Food labels and drop scones

Oh we do a love a bit of food waste in the UK don’t we. £20 billion in fact (yes £20 billion) worth of food is binned annually in the UK. Contributing to this staggering figure, is consumer confusion around food labelling. The sooner you get to grips with “use by”, “sell by” and “best before” dates, the less waste you’ll produce and the more money you will save. Ka-ching!


Display until/sell by: Is aimed at the retailer, not you. It simply indicates (to them) the date by which the product should be sold or removed from the shelves. However, this is not an indication of when the product should be consumed. Typically, one-third of a products shelf-life remains for the customer to consume safely at home.

Best before: Use your common sense on this one and decide when a product is no longer fit to eat. “Best before” dates are more of a guide, rather than a recommendation. It’s about quality, not safety.

Use by:
Now this is the important one and a label not to be ignored. Unlike “best before”, “use by” dates are about safety and food hygiene. NEVER consume a food product that is past its “use by’ date even if it smells okay – I’m talking to you milk carton sniffers. Just because the product smells safe, doesn’t mean it isn’t crawling with harmful bacteria. Bin it or try and consumer it before the “use by” date.


That being said, do you still find yourself pouring whole pints of milk down the sink? Well, you’re not the only one. £150m worth of milk is wasted every year with 90 percent of it coming from the home – eep! But there’s no use crying over spilt milk, instead I’m going to let you in on my secret to using up this everyday staple before it turns sour.

Pancakes! Not only are they easy, versatile and fun to make, but most batters require at least, half a pint of milk. Savoury, sweet, baked or fried, there is a plethora of recipes out there to experiment with, from Dutch babies to cheesy galettes, plant milks to different flours – doesn’t always have to a sugary lemon treat. In my house, I opt for savoury drop scones, not only are they easy to make but they’re also a great way of using up any surplus veg. Win, win!


Savoury green drop scones
Savoury green drop scones

Savoury green drop scones
Makes 8-10 / Serves 2 / Hands on time 30 mins / Total time 30 mins / 
V
175g your choice of flour
200ml your choice of milk – plant milks also work
1 egg
½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp oil
3 springs onions, finely chopped
1 large handful of greens (you can use any chopped greens you like for this recipe – I use a mixture of savoy cabbage and kale but spinach, cavolo nero, chard or even brussels sprouts work. You can also use grated root vegetables such as carrots or parsnips)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
50g grated cheese (optional)
½ tsp sea salt


Method
1. Preheat an oven to 100°C/80°C fan/210F/gas mark 1. Put a large plate in the oven.
2. Weigh out the flour and the baking powder and combine in a large bowl. Add 200ml of milk to a jug and crack in 1 egg. Whisk the egg in the jug with the milk until fully incorporated. Put to one side.
3. Finely chop the spring onions, garlic and your selection of greens. Grate the cheese and put to one side.
4. Add the salt and the baking powder to the flour and mix before making a well in the middle and pouring in the milk bit by bit, whisking continuously. Once you have a smooth batter, add the other ingredients until fully incorporated.


5. Put a large non-stick frying pan over a medium to high heat and add a tsp of oil. Once hot, drop a heaped tablespoon of mixture into the pan and push down with the back of the spoon to create a round-dish shape. Repeat this process making sure the drop scones are not too close together. After a couple of minutes, flip the scones over and press down on them with the back of a spatula to help them cook through – feel free to flip them over a couple more time to insure they are cooked all the way through.
6. Remove the warm plate from the oven and turn the scones out onto it. Cover loosely with foil and place back in the warm oven while you make your second batch of scones. Repeat this process until you have no batter left. Serve for breakfast with chilli jam or for lunch with a green salad.


If you’ve had a go at making any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.


V– Vegetarian



Roasted new potato salad

Roasted new potato salad

I’ve spoken about my disdain for new potatoes being used to make sad ‘mayonnaisey’ potato salads – or as I like to call it, ‘bowl of mushy white swill’. But it doesn’t have to be this way folks. Roast the little blighters and toss them in a deliciously light salad with crunchy radishes and a zesty hummus dressing. You’ll be queen of the barbecue and the envy of all – apart from the person who made the three tier pavlova. No one can top that.

I actually make this recipe a lot and use whatever ‘salady’ bits we have in the fridge so feel free to freestyle. I tend to make the dressing in a scraped out hummus pot as it saves washing up and disappoint when you realise there ins’t enough hummus to top a single crisp. Devastating.


