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Superhero Muffins

Posted by Gill Bland Monday, 8th January 2018

I’ll be honest – giving you this recipe seems like a cop-out. As you can see from the lovely sunshine in the photos, I took them back in June last year. So, it seems like I’m just throwing something at you from the archives because I can’t be bothered. However, when the good folk of Rangemaster asked me to provide a healthy breakfast recipe I wanted to give you one that I ACTUALLY eat. Not one that I aspire to eat and never get around to. Yes, there are lots of lovely healthy buckwheat pancake recipes (which I’ve made a few times and are indeed good) or lots of egg-white concoctions which look promising but don’t deliver but, to be honest, something has to be really enticing to tear me away from a good, gloopy bowl of porridge made slowly over the hob in a moment of morning reflection-time. No, it’s the days when I don’t have time to sit down that I need a healthy option that I can grab and go and will help me resist the draw of the almond croissant.

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Mulled Wine Chocolate Cake

Posted by Gill Bland Monday, 18th December 2017

I know some people get sick of the flavours of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and orange zest at Christmas. I am not one of those people. I am one of those people who sprinkle all-spice into their hot Ribena as soon as the nights get dark in a bid to emulate mulled wine without consuming unhealthy amounts of the ruby-red spiced booze-of-delight. So, when I noticed a recipe for a red wine cake sometime earlier in the year I parked it at the back of my baker’s brain and waited for the festive season to come around so that I could make mulled wine chocolate cake. This recipe makes no apology for throwing all the Christmas flavours at it. You can stick to just mulled wine, you can have cinnamon icing and if you want to really go for it you can make a mulled fig jam to dot through the mixture or to fill the middle of each cupcake. It’s up to you how much you want to gild the Christmas lily (or indeed poinsettia). 

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Wintery Red Cabbage, Sausage and Apple Dunking Stew

Posted by Gill Bland Monday, 27th November 2017

One pot, a host of hearty ingredients and a touch of seasonal spice without being too early to the Christmas party. This dunking stew is the perfect answer to a cold dark evening. It takes moments to prepare and doesn’t require the day-long brewing that a proper thick stew needs. For this reason I’ve called it a dunking stew - calling to a broth makes it sound too weedy but it would be false advertising to imply that the liquid had the fortitude of a regular stew. The juice in this one is ideal for soaking up with thick slices of bread. This is a fast-track to casserole comfort. 

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Friendly Pumpkin Cornbread

Posted by Gill Bland Monday, 30th October 2017

The clocks have gone back and the dark nights are here. Twinkly street lights and crunchy leaves fill the walk home from work and even school. Whether you’re out pounding the pavements with the kids on a chilly October evening or you’re just coming home after a long day, a big hunk of this Friendly Pumpkin Cornbread with some soup, chilli or any other warming stew will go down a treat, and it’s not tricky at all to make (see what I did there?). Despite cutting the amount of sugar from the original recipe by 3/4 it’s still quite sweet, but this works really well with savoury dishes and even better if you toast it with a mature/ blue cheese and some pesto for that oozy green-gooey look!

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Quick Easy After School Dinner

Posted by Gill Bland Tuesday, 19th September 2017

Well, what happened to the summer?  I don’t mean the sunshine, we didn’t have a bad one by British standards, but where did the time go? Whether you have children or not, the darker evenings somehow chase away the idea of loafing around and slowly cooking something to be enjoyed at leisure. Add hungry post-school offspring into the mix and we all need a couple of fast, filling, flexible dinner options up our sleeves.

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Picnic Pick-and-Mix Handpies

Posted by Gill Bland Monday, 7th August 2017

Summer holidays are here and getting outdoors is a great thing to do with the family when you’ve been cooped up in schools and offices all year. Add a a picnic into the mix you've got yourself an adventure - especially when you take the unreliable British weather into account. This recipe will not only make an event out of prepping for the picnic, but it’ll provide a range of options for young and old and something comforting enough to eat in the car hiding from the rain or light enough to eat sat in the sun. You can make the pastry with the kids and lay out all the filling options for them to choose from so that they can make their lunch and mark the tops of the pies as they wish.

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Shortbread with a Malty Millionaire option

Posted by Gill Bland Tuesday, 1st August 2017

Shortbread. So simple and yet so good. Only three ingredients can make you a wonderful, buttery, crumbly biscuit which is perfect to have on your own with a moment of calm and a cup of tea or to package up into a gift. Not only that, but you can use it as a base for all sorts of wonderful sweet treats - perhaps with cream or mousse on top or indeed, millionaire shortbread. However, I’ve always had dubious results when it comes to the caramel part of the shortbread-for-rich-people so I’m sharing a cheats method with you which I discovered by throwing a load of ingredients in my baking cupboard into a pan and has since become a family favourite.

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Gin & Tonic Cupcakes

Posted by Gill Bland Monday, 5th June 2017

Well, it looks like summer is just starting to think about appearing and what great timing, for Saturday the 10th June is World Gin Day and there’s nothing that makes a gin and tonic taste better then a long balmy summer evening. 

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Veggie Shepherd's Pie with Magic Mash

Posted by Gill Bland Monday, 15th May 2017

This week is National Vegetarian Week. Whilst their aim is to get you eating veggie for a whole week, this recipe is aimed more at the idea of foregoing meat for just one day a week. There are many arguments in support of one meat-free day a week which cite its environmental benefits and these are no small reason why it’s worth considering but I’m no scientist so I’ll leave you to form your own opinions there. However, I would suggest that an initiative like “Meat Free Monday” is worth a look for a much more mercenary reason - it can be really cheap to cook a vegetarian meal. Some sweet potatoes,  a few carrots, some celery, mushrooms, onion, a can of beans and tomatoes will usually amount to less than half the cost of one pack of beef mince but can feed the same amount of people. Think of it less as missing out on meat and more as an easy way to boost your vegetable intake and try out different recipes. 

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Spring Salmon Tray Bake

Posted by Gill Bland Thursday, 13th April 2017

Roast lamb is the Easter family meal of choice and it’s true, there are few things that can beat a great roast lamb dish. But with spring, perhaps even summer trying to show its face and with Easter holidays perhaps making things a bit more rushed I thought it would be nice to bring you something lighter, less time consuming and more informal. Something that you can prep in minutes, throw in the oven and then pop on the table for everyone to dig in. 

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