Dinner · Lunch

Fully loaded Nacho Style Sweetpotato Chips 💛

Some nights just call for relaxed food. You know, those jammies on, hair up, throw yourself on the couch kind of night? That’s what I’m talking about. This is not an elegant dish… But it’s ridiculously moreish, vibrant and delicious. That Texmex mix always seems to hit the spot for me and by now you should know my love of all things Sweetpotato… Well it’s like they met and had this beautiful little love child 💛 Sweet. Spicy. Sticky. Delicious…

And yes. A perfect night in was born.

This recipe couldn’t be any easier to put together too. And a total cheat with ready made salsa/pico. Every one always has their own favourite. You can usually pick up some lovely fresh versions in stores or farmers markets these days too!

Recipe: Serves two (happily)

2 Sweet potatoes

1 Tbs oil ( I used Avocado)

1 tsp Paprika

1 tsp Cumin

1/2 Tsp salt.

Fully loaded topping:

1 Cup Black beans (cooked and drained)

1 Cup diced fresh Pepper

1/2 Red Onion sliced thinly

1 Cup sweetcorn kernels

1 Cup Salsa of your choice ( Pico de gallo works great too)

Lime wedges and Cilantro to top.

Preheat the oven to 400°.

Chop the sweet potatoes into chunky chips. Toss them in oil and the spices and pop on a non stick baking tray and into a hot oven for 30 minutes.

During the last five minutes of the sweet potatoes cooking, gently heat a sautee pan and add the pepper and onions. Cook until a little soft then add the beans and corn. Give everything a gentle stir. Just to warm though. Once the chips are ready, pile onto a serving dish and spoon over your salsa, with your veggie mix on top. Chop up a lime and some cilantro and serve alongside.

Don’t be shy now..

Enjoy 💛

Baking · Dessert

❤Sunday Baking Valentine’s Style ❤ 🌹 Cherry Almond and Rose Sticky Buns 🌹

Ok. Confession. The amount of times I tried to take photos of this recipe may be a little embarrassing… but nothing I did seemed to show it well. So a few billion shots and a few choice words later I gave up and used the first one I took. What can I say? I chose the blog life. The blog life did not choose me….

Anyway.. back to what I’m supposed to be wittering on talking about.

Valentine’s ❤ or Galentine’s or whatever it is you feel like celebrating… I’m not precious, you do you. But I do advise you do it with sticky buns.. because life’s just a little better when it’s served something sweet and sticky. Or maybe that’s just me ??

Besides, I always love the idea of making something to show you care. A little time and effort can mean the world. Specially on these commercially vamped up holidays. Take some time, make it with love instead. I will admit. These buns take a little love and some patience as it needs to prove twice. Not that it’s hard work, but it’s not a quick snap recipe.. but they seemed worth the wait to me ❤

It’s no secret in my house my love of all things almond. My two childhood favourites (childhood? Who am I kidding) were always Cherry Bakewells and Battenburg Cake. And you’ll find me eating my own bodyweight in Marzipan over the holidays too. I have to admit. This relationship has been going on decades now.. I think… I think it must be love ❤ and so that was very much the flavour I wanted to run with. And so.. my Cherry Almond Sticky buns were born.

These really are one of those special occasion treats. They’re sticky and rich and everything I love about a sweet treat. The cherry jam pairs well with the rose scented frosting and almond dough. I hope you like them as much as I did.

Happy Valentines Day ❤

Recipe:

Dough

1 Cup Almond milk

1 tsp Almond extract

1 Packet Dry Active Yeast

1tsp + 2 Tbs Sugar

3 Cups flour

3 Tbs oil

1/4 Cup Diced Cherries

Filling:

1/4 Cup Cherry Jam

Frosting:

1 1/2 Cups Powedered Sugar

1 Tbs Earth balance (melted)

1tsp Rose Water

Splash Almond Milk, so its liquid enough to spread.

To decorate : edible rose petals

To start gently heat almond milk to luke warm. Sprinkle in yeast and 1tsp sugar. Give a good mix and leave to get activated and frothy for 5-10 minutes.

Meanwhile add flour, and remaining sugar to a stand mixer. If you haven’t got a stand mixer you’ll need to knead the dough for a while until the dough is springy once you’ve made it)

Add milk to flour, and then add in oil an almond extract and mix until a dough is formed. Once ready pop to one side in a warm dry area for an hour or two or until dough has doubled in size.

At this point removed the dough, squish the air out then knead in chopped cherries. Leave the dough to rest and rise a little again for an hour or so.