Roasted new potato salad with hummus dressing
Serves 2 or 4 as a side / Hands on time 20 mins / Total time 1 hr 15 mins / V Gf Df*
350-400g new potatoes
1 tsp sea salt flakes
1 tsp rapeseed oil
½ cucumber, peeled and cut into chunks
4 radishes, sliced
Handful pumpkin seeds
Handful pitted black olives, roughly chopped
½ deseeded bell pepper, finely chopped
¼ small red onion, sliced thinly
2 handfuls salad leaves to serve
100g feta, crumbled (optional)

Dressing
1 tbs hummus
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp apple cider vinegar (or balsamic)
½ tsp dijon mustard
½ tsp honey


TIP: This recipe can easily be doubled or even tripled if making as a side for a barbecue.


Dairy free? Leave out the feta – I often make this recipe without it and it is just as delicious.


Method
1. Preheat an oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400F/gas mark 6.
2. Cut in half the larger new potatoes leaving the smaller one’s whole. Give them a quick wash before patting them dry with a tea towel or kitchen roll. Pour the potatoes into a large mixing bowl and add the oil and the salt.
3.Mix well making sure the potatoes are well coated. Tip out onto a lined baking tray, making sure to space the potatoes apart. (No need to wash up the mixing bowl, save it to make your salad in later).
4. Roast in the oven for 15 mins before giving them a little shake. Continue to roast for a further 10 mins. Give them a final shake, turn off the heat but leave them in the oven while you prepare the salad.


TIP: I often roast the potatoes in the morning and leave them in the oven to rest (sometimes for hours) until I’m ready for the salad. This salad can be enjoyed warm or cold.


5. Start to assemble the salad by adding the chopped cucumber, red pepper, red onion, radishes and pitted black olives to the large mixing bowl you used earlier (the smaller your dice your salad the better to give an even distribution per portion. Sprinkle over the pumpkin seeds and season with salt and pepper. Give it a good mix.
6. Make the dressing either in the hummus pot (if you have about a tbs left) or in a small bowl. Combine all the ingredients together and give it a good stir until combined.
7. Finally remove the potatoes from the oven and tip into the salad along with the crumbled feta (if using). Give it a stir before adding all of the dressing and mix well. Serve on a bed of salad leaves and with an extra drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a good crack of black pepper.

Roasted new potato salad

If you’ve had a go at making any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.


V– Vegetarian.    GF – Gluten Free     DF – Dairy free: Leave out the feta



Get the most out of your freezer


Still feeling the Covid-19 pinch on your purse strings? Me too. As the UK economy plummets into its deepest recession in more than three centuries, it’s imperative we adapt and adjust to a more economical mentality. Wasting food is wasting money and if, like me, your funds are dwindling before your very eyes, then learning how to get the most out of your freezer could help you pinch those pennies.

It may surprise you to know that you can freeze pretty much anything; eggs, rice, pasta, human heads and even cheese! I know right? Who knew you could freeze cheese? So, stock up on Tupperware and sticky labels, it’s time to get your freezer working for you.


The big Freezer guide:

Step 1.  Have a good clear out and bin that two-year-old packet of fish fingers. Defrost the freezer if necessary – there’s no point having a clear out if there’s so much ice build-up, you can’t fit anything in your freezer.

Step 2. Purchase a roll of sticky labels and keep them near your freezer with a pen (I’ve had my roll of sticky labels for 5 years now and it’s still going strong). Every time you freeze something, write out a label stating what it is you’re freezing and include the date you cooked it. Trust me, you may know what it is now, but in a few months, you won’t have a clue what that brown stuff is in the mystery Tupperware.

Step 3.
Cool food fully before freezing. Freezing warm food can raise the temperature of the freezer and cause other frozen items to partially thaw and refreeze.

Step 4. Consume frozen items within 3 months as over time the quality of food deteriorates and may affect the taste. This varies between foods, but three months is a good guide for leftovers in general.


So, what can you freeze?… 

Bread/cakes
Freeze: Bread and cakes needs to be pre-sliced and wrapped well in plastic, foil or in freezer bag – ever tried tried slicing a loaf of frozen sourdough? I rest my case. Muffins, cupcakes and scones require individual wrapping in a few layers or cling film or foil.
Defrost: At room temperature or in the fridge (in warmer climates) or toast sliced bread directly from the freezer.

Nuts
Freeze: Wrap well and freeze in a freezer bag
Defrost
: At room temperature and use that day. 

Pasta
Freeze: Cool cooked pasta, drizzle with oil and toss. Spoon into airtight containers or freezer bags for up to 2 weeks.
Defrost: Directly in boiling water or tip into a simmering pasta sauce until piping hot.

