Mushroom Spelt Spaghetti


Julie's Family Kitchen Mushroom Spelt Spaghetti

Wholegrain spelt spaghetti is a brilliant and tasty alternative to traditional wheat spaghetti. If you have never tried if before it tastes very similar to wholewheat spaghetti but has twice the fibre of standard pasta. I’ve teamed the spelt spaghetti with a light and creamy mushroom sauce made using one of my favourite magic ingredients, creme fraiche. My mushroom spelt spaghetti is an incredibly quick meal to rustle up, taking no longer than 10 minutes from start to finish.

I’ve used mini portabella mushrooms which I found in my local supermarket but if you can’t find them I’d suggest using chestnut mushrooms instead.

Here’s my recipe for Mushroom Spelt Spaghetti.

Ingredients (Serves 1 easily doubled)

100g wholegrain spelt spaghetti
½ tablespoon olive oil
90g mini portabella mushrooms (peeled and sliced)
¼  teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoon half fat creme fraiche
salt and black pepper
Parmesan cheese to serve

Method

1. Cook the spaghetti in a large pan of salted boiling water until al dente.

2. Meanwhile, heat the olive in a frying pan and add the mushrooms. Add the dried oregano and season with salt and pepper.

3. When the mushrooms are cooked add the creme fraiche and stir well.

4. Add the cooked spaghetti and heat through. Serve with freshly grated parmesan. Enjoy!

Serve with a green mixed leaf salad on the side.

Julie's Family Kitchen Mushroom Spelt Spaghetti

Until next time.

Julie
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Football Game Birthday Cake

Julie's Family Kitchen Football Game Birthday Cake

My little boy recently celebrated his third birthday and I baked him his very own football game birthday cake. Ever since his big sister started playing football (she’s now in the school girls team) he too has become something of a football fan. Unfortunately, presenting the cake and singing happy birthday didn’t quite go according to plan. Tears were flowing and my little boy was very distressed, he didn’t like the lights going out when the candles were lit and then he didn’t want the cake to be cut! However, he did enjoy eating the cake and happily chomped his way through his slice.

Julie's Family Kitchen Football Game Birthday Cake

If you would like to make your own football game birthday cake here’s the recipe.

Ingredients and equipment

2 basic all in one sponge traybake cakes 30 x 23cm (I used Mary Berry’s recipe from her Baking Bible)
1 jar of seedless raspberry jam
Vanilla buttercream (made using 500g icing sugar, 250g unsalted butter, 2 tablespoons milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract beaten together)
750g Renshaw ready to roll lincoln green fondant icing / sugarpaste
100g white fondant icing / sugarpaste
40 x 35cm cake board
PME football / soccer cake topper set (9 pieces)
Football themed ribbon

Method

1. Sandwich the two traybake sponge layers together with vanilla buttercream and jam.

2. Cover the whole cake with a base layer of buttercream and allow to set.

3. Apply a final layer of buttercream all over.

4. Roll out the green fondant icing to a thickness of 5mm so that it is large enough to cover the top and sides of the cake.

5. Carefully lift the green fondant icing and place on top of the cake and smooth down around the sides, ensuring that there are no air bubbles. Trim away any excess icing with a knife.

6. Using the white fondant icing roll out very thin and long sausage shapes, these will form the football pitch lines. Fix into position with by moistening the pitch with a little water, then flatten in place.

7. Decorate the football pitch with the players, referee and goal posts.

8. Finally attach the ribbon around the cake base.

You should be able to find all the ingredients and equipment in a good cake decorating shop or alternatively online.

Julie's Family Kitchen Football Game Birthday Cake

Julie's Family Kitchen Football Game Birthday Cake

Until next time, happy baking.

Julie
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Celebrate Breakfast Week 25th – 31st January

Julie's Family Kitchen Seeded Bagel with Banana

Did you have breakfast this morning? I did but worryingly 1 in 4 people in the UK are skipping breakfast. For whatever reason that may be, it is quite a startling fact. The Shake Up Your Wake Up campaign is about spreading the message that breakfast is important for everyone.

Breakfast Week

Why is breakfast so important?