Once dough is ready, roll out to a large rectangle and spread with cherry jam. Roll up and slice. If you need more instructions on this check out my blueberry lemon rolls recipe. https://thelittlebluegarden.com/2016/03/13/blueberry-and-lemon-swirls/

Pop into a silicone mold or well greased baking tray. Then leave again for a little while till the oven preheats to 375°.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until puffed up and baked through.

Leave to cool slightly before inverting, but do it whilst it’s still warm for best results.

Mix all the frosting ingredients together. If you’re eating this straight away, pour all over and enjoy when cool enough to handle, but still a little warm, if not then leave to cool completely before frosting ❤

I’d love you to believe that was the total amount of frosting used …

Sprinkle with rose petals and enjoy !!

Dinner · Lunch

Fourth Additon to the Winter Wamer Series. Sweet Potato “Thanksgiving” Soup.

I loved making this Soup. It was like taking a step back to Thanksgiving 💛 Complete accident too. I’d started out just making my favourite Sweet potato Lentil and Harissa soup. But realised I was had no Harissa left. Rookie mistake Robinson. But as my sweet potatoes were already happily bubbling away, desperation seemed to inspire creativity. And off to the garden I went for some new ideas… And voila, this pretty little creation was born.

Pairing Sweetpoatoes with fresh Sage and Parsley reminded me of the ingredients I used on my thanksgiving table, and of course it’s not Thanksgiving without Cranberries.. so that’s what I went with. Trust me guys. Would I lead you astray!?

Yep. Sweetpotato. Lentils. Stock. Parsley. Sage. Cranberries. It’s that simple. 💛 All the flavour, non of the fuss.

You all know my affinity with large bowls of food and this recipe was no exception. A large bowl of soup, snuggled up in the warm, favorite book to hand or film on tele. Hygge at it’s finest. (By the way. Does anyone know how to pronounce that?! ).

And by the way, fried Sage leaves? I’m in love. Crispy little bites of deliciousness 💚 if you have not tried them I promise they will not disappoint. They really work brilliantly here I hope you love them as much as I do.

So here we are;

Recipe makes 2 big bowls

2 Sweet Poatoes

1/3 Cup Red Lentils

5-6 Cups Vegetable stock

1 tsp Honey

Bunch of Sage

1 Clove Garlic

Bunch of Parsley

1-2 tbs Oil (I used avocado)

Salt

Seeds

Dried Cranberries

Peel and chop the sweetpotato, pop in to a medium saucepan with the lentils and stock.

Take the bunch of sage and separate into two halves. Tie one bunch together with kitchen twine to make a mini bouquet garni. Pop into the pan carefully along with the peeled clove of garlic. Cook 30 minutes or so until everything is tender. Topping up with stock if necessary. Remove the now destroyed bouquet garni and discard.

Puree everything until a nice smooth consistency, at this point add salt and a tsp of honey. Then return to the pan to keep warm while you make the crispy sage leaves. I promise this step is worth it.

Put a small frying pan on to heat and heat up the oil you’re using. Once oil is hot, add the leaves a few at a time until deep green and crisped up. Removed with a slotted spoon too some kitchen roll. You’re effectively shallow frying the leaves.

Pop the soup into two bowls and top happily with Parsely, Cranberries, Seeds and last but not least, the crispy Sage leaves.

Love to know what you think of this one!

Dinner · Lunch

Third Winter Warmer addition. Chunky Mushroom Soup 💚

I don’t know about you. But for me, soup is life. Specially in the winter months. There is something so wholesome, cosy and comforting about a big hot bowl of soup. Specially if there’s some warm crusty bread to give a good dunk with. Ahhh. It’s the simple things isn’t it ? However one thing I often don’t take into account is the amount of time needed to make a really good soup or broth. If I haven’t thought ahead and I come home tired and hungry, I need something a little quicker. And this little gem has become a go to for those days 💚

These flavours are much more earthy than my regular concoctions, but I’ve been obsessed with the mushroom stocks that have been popping up all over the place lately and wanted to expand my repetioir of uses for it. ( By the way this is the same stock I used for my French onion soup recipe in my book and my Pho recipe on here, https://thelittlebluegarden.com/2016/08/24/pho/ it’s also what I use as a base for my gravy too).

This recipe made a good 3 servings.