Bananas
Freeze: Over-ripe bananas in their skins in a plastic bag for up to 6 months.
Defrost: In a bag in the fridge. Slide straight out of the skins into cakes or pancake batter.

Soups and stews
Freeze: Leave to cool fully before transferring to an airtight container. If using glass, leave a 3/4-inch space between the top of the food and the lid – you don’t want it exploding. Label with the date and consume within 3 months.
Defrost: In the fridge before heating thoroughly and consuming.

Eggs
Freeze: Freeze fresh eggs for up to one year. Simply beat together and pour into a small Tupperware and freeze. Eggs frozen this way are great for using in cakes – I tend to freeze two at a time, as most recipes tend to require two eggs ­­­– don’t forget to label your Tupperware with how many eggs you have frozen. You can also freeze egg whites, simply separate from the yolks and pour into a Tupperware or ice cube tray. Egg yolks can’t be frozen due to the gelation property of the yolk, causing it to gel and thicken when frozen.  
Defrost:
In the fridge and use in baking or for scrambling.

Cooked rice
Freeze: Cool the rice quickly by removing it from the pan and spreading out on a baking sheet. After 10 mins, portion out into freezer bags and label with the date. Use within one month.
Defrost: In the fridge and use within 24 hrs. Always serve piping hot.

Hard cheese
Freeze: Grate the cheese and pack it in an airtight container or bag. Use within 9 months.
Defrost: In the fridge and use in cooked dishes and cheese sauces.

Flour
Freeze:
In an airtight container or plastic bag. Flour does have a ‘use by’ date so freezing it is a great way of not wasting it.
Defrost: No need! Flour can be used straight from the freezer. Magic!



Waste not want not

Panic buying already a distant memory? Well, it was an excellent lesson in ‘waste not, want not’. Now more than ever, we are being encouraged to be resourceful and to use up what we already have in the cupboards before we slink off to the supermarket. This pleasant side-effect of the current lockdown measures has been welcomed by the economically minded, but where to start if your basil constantly turns to sludge and your mushrooms get covered in fuzz within a blink of an eye.


Storing food
This may seem obvious, but how you store your food can have a big impact on the food you waste. Store food correctly, and it will not only last longer but it will taste better too. If you keep your tomatoes in the fridge for example, they will taste of almost nothing. Keep them in the fruit bowl however, and they’ll be juicy and sweet. Ever wondered why your potatoes begin to sprout new life within days of purchasing, even when kept in a cool, dark place? Well, if you also happen to store your onions in that same cool, dark place, then we may have found the culprit. Follow my simple guide below to get more out of your fruit veg and to put a stop to mindless wastage…


Cool, dark and dry
Potatoes / sweet potatoes / shallots / onions / garlic.
Potatoes and onions need to be kept away from each other as they can both cause each other to spoil.
Bananas: Get the bananas out of the fruit bowl and remove any plastic packaging. Keep away from other fruit. If ripe, transfer to the fridge to prevent from over-ripening.
Squash / pumpkin: Keep cool but not refrigerated. 


Room Temperature
Apricots / kiwi fruit / mango / melon / nectarines / passion fruit / peaches / pineapple / plums.
Basically all fruit with the exception of berries.
Tomatoes: Tomatoes don’t like the cold, so keep then out of the fridge. Treat them like a fruit and keep in the fruit bowl.
Avocado: This is a tricky one, as most imported avocados ripen in transit so they’re ready for us to eat straight off the shelves. If your avocado is under ripe, keep it in the fruit bowl and transfer to the fridge when it becomes softer. If you’re in a hurry to ripen your avocado, put it in a paper bag with a banana for 48 hours. Bananas give off high levels of ethylene which will help your avo ripen faster.
Basil: Trim the stems and keep in a glass of water at room temperature and consume quickly.


Refrigerate EVERYTHING else
Artichokes / asparagus / aubergine / beetroot / berries / broccoli / brussel sprouts /carrots / cabbage / cauliflower / celery / cherries / courgette / cucumber / figs / French beans / grapes / kale / leeks / lettuce / peas / peppers / radishes / rhubarb / spinach / spring greens / spring onions / sweetcorn / turnips.
Mushrooms: Store in the fridge, either in original packaging of a in a cloth bag.
Fresh herbs (excluding basil): Keep herbs like you would keep flowers. Trim the stalks and place in a jar with an inch of water at the bottom in the fridge. Alternatively, wrap the herbs in damp kitchen towel and store in the fridge, in a plastic bag with a few punctured holes in.
Speaking of herbs, if you’re interested in growing your own at home, then check out Dr Rachel Petheram’s online course with Learning With Experts to really get the most of your herbs.