1. It provides you with much needed energy for the start of the day.

2. It is a great way of getting essential nutrients into your diet.

3. After being asleep for several hours your blood sugar levels drop, eating breakfast helps regulate that.

4. It can help improve your mood. I know from experience that if I have not eaten breakfast, I’m pretty grumpy.

To get involved in celebrating Breakfast Week (25th to 31st January) and have the chance to WIN A SPA BREAK, take a picture of your ‘breakfast moment’ and upload it to Facebook.com/shakeupyourwakeup. See the shakeupyourwakeup.com website for full terms and conditions. You can also follow the campaign on Twitter @breakfastweek #BreakfastWeek.

If you are stuck for breakfast idea why not try a lightly toasted bagel with sliced banana. I recommend a seeded bagel or cinnamon and raisin bagel, both work brilliantly with the banana making it a tasty and filling breakfast.

Julie's Family Kitchen Seeded Bagel with Banana

I would love to hear about what you like to eat for breakfast. If you have any delicious breakfast recipe ideas, please share them in the comments box below.

Until next time.

Julie
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Disclosure: The Shake Up Your Wake Up campaign is run on behalf of 35,000 arable farmers in the UK that grow cereals such as wheat, oats and barley. I have not received any payment for this blog post but received a selection a of healthy breakfast items to try.

Kiwi, Banana and Coconut Smoothie

Julie's Family Kitchen Kiwi, Banana and Coconut Smoothie

Smoothies are a terrific breakfast option when you’re on the go. Easy to prepare and packed full of healthy nutrients you’ll love this tropical inspired Kiwi, Banana and Coconut Smoothie recipe. It’s literally bursting with Vitamin B6, Vitamin C and Potassium, all good for your health and wellbeing. Made with naturally sweet coconut water (a brilliant source of hydration) there’s no need to sweeten this smoothie with honey. I recommend you look out for 100% coconut water, as some brands include preservatives, additives and sugar.

Here’s my recipe for Kiwi, Banana and Coconut Smoothie.

Ingredients (Serves 1 adult or 2 children)

1 kiwi
1 banana
260ml pure coconut water
2 ice cubes

Method

1. Pour the coconut water into a blender and add the ice cubes.

2. Peel and chop the fruit into chunks, then place in the blender.

3. Pulse to crush the ice, then blend for 30 seconds until smooth. Enjoy!

Julie's Family Kitchen Kiwi, Banana and Coconut Smoothie

Until next time.

Julie
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Food Blogging Tips and Tricks

Julie's Family Kitchen
Food blogging requires a wide skill set, food photography, recipe testing, recipe writing and editing just to name a few. Here I’m going to share with you some tips and tricks used by food bloggers. I’m not an expert but these are things I’ve learnt since I started blogging. I hope you find it useful.

Some of these might seem a tad obvious but in that rush of trying to get out your blog post it’s easy to forget or accidentally miss something out.

Recipes

  • Structure you recipe to includes a list of ingredients, number of servings and a method.
  • List your ingredients in the order that they are going to be used, make sure every ingredient is included.
  • Be as specific as you can with quantities, rather than say half a tin of chopped tomatoes state half a 400g tin of chopped tomatoes.
  • If you know an ingredient is hard to find, say where you buy it from.
  • Make it clear what type of oven you are using e.g gas or fan oven. Quoting the appropriate temperature and whether you need to pre heat it.
  • With baking recipes always state the cake tin size, it’s so important for a successful result.

Photography

  • Try to photograph your food in natural light, it always looks more appealing in a naturally lit environment. It’s particularly difficult in winter but make the most of those precious daylight hours.
  • I use white foam boards to bounce light back onto the food, they are also useful in creating a neutral or blank background.
  • Think about presentation, styling can be great but don’t go overboard.
  • Use props that enhance the mood or the setting. A drink, cutlery or the ingredients work well. Just experiment, to see what you like best.
  • I take lots of photos varying the composition of the food and any props.  I then edit the photos on my Mac book to make the best of the photos I’ve taken.
  • Look at Foodgawker.com and Pinterest for inspiration but try to develop your own style.
  • A couple of my first accepted Foodgawker submissions were taken using my iPhone, that said I now have a Nikon D3200 dSLR camera I’m getting to grips with.
  • I recommend that you watermark you photos with your blog name.