1 Medium Courgette (Zuchini )

1 Tub Baby Portabella mushrooms

2tsp Oil of choice I used Avocado

2 Cloves Garlic

5 Cups Mushroom stock

1 Cup Brown rice Pasta

1/2 Carton of Cannellini Beans

Splash of Shoyu (or salt if you prefer )

Parsley and Lemon Zest to serve

Preheat a large saucepan or Dutch oven on medium, and dice the mushroom and courgette in 1cm ish chunks. Add the oil to the pan and sautee the veggies for just a couple of minutes, then finely dice the garlic and add. Once the veggies are starting to soften, carefully add the stock. Slowly bring to a simmer and pop in the pasta. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until pasta is cooked, then stir through Cannellini and heat them through. Test soup and add shoyu if it needs a little more depth of flavor to the stock.

Serve immediately topped with chopped parsley, and a little lemon Zest.

Breakfast

Second Addition to the Winter Warmer Series. Winter Spiced Porridge with Persimmon and Pommegrante. 

Everyone knows my love of all things breakfast…. And Sunday mornings… and things that are sweet. And here we have a combination of everything. On top of it being a pretty little dish, (you know part of me is tempted to make this my Christmas breakfast this year) it’s beautifully seasonal … I love all things Christmas especially the scents and flavours, or the spices I associate with this time of year. Cinnamon and Nutmeg are a combination of heaven and I have to admit lately my go to spice for bakes is actually Cardamom. And this lovely little number incorporated everything into one sweet spiced bowl of joy.

The colours here make me smile. I love the Orange and reds of this time of year. The Orange Persimmon spiked with the gentle little jewels of the pommegrante… yes. I’m falling in love with food again… back to my point, a more traditional flavour combination at this time is orange and cranberry, I think they would pair really well with this spiced porridge too. Though I do have a love hate relationship with Cranberries, I might have to test that option out just to satisfy my own curiosity at some point. But for now. This one ticks all the boxes. And I have it on good authority that it tastes better taken back to bed and enjoyed snuggled up… Just an idea.

So pretty. So easy. So delicious.

This recipe serves two but can be halved or multiplied easily. I’ve not really given good measurements for the spices as it’s down to personal preference.. but cinnamon I put in the most of, then just a little of the nutmeg and cardamom as they pack a good punch.
Recipe:

2 Cups Almond milk

1 Cup quick cook Oats

2 Tsp something sweet. And more to drizzle over.

1 good sprinkle cinnamon

1 pinch nutmeg

1 a pinch of cardamom

Couple of drops Vanilla paste or extract

1 Medium Persimmon

1/2 Pommegrante

Pecans
Pop the milk in a medium sauce pan and heat gently. Once hot stir through the oats, the honey or maple, and the spices and vanilla. Don’t let this mixture boil just let it thicken gently until it’s the consistency you like. Then take it off the heat while you prep the fruit.

Top however you like, make it pretty. You do eat with your eyes after all… And enjoy.

Dinner · Lunch

Welcome to the Winter Warmer Series, with The Little Blue Garden 💙 Sweet Potato and Sweet Pea Soup. 

So we are pretending it’s Winter now in Florida. Our reasoning ? Well it’s dark early…. That counts for something, I think?
Well. It’s the time of year where my head thinks being cosy inside is the way forward. And that equates to soup to me. There is jusy something wonderful about a big bowl full  of colour and some crusty bread to dunk away in.   To be honest, I am a major soup lover. Its one of my ultimate comfort foods.  I’m constantly throwing random combinations of different vegetables, grains and different types of stock together to come up with something new.  And this little combination is one I keep coming back to. I hope once you’ve tried it, you will too. Super simple ingredients. Super simple cooking. Super satisfying. It took me literally everything I have not to type “souper” there. I know. I probably need to get out more … 

So here it it is. This serves 2 but can easily be multiplied. 

Recipe :

1 Large Sweet Potato 

1 Large Carrot 

1/3 Cup Barley

5/6 Cups veggie stock. 

1tsp Tomato paste 

Salt 

1 heaped cup of frozen sweet peas

2 Spring onions /green onions 
Peel and dice the root veggies into appx 1cm cubes. Pop them in a saucepan with the veggie stock, barley and tomato paste. Give everything a good mix and add a pinch of salt. 

Bring this to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes. Keep occasionally giving a stir to make sure nothing is sticking. 

Once the veggies are tender add the frozen peas and cook for a few more minutes until hot through. 

Serve with plenty of chopped spring onions on top.  

Perfect for those cold nights where warmth needs to be on the menu! 

