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Blog Challenges

Night Time Me Time

Roasted Vegetable, Goats Cheese and Olive Spelt SaladI used to sleep for England!  12 hours a night and a lunch time snooze most days and I could have slept more.  I was clocking up the zzzz’s big time.  It’s a shame you can’t bank them though because those days are long gone.  Now I’ll get 6 hours a night if I’m lucky.  Something happened when children arrived in my life.  Yes the expected sleep deprivation had me walking around in a daily fog putting petrol in our diesel car and turning up at the supermarket with no idea what I had gone there for, but now my children mostly sleep through and I am staying up way past my bedtime when I could be joining them in dreamland.

The thing is, evenings are quiet and peaceful (mostly) which is a massive difference to the noise levels I am surrounded by during the day.  If I went to bed early I would really miss having what I have called ‘night time me time’.  No let’s change that, I need my evenings so I can do my thing.  In all honesty it keeps me sane!  For a start it’s when this blog gets written. It’s also time for me to be creative with ideas for new recipes.  Both of which are really important to me.

I have tried plenty of different ways to engineer a bit of time to myself during the day but wherever I hide, I’ll always be found….within about 30 seconds normally!  My children are just at that age when someone always needs me. It’s full on and very tiring but I know not to wish the fact that they need me away because they are growing up too fast already.  Before I know it I’ll be seriously uncool to hang around with.

So for now, the evenings it is! Current time check 23.42pm.  Pretty late, so I’m going to tell you all about my latest two recipes tomorrow evening, (save draft).

I’m back, and it’s actually been a few days since I last wrote but as promised above, this blog post is really good value.  In fact it’s BOGOF (blog one get one free) on recipes so I am giving you a main and dessert!  “Wozzers” I hear you cry.  So if this does not temp you into the kitchen, then quite frankly, I don’t know what will!

Roasted Vegetable, Goats Cheese and Olive Spelt Salad

First up a warming salad which is perfect for those autumnal days that are fast approaching.  It’s got everything you could wish for. Roasted veg, spicy dressing, super grain and some soft, almost melted goats cheese on top.  Another lunchtime recipe to bookmark I think.

Roasted Vegetable, Goats Cheese and Olive Spelt Salad

Roasted Vegetable, Goats Cheese and Olive Spelt Salad

Serves 4

  • 150g baby carrots
  • 3 small red onions quartered
  • Handful of chopped walnuts
  • 2 tsp anise seeds
  • 1 red pepper cut into strips
  • 200g pearled spelt
  • 50g baby spinach
  • 40g black olives sliced in half
  • 70g soft goats cheese cut into small chunks

Dressing

  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 170c fan/gas 5
  2. Put carrots, onion, pepper and walnut in a large roasting tray and drizzle with olive oil.  Sprinkle the anise seeds over the top and season with salt and pepper.  Roast for 30 mins
  3. Cook the spelt by following the instructions on the back of the pack (cooked like rice in a saucepan). Drain and add to your serving bowl
  4. Mix up the dressing ingredients in a small jug and pour half over the warm spelt
  5. Add the roasted vegetable and black olives to the spelt and mix up
  6. Dot the goats cheese on top along with the baby spinach
  7. Pour over the remaining dressing and serve

Roasted Vegetables

Pumpkin, Pecan and Piri Piri Blondie

This cheeky little treat also gives the lucky person consuming it a little bit of heat, but this time it’s from the piri piri chillies that are hidden within!  Blondies are a new concept to me, but I certainly like the idea of making a brownie with white chocolate.  Mix in some pecan, pumpkin and that hot baby chilli and you have a little square of loveliness that is ideal for this time of year.  I can see his being a real hit at Halloween or on bonfire night.