Further recommended reading

  • Plate to Pixel by Helene Dujardin.
  • Food Blogging for Dummies by Kelly Senyei.
  • Other food blogs but don’t copy just be yourself.

I’ll back with more recipes and reviews very soon.

Until then.

Julie
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Tomato, Bean and Chorizo Soup

Julie's Family Kitchen Tomato, Bean and Chorizo Soup

Happy New Year. I don’t know about you but I find January and February quite gloomy months and I start to crave the warm sun of high summer. However, I’m determined not to let the winter blues get me down by arranging things to look forward to. I have booked my place on a cookery workshop later in the month and have arranged a special fun day out in February for all the family (but that’s top secret for now!).

With all the indulgences of Christmas and New Year behind us, I like to get back to eating proper hearty food that is healthy too. Soups are a great way of getting in some of those essential 5 a day without it seeming to be a chore. My tasty Tomato, Bean and Chorizo soup is bursting with smoky paprika and tomato flavours. The haricot beans and small chorizo chunks make this a filling soup to be enjoyed on chilly days. It’s a great alternative to tomato soup especially if you want something a bit more substantial for lunch. I recommend serving it with crusty seeded bread.

Julie's Family Kitchen Tomato, Bean and Chorizo Soup

Here’s my recipe for Tomato, Bean and Chorizo Soup.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

½ tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion (very finely chopped)
75g diced cooking chorizo
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ dried oregano
pinch of dried chilli flakes
500g passata
400g tin of chopped tomatoes (best quality)
200ml cold water
400g haricot beans (drained and rinsed)
1 teaspoon caster sugar
sea salt and black pepper

Method

1. Heat the olive oil in a large lidded casserole pan, then sauté the onions until soft.

2. Add the diced chorizo, paprika, oregano and chilli flakes. Stir well and sauté for about 5 minutes.

3. Add the passata, tinned tomatoes, water, haricot beans and sugar. Season with a good grinding of sea salt and black pepper. Stir well.

4. Bring to the boil, then put on the lid and simmer gently for 50 minutes stirring occasionally. Remove the lid and simmer for a further 10 minutes. Serve the soup in warm bowls with seeded crusty bread.

Julie's Family Kitchen Tomato, Bean and Chorizo Soup

Julie's Family Kitchen Tomato, Bean and Chorizo Soup

Here’s to a great 2015.

Until next time.

Julie
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Cooking with Herbs Lavender and Lovage
#CookBlogShare

I’ve entered this recipe into #CookBlogShare with Supergolden Bakes

Happy New Year

Well, it’s goodbye to 2014 and hello to 2015. I hope it’s been a kind year to you. During 2014 I’ve been lucky enough to see my first recipe printed in Cake Masters magazine, attended a game tasting event with Richard Corrigan and Sainsbury’s, met Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood (all be it briefly for a book signing!) and last but not least attended a pasta making workshop with Giovanni Rana at his London restaurant. Plus, I’ve had the opportunity meet in person and speak online to some great like minded bloggers too.

Finally, I want to say a huge thank you to my readers for taking the time to stop by and read my recipes, reviews and enter the giveaways during 2014. I’m planning on bringing you lots more for 2015.

Here’s a selection of some of my favourite recipes from 2014.

I wish you all a very Happy New Year.

Julie
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Snowflake Christmas Cake and Happy Christmas

Snowflake Christmas Cake Julie's Family Kitchen

It’s certainly been a busy week for me getting things ready for Christmas. In between all the hectic preparations we managed to squeeze in a fantastic family weekend break at Center Parcs. It really was a fun packed couple of days, involving roller skating, pottery painting, an elf hunt, fencing and swimming to name a few of the activities we all got up to.

Although a little later than usual I finally finished decorating my Christmas cake this afternoon. Being a bit short of time I opted for a simple and effective snowflake design, I hope all my Christmas guests like it.

Snowflake Christmas Cake Julie's Family Kitchen

Snowflake Christmas Cake Julie's Family Kitchen

Before I go, I want to wish you and your families all a very Happy Christmas.