Breakfast

Warm Pumpkin Spice Chia Pudding. 🍁🍂

I love a warm snuggly breakfast when it’s dark or cold outside… An overcast morning calls for something comforting and delicious to set you up for the day. It’s just necessary in my opinion, and my sweet tooth is no secret.. so this one just hits the spot.

Everyone now knows my love of chia seeds and breakfast prep (it’s the lazy foodies guide to survival.)  But this one takes it to a new level, warming the pudding through. For a grain free dish this really feels every bit as filling and satisfying, give it a go!

Mind, on another point,  I also love how autumnal this recipe is. Actual Pumpkin and Pumpkin Spice? I mean I’m a millenial, come on, sign me up! The scent is just heavenly. Makes me happy.. 😊 Pumpkin everything, is literally the only sign of Autumn that exists in Florida. Well. That and the Cypress trees..

Love them. My favourite trail.

Back to food though… because this girl thinks with her stomach.
This recipe serves one but can be easily multiplied. If you want to add a little more pumpkin spice feel free use this as a blueprint and play!
Recipe:

3 Tbs Chia Seeds

3/4 – 1 Cup Almond milk or milk of choice  (depending how thick you like it

1/4 cup Organic Pumpkin Puree

Drop of vanilla paste

1-2 Tsp something sweet – Honey or Maple

1/2 Tsp Pumpkin spice

Pinch of Salt

Toppings:

Walnuts or Pecans (optional but good)

And extra Maple or Honey

Another sprinkle of pumpkin spice
Pop Chia seeds into a jar and mix with 3/4 Cup almond milk and let down over night.( Or min 2hrs)

The next morning put the chia seed pudding into a saucepan and stir in everything else , and an extra splash of milk of necessary. Heat on low, gently whisking everything together.

Top as you like with sprinkles of extra spices, nuts etc and  serve warm.

Dinner · Lunch

Happy Halloween 🎃 Sooouper scary squash. 

Happy Halloween from the The Little Blue Garden everyone💛.

Wow, doesn’t time fly when your life is falling apart ? Halloween already?! Did I fall asleep and miss a few months….? Genuinely wouldn’t shock me. 

So, erm this morning I got up and it was chilly. Like actually chilly. Someone clearly turned the heat off in Florida over night! It really felt like an Autumn /Winter start. Not complaining. I have to say after the summers scorching heat here in the south, some cool air is more than welcome. So here we are, fall has arrived. Along with new colours and flavours and I’m in love with all of it. 

Little bit of Farmers market love right there. Look at that colour !

You know I love to celebrate with all that is in season, this recipe is true to style. Celebrating all that is beautiful about squash, the colour, the flavour and the versatility. I have to admit for me,  Butternut is king, but this recipe would lend itself beautifully to Pumpkins aswell. Or go all out and mix them together. 

This soup is a comfy, warming, homey deal. With gentle spices its just perfect for a cold night in. Besides being this beautiful shade I can’t help but smile when I make it.

Serves 4 

1 Medium Butternut Squash

1 Large Sweet potato 

1 cup Red lentils 

3 Thin slices of Ginger 

3 cloves Garlic 

1tsp Tumeric 

1/2 Tsp Cardamom 

Salt

Veggie stock. (Its going to take a lot but kind of depends on the size of the vegetables)
Optional toppings : Seeds and Parsley 
Super simple, just like me!

Peel and chop butternut and sweet potato, pop into a large sauce pan pour in the lentils and cover with vegetable stock. Drop in the slices of ginger and the peeled garlic and stir in the turmeric, cardamom and a good pinch of salt. 

Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes or until the veggies are fork tender. Making sure to give it a good stir once in a while.  You might need to top up the vegetable stock every now and again if it’s getting a little dry or thick. 

Once everything is soft and squishy blend until silky  smooth. Keep and eye out to make sure the ginger is pureed well!

Top however you like…. preferably some silly faces. 

I do recommend some crusty bread to dunk too ! 

Dinner

Celebrating World Pasta Day with a classic. Bolognese❤

I always love the classics. Bolognese. Lasagne. Carbonara. Those warming, hearty, family friendly, grab a plate and get cosy dishes. As the darker nights come in and the cooler air arrives (cough cough Florida…please?!) There’s just something about these kind of foods that just make you feel at home, at ease and full up…

This recipe really just showcases the bold flavours of a Bolognese. Pretty much just swapping out ground beef for black lentils. It tastes rich and authentic, it’s the simple classic, delicious & elegant. Well. It’s elegant until you watch me attempt to eat the spaghetti and then…? Sorry. 