Roasted miso aubergine salad

Roasted Miso Aubergine Salad

Oh look, a recipe! Sorry for the lack of recipe blogs in recent weeks chums, but like everyone, I’ve had to cut back and tighten my belt. So instead of choosing a recipe to create, I let the recipe choose me and before I knew it, this little blighter jumped up and kissed me full on the mouth – figuratively speaking.

Armed with two aubergines and a giant bag of salad, I raided my fridge and small jar of miso gave me a suggestive wink and a wave. Blushing (and feeling slightly delusional), I emerged with this rather delightful salad recipe… Has anyone else found themselves flirting with inanimate objects/condiments? Yeah me neither… I need a lie down.


Roasted miso aubergine salad
Serves 2 / Hands on time 15 mins / Total time 45 mins / Df V Vn 
50g bulgur wheat
125ml cold water
½ vegetable stock pot/cube
1 medium/large aubergine, sliced into 4 quarters lengthways
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbs miso paste
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp light soy sauce
1 garlic clove, peeled, grated or chopped
Salad
2 large handfuls salad leaves
2 spring onions, finely sliced lengthways
1 medium red chill, deseeded and sliced (optional)
Handful cashews, whole or roughly chopped
Extra virgin olive oil for drizzle


Method
1. Preheat an oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400F/gas mark 6. Line a baking tray with baking paper and put to one side.
2. Measure out the bulgur wheat and pour into a small saucepan along with 125ml of cold water and half a vegetable stock pot/cube. Place over a medium to high heat until boiling before turning down and simmering for 4 mins. Once the water has absorbed, remove from the heat, give it a quick stir and cover with a lid. Put to one side.
3. Slice the aubergine lengthways into 4 quarters and criss cross the flesh. In a small bowl, make the miso glaze by combining the miso, maple syrup, soy sauce, sesame oil and crushed garlic together (if the miso paste you’re using is quite firm, add a small dash of boiling water to it first to help it loosen).
4. Brush the aubergines generously with all of the marinade, all over. Place skin side down, before covering the tray loosely with foil. Roast for 20 mins.
5. Meanwhile, finely slice the chilli, spring onions and roughly chop the cashews. After 20 mins, remove the foil from the aubergines, give them a turn and roast uncovered for a further 5 mins. Turn the aubergines one final time and add the cashews (I like to keep mine whole). Continue to roast for a further 5 mins.
6. Once the aubergines have softened, turn the oven off but leave the aubergines inside while you assemble the salad. Dress the leaves lightly in extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Divide between two large plates and sprinkle over the bulgur wheat, spring onion and chilli. Finally, remove the aubergines from the oven and add to the salad along with any remaining sticky miso residue from the baking tray and roasted cashews. Delish.

Roasted Miso Aubergine Salad

If you’ve had a go at making any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.


V – Vegetarian.    Vn – Vegan     Df – Dairy free



St George’s Day savoury bread & butter pudding

Celebrate this St George’s Day like a true Brit, with my savoury twist on an English classic. This cheese and onion bread and butter pudding is cheap, easy and a great way to use up any stale bread you happen to have lying around. Happy St George’s Day chaps! 


Savoury Bread & Butter Pudding
Savoury Bread & Butter Pudding

Savoury bread & butter pudding
Serves 4-6 / Hands on time 20 mins / Total time 50 mins /
V
2 red onions, roughly sliced
1 garlic clove, peeled and roughly sliced
400g white sourdough loaf (or any bread you happen to have. I like sourdough as it’s a little more robust and tends to keep its form).
75g medium vegetarian cheddar cheese, grated
75g cheese of your choice grated or crumbled (I used a combination of Emmental and cheddar but you can use any cheese you like)
Handful fresh thyme sprigs
5 eggs
500ml semi-skimmed milk


TIP: I often half the recipe and make a smaller version for 2 in a smaller dish. It’s a great way of using up any unwanted slices of stale bread you have lying around. Also, you don’t have to use sourdough, regular sliced bread works too – although bear in mind you may need more of it. If halving the recipe, use 3 eggs. 