Pumpkin, pecan and piri piri blondies

Serves 12

  • 150g white chocolate roughly chopped
  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/5 tps vanilla extract
  • 200g plain flour
  • 150g pumpkin puree (or butternut squash puree)
  • 100g pecans (roughly chopped)
  • 2 piri piri chillies chopped very finely
  • Pinch of salt
  • Need to use a 33x23x5 cm baking tray lined with greaseproof paper

Pumpkin, pecan and piri piri blondies

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 170c/325f/gas 3
  2. Melt the chocolate and butter together in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.  Try and use a bowl big enough to hold all the other ingredients as this is where you will mix up your blondies
  3. Remove from heat and add sugar.  Stir until incorporated
  4. Add vanilla extract and eggs stirring quickly so the eggs don’t scramble
  5. At this point you might worry that you have done something wrong as the mixture does not look particularly great.  But don’t worry as it does come together after the next couple of steps
  6. Add the pumpkin puree and chilli.  Stir in
  7. Then add the flour, pecan nuts and salt.  Stir until the nuts are equally dispersed in the batter
  8. Spoon the mixture into the prepared baking tin and bake for 35 mins, or until golden brown in colour with the centre still softpumpkin

I would like to say a big thank you to Fragata for sending me a selection of their products to have a play with.  The piri piri chilli and black olives that I used in my recipes above were from the Fragata product range.

Fragata piri piri chilli

I should also mention that Fragata are running a pretty cool competition at the moment where they are asking for more recipes using their products as ingredients to be sent in.  The winner will cook with acclaimed Spanish chef, José Pizarro.

I also want to add my roasted vegetable, goats cheese and olive spelt salad as my second offering to the Capricorn goats cheese challenge.  You may remember my first recipe as it was the unique goats cheese souffle with cider poached pear and fig .  Got a feeling Ethel the goat is going to love this salad though as it is properly healthy and I know how keen she is to eat her 5 a day.  Big hugs Ethel. x

Finally, my blondies fully deserve to be sent over the the alphabakes blog challenge this month hosted by Caroline from Caroline Makes and organised with Ros from The More Than Occasional Baker .  The letter this month is P, so I have triple entry qualification with pumpkin, pecan and piri piri chilli.

 

 

 

 

 

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11 Comments

  1. [email protected]September 21, 2012 at 7:03 amReply

    How tasty, I often set salads such as this myself and not only do tehy taste good but they are super healthy too. Now that blondie also looks like it’s made for me. Piri piri anything is good for me. Chillies are in my top ten fave ingredients.
    I wish my children were younger now as I have had to write off my evenings to clubs and homework. So, in reverse to you, I am having to try and write my posts while they are at school now!

    • FleurSeptember 23, 2012 at 7:12 pmReplyAuthor

      It’s amazing how quickly things change. I’m sure it will be no time at all until I am doing the same as you too. Glad you like the recipes Laura. x

  2. Sarah, Maison CupcakeSeptember 21, 2012 at 7:04 pmReply

    I love both of these and I’m totally in agreement about the quiet evenings! I have to stop myself burning the midnight oil….

    • FleurSeptember 23, 2012 at 7:14 pmReplyAuthor

      It’s tempting to just keep going when you are on a roll, no matter how late it is but I have to be strict with myself and midnight is the absolute cut off otherwise I am a total mess the next day. x

  3. patsy pumpkin producerSeptember 21, 2012 at 10:24 pmReply

    Splendid recipes which i am longing to try. Beautiful photographs. i love the Autumn colours.
    Its the time of year when the evenings are longer and its cosy indoors to get engrossed in the things we love to do.
    when its all quite at night i use to refer to it as the house going into shutdown………then i would start up again!

    • FleurSeptember 23, 2012 at 7:14 pmReplyAuthor

      Thanks Patsy. Lovely to have your comment. xxx

  4. ChocletteOctober 4, 2012 at 5:21 pmReply

    Your salad looks very tasty Fleur, but it is the chilli blondies I’m lusting for. I love chilli and , but have not had them in this combination before – wonderful.

  5. AmyOctober 6, 2012 at 7:21 pmReply

    Salad looks great, def going to make it xxx

    • FleurOctober 7, 2012 at 8:35 pmReplyAuthor

      Yay!! Let me know how you get on. x

  6. UrvashiOctober 11, 2012 at 2:02 pmReply

    Chili Blondies?! Blooming heck I have to give those a go. I make dark chocolate ones and I loved that little jar of fire.
    That salad looks so wholesome too!

  7. lucyOctober 15, 2012 at 2:50 pmReply

    Fantastic post! So nice to see a pumpkin recipe not in american units.

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