Also I made my Bolognese in a cast iron skillet. I have to admit me and my skillets had a love hate relationship. I love them but they hated me. Until I learned how to season a pan properly. And now they’ve forgiven me, a little anyway. Why aren’t we took aside at school and shown how to do that ?!?! Anyway. Enough of my ramblings.
So what better way to celebrate the beauty of Pasta I ask you?
Hmmmm. Someone take me back to Italy please?!
Serves 4:

2 Cups Black lentils cooked in Vegetable stock, according to packet instructions.

1 tbs olive oil 

1 Onion

1 Carton Baby Portabella mushrooms

2 Cloves Garlic   

1 Tsp Italian dried Herbs 

1 Jar Pasatta 

2 Tbs tomato puree 

(Splash of red wine optional)

1 Packet of your favourite Spaghetti ( I used my favourite brown rice one from Aldi)

Fresh Basil 

Black pepper 
First up cook your lentils, preferably in some veggie stock. 

Pop a big pan of water on to boil for the spaghetti. And salt it well. 

Dice the onions, mushrooms and garlic. Heat the olive oil gently on a medium heat and add the mushrooms and onion with a pinch of salt. Once they’ve began to soften add the garlic. 

Drop your spaghetti into the other pan carefully.

Add the Italian spices to the skillet, and add the pasatta. Stir through the tomato paste and the splash of wine if using. Let simmer gently for a minute or two then add in your drained cooked lentils.  Give everything a good mix and pinch a 1/4 cup of the pasta water and add that to the sauce too. 

Drain the pasta once it’s cooked to how you like it.

Serve with plenty of fresh basil and a good grind of black pepper. 

Serve straight away. 
Enjoy! 

Baking · Dessert

A taste of home 🇬🇧. Cornflake Tart. Northern and proud ❤ 

After spotting a conversation on social media the other day about school meals and desserts someone mentioned Cornflake Tart, and that was it. The only thing I could focus on for the rest of the day was replicating it. Work ? Yeah. That didn’t get done. This is pretty much the only fond memory of Primary school food that I can think of to be honest. The reconstituted mashed potato served with an Ice cream scoop is not quite day dream worthy…. 

So that day off into the kitchen I went. To remake this mini nostaligic masterpiece. Have to say I cheated with some pre made vegan pastry (judge me if you may).  And the rest really was childs play. Once it was ready, and my vanilla sauce was on the hob ( we had it with custard traditionally at school). I was feeling pretty smug and naturally started snapping photos and sending them to a load of other Brits out here. When it happened…. Non of them knew what it was or what I was on about ?!? I couldn’t believe it. I thought it was a British thing. Then a Northern thing? Nope. Maybe it was only served in the collieries ? What was wrong with all of these other peoples childhoods?! After another social media post it appeared my immediate school area at home knew, and some of the nearby towns. But every one else seemed rather perplexed by the whole thing…. so here to break the mystery a little. Is my very own version of a Cornflake Tart. 

This sweet sticky deliciousness is rich and cloying in that more-ish childish way. A little goes along way. Unless you’re me and just eat until you get a sugar headache. This a once in a while treat kind of dish. But if you fancy it more often… I won’t tell if you don’t. 

Don’t knock until you try it. Seriously. 

Would I ever lead you astray ?  

Recipe : 

1 pie crust 

1/3 Cup Treacle  / golden syrup 

1/4 Cup Earth Balance 

2 Tbs Brown Sugar

3 Cups Cornflakes 

1/2 Tsp Salt

1 Cup Stawberry Jam 

 I made my tart in a deep square baking dish. 7×7 but this recipe would make a 9″ no worries. I had more Cornflake mix over I made onto little nests after aswell…

Bake the crust according to pack instructions, preferably with baking beans or something to bring out a nice flat crust with high sides. As this bakes start your Cornflake mix. 

Melt earthbalance and treacle and sugar until it’s one delicious sugary sweet harmonious mix. Dont boil. Pour this over your cornflakes toss together to coat and sprinkle in your salt. Your crust should be about ready. While it’s still warm (and being careful, spread the jam out over the bottom of the crust.  Theb gently spoon over your sticky sweet Cornflake mix. Pop back in the oven for 5 minutes and bring out of the oven to set up. Leave this to cool and set further. 
I recommend a hot custard or my vanilla sauce to serve with this to send you into a complete food coma.  (You can find the recipe on my Peach blueberry crumble page).  However my friend happily munched on it without the next day and was more than happy with the effort ❤.