Method
1. Preheat oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/gas mark 6. Roughly slice the onions and put them to one side.
2. Butter a 2 litre oven dish and begin slicing the bread. Once sliced, pick up the slices as a loaf and put straight into the oven dish. Pull the slices apart to fill the dish creating a zig zag effect (see image below). If you’re using odd bits of bread, just arrange them as best as you can – doesn’t have to be perfect. Roughly slice the onions and the garlic clove.
3. Grate or crumbled all the cheeses, saving a handful of hard cheese for the topping (a hard grated cheese is better for sprinkling). Put to one side.
4. Evenly distribute the sliced onions and garlic through the layers of bread before packing with the cheeses. Insert a few thyme sprigs throughout and put to one side.
5. In a separate bowl or jug, whisk the eggs and milk together until combined before pouring slowly over the pudding, making sure you manage to soak all the bread. Season well with salt and pepper before topping with the remaining handful of grated cheese. Bake in the oven on the middle shelf, for 25-30 mins.
6. Remove from the oven, discard the charred thyme sprigs and serve with a simple green salad a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.


Savoury Bread & Butter Pudding
Savoury Bread & Butter Pudding

If you’ve had a go at making any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.


V– Vegetarian


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Do the can can – Part 2

Now we’re all stocked up and bored of beans on toast, it’s time to have a look in the cupboard and create something a bit more inspiring with those cans.


Sweetcorn and black bean nachos

Healthy-ish loaded nachos

Believe it or not, you don’t need nachos to make nachos. Full of salt and deep fried, I prefer to make my own out of a few sliced tortillas. Preheat an oven to 200°C/180°C fan before stacking up 4 flour tortilla and slicing them down the middle into eighths. Spread over 2 baking trays, sprinkle with smoked paprika, season and spray with oil. Bake for 10 mins, turning halfway through. Put to one side. Meanwhile sweat 1 chopped onion and 2 garlic cloves in a saucepan in 1 tsp of oil. Cook over a medium heat for 5 mins before adding ½ tsp of cumin, ½ tsp smoked paprika. Add a dash of water and cook for a further 2 mins before adding 1 can of drained sweetcorn, 1 tin of black beans and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Put a grill on a medium to high heat and continue to cook the beans for 5 mins. Transfer the tortilla chips into a deep casserole dish and top with the bean mixture along with a handful of sliced cherry tomatoes, 2 chopped spring onions and sprinkling of grated cheese. Place under the grill for 3-5 mins before serving topped with fresh coriander, avocado slices and jalapenos. Serve with a squeeze of lime and plain yogurt.


Kidney bean and tomatoes eggs

Spicy Bean & Tomato Eggs

A bit of beany twist on shakshuka, this healthy breakfast is filling, delicious and a great way to get a bit of a fibre boost. In a frying pan, fry sliced 2 spring onions in tsp of oil over a medium heat for 2 mins. Add 2 freshly chopped tomatoes, ¼ tsp of smoked paprika along with a couple of drops of Tabasco (optional). Season well and add ½ a can of drained kidney beans. After a few minutes of cooking, make 2 wells in the mixture and crack an egg into each. Cover the pan with a lid and cook for 2-4 mins or until the eggs are set but with a runny yolk. Serve in the pan drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and toast for dunking.


Coconut milk dhal

Coconut Dhal with Homemade Flatbreads

What could be better than curling up on the sofa with a hearty bowl of fragrant dhal in front of your favourite boxset? Exactly. Start by chopping 1 white onion, 3 garlic cloves and adding it to a large cooking pot with a tsp of oil. Stir in a knob of grated ginger and sweat over a medium heat with the lid on for 5-8 minutes. Meanwhile break open 4 cardamom pods, discard the shells and add the seeds to the onions along with ½ tsp mustard seeds, ½ tsp garam masala, ½ tsp cumin, ½ tsp turmeric and a pinch of chilli flakes. Add a dash of water and cook the spices for 2 mins. Add 1 can of coconut milk along with 1 litre of vegetable stock and 300g of red lentils. Bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer for 25 – 30 mins, stirring regularly. Serve on its own or dressed up with charred corn, wilted spinach and brown rice.


Bean burgers

Cannellini bean burgers

Cannellini beans, kidney beans, chickpeas or even butterbeans make an excellent bean burger. So, grab a can and treat yourself to a ‘stay at home barbecue’. Preheat an oven to 220°C/200°C fan and fry 1 chopped onion and 2 garlic cloves in a tsp of oil, along with ½ tsp smoked paprika, ¼ tsp mild chilli powder and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Sweat over a medium heat for 10 mins until soft – adding a dash of water to help the onions steam if the onions start to catch. Meanwhile blitz 2 slices of bread in a food processor to make breadcrumbs. In a bowl, add the drained can of beans along with a handful of fresh coriander. Blitz with a hand blender to a firm paste before stirring in the breadcrumbs, fried onions and 1 tbs of plain flour. Scoop up a half the mixture with your hands and mould into a patty before transferring to a lined baking tray. Repeat until you have 2 large or 4 small burgers. Bake in the oven for 20 mins, flipping halfway through. Serve in buns topped with your favourite burger sauces and relish.


