and blend on medium-high for 45-60 seconds).
Pour and serve.

Smoothie benefits: Rich in  vitamin C, Vitamin K and fibre. 
Top tips: This smoothie is quite sharp-tasting, so younger children may prefer it sweetened with a drop of agave or date syrup.




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Tuesday, 22 July 2014

The Optimum 9400 Froothie maker - a review


 Optimum 9400
I was delighted to be asked to become a Brand Ambassador for Froothie, who sell the award-winning Optimum range of professional and domestic juicers and blenders.

One reason that I jumped at the chance to try out the Optimum 9400 blender, is that my daughters both love smoothies. My existing blender can only make 'lumpies' so I generally spend around £5 per week on ready-made cartons of fruit smoothies. I'd love them to drink more smoothies, as I think it's a great way to get 1 or 2 extra portions of fruit (or veg!) into their diets. The great thing about home made smoothies, is that you can use seasonal ingredients to keep costs down and you can omit any ingredients you don't like.

Whilst certainly not cheap at a RRP of £329, the Optimum 9400 is an excellent piece of kit for health-conscious vegetarians, vegans and raw food enthusiasts. In a domestic kitchen, it can be used to make smoothies, hot and cold soups, slushies, sorbets, dairy-free nut and seed milks/butters plus much more.  In fact it has around 15 functions - do check it out on this YouTube clip to see it in action!


On first inspection, the blender looks and feels like a proper, heavy-duty, professional product - which of course it is - as the Optimum range of blenders and juicers are used in many cafes and juice bars. I found the blender really easy to use and importantly, easy to clean too. There are no detachable parts to screw or lock together and the flexible lid just pops on and off. The tamper allows you to stir and scrape the contents of the blender whilst the motor is on; no need to stop, and scrape the contents back down. Once you've made a smoothie, you just fill the jug with hot water and a drop of washing up liquid and blend for a couple of seconds. Tip out the contents, rinse and you're done!


 Buy NowBoth of my teenage daughters have tried out the machine already and have been really impressed with the smoothness of their smoothies and the speed of blending. 
Over the next few months, we will be testing out the Optimum 9400 Froothie maker and blogging our recipe ideas.

Meanwhile, if you'd like to test out the machine with a 30 day money-back guarantee, pop on over to the Froothie website.


Integrity Statement

I received an Optimum 9400 blender to review and to act as a brand ambassador in future posts.
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Saturday, 12 July 2014

Win tickets to London VegfestUK '14

This year's London VegfestUK will be taking place in the Olympia West Halls on the weekend of Sept 27th and 28th 2014.

Vegfest hosts an amazing range of vegetarian/vegan food and drink stalls, kids' activities, talks, cookery demos and workshops, plus meet-and-greet sessions and book signings.

Special guests this year include presenters Amanda Hamilton and Sarah-Jane Honeywell, athletes Brendan Brazier, Patrik Baboumian, Fiona Oakes and Neil Robinson, plus Ms Cupcake founder Melissa Morgan, comedian Andrew O'Neill and Carl Donnelly.

Advance tickets are £10 in advance, currently available on a BUY ONE GET ONE FREE offer (which runs till Aug 23rd) at london.vegfest.co.uk/ticket-info. Children under 16 are admitted free.

I have 2 Sunday tickets to the show to giveaway (these will also admit a family of 4, with 2 children under 16).

To enter, just leave a comment telling me your favourite cook/chef, using the Rafflecopter widget below. Competition closes midnight Sunday 20th July. UK only.

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Friday, 11 July 2014

Easy Halloumi Cheese Pie

Easy halloumi pie
I've made this recipe before, but last time I made it, I altered it quite a bit and made pastry-less mini-pies! This time, I've more or less stuck to the original recipe...

Eftychia of 'Dream of Cakes' lives in Cyprus and mainly blogs dessert and cake recipes, however she also posts many other delicious Greek recipes, one of them being this amazing halloumi pie. I adapted it slightly this time (using filo rather than puff pastry and swapping the polenta for cornflour), but other than that I followed the recipe.

 Bookmarked RecipesAs you can see, it looks quite impressive when baked, but is really easy to make. It can be served hot, warm or cold and makes a great addition to a meze or a picnic. It also looks good enough to serve for a dinner party or special occasion, slices well and can even be (slightly under) baked in advance and re-heated if needed.

I'm entering this recipe to July's Bookmarked Recipes Challenge over at Tinned Tomatoes.

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Thursday, 3 July 2014

Gigantes Plaki (Butter Beans in Tomato Sauce)

Traditionally, gigantes plaki is made from soaked, dried butter/lima beans and baked in the oven. My quick version relies on tinned beans and is cooked on the hob, but you could make a big batch using dried beans and cook in the slow cooker (boil the beans for 10 minutes before slow cooking). This dish can be serve warm a part of a meze or hot as a main dish with rice or bread.

My version costs around £1 to make, using budget-brand beans and tinned tomatoes. 

Serves 2-4
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, chopped or crushed
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes or around 400g/1 lb chopped fresh tomatoes.
  • 1 tin butter/lima beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh dill
  • ½ tsp sugar, optional
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • a pinch of cinnamon or a small cinnamon stick, optional 
Heat the oil in a pan and saute the onion, carrot and garlic for a few minutes.
Add all of the remaining ingredients, apart from the beans, and stir well.
Cover and simmer on a low heat for 10 minutes. 
Add the beans, stir and simmer (with the lid on)  for a further 10-20 minutes, until the carrots are tender.

 Vegetable Palette
Lower fat alternative: Just use 1 tsp of oil. 
Camping version: Simmer a jar of tomato pasta sauce with a drained tin of butter beans. Serve with warm pittas.

I'm linking this recipe to 'The Vegetable Palette'  over at  A2K - A Seasonal Veg Table.  This month's colour theme is red.

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