Until next time.

Julie
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My Favourite Christmas Recipes

Oh how time whizzes by, now it’s only a week until Christmas day. I’ve been much more organised this year, so I’m feeling pretty pleased. Although, it’s been tricky with us all fighting off coughs and colds. I’m sure I’ll make last minute batches of cookies and mince pies but I’d love to squeeze in time to make a gingerbread house. Not forgetting that I need to decorate my Christmas cake too, I guess I’m going to be busy.

In case you missed them, here are my easy but very tasty Christmas recipes for 2014.

Cranberry, Pistachio and White Chocolate Cookies

There’s something very Christmassy about cranberries and pistachios. I love the flecks of green, red and white in these cookies and they are simply gorgeous.

Cranberry, Pistachio and White Chocolate Cookies

Frozen Chocolate Caramel Cream Meringue Cake

A real party dessert tasting like the creamiest ice cream ever. It’s the perfect make ahead dessert.

Chocolate and Caramel Meringue Dessert

Chocolate and Peppermint Christmas Tree Cookies

These yummy chocolate and peppermint cookies will definitely please everyone. They are quite moreish, it’s hard to only eat just one.

Julie's Family Kitchen

Quick Puff Pastry Mince Pies

Incredibly easy and a bit of a cheat I admit, these quick puff pastry mince pies and can be rustled up in no time at all.

Puff Pastry Mince Pies

I hope you all have a very Happy Christmas.

Until next time.

Julie
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My Kitchen Cookbooks: Nigella Christmas

Julie's Family Kitchen

I simply couldn’t let December pass by and not feature Nigella Christmas by Nigella Lawson in ‘My Kitchen Cookbooks’ series. Nigella Christmas is an iconic Christmas recipe book full of enticing and decadent delights. It oozes Christmas charm and is a joy to browse through whilst planning your Christmas feast. I received my copy as a Christmas present quite a few years ago and it’s a book I turn to every year for festive inspiration. It has recently been republished with a stylised front cover but I quite like my retro looking copy.

Nigella has all manner of Christmas meals catered for in this book from informal suppers to the main event featuring roast turkey. There’s a huge variety of side dishes, starters, canapés and cocktails too.

The Spruced Up Vanilla Cake recipe is one I’ve been meaning to try for a long while, in fact I bought the Nordic Ware Holiday Tree bundt tin especially a couple of years ago but just never got round to it. I have to admit the thought of using a bundt tin for the first time was a little scary, I had visions of bits of cake clinging to the side and the resulting cake looking a complete disaster. As you can see from the picture, I shouldn’t have worried. I sprayed the tin inside liberally with cake release spray and the cake came out with no bother at all. The Spruced Up Vanilla Cake really has the WOW factor and is an ideal centre piece for a Christmas party.

Julie's Family Kitchen

I don’t know about you but I actually like brussels sprouts. Inspired by Nigella’s recipe, I now always cook my brussels sprouts with chestnuts and pancetta. I don’t bother with the Marsala wine as Nigella recommends but it’s definitely a great way to liven up sprouts.

My favourite chapter in Nigella Christmas has to be ‘Joy to the world – Christmas baking and sweet treats’, I just wish I had enough time to bake everything. One year I baked two batches of the super chocolatey Christmas Chocolate Biscuits for my girls to take into school for the class Christmas parties. I’ve also baked the very delicious Cranberry and White Chocolate Cookies as presents for the class teachers and the school lollypop lady.

I don’t usually make a Christmas pudding as I always make a Christmas cake instead. This year I’m seriously considering making the ‘Chocolate Pudding for Christmas Pudding Haters with Hot Chocolate Sauce’, it looks like a chocolate lovers dream dessert and I think it will please everyone. There’s an amazing chapter on edible gifts, perfect if you like to make and give your own Christmas hampers. Nigella really has got everything covered with a fabulous selection of chutneys, flavoured vodkas and sweet things.

Nigella Christmas is a cookbook I’d definitely recommend and would make a wonderful Christmas gift for the foodie in your life.

Until next time.

Julie
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