Thai green lentil soup

Thai green lentil soup

Another hug in a bowl but this time using green lentils and fragrant Thai flavours. Sweat 1 chopped onion in a tsp of oil in a big pot over a medium to low heat for 10 mins with the lid on. Once soft, add a knob of grated ginger, 2 chopped garlic cloves, a 50g of Thai green curry paste and cook for a couple of minutes. Add 150g of chopped sweet potato, a can of coconut milk, 1 litre of vegetable stock, 150g dried green lentils and a bashed lemon grass (optional). Bring to the boil before turning the heat down and simmering for 20 mins, stirring occasionally. Cut the storks of a handful of coriander before adding to the soup and cooking for a further 5 minutes. Finally, fish out the lemon grass and blend the soup with a hand blender until smooth. Serve topped with the remaining coriander leaves.


So keep calm and carry on cooking in these strange uncertain times. For more foodie blogs visit learningwithexperts.com.



Do the can can – Part 1

It’s all very well stocking up on canned goods, but they’ll be of little use unless you know how to get the best out of them – because watery pasta sauce and stew is going to get old pretty fast.


Roasted vegetable hummus bowl

Chickpea hummus bowls with roasted vegetables

A can of chickpeas can be thrown into pretty much anything. They’re great for bulking out recipes and adding additional plant-based protein to meals. However, chickpeas are rarely celebrated as the star ingredient, so wanted to push the humble chickpea centre stage. My recipe for hummus bowls not only encourages the use of surplus vegetables, but it’s easy to throw together and tastes delicious. In a large roasting tin, add a mixture of surplus veg, sprinkle with smoked paprika and season well with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes at 200°C/180°C fan. Meanwhile make the hummus, by blending 1 can of drained chickpeas, 1 chopped garlic clove, 1.5 tbs of tahini, the juice of half a lemon, 1 tbs of water and 1 tbs of extra virgin olive oil. Once blended, spoon generously into bowls and top with the roasted vegetables, along with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Serve with toasted pita bread.


Roasted butterbean traybake

Sweet Potato & Butterbean Traybake

Butterbeans are often overlooked by shoppers, but this kidney shaped pulse generally makes itself at home in a big hearty stew. These mealy yet mild flavoured beans, can be tossed into soups, casseroles and even blended into mash. However, I prefer to roast them in a bit of stock along with sweet potatoes, to make a hearty traybake for two. Preheat an oven to 200°C/180°C fan. In large casserole dish, add a roughly chopped sweet potato along with a can of drained butterbeans and half a sliced red pepper. Pour over 175ml of stock and season well with salt, pepper and smoked paprika. Give it a good stir and bake in the oven for 45 minutes. Once cooked, remove from the oven and make two wells using a spoon. Crack a free-range egg into each well and bake for a further 6-8 minutes, depending on how you like your eggs. Finish by topping with chopped fresh coriander and serve with Greek yogurt and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.


Tinned plum tomato sauce al’arrabiata

Penne al’arrabiata

Pasta sauce is a great way to eat tinned tomatoes but to avoid a watery disappointment, follow my simple pasta sauce recipe. I often opt for tinned plum tomatoes, as I prefer the chunkier texture they bring, but ordinary will also work. Add 2 chopped garlic cloves to a tbs of warm (not hot) oil in a large saucepan along with a pinch of chilli flakes. Allow to infuse over a low/medium heat for a few minutes. Add one can of plum­ tinned tomatoes and a tbs of tomato puree. Break the plum tomatoes up with a spoon and stir. Season well with salt and pepper, up the heat and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes and your sauce is ready. Serve with your choice of pasta and top with either mozzarella or Parmesan.


