I love reading blogs but have wasted hours over the years clicking through to them via Google or have found my inbox overflowing with emails. Worse still is when you stumble across a new blog and then can't find it again. Then I heard about Bloglovin' - I know, I might be a bit behind the times but hey, better late than never right! This week's Tried & Tested is all about this handy little site for blog lovers and blog writers...
I am having so much fun doing this series and testing out new things. This week I have been having fun with Chia seeds. These tiny little seeds have made a big name for themselves recently due to their health benefits but are they nice and what the heck do you do with them anyway!
I headed into my kitchen to find out and tried and tested 3 different ways to use chia seeds...
First of all Happy Pancake Day! We had the most delicious pancakes for breakfast this morning thanks to my lovely hubby who is definitely the Pancake King! Topped with lemon & sugar or Maple Syrup or Banana & Chocolate....so divine I couldn't resist sharing these pictures.
Anyway, on with this weeks Tried and Tested...
If you're a Pinterest fan like me then you have definitely come across this week's tried and tested project - the Sharpie mug. Scattered throughout Pinterest are the gleeful exclamations of how a simple Sharpie pen baked onto a mug can produce the perfect crafty gift. But does it actually work? My gorgeous girls and I set out to find out...
Hi everyone, today is the start of another new regular 'Tried & Tested'. Each week I will be trying and testing out new recipes, ideas, products etc. and letting you know what works and what doesn't. This week we kick off with hot new food goddess Deliciously Ella whose first cookbook has been a huge success already...and it was only release at the end of January!
In the interest of total honesty I have to confess that I have been a fan of Ella's blog for several months now and have tried out quite a few of her recipes BUT when her new cookbook arrived I thought I would put a few of her new ideas to the test. So here's what I cooked: Brazil Nut and Rocket Pesto Pasta, Spicy Roasted Chickpeas, Quinoa Tabbouleh, Flapjacks, and Baked Beans. As a veggie who is also gluten and dairy intolerant Ella's recipes really appeal to me but would they also keep my meat-eating kids and hubby happy? Here's how it went.
First up was the Brazil Nut and Rocket Pesto Pasta.
Ease of cooking: This was surprisingly simple mainly because I thought the sauce might turn out to be a bit of a hassle but it was ridiculously easy. Like most of Ella's recipe's it has very few ingredients which keeps it as straightforward as possible. I served it along with some garlic bread for the rest of my family and they also added a bit of cheese on top.
Time to make: It pretty much all came together in the same time it took to boil the water and cook the pasta so around 20 mins which I think is actually quite quick.
Taste verdict: My husband, my eldest daughter and I all loved it - seriously I could easily have eaten another serving and my husband and daughter actually did! Sadly my 15 year old son did not like it at all and my youngest daughter (9) seemed keen at first but halfway through declared it was not as nice as she had thought it would be! Still, considering my husband is not a big pasta fan and he had second helpings I think this was a hit overall.
Overall score: 8/10
Next up I made the Quinoa Tabbouleh and the Spicy Roasted Chickpeas. We had this for lunch and my husband and eldest daughter also had some of the leftover Brazil Nut and Rocket Pesto Pasta which they announced was totally delicious cold and would be great on a picnic.
Ease of Cooking: a little more faffing than the pasta but still very simple and not too many ingredients overall so again pretty good.
Time to Make: a bit longer than the pasta as the chickpeas needed 40-45 mins in the oven. Whilst they are doing their thing though you can easily prepare the Quinoa which needs around 15 mins plus cooling time.
Taste Verdict: My son was out as he had a school play rehearsal so it was just four of us on the judging panel. Sadly I was the only one who liked these dishes, (honestly I am beginning to think Ella and I might be taste bud twins) although my husband said that the taste was good and he quite liked the chickpeas he just isn't a fan of Quinoa in general.
Overall Score: 7/10 (I would definitely make it for me again and then have it cold during the week as a pre-prepared lunch)
Next my eldest daughter helped me make the Flapjacks (shown here with Ella's amazing Raw Coconut and Cacao Bites which aren't in the book but are on the blog - a huge favourite of my son who loves eating them after a run. He is very keen to try the new version in the book).
Ease of Cooking: so easy a child could make them...and she did! With very little assistance from me.
Time to Make: pretty quick - about 25-30 minutes in total, probably a bit quicker for an adult.
Taste Verdict: Now I love Ella but...these were not a hit at all. Having had gluten/dairy free 'healthy' flapjacks before I found them okay but I was definitely in the minority. They are not the chewy,slightly crunchy round the edges flapjacks that most of us grew up with. They are softer, a little drier, and much more oat-y. If you regularly buy the healthier variety of flapjacks then you will probably like these but I don't think we will make these again. BUT do try the Raw Coconut and Cacao Bites because they are yummy!
Overall Score: 3/10
Last up were the Baked Beans which sadly I forgot to take a photo of because we were running late and frankly I needed to get everyone fed before they turned on each other!
Ease of Cooking: Once more these were ridiculously easy and only 5 ingredients needed all of which were store cupboard basics (although not everyone has haricot beans in their cupboard). Her recipe only uses 1 tin of beans but I used 2 as I knew I needed plenty to feed everyone.
Time to Make: about 30-40 minutes all up so a little longer but once they're cooking they kind of take care of themselves so another simple midweek supper. We served them on top of baked potatoes (and I had the leftovers on toast the next day for lunch) and the others had cheese on top.
Taste Verdict: Woohoo! We saved the best until last. This was a definite winner. Everyone loved this and seconds were had. Rich thick sauce, deeply tomato-ey, wonderfully moreish and filling. Delicious.
Overall Score: 10/10
So overall Ella remains a huge favourite of mine and my kids and husband are keen on some and less keen on others (they like a lot of her stews and curries from her blog). In my opinion her cookbook is a very worthy addition to any kitchen (perfect to cook from if you ever want to invite me for dinner) and there is no doubt that her food leaves you feeling great afterwards - no horrible bloating to deal with and satisfyingly full! The other thing I really like about her book is her down to earth advice, top tips and explanations of the different ingredients which make it a cookbook you want to read as well as cook from.
P.S. I had hoped to make a couple more of her recipes - Blueberry muffins and homemade Chocolate Spread for starters - but it would seem that her book is proving so popular that it is proving tricky to get your hands on some of the ingredients!!! Take out shares in Medjool Dates now people their sales are going to go through the roof!
Hi, I'm Jo...
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