Black bean tostada bowls

Mexican Tostada Salad

A can of black beans in my house inevitably ends up either in a smoky chill, wrapped up in a burrito or squashed into a quesadilla. Although as the weather heats up over the coming months, I’m more likely to throw them into Mexican tostada salad. To make the tortilla bowls, simply place each tortilla into a heatproof bowl each, with a ball of foil in the centre to prevent them from falling in on themselves. Bake in an oven for 15 minutes at 200°C/180°C fan. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine 1 can of drained black beans with, 1 can or drained sweetcorn, half a chopped cucumber, 3 chopped spring onions, 2 handful of cherry tomatoes, 1 chopped cos lettuce, half a deseeded chilli (finely diced) and 50g of grated cheddar. Mix well and put to one side. To make the dressing, combine 1 tsp of homey, 1 tsp of Tabasco, the juice of 1 lime and 1 tbs of extra virgin olive oil. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix well, before spooning into the edible tortilla bowls.


Thai green lentil soup

Thai green lentil soup

Okay so not a canned good, but still a store cupboard staple that could do with a creative injection. Red and green lentils are superhero’s when it comes to adding a bit of bulk to stews, soups and even Bolognese. My Thai green lentil soup not only adds a bit of fragrant flare to the humble lentil, but it’s a hearty meal that will see you through self-isolation. In a large cooking pot with a lid, sweat 1 chopped onion in a tsp of oil, over a medium to low heat for 10 mins. Once soft, add a piece of grated ginger, 2 chopped garlic cloves and 50g of Thai green curry paste. Give it a good stir and cook for 2 minutes. Add 150g of chopped sweet potato, 1 can of coconut milk, 1 litre of stock, 150g of dried green lentils and a bashed lemon grass stork (optional). Turn down the heat and simmer for 20 mins, stirring occasionally. Cut the storks off a large handful of coriander and add them to the soup. Cook for 5 more minutes. Finally take off the heat, fish out the lemon grass and blend. Serve topped with the remaining chopped coriander leaves.


Join me next time for part 2. In the meantime, visit learningwithexperts.com for more foodie blogs. 



Something beginning with ‘C’…

CHOCOLATE. Why? What did you think I was gonna to say? Wrote this lovely blog for Learning With Experts about the history of chocolate – and let’s be honest, we could all do with a bit of distraction right now.

Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies
Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

From sugary white to bitter dark, chocolate is the sweet treat we simply can’t get enough of. But where does it come from and what is its history?

Chocolate can be traced back the ancient Maya of Mesoamerica (what we now know as South America). Cocoa was a household staple to the Mayans readily available to everyone. This thick and bitter drink accompanied most meals and was often teamed with honey or chili peppers – a far cry from the sweet confectionary we’re used to today. Later on, in the 13th century, the Aztecs moved in and dominated Mesoamerica. They believed cacao was a gift from the gods and was considered more valuable than gold and was even used as currency. As the status of chocolate reached new heights it began to be enjoyed mostly by the wealthy.

It’s widely disputed how chocolate made its way to Europe, but it is generally thought it first arrived in Spain, where it was adored by the Spanish who swiftly began importing it in the 1500’s. Before long, chocolate fever had swept across Europe and was in high demand with the upper classes. Europeans, however, didn’t care for the bitter Aztec version so began adding sugar and spices, making it a fashionable luxury.

It wasn’t until the 19th century that chocolate become readily available and affordable to the masses. In 1828 a Dutch chemist developed the cocoa press that inexpensively separated the cocoa butter from the roasted cocoa beans, making cocoa powder accessible to all. The powder was mostly enjoyed as a hot drink with milk until 1847, when British chocolatier J.S Fry and Sons moulded the first chocolate bar made out of sugar, cocoa butter and chocolate liquor. But it was Swiss chocolatier Daniel Peter who thought to add dried milk to cocoa to create the chocolate we all know and love today, milk chocolate. A few years later he teamed up with his friend Henri Nestle and the rest is history.

So why not raid the cupboards and rustle up a batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies. Or better still, master the art of tempering, moulding and (let’s be honest) eating chocolate in the comfort of your own home with The Art of Chocolate Making, taught by Paul A Young. This four-week course begins anytime from the 27th of March and could be a great way to see out the current Corona crisis.


Dark chocolate chip cookies
Makes 16-18 cookies / Hands on time 20 mins / Total time 30 mins / V 
125g salted butter, at room temperature
125g golden caster sugar
2 heaped tbs condensed milk
50g Green and Black’s Organic 70% Dark Chocolate, roughly chopped
½ tsp vanilla extract
150g self-raising flour
Sea salt flakes


Method

My original cookie recipe

1. Preheat an oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F/gas mark 4. Using an electric whisk in a large bowl, cream together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the condensed milk and the vanilla extract and continue to whisk until incorporated.
2. On a chopping board using a large knife, roughly chop the chocolate. Add to the mixture and sift the self raising flour over the top. Using a wooden spoon, mix together by hand until you have a well incorporated cookie dough.
3. Line two baking trays with baking paper and using a teaspoon, scoop up a ball of the dough, roughly the size of a walnut. Roll the dough in your hands until you have a ball and place on the baking tray. Space the cookie dough out evenly (be sure not to over crowd the baking trays, the cookies will expand in the oven).
4. Using the back of a tablespoon, press down on each ball gently to squash it out a little to help form a round disk. Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes. Cool slightly on the tray, before carefully transferring to a cooling rack using a spatula. Sprinkle with a tiny pinch of sea salt flakes and serve with a good cup of tea.


If you’ve had a go at making any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.


V – Vegetarian
 – The cookie dough is suitable for home freezing. Roll into a sausage shape and wrap in a few layers of clingfilm. Consume within 3 months.



My 10 step guide to you know what…

I’m not going to mention it… Nope, not going to mention it… But if I was going to mention it, then this would be my 12 step guide on how to survive ‘it’…


  1. Fighting the urge to stockpile is hard (don’t worry, I feel it too) but running around Sainsbury’s picking up any old can of rice pudding isn’t the answer. Before you even attempt to go shopping, take stock of what you already have and go from there. Of course prioritise long-life items such as beans, pasta and toilet roll but only buy what you think you might need and use – do you really need 24 toilet rolls? I think not.

  2. Bigger isn’t always better. Once you know what you need, avoid the big supermarkets and go to your local corner shop or independent grocer. It might be a tad more expensive but you may find this encourages you to only buy what you need. Plus, these smaller shops seem to be better stocked than the supermarkets currently and far less stressful!

  3. Don’t try and get everything in one go. Shop little and often until you feel you have what you need to self-isolate for 2 weeks – not 2 years! Then squirrel it away and save it for if/when you need it.

  4. Fresh produce is far easier to come by for obvious reasons, but it’s not a bad idea to sign up to a vegetable delivery service just in case. I use Oddbox, a fresh vegetable delivery box that sends us surplus fruit and veg directly from farms once a fortnight. This could be a real lifesaver if you and your family are self-isolating and start to get sick of beans on toast. Riverford and Abel & Cole are also great options. Recipe boxes could also be a good choice – I like Hello Fresh and Gousto. Failing that don’t panic. Fresh produce doesn’t seem to be an issue at the moment but if you are concerned, opt for vegetables that have a long shelf-life such as root vegetables, squash, celery, onions, garlic, citrus fruits and apples.

  5. Check to see if you have a local milkman – yes milkmen are thing again and growing in popularity. I use Milk & More and I’m utterly obsessed. Not only do we get a rather pleasing glass bottle of milk on our doorstep once a week, but you can also add other items to your order such as eggs, bread, cheese and yes, even toilet paper!

  6. It’s no secret that the hospitality industry is going to be hit seriously hard by the current crisis so it’s important to try and support your local restaurants. In the coming weeks, most restaurants will be closing their doors but may start to offer delivery services they didn’t before. So help them out and treat yourself to a slice of local business.
    Additionally, delivery chains are providing ‘contact free’ delivery, so you can still have that Friday night Dominos cross contamination free – appetising.


  7. This may sound obvious but eat fresh foods first and freeze leftovers as you go along. This will avoid waste and leave you with home cooked meals when you might need them most. It’s also always good to freeze a loaf of pre-sliced bread – ever tried slicing an unsliced frozen bloomer? It’s a literal nightmare.

  8. Banana shallots, just buy them. They last for ages and one banana shallot can be used to substitute half an onion in a recipe. The bigger the better though – peeling a tiny banana shallot isn’t fun at all. It’s also not a bad idea to buy potted herbs, they last much longer and can replenish themselves, given the right care and attention.

  9. Avoid buying things you wouldn’t usually buy. If you don’t normally buy biscuits, then why do you have three packets of bourbons in your basket? Put them back!

  10. Medicines. Again, avoid buying these from the big supermarkets, independent pharmacies and high-street chains such as Boots and Superdrug are far better stocked. There are restrictions on certain products, so check what you have already, before running out and attempting to purchase ten boxes of Tixylix.

  11. I know I said this was a ’10 step’ guide but I thought of another one. Certain cheeses can be stored in the fridge for up to three months and can be a great addition to most meals. Purchase varieties in quantities you think you will consume – I use a lot of feta, parmesan and cheddar in my cooking so that’s what I’ll be buying. Again, it’s about being a mindful and considerate shopper so others don’t miss out.

So good luck and try not to let panic buying get the better of you.